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"Ay, who indeed can say, boys?—who can tell
The deep, deep thoughts, in human hearts that dwell
Long buried, that some word of little weight
Will call up sudden from their slumbering state,
So quicken'd into life, that past things seem
Present again-the present but a dream.
Boys! in a book was lent me long agone,
I read what since I've often thought upon
With deepest awe. At the great Judgment-Day
Some learned scholars-wise and holy-say
That in a moment all our whole life past
Shall be spread out as in a picture vast-
Re-acted as it were, in open sight

Of God, and men, and angels; the strong light,
Indwelling conscience, serving to illume

The changeful All complete-from birth to doom.
Methinks with humble reverence I speak-
I've been led sometimes to conception weak
Of that deep meaning, when a sudden ray
Has call'd, as 'twere from darkness into day,
Long past, forgotten things.-Oh! children dear
Lay it to heart, and keep the record clear

That all unveil'd, that day, must certainly appear."

Thus, as was oft his wont, religious truth
The pious father taught their tender youth,
As apposite occasion led the way;

No formal teacher stern. Nor only they,
The filial listeners, fix'd attention gave

To his wise talk-with earnest looks and grave
His rustic household, at the supper board
Assembled all, gave heed to every word
Utter'd instructive; and when down he took
And open'd reverently the blessed Book;
With hearts prepared, on its great message
And when around, in after prayer they knelt,
Forgot not, e'er they rose, for him to pray
Master and Teacher,-Father, they might say,
Who led them like his own, the happy, heavenward way.


"Did you take notice, wife "—the husband said, Their busy, well-spent day thus finished— When all except themselves were gone to rest— "Did you take notice, when our stranger guest Spoke those few words to Helen, of his tone? It thrill'd my very heart through: so like one These nineteen years unheard."

"I scarce gave heed
To any thing," she said, "but his great need
Of help, poor soul! so faint he seem'd and low."
“Well, well,” rejoin'd her husband, “even now
I seem to hear it :-Then, into my brain,

Wild thoughts came crowding; quickly gone again,
When I look'd hard, but not a line could trace
Familiar, in that weatherbeaten face.

That lost one, were he living now, would be
Younger a year and many months than me-

Than this time-stricken man, by many a year.
But, oh! these thoughts will haunt me, Helen, dear!
These sudden fancies, though so oft before

I've proved them vain, and felt all hope was o'er."

"Only for this world, husband mine!" she said, "They live in Heaven, whom here we count as dead, And there we all shall meet, when all is finished."

"God grant it!" fervently he said; " and so
To bed, good wife! I must be up, you know,
And off by daybreak, on my townward way,
When, business done, be sure I shall not stay
A needless minute. Yet I guess 'twill be
Dark night before my own snug home I see.
Mind a low chair and cushion in the cart
Be set for Mark. God bless his poor old heart!
Though from the hospital they send him back
Blind and incurable, he shall not lack
Comfort or kindness here; his service done,
Of sixty years wellnigh, to sire and son.
I miss him every where; but most of all,
Methinks, at prayer-time, the deep solemn fall,
Tremblingly fervent, of his long · Amen!'

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'Twill glad my heart to hear that sound again."

The Supper-board was spread-the hearth piled highAll at the Farm look'd bright expectancy

Of him who ever seem'd too long away,

If absent from his dear ones but a day:

Old Mark, too, coming home! what joy to all!
Ye know not, worldlings, what glad festival

Pure hearts of simplest elements can make

Ye, whose pall'd sense poor pleasure scarce can take
At feasts, where lips may smile, but hearts so often ache.

There was a sudden rush from the old hall,
Children, and men, and maids, and dogs, and all,
Save her, who, with a deeper gladness, stay'd
Quietly busied; and far back in shade
(Forgotten there awhile) the stranger guest.
But quiet though she seemeth, with the rest

Be sure her heart went forth those wheels to meet ;-
And now they stop and loving voices greet,
Mingling confusedly; yet every one

She hears distinct: as harmonist each tone
Of his full chord,-distinct as if alone.

And there he comes, (sight gladdening every eye,)
The darling young one in his arms throned high,
Her warm cheek to his cold one closely press'd.
And there those two blithe boys, and all the rest,
So crowd about old Mark with loving zeal.
The blind man weeps, and fondly tries to feel
Those fair young faces he no more must see.
"Give us warm welcome, Dame!" cried cheerily
Her husband, as their greeting glances met;
"We're cold enough, I warrant, and sharp set-
But here's a sight would warm the dead to life,

Clean hearth, bright blaze, heap'd board, and smiling wife!"

Lightly he spake,—but with a loving look Went to her heart, who all its meaning took :

And briskly she bestirr'd herself about,
And with her merry maids, heap'd smoking out
The savoury messes. With unneeded care

Set nearer still the goodman's ready chair:
Then help'd uncase him from his rough great-coat,
Then gave a glance that all was right to note:
Welcomed old Mark to his accustom'd seat
With that heart-welcoming, so silver sweet;
And, all at last completed to her mind,
Call'd to the board with cheerful bidding kind.;
Where all stood round in serious quietness,

Till God's good gifts the master's voice should bless.
But, with a sudden thought, as glancing round,
"I thought," he said, "another to have found
Among us here to-night." "And he is here,"
Exclaim'd the wife_" forgotten though so near!"
Then turning where the stranger sat far back,
She said "Forgive us friend! our seeming lack
Of Christian courtesy: Draw near, and share
With hearty welcome, of our wholesome fare."
Silent and slow, the bashful guest obey'd,
Still shrinkingly, as to presume afraid;
And when his host with kindly greeting press'd,
Bow'd down his head-deep down upon his breast,
Answering in words so low you scarce could hear-
But the quick sense of blindness caught them clear;
And in a tone which thrill'd through every heart,
The sightless man, with a convulsive start,

Call'd out-" As God's in heaven, (His will be done,)
That was the voice of my dead master's son !"

"Mark! Mark! what say'st, old man?" cried sharply out
His Master, as he rose and turn'd about
(Trembling exceedingly) his guest to face;
Who at that outery, staggering back a pace,
(He also trembled, and look'd like to fall,)
Leant back-a heavy weight-against the wall.
One might have heard a pin fall on the ground,
There was such deep and sudden silence round:
Except that two or three breathed audibly,
(Those wondering boys, whose eager hearts beat high,)
And little Helen sobb'd, she knew not why.

There fixed, foot to foot, and breast to breast,
And face to face, stood Walter and his Guest-
And neither stirr'd a limb, nor wink'd an eye,
(The stranger's sought the ground still droopingly,)
Nor spoke, till many minutes had gone by ;
Then, as if life upon his utterance hung,
In low, deep accents, loosen'd first his tongue,
Upon the other's shoulder as he laid

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His right hand slowly, Walter softly said-
"Dear brother William!" An electric start
Answer'd that touch, deep-thrilling to the heart,

And that soft whisper'd word. Their meeting eyes,
Full of fond yearnings, tender memories,

All in a moment told-explain'd-confess'd-
Absolved. And Walter fell on William's breast,



SOME months back, we published a little essay, that might easily be expanded into a very large volume; and ultimately into a perfectly new philosophy of Roman history, in proof that Rome was self-barbarized-barbarized ab intra, and not by foreign enemies. The evidences of this, (1.) in the death of her literature, and, 2.) in the instant oblivion which swallowed up all public transactions, are so obvious as to challenge notice from the most inattentive reader. For instance, as respects this latter tendency, what case can be more striking, than the fact that Trebellius Pollio, expressly dedicating himself to such researches, and having the state documents at his service, cannot trace, by so much as the merest outline, the biography of some great officers who had worn the purple as rebels, though actually personal friends of his own grandfather? So nearly connected as they were with his own age and his own family, yet had they utterly perished for want of literary memorials! A third indication of barbarism, in the growing brutality of the army and the Emperor, is of a nature to impress many readers even more powerfully, and especially by contrast with the spirit of Roman warfare in its republican period. Always it had been an insolent and haughty warfare; but, upon strong motives of policy, sparing in bloodshed. Whereas, latterly, the ideal of a Roman general was approaching continually nearer to the odious standard of a caboccer amongst the Ashantees. Listen to the father of his people (Gallienus) issuing his paternal commands for the massacre, in cold blood, of a whole district-not foreign but domestic-after the offence had become almost obsolete: "Non satis facies mihi, si tantum armatos occideris-quos et fors belli interimere potuisset. Perimendus est omnis sexus virilis:" and, lest even this sweeping warrant should seem liable to any merciful distinctions, he adds circumstantially-" Si et senes atque impuberes sine meâ reprehensione occidi possent. And thus the bloody mandate winds up: "Occidendus est quicunque malè voluit, occidendus est quiquncue malè dixit contra me; La

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cera, occide, concide." Was ever such a rabid tiger found, except amongst the Hyder Alis or Nadir Shahs of half-civilized or decivilized tribes ? Yet another and a very favourite Emperor out-herods even this butcher, by boasting of the sabring which he had let loose amongst crowds of helpless


The fourth feature of the Roman barbarism upon which we insisted, viz. the growing passion for trivial anecdotage in slight of all nobler delineations, may be traced, in common with all the other features, to the decay of a public mind and a common connecting interest, amongst the different members of that vast imperial body. This was a necessity, arising out of the merely personal tenure by which the throne was held. Competition for dignities, ambition under any form, could not exist with safety under circumstances which immediately attracted a blighting jealousy from the highest quarter. Where hereditary succession was no fixed principle of state-no principle which all men were leagued to maintain-every man, in his own defiance, might be made an object of anxiety in proportion to his public merit. Not conspiring, he might still be placed at the head of a conspiracy. There was no oath of allegiance taken to the emperor's family, but only to the emperor personally. But if it was thus dangerous for a man to offer himself as a participator in state honours; on the other hand, it was impossible for a people to feel any living sympathy with a public grandeur in which they could not safely attempt to participate. Simply to be a member of this vast body was no distinction at all: honour could not attach to what was universal. One path only lay open to personal distinction ; and that, being haunted along its whole extent by increasing danger, naturally bred the murderous spirit of retaliation or pre-occupation. It is besides certain, that the very change wrought in the nature of warlike rewards and honours, contributed to cherish a spirit of atrocity amongst the officers. Triumphs had been granted of old for conquests; and these were generally obtained much more by intellectual qualities than by

any display of qualities merely or rudely martial. Triumphs were now a forbidden fruit to any officer less than Augustan. And this one change, had there been no other, sufficed to throw the efforts of military men into a direction more humble, more directly personal, and more brutal. It became dangerous to be too conspicuously victorious. There yet remains a letter, amongst the few surviving from that unlettered period, which whispers a thrilling caution to a great officer, not to be too meritorious: "dignus eras triumpho," says the letter, "si antiqua tempora extarent." But what of that? What signified merit that was to cost a man his head? And the letter goes on to add this gloomy warning" Memor cujusdam ominis, cautius velim vincas.' The warning was thrown away; the man (Regillianus) persisted in these imprudent victories: he was too meritorious; he grew dangerous; and he perished. Such examples forced upon the officers a less suspicious and a more brutal ambition: the laurels of a conqueror marked a man out for a possible competitor, no matter through whose ambition-his own in assuming the purple, or that of others in throwing it by force around him. The differences of guilt could not be allowed for where they made no difference in the result. But the laurels of a butcher created no jealousy, whilst they sufficed for establishing a camp reputation. And thus the danger of a higher ambition threw a weight of encouragement into the lower and more brutal.

So powerful, indeed, was this tendency so headlong this gravitation to the brutal that unless a new force, moving in an opposite direction, had begun to rise in the political heavens, the Roman empire would have become an organized engine of barbarismbarbarous and making barbarous. This fact gives one additional motive to the study of Christian antiquities, which on so many other motives interest and perplex our curiosity. About the time of Dioclesian, the weight of Christianity was making itself felt in high places. There is a memorable scene between that Emperor and a Pagan priest representing an oracle, (that is, speaking on behalf of the Pagan interests,) full forty years before the legal establishment of Christianity, which shows how insensibly the Christian faith had crept onwards

within the fifty or sixty years previous. Such hints, such "momenta," such stages in the subtle progress of Christianity, should be carefully noted, searched, probed, improved. And it is partly because too little anxiety of research has been applied in this direction, that every student of history mourns over the dire sterility of its primitive fields. For the first three or four centuries we know next to nothing of the course by which Christianity moved, and the events through which its agency was developed.

That it prospered, we know; but how it prospered, (meaning not through what transcendent cause, but by what circumstantial steps and gradations,) is painfully mysterious. And for much of this darkness, we must confess that it is now past all human power of illumination. Nay, perhaps it belongs to the very sanctity of a struggle, in which powers more than human were working concurrently with man, that it should be lost (like much of our earliest antediluvian history) in a mysterious gloom; and for the same reason-viz., that when man stands too near to the super-sensual world, and is too palpably co-agent with schemes of Providence, there would arise, upon the total review of the whole plan and execution, were it all circumstantially laid below our eyes, too compulsory an evidence of a supernatural agency. It is not meant that men should be forced into believing: free agencies must be left to the human belief, both in adopting and rejecting, else it would cease to be a moral thing, or to possess a moral value. Those who were contemporary to these great agencies, saw only in part; the fractionary mode of their perceptions intercepted this compulsion from them. But as to us, who look back upon the whole, it would perhaps have been impossible to secure the same immunity from compulsion, the same integrity of the free, unbiased choice, unless by darkening the miraculous agencies, obliterating many facts, and disturbing their relations. In such a way the equality is maintained between generation and generation; no age is unduly favoured, none penuriously depressed. Each has its separate advantages, each its peculiar difficulties. The worst has not so little light as to have a plea for infidelity. The best has not so much as to overpower the freedom of

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