Andrew Lang.

The International library of famous literature : selections from the world's great writers, ancient, mediaeval, and modern, with biographical and explanatory notes and with introductions (Volume FIFTEEN (15)) online

. (page 1 of 47)
Online LibraryAndrew LangThe International library of famous literature : selections from the world's great writers, ancient, mediaeval, and modern, with biographical and explanatory notes and with introductions (Volume FIFTEEN (15)) → online text (page 1 of 47)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2010


Inaugurntion of Wnshington







Selections from the World's Great Writers, Ancient, Medi/eval and
Modern, with Biographical and Explanatory Notes

with introductions by


(iK marvel)









jEDition ^e Xuie

Limited to 500 Copies

Copyright, 1898



The Landing of the Pilgrim Fathers in
New England

The Golden Reign of Wouter Van Twiller

Evangeline ; A Tale of Acadie

Early Life of Benjamin Franklin .



The Last Leaf

The True Policy of Great Britain towards
her American Colonies

The Independence of America

The Declaration of Independence .

Farewell Address of George Washington

The Character of Washington

The Green Mountain Boys

The Death of the Flowers

Henry Wharton's Escape


Ellen at the Farm

The Culprit Fay

Prue and I

Barclay of Ury

The Scarlet Letter

Two Women .

Compensation .

The Haunted Palace

The Gold Bug .

Ninety-nine in the Shade

Felicia D. Hemans
Washington Irving
Henry W. Longfellow
Benjamin Franklin
William Cullen Bryant
Wm. Makepeace lliacker
Oliver Wendell Holmes

Edmund Burke
John Bichard Green
Thomas Jefferson .
George Washington
Thomas Jefferson .
Daniel P. Thompson
William Cullen Bryant
James Fenimore Cooper
Fitz-Greene Halleck
Susan Warner
Joseph Bodman Drake
George William Curtis
John G. Whittier .
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Nathaniel Parker Willis
Balph Waldo Emerson
Edgar Allan Poe .
Edgar Allan Poe .
Bossiter Johnson .


ClJ^l^ ^-^A +!,« XT,

mi. r-^r. .77.

-T.'l. J,



The United States .
Webster's Reply to 1 1 ay no

The liighnv TajHTs .

Lincoln's Second Inaupiral Address

Abraham Lincoln

O Captain 1 My Captain I

Sheridan's Hide

IJattle Hymn of the Republic .

Mr. Punch's Tribute to Lincoln

The Blue and the Gray .

The riace where Man should die


Lord Ihpuni .


Daniel Webster


James Russell Lowell .



Abraham Lincoln .


Phillips Brooks


Walt Whitman


Thomas Buchanan Read


Julia Ward Howe .


Tom Taylor .


Francis Miles Finch


Michael Joseph Barry .





Departure of the Pilgrims Frontispiece

Washington Irving 6826

Evangeline 6843

Benjamin Franklin 6861

Thanatopsis . . • 6873-

Edmund Burke , 6919

Signing of Declaration of Independence 6944

George Washington 6948

Washington and Lafayette 6963-

Ethan Allen 6990

" The melancholy days are come " 6993

Alloway Kirk 7018.

" Call the fays to their revelry " 7047

George William Curtis 7064

John Greenleaf Whittier 7085

Ralph Waldo Emerson 7105

Thomas Chandler Haliburton 7158

Mr. Jefferson Brick 718&>

Magdalen College, Oxford 7204

Edward Everett 7225

Charles Farrar Brown 7238

Daniel Webster 7260

Phillips Brooks 7291

Sheridan's Ride 7305

Julia Ward Howe 7307

Abraham Lincoln 7308



:3 §"


::. •<*







Bt peucia d. hema'^^-

The breaking waves dashed higb

On a ■ -^ ' ■

And th;. ... .,^

Their giant branches

And tl

The : -. . ....

When a band of exiles moored thoir bark

On the wild New England shore.

Not as the conqueror comes,
They, the true-hearted, came ;

Not with the roll of 3,

And the trumpet txiai i^m^c ji lii-.e;

Not as the fly le,

In silence and m feAr; —
Thp- ^^ ' ' '- '-'-'- ■' '^ - - :■; giL^Jiu

Amidst the storm they sang,

And -'^^ -'— ' -^ ' ■■ ■ •»"■ - - :
And tl" V • T^'oods ranff

To the anthem of the free '

The - ■■■'-'- ed

r he white wave's foam ;

And the rocking piues of the forest roared —
was their welcome home 1





^ ^

^ U











The breaking waves dashed high

On a stern and rock-bound coast
And the woods against a stormy sky

Their giant branches tossed ;

And the heavy night hung dark

The hills and waters o'er,
When a band of exiles moored their bark

On the wild New England shore.

Not as the conqueror comes,

They, the true-hearted, came ;
Not with the roll of the stirring drums,

And the trumpet that sings of fame ;

Not as the flying come.

In silence and in fear ; —
They shook the depths of the desert gloom

With their hymns of lofty cheer.

Amidst the storm they sang.

And the stars heard and the sea ;
And the sounding aisles of the dim woods rang

To the anthem of the free !

The ocean eagle soared

From his nest by the white wave's foam ;
And the rocking pines of the forest roared —

This was their welcome home !


There were men with hoary hair

Amidst that pilgrim band ; —
Why had they come to wither there,

Away from their childhood's land ?

There was woman's fearless eye,

Lit by her deep love's truth ;
There was manhood's brow serenely high,

And the fiery heart of youth.

What sought they thus afar ?

Bright jewels of the mine ?
The w^ealth of seas, the spoils of war ? —

They sought a faith's pure shrine !

Ay, call it holy ground,

The soil where first they trod.
They have left unstained what there they found —

Freedom to worship God.




(From " Knickerbocker's History of New York.")

[Washington Irving, the distinguished American author, was the son of an
Orkney Island emigrant merchant, born in New York city, April 3, 1783. He
studied law but foimd literature more congenial, and after a visit to Europe
undertook the publication of Salmagundi, a humorous magazine ; and in
1809 he brought out "The* History of New York, by Diedrich Knickerbocker,"
which at once established his literary position. In 1815 he went to Europe, and
remained abroad for seventeen years, traveling widely. About 1817 the com-
mercial house in which he was a partner failed, and he was compelled for a time
to devote himself to literature for a subsistence. He became secretary of the
American embassy (1829) ; United States minister to Spain (1842) ; and after his
return, four years later, passed the rest of his days at Sunnyside, on the banks of
the Hudson river, near Tarrytown, N.Y., where he died Nov. 28, 1859. Among
his best-known works are : ''The Sketch Book" (1820), "Bracebridge Hall,"
'•Life of Columbus," "Conquest of Granada," "The Alhambra," "Astoria,"
"Wolfert's Roost," "Life of Washington."

Grievous and very much to be commiserated is the task of
the feeling historian who writes the history of his native land.
If it fall to his lot to be the sad recorder of calamity or crime,
the mournful page is watered with his tears — nor can he recall



the most prosperous and blissful era, without a melancholy sif^h
at the reflection that it has passed away forever ! I know not
whether it be owing to an immoderate love for the simplicity
of former times, or to that certain tenderness of heart incident
to all sentimental historians ; but I candidly confess that I
cannot look back on the happier days of our city, which I now
describe, without a sad dejection of the spirits. With a fal-
tering hand do I withdraw the curtain of oblivion that veils
the modest merit of our venerable ancestors, and as their fig-
ures rise to my mental vision, humble myself before the mighty

Such are my feelings when I revisit the family mansion of
the Knickerbockers, and spend a lonely hour in the chamber
where hang the portraits of my forefathers, shrouded in dust,
like the forms they represent. With pious reverence do I gaze
on the countenances of those renowned burghers who have
preceded me in the steady march of existence — whose sober
and temperate blood now meanders through my veins, flowing
slower and slower in its feeble conduits, until its current shall
soon be stopped forever !

These, say I to myself, are but frail memorials of the mighty
men who flourished in the days of the patriarchs ; but who,
alas, have long since moldered in that tomb towards which my
steps are insensibly and irresistibly hastening! As I pace the
darkened chamber, and lose myself in melancholy musings,
the shadowy images around me almost seem to steal 'once more
into existence — their countenances to assume the animation of
life — their eyes to pursue me in every movement ! Carried
away by the delusions of fancy, I almost imagine myself sur-
rounded by the shades of the departed, and holding sweet con-
verse with the worthies of antiquity! Ah, hapless Diedrich!
born in a degenerate age, abandoned to the buffetings of for-
tune — a stranger and a weary pilgrim in thy native land —
blest with no weeping w^fe, nor family of helpless children ;
but doomed to wander neglected through those crowded streets,
and elbowed by foreign upstarts from those fair abodes where
once thy ancestors held sovereign empire!

Let me not, however, lose the historian in the man, nor suffer
the doting recollections of age to overcome me, while dwelling
with fond garrulity on the virtuous days of the patriarchs — on
those sweet days of simplicity and ease, which nevermore will
dawn on the lovely island of Manna-hata!


The renowned Woiiter (or Walter) Van Twiller was de-
scended from a long line of Dutch burgomasters, who had
successively dozed away their lives, and grown fat upon the
bench of magistracy in Rotterdam ; and whc had comported
themselves with such singular wisdom and propriety, that they
were never either heard or talked of — which, next to being
universally applauded, should be the object of ambition of all
sage magistrates and rulers.

The surname of Twiller is said to be a corruption of the
original Tivijfler^ which in English means doubter^ a name ad-
mirably descriptive of his deliberative habits. For, though he
was a man shut up within himself like an oyster, and of such a
profoundly reflective turn that he scarcely ever spoke except
in monosyllables, yet did he never make up his mind on any
doubtful point. This Avas clearly accounted for by his adher-
ents, who affirmed that he always conceived every object on so
comprehensive a scale, that he had not room in his head to turn
it over and examine both sides of it, so that he always remained
in doubt, merely in consequence of the astonishing magnitude
of his ideas!

There are two opposite ways by which some men get into
notice — one by talking a vast deal and thinking a little, and
the other by holding their tongues, and not thinking at all.
By the first, many a vaporing, superficial pretender acquires the
reputation of a man of quick parts — by the other, many a
vacant dunderpate, like the owl, the stupidest of birds, comes to
be complimented by a discerning world with all the attributes
of wisdom. This, by the way, is a mere casual remark, which
I would not for the universe have it thought I apply to Gov-
ernor Van Twiller. On the contrary, he was a very wise
Dutchman, for he never said a foolish thing — and of such in-
vincible gravity, that he was never known to laugh, or even
to smile, through the course of a long and prosperous life.
Certain, however, it is, there never was a matter proposed,
however simple, and on which your common narrow-minded
mortals would rashly determine at the first glance, but wdiat
the renowned Wouter put on a mighty, mysterious, vacant
kind of look, shook his capacious head, and, having smoked
for five minutes with redoubled earnestness, sagely observed
that " he had his doubts about the matter " — which in process
of time gained him the character of a man slow in belief, and
not easily imposed on.


The person of this illustrious old gentleman was as regularly
formed, and nobly proportioned, as though it had been molded
by the hands of some cunning Dutch statuary, as a model of
majesty and lordly grandeur. He was exactly five feet six
inches in height, and six feet five inches in circumference. His
head was a perfect sphere, and of such stupendous dimensions,
that dame Nature, with all her sex's ingenuity, would have
been puzzled to construct a neck capable of supporting it ;
wherefore she wisely declined the attempt, and settled it firmly
on the top of his backbone, just between the shoulders. His
body was of an oblong form, particularly capacious at bottom ;
which was wisely ordered by Providence, seeing that he was a
man of sedentary habits, and very averse to the idle labor of
walking. His legs, though exceeding short, were sturdy in pro-
portion to the weight they had to sustain ; so that when erect
he had not a little the appearance of a robustious beer barrel,
standing on skids. His face, that infallible index of the mind,
presented a vast expanse, perfectly unfurrowed or deformed by
any of those lines and angles which disfigure the human coun-
tenance with what is termed expression. Two small gray eyes
twinkled feebly in the midst, like two stars of lesser magni-
tude in the hazy firmament ; and his full-fed cheeks, which
seemed to have taken toll of everything that went into his
mouth, were curiously mottled and streaked with dusky red,
like a Spitzenberg apple.

His habits were as regular as his person. He daily took his
four stated meals, appropriating exactly an hour to each ; he
smoked and doubted eight hours, and he slept the remaining
twelve of the four and twenty. Such was the renowned Wou-
ter Van Twiller — a true philosopher, for his mind was either
elevated above, or tranquilly settled below, the cares and per-
plexities of this world. He had lived in it for years, without
feeling the least curiosity to know whether the sun revolved
round it, or it round the sun ; and he had watched, for at least
half a century, the smoke curling from his pipe to the ceiling,
without once troubling his head with any of those numerous
theories, by which a philosopher would have perplexed his brain,
in accounting for its rising above the surrounding atmosphere.

In his council he presided with great state and solemnity.
He sat in a huge chair of solid oak, hewn in the celebrated
forest of the Hague, fabricated by an experienced timmerman
of Amsterdam, and curiously carved about the arms and feet,

(^830 ruv: golden ri:igx of wouter van

into fxiiot imitations of gigantic eagle's claws,
scepter, he swayed a long Turkish pipe, wrought
;i!i(l ainhor, which had been presented to a Stadtli
hind, at the ci)nclusion of a treaty with one of tl
hary powers. In this stately chair would he
magniticent pipe would he smoke, shaking his righ
constant motion, and fixing his eye for hours t
a Httle print of Amsterdam, which hung in a
against the opposite wall of the council chamber,
even been said that when any deliberation of (
length and intricacy was on the carpet, the reno^
would absolutely shut his eyes for full two hou
tliat he might not be disturbed by external obji
such times the internal commotion of his mind w
certain regular guttural sounds, which his admi
were merely the noise of conflict, made by hi
doubts and opinions.

It is with infinite difficulty I have been enabl
these biographical anecdotes of the great man unc
tion. The facts respecting him were so scatterei
and divers of them so questionable in point of
that I have had to give up the search after many
the admission of still more, which would have tende
the coloring of his portrait.

I have been the more anxious to delineate ful
and habits of the renowned Van Twiller, from t
tion that he was not only the first, but also the b
that ever presided over this ancient and respecta
and so tranquil and benevolent was his reign that
throughout the whole of it a single instance of
being brought to punishment — a most indubital
merciful governor, and a case unparalleled, exc(
reign of the illustrious King Log, from whom, it
renowned Van Twiller was a lineal descendant.

The very outset of the career of this excellei
was distinguished by an example of legal acume
flatterino^ nresap-e of a. wisp. M.nrl pnnifjiKlp arlminicf


dam, wlio complained bitterly of one Barent Bleecker, inai
as he fraudulently refused to come to a settlement of ace
seeing that there was a heavy balance in favor of th<
Wandle. Governor Van T wilier, as I have already obs
was a man of few words ; he was likewise a mortal (
to multiplying writings — or being disturbed at his brea
Having listened attentively to the statement of Wandle S(
hoven, giving an occasional grunt, as he shoveled a sp(
of Indian pudding into his mouth — either as a sign tl
relished the dish, or comprehended the story — he called
him his constable, and pulling out of his breeches po(
huge jackknife, dispatched it after the defendant as a
mons, accompanied by his tobacco box as a warrant.

This summary process was as effectual in those simpL
as was the seal ring of the great Haroun Alraschid i
the true believers. The two parties being confronted
him, each produced a book of accounts written in a Ian
and character that would have puzzled any but a High
commentator, or a learned decipherer of Egyptian obeli^
understand. The sage Wouter took them one after the
and having poised them in his hands, and attentively cc
over the number of leaves, fell straightway into a very
doubt, and smoked for half an hour without saying a woi
length, laying his finger beside his nose, and shutting hi
for a moment, with the air of a man who has just cai
subtle idea by the tail, he slowly took his pipe from his r
puffed forth a column of tobacco smoke, and with mar
gravity and solemnity pronounced — that having cai
counted over the leaves and weighed the books, it was
that one was just as thick and as heavy as the other — the
it was the final opinion of the court that the accounts
equally balanced — therefore Wandle should give Bai
receipt, and Barent should give Wandle a receipt — ai
constable should pay the costs.

This decision, being straightway made known, diffuse


dwelling on tliis transaction, not only because I deem it one of
the most sage and righteous judgments on record, and well
worthy the attention of modern magistrates, but because it
was a miraculous event in the history of the reiowned Wouter

— being the only time he was ever known to come to a decision
in the whole course of his life.

In treating of the early governors of the province, I must
caution my readers against confounding them, in point of
dignity and power, with those worthy gentlemen who are
whimsically denominated governors in this enlightened repub-
lic — a set of unhappy victims of popularity, who are in fact the
most dependent, henpecked beings in the community : doomed
to bear the secret goadings and corrections of their own party,
and the sneers and revilings of the whole world beside ; — set
up, like geese at Christmas holidays, to be pelted and shot at
by every whipster and vagabond in the land. On the con-
trary, the Dutch governors enjoyed that uncontrolled authority
vested in all commanders of distant colonies or territories.
They were in a manner absolute despots in their little domains,
lording it, if so disposed, over both law and gospel, and ac-
countable to none but the mother country ; w^hich it is well
known is astonishingly deaf to all complaints against its gov-
ernors, provided they discharge the main duty of their station

— squeezing out a good revenue. This hint will be of im-
portance, to prevent my readers from being seized with doubt
and incredulity, whenever, in the course of this authentic
history, they encounter the uncommon circumstance of a
governor acting with independence, and in opposition to the
opinions of the multitude.

To assist the doubtful Wouter in the arduous business of
legislation, a board of magistrates was appointed, which pre-
sided immediately over the police. This potent body consisted
of a schout or bailiff, with powers between those of the present
mayor and sheriff — five burgermeesters, who were equivalent
to aldermen, and five schepens, who officiated as scrubs, sub-
devils, or bottle holders to the burgermeesters, in the same
manner as do assistant aldermen to their principals at the
present day ; it being their duty to fill the pipes of the lordly
burgermeesters — hunt the markets for delicacies for corpora-
tion dinners, and to discharge such other little offices of kind-
ness as "were occasionally required. It was, moreover, tacitly


understood, though not specifically enjoined, that they should
consider themselves as butts for the blunt wits of the burger-
meesters, and should laugh most heartily at all their jokes ;
but this last was a dut}^ as rarely called in action in those
days as it is at present, and was shortly remitted, in conse-
quence of the tragical death of a fat Utile schepen — who
actually died of suffocation, in an unsuccessful effort to force
a laugh at one of the burgermeester Van Zandt's best

In return for these humble services, they were permitted to
say yes and no at the council board, and to have that enviable
privilege, the run of the public kitchen — being graciously
permitted to eat, and drink, and smoke, at all snug junketings
and public gormandizings, for which the ancient magistrates
were equally famous with their modern successors. The post
of schepen, therefore, like that of assistant alderman, was
eagerly coveted by all your burghers of a certain description,
who have a huge relish for good feeding, and an humble ambi-
tion to be great men in a small way — who thirst after a little
brief authority, that shall render them the terror of the alms-
house and the bridewell — that shall enable them to lord it
over obsequious poverty, vagrant vice, outcast prostitution,
and hunger-driven dishonesty — that shall give to their beck
a houndlike pack of catchpoles and bumbailiffs — tenfold
greater rogues than the culprits they hunt down ! — My readers
will excuse this sudden warmth, which I confess is unbecoming
of a grave historian — but I have a moral antipathy to catch-
poles, bumbailiffs, and little great men.

The ancient magistrates of this city corresponded with those
of the present time no less in form, magnitude, and intellect,
than in prerogative and privilege. The burgomasters, like our
aldermen, were generally chosen by weight — and not only the
weight of the body, but likewise the weight of the head. It
is a maxim practically observed in all honest, plain-thinking,
regular cities, that an alderman should be fat — and the wis-
dom of this can be proved to a certainty. That the body is in
some measure an image of the mind, or rather that the mind is
molded to the body, like melted lead to the clay in which it
is cast, has been insisted on by many philosophers, who have
made human nature their peculiar study — for as a learned
gentleman of our own city observes, '* there is a constant rela-
tion between the moral character of all intelligent creatures,


and their physical constitution — between their habits and the
structure of tlieir bodies." Thus we see that a lean, spare,
diminutive body is generally accompanied by a petulant, rest-
less, meddling mind — either the mind wears iown the body,
by its continual motion ; or else the body, not affording the
mind sufficient houseroom, keeps it continually m a state of
fretfulness, tossing and worrying about from tlie uneasiness
of its situation. Whereas your round, sleek, fat, unwieldy
periphery is ever attended by a mind like itself, tranquil, torpid,
and at ease ; and we may always observe that your well-fed,

Online LibraryAndrew LangThe International library of famous literature : selections from the world's great writers, ancient, mediaeval, and modern, with biographical and explanatory notes and with introductions (Volume FIFTEEN (15)) → online text (page 1 of 47)