Imágenes de página

'Twixt vice and virtue; revivest, Succorest! This was thy work, This was thy life upon earth.

Fade into dimness apace,
Silent;-hardly a shout
From a few boys late at their play!
The lights come out in the street,
In the school-room windows;—but cold,
Solemn, unlighted, austere,

Through the gathering darkness, arise
The chapel-walls, in whose bound
Thou, my father! art laid.


There thou dost lie, in the gloom
Of the autumn evening. But ah!
That word, gloom, to my mind
Brings thee back, in the light
Of thy radiant vigor, again;
In the gloom of November we passed
Days not dark at thy side;
Seasons impaired not the ray
Of thy buoyant cheerfulness clear.
Such thou wast! and I stand
In the autumn evening, and think
Of bygone autumns with thee.

What is the course of the life
Of mortal men on the earth?
Most men eddy about
Here and there eat and drink,
Chatter and love and hate,
Gather and squander, are raised
Aloft, are hurled in the dust.
Striving blindly, achieving
Nothing; and then they die
Perish;-and no one asks
Who or what they have been,
More than he asks what waves,
In the moonlit solitudes mild
Of the midmost Ocean, have swelled,
Foamed for a moment, and gone.






Fifteen years have gone round
Since thou arosest to tread,
In the summer-morning, the road
Of death, at a call unforeseen,
Sudden. For fifteen years,
We who till then in thy shade
Rested as under the boughs
Of a mighty oak, have endured
Sunshine and rain as we might,
Bare, unshaded, alone,
Lacking the shelter of thee.


O strong soul, by what shore
Tarriest thou now? For that force,
Surely, has not been left vain!
Somewhere, surely, afar,
In the sounding labor-house vast
Of being, is practised that strength,
Zealous, beneficent, firm!

And there are some, whom a thirst | Ardent, unquenchable, fires, Not with the crowd to be spent, Not without aim to go round In an eddy of purposeless dust, Effort unmeaning and vain. Ah, yes! some of us strive Not without action to die Fruitless, but something to snatch From dull oblivion, nor all Glut the devouring grave! We, we have chosen our pathPath to a clear-purposed goal, Path of advance!—but it leads A long, steep journey, through sunk Gorges, o'er mountains in snow. Cheerful, with friends, we set forthThen, on the height, comes the storm. 90 Thunder crashes from rock To rock, the cataracts reply; Lightnings dazzle our eyes; Roaring torrents have breached The track; the stream-bed descends 95 In the place where the wayfarer once Planted his footstep—the spray Boils o'er its borders! aloft The unseen snow-beds dislodge Their hanging ruin! alas, Havoc is made in our train! Friends, who set forth at our side, Falter, are lost in the storm. We, we only are left! With frowning foreheads, with lips 105 Sternly compressed, we strain on,




Yes, in some far-shining sphere,
Conscious or not of the past,
Still thou performest the word
Of the Spirit in whom thou dost live
Prompt, unwearied, as here!
Still thou upraisest with zeal
The humble good from the ground,
Sternly repressest the bad!
Still, like a trumpet, dost rouse
Those who with half-open eyes
Tread the border-land dim



[ocr errors]



On-and at nightfall at last

Bluster or cringe, and make life Come to the end of our way,

Hideous, and arid, and vile; To the lonely inn 'mid the rocks; But souls tempered with fire, Where the gaunt and taciturn host

Fervent, heroic, and good,

Stands on the threshold, the wind Helpers and friends of mankind.
Shaking his thin white hairs-
Holds his lantern to scan

Servants of God!-or sons
Our storm-beat figures, and asks:

Shall I not call you? because Whom in our party we bring,


Not as servants ye knew Whom we have left in the snow?

Your Father's innermost mind, - 165

His, who unwillingly sees Sadly we answer: We bring

One of his little ones lostOnly ourselves! we lost

Yours is the praise, if mankind Sight of the rest in the storm.

Hath not as yet in its march Hardly ourselves we fought through, 120

Fainted, and fallen, and died!

170 Stripped, without friends, as we are.

See! In the rocks of the world Friends, companions, and train,

Marches the host of mankind, The avalanche swept from our side.

A feeble, wavering line.

Where are they tending?-A God But thou would'st not alone

Marshalled them, gave them their goal. — Be saved, my father! alone

| Ah, but the way is so long!

170 Conquer and come to thy goal,

Years they have been in the wild! Leaving the rest in the wild.

Sore thirst plagues them, the rocks, We were weary, and we

Rising all round, overawe; Fearful, and we in our march

Factions divide them, their host Fain to drop down and to die.


Threatens to break, to dissolve. Still thou turnedst, and still

-Ah, keep, keep them combined! Beckonedst the trembler, and still

Else, of the myriads who fill Gavest the weary thy hand.

That army, not one shall arrive;

Sole they shall stray; on the rocks If, in the paths of the world,

Batter for ever in vain,
Stones might have wounded thy feet, 135

Die one by one in the waste.
Toil or dejection have tried
Thy spirit, of that we saw

Then, in such hour of need
Nothing—to us thou wast still

Of your fainting, dispirited race, Cheerful, and helpful, and firm!

Ye, like angels, appear,

190 Therefore to thee it was given

140 Radiant with ardor divine. Many to save with thyself;

Beacons of hope, ye appear! And, at the end of thy day,

Languor is not in your heart, O faithful shepherd! to come,

Weakness is not in your word, Bringing thy sheep in thy hand.

Weariness not on your brow.


Ye alight in our van! at your voice And through thee I believe

145 Panic, despair, flee away. In the noble and great who are gone; Ye move through the ranks, recall Pure souls honored and blest

The stragglers, refresh the outworn, By former ages, who else

Praise, re-inspire the brave. Such, so soulless, so poor,

Order, courage, return; Is the race of men whom I see

Eyes rekindling, and prayers, Seemed but a dream of the heart,

Follow your steps as ye go. Seemed but a cry of desire.

Ye fill up the gaps in our files, Yes! I believe that there lived

Strengthen the wavering line,

205 Others like thee in the past,

Stablish, continue our march, Not like the men of the crowd

On, to the bound of the waste, Who all round me to-day

| On, to the City of God.






THE LAST WORD The sea is calm to-night,

Creep into thy narrow bed, The tide is full, the moon lies fair

Creep, and let no more be said! Upon the straits;on the French coast | Vain thy onset! all stands fast. the light

Thou thyself must break at last. Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,

Let the long contention cease! 5 Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil Geese are swans, and swans are geese. bay.

Let them have it how they will ! Come to the window, sweet is the night Thou art tired; best be still.

air! Only, from the long line of spray

They out-talked thee, hissed thee, tore Where the sea meets the moon-blanched thee? land, Better men fared thus before thee;

10 Listen! you hear the grating roar

Fired their ringing shot and passed, Of pebbles which the waves draw back, | Hotly charged-and sank at last. and fling,

10 At their return, up the high strand, Charge once more, then, and be dumb! Begin, and cease, and then again begin, Let the victors, when they come, With tremulous cadence slow, and bring When the forts of folly fall, The eternal note of sadness in.

Find thy body by the wall!



Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Ægean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea. 20

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round

earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar, 25
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges

And naked shingles of the world.

Practical people talk with a smile of Plato and of his absolute ideas; and it is. impossible to deny that Plato's ideas do often seem unpractical and impracticable, and especially when one views them in connection with the life of a great work-aday world like the United States. The necessary staple of the life of such a world Plato regards with disdain; handicraft and trade and the working professions (10 he regards with disdain; but what becomes of the life of an industrial modern community if you take handicraft and trade and the working professions out of it? The base mechanic arts and handicrafts, says Plato, bring about a natural weakness in the principle of excellence in a man, so that he cannot govern the ignoble growths in him, but nurses them, and cannot understand fostering any (20 other. Those who exercise such arts and trades, as they have their bodies, he says marred, by their vulgar businesses, so they have their souls, too, bowed and broken by them. And if one of these uncomely people has a mind to seek selfculture and philosophy, Plato compares him to a bald little tinker, who has scraped

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which

To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor

Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for

pain; And we are here as on a darkling plain 35 Swept with confused alarms of struggle

and flight, Where ignorant armies clash by night.

together money, and has got his release working part of the community, though from service, and has had a bath, and (30 | not nominally slaves as in the pagan bought a new coat, and is rigged out like world, were practically not much better a bridegroom about to marry the daughter off than slaves, and not more seriously of his master who has fallen into poor regarded. And how absurd it is, people and helpless estate.

end by saying, to inflict this educaNor do the working professions fare tion upon an industrious modern comany better than trade at the hands of munity, where very few indeed are per- 100 Plato. He draws for us an inimitable sons of leisure, and the mass to be conpicture of the working lawyer, and of his sidered has not leisure, but is bound, for life of bondage; he shows how this bond its own great good, and for the great age from his youth up has stunted (40 good of the world at large, to plain labor and warped him, and made him small and to industrial pursuits, and the educaand crooked of soul, encompassing him tion in question tends necessarily to make with difficulties which he is not man men dissatisfied with these pursuits and enough to rely on justice and truth as unfitted for them! means to encounter, but has recourse, That is what is said. So far I must for help out of them, to falsehood and defend Plato, as to plead that his view (100 wrong. And so, says Plato, this poor of education and studies is in the general, creature is bent and broken, and grows as it seems to me, sound enough, and up from boy to man without a particle of fitted for all sorts and conditions of men, soundness in him, although exceed- 150 whatever their pursuits may be. “An iningly smart and clever in his own es telligent man,” says Plato, “will prize teem.

those studies which result in his soul One cannot refuse to admire the artist getting soberness, righteousness, and wiswho draws these pictures. But we say to dom, and will less value the others." ourselves that his ideas show the influence I cannot consider that a bad description of a primitive and obsolete order of things, of the aim of education, and of the mo- (110 when the warrior caste and the priestly tives which should govern us in the choice caste were alone in honor, and the humble of studies, whether we are preparing ourwork of the world was done by slaves. selves for a hereditary seat in the English We have now changed all that; the mod- [60 House of Lords or for the pork trade in ern majority consists in work, as Emerson Chicago. declares; and in work, we may add, prin Still I admit that Plato's world was not cipally of such plain and dusty kind as ours, that his scorn of trade and handithe work of cultivators of the ground, craft is fantastic, that he had no conhandicraftsmen, men of trade and business, ception of a great industrial community men of the working professions. Above such as that of the United States, and (120 all is this true in a great industrious that such a community must and will community such as that of the United shape its education to suit its own needs. States.

If the usual education handed down to Now education, many people go on (70 it from the past does not suit it, it will to say, is still mainly governed by the ideas certainly before long drop this and try of men like Plato, who lived when the another. The usual education in the past warrior caste and the priestly or philo has been mainly literary. The question sophical class were alone in honor, and the is whether the studies which were really useful part of the community were long supposed to be the best for all of us slaves. It is an education fitted for per are practically the best now; whether (130 sons of leisure in such a community. others are not better. The tyranny of This education passed from Greece and the past, many think, weighs on us inRome to the feudal communities of | juriously in the predominance given to Europe, where also the warrior caste (80 | letters in education. The question is and the priestly caste were alone held in raised whether, to meet the needs of our honor, and where the really useful and modern life, the predominance ought

not now to pass from letters to science; college at Birmingham, laying hold of and naturally the question is nowhere this phrase, expanded it by quoting some raised with more energy than here in the more words of mine, which are these: United States. The design of abasing (140 “The civilised world is to be regarded as what is called “mere literary instruction now being, for intellectual and spiritual and education," and of exalting what is purposes, one great confederation, bound called “sound, extensive, and practical to a joint action and working to a comscientific knowledge,” is, in this intensely mon result; and whose members have modern world of the United States, even for their proper outfit a knowledge of more perhaps than in Europe, a very Greek, Roman, and Eastern antiquity, (200 popular design, and makes great and and of one another. Special local and rapid progress.

temporary advantages being put out of I am going to ask whether the present account, that modern nation will in the movement for ousting letters from their (150 intellectual and spiritual sphere make old predominance in education, and for most progress, which most thoroughly transferring the predominance in educa carries out this programme.” tion to the natural sciences, whether this Now on my phrase, thus enlarged, brisk and flourishing movement ought to Professor Huxley remarks that when I prevail, and whether it is likely that in speak of the above-mentioned knowledge the end it really will prevail. An objec as enabling us to know ourselves and (210 tion may be raised which I will antici the world, I assert literature to contain the pate. My own studies have been almost materials which suffice for thus making wholly in letters, and my visits to the us know ourselves and the world. But field of the natural sciences have been (160 it is not by any means clear, says he, very slight and inadequate, although that after having learnt all which ancient those sciences have always strongly moved and modern literatures have to tell us, my curiosity. A man of letters, it will we have laid a sufficiently broad and perhaps be said, is not competent to dis deep foundation for that criticism of life, cuss the comparative merits of letters and that knowledge of ourselves and the world, natural science as means of education. which constitutes culture. On the (220 To this objection I reply, first of all, that contrary, Professor Huxley declares that his incompetence, if he attempts the dis he finds himself “wholly unable to admit cussion but is really incompetent for it, will that either nations or individuals will be abundantly visible; nobody will be (170 really advance, if their outfit draws taken in; he will have plenty of sharp nothing from the stores of physical observers and critics to save mankind science. An army without weapons of from that danger. But the line I am going precision, and with no particular base of to follow is, as you will soon discover, so operations, might more hopefully enter extremely simple, that perhaps it may upon a campaign on the Rhine, than be followed without failure even by a man, devoid of a knowledge of (230 one who for a more ambitious line what physical science has done in the of discussion would be quite incompe- last century, upon a criticism of tent.

life.” Some of you may possibly remember (180 | This shows how needful it is for those a phrase of mine which has been the object who are to discuss any matter together, of a good deal of comment; an observation to have a common understanding as to to the effect that in our culture, the aim the sense of the terms they employ,being to know ourselves and the world, we how needful, and how difficult. What have, as the means to this end, to know the Professor Huxley says, implies just the best which has been thought and said in reproach which is so often brought (240 the world. A man of science, who is also against the study of belles lettres, as they an excellent writer and the very prince of are called: that the study is an elegant debaters, Professor Huxley, in a discourse one, but slight and ineffectual; a smatterat the opening of Sir Josiah Mason's (190 | ing of Greek and Latin and other orna

« AnteriorContinuar »