Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

And,

The king shall have my service; but my prayers
Forever, and forever, shall be yours.

Wol. Cromwell, I did not think to shed a tear
In all my miseries; but thou hast forced me,
Out of thy honest truth, to play the woman.
Let's dry

ur eyes; and thus far hear me, Cromwell ;

- when I am forgotten, as I shall be, And sleep in dull, cold marble, where no mention Of me more must be heard of, — say, I taught thee; Say, Wolsey that once trod the ways of glory, And sounded all the depths and shoals of honor Found thee a way, out of his wreck, to rise in; A sure and safe one, though thy master missed it. Mark but my fall, and that that ruined me. Cromwell, I charge thee, fling away ambition ! By that sin fell the angels : how can man, then, The image of his Maker, hope to win by't ? Love thyself last; cherish those hearts that hate thee; Corruption wins not more than honesty ; Still in thy right hand carry gentle peace, And silence envious tongues. Be just, and fear not. Let all the ends thou aim'st at be thy country's, Thy God's, and truth's; then, if thou fall'st, O Cromwell, Thou fall’st a blesséd martyr! Serve the king; And, Pr’ythee, lead me in : There take an inventory of all I have, To the last penny; 'tis the king's; my robe, And my integrity to Heaven, is all I dare now call my own. O Cromwell, Cromwell, Had I but served my God with half the zeal I served my king, he would not in mine age Have naked left me to mine enemies.

Crom. Good sir, have patience.

Wol. So I have. Farewell
The hopes of court! my hopes in heaven do dwell.

LESSON CXXXVIII.

On laying the Corner Stone of the Bunker Hill

Monument, 17th June, 1825.

DANIEL WEBSTER.

The society,

whose
organ

I am, was formed for the purpose of rearing some honorable and durable monument to the memory of the early friends of American independence. They have thought, that for this object no time could be more propitious than the present prosperous and peaceful period ; that no place could claim preference over this merorable spot; and that no day could be more auspicious to the undertaking, than the anniversary of the battle which was here fought. The foundation of that monument we have now laid. With solemnities suited to the occasion, with prayers to Almighty God for his blessing, and in the midst of this cloud of witnesses, we have begun the work. We trust it will be prosecuted ; and that, springing from a broad foundation, rising high in massive solidity and unadorned grandeur, it may remain, as long as Heaven permits the works of man to last, a fit emblem, both of the events in memory of which it is raised, and of the gratitude of those who have reared it.

We know, indeed, that the record of illustrious actions is most safely deposited in the universal remembrance of mankind. We know, that if we could cause this structure to ascend, not only till it reached the skies, but till it pierced them, its broad surfaces could still contain but part of that which, in an age of knowledge, hath already been spread over the earth, and which history charges itself with making known to all future times. We know that no inscription, on entablatures less broad than the earth itself, can carry information of the events we commemorate where it has not already gone; and that no structure, which shall not outlive the duration of letters and knowledge among men, can prolong the memorial. But our object is, by this edifice, to show our own deep sense of the value and importance of the achievements of our ancestors; and, by presenting this work of gratitude to the eye, to keep alive similar sentiments, and to foster a constant regard for the principles of the revolution. Human beings are composed not of reason only, but of imagination also, and sentiment; and that is neither wasted nor misapplied which is appropriated to the purpose of giving right direction to sentiments, and opening proper springs of feeling in the heart.

Let it not be supposed that our object is to perpetuate national hostility, or even to cherish a mere military spirit. It is higher, purer, nobler. We consecrate our work to the spirit of national independence, and we wish that the light of peace may rest upon it forever. We rear a memorial of our conviction of that unmeasured benefit, which has been conferred on our own land, and of the happy influences which have been produced, by the same events, on the general interests of mankind. We come, as Americans, to mark a spot which must forever be dear to us and our posterity. We wish that whosoever, in all coming time, shall turn his eye hither, may behold that the place is not undistinguished where the first great battle of the revolution was fought. We wish that this structure may proclaim the magnitude and importance of that event to every class and every age. We wish that infancy may learn the purpose of its erection from maternal lips, and that weary and withered age may behold it, and be solaced by the recollections which it suggests. We wish that labor may look up here, and be proud, in the midst of its toil. We wish that, in those days of disaster, which, as they come on all nations, must be expected to come on us also, desponding patriotism may turn its eyes hitherward, and be assured that the foundations of our national power still stand strong. We wish that this column, rising towards heaven among the pointed spires of so many temples dedicated to God, may contribute also to produce, in all minds, a pious feeling of dependence and gratitude. We wish, finally, that the last object on the sight of him who leaves his native shore, and the first to gladden his who revisits it, may be something which shall remind him of the liberty and the glory of his country. Let it rise, till it meet the sun in his coming; let the earliest light of the morning gild it, and parting day linger and play on its summit.

LESSON CXXXIX.

On the Completion of Bunker Hill Monument, 17th

June, 1843. DANIEL WEBSTER.

A DUTY has been performed. A work of gratitude and patriotism is completed. This structure, having its foundations in soil which drank deep of early revolutionary blood, has at length reached its destined height, and now lifts its summit to the skies.

The Bunker Hill Monument is finished. Here it stands. Fortunate in the natural eminence on which it is placed, higher, infinitely higher, in its objects and purpose, - it rises over the land and over the sea; and visible, at their homes, to three hundred thousand of the people of Massachusetts, it stands, a memorial of the last, and a monitor to the present and all succeeding generations. I have spoken of the loftiness of its purpose. If it had been without any other design than the creation of a work of art, the granite, of which it is composed, would have slept in its native bed. It has a purpose; and that purpose gives it its character. That purpose enrobes it with dignity and moral grandeur. That wellknown purpose it is, which causes us to look up to it with a feeling of awe. It is itself the orator of this occasion. It is not from my lips, it could not be from any human lips, that that strain of eloquence is this day to flow, most competent to move and excite the vast multitudes around. The powerful speaker stands motionless before us. It is a plain shaft. It bears no inscriptions, fronting to the rising sun, from which the future antiquarian shall wipe the dust. Nor does the rising sun cause tones of music to issue from its summit. But at the rising of the sun, and at the setting of the sun, - in the blaze of noonday, and beneath the milder effulgence of lunar light,

it looks, it speaks, it acts, to the full comprehension of every American mind, and the awakening of glowing enthusiasm in every American heart. Its silent, but awful utterance; its deep pathos, as it brings to our contemplation the 17th of June, 1775, and the consequences which have resulted to us, to our country, and to the world, from the events of that day, and which we know must continue to rain influence on the destinies of mankind to the end of time; the elevation with which it raises us high above the ordinary feelings of life; surpass all that the study of the closet, or even the inspiration of genius, can produce. Today it speaks to us. Its future auditories will be the successive generations of men, as they rise up before it, and gather around it. Its speech will be of patriotism and courage; of civil and religious liberty ; of free government; of the moral improvement and elevation of mankind; and of the immortal memory of those who, with heroic devotion, have sacrificed their lives for their country.

In the older world, numerous fabrics still exist, reared by human hands, but whose object has been lost in the darkness of ages. They are now monuments of nothing but the labor and skill which constructed them.

The mighty pyramid itself, half buried in the sands of Africa, has nothing to bring down and report to us but the power of kings and the servitude of the people. If it had any purpose beyond that of a mausoleum, such purpose has perished from history and from tradition. If asked for its moral object, its admonition, its sentiment, its instruction to mankind, or any high end in its erection, it is silent -- silent

« VorigeDoorgaan »