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Pateat tellus, Typhisque novos
A time will come in future ages far
This poetic forecast, of which Washington Irving wrote “the predictions of the ancient oracles were rarely so unequivocal,” is part of the “chorus” at the end of the second act of Seneca's “Medea," written near the date of St. Paul's first Epistle to the Thessalonians.
Seneca, the celebrated Roman (Stoic) philosopher, was born at or very near the time of our Saviour's birth. There are legends of his acquaintance with Paul, at Rome, but though he wrote able and quotable treatises On Consolation, On Providence, On Calmness of Soul, and on the Blessed Life, there is no direct evidence that the savor of Christian faith ever qualified his works or his personal principles. He was a man of grand ideas and inspirations, but he was a time server and a flatterer of the Emperor Nero, who, nevertheless, caused his death when he had no further use for him.
His compulsory suicide occurred A. D. 65, the year in which St. Paul is supposed to have suffered martyrdom.
“THE BREAKING WAVES DASHED HIGH."
Sitting at the tea-table one evening, near a century ago, Mrs. Hemans read an old account of the" Landing of the Pilgrims,” and was inspired to write this poem, which became a favorite in America-like herself, and all her other works.
The ballad is inaccurate in details, but presents the spirit of the scene with true poet insight. Mr. James T. Fields, the noted Boston publisher, visited the lady in her old age, and received an autograph copy of the poem, which is seen in Pilgrim Hall, Plymouth, Mass. The breaking waves dashed high, on a stern and rock-bound
coast, And the woods against a stormy sky, their giant branches
tossed, And the heavy night hung dark, the hills and waters o'er, When a band of exiles moored their bark on the wild New Eng.
Not as the conqueror comes, they, the true-hearted, came;
of fame; Not as the flying come, in silence and in fear,They shook the depths of the desert's gloom with their hymns
of lofty cheer.
Amidst the storm they sang, and the stars heard, and the sea! And the sounding aisles of the dim woods rang to the anthem of
the free! The ocean eagle soared from his nest by the white waves' foam, And the rocking pines of the forest roared,--this was their wel
There were men with hoary hair amidst that pilgrim band, Why had they come to wither there, away from their childhood's
land? There was woman's fearless eye, lit by her deep love's truth; There was manhood's brow, serenely high, and the fiery heart
of youth. What sought they thus afar? bright jewels of the mine? The wealth of seas ? the spoils of war ?—They sought a faith's
Ay, call it holy ground, the soil where first they trod;
Felicia Dorothea Browne (Mrs. Hemans) was born in Liverpool, Eng., 1766, and died 1845.
The original tune is not now accessible. It was composed by Mrs. Mary E. (Browne) Arkwright, Mrs. Hemans' sister, and published in England about 1835. But the words have been sung in this country to “Silver St.,” a choral not entirely forgotten, credited to an English composer, Isaac Smith, born, in London, about 1735, and died there in 1800.
“WESTWARD THE COURSE OF EMPIRE."
Usually misquoted “Westward the Star of Empire,” etc. This poem of Bishop Berkeley possesses no lyrical quality but, like the ancient Roman's words, partakes of the prophetic spirit, and has always been dear to the American heart by reason of the above line. It seems to formulate the “manifest destiny” of a great colonizing race that has already absorbed a continent, and extended its sway across the Pacific ocean.
Not such as Europe breeds in her decay;
Such as she bred when fresh and young,
By future poets shall be sung.
The four first acts already past,
Time's noblest offspring is the last. George Berkeley was born March 12, 1684, and educated at Trinity College, Dublin. A remarkable student, he became a remarkable man, as priest, prelate, and philosopher. High honors awaited him at home, but the missionary passion seized him. Inheriting a small fortune, he sailed to the West, intending to evangelize and educate the Indians of the "Summer Islands,” but the ship lost her course, and landed him at Newport, R.I., instead of the Bermudas. Here he was warmly welcomed, but was disappointed in his plans and hopes of founding a native college by the failure of friends in England to forward funds, and after a residence of six years he returned home. He died at Cloyne, Ireland, 1753.
The house which Bishop Berkeley built is still shown (or was until very recently) at Newport after one hundred and seventy-eight years. He wrote the “Principles of Human Knowledge, the Minute Philosopher, and many other works of celebrity in their time, and a scholarship in Yale bears his name; but he is best loved in this country for his Ode to America. Pope in his list of great men ascribes
To Berkeley every virtue under heaven.
"SOUND THE LOUD TIMBREL."
One would scarcely guess that this bravura hymn of victory and “Come, ye disconsolate," were written by the same person, but both are by Thomas Moore. The song has all the vigor and vivacity of his “Harp That Once Through Tara's Halls,” without its pathos. The Irish poet
chose the song of Miriam instead of the song of Deborah doubtless because the sentiment and strain of the first of these two great female patriots lent themselves more musically to his lyric verse—and his poem is certainly martial enough to convey the spirit of both.
Sound the loud timbrel o'er Egypt's dark seal
Jehovah hath triumphed, His people are freel
His chariots, his horsemen, all splendid and brave-
And chariots and horsemen are sunk in the wave.
Of all the different composers to whose music Moore's “sacred songs” were sung-Beethoven,