The pathetic motto of the Harvard Lyceum (1810 and 1811) is taken from Crabbe:
"And he is gone, and we are going all; Like flowers we wither, and like leaves we fall."
Hilliard & Metcalf, Cambridge, published the Lyceum, as they did later the Register and the Collegian. The paper appeared semi-monthly and had as chief editor Edward Everett. In their "Address," the editors proclaim it to be the object of their paper to present the "many valuable hints suggested in a course of general study, which can only be published with propriety in the miscellaneous collections of a periodical pamphlet. . . . It is to be the publick common-place of its contributors." And then in further detail they explain what subjects will especially be treated: American literature; discussions of the "various subjects assigned for the college forensick disputations;" solutions of problems in mathematicks; discussions in natural history; "compositions in the classical languages;" "essays of a moral and religious import;" "a part of every number shall be unalienably devoted with religious sacredness to original poetry;" and finally, "under a miscellaneous head anything which shall seem properly introduced into a literary journal." Taste and zeal truly robust! How the pallid young collegian of today shrinks aghast at such a programme of literary diversion. And then the editors, speaking through the young Edward Everett, say out bravely and patriotically (this was in July, 1810): "The foreign transactions of the last four years. nay, the last three months, the confiscation of American shipping in the ports of the continent, a hundred years ago would have arrayed Europe. . . .Morals and religion have suffered with the civil rights of man, and all their institutions have been disregarded and violated. Science and literature seem to be all that is old-fashioned and good that we have left . . . . . America especially should cultivate literature. We have so much to depress our national literary character, there are so many obstacles to prevent our deserving and so many prejudices to prevent our receiving the praise of merit, that great exertions alone can obviate the one and conciliate the other."
That the first promise of their prospectus is fulfilled can be seen by the titles of the first three articles following this introduction: "Classical Learning," "The Prejudices of Literature," and "On Mathematical Learning." On page 14 appears a translation of Horace, Lib. 2, Ode XVI., by Everett, "prompted by a passionate fondness for the poetry of Campbell, and a wish to clothe the beautiful notions of Horace in the beautiful verse of the author of the 'Battle of Hohenlinden.'" The first stanza reads:
"With fainting heart, and weariness,
The storm-beat sailor prays for ease;
When heavy clouds, or boisterous seas,
Their torrents pour unceasingly."
Further on I find a lament that so "few at the present day are the votaries of Grecian literature! Time was when "A man was frequently recommended by his skill in the aorists, or his profundity in the particles. But, now, we are stigmatized as unintelligible and pedantic, if we dare to introduce in conversation a Greek quotation, however rich in Attick aspiration, or Ionian melody."
Is not the Greek scholarship of today put to shame when confronted with such noble ambition as that? A writer on the "Celebration of American Independence" delivers some sharp criticisms on some recent Fourth of July orations. "Nor can I call my country's fortunes," he says, "as Mr. Townsend does, a 'comedy of errors.' Even though Columbus might 'blunder' toward this continent (to speak in the elegant language of Mr. Townsend), yet I cannot grant that we 'blundered' into independence, nor can I hope that our country will, at some future time 'blunder' into glory. On the whole, I cannot think this performance worthy to have been written by an alumnus of Harvard University, or to be heard by the enlightened citizens of our metropolis." Brave words and honorable to "Harvard spirit!"