It was a saying of Themistocles
, that the trophies of Miltiades
would not suffer him to sleep.
The feeling, thus expressed, has a deep foundation in the human mind; and, as it is well or ill-directed, it will cover us with shame, or exalt us to glory.
The deeds of the great attract but a cold and listless admiration, when they pass in historical order before us like moving shadows.
It is the trophy and the monument, which invest them with a substance of local reality.
Who, that has stood by the tomb of Washington
on the quiet Potomac, has not felt his heart more pure, his wishes more aspiring, his gratitude more warm, and his love of country touched by a holier flame?
Who, that should see erected in shades, like these, even a cenotaph to the memory of a man like Buckminster
, that prodigy of early genius, would not feel that there is an excellence over which death hath no power, but which lives on through all time, still freshening with the lapse of ages?
But passing from those, who by their talents and virtues have shed lustre on the annals of mankind, to cases of mere private bereavement, who, that should deposit in shades, like these, the remains of a beloved friend, would not feel a secret pleasure in the thought, that the simple inscription to his worth would receive the passing tribute of a sigh from thousands of kindred hearts?
That the stranger and the traveller would linger on the spot with a feeling of reverence?
That they, the very mourners themselves, when they should revisit it, would find there the verdant sod, and the fragrant flower, and the breezy shade?
That they might there, unseen, except of God, offer up their prayers, or indulge