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Ere on the finger of the bride he leaves it.
He must pronounce one word at least !
For anguish did its work so well,
Lifeless she fell!
At eve, instead of bridal verse,
Nowhere was a smile that day,
AMERICAN HISTORY.--JARED SPARKS.
In many respects the history of North America differs from that of
every other country, and in this difference it possesses an interest peculiar to itself, especially for those whose lot has been cast here, and who look back with a generous pride to the deeds of ancestors, by whom a nation's existence has been created, and a nation's glory adorned. We shall speak of this history, as divided into two periods, the colonial and the revolutionary.
When we talk of the history of our country, we are not to be understood as alluding to any particular book, or to the labors of any man, or number of men, in treating this subject. If we have a few compilations of merit, embracing detached portions and limited periods, there is yet wanting a work, the writer of which shall undertake the task of plodding his way through all the materials, printed and in manuscript, and digesting them into a united, continuous, lucid and philosophical whole, bearing the shape, and containing the substance of genuine history. No tempting encouragement, it is true, has been held out to such an enterprise. The absorbing present, in the midst of our stirring politics and jarring party excitements, and bustling activity, has almost obliterated the past, or at least has left little leisure for pursuing the footsteps of the pilgrims, and the devious fortunes of our ancestors. The public taste has run in other directions, and no man of genius and industry has been found so courageous in his resolves, or prodigal of his labor, as to waste his life in digging into mines for treasures which would cost him much and avail him little. But symptoms of a change are beginning to appear, which it may be hoped will ere long be realized.
And when the time shall come for illustrating this subject, it will be discovered that there are rich stores of knowledge among the hidden and forgotten records of our colonial history; that the men of those days thought and acted, and suffered with a wisdom, a fortitude, and an endurance, which would add lustre to any age; and that they have transmitted an inheritance as honorable in the mode of its acquisition as it is dear to its present possessors. Notwithstanding the comparatively disconnected incidents in the history of this period, and the separate communities and governments to which extends, it has nevertheless a unity and a consistency of parts, as well as copiousness of events, which make it a theme for the most gifted historian, and a study for every one who would enlarge his knowledge and profit by high example.
Unlike any other people, who have attained the rank of a nation, we may here trace our country's growth to the very elements of its origin, and consult the testimonies of reality, instead of the blind oracles of fable, and the legends of a dubious tradition. Besides a love of adventure and an enthusiasm that surmounted every difficulty, the character of its founders was marked by a hardy enterprise and sturdiness of purpose, which carried them onward through perils and sufferings, that would have appalled weaker minds and less resolute hearts. This is the first great feature of resemblance in all the early settlers, whether they came to the north or to the south, and it merits notice from the influence it could not fail to exercise on their future acts and character, both domestic and political. The timid, the wavering, the feeble-minded, the sons of indolence and ease, were not among those who left the comforts of home, braved the tempests of the ocean, and sought danger on the
shores of an unknown and inhospitable world. Incited by various motives they might have been; by a fondness for adventure, curiosity, gain or a dread of oppression, yet none but the bold, energetic, determined, persevering, would yield to these motives or any other.
Akin to these characteristics, and indeed a concomitant with them, was a spirit of freedom, and a restlessness under constraint. The New England settlers, we know, came away on this ground alone, goaded to a sense of their invaded rights by the thorns of religious intolerance. But whatever motives may
operated, the prominent fact remains the same, and in this we may see throughout the colonies a uniform basis of that vigor of character and indomitable love of liberty which appeared ever afterward, in one guise or another, whenever occasions called them out.
Hence it was, also, that the different colonies, although under dissimilar modes of government, some more and some less dependent on the crown, preserved a close resemblance in the spirit of their internal regulations, that spirit or those principles which entered deeply into the opinions of the people, and upon which their habits were formed.
The instructive lesson of history, teaching by example, can nowhere be studied with more profit, or with better promise, than in the revolutionary period of America, and especially by us, who sit under the tree our fathers have planted, enjoy its shade, and are nourished by its fruits. But little is our merit or gain that we applaud their deeds, unless we emulate their virtues. Love of country was in them an absorbing principle, an undivided feeling; not of a fragment, a section, but of the whole country.
Union was the arch on which they raised the strong tower of a nation's independence. Let the arm be palsied that would loosen one stone in the basis of this fair structure, or mar its beauty; the tongue mute that would dishonor their names by calculating the value of that which they deemed without price.
They have left us an example already inscribed in the world's memory; an example portentous to the aims of tyranny in every land; an example that will console in all ages the drooping aspirations of oppressed humanity. They have left us a written charter as a legacy, and as a guide to our course. day convinces us that a written charter may become powerless. Ignorance may misinterpret it; ambition may assail and faction destroy its vital parts, and aspiring knavery may at last sing its
requiem on the tomb of departed liberty. It is the spirit which lives in this are our safety and our hope—the spirit of our fathers—and while this dwells deeply in our remembrance, and its flame is cherished, ever burning, ever pure, on the altar of our hearts; while it incites us to think as they have thought, and do as they have done, the honor and praise will be ours, to have preserved unimpaired the rich inheritance, which they so nobly achieved.
THE CRY OF THE CHILDREN.-ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING.
Do ye hear the children weeping, O my brothers!
Ere the sorrow comes with years ?
And that cannot stop their tears.
The young birds are chirping in the nest,
The young flowers are blowing from the west;
They are weeping bitterly!
In the country of the free.
Why their tears are falling so?
Which is lost in long ago.
The old year is ending in the frost;
The old hope is hardest to be lost!
Do you ask them why they stand
In our happy fatherland?
And their looks are sad to see;
Down the cheeks of infancy.
“Our young feet," they say, "are very weak!
Our grave-rest is very far to seek !
For the outside earth is cold.
And the graves are for the old."
“True," say the young children, “it may happen
That we die before our time!
Like a snow-ball in the rime.
Was no room for any work in the close clay!
Crying—“Get up, little Alice, it is day!”
With your ear down, little Alice never cries;
For the new smile which has grown within her eyes.
The shroud, by the kirk chime!
“That we die before our time!"
Death in life, as best to have!
With a cerement from the grave.
Sing out, children, as the little thrushes do!
Laugh aloud to feel your fingers let them through i
Like the weeds anear the mine?
From your pleasures fair and fine.
And we cannot run or leap;
To drop down in them and sleep.
We fall on our face trying to go;
The reddest flowers would look as pale as snow;
Through the coal-dark underground, Or, all day we drive the wheels of iron
In the factories round and round.
Their wind comes in our faces!
And the walls turn in their places!
Turns the long light that droopeth down the wall,
Are all turning all the day, and we with all!
And sometimes we could pray,