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JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER.
in preparing that which later culminated in the Republican Party. Mr. Whittier was a voluminous writer and he has left a colossal monument which time will never efface.
"HE year of 1892 has come and gone, and it
He brought us wonders of the new and old.
We shared all climes with him. The Arab's tent
To him its story-telling secret lent,
In manly, honest thoroughness he wrought;
From humble home-lays to the heights of thought Slowly he climbed, but every step was sure. How, with the generous pride that friendship hath,
We, who so loved him, saw at last the crown
Of civic honor on his brows pressed down; Rejoiced, and knew not that the gift was death.
And now for him, whose praise in deafened ears Two nations speak, we answer but with tears.
0. W. HOLMES.
taken from the world of letters four great poets; Whitman, Lowell, Whittier and Tennyson, each supreme in his own realm of versification. Of this notable quartette, Lowell and Tennyson more nearly resembled each other, while nothing could exceed the dissimilarity existing between Whittier and Whitman. Indeed, some have even gone so far as to say Whitman was not a poet. Poetical prose, is the title they bestow on his writings. Whittier's position, and his right to the bay have, however, never been questioned. His place in the hearts of the American people is unique, and can only find a parallel with that of Helen Hunt. Lowell, Longfellow, Holmes, and others of our poets are admired for the products of their genius, and a great amount of respect is felt towards the possessor of so manifestly great capabilities; but with Whittier, love mingles and even predominates in the tribute paid to him, and as the years roll on apace, it will come to be said how we admired those illustrious ones of the past, but how we loved the “Good Gray Poet."
John Greenleaf Whittier was born in Haverhill, Mass., December 17th, 1807. His parents were members of the Society of Friends, and to their beliefs and principles he adhered throughout his life. His American ancestry dates from the year 1638. Whittier was born on a farm, and his boyhood occupations were such as farmer's boys usually engage in. He learned shoemaking from one of the farm hands and by that means secured enough money to enable himself to attend Haverhillacademy six months during 1829. This served as a polishing to his previous education and he then began teaching in the district school of West Amesbury, which supplied him with the means for another six months in the academy. In his nineteenth year he began contributing poems, anonymously, to the Free Press, then edited by W. L. Garrison. By this means an acquaintance with Mr. Garrison was established, and thus was gained another pen to espouse the cause of the abolitionists. His father died and for five years Mr. Whittier conducted the farm. In 1835 he was sent to the general court from Haverhill. From the year 1829 he edited at different periods, the American Manufacturer, Boston, the Haverhill Gazette, the New England Weekly Review, Hartford, Conn., the Pennsylvania Freeman, Philadelphia, and the Middlesex Standard, Lowell, Mass. He was fearless in doing what he believed to be right, and he was a strong factor
His still the keen analysis
Of men and moods, electric wit, Free play of mirth and tenderness
To heal the slightest wound from it.
Lifes, sorrows and regrets,
And rest beneath the violets.
The thoughtful tide beneath it rolled,
Earth may not claim thee. Nothing here
Could be for thee a meet reward; Thine is a treasure far more dear,Eye hath not seen it, nor the ear
Of living mortal heard The joys prepared, the promised bliss above, The holy presence of Eternal Love!
- The Female Martyr. PATIENCE.
There's quiet in that Angel's glance,
- The Angel of Patience.
He comes! he comes! the Frost Spirit comes,
and the quiet lake shall feel The torpid touch of his glazing breath, and ring to
the skater's heel; And the streams which danced on the broken rocks,
or sang to the leaning grass, Shall bow again to their winter chain, and in mournful silence pass.
-The Frost Spirit.
Oh! woman wronged can cherish hate
“O lady fair, I have yet a gem which a purer lustre
flings, Than the diamond flash of the jeweled crown on
the lofty brow of kings,A wonderful pearl of exceeding price, whose virtue
shall not decay, Whose light shall be as a spell to thee and a blessing on thy way!”
-The Vaudois Teacher.
Oh! when the soul, once pure and high,
The strength to dare, the nerve to meet
Whatever threatens with defeat
Though eager for the gains of crime,
Oft, at his chosen place and time, The strength to bear his evil part, And, shielded by his very vice, Escapes from crime by cowardice.
“Ah, the cloud is dark, and day by day
I am moving thither;
- My Soul and I. PRESENT.
The Present, the Present is all thou hast
For thy sure possessing;
'Tis springtime on the eastern hills!
The southwest wind is warmly blowing,
Like warp and woof all destinies
Are woven fast,
Of an organ vast.
Break but one
" in her meek, forgiving eye
There was a brightness not of mirth, A light whose clear intensity
Was borrowed not of earth.
Along her cheek a deepening red,
And yet, each fatal token gave
Unwarning of the grave.
Breathed over by her frosty breath;
Ask why the graceful grape entwines
HOME. The hills are dearest which our childish feet Have climbed the earliest; and the streams most
sweet Are ever those at which our young lips drank, Stooped to their waters o'er the grassy bank. Midst the cold, dreary, sea-watch, home's hearth
light Shines round the helmsman plunging through the
night; And still, with inward eye, the traveler sees In close, dark, stranger streets, his native trees.
Fond longings dimly understood,
Tell us not of banks and tariffs; cease your paltry
pedler cries; Shall the good State sink her honor that your
gambling stocks may rise? Would ye barter man for cotton? That your gains
may sum up higher, Must we kiss the feet of Moloch, pass our children
through the fire ? Is the dollar only real? God and truth and right a
dream? Weighed against your lying ledgers must our manhood kick the beam ?
- The Pine-tree. GARRISON.
Brutal alike in deed and word,
With callous heart and hand of strife, How like a fiend may man be made, Plying the foul and monstrous trade
Whose harvest-field is human life, Whose sickle is the reeking sword!
The sweet songs, Simple and beautiful as Truth and Nature, Of whose whitened locks on Rydal Mount Are lifted yet by morning breezes blowing From the green hills, immortal in his lays.
- The Bridal of Pennacook.
Champion of those who groan beneath
Oppression's iron hand;
I see thee fearless stand.
In the steadfast strength of truth,
-To W. L. G.
The Indian's heart is hard and cold,
It closes darkly o'er its care,
Oh, vain the vow, and vain the strife!
How vain do all things seem! My soul is in the past, and life To-day is but a dream !
- The Knight of St. John.
The simple burst of tenderest feeling
Watching on the hills of Faith;
Oh, the outward hath gone! but in glory and power,
- Palestine. SHIPLEY.
Thank God! that I have lived to see the time
When the great truth begins at last to find
An utterance from the deep heart of mankind, Earnest and clear, that ALL REVENGE IS
Restraint upon him must consult his good,
And Love look in upon his solitude.
Beheld its schemes disjointed,
And spectral finger pointed.
With trenchant wit unsparing,
-Randolph of Roanoke.
Gentlest of spirits! not for thee
Our tears are shed, our sighs are given;
Partaker of the joys of Heaven?
When autumn's sun is downward going,
- To the Memory of Thomas Shipley.
What matters it! a few years more,
Where deed or word hath rendered less “The sum of human wretchedness,"
And Gratitude looks forth to bless,
God be praised for every instinct which rebels
against a lot Where the brute survives the human, and man's
upright form is not! As the serpent-like bejuco winds his spiral fold on
fold Round the tall and stately ceiba, till it withers in
his hold,Slow decays the forest monarch, closer girds the
fell embrace, Till the tree is seen no longer, and the vine is in its
place, So a base and bestial nature round the vassal's
manhood twines, And the spirit wastes beneath it, like the ceiba choked with vines.
- The Slaves of Martinique.