« PreviousContinue »
CHARACTER OF QUEEN ELIZABETH.
DAVID HUME was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, April 26, 1711. He was trained to the practice of law, but disliked it; he tried mercantile life with no greater success. He therefore decided to devote his life to the pursuits of literature. In the years 1741 and 1742 he published “Essays Moral and Political," two gracefully written books. In 1752 he began the writing of the “ History of England,” from the invasion of Cæsar to the year 1688. This work gave him high rank among historians. His style is simple and clear, and is remarkable for ease and grace.
He died in Edinburgh, Aug. 25, 1776.
There are few great personages in history who have been more exposed to the calumny of enemies, and the adulation of friends, than Queen Elizabeth; and yet there is scarcely any whose reputation has been more certainly determined by the unanimous consent of posterity.
The unusual length of her administration and the strong features of her character were able to overcome all prejudices; and, obliging her detractors to abate much of their invectives, and her admirers somewhat of their panegyrics, have at last, in spite of political factions, and what is more, of religious animosities, produced a uniform judgment with regard to her conduct.
Her vigor, her constancy, her magnanimity, her penetration, vigilance, and address are allowed to merit the highest praises, and appear not to have been surpassed by any person that ever filled a throne — a conduct less rigorous, less imperious, more sincere, more indulgent to her people, would have been requisite to form a perfect character.
By the force of her mind she controlled all her more active and stronger qualities, and prevented them from running into excess; her heroism was exempt from temerity, her frugality from avarice, her friendship from partiality, her active temper from turbulency and a vain ambition; she guarded not herself with equal care or equal success from lesser infirmities; the rivalship of beauty, the desire of admiration, the jealousy of love, and the sallies
Her singular talents for government were founded equally on her temper and on her capacity. Endowed with a great command over herself, she soon obtained an uncontrolled ascendant over her people; and while she merited all their esteem by her real virtues, she also engaged their affections by her pretended ones. Few sovereigns of England succeeded to the throne in more difficult circumstances; and none ever conducted the government with such uniform success and felicity.
Though unacquainted with the practice of toleration the true secret for managing religious factions - she preserved her people, by her superior prudence, from those confusions in which theological controversy had involved all the neighboring nations; and though her enemies were the most powerful princes of Europe, the most active, the most enterprising, the least scrupulous, she was able by her vigor to make deep impressions on their states; her own greatness meanwhile remained untouched and unimpaired.
The wise ministers and brave warriors who flourished under her reign share the praise of her success ; but instead of lessening the applause due to her, they make great addition to it. They owed, all of them, their advancement to her choice; they were supported by her constancy, and, with all their abilities, they were never able to acquire any undue ascendancy over her. In her family, in her court, in her kingdom, she remained equally mistress.
THE BIVOUAC OF THE DEAD.
The muffled drum's sad roll has beat
The soldier's last tattoo ;
That brave and fallen few.
Their silent tents are spread,
The bivouac of the dead.
JAMES WHITCOMB Riley was born in Greenfield, Indiana, in 1853. He was educated at the public schools. Eventually he became an editorial writer for the Indianapolis Journal. In 1873 he began the writing of dialect poems, and has published numerous volumes of verse, much of which is in dialect, in which he easily takes first rank. Not only in these does he excel, but many of his poems written in the usual English form are tender and beautiful. It seems probable that no other living American poet is more widely read than he.
His home is in Indianapolis.
They rode right out of the morning sun
A glimmering, glittering cavalcade
In princely sheen arrayed;
In the bloom of the everglade.
And they rode high over the dewy lawn,
With brave glad banners of every hue
In splendor, two and two;
Intensest gold and blue.
And they rode and rode; and the steeds they neighed
And pranced, and the sun on their glossy hides
Like the moon on rippling tides;
And the knightly song besides.
And the fluttering sash of the queen went wild
As one at a willful child;
He kissed his hand and smiled.
And then like a slanting sunlit shower,
The pageant glittered across the plain,
Was only a crimson stain.
JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY.
[Used by special permission of the publishers, The Bobbs-Merrill Company. From “ Afterwhiles,” Copyright, 1898.]