Page images
PDF
EPUB

fire, - - and lay down in their midst. Rich seed of virtue lying hid in poor leaves! Here Minerva gave him sound sleep; and here all his long toils past seemed to be concluded and shut up within the little sphere of his refreshed and closed eyelids.

HOMER. [Paraphrase by Charles Lamb; from the Translation by George Chapman.]

SUNSET IN GREECE.

Slow sinks, more lovely ere his race be run,
Along Morea's hills the setting sun;
Not, as in northern climes, obscurely bright,
But one unclouded blaze of living light!
O'er the hushed deep the yellow beam he throws,
Gilds the green wave, that trembles as it glows;
On old Ægina's rock, and Idra's isle,
The god of gladness sheds his parting smile;
O'er his own regions lingering, loves to shine,
Though there his altars are no more divine.

Descending fast the mountain shadows kiss
Thy glorious gulf, unconquered Salamis !
Their azure arches through the long expanse
More deeply purpled meet his mellowing glance,
And tenderest tints, along their summits driven,
Mark his gay course, and own the hues of heaven;
Till, darkly shaded from the land and deep,
Behind his Delphian cliff he sinks to sleep.

GEORGE GORDON NOËL BYRON.

[merged small][graphic][merged small]

Our Country! whose eagle exults as he flies
In the splendor of noonday broad-breasting the skies,
That from ocean to ocean the Land overblown
By the winds and the shadows is Liberty's own, —
We hail thee, we crown thee! To east and to west
God keep thee the purest, the noblest, the best,
While all thy domain with a people He fills
As free as thy winds and as firm as thy hills !

Our Country! bright region of plenty and peace,
Where the homeless find refuge, the burdened release,
Where Manhood is king, and the stars as they roll
Whisper courage and hope to the lowliest soul,
We hail thee, we crown thee! To east and to west
God keep thee the purest, the noblest, the best,
While all thy domain with a people He fills
As free as thy winds and as firm as thy hills !

Our Country! whose story the angels record -
Fair dawn of that glorious day of the Lord
When men shall be brothers, and love, like the sun,
Illumine all lands till the nations are one,
We hail thee, we crown thee! To east and to west
God keep thee the purest, the noblest, the best,
While all thy domain with a people He fills
As free as thy winds and as firm as thy hills!

EDNA DEAN PROCTOR.

OUR DUTIES TO OUR COUNTRY.

It cannot be denied, but by those who would dispute against the sun, that with America, and in America, a new era commences in human affairs. This era is distinguished by free representative governments, by entire religious liberty, by improved systems of national intercourse, by a newly awakened and unconquerable spirit of free inquiry, and by a diffusion of knowledge through the community, such as has been before altogether unknown and unheard of.

America, America, our country, our own dear and native land, is inseparably connected, fast bound up, in fortune and by fate, with these great interests. If they fall, we fall with them; if they stand, it will be because we have upheld them.

DANIEL WEBSTER.

EVIL TALK.

JOSEPH ADDISON was born at Milston, England, May 1, 1672. His education having been finished at Oxford, he immediately began a literary life. Perhaps his most notable work was that in the form of the essay. In those days magazines were not numerous, and the periodical publication of essays gained considerable vogue. Of this sort were the Tatler, the Spectator, and the Guardian. To these Addison contributed very many of the most important papers, some of which have become classics. He is the author of several dramas and a number of noble poems.

He died at Holland House, a historic mansion in Kensington, London, June 17, 1719.

[graphic]

It is observed of great and heroic minds, that they have not only showed a particular disregard to those unmerited reproaches which have been cast upon them, but have been altogether free from that impertinent curiosity of inquiring after them, or the poor revenge of resenting them.

The histories of Alexander and Cæsar are full of this kind of instances. Vulgar souls are of a quite contrary character. Dionysius, the tyrant of Sicily, had a dungeon which was a very curious piece of architecture; and of which, as I am informed, there are still some remains to be seen in that island. It was called Dionysius' Ear, and built with several little windings and labyrinths in the form of a real ear. The structure of it made it a kind of whispering place, but such a one as gathered the voice of him who spoke into a funnel, which was placed at the very

top of it.

The tyrant used to lodge all his state criminals, or those whom he supposed to be engaged together in any evil design upon him, in this dungeon. He had at the same time an apartment over it, where he used to apply himself to the funnel, and by that means overhear everything that was whispered in the dungeon. I believe one may venture to affirm that a Cæsar or an Alexander would rather have died by treason, than to have used such disingenuous means for the detecting of it.

A man who is in ordinary life very inquisitive after everything which is spoken ill of him, passes his time but very indifferently. He is wounded by every arrow that is shot at him, and puts it in the power of every enemy to disquiet him. Nay, he will suffer from what has been said of him, when it is forgotten by those who said or heard it. For this reason could never bear one of those officious friends that would be telling every malicious report, every idle censure passed upon me.

The tongue of man is so petulant, and his thoughts so variable, that one should not lay too great stress upon any present speeches or opinions.

JOSEPH ADDISON.

« PreviousContinue »