There are a few pieces which contain some dialect. All dialect, period spelling, etc., has been preserved.
The remainder of the TN is at the end of the book.
* * * * *
When the voice is weak, it should be strengthened by frequent practice, by exercising it in the open air, and upon all convenient occasions.
* * * * *
The Universal Reciter,
81 Choice Pieces.
* * * * *
It is necessary not only to practise a little, but to practise a great deal. In this way ease, grace, and fluency are acquired.
81 CHOICE PIECES
OF RARE POETICAL GEMS, FINE SPECIMENS OF ORATORY, THRILLING SENTIMENT, ELOQUENCE, TENDER PATHOS, AND SPARKLING HUMOR.
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WILLIAM NICHOLSON AND SONS, 20, WARWICK SQUARE PATERNOSTER ROW, AND ALBION WORKS, WAKEFIELD.
PAGE. A Horse Car Incident 194
A love of a Bonnet 87
An Eruption of Mount Vesuvius 100
A Plea for the Ox 103
A Pleasure Exertion 203
A Precious Pickle 125
A Psalm of Life 231
Bell of the "Atlantic" 243
Big Oyster, The 122
Black Regiment, The 162
Boy Archer, The 72
David and Goliath 109
David's lament over Absalom 71
Dying Hebrew, The 41
Enlisting as Army Nurse 139
Falstaff's Boasting 64
Forging of the Anchor 148
Flowers, The 246
Give me back my Husband 44
Graves of a Household 249
Green Goose, The 175
Gridiron, The 144
Here she goes, and there she goes 105
How we hunted a Mouse 38
Hypochondriac, The 247
Ignorance is bliss 58
Injured Mother, The 50
Juvenile Pugilists 221
Knife Grinder, The 191
Last Man, The 232
Lord Dundreary at Brighton 151
Mantle of St. John De Matha, The 234
Mariner's Wife, The 11
Menagerie, The 56
Migratory Bones 177
Mills of God, The 55
Miser's Fate, The 16
Miss Maloney on the Chinese Question 119
Murdered Traveller, The 70
My Mother's Bible 138
My Friend's Secret 156
One Hoss Shay, The 46
Only Sixteen 143
On to Freedom 68
On the Shores of Tennessee 159
Owl, The 245
Pat and the Fox 22
Pat-ent Gun 229
Patrick's Colt 34
Paul Revere's Ride 200
Pauper's Death Bed 193
Pledge with Wine 250
Polish Boy, The 237
Preaching to the Poor 192
Rain Drops, The 172
Red Chignon 180
Sambo's Dilemma 20
San Francisco Auctioneer 227
Satan's Address to the Sun 32
Scolding Old Dame 174
Shamus O'Brien 214
She would be a Mason 18
Snyder's Nose 13
Socrates Snooks 198
That Hired Girl 241
There's but one pair of Stockings to mend to night 85
Thief of Time, The 164
The Old Man in the Stylish Church 223
The Old Man in the Model Church 225
The World for Sale 37
To my Mother 27
Two Weavers, The 117
Vain Regrets 158
Ventriloquist on a Stage Coach 76
Voices at the Throne 155
Vulture of the Alps, The 62
What ailed "Ugly Sam" 29
Which am de Mightiest 219
Widow Bedott's Poetry 112
Wilkins on Accomplishments 7
WILKINS ON ACCOMPLISHMENTS.
MR. WILKINS. Mrs. Wilkins, of all the aggravating women I ever came across, you are the worst. I believe you'd raise a riot in the cemetry if you were dead, you would. Don't you ever go prowling around any Quaker meeting, or you'll break it up in a plug muss. You? Why you'd put any other man's back up until he broke his spine. Oh! you're too annoying to live; I don't want to bother with you. Go to sleep.
MRS. WILKINS. But, Wilkins dear, just listen a minute. We must have that piano, and—
MR. W. Oh! don't "dear" me; I won't have it. You're the only dear thing around here—you're dear at any price. I tell you once for all that I don't get any new piano, and Mary Jane don't take singing lessons as long as I'm her father. There! If you don't understand that I'll say it over again. And now stop your clatter and go to sleep; I'm tired of hearing you cackle.
MRS. W. But, Wilk—
MR. W. Now don't aggravate me. I say Mary Jane shan't learn to sing and plant another instrument of torture in this house, while I'm boss of the family. Her voice is just like yours; it's got a twang to it like blowing on the edge of a piece of paper.
MRS. W. Ain't you ashamed, Wilk—
MR. W. It's disgrace enough to have you sitting down and pretending to sing, and trying to deafen people, without having the children do it. The first time I heard you sing I started round to the station-house and got six policemen, because I thought there was a murder in your house, and they were cutting you up by inches. I wish somebody would! I wouldn't go for any policeman now, not much!
MRS. W. I declare, you are a perfect brute!
MR. W. Not much, I wouldn't! But Smith, he told me yesterday that his family were kept awake half the night by the noise you made; and he said if I didn't stop those dogs from yowling in my cellar, he'd be obliged to complain to the board of health.
MRS. W. What an awful story, Mr. Wilk—
MR. W. Then I told him it was you, and you thought you could sing; and he advised me as a friend to get a divorce, because he said no man could live happily with any woman who had a voice like a cross-cut saw. He said I might as well have a machine-shop with a lot of files at work in my house as that, and he'd rather any time.
MRS. W. Phugh! I don't care what Smith says.
MR. W. And you a-talking about a new piano! Why, haven't we got musical instruments enough in the house? There's Holofernes Montgomery been blowing away in the garret for ten days with that old key bugle, until he got so black in the face that he won't get his colour back for a month, and then he only gets a spurt out of her every now and then. He's blown enough wind in her to get up a hurricane, and I expect nothing else but he'll get the old machine so chock full that she'll blow back at him some day and burst his brains out, and all along of your tomfoolery. You're a pretty mother, you are! You'd better go and join some asylum for feeble-minded idiots, you had.
MRS. W. Wilkins! I declare you're too bad, for—
MR. W. Yes—and there's Bucephalus Alexander, he's got his head full of your sentimental nonsense, and he thinks he's in love with a girl round the corner, and he meanders about and tries to sigh, and won't eat his victuals, and he's got to going down into the cellar and trying to sing "No one to love" in the coal-bin; and he like to scared the hired girl out of her senses, so that she went upstairs and had a fit on the kitchen door-mat, and came near dying on my hands.
MRS. W. That's not true, Mr. Wil—
MR. W. And never came to until I put her head under the hydrant. And then what does Bucephalus Alexander do but go round, night before last, and try to serenade the girl, until the old man histed up the sash and cracked away at Bucephalus Alexander with an old boot, and hit him in the face and blacked his eye, because he thought it was two cats a-yelping. Hang such a mother as you are! You go right to work to ruin your offspring.
MRS. W. You're talking nonsense, Wilk—
MR. W. You're about as fit to bring up children as a tadpole is to run a ferry boat, you are! But while I'm alive Mary Jane takes no singing lessons. Do you understand? It's bad enough to have her battering away at that piano like she had some grudge against it, and to have her visitors wriggle around and fidget and look miserable, as if they had cramp colic, while you make her play for them and have them get up and lie, and ask what it was, and say how beautiful it is, and steep their souls in falsehood and hypocrisy all on account of you. You'll have enough sins to answer for, old woman, without that.
MRS. W. I never did such a thing, and you—
MR. W. Yes—and you think Mary Jane can play, don't you? You think she can sit down and jerk more music than a whole orchestra, don't you? But she can't. You might about as well set a crowbar to opening oysters as set her to playing on that piano. You might, indeed!
MRS. W. You talk like a fool, Wilkins!
MR. W. Play! She play? Pshaw! Why, she's drummed away at that polka for six months and she can't get her grip on it yet. You might as well try to sing a long-metre hymn to "Fisher's Hornpipe," as to undertake to dance to that polka. It would jerk your legs out at the sockets, certain, or else it would give you St. Vitus' dance, and cripple you for life.
MRS. W. Mr. Wilkins, I'm going to tell you a secret.
MR. W. Oh! I don't want to hear your secrets—keep them to yourself.
MRS. W. It's about Mary Jane's singing.
MR. W. What?
MRS. W. Mary Jane, you know—her singing.
MR. W. I don't know, and I don't want to; she shan't take lessons, so dry up.
MRS. W. But she shall take them!
MR. W. I say she shan't!
MRS. W. She shall, and you can't help it.
MR. W. By George! What do you mean? I'm master in this house I'd like you to know.
MRS. W. Yes—but she's been taking lessons for a whole quarter, while you were down town, and I paid the bill out of the market money.
MR. W. Well! I hope I may be shot! You don't mean to say that? Well, if you ain't a perfectly abandoned wretch, hang me! Farewell, Mrs. Wilkins, farewell! I'm off by the first express-train for the West! I'll stop at Chicago, where the cars wait fifteen minutes for refreshments and a divorce—I'll take the divorce, that will be indeed refreshing! Farewell! F-a-r-e-well! Fare-r-r-r-r-r-r-well! Mrs. Wil-l-l-l-l-l-l-kins!
THE MARINERS WIFE.
WM. JULIUS MICKLE.
THIS WAS A FAVOURITE RECITATION OF THE LATE CHARLOTTE CUSHMAN.
And are ye sure the news is true? And are ye sure he's weel? Is this a time to think o' wark? Make haste, lay by your wheel; Is this a time to spin a thread, When Colin's at the door? Reach down my cloak, I'll to the quay, And see him come ashore.
For there's nae luck about the house, There's nae luck at a'; There's little pleasure in the house When our gudeman's awa'.
And gie to me my bigonet, My bishop's satin gown; For I maun tell the baillie's wife, That Colin's in the town. My Turkey slippers maun gae on, My stockings pearly blue; It's a' to pleasure our gudeman, For he's baith leal and true.
Rise, lass, and mak a clean fireside, Put on the mukle pot; Gie little Kate her button gown And Jock his Sunday coat; And mak their shoon as black as slaes, Their hose as white as snaw; It's a' to please my own gudeman, For he's been long awa.
There's twa fat hens upo' the coop, Been fed this month and mair; Mak haste and thraw their necks about, That Colin weel may fare; And mak our table neat and clean, Let everything look braw, For wha can tell how Colin fared When he was far awa?
Sae true his heart, sae smooth his speech, His breath like caller air; His very foot has music in't As he comes up the stair. And shall I see his face again? And shall I hear him speak? I'm downright dizzy wi' the thought, In troth I'm like to greet!
The cold blasts o' the winter wind, That thirled through my heart, They're a' blown by, I hae him safe, 'Till death we'll never part; But what puts parting in my head? It may be far awa! The present moment is our ain, The neist we never saw.
Since Colin's weel, and weel content, I hae nae mair to crave; And gin I live to keep him sae, I'm blest aboov the lave. And will I see his face again? And will I hear him speak? I'm downright dizzy wi' the thought, In troth I'm like to greet. For there's nae luck about the house, There's nae lack at a'; There's little pleasure in the house When our gudeman's awa.
"OUR FAT CONTRIBUTOR."
Snyder kept a beer saloon some years ago "over the Rhine." Snyder was a ponderous Teuton of very irascible temper—"sudden and quick in quarrel"—get mad in a minute. Nevertheless his saloon was a great resort for "the boys"—partly because of the excellence of his beer, and partly because they liked to chafe "Old Snyder," as they called him; for, although his bark was terrific, experience had taught them that he wouldn't bite.
One day Snyder was missing; and it was explained by his "frau," who "jerked" the beer that day, that he had "gone out fishing mit der poys." The next day one of the boys, who was particularly fond of "roasting" old Snyder, dropped in to get a glass of beer, and discovered Snyder's nose, which was a big one at any time, swollen and blistered by the sun, until it looked like a dead-ripe tomato.
"Why, Snyder, what's the matter with your nose?" said the caller.
"I peen out fishing mit der poys," replied Snyder, laying his finger tenderly against his proboscis; "the sun it pese hot like ash never vas, und I purns my nose. Nice nose, don't it?" And Snyder viewed it with a look of comical sadness in the little mirror back of his bar. It entered at once into the head of the mischievous fellow in front of the bar to play a joke upon Snyder; so he went out and collected half a dozen of his comrades, with whom he arranged that they should drop in at the saloon one after another, and ask Snyder, "What's the matter with that nose?" to see how long he would stand it. The man who put up the job went in first with a companion, and seating themselves at a table called for beer. Snyder brought it to them, and the new-comer exclaimed as he saw him, "Snyder, what's the matter with your nose?"
"I yust dell your friend here I peen out fishin' mit der poys, unt de sun he purnt 'em—zwi lager—den cents—all right."
Another boy rushes in. "Halloo, boys, you're ahead of me this time; s'pose I'm in, though. Here, Snyder, bring me a glass of lager and a pret"—(appears to catch a sudden glimpse of Snyder's nose, looks wonderingly a moment and then bursts out laughing)—"ha! ha! ha! Why, Snyder—ha!—ha!—what's the matter with that nose?"
Snyder, of course, can't see any fun in having a burnt nose or having it laughed at; and he says, in a tone sternly emphatic:
"I peen out fishin' mit der poys, unt de sun it yust ash hot ash blazes, unt I purnt my nose; dat ish all right."
Another tormentor comes in, and insists on "setting 'em up" for the whole house. "Snyder," says he, "fill up the boys' glasses, and take a drink yourse——ho! ho! ho! ho! ha! ha! ha! Snyder, wha—ha! ha!—what's the matter with that nose?"
Snyder's brow darkens with wrath by this time, and his voice grows deeper and sterner:
"I peen out fishin' mit der poys on the Leedle Miami. De sun pese hot like ash—vel, I burn my pugle. Now that is more vot I don't got to say. Vot gind o' peseness? Dat ish all right; I purn my own nose, don't it?"
"Burn your nose—burn all the hair off your head for what I care; you needn't get mad about it."
It was evident that Snyder wouldn't stand more than one tweak at that nose; for he was tramping about behind his bar, and growling like an exasperated old bear in his cage. Another one of his tormentors walks in. Some one sings out to him, "Have a glass of beer, Billy?"
"Don't care about any beer," says Billy, "but, Snyder, you may give me one of your best ciga—Ha-a-a! ha! ha! ha! ho! ho! ho! he! he! he! ah-h-h-ha! ha! ha! ha! Why—why—Snyder—who who—ha-ha! ha! what's the matter with that nose?"
Snyder was absolutely fearful to behold by this time; his face was purple with rage, all except his nose, which glowed like a ball of fire. Leaning his ponderous figure far over the bar, and raising his arm aloft to emphasize his words with it, he fairly roared:
"I peen out fishin' mit ter poys. The sun it pese hot like ash never was. I purnt my nose. Now you no like dose nose, you yust take dose nose unt wr-wr-wr-wring your mean American finger mit 'em. That's the kind of man vot I am!" And Snyder was right.
THE MISER'S FATE.
In the year 1762 a miser, of the name of Foscue, in France, having amassed enormous wealth by habits of extortion and the most sordid parsimony, was requested by the government to advance a sum of money as a loan. The miser demurred, pretending that he was poor. In order to hide his gold effectually, he dug a deep cave in his cellar, the descent to which was by a ladder, and which was entered by means of a trap-door, to which was attached a spring-lock.
He entered this cave one day to gloat over his gold, when the door fell upon him, and the spring-lock, the key to which he had left on the outside, snapped, and held him a prisoner in the cave, where he perished miserably. Some months afterwards a search was made, and his body was found in the midst of his money-bags, with a candlestick lying beside it on the floor. In the following lines the miser is supposed to have just entered his cave, and to be soliloquizing.
So, so! all safe! Come forth, my pretty sparklers— Come forth, and feast my eyes! Be not afraid! No keen-eyed agent of the government Can see you here. They wanted me, forsooth, To lend you, at the lawful rate of usance, For the state's needs. Ha, ha! my shining pets, My yellow darlings, my sweet golden circlets! Too well I loved you to do that—and so I pleaded poverty, and none could prove My story was not true. Ha! could they see These bags of ducats, and that precious pile Of ingots, and those bars of solid gold, Their eyes, methinks, would water. What a comfort Is it to see my moneys in a heap All safely lodged under my very roof! Here's a fat bag—let me untie the mouth of it. What eloquence! What beauty! What expression! Could Cicero so plead? Could Helen look One-half so charming? [The trap-door falls.] Ah! what sound was that? The Trap-door fallen—and the spring-lock caught! Well, have I not the key? Of course I have. 'Tis in this pocket. No. In this? No. Then I left it at the bottom of the ladder. Ha! 'tis not there. Where then? Ah! mercy, Heaven! 'Tis in the lock outside! What's to be done? Help, help! Will no one hear? Oh, would that I Had not discharged old Simon! but he begged Each week for wages—would not give me credit. I'll try my strength upon the door. Despair! I might as soon uproot the eternal rocks As force it open. Am I here a prisoner, And no one in the house? no one at hand, Or likely soon to be, to hear my cries? Am I entombed alive? Horrible fate! I sink—I faint beneath the bare conception! [Awakes.] Darkness? Where am I? I remember, now, This is a bag of ducats—'tis no dream— No dream! The trap-door fell, and here am I Immured with my dear gold—my candle out— All gloom—all silence—all despair! What, ho! Friends! Friends? I have no friends. What right have I To use the name? These money-bags have been The only friends I've cared for—and for these I've toiled, and pinched, and screwed—shutting my heart To charity, humanity and love! Detested traitors! Since I gave you all— Aye, gave my very soul—can ye do naught For me in this extremity? Ho! Without there! A thousand ducats for a loaf of bread! Ten thousand ducats for a glass of water! A pile of ingots for a helping hand! Was that a laugh? Aye, 'twas a fiend that laughed To see a miser in the grip of death. Offended Heaven, have mercy! I will give In alms all this vile rubbish; aid me thou In this most dreadful strait! I'll build a church— A hospital! Vain, vain! Too late, too late! Heaven knows the miser's heart too well to trust him! Heaven will not hear! Why should it? What have I Done to enlist Heaven's favor—to help on Heaven's cause on earth, in human hearts and homes? Nothing! God's kingdom will not come the sooner For any work or any prayer of mine. But must I die here—in my own trap caught? Die—die? and then! Oh, mercy! Grant me time— Thou who canst save—grant me a little time, And I'll redeem the past—undo the evil That I have done—make thousands happy with This hoarded treasure—do Thy will on earth As it is done in Heaven—grant me but time! Nor man nor God will heed my shrieks! All's lost!
SHE WOULD BE A MASON.
The funniest story I ever heard, The funniest thing that ever occurred, Is the story of Mrs. Mehitable Byrde, Who wanted to be a Mason. Her husband, Tom Byrde, is a Mason true, As good a Mason as any of you; He is tyler of lodge Cerulian Blue, And tyles and delivers the summons due, And she wanted to be a Mason too— This ridiculous Mrs. Byrde. She followed him round, this inquisitive wife, And nabbed and teased him half out of his life; So to terminate this unhallowed strife, He consented at last to admit her. And first to disguise her from bonnet to shoon, The ridiculous lady agreed to put on His breech—ah! forgive me—I meant pantaloon; And miraculously did they fit her. The Lodge was at work on the Master's Degree; The light was ablaze on the letter G; High soared the pillars J. and B.; The officers sat like Solomon, wise; The brimstone burned amid horrid cries; The goat roamed wildly through the room; The candidate begged 'em to let him go home; And the devil himself stood up in the east, As proud as an alderman at a feast;— When in came Mrs. Byrde. Oh, horrible sounds! oh, horrible sight! Can it be that Masons take delight In spending thus the hours of night? Ah! could their wives and daughters know The unutterable things they say and do, Their feminine hearts would burst with woe; But this is not all my story, For those Masons joined in a hideous ring, The candidate howling like everything, And thus in tones of death they sing (The Candidate's name was Morey): "Blood to drink and bones to crack, Skulls to smash and lives to take, Hearts to crush and souls to burn— Give old Morey another turn, And make him all grim and gory." Trembling with horror stood Mrs. Byrde, Unable to speak a single word; She staggered and fell in the nearest chair, On the left of the Junior Warden there, And scarcely noticed, so loud the groans, That the chair was made of human bones. Of human bones! on grinning skulls That ghastly throne of horror rolls— Those skulls, the skulls that Morgan bore! Those bones the bones that Morgan wore! His scalp across the top was flung, His teeth around the arms were strung— Never in all romance was known Such uses made of human bone. The brimstone gleamed in lurid flame, Just like a place we will not name; Good angels, that inquiring came From blissful courts, looked on with shame And tearful melancholy. Again they dance, but twice as bad, They jump and sing like demons mad; The tune is Hunkey Dorey— "Blood to drink," etc., etc. Then came a pause—a pair of paws Reached through the floor, up sliding doors, And grabbed the unhappy candidate! How can I without tears relate The lost and ruined Morey's fate? She saw him sink in a fiery hole, She heard him scream, "My soul! my soul!" While roars of fiendish laughter roll, And drown the yells of mercy! "Blood to drink," etc., etc. The ridiculous woman could stand no more— She fainted and fell on the checkered floor, 'Midst all the diabolical roar. What then, you ask me, did befall Mehitable Byrde? Why, nothing at all— She had dreamed she'd been in the Masons' hall.
"Midas, I want to s'posen a case to you, an' I want you to gim me the gospel truth on your 'pinion 'bout de matter."
That's the manner in which one of Washington's dusky damsels put it to her adorer last evening.
"Now, Midas, you knows you'se tole me more times 'an you'se got fingers an' toes, as you lubbed me harder 'an a marble-top washstand, an' 'at I'se sweeter to you 'an buckwheat cakes and 'lassas foreber. Midas, this am only s'posen case, but I wants you to s'posen jus' as if'n 'twas a shunuff one.
"S'posen me an' you was goin' on a scursion down de riber!"
"Yas," broke in Midas, "down to Mount Vernon."
"Anywha's 'tall, down the riber. Midas, can you swim?"
"No, Luce, I's sorry to 'form you dat de only d'reckshon what I kin circumstanshiate fru de water am de bottom."
"Well, den, as I was 'latin'. S'posen we was on de boat, glidin' lubingly an' harmunly down de bussum ob der riber's stream, de moon was lookin' shiningly down pon de smoke-stack, an' you wos sottin' rite up to me (jus' slide up here closer, an' lem me show you how), dats de way."
"Yah, yah! but wouldn't dat be scrumptuous?" interrupted Midas.
"S'posen," continued Lucy, "you had jest put your arm roun' my wai' (dat's it), der wasn't nobody 'bout, you was a squeezin' me up, an' was jest gwine to gimme de lubinest kind ob a kiss, an'—an'—an' de biler would bust!"
"Oh, de debbil!" said the disappointed Midas.
"Now, Midas, I is s'posen dis case, an' I wants you to mind de words what I am a speakin'. S'posen when dat biler busted we bof went up in de air, come down in de ribber, an' when we arrive in de water we found de only thing lef' of dat boat was one piece ob board dat wasn't big enough to hole us bof, but we bof grab at it; now, Midas, wud you let go dat board, or would you put me off an' took it all y'self? Dat's de question what I'm s'posen."
"Luce, can you swim?" he asked, after hesitating a few moments.
"No, Midas, ob course not. You know I can't swim."
"Well den, Luce, my conchenshus 'pinion ob de whole matter am dat we won't go on no scursions."
PAT AND THE FOX.
"Paddy," said the squire, "perhaps you would favor the gentleman with that story you told me once about a fox?"
"Indeed and I will, plaze yer honor," said Paddy, "though I know full well the divil a one word iv it you b'lieve, nor the gintlemen won't either, though you're axin' me for it—but only want to laugh at me, and call me a big liar when my back's turned."
"Maybe we wouldn't wait for your back being turned, Paddy, to honor you with that title."
"Oh, indeed, I'm not sayin' that you wouldn't do it as soon foreninst my face, yer honor, as you often did before, and will agin, plaze God, and welkim."
"Well, Paddy, say no more about that, but let's have the story."
"Sure I'm losing no time, only telling the gintlemen beforehand that it's what they'll be callin' it, a lie—and indeed it's ancommon, sure enough; but you see, gintlemen, you must remimber that the fox is the cunnin'est baste in the world, barrin' the wran——"
Here Paddy was questioned why he considered the wren as cunning a baste as the fox.
"Why, sir, bekase all the birds build their nest wid one hole to it only, excep'n the wran; but the wran builds two holes to the nest, and so that if any inimy comes to disturb it upon one door it can go out an the other. But the fox is cute to that degree that there's many mortial a fool to him—and, by dad, the fox could by and sell many a Christian, as you'll soon see by-and-by, when I tell you what happened to a wood-ranger that I knew wanst, and a dacent man he was, and wouldn't say the thing in a lie.
"Well, you see, he kem home one night mighty tired—for he was out wid a party in the domain cock-shootin' that day; and whin he got back to his lodge he threw a few logs o' wood an the fire to make himself comfortable, and he tuk whatever little matther he had for his supper—and afther that he felt himself so tired that he wint to bed. But you're to understand that, though he wint to bed, it was more for to rest himself like, than to sleep, for it was airly; and so he jist wint into bed, and there he divarted himself lookin' at the fire, that was blazin' as merry as a bonfire an the hearth.
"Well, as he was lyin' that-a-way, jist thinkin' o' nothin' at all, what should come into the place but a fox. But I must tell you, what I forgot to tell you, before, that the ranger's house was on the bordhers o' the wood, and he had no one to live wid him but himself, barrin' the dogs that he had the care iv, that was his only companions, and he had a hole cut an the door, with a swingin' boord to it, that the dogs might go in or out accordin' as it plazed thim; and, by dad, the fox kem in as I told you, through the hole in the door, as bould as a ram, and walked over to the fire, and sat down foreninst it.
"Now it was mighty provokin' that all the dogs was out; they wor rovin' about the wood, you see, lookin for to catch rabbits to ate, or some other mischief, and so it happened that there wasn't as much as one individual dog in the place; and, by gor, I'll go bail the fox knew that right well before he put his nose inside the ranger's lodge.
"Well, the ranger was in hopes some o' the dogs id come home and ketch the chap, and he was loath to stir hand or fut himself, afeared o' frightenin' away the fox, but by gor, he could hardly keep his timper at all at all, whin he seen the fox take his pipe aff o' the hob where he left it afore he wint to bed, and puttin' the bowl o' the pipe into the fire to kindle it (it's as thrue as I'm here), he began to smoke foreninst the fire, as nath'ral as any other man you ever seen.
"'Musha, bad luck to your impidence, you long-tailed blackguard,' says the ranger, 'and is it smokin' my pipe you are? Oh, thin, by this and by that, iv I had my gun convaynient to me, it's fire and smoke of another sort, and what you wouldn't bargain for, I'd give you,' says he. But still he was loath to stir, hopin the dogs id come home; and 'By gor, my fine fellow,' says he to the fox, 'if one o' the dogs comes home, saltpethre wouldn't save you, and that's a sthrong pickle.'
"So with that he watched antil the fox wasn't mindin' him, but was busy shakin' the cindhers out o' the pipe whin he was done wid it, and so the ranger thought he was goin' to go immediately afther gettin an air o' the fire and a shough o' the pipe; and so, says he, 'Faix, my lad, I won't let you go so aisy as all that, as cunnin' as you think yourself;' and with that he made a dart out o' bed, and run over to the door, and got betune it and the fox, 'And now,' says he, 'your bread's baked, my buck, and maybe my lord won't have a fine run out o' you, and the dogs at your brish every yard, you morodin' thief, and the divil mind you,' says he, 'for your impidence—for sure, if you hadn't the impidence of a highwayman's horse it's not into my very house, undher my nose, you'd daar for to come:' and with that he began to whistle for the dogs; and the fox, that stood eyein' him all the time while he was spakin', began to think it was time to be joggin' whin he heard the whistle—and says the fox to himself, 'Troth, indeed, you think yourself a mighty great ranger now,' says he, 'and you think you're very cute, but upon my tail, and that's a big oath, I'd be long sorry to let such a mallet-headed bog-throtter as yourself take a dirty advantage o' me, and I'll engage,' says the fox, 'I'll make you lave the door soon and suddint,'—and with that he turned to where the ranger's brogues was lyin' hard by beside the fire, and, what would you think, but the fox tuk one o' the brogues, and wint over to the fire, and threw it into it.
"'I think that'll make you start,' says the fox.
"'Divil resave the start,' says the ranger—'that won't do, my buck,' says he, 'the brogue may burn to cindhers,' says he, 'but out o' this I won't stir;' and thin, puttin' his fingers into his mouth, he gev a blast of a whistle you'd hear a mile off, and shouted for the dogs.
"'So that won't do,' says the fox—'well, I must thry another offer,' says he, and with that he tuk up the other brogue, and threw it into the fire too.
"'There, now,' says he, 'you may keep the other company,' says he; 'and there's a pair o' you now, as the divil said to his knee-buckles.'
"'Oh, you thievin' varment,' says the ranger, 'you won't lave me a tack to my feet; but no matter,' says he, 'your head's worth more nor a pair o' brogues to me any day, and by the Piper of Blessintown, you're money in my pocket this minit,' says he: and with that, the fingers was in his mouth agin, and he was goin' to whistle, whin, what would you think, but up sets the fox on his hunkers, and puts his two fore-paws into his mouth, makin' game o' the ranger—(bad luck to the lie I tell you.)
"'Well, the ranger, and no wondher, although in a rage as he was, couldn't help laughin' at the thought o' the fox mockin' him, and, by dad, he tuk sitch a fit o' laughin' that he couldn't whistle—and that was the 'cuteness o' the fox to gain time; but whin his first laugh was over, the ranger recovered himself, and gev another whistle; and so says the fox, 'By my soul,' says he, 'I think it wouldn't be good for my health to stay here much longer, and I mustn't be triflin' with that blackguard ranger any more,' says he, 'and I must make him sensible that it is time to let me go, and though he hasn't understandin' to be sorry for his brogues, I'll go bail I'll make him lave that,' says he, 'before he'd say sparables'—and with that what do you think the fox done? By all that's good—and the ranger himself told me out iv his own mouth, and said he would never have b'lieved it, ownly he seen it—the fox tuk a lighted piece iv a log out o' the blazin' fire, and run over wid it to the ranger's bed, and was goin' to throw it into the sthraw, and burn him out of house and home; so when the ranger seen that he gev a shout out iv him—
"'Hillo! hillo! you murtherin' villain,' says he, 'you're worse nor Captain Rock; is it goin' to burn me out you are, you red rogue iv a Ribbonman?" and he made a dart betune him and the bed, to save the house from bein' burnt,—but, my jew'l, that was all the fox wanted—and as soon as the ranger quitted the hole in the door that he was standin' foreninst, the fox let go the blazin' faggit, and made one jump through the door and escaped.
"But before he wint, the ranger gev me his oath that the fox turned round and gev him the most contemptible look he ever got in his life, and showed every tooth in his head with laughin', and at last he put out his tongue at him, as much as to say—'You've missed me like your mammy's blessin',' and off wid him, like a flash o' lightnin'."
TO MY MOTHER.
[It is hardly necessary to say that too much tenderness cannot be imparted to the voice while reading these beautiful lines. The heart that recalls a departed mother's memory will be the best monitor.]
Give me my old seat, mother, With my head upon thy knee; I've passed through many a changing scene, Since thus I sat by thee. Oh! let me look into thine eyes; Their meek, soft, loving light Falls like a gleam of holiness, Upon my heart, to-night.
I've not been long away, mother; Few suns have risen and set, Since last the tear-drop on thy cheek, My lips in kisses met. 'Tis but a little time, I know, But very long it seems; Though every night I came to thee, Dear mother, in my dreams.
The world has kindly dealt, mother, By the child thou lov'st so well; The prayers have circled round her path; And 'twas their holy spell Which made that path so dearly bright; Which strewed the roses there; Which gave the light, and cast the balm On every breath of air.
I bear a happy heart, mother; A happier never beat; And, even now, new buds of hope Are bursting at my feet. Oh! mother! life may be a dream; But if such dreams are given, While at the portals thus we stand, What are the truths of Heaven?
I bear a happy heart, mother! Yet, when fond eyes I see, And hear soft tones and winning words, I ever think of thee. And then, the tears my spirit weeps Unbidden fill my eye; And, like a houseless dove, I long Unto thy breast to fly.
Then I am very sad, mother, I'm very sad and lone: O! there's no heart whose inmost fold Opes to me like thine own! Though sunny smiles wreath blooming lips, While love-tones meet my ear; My mother, one fond glance of thine Were thousand times more dear.
Then with a closer clasp, mother, Now hold me to thy heart: I'll feel it beating 'gainst my own, Once more before we part. And mother, to this love-lit spot, When I am far away, Come oft—too oft thou canst not come! And for thy darling pray.
WHAT AILED "UGLY SAM."
DETROIT FREE PRESS.
He had been missing from the "Potomac" for several days, and Cleveland Tom, Port Huron Bill, Tall Chicago, and the rest of the boys who were wont to get drunk with him, couldn't make out what had happened. They hadn't heard that there was a warrant out for him, had never known of his being sick for a day, and his absence from the old haunts puzzled them. They were in the Hole-in-the-Wall saloon yesterday morning, nearly a dozen of them, drinking, smoking, and playing cards, when in walked Ugly Sam.
There was a deep silence for a moment as they looked at him. Sam had a new hat, had been shaved clean, had on a clean collar and a white shirt, and they didn't know him at first. When they saw that it was Ugly Sam, they uttered a shout and leaped up.
"Cave in that hat!" cried one.
"Yank that collar off!" shouted another.
"Let's roll him on the floor!" screamed a third.
There was something in his look and bearing which made them hesitate. The whiskey-red had almost faded from his face, and he looked sober and dignified. His features expressed disgust and contempt as he looked around the room, and then revealed pity as his eyes fell upon the red eyes and bloated faces of the crowd before him.
"Why, what ails ye, Sam?" inquired Tall Chicago, as they all stood there.
"I've come down to bid ye good-bye, boys!" he replied, removing his hat and drawing a clean handkerchief from his pocket.
"What! Hev ye turned preacher?" they shouted in chorus.
"Boys, ye know I can lick any two of ye; but I hain't on the fight any more, an' I've put down the last drop of whiskey which is ever to go into my mouth! I've switched off. I've taken an oath. I'm going to be decent!"
"Sam, be you crazy?" asked Port Huron Bill, coming nearer to him.
"I've come down here to tell ye all about it," answered Sam. "Move the cha'rs back a little and give me room. Ye all know I've been rough, and more too. I've been a drinker, a fighter, a gambler, and a loafer. I can't look back and remember when I've earned an honest dollar. The police hez chased me around like a wolf, and I've been in jail and the work-house, and the papers has said that Ugly Sam was the terror of the Potomac. Ye all know this, boys, but ye didn't know I had an old mother."
The faces of the crowd expressed amazement.
"I never mentioned it to any of ye, for I was neglecting her," he went on. "She was a poor old body living up here in the alley, and if the neighbours hadn't helped her to fuel and food, she'd have been found dead long ago. I never helped her to a cent—didn't see her for weeks and weeks, and I used to feel mean about it. When a feller goes back on his old mother, he's a-gittin' purty low, and I know it. Well, she's dead—buried yesterday! I was up there afore she died. She sent for me by Pete, and when I got there I seen it was all day with her."
"Did she say anything?" asked one of the boys, as Sam hesitated.
"That's what ails me now," he went on. "When I went she reached out her hand to me, and says she, 'Samuel, I'm going to die, and I know'd you'd want to see me afore I passed away!' I sat down, feeling queer like. She didn't go on and say as how I was a loafer, and had neglected her, and all that, but says she, 'Samuel, you'll be all alone when I'm gone. I've tried to be a good mother to you, and have prayed for you hundreds o' nights and cried about you till my old heart was sore!' Some o' the neighbours had dropped in, and the women were crying, and I tell you, boys, I felt weak."
He paused for a moment, and then continued:
"And the old woman said she'd like to kiss me afore death came, and that broke me right down. She kept hold of my hand, and by-and-by she whispered; 'Samuel, you are throwing your life away. You've got it in you to be a man if you will only make up your mind, I hate to die and feel that my only son and the last of our family may go to the gallows. If I had your promise that you'd turn over a new leaf and try and be good, it seems as if I'd die easier. Won't you promise me, my son?' And I promised her, boys, and that's what ails me! She died holding my hand, and I promised to quit this low business and go to work. I came down to tell ye, and now you won't see me on the Potomac again. I've bought an axe, and am going up in Canada to Winter."
There was a dead silence for a moment, and then he said:
"Well, boys, I'll shake hands with ye all around afore I go. Good-by, Pete—good-by, Jack—Tom—Jim. I hope you won't fling any bricks at me, and I shan't never fling any at any of ye. It's a dying promise, ye see, and I'll keep it if it takes a right arm!"
The men looked reflectively at each other after he had passed out, and it was a long time before any one spoke. Then Tall Chicago flung his clay pipe into a corner, and said:
"I'll lick the man who says Ugly Sam's head isn't level!"
"So'll I!" repeated the others.
SATAN'S ADDRESS TO THE SUN.
This famous speech affords opportunity for the grandest declamation. It is studded with points—anger, hate, scorn, admiration and defiance. The student should read, and re-read and ponder over every line, until he catches the exact meaning intended to be conveyed—then, following the examples already given, he should declaim it repeatedly:
O thou, that, with surpassing glory crown'd, Look'st from thy sole dominion like the God Of this new world; at whose sight all the stars Hide their diminish'd heads; to thee I call, But with no friendly voice, and add thy name, O Sun! to tell thee how I hate thy beams, That bring to my remembrance from what state I fell, how glorious once above thy sphere; Till pride and worse ambition threw me down Warring in Heaven against Heaven's matchless king: Ah, wherefore! he deserved no such return From me, whom he created what I was In that bright eminence, and with his good Upbraided none; nor was his service hard. What could be less than to afford him praise, The easiest recompense, and pay him thanks, How due! yet all his good proved ill in me, And wrought but malice; lifted up so high I 'sdain'd subjection, and thought one step higher Would set me highest, and in a moment quit The debt immense of endless gratitude So burdensome still paying, still to owe: Forgetful what from him I still received, And understood not that a grateful mind By owing owes not, but still pays, at once Indebted and discharged; what burden then? O, had his powerful destiny ordain'd Me some inferior angel, I had stood Then happy; no unbounded hope had raised Ambition! Yet why not? some other Power As great might have aspired, and me, though mean, Drawn to his part; but other Powers as great Fell not, but stand unshaken, from within Or from without, to all temptations arm'd. Hadst thou the same free will and power to stand? Thou hadst: whom hast thou then or what to accuse But Heaven's free love dealt equally to all? Be then his love accursed, since love or hate, To me alike, it deals eternal woe. Nay, cursed be thou; since against his thy will Chose freely what it now so justly rues. Me miserable! which way shall I fly Infinite wrath and infinite despair? Which way I fly is hell; myself am hell; And, in the lowest deep, a lower deep Still threat'ning to devour me opens wide, To which the hell I suffer seems a heaven. O then at last relent: Is there no place Left for repentance, none for pardon left? None left but by submission; and that word Disdain forbids me, and my dread of shame Among the spirits beneath, whom I seduced With other promises and other vaunts Than to submit, boasting I could subdue The Omnipotent. Ah me! they little know How dearly I abide that boast so vain, Under what torments inwardly I groan, While they adore me on the throne of hell. With diadem and sceptre high advanced, The lower still I fall, only supreme In misery! Such joy ambition finds. But say I could repent, and could obtain By act of grace, my former state; how soon Would height recall high thoughts, how soon unsay What faint submission swore? Ease would recant Vows made in pain, as violent and void. For never can true reconcilement grow, Where wounds of deadly hate have pierced so deep: Which would but lead me to a worse relapse And heavier fall; so should I purchase dear Short intermission bought with double smart. This knows my Punisher; therefore as far From granting he, as I from begging, peace; All hope excluded thus, behold, instead Of us outcast, exiled, his new delight, Mankind created, and for him this world, So farewell, hope; and with hope, farewell, fear; Farewell, remorse! all good to me is lost; Evil, be thou my good; by thee at least Divided empire with Heaven's King I hold, By thee, and more than half perhaps will reign; As man, ere long, and this new world shall know.
Patrick O'Flanigan, from Erin's isle Just fresh, thinking he'd walk around a while, With open mouth and widely staring eyes, Cried "Och!" and "Whist!" at every new surprise. He saw some labourers in a field of corn; The golden pumpkins lit the scene with glory; Of all that he had heard since being born, Nothing had equaled this in song or story. "The holy mither! and, sirs, would ye plaise To be a tellin' me what might be these? An' sure I'm thinkin' that they're not pratees, But mebbe it's the way you grow your chase." "Ah, Patrick, these are mare's eggs," said the hand, Giving a wink to John, and Jim, and Bill; "Just hatch it out, and then you have your horse; Take one and try it; it will pay you well." "Faith an' that's aisy sure; in dear ould Ireland I always had my Christmas pig so nate, Fatted on buttermilk, and hard to bate; But only gintlemen can own a horse. Ameriky's a great counthry indade, I thought that here I'd kape a pig, of coorse, Have me own land, and shanty without rent, An' have me vote, an' taxes not a cint; But sure I niver thought to own a baste. An' won't the wife and childer now be glad? A thousand blissings on your honor's head! But could ye tell by lookin' at the egg What colour it will hatch? It's to me taste To have a dapple gray, with a long tail, High in the neck, and slinder in the leg, To jump a twel' feet bog, and niver fail, Like me Lord Dumferline's at last year's races—" Just then the merry look on all their faces Checked Patrick's flow of talk, and with a blush That swept his face as milk goes over mush, He added, "Sure, I know it is no use To try to tell by peering at an egg If it will hatch a gander or a goose;" Then looked around to make judicious choice. "Pick out the largest one that you can hide Out of the owner's sight there by the river; Don't drop and break it, or the colt is gone; Carry it gently to your little farm, Put it in bed, and keep it six weeks warm." Quickly Pat seized a huge, ripe, yellow one, "Faith, sure, an' I'll do every bit of that The whole sax wakes I'll lie meself in bed, An' kape it warrum, as your honour said; Long life to yees, and may you niver walk, Not even to your grave, but ride foriver; Good luck to yees," and without more of talk He pulled the forelock 'neath his tattered hat, And started off; but plans of mice and men Gang oft agley, again and yet again. Full half a mile upon his homeward road Poor Patrick toiled beneath his heavy load. A hilltop gained, he stopped to rest, alas! He laid his mare's egg on some treacherous grass; When down the steep hillside it rolled away, And at poor Patrick's call made no delay. Gaining momentum, with a heavy thump, It struck and split upon a hollow stump, In which a rabbit lived with child and wife, Frightened, the timid creature ran for life. "Shtop, shtop my colt!" cried Patrick, as he ran After his straying colt, but all in vain. With ears erect poor Bunny faster fled As "Shtop my colt!" in mournful, eager tones Struck on those organs, till with fright half dead He hid away among some grass and stones. Here Patrick searched till rose the harvest moon, Braying and whinnying till he was hoarse, Hoping to lure the colt by this fond cheat; "For won't the young thing want his mither soon, And come to take a bit of something t'eat?" But vain the tender accents of his call— No colt responded from the broken wall; And 'neath the twinkling stars he plodded on, To tell how he had got and lost his horse. "As swate a gray as iver eyes sat on," He said to Bridget and the children eight, After thrice telling the whole story o'er, "The way he run it would be hard to bate; So little, too, with jist a whisk o' tail, Not a pin-feather on it as I could see, For it was hatched out just sax weeks too soon! An' such long ears were niver grown before On any donkey in grane Ireland! So little, too, you'd hold it in your hand; Och hone! he would have made a gray donkey." So all the sad O'Flanigans that night Held a loud wake over the donkey gone, Eating their "pratees" without milk or salt, Howling between whiles, "Och! my little colt!" While Bunny, trembling from his dreadful fright, Skipped home to Mrs. B. by light of moon, And told the story of his scare and flight; And all the neighbouring rabbits played around The broken mare's egg scattered on the ground.
THE WORLD FOR SALE.
REV. RALPH HOYT.
The world for sale! Hang out the sign; call every traveler here to me: who'll buy this brave estate of mine, and set this weary spirit free? 'Tis going! yes, I mean to fling the bauble from my soul away; I'll sell it, whatsoe'er it bring: the world's at auction here to-day! It is a glorious sight to see—but, ah! it has deceived me sore; it is not what it seems to be. For sale! it shall be mine no more. Come, turn it o'er and view it well; I would not have you purchase dear. 'Tis going! going! I must sell! Who bids! who'll buy this splendid Tear? Here's Wealth, in glittering heaps of gold; who bids? But let me tell you fair, a baser lot was never sold! Who'll buy the heavy heaps of Care? and, here, spread out in broad domain, a goodly landscape all may trace; hall, cottage, tree, field, hill and plain:—who'll buy himself a burial place? Here's Love, the dreamy potent spell that Beauty flings around the heart; I know its power, alas! too well; 'tis going! Love and I must part! Must part? What can I more with Love? all o'er is the enchanter's reign. Who'll buy the plumeless, dying dove—a breath of bliss, a storm of pain? And Friendship, rarest gem of earth; who e'er has found the jewel his? Frail, fickle, false, and little worth! who bids for Friendship—as it is? 'Tis going! going! hear the call; once, twice and thrice, 'tis very low! 'Twas once my hope, my stay, my all, but now the broken staff must go! Fame! hold the brilliant meteor high; how dazzling every gilded name! Ye millions! now's the time to buy. How much for Fame? how much for Fame? Hear how it thunders! Would you stand on high Olympus, far renowned, now purchase, and a world command!—and be with a world's curses crowned. Sweet star of Hope! with ray to shine in every sad foreboding breast, save this desponding one of mine—who bids for man's last friend, and best? Ah, were not mine a bankrupt life, this treasure should my soul sustain! But Hope and Care are now at strife, nor ever may unite again. Ambition, Fashion, Show and Pride, I part from all forever now; Grief, in an overwhelming tide, has taught my haughty heart to bow. By Death, stern sheriff! all bereft, I weep, yet humbly kiss the rod; the best of all I still have left—my Faith, My Bible, and my GOD.
HOW WE HUNTED A MOUSE.
I was dozing comfortably in my easy-chair, and dreaming of the good times which I hope are coming, when there fell upon my ears a most startling scream. It was the voice of my Maria Ann in agony. The voice came from the kitchen and to the kitchen I rushed. The idolized form of my Maria was perched on a chair, and she was flourishing an iron spoon in all directions, and shouting "shoo," in a general manner, at everything in the room. To my anxious inquiries as to what was the matter, she screamed, "O Joshua! a mouse, shoo—wha—shoo—a great—ya, shoo—horrid mouse, and—she—ew—it ran right out of the cupboard—shoo—go away—O Lord—Joshua—shoo—kill it, oh, my—shoo."
All that fuss, you see, about one little harmless mouse. Some women are so afraid of mice. Maria is. I got the poker and set myself to poke that mouse, and my wife jumped down, and ran off into another room. I found the mouse in a corner under the sink. The first time I hit it I didn't poke it any on account of getting the poker all tangled up in a lot of dishes in the sink; and I did not hit it any more because the mouse would not stay still. It ran right toward me, and I naturally jumped, as anybody would; but I am not afraid of mice, and when the horrid thing ran up inside the leg of my pantaloons, I yelled to Maria because I was afraid it would gnaw a hole in my garment. There is something real disagreeable about having a mouse inside the leg of one's pantaloons, especially if there is nothing between you and the mouse. Its toes are cold, and its nails are scratchy, and its fur tickles, and its tail feels crawly, and there is nothing pleasant about it, and you are all the time afraid it will try to gnaw out, and begin on you instead of on the cloth. That mouse was next to me. I could feel its every motion with startling and suggestive distinctness. For these reasons I yelled to Maria, and as the case seemed urgent to me I may have yelled with a certain degree of vigor; but I deny that I yelled fire, and if I catch the boy who thought that I did, I shall inflict punishment on his person.
I did not loose my presence of mind for an instant. I caught the mouse just as it was clambering over my knee, and by pressing firmly on the outside of the cloth, I kept the animal a prisoner on the inside. I kept jumping around with all my might to confuse it, so that it would not think about biting, and I yelled so that the mice would not hear its squeaks and come to its assistance. A man can't handle many mice at once to advantage.
Maria was white as a sheet when she came into the kitchen and asked what she should do—as though I could hold the mouse and plan a campaign at the same time. I told her to think of something, and she thought she would throw things at the intruder; but as there was no earthly chance for her to hit the mouse, while every shot took effect on me, I told her to stop, after she had tried two flat-irons and the coal-scuttle. She paused for breath; but I kept bobbing around. Somehow I felt no inclination to sit down anywhere. "O Joshua," she cried, "I wish you had not killed the cat." Now I submit that the wish was born of the weakness of woman's intellect. How on earth did she suppose a cat could get where that mouse was?—rather have the mouse there alone, anyway, than to have a cat prowling around after it. I reminded Maria of the fact that she was a fool. Then she got the tea-kettle and wanted to scald the mouse. I objected to that process, except as a last resort. Then she got some cheese to coax the mouse down, but I did not dare to let go, for fear it would run up. Matters were getting desperate. I told her to think of something else, and I kept jumping. Just as I was ready to faint with exhaustion, I tripped over an iron, lost my hold, and the mouse fell to the floor, very dead. I had no idea a mouse could be squeezed to death so easy.
That was not the end of the trouble, for before I had recovered my breath a fireman broke in one of the front windows, and a whole company followed him through, and they dradged hose around, and mussed things all over the house, and then the foreman wanted to thrash me because the house was not on fire, and I had hardly got him pacified before a policeman came in and arrested me. Some one had run down and told him I was drunk and was killing Maria. It was all Maria and I could do, by combining our eloquence, to prevent him from marching me off in disgrace, but we finally got matters quieted and the house clear.
Now when mice run out of the cupboard I go outdoors, and let Maria "shoo" them back again. I can kill a mouse, but the fun don't pay for the trouble.
THE DYING HEBREW.
The following poem, a favourite with the late Mr. Edwin Forrest, was composed by a young law student, and first published in Boston in 1858.
A Hebrew knelt in the dying light, His eye was dim and cold; The hairs on his brow were silver white, And his blood was thin and old! He lifted his look to his latest sun, For he knew that his pilgrimage was done; And as he saw God's shadow there, His spirit poured itself in prayer! "I come unto death's second birth Beneath a stranger air, A pilgrim on a dull, cold earth, As all my fathers were! And men have stamped me with a curse, I feel it is not Thine; Thy mercy, like yon sun, was made On me, as them, to shine; And therefore dare I lift mine eye Through that to Thee before I die! In this great temple, built by Thee, Whose pillars are divine, Beneath yon lamp, that ceaselessly Lights up Thine own true shrine, Oh take my latest sacrifice— Look down and make this sod Holy as that where, long ago, The Hebrew met his God. I have not caused the widow's tears, Nor dimmed the orphan's eye; I have not stained the virgin's years, Nor mocked the mourner's cry. The songs of Zion in mine ear Have ever been most sweet, And always, when I felt Thee near, My shoes were off my feet. I have known Thee in the whirlwind, I have known Thee on the hill, I have loved Thee in the voice of birds, Or the music of the rill; I dreamt Thee in the shadow, I saw Thee in the light; I blessed Thee in the radiant day, And worshiped Thee at night. All beauty, while it spoke of Thee, Still made my soul rejoice, And my spirit bowed within itself To hear Thy still, small voice! I have not felt myself a thing, Far from Thy presence driven, By flaming sword or waving wing Shut off from Thee and heaven. Must I the whirlwind reap because My fathers sowed the storm? Or shrink, because another sinned, Beneath Thy red, right arm? Oh much of this we dimly scan, And much is all unknown; But I will not take my curse from man— I turn to Thee alone! Oh bid my fainting spirit live, And what is dark reveal, And what is evil, oh forgive, And what is broken heal. And cleanse my nature from above, In the dark Jordan of Thy love! I know not if the Christian's heaven Shall be the same as mine; I only ask to be forgiven, And taken home to Thine. I weary on a far, dim strand, Whose mansions are as tombs, And long to find the Fatherland, Where there are many homes. Oh grant of all yon starry thrones, Some dim and distant star, Where Judah's lost and scattered sons May love Thee from afar. Where all earth's myriad harps shall meet In choral praise and prayer, Shall Zion's harp, of old so sweet, Alone be wanting there? Yet place me in Thy lowest seat, Though I, as now, be there, The Christian's scorn, the Christian's jest; But let me see and hear, From some dim mansion in the sky, Thy bright ones and their melody." The sun goes down with sudden gleam, And—beautiful as a lovely dream And silently as air— The vision of a dark-eyed girl, With long and raven hair, Glides in—as guardian spirits glide— And lo! is kneeling by his side, As if her sudden presence there Were sent in answer to his prayer. (Oh say they not that angels tread Around the good man's dying bed?) His child—his sweet and sinless child— And as he gazed on her He knew his God was reconciled, And this the messenger, As sure as God had hung on high The promise bow before his eye— Earth's purest hopes thus o'er him flung, To point his heavenward faith, And life's most holy feeling strung To sing him into death; And on his daughter's stainless breast The dying Hebrew found his rest!
GIVE ME BACK MY HUSBAND.
Not many years since, a young married couple from the far "fast-anchored isle" sought our shores with the most sanguine anticipations of happiness and prosperity. They had begun to realize more than they had seen in the visions of hope, when, in an evil hour, the husband was tempted "to look upon the wine when it is red," and to taste of it, "when it giveth its colour in the cup." The charmer fastened round its victim all the serpent-spells of its sorcery, and he fell; and at every step of his degradation from the man to the brute, and downward, a heartstring broke in the bosom of his companion.
Finally, with the last spark of hope flickering on the altar of her heart, she threaded her way into one of those shambles where man is made such a thing as the beasts of the field would bellow at. She pressed her way through the bacchanalian crowd who were revelling there in their own ruin. With her bosom full of "that perilous stuff that preys upon the heart," she stood before the plunderer of her husband's destiny, and exclaimed in tones of startling anguish, "Give me back my husband!"
"There's your husband," said the man, as he pointed toward the prostrate wretch.
"That my husband? What have you done to him? That my husband? What have you done to that noble form that once, like the great oak, held its protecting shade over the fragile vine that clung to it for support and shelter? That my husband? With what torpedo chill have you touched the sinews of that manly arm? What have you done to that once noble brow, which he wore high among his fellows, as if it bore the superscription of the Godhead? That my husband? What have you done to that eye, with which he was wont to look erect on heaven, and see in his mirror the image of his God? What Egyptian drug have you poured into his veins, and turned the ambling fountains of the heart into black and burning pitch? Give me back my husband! Undo your basilisk spells, and give me back the man that stood with me by the altar!"
The ears of the rumseller, ever since the first demijohn of that burning liquid was opened upon our shores, have been saluted, at every stage of the traffic, with just such appeals as this. Such wives, such widows, and mothers, such fatherless children, as never mourned in Israel at the massacre of Bethlehem or at the burning of the temple, have cried in his ears, morning, night, and evening, "Give me back my husband! Give me back my boy! Give me back my brother! Give me back my sister! Give me back my wife!"
But has the rumseller been confounded or speechless at these appeals? No! not he. He could show his credentials at a moment's notice with proud defiance. He always carried in his pocket a written absolution for all he had done and could do in his work of destruction. He had bought a letter of indulgence—I mean a license!—a precious instrument, signed and sealed by an authority stronger and more respectable than the pope's. He confounded? Why, the whole artillery of civil power was ready to open in his defence and support. Thus shielded by the law, he had nothing to fear from the enemies of his traffic. He had the image and superscription of Caesar on his credentials, and unto Caesar he appealed; and unto Caesar, too, his victims appealed, and appealed in vain.
THE ONE-HOSS SHAY; OR, THE DEACON'S MASTERPIECE.
A LOGICAL STORY.
Have you heard of the wonderful one-hoss shay, That was built in such a logical way It ran a hundred years to a day, And then of a sudden, it—ah, but stay, I'll tell you what happened without delay, Scaring the parson into fits, Frightening people out of their wits,— Have you ever heard of that, I say?
Seventeen hundred and fifty-five. Georgius Secundus was then alive,— Snuffy old drone from the German hive. That was the year when Lisbon town Saw the earth open and gulp her down, And Braddock's army was done so brown, And left without a scalp to its crown. It was on the terrible Earthquake-day That the Deacon finished the one-hoss shay.
Now in building of chaises, I tell you what, There is always somewhere a weakest spot,— In hub, tire, felloe, in spring or thill, In panel, or crossbar, or floor, or sill, In screw, bolt, thoroughbrace,—lurking still, Find it somewhere you must and will,— Above or below, or within or without,— And that's the reason beyond a doubt, A chaise breaks down, but doesn't wear out.
But the Deacon swore, (as Deacons do, With an "I dew vum," or an "I tell yeou,") He would build one shay to beat the taown 'n' the keounty 'n' all the kentry raoun'; —"Fur," said the Deacon, "'t 's mighty plain Thut the weakes' place mus' stan' the strain; 'n' the way t' fix it, uz I maintain, Is only jest T' make that place uz strong uz the rest."
So the Deacon inquired of the village folk Where he could find the strongest oak, That couldn't be split nor bent nor broke,— That was for spokes and floor and sills; He sent for lancewood to make the thills; The crossbars were ash, from the straightest trees; The panels of whitewood, that cut like cheese, But lasts like iron for things like these; The hubs of logs from the "Settler's ellum,"— Last of its timber,—they couldn't sell 'em, Never an axe had seen their chips, And the wedges flew from between their lips, Their blunt ends frizzled like celery-tips; Step and prop-iron, bolt and screw, Spring, tire, axle and linchpin too, Steel of the finest, bright and blue; Thoroughbrace bison-skin, thick and wide; Boot, top, dasher, from tough old hide Found in the pit when the tanner died. That was the way he "put her through."— "There!" said the Deacon, "naow she'll dew!"
Do! I tell you, I rather guess She was a wonder, and nothing less! Colts grew horses, beards turned gray, Deacon and deaconess dropped away, Children and grandchildren,—where were they? But there stood the stout old one-hoss shay As fresh as on Lisbon-earthquake day!
EIGHTEEN HUNDRED;—it came and found The Deacon's masterpiece strong and sound. Eighteen hundred increased by ten;— "Hahnsum kerridge" they called it then. Eighteen hundred and twenty came;— Running as usual; much the same. Thirty and forty at last arrive, And then come fifty, and FIFTY-FIVE.
Little of all we value here Wakes on the morn of its hundredth year Without both feeling and looking queer. In fact, there's nothing that keeps its youth, So far as I know, but a tree and truth. (This is a moral that runs at large; Take it.—You're welcome.—No extra charge.)
FIRST OF NOVEMBER,—the Earthquake-day,— There are traces of age in the one-hoss shay, A general flavor of mild decay, But nothing local as one may say. There couldn't be,—for the Deacon's art Had made it so like in every part That there wasn't a chance for one to start. For the wheels were just as strong as the thills, And the floor was just as strong as the sills, And the panels just as strong as the floor, And the whippletree neither less nor more, And the back crossbar as strong as the fore, And spring and axle and hub encore. And yet, as a whole, it is past a doubt In another hour it will be worn out!
First of November, 'Fifty-five! This morning the parson takes a drive. Now, small boys, get out of the way! Here comes the wonderful one-hoss shay, Drawn by a rat-tailed, ewe-necked bay. "Huddup!" said the parson.—Off went they. The parson was working his Sunday's text,— Had got to fifthly, and stopped perplexed At what the—Moses—was coming next. All at once the horse stood still, Close by the meet'n'-house on the hill. —First a shiver, and then a thrill, Then something decidedly like a spill,— And the parson was sitting upon a rock, At half-past nine by the meet'n'-house clock,— Just the hour of the Earthquake shock! —What do you think the parson found, When he got up and stared around? The poor old chaise in a heap or mound, As if it had been to the mill and ground! You see, of course, if you're not a dunce, How it went to pieces all at once,— All at once, and nothing first,— Just as bubbles do when they burst.
End of the wonderful one-hoss shay. Logic is logic. That's all I say.
THE INJURED MOTHER.
From the Rev. JOHN BROWN'S tragedy of BARBAROSSA.
BARBAROSSA, an Usurper, OTHMAN, an officer, ZAPHIRA, the Widowed Queen.
[This play has many passages of splendid diction, well calculated for bold declamation. The plot of the piece runs thus: Barbarossa having killed, and then usurped the throne of his friend and master, tries to obtain the hand of Zaphira, the late monarch's widow—having previously destroyed, (as is supposed) her son, Selim. The following scene represents the interviews between the unhappy queen and her faithful Othman, and of the queen with Barbarossa.
COSTUMES.—Barbarossa green velvet robe, scarlet satin shirt, white trousers, russet boots, and turban. Othman, scarlet fly, yellow satin shirt, white slippers, turban white, scarlet cashmere vest. Zaphira, white dress, embroidered with silver, turban, and Turkish shoes.
NOTE.—A little taste will enable any smart young lady to make up these dresses. They are mostly loose, and the embroidery may be of tinsel—while cheap velveteen looks as well as the best velvet on the stage.]
SCENE I.—An apartment, with sofa.
Enter ZAPHIRA, R.
ZAP. (C.) When shall I be at peace? O, righteous heaven Strengthen my fainting soul, which fain would rise To confidence in thee! But woes on woes O'erwhelm me. First my husband, now my son— Both dead—both slaughter'd by the bloody hand Of Barbarossa! What infernal power Unchain'd thee from thy native depth of hell, To stalk the earth with thy destructive train, Murder and lust! To wake domestic peace, And every heart-felt joy!
Enter OTHMAN, L.
O, faithful Othman! Our fears were true; my Selim is no more!
OTH. Has, then, the fatal secret reach'd thine ear? Inhuman tyrant!
ZAP. Strike him, heav'n with thunder, Nor let Zaphira doubt thy providence!
OTH. 'Twas what we fear'd. Oppose not heav'n's high will, Nor struggle with the ten-fold chain of fate, That links thee to thy woes. O, rather yield, And wait the happier hour, when innocence Shall weep no more. Rest in that pleasing hope, And yield thyself to heaven, my honor'd queen. The king——
ZAP. Whom stylest thou king?
OTH. 'Tis Barbarossa.
ZAP. Does he assume the name of king?
OTH. He does.
ZAP. O, title vilely purchas'd!—by the blood Of innocence—by treachery and murder! May heav'n, incens'd, pour down its vengeance on him, Blast all his joys, and turn them into horror Till phrensy rise, and bid him curse the hour That gave his crimes their birth!—My faithful Othman, My sole surviving prop, canst thou devise No secret means, by which I may escape This hated palace?
OTH. That hope is vain. The tyrant knows thy hate; Hence, day and night, his guards environ thee. Rouse not, then, his anger: Let soft persuasion and mild eloquence Redeem that liberty, which stern rebuke Would rob thee of for ever.
ZAP. An injur'd queen To kneel for liberty!—And, oh! to whom! E'en to the murd'rer of her lord and son! O, perish first, Zaphira! Yes, I'll die! For what is life to me? My dear, dear lord— My hapless child—yes, I will follow you!
OTH. Wilt thou not see him, then?
ZAP. I will not, Othman; Or, if I do, with bitter imprecation More keen than poison shot from serpents' tongues, I'll pour my curses on him.
OTH. Will Zaphira Thus meanly sink in woman's fruitless rage, When she should wake revenge?
ZAP. Revenge!—O, tell me— Tell, me but how?—What can a helpless woman?
OTH. (C.). Gain but the tyrant's leave, and seek thy father; Pour thy complaints before him; let thy wrongs Kindle his indignation to pursue This vile usurper, till unceasing war Blast his ill-gotten pow'r.
ZAP. (L.C.). Ah! say'st thou, Othman? Thy words have shot like lightning through my frame, And all my soul's on fire!—thou faithful friend! Yes, with more gentle speech I'll soothe his pride; Regain my freedom; reach my father's tents; There paint my countless woes. His kindling rage Shall wake the valleys into honest vengeance; The sudden storm shall pour on Barbarossa, And ev'ry glowing warrior steep his shaft In deadlier poison, to revenge my wrongs! (crosses to R.)
OTH. (C.). There spoke the queen.—But, as thou lov'st thy freedom, Touch not on Selim's death. Thy soul will kindle, And passion mount in flames that will consume thee.
ZAP. (R.). My murder'd son!—Yes, to revenge thy death, I'll speak a language which my heart disdains.
OTH. Peace, peace,!—the tyrant comes. Now, injur'd Queen, Plead for thy freedom, hope for just revenge, And check each rising passion. [Exit OTHMAN, R.
Enter BARBAROSSA, L.
BAR. (L.). Hail sovereign fair! in whom Beauty and majesty conspire to charm: Behold the conqu'ror.
ZAP. (R.C.) O, Barbarossa, No more the pride of conquest e'er can charm My widow'd heart. With my departed lord My love lies buried! Then turn thee to some happier fair, whose heart May crown thy growing love with love sincere; For I have none to give.
BAR. Love ne'er should die: 'Tis the soul's cordial—'tis the font of life; Therefore should spring eternal in the breast. One object lost, another should succeed, And all our life be love.
ZAP. Urge me no more.—Thou mightst with equal hope Woo the cold marble, weeping o'er a tomb, To meet thy wishes. But, if generous love (approaches him.) Dwell in thy breast, vouchsafe me proof sincere: Give me safe convoy to the native vales Of dear Mutija, where my father reigns.
BAR. O, blind to proffer'd bliss!—What! fondly quit This pomp Of empire for an Arab's wand'ring tent, Where the mock chieftain leads his vagrant tribes From plain to plain, and faintly shadows out The majesty of kings!—Far other joys Here shall attend thy call: Submissive realms Shall bow the neck; and swarthy kings and Queens, From the far-distant Niger and the Nile, Drawn captive at my conqu'ring chariot wheels, Shall kneel before thee.
ZAP. Pomp and pow'r are toys, Which e'en the mind at ease may well disdain: But oh! what mockery is the tinsel pride Of splendour, when the mind Lies desolate within!—Such, such is mine! O'erwhelm'd with ills, and dead to ev'ry joy; Envy me not this last request, to die In my dear father's tents.
BAR. Thy suit is vain.
ZAP. Thus, kneeling at thy feet—(kneels.)
BAR. Thou thankless fair! (raises ZAPHIRA.) Thus to repay the labours of my love! Had I not seiz'd the throne when Selim died, Ere this thy foes had laid Algiers in ruin. I check'd the warring pow'rs, and gave you peace, Make thee but mine, I will descend the throne, and call thy son From banishment to empire.
ZAP. O, my heart! Can I bear this? Inhuman tyrant!—curses on thy head! May dire remorse and anguish haunt thy throne, And gender in thy bosom fell despair,— Despair as deep as mine! (crosses to L.)
BAR. (R.C.). What means Zaphira? What means this burst of grief?
ZAP. (L.). Thou fell destroyer! Had not guilt steel'd thy heart, awak'ning conscience Would flash conviction on thee, and each look, Shot from these eyes, be arm'd with serpent horrors, To turn thee into stone!—Relentless man! Who did the bloody deeds—O, tremble, guilt, Where'er thou art!—Look on me; tell me, tyrant, Who slew my blameless son?
BAR. What envious tongue Hath dar'd to taint my name with slander? Thy Selim lives; nay, more, he soon shall reign, If thou consent to bless me.
ZAP. Never, O, never!—Sooner would I roam An unknown exile through the torrid climes Of Afric—sooner dwell with wolves and tigers, Than mount with thee my murder'd Selim's throne!
BAR. Rash queen, forbear; think on thy captive state, Remember, that within these palace walls I am omnipotent. Yield thee, then; Avert the gath'ring horrors that surround thee, And dread my pow'r incens'd.
ZAP. Dares thy licentious tongue pollute mine ear With that foul menace? Tyrant! dread'st thou not Th' all-seeing eye of heav'n, its lifted thunder, And all the red'ning vengeance which it stores For crimes like thine?—Yet know, Zaphira scorns thee. [crosses to R. Though robb'd by thee of ev'ry dear support, No tyrant's threat can awe the free-born soul, That greatly dares to die. [Exit ZAPHIRA, R.
BAR. (C.). Where should she learn the tale of Selim's death? Could Othman dare to tell it?—If he did, My rage shall sweep him swifter than the whirlwind, To instant death! [Exit.
(R.) Right. (L.) Left. (C.) Centre. (R.C.) Right Centre. (L.C.) Left Centre.
THE MILLS OF GOD.
Apart from the noble sentiments of these verses, and their exquisite diction—in which every word is the best that could possibly be used—as in a piece of faultless mosaic every minute stone is so placed as to impart strength, brilliancy, and harmony—they afford an excellent example of lofty, dignified recitation:
Those mills of God! those tireless mills! I hear their ceaseless throbs and thrills: I see their dreadful stones go round, And all the realms beneath them ground; And lives of men and souls of states, Flung out, like chaff, beyond their gates.
And we, O God! with impious will, Have made these Negroes turn Thy mill! Their human limbs with chains we bound, And bade them whirl Thy mill-stones round; With branded brow and fettered wrist, We bade them grind this Nation's grist!
And so, like Samson—blind and bound— Our Nation's grist this Negro ground; And all the strength of Freedom's toil, And all the fruits of Freedom's soil, And all her hopes and all her trust, From Slavery's gates were flung, like dust.
With servile souls this mill we fed, That ground the grain for Slavery's bread; With cringing men, and grovelling deeds, We dwarfed our land to Slavery's needs; Till all the scornful nations hissed, To see us ground with Slavery's grist.
The mill grinds on! From Slavery's plain, We reap great crops of blood-red grain; And still the Negro's strength we urge, With Slavery's gyve and Slavery's scourge; And still we crave—on Freedom's sod— That Slaves shall turn the mills of God!
The Mill grinds on! God lets it grind! We sow the seed—the sheaves we bind: The mill-stones whirl as we ordain; Our children's bread shall test the grain! While Samson still in chains we bind, The mill grinds on! God lets it grind!
Did you ever! No, I never! Mercy on us, what a smell! Don't be frightened, Johnny, dear! Gracious! how the jackals yell! Mother, tell me, what's the man Doing with that pole of his? Bless your little precious heart, He's stirring up the beastesses!
Children! don't you go so near! Hevings! there's the Afric cowses! What's the matter with the child? Why, the monkey's tore his trowses! Here's the monstrous elephant,— I'm all a tremble at the sight; See his monstrous tooth-pick, boys! Wonder if he's fastened tight?
There's the lion!—see his tail! How he drags it on the floor! 'Sakes alive! I'm awful scared To hear the horrid creatures roar! Here's the monkeys in their cage, Wide awake you are to see 'em; Funny, ain't it? How would you Like to have a tail and be 'em?
Johnny, darling, that's the bear That tore the naughty boys to pieces; Horned cattle!—only hear How the dreadful camel wheezes! That's the tall giraffe, my boy, Who stoops to hear the morning lark; 'Twas him who waded Noah's flood, And scorned the refuge of the ark.
Here's the crane,—the awkward bird! Strong his neck is as a whaler's, And his bill is full as long As ever met one from the tailor's. Look!—just see the zebra there, Standing safe behind the bars; Goodness me! how like a flag, All except the corner stars!
There's the bell! the birds and beasts Now are going to be fed; So my little darlings, come, It 's time for you to be abed. "Mother, 't is n't nine o'clock! You said we need n't go before; Let us stay a little while,— Want to see the monkeys more!"
Cries the showman, "Turn 'em out! Dim the lights!—there, that will do; Come again to-morrow, boys; Bring your little sisters, too." Exit mother, half distraught, Exit father, muttering "bore?" Exit children, blubbering still, "Want to see the monkeys more!"
IGNORANCE IS BLISS
FRED BROWN. JOHNNY GRAY. NED WHITE.
SCENE.—Recitation-Room at a Public School.
Fred. A pretty task Master Green has given me this time! He calls me to his desk, and says, "Brown, those boys, Gray and White, have been very inattentive during the music lesson: take them into the recitation-room, and keep them there until they can sing four stanzas of 'The Battle-cry of Freedom.'" A nice music-master I am! I can't read, sing, or growl a note, and I don't know a single line of "The Battle-cry of Freedom." But I must not let them know that. Here they are. (Enter GRAY and WHITE; they get in a corner of the stage, and whisper together.) Now, what conspiracy is hatching? Hem! Here, you fellows, do you know what you came here for?
Gray. To take a music lesson, I suppose.
Fred. Well, you had better commence.
White. Certainly, after you.
Fred. After me! What do you mean?
White. I believe it's the custom of all music-masters to first sing the song they wish to teach. (Aside to GRAY.) He can't sing a note.
Gray. (Aside to WHITE.) He can't? good! Let's plague him. (Aloud.) Come, singing-master, proceed.
Fred. No matter about me. You two can sing, and when you make a mistake I will correct it.
Gray. You'll correct it! That's good. With what, pray?
Fred. With this. (Producing a ratten from under his jacket.)
White. O, dear, I don't like that sort of tuning-fork.
Fred. You'll get it if you don't hurry. Come, boys, "The Battle-cry of Freedom."
Gray. (Aside to WHITE.) Ned, do you know the song?
White. (Aside.) I know just one line.
Gray. (Aside.) O, dear, we're in a scrape. (Aloud.) Master Fred, will you please give me the first line? I've forgotten it.
Fred. Certainly. Let me see. "Rock me to sleep, mother." No, that isn't it.
White. (Aside.) He's split on that rock.
Fred. Hem! ah! "Dear father, dear father, come home." O, bother!
Gray. (Aside.) It'll bother him to "come home" with that line.
Fred. "Give me a cot."—O, pshaw! I tell you what, boys, I didn't come here to talk, but to listen: now you two sing away at once, or down comes the ratten.
Gray. (Aside.) I say, Ned, Brown doesn't know it? here's fun. Now you just keep quiet, and ring in your line when I snap my fingers.
White. (Aside.) All right. I understand. When you snap, I sing.
Fred. Come, come! Strike up, or I shall strike down.
Gray. (Sings to the tune of the Battle-cry of Freedom,)—
"Mary had a little lamb; Its fleece was white as snow."
(Snaps his fingers.)
White. (Very loud.)
"Shouting the battle-cry of freedom."
"And everywhere that Mary went The lamb was sure to go." (Snaps.)
White. "Shouting the battle-cry of freedom."
Fred. Capital! Perfectly correct, perfectly correct. Sing again.
"It followed her to school one day; It was against the rule." (Snaps.)
White. "Shouting the battle-cry of freedom."
"It made the children laugh and play To see a lamb at school." (Snaps.)
White. "Shouting the battle-cry of freedom."
Fred. Beautiful! beautiful! I couldn't do it better myself.
Gray. (Aside.) I should think not.
White. Come, Mr. Singing-master, you try a stanza.
Fred. What, sir! do you want to shirk your task? Sing away.
"And so the teacher turned him out; Yet still he lingered near." (Snaps.)
White. "Shouting the battle-cry of freedom."
"And waited patiently about, Till Mary did appear." (Snaps.)
White. "Shouting the battle-cry of freedom."
Fred. Glorious! Why, boys, it's a perfect uproar.
White. There's enough, isn't there?
Fred. No, sir, four stanzas. Come, be quick.
Gray. I don't know any more.
White. I'm sure I don't.
Fred. Yes you do, you're trying to shirk; but I won't have it. You want a taste of the rattan. Come, be lively.
"'What makes the lamb love Mary so?' The eager children cry." (Snaps.)
White. "Shouting the battle-cry of freedom."
"'Why, Mary loves the lamb, you know,' The teacher did reply." (Snaps.)
White. "Shouting the battle-cry of freedom."
Fred. There, boys, I knew you could sing. Now come in, and I will tell Master Green how capitally you have done—that I couldn't do better myself.
White. Well, Johnny, we got out of that scrape pretty well.
Gray. Yes, Ned; but it's a poor way. I must pay a little more attention to my singing.
White. And so must I, for we may not always have a teacher on whom the old saying fits so well.
Gray. Old saying? What's that?
White. "Where ignorance is bliss—"
Gray. O, yes, "'Twere folly to be wise."
THE VULTURE OF THE ALPS.
[The following stirring poem is highly dramatic. The reader should, as far as possible, realize the feelings of the shepherd-parent as he sees "the youngest of his babes" borne in the iron-claws of the vulture high in mid air towards his golgotha of a nest. Much force of attitude and gesture is not only admissable, but called for, as the agonized father leans forward following the flight of the vulture.]
I've been among the mighty Alps, and wandered through their vales, And heard the honest mountaineers relate their dismal tales, As round the cottage blazing hearth, when their daily work was o'er They spake of those who disappeared, and ne'er were heard of more.
And there I from a shepherd heard a narrative of fear, A tale to rend a mortal heart, which mothers might not hear: The tears were standing in his eyes, his voice was tremulous. But, wiping all those tears away, he told his story thus:—
"It is among these barren cliffs the ravenous vulture dwells, Who never fattens on the prey which from afar he smells; But, patient, watching hour on hour upon a lofty rock, He singles out some truant lamb, a victim, from the flock.
"One cloudless Sabbath summer morn, the sun was rising high, When from my children on the green, I heard a fearful cry, As if some awful deed were done, a shriek of grief and pain, A cry, I humbly trust in God, I ne'er may hear again.
"I hurried out to learn the cause; but, overwhelmed with fright, The children never ceased to shriek, and from my frenzied sight I missed the youngest of my babes, the darling of my care, But something caught my searching eyes, slow sailing through the air.
"Oh! what an awful spectacle to meet a father's eye! His infant made a vulture's prey, with terror to descry! And know, with agonizing breast, and with a maniac rave, That earthly power could not avail, that innocent to save!
"My infant stretched his little hands imploringly to me, And struggled with the ravenous bird, all vainly to get free, At intervals, I heard his cries, as loud he shrieked and screamed: Until, upon the azure sky, a lessening spot he seemed.
"The vulture flapped his sail-like wings, though heavily he flew, A mote upon the sun's broad face he seemed unto my view: But once I thought I saw him stoop, as if he would alight; 'Twas only a delusive thought, for all had vanished quite.
"All search was vain, and years had passed; that child was ne'er forgot, When once a daring hunter climbed unto a lofty spot, From whence, upon a rugged crag the chamois never reached, He saw an infant's fleshless bones the elements had bleached!
"I clambered up that rugged cliff; I could not stay away; I knew they were my infant's bones thus hastening to decay; A tattered garment yet remained, though torn to many a shred, The crimson cap he wore that morn was still upon the head."
That dreary spot is pointed out to travellers passing by, Who often stand, and, musing, gaze, nor go without a sigh. And as I journeyed, the next morn, along my sunny way, The precipice was shown to me, whereon the infant lay.
This scene will give a good chance to practise variety of expression, both in words and action. Falstaff throws himself into all the attitudes, and elevates and depresses his voice, as if he was actually engaged in the combat he describes—preserving the utmost gravity of face, until he finds that the Prince has really detected him. Then the "fat rogue" bursts into a jolly, unctuous laugh, and carries off the honors, after all:
P. Henry. What's the matter?
Fal. What's the matter? there be four of us here have ta'en a thousand pound this morning.
P. Hen. Where is it, Jack? where is it?
Fal. Where is it? taken from us it is: a hundred upon poor four of us.
P. Hen. What, a hundred, man?
Fal. I am a rogue, if I were not at half-sword with a dozen of them two hours together. I have 'scaped by miracle. I am eight times thrust through the doublet; four, through the hose; my buckler cut through and through; my sword hacked like a hand-saw ecce signum. I never dealt better since I was a man: all would not do. A plague of all cowards!—Let them speak: if they speak more or less than truth, they are villains, and the sons of darkness.
P. Hen. Speak, sirs: how was it?
Gads. We four set upon some dozen,—
Fal. Sixteen at least, my lord.
Gads. And bound them.
Peto. No, no, they were not bound.
Fal. You rogue, they were bound, every man of them; or I am a Jew else, an Ebrew Jew.
Gads. As we were sharing, some six or seven fresh men set upon us.
Fal. And unbound the rest, and then come in the other.
P. Hen. What, fought ye with them all?
Fal. All! I know not what ye call, all; but if I fought not with fifty of them, I am a bunch of radish; if there were not two or three and fifty upon poor old Jack, then I am no two-legged creature.
Poins. Pray God, you have not murdered some of them.
Fal. Nay, that's past praying for, for I have peppered two of them: two, I am sure, I have paid; two rogues in buckram suits. I tell thee what, Hal,—if I tell thee a lie, spit in my face, call me horse. Thou knowest my old ward;—here I lay, and thus I bore my point. Four rogues in buckram let drive at me.—
P. Hen. What, four? thou said'st but two, even now.
Fal. Four, Hal; I told thee four.
Poins. Ay, ay, he said four.
Fal. These four came all a-front, and mainly thrust at me. I made no more ado, but took all their seven points in my target, thus.
P. Hen. Seven? why, there were but four, even now.
Fal. In buckram.
Poins. Ay, four in buckram suits.
Fal. Seven, by these hilts, or I am a villain else.
P. Hen. Pr'ythee, let him alone; we shall have more anon.
Fal. Dost thou hear me, Hal?
P. Hen. Ay, and mark thee too, Jack.
Fal. Do, so, for it is worth the listening to. The nine in buckram that I told thee of,——
P. Hen. So, two more already.
Fal. Their points being broken,——
Poins. Down fell their hose.
Fal. Began to give me ground: But I followed me close, came in foot and hand: and, with a thought, seven of the eleven I paid.
P. Hen. O monstrous! eleven buckram men grown out of two!
Fal. But, as the devil would have it, three misbegotten knaves, in Kendal green, came at my back, and let drive at me; for it was so dark, Hal, that thou couldst not see thy hand.
P. Hen. These lies are like the father that begets them; gross as a mountain, open palpable. Why, thou clay-brained guts; thou knotty-pated fool! thou whoreson, obscene, greasy, tallow-keech,—
Fal. What, art thou mad? art thou mad? is not the truth, the truth?
P. Hen. Why, how couldst thou know these men in Kendal green, when it was so dark thou couldst not see thy hand? come, tell us thy reason; what sayest thou to this?
Poins. Come, your reason, Jack, your reason.
Fal. What, upon compulsion? No; were I at the strappado, or all the racks in the world, I would not tell you on compulsion. Give you a reason on compulsion! if reasons were as plenty as blackberries I would give no man a reason upon compulsion, I.
P. Hen. I'll be no longer guilty of this sin; this sanguine coward, this bed-presser, this horse back-breaker, this huge hill of flesh;—
Fal. Away, you starveling, you elf-skin, you dried neat's-tongue, bull's-pizzle, you stock-fish,—O for breath to utter what is like thee!—you tailor's yard, you sheathe, you bow-case, you vile standing tuck;—
P. Hen. Well, breathe a while and then to it again; and when thou hast tired thyself in base comparisons hear me speak but this.
Poins. Mark, Jack.
P. Hen. We two saw you four set on four: you bound them, and were masters of their wealth.—Mark now how plain a tale shall put you down.—Then did we two set on you four: and, with a word, out-faced you from your prize, and have it; yea, and can show it you here in the house:—and, Falstaff, you carried your guts away as nimbly, with as quick dexterity, and roared for mercy, and still ran and roared, as ever I heard bull-calf. What a slave art thou, to hack thy sword, as thou hast done; and then say, it was a fight! What trick, what device, what starting-hole, canst now find out, to hide thee from this open and apparent shame?
Poins. Come, let's hear, Jack: What trick hast thou now?
Fal. By the Lord, I knew ye, as well as he that made ye. Why, hear ye, my masters: Was it for me to kill the heir apparent? Should I turn upon the true prince? Why, thou knowest, I am as valiant as Hercules; but beware instinct; the lion will not touch the true prince. Instinct is a great matter; I was a coward on instinct. I shall think the better of myself and thee, during my life; I, for a valiant lion, and thou for a true prince. But, by the Lord, lads, I am glad you have the money.—Hostess, clap to the doors; watch to-night, pray to-morrow.—Gallant, lads, boys, hearts of gold. All the titles of good fellowship come to you! What, shall we be merry? shall we have a play extempore?
ON TO FREEDOM.
This poem should be delivered with bold energy, with flashing eye, swelling breast, and free action—as though the speaker's heart was full of the nobility of the theme:
"There has been the cry—'On to Richmond!' And still another cry—On to England!' Better than either is the cry—'On to Freedom!'"
On to Freedom! On to Freedom! 'Tis the everlasting cry Of the floods that strive with ocean— Of the storms that smite the sky; Of the atoms in the whirlwind, Of the seed beneath the ground— Of each living thing in Nature That is bound! 'Twas the cry that led from Egypt, Through the desert wilds of Edom: Out of darkness—out of bondage— On to Freedom! On to Freedom!
O! thou stony-hearted Pharaoh! Vainly warrest thou with God! Moveless, at thy palace portals, Moses waits, with lifted rod! O! thou poor barbarian, Xerxes! Vainly o'er the Pontic main Flingest thou, to curb its utterance, Scourge or chain! For, the cry that led from Egypt, Over desert wilds of Edom, Speaks alike through Greek and Hebrew; On to Freedom! On to Freedom!
In the Roman streets, with Gracchus, Hark! I hear that cry outswell; In the German woods with Hermann, And on Switzer hills, with Tell; Up from Spartacus, the Bondman, When his tyrants yoke he clave, And from Stalwart Wat the Tyler— Saxon slave! Still the old, old cry of Egypt, Struggling up from wilds of Edom— Sounding still through all the ages: On to Freedom! On to Freedom!
On to Freedom! On to Freedom! Gospel cry of laboring Time: Uttering still, through seers and sages, Words of hope and faith sublime! From our Sidneys, and our Hampdens, And our Washingtons they come: And we cannot, and we dare not Make them dumb! Out of all the shames of Egypt— Out of all the snares of Edom; Out of darkness—out of bondage— On to Freedom! On to Freedom!
THE MURDERED TRAVELLER.
WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT.
When spring, to woods and wastes around, Brought bloom and joy again, The murdered traveller's bones were found, Far down a narrow glen.
The fragrant birch, above him, hung Her tassels in the sky; And many a vernal blossom sprung, And nodded, careless, by.
The red-bird warbled, as he wrought His hanging nest o'erhead; And, fearless, near the fatal spot, Her young the partridge led.
But there was weeping far away, And gentle eyes, for him, With watching many an anxious day, Grew sorrowful and dim.
They little knew, who loved him so, The fearful death he met, When shouting o'er the desert snow, Unarmed, and hard beset.
Nor how, when round the frosty pole, The northern dawn was red, The mountain-wolf and wild-cat stole, To banquet on the dead;
Nor how, when strangers found his bones, They dressed the hasty bier, And marked his grave with nameless stones, Unmoistened by a tear.
But long they looked, and feared and wept, Within his distant home; And dreamt and started as they slept, For joy that he was come.
So long they looked—but never spied His welcome step again, Nor knew the fearful death he died, Far down that narrow glen.
DAVID'S LAMENT OVER ABSALOM.
This admirable composition gives ample scope for gentle, mournful, tear-stricken recitation. The thoughts prompt the speaker to natural expression:
The king stood still Till the last echo died: then throwing off The sackcloth from his brow, and laying back The pall from the still features of his child, He bowed his head upon him and broke forth In the resistless eloquence of woe:—
"Alas! my noble boy! that thou should'st die Thou, who wert made so beautifully fair! That death should settle in thy glorious eye, And leave his stillness in this clustering hair. How could he mark thee for the silent tomb, My proud boy, Absalom!
"Cold is thy brow, my son! and I am chill, As to my bosom I have tried to press thee; How was I wont to feel my pulses thrill, Like a rich harp-string, yearning to caress thee, And hear thy sweet 'my father' from these dumb And cold lips, Absalom!
"The grave hath won thee. I shall hear the gush Of music, and the voices of the young; And life will pass me in the mantling blush, And the dark tresses to the soft winds flung; But thou no more, with thy sweet voice, shall come To meet me, Absalom!
"And, oh! when I am stricken, and my heart, Like a bruised reed, is waiting to be broken, How will its love for thee, as I depart, Yearn for thine ear to drink its last deep token! It were so sweet, amid death's gathering gloom, To see thee, Absalom!
"And now, farewell! 'Tis hard to give thee up, With death so like a gentle slumber on thee:— And thy dark sin!—Oh! I could drink the cup, If from this woe its bitterness had won thee. May God have called thee, like a wanderer, home, My erring Absalom!"