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CXIV. — “THE WORLD IS BRIGHT BEFORE THEE.”
[FITZGREENE HALLECK was born in Guilford, Connecticut, in August, 1795. He first became known as a poet by his share in a series of graceful and humorous pieces which appeared in the New York Evening Post, under the signature of “Croaker & Co.," and were the joint productions of himself and his friend Joseph Rodman Drake. In 1819 appeared Fanny, a light and airy sketch of city life and manners, without the author's name, but universally ascribed to Mr. Halleck, and at length acknowledged by him. In 1827, after a visit to Europe, he published a small volume, called Alawick Castle and other Poems, portions of which had appeared before in a fugitive form. In this volume are found his spirited and stirring stanzas on Marco Bozzaris, which have been so universally read and admired. Mr. Halleck has written very little, but that little is of great excellence. His poetry is polished and graceful, and finished with great care, under the guidance of a most fastidious taste. A vein of sweet and delicate sentiment runs through all his serious productions, and he combines with this a power of humor of the most refined and exquisite cast. He has the art of pass ing from grave to gay, or the reverse, by the most skilful and happily-managed tran tions.]
The world is bright before thee;
Its summer flowers are thine ;
Thy bosom pleasure's shrine;
To nature's morning hour,
It burst on Eden's bower.
There is a song of sorrow,
The death dirge of the gay,
That sky be blue no more,
And youth's warm promise o'er.
Believe it not; though lonely
Thy evening home may be ;
Float on a summer sea,
Though Time thy bloom is stealing,
There's still, beyond his art,
The sunbeam of the heart.
CXV. - THE GATHERING OF THE FAIRIES.
(JOSEPH RODMAN DRAKE was born in the city of New York, August 7, 1795, and died in September, 1820. He wrote The Culprit Fay, a poom in which the characters and incidents of fairy mythology are transferred to our own soil. It shows a playful and creative fancy, and a fine ear for the music of verse. Dr. Drake (he was a physician by profession) also wrote some smaller pieces; among them, some spirited and well-known stanzas to the American flag. The following extract is from the opening of The Culprit Fay.]
'Tis the middle watch of a summer's night-
The stars are on the moving stream,
And Aling, as its ripples gently flow,
* A hill on the North River,
A burnished length of wavy beam,
In an eel-like, spiral line below;
The bat in the shelvy rock is hid,
But the cricket's chirp, and the answer shrill Of the gauze-winged katydid,
And the plaint of the wailing whip-poor-will,
Who mourns unseen, and ceaseless sings Ever a note of wail and woe,
Till morning spreads her rosy wings, And earth and sky in her glances glow.
'Tis the hour of fairy ban and spell:
Who sleeps with him in the haunted tree,
And call the fays to their revelry ; Twelve small strokes on his tinkling bell ('Twas made of the white snail's pearly shell)
Midnight comes, and all is well! Hither, hither, wing your way! 'Tis the dawn of the fairy day.”
They come from beds of lichen green,
Some on the backs of beetles fly
Where they swung in their cobweb hammocks high, And rocked about in the evening breeze ;
Some from the humbird's downy nestThey had driven him out by elfin power,
And pillowed on plumes of his rainbow breast,
Had slumbered there till the charmed hour;
Some had lain in the scoop of the rock,
And some had opened the four o'clock,
And now they throng the moonlight glade,
Their little minim forms arrayed
CXVI. - BURKE'S KNOWLEDGE OF INDIA.
[This beautiful and picturesque passage is from a review of Gleig's Life of Warren Hastings, which appeared in the Edinburgh Review for October, 1841, and is ole of Macaulay's most brilliant and elaborate papers. His remarks on the rare combination of qualities in Burke's mind are as true as they are fine. Macaulay himself lived four years in India, and thus was enabled to color his picture with hues drawn from his own memory. The young reader will notice what rhetorical effect is gained by the enumeration of particulars in speaking of Burke's knowledge of India. This is a great art in rhetoric. The strongest statement, in general terms, that Burke thoroughly understood India, would be nothiug, in point of energy, to the accumulated and multiplied impression made by all these little details coming one after the other.]
His knowledge of India was such as few, even of those Europeans who have passed many years in that country, have attained, and such as certainly was never attained by any public man who had not quitted Europe. He had studied the history, the laws, and the usages of the East, with an industry such as is seldom found united with so much genius and so much sensibility. Others have perhaps been equally laborious, and have collected an equal mass of materials.
But the manner in which Burke brought his higher powers of intellect to work on statements of facts and on tables of figures, was peculiar to himself. In every part of those huge bales of Indian
This expression must mean the bits of mica found in the crevices of rocks.
Information, which repelled almost all other readers, his mind, at once poetical and philosophical, found something to instruct or delight. His reason analyzed and digested those vast and shapeless masses ; his imagination animated and colored them. Out of darkness, and dulness, and confusion, he formed a multitude of ingenious theories and vivid pictures.
He had, in the highest degree, that noble faculty whereby man is able to live in the past and in the future, in the distant and in the unreal. India and its habitants were not to him, as to most Englishmen, mere names and abstractions, but a real country and a real people. The burning sun, the strange vegetation of the palm and cocoa tree, the rice field, the tank, the huge trees, older than the Mogul empire, under which the village crowds assemble, the thatched roof of the peasant's hut, the rich tracery of the mosque where the imaun prays with his face to Mecca, the drums, and banners, and gaudy idols, the devotee swinging in the air, the graceful maiden, with the pitcher on her head, descending the steps to the river's side, the black faces, the long beards, the yellow streaks of sect, the turbans and the flowing robes, the spears and the silver maces, the elephants with their canopies of state, the gorgeous palanquin of the prince, and the close litter of the noble lady, all these were to him as the objects amidst which his own life had been passed, as the objects which lay on the road between Beaconsfield * and St. James's Street. All India was present to the
eye of his mind, from the halls where suitors laid gold and perfumes at the feet of sovereigns to the wild moor where the gypsy camp was pitched, from the bazaar, humming like a beehive with the crowd of buyers and sellers, to the jungle where the lonely courier shakes his bunch of iron rings to scare away the hyenas. He had just as lively an idea of the insurrection at Benares as of Lord George Gordon's riots, and of the execution of Nuncomar as of the execution of Dr. Dodd. Oppression in Bengal was to him the same thing as oppression in the streets of London.
* The name of Burke's estate.