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We stand the latest, and, if we fail, probably the last experiment of self-government by the people. We have begun it under circumstances of the most auspicious nature. We are in the vigor of youth. Our growth has never been checked by the oppressions of tyranny. Our constitutions have never been enfeebled by the vices or luxuries of the Old World.
Such as we are, we have been from the beginning, -simple, hardy, intelligent, accustomed to self-government and to self-respect. The Atlantic rolls between us and any formidable foe. Within our own territory, stretching through many degrees of latitude and longitude, we have the choice of many products, and many means of independence. The government is mild. The press is free. Religion is free. Knowledge reaches, or may reach,
What fairer prospect of success could be presented? What means more adequate to accomplish the sublime end? What more is necessary than for the people to preserve what they have themselves created? Already has the age caught the spirit of our institutions. It has already ascended the Andes, and snuffed the breezes of both oceans. It has infused itself into the life-blood of Europe, and warmed the sunny plains of France and the low lands of Holland. It has touched the philosophy of Germany and the North; and, moving on. ward to the South, has opened to Greece the lessons of her better days. Can it be that America, under such circumstances, can betray herself? Can it be that she is to be added to the catalogue of republics, the inscription upon whose ruins is: They were, but they are not ? Forbid it, my countrymen ! Forbid it, heaven !
92.—MARMION AND DOUGLAS.
To Surrey's camp to ride ;
And Douglas gave a guide.
While in Tantallon's towers I staid,
And “ This to me,” he said,
To cleave the Douglas' head!
Even in thy pitch of pride,
I tell thee, thou’rt defied !
Lord Angus, thou—hast-lied !"
The Douglas in his hall ?
Let the portcullis fall.”
Not lighter does the swallow skim
MARY A. BRIDGMAN.
O blissful, restful ignorance !
THOMAS CARLYLE. There is a perennial nobleness, and even sacredness, in work. Were he never so benighted, forgetful of his high calling, there is always hope in a man that actually and earnestly works; in idleness alone is there perpetual despair. Work, never so mammonish, mean, is in communication with Nature: the real desire to get work done will itself lead one more and more to truth, to Nature's appointments and regulations, which are truth.
Blessed is he who has found his work; let him ask no other blessedness. He has a work, a life-purpose: he has found it, and will follow it. How, as a free-flowing channel, dug and torn by noble force through the sour mud-swamp of one's existence, like an ever-deepening river there, it runs and flows !draining off the sour, festering water gradually from the root of the remotest grass blade; making, instead of pestilential swamp, a green, fruitful meadow with its clear-flowing stream. How blessed for the meadow itself, let the stream and its value be great or small !
Labor is life; from the inmost heart of the worker rises his God-given force, the sacred celestial life-essence, breathed into him by Almighty God; from his inmost heart awakens him to all nobleness, to all knowledge, “self-knowledge," and much
else, so soon as work fitly begins. Knowledge! the knowledge that will hold good in working, cleave thou to that; for Nature herself accredits that, says Yea to that. Properly, thou hast no other knowledge but what thou hast got by working: the rest is yet all a hypothesis of knowledge; a thing to be argued of in schools, a thing floating in the clouds in endless logic vortices till we try it and fix it. “Doubt, of whatever kind, can be ended by action alone."
Older than all preachéd gospels was this unpreached, inarticulate, but ineradicable, for-ever-enduring gospel: work, and therein have well-being. Man, son of earth and heaven, lies there not, in the innermost heart of thee, a spirit of active method, a force for work:-and burns like a painfully smoldering fire, giving thee no rest till thou unfold it, till thou write it down in beneficent facts around thee! What is immethodic, waste, thou shalt make methodic, regulated, arable, obedient and productive to thee. Wheresoever thou findest disorder, there is thy eternal enemy: attack him swiftly, subdue him; make order of him, the subject not of chaos, but of intelligence, divinity, and thee! The thistle that grows in thy path, dig it out that a blade of useful grass, a drop of nourishing milk may grow there instead. The waste cotton-shrub, gather its waste white down, spin it, weave it; that, in place of idle litter, there may be folded webs, and the naked skin of man be covered.
But, above all, where thou findest ignorance, stupidity, brutemindedness—attack it, I say; smite it wisely, unweariedly, and rest not while thou livest and it lives; but smite, smite in the name of God! The highest God, as I understand it, does audibly so command thee: still audibly, if thou have ears to hear. He, even He, with His unspoken voice, is fuller than any Sinai thunders, or syllabled speech of whirlwinds; for the SILENCE of deep eternities, of worlds from beyond the morning stars, does it not speak to thee? The unborn ages; the old graves, with their long-mouldering dust, the very tears that wetted it, now all dry-do not these speak to thee what ear hath not heard? The deep death-kingdoms, the stars in their never-resting courses, all space and all time, proclaim it to thee in continual silent admonition. Thou, too, if ever man should, shalt work while it is called to-day; for the night cometh, wherein no man can work.
All true work is sacred; in all true work, were it but true hand-labor, there is something of divineness. Labor, wide as the earth, has its summit in Heaven. Sweat of the brow; and