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The Flight of Xerxes.
I saw him on the battle-eve,
When like a king he bore him :
And prouder chiefs before him.
No daunting thought came o'er him;
He looked on ocean - its broad breast
Was covered with his fleet;
His bannered millions meet;
The thunder of their feet!
I saw him next alone: nor camp
Nor chief his steps attended ;
With war-cries proudly blended.
He who with heaven contended,
He stood ; fleet, army, treasure, gone
Alone, and in despair !
For they were monarchs there;
Must all their fury dare; -
ONCE this soft turf, this rivulet's sands,
Were trampled by a hurrying crowd, And fiery hearts and arméd hands
Encountered in the battle-cloud.
Ah, never shall the land forget
How gushed the life-blood of her brave Gushed, warm with hope and valor yet –
Upon the soil they fought to save.
Now all is calm, and fresh, and still ;
Alone the chirp of flitting bird, And talk of children on the hill,
And bell of wandering kine, are heard.
No solemn host goes trailing by
The black-mouthed gun and staggering wain : Men start not at the battle-cry:
O, be it never heard again!
Soon rested those who fought; but thou,
Who minglest in the harder strife
Thy warfare only ends with life.
A friendless warfare! lingering long
Through weary day and weary year;
Hang on thy front, and flank, and rear.
Yet nerve thy spirit to the proof,
And blench not at thy chosen lot!
The sage may frown — yet faint thou not,
Nor heed the shaft too surely cast,
The hissing, stinging bolt of scorn;
The victory of endurance born.
Truth, crushed to earth, shall rise again ;
The eternal years of God are hers;
And dies among his worshippers.
The Beauties of Nature.
S. G. HOWE.
What can be more striking, or more beautiful, than St. Pierre's description of tropical scenery, except it be the scene itself? yet to a person born blind it is utterly meaningless, because, although the words are all as familiar to him as household names, they are not the signs of things with which he is at all familiar; therefore they stand for nothing.
But, even upon those who see, how various will be the effect of such a description! To those who have observed carefully the hues of a sunset sky, and also learned to distinguish accurately the different shades of color, as purple, violet, azure, or indigo, it is a vivid and beautiful copy of an original with which they are familiar; but to those who never observed the original, the description is an unmeaning jargon. How much, then, does it behoove us to observe these varying tints, out of which God, in his bounty, is ever composing for us great pictures in the sky, and to teach our children to distinguish and admire them also.
The teacher who should lead out his little flock, and sit a few minutes of an afternoon, pointing out to them the tints of the sky, and teaching them the names of all the varying hues of the clouds above, and of the vegetation below, might not be fulfilling the letter of his instructions, but he would be laying the foundations for a more devotional spirit than by detaining them too long in formal devotion ; for there is nothing in which the goodness of God is more apparent, than in the unsparing flood of beauty which He pours out upon all things around us. What is more striking than the fact, that this beautiful canopy of clouds, which curtains over our globe, when looked down upon from a mountaintop, or from a balloon, is like a leaden lake, without beauty, or even color; it is like the dull canvass on the reverse of a beautiful picture; but from within, — from where God meant man to see it, —- it is adorned, beautified, and variegated, in a manner inimitable by art.
Dainty people cross the seas to be thrilled by the wild sketches of Salvator Rosa, or to languish over the soft tints of Guido; and the rich man beggars whole villages to hang up in his gallery three square feet of the pencil-work of Correggio; but God hangs up in the summer evening sky, for the poorest peasant boy, a picture whole leagues in extent, the tints of which would make Raphael throw down his pencil in despair; and when He gathers together the dark folds of the sky to prepare the autumn thunder-storm, He heaves up the huge clouds into mountain masses, throws them into wild and sublime attitudes, colors them with lowering hues, and forms a picture which Michael Angelo, with all his genius, would not dare essay to copy!
The rich man adorns his cabinet with a few costly works, which hang unchanged for years, while the poor man's gallery is not only adorned with pictures that eclipse the chefs-d'æuvre of human genius, but they are continually changed, and every hour a new one is hung up to his admiring gaze; for the firmament rolls on, and like a great kaleidoscope, at every turn presents new and beautiful combinations of light and shade, and color. Let not its rich pictures roll away unheeded ; let not its lessons be lost upon the young; but let them, in admiring it, know that God's great hand is ever turning it, for the happiness of all his children.
The numerous waterfalls, the enchanting beauty of Lake George and of its pellucid flood, of Lake Champlain and the lesser lakes, afford many objects of the most picturesque character; while the inland seas, from Superior to Ontario, and that astounding cataract, whose roar would hardly be increased by the united murmurs of all the cascades of Europe, are calculated to inspire vast and sublime conceptions.