———“ Ritorna a tua scienza! Che vuol, quanto la cosa è più perfetta, Più senta il bene, e così la doglienza.”

DANTE.

RECORD, O Muse ! and let the record stand,
That, when Bellona ravaged half the land,
When even these groves, from bloody fields afar,
Oft shook and shuddered at the sounds of war,
When the drum drowned the music of the flail,
And midnight marches broke the peace of Yale,
Then gathered here amid these vacant bowers
A band of scholars, men of various powers,
Various in motion, but with one desire,
Through wreck and war to watch the sacred fire,
The authentic fire that great forethoughted Mind
Stole from the gods for good of humankind.
Say, Terebinthia, from thy tree of pine,
Nymph of New England ! Muse beyond the Nine !
Great Berkeley’s goddess ! giver oftentimes
Of strength to him, and now and then of rhymes,—
Whose tears were balsam to the Bishop’s brain,
To cheer, but not infuriate his vein,—
Tell me, sad virgin, who came after terms
In these dry fields to stir the slumbering germs ?
Their names were few, — but Agassiz was one,
And Peirce, the lord of numbers, and alone :
Arithmeticians many more will be,
But when another to outrival thee ?
Then those Professors, — Philadelphian pair,
Winlock, the wise, and watchful as a hare,
Bright Benjamin that bears the golden name,
(Apthorp the quick,) Augustus of the same,
And that strict student, evermore exact,
One of the Wymans, — both such men of fact, —
It observation with extensive view
More such observers can observe, they ’re few.
Ye sacred shades where Silliman made gray
Those hairs that greet him eighty-five to-day !
Good names be these ! good names to stand with his, —
Fit to record with Yale’s old histories,
When sage Timotheus woke the Western lyre
That Hillhouse touched, and Pereival with fire !
Declare now, Clio ! ’mid this gifted hand,
Who held the reins ? — what scientific hand ?
Did He preside ? did Franklin’s honored heir
With wonted influence possess the chair ?
No : bowed with cares, a servant of the State,
In loftier fields he held his watch sedate:
Bache could not come, —for us a mighty void !
Yet well for him, — for he was best employed
High on his tented mountain’s breezy slope,
Might but those maidens meet him — Health and Hope !
Yet wouldst thou know who stood superior there,
Where all seemed equal, this I may declare : —
Of all the wise that wandered from the East
Or West or South to sit in solemn feast,
Two men did mostly fascinate the Muse,
Differing in genius, but with equal views :
One measuring heaven, in starry lore supreme;
The other lighting, like the morning beam,
Old Ocean’s bed, or his fresh Alpine snows,
Reading the laws whereby the glacier grows,
Or life, through some half-intimated plan,
Rose from a star-fish to the race of man :
Choose thine own monarch ! either well might reign !
I knew but one before, — and now but twain.
Now shut the gates, — the fields have drunk enough
The time demands a Muse of sterner stuff;
No more one bard, exempt from vulgar throng,
May sing through Roman towns the Ascræan song,
Or court in Learning’s elmy bowers relief
From individual shame or general grief:
Silence is music to a soul outworn
With the wild clangor of the warlike horn,
The paltry fife, the brain-benumbing drum.
When, white Astræa ! will thy kingdom come,—
The chaster period that our boyhood saw, —
Arts above arms, and without conquest, Law,
Rights well maintained without the strength of steel
And milder manners for the gentle weal, —
That Freedom’s promise may not come to blight,
And Wisdom fail, and Knowledge end in night ?

NEW HAVEN, August 8.