Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

EXERCISE LXVI.—WASHINGTON'S PREPARATORY TRAINING FOR

PUBLIC STATION.-C. W. Upham. [An example of the style of narrative rising to the dignity of history. The style, both in the composition and the external manner, partakes of the oratorical character: the utterance is full and impressive.]

Among the mountain passes of the Blue Ridge and the Alleghanies, a youth is seen employed in the manly and invigorating occupations of a surveyor, and awakening the admiration of the hardy backwoodsmen and savage chieftains, by the strength and endurance of his frame, and the resolution and energy of his character. In his stature and conformation, he is a noble specimen of a man. In the various exercises of muscular power, on foot and in the saddle, he excels all competitors. His admirable physical traits are in perfect accordance with the properties of his mind and heart; and over all, crowning all, is a beautiful, and, in one so young, a strange dignity of manners and of mien, a calm seriousness, a sublime self-control, which at once compels the veneration, attracts the confidence, and secures the favour of all who behold him. That youth is the leader whom Heaven is preparing to conduct America through her approaching trial.

As we see him voluntarily relinquishing the enjoyments, and luxuries, and ease, of the opulent refinement in which he was born and bred, and choosing the perils and hardships of the wilderness; as we follow him, fording swollen streams, climbing rugged mountains, breasting the forest storms, wading through snow-drifts, sleeping in the open air, living upon the coarse food of hunters and of Indians, we trace, with devout admiration, the divinely-appointed education he was receiving to enable him to meet and endure the fatigues, exposures, and privations, of the war of Independ

Soon he is called to a more public sphere of action, on the same theatre; and we again follow him, in his romantic adventures, as he traversed the far-off western wilderness, a special messenger to the French commander on the Ohio, and afterwards when he led forth the troops of Virginia in the same direction, or accompanied the ill-starred Braddock to the blood-stained banks of the Monongahela. Everywhere we see the hand of God conducting him into danger, that he might extract from it the wisdom of an experience not otherwise to be attained, and develope those heroic quali

ence.

ties by which alone danger and difficulty can be surmounted, but all the while covering him, as with a shield.

When we think of him, at midnight and in mid-winter, thrown from a frail raft into the deep and angry waters of a wide and rushing western river, thus separated from his only companion through the wilderness, with no human aid for miles and leagues around him, buffeting its rapid current, and struggling through driving cakes of ice, when we behold the stealthy savage, whose aim, against all other marks, is unerring, pointing his rifle deliberately at him, and firing, over and over again,—when we see him riding through showers of bullets on Braddock's fatal field, and reflect that never, during his whole life, was he wounded, or even touched, by a hostile force, do we not feel that he was guarded by an Únseen Hand? Yes, that sacred person was guarded by an unseen hand, warding off every danger. No peril by flood or by field was permitted to extinguish a life consecrated to the hopes of humanity, and to the purposes of heaven.

For more than sixteen years he rested from his warfare, amid the shades of Mount Vernon, ripening his mind by reading and reflection, increasing his knowledge of practical affairs, entering into the whole experience of a citizen, at home, on his farm, and as a delegate to the colonial Assembly; and when, at last, the war broke out, and the unanimous voice of the Continental Congress invested him, as the exigency required, with almost unbounded authority, as their Commander-in-Chief, he blended, although still in the prime of his life, in the mature bloom of his manhood, the attributes of a sage with those of a hero. A more perfectly fitted and furnished character, has never appeared on the theatre of human action, than when, reining up his war-horse, beneath the majestic and venerable elm, still standing at the entrance of the old Watertown road upon Cambridge Common, GEORGE WASHINGTON unsheathed his sword, and assumed the command of the gathering armies of American liberty.

EXERCISE LXVIII.—HOTSPUR'S REPLY TO SIR WALTER BLUNT.

--Shakspeare.
From the First Part of King Henry IV.
Scene,—The rebelcamp near Shrewsbury.— Speakers,—Hotspur,

Worcester, Douglas, Vernon, and Sir Walter Blunt.
[See remarks on previous examples of dramatic dialogue.]
Hot. We'll fight with him to-night.
Wor.

It
may

not be.
Doug. You give him then advantage.
Ver.

Not a whit.
Hot. Why say you so ? looks he not for supply?
Ver. So do we.
Hot.

His is certain,-ours is doubtful.
Wor. Good cousin, be advised: stir not to-night.
Ver. Do not, my lord.
Doug. You do not counsel well:

You speak it out of fear and cold heart.
Ver. Do me no slander, Douglas : by my life,

(And I dare well maintain it with my life,)
If well-respected honour bid me on,
I hold as little counsel with weak fear,
As you, my lord, or any Scot that lives :
Let it be seen to-morrow in the battle,

Which of us fears.
Doug.

Yea, or to-night.
Ver.

Content.
Hot. To-night, I say.
Ver.

Come, come,

it
I wonder much, being men of such great leading,
That you foresee not what impediments
Drag back our expedition : certain horse
Of my cousin Vernon's, are not yet come up;
Your uncle Worcester's horse came but to-day;
And now their pride and mettle is asleep,
Their courage, with hard labour tame and dull,

That not a horse is half the half of himself.
Hot. So are the horses of the enemy;

In general, journey-bated, and brought low;

The better part of ours is full of rest.
Wor. The number of the king exceedeth purs :
For Heaven's sake, cousin, stay till all come in !

may not be.

[Enter Sir Walter Blunt.] Blunt. I come with gracious offers from the king,

If you vouchsafe me hearing, and respect.
Hot. Welcome, Sir Walter Blunt; and would to Heaven

You were of our determination !
Some of us love you well; and even some
Envy your great deserving and good name,
Because you are not of our quality,

But stand against us like an enemy.
Blunt. And Heaven defend, but still I should stand so

So long as, out of limit, and true rule,
You stand against anointed majesty!
But to my charge :—The king hath sent to know
The nature of your griefs, and whereupon
You conjure from the breast of civil peace
Such bold hostility, teaching this duteous land
Audacious cruelty. If that the king
Have any way your good deserts forgot,-
Which he confesseth to be manifold,-
He bids you name your griefs; and, with all speed,
You shall have your desires, with interest,
And pardon absolute yourself, and these,

Herein misled by your suggestion.
Hot. The king is kind; and, well we know the king

Knows at what time to promise, when to pay.
My father, and my uncle, and myself,
Did give him that sáme royalty he wears ;
And, when he was not six and twenty strong,
Sick in the world's regard, wretched, and low,
A poor unminded outlaw, sneaking home,-
My father gave him welcome to the shore;
And,—when he heard him swear, and vow to God,
He came but to be duke of Lancaster,
To sue his livery, and beg his peace,
With tears of innocency, and terms of zeal,-
My father, in kind heart and pity moved,
Swore his assistance, and performed it too.
Now, when the lords and barons of the realm
Perceived Northumberland did lean to him,
They, more and less, came in with сар

and knee;
Met him in boroughs, cities, villages,
Attended him on bridges, stood in lanes,
Laid gifts before him, proffered him their oaths,
Gave him their heirs as pages, followed him,

[ocr errors]

Even at the heels, in golden multitudes.
He presently,--as greatness shows itself,--
Steps me a little higher than his vow,
Made to my father, while his blood was poor,
Upon the naked shore at Ravenspurg ;
And now, forsooth, takes on him to reform
Some certain edicts, and some strait decrees,
That lie too heavy on the commonwealth,—
Cries out upon abuses, seems to weep
Over his country's wrongs; and by this face,
This seeming brow of justice, did he win
The hearts of all that he did angle for,-
Proceeded further; cut me off the heads
Of all the favourites, that the absent king
In deputations left behind him here,

When he was personal in the Irish war
Blunt. Tut! I came not to hear this.
Hot.

Then, to the point.-
In short time after, he deposed the king;
Soon after that deprived him of his life;
And, in the neck of that, tasked the whole state
To make that worse; suffered his kinsman Marco,
(Who is, if every owner were well placed,
Indeed his king,) to be engaged in Wales,
There without ransom to lie forfeited;
Disgraced me in my happy victories;
Sought to entrap me by intelligence;
Rated my uncle from the council-board;
In
rage
dismissed my

father from the court;
Broke oath on oath, committed wrong on wrong ;
And, in conclusion, drove us to seek out
This head of safety; and, withal, to pry
Into his title, the which we find

Too indirect for long continuance.
Blunt. Shall I return this answer to the king ?
Hot. Not so, Sir Walter: we'll withdraw awhile.

Go to the king; and let there be impawned
Some surety for a safe return again ;
And in the morning early shall mine uncle
Bring him our purposes; and so farewell !

« AnteriorContinuar »