« AnteriorContinuar »
dignity and power in the state. Let them take hope to themselves, give hope to the free states, awaken hope throughout the world. They will thus anticipate only what must happen at some time, and what they themselves must desire, if it can come safely, and as soon as it can come without danger. Let them do only this, and every cause of disagreement will cease immediately and forever. We shall then not merely endure each other, but we shall be reconciled together and shall realize once more the concord which results from mutual league, united councils, and equal hopes and hazards in the most sublime and beneficent enterprise the earth has witnessed. The fingers of the powers above would tune the harmony of such a peace.”
As a senator, Mr. Seward's uniform urbanity, his self-possession and tact as a debater—the many able, clear, and elaborate arguments, which he has made upon great public questions, have deepened to enthusiasm the attachment of his friends, and correspondingly excited the opposition and the fears of his political foes. On a recent occasion-February 6, 1855
on the question of his reëlection to the United States senate, this feeling was especially manifest ; but his election, on that occasion, by a large majority, is at once a flattering endorsement of his course in the national councils, and an evidence of the deep and ardent devotion of his political friends.
It is perhaps useless to speculate upon the future; but we sometimes imagine that Mr. Seward will yet take a postion before the American people immeasurably superior to any which he has yet filled. The spirit of slavery is aggressive. Each day is a witness to its hungry cry for blood, and each day is witness to its triumphs. So far, the north has succumbed, not without ado, but she has invariably in the end succumbed. But it will not be so always. A profound reaction will by-and-by take place— perhaps next year, perhaps ten years hence—but it will surely come, and a great man will be needed for such a crisis. No compromiser, but a statesman of the first order; calm, generous, but sternly resolved upon the divorce of the federal government from all connection with negro slavery. We cannot tell if Mr. Seward is great enough for such a crisis, but we have sometimes thought that such would be his destiny.
JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL.
We have nothing biographical to say respecting Mr. Lowell; we know not that his history presents any striking facts. He is the son of a distinguished Boston divine; he graduated at Harvard, and with high honors, and he wrote excellent poetry at an early age.
But Lowell is a remarkable man and poet. He lacks the fire of Whittier; he is possibly inferior to many American poets in important respects, but that he is one of the first poets of this age no man will deny. He is sincerely a reformer; his sympathies are entirely with the oppressed and down-trodden; he has always been true to the cause of the negro slave, and many of his poems prove it. Some of his poems are exceedingly beautiful, while others are full of grand thoughts, which strike upon the ear and heart, like the booming cannon-shot, which tells that an ardently desired conflict has commenced. This class of poems are less fiery than Whittier’s reform poetry, but a very few of them are, we have sometimes thought, characterized by more grandeur than any of Whit
upon the same subject. One of the most beautiful of Lowell's poems is that entitled “ The Forlorn.” It betrays the nature of his religion and philosophy ; at least, it proves that his sympathies are with the poor and friendless. To us, it seems that this poem can never die—that some of its stanzas are unsurpassed by any modern poetry.
The night is dark, the stinging sleet,
Swept by the bitter gusts of air,
And stiffens on the pavement bare.
The street-lamps flare and struggle dim
Through the white sleet-clouds as they pass,
Drop down and rattle on the glass.
One poor, heart-broken, out-cast girl
Faces the east wind's searching flaws,
Her tattered cloak more tightly draws.
The flat brick walls look cold and bleak,
Her bare feet to the side-walk freeze;
Though faint with hunger and disease.
The sharp storm cuts her forehead bare,
And, piercing through her garments thin,
Makes colder the cold heart within.
She lingers where a ruddy glow
Streams outward through an open shutter, Giving more bitterness to woe,
More loneliness to desertion utter.
One half the cold she had not felt
Until she saw this gush of light
Its slow way through the dead'ning night.
She hears a woman's voice within,
Singing sweet words her childhood knew, And years of misery and sin
Furl off and leave her heaven blue.
Her freezing heart, like one who sinks
Out-wearied in the drifting snow, Drowses to deadly sleep, and thinks
No longer of its hopeless woe:
Old fields, and clear blue summer days,
Old meadows, green with grass and trees, That shimmer through the trembling bare,
And whiten in the western breeze;
old faces—all the friendly past
Rises within her heart again,
Makes summer of the icy rain.
Enhaloed by a mild, warm glow,
From all humanity apart,
Through the lone chambers of her heart.
Outside the porch below the door,
Her cheek upon the cold, hard stone, She lies, no longer foul and poor,
No longer dreary and alone.