Thomas Cole. Oil on canvas, 1836, 39 ½ x 63 ½ in. Collection of The New-York Historical Society, 1858.5.
In taking a wide view of the history of Art we may safely indulge in the cheering thought that her riches will be ever accumulating as she moves along. Nation after Nation, Age after Age will pour its tribute into her lap as she sits on the earth imperishable as Time himself. And although much of her treasure through the wreck of nations and the violence of man has been scattered and lost; yet man repents himself and digging among the ruins discovers many of her lost jewels, rejoices in the mutilated statue and the mouldering picture, and we inherit a priceless possession in laws and works from those who labored in the precincts of the Parthenon and the Halls of the Vatican. 1
"The March of Time"
Hark! I heard the tread of Time
Marching o'er the fields sublime;
Through the portals of the past
When the stars by God were cast
O'er the illimitable vast.
Onward! Onward yet he strides
Nations clinging to his sides.
Kingdoms crushed he tramples o'er
Fame's shrill Trumpet—War's deep Roar
Blast-like rise—sound no more.
Lo! he nears as like a cloud;
That the trembling sea doth shroud,
Darkly folding every flower
Of our Life;—Love—Hope and Power:
See! He grasps the Present Hour!
Grasps it—it is withering
And it hangs a faded thing
In his girdle; seen no more
But by deeds that stud it o'er—
These shall mark it evermore.
On he passes, swift as fear;
Hides each faint and fleeting year
In his pinion's shadowy fold;—
All that sky and earth do hold:—
Things which man may not behold.
Lo! beneath his mantle dark
Grim, a spectre pallid stark
Clings around him like a sheath
Mighty! though devoid of breath
Throwing darts:—'Tis Death! 'Tis Death.
Stop the Ruffian Time! Lay hold!
Is there then no power so bold!
None to meet his strength midway—
Wrest from him his precious prey,
And the Tyrant-Robber slay.
Struggle not my foolish soul!
Let Time's garments round thee roll:
Time, God's servant, think no scorn,
Gathers up the sheaves of corn
Which the spectre Death hath shorn.
And anon shall one appear
Brighter than the Morning Star:
He shall smite that Spectre frore
Time shall, clasped by Death no more,
Take a new name—Evermore.
Catskill, 3 February 1846 2