It was in this golden season, At the going down of his sun, When his work in the mighty harvest Of the Lord was almost done;
At Ephesus came a message, Where he was still at his post, Which unto the aged Apostle Was the voice of the Holy Ghost.
Into the country he hastened With all the ardor of youth, Shod with the preparation Of the Gospel of peace and truth.
His mission was one of mercy To the sheep that were scattered abroad, And abundant consolation, Which flowed through him from the Lord.
O, would my heart could paint him, The venerable man of God, So lovingly showing and treading The way the Master had trod!
O, would my art could paint him, Whose life was a fact to prove The joy of the Master's story, And fill their hearts with his love!
At length, when the service was ended, His eye on a young man fell, Of beautiful form and feature, And grace we love so well.
At once he turned to the bishop, And said with a love unpriced, "To thee, to thee I commit him Before the Church and Christ."
He then returned to the city, The beloved disciple, John, Where the strong unceasing current Of his deathless love flowed on.
The bishop discharged his duty To the youth so graceful and fair; With restraining hand he held him, And trained him with loving care.
At last, when his preparation Was made for the holy rite, He was cleansed in the sanctified water, And pronounced a child of light.
For a time he adorned the doctrine Which Christ in the Church has set. But, alas! for a passionate nature When Satan has spread his net!
Through comrades base and abandoned He was lured from day to day, Until, like a steed unbridled, He struck from the rightful way;
And a wild consuming passion Raised him unto the head Of a mighty band of robbers, Of all the country the dread.
Time passed. Again a message Unto the Apostle was sent, To set their affairs in order, And tell them the Lord's intent.
And when he had come and attended To all that needed his care, He turned him and said, "Come, Bishop, Give back my deposit so rare."
"What deposit?" was the answer, Which could not confusion hide. "I demand the soul of a brother," Plainly the Apostle replied,
"Which Christ and I committed Before the Church to thee." Trembling and even weeping, "The young man is dead," groaned he.
"How dead? What death?" John demanded. "He the way of the tempter trod, Forgetting the Master's weapon, And now he is dead unto God.
Yonder he roves a robber." "A fine keeper," said John, "indeed, Of a brother's soul. Get ready A guide and a saddled steed."
And all as he was the Apostle Into the region rode Where the robber youth and captain Had fixed his strong abode.
When hardly over the border, He a prisoner was made, And into their leader's presence Demanded to be conveyed.
And he who could brave a thousand When each was an enemy, Beholding John approaching, Turned him in shame to flee.
But John, of his age forgetful, Pursued him with all his might. "Why from thy defenseless father," He cried, "dost thou turn in flight?
Fear not; there is hope and a refuge, And life shall yet be thine. I will intercede with the Master And task His love divine."
Subdued by love that is stronger Than was ever an armed band, He became once more to the Father A child to feel for His hand.
Subdued by a love that is stronger Than a world full of terrors and fears, He returned to the House of the Father Athrough the baptism of tears.
Such is the beautiful legend Come down from ancient days, Of love that is young forever; And is he not blind who says
That charity ever faileth, Or doth for a moment despair, Or that there is any danger Too great for her to dare;
When John, the beloved disciple, With the faith of the Gospel shod, Went forth in pursuit of the robber, And brought him back to God?
O Church, whose strength is the doctrine Of the blessed Evangelist, This doctrine of love undying Which the world can not resist!
Put on thy beautiful garments In this sordid and selfish day, And be as of old a glory To turn us from Mammon away;
Until to the prayer of thy children, The sweetly simple prayer, That bathed in the light of Heaven Thy courts may grow more fair,
There comes the eternal answer Of works that are loving and grand, To remain for the generations The praises of God in the land.
O Church, whose strength is the doctrine Of the blessed Evangelist, The doctrine of love undying Which the world can not resist!
Go forth to the highways and hedges To gather the sheep that are lost, Conveying the joyful tidings, Their redemption at infinite cost.
Proclaim there is hope and a refuge For every wanderer there; For every sin there is mercy— Yea, even the sin of despair!
O, then will thy beautiful garments, As once in the prime of thy youth, Appear in celestial splendor, Thou pillar and ground of the Truth!
* * * * *
JOHN PLOUGHMAN AGAIN
THE PITH AND MARROW OF CERTAIN OLD PROVERBS.
The Rev. C.H. Spurgeon, of London, who has furnished our readers with several specimens of "John Ploughman's Talk," has also published "John Ploughman's Pictures," some of which we present in pen and ink, without any help from the engraver. John thus introduces himself:
IF THE CAP FITS, WEAR IT.
Friendly Readers: Last time I made a book I trod on some people's corns and bunions, and they wrote me angry letters, asking, "Did you mean me?" This time, to save them the expense of a halfpenny card, I will begin my book by saying—
Whether I please or whether I tease, I'll give you my honest mind; If the cap should fit, pray wear it a bit; If not, you can leave it behind.
No offense is meant; but if any thing in these pages should come home to a man, let him not send it next door, but get a coop for his own chickens. What is the use of reading or hearing for other people? We do not eat and drink for them: why should we lend them our ears and not our mouths? Please then, good friend, if you find a hoe on these premises, weed your own garden with it.
I was speaking with Will Shepherd the other day about our master's old donkey, and I said, "He is so old and stubborn, he really is not worth his keep." "No," said Will, "and worse still, he is so vicious that I feel sure he'll do somebody a mischief one of these days." You know they say that walls have ears; we were talking rather loud, but we did not know that there were ears to haystacks. We stared, I tell you, when we saw Joe Scroggs come from behind the stack, looking as red as a turkey-cock, and raving like mad. He burst out swearing at Will and me, like a cat spitting at a dog. His monkey was up and no mistake. He'd let us know that he was as good a man as either of us, or the two put together, for the matter of that. Talk about him in that way; he'd do—I don't know what. I told old Joe we had never thought of him nor said a word about him, and he might just as well save his breath to cool his porridge, for nobody meant him any harm. This only made him call me a liar and roar the louder. My friend Will was walking away, holding his sides; but when he saw that Scroggs was still in a fume, he laughed outright, and turned round on him and said, "Why, Joe, we were talking about master's old donkey, and not about you; but, upon my word, I shall never see that donkey again without thinking of Joe Scroggs." Joe puffed and blowed, but perhaps he thought it an awkward job, for he backed out of it, and Will and I went off to our work in rather a merry cue, for old Joe had blundered on the truth about himself for once in his life.
The aforesaid Will Shepherd has sometimes come down rather heavy upon me in his remarks, but it has done me good. It is partly through his home-thrusts that I have come to write this new book, for he thought I was idle; perhaps I am, and perhaps I am not. Will forgets that I have other fish to fry and tails to butter; and he does not recollect that a ploughman's mind wants to lie fallow a little, and can't give a crop every year. It is hard to make rope when your hemp is all used up, or pancakes without batter, or rook pie without the birds; and so I found it hard to write more when I had said just about all I knew. Giving much to the poor doth increase a man's store, but it is not the same with writing; at least, I am such a poor scribe that I don't find it come because I pull. If your thoughts only flow by drops, you can't pour them out in bucketfuls.
However, Will has ferreted me out, and I am obliged to him so far. I told him the other day what the winkle said to the pin: "Thank you for drawing me out, but you are rather sharp about it." Still, Master Will is not far from the mark: after three hundred thousand people had bought my book it certainly was time to write another. So, though I am not a hatter, I will again turn capmaker, and those who have heads may try on my wares; those who have none won't touch them. So, friends, I am,
Yours, rough and ready, JOHN PLOUGHMAN.
BURN A CANDLE AT BOTH ENDS, AND IT WILL SOON BE GONE.
Well may he scratch his head who burns his candle at both ends; but do what he may, his light will soon be gone and he will be all in the dark. Young Jack Careless squandered his property, and now he is without a shoe to his foot. His was a case of "easy come, easy go; soon gotten, soon spent." He that earns an estate will keep it better than he that inherits it. As the Scotchman says, "He that gets gear before he gets wit is but a short time master of it," and so it was with Jack. His money burned holes in his pocket. He could not get rid of it fast enough himself, and so he got a pretty set to help him, which they did by helping themselves. His fortune went like a pound of meat in a kennel of hounds. He was every body's friend, and now he is every body's fool.
HUNCHBACK SEES NOT HIS OWN HUMP, BUT HE SEES HIS NEIGHBOR'S.
He points at the man in front of him, but he is a good deal more of a guy himself. He should not laugh at the crooked until he is straight himself, and not then. I hate to hear a raven croak at a crow for being black. A blind man should not blame his brother for squinting, and he who has lost his legs should not sneer at the lame. Yet so it is, the rottenest bough cracks first, and he who should be the last to speak is the first to rail. Bespattered hogs bespatter others, and he who is full of fault finds fault. They are most apt to speak ill of others who do most ill themselves.
We may chide a friend, and so prove our friendship, but it must be done very daintily, or we may lose our friend for our pains. Before we rebuke another we must consider, and take heed that we are not guilty of the same thing, for he who cleanses a blot with inky fingers makes it worse. To despise others is a worse fault than any we are likely to see in them, and to make merry over their weaknesses shows our own weakness and our own malice too. Wit should be a shield for defense, and not a sword for offense. A mocking word cuts worse than a scythe, and the wound is harder to heal. A blow is much sooner forgotten than a jeer. Mocking is shocking.
A LOOKING-GLASS IS OF NO USE TO A BLIND MAN.
Some men are blinded by their worldly business, and could not see heaven itself if the windows were open over their heads. Look at farmer Grab, he is like Nebuchadnezzar, for his conversation is all among beasts, and if he does not eat grass it is because he never could stomach salads. His dinner is his best devotion; he is a terrible fastener on a piece of beef, and sweats at it more than at his labor. As old Master Earle says: "His religion is a part of his copyhold, which he takes from his landlord, and refers wholly to his lordship's discretion. If he gives him leave, he goes to church in his best clothes, and sits there with his neighbors, but never prays more than two prayers—for rain and for fair weather, as the case may be. He is a niggard all the week, except on market-days, where, if his corn sell well, he thinks he may be drunk with a good conscience. He is sensible of no calamity but the burning of a stack of corn, or the overflowing of a meadow, and he thinks Noah's flood the greatest plague that ever was, not because it drowned the world, but spoiled the grass. For death he is never troubled, and if he gets in his harvest before it happens, it may come when it will, he cares not." He is as stubborn as he is stupid, and to get a new thought into his head you would need to bore a hole in his skull with a center-bit. The game would not be worth the candle. We must leave him alone, for he is too old in the tooth, and too blind to be made to see.
DON'T CUT OFF YOUR NOSE TO SPITE YOUR FACE.
Anger is a short madness. The less we do when we go mad the better for every body, and the less we go mad the better for ourselves. He is far gone who hurts himself to wreak his vengeance on others. The old saying is: "Don't cut off your head because it aches," and another says: "Set not your house on fire to spite the moon." If things go awry, it is a poor way of mending to make them worse, as the man did who took to drinking because he could not marry the girl he liked. He must be a fool who cuts off his nose to spite his face, and yet this is what Dick did when he had vexed his old master, and because he was chid must needs give up his place, throw himself out of work, and starve his wife and family. Jane had been idle, and she knew it, but sooner than let her mistress speak to her, she gave warning, and lost as good a service as a maid could wish for. Old Griggs was wrong, and could not deny it, and yet because the parson's sermon fitted him rather close he took the sulks, and vowed he would never hear the good man again. It was his own loss, but he wouldn't listen to reason, but was as willful as a pig.
IT IS HARD FOR AN EMPTY SACK TO STAND UPRIGHT.
Sam may try a fine while before he will make one of his empty sacks stand upright. If he were not half daft he would have left off that job before he began it, and not have been an Irishman either. He will come to his wit's end before he sets the sack on its end. The old proverb, printed at the top, was made by a man who had burned his fingers with debtors, and it just means that when folks have no money and are over head and ears in debt, as often as not they leave off being upright, and tumble over one way or another. He that has but four and spends five will soon need no purse, but he will most likely begin to use his wits to keep himself afloat, and take to all sorts of dodges to manage it.
Nine times out of ten they begin by making promises to pay on a certain day when it is certain they have nothing to pay with. They are as bold at fixing the time as if they had my lord's income; the day comes round as sure as Christmas, and then they haven't a penny-piece in the world, and so they make all sorts of excuses and begin to promise again. Those who are quick to promise are generally slow to perform. They promise mountains and perform mole-hills. He who gives you fair words and nothing more feeds you with an empty spoon, and hungry creditors soon grow tired of that game. Promises don't fill the belly. Promising men are not great favorites if they are not performing men. When such a fellow is called a liar he thinks he is hardly done by; and yet he is so, as sure as eggs are eggs, and there's no denying it, as the boy said when the gardener caught him up the cherry-tree.
A HAND-SAW IS A GOOD THING, BUT NOT TO SHAVE WITH.
Our friend will cut more than he will eat, and shave oft something more than hair, and then he will blame the saw. His brains don't lie in his beard, nor yet in the skull above it, or he would see that his saw will only make sores. There's sense in choosing your tools, for a pig's tail will never make a good arrow, nor will his ear make a silk purse. You can't catch rabbits with drums, nor pigeons with plums. A good thing is not good out of its place. It is much the same with lads and girls; you can't put all boys to one trade, nor send all girls to the same service. One chap will make a London clerk, and another will do better to plough, and sow, and reap, and mow, and be a farmer's boy. It's no use forcing them; a snail will never run a race, nor a mouse drive a wagon.
"Send a boy to the well against his will, The pitcher will break, and the water spill."
With unwilling hounds it is hard to hunt hares. To go against nature and inclination is to row against wind and tide. They say you may praise a fool till you make him useful. I don't know so much about that, but I do know that if I get a bad knife I generally cut my finger, and a blunt axe is more trouble than profit. No, let me shave with a razor if I shave at all, and do my work with the best tools I can get.
Never set a man to work he is not fit for, for he will never do it well. They say that if pigs fly they always go with their tails forward, and awkward workmen are much the same. Nobody expects cows to catch crows, or hens to wear hats. There's reason in roasting eggs, and there should be reason in choosing servants. Don't put a round peg into a square hole, nor wind up your watch with a corkscrew, nor set a tender-hearted man to whip wife-beaters, nor a bear to be a relieving-officer, nor a publican to judge of the licensing laws. Get the right man in the right place, and then all goes as smooth as skates on ice; but the wrong man puts all awry, as the sow did when she folded the linen.
TWO DOGS FIGHT FOR A BONE, AND A THIRD RUNS AWAY WITH IT.
We have all heard of the two men who quarreled over an oyster, and called in a judge to settle the question; he ate the oyster himself, and gave them a shell each. This reminds me of the story of the cow which two farmers could not agree about, and so the lawyers stepped in and milked the cow for them, and charged them for their trouble in drinking the milk. Little is got by law, but much is lost by it. A suit in law may last longer than any suit a tailor can make you, and you may yourself be worn out before it comes to an end. It is better far to make matters up and keep out of court, for if you are caught there you are caught in the brambles, and won't get out without damage. John Ploughman feels a cold sweat at the thought of getting into the hands of lawyers. He does not mind going to Jericho, but he dreads the gentlemen on the road, for they seldom leave a feather upon any goose which they pick up.
HE HAS A HOLE UNDER HIS NOSE. AND HIS MONEY RUNS INTO IT.
This is the man who is always dry, because he takes so much heavy wet. He is a loose fellow who is fond of getting tight. He is no sooner up than his nose is in the cup, and his money begins to run down the hole which is just under his nose. He is not a blacksmith, but he has a spark in his throat, and all the publican's barrels can't put it out. If a pot of beer is a yard of land, he must have swallowed more acres than a ploughman could get over for many a day, and still he goes on swallowing until he takes to wallowing. All goes down Gutter Lane. Like the snipe, he lives by suction. If you ask him how he is, he says he would be quite right if he could moisten his mouth. His purse is a bottle, his bank is the publican's till, and his casket is a cask; pewter is his precious metal, and his pearl is a mixture of gin and beer. The dew of his youth comes from Ben Nevis, and the comfort of his soul is cordial gin. He is a walking barrel, a living drain-pipe, a moving swill-tub. They say "loath to drink and loath to leave off," but he never needs persuading to begin, and as to ending that is out of the question while he can borrow twopence.
STICK TO IT AND DO IT.
Set a stout heart to a stiff hill, and the wagon will get to the top of it. There's nothing so hard but a harder thing will get through it; a strong job can be managed by a strong resolution. Have at it and have it. Stick to it and succeed. Till a thing is done men wonder that you think it can be done, and when you have done it they wonder it was never done before.
In my picture the wagon is drawn by two horses; but I would have every man who wants to make his way in life pull as if all depended on himself. Very little is done right when it is left to other people. The more hands to do work the less there is done. One man will carry two pails of water for himself; two men will only carry one pail between them, and three will come home with never a drop at all. A child with several mothers will die before it runs alone. Know your business and give your mind to it, and you will find a buttered loaf where a sluggard loses his last crust.
LIKE CAT LIKE KIT.
Most men are what their mothers made them. The father is away from home all day, and has not half the influence over the children that the mother has. The cow has most to do with the calf. If a ragged colt grows into a good horse, we know who it is that combed him. A mother is therefore a very responsible woman, even though she may be the poorest in the land, for the bad or the good of her boys and girls very much depends upon her. As is the gardener such is the garden, as is the wife such is the family. Samuel's mother made him a little coat every year, but she had done a deal for him before that; Samuel would not have been Samuel if Hannah had not been Hannah. We shall never see a better set of men till the mothers are better. We must have Sarahs and Rebekahs before we shall see Isaacs and Jacobs. Grace does not run in the blood, but we generally find that the Timothies have mothers of a goodly sort.
Little children give their mother the headache, but if she lets them have their own way, when they grow up to be great children they will give her the heartache. Foolish fondness spoils many, and letting faults alone spoils more. Gardens that are never weeded will grow very little worth, gathering; all watering and no hoeing will make a bad crop. A child may have too much of its mother's love, and in the long run it may turn out that it had too little. Soft-hearted mothers rear soft-hearted children; they hurt them for life because they are afraid of hurting them when they are young. Coddle your children, and they will turn out noodles. You may sugar a child till every body is sick of it. Boys' jackets need a little dusting every now and then, and girls' dresses are all the better for occasional trimming. Children without chastisement are fields without ploughing. The very best colts want breaking in. Not that we like severity; cruel mothers are not mothers, and those who are always flogging and fault-finding ought to be flogged themselves. There is reason in all things, as the madman said when he cut off his nose.
Good mothers are very dear to their children. There's no mother in the world like our own mother. My friend Sanders, from Glasgow, says, "The mither's breath is aye sweet." Every woman is a handsome woman to her own son. That man is not worth hanging who does not love his mother. When good women lead their little ones to the Saviour, the Lord Jesus blesses not only the children, but their mothers as well. Happy are they among women who see their sons and daughters walking in the truth.
A BLACK HEN LAYS A WHITE EGG.
The egg is white enough, though the hen is black as a coal. This is a very simple thing, but it has pleased the simple mind of John Ploughman, and made him cheer up when things have gone hard with him. Out of evil comes good, through the great goodness of God. From threatening clouds we get refreshing showers; in dark mines men find bright jewels; and so from our worst troubles come our best blessings. The bitter cold sweetens the ground, and the rough winds fasten the roots of the old oaks, God sends us letters of love in envelopes with black borders. Many a time have I plucked sweet fruit from bramble bushes, and taken lovely roses from among prickly thorns. Trouble is to believing men and women like the sweetbrier in our hedges, and where it grows there is a delicious smell all around, if the dew do but fall upon it from above.
Cheer up, mates, all will come right in the end. The darkest night will turn to a fair morning in due time. Only let us trust in God, and keep our heads above the waves of fear. When our hearts are right with God every thing is right. Let us look for the silver which lines every cloud, and when we do not see it let us believe that it is there. We are all at school, and our great Teacher writes many a bright lesson on the blackboard of affliction. Scant fare teaches us to live on heavenly bread, sickness bids us send off for the good Physician, loss of friends makes Jesus more precious, and even the sinking of our spirits brings us to live more entirely upon God. All things are working together for the good of those who love God, and even death itself will bring them their highest gain. Thus the black hen lays a white egg.
EVERY BIRD LIKES ITS OWN NEST.
It pleases me to see how fond the birds are of their little homes. No doubt each one thinks his own nest is the very best; and so it is for him, just as my home is the best palace for me, even for me, King John, the king of the Cottage of Content. I will ask no more if Providence only continues to give me
"A little field well tilled, A little house well filled, And a little wife well willed."
An Englishman's house is his castle, and the true Briton is always fond of the old roof-tree. Green grows the house-leek on the thatch, and sweet is the honeysuckle at the porch, and dear are the gilly-flowers in the front garden; but best of all is the good wife within, who keeps all as neat as a new pin. Frenchmen may live in their coffee-houses, but an Englishman's best life is seen at home.
"My own house, though small, Is the best house of all."
When boys get tired of eating tarts, and maids have done with winning hearts, and lawyers cease to take their fees, and leaves leave off to grow on trees, then will John Ploughman cease to love his own dear home. John likes to hear some sweet voice sing,
"'Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam, Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home; A charm from the sky seems to hallow us there, Which, wherever we rove, is not met with elsewhere. Home! Home! sweet, sweet home! There's no place like home!"
* * * * *
(BORN 1812—DIED 1875.)
FROM THE SHOEMAKER'S BENCH TO THE CHAIR OF VICE-PRESIDENT.
Henry Wilson, the Vice-president of the United States, was at my tea-table with the strangest appetite I ever knew. The fact was, his last sickness was on him, and his inward fever demanded everything cold. It was tea without any tea. He was full of reminiscence, and talked over his life from boyhood till then. He impressed me with the fact that he was nearly through his earthly journey. Going to my Church that evening to speak at our young peoples' anniversary, he delivered the last address of his public life. While seated at the beginning of the exercises, his modesty seemed to overcome him, and he said: "I am not prepared to address such a magnificent audience as that. Can not you get somebody else to speak? I wish you would." "O no," I said, "these people came to hear Henry Wilson." He placed a chair in the center of the platform to lean on. Not knowing he had put it in that position, I removed it twice. Then he whispered to me, saying: "Why do you remove that chair? I want it to lean on." The fact was, his physical strength was gone. When he arose his bands and knees trembled with excitement, and the more so as the entire audience arose and cheered him. One hand on the top of the chair, he stood for half an hour, saying useful things, and, among others, these words: "I hear men sometimes say, when a man writes his name on the records of a visible Church, that he had better let other things alone, especially public affairs. I am not a believer in that Christianity which hides itself away. I believe in that robust Christianity that goes right out in God's world and works. If there ever was a time in our country, that time is now, when the young men of this country should reflect and act according to the teachings of God's holy Word, and attempt to purify, lift up, and carry our country onward and forward, so that it shall be in practice what it is in theory—the great leading Christian nation of the globe. You will be disappointed in many of your hopes and aspirations. The friends near and dear to you will turn sometimes coldly from you; the wives of your bosom and the children of your love will be taken from you; your high hopes may be blasted; but, gentlemen, when friends turn their backs upon you, when you lay your dear ones away, when disappointments come to you on the right hand and on the left, there is one source for a true and brave heart, and that is an abiding faith in God, and a trust in the Lord Jesus Christ."
Having concluded his address he sat down, physically exhausted. When we helped him into his carriage we never expected to see him again. The telegram from Washington announcing his prostration and certain death was no surprise. But there and then ended as remarkable a life as was ever lived in America.
It is no great thing if a man who has been carefully nurtured by intelligent parents, and then passed through school, college, and those additional years of professional study, go directly to the front. But start a man amid every possible disadvantage, and pile in his way all possible obstacles, and then if he take his position among those whose path was smooth, he must have the elements of power. Henry Wilson was great in the mastering and overcoming all disadvantageous circumstances. He began at the bottom, and without any help fought his own way to the top. If there ever was a man who had a right at the start to give up his earthly existence as a failure, that man was Henry Wilson. Born of a dissolute father, so that the son took another name in order to escape the disgrace; never having a dollar of his own before he was twenty-one years of age; toiling industriously in a shoemaker's shop, that he might get the means of schooling and culture; then loaning his money to a man who swamped it all and returned none of it; but still toiling on and up until he came to the State Legislature, and on and up until he reached the American Senate, and on and up till he became Vice-president. In all this there ought to be great encouragement to those who wake up late in life to find themselves unequipped. Henry Wilson did not begin his education until most of our young men think they have finished theirs. If you are twenty-five or thirty, or forty or fifty, it is not too late to begin. Isaac Walton at ninety years of age wrote his valuable book; Benjamin Franklin, almost an octogenarian, went into philosophic discoveries; Fontenelle's mind blossomed even in the Winter of old age; Arnauld made valuable translations at eighty years of age; Christopher Wren added to the astronomical and religious knowledge of the world at eighty-six years of age.
Do not let any one, in the light of Henry Wilson's career, be discouraged. Rittenhouse conquered his poverty; John Milton overcame his blindness; Robert Hall overleaped his sickness; and plane and hammer, and adze and pickax, and crowbar and yardstick, and shoe-last have routed many an army of opposition and oppression. Let every disheartened man look at two pictures—Henry Wilson teaching fifteen hours a day at five dollars a week to get his education, and Henry Wilson under the admiring gaze of Christendom at the national capital. He was one of the few men who maintained his integrity against violent temptations. The tides of political life all set toward dissipation. The congressional burying-ground at Washington holds the bones of many congressional drunkards. Henry Wilson seated at a banquet with senators and presidents and foreign ministers, the nearest he ever came to taking their expensive brandies and wines was to say, "No, sir, I thank you; I never indulge." He never drank the health of other people in any thing that hurt his own. He never was more vehement than in flinging his thunderbolts of scorn against the decanter and the dram-shop. What a rebuke it is for men in high and exposed positions in this country who say, "We can not be in our positions without drinking." If Henry Wilson, under the gaze of senators and presidents, could say No, certainly you under the jeers of your commercial associates ought to be able to say No. Henry Wilson also conquered all temptations to political corruption. He died comparatively a poor man, when he might have filled his own pockets and the pockets of his friends if he had only consented to go into some of the infamous opportunities which tempted our public men. Credit Mobilier, which took down so many senators and representatives, touched him, but glanced off, leaving him uncontaminated in the opinion of all fair-minded men. He steered clear of the "Lobby," that maelstrom which has swallowed up so many strong political crafts. The bribing railroad schemes that ran over half of our public men always left him on the right side of the track. With opportunities to have made millions of dollars by the surrender of good principles, he never made a cent. Along by the coasts strewn with the hulks of political adventurers he voyaged without loss of rudder or spar. We were not surprised at his funeral honors. If there ever was a man after death fit to lie on Abraham Lincoln's catafalque, and near the marble representation of Alexander Hamilton, and under Crawford's splendid statue of Freedom, with a sheathed sword in her hand and a wreath of stars on her brow, and to be carried out amid the acclamation and conclamation of a grateful people, that man was Henry Wilson.
The ministers did not at his obsequies have a hard time to make out a good case as to his future destiny, as in one case where a clergyman in offering consolation as to the departure of a man who had been very eminent, but went down through intemperance till he died in a snow-bank, his rum-jug beside him. At the obsequies of that unfortunate, the officiating pastor declared that the departed was a good Greek and Latin scholar. We have had United States senators who used the name of God rhetorically, and talked grandly about virtue and religion, when at that moment they were so drunk they could scarcely stand up. But Henry Wilson was an old-fashioned Christian, who had repented of his sins and put his trust in Christ. By profession he was a Congregationalist; but years ago he stood up in a Methodist meeting-house and told how he had found the Lord, and recommending all the people to choose Christ as their portion—the same Christ about whom he was reading the very night before he died, in that little book called "The Changed Cross," the more tender passages marked with his own lead-pencil; and amid these poems of Christ Henry Wilson had placed the pictures of his departed wife and departed son, for I suppose he thought as these were with Christ in heaven their dear faces might as well be next to His name in the book.
It was appropriate that our Vice-president expire in the Capitol buildings, the scene of so many years of his patriotic work. At the door of that marbled and pictured Vice-president's room many a man has been obliged to wait because of the necessities of business, and to wait a great while before he could get in; but that morning, while the Vice-president was talking about taking a ride, a sable messenger arrived at the door, not halting a moment, not even knocking to see if he might get in, but passed up and smote the lips into silence forever. The sable messenger moving that morning through the splendid Capitol stopped not to look at the mosaics, or the fresco, or the panels of Tennessee and Italian marble, but darted in and darted out in an instant, and his work was done. It is said that Charles Sumner was more scholarly, and that Stephen A. Douglas was a better organizer, and that John J. Crittenden was more eloquent; but calling up my memory of Henry Wilson, I have come to the conclusion that that life is grandly eloquent whose peroration is heaven.—DR. TALMADGE, in The Sunday Magazine.
* * * * *
JOAN OF ARC
(BORN 1412—DIED 1431.)
THE PEASANT MAIDEN WHO DELIVERED HER COUNTRY AND BECAME A MARTYR IN ITS CAUSE.
No story of heroism has greater attractions for youthful readers than that of Joan of Arc, the Maid of Orleans. It would be long to tell how for hundreds of years the greatest jealousy and mistrust existed between England and France, and how constant disputes between their several sovereigns led to wars and tumults; how, in the time of Henry the Fifth, of England, a state of wild confusion existed on the continent, and how that king also claimed to be king of France; how this fifth Henry was married to Catherine, daughter of King Charles, and how they were crowned king and queen of France; how, in the midst of his triumphs, Henry died, and his son, an infant less than a year old, was declared king in his stead; how wars broke out, and how, at last, a simple maiden saved her country from the grasp of ambitious men. Hardly anything in history is more wonderful than, the way in which she was raised up to serve her country's need, and, having served it, died a martyr in its cause.
Joan of Arc, Maid of Orleans, was born in the forest of Greux, upon the Meuse, in the village of Domremy, in Lorraine, in the year 1412. At this time France was divided into two factions—the Burgundians and the Armagnacs—the former of whom favored the English cause, and the latter pledged to the cause of their country.
Joan was the daughter of simple villagers. She was brought up religiously, and from her earliest youth is said to have seen visions and dreamed dreams; the one great dream of her life was, however, the deliverance of her country from foreign invasions and domestic broils. When only about thirteen years of age, she announced to the astonished townspeople that she had a mission, and that she meant to fulfill it.
The disasters of the war reached Joan's home; a party of Burgundians dashed into Domremy, and the Armagnacs fled before them. Joan's family took refuge in the town of Neufchateau, and she paid for their lodging at an inn by helping the mistress of the house.
Here, in a more public place, it was soon seen and wondered at that such a young girl was so much interested in the war. Her parents were already angry that she would not marry. They began to be frightened now. Jacques D'Arc told one of his sons that sooner than let Joan go to the camp he would drown her with his own hands. She could not, however, be kept back. Very cautiously, and as though afraid to speak of such high things, she began to let fall hints of what she saw. Half-frightened herself at what she said, she exclaimed to a neighbor, "There is now, between Colombey and Vaucouleurs, a maid who will cause the king of France to be crowned!"
Now came the turn in the war, when all the strength of both sides was to be gathered up into one great struggle, and it was to be shown whether the king was to have his right, or the usurper triumph. The real leaders of the war were the Duke of Bedford, regent of England, and the captains of the French army. Bedford gathered a vast force, chiefly from Burgundy, and gave its command to the Earl of Salisbury. The army went on; they gained, without a struggle, the towns of Rambouillet, Pithwier, Jargean, and others. Then they encamped before the city of Orleans. To this point they drew their whole strength. Orleans taken, the whole country beyond was theirs, as it commanded the entrance to the River Loire and the southern provinces; and the only stronghold left to King Charles was the mountain country of Auvergne and Dauphine.
The men of Orleans well knew how much depended upon their city. All that could be done they did to prepare for a resolute defense. The siege of Orleans was one of the first in which cannon were used. Salisbury visiting the works, a cannon broke a splinter from a casement, which struck him and gave him his death wound. The Earl of Suffolk, who was appointed to succeed him, never had his full power.
Suffolk could not tame the spirit of the men of Orleans by regular attack, so he tried other means. He resolved to block it up by surrounding it with forts, and starve the people out. But for some time, before the works were finished, food was brought into the city; while the French troops, scouring the plains, as often stopped the supplies coming to the English. Faster, however, than they were brought in, the provisions in Orleans wasted away. And through the dreary Winter the citizens watched one fort after another rise around them. The enemy was growing stronger, they were growing weaker; they had no prospect before them but defeat; when the Spring came would come the famine; their city would be lost, and then their country.
The eyes of all France were upon Orleans. News of the siege and of the distress came to Domremy, and Joan of Arc rose to action. Her mind was fixed to go and raise the siege of Orleans and crown Charles king. Not for one moment did she think it impossible or even unlikely. What God had called her to do, that she would carry out. She made no secret of her call, but went to Vaucouleurs and told De Briancourt that she meant to save France. At first the governor treated her lightly, and told her to go home and dream about a sweetheart; but such was her earnestness that at last not only he, but thousands of other people, believed in the mission of Joan of Arc. And so, before many days, she set out, with many noble attendants, to visit Charles at the castle of Chinon.
On all who saw her, Joan's earnestness, singleness of heart, and deep piety made but one impression. Only the king remained undecided; he could hardly be roused to see her, but at last he named a day, and Joan of Arc had her desire and stood before him in the great hall of Chinon. Fifty torches lighted the hall, which was crowded with knights and nobles. Joan, too self-forgetful to feel abashed, walked forward firmly. Charles had placed himself among his courtiers, so that she should not know him. Not by inspiration, as they thought, but because with her enthusiasm she must have heard him described often and often, she at once singled him out and clasped his knees. Charles denied that he was the king. "In the name of God," Joan answered, "it no other but yourself. Most noble Lord Dauphin, I am Joan, the maid sent on the part of God to aid you and your kingdom; and by his command I announce to you that you shall be crowned in the city of Rheims, and shall become his lieutenant in the realm of France." Charles led her aside, and told his courtiers afterward that in their private conversation she had revealed to him secrets. But all that she said appears to have been, "I tell thee from my Lord that thou art the true heir of France." A few days before the king had offered a prayer for help only on condition that he was the rightful sovereign, and it has been well said that "such a coincidence of idea on so obvious a topic seems very far from supernatural or even surprising." It is but one out of many proofs how ready every one in those days was to believe in signs and wonders.
Her fame spread wide; there went abroad all kinds of reports about her miraculous powers. Already the French began to hope and the English to wonder.
The king still doubted, and so did his council. People in our own day, who admire the wisdom of the Dark Ages, would do well to study the story of Joan of Arc. She was taken before the University of Poictiers. Six weeks did the learned doctors employ in determining whether Joan was sent by God or in league with the devil. She never made any claim to supernatural help beyond what she needed to fulfill her mission. She refused to give them a sign, saying that her sign would be at Orleans—the leading of brave men to battle. She boasted no attainments, declaring that she knew neither A nor B; only, she must raise the siege of Orleans and crown the Dauphin. The friars sent to her old home to inquire about her, and brought back a spotless report of her life. So, after the tedious examination, the judgment of the learned and wise men of Poictiers was that Charles might accept her services without peril to his soul.
The vexatious delays over, Joan of Arc set out for Orleans. In the church of Fierbois she had seen, among other old weapons, a sword marked with five crosses. For this she sent. When she left Vaucouleurs she had put on a man's dress; now she was clad in white armor. A banner was prepared under her directions; this also was white, strewn with the lilies of France.
So much time had been lost that Joan was not at Blois till the middle of April. She entered the town on horseback; her head was uncovered. All men admired her skillful riding and the poise of her lance. Joan carried all before her now; she brought spirit to the troops; the armor laid down was buckled on afresh when she appeared; the hearts of the people were lifted up—they would have died for her. Charles, who had been with the army, slipped back to Chinon; but he left behind him better and braver men—his five bravest leaders. Joan began her work gloriously by clearing the camp of all bad characters. Father Pasquerel bore her banner through the streets, while Joan, with the priests who followed, sang the Litany and exhorted men to prepare for battle by repentance and prayer. In this, as in all else, she succeeded.
When the English heard that Joan was really coming, they pretended to scorn her. Common report made Joan a prophet and a worker of miracles. Hearts beat higher in Orleans than they had done for months. More terror was in the English camp than it had ever known before.
The English took no heed of Joan's order to submit. They little thought that in a fortnight they would flee before a woman.
She entered the city at midnight. LaHire and two hundred men, with lances, were her escort. Though she had embarked close under an English fort, she was not molested. Untouched by the enemy, coming in the midst of the storm, bringing plenty, and the lights of her procession shining in the black night, we can not wonder that the men of Orleans looked on her as in very truth the messenger of God. They flocked round her, and he who could touch but her horse was counted happy.
Joan went straight to the cathedral, where she had the Te Deum chanted. The people thought that already they were singing their thanksgivings for victory. Despair was changed to hope; fear to courage. She was known as "the Maid of Orleans." From the cathedral she went to the house of one of the most esteemed ladies of the town, with whom she had chosen to live. A great supper had been prepared for her, but she took only a bit of bread sopped in wine before she went to sleep. By her orders, the next day an archer fastened to his arrow a letter of warning, and shot it into the English lines. She went herself along the bridge and exhorted the enemy to depart. Sir William Gladsdale tried to conceal his fright by answering her with such rude words as made her weep. Four days afterwards the real terror of the English was shown. The Maid of Orleans and LaHire went to meet the second load of provisions. As it passed close under the English lines not an arrow was shot against it; not a man appeared.
Joan of Arc was now to win as much glory by her courage as before her very name had brought. While she was lying down to rest, that same afternoon, the townspeople went out to attack the Bastile of St. Loup. They had sent her no word of the fight. But Joan started suddenly from her bed, declaring that her voices told her to go against the English. She put on her armor, mounted her horse, and, with her banner in her hand, galloped through the streets. The French were retreating, but they gathered again round her white banner, and Joan led them on once more. Her spirit rose with the thickness of the fight. She dashed right into the midst. The battle raged for three hours round the Bastile of St. Loup, then Joan led on the French to storm it. Joan of Arc, the Maid of Orleans, had gained her first victory.
The day after there was no fighting, for it was the Feast of the Ascension. Joan had been first in the fight yesterday; she was first in prayer to-day. She brought many of the soldiers to their knees for the first time in their lives.
All along the captains had doubted the military skill of "the simplest girl they had ever seen," and they did not call her to the council they held that day. They resolved to attack the English forts on the southern and weakest side. After a little difficulty Joan consented, when she was told of it. The next day, before daybreak, she took her place with LaHire on a small island in the Loire, from whence they crossed in boats to the southern bank. Their hard day's work was set about early. Joan would not wait for more troops, but began the fight at once. The English joined two garrisons together, and thus for a time overpowered the French as they attacked the Bastile of the Augustins.
Carried on for a little while with the flying, Joan soon turned round again upon the enemy. The sight of the witch, as they thought her, was enough. The English screened themselves from her and her charms behind their walls. Help was coming up for the French. They made a fresh attack; the bastile was taken and set on fire. Joan returned to the city slightly wounded in the foot.
The only fort left to the English was their first-made and strongest, the Bastile de Tournelles. It was held by the picked men of their army, Gladsdale and his company. The French leaders wished to delay its attack until they had fresh soldiers. This suited Joan little. "You have been to your council," she said, "and I have been to mine. Be assured that the council of my Lord will hold good, and that the council of men will perish." The hearts of the people were with her; the leaders thought it best to give in. Victory followed wherever she led, and, after several actions, at which she took active part, the siege was raised. It began on the 12th of October, 1428, and was raised on the 14th of May, 1429.
Even now, in Orleans, the 14th of May is held sacred, that day on which, in 1429, the citizens watched the English lines growing less and less in the distance.
Joan of Arc had even yet done but half her work. Neither Charles nor Henry had been crowned. That the crown should be placed on Charles's head was what she still had to accomplish. Though we have always spoken of him as "King," he was not so in reality until this had been done. He was strictly but the Dauphin. Bedford wished much that young Henry should be crowned; for let Charles once have the holy crown on his brow, and the oil of anointing on his head, and let him stand where for hundreds of years his fathers had stood to be consecrated kings of France, in the Cathedral of Rheims, before his people as their king, any crowning afterwards would be a mockery. Charles was now with the Court of Tours. Rheims was a long way off in the north, and to get there would be a work of some difficulty; yet get there he must, for the coronation could not take place anywhere else. Joan went to Tours, and, falling before him, she begged him to go and receive his crown, saying, that when her voices gave her this message she was marvelously rejoiced. Charles did not seem much rejoiced to receive it. He said a great deal about the dangers of the way, and preferred that the other English posts on the Loire should be taken first. It must have been very trying to one so quick and eager as Joan to deal with such a person, but, good or bad, he was her king. She was not idle because she could not do exactly as she wished; she set out with the army at once.
The news flew onwards. The inhabitants of Chalons and of Rheims rose and turned out the Burgundian garrisons. The king's way to Rheims was one triumph, and, amidst the shouts of the people, he entered Rheims on the 16th of July. The next day Charles VII was crowned. The visions of the Maid had been fulfilled. By her arm Orleans had been saved, through her means the king stood there. She was beside the king at the high altar, with her banner displayed; and when the service was over, she knelt before him with streaming eyes, saying, "Gentle king, now is done the pleasure of God, who willed that you should come to Rheims and be anointed, showing that you are the true king, and he to whom the kingdom should belong."
All eyes were upon her as the savior of her country. She might have secured every thing for herself; but she asked no reward, she was content to have done her duty. And of all that was offered her, the only thing she would accept was that Domremy should be free forever from any kind of tax. So, until the time of the first French Revolution, the collectors wrote against the name of the village, as it stood in their books, "Nothing, for the Maid's sake."
Joan of Arc said that her work was done. She had seen her father and her uncle in the crowd, and, with many tears, she begged the king to let her go back with them, and keep her flocks and herds, and do all as she had been used to do. Never had man or woman done so much with so simple a heart. But the king and his advisers knew her power over the people, and their entreaties that she would stay with them prevailed. So she let her father and her uncle depart without her. They must have had enough to tell when they reached home.
We have little heart to tell the rest of the story. At length the king reached Paris, and the Duke of Bedford was away in Normandy. Joan wished to attack the city, and it was done. Many of the soldiers were jealous of her, and they fought only feebly. They crossed the first ditch round the city, but found the second full of water. Joan was trying its depth with her lance, when she was seriously wounded. She lay on the ground cheering the troops, calling for fagots and bundles of wood to fill the trench, nor would she withdraw until the evening, when the Duke of Alencon persuaded her to give up the attempt, as it had prospered so ill.
Were it not so wicked and so shameful, it might be laughable to think of the king's idleness. It is really true that he longed for his lovely Chinon, and a quiet life, as a tired child longs to go to sleep. He made his misfortune at Paris, which would have stirred up almost any one else to greater exertions, an excuse for getting away. The troops were sent to winter quarters; he went back across the Loire now, when the English leader was away, and the chief towns in the north ready to submit. Had he but shown himself a man, he might have gained his capital, and the whole of the north of France. The spirit lately roused for him was down again. It seemed really not worth while to fight for a king who would not attend to business for more than two months together.
We know little more of the Maid of Orleans in the Winter, than that she continued with the army. After her defeat at Paris, she hung her armor up in the church at St. Denis, and made up her mind to go home. The entreaties of the French leaders prevailed again; for, though they were jealous of her, and slighted her on every occasion, they knew her power, and were glad to get all out of her that they could. In December, Joan and all her family were made nobles by the king. They changed their name from Arc to Du Lys, "Lys" being French for lily, the flower of France, as the rose is of England; and they were given the lily of France for their coat of arms.
With the return of Spring the king's troops marched into the northern provinces. Charles would not leave Chinon. The army was utterly disorderly, and had no idea what to set about. Joan showed herself as brave as ever in such fighting as there was. But, doubting whether she was in her right place or her wrong one, in the midst of fierce and lawless men, nothing pointed out for her to do, her situation was most miserable. The Duke of Gloucester sent out a proclamation to strengthen the hearts of the English troops against her. The title was "against the feeble-minded captains and soldiers who are terrified by the incantations of the Maid."
A long and troublesome passage had Joan of Arc from this bad world to her home in heaven, where dwelt those whom she called "her brothers of Paradise." Her faith was to be tried in the fire—purified seven times. All the French army were jealous of her. The governor of the fortress of Compiegne was cruel and tyrannical beyond all others, even in that age. Compiegne was besieged by the English; Joan threw herself bravely into the place. She arrived there on the 24th of May, and that same evening she headed a party who went out of the gates to attack the enemy. Twice they were driven back by her; but, seeing more coming up, she made the sign to go back. She kept herself the last; the city gate was partly closed, so that but few could pass in at once. In the confusion she was separated from her friends; but she still fought bravely, until an archer from Picardy seized her and dragged her from her horse. She struggled, but was obliged to give up; and so the Maid of Orleans was taken prisoner.
Joan was first taken to the quarters of John of Luxembourg. Her prison was changed many times, but the English were eager to have her in their own power. In November John of Luxemburg sold her to them for a large sum of money. When she was in his prison she had tried twice to escape. She could not try now; she was put in the great tower of the castle of Rouen, confined between iron gratings, with irons upon her feet. Her guards offered her all kinds of rudeness, and even John of Luxembourg was so mean as to go and rejoice over her in her prison.
It would have been a cruel thing to put her to death as a prisoner of war; but those were dark days, and such things were often done. The desire of the English was to hold Joan up to public scorn as a witch, and to prove that she had dealings with the devil. With this wicked object, they put her on her trial. They found Frenchmen ready enough to help them. One Canchon, bishop of Beauvais, even petitioned that the trial might be under his guidance. He had his desire; he was appointed the first judge, and a hundred and two other learned Frenchmen were found ready to join him.
Before these false judges Joan of Arc was called—as simple a girl as she was when, just two years before, she left Domremy. All that malice and rage could do was done against her. She was alone before her enemies. Day after day they tried hard to find new and puzzling questions for her; to make her false on her own showing; to make her deny her visions or deny her God. They could not. Clearheaded, simple-hearted, she had been always, and she was so still. She showed the faith of a Christian, the patience of a saint, in all her answers. Piety and wisdom were with her, wickedness and folly with her enemies. They tried to make evil out of two things in particular: her banner, with which it was declared she worked charms, and the tree she used to dance around when she was a child, where they said she went to consult the fairies. Concerning her banner, Joan said that she carried it on purpose to spare the sword, so she might not kill any one with her own hand; of the tree, she denied that she knew any thing about fairies, or was acquainted with any one who had seen them there. She was tormented with questions as to whether the saints spoke English when she saw them, what they wore, how they smelt, whether she helped the banner or the banner her, whether she was in mortal sin when she rode the horse belonging to the bishop of Senlis, whether she could commit mortal sin, whether the saints hated the English. Every trap they could lay for her they laid. She answered all clearly; when she had forgotten any thing she said so; her patience never gave way; she was never confused. When asked whether she was in a state of grace, she said: "If I am not, I pray to God to bring me to it; and, if I am, may he keep me in it."
After all, they did not dare condemn her. Try as they could, they could draw nothing from her that was wrong. They teased her to give the matter into the hands of the Church. She put the Church in heaven, and its head, above the Church on earth and the pope. The English were afraid that after all she might escape, and pressed on the judgment. The lawyers at Rouen would say nothing, neither would the chapter. The only way to take was to send the report of the trial to the University of Paris, and wait the answer.
On the 19th of May arrived the answer from Paris. It was this: that the Maid of Orleans was either a liar or in alliance with Satan and with Behemoth; that she was given to superstition, most likely an idolater; that she lowered the angels, and vainly boasted and exalted herself; that she was a blasphemer and a traitor thirsting for blood, a heretic and an apostate. Yet they would not burn her at once; they would first disgrace her in the eyes of people. This was done on the 23d of May. A scaffold was put up behind the Cathedral of St. Onen; here in solemn state sat the cardinal of Winchester, two judges, and thirty-three helpers. On another scaffold was Joan of Arc, in the midst of guards, notaries to take reports, and the most famous preacher of France to admonish her. Below was seen the rack upon a cart.
The preacher began his discourse. Joan let him speak against herself, but she stopped him when he spoke against the king, that king for whom she had risked every thing, but who was dreaming at Chinon, and had not stretched out a finger to save her. Their labor was nearly lost; her enemies became furious. Persuading was of no use; she refused to go back from any thing she had said or done. Her instant death was threatened if she continued obstinate, but if she would recant she was promised deliverance from the English. "I will sign," she said at last. The cardinal drew a paper from his sleeve with a short denial. She put her mark to it. They kept their promise of mercy by passing this sentence upon her: "Joan, we condemn you, through our grace and moderation, to pass the rest of your days in prison, to eat the bread of grief and drink the water of anguish, and to bewail your sins."
When she went back to prison there was published through Rouen, not the short denial she had signed, but one six pages long.
Joan was taken back to the prison from whence she came. The next few days were the darkest and saddest of all her life, yet they were the darkest before the dawn. She had, in the paper which she had signed, promised to wear a woman's dress again, and she did so. Her enemies had now a sure hold on her. They could make her break her own oath. In the night her woman's dress was taken away, and man's clothes put in their place. She had no choice in the morning what to do.
As soon as it was day Canchon and the rest made haste to the prison to see the success of their plot. Canchon laughed, and said, "She is taken." No more hope for her on earth; no friend with her, save that in the fiery furnace was "One like unto the Son of God."
Brought before her judges, Joan only said why she had put on her old dress. They could not hide their delight, and joked and laughed among themselves. God sent her hope and comfort; she knew that the time of her deliverance was near. She was to be set free by fire. They appointed the day after the morrow for her burning. But a few hours' notice was given her. She wept when she heard that she was to be burnt alive, but after awhile she exclaimed: "I shall be to-night in Paradise!"
Eight hundred Englishmen conducted her to the market-place! On her way, the wretched priest L'Oiseleur threw himself on the ground before her, and begged her to forgive him. Three scaffolds had been set up. On one sat the cardinal with all his train. Joan and her enemies were on another. The third, a great, towering pile, built up so high that what happened on it should be in the sight of all the town, had upon it the stake to which she was to be tied. Canchon began to preach to her. Her faith never wavered; her Saviour, her best friend, was with her. To him she prayed aloud before the gathered multitude. She declared that she forgave her enemies, and begged her friends to pray for her. Even Canchon and the cardinal shed tears. But they hastened to dry their eyes, and read the condemnation. All the false charges were named, and she was given over to death.
They put her on the scaffold and bound her fast to the stake. Looking round on the crowd of her countrymen, who stood looking over, she exclaimed: "O Rouen! I fear thou wilt suffer for my death!" A miter was placed on her head, with the words: "Relapsed Heretic, Apostate, Idolater." Canchon drew near, to listen whether even now she would not say something to condemn herself. Her only words were, "Bishop, I die through your means." Of the worthless king she said: "That which I have well or ill done I did it of myself; the king did not advise me." These were her last words about earthly matters. The flames burnt from the foot of the pile, but the monk who held the cross before her did not move. He heard her from the midst of the fire call upon her Saviour. Soon she bowed her head and cried aloud "Jesus!" And she went to be with him forever.
We have little to add of the character of the Maid of Orleans. She was simple amid triumph and splendor; unselfish, when she might have had whatever she had asked; humane and gentle, even on the battlefield; patient in the midst of the greatest provocation; brave in the midst of suffering; firm in faith and hope when all beside were cast down; blameless and holy in her life, when all beside were wicked and corrupt.
The English never recovered from the blow struck by the Maid. Their power in France gradually weakened. In 1435 peace was made between Charles VII and the Duke of Burgundy. One by one the ill-gotten gains were given up, and the English king lost even the French provinces he inherited. In the year 1451 the only English possession in France was the town of Calais. This, too, was lost about a hundred years after, in the reign of Queen Mary. Yet the kings of England kept the empty title of kings of France, and put the lilies of France in their coat of arms until the middle of the reign of George III.
The last incident in the strange story of Joan of Arc remains to be told. Ten years after her execution, to the amazement of all who knew him, Charles VII suddenly shook off his idleness and blazed forth a wise king, an energetic ruler. Probably in this, his better state of mind, he thought with shame and sorrow of Joan of Arc. In the year 1456 he ordered a fresh inquiry to be made. At this every one was examined who had known or seen her at any period of her short life. The judgment passed on her before was contradicted, and she was declared a good and innocent woman. They would have given the whole world then to have had her back and to have made amends to her for their foul injustice. But the opinions of men no longer mattered to her. The twenty-five years since she had been burnt at Rouen had been the first twenty-five of her uncounted eternity of joy.
"The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart; and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come."
* * * * *
THE SONG OF WORK
MANY PHASES AND MANY EXAMPLES.
In every leaf and flower The pulse of music beats, And works the changes hour by hour, In those divine retreats.
Alike in star and clod One melody resides, Which is the working will of God, Beyond all power besides.
It is by angels heard, By all of lower birth, The silent music of the Word Who works in heaven and earth.
For music order is To which all work belongs, And in this wondrous world of His Work is the song of songs.
* * * * *
The Father hitherto, And his Eternal Son Work, work, and still have work to do With each successive sun.
O bow the heart in awe, And work as with the Lord, Who, with his everlasting law, Works on in sweet accord.
Work is the law of love Which rules the world below, Which rules the brighter world above, Through which, like God, we grow.
And this and every day The work of love is rest In which our sorrows steal away, Which cares may not infest.
* * * * *
The Will of God.
With heart as strong as fate, Brave worker, girt and shod, Adore! and know that naught is great Except the will of God.
O sweet, sweet light of day, Through which such wonders run, Thou ownest, in thy glorious sway, Allegiance to the sun.
And thou, O human will, As wondrous as the light, Cans't thou thy little trust fulfill Save through Another's might?
With heart to conquer fate, Brave worker, girt and shod, Work on! and know that he is great Who does the will of God.
* * * * *
"Laborare est Orare."
To labor is to pray, As some dear saint has said, And with this truth for many a day Have I been comforted.
The Lord has made me bold When I have labored most, And with his gifts so manifold, Has given the Holy Ghost
When I have idle been Until the sun went down, Mine eyes, so dim, have never seen His bright, prophetic crown.
O, praise the Lord for work Which maketh time so fleet, In which accusers never lurk, Whose end is very sweet.
* * * * *
Birds of Grace.
O little birds of grace, To-day ye sweetly sing, Yea, make my heart your nesting-place, And all your gladness bring.
When ye are in my heart, How swiftly pass the days! The fears and doubts of life depart, And leave their room to praise.
My work I find as play, And all day long rejoice; But, if I linger on my way, I hear this warning voice:
With fervor work and pray, And let not coldness come, Or birds of grace will fly away To seek a warmer home.
* * * * *
O work that Duty shows Through her revealing light! It is in thee my bosom glows With infinite delight!
The shadows flee away Like mist before the sun; And thy achievement seems to say, The will of God is done!
Ah, what if Duty seem A mistress cold and stern! Can he who owns her rule supreme From her caresses turn?
O work that Duty shows In light so fair and clear, Whoever thy completion knows Is 'minded heaven is near!
* * * * *
In Pharaoh's dazzling court No work did Moses find That could heroic life support And fill his heart and mind.
Beneath their grievous task Did not his kindred groan? And a great voice above him ask, "Dost thou thy brethren own?"
The work which Duty meant At length he found and did, And built a grander monument Than any pyramid.
Sometimes his eyes were dim, All signs he could not spell; Yet he endured as seeing Him Who is invisible.
* * * * *
In search of greener shores The Northmen braved the seas And reached, those faith-illumined rowers, Our dear Hesperides.
And when Oblivion Swept all their work away, And left for faith to feed upon But shadows lean and gray,
Columbus dreamed the dream Which fired a southern clime And hailed a world—O toil supreme!— As from the womb of Time.
God's dauntless witnesses For toil invincible, They gazed across uncharted seas On the invisible.
* * * * *
In gazing into heaven In idle ecstacy, What progress make ye to the haven Where ye at length would be?
In heaven-appointed work The sure ascension lies. O, never yet did drone or shirk Make headway to the skies.
Who in his heart rebels Has never ears to hear The morning and the evening bells On yonder shores so clear.
For work communion is With God's one order here, And all the secret melodies Which fill our lives with cheer.
* * * * *
In action day by day King David's manhood grew, A character to live for aye, It was so strong and true.
Hordes of misrule became As stubble to the fire, Till songs of praise like leaping flame Burst from his sacred lyre.
He grappled with all rude And unpropitious things: A garden from the solitude Smiled to the King of kings.
And fiercer yet the strife With mighty foes within, Who stormed the fortress of his life And triumphed in his sin.
* * * * *
Good out of Evil.
True David halted not When sin had cast him down, Upon his royal life a blot, Death reaching for his crown.
His work was but half done; A man of action still, He struggled in the gloaming sun To do his Maker's will;
Till in the golden light Great words began to shine: In sorrow is exalting might, Repentance is divine.
And now the shepherd king We count the human sire Of One who turns our hungering Into achieved desire.
* * * * *
Elijah, through the night Which shrouded Israel In toiling, groping for the light, Foretold Immanuel.
And in heroic trust That night would yield to day— His imperfections thick as dust Along the desert way;
His bold, rebuking cry Heard in the wilderness. Till from the chariot of the sky His mantle fell to bless—
The stern, half-savage seer Became a prophecy Of gladness and the Golden Year, In all high minstrelsy.
* * * * *
Aelemaehus the Monk.
How well he wrought who stood Against an ancient wrong, And left the spangles of his blood To light the sky of song!
A gladiatorial show, And eighty thousand men For savage pastime all aglow— O marvel there and then!
An unknown monk, his life Defenseless, interposed, Forbade the old barbaric strife— The red arena closed!
That unrecovered rout! Those fire-shafts from the Sun! O Telemaque! who, who shall doubt Thy Master's will was done?
* * * * *
The deeds of Washington Were lit with patriot flame; A crown for Liberty he won, And won undying fame.
He heard his country's cry, He heard her bugle-call, 'Twas sweet to live for her, or die; Her cause was all in all.
He heard the psalm of peace, He sought again the plow; O civic toil, canst thou increase The laurels for his brow?
As with a father's hand He led the infant state; Colossus of his native land, He still is growing great.
* * * * *
God placed on Lincoln's brow A sad, majestic crown; All enmity is friendship now, And martyrdom renown.
A mighty-hearted man, He toiled at Freedom's side, And lived, as only heroes can, The truth in which he died.
Like Moses, eyes so dim, All signs he could not spell; Yet he endured, as seeing Him Who is invisible.
His life was under One "Who made and loveth all;" And when his mighty work was done, How grand his coronal!
* * * * *
Of Garfield's finished days, So fair and all too few, Destruction, which at noon-day strays, Could not the work undo.
O martyr prostrate, calm, I learn anew that pain Achieves, as God's subduing psalm, What else were all in vain!
Like Samson in his death, With mightiest labor rife, The moments of thy halting breath Were grandest of thy life.
And now, amid the gloom Which pierces mortal years, There shines a star above thy tomb To smile away our tears.
* * * * *
Not Too Near.
O workers brave and true, Whose lives are full of song, I dare not take too near a view, Lest I should do you wrong.
I only look to see The marks of sacrifice, The heraldry of sympathy, Which can alone suffice.
For nothing else is great, However proudly won, Or has the light to indicate The will of God is done.
Ah, who would judge what fire Will surely burn away! And ask not, What doth God require At the Eternal Day?
* * * * *
God somehow owns the creeds That seem so much amiss, What time they bear heroic deeds Above analysis.
How, in his burning zeal, Did Stonewall breast his fate, Converted to his country's weal With fame beyond debate!
Sincere and strong of heart, In very truth he thought His ensign signaled duty's part; And as he thought he fought.
And truth baptized in blood, As many a time before, Gave honor to his soldierhood, Though trailed the flag he bore.
Work Its Own Reward
O worker with the Lord, To crown thee with success, Believe thy work its own reward, Let self be less and less.
In all things be sincere, Afraid not of the light, A prophet of the Golden Year In simply doing right.
And be content to serve, A little one of God, In loyalty without reserve, A hero armored, shod.
Or this dear life of thine, Of every charm bereft, Will crumble in the fire divine, Naught, naught but ashes left.
* * * * *
Now and Here
O not to-morrow or afar, Thy work is now and here; Thy bosom holds the fairest star— Dost see it shining clear?
The nearest things are great, Remotest very small, To him with eyes to penetrate The silent coronal.
So deep the basis lies Of life's great pyramid, That out of reach of common eyes Prophetic work is hid.
His reign for which we pray, His kingdom undefiled, Whose scepter shall not pass away, Is in a little child.
* * * * *
A Little Child
Come hither, little child, And bring thy heart to me; Thou art the true and unbeguiled, So full of melody.
The presence of a child Has taught me more of heaven, And more my heart has reconciled Than Greece's immortal Seven.
For when I sometimes think That life is void of song, Before a little child I sink And own that I am wrong.
And lo my heart grows bright That was so dark and drear, Till in the tender morning light I find the Lord is near.
* * * * *
The Divine Presence
O, when the Lord is near, The rainbow banners wave; The star I follow shineth clear, I am no more a slave.
As if to honor Him, My work is true and free; And flowing to the shining brim, The cup of heaven I see.
I marvel not that song Should be employment there In which the innumerable throng Their palms of triumph bear;
Or that the choral strife And golden harps express The stirring labors of the life Of peace and righteousness.
* * * * *
Death in Life
The song of work, I know, Has here its minor tone; And in its ever-changing flow, Death, death in life is known.
Discordant notes, alas! So often cleave the air And smite the music as they pass, And leave their poison there.
And oft, ah me! from some Wild region of the heart Will startling intimations come, And peace at once depart.
With open foes without, And secret foes within, His heart must needs be brave and stout That would life's battle win.
In the great wilderness Through which I hold my way, Is there no refuge from distress, Where foes are kept at bay?
Saint Anthony of old Could not from evil flee; The desert cave was found to hold His mortal enemy.
And knew untiring Paul The world's relentless scorn; While in his flesh, amid it all, He bore another thorn.
Our common lot is cast In a great camp of pain! Until the night be over-past, Some foe will yet remain.
* * * * *
With His Foes
The king of beasts was dead— By an old hero slain; Did dreams of honey for his bread Dance through the hero's brain?
Or did he chafe at this: That pain is everywhere? Down, down, thou fabled right to bliss, Life is to do and bear!
Beguiled, enslaved, made blind, Yet unsubdued in will, He kept the old heroic mind To serve his country still.
And in recovered might Pulled the tall pillars down, Died with his foes—that was his right— And built his great renown.
* * * * *
For His Foes
Devotion all supreme Throbs in the mighty psalm Of One who filled our highest dream And poured His healing balm;
Who worlds inherited And yet renounced them all; Who had not where to lay His head And drank the cup of gall;
Who emptied of His power Became the foremost man— Calm at the great prophetic hour Through which God's purpose ran;
Who in the darkest fight Imagination knows, Saluted Thee, Eternal Light, And died as for His foes.
* * * * *
The Master many a day In pain and darkness wrought: Through death to life He held His way, All lands the glory caught.
And He unlocked the gain Shut up in grievous loss, And made the stairs to heaven as plain As His uplifted cross—
The stairs of pain and woe In all the work on earth, Up which the patient toilers go To their eternal birth.
O Master, Master mine, I read the legend now, To work and suffer is divine, All radiant on Thy brow.
* * * * *
Life in Death
Strong children of decay, Ye live by perishing: To-morrow thrives on dead to-day, And joy on suffering.
The labor of your hearts, Like that of brain and hands, Shall be for gain in other marts, For bread in other lands.
And will ye now despond Amid consuming toil, When there is hope and joy beyond Which death can not despoil?
Herein all comfort is: In usefulness and zeal, The Lord announces who are His And gives eternal weal.
Through stern and ruthless years Beyond the ken of man, All filled with ruin, pain, and tears, Has God worked out His plan.
Change on the heels of change, Like blood-hounds in the chase, Has swept the earth in tireless range, Spangled with heavenly grace.
At last the mystery Of the great Cross of Christ, Red with a world-wide agony, The God-Man sacrificed;
And from the Sacrifice The seven great notes of Peace, Which pierce the clouds beneath all skies Till pain and sorrow cease.
* * * * *
The Mind of Christ
Into the surging world, Upon thy lips His word, And in thy hand His flag unfurled, Go, soldier of the Lord;
Like Him who came from far To toil for our release, And framed the startling notes of war Out of the psalm of peace.
And all the recompense Which thou wilt ever need, Shall kindle in the throbbing sense Of this life-laden creed:
Grace has for him sufficed Who has St. Michael's heart, The fullness of the mind of Christ, To do a hero's part.
* * * * *
The Master we revere, Who bled on Calvary, To fill us with heroic cheer, Abides eternally.
From His ascended heights Above the pain and ruth, To all His servants He delights To come in grace and truth.
His presence is so dear, His face so brave and fair, That all our heavy burdens here He somehow seems to share.
Copartner in our work, He every pain beguiles; How can the fear of failure lurk In that on which He smiles! * * * * *
Love for Love.
Master, far Thy dear sake I bear my anguish now, And in Thy blessed cross partake Whose sign is on my brow.
For Thy dear sake I toil Who didst so toil for me; O more than balm, or wine, or oil, The cheer that comes from Thee.
For Thy dear sake I live A servant unto all, And know that Thou wilt surely give Thyself as coronal.
For Thy dear sake I watch And keep my flag unfurled, Until her golden gleam I catch, Sweet evening of the world.
* * * * *
True worker with the Lord, He labors not for hire; Co-partner in the sure reward, What can he more desire?
Sometimes his eyes are dim, All signs he can not spell; Yet he endures as seeing Him Who is invisible.
The work he ought is bliss, The highest thing to crave; And all his life is found in this Memorial for his grave:
A worker with the Lord, He sought no other name, And found therein enough reward, Enough, enough of fame.
* * * * *
ALVIN S. SOUTHWORTH
CROSSING THE NUBIAN DESERT.
This gentleman, a member of the American Geographical Society, has furnished, in the columns of The Sunday Magazine, the following picture of his experience in crossing the most perilous of the African deserts:
Those who have not actually undergone the hardships of African travel almost always believe that the most dangerous desert routes are found in the Great Sahara. Such is not the fact. The currency given to this popular delusion is doubtless due to the immensity of the arid waste extending from the Mediterranean to the Soudan, and which is deceptive in its imagined dangers because of its large area. All travelers who have made the transit of the Nubian Desert from Korosko, situated between the First and Second Cataracts, southward across the burning sands of the Nubian Desert, a distance of 425 miles, concur in the statement that it is an undertaking unmatched in its severity and rigors by any like journey over the treeless and shrub-less spaces of the earth. "The Flight of a Tartar Tribe," as told by De Quincey, in his matchless descriptive style, carrying his readers with him through scenes of almost unparalleled warfare, privation, and cruelty, until the remnant of the Asiatic band stands beneath the shadow of the Chinese Wall to receive the welcome of their deliverer, but imperfectly portrays the physical suffering that must be endured in the solitude of the most dangerous of African deserts. Let me, therefore, briefly record my life in the Nubian Desert, at a time when I was filled with the hopes and ambitions which led Bruce, in the last century, to the fountains of the Blue Nile, and but a few years since guided Speke and Grant, Sir Samuel Baker, and Stanley to the great basin of the major river, and determined the general geography of the equatorial regions.
It was in the middle of January, after a pleasant journey up the Nile from Lower Egypt, on board a luxuriously fitted up "dahabeah," that I arrived at Korosko, a Nubian village about a thousand miles from the Mediterranean. The ascent of the Nile was simply a prolonged feast in this comfortable sailing-craft, with the panorama of imposing temples and gigantic ruins relieving the dreary monotony of the river-banks. The valley of this ancient stream, from the First Cataract, where it ceases to be navigable, to Cairo, is remarkable alone to the traveler for its vast structures and mausoleums. The sikeahs and shadofs, which are employed to raise water from the river, in order that it may be used for irrigation, suggest that no improvement has been made in Egyptian farming for four thousand years. But the smoke curling away from tall chimneys, and the noise of busy machinery in the midst of extensive fields of sugarcane, remind us that Egypt has become one of the greatest sugar-producing powers of the East. From the site of ancient Memphis to Korosko, comprising about six degrees of latitude, the soil under cultivation rarely extends beyond the distance of a mile into the interior, while to eastward and westward is one vast, uninhabited waste, the camping-ground of the Bedouins, who roam from river to sea in predatory bands, leading otherwise aimless lives. Thinly populated, and now without the means of subsisting large communities, Upper Egypt can never become what it was when, as we are taught, the walls of Thebes inclosed 4,000,000 of people, and the Nile was bridged from shore to shore. Turning from this strange land, I encamped on the border of the Nubian Desert, and prepared to set out on camel-back toward the sources of the Nile.
In conjunction with the local officials I began the necessary preparations, which involved the selection of forty-two camels, three donkeys, and nineteen servants. My ample provision and preparation consisted of the camels' feed—durah and barley, stowed in plaited saddle-bags; filling the goatskins with water, each containing an average of five gallons. Eighty were required for the journey. Three sheep, a coup-full of chickens, a desert range, a wall-tent, with the other supplies, made up over 10,000 pounds of baggage as our caravan, entering the northern door of the barren and dreary steppe, felt its way through a deep ravine paved with boulders, shifting sands, and dead camels. We soon left the bluffs and crags which form the barrier between the Nile and the desolate land beyond, and then indeed the real journey began.
Our camp apparatus was quite simple, consisting of a few plates, knives and forks, blankets and rugs, a kitchen-tent, and a pine table; and this outfit formed the nucleus of our nomadic village, not omitting the rough cooking-utensils. I recall now one of these strange scenes in that distant region, under the cloudless sky, beneath the Southern Cross. A few feet distant from my canvas chateau was my aged Arab cook, manipulating his coals, his tongs, and preparing the hissing mutton, the savory pigeons and potatoes. The cook is the most popular man on such an expedition, and is neither to be coaxed nor driven. The baggage-camels were disposed upon the ground, a few yards distant, eating their grain and uttering those loud, yelping, beseeching sounds—a compound of an elephant's trumpet and a lion's roar—which were taken up, repeated by the chorus, and re-echoed by the hills. These patient animals, denuded of their loads and water, the latter having been corded in mats, became quiet only with sleep. Add to these scenes and uproar the deafening volubility of twenty Arabs and Nubians, each shouting within the true barbaric key, the seven-eighths nudity of the blacks, the elaborate and flashing wear of the upper servants, and the small asperities of this my menial world—all of these with a refreshing breeze, a clear atmosphere, the air laden with ozone and electric life, the sky inviting the serenest contemplation, with the great moon thrice magnified as it rose, and I recall an evening when I was supremely content.
Piloted by the carcasses of decayed camels, we took up our route in the morning, led by our guide, and soon emerged on the sublimest scenery of the desert. Our line of travel lay through the center of grand elliptical amphitheaters, which called to mind the Coliseum at Rome and the exhumed arena at Pompeii. These eroded structures, wrought by the hand of nature at some remote period, were floored over by hard, gravelly sand, inclosed by lofty, semi-circular sides, and vaulted only by the blue sky, and are among the grandest primitive formations I have ever seen. From the maroon shade of the sand to the dark, craggy appearance of the terraced rocks, there is as much variety as can be found in landscape without verdure and in solitude without civilization. These amphitheaters are linked together by narrow passages; and so perfect were the formations, that four doorways, breaking the view into quadrants, were often seen. The view broadened and lengthened day by day, until our journey lay through a plain of billowing sand. Then the sun grew fierce and intolerable. The lips began to crack, the eyebrows and mustache were burned to a light blonde, the skin peeled, and the tongue became parched, while the fine sand, ever present in the hot wind, left its deposits in the delicate membranes of the eye. It is thus that a period of ten hours in the saddle, day after day, under the scorching sun, takes the edge off the romance of travel, and calls to one's mind the green lawn, the sparkling fountain, and the beauties of a more tolerable zone.