Charles Dexter Cleveland.

A compendium of American literature; chronologically arranged, with biographical sketches of the authors online

. (page 60 of 70)
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vienta of beanty into the fair proportions of a pietave. Tbe
poet bears mnsic in common soands, and sees lovelinesB by tin
wayside. There is not a change in the sky, nor a noise of Ihc
water, near a sweet hnman voice, which does not bring him
pleasare. He sees all the light and hears all the mosie about
him — and this is poetry.

To one thus gifted, nature is a friend of many sweet offioee
and trne consolations. Gall it Tisionary if yon will, the has
glad fellowship for the happy, and medicine for tbe wonnded
spirit, and caun commnaion for gentle thoughts, wbiefa are
the life of his moral being. Let ^im seek her inben be will,
if his heart be anything bnt dead, the poor sympathy of the
world is a mockery to her ministering infloenoes. I dare go
farther. The power of nature over such a mind as I hare (to-
scribed is, in cases of extreme mental sulTering, or abandon*
ment, stronger than any other moral influence. There is some-
thiuff in its deep and serene beanty inexpressibly aootUng to
the diseased mind. It steals orer it silently, and gradually,
like an invisible finger, erasing its dark lines and remoTing its
brooding shadows, and before he is aware, he is loTing, aad
enjoying, and feeling, as he did in better days wben his spirit
was untroubled. To those who see nothing about ^m bnt
phymoal convenience, these aswerttons may seem extga vaga a t ;
but they are nevertheless trae ; and blessed be the Author ef
oar lacnlUes, there are some who know, by experienee, that
nature is a friend and a physician to the sick and solitary
spirit of her worshipper.



HBNRY WADSWORTH LONGFBLLOW.

Hbkbt W. Lqvofbllow is the son of Hon. Stephen LongfeQoir, U
Portland, Maine, and was bom in that city on the 27th of Febmaix,
1807. At the age of fourteen, he entered Bowdoin College, Bmnawick,
and graduated there in 1825. Soon after, being offered a profasBor-
ship of modem languages in his own college, he resolired to prepare
himself thorooghlj for his new duties, and aooordiagly left hosM for
Europe, and passed three years and a half in trarelling or retidiag
in France, Spain, Italj, Germanj, Holland, aad Bnc^d. He re-
turned in 1829, and Altered upon the duties of his ofloe. In 1886,



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HENBT W. LONGFELLOW. 6il

on the resignation of Mr. (George Tioknor, lie wm elected professor of
modem languages and belles-lettres in Harvard College, Cambridge.
Again, therefore, he went abroad, to become more thoironghly ao-
qnainted with the languages and literature of modem Europe, and
passed more than twelye months in Denmark, Sweden, Qermanj, and
Switzerland. He returned in 1836 to enter upon his new duties, and
has ever since resided at Cambridge, in the faithful and honorable
discharge of the same.

Mr. Longfellow's literary career, which has been so highly credit-
able to him, began verj early. Before leaving college, he wrote a
few carefully finished poems for the " United States Literary Gazette,"
and while professor at Bowdoin he contributed some valuable criti-
cisms to the "North American Review." In 1833, he published his
translation from the Spanish of the celebrated poem of Don Joze
Manrique, oh the death of his father, together with an introductory
essay on Spanish poetry. In 1835, appeared his "Outre-Mer," a col-
lection of travelling sketches and miscellaneous essays; in 1839,
" Hyperion, a Romance," and " Voices of the Night," his first collec-
tion of poems; in 1841, <* Ballads and other Poems;" in 1842,
<* Poems on SUvery;" in 1843, "The Spanish Student," a play; in
1845, the ** Poets and Poetry of Europe," and the " Belfiy of Bruges ;"
in 1847, " EvangeUne ;" in 1848, " Kavanagh, a Tale ;" in 1849, " The
Seaside and the Fireside;" in 1851, "The Golden Legend;" and in
1865, "The Song of Hiawatha."

It will thus be seen that Mr. Longfellow is a most prolific writer,
and the many editions of his works that are called for show that he
is also a very popular one. And his popularity he richly deserves,
for his poetry, and indeed his prose, are marked by great tenderness
of feeling, purity of sentiment, elevation of thought, and deep human
interest. His genius is versatile, for he has trodden almost every
path of polite literature, and gathered flowers from them all ; and if
his strength has failed to carry him to the topmost eminence, he has
the satisfaction of knowing that many of his writings have become,
as they deserve, "household words," and have so touched the heart,
that posterity will not willingly let them die.

A P8ALM OF LIFE.
Wkat tli« heart of th« joong m&a Bftid to tho Fsalnit t.

Tell me not, in moomfal numbers,

Life is but an empty dream I
For the soul is dead that slumbers.

And things are not what they seem.



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622 HSNBT W. LONOnLLOW.

Life is real ! Life is earnest 7
And the grave is not its goal ;

" Dost thoa art, to dost retamest,*'
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is oar destined end or way ;

Bat to act, that each to-morrow
Find OS farther than to-daj.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And oar hearts, thoagh stoat and brayoy

Still, like moffled drams, are beating
Foneral marches to the grays.

In the world's broad field of battle.

In the bivonac of Life,
Be not like dnmb, driven cattle I

Be a hero in the strife I

Trast no Fntare, howe'er pleasant I
Let the dead Past hnrj its dead t

Act— act in the living Present !
Heart within, and Qod overhead 1

Lives of great men all remind as
We can make onr lives Bablim«,

And, departing, leave behind as
Footprints on the sands of time ;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's s<demn main,

A forlom and shipwrecked brother.
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let OS, thea, be np and doing,
With a heart for any fate ;

Still achieving, still parsaing.
Learn to labor and to wait.



THS RKAPBR AND THX FLOWEBfi.

There is a Reaper, whose name is Death,

And, with his sickle keen,
He reaps the bearded grain at a breath.

And the flowers that grow between.

« Shall I have nanght that is f^r r saith he ;

" Have naaght bat the bearded grain f
Thoagh the breath of these flowers is sweet to me,

I will give them all back again."



\



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HBIOLY W. XXWOrXUiOW. 9S8

He gated at tlie flofwen with tearful ejea,

He kissed their drooping leaves ;
It was for the Lord of Paradise

He bound them in his sheayes.

"My Lord has need of these flowerets gaj,"

The Reaper said, and smiled ;
« Dear tokens of the earth are thej.

Where he once was a child.

" They shall all bloom in fields of light,

Transplanted by my care,
And saints, upon their garments white,

These sacred blossoms wear."

And the mother gave, in tears and pain,

The flowers she most did love ;
She knew she should find them all again

In the fields of light above.

0, not in omelty, not in wrath.

The Reaper came that day ;
Twas an angel visited the green earth,

And took the fiowers away.



FOOTSTEPS OF ANQELS.

When the hours of Day are numbered.

And the voices of the Night
Wake the better soul, that slumbered.

To a holy, calm delight ;

Ere the evening lamps are lighted,
And, like phantoms grim and tall,

Shadows from the fitful fire-light
Dance upon the parlor-wall ;

Then the forms of the departed

Enter at the open door ;
The beloved, the true-hearted,

Come to visit me once niore ;

He, the young and strong, who cherished

Noble longings for the strife.
By the road-side fell and perished,

Weary with the march of life !

They, the holy ones and weakly,
Who the cross of suffering bore,

Folded their pale hands so meekly,
Spake with us on earth no more I



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694 HBNET W. LOMGfBLl^OW.

And with ihem the Being Beauteous,
Who nnto my youth was giyen,

More than all things else to love me,
And is now a saint in heaven.

With a slow and noiseless footstep
Comes that messenger divine,

Takes the vacant chair beside me.
Lays her gentle hand in mine.

And she sits and gazes at me
With those deep and tender eyes,

Like the stars, so still and saint-like.
Looking downward from the skies.

Uttered not, yet comprehended.
Is the spirit's voiceless prayer.

Soft rebukes, in blessings ended.
Breathing from her lips of air.

O, though oft deinvssed and lonely,
All my fears are laid aside,

If I but remember only
Such as these have lived and died 1



THE ARSENAL AT SPRINGFIELD.

This is the Arsenal. From floor to ceiling,

Like a huge organ, rise the burnished arms ;
But from their silent pipes no anthem pealing
• Startles the villagers with strange alarms.

Ah I what a sound will rise, how wild and dreary,
When the death-angel touches those swift keys t

What loud lament and dismal MiserSr^
Will mingle with tbeir awful symphonies I

I hear even now the infinite fierce chorus,
The cries of agony, the endless g^an.

Which, through the ages that have gone before us,
In long reverberations reach our own.

On helm and harness rings the Saxon hammer.
Through Cimbric forest roars the N<M«eman*s song.

And loud, amid the universal clamor,
O'er distant deserts sounds the Tartar gong.

I hear the Florentine, who from his palaoe
Wheels out his battle-bell with dreadful din.

And Aztec priests upon their teocallis
Beat the wild war-drums made of serpent's skin ;



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HSHBY W. LONef SLLOW. 636

The tamBlt of eaoh sacked and bnming village ;

The shoal that every prayer for meroy drowns ;
The soldier's revels in the midst of pillage ;

The wail of fumine in b^eaguered towns ;

The bursting sheU, the gateway wrenched ainnder,

The rattling musketry, the olashina blade ;
And ever and anon, in tones of thunder,

The diapason of the cannonade.

Is it, O maUf with such discordant noises,

With such accursed instruments as these,
Thou drownest Nature's sweet and kindly voices,

And Jarrest the celestial harmonies f

Were half the power, that fills the world with terror,
Were half the wealth, bestowed on camps and courts.

Given to redeem the human mind from error.
There were no need of arsenals nor forts :

The warrior's name would be a name abhoned!

And every nation, that should lifk again
Its hand against a brother, on its forehead

Would wear forevermore the curse of Gain!

Down the dark future, through long generations,
The echoing sounds grow Winter, and then cease ;

And like a bell, with solemn, sweet vibrations,
I hear once more the voice of Christ say, " Peace !"

Peace ! and no longer from its blazen portals
The blast of War's great organ shakes, the skies !

But beautiftil as songs of the immortals,
The holy melodies of love arise.



AUTUMN.

With what a glory comes and goes the year !
The buds of spring, those beautiful harbingers
Of sunny skies and cloudless times, enjoy
Life's newness, and earth's garniture spread out ;
And when the silver habit of the clouds
Comes down upon the autumn sun, and with
A sober gladness the old year takes up
His bright inheritance of golden fruits,
A pomp and pageant fill the splendid scene.

There is a beautiful spirit breathing now
Its mellow richness on the clustered trees.
And, from a beaker full of richest dyes.
Pouring new glory on the autumn woods,

53



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626 HXHET w. umamsjom:

And dipping in warm light the pillared olonds.
Mom on the mountain, like a snmmer Mrd,
Lifts up her pnrple wing, and in the ^alee
The gentle wind, a sweet and passiimate wooer.
Kisses the blushing leaf, and stirs np life
Within the solemn woods of ash deep-orimsoned.
And silyer beech, and maple yellow-leaved,
Where autumn, like a faint old man, sits down
By the wayside a-weary. Through the trees
The golden robin moves. The purple finch.
That on wild-cherry and red-cedar feeds,
A winter bird, comes with its plaintive whistle.
And pecks by the witch-hazel, whilst aloud
From cottage roofe the warbling bluebird sings.
And merrily, with oft-repeated stroke.
Sounds from the threshing-floor the bu^ flail.

0, what a glory doth this world put on

For him who, with a fervent heart, goes forth

Under the bright and glorious dcy, and looks

On duties well performed, and days well spent !

For him the wind, ay, and the yellow leaves.

Shall have a voice, and give him eloquent teachings.

He shall so hear the solemn hymn, that Death

Has lifted up for aU, that he shall go

To his long resting-place without a tear.



TO WILLIAM B. CHANNING.^

The pages of thy book I read.

And, as I closed each (me.
My heart responding, ever said,

" Servant of God I well done I"

Well done t Thy words are great and bold,

At times they seem to me,
Like Luther*s in the days of old.

Half-battles for the free.

Go on, until this land revokes

The old and chartered Lie,
The feudal curse, whose whips and yokes

Insult humanity.



* This poem was written at sea, in the latter part of October, 1843. I
had not then heard ef Dr. Chaaaing's death. Smee that evoat, the poen
addressed to him is no longer appropriate. I have decided, however, to l«t
it remain as it was written, a feeble testimony of my admiratien for a greet
and good man.



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A Toioe is eyer at tfbj side
Speaking in tones of might,

Like the prophetic voice that cried
To John in Patmos, " Write !"

Write t and tell out this bloody tale I

Record this dire eclipse.
This Day of Wrath, this Endless Wail«

This dread Apocalypse I



THE WARNING.

Beware ! The Israelite of old, who tore
The lion in his path — ^when, poor and blind,

He saw the blessed light of heaven no more,
Shorn of his noble strength, and forced to grind

In prison, and at last led forth to be

A pander to Philistine revelry —

Upon the pillars of the temple laid
His desperate hands, and in its overthrow

Destroyed himself, and with him those who made
A cmel mockery of his sightless woe ;

The poor blind slave, the sooff and Jest of all.

Expired, and thousands perished in the fall !

There is a poor, blind Samson in this laud.
Shorn of his strength, and boand in bonds of steel,

Who may, in some grim revel, raise his hand,
And shake the pillars of this commonweal.

Till the vast temple of our liberties

A shapeless mass of wreck and mbbish lies.



EXOELSIOR.

The shades of night were falling fast.
As through an Alpine village passed
A youth, who bore 'mid snow and ice,
A banner with the strange device,
Exc^ior !

His brow was sad ; hSs eye benekth
Flashed like a falchion from Its shoath.
And like a silver clarion rung
The accents of that unknown tongue,
Excelsior!

In happy homes he saw the light

Of honia^old fires gleam warm and bright ;



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6t8 Hmsr w. lohoiulow.

Abore, the ipeotral i^aoiert slioiie.
And fiK>m his lipi escaped s groao,
Sxceliiort

^Ttj not the pass!" the old man said ;
** Dark lowers the tempeet overhead ;
The roaring torrent is deep and wide t'*
And load that clarion yoioe replied,
Sxoelsiort

'■O, stay," the maiden said, "and rest
Thj weary head npon this breast f "
A tear stood in his bright bine eye,
Bat still he answered, with a sigh,
Bzoelsior!

" Beware the pine-tree *s withered branch !
Beware the awfal avalanche I"
This was the peasant *s last good-night ;
A yoioe replied, far up the height,
^celsior!

At break of day, as heavenward
The pious monks of Saint Bernard
Uttered the oft-repeated prayer,
A voice cried through the startled air,
Szcelaior t

A traveller, by the fsithftil hound.
Half-buried in the snow was found.
Still grasping in his hand of ice
That banner with the strange device.
Excelsior !

There, In the twilight cold and gray.
Lifeless, but beautiful, he lay,
And fhnn the sky, serene and far,
A voice fell, like a falling star,
Bzoelsior t



spuNa

In all climates Spring is beaatifal. The birds begin io
sing; they otter a few rapturous notes, and tiien wait for an
answer in the silent woods. Those green-coated musicians,
the frogs, make holiday in the neighboring marshes. Tbej,
too, belong to the orchestra of Nature ; whose vast theatre is
again opened, though the doors have been so long bolted with
icicles, and the scenery hung with snow and frost like cob-
webs. This is the prelude which announces the opening of the



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scene. Already the grus alioete forth. The imters leap wiUi
thriUiBg pulse through the ^eins of the earth ; the sap through
the yeins of the plants and trees; and the blood through £e
Teins of man. What a thrill of delight in Spring-time 1 What
a joy in being* and moyingi Men are at work in gardens;
and in the air there is an odor of the fresh earth. The leaf-
bods begin to swell and blasb. The white blossoms of the
cherry hang npon the boughs like snow-flakes ; and ere long
our next-door neighbors will be completely hidden from us by
the dense green foliage. The May-flowers open their soft blue
eyes. Children are let loose in the fields and gardens. They
hold buttercups under each other's chins, to see if they love
butter. And the little girls adorn themselves with chains and
curls of dandelions; pull out the yellow leaves, to see if the
schoolboy loves them, and blow the down from the leafless
stalk, to find out if their mothers want them at home.

And at night so cloudless and so still I Not a voice of
living thing — ^not a whisper of leaf or waving bough — ^not a
breath of wind — not a sound upon the earth nor in the air !
And of erhead bends the blue sky, dewy and soft, and radiant
with innnmerable stars, Hke the inyerted bell of some blue
flower, sprinkled with golden dust, and breathing firagnmee.
Or if the heavens are oyereast, it is no wild storm of wind and
rain ; but clouds that melt and fall in showers. One does not
wish to sleep ; but lies awake to hear the pleasant sound of the
dropping rain.



QBOBaS B. OHBBVIUL

QaoB«B Babbxll Chebvsr was bom at Hallowell^Maine^ on the 17Ui
of April, 1807, graduated at Bewdofai College in 1626» and studied
theology at Aadover, Maasaohosetts. He was lieensed to preaoh j(n
1880, and in 1632 was ordained aa pastor of the Howaid BUreet ChuMh,
Balem, Massjaohnatitil He commaiioeA hit miaiaiiy wiU& an noeom-
promishig spirit against evezjthing that hindesed the apmd of the
€k)8pel of Christ, of the object of which "0ospel"i he SBMoad to hate
a clear nadentanding. Such a spirit would not long need a snbfaet
against which to direct its energies. Accordingly, when the tempe-

^ UvAyyvMf, •* Oood-wm to man.''
63*



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680 QMMIB. OHBEVBU

imaee i^fomiAtion began, he was found the foremoet and the
in the van of those who enlisted in this great moral wmrlkre. In
Fehraaiy, 1835, appeared in the ** Salem Landmark" a pieee entitled
« Inquire at Amee OUes' DtetiUeij," that qnite eleotriied that qniei
eommnnitj; for, under the guise of ''a dream," il depleted, in the
most appalling colors, the hateful, soul-destrojing businees of distill-
ing and Tending intoxicating drinks. Srerj one immediately or
remotely engaged in it meditated revenge against the antlior, and a
prosecution was instituted against him for libel, alleging that, under
the name of '* Deacon Giles," the writer really meant a oertain * dea-
oon** long and notoriously engaged in distilling, and who was alio *'a
treasurer to a Bible Society, and had a little counting-room in cae
comer of the distillery where he sold Bibles." Mr. CheeTer pleaded
his own cause, and in his defence thus remarked upon the



NATUBX or A DISmUUL'S BUBINZ88.

Coald the amount of misery, in time and eternity, which may
one disUU^ in Salem has occasioned, be portrayed befoie
your hoBor, I should feel no solicitude for the results Let the
mothers who haye been broken-hearted, the wi?ee Uiat have
been made widows, the children that haye been made father-

, less, the parents borne down with a bereayement worse than
death, in the yices of their children, be arrayed in yoor pre-
sence; let the families reduced to penury, disgraced with
crime, and consumed with anguish, that the owners of one dis-
tillery might accumulate their wealth, be gathered before you.
Let Uie prosecutor in this suit go to the gprayeyards, and sum-
mon their shrouded tenants ; let him summon before you the
ghosts of those whose bodies have been laid in the grare from
that one distillery; let him call up, if he could, the souls that
hate been shut out from heaven and prepared for heU, tiiroueh
the fnstnimentality of the liquor manufactured there; and let
him ash what is ikeir verdict — ^Need I suppose the judgment?
Sorely ft would be said : Let the d^endant be shielded. Bwn
if he has overstepped the limits of exact pfbdence, in his efforts
tb portr^ the evils of intemperance; in the name of meroy,

. let the gnat object of the effort shield Asm, and let the law be
turned against tiiat dreadful bwne$$ whose nature he has aimed
to dfilineata."

To the lasting disgrace of that jndioiaiy, the defendant was oon-



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GIOBCDB B. OBXBTBB. 681

demited, and BMiteneed to tliiity dajs' impri8onmdiii - «ii honor to
^wliioh his children may well look back with pride.

In 1836, Mr. Gheeyer went to Europe, and waa absent about two
jream and a half. On his return he was installed pastor of the Allen
Street Church, New York. In 1644, he again rlsfted Europe, and
remained there a jear. In 1846, he was installed pastor of the
" Church of the Puritans," fa New York, In which he still remains.

Mr. Cheever is the author of a great number of works, all excellent
in their kind, eyinoing genius, scholarship, and industry in an emi-
nent degree.* But he has what all scholars have not — ardent phi-
lanthropj and pure Christian patriotism, taking a deep interest in
ererything that pertains to the well-being of his brother man. As in
the first years of his ministry, Mr. Cheeyer entered heartily the lists
against our one giant yice-— intemperance— oyer which almost the
whole community were sleeping, so for the past few years his yigorous
pen and eloquent preaching haye been directed against our great
national sin, slayery. To the columns of that ablest of papers, the
^ New York Independent," he has been a fegular contributor since its
establishment in 1849, and all his pieces, whether in literature, poli-
tics, practical morals, or religion, show great power and genius, but
aboye all the pure Christian patriot. Within the last year, his heart
has been more e8x>ecially enlisted in the anti-slavery cause, in which
he has signally distinguished himself. His yiews upon the religious
aspect of the subject he has embodied in a work Just published, en-

> The following list, I beliere, oompriaes all his works :— American Com-
mon-place Book of Prose, 1828 ; American Oommon-plaoe Book of Poetry,
1829 ; Studies in Poetry, with Biographical Sketches of the Poets, 1830 ;
Selections from Archbishop Leighton, with an Introductory Essay, 1832;
Ood*8 Hand in America, 1841 ; The Argument for Punishment by Death,
1842; Lectures on Pilgrim's Progress, 1843; Hierarchical Leetores, 1844;
Wanderings of a Pilgrim in the Shadow of Montx Blanc and the Yungfraa
Alp, 1846 ; The Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, 1848 ; The Hill Diffi-
culty, and other Allegories, 1849 ; The Windings of the Rirer of the Water
of Life, 1849; Voices of Nature to her Foster Child, the Soul of Man, 1852;
Bight of the Bible in our Common Schools, 1854; Lectures on Cowper, 1856;
The Powers of the World to Come, 1856 j God Against Slavery, 1857.

Dr. Cheever, in earlier years, was a contributor to the *' United States
LiiMary Gaietie,'-' *'The Quarterly Register,*' and "The New Monthly
Magaxine.'' He has written articles of great ability for "The Biblical Re-
pository,'' "The New-Englander," "The Bibliotheca Sacra," and "The
Quarterly Obserrer." He was a yaluable correspondent of the " New York
Observer" when in Europe, and editor of the "New York ETangelist" dur-
ing 1845 and 1846. He is now writing a series of articles for " The Biblio-
theca Sacra," on the Judgment of the Old Testament against Slavery, which
evince characteristic argumentation combined with remarkable philological
investigation.



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632 awcmoE b. obsbvxb.

titled «< God Against SUrerT^," in wUeh ha Ham, oocMiondl j, i
to the snblimit J of the anoient {ooplieti in Us dennneiatiOB of <
sion.'

The following extracts tntm Dr. Cheerer's raxions writings wfH, H
is beliered, give a fair and just riew of the ohsraeter of his mind, tte
sabjeets in which he is mcst deeplj interested, and the qoalitT' of his
stjle.



THE BSNSFIT Of OiUElK OULTUJfcB."



Online LibraryCharles Dexter ClevelandA compendium of American literature; chronologically arranged, with biographical sketches of the authors → online text (page 60 of 70)