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This poem is one of the most beautiful and pathetic ever written by an American bard. Its simplicity is striking, yet it is one of its beauties. The last verse is not often surpassed—especially this line:
“Whispered, and wept, and smiled.”
In this little poem the poet preaches a more eloquent anti-slavery sermon, than was ever delivered from the pulpit—a more touching oration against human chat telism, than was ever pronounced from the platform.
There are so many exqnisite passages in the poems of Bryant, that in quoting them one knows not when or where to stop: His great poems—Thanatopsis, The Prairies, etc., etc., are so well known, that we will not extract from them here, but will close the sketch with one of his most finished, perfect pieces. It is well known, but will bear reading again and again.
TO A WATERFOWL.
Thy solitary way?
Vainly the fowler's eye
Thy figure floats along.
Seek'st thou the plashy brink
On the chafed ocean side ?
There is a Power whose care
Lone wandering, but not lost.
All day thy wings have fanned,
Though the dark night is near.
And soon that toil shall end; Soon shall thou find a summer home, and rest, And scream among thy fellows; reeds shall bend,
Soon o'er thy sheltered nest.
Thou'rt gone; the abyss of heaven Hath swallowed up thy form; yet, on my
heart Deeply hath sunk the lesson thou hast given,
And shall not soon depart.
He who, from zone to zone, Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight, In the long way that I must tread alone,
Will lead my steps aright.
A FEW miles out of Boston, just far enough to escape the dust and confusion of the town, there is a dwelling which would attract the eye of a genuine lover of nature, and natural beauty. It is not characterized by splendor and ostentation, for no pompous cotton merchant or retired rumseller occupies it. It is plain and yet beautiful, unpretentious and yet spacious. It is surrounded by shrubs, and trees, and flowers of every hue, and the most delightful fragrance in the summer time. Should you chance some early May morning to wander past this pleasant spot, very likely in the garden you will see a man in a plain smock frock, hard at work. He is rather short in stature, rather slender in frame, and if you catch a glance of his eye, you will at once entertain a serious doubt if the man be by profession a gardener. Let him lift the wide straw hat from his
perspiring brow to catch a cool breeze, and you know at once that he is no common cultivator of the soil. Theodore Parker is before you. The beautiful dwelling is his, and his own hands have contributed to the loveliness which surrounds it.
Theodore Parker is one of the noblest men this age can boast. No sham ever yet could find a lodgment in his brain or heart. He abhors the false, and loves the true and manly. Not a particle of vulgar gentility, not a grain of aristocratic feeling was ever in him, or ever can get into him.
He esteems a man just according to his moral and intellectual worth, for what he does, or aims to do. He loves men because they are men; not because they are white, or rich, or can trace their genealogy back five hundred years. An outrage upon the rights of a poor negro in the streets of Boston, stirs the blood as quickly in his heart, as if it had been committed upon the person of the governor of the cominonwealth. perpetrated upon a wretched drunkard's wife or child, awakes the thunder of his eloquence, when, if inflicted upon the strong or rich, he would have kept silent. It is this gigantic manhood in Theodore Parker which forces us to love and admire him. In spite of his infidelity, which so often startles and shocks us, we sit down involuntarily at his feet to listen to his great words, his courageous utterances against the most heartless and cruel oppression. We receive not one word of his infidelity. To us, Christ is not merely the greatest man that ever lived, but is vastly more; to us, the bible is not a book crammed with errors—the miracles exaggerations ; and yet, to many of those who would crucify Mr. Parker, we indignantly cry: “ It is not for you to denounce this man; you who in your lives each day trample Jesus Christ and the bible under your feet; you who would refuse a cup of cold water to your Lord and Master,' ran there in his veins a drop of African blood !"
The manliness of Mr. Parker is apparent in his daily life. A shoemaker upon his bench, if heartnoble, is to him richer than Abbot Lawrence, with his acres of cotton-mills; a country farmer, in his fragrant clover fields, though of limited knowledge, if he be possessed of a generous heart and firm integrity, is in his eyes of greater worth than Daniel Webster, using his great intellect to perpetuate oppression.
No man will deny that Mr. Parker is one of the most remarkable men of our time, and that his influence is exceedingly powerful.
He is now between forty and fifty years old-we have forgotten his exact age--and is probably enjoying the most vigorous part of his existence. He was born in Lexington, where the first blood of the revolution was spilt, and it would seem as if the stories of that heroic time must have made a deep impression upon his mind and heart, for the Lexington spirit flashes from his eyes, and throbs in every pulse of his heart. His father was a farmer, and Theodore prepared himself for college as best he could. He