action — and here, too, I doubt not, as in the former case, their brave foes shared the influence.
A few weeks since I noticed in the foremost of England
's illustrated papers, a picture, representing a naked and rudely armed native of Zululand, wounded, resting on one knee, and surrounded by such numbers of his enemies as made resistance and escape equally impossible.
The muzzle of a foeman's pistol touched his cheek, and he easily recognized that only a moment of life remained to him, but he filled it with a sentence worthy of a Regulus or a Cato: “Yesterday you learned how a Zulu can fight; learn now, how a Zulu can die.”
What, in its last analysis, was the subtle spirit that blazed forth in that barbarian's noble defiance?
Let me ask further: What was it that nerved the immortal three hundred to bar with their living bodies the Persian
's march on trembling Sparta
What was it that held aloft the heaven-given banner under which Constantine
strove so gallantly to stay the flood of Rome
What was it that bore along in wondrous triumph that square of crimson silk which floated beneath the imperial eagles from the Ganges
to the Tweed?
What was it that inspired the Dutch
burghers in the seventeenth century to whelm their fields under the sea, and Russian
princes to fire their palaces in the nineteenth?
What made a Swiss peasant sow his living body with Austrian
spears, and a French country girl exchange the safe companionship of her herds for the lead of armies — for camp, and seige — for battle and the stake?
What was the sufficing inspiration of these, and a thousand kindred heroisms, with which the story of the world is full?
Love of country — not because it is fertile, for sterile Sparta
gave it more resplendent growth than teeming Egypt
; not because it is powerful, for imperial Rome
never gave more glorious illustration of its force than did some of the savage tribes she easily subdued; not because it is beautiful, for the flat and weary plains of Holland
witnessed a devotion as glorious as ever hallowed classic Attica
or lovely France
; not even because it is free, for out of the depths of a long inheritance of slavery have flashed at times such fires of patriot fervor that all the world, looking on, has prayed and hoped that they might prove the dawn of Liberty.
Not these considerations or attributes, not any nor all of these, gave vigorous birth and growth to such great sacrifices for fatherland.
It was a sentiment, older and stronger than all the governments that are or have been — old as gray Time and wide as the pulsing sea — the great taproot of patriotism — fountain and centre