« PreviousContinue »
Spain, nor of the heat of her fires of intolerance. No rational man expects that the south can run the same rapid career as the north ; or that an insurgent province of Spain is in the same condition as the English colonies, when they first asserted their independence. There is, doubtless, much more to be done in the first than in the last case. But on that account the honor of the attempt is no less; and if all difficulties shall be in time surmounted, it will be greater. The work may be more arduous—it is not less noble, because there may be more of ignorance to enlighten; more of bigotry to subdue; more of prejudice to eradicate. If it be a weakness to feel a strong interest in the success of these great revolutions, I confess myself guilty of that weakness. If it be weak to feel that I am an American, to think that recent events have not only opened new modes of intercourse, but have created, also, new grounds of regard and sympathy, between ourselves and our neighbors; if it be weak to feel that the south, in her present state, is somewhat more emphatically a part of America, than when she lay obscure, oppressed and unknown, under the grinding bondage of a foreign power; if it be weak to rejoice, when, even in any corner of the earth, human beings are able to get up from beneath oppression, to erect themselves, and to enjoy the proper happiness of their intelligent nature ; if this be weak, it is a weakness from which I claim no exemption.
A day of solemn retribution now visits the once proud monarchy of Spain. The prediction is fulfilled. The spirit of Montezuma and of the Incas might now well say,
“ Art thou, too, fallen, Iberia ? Do we see
I will detain you only with one more reflection on this
subject. We cannot be so blind—we cannot so shut up our senses, and smother our faculties, as not to see, that in the progress and the establishment of South American liberty, our own example has been among the most stimulating
That great light—a light which can never be hid—the light of our own glorious revolution, has shone on the path of the South American patriots, from the beginning of their course. In their emergencies, they have looked to our experience; in their political institutions, they have followed our models; in their deliberations, they have invoked the presiding spirit of our own liberty. They have looked steadily, in every adversity, to the great northern light. In the hour of bloody conflict, they have remembered the fields which have been consecrated by the blood of our own fathers; and when they have fallen, they have wished only to be remembered, with them, as men who had acted their parts bravely, for the cause of liberty in the western world.
Poetry and Science. WordSWORTH.
The poet considers man and nature as essentially adapted to each other, and the mind of man as naturally the mirror of the fairest and most interesting qualities of nature. And thus the poet, prompted by this feeling of pleasure, which accompanies him through the whole course of his studies, converses with general nature with affections akin to those which, through labor and length of time, the man of science has raised up in himself, by conversing with those particular parts of nature which are the objects of his studies. The knowledge, both of the poet and the man of science, is pleasure; but the knowledge of the one cleaves to us as a necessary part of our existence, our natural and unalienable inheritance;
the other is a personal and individual acquisition, slow to come to us, and by no habitual and direct sympathy connecting us with our fellow-beings. The man of science seeks truth as a remote and unknown benefactor ; he cherishes and loves it in his solitude: the poet, singing a song in which all human beings join with him, rejoices in the presence of truth as our visible friend and hourly companion. Poetry is the breath and finer spirit of all knowledge ; it is the impassioned expression which is in the countenance of all science. Emphatically may it be said of the poet, as Shakspeare hath said of man, “ that he looks before and after." He is the rock of defence of human nature ; an upholder and preserver, carrying every where with him relationship and love. In spite of difference of soil and climate, of language and manners, of laws and customs, in spite of things gone silently out of mind, and things violently destroyed,—the poet binds together, by passion and knowledge, the vast empire of human society, as it is spread over the whole earth, and over all time. The objects of the poet's thoughts are every where; though the eyes and the senses of man are, it is true, his favorite guides, yet he will follow wheresoever he can find an atmosphere of sensation in which to move his wings. Poetry is the first and last of all knowledge; it is as immortal as the heart of man. If the labors of men of science should ever create any material revolution, direct or indirect, in our condition, and in the impressions which we habitually receive, the poet will sleep then no more than at present, but he will be ready to follow the steps of the man of science not only in those general indirect effects, but he will be at his side, carrying sensation into the midst of the objects of the science itself. The remotest discoveries of the chemist, the botanist, or mineralogist, will be as proper objects of the poet's art, as any upon which it can be employed, if the time should ever come when these things shall be familiar to us, and the relations under which they are contemplated by the followers of these respective sciencés, shall be manifestly and palpably material to us as enjoying and suffering beings. If the time should ever come when what is now called science, thus familiarized to men, shall be ready to put on, as it were, a form of flesh and blood, the poet will lend his divine spirit to aid the transfiguration, and will welcome the being thus produced, as a dear and genuine inmate of the household of man. It is not, then, to be supposed that any one, who holds that sublime notion of poetry which I have attempted to convey, will break in upon the sanctity and truth of his pictures by transitory and accidental ornaments, and endeavor to excite admiration of himself by arts, the necessity of which must manifestly depend upon the assumed meanness of his subject.
Migration of Birds.-WILLIAM HOWITT.
No living creatures which enliven our landscape by their presence, excite a stronger sympathy in the lovers of nature, than migratory birds. The full charm of change and variety is theirs. They make themselves felt by their occasional absence; and besides this, they interest the imagination by that peculiar instinct which is to them a chart and compass, directing their flight over continents and oceans to that one small spot, in the great world, where nature has prepared for their reception. This instinct is pilot and captain, warning them away, calling them back, and conducting them in safety on their passage. A mystery yet hangs over their motions, notwithstanding the anxious perseverance with which naturalists have investigated the subject. When we think, for a moment, that the swallows, martins and swifts, which sport in our summer skies, and become cohabitants of our
houses, will presently be dwelling in the heart of regions which we long, in vain, to know, and whither our travellers toil, in vain, to penetrate; that they will anon affix their nests to the Chinese pagoda, the Indian temple, or, beneath the equator, to the palm-thatched eaves of the African hut; that the small birds which populate our summer hedges and fields will quickly spread themselves, with the cuckoo and its courier, the wryneck, over the warm regions beyond the pillars of Hercules, and the wilds of the Levant, of Greece and Syria; the nightingale will be serenading in the chestnut groves of Italy and the rose gardens of Persia; that the thrush and the fieldfare, which share our winter, will pour out triumphant music in their native wastes, in the sudden summers of Scandinavia; that even some of the wild fowls which frequent our winter streams will return with the spring to the far tracts of North America ;—and when we call to our imagination the desolate rocks in the lonely ocean, the craggy and misty isles of the Orkneys and Shetlands, where others congregate in myriads ;-or the wild swan, which sometimes pays a visit to our largest and most secluded waters, rewinging its way through the lofty regions of the air to Iceland, and other arctic lands,—we cannot avoid feeling how much poetry is connected with these wanderers of the earth and air.
Permanence of literary Monuments.-JAMES MONT
An eloquent but extravagant writer has hazarded the assertion, that “words are the only things that last for ever." Nor is this merely a splendid saying, or a startling paradox, that may be qualified by explanation into common place; but, with respect to man and his works on earth, it