« AnteriorContinuar »
this man, but some casual appendage of his person, something which should indicate his past rather than his present existence, was all that I hoped to find. That he should be found alive in this desert ; that he should have gained this summit, access to which was apparently impossible, were scarcely within the boundaries of belief.
His scanty and coarse garb had been nearly rent away by brambles and thorns, his arms, bosom, and cheek were overgrown and half concealed by hair. There was somewhat in his attitude and looks denoting more than anarchy of thoughts and passions. His rueful, ghastly, and immoveable eyes, testified not only that his mind was ravaged by despair, but that he was pinched with famine.
These proofs of his misery thrilled to my inmost heart. Horror and shuddering invaded me as I stood gazing upon him, and, for a time, I was without the power of deliberating on the measures which it was my duty to adopt for his relief. The first suggestion was, by calling, to inform him of my presence. I knew not what counsel or comfort to offer. By what words to bespeak his attention, or by what topics to mollify his direful passions I knew not. Though so near, the gulf by which we were separated was impassable. All that I could do was to speak.
My surprise and my horror were still strong enough to give a shrill and piercing tone to my voice. The chasm and the rocks loudened and reverberated my accents while I exclaimed-Man! Clithero!
My summons was effectual. He shook off his trance in a moment. He had been stretched upon his back, with his eyes fixed upon a craggy projecture above, as if he were in momentary expectation of its fall, and crushing him to atoms. Now he started on his feet. He was
conscious of the voice, but not of the quarter whence it came. He was looking anxiously around when I again spoke-Look hither: It is I who called.
He looked. Astonishment was now mingled with every other dreadful meaning in his visage. He clasped his hands together and bent forward, as if to satisfy himself that his summoner was real. At the next moment he drew back, placed his hands upon his breast, and fixed his eyes on the ground.
This pause was not likely to be broken but by me. I was preparing again to speak. To be more distinctly heard, I advanced closer to the brink. During this action, my eye was necessarily withdrawn from him. Having gained a somewhat nearer station, I looked again, buthe was gone!
BY ROBERT WALN.
"T is the break of day, and cloudless weather,
For the waking morn
The wild boar is shaking his dewy bristle,
For the waking morn
CHARACTER OF TILGAMAN.
BY HORACE BINNEY.
If the reputation of the living were the only source from which the honour of our race is derived, the death of an eminent man would be a subject of immitigable grief. It is the lot of few to attain great distinction, before Death has placed them above the distorting medium, through which men are seen by their cotemporaries. It is the lot of still fewer, to attain it by qualities which exalt the character of our species. Envy denies the capacity ofs ome, slander stigmatizes the principles of others, fashion gives an occasional currency to false pretensions, and the men by whom the age is hereafter to be known, are often too much in advance of it to be discernible by the common eye.
All these causes combine to reduce the stock of living reputation, as much below the real merits of the age, as it is below the proper dignity of man; and he who should wish to elevate his spirit by examples of wisdom, of genius, and of patriotism, if he could not derive them from the illustrious dead, would have better reason than the son of Philip, to weep at the limits which confined him. To part with the great and good from a world which thus wants them, and not to receive thereafter the refreshing influence of their purified and exalted fame would be to make Death almost the master of our virtue, as he appears to be of our perishable bodies. The living and dead are, however, but one
family, and the moral and intellectual affluence of those who have gone before, remains to enrich their posterity. The great fountain of human character lies beyond the confines of life, where the passions cannot invade it. It is in that region, that among innumerable proofs of man's nothingness, are preserved the records of his immortal descent and destiny. It is there that the spirits of all ages, after their sun is set, are gathered into one firmament, to shed their unquenchable lights upon us.
It is in the great assembly of the dead, that the Philosopher and the Patriot, who have passed from life, complete their benefaction to mankind, by becoming imperishable examples of virtue. Beyond the circle of those private affections which cannot choose but shrink from the inroads of Death, there is no grief then for the departure of the eminently good and wise. No tears but those of gratitude should fall into the graves of such as are gathered in honour to their forefathers. By their now unenvied virtues and talents, they have become a new possession to their posterity, and when we commemorate them, and pay the debt which is their due, we increase and confirm our own inheritance.
It has been said, that the panegyrists of great men can rarely direct the eye with safety to their early years, for fear of lighting upon the traces of some irregular passion. But to the subject of this discourse, may with justice be applied, the praise of the Chancellor D’Aguesseau, that he was never known to take a single step out of the narrow path of Wisdom, and that although sometimes it was remarked he had been young, and it was for the purpose not of palliating a defect, but of doing greater honour to his virtues.
Of the early life of Judge Tilghman few of his cotemporaries remain to speak; but those few attest, what the har