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Thou dread ambassador from earth to Heaven,
Earth, with her thousand voices, praises God.”
11. THE DYING CHRISTIAN TO HIS SOUL. - Alexander Pope.
VITAL spark of heavenly flame,
LIFE BEYOND THE TOMB. - James Beattie. Born, 1735; died, 1803.
So flourishes and fades majestic Man;
And fostering gales a while the nursling fan.
Ye blighting whirlwinds, spare his balmy prime,
Borne on the swift though silent wings of Time,
Old Age comes on apace, to ravage all the clime.
Whose hope still grovels in this dark sojourn;
Can smile at Fate, and wonder how they mourn.
Is yonder wave the Sun's eternal bed ?
And Spring shall soon her vital influence shed,
Shall I be left, forgotten in the dust,
When Fate, relenting, lets the flower revive ? Shall Nature's voice, to Man alone unjust,
Bid him, though doomed to perish, hope to live?
With disappointment, penury, and pain?
And man's majestic beauty bloom again,
WHEN on the fragrant sandal-tree
The woodman's axe descends,
Beneath the keen stroke bends,
14. THE CHRISTIAN LIFE. - Philip Doddridge. Born, 1702 ; died, 1751.
* Live while you live,” the epicure would say,
RHETORICAL AND DRAMATIC.
1. ROME AND CARTHIAGE. --Victor Hugo. Original Translation, Rome and Carthage! — behold them drawing near for the struggle that is to shake the world! Carthage, the metropolis of Africa, is the mistress of oceans, of kingdoms, and of Nations ; a magnificent city, burthened with opulence, radiant with the strange arts and trophies of the East. She is at the acme of her civilization. She can mount no higher. Any change now must be a decline. Rome is comparatively poor. She has seized all within her grasp, but rather from the lust of conquest than to fill her own coffers. She is demi-barbarous, and has her education and her fortune both to make. All is before her, — nothing behind. For a time, these two Nations exist in view of each other. The one reposes in the noontide of her splendor; the other waxes strong in the shade. But, little by little, air and space are wanting to each for her development. Rome begins to perplex Carthage, and Carthage is an eyesore to Rome. Seated on opposite banks of the Mediterranean, the two cities look each other in the face. The sea no longer keeps them apart. Europe and Africa weigh upon each other. Like two clouds surcharged with electricity they impend. With their contact must come the thunder-shock.
The catastrophe of this stupendous drama is at hand. What actors are met! Two races, that of merchants and mariners, that of laborers and soldiers; two Nations, the one dominant by gold, the other by steel; two Republics, the one theocratic, the other aristocratic. Rome and Carthage! Rome with her army, Carthage with her fleet; Carthage, old, rich and crafty, - Rome, young, poor, and robust ; the past and the future; the spirit of discovery, and the spirit of conquest; the genius of commerce, the demon of war; the East and the South on one side, the West and the North on the other; in short, two worlds, - the civilization of Africa, and the civilization of Europe. They measure each other from head to foot. They gather all their forces. Gradually the war kindles. The world takes fire. These colossal powers are locked in deadly strife. Carthage has crossed the Alps; Rome, the seas. The two Nations, personified in two men, Hannibal and Scipio, close with each other, wrestle, and grow infuriate. The duel is desperate. It is a struggle
for life. Rome wavers. She utters that cry of anguish – Hannibal at the gates ! But she rallies, collects all her strength for one last, appalling effort, — throws herself upon Carthage, and sweeps her from the face of the earth!
2. THE DRONES OF THE COMMUNITY. – Percy Bysshe Shelley.
Those gilded flies
Whence, think’st thou, kings and parasites arose ?
Where is the fame
That mandate is a thunder-peal that died
3. CÆSAR'S PASSAGE OF THE RUBICON. -James Sheridan Knowles.
A GENTLEMAN, Mr. Chairman, speaking of Cæsar's benevolent disposition, and of the reluctance with which he entered into the civil war, observes, “How long did he pause upon the brink of the Rubicon!" How came he to the brink of that river ? How dared he cross it? Shall private men respect the boundaries of private property, and shall a man pay no respect to the boundaries of his country's rights? How dared he cross that river? O! but he paused upon the brink. He should have perished upon the brink ere he had crossed it! Why did he pause? Why does a man's heart palpitate when he is on the point of committing an unlawful deed ? Why does the very murderer, his victim sleeping before him, and his glaring eye taking the measure of the blow, strike wide of the mortal part? Because of conscience! 'T was that made Cæsar pause upon the brink of the Rubicon. Compassion! What compassion? The compassion of an assassin, that feels a momentary shudder, as his weapon begins to cut! Cæsar paused upon the brink of the Rubicon! What was the Rubicon? The boundary of Caesar's province. From what did it separate his province ? From his country. Was that country a desert? No: it was cultivated and fertile, rich and populous! Its sons were men of genius, spirit, and generosity! Its daughters were lovely, susceptible, and chaste! Friendship was its inhabitant! Love was its inhabitant! Domestic affection was its inhabitant! Liberty was its inhabitant! All bounded by the stream of the Rubicon! What was Cæsar, that stood upon the bank of that stream? A traitor, bringing war and pestilence into the heart of that country! No wonder that he paused, no wonder if, his imagination wrought upon by his conscience, he had beheld blood instead of water, and heard groans instead of murmurs! No wonder, if some gorgon horror had turned him into stone upon the spot! But no ! he cried, “ The die is cast!” He plunged !- he crossed ! — and Rome was free no more!
4. ROLLA'S ADDRESS TO THE PERUVIANS. - Sheridan.
My brave associates, - partners of my toil, my feelings, and my fame! — can Rolla's words add vigor to the virtuous energies which inspire your hearts ? No! You have judged, as I have, the foulness of the crafty plea by which these bold invaders would delude you. Your generous spirit has compared, as mine has, the motives which, in a war like this, can animate their minds and ours. They,