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womb wherein we are shaping to be born in the next, we are led upward from love to love till we arrive at the love of God which is the highest love. Many things unseal the springs of tenderness in us ere the full glory of our nature gushes forth to the one benign spirit which interprets for us all mystery, and is the key to unlock all the most secret shrines of beauty. Woman was given us to love chiefly to this end, that the sereneness and strength which the soul wins from that full sympathy with one, might teach it the more divine excellence of a sympathy with all, and that it was man's heart only which God shaped in his own image, which it can only rightly emblem in an all-surrounding love. Therefore we put first those songs which tell of love, since we see in them not an outpouring of selfish and solitary passion, but an indication of that beautiful instinct which prompts the heart of every man to turn toward its fellows with a smile, and to recognise its master even in the

good poetry which can be reduced to good prose, we might summon as witnesses the most perfect songs in our language. The best part of a song lies often not at all in the words, but in the metre perhaps, or the structure of the verse, in the wonderful melody which arose of itself from the feeling of the writer, and which unawares throws the heart into the same frame of thought. Ben Jonson was used to write his poems first in prose and then translate or distil them into verse, and had we not known the fact, we might have almost guessed it from reading some of his lyrics, the mechanical structure of whose verse is as different from the spontaneous growth of a true song (which must be written one way or not at all) as a paper flower is from a violet. In a good song, the words seem to have given birth to the melody, and the melody to the words. The strain of music seems to have wandered into the poet's heart, and to have been the thread round which his thoughts have crystallized. There is always something of person-disguise of clay; and we confess that the sight of the al interest in songs. They are the true diary of the poet's spiritual life, the table-talk of his heart. There is nothing egotistical in them, for the inward history of a poet is never a commonplace one, and egotism can only be a trait of little minds, its disagreeable quality lying wholly in this, that it constantly thrusts in our faces the egotist's individuality, which is really the least noticeable thing about him. We love to hear wonderful men talk of themselves, because they are better worth hearing about than anything else, and because what we learn of them is not so much a history of self as a history of nature, and a statement of facts therein which are so many fingerposts to set us right in our search after true spiritual knowledge. Songs are translations from the language of the spiritual into that of the natural world.


rudest and simplest love-verses in the corner of a village newspaper, oftener bring tears of delight into our eyes than awaken a sense of the ludicrous. fancy we see the rustic lovers wandering hand in hand, a sweet fashion not yet extinct in our quiet New England villages, and crowding all the past and future with the blithe sunshine of the present. The modest loveliness of Dorcas has revealed to the delighted heart of Reuben, countless other beauties, of which, but for her, he had been careless. Pure and delicate sympathies have overgrown protectingly the most exposed part of his nature, as the moss covers the north side of the tree. The perception and reverence of her beauty has become a new and more sensitive conscience to him, which, like the wonderful ring in the fairy tale, warns him against every danger that may assail his innocent self-respect. As love is the highest and holiest of all feelings, For the first time he begins to see something more so those songs are best in which love is the essence. in the sunset than an omen of to-morrow's weather. All poetry must rest on love for a foundation, or it The flowers, too, have grown tenderly dear to him will only last so long as the bad passions it appeals of a sudden, and, as he plucks a sprig of blue succoto, and which it is the end of true poesy to root out. ry from the roadside to deck her hair with, he is as If there be not in it a love of man, there must at truly a poet as Burns when he embalmed the "mounleast be a love of nature which lies next below it, tain daisy" in deathless rhyme. Dorcas thrills at and which, as is the nature of all beauty, will lead its sight of quivering Hesperus as keenly as ever convert upward to that nobler and wider sympathy. Sappho did, and, as it brings back to her, she knows True poetry is but the perfect reflex of true know not how, the memory of all happy times in one, she ledge, and true knowledge is spiritual knowledge clasps closer the brown, toil-hardened hand which which comes only of love, and which, when it has she holds in hers, and which the heart that warms it solved the mystery of one, even the smallest effluence makes as soft as down to her. She is sure that the of the eternal beauty which surrounds us like an at-next Sabbath evening will be as cloudlsss and happy mosphere, becomes a clue leading to the heart of the as this. She feels no jealousy of Reuben's love of seeming labyrinth. All our sympathies lie in such the flowers, for she knows that only the pure in heart close neighborhood, that when music is drawn from can see God in them, and that they will but teach one string, all the rest vibrate in sweet accord. As him to love better the wild-flower-like beauties in in the womb the brain of the child changes with a herself, and give him impulses of kindness and steady rise, through a likeness to that of one animal brotherhood to all. Love is the truest radicalism, and another till it is perfected in that of man, the lifting all to the same clear-aired level of humble, highest animal, so in this life, which is but as a thankful humanity. Dorcas begins to think that her

divine genius in his songs and his unequalled sonnets, (which are but epic songs, songs written, as it were, for an organ or rather ocean accompaniment), shows all the humbleness, and wavering, and self-distrust, with which the weakness of the flesh tempers souls of the boldest aspiration and most unshaken selfhelp, as if to remind them gently of that brotherhood to assert and dignify whose claims they were sent forth as apostles.

childish dream has come true, and that she is really, bloom but once in a hundred years,-this vast and an enchanted princess, and her milkpans are forth with changed to a service of gold plate with the family arms engraved on the bottom of each, the device being a great heart, and the legend, God gives, man only takes away. Her taste in dress has grown wonderfully more refined since her betrothal, though she never heard of the Paris fashions, and never had more than one silk gown in her life, that one being her mother's wedding dress, made over again. Reuben has grown so tender-hearted, that he thought there might be some good even in "Transcendenta- The true way of judging the value of any one of lism," a terrible dragon of straw, against which he the arts is by measuring its aptness and power to had seen a lecturer at the village Lyceum valorous-advance the refinement, and sustain the natural digly enact the St. George,-nay, he goes so far as to nity of mankind. Men may show rare genius in think that the slavewomen (black though they be, amusing or satirizing their fellow-beings, or in raisand therefore not deserving so much happiness), ing their wonder, or in giving them excuses for all cannot be quite so well off as his sister in the facto- manner of weakness by making them believe that, ry, and would sympathize with them if the consti- although their nature prompts them to be angels, tution did not enjoin all good citizens not to do so. they are truly no better than worms,-but only to But we are wandering-farewell, Reuben and Dor- him will death come as a timely guide to a higher cas! remember that you can only fulfil your vow of and more glorious sphere of action and duty, who being true to each other by being true to all, and be has done somewhat, however little, to reveal to the sure that death can but unclasp your bodily hands soul its beauty, and to awaken in it an aspiration that your spiritual ones may be joined the more towards what only our degradation forces us to call closely. an ideal life. It is but a half knowledge which sneers at utilitarianism, as if that word may not have a spiritual as well as a material significance. He is indeed a traitor to his better nature who would persuade men that the use of anything is proportion

The songs of our great poets are unspeakably precious. In them find vent those irrepressible utterances of homely fireside humanity, inconsistent with the loftier aim and self-forgetting enthusiasm of a great poem, which preserve the finer and purer sen-ed to the benefit it confers upou their animal part. sibilities from wilting and withering under the black If the spirit's hunger be not satisfied, the body will frost of ambition. The faint records of flitting im- not be at ease, though it slumber in Sybaris and pulses, we light upon them sometimes imbedded feast with Apicius. It is the soul that makes men round the bases of the basaltic columns of the rich or poor, and he who has given a nation a truer epic or the drama, like heedless insects or tender conception of beauty, which is the body of truth, as ferns which had fallen in while those gigantic crys- love is its spirit, has done more for its happiness tals were slowly shaping themselves in the molten and to secure its freedom, than if he had doubled its entrails of the soul all a-glow with the hidden fires defences or its revenue. He who has taught a man of inspiration, or like the tracks of birds from far-off to lcok kindly on a flower or an insect, has thereby climes, which had lighted upon the ductile mass ere made him sensible of the beauty of tenderness toit had hardened into eternal rock. They make the ward men, and rendered charity and lovingkindness lives of the masters of the lyre encouragements and so much the more easy, and so much the more helps to us, by teaching us humbly to appreciate necessary to him. To make life more reverend in and sympathize with, as men, those whom we should the eyes of the refined and educated, may be a noble else almost have worshipped as beings of a higher ambition in the scholar, or the poet, but to reveal to order. In Shakspeare's dreams, we watch with awe the poor and ignorant, and degraded, those divine the struggles and triumphs, and defeats which seem arms of the eternal beauty which encircle them lovalmost triumphs, of his unmatched soul-in his ingly by day and night, to teach them that they songs we can yet feel the beating of a simple, warm also are children of one Father, and the nearer haply heart, the mate of which can be found under the first to his heart for the very want and wretchedness homespun frock you meet on the high road. He, which half-persuaded them they were orphan and who instead of carefully plucking the fruit from the forgotten, this, truly is the task of one who is greattree of knowledge as others are fain to, shook downer than the poet or the scholar, namely, a true Man, whole showers of leaves and twigs and fruit at once; and this belongs to the song-writer. The poet as who tossed down systems of morality and philoso-he wove his simple rhymes of love, or the humble phy by the handful; who wooed nature as a superior, delights of the poor, dreamed not how many toiland who carpeted the very earth beneath the deli-worn eyes brightened, and how many tyrant hearts cate feet of his fancy with such flowers of poesy as softened with reviving memories of childhood and

without bitterness; but to-day, I cannot love them; on my soul, I cannot.

We were to have had an execution yesterday; but the wretched prisoner avoided it by suicide. The gallows had been erected for several hours, and with a cool refinement of cruelty, was hoisted before the window of the condemned; the hangman was already to cut the cord; marshals paced back and forth, smoking and whistling; spectators were waiting impatiently to see whether he would die game.' Printed circulars had been handed abroad

innocence. That which alone can make men truly happy and exalted in nature, is freedom; and free dom of spirit, without which mere bodily liberty is but vilest slavery, can only be achieved by cultivating men's sympathy with the beautiful. The heart that makes free only is free, and the tyrant always is truly the bondman of his slaves. The longing of every soul is for freedom, which it gains only by helping other souls to theirs. The power of the song-writer is exalted above others in this, that his words bring solace to the lowest ranks of men, loosing their spirits from thraldom by cherish-to summon the number of witnesses required by ing to life again their numbed and deadened sympa- law ::- You are respectfully invited to witness the thies, and bringing them forth to expand and purify execution of John C. Colt.' I trust some of them in the unclouded, impartial sunshine of humanity. are preserved for museums. Specimens should be Here truly is a work worthy of angels, whose bright- kept, as relics of a barbarous age, for succeeding ness is but the more clearly visible when they are generations to wonder at. They might be hung up ministering in the dark and benighted hovels of life, in a frame; and the portrait of a New Zealand Chief, and whose wings grow to a surer and more radiant picking the bones of an enemy of his tribe, would strength, while they are folded to enter these hum- be an appropriate pendant. blest tenements of clay, than when they are outspread proudly for the loftiest and most exulting flight. The divinity of man is indeed most wonderful and glorious in the mighty and rare soul, but how much more so is it in the humble and common one, and how far greater a thing is it to discern and reverence it there. We hear men often enough speak of seeing God in the stars and flowers, but they will never be truly religious till they learn to behold him in each other also, where he is most easily, yet most rarely discovered. But to have become blessed enough to find him in anything, is a sure pledge of finding him in all, and many times, perhaps, some snatch of artless melody floating over the land, as if under the random tutelage of the breeze, may have given the hint of its high calling to many a soul which else had lain torpid and imbruted. Great principles work out their fulfilment with the slightest and least regarded tools, and destiny may chance to speak to us in the smell of a buttercup or the music of the commonest air.



To-day, I cannot write of beauty; for I am sad and troubled. Heart, head, and conscience, are all in battle-array against the savage customs of my time. By and by, the law of love, like oil upon the waters, will calm my surging sympathies, and make the current flow more calmly, though none the less deep or strong. But to-day, do not ask me to love governor, sheriff or constable, or any man who defends capital punishment. I ought to do it; for genuine love enfolds even murderers with its blessing. By to-morrow, I think I can remember them

This bloody insult was thrust into the hands of some citizens, who carried hearts under their vests, and they threw it in tattered fragments to the dogs and swine, as more fitting witnesses than human beings. It was cheering to those who have faith in human progress, to see how many viewed the subject in this light. But as a general thing, the very spirit of murder was rife among the dense crowd, which thronged the place of execution. They were swelling with revenge, and eager for blood. One man came all the way from New Hampshire, on purpose to witness the entertainment; thereby showing himself a likely subject for the gallows, whoever he may be. Women deemed themselves not treated with becoming gallantry, because tickets of admittance were denied them; and I think it showed injudicious partiality; for many of them can be taught murder by as short a lesson as any man, and sustain it by arguments from Scripture, as ably as any theologian. However they were not admitted to this edifying exhibition in the great school of public morals; and had only the slim comfort of standing outside, in a keen November wind, to catch the first toll of the bell, which would announce that a human brother had been sent struggling into eternity by the hand of violence. But while the multitude stood with open watches, and strained ears to catch the sound, and the marshals smoked and whistled, and the hangman walked up and down, waiting for his prey, lo! word was brought that the criminal was found dead in his bed! He had asked one half hour alone to prepare his mind for departure; and at the end of that brief interval, he was found with a dagger thrust into his heart. The tidings were received with fierce mutterings of disappointed rage. The throng beyond the walls were furious to see him with their own eyes, to be sure that he was dead. But when the welcome news met my ear, a tremendous load was taken from my

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divided in opinion with regard to the legal construction of his crime; and in the keen discussion of legal distinctions, moral distinctions became wofully confused. Each day hope and fear alternated; the natural effect of all this was to have the whole thing regarded as a game, in which the criminal might, or might not, become the winner; and every experiment of this kind shakes public respect for the

heart. I had no chance to analyze right and wrong; | nature rose up against the sanguinary spirit manifor over all thought and feeling flowed impulsive fested toward him. The public were, moreover, joy, that this Christian' community were cheated of a hanging. They who had assembled to commit legalized murder, in cold blood, with strange confusion of ideas, were unmindful of their own guilt, while they talked of his suicide as a crime equal to that for which he was condemned. I am willing to leave it between him and his God. For myself, I would rather have the burden of it on my own soul, than take the guilt of those who would have execut-laws, from centre to circumference. Worse than ed a fellow creature. He was driven to a fearful extremity of agony and desperation. He was precisely in the situation of a man on board a burning ship, who being compelled to face death, jumps into the waves, as the least painful mode of the two. But they, who thus drove him to walk the plank,' made cool, deliberate preparations to take life, and with inventive cruelty sought to add every bitter drop that could be added to the dreadful cup of vengeance.

To me, human life seems so sacred a thing, that its violent termination always fills me with horror, whether perpetrated by an individual or a crowd; whether done contrary to law and custom, or according to law and custom. Why John C. Colt should be condemned to an ignominious death for an act of resentment altogether unpremeditated, while men, who deliberately, and with malice aforethought, go out to murder another for some insulting word, are judges, and senators in the land, and favorite candidates for the President's chair, is more than I can comprehend. There is, to say the least, a strange inconsistency in our customs.

all this was the horrible amount of diabolical passion excited. The hearts of men were filled with murder; they gloated over the thoughts of vengeance, and were rabid to witness a fellow-creature's agony. They complained loudly that he was not to be hung high enough for the crowd to see him. What a pity!' exclaimed a woman, who stood near me, gazing at the burning tower; they will have to give him two hours more to live.' Would you feel so, if he were your son ?' said I. Her countenance changed instantly. She had not before realiz ed that every criminal was somebody's son.

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As we walked homeward, we encountered a deputy sheriff; not the most promising material, certainly, for lessons on humanity; but to him we spoke of the crowd of savage faces, and the tones of hatred, as obvious proof of the bad influence of capital punishment. 'I know that,' said he; but I don't see how we could dispense with it. Now suppose we had fifty murderers shut up in prison for life, instead of hanging 'em; and suppose there should come a revolution; what an awful thing it would be to have fifty murderers inside the prison, to be let loose At the same moment that I was informed of the upon the community! There is another side to death of the prisoner, I heard that the prison was on that proposition,' we answered; for every crimifire. It was soon extinguished, but the remarkable nal you execute, you make a hundred murderers coincidence added not a little to the convulsive ex-outside the prison, each as dangerous as would be the citement of the hour. I went with a friend to look one inside.' He said perhaps it was so; and went at the beautiful spectacle; for it was exceedingly his way. beautiful. The fire had kindled at the very top of As for the punishment and the terror of such dothe cupola, the wind was high, and the flames rush-ings, they fall most keenly on the best hearts in the ed upward, as if the angry spirits below had escap-community. Thousands of men, as well as women, ed on fiery wings. Heaven forgive the feelings had broken and startled sleep for several nights prethat, for a moment mingled with my admiration of ceding that dreadful day, Executions always exthat beautiful conflagration! Society had kindled cite a universal shudder among the innocent, the all around me a bad excitement, and one of the in-humane, and the wise-hearted. It is the voice of fernal sparks fell into my heart. If this was the God, crying aloud within us against the wickedness effect produced on me, who am by nature tender- of this savage custom. Else why is it that the in. hearted, by principle opposed to all retaliation, and stinct is so universal ? by social position secluded from contact with evil, what must it have been on the minds of rowdies and desperadoes? The effect of executions on all brought within their influence is evil, and nothing but evil. For a fortnight past, this whole city has been kept in a state of corroding excitement, either of hope or fear. The stern pride of the prisoner left little in his peculiar case to appeal to the sympathies of society; yet the instincts of our common

The last conversation I had with the late William Ladd made a strong impression on my mind. While he was a sea-captain, he occasionally visited Spain, and once witnessed an execution there. He said that no man, however low and despicable, would consent to perform the office of hangman; and whoever should dare to suggest such a thing to a decent man, would have had his brains blown out. This feeling was so strong, and so universal, that the only

way they could procure an executioner, was to offer | ciferously then as they now do, that it was not safe to have the law changed. Judge McKean, governor of Pennsylvania, was strongly opposed to the abolition of death for stealing, and the disuse of the pillory and whipping-post. He was a very humane man, but had the common fear of changing old customs. It will not do to abolish these salutary restraints,' said the old gentleman; it will break up the foundations of society.' Those relics of barbarism were banished long ago but the foundations of society are nowise injured thereby.

a condemned criminal his own life, if he would consent to perform the vile and hateful office on another. Sometimes executions were postponed for months, because there was no condemned criminal to perform the office of hangman. A fee was allotted by law to the wretch who did perform it, but no one would run the risk of touching his polluted hand by giving it to him; therefore, the priest threw the purse as far as possible; the odious being ran to pick it up, and hastened to escape from the shuddering execra. tions of all who had known him as a hangman. The testimony from all parts of the world is inEven the poor animal that carried the criminal and variable and conclusive, that crime diminishes in his coffin in a cart to the foot of the gallows, was an proportion to the mildness of the laws. The real object of universal loathing. He was cropped and danger is in having laws on the statute-book at varimarked, that he might be known as the Hang-ance with the universal instincts of the human heart, man's Donkey.' No man, however great his needs, and thus tempting men to continual evasion. The would use this beast, either for pleasure or labour; evasion, even of a bad law, is attended with many and the peasants were so averse to having him pol- mischievous results; its abolition is always safe. lute their fields with his footsteps, that when he was In looking at Capital Punishment in its practical seen approaching, the boys hastened to open the bearings on the operation of justice, an observing gates, and drive him off with hisses, sticks, and mind is at once struck with the extreme uncertainty stones. Thus does the human heart cry out aloud attending it. The balance swings hither and against this wretched practice! thither, and settles, as it were, by chance. The strong instincts of the heart teach juries extreme reluctance to convict for capital offences. They will avail themselves of every loophole in the evidence, to avoid the bloody responsibility imposed upon them. In this way, undoubted criminals

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A tacit acknowledgment of the demoralizing influence of executions is generally made, in the fact that they are forbidden to be public, as formerly. The scene is now in a prison yard, instead of open fields, and no spectators are admitted but officers of the law, and those especially invited. Yet a favour-escape all punishment, until society becomes ite argument in favour of capital punishment has been the terror that the spectacle inspires in the breast of evil doers. I trust the two or three hundred singled out from the mass of New York population, by particular invitation, especially the judges and civil officers, will feel the full weight of the compliment. During the French Revolution, public executions seemed too slow, and Fouquier proposed to put the guillotine under cover, where batches of a hundred might be despatched with a few spectators. Wilt thou demoralize the guillotine?' asked Callot, reproachfully.

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alarmed for its own safety, and insists that the next victim shall be sacrificed. It was the misfortune of John C. Colt, to be arrested at a time when the popular wave of indignation had been swelling higher and higher, in consequence of the impunity with which Robinson, White, and Jewell had escaped. The wrath and jealousy which they had excited was visited upon him, and his chance for a merciful verdict was greatly diminished. The scale now turns the other way; and the next offender will probably receive very lenient treatment, though he should not have so many extenuating circumstances in his favour.

Another thought which forces itself upon the mind in consideration of this subject is the danger of convicting the innocent. Murder is a crime which must of course be committed in secret, and therefore the proof must be mainly circumstantial. This kind of evidence must be in its nature so precarious, that men have learned great timidity in trusting to it. In Scotland, it led to so many terrible mistakes, that they long ago refused to convict any man of a capital offence, upon circumstan. tial evidence.

That bloody guillotine was an instrument of law, as well as our gallows; and what, in the name of all that is villanous, has not been established by law? Nations, clans, and classes, engaged in fierce struggles of selfishness and hatred, made laws to strengthen each other's power, and revenge each other's aggressions. By slow degrees, always timidly and reluctantly, society emerges out of the barbarisms with which it thus became entangled. It is but a short time ago that men were hung in this country for stealing. The last human brother who suffered under this law, in Massachusetts, was so wretchedly poor, that when he hung on the gal. A few years ago a poor German came to New lows, his rags fluttered in the wind. What think York, and took lodgings, where he was allowed to do you was the comparative guilt, in the eye of God, his cooking in the same room with the family. The between him and those who hung him? Yet, it husband and wife lived in a perpetual quarrel. One was according to law; and men cried out as vo-day the German came into the kitchen with a clasp

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