« PrécédentContinuer »
his utterance, produced a short period of confusion in the faculties of all present. When Middleton and Hard-Heart, each of whom had involuntarily extended a hand to support the form of the old man, turned to him again, they found that the subject of their interest was removed forever beyond the necessity of their care. They mournfully placed the body in its seat, and the voice of the old Indian, who arose to announce the termination of the scene to the tribe, seemed a sort of echo from that invisible world to which the meek spirit of the trapper had just departed. "A valiant, a just, and a wise warrior has gone on the path which will lead him to the blessed grounds of his people!" he said. "When the voice of the Wahcondah called him, he was ready to answer. Go, my children; remember the just chief of the pale-faces, and clear your own tracks from briers!"
11. The grave was made beneath the shade of some noble oaks. It has been carefully watched to the present hour by the Pawnees of the Loup, and is often shown to the traveler and the trader as a spot where a just white man sleeps. In due time the stone was placed at its head, with the simple inscription which the trapper had himself requested. The only liberty taken by Middleton was to add-"MAY NO WANTON HAND EVER DISTURB HIS REMAINS." JAMES FENNIMORE COOPER.
JAMES FENNIMORE COOPER, the celebrated American novelist, was born at Burlington, New Jersey, in 1789. His father, Judge William Cooper, born in Pennsylvania, became possessed, in 1785, of a large tract of land near Otsego Lake, in the State of New York, where, in the spring of 1786, he erected the first house in Cooperstown. In 1795 and 1799 he was elected to represent that district in Congress. Here the novelist chiefly passed his boyhood to his thir teenth year, and became perfectly conversant with frontier life. At that early age he entered Yale College, where he remained three years, when he obtained a midshipman's commission and entered the navy. He passed the six following years in that service, and thus became master of the second great field of his future literary career. In 1811 he resigned his commission, married Miss Delancey, a descendant of one of the oldest and most influential families in Amer. ica, and settled down to a home life in Westchester, near New York, where he resided for a short time before removing to Cooperstown. Here he wrote his first book, "Precaution." This was followed, in 1821, by "The Spy," one of the best of all historical romances. It was almost immediately republished in all parts of Europe. It was followed, two years later, by "The Pioneers." "The Pilot," the first of his sea novels, next appeared. It is one of the most remarkable novels of the time, and everywhere obtained instant and high applause. In 1826 he visited Europe, where his reputation was already well established as one of the greatest writers of romantic fiction which our age has produced. He passed several years abroad, and was warmly welcomed in every country he visited. His literary activity was not impaired by his change of scene, as sev
eral of his best works were written while traveling. He returned home in 1833. "The Prairie," from which the above touching and effective scene was taken, the first of his works written in Europe, published in 1827, was one of the most successful of the novelist's productions. His writings throughout are distinguished by purity and brilliancy of no common merit. He was alike remarkable for his fine commanding person, his manly, resolute, independent nature, and his noble, generous heart. He died at Cooperstown, September 14, 1851.
134. ELEGY IN A COUNTRY CHURCH-YARD.
HE curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd winds slowly o'er the lea,
2. Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,
3. Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tower
The moping owl does to the moon complain
4. Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.
5. The breezy call of incense-breathing morn,
The swallow twittering from the straw-built shed,
No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed.
7. Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield,
Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke :
How bowed the woods beneath their sturdy stroke
8. Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,
9. The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
And all that beauty, all that wealth, e'er gave,
The paths of glory lead but to the grave. 10. Nor you, ye proud, impute to these the fault, If Memory o'er their tomb no trophies raise, Where through the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault The pealing anthem swells the note of praise.
11. Can storied urn, or animated bust,
Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?
Or Flattery soothe the dull, cold ear of death? 12. Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire;
13. But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page, Rich with the spoils of time, did ne'er unroll; Chill Penury repressed their noble rage,
And froze the genial current of the soul. 14. Full many a gem, of purèst ray serene,
The dark, unfathomed caves of ocean bear;
15. Some village Hampden, that with dauntless breast
16. Th' applause of listening senates to command,
And read their history in a nation's eyes,
17. Their lot forbăde: nor circumscribed alone
Their growing virtues, but their crimes confined;
Forbade to wade through slaughter to a throne,
With incense kindled at the Muse's flame.
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.
20. Yet e'en these bones from insult to protect,
With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture decked,
21. Their name, their years, spelt by th' unlettered Muse, The place of fame and elegy supply;
And many a holy text around she strews,
22. For who, to dumb forgetfulnèss a prey,
This pleasing, anxious being e'er resigned,
Nor cast one longing, lingering look behind? 23. On some fond breast the parting soul relies,
Some pious drops the closing eye requires ; E'en from the tomb the voice of nature cries, E'en in our ashes live their wonted (wunt'ed) fires. 24. For thee, who, mindful of th' unhonored dead, Dost in these lines their artless tale relate, If 'chance, by lonely contemplation led, Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate,25. Haply some hoary-headed swain may say,
"Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn,
To meet the sun upon the upland lawn.
27. "Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn, Muttering his wayward fancies, would he rove, Now drooping, woful-wan, like one forlorn,
Or crazed with care, or crossed in hopeless love. 28. “One morn I missed him on the customed hill, Along the heath, and near his favorite tree : Another came,-nor yět beside the rill,
Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood, was he :
29. "The next, with dirges due, in sad array,
Slow through the churchway path we saw him bōrne;
HERE RESTS HIS HEAD UPON THE LAP OF EARTH,
HE GAVE TO MISERY-ALL HE HAD-A TEAR,
HE GAINED FROM HEAVEN ('TWAS ALL HE WISHED) A FRIEND.
NO FURTHER SEEK HIS MERITS TO DISCLOSE,
OR DRAW HIS FRAILTIES FROM THEIR DREAD ABODE,
(THERE THEY ALIKE IN TREMBLING HOPE REPOSE,)
THE BOSOM OF HIS FATHER AND HIS GOD.
135. THE PHANTOM SHIP.
HE breeze had sunk to rest, the noonday sun was high,
And ocean's breast lay motionlèss beneath a cloudless sky, There was silence in the air, there was silence in the deep; And it seemed as though that burning calm were nature's final