BLTC Press Titles

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The Fairy Tale of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Thomas Carlyle, Rudolf Steiner

The Worm Ouroboros

E. R. Eddison

The Bhagavad Gita


The Haunted Bookshop

Christopher Morely

Nathan Hale, the ideal patriot

by William Ordway Partridge



William ©rDtoap ^artrt&ge

Art for America, .- - - #1.00
The Song Life of a Sculptor, 1.00
The Technique of Sculpture, 1. 00

(Illustrated by Original Drawings)

The Angel of Clay (novel), 1.25

autyor'g preface

THIS book is not a conventional biography of a Revolutionary hero, with cuts of tombstones and dry historical data. It deals with the living present. In my statue and studies of this heroic life I have attempted to give the very spirit of one of America's foremost patriots—one who became a martyr on the threshold of his manhood and who died that we might be free.

It is a sculptor who has wrought for five years or more over the face and form of Nathan Hale, and who has found in this subject an inspiration not to be put into words, that is moved to write the simple story of the short and brave life of a man who has not yet received his meed of honor from his countrymen. I have looked with great interest over the lives of Hale that have been written by men of scholarly attainments, and have found them of interest mainly to students of history, but they seem to me not inspired or vital to the living present. To these biographers this heroic life could not have meant as much as to the sculptor of the statue; wherefore the latter has undertaken to put into book form for the great, warm-hearted American people the data which he has gathered from relatives of Nathan Hale and from studies made of the young patriot's short lifehistory. A sculptor living with his statue and seeing it grow from day to day gets very close to the spirit of his subject, and such a one hopes to say in this biography a few words which those lips of bronze might utter could they open and speak, and which all his fellow officers and friends would say were they alive to speak for him.

It is a strange fact that there has been no great poem about Nathan Hale, altho men no less eminent than Timothy Dwight have essayed their hands at such a work. The attempts all

smack of the stage, of brass buttons, of the professor and the academy, and do not touch the soul of Hale's sacrifice and martyrdom. They sound as if Pope or some understudy of Pope's might have written them. Hale is too great for these little flights of fancy or the dry facts of the historian. It is unfortunate that not one of our great poets has felt inspired to write some sublime ode to the memory of this ideal hero. For, while English literature is full of eloquence and poetry in memory of the fate of the ill-starred Andrd, it is a strange fact that neither Bryant, Whittier, Longfellow, nor Lowell has felt inspired by the man who so notably stood in the fore of all his heroic contemporaries.

The time is just dawning for America when her people are beginning to appreciate the great souls that have created the republic. The sacrifice of Nathan Hale is one that we must not, can not forget, unless we write our own condemnation as a republic. The heroic deeds of a people live in its monuments. Greece is preeminently great because of her sculpture, and her sculpture commemorates the deeds of her national heroes. So Egypt, Persia, Assyria, —what are they but the Pharaohs, Cyrus, Sargon immortalized in stone ?

" All passes into dust

Save deathless Art alone;

The bust
Survives the ruined throne."

So wrote Th^ophile Gautier. We have a purer and higher civilization to commemorate than that of thrones and empires, and therefore we should not, as Matthew Arnold feared for us, let

" Slowly die out of our lives,
Glory, and genius, and joy."

William Ordway Partridge.

Studios, January 4th, igo2,
New York City.

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