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Anna Matson (search for this): chapter 3
o, David Matson, with his young wife and his two healthy, barefooted boys, stood on the bank of the river near their dwelling. They were waiting for Pelatiah Curtis to come round the point with his wherry, and take the husband and father to the port, a few miles below. The Lively Turtle was about to sail on a voyage to Spain, and David was to go in her as mate. They stood there in the level morning sunshine talking cheerfully; but had you been near enough, you could have seen tears in Anna Matson's blue eyes, for she loved her husband and knew there was always danger on the sea. And David's bluff, cheery voice trembled a little now and then, for the honest sailor loved his snug home on the Merrimac, with the dear wife and her pretty boys. But presently the wherry came alongside, and David was just stepping into it, when he turned back to kiss his wife and children once more. In with you, man, said Pelatiah Curtis. There is no time for kissing and such fooleries when the tide
n, rushing out with drawn swords and loaded matchlocks into the streets of London to establish at once the rule of King Jesus! Think of the wild enthusiasts at Munster, verily imagining that the millennial reign had commenced in their mad city! Still later, think of Granville Sharpe, diligently laboring in his vocation of philanthropy, laying plans for the slow but beneficent amelioration of the condition of his country and the world, and at the same time maintaining, with the zeal of Father Miller himself, that the earth was just on the point of combustion, and that the millennium would render all his benevolent schemes of no sort of consequence! And, after all, is the idea itself a vain one? Shall to-morrow be as to-day? Shall the antagonism of good and evil continue as heretofore forever? Is there no hope that this world-wide prophecy of the human soul, uttered in all climes, in all times, shall yet be fulfilled? Who shall say it may not be true? Nay, is not its truth pr
Walter Scott (search for this): chapter 3
-harvesters of two adjoining towns quarrelled about a boundary question, and fought a hard battle one summer morning in that old time, not altogether bloodless, but by no means as fatal as the fight between the rival Highland clans, described by Scott in The Fair Maid of Perth. I used to wonder at their folly, when I was stumbling over the rough hassocks, and sinking knee-deep in the black mire, raking the sharp sickle-edged grass which we used to feed out to the young cattle in midwinter wheood, not remarkable for her tidiness, had become a church-member. Humph! said the doctor, in his quick, sarcastic way, What of that? Don't you know that no unclean thing can enter the kingdom of heaven? If you would see Lowell aright, as Walter Scott says of Melrose Abbey, one must be here of a pleasant First day at the close of what is called the afternoon service. The streets are then blossoming like a peripatetic flower-garden; as if the tulips and lilies and roses of my friend W.'s nu
ovel interest. The white circle of tents; the dim wood arches; the upturned, earnest faces; the loud voices of the speakers, burdened with the awful symbolic language of the Bible; the smoke from the fires, rising like incense,—carried me back to those days of primitive worship which tradition faintly whispers of, when on hill-tops and in the shade of old woods Religion had her first altars, with every man for her priest and the whole universe for her temple. Wisely and truthfully has Dr. Channing spoken of this doctrine of the Second Advent in his memorable discourse in Berkshire a little before his death:— There are some among us at the present moment who are waiting for the speedy coming of Christ. They expect, before another year closes, to see Him in the clouds, to hear His voice, to stand before His judgment-seat. These illusions spring from misinterpretation of Scripture language. Christ, in the New Testament, is said to come whenever His religion breaks out in new glo
Michael Scott (search for this): chapter 3
nd on his release found means to return to England. The Doctor's trunks were searched by the Puritan authorities while he was in prison; but it does not appear that they detected the occult studies to which he was addicted, to which lucky circumstance it is doubtless owing that the first champion of religious liberty in the New World was not hung for a wizard. Dr. Child was a graduate of the renowned University of Padua, and had travelled extensively in the Old World. Probably, like Michael Scott, he had Learned the art of glammarye In Padua, beyond the sea; for I find in the dedication of an English translation of a Continental work on astrology and magic, printed in 1651 at the sign of the Three Bibles, that his sublime hermeticall and theomagicall lore is compared to that of Hermes and Agrippa. He is complimented as a master of the mysteries of Rome and Germany, and as one who had pursued his investigations among the philosophers of the Old World and the Indians of the Ne
ters had been received from the governor of the settlements of Good Hoop and Piquag, in Connecticut, giving timely warning of a most diabolical plot of the Indians to cut off their white neighbors, root and branch. He pointed out to the notice of the minister a member of his party as one of the messengers who had brought this alarming intelligence. He was a tall, lean man, with straight, lank, sandy hair, cut evenly all around his narrow forehead, and hanging down so as to remind one of Smollett's apt similitude of a pound of candles. What news do you bring us of the savages? inquired Mr. Ward. The people have sinned, and the heathen are the instruments whereby the Lord hath willed to chastise them, said the messenger, with that peculiar nasal inflection of voice, so characteristic of the uncoa guid. The great sachem, Miantonimo, chief of the Narragansetts, hath plotted to cut off the Lord's people, just after the time of harvest, to slay utterly old and young, both maids
o a shadow for the Apollo Belvidere, looking coldly on her with stony eyes from his niche in the Vatican. One thing is certain,—he will never find his faultless piece of artistical perfection by searching for it amidst flesh-and-blood realities. Nature does not, as far as I can perceive, work with square and compass, or lay on her colors by the rules of royal artists or the dunces of the academies. She eschews regular outlines. She does not shape her forms by a common model. Not one--of Eve's numerous progeny in all respects resembles her who first culled the flowers of Eden. To the infinite variety and picturesque inequality of Nature we owe the great charm of her uncloying beauty. Look at her primitive woods; scattered trees, with moist sward and bright mosses at their roots; great clumps of green shadow, where limb intwists with limb and the rustle of one leaf stirs a hundred others,—stretching up steep hillsides, flooding with green beauty the valleys, or arching over with
termeddleth not. The world's end Our Father Time is weak and gray, Awaiting for the better day; See how idiot-like he stands, Fumbling his old palsied hands! Shelley's Masque of Anarchy. stage ready, gentlemen! Stage for campground, Derry! Second Advent camp-meeting! Accustomed as I begin to feel to the ordinary sights and sounds of this busy city, I was, I confess, somewhat startled by this business-like annunciation from the driver of a stage, who stood beside his horses swihe first missionaries of the cross, from the Gothic temples of the Middle Ages, from the bleak mountain gorges of the Alps, where the hunted heretics put up their expostulation, How long, O Lord, how long? down to the present time, and from this Derry camp-ground, have been uttered the prophecy and the prayer for its fulfilment. How this great idea manifests itself in the lives of the enthusiasts of the days of Cromwell! Think of Sir Henry Vane, cool, sagacious statesman as he was, waiting
Laurence Sterne (search for this): chapter 3
rience warrants, in any degree, the old and commonly received idea that sorrow loses half its poignancy by its revelation to others. It was a humorous opinion of Sterne, that a blessing which ties up the tongue, and a mishap which unlooses it, are to be considered equal; and, indeed, I have known some people happy under all the c to pay for them, seating themselves at the hearth or table with the air of Falstaff,—, Shall I not take mine ease in mine inn? Others, poor, pale, patient, like Sterne's monk, came creeping up to the door, hat in hand, standing there in their gray wretchedness with a look of heartbreak and forlornness which was never without itsin to godliness. A well-dressed man, all other things being equal, is not half as likely to compromise his character as one who approximates to shabbiness. Laurence Sterne used to say that when he felt himself giving way to low spirits and a sense of depression and worthlessness,—a sort of predisposition for all sorts of little
Quintilius (search for this): chapter 3
or tomorrow we must die. Death was in his view no mere change of condition and relation; it was the black end of all. It is evident that he placed no reliance on the mythology of his time, and that he regarded the fables of the Elysian Fields and their dim and wandering ghosts simply in the light of convenient poetic fictions for illustration and imagery. Nothing can, in my view, be sadder than his attempts at consolation for the loss of friends. Witness his Ode to Virgil on the death of Quintilius. He tells his illustrious friend simply that his calamity is without hope, irretrievable and eternal; that it is idle to implore the gods to restore the dead; and that, although his lyre may be more sweet than that of Orpheus, he cannot reanimate the shadow of his friend nor persuade the ghost-compelling god to unbar the gates of death. He urges patience as the sole resource. He alludes not unfrequently to his own death in the same despairing tone. In the Ode to Torquatus, —one of the
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