« PreviousContinue »
How the starlight found him stiffened on the dark and bloody ground.
Who the youth was, what his name was, where the place from which he came was,
Who had brought him from the battle, and had left him at our door,
He could not speak to tell us; but 't was one of our brave fellows,
As the homespun plainly showed us which the dying soldier wore.
For they all thought he was dying, as they gathered round him crying,
And they said, "Oh, how they'll miss him!" and, "What will his mother do?"
Then, his eyelids just unclosing like a child's that has been dozing,
He faintly murmured, "Mother!"
his eyes were blue.
'Why grandma, how you're winking!"— Ah, my child, it sets me thinking
Of a story not like this one. Well, he somehow lived
So we came to know each other, and I nursed him like
Till at last he stood before me, tall, and rosy-cheeked,
And we sometimes walked together in the pleasant summer weather;
"Please to tell us what his name was?" — Just your own, my little dear,
There's his picture Copley painted: we became so well acquainted,
That, in short, that's why I'm grandma, and you children are all here!
THE CHAMBERED NAUTILUS.
THIS is the ship of pearl, which, poets feign,
The venturous bark that flings
On the sweet summer wind its purpled wings
Where the cold sea-maids rise to sun their streaming hair.
Its webs of living gauze no more unfurl ;
Wrecked is the ship of pearl!
And every chambered cell,
Where its dim dreaming life was wont to dwell,
Before thee lies revealed,
Its irised ceiling rent, its sunless crypt unsealed!
Year after year beheld the silent toil
That spread his lustrous coil;
147. John Singleton Copley was a portrait painter of celebrity, who was born in America in 1737, and painted many famous portraits, which hang in private and public galleries in Boston and vicinity chiefly. He lived in England the latter half of his life, dying there in 1815.
He left the past year's dwelling for the new,
Built up its idle door,
Stretched in his last-found home, and knew the old no
Thanks for the heavenly message brought by thee,
Child of the wandering sea,
Cast from her lap, forlorn!
From thy dead lips a clearer note is born
Through the deep caves of thought I hear a voice that sings:
Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,
As the swift seasons roll!
Leave thy low-vaulted past!
Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
Leaving thine outgrown shell by life's unresting sea!
Ay, tear her tattered ensign down!
And many an eye has danced to see
1. The famous frigate Constitution, launched in Boston in 1797, from the site of what is now known as Constitution Wharf. She was built to stop the depredations of Algerine corsairs upon our merchant marine. In the Mediterranean, whither she sailed in 1803, she earned for herself the name of “Old Ironsides,”. -8
Beneath it rung the battle shout,
The meteor of the ocean air
Shall sweep the clouds no more.
Her deck, once red with heroes' blood,
No more shall feel the victor's tread,
The harpies of the shore shall pluck
Oh, better that her shattered hulk
And give her to the god of storms,
name that became famous after her brilliant record in the War of 1812.
Mr. John Fiske, in referring to President Monroe's message to Congress in 1823 embodying the Monroe Doctrine, says: “To language of this sort the exploits of Andrew Jackson and of 'Old Ironsides' had given a serious meaning. Ten years earlier all Europe would have laughed at it."
CHARLES DUDLEY WARNER
LIKE Mr. Aldrich, who played with his boyhood in The Story of a Bad Boy, Mr. Warner has treated himself as a sort of third person in Being a Boy, the scenes of which are laid in a primitive Massachusetts country neighborhood. The place which stood for its portrait in the book is Charlemont, near the eastern opening of the Hoosac tunnel. Here Mr. Warner spent his boyhood, removing to the place, when his father died, from Plainfield, in the same State, where he was born September 12, 1829. He was five years old when he was taken to Charlemont, and he remained there eight years, and then removed to Cazenovia, N. Y. His guardian intended him for business life, and placed him after his school days as clerk in a store, but his intellectual ambition was strong, and against all adverse fates he secured a collegiate education at Hamilton College, where he graduated in 1851. His college many years later conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Letters.
When he was in college he showed his bent for literature by contributing to the magazines of the day, and shortly after graduating compiled a Book of Eloquence. For the next half dozen years he was busy establishing himself in life, choosing the law at first as his profession, but really practicing the various pursuits which should finally qualify him for his predestined vocation as a man of letters. He spent two years in frontier life with a surveying party in Missouri, mainly to secure a more robust condition of body; he lectured, did hack work, wrote letters to journals, looked wistfully at public life and oratory, opened a law office in Chicago, and took what legal business he could find.