Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

For on thy cheeks the glow is spread,
That tints the morning hills with red;
Thy step-the wild deer's rustling feet
Within thy woods are not more fleet;
Thy hopeful eye

Is bright as thine own sunny sky.

Ay, let them rail—those haughty ones-
While safe thou dwellest with thy sons.
They do not know how loved thou art,
How many a fond and fearless heart
Would rise to throw

Its life between thee and the foe!

They know not, in their hate and pride,
What virtues with thy children bide;1
How true, how good, thy graceful maids
Make bright, like flowers, the valley shades;
What generous men

3

Spring, like thine oaks, by hill and glen;

What cordial welcomes greet the guest,
By the lone rivers of the West;
How faith is kept, and truth revered,
And man is loved, and God is feared,
In woodland homes,

And where the solemn ocean foams.

1 bide=abide, dwell.

2 like flowers. Show the appositeness of the simile.

3 men. Object of what verb?

4 like oaks. Show the appositeness of the simile.

5 cordial: from Latin cor, cordis, the heart. Give a synonym.

There's freedom at thy gates, and rest,
For earth's down-trodden and oppressed;
A shelter for the hunted head;1

For the starved laborer, toil and bread.
Power, at thy bounds,

Stops, and calls back his baffled hounds.

O fair young mother! on thy brow
Shall sit a nobler grace than now.
Deep in the brightness of thy skies,
The thronging years in glory rise,
And, as they fleet,2

Drop strength and riches at thy feet.

Thine eye, with every coming hour,
Shall brighten, and thy form shall tower;
And when thy sisters, elder born,

Would brand thy name with words of scorn,
Before thine eye

Upon their lips the taunt shall die.

1 the hunted head: a synecdoche (see Def. 7) for “political refugee."

2 fleet, hasten.

3 taunt, reviling, upbraiding.

XII. THOMAS BABINGTON MACAULAY.

LIFE AND WORKS.

Of all good gifts which it is in the power of fortune to bestow, none can surpass the being born of wise, honorable, and tender parents. This happy lot fell to Thomas Babington Macaulay, born October 25, 1800. His father, Zachary Macaulay, was of Scotch Presbyterian descent, and was a strong, zealous, self-sacrificing character. His mother, who belonged to a Quaker family, was a woman of most affectionate nature, yet clear-headed, firm, and discreet.

Thomas was a very precocious child. Even in his earliest years he wrote with ease; and his hymns were pronounced by Mrs. Hannah More, a famous moralist of that day, "quite extraordinary for such a baby."

At thirteen Thomas was sent from home to a distant. school, and at eighteen entered Trinity College, Cambridge. While averse to mathematics, he greatly distinguished himself by the thoroughness of his classical and literary scholarship; and in English verse he gained two gold medals. While young Macaulay was at college, his father, who had been a prosperous merchant, failed. Thomas pledged himself to pay off his parent's debts, and to be a second father to his brothers and sisters, promises which he kept to the letter.

[ocr errors]

In 1826 he was called to the bar, but gained little practice. The Edinburgh Review, however, had already published an article of his, the famous essay on Mil

ī

ton. This was followed by other papers of extraor dinary brilliancy, one of which, attracting the attention of Lord Lansdowne, gained for him a seat in Parliament (1830).

When Macaulay entered the House of Commons, the great battle of reform for the extension of the right to vote was just beginning. His first speech placed him in the front rank of orators; and soon by his tongue and pen he gained a wider renown than any Englishman of his years, except Pitt, had

ever won.

Soon after, he accepted the post of legal adviser to the Supreme Council of India, and sailed for Madras (1834). In India his chief work was a draught of the Indian penal code. Four years later he returned to England with a modest fortune. The same year (1838) he visited Italy, and on his return devoted himself to his life-work, the History of England.

In 1848 the history was published, and was received with applause unrivaled since Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. But four years later (1852) the great historian was prostrated by heart-disease. "I became," he said, "twenty years older in a week. A mile is more to me now than ten miles a year ago." He died peacefully, December 29, 1859, and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

Macaulay was a sturdy, broad-chested Englishman, as plain and full of energy as a locomotive. "I noticed," once remarked Carlyle on seeing his face in repose, "the homely Norse features that you find everywhere in the Western Isles; and I thought to myself, 'Well,

any one can see that you are an honest, good sort of fellow, made out of oatmeal!""

He was a great walker, and had the bad habit of reading as he walked. In his youth Sunday walking for walking's sake was never allowed by his father, and even going to a distant church was discouraged; but in later years Macaulay did not keep to this rigid rule. No man was ever fonder of children, though he had none of his own. He used to write dramas for his little nieces, and took part in the acting. One game was a great favorite, — building up a den with newspapers behind the sofa, and enacting robbers and tigers. Once he bought a sheet of paper for a guinea, and wrote on it a valentine to his niece Alice. "On receiving it," he says in his diary, "she was in perfect raptures. When we were alone together, she said, 'I am going to be very serious.' Down she fell before me on her knees, and lifted up her hands: 'Dear uncle, do tell the truth to your little girl. Did you send the valentine?' I did not choose to tell a real lie to a child, even about such a trifle, and so I owned it."

Macaulay was justly regarded by his few friends as "a lump of good-nature." In London society he was a great lion, and a constant guest at a famous resort of men of wit of that day, — Holland House. He talked much and well. Many of his companions thought that he was too much inclined to absorb sation, and play the part of Sir Oracle. This led a witty fellow to say, "I wish I knew as much of any thing as Tom Macaulay does of every thing."

conver

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »