Page images
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

professions of Puritanic piety contributed mate- Oliver Cromwell made of himself “the greatest rially to the success of his schemes and well- person in England'-the absolute and undispute devised, well-concealed plans for self-advance- despot of a liberty-loving people-the more tan ment; there were no troublesome scruples as to king of the most enlightened and the greate: means which might serve his purposes mingled nation of the day. The people did not elevile with his faith—any means were holy and godly him—his own great genius and indomitable cl that could be brought into exercise towards compelled their apparent elevation of him. securing the accomplishment of his great plans. Then mark the construction of the CommorIn the Long Parliament there were greater and wealth, and its manipulation by Cromwell: A: better men than Oliver Cromwell, and some of the first, Parliament seemingly rules; there is a

great Council State, comes ing, amocz it forty members soch ili 3 names as White lock, Bradshaw, Marten, St. Joan, Fairfax, Skippon, Sir Harry Vare, and others of great repute. Crow is not the Prot dent or bead of this Courcil. ses merely a mer ber; Bradshaw s the President 1 John Milton the Secretary of the Council But : the pears from so '

and Cromrell CROMWELL'S HOUSE, CLERKENWELL, Where Charles's Death-Warrant was Signed.

stands alone as

"the greatest per these actually became contributors to his elevation son ;'' he finds the Parliament an inconvenient at while others were borne down in the progress of struction to his one-man sway and sweeps it 02 his triumph. Hampden, the popular idol, died, his way. I shall not pause to speak of the spea as did the truly great man, the true-hearted pa- acts of this military despot-the fact that he triot, John Pym.

displayed magnificent skill and judgment, wie That Oliver Cromwell was one of the most moderation, and a fair, even large, measure of wonderful men of the world's history it would be liberality in his reign, does not disprove, ar 19 folly to question and those who have essayed to the least militate, the other fact that he was the question it have only brought contempt upon despot of the Commonwealth. themselves. His success in the Parliament, his But one farther, and most conclusive, item o marvelous success in the field of war, his success evidence that the Commonwealth was not a Re as a ruler, and, perhaps beyond all these, his suc- public, and was not designed to be a Repulse cess in the management and use of far greater and is found in his attempt, in kingly style, to date better men than himself—all these attest Crom- of the nation at his death as though it were, well's wonderful skill and ability, and accord to estate, by naming his son, Richard, his heir, e him an absolute and superlative genius.

his successor in the “ Protectorate."

[ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors]


WENDING his way along the streets of the Town of the science of music still less. The only work of Boston one hundred years since might be daily on music to be found in the colonies at that day seen a man in the prime of life, one whom fate was Tansur's “Musical Grammar,” which he had and fortune seemed to have used hardly. Beside probably never read; and if he had, it was a very his lameness, onė arm was withered and nearly imperfect guide. It is related that his first tunes useless, and one eye was forever darkened. His were written with chalk upon the walls of the iron-buckled shoes were shabby, his stockings much bark-mill in Elliot street, when working at his darned, his torn breeches were fastened with cheap trade as a tanner. At the dawn of the Revolution buckles, and those not mates, his coat had become patriotic songs were unknown. Billings saw the one of many colors, his wig had lost its curl, and effect his tunes had on the people when used in the cocked hat upon it had not been refreshed with their meetings for worship, and, prompted by his a nap for many years.

From his coat-pocket ardent love of freedom, he composed or procured ever and anon he took a handful of snuff, with words combining religion and patriotism, which which he fed his nose from his clenched hand. he set to music. His tune Chester, to which

This man was William Billings, born in Boston, he attached the words,
October 7, 1747, the pioneer of American church “ Let tyrants shake their iron rod
music; for before his time there is no record of

And slavery clank her galling chains;

We'll fear them not; we'll trust in God any musical composition by a native of this New England's God forever reigns. country. He was, moreover, one of the most

The foe comes on with haughty siride, zealous patriots of the day, and the companion of

Our troops advance with martial noise ;

Their veterans fee before our arms,
Samuel Adams, Dr. Pierce, and other leading men

And generals yield to beardless boys,”
of the time. Of humble parentage, his opportu- and others of a like character, contributed greatly
nities for even a common education were very to arouse a spirit of freedom in the people. They
limited, and his means of acquiring a knowledge I were sung at home, by the wayside, and on the

eve of battle; by the camp-fire of the New Eng- Resolved, That the celebration of the fifth of land soldier might be heard the strains of Bil- March from henceforth shall cease, and that inlings. While Boston was occupied by the British stead thereof the anniversary of the 4th of July, troops, and the American were stationed at Water- 1776 (a day ever memorable in the annals of this town, Billings composed and published his cele-country for the declaration of our independence), brated anthem, “The Lamentation over Boston." shall be constantly celebrated by the delivery of a The words were partly a paraphrase of the 137th public oration in such place as the Town shall Psalm, together with some of his own peculiar determine to be most convenient for the purpose, rhymes.

in which the oratcr shall consider the feelings, “By the rivers of Watertown we sat down and manners and principles which led to this great wept, when we remembered thee, O Boston. As national event, as well as the important and happy for our friends, Lord God of heaven, preserve effects, whether general or domestic, which already them, defend them, deliver and restore them unto have and will forever continue to flow from this us again! For they that held them in bondage auspicious epoch." required of them to be in arms against their In conformity with this resolution, on the 4th brethren. Forbid it, Lord God, that those who day of July, 1783, the inhabitants of the town of have sucked Bostonian breasts should thirst for Boston assembled in the Brattle Square Church American blood! A voice was heard in Roxbury (Faneuil Hall not being large enough to contain which echoed through the continent, weeping for them), where, after prayer by the pastor of the Boston because of their danger. Is Boston my church, Rev. S. Cooper, and an oration by Dr. dear town, is it my native place ? for since their John Warren, the following anthem, composed calamity I do earnestly remember it still. If I for the occasion by William Billings, was sung: forget thee, yea, if I do not remember thee,

“ The States, O Lord, with songs of praise, Then let my numbers cease to flow,

Shall in thy strength rejoice,
Then be my muse unkind,

And, blest, with thy salvation raise
Then let my tongue forget to move,

To heaven their cheerful voice.
And ever be confin'd;

To the King they shall sing Hallelujah.
Let horrid jargon split the air, )

Thy goodness and thy tender care
And rive my nerves asunder;

Hath all our fears destroyed;
Let hateful discord greet my ear,

A covenant of peace thou mads't with us,
As terrible as thunder;

Confirmed it by thy word.
Let harmony be banish'd hence,

And all the continent shall sing,
And consonance depart;

Down with this earthly king,
Let dissonance erect her throne

Nothing but God;
And reign within my heart.”

And the continent shall sing,

God is our rightful King: On the 5th of March, 1783, the anniversary of

They shall sing to their King, Hallelujah! the Boston Massacre, after an oration by Dr.

May his blessings descend,

World without end, Thomas Welsh, and the other exercises of the day

On every part of the Continent! were concluded, a town-meeting was held at

May harmony and peace Faneuil Hall, of which James Otis was moderator.

Begin and never cease,

And may the strength increase on the continent, The Town Clerk proposed, and the meeting

May America's wilds be fill'd with his smiles, unanimously adopted, the following preamble aird And may the natives bow to their Heavenly King, resolution :

May Rome, France and Spain,

And all the world proclaim " WHEREAS, the annual celebration of the Bos

The glory and the fame of our Heavenly King. ton Massacre on the 5th March, 1770, by the in

May his reign be glorious,

America victorious, stitution of a public oration, has been found to be

And all the earth acknowledge of eminent advantage to the cause of virtue and

God is the King. Amen." patriotism among her citizens; and whereas the

Between 1770 and 1791, Billings published six immediate motives which induced the commemo- tune-books, the music being almost entirely his ration of that day do now no longer exist in their own composition ; and on the 26th day of Sepprimitive force, while the benefits resulting to the tember, 1800, closed his harmonious life in the institutions do, may, and ought to be forever pre- City of Boston. His melodies and some of his served by exchanging that anniversary for another, tunes, in almost their original formi, are still the foundation of which will last as long as time used, and will outlive thousands of more modern endures. It is therefore




[ocr errors]

Back of and beneath all human mental or spir- | Odin, which simply proves that he is later recog. itual energy, clearness and victory, are the primal nized as a god. centuries of physical endeavor; struggling for life, As I detect these things, the Norseman, in the for bread. The giants of hunger, of enmity, of childhood and savagery of his race found himself, frozen soil, of sickness, are to be perpetually sub- as in fact each human child to-day to an alarming dued. Your Thor, ablest man of the able, is extent finds himself, even at its mother's breast, always in demand. The work of the sure foot, but more painfully on leaving it, finds himself the keen eye, the strong arm, ever leading, though surrounded by well-nigh universal, hard yielding through the dark, by slow degrees, at last to a chaos, out of which, by here and there a lucid finer cerebro nervous, brainal energy; to dreams, ray, various gods arise, followed by many changto holy aspirations, conscience, sense of justice, ing theories regarding them. We too, soon settle laws, religions, temples made with hands and up to some spot or evolved growth of nature, our to temples not made with hands, but with star- Ygdrasil or tree of living to us, about which the fire, with the breath, the thoughts, the deeds of serpents of temptation twine, but over which, herues crowned and rightly crowned as gods for thanks to the eternal sunlight, the angels hover all time.

and may be seen. Our fights too, are numerous ; The myth is not some dream of the night. the brave work and battle go on, and the workers The soul of it is fact and verity. Indeed, it will and the sons of valor, ever move through multibe found that at the heart of all mythologies plied endeavor to their “home-going," the best whatsoever, is some concrete truth of nature. The of us reaching our “Gladheims,

" halls of joy, myth is the clearest possible expression at the and our “Valhallas," groves of the beautiful, hour, of the early opening human observation, dwelling-places of the heroes and the gods. It the budding thought, the sacred aspiration of is one and the same march, the sons of men are man. It is the tangible and supposed compre- all and always taking from the earliest primal hensive and comprehensible record man makes of mornings, “Niflheim,” world of mist and shadow, his sight and understanding of the origin and through “ Musspellheim” or “Mispelheim," the ways of nature and her dealings with her child paths of fire and ice, till we pass the “Mountaindren.

gates'' of truth, our silent hearts held fast in our With Greek and Roman mythologies the mod- brave hands. ern world is pretty familiar. Even our lightest Our“ Christian” ways, the mere externals of our literature abounds with quotations therefrom. We life, are so different, and even the best accounts know much of the myths of Egypt, India and we have in English of these Norsemen being someChina. Of the mythologies of the Norsemen, our what mixed, it is difficult to reach the real spirit forefathers, by whose blood and valor we live and and grasp the entire scope of the Northern life move and have our best being to-day, we have and mythology. until recently known but little. But now, happily, Doubtless for many long, dreary centuries after there are indications of a steady and reverent look- the first actual Norsemen were evolved from “The

Professor Anderson's recent work Old World Simiadæ” or other group of " Anthroon “ Norse Mythology,” though somewhat diffused pomorphous Monkeys," they and their children's in its thoughts and expressions, and all too severe children, through the long twilights and nights on the Greek side of the question, and Carlyle's of those cold Northern regions, used to sit or fugitive papers on the early kings of Norway were recline, shivering, musing, moping, puzzling their a sort of fresh opening of the subject, and did narrow heads, and chattering in their monosylmuch to create a new interest therein.

labic, gruff way, over the origin of things and the As a matter of actual mythologic construction, meanings of things; where the world came from, Thor does not appear on the scene till long after and how it came, where they themselves came

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ing that way.

VOL. VII.-17

from, and how; and whither, to what end, was chatology or destruction of the world and ; all things tending. The results of these centuries ninth, of the resurrection of nature and ma, we of musing, the early crude literature of the first new heavens and new earth and new hurto ir voices of the ice mountains to their children, and and human life that were to arise from the 2. some later voices were preserved for the later mist of the burning ice mountains and irje t': Norsemen and for us, for all men and all times, burnt ashes of Odin and of Thor. for there are immortal words and melodies in them,

Out of the heart of nature did all this fui; were preserved by the Skalds, wandering min- spring; it marches firm, strong, and gas strels of Sweden, Norway, and Iceland; sung by through the generations, looking beautiful as the them in a wild, patriotic, feeling, reverent sort of

birth of morning, and here and there giving inth way for many generations; the wealthier, more

snatches of melodious harmony, as of the music w industrious and successful of the early peoples, re

the spheres. munerating them, and the waiting, listening crowds To the early Norsemen, in those long mining giving them their admiration.

and chattings, naturally enough primal nature pe From the Skalds, and after how many centuries sented itself moving under somewhat si o lar 9 of their chanting and repeating them it is now ditions and arrangements to those actually ta's impossible to tell, these earlier and later musings, place day by day under his own hone vix thoughts, convictions, systematized ideas, were vations, verifying again the old proverb, L*_*,

, collected and have been handed down to us in look when or where we will, we we only *'* what are called the Eddas, actually, “great-grand-is in our own eyes or immediately passing onder mothers,” the elder Edda being in poetry, the

our eyes.

To him in those first wakings and structural or poetic literary peculiarities of which cogitatings, primal nature was a bottomies, 2 it is not for us here to dwell upon, and the itless, seething chaos of mist; such as, in :-:, younger Edda in prose. Speculations as to when he must often have seen in the dawning of: and by whom these were collected, are not to our

day, when the sun-rays played upon : 0 purpose and will not here be touched.

clad mountains; a universe of mist (“NA tha" These Eddas, and all the mythologies, word th.rough which flows an absorbing fountaun har legends, they contain, when well sisted and briefly gelmer), or, as some have it, “ Bergelmer," 3 put into our English speech of to-day are found of dim centre of the mist, and perhaps later fra to treat first, of nature in her supposed primal sonified as the only ice giant who survived the condition ; second, of nature in the process of struggles and slaughters, drownings of the game being made, evolved or shaped into a world, and the gods. Thus from the elder Edua, especially the Norseman's Norway part of the apparently embodying both ideas, world ; third, of the generation and evolution of

Winters past counting, man out of the world ; fourth, of the combined

Erc carth was yet made,

Was born Bergelmer: ways of nature in her dealings with man and of

Full well I remember man's appreciations of nature and his responding

How this crafty giant action toward her, and the inevitable results flow

Was stowed sate in his skift. ing to man and his life therefrom; fifth, of the

From this heart or fountain of the mind conduct, doings and exploits of men with each

numerous liquid streams, which after timing bet other, in a word, of the life of nature and man; destined time and way, harden and irroit 'O 12 sixth, and growing out of the fourth and fifth, of thus flowing and freezing, the ice mo'tit.148 am heroic deeds and darings of heroic men, personi formed. fied embodiments of nature's noblest, clearest and

Besides the nebulous region of call ms * strongest forces, leading to their deification, hence forming the mountains there is a nebulous of the living; and darings of the gods; seventh, of fire (“ Mispelheim"), the warm rays of a the good and evil, helpful and harmful princi- falling upon the ice-filled region melt the ne,

. ples of life are recognized as in antagonism, and drops from which become living by the peowete efforts at explanation and reconciliation attempted; the Unknown, and from these melted dropar eighth, of the outcome,the end of all this mingling life of nature, gods and men, the Norseman's es- 1 Anderson's “ Norse Mythology," page 175.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »