Page images

C. "Away 1 away! in our blossoming bowers,
In the soft air wrapping these spheres of ours,
In the seas and fountains that shine with morn,
See! Love is brooding, and Life is born!
And breathing myriads are breaking from night,
To rejoice like us, in motion and light."

7. Glide on in your beauty, ye youthful spheres.
To weave the dance that measures the years:
Glide on, in the glory and gladness sent,
To the furthest wall of the firmament,—
The boundless visible smile of Him, .
To the vail of whose brow your lamps are dim.

Questions. —Of what time does this lenson speak? What book gives an account ol Creation? In what chapter is it to be found? What is the character of the language in the first stanza? How should it be read? What is the character of the language in the other stanzas? How, then, should they be read f

[ocr errors]

[Before reading this lesson let the class examine Rules 5 and 6. pp. 117

1. All worldly shapes shall melt in gloom,

The Sun himself must die,
Before this mortal shall assume

Its immortality! —
I saw a vision in my sleep,
That gave my spirit strength to. sweep

Adown the gulf of Time!
I saw the last of human mold
That shall Creation's death behold,

As Adam saw her prime!

[graphic][merged small][merged small]

THE LAST MAN.— Campbell.

[ocr errors]

2. The Sun's eye had a sickly glare;

The Earth with age was wan:
The skeletons of nations were

Around that lonely man!
Some had expired in fight, — the brands
Still rusted in their bony hands:

In plague and famine some!
Earth's cities had no sound nor tread;
And ships were drifting with the dead,

To shores where all was dumb!

3. Yet, prophet-like that lone one stood,

With dauntless words and high,
That shook the sere leaves from the wood,

As if a storm passed by, —
Saying, " We are twins in death, proud Sun!
Thy face is cold; thy race is run;

'T is mercy bids thee go:
For thou, ten thousand thousand years,
Hast seen the tide of human tears,

That shall no longer flow.

4. "Even I am weary, in yon skies,

To watch thy fading fire:
Test of all sumless agonies,

Behold not me expire!
My lips that speak thy dirge of death, —
Their rounded gasp and gurgling breath

To see thou shalt not boast.
The eclipse of Nature spreads my pall;
The majesty of darkness shall

Receive my parting ghost!

5. "This spirit shall return to Him

Who gave its heavenly spark;
Yet think not, Sun, it shall be dim
When thou thyself art dark 1

No! it shall live again and shine
In bliss unknown to beams of thine,
"By Him recalled to breath,
'Who captive led Captivity;
Who robbed the grave of victory,—
And took the sting from Death!

6. "Go, Sun, while Mercy holds me up,

On Nature's awful waste,
To drink this last and bitter cup

Of grief that man shall taste: —
Go, tell the Night that hides thy face,
Thou sawest the last of Adam's race,

On Earth's sepulchral clod,
The darkening universe defy
To quench his Immortality,

Or shake his trust in God!"

Questions. —What is the poet here represented as seeing in his sleep J Describe the vision 1 What is the character of the language in this lesson, and how should it be read f


3. Fa-tigues', toils; labors. 5. Ev'er And ^l-non', now and then.

3. Im*agjd, formed into an image. 6. Wan'ing, departing.

3. Pro-found', deep; perfect. 7. De-crep'itj broken down.

Errors Wuz for was; be-eiu'ti-ful for beau'ti-ful; cre'chaw for creature;

al'wuz for ai'ways.


1. She was dead. No sleep so beautiful and calm, so free from trace of pain,"so fair to look upon. She seemed a creature fresh from the hand of God, and waiting for the breath of life; not one who had lived and suffered death. Her couch was dressed with here and there some winter berries and green leaves, gathered in a spot she had been used to lavor.

2. "When I die, put near me something that has loved tho light, and had the sky above it always." These were her words. And now, she was dead. Dear, gentle, patient, noble Nell was dead. Her little bird, — a poor slight thing, the pressure of a finger would have crushed, was stirring nimbly in its cage; and the strong heart of its child-mistress was mute and motionless forever.

3. Where were the traces of her early cares, her sufferings, and fatigues? All gone. Sorrow was dead indeed in her; but peace and perfect happiness were born,—imaged in her tranquil beauty and profound repose. And still her former self lay there, unaltered in this change.

4. Yes; the old fireside had smiled on that same sweet face: it had passed like a dream through haunts of misery and care: at the door of the poor schoolmaster on the summer evening; before the furnace fire upon the cold, wet night ;• at the still bedside of the dying boy, —there had been the same mild, lovely look.

5. The old man held one languid arm in his, with the small hand tight folded to his breast for warmth. It was the hand she had stretched out to him with her last smile, — the hand that had led him on through all their wanderings. Ever

'and anon he pressed it to his lips; then, hugged it to his breast again, murmuring that it was warmer now: and as he said it,, he looked, in agony, to those who stood around, as if imploring them to help her. ,

6. She was dead, and past all help, or need of it. The ancient rooms, she had seemed to fill with life, even while her own was waning fast; the garden she had tended; the eyes she had gladdened; the noiseless haunts of many a thoughtless hour; the paths she had trodden but yesterday, — could know her no more.

7. And now the bell — the bell she had so often heard by night and day, and listened to with solemn pleasure almost as a living voice — rung its remorseless toll for her, so young, so beautiful, so good. Decrepit age, and vigorous life, and blooming youth, and helpless infancy poured forth — on crutches, in the pride of health and strength, in the full blush of promise, in the mere dawn of life — to gather round her tomb.

8. Along the crowded path they bore her now, pure as the newly-fallen snow that covered it, and whose day on earth had been as fleeting. Under the porch, where she had sat when Heaven, in its mercy, brought her to that peaceful spot, she passed again; and the old church received her in its quiet shade.

9. They carried her to one old nook, where she had many and many a time sat musing, and laid their burden softly down. The light streamed on it through the colored window, — a window where the boughs of trees were ever rustling in the summer, and where the birds sung sweetly all day long. With every breath of air that stirred among those branches in the sunshine, some trembling, changing light would fall upon her grave.

10. Earth to earth: ashes to ashes: dust to dust. Many a young hand dropped in its little wreath; many a stifled sob was heard. Some — and they were not a few — knelt down. All were sincere and truthful in their sorrow.

11. The service done, the mourners stood apart, and the villagers closed round to look into the grave before the stone should be replaced; then, falling off in whispering groups of three or four, the church was cleared, in time, of all but the sexton and the mourning friends.

12. When the dusk of evening had come on, and not a sound disturbed the sacred stillness of the place; when the bright moon poured in her light on tomb and monument, on pillar, wall, and arch, and most of all, it seemed to them, upon her quiet grave; in that calm time, when all outward things and inward thoughts teem with assurances of immortality, and worldly hopes and fears are humbled in the dust before them,—then, with tranquil and submissive hearts, they turned away, and left the child with God.

Questions. — What is the style of this piece? How should it be read? Is the pathos uniform throughout the composition? What time is meant by the expression, " in that •aim time." iu the twelfth paragraph? At that time what is it that Alls our thoughts'

« PreviousContinue »