A MAN OF THE CROWD TO CHARLES DICKENS.
I am but one of many ; never saw Thy face, or heard tho voice that now is stilled. My spirit is but little apt to'awo Of lofty-perched mortality ; and yet My heart is heavy with a keen regret, Mine eyes with unaccustomed tears aro filled. We of the throng lead littlo lives, apart From all the genial stir and glow of art, The comradeship of genius, and the breath Of that largo life to which our low-pulsed life is death. Slow-footed, bowed, we toil through narrow ways, And linger out our dull nnd unrecorded days. But thou ! — thou had'st an eyo to mark Tho feeblo light that burned within our dark ; A sympathy as wide as heaven's freo air; A glance as bright As heaven's own light, That, pure amid pollution, picrccth everywhere. Not beggary's rags, not squalor's grime, The cri'st of ignorance, tho stain of crime, Could hide from tliee the naked human soul. Thou had'sL ou>' Shakcspearo's ken, and Howard's heart ; Not puppets we, God's poor, to play our part On thy mimetic stage, mere foils grotesque, Apt adjuncts of thine art's bright picturesque Our lovea, our hates, ouv hopes and fears, Our sins and sorrows, smiles and tears, To theo wero real a3 to us, who knew That though would'st limn them with a hand as true And tender in its touch, as though it drew Tho finer traits and passions of thy peers. That sense so sure, that wit so strong, Did battle on our side against tho oppressor's wrong, Because thino honest heart did burn with scorn Of high-perched insolenco everywhere ; And knightly, though unknighted, thou didst dare To champion tho feeble and forlorn. Though not in fairy forest, leagucrcd tower, 33y haunted lake, or startled Beauty's bower, Didst thou go seeking them ; but in foul lairs Not else remembered even in good men's prayers. In hidden haunts of cruelty, where no light, Save of thy sympathy, pierced tho night. Thence, though the source might all unlovely seem, Unfit for painter's touch or poet's dream ; Thou, painter-poet as thou wert, didst draw The hidden beauty meaner eyes ne'er saw ; But which, set forth upon thy living page, Drew all tho eyes and hearts of an unthinking ago. All inarticulato we ; thou wert our voice ; Thou in our poor rejoicing didst rejoice, Smile gently with our pitiful mirth, and gricvo When Pain, our chill familiar, plucked each ragged sleeve. Therefore wo love thee, better than we knew, Old friend aud true. Thy silent passing to an honoured tomb Has filled a people's heart with moro than fleeting gloom. Moreover, thou didst bring us of thy beat, Thou, with the great an honoured guest, And treasured by the chiefs of birth and brain, To simple and unlearned souls wert plain. The common heart on thine enchantment hung, While genius, stooping from her heights, Lent to the lowest her delights, And spako to each in his own mother tongue. Who now like thee shall lighten human care ? By words where mirth with pathos meets, By most delectable conceits, Thou gav'st us laughter that our babes might share j And jollity, that had no touch of shame. No satyr's brand besmirches thy fair fame. Thy meteor fancy, by its quickening sleight, Peopled our world with creatures of delight. Not phantoms they, but very friends they seem, Dear and familiar as are few Of those around us ; all too true And quick for shadows of Romance's dream. Most human-hearted they, or grave or gay, But touched with that unspeakable impress Of genius, airy wit /are tenderness, That marks them as thine own (c'en so a ray Of sunset glory magnifies Familiar beauties to our eyes) — So touched, they in our memories live for aye, Unaged by timo and sacred from decay. The friends we cherish pass, the foes wo hate ; All living things towards Death's portal move ; Not even thee a nation's pride and love Could keep from that dark gate. But these, thy creatures, cannot die : Companions of all generations, they Shall keep thy mem'ry from decay More surely than that glorious grave whero thou dost lie. Therefore, let critic carp or bigot prato, Sniff fault or folly hero or there, Contemn thy creed, or thee declare Not wholly wise, or something less than groat. Thou hast the people's heart, that few may gain ; Not yielded to mere strenuous might of brain, Prowess of arm, or force of will, But to the strong and true and tender soul, Tho human in excelsis, that can thrill Through all humanity's pulses, till the whole Great scattered brotherhood again iB one. No chill star-radiance thine ; thou art a sun Of central warmth ; lord of our smiles and tears, An uncrowned king of men through, all the years. E. J. MILLIKEN.
A German's Description of the Political Position in Europe. — Not a bad anecdote about tho excitement occasioned by tho receipt of tho war news in Australia is told by the Chiltern correspondent of the Ovens Spectator, who says :—": — " Tho telegrams received for your Chiltern contemporary were read as received at the bar of Ruppin's Hotel do Paris. From the way in which some of the crowd could hear the reading of the news, it was very difficult to obtain its Bense. This was, however, somewhat obviated by a celebrated German storekeeper, who condensed tho intelligence by giving the following explanation to his friends : — " Veil, you sco, Napoleon is in do sclitono yug, and do Prussians has yumped his klahu.' "
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A MAN OF THE CROWD TO CHARLES DICKENS., Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle, Volume XXIX, Issue 84, 19 October 1870
A MAN OF THE CROWD TO CHARLES DICKENS. Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle, Volume XXIX, Issue 84, 19 October 1870
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