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LIBRARY OF THE
WORLD'S BEST LITERATURE
ANCIENT AND MODERN
CHARLES DUDLEY WARNER
HAMILTON WRIGHT MABIE
LUCIA GILBERT RUNKLE
GEORGE HENRY WARNER
THE ADVISORY COUNCIL
* * * * *
CRAWFORD H. TOY, A.M., LL.D.,
Professor of Hebrew,
HARVARD UNIVERSITY, Cambridge, Mass.
THOMAS R. LOUNSBURY, LL.D., L.H.D.,
Professor of English in the Sheffield Scientific School of
YALE UNIVERSITY, New Haven, Conn.
WILLIAM M. SLOANE, PH.D., L.H.D.,
Professor of History and Political Science,
PRINCETON UNIVERSITY, Princeton, N.J.
BRANDER MATTHEWS, A.M., LL.B.,
Professor of Literature,
COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, New York City.
JAMES B. ANGELL, LL.D.,
President of the UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN, Ann Arbor, Mich.
WILLARD FISKE, A.M., PH.D.,
Late Professor of the Germanic and Scandinavian Languages
and Literatures, CORNELL UNIVERSITY, Ithaca, N.Y.
EDWARD S. HOLDEN, A.M., LL.D.,
Director of the Lick Observatory, and Astronomer,
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, Berkeley, Cal.
ALCEE FORTIER, LIT.D.,
Professor of the Romance Languages,
TULANE UNIVERSITY, New Orleans, La.
WILLIAM P. TRENT, M.A.,
Dean of the Department of Arts and Sciences, and Professor of
English and History, UNIVERSITY OF THE SOUTH, Sewanee, Tenn.
PAUL SHOREY, PH.D.,
Professor of Greek and Latin Literature,
UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO, Chicago, Ill.
WILLIAM T. HARRIS, LL.D.,
United States Commissioner of Education,
BUREAU OF EDUCATION, Washington, D.C.
MAURICE FRANCIS EGAN, A.M., LL.D.,
Professor of Literature in the
CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF AMERICA, Washington, D.C.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
GEORGE BANCROFT--_Continued_: 1800-1891
Wolfe on the Plains of Abraham ('History of the
JOHN AND MICHAEL BANIM 1798-1874
The Publican's Dream ('The Bit of Writin'')
Irish Maiden's Song
THEODORE DE BANVILLE 1823--1891
Le Cafe ('The Soul of Paris')
The Mysterious Hosts of the Forests ('The
Caryatids': Lang's Translation)
Aux Enfants Perdus: Lang's Translation
Ballade des Pendus: Lang's Translation
ANNA LAEITIA BARBAULD 1743-1825
Against Inconsistency in Our Expectations
A Dialogue of the Dead
Praise to God
ALEXANDER BARCLAY 1475-1552
The Courtier's Life (Second Eclogue)
RICHARD HARRIS BARHAM 1788-1845
As I Laye A-Thynkynge
The Lay of St. Cuthbert
A Lay of St. Nicholas
SABINE BARING-GOULD 1834-
St. Patrick's Purgatory ('Curious Myths of the
The Cornish Wreckers ('The Vicar of Morwenstow')
JANE BARLOW 18--
Widow Joyce's Cloak ('Strangers at Lisconnel')
Walled Out ('Bogland Studies')
JOEL BARLOW 1754-1812
A Feast ('Hasty Pudding')
WILLIAM BARNES 1800-1886
To the Water-Crowfoot
Zummer an' Winter
JAMES MATTHEW BARRIE 1860-
The Courtin' of T'nowhead's Bell ('Auld Licht Idylls')
Jess Left Alone ('A Window in Thrums')
After the Sermon ('The Little Minister')
The Mutual Discovery (same)
Lost Illusions ('Sentimental Tommy')
Sins of Circumstance (same)
FREDERIC BASTIAT 1801-1850
Petition of Manufacturers of Artificial Light
Stulta and Puera
Inapplicable Terms ('Economic Sophisms')
CHARLES BAUDELAIRE (by Grace King) 1821-1867
Death of the Poor
The Broken Bell
The Painter of Modern Life ('L'Art Romantique')
From 'Little Poems in Prose': Every One His Own Chimera;
Humanity; Windows; Drink
From a Journal
LORD BEACONSFIELD (by Isa Carrington Cabell) 1804-1881
A Day at Ems ('Vivian Grey')
The Festa in the Alhambra ('The Young Duke')
Squibs from 'The Young Duke': Charles Annesley; The
Fussy Hostess; Public Speaking; Female Beauty
Lothair in Palestine ('Lothair')
Outwitting a Guardian ('The Barber of Seville')
Outwitting a Husband ('The Marriage of Figaro')
FRANCIS BEAUMONT AND JOHN FLETCHER 1584-1625
The Faithful Shepherdess
Ode to Melancholy
To Ben Jonson, on His 'Fox'
On the Tombs in Westminster
Arethusa's Declaration ('Philaster')
The Story of Bellario (same)
Evadne's Confession ('The Maid's Tragedy')
Death of the Boy Hengo ('Bonduca')
From 'The Two Noble Kinsmen'
WILLIAM BECKFORD 1759-1844
The Incantation and the Sacrifice ('Vathek')
Vathek and Nouronihar in the Halls of Eblis (same)
HENRY WARD BEECHER 1813-1887
Book-Stores and Books ('Star Papers')
Sermon: Poverty and the Gospel
A New England Sunday ('Norwood')
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (by Irenaeus Stevenson) 1770-1827
Letters: To Dr. Wegeler; To the Same; To Bettina
Brentano; To Countess Giulietta Guicciardi; To the
Same; To His Brothers; To the Royal and Imperial
High Court of Appeal; To Baroness von Drossdick;
To Zmeskall; To the Same; To Stephan v. Breuning
CARL MICHAEL BELLMAN (by Olga Flinch) 1740-1795
Cradle-Song for My Son Carl
Art and Politics
Drink Out Thy Glass
JEREMY BENTHAM 1748-1832
Of the Principle of Utility ('An Introduction to the
Principles of Morals and Legislation')
Reminiscences of Childhood
Letter to George Wilson (1781)
Fragment of a Letter to Lord Lansdowne (1790)
JEAN-PIERRE DE BERANGER (by Alcee Fortier) 1780-1857
From 'The Gipsies'
Draw It Mild
The King of Yvetot
The People's Reminiscences
The Old Tramp
From His Preface to His Collected Poems
GEORGE BERKELEY 1685-1753
On the Prospect of Planting Arts and Learning in America
Essay on Tar-Water ('Siris')
HECTOR BERLIOZ 1803-1869
The Italian Race as Musicians and Auditors ('Autobiography')
The Famous "K Snuff-Box Treachery" (same)
On Gluck (same)
On Bach (same)
Music as an Aristocratic Art (same)
Beginning of a "Grand Passion" (same)
On Theatrical Managers in Relation to Art
SAINT BERNARD OF CLAIRVAUX 1091-1153
Saint Bernard's Hymn
Monastic Luxury (Apology to the Abbot William of St. Thierry)
From His Sermon on the Death of Gerard
BERNARD OF CLUNY (by William C. Prime) Twelfth Century
Brief Life Is Here Our Portion
JULIANA BERNERS Fifteenth Century
The Treatyse of Fyssbynge with an Angle
WALTER BESANT 1838-
Old-Time London ('London')
The Synagogue ('The Rebel Queen')
BESTIARIES AND LAPIDARIES (by L. Oscar Kuhns)
MARIE-HENRI BEYLE (Stendhal) (by Frederic Taber Cooper) 1783-1842
Princess Sanseverina's Interview ('Chartreuse de Parme')
Clelia Aids Fabrice to Escape (same)
WlLLEM BlLDERDIJK 1756-1831
Ode to Beauty
From the 'Ode to Napoleon'
The Village Schoolmaster ('Country Life')
BION Second Century B.C.
AUGUSTINE BIRRELL 1850-
Dr. Johnson ('Obiter Dicta')
The Office of Literature (same)
Benvenuto Cellini (same)
On the Alleged Obscurity of Mr. Browning's Poetry (same)
* * * * *
Egyptian Hieroglyphics (Colored Plate) Frontispiece
"The Irish Maiden's Song" (Photogravure) 1473
"Milking Time" (Photogravure) 1567
"Music" (Photogravure) 1625
Henry Ward Beecher (Portrait) 1714
"Beethoven" (Photogravure) 1750
Jean-Pierre de Beranger (Portrait) 1784
"Monastic Luxury" (Photogravure) 1824
Theodore de Banville
Anna Laetitia Barbauld
Richard Harris Barham
James Matthew Barrie
Ludwig van Beethoven
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux
Henri Beyle (Stendhal)
GEORGE BANCROFT (Continued from Volume III)
WOLFE ON THE PLAINS OF ABRAHAM
From 'History of the United States'
But, in the meantime, Wolfe applied himself intently to reconnoitering
the north shore above Quebec. Nature had given him good eyes, as well as
a warmth of temper to follow first impressions. He himself discovered
the cove which now bears his name, where the bending promontories almost
form a basin, with a very narrow margin, over which the hill rises
precipitously. He saw the path that wound up the steep, though so narrow
that two men could hardly march in it abreast; and he knew, by the
number of tents which he counted on the summit, that the Canadian post
which guarded it could not exceed a hundred. Here he resolved to land
his army by surprise. To mislead the enemy, his troops were kept far
above the town; while Saunders, as if an attack was intended at
Beauport, set Cook, the great mariner, with others, to sound the water
and plant buoys along that shore.
The day and night of the twelfth were employed in preparations. The
autumn evening was bright; and the general, under the clear starlight,
visited his stations, to make his final inspection and utter his last
words of encouragement. As he passed from ship to ship, he spoke to
those in the boat with him of the poet Gray, and the 'Elegy in a Country
Churchyard.' "I," said he, "would prefer being the author of that poem
to the glory of beating the French to-morrow;" and, while the oars
struck the river as it rippled in the silence of the night air under the
flowing tide, he repeated:--
"The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
Await alike the inevitable hour--
The paths of glory lead but to the grave."
Every officer knew his appointed duty, when, at one o'clock in the
morning of the thirteenth of September, Wolfe, Monckton, and Murray, and
about half the forces, set off in boats, and, using neither sail nor
oars, glided down with the tide. In three quarters of an hour the ships
followed; and, though the night had become dark, aided by the rapid
current, they reached the cove just in time to cover the landing. Wolfe
and the troops with him leaped on shore; the light infantry, who found
themselves borne by the current a little below the intrenched path,
clambered up the steep hill, staying themselves by the roots and boughs
of the maple and spruce and ash trees that covered the precipitous
declivity, and, after a little firing, dispersed the picket which
guarded the height; the rest ascended safely by the pathway. A battery
of four guns on the left was abandoned to Colonel Howe. When Townshend's
division disembarked, the English had already gained one of the roads to
Quebec; and, advancing in front of the forest, Wolfe stood at daybreak
with his invincible battalions on the Plains of Abraham, the
battle-field of the Celtic and Saxon races.
"It can be but a small party, come to burn a few houses and retire,"
said Montcalm, in amazement as the news reached him in his intrenchments
the other side of the St. Charles; but, obtaining better information,
"Then," he cried, "they have at last got to the weak side of this
miserable garrison; we must give battle and crush them before mid-day."
And, before ten, the two armies, equal in numbers, each being composed
of less than five thousand men, were ranged in presence of one another
for battle. The English, not easily accessible from intervening shallow
ravines and rail fences, were all regulars, perfect in discipline,
terrible in their fearless enthusiasm, thrilling with pride at their
morning's success, commanded by a man whom they obeyed with confidence
and love. The doomed and devoted Montcalm had what Wolfe had called but
"five weak French battalions," of less than two thousand men, "mingled
with disorderly peasantry," formed on commanding ground. The French had
three little pieces of artillery; the English, one or two. The two
armies cannonaded each other for nearly an hour; when Montcalm, having
summoned De Bougainville to his aid, and dispatched messenger after
messenger for De Vaudreuil, who had fifteen hundred men at the camp, to
come up before he should be driven from the ground, endeavored to flank
the British and crowd them down the high bank of the river. Wolfe
counteracted the movement by detaching Townshend with Amherst's
regiment, and afterward a part of the Royal Americans, who formed on the
left with a double front.
Waiting no longer for more troops, Montcalm led the French army
impetuously to the attack. The ill-disciplined companies broke by their
precipitation and the unevenness of the ground; and fired by platoons,
without unity. Their adversaries, especially the Forty-third and the
Forty-seventh, where Monckton stood, of which three men out of four were
Americans, received the shock with calmness; and after having, at
Wolfe's command, reserved their fire till their enemy was within forty
yards, their line began a regular, rapid, and exact discharge of
musketry. Montcalm was present everywhere, braving danger, wounded, but
cheering by his example. The second in command, De Sennezergues, an
associate in glory at Ticonderoga, was killed. The brave but untried
Canadians, flinching from a hot fire in the open field, began to waver;
and, so soon as Wolfe, placing himself at the head of the Twenty-eighth
and the Louisburg grenadiers, charged with bayonets, they everywhere
gave way. Of the English officers, Carleton was wounded; Barre, who
fought near Wolfe, received in the head a ball which made him blind of
one eye, and ultimately of both. Wolfe, also, as he led the charge, was
wounded in the wrist; but still pressing forward, he received a second
ball; and having decided the day, was struck a third time, and mortally,
in the breast. "Support me," he cried to an officer near him; "let not
my brave fellows see me drop." He was carried to the rear, and they
brought him water to quench his thirst. "They run! they run!" spoke the
officer on whom he leaned. "Who run?" asked Wolfe, as his life was fast
ebbing. "The French," replied the officer, "give way everywhere."
"What," cried the expiring hero, "do they run already? Go, one of you,
to Colonel Burton; bid him march Webb's regiment with all speed to
Charles River to cut off the fugitives." Four days before, he had looked
forward to early death with dismay. "Now, God be praised, I die happy."
These were his words as his spirit escaped in the blaze of his glory.
Night, silence, the rushing tide, veteran discipline, the sure
inspiration of genius, had been his allies; his battle-field, high over
the ocean river, was the grandest theatre for illustrious deeds; his
victory, one of the most momentous in the annals of mankind, gave to the
English tongue and the institutions of the Germanic race the unexplored
and seemingly infinite West and South. He crowded into a few hours
actions that would have given lustre to length of life; and, filling his
day with greatness, completed it before its noon.
Copyrighted by D. Appleton and Company, New York.
From 'History of the United States'
Day came in all the beauty of an early spring. The trees were budding;
the grass growing rankly a full month before its time; the bluebird and
the robin gladdening the genial season, and calling forth the beams of
the sun which on that morning shone with the warmth of summer; but
distress and horror gathered over the inhabitants of the peaceful town.
There on the green lay in death the gray-haired and the young; the
grassy field was red "with the innocent blood of their brethren slain,"
crying unto God for vengeance from the ground.
Seven of the men of Lexington were killed, nine wounded; a quarter part
of all who stood in arms on the green. These are the village heroes, who
were more than of noble blood, proving by their spirit that they were of
a race divine. They gave their lives in testimony to the rights of
mankind, bequeathing to their country an assurance of success in the
mighty struggle which they began. Their names are held in grateful
remembrance, and the expanding millions of their countrymen renew and
multiply their praise from generation to generation. They fulfilled
their duty not from the accidental impulse of the moment; their action
was the slowly ripened fruit of Providence and of time. The light that
led them on was combined of rays from the whole history of the race;
from the traditions of the Hebrews in the gray of the world's morning;
from the heroes and sages of republican Greece and Rome; from the
example of Him who died on the cross for the life of humanity; from the
religious creed which proclaimed the divine presence in man, and on this
truth, as in a life-boat, floated the liberties of nations over the dark
flood of the Middle Ages; from the customs of the Germans transmitted
out of their forests to the councils of Saxon England; from the burning
faith and courage of Martin Luther; from trust in the inevitable
universality of God's sovereignty as taught by Paul of Tarsus and
Augustine, through Calvin and the divines of New England; from the
avenging fierceness of the Puritans, who dashed the mitre on the ruins
of the throne; from the bold dissent and creative self-assertion of the
earliest emigrants to Massachusetts; from the statesmen who made, and
the philosophers who expounded, the revolution of England; from the
liberal spirit and analyzing inquisitiveness of the eighteenth century;
from the cloud of witnesses of all the ages to the reality and the
rightfulness of human freedom. All the centuries bowed themselves from
the recesses of the past to cheer in their sacrifice the lowly men who
proved themselves worthy of their forerunners, and whose children rise
up and call them blessed.
Heedless of his own danger, Samuel Adams, with the voice of a prophet,
exclaimed: "Oh, what a glorious morning is this!" for he saw his
country's independence hastening on, and, like Columbus in the tempest,
knew that the storm did but bear him the more swiftly toward the
Copyrighted by D. Appleton and Company, New York.
From 'History of the United States'
Then, on the fifteenth of June, it was voted to appoint a general.
Thomas Johnson, of Maryland, nominated George Washington; and as he had
been brought forward "at the particular request of the people of New
England," he was elected by ballot unanimously.
Washington was then forty-three years of age. In stature he a little
exceeded six feet; his limbs were sinewy and well-proportioned; his
chest broad; his figure stately, blending dignity of presence with ease.
His robust constitution had been tried and invigorated by his early life
in the wilderness, the habit of occupation out of doors, and rigid
temperance; so that few equaled him in strength of arm, or power of
endurance, or noble horsemanship. His complexion was florid; his hair
dark brown; his head in its shape perfectly round. His broad nostrils
seemed formed to give expression and escape to scornful anger. His
eyebrows were rayed and finely arched. His dark-blue eyes, which were
deeply set, had an expression of resignation, and an earnestness that
was almost pensiveness. His forehead was sometimes marked with thought,
but never with inquietude; his countenance was mild and pleasing and
full of benignity.
At eleven years old left an orphan to the care of an excellent but
unlettered mother, he grew up without learning. Of arithmetic and
geometry he acquired just knowledge enough to be able to practice
measuring land; but all his instruction at school taught him not so
much as the orthography or rules of grammar of his own tongue. His
culture was altogether his own work, and he was in the strictest sense a
self-made man; yet from his early life he never seemed uneducated. At
sixteen, he went into the wilderness as a surveyor, and for three years
continued the pursuit, where the forests trained him, in meditative
solitude, to freedom and largeness of mind; and nature revealed to him
her obedience to serene and silent laws. In his intervals from toil, he
seemed always to be attracted to the best men, and to be cherished by
them. Fairfax, his employer, an Oxford scholar, already aged, became his
fast friend. He read little, but with close attention. Whatever he took
in hand he applied himself to with care; and his papers, which have been
preserved, show how he almost imperceptibly gained the power of writing
correctly; always expressing himself with clearness and directness,
often with felicity of language and grace.
When the frontiers on the west became disturbed, he at nineteen was
commissioned an adjutant-general with the rank of major. At twenty-one,
he went as the envoy of Virginia to the council of Indian chiefs on the
Ohio, and to the French officers near Lake Erie. Fame waited upon him
from his youth; and no one of his colony was so much spoken of. He
conducted the first military expedition from Virginia that crossed the
Alleghanies. Braddock selected him as an aid, and he was the only man
who came out of the disastrous defeat near the Monongahela, with
increased reputation, which extended to England. The next year, when he
was but four-and-twenty, "the great esteem" in which he was held in
Virginia, and his "real merit," led the lieutenant-governor of Maryland
to request that he might be "commissioned and appointed second in
command" of the army designed to march to the Ohio; and Shirley, the
commander-in-chief, heard the proposal "with great satisfaction and
pleasure," for "he knew no provincial officer upon the continent to whom
he would so readily give that rank as to Washington." In 1758 he acted
under Forbes as a brigadier, and but for him that general would never
have crossed the mountains.
Courage was so natural to him that it was hardly spoken of to his
praise; no one ever at any moment of his life discovered in him the
least shrinking in danger; and he had a hardihood of daring which
escaped notice, because it was so enveloped by superior calmness
His address was most easy and agreeable; his step firm and graceful;
his air neither grave nor familiar. He was as cheerful as he was
spirited, frank and communicative in the society of friends, fond of the
fox-chase and the dance, often sportive in his letters, and liked a
hearty laugh. "His smile," writes Chastellux, "was always the smile of
benevolence." This joyousness of disposition remained to the last,
though the vastness of his responsibilities was soon to take from him
the right of displaying the impulsive qualities of his nature, and the
weight which he was to bear up was to overlay and repress his gayety
His hand was liberal; giving quietly and without observation, as though
he was ashamed of nothing but being discovered in doing good. He was
kindly and compassionate, and of lively sensibility to the sorrows of
others; so that, if his country had only needed a victim for its relief,
he would have willingly offered himself as a sacrifice. But while he was
prodigal of himself, he was considerate for others; ever parsimonious of
the blood of his countrymen.
He was prudent in the management of his private affairs, purchased rich
lands from the Mohawk valley to the flats of the Kanawha, and improved
his fortune by the correctness of his judgment; but, as a public man, he
knew no other aim than the good of his country, and in the hour of his
country's poverty he refused personal emolument for his service.
His faculties were so well balanced and combined that his constitution,
free from excess, was tempered evenly with all the elements of activity,
and his mind resembled a well-ordered commonwealth; his passions, which
had the intensest vigor, owned allegiance to reason; and with all the
fiery quickness of his spirit, his impetuous and massive will was held
in check by consummate judgment. He had in his composition a calm, which
gave him in moments of highest excitement the power of self-control, and
enabled him to excel in patience, even when he had most cause for
disgust. Washington was offered a command when there was little to bring
out the unorganized resources of the continent but his own influence,
and authority was connected with the people by the most frail, most
attenuated, scarcely discernible threads; yet, vehement as was his
nature, impassioned as was his courage, he so retained his ardor that he
never failed continuously to exert the attractive power of that
influence, and never exerted it so sharply as to break its force.
In secrecy he was unsurpassed; but his secrecy had the character of
prudent reserve, not of cunning or concealment. His great natural power
of vigilance had been developed by his life in the wilderness.
His understanding was lucid, and his judgment accurate; so that his
conduct never betrayed hurry or confusion. No detail was too minute for
his personal inquiry and continued supervision; and at the same time he
comprehended events in their widest aspects and relations. He never
seemed above the object that engaged his attention, and he was always
equal, without an effort, to the solution of the highest questions, even
when there existed no precedents to guide his decision. In the
perfection of the reflective powers, which he used habitually, he had
In this way he never drew to himself admiration for the possession of
any one quality in excess, never made in council any one suggestion that
was sublime but impracticable, never in action took to himself the
praise or the blame of undertakings astonishing in conception, but
beyond his means of execution. It was the most wonderful accomplishment
of this man that, placed upon the largest theatre of events, at the head
of the greatest revolution in human affairs, he never failed to observe
all that was possible, and at the same time to bound his aspirations by
that which was possible.
A slight tinge in his character, perceptible only to the close observer,
revealed the region from which he sprung, and he might be described as
the best specimen of manhood as developed in the South; but his
qualities were so faultlessly proportioned that his whole country rather
claimed him as its choicest representative, the most complete expression
of all its attainments and aspirations. He studied his country and
conformed to it. His countrymen felt that he was the best type of
America, and rejoiced in it, and were proud of it. They lived in his
life, and made his success and his praise their own.
Profoundly impressed with confidence in God's providence, and exemplary
in his respect for the forms of public worship, no philosopher of the
eighteenth century was more firm in the support of freedom of religious
opinion, none more remote from bigotry; but belief in God, and trust in
his overruling power, formed the essence of his character. Divine wisdom
not only illumines the spirit, it inspires the will. Washington was a
man of action, and not of theory or words; his creed appears in his
life, not in his professions, which burst from him very rarely, and
only at those great moments of crisis in the fortunes of his country,
when earth and heaven seemed actually to meet, and his emotions became
too intense for suppression; but his whole being was one continued act
of faith in the eternal, intelligent, moral order of the universe.
Integrity was so completely the law of his nature, that a planet would
sooner have shot from its sphere than he have departed from his
uprightness, which was so constant that it often seemed to be almost
impersonal. "His integrity was the most pure, his justice the most
inflexible I have ever known," writes Jefferson; "no motives of interest
or consanguinity, of friendship or hatred, being able to bias his
They say of Giotto that he introduced goodness into the art of painting;
Washington carried it with him to the camp and the Cabinet, and
established a new criterion of human greatness. The purity of his will
confirmed his fortitude: and as he never faltered in his faith in
virtue, he stood fast by that which he knew to be just; free from
illusions; never dejected by the apprehension of the difficulties and
perils that went before him, and drawing the promise of success from the
justice of his cause. Hence he was persevering, leaving nothing
unfinished; devoid of all taint of obstinacy in his firmness; seeking
and gladly receiving advice, but immovable in his devotedness to right.
Of a "retiring modesty and habitual reserve," his ambition was no more
than the consciousness of his power, and was subordinate to his sense of
duty; he took the foremost place, for he knew from inborn magnanimity
that it belonged to him, and he dared not withhold the service required
of him; so that, with all his humility, he was by necessity the first,
though never for himself or for private ends. He loved fame, the
approval of coming generations, the good opinion of his fellow-men of
his own time, and he desired to make his conduct coincide with his
wishes; but not fear of censure, not the prospect of applause could
tempt him to swerve from rectitude, and the praise which he coveted was
the sympathy of that moral sentiment which exists in every human breast,
and goes forth only to the welcome of virtue.
There have been soldiers who have achieved mightier victories in the
field, and made conquests more nearly corresponding to the boundlessness
of selfish ambition; statesmen who have been connected with more
startling upheavals of society: but it is the greatness of Washington
that in public trusts he used power solely for the public good; that he
was the life and moderator and stay of the most momentous revolution in
human affairs; its moving impulse and its restraining power....
This also is the praise of Washington: that never in the tide of time
has any man lived who had in so great a degree the almost divine faculty
to command the confidence of his fellow-men and rule the willing.
Wherever he became known, in his family, his neighborhood, his county,
his native State, the continent, the camp, civil life, among the common
people, in foreign courts, throughout the civilized world, and even
among the savages, he, beyond all other men, had the confidence of
Copyrighted by D. Appleton and Company, New York.
JOHN AND MICHAEL BANIM
Of the writers who have won esteem by telling the pathetic stories of
their country's people, the names of John and Michael Banim are ranked
among the Irish Gael not lower than that of Sir Walter Scott among the
British Gael. The works of the Banim brothers continued the same sad and
fascinating story of the "mere Irish" which Maria Edgeworth and Lady
Morgan had laid to the hearts of English readers in the late eighteenth
and early nineteenth century days. The Banim family was one of those
which belonged to the class of "middlemen," people so designated in
Ireland who were neither rich nor poor, but in the fortunate mean. The
family home was in the historic town of Kilkenny, famous alike for its
fighting confederation and its fighting cats. Here Michael was born
August 5th, 1796, and John April 3d, 1798. Michael lived to a green old
age, and survived his younger brother John twenty-eight years, less
seventeen days; he died at Booterstown, August 30th, 1874.
[Illustration: JOHN BANIM]
The first stories of this brotherly collaboration in letters appeared in
1825 without mark of authorship, as recitals contributed for instruction
and amusement about the hearth-stone of an Irish household, called 'The
O'Hara Family.' The minor chords of the soft music of the Gaelic English
as it fell from the tongues of Irish lads and lasses, whether in note of
sorrow or of sport, had already begun to touch with winsome tenderness
the stolid Saxon hearts, when that idyl of their country's penal days,
'The Bit o' Writin',' was sent out from the O'Hara fireside. The almost
instantaneous success and popularity of their first stories speedily
broke down the anonymity of the Banims, and publishers became eager and
gain-giving. About two dozen stories were published before the death of
John, in 1842. The best-known of them, in addition to the one already
mentioned, are 'The Boyne Water,' 'The Croppy,' and 'Father Connell.'
The fact that during the long survival of Michael no more of the Banim
stories appeared, is sometimes called in as evidence that the latter had
little to do with the writing of the series. Michael and John, it was
well known, had worked lovingly together, and Michael claimed a part in
thirteen of the tales, without excluding his brother from joint
authorship. Exactly what each wrote of the joint productions has never
been known. A single dramatic work of the Banim brothers has attained to
a position in the standard drama, the play of 'Damon and Pythias,' a
free adaptation from an Italian original, written by John Banim at the
instance of Richard Lalor Shiel. The songs are also attributed to John.
It is but just to say that the great emigration to the United States
which absorbed the Irish during the '40's and '50's depreciated the sale
of such works as those of the Banims to the lowest point, and Michael
had good reason, aside from the loss of his brother's aid, to lay down
his pen. The audience of the Irish story-teller had gone away across the
great western sea. There was nothing to do but sit by the lonesome
hearth and await one's own to-morrow for the voyage of the greater sea.
THE PUBLICAN'S DREAM
From 'The Bit o' Writin' and Other Tales'
The fair-day had passed over in a little straggling town in the
southeast of Ireland, and was succeeded by a languor proportioned to the
wild excitement it never failed to create. But of all in the village,
its publicans suffered most under the reaction of great bustle. Few of
their houses appeared open at broad noon; and some--the envy of their
competitors--continued closed even after that late hour. Of these
latter, many were of the very humblest kind; little cabins, in fact,
skirting the outlets of the village, or standing alone on the roadside a
good distance beyond it.
About two o'clock upon the day in question, a house of "Entertainment
for Man and Horse," the very last of the description noticed to be found
between the village and the wild tract of mountain country adjacent to
it, was opened by the proprietress, who had that moment arisen from bed.
The cabin consisted of only two apartments, and scarce more than
nominally even of two; for the half-plastered wicker and straw
partition, which professed to cut off a sleeping-nook from the whole
area inclosed by the clay walls, was little higher than a tall man, and
moreover chinky and porous in many places. Let the assumed distinction
be here allowed to stand, however, while the reader casts his eyes
around what was sometimes called the kitchen, sometimes the tap-room,
sometimes the "dancing-flure." Forms which had run by the walls, and
planks by way of tables which had been propped before them, were turned
topsy-turvy, and in some instances broken. Pewter pots and pints,
battered and bruised, or squeezed together and flattened, and fragments
of twisted glass tumblers, lay beside them. The clay floor was scraped
with brogue-nails and indented with the heel of that primitive
foot-gear, in token of the energetic dancing which had lately been
performed upon it. In a corner still appeared (capsized, however) an
empty eight-gallon beer barrel, recently the piper's throne, whence his
bag had blown forth the inspiring storms of jigs and reels, which
prompted to more antics than ever did a bag of the laughing-gas. Among
the yellow turf-ashes of the hearth lay on its side an old blackened tin
kettle, without a spout,--a principal utensil in brewing scalding water
for the manufacture of whisky-punch; and its soft and yet warm bed was
shared by a red cat, who had stolen in from his own orgies, through some
cranny, since day-break. The single four-paned window of the apartment
remained veiled by its rough shutter, that turned on leather hinges; but
down the wide yawning chimney came sufficient light to reveal the
objects here described.
The proprietress opened her back door. She was a woman of about forty;
of a robust, large-boned figure; with broad, rosy visage, dark, handsome
eyes, and well-cut nose: but inheriting a mouth so wide as to proclaim
her pure aboriginal Irish pedigree. After a look abroad, to inhale the
fresh air, and then a remonstrance (ending in a kick) with the hungry
pig, who ran, squeaking and grunting, to demand his long-deferred
breakfast, she settled her cap, rubbed down her _prauskeen_ [coarse
apron], tucked and pinned up her skirts behind, and saying in a loud,
commanding voice, as she spoke into the sleeping-chamber, "Get up now at
once, Jer, I bid you," vigorously if not tidily set about putting her
tavern to rights.
During her bustle the dame would stop an instant, and bend her ear to
listen for a stir inside the partition; but at last losing patience she
"Why, then, my heavy hatred on you, Jer Mulcahy, is it gone into a
_sauvaun_ [pleasant drowsiness] you are, over again? or maybe you stole
out of bed, an' put your hand on one o' them ould good-for-nothing
books, that makes you the laziest man that a poor woman ever had tinder
one roof wid her? ay, an' that sent you out of our dacent shop an'
house, in the heart of the town below, an' banished us here, Jer
Mulcahy, to sell drams o' whisky an' pots o' beer to all the riff-raff
o' the counthry-side, instead o' the nate boots an' shoes you served
your honest time to?"
She entered his, or her chamber, rather, hoping that she might detect
him luxuriantly perusing in bed one of the mutilated books, a love of
which (or more truly a love of indolence, thus manifesting itself) had
indeed chiefly caused his downfall in the world. Her husband, however,
really tired after his unusual bodily efforts of the previous day, only
slumbered, as Mrs. Mulcahy had at first anticipated; and when she had
shaken and aroused him, for the twentieth time that morning, and scolded
him until the spirit-broken blockhead whimpered,--nay, wept, or
pretended to weep,--the dame returned to her household duties.
She did not neglect, however, to keep calling to him every half-minute,
until at last Mr. Jeremiah Mulcahy strode into the kitchen: a tall,
ill-contrived figure, that had once been well fitted out, but that now
wore its old skin, like its old clothes, very loosely; and those old
clothes were a discolored, threadbare, half-polished kerseymere pair of
trousers, and aged superfine black coat, the last relics of his former
Sunday finery,--to which had recently and incongruously been added a
calfskin vest, a pair of coarse sky-blue peasant's stockings, and a pair
of brogues. His hanging cheeks and lips told, together, his present bad
living and domestic subjection; and an eye that had been blinded by the
smallpox wore neither patch nor band, although in better days it used to
be genteelly hidden from remark,--an assumption of consequence now
deemed incompatible with his altered condition in society.
"O Cauth! oh, I had such a dhrame," he said, as he made his appearance.
"An' I'll go bail you had," answered Cauth, "an' when do you ever go
asleep without having one dhrame or another, that pesters me off o' my
legs the livelong day, till the night falls again to let you have
another? Musha, Jer, don't be ever an' always such a fool; an' never
mind the dhrame now, but lend a hand to help me in the work o' the
house. See the pewther there: haive it up, man alive, an' take it out
into the garden, and sit on the big stone in the sun, an' make it look
as well as you can, afther the ill usage it got last night; come, hurry,
Jer--go an' do what I bid you."
He retired in silence to "the garden," a little patch of ground
luxuriant in potatoes and a few cabbages. Mrs. Mulcahy pursued her work
till her own sensations warned her that it was time to prepare her
husband's morning or rather day meal; for by the height of the sun it
should now be many hours past noon. So she put down her pot of potatoes;
and when they were boiled, took out a wooden trencher full of them, and
a mug of sour milk, to Jer, determined not to summon him from his useful
occupation of restoring the pints and quarts to something of their
Stepping through the back door, and getting him in view, she stopped
short in silent anger. His back was turned to her, because of the sun;
and while the vessels, huddled about in confusion, seemed little the
better of his latent skill and industry, there he sat on his favorite
round stone, studiously perusing, half aloud to himself, some idle
volume which doubtless he had smuggled into the garden in his pocket.
Laying down her trencher and her mug, Mrs. Mulcahy stole forward on
tiptoe, gained his shoulder without being heard, snatched the imperfect
bundle of soiled pages out of his hand, and hurled it into a neighbor's
Jeremiah complained, in his usual half-crying tone, declaring that "she
never could let him alone, so she couldn't, and he would rather list for
a soger than lade such a life, from year's end to year's end, so
"Well, an' do then--an' whistle that idle cur off wid you," pointing to
a nondescript puppy, which had lain happily coiled up at his master's
feet until Mrs. Mulcahy's appearance, but that now watched her closely,
his ears half cocked and his eyes wide open, though his position
remained unaltered. "Go along to the divil, you lazy whelp you!"--she
took up a pint in which a few drops of beer remained since the previous
night, and drained it on the puppy's head, who instantly ran off,
jumping sideways, and yelping as loud as if some bodily injury had
really visited him--"Yes, an' now you begin to yowl, like your masther,
for nothing at all, only because a body axes you to stir your idle
legs--hould your tongue, you foolish baste!" she stooped for a
stone--"one would think I scalded you."
"You know you did, once, Cauth, to the backbone; an' small blame for
Shuffle to be afeard o' you ever since," said Jer.
This vindication of his own occasional remonstrances, as well as of
Shuffle's, was founded in truth. When very young, just to keep him from
running against her legs while she was busy over the fire, Mrs. Mulcahy
certainly had emptied a ladleful of boiling potato-water upon the poor
puppy's back; and from that moment it was only necessary to spill a drop
of the coldest possible water, or of any cold liquid, on any part of his
body, and he believed he was again dreadfully scalded, and ran out of
the house screaming in all the fancied theories of torture.
"Will you ate your good dinner, now, Jer Mulcahy, an' promise to do
something to help me, afther it?--Mother o' Saints!"--thus she
interrupted herself, turning towards the place where she had deposited
the eulogized food--"see that yon unlucky bird! May I never do an ill
turn but there's the pig afther spilling the sweet milk, an' now
shoveling the beautiful white-eyes down her throat at a mouthful!"
Jer, really afflicted at this scene, promised to work hard the moment he
got his dinner; and his spouse, first procuring a pitchfork to beat the
pig into her sty, prepared a fresh meal for him, and retired to eat her
own in the house, and then to continue her labor.
In about an hour she thought of paying him another visit of inspection,
when Jeremiah's voice reached her ear, calling out in disturbed accents,
"Cauth! Cauth! _a-vourneen!_ For the love o' heaven, Cauth! where
Running to him, she found her husband sitting upright, though not upon
his round stone, amongst the still untouched heap of pots and pints, his
pock-marked face very pale, his single eye staring, his hands clasped
and shaking, and moisture on his forehead.
"What!" she cried, "the pewther just as I left it, over again!"
"O Cauth! Cauth! don't mind that now--but spake to me kind, Cauth, an'
"Why, what ails you, Jer _a-vous neen_?" affectionately taking his hand,
when she saw how really agitated he was.
"O Cauth, oh, I had such a dhrame, now, in earnest, at any rate!"
"A dhrame!" she repeated, letting go his hand, "a dhrame, Jer Mulcahy!
so, afther your good dinner, you go for to fall asleep, Jer Mulcahy,
just to be ready wid a new dhrame for me, instead of the work you came
out here to do, five blessed hours ago!"
"Don't scould me, now, Cauth; don't, a-pet: only listen to me, an' then
say what you like. You know the lonesome little glen between the hills,
on the short cut for man or horse, to Kilbroggan? Well, Cauth, there I
found myself in the dhrame; and I saw two sailors, tired afther a day's
hard walking, sitting before one of the big rocks that stand upright in
the wild place; an' they were ating or dhrinking, I couldn't make out
which; and one was a tall, sthrong, broad-shouldhered man, an' the other
was sthrong, too, but short an' burly; an' while they were talking very
civilly to each other, lo an' behould you, Cauth, I seen the tall man
whip his knife into the little man; an' then they both sthruggled, an'
wrastled, an' schreeched together, till the rocks rung again; but at
last the little man was a corpse; an' may I never see a sight o' glory,
Cauth, but all this was afore me as plain as you are, in this garden!
an' since the hour I was born, Cauth, I never got such a fright;
an'--oh, Cauth! what's that now?"
"What is it, you poor fool, you, but a customer, come at last into the
kitchen--an' time for us to see the face o' one this blessed day. Get up
out o' that, wid your dhrames--don't you hear 'em knocking? I'll stay
here to put one vessel at laste to rights--for I see I must."
Jeremiah arose, groaning, and entered the cabin through the back door.
In a few seconds he hastened to his wife, more terror-stricken than he
had left her, and settling his loins against the low garden wall,
stared at her.
"Why, then, duoul's in you, Jer Mulcahy (saints forgive me for
cursing!)--and what's the matter wid you, at-all at-all?"
"They're in the kitchen," he whispered.
"Well, an' what will they take?"
"I spoke never a word to them, Cauth, nor they to me;--I couldn't--an' I
won't, for a duke's ransom: I only saw them stannin' together, in the
dark that's coming on, behind the dour, an' I knew them at the first
look--the tall one an' the little one."
With a flout at his dreams, and his cowardice, and his
good-for-nothingness, the dame hurried to serve her customers. Jeremiah
heard her loud voice addressing them, and their hoarse tones answering.
She came out again for two pints to draw some beer, and commanded him to
follow her and "discoorse the customers." He remained motionless. She
returned in a short time, and fairly drove him before her into
He took a seat remote from his guests, with difficulty pronouncing the
ordinary words of "God save ye, genteels," which they bluffly and
heartily answered. His glances towards them were also few; yet enough to
inform him that they conversed together like friends, pledging healths
and shaking hands. The tall sailor abruptly asked him how far it was, by
the short cut, to a village where they proposed to pass the
night--Kilbroggan?--Jeremiah started on his seat, and his wife, after a
glance and a grumble at him, was obliged to speak for her husband. They
finished their beer; paid for it; put up half a loaf and a cut of bad
watery cheese, saying that they might feel more hungry a few miles on
than they now did; and then they arose to leave the cabin. Jeremiah
glanced in great trouble around. His wife had fortunately disappeared;
he snatched up his old hat, and with more energy than he could himself
remember, ran forward to be a short way on the road before them. They
soon approached him; and then, obeying a conscientious impulse, Jeremiah
saluted the smaller of the two, and requested to speak with him apart.
The sailor, in evident surprise, assented. Jer vaguely cautioned him
against going any farther that night, as it would be quite dark by the
time he should get to the mountain pass, on the by-road to Kilbroggan.
His warning was made light of. He grew more earnest, asserting, what was
not the fact, that it was "a bad road," meaning one infested by robbers.
Still the bluff tar paid no attention, and was turning away. "Oh, sir;
oh, stop, sir," resumed Jeremiah, taking great courage, "I have a thing
to tell you;" and he rehearsed his dream, averring that in it he had
distinctly seen the present object of his solicitude set upon and slain
by his colossal companion. The listener paused a moment; first looking
at Jer, and then at the ground, very gravely: but the next moment he
burst into a loud, and Jeremiah thought, frightful laugh, and walked
rapidly to overtake his shipmate. Jeremiah, much oppressed,
Towards dawn, next morning, the publican awoke in an ominous panic, and
aroused his wife to listen to a loud knocking, and a clamor of voices at
their door. She insisted that there was no such thing, and scolded him
for disturbing her sleep. A renewal of the noise, however, convinced
even her incredulity, and showed that Jeremiah was right for the first
time in his life, at least. Both arose, and hastened to answer
When they unbarred the front door, a gentleman, surrounded by a crowd of
people of the village, stood before it. He had discovered on the by-road
through the hills from Kilbroggan, a dead body, weltering in its gore,
and wearing sailor's clothes; had ridden on in alarm; had raised the
village; and some of its population, recollecting to have seen Mrs.
Mulcahy's visitors of the previous evening, now brought him to her house
to hear what she could say on the subject.
Before she could say anything, her husband fell senseless at her side,
groaning dolefully. While the bystanders raised him, she clapped her
hands, and exalted her voice in ejaculations, as Irishwomen, when
grieved or astonished or vexed, usually do; and now, as proud of
Jeremiah's dreaming capabilities as she had before been impatient of
them, rehearsed his vision of the murder, and authenticated the visit of
the two sailors to her house, almost while he was in the act of making
her the confidant of his prophetic ravings. The auditors stept back in
consternation, crossing themselves, smiting their breasts, and crying
out, "The Lord save us! The Lord have mercy upon us!"
Jeremiah slowly awoke from his swoon. The gentleman who had discovered
the body commanded his attendants back to the lonesome glen, where it
lay. Poor Jeremiah fell on his knees, and with tears streaming down his
cheeks, prayed to be saved from such a trial. His neighbors almost
forced him along.
All soon gained the spot, a narrow pass between slanting piles of
displaced rocks; the hills from which they had tumbled rising brown and
barren and to a great height above and beyond them. And there, indeed,
upon the strip of verdure which formed the winding road through the
defile, lay the corpse of one of the sailors who had visited the
publican's house the evening before.
Again Jeremiah dropt on his knees, at some distance from the body,
exclaiming, "Lord save us!--yes! oh, yes, neighbors, this is the very
place!--only--the saints be good to us again!--'twas the tall sailor I
seen killing the little sailor, and here's the tall sailor murthered by
the little sailor."
"Dhrames go by conthraries, some way or another," observed one of his
neighbors; and Jeremiah's puzzle was resolved.
Two steps were now indispensable to be taken; the county coroner should
be summoned, and the murderer sought after. The crowd parted to engage
in both matters simultaneously. Evening drew on when they again met in
the pass: and the first, who had gone for the coroner, returned with
him, a distance of near twenty miles; but the second party did not prove
so successful. In fact they had discovered no clue to the present
retreat of the supposed assassin.
The coroner impaneled his jury, and held his inquest under a large
upright rock, bedded in the middle of the pass, such as Jeremiah said he
had seen in his dream. A verdict of willful murder against the absent
sailor was quickly agreed upon; but ere it could be recorded, all
hesitated, not knowing how to individualize a man of whose name they
The summer night had fallen upon their deliberations, and the moon arose
in splendor, shining over the top of one of the high hills that inclosed
the pass, so as fully to illumine the bosom of the other. During their
pause, a man appeared standing upon the line of the hill thus favored by
the moonlight, and every eye turned in that direction. He ran down the
abrupt declivity beneath him; he gained the continued sweep of jumbled
rocks which immediately walled in the little valley, springing from one
to another of them with such agility and certainty that it seemed almost
magical; and a general whisper of fear now attested the fact of his
being dressed in a straw hat, a short jacket, and loose white trousers.
As he jumped from the last rock upon the sward of the pass, the
spectators drew back; but he, not seeming to notice them, walked up to
the corpse, which had not yet been touched; took its hand; turned up
its face into the moonlight, and attentively regarded the features; let
the hand go; pushed his hat upon his forehead; glanced around him;
recognized the person in authority; approached, and stood still before
him, and said "Here I am, Tom Mills, that killed long Harry Holmes, and
there he lies."
The coroner cried out to secure him, now fearing that the man's
sturdiness meant farther harm. "No need," resumed the self-accused;
"here's my bread-and-cheese knife, the only weapon about me;" he threw
it on the ground: "I come back just to ax you, commodore, to order me a
cruise after poor Harry, bless his precious eyes, wherever he is bound."
"You have been pursued hither?"
"No, bless your heart; but I wouldn't pass such another watch as the
last twenty-four hours for all the prize-money won at Trafalgar. 'Tisn't
in regard of not tasting food or wetting my lips ever since I fell foul
of Harry, or of hiding my head like a cursed animal o' the yearth, and
starting if a bird only hopped nigh me: but I cannot go on living on
this tack no longer; that's it; and the least I can say to you, Harry,
"What caused your quarrel with your comrade?"
"There was no jar or jabber betwixt us, d'you see me."
"Not at the time, I understand you to mean; but surely you must have
long owed him a grudge?"
"No, but long loved him; and he me."
"Then, in heaven's name, what put the dreadful thought in your head?"
"The devil, commodore, (the horned lubber!) and another lubber to help
him"--pointing at Jeremiah, who shrank to the skirts of the crowd. "I'll
tell you every word of it, commodore, as true as a log-book. For twenty
long and merry years, Harry and I sailed together, and worked together,
thro' a hard gale sometimes, and thro' hot sun another time; and never a
squally word came between us till last night, and then it all came of
that lubberly swipes-seller, I say again. I thought as how it was a real
awful thing that a strange landsman, before ever he laid eyes on either
of us, should come to have this here dream about us. After falling in
with Harry, when the lubber and I parted company, my old mate saw I was
cast down, and he told me as much in his own gruff, well-meaning way;
upon which I gave him the story, laughing at it. _He_ didn't laugh in
return, but grew glum--glummer than I ever seed him; and I wondered,
and fell to boxing about my thoughts, more and more (deep sea sink that
cursed thinking and thinking, say I!--it sends many an honest fellow out
of his course); and 'It's hard to know the best man's mind,' I thought
to myself. Well, we came on the tack into these rocky parts, and Harry
says to me all on a sudden, 'Tom, try the soundings here, ahead, by
yourself--or let me, by myself.' I axed him why? 'No matter,' says Harry
again, 'but after what you chawed about, I don't like your company any
farther, till we fall in again at the next village.' 'What, Harry,' I
cries, laughing heartier than ever, 'are you afeard of your own mind
with Tom Mills?' 'Pho,' he made answer, walking on before me, and I
"'Yes,' I kept saying to myself, 'he _is_ afeard of his own mind with
his old shipmate.' 'Twas a darker night than this, and when I looked
ahead, the devil (for I know 'twas _he_ that boarded me!) made me take
notice what a good spot it was for Harry to fall foul of me. And then I
watched him making way before me, in the dark, and couldn't help
thinking he was the better man of the two--a head and shoulders over me,
and a match for any two of my inches. And then again, I brought to mind
that Harry would be a heavy purse the better of sending me to Davy's
locker, seeing we had both been just paid off, and got a lot of
prize-money to boot;--and at last (the real red devil having fairly got
me helm a-larboard) I argufied with myself that Tom Mills would be as
well alive, with Harry Holmes's luck in his pocket, as he could be dead,
and _his_ in Harry Holmes's; not to say nothing of taking one's own
part, just to keep one's self afloat, if so be Harry let his mind run as
mine was running.
"All this time Harry never gave me no hail, but kept tacking through
these cursed rocks; and that, and his last words, made me doubt him more
and more. At last he stopped nigh where he now lies, and sitting with
his back to that high stone, he calls for my blade to cut the bread and
cheese he had got at the village; and while he spoke I believed he
looked glummer and glummer, and that he wanted the blade, the only one
between us, for some'at else than to cut bread and cheese; though now I
don't believe no such thing howsumdever; but then I did: and so, d'you
see me, commodore, I lost ballast all of a sudden, and when he stretched
out his hand for the blade (hell's fire blazing up in my lubberly
heart!)--'Here it is, Harry,' says I, and I gives it to him in the
side!--once, twice, in the right place!" (the sailor's voice, hitherto
calm, though broken and rugged, now rose into a high, wild
cadence)--"and then how we did grapple! and sing out one to another!
ahoy! yeho! aye; till I thought the whole crew of devils answered our
hail from the hill-tops!--But I hit you again and again, Harry! before
you could master me," continued the sailor, returning to the corpse, and
once more taking its hand--"until at last you struck,--my old
messmate!--And now--nothing remains for Tom Mills--but to man the
The narrator stood his trial at the ensuing assizes, and was executed
for this avowed murder of his shipmate; Jeremiah appearing as a
principal witness. Our story may seem drawn either from imagination, or
from mere village gossip: its chief acts rest, however, upon the
authority of members of the Irish bar, since risen to high professional
eminence; and they can even vouch that at least Jeremiah asserted the
truth of "The Publican's Dream."
'Tis not for love of gold I go,
'Tis not for love of fame;
Tho' Fortune should her smile bestow,
And I may win a name,
And I may win a name.
And yet it is for gold I go,
And yet it is for fame,--
That they may deck another brow
And bless another name,
And bless another name.
For this, but this, I go--for this
I lose thy love awhile;
And all the soft and quiet bliss
Of thy young, faithful smile,
Of thy young, faithful smile.
And I go to brave a world I hate
And woo it o'er and o'er,
And tempt a wave and try a fate
Upon a stranger shore,
Upon a stranger shore.
Oh! when the gold is wooed and won,
I know a heart will care!
Oh! when the bays are all my own,
I know a brow shall wear,
I know a brow shall wear.
And when, with both returned again,
My native land to see,
I know a smile will meet me there
And a hand will welcome me,
And a hand will welcome me!
("O Priest, O Love!")
THE IRISH PEASANT'S ADDRESS TO HIS PRIEST
Am I the slave they say,
Since you did show the way,
Their slave no more to be,
While they would work with me
Ould Ireland's slavery,
Why not her poorest man,
Try and do all he can,
Her commands to fulfill
Of his own heart and will,
Side by side with you still,
Loyal and brave to you,
Yet be no slave to you,
Nor out of fear to you
Stand up so near to you--
Och! out of fear to _you!_
Who, in the winter's night,
When the cowld blast did bite,
Came to my cabin door,
And on my earthen floor
Knelt by me, sick and poor,
Who, on the marriage day,
Made the poor cabin gay,
And did both laugh and sing,
Making our hearts to ring,
At the poor christening,
Who, as friend only met,
Never did flout me yet,
And when my hearth was dim
Gave, while his eye did brim,
What I should give to him,
Och! you, and only you,
And for this I was true to you,
In love they'll never shake
When for ould Ireland's sake
We a true part did take,
[Illustration: _THE IRISH MAIDEN'S SONG._
Photogravure from a Painting by E. Hebert.]
THE IRISH MAIDEN'S SONG
You know it now--it is betrayed
This moment in mine eye,
And in my young cheeks' crimson shade,
And in my whispered sigh.
You know it now--yet listen now--
Though ne'er was love more true,
My plight and troth and virgin vow
Still, still I keep from you,
Ever, until a proof you give
How oft you've heard me say,
I would not even his empress live
Who idles life away,
Without one effort for the land
In which my fathers' graves
Were hollowed by a despot hand
To darkly close on slaves--
See! round yourself the shackles hang,
Yet come you to love's bowers,
That only he may soothe their pang
Or hide their links in flowers--
But try all things to snap them first,
And should all fail when tried,
The fated chain you cannot burst
My twining arms shall hide--
THEODORE DE BANVILLE
Theodore Faullain De Banville is best known as a very skillful maker of
polished artificial verse. His poetry stands high; but it is the poetry
not of nature, but of elegant society. His muse, as Mr. Henley says, is
always in evening dress. References to the classic poets are woven into
all of his descriptions of nature. He is distinguished, scholarly, full
of taste, and brilliant in execution; never failing in propriety, and
never reaching inspiration. As an artist in words and cadences he has
[Illustration: De Banville]
These qualities are partly acquired, and partly the result of birth.
Born in 1823, the son of a naval officer, from his earliest years he
devoted himself to literature. His birthplace, Moulins, an old
provincial town on the banks of the Allier, where he spent a happy
childhood, made little impression on him. Still almost a child he went
to Paris, where he led a life without events,--without even a marriage
or an election to the Academy; he died March 13th, 1891. His place was
among the society people and the artists; the painter Courbet and the
writers Muerger, Baudelaire, and Gautier were among his closest friends.
He first attracted attention in 1848 by the publication of a volume of
verse, 'The Caryatids.' In 1857 came another, 'Odes Funambulesque,' and
later another series under the same title, the two together containing
his best work in verse. Here he stands highest; though he wrote also
many plays, one of which, 'Gringoire,' has been acted in various
translations. 'The Wife of Socrates' also holds the stage. Like his
other work, his drama is artificial, refined, and skillful. He presents
a marked instance of the artist working for art's sake. During the
latter years of his life he wrote mostly prose, and he has left many
well-drawn portraits of his contemporaries, in addition to several books
of criticism, with much color and charm, but little definiteness. He was
always vague, for facts did not interest him; but he had the power of
making his remote, unreal world attractive, and among the writers of the
school of Gautier he stands among the first.
From 'The Soul of Paris'
Imagine a place where you do not endure the horror of being alone, and
yet have the freedom of solitude. There, free from the dust, the
boredom, the vulgarities of a household, you reflect at ease,
comfortably seated before a table, unincumbered by all the things that
oppress you in houses; for if useless objects and papers had accumulated
here they would have been promptly removed. You smoke slowly, quietly,
like a Turk, following your thoughts among the blue curves.
If you have a voluptuous desire to taste some warm or refreshing
beverage, well-trained waiters bring it to you immediately. If you feel
like talking with clever men who will not bully you, you have within
reach light sheets on which are printed winged thoughts, rapid, written
for you, which you are not forced to bind and preserve in a library when
they have ceased to please you. This place, the paradise of
civilization, the last and inviolable refuge of the free man, is
It is the cafe; but in the ideal, as we dream it, as it ought to be. The
lack of room and the fabulous cost of land on the boulevards of Paris
make it hideous in actuality. In these little boxes--of which the rent
is that of a palace--one would be foolish to look for the space of a
vestiary. Besides, the walls are decorated with stovepipe hats and
overcoats hung on clothes-pegs--an abominable sight, for which atonement
is offered by multitudes of white panels and ignoble gilding, imitations
made by economical process.
And (let us not deceive ourselves) the overcoat, with which one never
knows what to do, and which makes us worry everywhere,--in society, at
the theatre, at balls,--is the great enemy and the abominable
enslavement of modern life. Happy the gentlemen of the age of Louis
XIV., who in the morning dressed themselves for all day, in satin and
velvet, their brows protected by wigs, and who remained superb even when
beaten by the storm, and who, moreover, brave as lions, ran the risk of
pneumonia even if they had to put on, one outside the other, the
innumerable waistcoats of Jodelet in 'Les Precieuses Ridicules'!
"How shall I find my overcoat and my wife's party cape?" is the great
and only cry, the Hamlet-monologue of the modern man, that poisons every
minute of his life and makes him look with resignation toward his dying
hour. On the morning after a ball given by Marshal MacMahon nothing is
found: the overcoats have disappeared; the satin cloaks, the boas, the
lace scarfs have gone up in smoke; and the women must rush in despair
through the driving snow while their husbands try to button their
evening coats, which will not button!
One evening, at a party given by the wife of the President of the
Chamber of Deputies, at which the gardens were lighted by electricity,
Gambetta suddenly wished to show some of his guests a curiosity, and
invited them to go down with him into the bushes. A valet hastened to
hand him his overcoat, but the guests did not dare to ask for theirs,
and followed Gambetta as they were! However, I believe one or two of
At the cafe no one carries off your overcoat, no one hides it; but they
are all hung up, spread out on the wall like masterpieces of art,
treated as if they were portraits of Mona Lisa or Violante, and you have
them before your eyes, you see them continually. Is there not reason to
curse the moment your eyes first saw the light? One may, as I have said,
read the papers; or rather one might read them if they were not hung on
those abominable racks, which remove them a mile from you and force you
to see them on your horizon.
As to the drinks, give up all hope; for the owner of the cafe has no
proper place for their preparation, and his rent is so enormous that he
has to make the best even of the quality he sells. But aside from this
reason, the drinks could not be good, because there are too many of
them. The last thing one finds at these coffee-houses is coffee. It is
delicious, divine, in those little Oriental shops where it is made to
order for each drinker in a special little pot. As to syrups, how many
are there in Paris? In what inconceivable place can they keep the jars
containing the fruit juices needed to make them? A few real ladies,
rich, well-born, good housekeepers, not reduced to slavery by the great
shops, who do not rouge or paint their cheeks, still know how to make in
their own homes good syrups from the fruit of their gardens and their
vineyards. But they naturally do not give them away or sell them to the
keepers of cafes, but keep them to gladden their flaxen-haired children.
Such as it is,--with its failings and its vices, even a full century
after the fame of Procope,--the cafe, which we cannot drive out of our
memories, has been the asylum and the refuge of many charming spirits.
The old Tabourey, who, after having been illustrious, now has a sort of
half popularity and a pewter bar, formerly heard the captivating
conversations of Barbey and of Aurevilly, who were rivals in the noblest
salons, and who sometimes preferred to converse seated before a marble
table in a hall from which one could see the foliage and the flowers of
the Luxembourg. Baudelaire also talked there, with his clear caressing
voice dropping diamonds and precious stones, like the princess of the
fairy tale, from beautiful red, somewhat thick lips.
A problem with no possible solution holds in check the writers and the
artists of Paris. When one has worked hard all day it is pleasant to
take a seat, during the short stroll that precedes the dinner, to meet
one's comrades and talk with them of everything but politics. The only
favorable place for these necessary accidental meetings is the cafe; but
is the game worth the candle, or, to speak more exactly, the blinding
gas-jets? Is it worth while, for the pleasure of exchanging words, to
accept criminal absinthe, unnatural bitters, tragic vermouth, concocted
in the sombre laboratories of the cafes by frightful parasites?
Aurelien Scholl, who, being a fine poet and excellent writer, is
naturally a practical man, had a pleasing idea. He wished that the
reunions in the cafes might continue at the absinthe hour, but without
the absinthe! A very honest man, chosen for that purpose, would pour out
for the passers-by, in place of everything else, excellent claret with
quinquina, which would have the double advantage of not poisoning them
and of giving them a wholesome and comforting drink. But this seductive
dream could never be realized. Of course, honest men exist in great
numbers, among keepers of cafes as well as in other walks of life; but
the individual honest man could not be found who would be willing to
pour out quinquina wine in which there was both quinquina and wine.
In the Palais Royal there used to be a cafe which had retained Empire
fittings and oil lamps. One found there real wine, real coffee, real
milk, and good beefsteaks. Roqueplan, Arsene Houssaye, Michel Levy, and
the handsome Fiorentino used to breakfast there, and they knew how to
get the best mushrooms. The proprietor of the cafe had said that as soon
as he could no longer make a living by selling genuine articles, he
would not give up his stock in trade to another, but would sell his
furniture and shut up shop. He kept his word. He was a hero.
BALLADE ON THE MYSTERIOUS HOSTS OF THE FOREST
From 'The Caryatids'
Still sing the mocking fairies, as of old,
Beneath the shade of thorn and holly-tree;
The west wind breathes upon them pure and cold,
And still wolves dread Diana roving free,
In secret woodland with her company.
'Tis thought the peasants' hovels know her rite
When now the wolds are bathed in silver light,
And first the moonrise breaks the dusky gray;
Then down the dells, with blown soft hair and bright,
And through the dim wood, Dian thrids her way.
With water-weeds twined in their locks of gold
The strange cold forest-fairies dance in glee;
Sylphs over-timorous and over-bold
Haunt the dark hollows where the dwarf may be,
The wild red dwarf, the nixies' enemy:
Then, 'mid their mirth and laughter and affright,
The sudden goddess enters, tall and white,
With one long sigh for summers passed away;
The swift feet tear the ivy nets outright,
And through the dim wood Dian thrids her way.
She gleans her sylvan trophies; down the wold
She hears the sobbing of the stags that flee,
Mixed with the music of the hunting rolled,
But her delight is all in archery,
And naught of ruth and pity wotteth she
More than the hounds that follow on the flight;
The tall nymph draws a golden bow of might,
And thick she rains the gentle shafts that slay;
She tosses loose her locks upon the night,
And through the dim wood Dian thrids her way.
Prince, let us leave the din, the dust, the spite,
The gloom and glare of towns, the plague, the blight;
Amid the forest leaves and fountain spray
There is the mystic home of our delight,
And through the dim wood Dian thrids her way.
Translation of Andrew Lang.
AUX ENFANTS PERDUS
I know Cythera long is desolate;
I know the winds have stripped the garden green.
Alas, my friends! beneath the fierce sun's weight
A barren reef lies where Love's flowers have been,
Nor ever lover on that coast is seen!
So be it, for we seek a fabled shore,
To lull our vague desires with mystic lore,
To wander where Love's labyrinths beguile;
There let us land, there dream for evermore,
"It may be we shall touch the happy isle."
The sea may be our sepulchre. If Fate,
If tempests wreak their wrath on us, serene
We watch the bolt of Heaven, and scorn the hate
Of angry gods that smite us in their spleen.
Perchance the jealous mists are but the screen
That veils the fairy coast we would explore.
Come, though the sea be vexed, and breakers roar,
Come, for the breath of this old world is vile,
Haste we, and toil, and faint not at the oar;
"It may be we shall touch the happy isle."
Gray serpents trail in temples desecrate
Where Cypris smiled, the golden maid, the queen,
And ruined is the palace of our state;
But happy loves flit round the mast, and keen
The shrill winds sings the silken cords between.
Heroes are we, with wearied hearts and sore,
Whose flower is faded and whose locks are hoar.
Haste, ye light skiffs, where myrtle thickets smile
Love's panthers sleep 'mid roses, as of yore:
"It may be we shall touch the happy isle."
Sad eyes! the blue sea laughs as heretofore.
Ah, singing birds, your happy music pour;
Ah, poets, leave the sordid earth awhile;
Flit to these ancient gods we still adore:
"It may be we shall touch the happy isle."
Translation of Andrew Lang.
BALLADE DES PENDUS
Where wide the forest bows are spread,
Where Flora wakes with sylph and fay,
Are crowns and garlands of men dead,
All golden in the morning gay;
Within this ancient garden gray
Are clusters such as no man knows,
Where Moor and Soldan bear the sway:
_This is King Louis's orchard close_!
These wretched folk wave overhead,
With such strange thoughts as none may say;
A moment still, then sudden sped,
They swing in a ring and waste away.
The morning smites them with her ray;
They toss with every breeze that blows,
They dance where fires of dawning play:
_This is King Louis's orchard close_!
All hanged and dead, they've summoned
(With Hell to aid, that hears them pray)
New legions of an army dread.
Now down the blue sky flames the day;
The dew dies off; the foul array
Of obscene ravens gathers and goes,
With wings that flap and beaks that flay:
_This is King Louis's orchard close_!
Prince, where leaves murmur of the May,
A tree of bitter clusters grows;
The bodies of men dead are they!
_This is King Louis's orchard close_!
Translation of Andrew Lang.
ANNA LAETITIA BARBAULD
When Laetitia Aikin Barbauld was about thirty years old, her friend, Mrs.
Elizabeth Montague, wishing to establish a college for women, asked her
to be its principal. In her letter of refusal Mrs. Barbauld said:--"A
kind of Academy for ladies, where they are to be taught in a regular
manner the various branches of science, appears to me better calculated
to form such characters as the _Precieuses_ or _Femmes Savantes_ than
good wives or agreeable companions. The very best way for a woman to
acquire knowledge is from conversation with a father or brother.... The
thefts of knowledge in our sex are only connived at while carefully
concealed, and if displayed are punished with disgrace." It is odd to
find Mrs. Barbauld thus reflecting the old-fashioned view of the
capacity and requirements of her own sex, for she herself belonged to
that brilliant group--Hannah More, Fanny Burney, Maria Edgeworth, Jane
Austen, Joanna Baillie, Mary Russell Mitford--who were the living
refutation of her inherited theories. Their influence shows a pedagogic
impulse to present morally helpful ideas to the public.
[Illustration: ANNA L. BARBAULD]
From preceding generations whose lives had been concentrated upon
household affairs, these women pioneers had acquired the strictly
practical bent of mind which comes out in all their verse, as in all
The child born at Kibworth Harcourt, Leicestershire, a century and a
half ago, became one of the first of these pleasant writers for young
and old. She was one of the thousand refutations of the stupid popular
idea that precocious children never amount to anything. When only two,
she "could read roundly without spelling, and in half a year more could
read as well as most women." Her father was master of a boys' school,
where her childhood was passed under the rule of a loving but austere
mother, who disliked all intercourse with the pupils for her daughter.
It was not the fashion for women to be highly educated; but, stimulated
perhaps by the scholastic atmosphere, Laetitia implored her father for a
classical training, until, against his judgment, he allowed her to
study Greek and Latin as well as French and Italian. Though not fond of
the housewifely accomplishments insisted upon by Mrs. Aikin, the eager
student also cooked and sewed with due obedience.
Her dull childhood ended when she was fifteen, for then her father
accepted a position as classical tutor in a boys' school at Warrington,
Lancashire, to which place the family moved. The new home afforded
greater freedom and an interesting circle of friends, among them Currie,
William Roscoe, John Taylor, and the famous Dr. Priestley. A very pretty
girl, with brilliant blonde coloring and animated dark-blue eyes, she
was witty and vivacious, too, under the modest diffidence to which she
had been trained. Naturally she attracted much admiration from the
schoolboys and even from their elders, but on the whole she seems to
have found study and writing more interesting than love affairs. The
first suitor, who presented himself when she was about sixteen, was a
farmer from her early home at Kibworth. He stated his wishes to her
father. "She is in the garden," said Mr. Aikin. "You may ask her
yourself." Laetitia was not propitious, but the young man was persistent,
and the position grew irksome. So the nimble girl scrambled into a
convenient tree, and escaped her rustic wooer by swinging herself down
upon the other side of the garden wall.
During these years at Warrington she wrote for her own pleasure, and
when her brother John returned home after several years' absence, he
helped her to arrange and publish a selection of her poems. The little
book which appeared in 1773 was highly praised, and ran through four
editions within a year. In spite of grace and fluency, most of these
verses seem flat and antiquated to the modern reader. Of the spirited
first poem 'Corsica,' Dr. Priestley wrote to her:--"I consider that you
are as much a general as Tyrtaeus was, and your poems (which I am
confident are much better than his ever were) may have as great effect
as his. They may be the _coup de grace_ to the French troops in that
island, and Paoli, who reads English, will cause it to be printed in
every history in that renowned island."
Miss Aikin's next venture was a small volume in collaboration with her
brother, 'Miscellaneous Pieces in Prose by J. and A.L. Aikin.' This too
was widely read and admired. Samuel Rogers has related an amusing
conversation about the book in its first vogue:--"I am greatly pleased
with your 'Miscellaneous Pieces,'" said Charles James Fox to Mrs.
Barbauld's brother. Dr. Aikin bowed. "I particularly admire," continued
Fox, "your essay 'Against Inconsistency in our Expectations.'" "That,"
replied Aikin, "is my sister's." "I like much," continued Fox, "your
essay on 'Monastic Institutions.'" "That," answered Aikin, "is also my
sister's." Fox thought it wise to say no more about the book. The essay
'Against Inconsistency in our Expectations' was most highly praised by
the critics, and pronounced by Mackintosh "the best short essay in the
When thirty years old, Laetitia Aikin married Rochemont Barbauld, and
went to live at Palgrave in Suffolk, where her husband opened a boys'
school, soon made popular by her personal charm and influence. Sir
William Gell, a classic topographer still remembered; William Taylor,
author of a 'Historic Survey of German Poetry '; and Lord Chief Justice
Denman, were a few among the many who looked back with gratitude to a
childhood under her care.
Perhaps her best known work is the 'Early Lessons for Children,' which
was written during this period. Coming as it did when, as Hannah More
said, there was nothing for children to read between 'Cinderella' and
the Spectator, it was largely welcomed, and has been used by generations
of English children. The lessons were written for a real little Charles,
her adopted son, the child of her brother, Dr. Aikin. For him, too, she
wrote her 'Hymns in Prose for Children,' a book equally successful,
which has been translated into French, German, Spanish, Italian, and
After eleven busy years at Palgrave, during which, in spite of her
cheerful energy, Mrs. Barbauld had been much harassed by the nervous
irritability of her invalid husband, the Barbaulds gave up their school
and treated themselves to a year of Continental travel. On their return
they settled at Hampstead, where Mr. Barbauld became pastor of a small
Unitarian congregation. The nearness to London was a great advantage to
Mrs. Barbauld's refreshed activity, and she soon made the new home a
pleasant rendezvous for literary men and women. At one of her London
dinner parties she met Sir Walter Scott, who declared that her reading
of Taylor's translation of Buerger's 'Lenore' had inspired him to write
poetry. She met Dr. Johnson too, who, though he railed at her after his
fashion, calling her Deborah and Virago Barbauld, did sometimes betray a
sincere admiration for her character and accomplishments. Miss Edgeworth
and Hannah More were dear friends and regular correspondents.
From time to time she published a poem or an essay; not many, for in
spite of her brother's continual admonition to write, hers was a
somewhat indolent talent. In 1790 she wrote a capable essay upon the
repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts; a year later, a poetical
epistle to Mr. Wilberforce on the Slave Trade; in 1792, a defense of
Public Worship; and in 1793, a discourse as to a Fast Day upon the Sins
In 1808 her husband's violent death, the result of a long insanity,
prostrated her for a time. Then as a diversion from morbid thought she
undertook an edition of the best English novels in fifty volumes, for
which she wrote an admirable introductory essay. She also made a
compilation from the Spectator, Tatler, Guardian, and Free-holder, with
a preliminary discourse, which she published in 1811. It was called 'The
Female Speaker,' and intended for young women. The same year her
'Eighteen Hundred and Eleven,' a patriotic didactic poem, wounded
national self-love and drew upon her much unfriendly criticism, which so
pained her that she would publish no more. But the stirring lines were
widely read, and in them Macaulay found the original of his famous
traveler from New Zealand, who meditates on the ruined arches of London
Bridge. Her prose style, in its light philosophy, its humorously
sympathetic dealing with every-day affairs, has been often compared with
Her old age was serene and happy, rich in intellectual companionships
and in the love and respect of many friends. Somewhere she speaks of
"that state of middling life to which I have been accustomed and which I
love." She disliked extremes, in emotion as in all things, and took what
came with cheerful courage. The poem 'Life,' which the self-satisfied
Wordsworth wished that he had written, expresses her serene and
AGAINST INCONSISTENCY IN OUR EXPECTATIONS
As most of the unhappiness in the world arises rather from disappointed
desires than from positive evil, it is of the utmost consequence to
attain just notions of the laws and order of the universe, that we may
not vex ourselves with fruitless wishes, or give way to groundless and
unreasonable discontent. The laws of natural philosophy, indeed, are
tolerably understood and attended to; and though we may suffer
inconveniences, we are seldom disappointed in consequence of them. No
man expects to preserve orange-trees in the open air through an English
winter; or when he has planted an acorn, to see it become a large oak in
a few months. The mind of man naturally yields to necessity; and our
wishes soon subside when we see the impossibility of their being
Now, upon an accurate inspection, we shall find in the moral government
of the world, and the order of the intellectual system, laws as
determinate, fixed, and invariable as any in Newton's 'Principia.' The
progress of vegetation is not more certain than the growth of habit; nor
is the power of attraction more clearly proved than the force of
affection or the influence of example. The man, therefore, who has well
studied the operations of nature in mind as well as matter, will acquire
a certain moderation and equity in his claims upon Providence. He never
will be disappointed either in himself or others. He will act with
precision; and expect that effect and that alone, from his efforts,
which they are naturally adapted to produce.
For want of this, men of merit and integrity often censure the
dispositions of Providence for suffering characters they despise to run
away with advantages which, they yet know, are purchased by such means
as a high and noble spirit could never submit to. If you refuse to pay
the price, why expect the purchase? We should consider this world as a
great mart of commerce, where fortune exposes to our view various
commodities,--riches, ease, tranquillity, fame, integrity, knowledge.
Everything is marked at a settled price. Our time, our labor, our
ingenuity, is so much ready money which we are to lay out to the best
advantage. Examine, compare, choose, reject; but stand to your own
judgment: and do not, like children, when you have purchased one thing,
repine that you do not possess another which you did not purchase. Such
is the force of well-regulated industry, that a steady and vigorous
exertion of our faculties, directed to one end, will generally
Would you, for instance, be rich: Do you think that single point worth
the sacrificing everything else to? You may then be rich. Thousands have
become so from the lowest beginnings, by toil, and patient diligence,
and attention to the minutest article of expense and profit. But you
must give up the pleasures of leisure, of a vacant mind, of a free,
unsuspicious temper. If you preserve your integrity, it must be a
coarse-spun and vulgar honesty. Those high and lofty notions of morals
which you brought with you from the schools must be considerably
lowered, and mixed with the baser alloy of a jealous and worldly-minded
prudence. You must learn to do hard if not unjust things; and for the
nice embarrassments of a delicate and ingenuous spirit, it is necessary
for you to get rid of them as fast as possible. You must shut your heart
against the Muses, and be content to feed your understanding with plain,
household truths. In short, you must not attempt to enlarge your ideas,
or polish your taste, or refine your sentiments; but must keep on in one
beaten track, without turning aside either to the right hand or to the
left. "But I cannot submit to drudgery like this: I feel a spirit above
it." 'Tis well: be above it then; only do not repine that you are
Is knowledge the pearl of price? That too may be purchased--by steady
application, and long solitary hours of study and reflection. Bestow
these, and you shall be wise. "But" (says the man of letters) "what a
hardship is it that many an illiterate fellow who cannot construe the
motto of the arms on his coach, shall raise a fortune and make a figure,
while I have little more than the common conveniences of life." _Et tibi
magni satis_!--Was it in order to raise a fortune that you consumed the
sprightly hours of youth in study and retirement? Was it to be rich that
you grew pale over the midnight lamp, and distilled the sweetness from
the Greek and Roman spring? You have then mistaken your path, and ill
employed your industry. "What reward have I then for all my labors?"
What reward! A large, comprehensive soul, well purged from vulgar fears
and perturbations and prejudices; able to comprehend and interpret the
works of man--of God. A rich, flourishing, cultivated mind, pregnant
with inexhaustible stores of entertainment and reflection. A perpetual
spring of fresh ideas; and the conscious dignity of superior
intelligence. Good heaven! and what reward can you ask besides?
"But is it not some reproach upon the economy of Providence that such a
one, who is a mean, dirty fellow, should have amassed wealth enough to
buy half a nation?" Not in the least. He made himself a mean, dirty
fellow for that very end. He has paid his health, his conscience, his
liberty, for it; and will you envy him his bargain? Will you hang your
head and blush in his presence because he outshines you in equipage and
show? Lift up your brow with a noble confidence, and say to yourself, I
have not these things, it is true; but it is because I have not sought,
because I have not desired them; it is because I possess something
better. I have chosen my lot. I am content and satisfied.
You are a modest man--you love quiet and independence, and have a
delicacy and reserve in your temper which renders it impossible for you
to elbow your way in the world, and be the herald of your own merits. Be
content then with a modest retirement, with the esteem of your intimate
friends, with the praises of a blameless heart, and a delicate,
ingenuous spirit; but resign the splendid distinctions of the world to
those who can better scramble for them.
The man whose tender sensibility of conscience and strict regard to the
rules of morality makes him scrupulous and fearful of offending, is
often heard to complain of the disadvantages he lies under in every path
of honor and profit. "Could I but get over some nice points, and conform
to the practice and opinion of those about me, I might stand as fair a
chance as others for dignities and preferment." And why can you not?
What hinders you from discarding this troublesome scrupulosity of yours
which stands so grievously in your way? If it be a small thing to enjoy
a healthful mind, sound at the very core, that does not shrink from the
keenest inspection; inward freedom from remorse and perturbation;
unsullied whiteness and simplicity of manners; a genuine integrity,
"Pure in the last recesses of the mind;"
if you think these advantages an inadequate recompense for what you
resign, dismiss your scruples this instant, and be a slave-merchant, a
parasite, or--what you please.
"If these be motives weak, break off betimes;"
and as you have not spirit to assert the dignity of virtue, be wise
enough not to forego the emoluments of vice.
I much admire the spirit of the ancient philosophers, in that they never
attempted, as our moralists often do, to lower the tone of philosophy,
and make it consistent with all the indulgences of indolence and
sensuality. They never thought of having the bulk of mankind for their
disciples; but kept themselves as distinct as possible from a worldly
life. They plainly told men what sacrifices were required, and what
advantages they were which might be expected.
"Si virtus hoc una potest dare, fortis omissis
Hoc age deliciis ..."
If you would be a philosopher, these are the terms. You must do thus and
thus; there is no other way. If not, go and be one of the vulgar.
There is no one quality gives so much dignity to a character as
consistency of conduct. Even if a man's pursuits be wrong and
unjustifiable, yet if they are prosecuted with steadiness and vigor, we