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With lurid glare the tempest breaks,
The rolling thunder cracks amain, The glaciers clash, the mountain shakes,
The clouds let loose th' imprisoned rain.
“Thy wakened wrath is great, O Lord !
Thine awful judgment who may face? And will not heavenly love afford
Some comfort from the source of grace? Ah, no! these lightnings flash despair;
Unnerved I tremble in the storm; Thy fierce displeasure will not spare,
But crush me like the abject worm.”
Confounded by the maddening strife,
His courage fails, his fears increase;
He feels the tempest's fury cease :
The stars repose with mellowed light. His strength revives! Hope beams anew,
And cheers him onward through the night.
Now on the death-pale glacier's brow
One roseate blush proclaims the morn; The fading stars, with fainter glow,
Bear witness that a day is born. " And shall the light once more appear
? And shall I once again be free? Great God, in mercy lend thine ear:
Behold — forgive — O, rescue me!
“ Ere noon my grief may turn to joy,
Or Hope departing toll my knell: Then fare ye well, my wife, my boy,
Ye dearest ties on earth, farewell !”
With stronger gripe he clasps the rock :
O, there is anguish in that groan ! With parchéd lips he stoops to suck
The rime * from off the barren stone.
The sun's impatient chariot wheels
The clear expanse of heaven ascend ; His fevered brain tormented reels,
And longs for the approaching end. His fingers scarce retain their grasp,
His breath grows thick, his blood runs cold; He cries with agonizing gasp,
“O God, I can no longer hold.”
He staggers, tottering to his fall,
When, lo! a voice is echoed near; And “ Rudolph -- Rudolph ” is the call
That strikes upon his startled ear. Like the doomed criminal's reprieve,
His upturned eye distinctly scans (O joy – too joyful to believe !)
The features of his faithful Hans.
Impatient action bars vain words—
A rope is from the summit flung ; New nerve awakened Hope affords ;
Around his waist the cord is strung. The living freight suspended, sways —
Behold it slowly, surely rise ; O'erwhelmed with gratitude and praise,
Safe by his faithful friend he lies.
“ Guided by light from heaven I reached
This unknown region of despair ;
* Rime, hoar frost.
And Rudolph, shuddering as he spake,
“ My life I owe to God and thee ; Hans, this unerring weapon take;
The chase henceforth is o'er for me!”
He sinks exhausted on the ground;
Imagination warps his will;
On that drear promontory still.
The needed nourishment supplies
His shattered spirit vivifies.
Now in free converse they repose,
When Rudolph springs upright: “Good luck!
Unconscious feeds a stately buck.
Behold the royal prize remain;
Give me my rifle back again!”
LXX. - ANECDOTE OF FRANKLIN'S BOYHOOD.
In the year 1716, or about that period, a boy used to be seen in the streets of Boston who was known among his schoolfellows and playmates by the name of Ben Franklin. Ben was born in 1706; so that he was now about ten years old. His father, who had come over from England, was a soap boiler and tallow chandler, and resided in Milk Street, not far from the Old South Church.
Ben was a bright boy at his book, and even a brighter one when at play with his comrades. He had some remarkable qualities, which always seemed to give him the lead, whether at sport or in more serious matters. I might tell you a number of amusing anecdotes about him. You are acquainted, I suppose, with his famous story of the WHISTLE, and how he bought it with a whole pocket full of coppers, and afterwards repented of his bargain. But Ben had grown a great boy since those days, and had gained wisdom by experience ; for it was one of his peculiarities, that no incident ever happened to him without teaching him some valuable lesson. Thus he generally profited more by his misfortunes than many people do by the most favorable events that could befall them.
Ben's face was already pretty well known to the inhabitants of Boston. The selectmen and other people of note often used to visit his father, for the sake of talking about the affairs of the town or province. Mr. Franklin was considered a person of great wisdom and integrity, and was respected by all who knew him, although he supported his family by the humble trade of boiling soap and making tallow candles.
While his father and the visitors were holding deep consultations about public affairs, little Ben would sit on his stool in a corner, listening with the greatest interest, as if he understood every word. Indeed, his features were so full of intelligence that there could be but little doubt, not only that he understood what was said, but that he could have expressed some very sagacious opinions out of his own mind. But in those days boys were expected to be silent in the presence of their elders. However, Ben Franklin was looked upon as a very promising lad, who would talk and act wisely by and by.
“ Neighbor Franklin,” his father's friends would sometimes say, “ you ought to send this boy to college, and make a minister of him.”
“ I have often thought of it,” his father would reply ; and my brother Benjamin promises to give him a great many volumes of manuscript sermons, in case he should be educated for the church. But I have a large family to support, and cannot afford the expense.”
In fact, Mr. Franklin found it so difficult to provide bread for his family, that, when the boy was ten years old, it became necessary to take him from school. Ben was then employed in cutting candle wicks into equal lengths, and filling the moulds with tallow; and many families in Boston spent their evenings by the light of the candles which he had helped to make. Thus, you see, in his early days, as well as in his manhood, his labors contributed to throw light upon dark matters.
Busy as his life now was, Ben still found time to keep company with his former schoolfellows. He and the other boys were very fond of fishing, and spent many of their leisure hours on the margin of the mill pond, catching flounders, perch, eels, and tomcod, which came up thither with the tide. The place where they fished is now, probably, covered with stone pavements and brick buildings, and thronged with people and with vehicles of all kinds. But at that period it was a marshy spot on the outskirts of the town, where gulls flitted and screamed over head, and salt meadow grass grew under foot.
On the edge of the water there was a deep bed of clay, in which the bóys were forced to stand while they caught their fish. Here they dabbled in mud and mire like a flock of ducks.
“ This is very uncomfortable,” said Ben Franklin one day to his comrades, while they were standing mid-leg deep in the quagmire.
“ So it is,” said the other boys. “ What a pity we have no better place to stand !”
If it had not been for Ben, nothing more would have been done or said about the matter. But it was not in his nature to be sensible of an inconvenience without using his best efforts to find a rem
emedy. So, as he and his comrades were returning from the water side, Ben suddenly threw down his string of fish with a very determined air.
Boys,” cried he, “I have thought of a scheme which will be greatly for our benefit and for the public benefit."