« PreviousContinue »
Now the bird that sat in the heart of the tree
And its heart was filled with a sweet delight,
When the glittering, white-robed angel heard
And ever, my child, since that blessed night,
WHAT IS A MINORITY?
What is a minority? The chosen heroes of this earth have been in a minority. There is not a social, political, or religious privilege that you enjoy to-day that was not bought for you by the blood and tears and patient sufferings of the minority. It is the minority that has vindicated humanity in every struggle. It is a minority that has stood in the van of every moral conflict, and achieved all that is noble in the history of the world. You will find that each generation has been always busy in gathering up the scattered ashes of the martyred heroes of the past, to deposit them in the golden urn of a nation's history. Look at Scotland, where they are erecting monuments. To whom?—to the Covenanters. Ah! they were in a minority. Read their history, if you can, without the blood tingling to the tips of your fingers. These were in the minority, that, through blood, and tears, and hootings, and scourgings-dyeing
the waters with their blood, and staining the heather with their gore-fought the glorious battle of religious freedom. Minority! If a man stand up for the right, though the right be on the scaffold, while the wrong sits in the seat of government; if he stand for the right, though he eat, with the right and truth, a wretched crust; if he walk with obloquy and scorn in the by-lanes and streets while falsehood and wrong ruffle it in silken attire,—let him remember that wherever the right and truth are, there are always
"Troops of beautiful, tall angels "
gathered round him, and God himself stands within the dim future, and keeps watch over his own! If a man stand for the right and the truth, though every man's finger be pointed at him, though every woman's lip be curled at him in scorn, he stands in a majority; for God and good angels are with him, and greater are they that are for him than all they that be against him.
-J. B. Gough.
PYRAMIDS NOT ALL EGYPTIAN.
Mankind is toiling for a deathless name. Various are the schemes devised and the plans pursued to gain this one worldsought end-to rear a pyramid that shall not decay, but grow broader and higher with "the roll of ages." This is the nucleus of the world of thought. At its altar are immolated the smile and the tear, the swell of delight and the revenging throb, the sweets of duty and the joys of life and the hopes of heaven.
To give his name to posterity Cæsar crossed the Rubicon, and Rome was free no more. He built a terrible pyramid upon the ruins of the "Eternal City." But think you its vast height 'gave him pride, or availed him aught when the cold steel of Brutus's dagger rankled in his heart and poured his blood on the senate floor of Rome?
To gain an undying name Alexander drew the sword of conquest, lit up the land with burning cities, quenched their sighs with tears, extorted the sigh of anguish from millions, and then died seeking to show himself a god.
And Bonaparte, too, that lion swimming in blood, went over
Europe tying laurels on his brow with heart-strings, and writing his name with his blood-streaming sword full on the thrones and foreheads of kings. The powers of his mind, throbbing in midnight dreams, shook the civilized world; and yet the delirious spirit of the world-wonderful warrior, whose haughty star withered kings and whose brow was unawed, whether his eagles hovered around the Alps or shrieked amid the flames of Moscow, died a powerless prisoner on the lonely billow-dashed isle of St. Helena.
These have gained names more lasting than Egyptian pyramids, but, oh! at the price of their eternal ruin. Who, who can read the history of such men, and then seek a like immortality? But is there no way of gaining a name, noble, glorious, immortal? There are paths that lead to fame, unsullied and undying, up which many great minds have toiled unceasing till death cut the fetters and sent them home.
The scholar, astronomer, poet, orator, patriot, and philosopher, all have fields, broad, fertile, perennial. The ruins of the "Eternal City" "still breathe, born with Cicero." The story of Demosthenes, with his mouth full of pebbles, haranguing the billows of old ocean, will be stammered by the school-boy "down to latest time." And after "the foot of time" has trodden down his marble tombstone, and strewed his grave with the dust of ages, it will be said that nature's orator, Patrick Henry, while accused of treason and threatened with death, "hurled his crushing thunderbolts" at the haughty form of tyranny, and cried, "Give me liberty, or give me death," in accents that burned all over Europe.
Washington, too, has a pyramid in every American heart. When the serpent tyranny wrapped his freezing folds around our nation's heart, and with exulting hisses raised his horrid coils to heaven, then Washington hurled a thunderbolt that drove him back to moulder and rot beneath the crumbling thrones of Europe, and sent the startling echo of freedom rumbling around our broad green earth.
Has not Newton a name among the immortals? How easily did he grasp the golden chain, swung from the Eternal Throne, and with what intense rapture and thrilling delight did he climb upward, vibrate through the concave of the skies, gaze around upon the stars, and bathe in the glorious sunlight of eternal truth that blazed from the centre-Deity.
Can time, or winds, or floods, or fire destroy Luther's pyramid? He reared it by an awful conflict, more terrible than ever hung on the tread of an army. The one carries thrones and empires; the silent thoughts of the other tell on the destiny of the world. Nerved by the Omnipotent, he stood up amid the smoke and flash of century-working batteries and thundered “Truth” till the world reeled and rocked as if within the grasp of an earthquake.
Milton, too; the wave of oblivion may surge over the pyramids, but Milton, who painted pyramids with heavenly glow, unlocked the brazen gates of the fiery gulf, heard its raging howl, and saw its maddening billows heave and plunge, will strike anew his golden lyre in heaven when yonder sun shall stay his fiery wheels midheaven, sicken, darken, and pitch lawless from his flaming chariot into the black chaos of universal ruin.
Nor is this all. A day is coming when the pyramids built in blood shall crumble and sink into nothingness; when yonder firmament shall frown in blackness; when burning worlds shall fly and lighten through immensity ;-then shall the pyramids of the just tower away in the sunlight of heaven, and their builders shall grasp the golden chain swung from the eternal throne and bathe in the gloriousness of everlasting truth.-G. O. Barnes.
[ARRANGED BY SARAH NEAL HARRIS.]
You all know Shakespeare's incomparable Hamlet. I set about investigating every trace of Hamlet's character, as it had shown itself before his father's death. I endeavored to distinguish what in it was independent of this mournful event, independent of the terrible events that followed, and what most probably the young man would have been had no such things occurred.
Soft, and from a noble stem, this royal flower had sprung up under the immediate influence of majesty. The idea of moral rectitude with that of princely elevation, the feeling of the good, and dignified with the consciousness of high birth, had in him been unfolded simultaneously. He was a prince, by birth a prince; and he
wished to reign only that good men might be good without obstruction. Pleasing in form, polished by nature, courteous from the heart, he was meant to be the pattern of youth and the joy of the world. Without any prominent passion, his love for Ophelia was a still presentiment of sweet wants.
His zeal in knightly accomplishments was not entirely his own; it needed to be quickened and inflamed by praise of others for excelling in them.
Pure in sentiment, he knew the honorable minded, and could prize the rest which an upright spirit tastes on the bosom of a friend.
To a certain degree he had learned to discern and value the good and the beautiful in arts and sciences. The mean and the vulgar was offensive to him; and if hatred could take root in his tender soul, it was only so far as to make him properly despise the false and changeful insects of a court, and play them in easy scorn.
He was calm in his temper, artless in his conduct, neither pleased with idleness nor too violently eager for employment. The routine of a university he seemed to continue when at court.
He possessed more mirth of humor than of heart. He was a good companion, pliant, courteous, discreet, and able to forget and forgive an injury, yet never able to unite himself with those who overstep the limits of the right, the good, and the becoming.
Conceive a prince such as I have painted him, and that his father suddenly dies. Ambition and the love of rule are not the passions that inspire him. As a king's son, he would have been contented; but now he is first constrained to consider the difference which separates a sovereign from a subject. The crown was not hereditary; yet a stronger possession of it by his father would have strengtherred the pretensions of an only son, and secured his hopes of the succession. In place of this, he now beholds himself excluded by his uncle, in spite of specious promises, most probably forever. He is now poor in goods and favor, and a stranger in the scene, which from his youth he had looked upon as his inheritance. His temper here assumes its first mournful tinge. He feels that now he is not more, that he is less, than a private nobleman; he offers himself as the servant of every one; he is not courteous and condescending, he is needy and degraded. His past condition he remembers as a vanished dream. It is vain that his uncle tries to cheer him, to