Imagini ale paginilor

Take note of thy departure? All that breathe
Will share thy destiny. The gay will laugh
When thou art gone, the solemn brood of care
Plod on, and each one, as before, will chase
His favorite phantom; yet all these shall leave
Their mirth and their employments, and shall come
And make their bed with thee. As the long train
Of ages glide away, the sons of men-

The youth in life's green spring, and he who goes
In the full strength of years, matron, and maid,
And the sweet babe, and the gray-headed man-
Shall one by one be gathered to thy side
By those who in their turn shall follow them.

7. So live, that when thy summons comes to join The innumerable caravan which moves

To that mysterious realm where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death,

Thou go not like the quarry slave at night,
Scourged to his dungeon; but, sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.

William Cullen Bryant.

FOR PREPARATION.-I. Written when the poet was at the age of nineteen. Point out on the map that part of the Great Desert that extends into Barca;-the Oregon River (now called the Columbia). Thanatopsis" (thanatos = death; opsis = seeing: contemplation of death).


II. Pā'-tri-ärehs, ěl'-o-quence, sěp'-ŭl-eher, an'-çient, (ân'shĕnt), tomb (toom), dŭn'-ġeón (dŭn'jun), wraps (răps), phăn'-tom (făn'tum), mead'-owş, bo'şom.

III. All-beholding, rock-ribbed, gray-headed. Explain the use of the hyphen in each of these words.

IV. Pensive, melancholy waste, summons, drapery, unfaltering, decora



V. "Various language "-a variety of languages, or a language varying only in its tone of sentiment? "Surrendering up thine individual being is the individuality in the body, or in the mind? 'Complaining brooks ”why called complaining? "Still lapse of ages" (silent flight of time). Make a list of expressions used in this piece to denote death, and to describe its accompaniments (e. g., "last bitter hour," "stern agony," etc.).

[ocr errors]


1. MY LORDS: What have I to say why sentence of death should not be pronounced on me, according to law? I have nothing to say that can alter your predetermination, nor that it will become me to say with any view to the mitigation of that sentence which you are here to pronounce, and I must abide by. But I have that to say which interests me more than life, and which you have labored to destroy. I have much to say why my reputation should be rescued from the load of false accusation and calumny which has been heaped upon it.

2. Were I only to suffer death, after being adjudged guilty by your tribunal, I should bow in silence, and meet the fate that awaits me without a murmur; but the sentence of law which delivers my body to the executioner will, through the ministry of that law, labor, in its own vindication, to consign my character to obloquy; for there must be guilt somewhere—whether in the sentence of the court, or in the catastrophe, posterity must determine. The man dies, but his memory lives. That mine may not perish-that it may live in the respect of my countrymen I seize upon this opportunity to vindicate myself from some of the charges alleged against me.

3. When my spirit shall be wafted to a more friendly port; when my shade shall have joined the bands of

those martyred heroes who have shed their blood, on the scaffold and in the field, in defense of their country and virtue; this is my hope-I wish that my memory and name may animate those who survive me, while I look down with complacency on the destruction of that perfidious government which upholds its domination by blasphemy of the Most High, which displays its powers over man as over the beasts of the forest, which sets man upon his brother, and lifts his hand, in the name of God, against the throat of his fellow who believes or doubts a little more or less than the government standard—a government which is steeled to barbarity by the cries of the orphans and the tears of the widows which its cruelty has made.

4. I swear by the throne of Heaven, before which I must shortly appear-by the blood of the murdered patriots who have gone before me-that my conduct has been, through all this peril and all my purposes, governed only by the convictions which I have uttered, and no other view than that of the emancipation of my country from the superinhuman oppression under which she has so long and too patiently travailed; and that I confidently and assuredly hope, wild and chimerical as it may appear, that there is still union and strength in Ireland to accomplish this noble enterprise.

5. My country was my idol. To it I sacrificed every selfish, every endearing sentiment; and for it I now offer up my life! I acted as an Irishman, determined on delivering my country from the yoke of a foreign and unrelenting tyranny, and from the more galling yoke of a domestic faction, its joint partner and perpetrator in the patricide, whose reward is the ignominy of existing with an exterior of splendor and a consciousness of de

pravity. It was the wish of my heart to extricate my country from this doubly riveted despotism. I wished to place her independence beyond the reach of any power on earth. I wished to exalt her to that proud station in the world which Providence had fitted her to fill.

6. I have been charged with that importance, in the efforts to emancipate my country, as to be considered the keystone of the combination of Irishmen, or, as your Lordship expressed it, "the life and blood of the conspiracy." You do me honor overmuch. You have given to the subaltern all the credit of a superior. There are men engaged in this conspiracy who are not only superior to me, but even to your own conceptions of yourself, my Lord-men before the splendor of whose genius and virtues I should bow with respectful deference, and who would think themselves dishonored to be called your friends.

7. Let no man dare, when I am dead, to charge me with dishonor; let no man attaint my memory by believing that I could have engaged in any cause but that of my country's liberty and independence, or that I could have become the pliant minion of power in the oppression or the miseries of my countrymen. I would not have submitted to a foreign oppressor, for the same reason that I would resist the domestic tyrant; in the dignity of freedom I would have fought upon the threshold of my country, and her enemies should enter only by passing over my lifeless corpse. Am I, who lived but for my country, and who have subjected myself to the vengeance of the jealous and wrathful oppressor, and to the bondage of the grave, only to give my countrymen their rights and my country her independence-am I to be

loaded with calumny, and not to be suffered to resent or repel it? No! God forbid!

8. If the spirits of the illustrious dead participate in the concerns and cares of those who are dear to them in this transitory life, O ever dear and venerated shade of my departed father, look down with scrutiny on the conduct of your suffering son, and see if I have even for a moment deviated from those principles of morality and patriotism which it was your care to instill into my youthful mind, and for an adherence to which I am now to offer up my life!

9. My Lords, you are all impatient for the sacrifice. The blood which you seek is not congealed by the artificial terrors which surround your victim; it circulates warmly and unruffled through the channels which God created for noble purposes, but which you are bent to destroy, for purposes so grievous that they cry to Heaven!

10. Be ye patient; I have but a few words more to say. I am going to my silent grave; my lamp of life is nearly extinguished; my race is run; the grave opens to receive me, and I sink into its bosom. I have but one request to ask at my departure from this world-it is the charity of its silence. Let no man write my epitaph; for, as no one who knows my motives dare now vindicate them, let not prejudice or ignorance asperse them. Let them and me repose in obscurity and peace, and my tomb remain uninscribed, until other times and other men can do justice to my character. When my country shall take her place among the nations of the earth, then, and not till then, let my epitaph be written. I have done.

Robert Emmet.

« ÎnapoiContinuă »