Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

The rose pět lay on her cheek, but its flush
Had something lost of its brilliant blush ;

And the light in her eye, and the light on the wheels,
That marched so calmly round above her,

Was a little dimmed-as when evening steals
Upon noon's hot face :—yět one couldn't but love her;

For she looked like a mother whose first babe lay
Rocked on her breast, as she swung all day ;
And she seemed in the same silver tone to say,

“Passing away! passing away!"
5. While yet I looked, what a change there came!

Her eye was quenched, and her cheek was wan;
Stooping and staffed was her withered frame,

Yet just as busily swung she on :
The garland benēafh her had fallen to dust ;
The wheels above her were eaten with rust;
The hands, that over the dial swept,
Grew crook'd and tarnished, but on they kept ;
And still there came that silver tone
From the shriveled lips of the toothlèss crone,

(Let me never forgět, to my dying day,
The tone or the burden of that lay) -

“ PASSING AWAY! PASSING AWAY!” PIERPONT. Rev. John PIERPONT, author of the “Airs of Palestine," was born at Litchfield, Connecticut, April 6th, 1785. He entered Yale College when fifteen years old, graduated in 1804, and passed the four subsequent years as a private tutor in the family of Col. Wm. Allston, of South Carolina. He then returned home, studied law in the celebrated school of his native town, and was admitted to practice in 1812. About the same period he delivered his poem entitled “The Portrait,” before the Washington Benevolent Society, of Newburyport, to which place he had removed. Impaired health, and the unsettled state of affairs produced by the war, induced him soon after to relinquish his profession. He became a merchant, first in Boston, and afterward in Baltimore. The "Airs of Palestine," which he published in Baltimore, in 1816, was well received, and twice reprinted in the course of the following year. In 1819 he was ordained minister of the Hollis Street Unitarian Church, in Boston. He passed a portion of the years 1835-6 in Europe, and in 1840 published a choice edition of his poems. At different periods, he also published several very able discourses, In 1851 he delivered a poem of considerable length at the centennial celebration in Litchfield. He has written in almost every meter, and many of his poems are remarkably elevated, spirited, and melodious.

SECTION XVII.

I.

92. THE STOLEN RIFLE.

ACKENZIE offered to cross the river and demand the rifle,

project, for these villages were noted for the ruff'ian character of their inhabitants ; yet two volunteers promptly stepped forward, Alfred Seton, the clerk, and Joe de la Pierre, the cook. The tri'o soon reached the opposite side of the river. On landing, they freshly primed their rifles and pistols. A path winding for about a hundred yards among rocks and crags, led to the village.

2. No notice seemed to be taken of their approach. Not a solitary being--man, woman, or child-greeted them. The věry dogs, those noisy pests of an Indian town, kept silence. On entering the village a boy made his appearance, and pointed to a house of larger dĩměnsions than the rest. They had to stoop to enter it : as soon as they had passed the thrěshold, the nårrow passage behind them was filled by a sudden rush of Indians, who had before kept out of sight.

3. Mackenzie and his companions found themselves in a rude chamber of about twenty-five feet long, and twenty wide. A bright fire was blazing at one end, near which sat the chief, about sixty years old. A large number of Indians, wrapped in buffalo robes, were squatted in rows, three deep, forming a semicircle round three sides of the room. A single glance sufficed to show them the grim and dangerous assembly into which they had intruded, and that all retreat was cut off by the mass which blocked

up

the entrance. 4. The chief pointed to the vacant side of the room opposite to the door, and motioned for them to take their seats. They complied. A dead pause ensued. The grim warriors around sat like statues ; each muffled in his robe, with his fierce eyes bent on the intruders. The latter felt they were in a pěrilous predicament.

5. “Keep your eyes on the chief while I am addressing him," zaid Mackenzie to his companions. “Should he give any sign to his band, shoot him, and make for the door.” Mackenzie

advanced, and offered the pipe of peace to the chief, but it was refused. IIe then made a regular speech, explaining the object of their visit, and proposing to give, in exchange for the rifle, two blankets, an ax, some beads, and tobacco.

6. When he had done, the chief rose, began to address him in a low voice, but soon became loud and vīölent, and ended by working himself up into a furious passion. He upbraided the white men for their sordid conduct, in passing and repassing through their neighborhood without giving them a blanket or any other article of goods, merely because they had no furs to barter in exchange ; and he alluded, with menaces of vengeance, to the death of the Indians, killed by the whites at the skirmish at the Falls.

7. Matters were verging to a crīsis. It was evident the surrounding savages were only waiting a signal from the chief to spring upon their prey. Mackenzie and his companions bad gradually risen on their feet during the speech, and had brought their rifles to a horizontal position, the barrels resting in their left hands : the muzzle of Mackenzie's piece was within three feet of the speaker's heart.

8. They cocked their rifles ; the click of the locks for a moment suffused the dark cheek of the savage, and there was a pause. They coolly, but promptly advanced to the door ; the Indians fell back in awe, and suffered them to pass. The sun was just setting as they emerged from this dangerous den. They took the precaution to keep along the tops of the rocks as much as possible, on their way back to the canoe, and reached their camp in safety, congratulating themselves on their escape, and feeling no desire to make a second visit to the grim warriors of the Wish-ram.”

WASHINGTON IRVING.

II. 93. THE TOMAHAWK SUBMISSIVE TO ELOQUENCE. TWENTY tomahawks were raised ; twenty ărrows drawn to

[ocr errors]

-parleying only with his sword. He waved his arm. Smitten with a sense of their cow'ardice, perhaps, or by his great dignity, more awful for his very youth, their wěapons dropped, and their countenances were uplifted upon him, less in hatred than in wonder.

2. The old men găthered about him : he leaned upon his saber. Their eyes shone with admiration : such heroic deportment, in ne so young-a boy! so intrépid ! so prompt ! so graceful! so eloquent, too!-for, knowing the effect of eloquence, and feeling the loftiness of his own nature, the innocence of his own heart, the character of the Indians for hospităl'ity, and their veneration for his blood, Harold dealt out the thunder of his strength to these rude barbarians of the wilderness, till they, young and old, gathering nearer and nearer in their devotion, threw down their weapons at his feet, and formed a rampart of locked arms and hearts about him, through which his eloquence thrilled and lightened like electricity. The old greeted him with a lofty step, as the pātriarch welcomes his boy from the triumph of far-off battle ; and the young clave to him and clung to him, and shouted in their saf-abandonment, like brothers round a conquering brother.

3. “Warriors!” he said, “Brethren!”—(their tomahawks were brandished simultā'neously, at the sound of his terrible voice, as if preparing for the onset). His tones grew deeper, and less threatening. “Brothers ! let us talk together of Logan!' Ye who have known him, ye agèd men! bear ye testimony to the deeds of his strength. Who was like him? Who could resist him? Who may ăbide the hurricane in its volley? Who may withstand the winds that uproot the great trees of the mountain ? Let him be the foe of Logan. Thrice in one day hath he given battle. Thrice in one day hath he come back victorious. Who may bear up against the strong man—the man of war? Let them that are young, hear me. Let them follow the course of Logan. He goes in clouds and whirlwind-in the fire and in the smoke. Let them follow him. Warriors! Logan was the father of Harold !” They fell back in astonishment, but they believed him ; for Harold's word was unquestioned, undoubted evidence, to them that knew him.

NEAL. John Neal was born in Portland, Maine, about 1794. He was brought up as a shop-boy, and in 1815 became a wholesale dry.goods dealer in Baltimore, with John Pierpont, the poet. The concern failed, and Neal commenced the study of law, and with it the profession of literature, by writing a series of critical essays on the works of Byron for “The Portico," a monthly magazine. In 1818 he published “Keep Cool," a novel, and in the following year “The Battle of

| Logan, an Indian chief of the when he took an Indian's revenge. Cayugas, murdered in 1781. He was A speech of his, addressed to Lord remarkable for his attachment to the Dunmore, is an eloquent rebuke of whites until cruelly treated by them, the conduct of the whites.

Niagara, Goldau the Maniac Harper, and other Poems," and "Otho," a tragedy. Ile wroic a large poriion of Allen's “Izistory of the American Revolution," which appeared in 18.1. Four novels, “Logan," “ Randolph," “ Errata," and “Geventy-six,” some of which were republished in London, followed in quick succession. Meanwhile the author had studied law; been admitted, and was practicing as energetically as he was writing. Near the close of 18:3 he went abroad; and, soon after his arrival in London, became a contributor to several periodicals, making his first appearance in “Blackwood's Magazinc," in “Sketch cf the Five American Presidents and the Five Candidates for the Presidency," a paper which was widely republished. After passing four years in Great Britain and on the Continent, in which time appeared his “Brother Jonathan," a novel, he came back to his native city of Portland, where he now resides. He has since published “Rachel Duer,” “Authorship,” “The Down Easters,” “Ruth Elder,”

,” “One Word More,” 1854, and "True Womanhood, a Tale,” 1859; and contributed largely to periodicals. His novels are original, and written from the impulses of his heart, containing numerous passages marked by dramatic power, and brilliancy of sentiment and expression; but most of them having been produced rapidly, and without unity, aim, or continuous interest, are now undergoing revision. Mr. Neal's poems have the unquestionable stamp of genius. His imagination is marked by a degree of sensibility and energy rarely surpassed.

III.
34. THE BARON'S LAST BANQUET.

1.
'ER a löw couch the setting sun had thrown its latest ráy,

[ocr errors]

The stern old Băron Rudiger, whose frame had ne'er been bent By wasting pain, till time and toil its iron strength had spent.

2. They come around me here, and say my days of life are o'er, — That I shall mount my noble steed and lead my band no more ; They come, and, to my bēard, they dare to tell me now that I, Their own liege lord and master born, that I—ha! ha!-must die.

3. And what is death? I've dared him ôft, before the Pāinim 'spear; Think ye he's entered at my gate—has come to seek me here? I've met him, faced him, scorned him, when the fight was rag

ing hot ;I'll try his might, I'll brave his power!-defy, and fear him not!

4. “Ho! sound the tocsin' from my tower, and fire the cul'verin, Bid each retainer arm with speed ; call every vassal in. 1 Pāi' nim, pagan; infidel.

• Cúľ ver in, a long, slender can. Töc' sin, a bell for giving alarm. non, to carry a ball a great distance.

3

« AnteriorContinuar »