Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

OHAPTER XLVI.

EPISTLE

To the Muse of History, perched on her clock-wheeled car, over the door, fronting the Speaker's chair, in the hall of the House of Representatives of the United States. 1846.

1. Muse, quit thy car! come down upon the floor,

And with thee bring that volume in thy hand;
Tap with thy marble knuckles at the door,

And take at a reporter's desk thy stand;
Send round thy album, and collect a score

Of autographic rulers of the land.
Invite each Solon to subscribe his name,
A self-recorded candidate for fame.

2. Come! speak thy thoughts, historic muse, and tell

The truth of all that passes in thy sight:
Say on whose lips persuasion loves to dwell,

Point out the champions rampant for the fight.
Seest thou a sage wild tumult's rage to quell,

And ears all listening with intense delight?
Behold them gathering at their country's call
Show me the stars ascendant, great and small.

3. Come! let us take inspection of the hall

Two hundred men and twenty-five are there.
Seats in concentric circles hold them all,

And fronting thee the speaker in his chair,
With clerks before him oft the roll to call,

And con the daily journal in their care.
At his right hand the keeper of the door,
While beardless pages trip around the floor.

4. Columbia's eagle, perched upon the mace,

Proclaims the session open for the day ;
The man of God implores of Heaven the grace,

And, pious and profane, all seem to pray.

But prayer sincere and fervent who can trace?

Muse! canst thou look into the heart and say?
Could but the voice of righteous prayer ascend,
What foe could prosper, with our God our friend?

5. 'Tis well to auspicate the day with prayer ;

It speaks the rulers of a Christian land,
It teaches of foul passions to beware,

And bids the heart with kindness to expand.
Oh! 't is a joy the seraphim might share,

Before their God to see a people stand ;
In humble penitence their sins confess,
And seek his face to pardon and to bless.

6. But shall not prayer, ascending to the sky,

In meek petition to the throne of grace,
Shall it not draw in closer bonds the tie

That knits in sympathy the human race ?
Shall not the supplicant to God on high

Find for compassion in his heart a place ?
Rut, rising from his knees, unfeeling turn,
And from his feet the humble suitor spurn?

7. Alas for virtue in the heart of man !

Accursed traffic !* dost thou prosper still ?
Creation's Lord ! may feeble mortal learn

The final purpose of thy holy will ?
Wilt thou not speed thy blessing on the plan

The deed of man's redemption to fulfil,
That while this earth revolves her daily round,
Not on her surface shall one slave be found ?

8. Of good and evil who shall draw the line?

What matchless hand shall sever right from wrong? Lord God omnipotent, that hand is thine,

Strength of the weak, and weakness of the strong!
Right is the purpose of thy whole design.

The laws to thee, and thee alone, belong,
Of mortal man beyond the bounded range:
Right is eternal and can never change.

* The slave-trade.

9. And when, throughout the checkered scene of life,

Thou and thy neighbor cross each other's path,
When adverse interests fester into strife,

And rival passions kindle into wrath,
Restrain thy hand, nor grasp the deadly knife,

Rely on God to rescue thee from scath;
Before him kneel the fountain of all might, -
And bend thy soul to his behest of right.

[ocr errors]

10. And say not thou, My country, right or wrong,"

Nor shed thy blood for an unhallowed cause.
Thy life, and all thou hast, to her belong,

And free submission to her righteous laws.
But justice holds no balance for the strong;

Her sword to sanction wrong she never draws.
If, then, thy country tramples on the right,
Furl up her banners, and avert thy sight.

CHAPTER XLVII.

THE NEIGHBOR-IN-LAW.

1. AUNT Hetty had a cat, a lean, scraggy animal, that looked as if she were often kicked and seldom fed ; and Mrs. Fairweather had a fat, frisky little dog, always ready for a caper. He took a distaste to poor, poverty-stricken Tab, the first time he saw her; and no coaxing could induce him to alter his opinion. His name was Pink, but he was anything but a pink of behavior in his neighborly relations.

2. Poor Tab could never set foot out of doors, without being saluted with a growl, and a short, sharp bark, that frightened her out of her senses, and made her run into the house, with her fur all on end. If she even ventured to doze a little on her own door-step, the enemy was on the watch, and the moment her eyes closed, he would wake her with a bark and a box on the ear, and off he would run. Aunt Hetty vowed she would scald him. It was a burning shame, she said, for folks to keep dogs to worry their neighbors' cats.

3. Mrs. Fairweather invited Tabby to dine, and made much of her, and patiently endeavored to teach her dog to eat from the same plate. But Pink sturdily resolved he would be scalded first - that he would. He could not have been more obstinate in his opposition, if he and Tab had belonged to different sects in Christianity.

4. While his mistress was patting Tab on the head, and reasoning the point with him, he would at times manifest a degree of indifference, amounting to toleration; but the moment he was left to his own free will, he would give the invited guest a hearty cuff with his paw, and send her home spitting like a small steam engine. Aunt Hetty considered it her own peculiar privilege to cuff the poor animal, and it was too much for her patience to see Pink undertake to assist in making Tab unhappy.

5. On one of these occasions, she rushed into her neighbor's apartments, and faced Mrs. Fairweather, with one hand resting on her hip, and the forefinger of the other making very wrathful gesticulations. “I tell you what, madam, I won't put up with such treatment much longer!" said she; “I'll poison that dog, see if I don't; and I shan't wait long, either, I can tell you! What you keep such an impudent little beast for, I don't know, without you do it on purpose to plague your neighbors."

6. “I am really sorry he behaves so,” replied Mrs. Fairweather, mildly. “Poor Tab!" “ Poor Tab!” screamed Miss Turnpenny; " what do you mean by calling her poor? Do you mean to fling it up to me that my cat don't have enough to eat?"

7. “I did n't think of such a thing," replied Mrs. Fairweather. “I called her poor Tab because Pink plagues her so that she has no peace of her life. I

agree
with

you, neighbor Turnpenny; it is not right to keep a dog that dis

[ocr errors]

turbs the neighborhood. I am attached to poor little Pink, because he belongs to my son, who has gone to sea.

I was in hopes he would soon leave off quarrelling with the cat, but if he won't be neighborly, I will send him out in the country to board. Sally, will you bring me one of the pies we baked this morning ? I should like to have Miss Turnpenny taste of them.”

8. The crabbed neighbor was helped abundantly; and while she was eating the pie, the friendly matron edged in many a kind word concerning little Peggy, whom she praised as a remarkably capable, industrious child. “I am glad you find her so," rejoined Aunt Hetty: "I should get precious little work out of her, if I did n't keep a switch in sight.”

9. “I manage children pretty much as the man did the donkey," replied Mrs. Fairweather. “Not an inch would the

poor beast stir, for all his master's beating and thumping. But a neighbor tied some fresh turnips to a stick, and fastened them so that they swung directly before the donkey's nose, and off he set on a brisk trot, in hopes of overtaking them.”

10. Aunt Hetty, without observing how very closely the comparison applied to her own management of Peggy, said, “ That will do very well for folks that have plenty of turnips to spare.”

11. “For the matter of that,” answered Mrs. Fairweather, whips cost something, as well as turnips; and since one makes the donkey stand still, and the other makes him trot, it is easy to decide which is the most economical. But, neighbor Turnpenny, since you like my pies so well, pray take one home with you. I am afraid they will mould before we can eat them up.”

12. Aunt Hetty had come in for a quarrel, and she was astonished to find herself going out with a pie. Well, Mrs. Fairweather,” said she," you are a neighbor. I thank you a thousand times.” When she reached her own door, she hesitated for an instant, then turned back, pie in hand, to say,

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »