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For why ? Methought last night I wrought
A murder in a dream!
A feeble man, and old ;
The moon shone clear and cold:
And I will have his gold !
And one with a heavy stone,
And then the deed was done :)
But lifeless flesh and bone !
Nothing but lifeless flesh and bone,
That could not do me ill ;
For lying there so still:
That murder could not kill !
Seemed lit with ghastly flame-
Were looking down in blame :
And called upon his name!
Oh, how it made me quake to see
Such sense within the slain !
The blood gushed out amain!
Was scorching in my brain !
From the heaven's topmost height,
Of the blood-avenging sprite: 6 Thou guilty man! take up thy dead,
And hide it from my sight !"
And cast it in a stream-
The depth was so extreme.
My gentle boy, remember this
Is nothing but a dream!
Down went the corpse with a hollow plunge,
And vanished in the pool;
And washed my forehead cool,
That evening in the school!
That night I lay in agony,
In anguish dark and deep;
But stared aghast at Sleep;
The keys of hell to keep !
All night I lay in agony,
From weary chime to chime,
That racked me all the time
Fierce impulse unto crime!
One stern, tyrannic thought, that made
All other thoughts its slave; Stronger and stronger every pulse
Did that temptation craveStill urging me to go and see
The dead man in his grave!
Heavily I rose up-as soon
As light was in the sky-
With a wild misgiving eye;
For the faithless stream was dry !
Merrily rose the lark, and shook
The dewdrop from its wing,
I never heard it sing :
Under the horrid thing.
With breathless speed, like a soul in chase,
I took him up and ran-
Before the day began :
And all that day. I read in school,
But my thought was other where! As soon as the mid-day task was done,
In secret I was there : And a mighty wind had swept the leaves,
And still the corpse was bare!
And first began to weep,
That earth refused to keep;
Ten thousand fathoms deep !
Till blood for blood atones!
And trodden down with stones,
The world shall see his bones!
Oh, how that horrid, horrid dream
Besets me now awake!
The human life I take ;
And still no peace for the restless clay
Will wave or mould allow :
“ It stands before me now !"
Huge drops upon his brow!
The urchin eyelids kissed,
Through the cold and heavy mist; And Eugene Aram walked between,
With gyves upon his wrist.
(Vast as is the theme on which Legare expatiates, the delivery of this extract should not be accompanied by any strong rhetorical effects. The breast will naturally expand. the eye dilate, and the the voice swell stronger and higher, as the speaker dwells upon “what is," and in his "mind's eye" contemplates "what is to be.”]
Sir, I dare not trust myself to speak of my country with the rapture which I habitually feel when I contemplate her marvelous history. But this I will say-that, on my return to it, after an absence of only four years, I was filled with wonder at all I saw and all I heard. What is to be compared with it? I found New York grown up to almost double its former size, with the air of a great capital, instead of a mere flourishing commercial town, as I had known it. I listened to accounts of voyages of a thousand
niles in magnificen steamboats on the waters of those great lakes, which, but the other day, I left sleeping in the primeval silence of nature, in the recesses of a vast wilderness; and I felt that there is a grandeur and a majesty in this irresistible onward march of a race, created, as I believe, and elected, to possess and people a continent, which belong to few other objects, either of the moral or material world.
We may become so much accustomed to such things that they shall make as little impression upon our minds as the glories of the heavens above us; but, looking on them, lately, as with the eye of thc stranger, I felt, what a recent English traveler is said to have remarked, that far from being without poetry, as some have falsely alleged, our whole country is one great poem.
Sir, it is so; and if there be a man that can think of what is doing, in all parts of this most blessed of all lands, to embellish and advance it—who can contemplate that living mass of intelligence, activity and improvement, as it rolls on, in its sure and steady progress, to the uttermost extremities of the West—who can see scenes of savage desolation transformed, almost with the suddenness of enchantment, into those of fruitfulness and beauty, crowned with flourishing cities, filled with the noblest of all populations -if there be a man, I say, that can witness all this, passing under his very eyes, without feeling his heart beat high, and his imagination warmed and transported by it, be sure, sir, that the raptures of song exist not for him; he would listen in vain to Tasso or Camoens, telling a tale of the wars of the knights and crusaders, or of the discovery and conquest of another hemisphere.
THE HOUR OF DEATH.
[Tbis gentle monody is so full of tender melancholy that it is almost impossible for any person to recite it amiss. The voice should, as it were harmonize to the low cadence of the falling leaves.]
LEAVES have their time to fall,
And flowers to wither at the north-wind's breath, And stars to set,-but all,
Thou hast all seasons for thine own, O Death!
Day is for mortal care,
Eve for glad meetings round the joyous hearth, Night for the dreams of sleep, the voice of prayer,
But all for thee, thou mightiest of the earth.
The banquet hath its hour,
Its feverish hour ot mirth and song and wine ; There comes a day for grief's o'erwhelming power.
A time for softer tears—but all are thine.
Youth and the opening rose
May look like things too glorious for decay, And smile at thee-but thou art not of those
That wait the ripened bloom to seize their prey.
Leaves have their time to fall,
And flowers to wither at the north-wind's breath, And stars to set,—but all,
Thou hast all seasons for thine own, O Death!
We know when moons shall wane,
When summer birds from far shall cross the sea, When autumn's hue shall tinge the golden grain
But who shall teach us when to look for thee?
Is it when spring's first gale
Comes forth to whisper where the violets lie ? Is it when roses in our paths grow pale ?
They have one season-all are ours to die !