Page images

Sons of our consecrated ground,

Ye must not slumber there,
Where stranger steps and tongues resound

Along the sleepless air.
Your own proud land's heroic soil

Shall be your fitter grave;
She claims from war his richest spoil-

The ashes of her brave.

So 'neath their parent turf they rest,

Far from the gory field ;
Borne to a Spartan mother's breast,

On many a bloody shield.
The sunshine of their native sky

Smiles sadly on them here,
And kindred hearts and eyes watch by

The heroes' sepulcher.

Rest on, embalmed and sainted dead !

Dear as the blood you gave;
No impious footsteps here shall tread

The herbage of your grave.
Nor shall your glory be forgot

While Fame her record keeps, Or Honor points the hallowed spot

Where Valor proudly sleeps.

Yon marble minstrel's voiceless tone

In deathless songs shall tell, When many a vanquished age hath flown,

The story how ye fell. Nor wreck, nor change, nor winter's blight,

Nor time's remorseless doom, Shall dim one ray of holy light

That gilds your glorious tomb.

Biography.-Theodore O'Hara (1820-1867) was a native of Ken. tucky, where his remains now lie buried. This beautiful poem is the only one of his productions that is generally known, but 1t is sufficient to render his name memorable.

Stanzas of the poem have been inscribed upon various military monuments - at Boston, Chancellorsville, and even on one of the famous battle grounds of the Crimea. N

Notes. - Spartan mother. The reference is to the courageous saying of the Spartan mother to her son going forth to battle“Return with your shield or on it,” meaning “Victory or death.”

The Cri me' a, a peninsula in the South of Russia, was the Ecene of the great strife in 1854, between Russia and the allied forces of France and England, for the control of the Black Sea.

[blocks in formation]

On the first evening of my visit, I met, at the head of Biddle's Stair, the guide to the Cave of the Winds. He was in the prime of manhood-large, well-built, firm, and pleasant in mouth and eye. My interest in the scene stirred up his, and made him communicative. Turning to a photograph, he described, by reference to it, a feat which he had accomplished some time previously, and which had brought him almost under the green water of the Horseshoe Fall.

“Can you take me there to-morrow ?" I asked.

He eyed me inquiringly, weighing, perhaps, the chances of a man of light build, and with gray in his whiskers, in such an undertaking.

“I wish,” I added, “to see as much of the Fall as can be seen, and where you lead I will endeavor to follow.”

His scrutiny relaxed into a smile, and he said, “ Very well; I shall be ready for you to-morrow."

On the morrow, accordingly, I came. In the hut at the head of Biddle's Stair, I dressed according to instructions, -drawing on two pairs of woolen pantaloons, three woolen jackets, two pairs of socks, and a pair of felt shoes. Even if wet, my guide assured me that the clothes would keep me from being chilled; and ho was right. A suit and hood of yellow oil-cloth covered all. Most laudable precautions were taken by the young assistant who helped to dress me to keep the water out; but his devices broke down immediately

down immediately when severely tested.

We descended the stair; the handle of a pitchfork doing, in my case, the duty of an alpenstock." At the bottom, the guide inquired whether we should go first to the Cave of the Winds, or to the Horseshoe, remarking that the latter would try us most. I decided on getting the roughest done first, and he turned to the left over the stones. They were sharp and trying.

The base of the first portion of the cataract is covered with huge bowlders, obviously the ruins of the limestone ledge above. The water does not distribute itself uniformly among them, but seeks out channels through which it pours with the force of a torrent. We passed some of these with wet feet, but without difficulty. At length we came to the side of a more formidable current. My guide walked along its edge until he reached its least


turbulent portion. Halting, he said, “This is our greatest difficulty; if we cross here, we shall get far toward the Horseshoe.”

He waded in. It evidently required all his strength to steady himself. The water rose above his loins, and it foamed still higher. He had to search for footing, amid unseen bowlders, against which the torrent rose violently. He struggled and swayed, but he struggled successfully, and finally reached the shallower water at the other side. Stretching out his arm, he said to me, “Now come

on!” I looked down the torrent as it rushed to the river below, and was seething with the tumult of the cataract. Even where it was not more than knee-deep, its power was manifest. As it rose around me, I sought to split the torrent by presenting a side to it; but the insecurity of the footing enabled it to grasp my loins, twist me fairly round, and bring its impetus to bear upon my back. Further struggle was impossible; and feeling my balance hopelessly gone, I turned, flung myself toward the bank just quitted, and was instantly, as expected, swept into shallower water.

The oil-cloth covering was a great incumbrance; it had been made for a much stouter man, and, standing upright after my submersion, my legs occupied the center of two bags of water. My guide exhorted me to try again. Instructed by the first misadventure, I once more entered the stream. Had the alpenstock been of iron, it might have helped me; but, as it was, the tendency of the water to sweep it out of my hands rendered it worse than useless. I however clung to it from habit.


Again the torrent rose, and again I wavered ; but, by keeping the left hip well against it, I remained upright, and at length grasped the hand of my leader at the other side. He laughed pleasantly. “No traveler,” he said, was ever here before.” Soon afterward, by trusting to a piece of drift- · wood which seemed firm, I was again taken off my feet, but was immediately caught by a protruding rock. We clambered

the bowlders toward the thickest spray, which soon became so weighty as to cause us to ger under its shock. For the most part nothing could be seen; we were in the midst of bewildering tumult, lashed by the water, which sounded at times like the cracking of innumerable whips. Underneath this was the deep resonant roar of the cataract. I tried to shield my eyes with my hands and look upward but the defense was useless. The guide continued to move on, but at a certain place he halted, desiring mo to take shelter in his lee, and observe the cataract.

The spray did not come so much from the upper ledge as from the rebound of the shattered water when it struck the bottom. Hence the eyes could be protected from the blinding shock of the spray, while the line of vision to the upper ledges remained to some extent clear. On looking upward over the guide's shoulder I could see the water bending over the ledge, while the Terrapin Tower" loomed fitfully through the intermittent spray-gusts. We were right under the tower. A little farther on, the cataract, after its first plunge, hit a protuberance some way down, and flew from it in a prodigious burst of spray; through this we staggered.

« EelmineJätka »