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54. Character of True Eloquence. When public bodies are to be addressed on momentous occasions, when great interests are at stake, and strong passions excited, nothing is valuable, in speech,
farther than it is connected with high intellectual and 5 moral endowments. Clearness, force, and earnestness
are the qualities which produce conviction. True eloquence, indeed, does not consist in speech. It cannot be brought from far. Labor and learning may toil for
it, but they will toil in vain. Words and phrases may 10 be marshalled in every way, but they cannot compass it.
It must exist in the man, in the subject, and in the occasion. Affected passion, intense expression, the pomp of declamation, all may aspire after it--they cannot reach
it. It comes, if it come at all, like the outbreaking of 15 a fountain from the earth, or the bursting forth of vol
canic fires, with spontaneous, original, native force. The graces taught in the schools, the costly ornaments, and studied contrivances of speech, shock and disgust
men, when their own lives, and the fate of their wives, 20 their children, and their country hang on the decision
of the hour. Then words have lost their power, rhetoric is vain, and all elaborate oratory contemptible. Even genius itself then feels rebuked, and subdued, as in
the presence of higher qualities. Then, patriotism is 25 eloquent; then, self-devotion is eloquent. The clear
conception, out-running the deductions of logic, the high purpose, the firm resolve, the dauntless spirit, speaking on the tongue, beaming from the eye, inform
ing every feature, and urging the whole man onward, 30 right onward to his object—this, this is eloquence; or
rather it is something greater and higher than all eloquence, it is action, noble, sublime, godlike action.
From the dark portals of the star chamber, and in the stern text of the acts of uniformity, the pilgrims received a commission, more efficient, than any that
All this pu
ever bore the royal seal. Their banishment to Hol5 land was fortunate ; the decline of their little company
in the strange land was fortunate ; the difficulties which they experienced in getting the royal consent to banish themselves to this wilderness were fortunate ;
all the tears and heartbreakings of that ever memo10 rable parting at Delfthaven, had the happiest influence
on the rising destinies of New England.
its. · They made it a grave, solemn, self-denying ex15 pedition, and required of those who engaged in it to be
so too. They cast a broad shadow of thought and seriousness over the cause, and if this sometimes deepened into melancholy and bitterness, can we find no apol
ogy for such a human weakness? 20 Their trials of wandering and exile, of the ocean,
the winter, the wilderness, and the savage foe, were the final assurances of success. It was these that put far away from our fathers' cause, all patrician softness,
all hereditary claims to preeminence. No effeminate 25 nobility crowded into the dark and austere ranks of
the pilgrims. No Carr nor Villiers would lead on the ill provided band of despised Puritans. No well endowed clergy were on the alert, to quit their cathedrals,
and set up a pompous hierarchy in the frozen wilder30 ness.
No craving governors were anxious to be sent over to our cheerless El Dorados of ice and of snow. No, they could not say they had encouraged, patronised, or helped the pilgrims; their own cares, their own
labours, their own councils, their own blood, contrived 35 all, achieved all, bore all, sealed all. They could not af
terwards fairly pretend to reap where they had not strewn ; and as our fathers reared this broad and solid fabric with pains and watchfulness, unaided, barely
tolerated, it did not fall when the favour, which had al40 ways been withholden, was changed into wrath; when
the arm which had never supported, was raised to destroy.
Methinks I see it now, that one solitary, adventurous vessel, the Mayflower of a forlorn hope, freighted with
45 the prospects of a future state, and bound across the unknown sea.
I behold it pursuing, with a thousand misgivings, the uncertain, the tedious voyage. Suns rise and set, and weeks, and months pass, and winter sur
prises them on the deep, but brings them not the sight 50 of the wished for shore. I see them now scantily sup
plied with provisions, crowded almost to suffocation in their illstored prison ;-delayed by calms, pursuing a circuitous route,--and now driven in fury before the raging tempest, on the high and giddy waves.
The aw55 ful voice of the storm howls through the rigging. The
labouring masts seem straining from their base ;--the dismal sound of the pumps is heard ;--the ship leaps, as it were, madly, from billow to billow ;-the ocean breaks,
and settles with ingulphing floods over the floating deck, 60 and beats with deadening, shivering weight, against the
staggered vessel.--I see them, escaped from these perils, pursuing their all but desperate undertaking, and landed at last, after a five months passage, on the ice clad
rocks of Plymouth,-weak and weary from the voyage, 65 ---poorly arıned, scantily provisioned, depending on the
charity of their ship-master for a draught of beer on board, drinking nothing but water on shore, --without shelter,--without means,-surrounded by hostile tribes.
Shut now the volume of history, and tell me, on any 70 principle of human probability, what shall be the fate of
this handful of adventurers.--Tell me, man of military science, in how many months were they all swept off by the thirty savage tribes, enumerated within the ear
ly limits of New England ? Tell me, politician, how 75 long did this shadow of a colony, on which your con
ventions and treaties had not smiled, -languish on the distant coast? Student of history, compare for me the baffled projects, the deserted settlements, the abandon
ed adventures of other times, and find the parallel of 80 this. Was it the winter's storm, beating upon the house
less heads of women and children; was it hard labour and spare meals ;-was it disease, was it the tomahawk,—was it the deep malady of a blighted hope, a ru
ined enterprise, and a broken heart, aching in its last 85 moments at the recollection of the loved and left, be
yond the sea; was it some, or all of these united, that hurried this forsaken company to their melancholy fate? -And is it possible that neither of these causes, that
not all combined, were able to blast this bud of hope ?90 Is it possible, that from a beginning so feeble, so frail,
so worthy, not so much of admiration as of pity, there has gone forth a progress so steady, a growth so wonderful, an expansion so ample, a reality so important, a promise, yet to be fulfilled, so glorious ? Everett.
56. The Progress of Poesy.
Or where Mæander's amber waves 5 In ling'ring lab'rinths creep,
How do your tuneful echoes languish,
Inspiration breath'd around;
Murmur'd deep a solemn sound :
Alike they scorn the pomp of tyrant pow'r, 15 And coward vice, that revels in her chains.
When Latium had her lofty spirit lost,
Far from the sun and summer gale,
To him the mighty mother did unveil
This pencil take, (she said,) whose colours clear 25 Richly paint the vernal year ;
Thine too these golden keys, immortal boy!
30 Nor second he, that rode sublime
Upon the seraph wings of ecstacy,
The living throne, the sapphire blaze, 35 Where angels tremble while they gaze,
He saw; but, blasted with excess of light,
Wide o'er the fields of glory bear 40 Two coursers of ethereal race, With necks in thunder cloth’d, and long resounding pace.
Hark, his hands the lyre explore !
Scatters from her pictur'd urn
But ah ! 'tis heard no more--
Nor the pride nor ample pinion, 50 That the Theban eagle bear,
Sailing with supreme dominion
Such forms as glitter in the muse's ray, 55 With orient hues, unborrow'd of the sun ;
Yet shall he mount, and keep his distant way
I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
Morn came, and went--and came, and brought no day,