seven miles long, which formerly was a portion of the land, and through this the pilgrim is condemned to wade to a temple built on a rock. At last the Bramins have done with him, and he finds rest and repose here. He wanders through the splendid corridor late in the evening in the dark night and knows he has earned the right to remain. He feels that he has insured to himself beatitude hereafter, and, he hopes, prosperity in this world.
Before finishing, I must ask you to understand what Indian caste is. It is compared to our society, but in reality is very different from it. A high-caste man, no matter what his position, though he may be a beggar and perform the most extraordinary offices, still always has the right of entrée into the houses of the richest natives, and is welcomed wherever he goes, and always received well. On the other hand, a low-caste man, though with millions of money, is never allowed to enter a temple. Among the higher caste are the fakirs. There is one, such as I saw him. He confessed to me that water had never touched his body, his nails had never been cut, he had never been shaved, and his hair was bound up with rags, and was a solid mass of dirt and filth, and yet this man was received with open arms in the magnificent palaces of the rich natives, where he was always welcome Such as I saw him I show him to you.
|TO FREDERICK A. P. BARNARD.|
Under the Charter Oak, our horoscope
We drew thick-studded with all-favoring stars.
Now, with gray beards, and faces seamed with scars
From life's hard battle, meeting once again,
We smile, half sadly, over dreams so vain;
Knowing, at last, that it is not in man
Who walketh to direct his steps, or plan
His permanent house of life. Alike we loved
The Muses' haunts, and all our fancies moved
To measures of old song. How, since that day,
Our feet have parted from the path that lay
So fair before us! Rich, from life-long search
Of truth, within thy academic porch
Thou sittest now, lord of a realm of fact,
Thy servitors the sciences exact;
Still listening, with thy hand on Nature's keys,
To hear the Samian's spheral harmonies
And rhythm of law. I, called from dream and song,
Thank God! so early to a strife so long
That, ere it closed, the black, abundant hair
Of boyhood rested silver-sown and spare
On manhood's temples, now at sunset chime
Tread with fond feet the path of morning-time.
And if perchance too late I linger where
The flowers have ceased to blow, and trees are bare,
Thou, wiser in thy choice, wilt scarcely blame
The friend who shields his folly with thy name.
Amesbury, Mass., Tenth Month, 1870.
- Whittier's beautiful dedication of "Miriam" deserves a wider circulation than it has received.