Page:The World's Famous Orations Volume 5.djvu/164

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THE WORLD'S FAMOUS ORATIONS

ings up and down the country ; his vast conver- sational powers; his enormous correspondence with all sorts of people; his unfailing interest in all pursuits, trades, manufactures, — all helped to keep before him, like motes dancing in a sunbeam, the huge organism of modern society, which requires for its existence and for its de- velopment the maintenance of credit and of order.

Burke's imagination led him to look out over the whole land ; the legislator devising new laws, the judge expounding and enforcing old ones, the merchant despatching his goods and ex- tending his credit, the banker advancing the money of his customers upon the credit of the merchant, the frugal man slowly accumulating the store which is to support him in old age, the ancient institutions of Church and Univer- sity with their seemly provisions for sound learn- ing and true religion, the parson in his pulpit, the poet pondering his rhymes, the farmer eyeing his crops, the painter covering his canvases, the player educating the feelings.

Burke saw all this with the fancy of a poet, and dwelt on it with the eye of a lover. But love is the parent of fear, and none knew better than Burke how thin is the lava layer between the costly fabric of society and the volcanic heats and destroying flames of anarchy. He trembled for the fair frame of all established things, and to his horror saw men, instead of covering the thin surface with the concrete, dig- 140

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