Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

A NORSEMAN'S APPEAL.

FROM THE NORWEGIAN OF C. F. CNUTSEN.

The fearful flood-tides of October 1872, that laid all the islands and coasts of Denmark under the stormy waves of the Baltic, though little noticed by our American newspapers, were, whether we regard the loss of life or the destruction of property caused by them, among the most awful of recorded human calamities. All civilised men will, therefore, give their sympathy, if they can give nothing more, to the effort that the Scandinavians are making, both in their fatherland and in their colonies, to raise help for those that, by this frightful inroad of the sea, were left homeless and bereaved. For this island-folk of Denmark, as well by its glorious history as by the splendid traits of its existing character, the fidelity of its religious convictions, the sturdiness of its patriotism, and the unsurpassed richness of its literary and artistic development, is as deserving as any in the world of the world's admiration. It is for them, then, that a Norwegian poet, at one with them in heart, though separated by the accidents of politics, has just made to his countrymen in Norway the following poetical appeal Of the poet I know nothing but his name and his genius. Of his verses, I would say, that if many could read them in the original, I should feel afraid to publish any effort at translation. For in grace of varied versification, in nice harmony of language, and in rich felicity of poetical diction, good Scandinavian poetry, more than almost any other, has that peculiar charm that defies the translator. I am comforted, however, by thinking that some, to whom the poetical treasures of the North are closed, may be glad to see, even through the chinks of a translation, the fervent glow of the unknown original.TRANSLATOR.

[blocks in formation]

Like the slain on field of slaughter,
Lie the dead along the water,
And a weeping nation stands,
Broken-hearted, on the sands.

Oh! ye Norsemen, well remembered

Are those days of pain, *
When the blood-red flag of Denmark

Signalled us in vain;
On the field where Danes were dying
Our blue Norse-flag was not flying ;
No! vile state-craft then repressed
Love that labored in our breast.

Now the blood-red flag of Denmark

Signals help again;
By the sea-shore sit our brethren

Weeping o'er their slain :
If of late blind fools have spoken
Words by which blood-ties were broken,
Let our Danish brothers feel
That we Norsemen love them still.

To the signals of their sorrow

Let our blue flag fly, As when through a rifted storm-cloud

Gleams a glad blue sky.
To us Norsemen be the glory
First to hear their sorrowing story!
Love shall make the gifts more dear
That to them their brothers bear.

T. R. P.

* The poet here refers to the war-times of 1866, when the peace-party at home and diplomatists abroad succeeded in forcing Sweden and Norway to withhold their help from Denmark, and thus quietly to see her crushed by the German armies.- TR.

THE UNIVERSITY OF THE SOUTH.

M

ANY of our readers, not directly interested in the Protestant

Episcopal Church of the United States, will question what sort of university is this, where is it, and what its aims? On a former occasion we presented the history, incidentally, of the University of Georgia, one of our oldest Southern institutions; we propose to-day to advert to the very youngest — conceived a year or two ere the late war rushed over us with its blighting effects, barely nurtured into being when trodden under the rude steps of armies ; but after all, and even amid the disheartening years following, more trying to patriots' souls than the years of war themselves, resuscitated, and now, while we write, under the blessings of a gracious Providence growing stronger from year to year. When years, nay generations shall have rolled by, and this work of Christian devotion shall have grown into those proportions which would place it alongside the great English Church-schools of Oxford and of Cambridge, the name of Leonidas Polk will be even more fervently commemorated, if that be possible, by future sons of the South, than it is by those of the present generation, who lived in his time and passed with him through sunshine and storms alike: because Polk is the originator of the thought, and one of the first founders of this University.

In the summer of 1856, Bishop Polk of Louisiana addressed a letter to the Bishops of North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Texas, in which he drew their attention to the idea of establishing a Church University of the South. It is true, as Bishops Polk and Elliott of Georgia jointly remarked later, that the Southern States had not been indifferent to the subject of collegiate education. Each of these States, at a very early period of its history, had founded a university, upon which it was intended to concentrate the patronage of the State Legislature. Could this policy have been adhered to steadily, free from the interferences of popular clamor or religious differences, the University which is the subject of this paper might have been unnecessary. But in a country like ours this was impossible. Each denomination was anxious and ambitious to have its own college ; patronage and means were thus more and more withdrawn from the State universities. While education was more diffused thereby, and a collegiate course placed within reach of a large number, both complete scholarship and the very highest rank of a university were not attained, and have not been reached as yet by any Southern State-school south of Virginia. These thoughts are pointedly expressed in the following extract from the above-mentioned first letter of Bishop Polk, worthy of preservation even in a historical point of view :

" Institutions there are within the pale of all our dioceses, upon a more or less enlarged scale, and of greater or less excellence. They have been established either by State patronage, or founded by one or

a

other of the religious denominations surrounding us, and are doing what they can — and, in some instances, with eminent and honorable success -- to supply a public necessity; but whatever their degree of excellence may be, they do not meet the wants of our people. In the minds of many, they are not upon a scale sufficiently extended or full to offer advantages comparable to those to be had abroad, or at the institutions of highest grade in the Northern States of our Union; and for that reason are set aside, and our children are expatriated, or sent off to inconvenient distance, beyond the reach of our supervision or parental influence; exposed to the rigors of an unfriendly climate, to say nothing of other influences not calculated, it is to be feared, to promote their happiness or ours. Our dioceses are all comparatively new, some of them but of yesterday. They must therefore be expected to be feeble — too feeble singly to rear any such establishments as could occupy the commanding position or offer the advantages I have indicated. But what we cannot do singly, we may with great ease do collectively. I believe now is the time at which we may found such an institution as we need. An institution to be our common property, under our joint control, of a clear and distinctly recognised Church character, upon a scale of such breadth and comprehensiveness as shall be equal in the liberality of its provisions for intellectual cultivation to those of the highest class at home and abroad, and which shall fully meet the demands of those of our people who require for their children the highest educational advantages, under the supervision of the Church.”

During the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States at Philadelphia in October, 1856, the Bishops included in the above invitation issued a pastoral letier to their several dioceses, unanimously resolving to attempt the foundation of a university upon the amplest scale. In it, after speaking of the great responsibility which rested upon them as the chief pastors of the Episcopal Church, to make suitable provisions for the training of the young in learning and religion, and after having in the outset expressed their sense of the high character and eminent services of many institutions already existing in the several States, they say:

" It is believed, nevertheless, that the whole ground is not occupied; that the work to be done is beyond the power of the laborers who are employed in doing it, and that the entrance of another institution of a high grade upon the field to be cultivated, so far from being uncalled for, should be hailed as a welcome ally.” And another extract we make from this address of eminent men, of whom, at this day, but two or three survive, and the terms of which sound prophetic in view of later developments, and which might, moreover, be written with equal justice and application at this very day:

“Nothing is more common than to hear it affirmed that the hopes of mankind are suspended upon the success of the experiment in government now being made in these States. The success or failure of this experiment turns entirely on the degree of the intelligence and the character of the moral sentiment which shall distinguish the masses of our population. These masses are but the aggregation of individuals; and the responsibility and duty of originating and sus

;

taining institutions whose offices go to the point, directly or indirectly, of enlightening them, is therefore obvious and imperative. And we may add, if there ever was a time in the history of our republic at which good men were called upon more than at another to unite upon efforts to found such institutions, the present is that period. At no time in all the past have we been so threatened with the spread of the wildest opinions in religion and government; and at no period, therefore, has there been so great a call to put into operation and multiply agencies, whose high conservatism shall furnish us with the means of making fast the foundations of the State, securing a sound and healthy feeling in the social condition, and preserving in their integrity the great truths of our holy religion."

Let us record the names of these first founders who subscribed this first general call: James H. Otey, Bishop of Tennessee ; Leonidas Polk, Bishop of Louisiana ; Stephen Elliott, Bishop of Georgia ; N. H. Cobbs, Bishop of Alabama ; W. M. Green, Bishop of Mississippi ; Francis A. Rutledge, Bishop of Florida ; Thomas F. Davis, Bishop of South Carolina; David Pise, Francis B. Fogg, and John Armfield, of Tennessee ; W. T. Leacock and George I. Guion, of Louisiana; Henry C. Lay, Charles T. Pollard, and L. H. Anderson, of Alabama; W. W. Lord, of Mississippi ; Alexander Gregg, of South Carolina ; M. A. Curtis and W. D. Warren, of North Carolina ; and J. Wood Dunn, of Texas.

With extraordinary unanimity and enthusiasm the people of the Southern, and especially Southwestern, States responded to this address. Sixty persons gave, or subscribed, within a few weeks over four hundred thousand dollars. A location was mosi judiciously chosen, a university domain of ten thousand acres was secured, a charter of incorporation was passed on January 6, 1858, by the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee, with imposing ceremonies the corner-stone of the main or central building was laid in the same year in the presence of thousands. On February 8, 1860, upon the models of the most distinguished American and European schools of learning, the Constitution of the University was completed, the work of the joint labors of Leonidas Polk, Stephen Elliott, Francis H. Rutledge, Henry C. Lay, David Pise, George R. Fairbanks of Florida, James Hamilton Couper, and Francis B. Fogs. Buildings arose, the work went bravely on, when the rude shock of war arrested it. On the memorable retreat of the Confederate army across the Cumberland Mountains, the buildings were fired by the Federal troops, all the surveys, books, and records were destroyed, and this pious work seemed, though but begun, already destined to be numbered among the things that were. And a brief time after, its founder, then a Lieutenant-General in the armies of the Confederate States, was struck by a cannon-ball of the enemy as he scanned the lines of the opposing hosts from the crest of one of the ranges of the same mountain-system on which the favorite conception of his mind had been reared. Those who were near General Polk during the Confederate war, know how frequently his mind reverted to this his pet scheme, and how often he adverted to it. At the conclusion of the war, Stephen Elliott, Bishop of Georgia, then among the

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »