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nation of thunder-gusts and the northern lights on electrical principles; and in the summer of 1752, going out into the fields with no instrument but a kite, no companion but his son, established his theory, by obtaining a line of connexion with a thundercloud. Nor did he cease till he had made the lightning a household pastime, taught his family to catch the subtle fluid in its inconceivably rapid leaps between the earth and the sky, and compelled it to give warning of its passage, by the harmless ringing of bells.

With placid tranquillity, Benjamin Franklin looked quietly and deeply into the secrets of nature. His clear understanding was never perverted by passion, or corrupted by the pride of theory. The son of a rigid Calvinist, the grandson of a tolerant Quaker, he had from boyhood been familiar not only with theological subtilties, but with a catholic respect for freedom of mind. Sceptical of tradition as the bases of faith, he respected reason rather than authority; and after a momentary lapse into fatalism, escaping from the mazes of fixed decrees and free-will, he gained with increasing years an increasing trust in the overruling providence of God. Adhering to none of "all the religions" in the colonies, he yet devoutly, though without form, adhered to religion. But though famous as a disputant, and having a natural aptitude for metaphysics, he obeyed the tendency of his age, and sought, by observation, to win an insight into the mysteries of being. Loving truth without prejudice and without bias, he discerned intuitively the identity of the laws of nature with those of which humanity is conscious; so that his mind was like a mirror, in which the universe, as it reflected itself, revealed her laws. He was free from mysticism, even to a fault. His morality, repudiating ascetic severities, and the system which enjoins them, was indulgent to appetites of which he abhorred the sway; but his affections were of a calm intensity; in all his career, the love of man gained the mastery over personal interest. He had not the imagination which inspires the bard, or kindles the orator; but an exquisite propriety, parsimonious of ornament, gave ease of expression and graceful simplicity even to his most careless writings. In life, also, his tastes were delicate. Indifferent to the pleasures of the table, he relished the delights of music and harmony, of which he enlarged the instruments. His blandness of temper, his modesty, the benignity of his manners, made him the favourite of intelligent society; and with healthy cheerfulness, he derived pleasure from books, from philosophy, from conversation-now calmly administering consolation to the sorrower, now indulging in the expressions of light-hearted gaiety. In his intercourse, the universality of his perceptions bore, perhaps, the character of human; but while he clearly discerned the contrast between the grandeur of the universe and the feebleness of man, a serene benevolence saved him from contempt of his race, or disgust at its toils. To superficial observers, he might have seemed as an alien from speculative truth, limiting himself to the world of

the senses; and yet, in study and among men, his mind always sought, with unaffected simplicity, to discover and apply the general principles by which nature and affairs are controllednow deducing from the theory of caloric improvements in fireplaces and lanterns, and now advancing human freedom by firm inductions from the inalienable rights of men. Never professing enthusiasm, never making a parade of sentiment, his practical wisdom was sometimes mistaken for the offspring of selfish prudence; yet his hope was steadfast, like that hope which rests on the Rock of Ages, and his conduct was as unerring as though the light that led him was a light from heaven. He never anticipated action by theories of self-sacrificing virtue; and yet, in the moments of intense activity, he, from the highest abodes of ideal truth, brought down and applied to the affairs of life the sublimest principles of goodness, as noiselessly and unostentatiously as became the man who, with a kite and hempen string, drew the lightning from the skies. He separated himself so little from his age, that he has been called the representative of materialism; and yet, when he thought on religion, his mind passed beyond reliance on sects to faith in God; when he wrote on politics, he founded the freedom of his country on principles that know no change; when he turned an observing eye on nature, he passed always from the effect to the cause, from individual appearances to universal laws; when he reflected on history, his philosophic mind found gladness and repose in the dear anticipation of the progress of humanity.



POSSESSES a world-known name, both as a preacher of the gospel, a poet, and a moralist.

A child beside a mother kneels,
With lips of holy love;

And fain would lisp the vow it feels
To Him enthroned above.

That cherub gaze, that stainless brow,
So exquisitely fair!

Who would not be an infant now,
To breathe an infant's prayer?

No sin hath shaded its young heart,
The eye scarce knows a tear;
'Tis bright enough from earth to part,
And grace another sphere!

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Oh! manhood, could thy spirit kneel,
Beside that sunny child,
As fondly pray, and purely feel,
With soul as undefiled;

That moment would encircle thee,
With light and love divine;
Thy gaze might dwell on Deity,
And heaven itself be thine!

Midnight Scene in Rome: the Coliseum.


BORN in London, January 22nd, 1788, of a good, but reduced family, died at Missolonghi, in Western Greece, April 19th, 1824, universally mourned by the Greeks, whose restoration to liberty had been the darling scheme of his whole life, and the constant subject of his writings.

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1. The stars are forth, the moon above the tops
Of the snow-shining mountains. Beautiful!
I linger yet with Nature, for the night
Hath been to me a more familiar face

Than that of man; and in her starry shade
Of dim and solitary loveliness,

I learned the language of another world.

2. I do remember me, that in my youth,
When I was wandering,-upon such a night,
I stood within the Coliseum's* wall,
'Midst the chief relics of all-mighty Rome:
The trees which grew along the broken arches
Waved dark in the blue midnight, and the stars
Shone through the rents of ruin; from afar
The watch-dog bay'dt beyond the Tiber;
More near, from out the Cæsar's palace came
The owl's long cry, and, interruptedly,
Of distant sentinels the fitful song
Begun and died upon the gentle wind.


3. Some cypresses beyond the time-worn breach
Appeared to skirt the horizon, yet they stood
Within a bow-shot-where the Cæsars dwelt,
And dwell the tuneless birds of night, amidst
A grove which springs through levelled battlements,
And twines its roots with the imperial hearths,
Ivy usurps the laurel's place of growth;
But the gladiator's bloody circus stands
A noble wreck in ruinous perfection!
While Cæsar's chambers and the Augustan halls
Grovel on earth in indistinct decay.

4. And thou didst shine, thou rolling moon, upon
All this, and cast a wide and tender light,
Which softened down the hoar austerity
Of rugged desolation, and filled up,
As 'twere anew, the gaps of centuries;
Leaving that beautiful which still was so,
And making that which was not, till the place
Became religion, and the heart ran o'er
With silent worship of the great of old-
The dead, but sceptered sovereigns, who still rule
Our spirits from their urns!

* The Coliseum is the most gigantic ruin in Rome. It was the largest amphitheatre ever erected by Roman magnificence, and was built by Vespasian (about A.D. 70), who completed it in one year, by the compulsory labour of twelve thousand Jews and Christians. It could contain one hundred and ten thousand spectators, of whom ninety thousand could be seated. It obtained its name of Coliseum from the colossal statue of Nero, which was placed in it. Its ruins, overgrown with trees and shrubs, have been repeatedly used as a stonequarry, which accounts for the injury sustained by so vast a pile.

† Barked.

Gladiator, one who fought with a 'sword, either in mock or real battle. Such exhibitions were very common in Rome.

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