7. The poor man was immediately released from confinement, his accounts returned, and the mistake pointed out. During his imprisonment, which lasted two days, he had neither eaten, drunk, nor taken any repose; and when he appeared, his countenance was as pale as death. On receiving his accounts, he was a long time silent; then suddenly awaking, as if from a trance, he repeated, "Once one is two."
8. He appeared to be entirely insensible of his situation; would neither eat nor drink, unless solicited; and took notice of nothing that passed around him. While repeating his accustomed phrase, if anyone corrected him by saying, "Once one is one," his attention was arrested for a moment, and he said, "Ah, right, once one is one;" and then resuming his walk, he continued to repeat, "Once one is two." He died shortly after the traveler left Berlin.
9. This affecting story, whether true or untrue, obviously abounds with lessons of instruction. Alas! how easily is the human mind thrown off its balance; especially when it is stayed on this world only, and has no experimental knowledge of the meaning of the injunction of Scripture, to cast all our cares upon Him who careth for us, and who heareth even the young ravens when they cry.
DEFINITIONS.—1. Ex-te'ri-or, outward appearance. De-pict'ed, painted, represented. 3. Con-tem-pla'tion, continued attention of the mind to one subject. 4. Rev'e-nues, the annual income from taxes, public rents, etc. Scru'pu-lous-ly, carefully. As-sid'u-ous, constant in attention. Fi-nance', the income of a ruler or a state. Def'i-cit, lack, want. Duc'at, a gold coin worth about $2.00. 6. De-fault'er, one who fails to account for public money intrusted to his care. 9. Ob'vi-ous-ly, plainly. In-junc'tion, a command.
X. ROBIN REDBREAST.
William Allingham (b. 1828, d. 1889) was born at Ballyshannon, Ireland. His father was a banker, and gave him a good education in Irish schools. He showed his literary tastes at an early date, contributing to periodicals, etc. In 1850 he published his first volume of poems; in 1854 his "Day and Night Songs" appeared, and in 1864 a poem in twelve chapters entitled "Lawrence Bloomfield in Ireland," His reputation was established chiefly through his shorter lyrics, or ballad poetry. In 1864 he received a literary pension.
1. Good-by, good-by to Summer! For Summer's nearly done; The garden smiling faintly, Cool breezes in the sun; Our thrushes now are silent, Our swallows flown away,— But Robin's here in coat of brown, And scarlet brestknot gay. Robin, Robin Redbreast, O Robin dear! Robin sings so sweetly In the falling of the year.
2. Bright yellow, red, and orange, The leaves come down in hosts; The trees are Indian princes, But soon they'll turn to ghosts; The leathery pears and apples Hang russet on the bough; It's autumn, autumn, autumn late, 'T will soon be winter now. Robin, Robin Redbreast, O Robin dear! And what will this poor Robin do? For pinching days are near.
3. The fireside for the cricket, The wheat stack for the mouse, When trembling night winds whistle And moan all round the house. The frosty ways like iron, The branches plumed with snow,— Alas! in winter dead and dark, Where can poor Robin go? Robin, Robin Redbreast, O Robin dear! And a crumb of bread for Robin, His little heart to cheer.
Note.—The Old World Robin here referred to is quite different in appearance and habits from the American Robin. It is only about half the size of the latter. Its prevailing color above is olive green, while the forehead, cheeks, throat, and breast are a light yellowish red. It does not migrate, but is found at all seasons throughout temperate Europe, Asia Minor, and northern Africa.
XI. THE FISH I DID N'T CATCH.
John Greenleaf Whittier was born near Haverhill, Mass., in 1807, and died at Hampton Falls, N.H., in 1892. His boyhood was passed on a farm, and he never received a classical education. In 1829 he edited a newspaper in Boston. In the following year he removed to Hartford, Conn., to assume a similar position. In 1836 he edited an antislavery paper in Philadelphia. In 1840 he removed to Amesbury, Mass. Mr. Whittier's parents were Friends, and he always held to the same faith. He wrote extensively both in prose and verse. As a poet, he ranked among those most highly esteemed and honored by his countrymen. "Snow Bound" is one of the longest and best of his poems.
1. Our bachelor uncle who lived with us was a quiet, genial man, much given to hunting and fishing; and it was one of the pleasures of our young life to accompany him on his expeditions to Great Hill, Brandy-brow Woods, the Pond, and, best of all, to the Country Brook. We were quite willing to work hard in the cornfield or the haying lot to finish the necessary day's labor in season for an afternoon stroll through the woods and along the brookside.
2. I remember my first fishing excursion as if it were but yesterday. I have been happy many times in my life, but never more intensely so than when I received that first fishing pole from my uncle's hand, and trudged off with him through the woods and meadows. It was a still, sweet day of early summer; the long afternoon shadows of the trees lay cool across our path; the leaves seemed greener, the flowers brighter, the birds merrier, than ever before.
3. My uncle, who knew by long experience where were the best haunts of pickerel, considerately placed me at the most favorable point. I threw out my line as I had so often seen others, and waited anxiously for a bite, moving the bait in rapid jerks on the surface of the water in imitation of the leap of a frog. Nothing came of it. "Try again," said my uncle. Suddenly the bait sank out of sight. "Now for it," thought I; "here is a fish at last."
4. I made a strong pull, and brought up a tangle of weeds. Again and again I cast out my line with aching arms, and drew it back empty. I looked at my uncle appealingly. "Try once more," he said; "we fishermen must have patience."
5. Suddenly something tugged at my line, and swept off with it into deep water. Jerking it up, I saw a fine pickerel wriggling in the sun. "Uncle!" I cried, looking back in uncontrollable excitement, "I've got a fish!" "Not yet," said my uncle. As he spoke there was a plash in the water; I caught the arrowy gleam of a scared fish shooting into the middle of the stream, my hook hung empty from the line. I had lost my prize.
6. We are apt to speak of the sorrows of childhood as trifles in comparison with those of grown-up people; but we may depend upon it the young folks don't agree with us. Our griefs, modified and restrained by reason, experience and self-respect, keep the proprieties, and, if possible, avoid a scene; but the sorrow of childhood, unreasoning and all-absorbing, is a complete abandonment to the passion. The doll's nose is broken, and the world breaks up with it; the marble rolls out of sight, and the solid globe rolls off with the marble.
7. So, overcome with my great and bitter disappointment, I sat down on the nearest hassock, and for a time refused to be comforted, even by my uncle's assurance that there were more fish in the brook. He refitted my bait, and, putting the pole again in my hands, told me to try my luck once more.
8. "But remember, boy," he said, with his shrewd smile, "never brag of catching a fish until he is on dry ground. I've seen older folks doing that in more ways than one, and so making fools of themselves. It's no use to boast of anything until it's done, nor then, either, for it speaks for itself."
9. How often since I have been reminded of the fish that I did not catch. When I hear people boasting of a work as yet undone, and trying to anticipate the credit which belongs only to actual achievement, I call to mind that scene by the brookside, and the wise caution of my uncle in that particular instance takes the form of a proverb of universal application: "NEVER BRAG OF YOUR FISH BEFORE YOU CATCH HIM."
DEFINITIONS.—1. Gen'ial, cheerful. 3. Haunts, places frequently visited. Con-sid'er-ate-ly, with due regard to others, kindly thoughtful. 4. Ap-peal'ing-ly, as though asking for aid. 6. Mod'i-fied, qualified, lessened. Pro-pri'e-ties, fixed customs or rules of conduct. Ab-sorb'ing, engaging the attention entirely. 7, Has'sock, a raised mound of turf. 9. An-tic'i-pate, to take before the proper time. A-chieve'ment, performance, deed.
XII. IT SNOWS.
Sarah Josepha Hale (b. 1788?, d.1879) was born in Newport, N.H. Her maiden name was Buell. In 1814 she married David Hale, an eminent lawyer, who died in 1822. Left with five children to support, she turned her attention to literature. In 1828 she became editor of the "Ladies' Magazine." In 1837 this periodical was united with "Godey's Lady's Book," of which Mrs. Hale was literary editor for more than forty years.
1. "It snows!" cries the Schoolboy, "Hurrah!" and his shout Is ringing through parlor and hall, While swift as the wing of a swallow, he's out, And his playmates have answered his call; It makes the heart leap but to witness their joy; Proud wealth has no pleasures, I trow, Like the rapture that throbs in the pulse of the boy As he gathers his treasures of snow; Then lay not the trappings of gold on thine heirs, While health and the riches of nature are theirs.
2. "It snows!" sighs the Imbecile, "Ah!" and his breath Comes heavy, as clogged with a weight; While, from the pale aspect of nature in death, He turns to the blaze of his grate; And nearer and nearer, his soft-cushioned chair Is wheeled toward the life-giving flame; He dreads a chill puff of the snow-burdened air, Lest it wither his delicate frame; Oh! small is the pleasure existence can give, When the fear we shall die only proves that we live!
3. "It snows!" cries the Traveler, "Ho!" and the word Has quickened his steed's lagging pace; The wind rushes by, but its howl is unheard, Unfelt the sharp drift in his face; For bright through the tempest his own home appeared, Ay, though leagues intervened, he can see: There's the clear, glowing hearth, and the table prepared, And his wife with her babes at her knee; Blest thought! how it lightens the grief-laden hour, That those we love dearest are safe from its power!
4. "It snows!" cries the Belle, "Dear, how lucky!" and turns From her mirror to watch the flakes fall, Like the first rose of summer, her dimpled cheek burns! While musing on sleigh ride and ball: There are visions of conquests, of splendor, and mirth, Floating over each drear winter's day; But the tintings of Hope, on this storm-beaten earth, Will melt like the snowflakes away. Turn, then thee to Heaven, fair maiden, for bliss; That world has a pure fount ne'er opened in this.
5. "It snows!" cries the Widow, "O God!" and her sighs Have stifled the voice of her prayer; Its burden ye'll read in her tear-swollen eyes, On her cheek sunk with fasting and care. 'T is night, and her fatherless ask her for bread, But "He gives the young ravens their food," And she trusts till her dark hearth adds horror to dread., And she lays on her last chip of wood. Poor sufferer! that sorrow thy God only knows; 'T is a most bitter lot to be poor when it snows.
DEFINITIONS.—1. Trow, to think, to believe. Trap'pings, ornanents. 2. Im'be-cile, one who is feeble either in body or mind. 3. In-ter-vened', were situated between. 4. Mus'ing, thinking in an absent-minded way. Con'quests, triumphs, successes. Tint'ings slight colorings. 5. Sti'fled, choked, suppressed.
REMARK.—Avoid reading this piece in a monotonous style. Try to express the actual feeling of each quotation; and enter into the descriptions with spirit.
XIII. RESPECT FOR THE SABBATH REWARDED.
1. In the city of Bath, not many years since, lived a barber who made a practice of following his ordinary occupation on the Lord's day. As he was on the way to his morning's employment, he happened to look into some place of worship just as the minister was giving out his text—"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy." He listened long enough to be convinced that he was constantly breaking the laws of God and man by shaving and dressing his customers on the Lord's day. He became uneasy, and went with a heavy heart to his Sabbath task.
2. At length he took courage, and opened his mind to his minister, who advised him to give up Sabbath work, and worship God. He replied that beggary would be the consequence. He had a flourishing trade, but it would almost all be lost. At length, after many a sleepless night spent in weeping and praying, he was determined to cast all his care upon God, as the more he reflected, the more his duty became apparent.
3. He discontinued his Sabbath work, went constantly and early to the public services of religion, and soon enjoyed that satisfaction of mind which is one of the rewards of doing our duty, and that peace which the world can neither give nor take away. The consequences he foresaw actually followed. His genteel customers left him, and he was nicknamed "Puritan" or "Methodist." He was obliged to give up his fashionable shop, and, in the course of years, became so reduced as to take a cellar under the old market house and shave the poorer people.
4. One Saturday evening, between light and dark, a stranger from one of the coaches, asking for a barber, was directed by the hostler to the cellar opposite. Coming in hastily, he requested to be shaved quickly, while they changed horses, as he did not like to violate the Sabbath. This was touching the barber on a tender chord. He burst into tears; asked the stranger to lend him a half-penny to buy a candle, as it was not light enough to shave him with safety. He did so, revolving in his mind the extreme poverty to which the poor man must be reduced.
5. When shaved, he said, "There must be something extraordinary in your history, which I have not now time to hear. Here is half a crown for you. When I return, I will call and investigate your case. What is your name?" "William Reed," said the astonished barber. "William Reed?" echoed the stranger: "William Reed? by your dialect you are from the West." "Yes, sir, from Kingston, near Taunton." "William Reed from Kingston, near Taunton? What was your father's name?" "Thomas." "Had he any brother?" "Yes, sir, one, after whom I was named; but he went to the Indies, and, as we never heard from him, we supposed him to be dead."
6. "Come along, follow me," said the stranger, "I am going to see a person who says his name is William Reed, of Kingston, near Taunton. Come and confront him. If you prove to be indeed he who you say you are, I have glorious news for you. Your uncle is dead, and has left an immense fortune, which I will put you in possession of when all legal doubts are removed."
7. They went by the coach; saw the pretended William Reed, and proved him to be an impostor. The stranger, who was a pious attorney, was soon legally satisfied of the barber's identity, and told him that he had advertised him in vain. Providence had now thrown him in his way in a most extraordinary manner, and he had great pleasure in transferring a great many thousand pounds to a worthy man, the rightful heir of the property. Thus was man's extremity God's opportunity. Had the poor barber possessed one half-penny, or even had credit for a candle, he might have remained unknown for years; but he trusted God, who never said, "Seek ye my face," in vain.
DEFINITIONS.—2. Ap-par'ent, clear, plain. 3. Gen-teel', fashionable, elegant. Re-duced', brought to poverty. 4. Vi'o-late, to break, to profane. 5. In-ves'ti-gate, to inquire into with care. Di'a-lect, a local form of speech. 6. Con-front', to face, to stand before. 7. At-tor'ney (pro. at-tur'ny), a lawyer. I-den'ti-ty, the condition of being the same as something claimed. Trans-fer'ring, making over the possession of. Ex-trem'i-ty, greatest need. Op-por-tu'ni-ty, favorable time.
XIV. THE SANDS O' DEE.
Charles Kingsley (b.1819, d.1875) was born at Holne, Devonshire, England. He took his bachelor's degree at Cambridge in 1842, and soon after entered the Church. His writings are quite voluminous, including sermons, lectures, novels, fairy tales, and poems, published in book form, besides numerous miscellaneous sermons and magazine articles. He was an earnest worker for bettering the condition of the working classes, and this object was the basis of most of his writings. As a lyric poet he has gained a high place. The "Saint's Tragedy" and "Andromeda" are the most pretentious of his poems, and "Alton Locke" and "Hypatia" are his best known novels.
1. "O Mary, go and call the cattle home, And call the cattle home, And call the cattle home, Across the sands o' Dee!" The western wind was wild and dank with foam, And all alone went she.
2. The creeping tide came up along the sand, And o'er and o'er the sand, And round and round the sand, As far as eye could see; The blinding mist came down and hid the land— And never home came she.
3. Oh, is it weed, or fish, or floating hair?— A tress o' golden hair, O' drowned maiden's hair, Above the nets at sea. Was never salmon yet that shone so fair Among the stakes on Dee.
4. They rowed her in across the rolling foam, The cruel, crawling foam, The cruel, hungry foam, To her grave beside the sea; But still the boatmen hear her call the cattle home, Across the sands O' Dee.
Notes.—The Sands O' Dee. The Dee is a river of Scotland, noted for its salmon fisheries. O' is a contraction for of, commonly used by the Scotch.
RKMARK.—The first three lines of each stanza deserve special attention in reading. The final words are nearly or quite the same, but the expression of each line should vary. The piece should be read in a low key and with a pure, musical tone.
XV. SELECT PARAGRAPHS.
1. O give thanks unto the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the people. Sing unto him; sing psalms unto him; talk ye of all his wondrous works. Glory ye in his holy name; let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord. Remember his marvelous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth.
2. O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers; the moon and the stars which thou hast ordained; what is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor. Thou madest him to have dominion over the work of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet. O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!
3. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God; in him will I trust. Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation.
4. O come, let us sing unto the Lord, let us heartily rejoice in the strength of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and show ourselves glad in him with psalms. For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness; let the whole earth stand in awe of him. For he cometh, for he cometh, to judge the earth; and with righteousness to judge the world, and the people with his truth.
5. Oh that men would praise the Lord' for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; these see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep. For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. They mount up to the heaven; they go down again to the depths; their soul is melted because of trouble; they reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit's end. Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven. Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!
6. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me: thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I1 will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. —Bible.
DEFINITIONS.—1. Mar'vel-ous, wonderful. 2. Or-dained', appointed, established. Do-min'ion (pro. do-min'yun). supreme power. 5. Ha ven, a harbor, a place where ships can lie in safety.
XVI. THE CORN SONG.
1. Heap high the farmer's wintry hoard! Heap high the golden corn! No richer gift has Autumn poured From out her lavish horn!
2. Let other lands, exulting, glean The apple from the pine, The orange from its glossy green, The cluster from the vine;
3. We better love the hardy gift Our rugged vales bestow, To cheer us, when the storm shall drift Our harvest fields with snow.
4. Through vales of grass and meads of flowers Our plows their furrows made, While on the hills the sun and showers Of changeful April played.
5. We dropped the seed o'er hill and plain, Beneath the sun of May, And frightened from our sprouting grain The robber crows away.
6. All through the long, bright days of June, Its leaves grew green and fair, And waved in hot midsummer's noon Its soft and yellow hair.
7. And now, with Autumn's moonlit eves, Its harvest time has come; We pluck away the frosted leaves And bear the treasure home.
8. There, richer than the fabled gift Apollo showered of old, Fair hands the broken grain shall sift, And knead its meal of gold.
9. Let vapid idlers loll in silk, Around their costly board; Give us the bowl of samp and milk, By homespun beauty poured!
10. Where'er the wide old kitchen hearth Sends up its smoky curls, Who will not thank the kindly earth And bless our farmer girls!
11. Then shame on all the proud and vain, Whose folly laughs to scorn The blessing of our hardy grain, Our wealth of golden corn!
12. Let earth withhold her goodly root; Let mildew blight the rye, Give to the worm the orchard's fruit, The wheat field to the fly:
13. But let the good old crop adorn The hills our fathers trod; Still let us, for his golden corn, Send up our thanks to God! From Whittier's "Songs of Labor."
DEFINITIONS.—1. Hoard, a large quantify of anything laid up. Lav'ish. profuse. 4. Meads, meadows. 9. Vap'id, spiritless, dull. Samp, bruised corn cooked by boiling.
Notes.—8. According to the ancient fable, Apollo, the god of music, sowed the isle of Delos, his birthplace, with golden flowers, by the music of his lyre.
XVII. THE VENOMOUS WORM.
John Russell (b. 1793, d. 1863) graduated at Middlebury College, Vt., in 1818. He was at one time editor of the "Backwoodsman," published at Grafton, Ill., and later of the "Louisville Advocate." He was the author of many tales of western adventure and of numerous essays, sketches, etc. His language is clear, chaste, and classical; his style concise, vigorous, and sometimes highly ornate.
1. Who has not heard of the rattlesnake or copperhead? An unexpected sight of either of these reptiles will make even the lords of creation recoil; but there is a species of worm, found in various parts of this country, which conveys a poison of a nature so deadly that, compared with it, even the venom of the rattlesnake is harmless. To guard our readers against this foe of human kind is the object of this lesson.
2. This worm varies much in size. It is frequently an inch in diameter, but, as it is rarely seen except when coiled, its length can hardly be conjectured. It is of a dull lead color, and generally lives near a spring or small stream of water, and bites the unfortunate people who are in the habit of going there to drink. The brute creation it never molests. They avoid it with the same instinct that teaches the animals of India to shun the deadly cobra.
3. Several of these reptiles have long infested our settlements, to the misery and destruction of many of our fellow citizens. I have, therefore, had frequent opportunities of being the melancholy spectator of the effects produced by the subtile poison which this worm infuses.
4. The symptoms of its bite are terrible. The eyes of the patient become red and fiery, his tongue swells to an immoderate size, and obstructs his utterance; and delirium of the most horrid character quickly follows. Sometimes, in his madness, he attempts the destruction of his nearest friends.
5. If the sufferer has a family, his weeping wife and helpless infants are not unfrequently the objects of his frantic fury. In a word, he exhibits, to the life, all the detestable passions that rankle in the bosom of a savage; and such is the spell in which his senses are locked, that no sooner has the unhappy patient recovered from the paroxysm of insanity occasioned by the bite, than he seeks out the destroyer for the sole purpose of being bitten again.
6. I have seen a good old father, his locks as white as snow, his step slow and trembling, beg in vain of his only son to quit the lurking place of the worm. My heart bled when he turned away; for I knew the fond hope that his son would be the "staff of his declining years," had supported him through many a sorrow.
7. Youths of America, would you know the name of this reptile? It is called the WORM OF THE STILL.
DEFINITIONS.—1. Rep'tiles, animals that crawl, as snakes, liz-ards, etc. Re-coil', to start back, to shrink from. 2. Co'bra, a highly venomous reptile inhabiting the East Indies. In-fest'ed, troubled, annoyed. 3. Sub'tile, acute, piercing. In-fus'es, intro-duces. 4. Ob-structs', hinders. De-lir'i-um, a wandering of the mind. 5. Ran'kle, to rage. Par'ox-ysm, a fit, a convulsion. 7. Worm, a spiral metallic pipe used in distilling liquors. Still, a vessel used in distilling or making liquors.
XVIII. THE FESTAL BOARD.
1. Come to the festal board tonight, For bright-eyed beauty will be there, Her coral lips in nectar steeped, And garlanded her hair.
2. Come to the festal board to-night, For there the joyous laugh of youth Will ring those silvery peals, which speak Of bosom pure and stainless truth.
3. Come to the festal board to-night, For friendship, there, with stronger chain, Devoted hearts already bound For good or ill, will bind again. I went.
4. Nature and art their stores outpoured; Joy beamed in every kindling glance; Love, friendship, youth, and beauty smiled; What could that evening's bliss enhance? We parted.
5. And years have flown; but where are now The guests who round that table met? Rises their sun as gloriously As on the banquet's eve it set?
6. How holds the chain which friendship wove? It broke; and soon the hearts it bound Were widely sundered; and for peace, Envy and strife and blood were found.
7. The merriest laugh which then was heard Has changed its tones to maniac screams, As half-quenched memory kindles up Glimmerings of guilt in feverish dreams.
8. And where is she whose diamond eyes Golconda's purest gems outshone? Whose roseate lips of Eden breathed? Say, where is she, the beauteous one?
9. Beneath yon willow's drooping shade, With eyes now dim, and lips all pale, She sleeps in peace. Read on her urn, "A broken heart." This tells her tale.
10. And where is he, that tower of strength, Whose fate with hers for life was joined? How beats his heart, once honor's throne? How high has soared his daring mind?
11. Go to the dungeon's gloom to-night; His wasted form, his aching head, And all that now remains of him, Lies, shuddering, on a felon's bed.
12. Ask you of all these woes the cause? The festal board, the enticing bowl, More often came, and reason fled, And maddened passions spurned control.
13. Learn wisdom, then. The frequent feast Avoid; for there, with stealthy tread Temptation walks, to lure you on, Till death, at last, the banquet spread.
14. And shun, oh shun, the enchanted cup! Though now its draught like joy appears, Ere long it will be fanned by sighs, And sadly mixed with blood and tears.
DEFINITIONS.—1. Fes'tal, mirthful, joyous. Gar'land-ed, adorned with wreaths of flowers. 3. De-vot'ed, solemnly set apart. 4. En-hance', increase. 6. Sun'dered, separated. 7. Glim'mer-ings, faint views, glimpses. 8. Ro'se-ate, blooming, rosy. 11. Fel'on, a public criminal. 12. En-tic'ing, attracting to evil. Spurned, rejected with disdain. 13. Lure, to attract, to entice. 14. En-chant'ed, affected with enchantment, bewitched.
NOTES.—8. Golconda is an ancient city and fortress of India, formerly renowned for its diamonds. They were merely cut and polished there, however, being generally brought from Parteall, a city farther south.
XIX. HOW TO TELL BAD NEWS.
Mr. H. and the Steward.
Mr. H. Ha! Steward, how are you, my old boy? How do things go on at home?
Steward. Bad enough, your honor; the magpie's dead.
H. Poor Mag! So he's gone. How came he to die?
S. Overeat himself, sir.
H. Did he? A greedy dog; why, what did he get he liked so well?
S. Horseflesh, sir; he died of eating horseflesh,
H. How came he to get so much horseflesh?
S. All your father's horses, sir.
H. What! are they dead, too?
S. Ay, sir; they died of overwork.
H. And why were they overworked, pray?
S. To carry water, sir.
H. To carry water! and what were they carrying water for?
S. Sure, sir, to put out the fire.
H. Fire! what fire?
S. O, sir, your father's house is burned to the ground.
H. My father's house burned down! and how came it set on fire?
S. I think, sir, it must have been the torches.
H. Torches! what torches?
S. At your mother's funeral.
H. My mother dead!
S. Ah, poor lady! she never looked up, after it.
H. After what?
S. The loss of your father.
H. My father gone, too?
S. Yes, poor gentleman! he took to his bed as soon as he heard of it.
H. Heard of what?
S. The bad news, sir, and please your honor.
H. What! more miseries! more bad news!
S. Yes, sir; your bank has failed, and your credit is lost, and you are not worth a shilling in the world. I made bold, sir, to wait on you about it, for I thought you would like to hear the news.
XX. THE BATTLE OF BLENHEIM.
Robert Southey (b. 1774, d. 1843) was born in Bristol, England. He entered Balliol College, Oxford, in 1793. In 1804 he established himself permanently at Greta Hall, near Keswick, Cumberland, in the "Lake Country," where he enjoyed the friendship and society of Wordsworth and Coleridge, other poets of the "Lake School." He was appointed poet laureate in 1813, and received a pension of 300 Pounds a year from the government in 1835. Mr. Southey was a voluminous writer in both prose and verse. As a poet, he can not be placed in the first rank, although some of his minor poems are very happy in thought and expression. Among his most noted poetical works are "Joan of Arc," "Thalaba the Destroyer," "Madoc," "Roderick," and the "Curse of Kehama,"
1. It was a summer evening, Old Kaspar's work was done, And he, before his cottage door, Was sitting in the sun; And by him sported on the green, His little grandchild Wilhelmine.
2. She saw her brother Peterkin Roll something large and round, Which he beside the rivulet, In playing there, had found; He came to ask what he had found, That was so large, and smooth, and round.
3. Old Kaspar took it from the boy, Who stood expectant by; And then the old man shook his head, And, with a natural sigh, " 'T is some poor fellow's skull," said he, "Who fell in the great victory.
4. "I find them in the garden, For there's many hereabout; And often when I go to plow, The plowshare turns them out; For many thousand men," said he, "Were slain in that great victory."
5. "Now tell us what 't was all about," Young Peterkin he cries; While little Wilhelmine looks up With wonder-waiting eyes; "Now tell us all about the war, And what they killed each other for."
6. "It was the English," Kaspar cried, "Who put the French to rout, But what they killed each other for, I could not well make out; But everybody said," quoth he, "That 't was a famous victory:
7, "My father lived at Blenheim then, Yon little stream, hard by; They burnt his dwelling to the ground, And he was forced to fly; So, with his wife and child he fled, Nor had he where to rest his head.
8. "With fire and sword, the country round Was wasted, far and wide; And many a nursing mother then, And newborn baby died; But things like that, you know, must be At every famous victory.
9. "They say it was a shocking sight After the field was won; For many thousand bodies here Lay rotting in the sun: But things like that, you know, must be After a famous victory.
10. "Great praise the Duke of Marlboro' won, And our young prince, Eugene." "Why, 't was a very wicked thing!" Said little Wilhelmine. "Nay, nay, my little girl!" quoth he, "It was a famous victory.
11. "And everybody praised the Duke Who this great fight did win." "But what good came of it at last?" Quoth little Peterkin. "Why, that I can not tell," said he, "But 't was a glorious victory."
NOTES.—The Battle of Blenheim, in the "War of the Spanish Succession," was fought August 13, 1704, near Blenheim, in Bavaria, between the French and Bavarians, on one Ride, and an allied army under the great English general, the Duke of Marlborough, and Eugene, Prince of Savoy, on the other. The latter won a decisive victory: 10,000 of the defeated army were killed and wounded, and 13,000 were taken prisoners.
XXI. "I PITY THEM."
1. A poor man once undertook to emigrate from Castine, Me., to Illinois. When he was attempting to cross a river in New York, his horse broke through the rotten timbers of the bridge, and was drowned. He had but this one animal to convey all his property and his family to his new home.
2. His wife and children were almost miraculously saved from sharing the fate of the horse; but the loss of this poor animal was enough. By its aid the family, it may be said, had lived and moved; now they were left helpless in a land of strangers, without the ability to go on or return, without money or a single friend to whom to appeal. The case was a hard one.
3. There were a great many who "passed by on the other side." Some even laughed at the predicament in which the man was placed; but by degrees a group of people began to collect, all of whom pitied him.
4. Some pitied him a great deal, and some did not pity him very much, because, they said, he might have known better than to try to cross an unsafe bridge, and should have made his horse swim the river. Pity, however, seemed rather to predominate. Some pitied the man, and some the horse; all pitied the poor, sick mother and her six helpless children.
5. Among this pitying party was a rough son of the West, who knew what it was to migrate some hundreds of miles over new roads to locate a destitute family on a prairie. Seeing the man's forlorn situation, and looking around on the bystanders, he said, "All of you seem to pity these poor people very much, but I would beg leave to ask each of you how much."
6. "There, stranger," continued he, holding up a ten dollar bill, "there is the amount of my pity; and if others will do as I do, you may soon get another pony. God bless you." It is needless to state the effect that this active charity produced. In a short time the happy emigrant arrived at his destination, and he is now a thriving farmer, and a neighbor to him who was his "friend in need, and a friend indeed."
DEFINITIONS.—1. Em'i-grate, to remove from one country or state to another for the purpose of residence, to migrate. 2. Mi-rac'u-lous-ly, as if by miracle, wonderfully. A-bil'i-ty, power, capability. 3. Pre-dic'a-ment, condition, plight. 4. Pre-dom'i-nate, to prevail, to rule. 5. Lo'cate, to place. Des'ti-tute, needy, poor. 6. Des-ti-na'tion, end of a journey. Thriv'ing, prosperous through industry, economy, and good management.
XXII. AN ELEGY ON MADAM BLAIZE.
Oliver Goldsmith (b. 1728, d. 1774) was born at Pallas, or Pallasmore, in the parish of Forney, Ireland. He received his education at several schools, at Trinity College, Dublin, at Edinburgh, and at Leyden. He spent some time in wandering over continental Europe, often in poverty and want. In 1756 he became a resident of London, where he made the acquaintance of several celebrated men, among whom were Dr. Johnson and Sir Joshua Reynolds. His writings are noted for their purity, grace, and fluency. His fame as a poet is secured by "The Traveler," and "The Deserted Village;" as a dramatist, by "She Stoops to Conquer;" and as a novelist, by "The Vicar of Wakefield." His reckless extravagance always kept him in financial difficulty, and he died heavily in debt. His monument is in Westminster Abbey.
1. Good people all, with one accord, Lament for Madam Blaize, Who never wanted a good word— From those who spoke her praise.
2. The needy seldom passed her door, And always found her kind; She freely lent to all the poor— Who left a pledge behind.
3. She strove the neighborhood to please, With manner wondrous winning: She never followed wicked ways— Unless when she was sinning.
4. At church, in silks and satin new, With hoop of monstrous size, She never slumbered in her pew— But when she shut her eyes.
5. Her love was sought, I do aver, By twenty beaux and more; The king himself has followed her When she has walked before.
6. But now, her wealth and finery fled, Her hangers-on cut short all, Her doctors found, when she was dead— Her last disorder mortal.
7. Let us lament, in sorrow sore; For Kent Street well may say, That, had she lived a twelvemonth more— She had not died to-day.
DEFINITIONS.—1. Ac-cord', agreement of opinion, consent. 2. Pledge, personal property delivered to another as a security for a debt. 6. Hang'ers-on, followers. Mor'tal, destructive to life.
XXIII. KING CHARLES II AND WILLIAM PENN.
King Charles. Well, friend William! I have sold you a noble province in North America; but still, I suppose you have no thoughts of going thither yourself?
Penn. Yes, I have, I assure thee, friend Charles; and I am just come to bid thee farewell.
K.C. What! venture yourself among the savages of North America! Why, man, what security have you that you will not be in their war kettle in two hours after setting foot on their shores?
P. The best security in the world.
K.C. I doubt that, friend William; I have no idea of any security against those cannibals but in a regiment of good soldiers, with their muskets and bayonets. And mind, I tell you beforehand, that, with all my good will for you and your family, to whom I am under obligations, I will not send a single soldier with you.
P. I want none of thy soldiers, Charles: I depend on something better than thy soldiers.
K.C. Ah! what may that be?
P. Why, I depend upon themselves; on the working of their own hearts; on their notions of justice; on their moral sense.
K.C. A fine thing, this same moral sense, no doubt; but I fear you will not find much of it among the Indians of North America.
P. And why not among them as well as others?
K.C. Because if they had possessed any, they would not have treated my subjects so barbarously as they have done.
P. That is no proof of the contrary, friend Charles. Thy subjects were the aggressors. When thy subjects first went to North America, they found these poor people the fondest and kindest creatures in the world. Every day they would watch for them to come ashore, and hasten to meet them, and feast them on the best fish, and venison, and corn, which were all they had. In return for this hospitality of the savages, as we call them, thy subjects, termed Christians, seized on their country and rich hunting grounds for farms for themselves. Now, is it to be wondered at, that these much-injured people should have been driven to desperation by such injustice; and that, burning with revenge, they should have committed some excesses?
K C. Well, then, I hope you will not complain when they come to treat you in the same manner.
P. I am not afraid of it.
K.C. Ah! how will you avoid it? You mean to get their hunting grounds, too, I suppose?
P. Yes, but not by driving these poor people away from them.
K.C. No, indeed? How then will you get their lands?
P. I mean to buy their lands of them.
K.C. Buy their lands of them? Why, man, you have already bought them of me!
P. Yes, I know I have, and at a dear rate, too; but I did it only to get thy good will, not that I thought thou hadst any right to their lands.
K.C. How, man? no right to their lands?
P. No, friend Charles, no right; no right at all: what right hast thou to their lands?
K.C. Why, the right of discovery, to be sure; the right which the Pope and all Christian kings have agreed to give one another.
P. The right of discovery? A strange kind of right, indeed. Now suppose, friend Charles, that some canoe load of these Indians, crossing the sea, and discovering this island of Great Britain, were to claim it as their own, and set it up for sale over thy head, what wouldst thou think of it?
K.C. Why—why—why—I must confess, I should think it a piece of great impudence in them.
P. Well, then, how canst thou, a Christian, and a Christian prince, too, do that which thou so utterly condemnest in these people whom thou callest savages? And suppose, again, that these Indians, on thy refusal to give up thy island of Great Britain, were to make war on thee, and, having weapons more destructive than thine, were to destroy many of thy subjects, and drive the rest away—wouldst thou not think it horribly cruel?
K. C. I must say, friend William, that I should; how can I say otherwise?
P. Well, then, how can I, who call myself a Christian, do what I should abhor even in the heathen? No. I will not do it. But I will buy the right of the proper owners, even of the Indians themselves. By doing this, I shall imitate God himself in his justice and mercy, and thereby insure his blessing on my colony, if I should ever live to plant one in North America. —Mason L. Weems.
DEFINITIONS.—Can'ni-bals, human beings that eat human flesh. Reg'i-ment, a body of troops, consisting usually of ten companies. Ag-gress'ors, those who first commence hostilities. Ven'i-son (pro. ven'i-zn, or ven'zn), the flesh of deer. Ex-cess'es, misdeeds, evil acts. Con-demn'est (pro. kon-dem'est), censure, blame.
NOTES.—Charles II. was king of England from A.D. 1660 to 1685. William Penn (b. 1644, d. 1718) was a noted Englishman who belonged to the sect of Friends. He came to America in 1682, and founded the province which is now the state of Pennsylvania. He purchased the lands from the Indians, who were so impressed with the justice and good will of Penn and his associates, that the Quaker dress often served as a sure protection when other settlers were trembling for their lives.
XXIV. WHAT I LIVE FOR.
1. I live for those who love me, Whose hearts are kind and true; For the heaven that smiles above me, And awaits my spirit, too; For all human ties that bind me, For the task my God assigned me, For the bright hopes left behind me, And the good that I can do.
2. I live to learn their story, Who suffered for my sake; To emulate their glory, And follow in their wake; Bards, patriots, martyrs, sages, The noble of all ages, Whose deeds crown History's pages, And Time's great volume make.
3. I live to hail that season, By gifted minds foretold, When man shall live by reason, And not alone by gold; When man to man united, And every wrong thing righted, The whole world shall be lighted As Eden was of old.
4. I live for those who love me, For those who know me true; For the heaven that smiles above me, And awaits my spirit, too; For the cause that needs assistance, For the wrongs that need resistance, For the future in the distance, And the good that I can do.
DEFINITIONS.—l. As-signed' (pro. as-sind'), allotted, marked out. 2. Em'-u-late, to strive to equal or excel, to rival. Wake, the track left by a vessel in the water, hence, figuratively, in the train of. Bard, a poet. Mar'tyr, one who sacrifices what is of great value to him for the sake of principle. Sage, a wise man. 3. Hail, to salute.
XXV. THE RIGHTEOUS NEVER FORSAKEN.
1. It was Saturday night, and the widow of the Pine Cottage sat by her blazing fagots, with her five tattered children at her side, endeavoring by listening to the artlessness of their prattle to dissipate the heavy gloom that pressed upon her mind. For a year, her own feeble hand had provided for her helpless family, for she had no supporter: she thought of no friend in all the wide, unfriendly world around.
2. But that mysterious Providence, the wisdom of whose ways is above human comprehension, had visited her with wasting sickness, and her little means had become exhausted. It was now, too, midwinter, and the snow lay heavy and deep through all the surrounding forests, while storms still seemed gathering in the heavens, and the driving wind roared amid the neighboring pines, and rocked her puny mansion.
3. The last herring smoked upon the coals before her; it was the only article of food she possessed, and no wonder her forlorn, desolate state brought up in her lone bosom all the anxieties of a mother when she looked upon her children: and no wonder, forlorn as she was, if she suffered the heart swellings of despair to rise, even though she knew that He, whose promise is to the widow and to the orphan, can not forget his word.
4. Providence had many years before taken from her her eldest son, who went from his forest home to try his fortune on the high seas, since which she had heard no tidings of him; and in her latter time had, by the hand of death, deprived her of the companion and staff of her earthly pilgrimage, in the person of her husband. Yet to this hour she had upborne; she had not only been able to provide for her little flock, but had never lost an opportunity of ministering to the wants of the miserable and destitute.
5. The indolent may well bear with poverty while the ability to gain sustenance remains. The individual who has but his own wants to supply may suffer with fortitude the winter of want; his affections are not wounded, his heart is not wrung. The most desolate in populous cities may hope, for charity has not quite closed her hand and heart, and shut her eyes on misery.
6. But the industrious mother of helpless and depending children, far from the reach of human charity, has none of these to console her. And such a one was the widow of the Pine Cottage; but as she bent over the fire, and took up the last scanty remnant of food to spread before her children, her spirits seemed to brighten up, as by some sudden and mysterious impulse, and Cowper's beautiful lines came uncalled across her mind:
"Judge not the Lord by feeble sense. But trust him for his grace; Behind a frowning Providence He hides a smiling face."
7. The smoked herring was scarcely laid upon the table, when a gentle rap at the door, and the loud barking of a dog, attracted the attention of the family. The children flew to open it, and a weary traveler, in tattered garments and in apparently indifferent health; entered, and begged a lodging and a mouthful of food. Said he: "It is now twenty-four hour's since I tasted bread." The widow's heart bled anew, as under a fresh complication of distresses; for her sympathies lingered not around her fireside. She hesitated not even now; rest, and a share of all she had, she proffered to the stranger. "'We shall not be forsaken," said she, "or suffer deeper for an act of charity."
8. The traveler drew near the board, but when he saw the scanty fare, he raised his eyes toward heaven with astonishment: "And is this all your store?" said he; "and a share of this do you offer to one you know not? then never saw I charity before! But, madam," said he, continuing, "do you not wrong your children by giving a part of your last mouthful to a stranger?"
9. "Ah," said the poor widow—and the tear-drops gushed into her eyes as she said it—"I have a boy, a darling son, somewhere on the face of the wide world, unless Heaven has taken him away, and I only act toward you as I would that others should act toward him. God, who sent manna from heaven, can provide for us as he did for Israel; and how should I this night offend him, if my son should be a wanderer, destitute as you, and he should have provided for him a home, even poor as this, were I to turn you unrelieved away!"
10. The widow ended, and the stranger, springing from his seat, clasped her in his arms. "God indeed has provided your son a home, and has given him wealth to reward the goodness of his benefactress: my mother! oh, my mother!" It was her long lost son, returned to her bosom from the Indies. He had chosen that disguise that he might the more completely surprise his family; and never was surprise more perfect, or followed by a sweeter cup of joy.
DEFINITIONS.—1. Fag'ots. bundles of sticks used for fuel. Prat'tle, trifling talk. Dis'si-pate, to scatter. 2. Pu'ny, small and weak. 4. Pil'grim-age, a journey. 5. Sus'te-nance, that which supports life. For'ti-tude, resolute endurance. 7. In-dif'fer-ent, neither very good nor very bad. Com-pli-ca'tion, entanglement. Sym'pa-thies, compassion. Prof'fered, offered to give. 9. Man'na, food miraculously provided by God for the Israelites.
XXVI. ABOU BEN ADHEM.
James Henry Leigh Hunt (b. 1784, d. 1859) was the son of a West Indian, who married an American lady, and practiced law in Philadelphia until the Revolution; being a Tory, he then returned to England, where Leigh Hunt was born. The latter wrote many verses while yet a boy, and in 1801 his father published a collection of them, entitled "Juvenilia." For many years he was connected with various newspapers, and, while editor of the "Examiner," was imprisoned for two years for writing disrespectfully of the prince regent. While in prison he was visited frequently by the poets Byron, Moore, Lamb, Shelley, and Keats; and there wrote "The Feast of the Poets," "The Descent of Liberty, a Mask," and "The Story of Rimini," which immediately gave him a reputation as a poet. His writings include various translations, dramas, novels, collections of essays, and poems.
1. ABOU BEN ADHEM (may his tribe increase!) Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace, And saw within the moonlight in his room, Making it rich and like a lily in bloom, An angel writing in a book of gold.
2. Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold; And to the presence in the room he said, "What writest thou?" The vision raised its head, And, with a look made of all sweet accord, Answered, "The names of those who love the Lord."
3. "And is mine one?" said Abou. "Nay, not so," Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low, But cheerly still; and said, "I pray thee, then, Write me as one that loves his fellow-men."
4. The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night It came again, with a great wakening light, And showed the names whom love of God had blessed; And, lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.
NOTE.—The above selection is written in imitation of an oriental fable.
XXVII. LUCY FORESTER.
John Wilson (b. 1785, d. 1854), better known as "Christopher North," was a celebrated author, poet, and critic, born at Paisley, Scotland, and educated at the University of Glasgow and at Oxford. In 1808 he moved to Westmoreland, England, where he formed one of the "Lake School" of poets. While at Oxford he gained a prize for a poem on "Painting, Poetry, and Architecture." In 1820 he became Professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of Edinburgh, which position he retained until 1851. He gained his greatest reputation as the chief author of "Noctes Ambrosianae," essays contributed to Blackwood's Magazine between 1822 and 1825. Among his poems may be mentioned "The Isle of Palms" and the "City of the Plague," This selection is adapted from "The Foresters," a tale of Scottish life.
1. Lucy was only six years old, but bold as a fairy; she had gone by herself a thousand times about the braes, and often upon errands to houses two or three miles distant. What had her parents to fear? The footpaths were all firm, and led to no places of danger, nor are infants themselves incautious when alone in then pastimes. Lucy went singing into the low woods, and singing she reappeared on the open hillside. With her small white hand on the rail, she glided along the wooden bridge, or tripped from stone to stone across the shallow streamlet.
2. The creature would be away for hours, and no fear be felt on her account by anyone at home; whether she had gone, with her basket on her arm, to borrow some articles of household use from a neighbor, or, merely for her own solitary delight, had wandered off to the braes to play among the flowers, coming back laden with wreaths and garlands.
3. The happy child had been invited to pass a whole day, from morning to night, at Ladyside (a farmhouse about two miles off) with her playmates the Maynes; and she left home about an hour after sunrise.
4. During her absence, the house was silent but happy, and, the evening being now far advanced, Lucy was expected home every minute, and Michael, Agnes, and Isabel, her father, mother, and aunt, went to meet her on the way. They walked on and on, wondering a little, but in no degree alarmed till they reached Ladyside, and heard the cheerful din of the children within, still rioting at the close of the holiday. Jacob Mayne came to the door, but, on their kindly asking why Lucy had not been sent home before daylight was over, he looked painfully surprised, and said that she had not been at Ladyside.
5. Within two hours, a hundred persons were traversing the hills in all directions, even at a distance which it seemed most unlikely that poor Lucy could have reached. The shepherds and their dogs, all the night through, searched every nook, every stony and rocky place, every piece of taller heather, every crevice that could conceal anything alive or dead: but no Lucy was there.
6. Her mother, who for a while seemed inspired with supernatural strength, had joined in the search, and with a quaking heart looked into every brake, or stopped and listened to every shout and halloo reverberating among the hills, intent to seize upon some tone of recognition or discovery. But the moon sank; and then the stars, whose increased brightness had for a short time supplied her place, all faded away; and then came the gray dawn of the morning, and then the clear brightness of the day,—and still Michael and Agnes were childless.
7. "She has sunk into some mossy or miry place," said Michael, to a man near him, into whose face he could not look, "a cruel, cruel death to one like her! The earth on which my child walked has closed over her, and we shall never see her more!"
8. At last, a man who had left the search, and gone in a direction toward the highroad, came running with something in his arms toward the place where Michael and others were standing beside Agnes, who lay, apparently exhausted almost to dying, on the sward. He approached hesitatingly; and Michael saw that he carried Lucy's bonnet, clothes, and plaid.
9. It was impossible not to see some spots of blood upon the frill that the child had worn around her neck. "Murdered! murdered!" was the one word whispered or ejaculated all around; but Agnes heard it not; for, worn out by that long night of hope and despair, she had fallen asleep, and was, perhaps, seeking her lost Lucy in her dreams.
10. Isabel took the clothes, and, narrowly inspecting them with eye and hand, said, with a fervent voice that was heard even in Michael's despair, "No, Lucy is yet among the living. There are no marks of violence on the garments of the innocent; no murderer's hand has been here. These blood spots have been put here to deceive. Besides, would not the murderer have carried off these things? For what else would he have murdered her? But, oh! foolish despair! What speak I of? For, wicked as the world is—ay! desperately wicked—there is not, on all the surface of the wide earth, a hand that would murder our child! Is it not plain as the sun in the heaven, that Lucy has been stolen by some wretched gypsy beggar?"
11. The crowd quietly dispersed, and horse and foot began to scour the country. Some took the highroads, others all the bypaths, and many the trackless hills. Now that they were in some measure relieved from the horrible belief that the child was dead, the worst other calamity seemed nothing, for hope brought her back to their arms.
12. Agnes had been able to walk home to Bracken-Braes, and Michael and Isabel sat by her bedside. All her strength was gone, and she lay at the mercy of the rustle of a leaf, or a shadow across the window. Thus hour after hour passed, till it was again twilight. "I hear footsteps coming up the brae," said Agnes, who had for some time appeared to be slumbering; and in a few moments the voice of Jacob Mayne was heard at the outer door.
13. Jacob wore a solemn expression of countenance, and he seemed, from his looks, to bring no comfort. Michael stood up between him and his wife, and looked into his heart. Something there seemed to be in his face that was not miserable. "If he has heard nothing of my child," thought Michael, "this man must care little for his own fireside." "Oh, speak, speak," said Agnes; "yet why need you speak? All this has been but a vain belief, and Lucy is in heaven."
14. "Something like a trace of her has been discovered; a woman, with a child that did not look like a child of hers, was last night at Clovenford, and left it at the dawning." "Do you hear that, my beloved Agnes?" said Isabel; "she will have tramped away with Lucy up into Ettrick or Yarrow; but hundreds of eyes will have been upon her; for these are quiet but not solitary glens; and the hunt will be over long before she has crossed down upon Hawick. I knew that country in my young days, What say you, Mr. Mayne? There is the light of hope in your face." "There is no reason to doubt, ma'am, that it was Lucy. Everybody is sure of it. If it was my own Rachel, I should have no fear as to seeing her this blessed night."
15. Jacob Mayne now took a chair, and sat down, with even a smile upon his countenance. "I may tell you now, that Watty Oliver knows it was your child, for he saw her limping along after the gypsy at Galla-Brigg; but, having no suspicion, he did not take a second look at her,—but one look is sufficient, and he swears it was bonny Lucy Forester."
16. Aunt Isabel, by this time, had bread and cheese and a bottle of her own elder-flower wine on the table. "You have been a long and hard journey, wherever you have been, Mr. Mayne; take some refreshment;" and Michael asked a blessing.
17. Jacob saw that he might now venture to reveal the whole truth. "No, no, Mrs. Irving, I am over happy to eat or to drink. You are all prepared for the blessing that awaits you. Your child is not far off; and I myself, for it is I myself that found her, will bring her by the hand, and restore her to her parents."
18. Agnes had raised herself up in her bed at these words, but she sank gently back on her pillow; aunt Isabel was rooted to her chair; and Michael, as he rose up, felt as if the ground were sinking under his feet. There was a dead silence all around the house for a short space, and then the sound of many voices, which again by degrees subsided. The eyes of all then looked, and yet feared to look, toward the door.
19. Jacob Mayne was not so good as his word, for he did not bring Lucy by the hand to restore her to her parents; but dressed again in her own bonnet and gown, and her own plaid, in rushed their own child, by herself, with tears and sobs of joy, and her father laid her within her mother's bosom.
DEFINITIONS.—1. Brae, shelving ground, a declivity or slope of a hill. Pas'times, sports, plays, 4. Ri'ot-ing, romping. 5. Heath'er, an evergreen shrub bearing beautiful flowers, used in Great Britain for making brooms, etc. 6. In-spired', animated, enlivened. Su-per—nat'u-ral, more than human. Brake, a place overgrown with shrubs and brambles. Re-ver'ber-at-ing, resounding, echoing. In-tent', having the mind closely fixed. 8. Plaid (pro. plad), a striped or decked overgarment worn by the Scotch. 9. E-jac'u-lat-ed, ex-claimed. 11. Scour, to pass over swiftly and thoroughly.
Note.—The scene of this story is laid in Scotland, and many of the words employed, such as brae, brake, heather, and plaid, are but little used except in that country.
XXVIII. THE REAPER AND THE FLOWERS.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (b. 1807, d. 1882), the son of Hon. Stephen Longfellow, an eminent lawyer, was born in Portland, Maine. He graduated at Bowdoin College in 1825. After spending four years in Europe, he was Professor of Modern Languages and Literature at Bowdoin till 1835, when he was appointed to the chair of Modern Languages and Belles-lettres in Harvard University. He resigned his professorship in 1854, after which time he resided in Cambridge, Mass. Longfellow wrote many original works both in verse and prose, and made several translations, the most famous of which is that of the works of Dante. His poetry is always chaste and elegant, showing traces of careful scholarship in every line. The numerous and varied editions of his poems are evidences of their popularity.
1. There is a Reaper whose name is Death, And, with his sickle keen, He reaps the bearded grain at a breath, And the flowers that grow between.
2. "Shall I have naught that is fair?" saith he; "Have naught but the bearded grain? Though the breath of these flowers is sweet to me, I will give them all back again."
3. He gazed at the flowers with tearful eyes, He kissed their drooping leaves; It was for the Lord of Paradise He bound them in his sheaves.
4. "My Lord has need of these flowerets gay," The Reaper said, and smiled; "Dear tokens of the earth are they, Where he was once a child.
5. "They shall all bloom in the fields of light, Transplanted by my care, And saints, upon their garments white, These sacred blossoms wear."
6. And the mother gave in tears and pain The flowers she most did love; She knew she should find them all again In the fields of light above.
7. O, not in cruelty, not in wrath, The Reaper came that day, 'T was an angel visited the green earth, And took the flowers away.
DEFINITIONS.—3. Sheaves, bundles of grain. 4. To'ken (pro. to'kn), a souvenir, that which is to recall some person, thing, or event. 6. Trans-plant'ed, removed and planted in another place.
XXIX. THE TOWN PUMP.
Nathaniel Hawthorne (b.1804, d.1864) was born in Salem, Mass. He graduated at Bowdoin College in 1825. His earliest literary productions, written for periodicals, were published in two volumes—the first in 1837, the second in 1842—under the title of "Twice-Told Tales," "Mosses from an Old Manse," another series of tales and sketches, was published in 1845. From 1846 to 1850 he was surveyor of the port of Salem. In 1852 he was appointed United States consul for Liverpool. After holding this office four years, he traveled for some time on the continent. His most popular works are "The Scarlet Letter," a work showing a deep knowledge of human nature, "The House of the Seven Gables," "The Blithedale Romance." and "The Marble Faun," an Italian romance, which is regarded by many as the best of his works. Being of a modest and retiring disposition, Mr. Hawthorne avoided publicity. Most of his works are highly imaginative. As a prose writer he has no superior among American authors. He died at Plymouth, N. H., while on a visit to the White Mountains for his health.
[SCENE.—The corner of two principal streets. The Town Pump talking through its nose.]
1. Noon, by the north clock! Noon, by the east! High noon, too, by those hot sunbeams which fall, scarcely aslope, upon my head, and almost make the water bubble and smoke in the trough under my nose. Truly, we public characters have a tough time of it! And among all the town officers, chosen at the yearly meeting, where is he that sustains, for a single year, the burden of such manifold duties as are imposed, in perpetuity, upon the Town Pump?
2. The title of town treasurer is rightfully mine, as guardian of the best treasure the town has. The overseers of the poor ought to make me their chairman, since I provide bountifully for the pauper, without expense to him that pays taxes. I am at the head of the fire department, and one of the physicians of the board of health. As a keeper or the peace, all water drinkers confess me equal to the constable. I perform some of the duties of the town clerk, by promulgating public notices, when they are pasted on my front.
3. To speak within bounds, I am chief person of the municipality, and exhibit, moreover, an admirable pattern to my brother officers by the cool, steady, upright, downright, and impartial discharge of my business, and the constancy with which I stand to my post. Summer or winter, nobody seeks me in vain; for all day long I am seen at the busiest corner, just above the market, stretching out my arms to rich and poor alike; and at night I hold a lantern over my head, to show where I am, and to keep people out of the gutters.
4. At this sultry noontide, I am cupbearer to the parched populace, for whose benefit an iron goblet is chained to my waist Like a dramseller on the public square, on a muster day, I cry aloud to all and sundry, in my plainest accents, and at the very tiptop of my voice. "Here it is, gentlemen! Here is the good liquor! Walk up, walk up, gentlemen, walk up, walk up! Here is the superior stuff! Here is the unadulterated ale of father Adam! better than Cognac, Hollands, Jamaica, strong beer, or wine of any price; here it is, by the hogshead or the single glass, and not a cent to pay. Walk up, gentlemen, walk up and help yourselves!"
5. It were a pity if all this outcry should draw no customers. Here they come. A hot day, gentlemen. Quaff and away again, so as to keep yourselves in a nice, cool sweat. You, my friend, will need another cupful to wash the dust out of your throat, if it be as thick there as it is on your cowhide shoes. I see that you have trudged half a score of miles to-day, and, like a wise man, have passed by the taverns, and stopped at the running brooks and well curbs. Otherwise, betwixt heat without and fire within, you would have been burnt to a cinder, or melted down to nothing at all—in the fashion of a jellyfish.
6. Drink, and make room for that other fellow, who seeks my aid to quench the fiery fever of last night's potations, which he drained from no cup of mine. Welcome, most rubicund sir! You and I have been strangers hitherto; nor, to confess the truth, will my nose be anxious for a closer intimacy, till the fumes of your breath be a little less potent.
7. Mercy on you, man! The water absolutely hisses down your red-hot gullet, and is converted quite into steam in the miniature Tophet, which you mistake for a stomach. Fill again, and tell me, on the word of an honest toper, did you ever, in cellar, tavern, or any other kind of dramshop, spend the price of your children's food for a swig half so delicious? Now, for the first time these ten years, you know the flavor of cold water. Good-by; and whenever you are thirsty, recollect that I keep a constant supply at the old stand.
8. Who next? Oh, my little friend, you are just let loose from school, and come hither to scrub your blooming face, and drown the memory of certain taps of the ferule, and other schoolboy troubles, in a draught from the Town Pump. Take it, pure as the current of your young life; take it, and may your heart and tongue never be scorched with a fiercer thirst than now.
9. There, my dear child, put down the cup, and yield your place to this elderly gentleman, who treads so tenderly over the paving stones that I suspect he is afraid of breaking them. What! he limps by without so much as thanking me, as if my hospitable offers were meant only for people who have no wine cellars.
10. Well, well, sir, no harm done, I hope! Go, draw the cork, tip the decanter; but when your great toe shall set you a-roaring, it will be no affair of mine. If gentlemen love the pleasant titillation of the gout, it is all one to the Town Pump. This thirsty dog, with his red tongue lolling out, does not scorn my hospitality, but stands on his hind legs, and laps eagerly out of the trough. See how lightly he capers away again! Jowler, did your worship ever have the gout?
11. Your pardon, good people! I must interrupt my stream of eloquence, and spout forth a stream of water to replenish the trough for this teamster and his two yoke of oxen, who have come all the way from Staunton, or somewhere along that way. No part of my business gives me more pleasure than the watering of cattle. Look! how rapidly they lower the watermark on the sides of the trough, till their capacious stomachs are moistened with a gallon or two apiece, and they can afford time to breathe, with sighs of calm enjoyment! Now they roll their quiet eyes around the brim of their monstrous drinking vessel. An ox is your true toper.
12. I hold myself the grand reformer of the age. From my spout, and such spouts as mine, must flow the stream that shall cleanse our earth of a vast portion of its crime and anguish, which have gushed from the fiery fountains of the still. In this mighty enterprise, the cow shall be my great confederate. Milk and water!
13. Ahem! Dry work this speechifying, especially to all unpracticed orators. I never conceived till now what toil the temperance lecturers undergo for my sake. Do, some kind Christian, pump a stroke or two, just to wet my whistle. Thank you, sir. But to proceed.
14. The Town Pump and the Cow! Such is the glorious partnership that shall finally monopolize the whole business of quenching thirst. Blessed consummation! Then Poverty shall pass away from the land, finding no hovel so wretched where her squalid form may shelter itself. Then Disease, for lack of other victims, shall gnaw his own heart and die. Then Sin, if she do not die, shall lose half her strength.
15. Then there will be no war of households. The husband and the wife, drinking deep of peaceful joy, a calm bliss of temperate affections, shall pass hand in hand through life, and lie down, not reluctantly, at its protracted close. To them the past will be no turmoil of mad dreams, nor the future an eternity of such moments as follow the delirium of a drunkard. Their dead faces shall express what their spirits were, and are to be, by a lingering smile of memory and hope.
16. Drink, then, and be refreshed! The water is as pure and cold as when it slaked the thirst of the red hunter, and flowed beneath the aged bough, though now this gem of the wilderness is treasured under these hot stones, where no shadow falls, but from the brick buildings. But, still is this fountain the source of health, peace, and happiness, and I behold, with certainty and joy, the approach of the period when the virtues of cold water, too little valued since our father's days, will be fully appreciated and recognized by all.
DEFINITIONS.—1. Per-pe-tu'i-ty, endless duration. 2. Pro-mul'gat-ing, announcing. 3. Mu-nic-i-pal'i-ty, a division of a country or of a city. 4. Mus'ter day, parade day. Sun'dry, several. Un-a-dul'ter-at-ed, pure, unmixed. Co'gnac (pro. Kon'yak), a French brandy. 6. Po-ta'tions, drinkings. Ru'bi-cund, inclining to red-ness. 7. To'phet, the infernal regions. 10. Tit-il-la'tion, tickling. 11. Re-plen'ish, to fill again. 14. Mo-nop'o-lize, to obtain the whole. Con-sum-ma'tion, completion, termination. Squalid, filthy. 15. Pro-tract'ed, delayed. 16. Slaked, quenched.
XXX. GOOD NIGHT.
Samuel Griswold Goodrich (b. 1793, d. 1860) was born in Ridgefield, Conn. Mr. Goodrich is best known as "Peter Parley," under which assumed name he commenced the publication of a series of Juvenile works about 1827. He edited "Parley's Magazine" from 1841 to 1854. He was appointed United States consul for Paris in 1848, and held that office four years. He was a voluminous writer, and his works are interesting and popular. His "Recollections of a Lifetime" was published in 1857, and "Peter Parley's Own Story" the year after his death.
1. The sun has sunk behind the hills, The shadows o'er the landscape creep; A drowsy sound the woodland fills, As nature folds her arms to sleep: Good night—good night.
2. The chattering jay has ceased his din, The noisy robin sings no more; The crow, his mountain haunt within, Dreams 'mid the forest's surly roar: Good night—good night.
3. The sunlit cloud floats dim and pale; The dew is falling soft and still, The mist hangs trembling o'er the vale, And silence broods o'er yonder mill: Good night—good night.
4. The rose, so ruddy in the light, Bends on its stem all rayless now; And by its side a lily white, A sister shadow, seems to bow: Good night—good night.
5. The bat may wheel on silent wing, The fox his guilty vigils keep, The boding owl his dirges sing; But love and innocence will sleep: Good night—good night.
XXXI. AN OLD-FASHIONED GIRL.
Louisa May Alcott (b. 1833, d. 1888) was born at Germantown, Pa., of New England parentage. Her parents afterwards returned to New England, and most of her life was spent in Concord, Mass. During the Civil War she went to Washington and nursed the wounded and sick until her own health gave way. As a child she used to write stories for the amusement of her playmates, and in 1857 published her first book, "Flower Fables." Her first novel, "Moods," appeared in 1865. "Little Women," published in 1868, is a picture of her own home life. "An Old Fashioned Girl," from which this extract is adapted, was published in 1870, and is one of her most popular books.
1. Polly hoped the "dreadful boy" (Tom) would not be present; but he was, and stared at her all dinner time in a most trying manner.
2. Mr. Shaw, a busy-looking gentleman, said, "How do you do, my dear? Hope you'll enjoy yourself;" and then appeared to forget her entirely. Mrs. Shaw, a pale, nervous woman, greeted her little guest kindly, and took care that she wanted for nothing.
3. Madam Shaw, a quiet old lady, with an imposing cap, exclaimed, on seeing Polly, "Bless my heart! the image of her mother—a sweet woman—how is she, dear?" and kept peering at the newcomer over her glasses till, between Madam and Tom, poor Polly lost her appetite.
4. Her cousin Fanny chatted like a magpie, and little Maud fidgeted, till Tom proposed to put her under the big dish cover, which produced such an explosion that the young lady was borne screaming away by the much-enduring nurse.
5. It was, altogether, an uncomfortable dinner, and Polly was very glad when it was over. They all went about their own affairs; and, after doing the honors of the house, Fan was called to the dressmaker, leaving Polly to amuse herself in the great drawing-room.
6. Polly was glad to be alone for a few minutes; and, having examined all the pretty things about her, began to walk up and down over the soft, flowery carpet, humming to herself, as the daylight faded, and only the ruddy glow of the fire filled the room.
7. Presently Madam came slowly in, and sat down in her armchair, saying, "That's a fine old tune; sing it to me, my dear. I have n't heard it this many a day."
8. Polly did n't like to sing before strangers, for she had no teaching but such as her busy mother could give her; but she had been taught the utmost respect for old people, and, having no reason for refusing, she directly went to the piano and did as she was bid.
9. "That's the sort of music it's a pleasure to hear. Sing some more, dear," said Madam, in her gentle way, when she had done.
10. Pleased with this praise, Polly sang away in a fresh little voice that went straight to the listener's heart and nestled there. The sweet old tunes that one is never tired of were all Polly's store. The more she sung, the better she did it; and when she wound up with "A Health to King Charlie," the room quite rung with the stirring music made by the big piano and the little maid.
11. "That's a jolly tune! Sing it again, please," cried Tom's voice; and there was Tom's red head bobbing up over the high back of the chair where he had hidden himself.
12. It gave Polly quite a turn, for she thought no one was hearing her but the old lady dozing by the fire. "I can't sing any more; I'm tired," she said, and walked away to Madam in the other room. The red head vanished like a meteor, for Polly's tone had been decidedly cool.
13. The old lady put out her hand, and, drawing Polly to her knee, looked into her face with such kind eyes that Polly forgot the impressive cap, and smiled at her confidently; for she saw that her simple music had pleased her listener, and she felt glad to know it.
14. "You mus'n't mind my staring, dear," said Madam, softly pinching her rosy cheek, "I haven't seen a little girl for so long, it does my old eyes good to look at you." Polly thought that a very odd speech, and could n't help saying, "Are n't Fan and Maud little girls, too?"
15. "Oh, dear, no! not what I call little girls. Fan has been a young lady this two years, and Maud is a spoiled baby. Your mother's a very sensible woman, my child."
16. "What a queer old lady!" thought Polly; but she said "Yes'm," respectfully, and looked at the fire. "You don't understand what I mean, do you?" asked Madam, still holding her by the chin. "No'm; not quite."
17. "Well, dear, I'll tell you. In my day, children of fourteen and fifteen did n't dress in the height of the fashion; go to parties as nearly like those of grown people as it's possible to make them; lead idle, giddy, unhealthy lives, and get blase' at twenty. We were little folks till eighteen or so; worked and studied, dressed and played, like children; honored our parents; and our days were much longer in the land than now, it seems to me."
18. The old lady appeared to forget Polly, at the end of her speech; for she sat patting the plump little hand that lay in her own, and looking up at a faded picture of an old gentleman with a ruffled shirt and a queue. "Was he your father, Madam?"
19. "Yes, my dear; my honored father. I did up his frills to the day of his death; and the first money I ever earned, was five dollars which he offered as a prize to whichever of his six girls would lay the handsomest darn in his silk stockings."
20. "How proud you must have been!" cried Polly, leaning on the old lady's knee with an interested face.
21. "Yes; and we all learned to make bread, and cook, and wore little chintz gowns, and were as gay and hearty as kittens. All lived to be grandmothers; and I'm the last—seventy next birthday, my dear, and not worn out yet; though daughter Shaw is an invalid at forty."
22. "That's the way I was brought up, and that's why Fan calls me old-fashioned, I suppose. Tell more about your papa, please; I like it," said Polly.
23. "Say, 'father.' We never called him papa; and if one of my brothers had addressed him as 'governor,' as boys now do, I really think he'd have him cut off with a shilling."
DEFINITIONS.—3. Im-pos'ing, having the power of exciting attention and feeling, impressive. 4. Mag'pie, a noisy, mischievous bird, common in Europe and America. 12. Van'ished, disappeared. Me'te-or, a shooting star. 13. Con'fi-dent-ly, with trust. 17. Bla-se' (pro. bla-za'), a French word meaning surfeited, rendered incapable further enjoyment. 21. In'va-lid, a person who is sickly.
XXXII. MY MOTHER'S HANDS.
1. Such beautiful, beautiful hands! They're neither white nor small; And you, I know, would scarcely think That they are fair at all. I've looked on hands whose form and hue A sculptor's dream might be; Yet are those aged, wrinkled hands More beautiful to me.
2. Such beautiful, beautiful hands! Though heart were weary and sad, Those patient hands kept toiling on, That the children might be glad. I always weep, as, looking back To childhood's distant day, I think how those hands rested not When mine were at their play.
3. Such beautiful, beautiful hands! They're growing feeble now, For time and pain have left their mark On hands and heart and brow. Alas! alas! the nearing time, And the sad, sad day to me, When 'neath the daisies, out of sight, These hands will folded be.
4. But oh! beyond this shadow land, Where all is bright and fair, I know full well these dear old hands Will palms of victory bear; Where crystal streams through endless years Flow over golden sands, And where the old grow young again, I'll clasp my mother's hands.
XXXIII. THE DISCONTENTED PENDULUM.
Jane Taylor (b. 1783, d. 1824) was born in London. Her mother was a writer of some note. In connection with her sister Ann, Jane Taylor wrote several juvenile works of more than ordinary excellence. Among them were "Hymns for Infant Minds" and "Original Poems." Besides these, she wrote "Display, a Tale," "Essays in Rhyme," and "Contributions of QQ." Her writings are graceful, and often contain a useful moral.
1. An old dock that had stood for fifty years in a farmer's kitchen, without giving its owner any cause of complaint, early one summer's morning, before the family was stirring, suddenly stopped. Upon this, the dial plate (if we may credit the fable) changed countenance with alarm; the hands made a vain effort to continue their course; the wheels remained motionless with surprise; the weights hung speechless; and each member felt disposed to lay the blame on the others. At length the dial instituted a formal inquiry as to the cause of the stagnation, when hands, wheels, weights, with one voice, protested their innocence.
2. But now a faint tick was heard below from the pendulum, who spoke thus: "I confess myself to be the sole cause of the present stoppage; and I am willing, for the general satisfaction, to assign my reasons. The truth is, that I am tired of ticking." Upon hearing this, the old clock became so enraged that it was upon the very point of striking. "Lazy wire!" exclaimed the dial plate, holding up its bands.
3. "Very good!" replied the pendulum; "it is vastly easy for you, Mistress Dial, who have always, as everybody knows, set yourself up above me,—it is vastly easy for you, I say, to accuse other people of laziness! you who have had nothing to do all your life but to stare people in the face, and to amuse yourself with watching all that goes on in the kitchen. Think, I beseech you, how you would like to be shut up for life in this dark closet, and to wag backward and forward year after year, as I do."
4. "As to that," said the dial, "is there not a window in your house on purpose for you to look through?" "For all that," resumed the pendulum, "it is very dark here; and, although there is a window, I dare not stop even for an instant to look out at it. Besides, I am really tired of my way of life; and, if you wish, I'll tell you how I took this disgust at my employment. I happened, this morning, to be calculating how many times I should have to tick in the course of only the next twenty-four hours; perhaps some one of you above there can give me the exact sum."
5. The minute hand, being quick at figures, presently replied, "Eighty-six thousand four hundred times." "Exactly so," replied the pendulum. "Well, I appeal to you all, if the very thought of this was not enough to fatigue anyone; and when I began to multiply the strokes of one day by those of months and years, really it was no wonder if I felt discouraged at the prospect. So, after a great deal of reasoning and hesitation, thinks I to myself, I'll stop."
6. The dial could scarcely keep its countenance during this harangue; but, resuming its gravity, thus replied: "Dear Mr. Pendulum, I am really astonished that such a useful, industrious person as yourself should have been seized by this sudden weariness. It is true, you have done a great deal of work in your time; so have we all, and are likely to do; which, although it may fatigue us to think of, the question is, whether it will fatigue us to do. Would you now do me the favor to give about half a dozen strokes to illustrate my argument?"
7. The pendulum complied, and ticked six times at its usual pace. "Now," resumed the dial, "may I be allowed to inquire if that exertion is at all fatiguing or disagreeable to you?" "Not in the least," replied the pendulum; "it is not of six strokes that I complain, nor of sixty, but of millions."
8. "Very good," replied the dial; "but recollect that, although you may think of a million of strokes in an instant, you are required to execute but one; and that, however often you may hereafter have to swing, a moment will always be given you to swing in." "That consideration staggers me, I confess," said the pendulum. "Then I hope," resumed the dial plate, "that we shall all return to our duty immediately; for the maids will be in bed if we stand idling thus."
9. Upon this, the weights, who had never been accused of light conduct, used all their influence in urging him to proceed; when, as if with one consent, the wheels began to turn, the hands began to move, the pendulum began to swing, and, to its credit, ticked as loud as ever; while a red beam of the rising sun, that streamed through a hole in the kitchen, shining full upon the dial plate, it brightened up as if nothing had been the matter.
10. When the farmer came down to breakfast that morning, upon looking at the clock, he declared that his watch had gained half an hour in the night.
DEFINITIONS.—1. In'sti-tut-ed, commenced, began. Pro-test'ed, solemnly declared. 4. Cal'cu-lat-ing, reckoning, computing. 5. Pros'pect, anticipation, that to which one looks forward. 6. Ha-rangue' (pro. ha-rang'), speech. Il-lus'trate, to make clear, to exemplify. 7. Ex-er'tion (pro. egz-er'shun), effort. 8. Ex'e-eute, to complete, to finish. Con-sid-er-a'tion, reason.
XXXIV. THE DEATH OF THE FLOWERS.
William Cullen Bryant (b. 1794, d. 1878) was born in Cummington, Mass. He entered Williams College at the age of sixteen, but was honorably dismissed at the end of two years. At the age of twenty-one he was admitted to the bar, and practiced his profession successfully for nine years. In 1826 he removed to New York, and became connected with the "Evening Post"—a connection which continued to the time of his death. His residence for more than thirty of the last years of his life was at Roslyn, Long Island. He visited Europe several times; and in 1849 he continued his travels into Egypt and Syria, In all his poems, Mr. Bryant exhibits a remarkable love for, and a careful study of, nature. His language, both in prose and verse, is always chaste, correct, and elegant. "Thanatopsis," perhaps the best known of all his poems, was written when he was but nineteen. His excellent translations of the "Iliad" and the "Odyssey" of Homer and some of his best poems, were written after he had passed the age of seventy. He retained his powers and his activity till the close of his life.
1. The melancholy days are come, The saddest of the year, Of wailing winds, and naked woods, And meadows brown and sear. Heaped in the hollows of the grove The autumn leaves lie dead; They rustle to the eddying gust, And to the rabbit's tread. The robin and the wren are flown, And from the shrubs the jay, And from the wood top calls the crow Through all the gloomy day.
2. Where are the flowers, the fair young flowers, That lately sprang and stood In brighter light and softer airs, A beauteous sisterhood? Alas! they all are in their graves; The gentle race of flowers Are lying in their lowly beds With the fair and good of ours. The rain is falling where they lie; But the cold November rain Calls not from out the gloomy earth The lovely ones again.
3. The windflower and the violet, They perished long ago, And the brier rose and the orchis died Amid the summer's glow; But on the hill, the golden-rod, And the aster in the wood, And the yellow sunflower by the brook, In autumn beauty stood, Till fell the frost from the clear, cold heaven, As falls the plague on men, And the brightness of their smile was gone From upland, glade, and glen,
4. And now, when comes the calm, mild day, As still such days will come, To call the squirrel and the bee From out their winter home; When the sound of dropping nuts is heard, Though all the trees are still, And twinkle in the smoky light The waters of the rill, The south wind searches for the flowers Whose fragrance late he bore, And sighs to find them in the wood And by the stream no more.
5. And then I think of one, who in Her youthful beauty died, The fair, meek blossom that grew up And faded by my side. In the cold, moist earth we laid her, When the forest cast the leaf, And we wept that one so lovely Should have a life so brief; Yet not unmeet it was that one, Like that young friend of ours, So gentle and so beautiful, Should perish with the flowers.
DEFINITIONS.—1. Wail'ing, lamenting, mourning. Sear, dry, withered. 3. Glade, an open place in the forest. Glen, a valley, a dale. 4. Un-meet', improper, unfitting.
XXXV. THE THUNDERSTORM.
Washington Irving (b. 1783, d. 1859). This distinguished author, whose works have enriched American literature, was born in the city of New York. He had an ordinary school education, and began his literary career at the age of nineteen, by writing for a paper published by his brother. His first book, "Salmagundi," was published in 1807. Two years later he published "Knickerbocker's History of New York." In 1815 he sailed for Europe, and remained abroad seventeen years, during which time he wrote several of his works. From 1842 to 1846 he was minister to Spain. The last years of his life were passed at "Sunnyside," near Tarrytown, N.Y. He was never married. "The Life of Washington," his last work, was completed in the same year in which he died. Mr. Irving's works are characterized by humor, chaste sentiment, and elegance and correctness of expression. The following selection is from "Dolph" in "Bracehridge Hall."