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The clouds before you shoot like eagles past; .
Skyward, the whirling fragments out of sight.
The weary fowls of heaven make wing in vain,
To escape your wrath; ye seize and dash them dead. Against the earth ye drive the roaring rain;
The harvest field becomes a river's bed;
Rise, as the rushing waters swell and spread.
Ye dart upon the deep, and straight is heard
A wilder roar, and men grow pale, and pray; Ye fling its floods around you, as a bird
Flings o'er his shivering plumes the fountain's spray. See! to the breaking mast the sailor clings; Ye scoop the ocean to its briny springs, And take the mountain billow on your wings, And pile the wreck of navies round the bay.
W. C. BRYANT.
1. How grateful the relief which the friend of mankind, the lover of virtue, experiences, when, turning from the contemplation of such a character as Napoleon, his eye rests upon the greatest man of our own
thoughtlessly lavished by men, to foster the crimes of
their worst enemies, may be innocently and justly bestowed !
2. This eminent person is presented to our observation, clothed in attributes as modest, as unpretending, as little calculated to strike or to astonish, as if he had passed unknown through some secluded region of private life. But he had a judgment sure and sound; a steadiness of mind which never suffered any passion, or even any feeling, to ruffle its calm; a strength of understanding which worked rather than forced its way through all obstacles, - removing or avoiding rather than overleaping them.
3. If these things, joined to the most absolute selfdenial, the most habitual and exclusive devotion to principle, can constitute a great character, without either quickness of apprehension, remarkable resources of information, or inventive powers, or any brilliant quality that might dazzle the vulgar, — then surely Washington was the greatest man that ever lived in this.world, uninspired by divine wisdom, and unsustained by supernatural virtue.
4. His courage, whether in battle or in council, was as perfect as might be expected from this pure and steady temper of soul. A perfect just man, with a thoroughly firm resolution never to be misled by others, any more than to be by others overawed; never to be seduced or betrayed, or hurried away by his own weaknesses or self-delusions, any more than by other men's arts; nor ever to be disheartened by the most complicated difficulties, any more than to be spoilt on the giddy heights of fortune; - such was this great man.
5. Great he was, preëminently great, whether we regard him sustaining alone the whole weight of campaigns all but desperate, or gloriously terminating a just warfare by his resources and his courage; presid. ing over the jarring elements of his political council,
alike deaf to the storms of all extremes, or directing the formation of a new government for a great people, the first time that so vast an experiment had ever been tried by man; or, finally, retiring from the supreme power to which his virtue had raised him over the nation he had created, and whose destinies he had guided as long as his aid was required, — retiring with the veneration of all parties, of all nations, of all man. kind, in order that the rights of men might be conserved, and that his example never might be appealed to by vulgar tyrants.
6. This is the consum'mate glory of Washington: a triumphant warrior where the most sanguine had a right to despair; a successful ruler in all the difficulties of a course wholly untried; but a warrior, whose sword only left its sheath when the first law of our nature commanded it to be drawn; and a ruler who, having tasted of supreme power, gently and unostentatiously desired that the cup might pass from him, nor would suffer more to wet his lips than the most solemn and sacred duty to his country and his God required!
7. To his latest breath did this great pātriot maintain the noble character of a captain the pātron of peace, and a statesman the friend of justice. Dying, he bequeathed to his heirs the sword which he had worn in the war for liberty, and charged them "never to take it from the scabbard but in self-defense, or in defense of their country and her freedom;" and commanded them that, “when it should thus be drawn, they should never sheathe it, nor ever give it up, but prefer falling with it in their hands to the relinquish. ment thereof," — words, the majesty and simple eloquence of which are not surpassed in the oratory of Athens and Rome.
8. It will be the duty of the historian and the sage,
in all ages, to let no occasion pass of commemorating this illustrious man; and, until time shall be no more, will a test of the progress which our race has made in wisdom and in virtue be derived from the veneration paid to the immortal name of WASHINGTON !
FRIENDS, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
Did this in Cæsar seem ambitious ?
You all did love him once, not without cause ;
But here's a parchment with the seal of Cæsar.