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A moment, while the trumpets blow,
He sees his brood about thy knee;
The next, like fire, he meets the foe,

And strikes him dead for thine and thee."

The chief value of all patriotic songs and poems, like Mrs. Howe's "Battle Hymn of the Republic," or Mr. Stedman's John Brown poem, or Randall's 66 Maryland," or Burns's "Bannnockburn," or Whitman's "Beat! Beat! Drums," is their impassioned eloquence. Patriotism, war, wrong, slavery, these are the inspirers of eloquence.

Of course no sharp line can be drawn between eloquence and poetry; they run together, they blend in all first-class poems; yet there is a wide difference between the two, and it is probably in the direction I have indicated. Power and mastery in either field are the most precious of human gifts.




NE of the few books which I can return to and re-read every six or seven years is Gilbert White's Selborne. It has a perennial charm. It is One does not

much like country things themselves. read it with excitement or eager avidity; it is in a low key; it touches only upon minor matters; it is not eloquent, or witty, or profound; it has only now and then a twinkle of humor or a glint of fancy, and yet it has lived an hundred years and promises to live many hundreds of years more. So many

learned and elaborate treatises have sunk beneath the waves upon which this cockle-shell of a book rides so safely and buoyantly! What is the secret of its longevity? One can do little more than name its qualities without tracing them to their sources. It is simple and wholesome, like bread, or meat, or milk. Perhaps it is just this same unstrained quality that keeps the book alive. Books that are piquant and exciting like condiments, or cloying like confectionery or pastry, it seems, have much less chance of survival. The secret of longevity of a man what is it? Sanity, moderation, regularity, and that plus vitality, which is a gift. The

book that lives has these things, and it has that same plus vitality, the secret of which cannot be explored. The sensational, intemperate books set the world on fire for a day, and then end in ashes and forgetfulness.

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His work has a home air,

White's book diffuses a sort of rural England atmosphere through the mind. It is not the work of a city man who went down into the country to write it up, but of a born countryman, one who had in the very texture of his mind the flavor of rural things. Then it is the growth of a particular locality. Let a man stick his staff into the ground anywhere and say, "This is home," and describe things from that point of view, or as they stand related to that spot, the weather, the fauna, the flora, and his account shall have an interest to us it could not have if not thus located and defined. This is one secret of White's charm. a certain privacy and particularity. The great world is afar off; Selborne is as snug and secluded as a chimney corner; we get an authentic glimpse into the real life of one man there; we see him going about intent, lovingly intent, upon every phase of nature about him. We get glimpses into humble cottages and into the ways and doings of the people; we see the bacon drying in the chimneys; we see the poor gathering in Wolmer Forest the sticks and twigs dropped by the rooks in building their nests; we see them claiming the "lop and top" when the big trees are cut. Indeed, the human touches, the human figures here and there in White's pages, add

much to the interest. The glimpses we get of his own goings and comings we wish there were more of them. We should like to know what took him to London during that great snowstorm of January, 1776, and how he got there, inasmuch as the roads were so blocked by the snow that the carriages from Bath with their fine ladies on their way to attend the Queen's birthday, were unable to get through. "The ladies fretted, and offered large rewards to labourers if they would shovel them a track to London, but the relentless heaps of snow were too bulky to be removed." The parson found the city bedded deep in snow, and so noiseless by reason of it that "it seemed to convey an uncomfortable idea of desolation."

When one reads the writers of our own day upon rural England and the wild life there, he finds that they have not the charm of the Selborne naturalist; mainly, I think, because they go out with deliberate intent to write up nature. They choose their theme; the theme does not choose them. They love the birds and flowers for the literary effects they can produce out of them. It requires no great talent to go out in the fields or woods and describe in graceful sentences what one sees there, birds, trees, flowers, clouds, streams; but to give the atmosphere of these things, to seize the significant and interesting features and to put the reader into sympathetic communication with them, that is another matter.

Hence back of all, the one thing that has told most in keeping White's book alive is undoubtedly

its sound style sentences actually filled with the living breath of a man. We are everywhere face to face with something genuine and real; objects, ideas, stand out on the page; the articulation is easy and distinct. White had no literary ambitions. His style is that of a scholar, but of a scholar devoted to natural knowledge. There was evidently something winsome and charming about the man personally, and these qualities reappear in his pages.

He was probably a parson who made as many calls afield as in the village, if not more. An old nurse in his family said of him, fifty years after his death, "He was a still, quiet body, and that there was not a bit of harm in him."

White was a type of the true observer, the man with the detective eye. He did not seek to read his own thoughts and theories into Nature, but submitted his mind to her with absolute frankness and ingenuousness. He had infinite curiosity, and delighted in nothing so much as a new fact about the birds and the wild life around him. To see the thing as it was in itself and in its relations, that was his ambition. He could resist the tendency of his own mind to believe without sufficient evidence. Apparently he wanted to fall in with the notion current during the last century, that swallows hibernated in the mud in the bottoms of streams and ponds, but he could not gather convincing proof. It was not enough that a few belated specimens were seen in the fall lingering about such localities, or again hovering over them early in spring; or that

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