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For I am armed so strong in honesty,
That they pass by me as the idle wind,
Which I respect not. I did send to you
For certain sums of gold, which you denied me:—
For I can raise no money by vile means:
I had rather coin my heart,
And drop my blood for drachmas, than to wring
From the hard hands of peasants their vile trash
By any indirection. I did send
To you for gold to pay my legions;
Which you denied me: Was that done like Cassiua?
Should I have answered Caius Cassius so?
When Marcus Brutus grows so covetous,
To lock such rascal counters from his friends,
Be ready, gods, with all your thunderbolts;
Dash him to pieces!
Cas. I denied you not.
Bru. You did.
Cas. I did not: he was but a fool That brought my answer back.—Brutus hath rived my heart. A friend should bear a friend's infirmities; But Brutus makes mine greater than they are.
Bru. I do not, till you practice them on me.
Cas. You love me not.
Bru. I do not like your faults.
Cas. A friendly eye could never see such faults.
Bru. A flatterer's would not, though they do appear
Cas. Come, Antony, and young Octavius, come!
When thou didst hate him worst, thou lovedst him better
Bru. Sheath your dagger:
Cas. Hath Cassius lived
Bru. When I spoke that, I was ill-tempered too.
Cas. Do you confess so much? Give me your hand.
Bru. And my heart too.
Cas. O Brutus!
Bru. What's the matter?
Cas. Have you not love enough to bear with me,
Bru. Yes, Cassius; and from henceforth,
LXXXVL—A RIDE IN THE ANDROSCOGGIN VALLEY.
THE vapors hung in heavy masses over the principal ridges, but the west was clear. There was evident preparation for a magnificent display,—a great banquet by the sun to the courtier clouds, on retiring from office that day,—a high carnival of light. As I turned the horse towards Gorham, taking the Moriah range full in view, a slight shower began to fall down the valley of Mount Carter, and a pateh of rainbow flashed across the bosom of the mountain. From point to point it wandered, uncertain where to "locate," but at last selected a central spot against the lowest summit, and concentrated its splendors.
2. The back-ground of the mountain was blue-black. Not a tree was visible, not an irregularity of the surface. It was one smooth mass of solid darkness, soft as it was deep. And the iris was not a bow, but a pillar of light. It rested on the ground; its top did not quite reach to the summit of the mountain. With what intense delight we looked at it, expecting every instant that its magic texture would dissolve. But it remained and glowed more brightly. I can give you no conception of the brilliancy and delicacy, the splendor and softness of the vision. The rainbow on a cloud, in the most vivid display I ever saw of it, was pale to this blazing column of untwisted light. The red predominated. Its intensity increased till the mountain shadow behind it was black as midnight. And yet the pillar stood firm.
3. "Is not the mountain on fire?" said my companion. "Certainly that is flame." Five minutes, ten minutes, fifteen minutes, the gorgeous vision stayed, and we steadily rode nearer. Keally we began to feel uneasy. We expected to see smoke. The color was so intense that there seemed to be real danger of the trees kindling under it. We could not keep in mind that it was celestial fire we were looking at,—fire cool as the water-drops out of which it was born, and on which it reclined. It lay apparently upon the trees, diffused itself among them, from the valley to the crown of the ridge, as gently as the glory in the bush upon Horeb, when "the angel of the Lord appeared unto Moses in a flame of fire, out of the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed."
4. It seemed like nothing less than a message to mortals from the internal sphere,—the robe of an angel, awful and gentle, come to bear a great truth to the dwellers of the valley. And it was, no doubt. It meant all that the discerning eye and reverent mind felt it to mean. That Arabian bush would have been vital with no such presence, perhaps, to the gaze of a different soul. "To him that hath shall be given." A colder, a skeptical spirit would have said, possibly, "There is a curious play of the sunbeams in the mist about that shrub," or, it may be, would have decided that he was the victim of an optical illusion, and so would have missed the message to put the shoes from his feet, because the place was holy ground.
5. Nearly twenty minutes the pillar of variegated flame remained in the valley of Mount Carter, as if waiting for some spectator to ask its purpose, and listen for a voice to issue from its mystery. Then lifting itself from its base, and melting gradually upward, it shrank into a narrow strip of beauty, leaped from the mountain summit to the cloud, and vanished.
6. It seems difficult to connect such a show, in memory, with "Gorham,"—so hard a name, a fit title for a rough, growing Yankee village. But such is the way the homeliest business is glorified here; such is the way the ideal world plays out visibly over the practical, in all seasons, and every day. Only have an eye in your head competent to appreciate the changes of light, the richness of shadows, the sport of mists upon the hills, and you can look up every hour here, from the rough fences and uncouth shops of Yankeeland, to the magic of Fairyland.
7. While that show was in the height of its splendor, I asked an old farmer, who was hauling stones with his oxen, what he thought of it. He turned, snatched the scene with his eye, and said indifferently, "It's nice, but we often have 'em here; gee-haw, wo-hush!" Yes, that's just the truth. We often have 'em,—often have the glories of the Divine art, passages of the celestial magnificence playing over our potato-fields; therefore the us pay no attention to them,—count them as matters of course, keep coolly at our digging, and wait for something more surprising to jar us from our skepticism, shatter the crusts of the senses, wake us to a feeling of mystery, and startle us, through fear, into a belief or consciousness of God.
8. The iris-pillar suggested the burning bush on Horeb. In Moses' time, nature, in the regard of science, was a mere bush, a single shrub. Now it has grown, through the researches of the intellect, to a tree. The universe is a mighty tree; and the great truth for us to connect with the majestic science of these days, and to keep vivid by a religious imagination, is, that from the roots of its mystery to the silver-leaved boughs of the firmament, it is continually filled with God, and yet unconsumed.
T. Stark King.
LXXXVIL— THE EVE OF WATERLOO.
THERE was a sound of revelry by night,
The lamps shone o'er fair women and brave men;
Music arose with its voluptuous swell,
Did ye not hear it?—No; 'twas but the wind,
Or the car rattling o'er the stony street; On with the dance! let joy be unconfined;
No sleep till morn, when youth and pleasure meet To chase the glowing hours with flying feet—
But hark!—that heavy sound breaks in once more,
And nearer, clearer, deadlier than before!
Ah! then and there was hurrying to and fro,
And cheeks all pale, which but an hour ago