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FROM “LOWELL'S CONVERSATIONS." depth in the sea; but in the ocean of baseness, the
The earliest poetry of all countries is sacred deeper we get the easier the sinking. Is for the poetry, or that in which the idea of God predomi. kindness which Milton and Burns felt for the Devil, nates and is developed. The first effort at speech I am sure that God thinks of him with pity a thouwhich man's nature makes in all tongues is, to pro. sand times to their once, and the good Origin believ. nounce the word " Father." Reverence is the ed him not incapable of salvation. foundation of all poetry. From Reverence the spirit
These simplest thoughts, feelings and expe. climbs on to love, and thence beholds all things. riences, that lie upon the very surface of life, are No matter in what Scythian fashion these first re
overlooked by all but uncommon eyes. Most look cognitions of something above and beyond the soul upon them as mere weeds. Yet a weed, to him that are uttered, they contain the germs of psalms and loves it, is a flower; and there are times when we prophecies. Whether, for a while, the immortal would not part with a sprig of chickweed for a whole guest rests satisfied with a Fetish or an Apollo, it continent of lilies. No man thinks his own nature has already grasped the clew which leads unerringly miraculous, while to his neighbour it may give a to the very highest idea. For reverence is the most surseit of wonder. Let him go where he will, he keen-eyed and exacting of all the faculties, and, if can find no heart so worth a study as his own. there be the least flaw in its idol, it will kneel no
The prime fault of modern poets is, that they are longer. From wood it rises to gold and ivory; from resolved to be peculiar. They are not content that these, to the yet simpler and more majestic marble; it should come of itself, but they must dig and bore and, planting its foot upon that, it leaps upward to for it, sinking their wells usually through the grave the infinite and invisible. When I assume reve.
of some buried originality, so that if any water rises rence, then, as the very primal essence and life of it is tainted. Read most volumes of poems, and poetry, I claim for it a nobler stirp than it has been you are reminded of a French bill of fare, where the fashion to allow it. Beyond Adam runs back its every thing is á la something else.
Even a potato illustrious genealogy. stood with Uriel in the au naturel is a godsend. When will poets learn sun, and looked down over the battlements of heaven that a grass-blade of their own raising is worth a with the angelic guards. In short, it is no other barrow-load of flowers from their neighbour's than the religious sentiment itself.
That is poetry garden ? which makes sorrow lovely, and joy solemn to us,
Ah, if we would but pledge ourselves to truth as and reveals to us the holiness of things. Faith casts heartily as we do to a real or imaginary mistress, herself upon her neck as upon a sister's. She shows and think life too short only because it abridged our us what glimpses we get of life's spiritual face. time of service, what a new world we should bave! What she looks on becomes miraculous, though it Most men pay their vows to her in youth, and go be but the dust of the way-side; and miracles be. up into the bustle of life, with her kiss warm upon come but as dust for their simpleness. There is their lips, and her blessing lying upon their hearts nothing noble without her; with her there can be like dew; but the world has lips less chary. and nothing mean. What songs the Druids sang within cheaper benedictions, and if the broken trothplight the sacred circuit of Stonehenge we can barely con
with their humble village.mistress comes over them jecture; but those forlorn stones doubtless echoed sometimes with a pang, she knows how to blandish with appeals to a higher something; and are not away remorse, and persuades them, ere old age, even now without their sanetity, since they chroni- that their young enthusiasm was a folly and an incle a nation's desire after God. Whether those forest
discretion. priests worshipped the strangely beautiful element I agree with you that the body is treated with of fire, or if the pilgrim Belief pitched her tent and quite too much ceremony and respect. Even relirested for a night in some ruder and bleaker creed, gion has vailed its politic hat to it, till, like Christhere we may yet trace the light footprints of Poesy, topher Sly, it is metamorphosed, in its own estimaas she led her sister onward to fairer fields, and tion, from a tinker to a duke. Men, who would, streams flowing nearer to the oracle of God.
without compunction, kick a living beggar, will yet Byron might have made a great poet. As it is, stand in awe of his poor carcass, aster all that renhis poetry is the record of a struggle between his dered it truly venerable has fled out of it. We good and his baser nature, in which the latter wins. agree with the old barbarian epitaph which affirmed The fall is great in proportion to the height from that the handfull of dust had been Ninus ; as if that which one is hurled. An originally beautiful spirit which convicts us of mortality and weakness could becomes the most degraded when perverted. It at the same time endow us with our high preroga. would fain revenge itself upon that purity from tive of kingship over them. South, in one of his which it is an unhappy and restless exile, and drowns sermons, tells us of certain men whose souls are of its remorse in the drunkenness and vain bluster of no worth, but as salt to keep their bodies from pudefiance. There is a law of neutralization of forces, trifying. I fear that the soul is too often regarded which hinders bodies from sinking beyond a certain in this sutler fashion. Why should men ever be
afraid to die, but that they regard the spirit as secon- , word spoken for her ever fail of some willing and dary to that which is but its mere appendage and fruitsul ear. Even under our thin crust of fashion conveniency, its symbol, its word, its means of visi- and frivolity throb the undying fires of the great bility? If the soul lose this poor mansion of hers soul of man, the fountain and centre of all poetry, by the sudden conflagration of disease, or by the and which will one day burst forth to wither like slow decay of age, is she therefore houseless and grass-blades the vain temples and palaces which shelterless ? If she cast away this soiled and tat- forms and conventionalities have heaped smothertered garment, is she therefore naked ? A child ingly upon it. Behind the blank faces of the weak looks forward to his new suit, and dons it joyfully; and thoughtless, I see, sometimes with a kind of we cling to our rags and foulness. We should wel. dread, this awful and mysterious presence, as I have come Death as one who brings us tidings of the find-seen one of Allston's paintings in a ball-room overing of long-lost titles to a large family estate, and looking with its serene and steadfast eyes the but. set out gladly to take possession, though, it may be, terfly throng beneath, and seeming to gaze, from not without a natural tear for the humbler home we these narrow battlements of time, far out into the are leaving. Death always means us a kindness, infinite promise of the future, beholding there the though he has often a gruff way of offering it. Even free, erect, and perfected soul. if the soul never returned from that chartless and No sincere desire of doing good need make an unmapped country, which I do not believe, I would enemy of a single human being; for that is a capatake Sir John Davies's reason as a good one : city in which he is by nature infitted to shine. It “ But, as Noah's pigeon, which returned no more, may, and must, rouse opposition ; but that philanDid show she footing found, for all the flood ;
thropy has surely a flaw in it, which cannot sympaSo, when good souls, departed through death's door, Come not again, it shows their dwelling good."
thize with the oppressor equally as with the oppressThe realm of Death seems an enemy's country ed. It is the high and glorious vocation of Poesy to most men, on whose shores they are loathly driven as well to make our own daily life and toil more by stress of weather ; to the wise man it is the de- beautiful and holy to us by the divine ministerings sired port where he moors his bark gladly, as in of love, as to render us swist to convey the same some quiet haven of the Fortunate Isles; it is the blessing to our brother. Poesy is love's chosen golden west into which his sun sinks, and, sinking, apostle, and the very almoner of God. She is the casts back a glory upon the leaden cloud-rack which the home of the outcast, and the wealth of the needy. had darkly besieged his day.
For her the hut becomes a palace, whose halls are After all, the body is a more expert dialectician guarded by the gods of Phidias, and kept peaceful than the soul, and buffets it, even to bewilderment, by the maid-mothers of Raphael. She loves better with the empty bladders of logic; but the soul can the poor wanderer whose bare feet know by heart retire, from the dust and turmoil of such conflict, to all the freezing stones of the pavement, than the the high tower of instinctive faith, and there, in delicate maiden for whose dainty soles Brussels and hushed serenity, take comfort of the sympathizing Turkey have been over-careful; and I doubt not stars. We look at death through the cheap glazed but some remembered scrap of childish song hath windows of the flesh, and believe him for the mon- often been a truer alms than all the benevolent socister which the flawed and crooked glass presents eties could give. She is the best missionary, knowhim. You say truly that we have wasted time in ing when she may knock at the door of the most trying to coax the body into a faith in what, by its curmudgeonly hearts, without being turned away very nature, it is incapable of comprehending. unheard. The omnipresence of her spirit is beautiHence, a plethoric, short-winded kind of belief, that fully and touchingly expressed in
- The Poet,'' one can walk at an easy pace over the smooth plain, but of the divisions of a little volume of poems by Corloses breath at the first sharp uphill of life. How idle nelins Matthews. Were the whole book as simple is it to set a sensual bill of fare before the soul, in thought and diction as the most of this particular acting over again the old story of the Crane and the poem, I know few modern volumes that would equal Fox!
it. Let me read you the passage I alluded to You I know not when we shall hear pure spiritualism will see that the poor slave is not forgotten. preached by the authorized expounders of doctrine. ** There sits not on the wilderness's edge, These have suffered the grain to mildew, while they
In the dusk lodges of the wintry North,
Nor couches in the rice fields slimy sedge, have been wrangling about the husks of form; and Nor on the cold, wide waters ventures forth,
Who waits not, in the pauses of his toil, the people have stood by, hungry and half-starved,
With hope that spirits in the air may sing ; too intent on the issue of the quarrel to be conscious
Who upward turns not, at propitious times,
Breathless, his silent feaiures listening, that they were trampling the forgotten and scattered In desert and in lodge, on marsh and main, bread of life in the mire. Thank Heaven, they
To feed his hungry heart and conquer pain." may still pluck ripe ears, of God's own planting and The love of the beautiful and truo, like the dewwatering, in the fields !
drop in the heart of the crystal, remains forever True poetry is never out of place, nor will a good clear and liquid in the inmost shrine of man's being,
though all the rest be turned to stone by sorrow anding its wings to seek some fairer height. This is degradation. The angel, who has once come down true only when love has been but one of the thoue, into the soul, will not be driven thence by any sin sand vizards of selfishness, when we have loved ouror baseness even, much less by any undeserved selves in the beautiful spirit we have knelt to; that oppression or wrong. At the soul's gate sits she is, when we have merely loved the delight we felt silently, with folded hands and downcast eyes; but, in loving. Then it is that the cup we so thirsted at the least touch of nobleness, those patient orbs after tastes bitter or insipid, and we fling it down are serenely uplifted, and the whole spirit is light- undrunk. Did we empty it, we should find that it ened with their prayersul lustre. Over all life broods was the poor, muddy dregs of self at the bottom, Poesy, like the calm, blue sky with its motherly, which made our gorge rise. If it be God whom we rebuking face. She is the true preacher of the Word, love in loving our elected one, then shall the bright and when, in time of danger and trouble, the es. | halo of her spirit expand itself over all existence, tablished shepherds have cast down their crooks and till every human face we look upon shall share in fled, she tenderly careth for the flock. On her calm, its transfiguration, and the old forgotten traces of and fearless heart rests weary freedom, when all brotherhood be lit up by it; and our love, instead the world have driven her from the door with scoffs of pining discomforted, shall be lured upward and and mockings. From her white breasts flows the upward by low, angelical voices, which recede bestrong milk which nurses our heroes and martyrs; fore it forever, as it mounts from brightening sumand she blunts the sharp tooth of the fire, makes the mit to summit on the delectable mountains of aspiaxe edgeless, and dignifies the pillory or the gal. rations and resolve and deed. lows. She is the great reformer, and, where the If any have aught worth hearing to say, let them love of her is strong and healthy, wickedness and say it, be they men or women. We have more wrong cannot long prevail. The more this love is cul- than enough prating by those who have nothing to tivated and refined, the more do men strive to make tell us. I never heard that the Quaker women were their outward lives rhythmical and harmonious, the worse for preaching, or the men for listening to that they may accord with that inward and domi- them. If we pardon such exhibitions as those of the nant rhythm by whose key the composition of all dancing-females on the stage, surely our prudery noble and worthy deeds is guided. To make one need not bristle in such a hedgehog fashion because object, in outward or inward nature, more holy to a a woman in the chaste garb of the Friends dares to single heart is reward enough for a life ; for, the plead in public for the downtrodden cause of justice more sympathies we gain or awaken for what is and freedom. Or perhaps it is more modest and beautiful, by so much deeper will be our sympathy maidenly for a woman to expose her body in public for that which is most beautiful,—the human soul. than her soul ? If we listen and applaud, while, as Love never contracts its circles: they widen by as Coleridge says, fixed and sure a law as those around a pebble cast
“ Heaves the proud harlot her distended breast into still water. The angel of love, when, full of
In intricacies of laborious song," sorrow,
he followed the first exiles, behind whom must we esteem it derogatory to our sense of refinethe gates of Paradise shut with that mournful clang, ment to drink from the fresh brook of a true woman's of which some faint echo has lingered in the hearts voice, as it gushes up from a heart throbbing only of all their offspring, unwittingly snapped off and with tenderness for our neighbour fallen among brought away in his hand the seed-pod of one of the thieves? Here in Massachusetts we burn Popish never-fading flowers which grew there. Into all nunneries, but we maintain a whole system of Prodreary and desolate places fell some of its blessed testant ones. If a woman is to be an Amazon, all kernels; they asked but little soil to root them- the cloisters in the world will not starve or comselves in, and in this narrow patch of our poor clay press her into a Cordelia. There is no sex in noble they sprang most quickly and sturdily. Gladly they thoughts, and deeds agreeing with them; and such grew, and from them all time has been sown with recruits do equally good service in the army of truth, whatever gives a higher hope to the soul, or makes whether they are brought in by women or men. life nobler and more godlike; while, from the over. Out on our Janus-faced virtue, with its one front arching sky of poesy, sweet dew forever falls, to looking smilingly to the stage, and its other with nurse and keep them green and fresh from the world's shame-shut eyes turned frowningly upon the Antidust.
slavery Convention! If other reapers be wanting, God's livery is a very plain one; but its wearers let women go forth into the harvest-field of God and have good reason to be content. If it have not so bind the ripe shocks of grain; the complexion of much gold-lace about it as Satan's, it keeps out foul their souls shall not be tanned or weather-stained, weather better, and is besides a great deal cheaper. for the sun that shines there only makes the fairer
Never was falser doctrine preached than that love's and whiter all that it looks upon. Whatever is in chief delight and satisfaction lies in the pursuit of its place is in the highest place; whatever is right its object, which won, the charm is already flutter-lis graceful, noble, expedient; and the universal hiss
of the world shall fall upon it as a benediction, and go up to the ear of God as the most moving prayer in its behalf. If a woman be truly chaste, that chastity shall surround her, in speaking to a public assembly, with a ring of protecting and rebuking light, and make the exposed rostrum as private as an oratory; if immodest, there is that in her which can turn the very house of God into a brothel.
BY JOHN G. WHITTIER.
“The despotism which our fathers could not bear in their native country is expiring, and the sword of justice in her reformed hauds has applied its exterminating edge to slavery. Shall the United States-the free United States, which could not bear the bonds of a king, cradle the bondage which a king is abolishing ? Shall a Republic be less free than a Monar: chy? Shall we, in the vigor and buoyancy of our manhood, be less energetic in righteousness than a kingdom in its age ?”.Dr. Follen's Address.
“Genius of America !-Spirit of our free institutions ! where art thou? How art thou fallen, O Lucifer ! son of the morning-how art thou fallen from Heaven ! Hell from be. neath is moved for thee, to meet thee at thy coming! The kings of the earth cry out to thee, Aha! Aha!-ART THOU BECOME LIKR UNTO US?"--Speech of Samuel J. May. Our fellow-countrymen in chains !
Slaves-in a land of light and law! Slaves—crouching on the very plains
Where rolld the storm of Freedom's war! A groan from Eutaw's haunted wood
A wail where Camden's martyrs fellBy every shrine of patriot blood,
From Moultrie's wall and Jasper's well!
What! shall we send, with lavish breath,
Our sympathies across the wave, Where Manhood, on the field of death,
Strikes for his freedom, or a grave ? Shall prayers go up, and hymns be sung
For Greece, the Moslem setter spurning, And millions hail with pen and tongue
Our light on all her altars burning ? Shall Belgium feel, and gallant France,
By Vendome's pile and Schoenbrun's wall, And Poland, gasping on her lance,
The impulse of our cheering call ? And shall the SLAVE, beneath our eye,
Clank o'er our fields his hateful chain ! And toss his fetter'd arms on high,
And groan for Freedom's gift, in vain? Oh, say, shall Prussia's banner be
A refuge for the stricken slave? And shall the Russian serf go free
By Baikal's lake and Neva's wave ?
Relax the iron hand of pride,
From setter'd soul and limb, aside ?
Proclaim that all around are free, From - farthest Ind" to each blue crag
That beetles o'er the Western Sea ? And shall we scoff at Europe's kings,
When Freedom's fire is dim with us, And round our country's altar clings
The damning shade of Slavery's curse? Go, let us ask of Constantine
To loose his grasp on Poland's throat! And beg the lord of Mahmoud's line
To spare the struggling SulioteWill not the scorching answer come
From turban'd Turk, and fiery Russ : "Go, loose your fetter'd slaves at home,
Then turn, and ask the like of us!"
By storied hill and hallow'd grot,
By mussy wood and marshy glen, Whence rang of old the rifle-shot,
And hurrying shout of Marion's men! The groan of breaking hearts is there
The falling lash—the fetter's clank! Slaves--SLAVES are breathing in that air,
Which old De Kalb and Sumter drank !
Just God! and shall we calmly rest,
The Christian's scorn-the Heathen's mirthContent to live the lingering jest
And by-word of a mocking Earth ? Shall our own glorious land retain
That curse which Europe scorns to bear ? Shall our own brethren drag the chain
Which not even Russia's menials wear?
What, ho!-our countrymen in chains !
The whip on woman's shrinking flesh! Our soil yet reddening with the stains,
Caught from her scourging, warm and fresh! What! mothers from their children riven!
What! God's own image bought and sold ! AMERICANs to market driven,
And barter'd as the brute for gold ! Speak! shall their agony of prayer
Come thrilling to our hearts in vain ?
The paltry menace of a chain;
Of holy Liberty and Light-
Plead vainly for their plunder'd Right?
Up, then, in Freedom's manly part,
From gray-beard eld to fiery youth, And on the nation's naked heart
Scatter the living coals of Truth! Up—while ye slumber, deeper yet
The shadow of our fame is growing ! Up—while ye pause, our sun may set
In blood, around our altars flowing !
BY HENRY W LONGFELLOW.
Oh! rouse ye, ere the storm comes forth
THE ARSENAL AT SPRINGFIELD.
This is the Arsenal. From floor to ceiling,
Like a huge organ, rise the burnished arms; Feel ye no earthquake underneath ?
But from their silent pipes no anthem pealing Up-up-why will ye slumber where
Startles the villages with strange alarms. The sleeper only wakes in death ?
Ah! what a sound will rise, how wild and dreary, Up now for Freedom !—not in strife
When the death-angel touches those swift keys ! Like that your sterner fathers saw
What loud lament and dismal Miserere The awful waste of human life
Will mingle with their awful symphonies !
I hear even now the infinite fierce chorus,
The cries of agony, the endless groan,
Which, through the ages that have gone before us, With those mild arms of Truth and Love,
In long reverberations reach our own. Made mighty through the living God!
On helm and harness rings the Saxon hammer, Down let the shrine of Moloch sink,
Through Cimbric forest roars the Norseman's song, And leave no traces where it stood;
And loud, arnid the universal clamor, Nor longer let its idol drink
O'er distant deserts sounds the Tartar gong.
I hear the Florentine, who from his palace
Wheels out his battle-bell with dreadful din,
And Aztec priests upon their teocallis
Beat the wild war-drums made of serpent's skin ; Shall call an answer down from Heaven !
The tumult of each sacked and burning village;
The shout that every prayer for mercy drowns ; The soldiers' revels in the midst of pillage;
The wail of famine in beleaguered towns;
The bursting shell, the gateway wrenched asunder,
The rattling musketry, the clashing blade ;
The diapason of the cannonade.
Is it, О man, with such discordant noises, And still, as oft, I thrust it back;
With such accursed instruments as these, Thy messenger I could not see
Thou drownest Nature's sweet and kindly voices, In those who every thing did lack,
And jarrest the celestial harmonies ? The poor, the outcast, and the black.
Were half the power, that fills the world with terror,
Were half the wealth, bestowed on camps and Pride held his hand before mine eyes,
courts, The world with flattery stuffed mine ears ;
Given to redeem the human mind from error,
There were no need of arsenals nor forts :
The warrior's name would be a name abhorred!
And every nation, that should lift again Yet, when I sent my love to thee,
| Its hand against a brother, on its forehead Thou with a smile didst take it in,
Would wear forevermore the curse of Cain ! And entertained it royally
Down the dark future, through long generations, Though grimed with earth, with hunger thin,
The echoing sounds grow fainter and then cease ; And leprous with the taint of sin.
And like a bell, with solemn, sweet vibrations,
I hear once more the voice of Christ say, “ Peace !" Now, every day thy love I meet As o'er the earth it wanders wide,
Peace! and no longer from its brazen portals With weary step and bleeding feet,
The blast of War's great organ shakes the skies ! Still knocking at the heart of pride,
But beautiful as songs of the immortals, And offering grace, though still denied. The holy melodies of love arise.
BY JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL.