Association is the delight of the heart, not less than of poetry. Alison observes that an autumn sunset, with its crimson clouds, glimmering trunks of trees, and wavering tints upon the grass, seems scarcely capable of embellishment. But if in this calm and beautiful glow the chime of a distant bell steal over the fields, the bosom heaves with the sensation that Dante so tenderly describes.
He whose heart is not excited upon the spot which a martyr has sanctified by his sufferings, or at the grave of one who has largely benefited mankind, must be more inferior to the multitude in his moral, than he can, possibly be raised above them in his intellectual nature.
How we delight to build our recollections upon some basis of reality,a place, a country, a local habitation! how the events of life, as we look back upon them, have grown into the well-remembered background of the places where they fell upon us! Here is some sunny garden or summer lane, beautified and canonized forever with the flood of a great joy; and here are dim and silent places,rooms always shadowed and dark to us, whatever they may be to others,where distress or death came once, and since then dwells forevermore.
Whatever withdraws us from the power of our senses; whatever makes the past, the distant, or the future, predominate over the present, advances us in the dignity of thinking beings. Far from me, and far from my friends be such frigid philosophy as may conduct us indifferent and unmoved over any ground which has been dignified by wisdom, bravery, or virtue. That man is little to be envied whose patriotism would not gain force upon the plain of Marathon, or whose piety would not grow warmer among the ruins of Ionia.