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last procession : “Few minutes after the trial ended, the drums were beating to arms in all sections; at sunrise the armed force was on foot, cannons getting placed at the extremities of the bridges, in the squares, cross-ways, all along from the Palais de Justice to the Place de la Révolution. By ten o'clock, numerous patrols were circulating in the streets; thirty thousand foot and horse drawn up under arms. At eleven, Marie-Antoinette was brought out. She had on an undress of piqué blanc: she was led to the place of execution in the same manner as an ordinary criminal : bound on a cart; accompanied by a constitutional priest in lay dress; escorted by numerous detachments of infantry and cavalry. These, and the double row of troops all along her road, she appeared to regard with indifference. On her countenance there was visible neither abashment nor pride. To the cries of Vive la République and Doron with Tyranny, which attended her all the way, she seemed to pay no heed. She spoke little to her confessor. The tricolor streamers on the house-tops occupied her attention, in the streets du Roule and Saint-Honoré; she also noticed the inscriptions on the house-fronts. On reaching the Place de la Révolution, her looks turned towards the Jardin National, whilom Tuileries ; her face at that moment gave signs of lively emotion. She mounted the scaffold with courage enough; at a quarter past twelve her head fell; the executioner showed it to the people, amid universal long-continued cries of Vive la République.”
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
mighty 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 an 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 preached gospels was this unpreached, inarticulate, but ineradicable, for-ever-enduring gospel: work, and therein have well-being. Man, Son of Earth and of Heaven, lies there not, in the innermost heart of thee, a spirit of active method, a force for work ;-and burns like a painfully smouldering 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 handlabor, there is something of divineness. Labor, wide as the earth, has its summit in heaven. Sweat of the brow; and up from that sweat,” which all men have called divine! O brother, if this is not “worship,” then I say, the more pity for worship; for this is the noblest thing yet discovered under God's sky. Who art thou that complainest of thy life of toil ? Complain not. Look up, my wearied brother; see thy fellow-workmen there, in God's eternity; surviving there, they alone surviving: sacred band of the immortals, celestial body-guard of the empire of mind. Even in the weak human memory they survive so long, as saints, as heroes, as gods; they alone surviving: peopling, they alone, the immeasured solitudes of Time! To thee Heaven, though severe, is not unkind; Heaven is kind—as a noble mother; as that Spartan mother, saying while she gave her son his shield, “ With it, my son, or upon it!" Thou, too, shalt return home, in honor to thy fardistant home, in honor; doubt it not—if in the battle thou keep thy shield! Thou, in the eternities and deepest death-kingloms, art not an alien ; thou everywhere art a denizen! Complain not; the very Spartans did not complain.
Edward Irving's warfare has closed ; if not in victory, yet in invincibility, and faithful endurance to the end. The Spirit of the Time, which could not enlist him as its soldier, must needs, in all ways, fight against him as its enemy: it has done its part, and he has done his. One of the noblest natures—a man of antique heroic nature, in questionable modern garniture, which he could not wear! Around him a distracted society, vacant, prurient; heat and darkness, and what these two may breed: mad extremes of flattery, followed by madder contumely, by indifference and neglect ! -these were the conflicting elements; this is the result they have made out among them. Closed are those lips. The large heart, with its large bounty, where wretchedness found solacement, and they that were wandering in darkness the light as of a home, has paused. The strong man can no more : beaten on from without, undermined from within, he must sink overwearied, as at nightfall, when it was yet but the mid-season of day. Irving was forty-two years and some months old : Scotland sent him forth an Herculean man; our mad Babylon wore him and wasted him, with all her engines; and it took her twelve years. He sleeps with his fathers, in that loved birth-land : Babylon with its deafening inanity rages on; but to him henceforth innocuous, unheeded-for ever.
By a fatal chance, Fashion cast her eye on him, as on some impersonation of Novel-Cameronianism, some wild product of Nature from the wild mountains; Fashion crowded round him, with her meteor lights and Bacchic dances; breathed her foul incense on him ; intoxicating, poisoning Fashion went her idle way, to gaze on Egyptian crocodiles, Iroquois hunters, or what else there might be; forgot this man,—who unhappily could not in his turn forget. The intoxicating poison had been swallowed; no force of natural health could cast it out. Unconsciously, for most part in deep unconsciousness, there was now the impossibility to live neglected ; to walk on the quiet paths, where alone it is well with us. Singularity must henceforth succeed Singularity. O foulest Circean dranght, thou poison of Popular Applause ! madness is in thee, and death; thy end is bedlam and the grave. For the last seven years, Irving, forsaken by the world, strove either to recall it or to forsake it; shut himself up in a lesser world of ideas and persons, and lived isolated there. Neither in this was there health : for this man such isolation was not fit; such ideas, such persons.
One light still shone on him; alas, through a medium more and more turbid : the light from Heaven. His Bible was there, wherein must lie healing for all sorrows. To the Bible he more and more exclusively addressed himself. If it is the written Word of God, shall it not be the acted Word too? Is it mere sound, then; black printer's-ink on white rag-paper? A half-man could have passed on without answering; a whole man must answer. Hence prophecies of millenniums, gifts of tongues,—whereat Orthodoxy prims herself into decent wonder, and waves her avaunt! Irving clave to his belief as to his soul's soul ; followed it whithersoever, through earth or air, it might lead him ; toiling as never man toiled to spread it, to gain the world's ear for it, in vain. Ever wilder waxed the confusion without and within. The misguided nobleminded had now nothing left to do but die. He died the death of the true and brave. His last words, they say, were: “In life and in death I am the Lord's.”—Amen! Amen!
One who knew him well, and may with good cause love him, has said: “But for Irving, I had never known what the communion of man with man means. His was the freest, brotherliest, bravest human soul mine ever came in contact with : I call him, on the whole, the best man I have ever (after trial enough) found in this world, or now hope to find.”
Frazer's Magazine, 1835.
While Oliver Cromwell was entering himself of Sidney-Sussex college,2 William Shakspeare was taking his farewell of this world. Oliver's father saw Oliver write in the album at Cambridge ; at Stratford, Shakspeare's Ann Hathaway was weeping over his bed. The first world-great thing that remains of English history, the
April 23, 1616.
literature of Shakspeare, was ending; the second world-great thing that remains of English history, the armed appeal of Puritanism to the invisible God of Heaven against many very visible devils, on earth and elsewhere, was, so to speak, beginning. They have their exits and their entrances. And one people in its time plays many parts.
Life of Cromwell. CROMWELL'S CONVERSION. It is in these years, undated by history, that we must place Oliver's clear recognition of Calvinistic Christianity; what he, with unspeakable joy, would name his conversion ; his deliverance from the jaws of eternal death. Certainly a grand epoch for a man: properly the one epoch; the turning-point which guides upwards, or guides downwards, him and his activity for evermore. Wilt thou join with the Dragons; wilt thou join with the Gods? Of thee, too, the question is asked;—whether by a man in Geneva gown, by a man in "Four surplices at Allhallow-tide,” with words very imperfect; or by no man and no words, but only by the Silences, by the Eternities, by the Life everlasting and the Death everlasting. That the “ sense of difference between right and wrong” had filled all time and all space for man, and bodied itself forth into a heaven and hell for him : this constitutes the grand feature of those Puritan, old Christian ages; this is the element which stamps them as heroic, and has rendered their works great, manlike, fruitful to all generations. It is by far the memorablest achievement of our species; without that element, in some form or other, nothing of heroic had ever been among us. Oliver was henceforth a Christian man; believed in God, not on Sundays only, but on all days, in all places, and in all cases.
The same. CROMWELL'S LETTERS. I called these letters good,—but withal only good of their kind. No eloquence, elegance, not always even clearness of expression, is to be looked for in them. They are written with far other than literary aims; written, most of them, in the very flame and confiagration of a revolutionary struggle, and with an eye to the despatch of indispensable pressing business alone: but it will be found, I conceive, that for such end they are well written. Superfluity, as if by a natural law of the case, the writer has had to discard ; whatsoever quality can be dispensed with is indifferent to him. With unwieldy movement, yet with a great solid step he presses through, towards his object; has marked out very decisively what the real steps towards it are; discriminating well the essential from the extraneous;—forming to himself, in short, a true, not an un