Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

THE SCHOLAR, THE JURIST, THE ARTIST,

THE PHILANTHROPIST. AN ORATION BEFORE THE PHI BETA KAPPA SOCIETY OF HARVARD UNIVERSITY, AT THEIR ANNIVERSARY, AUGUST 27, 1846.

“Then I would say to the young disciple of Truth and Beauty, who would know how to satisfy the noble impulse of his heart, through every opposition of the century, - I would say, Give the world beneath your influence a direction towards the good, and the tranquil rhythm of time will bring its development." — SCHILLER.

THE SCHOLAR, THE JURIST, THE ARTIST,

THE PHILANTHROPIST.

To-day is the festival of our fraternity, sacred to learning, to friendship, and to truth. From many places, remote and near, we have come together beneath the benediction of Alma Mater. We have walked in the grateful shelter of her rich embowering trees. Friend has met friend, classmate has pressed the hand of classmate, while the ruddy memories of youth and early study have risen upon the soul. And now we have come up to this church, a company of brothers, in the long, well ordered procession, commencing with the silver locks of reverend age, and closing with the fresh forms that glow with the golden blood of youth.

With hearts of gratitude, we greet among our num. ber those whose lives are crowned by desert ; especially him who, returning from conspicuous cares in a foreign land, now graces our chief seat of learning ; * and not less him who, closing, in the high service of the University, a life-long career of probity and honor, now voluntarily withdraws to a well-earned repose.* We salute at once the successor and the predecessor, — the rising and the setting sun. And ingenuous youth, in whose bosom are enfolded the germs of untold excellence, whose ardent soul sees visions which are closed to others by the hand of Time, commands our reverence, not less than age, rich in experience and honor. The Present and the Past, with all their works, we may know and measure; but the triumphs of the Future are unknown and immeasuarable ; and in the yet untried powers of youth there is a vastness of promise transcending the realities of life. Welcome, then, not less to the young than the old; and may this our holiday brighten with harmony and joy!

* Hon. Edward Everett, President of Harvard University.

As the eye wanders around our circle, it seeks in vain for a beloved form, who, for many years, occupied the seat which you now fill, Mr. President. I might have looked to behold him on this occasion. But death, since we last met together, has borne him away. The love of friends, the devotion of pupils, the prayers of the nation, the concern of the world, could not shield him from the inexorable shaft. When I apply to him those admirable words which the genius and friendship of Clarendon bestowed upon Falkland, that “ he was a person of prodigious parts of learning and knowledge, of inimitable sweetness and delight in conversation, of flowing and obliging humanity and goodness to mankind, and of primitive simplicity and integrity of life,” + I need not add the name of Story. To dwell on his

* Hon. Josiah Quincy, late President of Harvard University. + History of the Rebellion, Book VII.

character, and all that he has done, were a worthy theme. But his is not the only dear countenance which returns no answering smile.

This year our Society, according to custom, has published the catalogue of its members, marking by a star insatiate archery of death in the brief space of four years. In no period of its history, equally short, have such shining marks been found.

“Now kindred merit fills the sable bier,
Now lacerated friendship claims a tear ;
Year chases year, decay pursues decay ;

Still drops some joy from withering life away." Scholarship, Jurisprudence, Art, Humanity, each has been called to mourn its chosen champion. Pickering, the Scholar, Story, the Jurist, Allston, the Artist, Channing, the Philanthropist, have been removed. When our last catalogue was published, they were all living, each in his field of usefulness. Our catalogue of this year gathers them together with the dead. Sweet and exalted companionship! They were joined in their early lives, in their fame, in their death. They were brethren of our fraternity, sons of Alma Mater. Story and Channing were classmates. Pickering preceded them by two years only ; Allston followed them by two years. As we cast our eyes upon the closing lustre of the last century, we discern this brilliant group, whose mortal light is now obscured. After the toils of his long life, Pickering sleeps serenely, in the place of his birth, near the honored dust of his father. Channing, Story, and Allston have been laid to rest in Cambridge, where they first tasted together of the tree of life. Allston in the adjoining church-yard, within

« ZurückWeiter »