Page images

at all times hazardous, becomes ridiculous in the topics of ordinary conversation. There remains but one other point of distinction possible; and this must be, and in fact is, the true cause of the impression made on us. It is the unpremeditated and evidently habitual arrangement of his words, grounded on the habit of foreseeing, in each inte gral part, or (niore plainly) in every sentence, the whole that he ther intends tu communicate. However irregular and desultory his talk, there is METHOD in the fragments.

Listen, on the other hand, to an ignorant man, though perhaps Milewd and able in his particular calling; vhether he be describing or relating. We immediately perceive that his memory alone in called into action, and that the objects and events recur in the narra: tion in the same order, and with the same accompaniments, however accidental or impertinent, as they had first occurred to the narrator. The necessity of taking breath, the efforts of recollection, and the abrupt rectification of its failures, produce all his pauses, and, with the exception of the “and then,” the “and there," and the still less significant" and so," they constitute likewise all his connections. Our discussion, however, is confined to method, as employed in the formation of the understanding and in the constructions of science and literature. It would, indeed, be superfluous to attempt a proof of its importance in the business and economy of active or domestic life. From the cotter's hearth, or the workshop of the artisan, to the palace, or the arsenal, the first merit, that which admits neither substitute nor equivalent, is, that everything is in its place. Where this charm is wanting, every other merit either loses its name or becomes an additional ground of accusation and regret. Of one by whom it is eminently possessed, we say proverbially he is like clock-work. The resemblance extends beyond the point of regularity, and yet falls short of the truth. Both do, indeed, at once divide and announce the silent and otherwise indistinguishable lapse of time. But the man of methodical industry and honorable pursuits does more: he realizes its ideal divisions, and gives a character and individuality to its moments. If the idla are described as killing time, he may be justly said to call it into life and moral being, while he makes it the distinct object not only of the consciousness, but of the conscience. He organizes the hours, and gives them a soul; and that, the very essence of which is to fleet away, and evermore to have been, he takes up into his own permanence, and communicates to it the imperishableness of a spiritual nature. Of the good and faithful servant whose energies, thus directed, are thus methodized, it is less truly affirmed that he lives in time than that time lives in him. His days, months, and years, as the stops and punctual marks in the records of cutico per. formed, will survive the wreck of worlds, and rerjain extant when time itself shall be no more.

ROBERT SOUTHEY. 1774-1843. (Manual, pp. 427-431.)


It was a summer evening,

Old Kaspar's work was done,
And he before his cottage-door

Was sitting in the sun :
And by him sported on the green
His little grandchild Wilhelmine.
She saw her brother Peterkin

Roll something large and round,
Which he beside the rivulet,

In playing there, had found;
He came to ask what he had found,
That was so large, and smooth, and round.

Old Kaspar took it from the boy,

Who stood expectant by;
And then the old man shook his head,

And with a natural sigh,
"'Tis some poor fellow's skull," said he,
s Who fell in the great victory.

“I find them in the garden,

For there's many here about;
And often, when I go to plough,

The ploughshare turns them out!
For many thousand men,” said he,
66 Were slain in that great victory."

“Now tell us what 'twas all about,"

Young Peterkin, he cries :
While little Wilhelmine looks up,

With wonder-waiting eyes:
"Now tell us all about the war,

And what they killed each other for."

“ It was the English,” Kaspar cried,

“ Who put the French to rout;
But what they killed each other for,

I could not well make out.
But everybody said,” quoth he,

“That 'twas a famous victory.

1 A battle fought near the village of Blenheim, Bavaria, August 2, 1701, in which the English Duke of Marlborough gained a victory over the French and BavariansIt is called by the Frenoh the Battle a Hochstedt

“My father lived at Blenheim ther,

Yon little stream hard by;
They burnt his dwelling to the ground,

And he was forced to fly;
So with his wire and child he fled,
Nor had he where to rest his head.

“With fire and sword, the country round

Was wasted far and wide;
And many a childing mother then,

And new-born baby, died;
But things like that, you know, must be

At every famous victory.

“They say it was a shocking sight

After the field was won;
For many thousand bodies here

Lay rotting in the sun;
But things like that, you know, must be
After a famous victory.

“Great praise the Duke of Marlbro' won,

And our good prince, Eugene.” “Why, 'twas a very wicked thing!”

Said little Wilhelmine. “Nay – nay— my little girl," quoth he,

“ It was a famous victory.

“And everybody praised the duke,

Who this great fight did win." “And what good came of it at last?"

Quoth little Peterkin. “Why, that I cannot tell," said he, “But 'twas a famous victory."

309. THE EVENING RAINBOW. Miid arch of promisel on the evening sky Thou shinest fair, with many a lovely ray, Each in the other melting. Much mine eye Delights to linger on thee; for the da', Changeful and many-weathered, seemed to smile, Flashing brief splendor through its clouds awhile, That deepened dark anon, and fell in rain: But pleasant it is now to pause and view Thy various tints of frail and watery hue, And think the storm shall not return again.


No eye beheld when William plunged.

Young Edmund in the stream: No human ear but William's heard

Young Edmund's drowning scream. “I bade thee with a father's love

My orphan Edmund guard -
Well, William, hast thou kept thy charged

Now take. thy due reward."
He started up, each limb convulsed

With agonizing fear-
He only heard the storm of night

'Twas music to his ear!

When lol the voice of loud alarm

His inmost soul appalls – “What, ho! Lord William, rise in haste!

The water saps thy walls !”

He rose in haste - beneath the walls

He saw the flood appear;
It hemmed him round-'twas midnight now

No human aid was near.

He heard the shout of joy! for now

A boat approached the wall : And eager to the welcome aid

They crowd for safety all. “My boat is small,” the boatman cried,

56'Twill bear but one away; Come in, Lord William, and do ye

In God's protection stay."
The boatman plied the oar, the boat

Went light along the stream; -
Sudden Lord William heard a cry,

Like Edmund's dying scream! 'The boatman paused — “Methought I heard

A child's distressful cry!” “ 'Twas but the howling winds of night,”

Lord William made reply. “ Haste - haste --ply swift and strong the our ;

Haste-haste across the stream!” Again Lord William heard a cry,

Like Edmund's dying scream i

“ I heard a child's distressful scream,"

The boatman cried again. • Nay, hasten on - the night is dark And we should search in vain."

“O God! Lord William, dost thou know

How dreadful 'tis to die?
And canst thou, without pity, hear

A chird's expiring cry?

" How horrible it is to sink

Beneath the chilly stream:
To stretch the powerless arms in vain!

In vain for help to scream!”
The shriek again was heard: it came

More deep, more piercing loud.
That instant, o'er the flood, the moon

Shone through a broken cloud;

And near them they beheld a child;

Upon a crag he stood,
A little crag, and all around

Was spread the rising flood.

The boatman plied the oar, the boat

Approached his resting-place;
The moonbeam shone upon the child,

And showed how pale his face.

“Now reach thy hand,” the boatman cried,

“Lord William, reach and save!” The child stretched forth his little hanus,

To grasp the hand he gave.

Then William shrieked; — the hand he touched

Was cold, and damp, and dead! He felt young Edmund in his arms,

A heavier weight than lead'

“ Help! help! for mercy, help!” he cried,

“The waters round me flɔw." s. No- William - to an infant's cries

No mercy didst thou show.”

The boat sunk down - the murderer sunk

Beneath th' avenging stream;
He rose - he screamed no human car

Heard William's drowning scream.

« PreviousContinue »