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PREFACE. The character of the opposition which some of these papers have met with suggests the inference that they contain really important, but unwelcome truths. Negatives multiplied into each other change their sign and become positives. Hostile criticisms meeting together are often equivalent to praise, and the square of fault-finding turns out to be the same thing as eulogy. But a writer has rarely so many enemies as it pleases him to... more...

In this matter the general conclusion follows from a single instance. For the moment it is admitted that in one case knowledge of a present fact, such as the other party's intent to act on the false statement, dispenses with proof of an intent to induce him to act upon it, it is admitted that the lesser element is all that is necessary in the larger compound. For intent embraces knowledge sufficing for foresight, as has been shown. Hence, when... more...

The reader of to-day will not forget, I trust, that it is nearly a quarter of a century since these papers were written. Statements which were true then are not necessarily true now. Thus, the speed of the trotting horse has been so much developed that the record of the year when the fastest time to that date was given must be very considerably altered, as may be seen by referring to a note on page 49 of the "Autocrat." No doubt many other... more...

OPENING THE WINDOW THUS I lift the sash, so longShut against the flight of song;All too late for vain excuse,—Lo, my captive rhymes are loose. Rhymes that, flitting through my brain,Beat against my window-pane,Some with gayly colored wings,Some, alas! with venomed stings. Shall they bask in sunny rays?Shall they feed on sugared praise?Shall they stick with tangled feetOn the critic's poisoned sheet? Are the outside winds too rough?Is... more...

THE piping of our slender, peaceful reedsWhispers uncared for while the trumpets bray;Song is thin air; our hearts' exulting playBeats time but to the tread of marching deeds,Following the mighty van that Freedom leads,Her glorious standard flaming to the day!The crimsoned pavement where a hero bleedsBreathes nobler lessons than the poet's lay.Strong arms, broad breasts, brave hearts, are better worthThan strains that sing the ravished echoes... more...


PREFACE. In this, the third series of Breakfast-Table conversations, a slight dramatic background shows off a few talkers and writers, aided by certain silent supernumeraries. The machinery is much like that of the two preceding series. Some of the characters must seem like old acquaintances to those who have read the former papers. As I read these over for the first time for a number of years, I notice one character; presenting a class of... more...

The Deacon’s Masterpiece Have you heard of the wonderful one-hoss shay,That was built in such a logical wayIt ran a hundred years to a day,And then, of a sudden, it—ah, but stay,I’ll tell you what happened without delay,Scaring the parson into fits,Frightening people out of their wits,—Have you ever heard of that, I say? Seventeen hundred and fifty-five,Georgius Secundus was then alive,—Snuffy old drone from the... more...

CHAPTER I. AN ADVERTISEMENT. On Saturday, the 18th day of June, 1859, the "State Banner and Delphian Oracle," published weekly at Oxbow Village, one of the principal centres in a thriving river-town of New England, contained an advertisement which involved the story of a young life, and stained the emotions of a small community. Such faces of dismay, such shaking of heads, such gatherings at corners, such halts of complaining, rheumatic wagons,... more...

'T is like stirring living embers when, at eighty, one remembersAll the achings and the quakings of "the times that tried men's souls;"When I talk of Whig and Tory, when I tell the Rebel story,To you the words are ashes, but to me they're burning coals. I had heard the muskets' rattle of the April running battle;Lord Percy's hunted soldiers, I can see their red coats still;But a deadly chill comes o'er me, as the day looms up before... more...

TRANSLATION FROM THE ENEID, BOOK I. THE god looked out upon the troubled deepWaked into tumult from its placid sleep;The flame of anger kindles in his eyeAs the wild waves ascend the lowering sky;He lifts his head above their awful heightAnd to the distant fleet directs his sight,Now borne aloft upon the billow's crest,Struck by the bolt or by the winds oppressed,And well he knew that Juno's vengeful ireFrowned from those clouds and sparkled in... more...