For Ordinary Pass.
Improved reading, and recitation of not less than seventy-five lines of poetry.
N.B.—The passages for recitation may be taken from one or more standard authors, previously approved by the Inspector. Meaning and allusions to be known, and, if well known, to atone for deficiencies of memory.
For Special Grant (Art. 19, C. 1).
Parsing, with analysis of a "simple" sentence.
For Ordinary Pass.
Reading, with expression, a short passage of prose or of poetry, with explanation, grammar, and elementary analysis of simple sentences.
Specific Subject—English literature and language, 2nd year. (Art. 21 and Schedule IV., Scotch Code.)
Three hundred lines of poetry, not before brought up, repeated; with knowledge of meaning and allusions, and of the derivations of words.
PREFACE TO BOOK V.
This seems a fitting place in which to explain the general aim of this series of Reading Books. Primarily, it is intended to provide a systematic course for use in schools which are under State inspection; and, with this view, each Book in the series, after the Primer, is drawn up so as to meet the requirements, as set forth in the English and Scotch codes issued by the Committees of Council on Education, of the Standard to which it corresponds.
This special adaptation will not, it is hoped, render the series less useful in other schools. The graduated arrangement of the books, although, perhaps, one to which every teacher may not choose to conform, may yet serve as a test by which to compare the attainments of the pupils in any particular school with those which, according to the codes, may be taken as the average expected from the pupils in schools where the Standard examination is, necessarily, enforced.
The general character of the series is literary, and not technical. Scientific extracts have been avoided. The teaching of special subjects is separately recognised by the codes, and provided for by the numerous special handbooks which have been published. The separation of the reading class from such teaching will prove a gain to both. The former must aim chiefly at giving to the pupils the power of accurate, and, if possible, apt and skilful expression; at cultivating in them a good literary taste, and at arousing a desire of further reading. All this, it is believed, can best be done where no special or technical information has to be extracted from the passages read.
In the earlier Books the subject, the language, and the moral are all as direct and simple as possible. As they advance, the language becomes rather more intricate, because a studied simplicity, when detected by the pupil, repels rather than attracts him. The subjects are more miscellaneous; but still, as far as possible, kept to those which can appeal to the minds of scholars of eleven or twelve years of age, without either calling for, or encouraging, precocity. In Books II., III., and IV., a few old ballads and other pieces have been purposely introduced; as nothing so readily expands the mind and lifts it out of habitual and sluggish modes of thought, as forcing upon the attention the expressions and the thoughts of an entirely different time.
The last, or Sixth Book, may be thought too advanced for its purpose. But, in the first place, many of the pieces given in it, though selected for their special excellence, do not involve any special difficulties; and, in the second place, it will be seen that the requirements of the English Code of 1875 in the Sixth Standard really correspond in some degree to those of the special subject of English literature, formerly recognised by the English, and still recognised by the Scotch Code. Besides this, the Sixth Book is intended to supply the needs of pupil teachers and of higher classes; and to be of interest enough to be read by the scholar out of school-hours, perhaps even after school is done with altogether. To such it may supply the bare outlines of English literature; and may, at least, introduce them to the best English authors. The aim of all the extracts in the book may not be fully caught, as their beauty certainly cannot be fully appreciated, by youths; but they may, at least, serve the purpose of all education—that of stimulating the pupil to know more.
The editor has to return his thanks for the kindness by which certain extracts have been placed at his disposal by the following authors and publishers:—Mr. Ruskin and Mr. William Allingham; Mr. Nimmo (for extract from Hugh Miller's works); Mr. Nelson (for poems by Mr. and Mrs. Howitt); Messrs. Edmonston and Douglas (for extract from Dasent's "Tales from the Norse"); Messrs. Chapman and Hall (for extracts from the works of Charles Dickens and Mr. Carlyle); Messrs. Longmans, Green, and Co. (for extracts from the works of Macaulay and Mr. Froude); Messrs. Routledge and Co. (for extracts from Miss Martineau's works); Mr. Murray (for extracts from the works of Dean Stanley); and many others.
INCIDENT IN THE LIFE OF DR. JOHNSON Warner's Tour in the Northern Counties.
THE OLD PHILOSOPHER AND THE YOUNG LADY Jane Taylor
BARBARA S—— Charles Lamb
DR. ARNOLD Tom Brown's School Days
BOYHOOD'S WORK [ditto]
WORK IN THE WORLD [ditto]
CASTLES IN THE AIR Addison
THE DEATH OF NELSON Southey
LEARNING TO RIDE T. Hughes
MOSES AT THE FAIR Goldsmith
WHANG THE MILLER [ditto]
AN ESCAPE Defoe's Robinson Crusoe
NECESSITY THE MOTHER OF INVENTION [ditto]
LABRADOR Southey's Omniana
GROWTH OF EUROPEAN CIVILIZATION IN THE TWELFTH CENTURY Robertson
A WHALE HUNT Scott
A SHIPWRECK Charles Kingsley
THE BLACK PRINCE Dean Stanley
THE ASSEMBLY OF URI E.A. Freeman
MY WINTER GARDEN Charles Kingsley
ASPECTS OF NORTHERN AND SOUTHERN COUNTRIES John Ruskin
COLUMBUS IN SIGHT OF LAND Washington Irving
COLUMBUS SHIPWRECKED [ditto]
ROBBED IN THE DESERT Mungo Park
ARISTIDES Plutarch's Lives
THE VENERABLE BEDE J.R. Green
THE DEATH OF ANSELM Dean Church
THE MURDER OF BECKET Dean Stanley
THE DEATH OF ELIZABETH J.R. Green
THE BATTLE OF NASEBY Defoe
THE PILGRIMS AND GIANT DESPAIR Bunyan
A HARD WINTER Rev. Gilbert White
A PORTENTOUS SUMMER [ditto]
A THUNDERSTORM [ditto]
CHARACTER OF SIR WALTER SCOTT J. Lockhart
MUMPS'S HALL Scott
THE PORTEOUS MOB [ditto]
THE PORTEOUS MOB (continued) [ditto]
JOSIAH WEDGWOOD Speech by Mr. Gladstone
THE CRIMEAN WAR Speech by Mr. Disraeli
NATIONAL MORALITY Speech by Mr. Bright
THE PLEASURES OF A LIFE OF LABOUR Hugh Miller
THE FLIGHT OF BIRDS Rev. Gilbert White
THE BATTLE OF CORUNNA Napier
BATTLE OF ALBUERA Napier
CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE AT BALAKLAVA _The "Times" Correspondent
AFRICAN HOSPITALITY Mungo Park
ACROSS THE DESERT OF NUBIA Bruce's Travels
A SHIPWRECK ON THE ARABIAN COAST W.G. Palgrave
AN ARABIAN TOWN W.G. Palgrave
THE QUEST OF THE HOLY GRAIL Sir Thomas Malory
VISIT TO SIR ROGER DE COVERLEY'S COUNTRY SEAT Addison
THE DEAD ASS Sterne
THE VILLAGE BLACKSMITH H.W. Longfellow
MEN OF ENGLAND Campbell
A BALLAD Goldsmith
A PSALM OF LIFE H.W. Longfellow
THE ANT AND THE CATERPILLAR Cunningham
REPORT OF AN ADJUDGED CASE Couper
THE INCHCAPE BELL Southey
BATTLE OF THE BALME Campbell
THE CHAMELEON Merrick
A WISH Pope
A SEA SONG Cunningham
ON THE LOSS OF THE 'ROYAL GEORGE' Cowper
RULE BRITANNIA Thomson
ANCIENT GREECE Byron
THE TEMPLE OF FAME Pope
A HAPPY LIFE Sir Henry Wotton
MAN'S SERVANTS George Herbert
VIRTUE George Herbert
DEATH THE CONQUEROR James Shirley
THE PASSIONS Collins
THE VISION OF BELSHAZZAR Byron
YE MARINERS OF ENGLAND Campbell
A SHIPWRECK Byron
THE HAPPY WARRIOR Wordsworth
THE TROSACHS Scott
LOCHIEL'S WARNING Campbell
REST FROM BATTLE Pope
THE SAXON AND THE GAEL Scott
THE SAXON AND THE GAEL (continued) Scott
THE WINTER EVENING Cowper
HYMN TO DIANA Ben Jonson
THE VILLAGE Goldsmith
THE MERCHANT OF VENICE Shakespeare
IL PENSEROSO Milton
Throughout this book, and the next, you will find passages taken from the writings of the best English authors. But the passages are not all equal, nor are they all such as we would call "the best," and the more you read and are able to judge them for yourselves, the better you will be able to see what is the difference between the best and those that are not so good.
By the best authors are meant those who have written most skilfully in prose and verse. Some of these have written in prose, because they wished to tell us something more fully and freely than they could do if they tied themselves to lines of an equal number of syllables, or ending with the same sound, as men do when they write poetry. Others have written in verse, because they wished rather to make us think over and over again about the same thing, and, by doing so, to teach us, gradually, how much we could learn from one thing; if we think sufficiently long and carefully about it; and, besides this, they knew that rhythmical or musical language would keep longest in our memory anything which they wished to remain there; and by being stored up in our mind, would enrich us in all our lives after.
In these books you will find pieces taken from authors both in prose and verse. But of the authors who have made themselves famous by the books which they have written in our language, many had to be set aside. Because many writers, though their books are famous, have written so long ago, that the language which they use, though it is really the same language as our own, is yet so old-fashioned that it is not readily understood. By and by, when you are older, you may read these books, and find it interesting to notice how the language is gradually changing; so that, though we can easily understand what our grandfathers or our great grandfathers wrote, yet we cannot understand, without carefully studying it, what was written by our own ancestors a thousand, or even five hundred, years ago.
The first thing, however, that you have to do—and, perhaps, this book may help you to do it—is to learn what is the best way of writing or speaking our own language of the present day. You cannot learn this better than by reading and remembering what has been written by men, who, because they were very great, or because they laboured very hard, have obtained a great command over the language. When we speak of obtaining a command over language we mean that they have been able to say, in simple, plain words, exactly what they mean. This is not so easy a matter as you may at first think it to be. Those who write well do not use roundabout ways of saying a thing, or they might weary us; they do not use words or expressions which might mean one or other of two things, or they might confuse us; they do not use bombastic language, or language which is like a vulgar and too gaudy dress, or they might make us laugh at them; they do not use exaggerated language, or, worse than all, they might deceive us. If you look at many books which are written at the present day, or at many of the newspapers which appear every morning, you will find that those who write them often forget these rules; and after we have read for a short time what they have written, we are doubtful about what they mean, and only sure that they are trying to attract foolish people, who like bombastic language as they like too gaudy dress, and are caring little whether what they write is strictly true or not.
It is, therefore, very important that you should take as your examples those who have written very well and very carefully, and who have been afraid lest by any idle or careless expression they might either lead people to lose sight of what is true, or might injure our language, which has grown up so slowly, which is so dear to us, and the beauty of which we might, nevertheless, so easily throw away.
As you read specimens of what these authors have written, you will find that they excel chiefly in the following ways:
First. They tell us just what they mean; neither more nor less.
Secondly. They never leave us doubtful as to anything we ought to know in order to understand them. If they tell us a story, they make us feel as if we saw all that they tell us, actually taking place.
Thirdly. They are very careful never to use a word unless it is necessary; never to think a word so worthless a thing that it can be dragged in only because it sounds well.
Fourthly. When they rouse our feelings, they do so, not that they may merely excite or amuse us, but that they may make us sympathise more fully with what they have to tell.
In these matters they are mostly alike; but in other matters you will find that they differ from each other greatly. Our language has come from two sources. One of these is the English language as talked by our remote ancestors, the other is the Latin language, which came to us through French, and from which we borrowed a great deal when our language was getting into the form it now has. Many of our words and expressions, therefore, are Old English, while others are borrowed from Latin. Some authors prefer to use, where they can, old English words and expressions, which are shorter, plainer, and more direct; others prefer the Latin words, which are more ornamental and elaborate, and perhaps fit for explaining what is obscure, and for showing us the difference between things that are very like. This is one great contrast; and there are others which you will see for yourselves as you go on. And while you notice carefully what is good in each, you should be careful not to imitate too exactly the peculiarities, which may be the faults, in any one.
* * * * *
INCIDENT IN THE LIFE OF DR. JOHNSON.
During the last visit Dr. Johnson paid to Lichfield, the friends with whom he was staying missed him one morning at the breakfast-table. On inquiring after him of the servants, they understood he had set off from Lichfield at a very early hour, without mentioning to any of the family whither he was going. The day passed without the return of the illustrious guest, and the party began to be very uneasy on his account, when, just before the supper-hour, the door opened, and the doctor stalked into the room. A solemn silence of a few minutes ensued, nobody daring to inquire the cause of his absence, which was at last relieved by Johnson addressing the lady of the house in the following manner:—"Madam, I beg your pardon for the abruptness of my departure from your house this morning, but I was constrained to it by my conscience. Fifty years ago, madam, on this day, I committed a breach of filial piety, which has ever since lain heavy on my mind, and has not till this day been expiated. My father, as you recollect, was a bookseller, and had long been in the habit of attending Lichfield market, and opening a stall for the sale of his books during that day. Confined to his bed by indisposition, he requested me, this time fifty years ago, to visit the market, and attend the stall in his place. But, madam, my pride prevented me from doing my duty, and I gave my father a refusal. To do away the sin of this disobedience, I this day went in a post-chaise to Lichfield, and going into the market at the time of high business, uncovered my head, and stood with it bare an hour before the stall which my father had formerly used, exposed to the sneers of the standers-by and the inclemency of the weather—a penance by which I hope I have propitiated Heaven for this only instance, I believe, of contumacy towards my father."
Warner's Tour in the Northern Counties.
[Notes: Dr. Samuel Johnson, born 1709, died 1784 By hard and unaided toil he won his way to the front rank among the literary men of his day. He deserves the honour of having been the first to free literature from the thraldom of patronage.
Filial piety. Piety is used here not in a religious sense, but in its stricter sense of dutifulness. In Virgil "the Pious Aneas" means "Aneas who showed dutifulness to his father."]
* * * * *
THE OLD PHILOSOPHER AND THE YOUNG LADY.
"Alas!" exclaimed a silver-headed sage, "how narrow is the utmost extent of human knowledge! I have spent my life in acquiring knowledge, but how little do I know! The farther I attempt to penetrate the secrets of nature, the more I am bewildered and benighted. Beyond a certain limit all is but conjecture: so that the advantage of the learned over the ignorant consists greatly in having ascertained how little is to be known.
"It is true that I can measure the sun, and compute the distances of the planets; I can calculate their periodical movements, and even ascertain the laws by which they perform their sublime revolutions; but with regard to their construction, to the beings which inhabit them, their condition and circumstances, what do I know more than the clown?— Delighting to examine the economy of nature in our own world, I have analyzed the elements, and given names to their component parts. And yet, should I not be as much at a loss to explain the burning of fire, or to account for the liquid quality of water, as the vulgar, who use and enjoy them without thought or examination?—I remark, that all bodies, unsupported, fall to the ground, and I am taught to account for this by the law of gravitation. But what have I gained here more than a term? Does it convey to my mind any idea of the nature of that mysterious and invisible chain which draws all things to a common centre?—Pursuing the track of the naturalist, I have learned to distinguish the animal, the vegetable, and the mineral kingdoms, and to divide these into their distinct tribes and families;—but can I tell, after all this toil, whence a single blade of grass derives its vitality?—Could the most minute researches enable me to discover the exquisite pencil that paints the flower of the field? and have I ever detected the secret that gives their brilliant dye to the ruby and the emerald, or the art that enamels the delicate shell?—I observe the sagacity of animals—I call it instinct, and speculate upon its various degrees of approximation to the reason of man; but, after all, I know as little of the cogitations of the brute as he does of mine. When I see a flight of birds overhead, performing their evolutions, or steering their course to some distant settlement, their signals and cries are as unintelligible to me as are the learned languages to an unlettered mechanic: I understand as little of their policy and laws as they do of 'Blackstone's Commentaries.'
"Alas! then, what have I gained by my laborious researches but an humbling conviction of my weakness and ignorance! Of how little has man, at his best estate, to boast! What folly in him to glory in his contracted powers, or to value himself upon his imperfect acquisitions!"
* * * * *
"Well!" exclaimed a young lady, just returned from school, "my education is at last finished: indeed, it would be strange if, after five years' hard application, anything were left incomplete. Happily, it is all over now, and I have nothing to do but exercise my various accomplishments.
"Let me see!—as to French, I am mistress of that, and speak it, if possible, with more fluency than English. Italian I can read with ease, and pronounce very well, as well at least, and better, than any of my friends; and that is all one need wish for in Italian. Music I have learned till I am perfectly sick of it. But, now that we have a grand piano, it will be delightful to play when we have company. And then there are my Italian songs, which everybody allows I sing with taste, and as it is what so few people can pretend to, I am particularly glad that I can. My drawings are universally admired, especially the shells and flowers, which are beautiful, certainly: besides this, I have a decided taste in all kinds of fancy ornaments. And then, my dancing and waltzing, in which our master himself owned that he could take me no farther;—just the figure for it certainly! it would be unpardonable if I did not excel. As to common things, geography, and history, and poetry, and philosophy, thank my stars, I have got through them all! so that I may consider myself not only perfectly accomplished, but also thoroughly well informed.
"Well, to be sure, how much I have fagged through; the only wonder is that one head can contain it all!"
[Note: "Blackstone's Commentaries" The great standard work on the theory and practice of the English law; written by Sir William Blackstone (1723-1780).]
* * * * *
THE VILLAGE BLACKSMITH.
Under a spreading chestnut tree, The village smithy stands; The smith, a mighty man is he, With large and sinewy hands; And the muscles of his brawny arms Are strong as iron bands.
His hair is crisp, and black, and long, His face is like the tan; His brow is wet with honest sweat, He earns whate'er he can, And looks the whole world in the face, For he owes not any man.
Week in, week out, from morn till night, You can hear his bellows blow; You can hear him swing his heavy sledge, With measured beat and slow, Like a sexton ringing the village bell, When the evening sun is low.
And children coming home from school Look in at the open door; They love to see the flaming forge, And hear the bellows roar, And catch the burning sparks that fly Like chaff from a threshing-floor.
He goes on Sunday to the church, And sits among his boys; He hears the parson pray and preach, He hears his daughter's voice Singing in the village choir, And it makes his heart rejoice.
It sounds to him like her mother's voice, Singing in Paradise! He needs must think of her once more, How in the grave she lies; And with his hard, rough hand he wipes A tear out of his eyes.
Toiling,—rejoicing,—sorrowing, Onward through life he goes; Each morning sees some task begin, Each evening sees it close; Something attempted, something done, Has earned a night's repose.
Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend, For the lesson thou hast taught! Thus at the flaming forge of life Our fortunes must be wrought; Thus on its sounding anvil shaped Each burning deed and thought!
[Notes: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, one of the foremost among contemporary American poets. Born in 1807. His chief poems are 'Evangeline' and 'Hiawatha.'
His face is like the tan. Tan is the bark of the oak, bruised and broken for tanning leather.
Thus at the flaming forge of life, &c. = As iron is softened at the forge and beaten into shape on the anvil, so by the trials and circumstances of life, our thoughts and actions are influenced and our characters and destinies decided. The metaphor is made more complicated by being broken up.]
* * * * *
MEN OF ENGLAND.
Men of England! who inherit Rights that cost your sires their blood! Men whose undegenerate spirit Has been proved on land and flood:
By the foes ye've fought uncounted, By the glorious deeds ye've done, Trophies captured—breaches mounted, Navies conquer'd—kingdoms won!
Yet remember, England gathers Hence but fruitless wreaths of fame, If the virtues of your fathers Glow not in your hearts the same.
What are monuments of bravery, Where no public virtues bloom? What avail in lands of slavery Trophied temples, arch, and tomb?
Pageants!—let the world revere us For our people's rights and laws, And the breasts of civic heroes Bared in Freedom's holy cause.
Yours are Hampden's Russell's glory, Sydney's matchless shade is your,— Martyrs in heroic story, Worth a thousand Agincourts!
We're the sons of sires that baffled Crown'd and mitred tyranny: They defied the field and scaffold, For their birthrights—so will we.
[Notes: Thomas Campbell, born 1777, died 1844. Author of the 'Pleasures of Hope,' 'Gertrude of Wyoming,' and many lyrics. His poetry is careful, scholarlike and polished. Men whose undegenerate spirit, &c. In prose, this would run, "(Ye) men whose spirit has been proved (to be) undegenerate," &c. The word "undegenerate," which is introduced only as an epithet, is the real predicate of the sentence.
By the foes ye've fought uncounted. "Uncounted" agreeing with "foes."
Fruitless wreaths of fame. A poetical figure, taken from the wreaths of laurel given as prizes in the ancient games of Greece. "Past history will give fame to a country, but nothing more fruitful than fame, unless its virtues are kept alive."
Trophied temples, i.e., Temples hung (after the fashion of the ancients) with trophies.
Arch, i.e., the triumphal arch erected by the Romans in honour of victorious generals.
Pageants = "these are nought but pageants."
And (for) the beasts of civic heroes. Civic heroes, those who have striven for the rights of their fellow citizens.
Hampden, i.e., John Hampden (born 1594, died 1643), the maintainer of the rights of the people in the reign of Charles I. He resisted the imposition of ship-money, and died in a skirmish at Chalgrove during the Civil War.
Russell, i.e., Lord William Russell, beheaded in 1683, in the reign of Charles II. on a charge of treason. He had resisted the Court in its aims at establishing the doctrine of passive obedience.
Sydney, i.e., Algernon Sydney. The friend of Russell, who met with the same fate in the same year.
Sydney's matchless shade. Shade = spirit or memory.
Agincourt. The victory won by Henry V. in France, in 1415.
Crown'd and mitred tyranny. Explain this.]
* * * * *
On the noon of the 14th of November, 1743, just as the clock had struck one, Barbara S——, with her accustomed punctuality, ascended the long, rabbling staircase, with awkward interposed landing-places, which led to the office, or rather a sort of box with a desk in it, whereat sat the then Treasurer of the Old Bath Theatre. All over the island it was the custom, and remains so I believe to this day, for the players to receive their weekly stipend on the Saturday. It was not much that Barbara had to claim.
This little maid had just entered her eleventh year; but her important station at the theatre, as it seemed to her, with the benefits which she felt to accrue from her pious application of her small earnings, had given an air of womanhood her steps and to her behaviour. You would have taken her to have been at least five years older. Till latterly she had merely been employed in choruses, or where children were wanted to fill up the scene. But the manager, observing a diligence and adroitness in her above her age, had for some few months past intrusted to her the performance of whole parts. You may guess the self-consequence of the promoted Barbara.
* * * * *
The parents of Barbara had been in reputable circumstances. The father had practised, I believe, as an apothecary in the town. But his practice, from causes for which he was himself to blame, or perhaps from that pure infelicity which accompanies some people in their walk through life, and which it is impossible to lay at the door of imprudence, was now reduced to nothing. They were, in fact, in the very teeth of starvation, when the manager, who knew and respected them in better days, took the little Barbara into his company.
At the period I commenced with, her slender earnings were the sole support of the family, including two younger sisters. I must throw a veil over some mortifying circumstances. Enough to say, that her Saturday's pittance was the only chance of a Sunday's meal of meat.
This was the little starved, meritorious maid, stood before old Ravenscroft, the treasurer, for her Saturday's payment. Ravenscroft was a man, I have heard many old theatrical people besides herself say, of all men least calculated for a treasurer. He had no head for accounts, paid away at random, kept scarce any books, and summing up at the week's end, if he found himself a pound or so deficient, blest himself that it was no more.
Now Barbara's weekly stipend was a bare half-guinea. By mistake he popped into her hand a whole one.
Barbara tripped away.
She was entirely unconscious at first of the mistake: God knows, Ravenscroft would never have discovered it.
But when she had got down to the first of those uncouth landing-places she became sensible of an unusual weight of metal pressing her little hand.
Now, mark the dilemma.
She was by nature a good child. From her parents and those about her she had imbibed no contrary influence. But then they had taught her nothing. Poor men's smoky cabins are not always porticoes of moral philosophy. This little maid had no instinct to evil, but then she might be said to have no fixed principle. She had heard honesty commended, but never dreamed of its application to herself. She thought of it as something which concerned grown-up people, men and women. She had never known temptation, or thought of preparing resistance against it.
Her first impulse was to go back to the old treasurer, and explain to him his blunder. He was already so confused with age, besides a natural want of punctuality, that she would have had some difficulty in making him understand it. She saw that in an instant. And then it was such a bit of money: and then the image of a larger allowance of butcher's meat on their table next day came across her, till her little eyes glistened, and her mouth moistened. But then Mr. Ravenscroft had always been so good-natured, had stood her friend behind the scenes, and even recommended her promotion to some of her little parts. But again the old man was reputed to be worth a world of money. He was supposed to have fifty pounds a year clear of the theatre. And then came staring upon her the figures of her little stockingless and shoeless sisters. And when she looked at her own neat white cotton stockings, which her situation at the theatre had made it indispensable for her mother to provide for her, with hard straining and pinching from the family stock, and thought how glad she should be to cover their poor feet with the same, and how then they could accompany her to rehearsals, which they had hitherto been precluded from doing, by reason of their unfashionable attire,—in these thoughts she reached the second landing-place—the second, I mean, from the top—for there was still another left to traverse.
Now, virtue, support Barbara!
And that never-failing friend did step in; for at that moment a strength not her own, I have heard her say, was revealed to her—a reason above reasoning—and without her own agency, as it seemed (for she never felt her feet to move), she found herself transported back to the individual desk she had just quitted, and her hand in the old hand of Ravenscroft, who in silence took back the refunded treasure, and who had been sitting (good man) insensible to the lapse of minutes, which to her were anxious ages; and from that moment a deep peace fell upon her heart, and she knew the quality of honesty.
A year or two's unrepining application to her profession brightened up the feet and the prospects of her little sisters, set the whole family upon their legs again, and released her from the difficulty of discussing moral dogmas upon a landing-place.
Essays of Elia, by CHARLES LAMB.
* * * * *
"Turn, gentle Hermit of the dale, And guide my lonely way To where yon taper cheers the vale With hospitable ray.
"For here forlorn and lost I tread, With fainting steps and slow, Where wilds, immeasurably spread, Seem lengthening as I go."
"Forbear, my son," the Hermit cries, "To tempt the dangerous gloom; For yonder faithless phantom flies To lure thee to thy doom.
"Here to the houseless child of want My door is open still; And, though my portion is but scant, I give it with good will.
"Then turn to-night, and freely share Whate'er my cell bestows; My rushy couch and frugal fare, My blessing and repose.
"No flocks that range the valley free To slaughter I condemn; Taught by that Power that pities me, I learn to pity them:
"But from the mountain's grassy side A guiltless feast I bring; A scrip with herbs and fruits supplied, And water from the spring.
"Then, pilgrim turn; thy cares forego; All earth-born cares are wrong: Man wants but little here below, Nor wants that little long."
Soft as the dew from heaven descends His gentle accents fell: The modest stranger lowly bends, And follows to the cell.
Far in a wilderness obscure The lonely mansion lay, A refuge to the neighbouring poor, And strangers led astray.
No stores beneath its humble thatch Required a master's care; The wicket, opening with a latch, Received the harmless pair.
And now, when busy crowds retire To take their evening rest, The Hermit trimm'd his little fire, And cheer'd his pensive guest;
And spread his vegetable store, And gaily pressed, and smiled; And, skill'd in legendary lore, The lingering hours beguiled.
Around, in sympathetic mirth, Its tricks the kitten tries, The cricket chirrups on the hearth, The crackling faggot flies.
But nothing could a charm impart To soothe the stranger's woe; For grief was heavy at his heart, And tears began to flow.
His rising cares the Hermit spied, With answering care oppress'd; And, "Whence, unhappy youth," he cried, "The sorrows of thy breast?"
"From better habitations spurn'd, Reluctant dost thou rove? Or grieve for friendship unreturn'd, Or unregarded love?"
"Alas! the joys that fortune brings Are trifling, and decay; And those who prize the paltry things, More trifling still are they."
"And what is friendship but a name, A charm that lulls to sleep; A shade that follows wealth or fame, But leaves the wretch to weep?"
"And love is still an emptier sound, The modern fair one's jest; On earth unseen, or only found To warm the turtle's nest."
"For shame, fond youth, thy sorrows hush, And spurn the sex," he said; But while he spoke, a rising blush His love-lorn guest betray'd.
Surprised he sees new beauties rise, Swift mantling to the view; Like colours o'er the morning skies, As bright, as transient too.
The bashful look, the rising breast, Alternate spread alarms: The lovely stranger stands confess'd A maid in all her charms.
And, "Ah! forgive a stranger rude— A wretch forlorn," she cried; "Whose feet unhallow'd thus intrude Where Heaven and you reside."
"But let a maid thy pity share, Whom love has taught to stray; Who seeks for rest, but finds despair Companion of her way."
"My father lived beside the Tyne, A wealthy lord was he; And all his wealth was mark'd as mine, He had but only me."
"To win me from his tender arms Unnumber'd suitors came, Who praised me for imputed charms, And felt, or feign'd, a flame."
"Each hour a mercenary crowd With richest proffers strove: Amongst the rest, young Edwin bow'd, But never talk'd of love."
"In humble, simple habit clad, No wealth nor power had he: Wisdom and worth were all he had, But these were all to me.
"And when, beside me in the dale, He caroll'd lays of love, His breath lent fragrance to the gale, And music to the grove.
"The blossom opening to the day, The dews of heaven refined, Could nought of purity display To emulate his mind.
"The dew, the blossom on the tree, With charms inconstant shine: Their charms were his, but, woe to me, Their constancy was mine.
"For still I tried each fickle art, Importunate and vain; And, while his passion touch'd my heart, I triumph'd in his pain:
"Till, quite dejected with my scorn, He left me to my pride; And sought a solitude forlorn, In secret, where he died.
"But mine the sorrow, mine the fault, And well my life shall pay: I'll seek the solitude he sought, And stretch me where he lay.
"And there, forlorn, despairing, hid, I'll lay me down and die; 'Twas so for me that Edwin did, And so for him will I."
"Forbid it, Heaven!" the Hermit cried, And clasp'd her to his breast: The wondering fair one turn'd to chide— 'Twas Edwin's self that press'd!
"Turn, Angelina, ever dear, My charmer, turn to see Thy own, thy long-lost Edwin here, Restored to love and thee.
"Thus let me hold thee to my heart, And every care resign: And shall we never, never part, My life—my all that's mine?
"No, never from this hour to part, We'll live and love so true, The sigh that rends thy constant heart Shall break thy Edwin's too." GOLDSMITH.
[Notes: Oliver Goldsmith, poet and novelist. The friend and contemporary of Johnson, Burke, and Reynolds. Born 1728, died 1774.
This poem is introduced into 'The Vicar of Wakefield,' and Goldsmith there says of it, "It is at least free from the false taste of loading the lines with epithets;" or as he puts it more fully "a string of epithets that improve the sound without carrying on the sense."
"Immeasurably spread" = spread to an immeasurable length.
No flocks that range the valleys free. "Free" may be joined either with flocks or with valley.
Note the position of the negative, "No flocks that range," &c. = I do not condemn the flocks that range.
Guiltless feast. Because it does not involve the death of a fellow-creature.
Scrip. A purse or wallet; a word of Teutonic origin. Distinguish from scrip, a writing or certificate, from the Latin word scribo, I write.
Far in a wilderness obscure. Obscure goes with mansion, not with wilderness.
And gaily pressed (him to eat).
With answering care, i.e., with sympathetic care.
A charm that lulls to sleep. Charm is here in its proper sense: that of a thing pleasing to the fancy is derivative.
A shade that follows wealth or fame. A shade = a ghost or phantom.
Swift mantling, &c. Spreading quickly over, like a cloak or mantle.
Where heaven and you reside = where you, whose only thoughts are of Heaven, reside.
Whom love has taught to stray. This use of the word "taught" for "made" or "forced," is taken from a Latin idiom, as in Virgil, "He teaches the woods to ring with the name of Amaryllis." It is stronger than "made" or "forced," and implies, as here, that she had forgotten all but the wandering life that is now hers.
He had but only me. But or only is redundant.
To emulate his mind = to be equal to his mind in purity.
Their constancy was mine. This verse has often been accused of violating sense; but, however artificial the expression may be, neither the sense is obscure, nor the way of expressing it inaccurate. It is evidently only another way of saying "in the little they had of constancy they resembled me as they resembled him in their charms."]
* * * * *
We listened, as all boys in their better moods will listen (ay, and men too, for the matter of that), to a man whom we felt to be, with all his heart and soul and strength, striving against whatever was mean and unmanly and unrighteous in our little world. It was not the cold, clear voice of one giving advice and warning from serene heights to those who were struggling and sinning below, but the warm, living voice of one who was fighting for us, and by our sides, and calling on us to help him and ourselves and one another. And so, wearily and little by little, but surely and steadily on the whole, was brought home to the young boy, for the first time, the meaning of his life: that it was no fool's or sluggard's paradise into which he had wandered by chance, but a battle-field ordained from of old, where there are no spectators, but the youngest must take his side, and the stakes are life and death. And he who roused this consciousness in them showed them, at the same time, by every word he spoke in the pulpit, and by his whole daily life, how that battle was to be fought; and stood there before them, their fellow-soldier and the captain of their band. The true sort of captain, too, for a boy's army, one who had no misgivings, and gave no uncertain word of command, and, let who would yield or make truce, would fight the fight out (so every boy felt) to the last gasp and the last drop of blood. Other sides of his character might take hold of and influence boys here and there, but it was this thoroughness and undaunted courage which more than anything else won his way to the hearts of the great mass of those on whom he left his mark, and made them believe first in him, and then in his Master.
It was this quality, above all others, which moved such boys as Tom Brown, who had nothing whatever remarkable about him except excess of boyishness; by which I mean animal life in its fullest measure; good nature and honest impulses, hatred of injustice and meanness, and thoughtlessness enough to sink a three-decker. And so, during the next two years, in which it was more than doubtful whether he would get good or evil from the school, and before any steady purpose or principle grew up in him, whatever his week's sins and shortcomings might have been, he hardly ever left the chapel on Sunday evenings without a serious resolve to stand by and follow the doctor, and a feeling that it was only cowardice (the incarnation of all other sins in such a boy's mind) which hindered him from doing so with all his heart.
Tom Brown's School Days.
[Note: Dr. Arnold, the head-master of Rugby School, died 1842. His life, which gives an account of the work done by him to promote education, has been written by Dean Stanley.]
* * * * *
Patriots have toil'd, and in their country's cause Bled nobly; and their deeds, as they deserve, Receive proud recompense. We give in charge Their names to the sweet lyre. The Historic Muse, Proud of the treasure, marches with it down To latest times; and Sculpture, in her turn, Gives bond in stone and ever-during brass To guard them, and to immortalize her trust. But fairer wreaths are due—though never paid— To those who, posted at the shrine of Truth, Have fallen in her defence. A patriot's blood, Well spent in such a strife, may earn indeed, And for a time ensure, to his loved land The sweets of liberty and equal laws; But martyrs struggle for a brighter prize, And win it with more pain. Their blood is shed In confirmation of the noblest claim,— Our claim to feed upon immortal truth, To walk with God, to be divinely free, To soar and to anticipate the skies.— Yet few remember them! They lived unknown, Till persecution dragged them into fame, And chased them up to Heaven. Their ashes flew— No marble tells us whither. With their names No bard embalms and sanctifies his song; And History, so warm on meaner themes, Is cold on this. She execrates indeed The tyranny that doom'd them to the fire, But gives the glorious sufferers little praise.
[Notes:William Cowper (born 1731, died 1800), the author of 'The Task,' 'Progress of Error,' 'Truth,' and many other poems; all marked by the same pure thought and chaste language.
This poem is written in what is called "blank verse," i.e., verse in which the lines do not rhyme, the rhythm depending on the measure of the verse.
To the sweet lyre = To the poet, whose lyre (or poetry) is to keep their names alive.
The Historic Muse. The ancients held that there were nine Muses or Goddesses who presided over the arts and sciences; and of these, one was the Muse of History.
Gives bond in stone, &c. = Pledges herself. The pith of the phrase is in its almost homely simplicity, the more striking in its contrast with the classical allusions by which it is surrounded.
Her trust, i.e., what is trusted to her.
To anticipate the skies = to ennoble our life and so approach that higher life we hope for after death.
Till persecution dragged them into fame = forced them by its cruelty to become famous against their will.
No marble tells us whither. Because they have no tombstone and no epitaph.]
* * * * *
A PSALM OF LIFE.
Tell me not in mournful numbers, Life is but an empty dream! For the soul is dead that slumbers, And things are not what they seem.
Life is real! Life is earnest! And the grave is not its goal; "Dust thou art, to dust returnest;" Was not spoken of the soul.
Not enjoyment, and not sorrow, Is our destined end or way; But to act that each to-morrow Finds us farther than to-day.
Art is long, and Time is fleeting, And our hearts, though stout and brave, Still like muffled drums are beating Funeral marches to the grave.
In the world's broad field of battle, In the Bivouac of life, Be not like dumb, driven cattle! Be a hero in the strife!
Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant! Let the dead Past bury its dead! Act—act in the living Present! Heart within, and God o'erhead!
Lives of great men all remind us We can make our lives sublime, And, departing, leave behind us Footprints on the sands of time;—
Footprints, that perhaps another, Sailing o'er life's solemn main, A forlorn and shipwrecked brother, Seeing, shall take heart again.
Let us, then, be up and doing, With a heart for any fate; Still achieving, still pursuing, Learn to labour and to wait.
[Notes:Art is long, and time is fleeting. A translation from the Latin, Ars longa, vita brevis est.
The metaphor in the last two stanzas in this page is strangely mixed. Footprints could hardly be seen by those sailing over the main.]
* * * * *
In no place in the world has individual character more weight than at a public school. Remember this, I beseech you, all you boys who are getting into the upper forms. Now is the time in all your lives, probably, when you may have more wide influence for good or evil in the society you live in than you ever can have again. Quit yourselves like men, then; speak up, and strike out, if necessary, for whatsoever is true, and manly, and lovely, and of good report; never try to be popular, but only to do your duty, and help others to do theirs, and you may leave the tone of feeling in the school higher than you found it, and so be doing good, which no living soul can measure, to generations of your countrymen yet unborn. For boys follow one another in herds like sheep, for good or evil; they hate thinking, and have rarely any settled principles. Every school, indeed, has its own traditionary standard of right and wrong, which cannot be transgressed with impunity, marking certain things as low and blackguard, and certain others as lawful and right. This standard is ever varying, though it changes only slowly, and little by little; and, subject only to such standard, it is the leading boys for the time being who give the tone to all the rest, and make the school either a noble institution for the training of Christian Englishmen, or a place where a young boy will get more evil than he would if he were turned out to make his way in London streets, or anything between these two extremes.
* * * * *
WORK IN THE WORLD.
"I want to be at work in the world," said Tom, "and not dawdling away three years at Oxford."
"What do you mean by 'at work in the world?'" said the master, pausing, with his lips close to his saucerful of tea, and peering at Tom over it.
"Well, I mean real work; one's profession, whatever one will have really to do, and make one's living by. I want to be doing some real good, feeling that I am not only at play in the world," answered Tom, rather puzzled to find out himself what he really did mean.
"You are mixing up two very different things in your head, I think, Brown," said the master, putting down the empty saucer, "and you ought to get clear about them. You talk of 'working to get your living,' and 'doing some real good in the world,' in the same breath. Now, you may be getting a very good living in a profession, and yet doing no good at all in the world, but quite the contrary, at the same time. Keep the latter before you as your one object, and you will be right, whether you make a living or not; but if you dwell on the other, you'll very likely drop into mere money-making, and let the world take care of itself, for good or evil. Don't be in a hurry about finding your work in the world for yourself; you are not old enough to judge for yourself yet, but just look about you in the place you find yourself in, and try to make things a little better and honester there. You'll find plenty to keep your hand in at Oxford, or wherever else you go. And don't be led away to think this part of the world important, and that unimportant. Every corner of the world is important. No man knows whether this part or that is most so, but every man may do some honest work in his own corner."
Tom Brown's School Days.
* * * * *
THE ANT AND THE CATERPILLAR
As an ant, of his talents superiorly vain, Was trotting, with consequence, over the plain, A worm, in his progress remarkably slow, Cried—"Bless your good worship wherever you go; I hope your great mightiness won't take it ill, I pay my respects with a hearty good-will." With a look of contempt, and impertinent pride, "Begone, you vile reptile," his antship replied; "Go—go, and lament your contemptible state, But first—look at me—see my limbs how complete; I guide all my motions with freedom and ease, Run backward and forward, and turn when I please; Of nature (grown weary) you shocking essay! I spurn you thus from me—crawl out of my way." The reptile, insulted and vex'd to the soul, Crept onwards, and hid himself close in his hole; But nature, determined to end his distress, Soon sent him abroad in a butterfly's dress. Erelong the proud ant, as repassing the road, (Fatigued from the harvest, and tugging his load), The beau on a violet-bank he beheld, Whose vesture, in glory, a monarch's excelled; His plumage expanded—'twas rare to behold So lovely a mixture of purple and gold. The ant, quite amazed at a figure so gay, Bow'd low with respect, and was trudging away. "Stop, friend," says the butterfly; "don't be surprised, I once was the reptile you spurn'd and despised; But now I can mount, in the sunbeams I play, While you must for ever drudge on in your way."
[Note: Of nature (grown weary) you shocking essay = you wretched attempt (= essay) by nature, when she had grown weary.]
* * * * *
REPORT OF AN ADJUDGED CASE, NOT TO BE FOUND IN ANY OF THE BOOKS.
Between Nose and Eyes a strange contest arose. The spectacles set them unhappily wrong; The point in dispute was, as all the world knows, To which the said spectacles ought to belong.
So Tongue was the lawyer, and argued the cause, With a great deal of skill, and a wig full of learning, While chief baron Ear sat to balance the laws, So fam'd for his talent in nicely discerning.
In behalf of the Nose it will quickly appear, And your lordship, he said, will undoubtedly find, That the nose has had spectacles always in wear, Which amounts to possession time out of mind.
Then holding the spectacles up to the court— Your lordship observes they are made with a straddle, As wide as the ridge of the nose is; in short, Designed to sit close to it, just like a saddle.
Again, would your lordship a moment suppose ('Tis a case that has happen'd, and may be again) That the visage or countenance had not a nose, Pray who would, or who could, wear spectacles then?
On the whole it appears, and my argument shows, With a reasoning the court will never condemn, That the spectacles plainly were made for the Nose, And the Nose was as plainly intended for them.
Then shifting his side as a lawyer knows how, He pleaded again in behalf of the Eyes; But what were his arguments few people know, For the court did not think they were equally wise.
So his lordship decreed, with a grave, solemn tone, Decisive and clear, without one if or but— That, whenever the Nose put his Spectacles on, By daylight or candlelight—Eyes should be shut!
* * * * *
CASTLES IN THE AIR.
Alnaschar was a very idle fellow, that never would set his hand to any business during his father's life. When his father died he left him to the value of a hundred drachmas in Persian money. Alnaschar, in order to make the best of it, laid it out in bottles, glasses, and the finest earthenware. These he piled up in a large open basket; and, having made choice of a very little shop, placed the basket at his feet, and leaned his back upon the wall in expectation of customers. As he sat in this posture, with his eyes upon the basket, he fell into a most amusing train of thought, and was overheard by one of his neighbours, as he talked to himself in the following manner:—"This basket," says he, "cost me at the wholesale merchant's a hundred drachmas, which is all I had in the world. I shall quickly make two hundred of it by selling it in retail. These two hundred drachmas will in a very little while rise to four hundred; which, of course, will amount in time to four thousand. Four thousand drachmas cannot fail of making eight thousand. As soon as by these means I am master of ten thousand, I will lay aside my trade of a glass-man and turn jeweller. I shall then deal in diamonds, pearls, and all sorts of rich stones. When I have got together as much wealth as I can well desire, I will make a purchase of the finest house I can find, with lands, slaves, and horses. I shall then begin to enjoy myself and make a noise in the world. I will not, however, stop there; but still continue my traffic until I have got together a hundred thousand drachmas. When I have thus made myself master of a hundred thousand drachmas, I shall naturally set myself on the footing of a prince, and will demand the grand vizier's daughter in marriage, after having represented to that minister the information which I have received of the beauty, wit, discretion, and other high qualities which his daughter possesses. I will let him know at the same time that it is my intention to make him a present of a thousand pieces of gold on our marriage day. As soon as I have married the grand vizier's daughter, I must make my father-in-law a visit, with a great train and equipage. And when I am placed at his right hand, which he will do of course, if it be only to honour his daughter, I will give him the thousand pieces of gold which I promised him; and afterwards, to his great surprise, will present him with another purse of the same value, with some short speech: as, 'Sir, you see I am a man of my word: I always give more than I promise.'"
"When I have brought the princess to my house, I shall take particular care to breed her in due respect for me. To this end I shall confine her to her own apartments, make her a short visit, and talk but little to her. Her women will represent to me that she is inconsolable by reason of my unkindness; but I shall still remain inexorable. Her mother will then come and bring her daughter to me, as I am seated on a sofa. The daughter, with tears in her eyes, will fling herself at my feet, and beg me to receive her into my favour. Then will I, to imprint her with a thorough veneration for my person, draw up my legs, and spurn her from me with my foot in such a manner that she shall fall down several paces from the sofa."
Alnaschar was entirely swallowed up in his vision, and could not forbear acting with his foot what he had in his thoughts: so that, unluckily striking his basket of brittle ware, which was the foundation of all his grandeur, he kicked his glasses to a great distance from him into the street, and broke them into ten thousand pieces.
[Note: Joseph Addison, born 1672, died 1719. Chiefly famous as a critic and essayist. His calm sense and judgment, and the attraction of his style, have rendered his writings favourites from his own time to ours.]
* * * * *
THE INCHCAPE BELL.
No stir on the air, no swell on the sea, The ship was still as she might be: The sails from heaven received no motion; The keel was steady in the ocean.
With neither sign nor sound of shock, The waves flow'd o'er the Inchcape Rock; So little they rose, so little they fell, They did not move the Inchcape Bell.
The pious abbot of Aberbrothock Had placed that bell on the Inchcape Rock; On the waves of the storm it floated and swung, And louder and louder its warning rung.
When the rock was hid by the tempest swell, The mariners heard the warning bell, And then they knew the perilous rock, And blessed the abbot of Aberbrothock.
The float of the Inchcape Bell was seen, A darker spot on the ocean green. Sir Ralph the Rover walked the deck, And he fix'd his eye on the darker speck.
His eye was on the bell and float,— Quoth he, "My men, put down the boat, And row me to the Inchcape Rock,— I'll plague the priest of Aberbrothock!".
The boat was lower'd, the boatmen row, And to the Inchcape Rock they go. Sir Ralph leant over from the boat, And cut the bell from off the float.
Down sunk the bell with a gurgling sound; The bubbles rose, and burst around. Quoth he, "Who next comes to the rock Won't bless the priest of Aberbrothock!"
Sir Ralph the Rover sail'd away; He scour'd the sea for many a day; And now, grown rich with plunder'd store, He steers his way for Scotland's shore.
So thick a haze o'erspread the sky, They could not see the sun on high; The wind had blown a gale all day; At evening it hath died away.
"Canst hear," said one, "the breakers roar? For yonder, methinks, should be the shore. Now, where we are, I cannot tell,— I wish we heard the Inchcape Bell."
They heard no sound—the swell is strong, Though the wind hath fallen they drift along: Till the vessel strikes with a shivering shock, "Oh heavens! it is the Inchcape Rock!"
Sir Ralph the Rover tore his hair, And cursed himself in his despair; And waves rush in on every side, The ship sinks fast beneath the tide.
[Notes: Robert Southey, born 1774, died 1848. Poet Laureate and author of numerous works in prose and verse.]
Quoth. Saxon Cwaethan, to say. A Perfect now used only in the first and third persons singular of the present indicative; the nominative following the verb.
Till the vessel strikes with a shivering shock. Notice the effective use of alliteration (i.e., the recurrence of words beginning with the same letter), which is the basis of old-English rhythm.]
* * * * *
THE DEATH OF NELSON.
It had been part of Nelson's prayer that the British fleet might be distinguished by humanity in the victory he expected. Setting an example himself, he twice gave orders to cease firing upon the 'Redoubtable,' supposing that she had struck because her great guns were silent; for, as she carried no flag, there was no means of instantly ascertaining the fact. From this ship, which he had thus twice spared, he received his death. A ball, fired from her mizen-top, which, in the then situation of the two vessels, was not more than fifteen yards from that part of the deck where he was standing, struck the epaulette on his left shoulder, about a quarter after one, just in the heat of action. He fell upon his face, on the spot which was covered with his poor secretary's blood. Hardy (his captain), who was a few steps from him, turning round, saw three men raising him up.
"They have done for me at last, Hardy," said he.
"I hope not," cried Hardy. "Yes," he replied, "my backbone is shot through."
Yet even now, not for a moment losing his presence of mind, he observed, as they were carrying him down the ladder, that the tiller ropes, which had been shot away, were not yet replaced, and ordered that new ones should be rove immediately; then, that he might not be seen by the crew, he took out his handkerchief, and covered his face and his stars. Had he but concealed these badges of honour from the enemy, England, perhaps, would not have had cause to receive with sorrow the news of the battle of Trafalgar. The cockpit was crowded with wounded and dying men, over whose bodies he was with some difficulty conveyed, and laid upon a pallet in the midshipmen's berth. It was soon perceived, upon examination, that the wound was mortal. This, however, was concealed from all except Captain Hardy, the chaplain, and the medical attendants. He himself being certain, from the sensation in his back, and the gush of blood he felt momently within his breast, that no human care could avail him, insisted that the surgeon should leave him, and attend to those to whom he might be useful; "For," said he, "you can do nothing for me." All that could be done was to fan him with paper, and frequently to give him lemonade to alleviate his intense thirst. He was in great pain, and expressed much anxiety for the event of the action, which now began to declare itself. As often as a ship struck, the crew of the 'Victory' hurrahed, and at every hurrah a visible expression of joy gleamed in the eyes and marked the countenance of the dying hero.
But he became impatient to see Captain Hardy; and as that officer, though often sent for, could not leave the deck, Nelson feared some fatal cause prevented him, and repeatedly cried, "Will no one bring Hardy to me? He must be killed! He is surely dead!"
An hour and ten minutes elapsed from the time when Nelson received his wound before Hardy could come to him. They shook hands in silence, Hardy in vain struggling to suppress the feelings of that most painful yet sublimest moment. "Well, Hardy," said Nelson, "how goes the day with us?" "Very well," replied Hardy; "ten ships have struck, but five of the van have tacked, and show an intention to bear down upon the 'Victory.' I have called two or three of our fresh ships round, and have no doubt of giving them a drubbing." "I hope," said Nelson, "none of our ships have struck?" Hardy answered, "There was no fear of that." Then, and not till then, Nelson spoke of himself. "I am a dead man, Hardy," said he; "I am going fast; it will be all over with me soon; come nearer to me." Hardy observed that he hoped Mr. Beattie (the surgeon) could yet hold out some prospect of life. "Oh no," he replied, "it is impossible; my back is shot through—Beattie will tell you so." Captain Hardy then once more shook hands with him, and, with a heart almost bursting, hastened upon deck.
By this time all feeling below the breast was gone; and Nelson, having made the surgeon ascertain this, said to him, "You know I am gone; I know it—I feel something rising in my breast (putting his hand on his left side) which tells me so." And upon Beattie's inquiring whether his pain was very great, he replied, "So great, that he wished he were dead." "Yet," said he, in a lower voice, "one would like to live a little longer too!"
Captain Hardy, some fifty minutes after he had left the cockpit, returned, and again taking the hand of his dying friend and commander, congratulated him on having gained a complete victory. How many of the enemy were taken, he did not know, as it was impossible to perceive them distinctly, but fourteen or fifteen at least. "That's well," cried Nelson, "but I bargained for twenty." And then, in a stronger voice, he said, "Anchor,! Hardy, anchor." Hardy upon this hinted that Admiral Collingwood would take upon himself the direction of affairs. "Not while I live, Hardy," said the dying Nelson, ineffectually endeavouring to raise himself from the bed; "do you anchor." His previous order for preparing to anchor had shown how clearly he foresaw the necessity of this. Presently, calling Hardy back, he said to him in a low voice, "Don't throw me overboard," and he desired that he might be buried by his parents, unless it should please the king to order otherwise. "Kiss me, Hardy," said he. Hardy knelt down and kissed his cheek, and Nelson said, "Now, I am satisfied. Thank God, I have done my duty." Hardy stood over him in silence for a moment or two, then knelt again and kissed his forehead. "Who is that?" said Nelson; and being informed, he replied, "God bless you, Hardy." And Hardy then left him for ever.
[Note:The death of Nelson took place at the Battle of Trafalgar, 1805.]
* * * * *
BATTLE OF THE BALTIC.
Of Nelson and the North, Sing the glorious day's renown, When to battle fierce came forth All the might of Denmark's crown, And her arms along the deep proudly shone; By each gun the lighted brand, In a bold, determined hand, And the Prince of all the land Led them on.
Like leviathans afloat, Lay their bulwarks on the brine; While the sign of battle flew On the lofty British line: It was ten of April morn by the chime: As they drifted on their path, There was silence deep as death; And the boldest held his breath For a time.
But the might of England flushed To anticipate the scene; And her van the fleeter rushed O'er the deadly space between. "Hearts of oak!" our captains cried; when each gun From its adamantine lips Spread a death-shade round the ships. Like the hurricane eclipse Of the sun.
Again! again! again! And the havoc did not slack, Till a feebler cheer the Dane To our cheering sent us back;— Their shots along the deep slowly boom;— Then cease—and all is wail, As they strike the shattered sail; Or, in conflagration pale, Light the gloom.
Out spoke the victor then, As he hailed them o'er the wave, "Ye are brothers! ye are men! And we conquer but to save:— So peace instead of death let us bring; But yield, proud foe, thy fleet, With the crews, at England's feet, And make submission meet To our king."
Then Denmark blest our chief That he gave her wounds repose; And the sounds of joy and grief From her people wildly rose, As Death withdrew his shades from the day While the sun looked smiling bright O'er a wide and woeful sight, Where the fires of funeral light Died away.
Now joy, Old England, raise! For the tidings of thy might, By the festal cities' blaze, Whilst the wine-cup shines in light; And yet amidst that joy and uproar, Let us think of them that sleep, Full many a fathom deep, By thy wild and stormy steep, Elsinore!
Brave hearts! to Britain's pride Once so faithful and so true, On the deck of fame that died;— With the gallant good Riou;— Soft sigh the winds of heaven o'er their grave! While the billow mournful rolls, And the mermaid's song condoles; Singing glory to the souls Of the brave!
[Notes: This is the first specimen of the "ode" in this book. Notice the variety in length between the lines, and draw up a scheme of the rhymes in each stanza. The battle was fought, and Copenhagen bombarded, in April, 1801.
It was ten of April morn by the chime. It was ten o'clock on the morning in April.
Like the hurricane eclipse. The eclipse of the sun in storm.]
* * * * *
Oh, young Lochinvar is come out of the west, Through all the wide border his steed is the best; And, save his good broad-sword, he weapon had none; He rode all unarmed, and he rode all alone! So faithful in love, and so dauntless in war, There never was knight like the young Lochinvar!
He stay'd not for brake, and he stopped not for stone, He swam the Eske river where ford there was none— But, ere he alighted at Netherby gate, The bride had consented, the gallant came late; For a laggard in love, and a dastard in war, Was to wed the fair Ellen of brave Lochinvar!
So boldly he entered the Netherby Hall, Among bridesmen, and kinsmen, and brothers, and all!— Then spoke the bride's father, his hand on his sword— For the poor craven bridegroom said never a word— "Oh come ye in peace here, or come ye in war?— Or to dance at our bridal? young Lord Lochinvar!"
"I long woo'd your daughter, my suit you denied: Love swells like the Solway, but ebbs like its tide! And now am I come, with this lost love of mine, To lead but one measure, drink one cup of wine! There be maidens in Scotland, more lovely by far, That would gladly be bride to the young Lochinvar!"
The bride kissed the goblet, the knight took it up, He quaffed off the wine, and he threw down the cup! She looked down to blush, and she looked up to sigh— With a smile on her lip, and a tear in her eye. He took her soft hand, ere her mother could bar— "Now tread we a measure!" said young Lochinvar,
So stately his form, and so lovely her face, That never a hall such a galliard did grace! While her mother did fret, and her father did fume, And the bridegroom stood dangling his bonnet and plume, And the bride-maidens whispered, "'Twere better by far To have matched our fair cousin with young Lochinvar!"
One touch to her hand, and one word in her ear, When they reached the hall door, and the charger stood near: So light to the croup the fair lady he swung, So light to the saddle before her he sprung! "She is won! we are gone, over bank, bush, and scaur; They'll have fleet steeds that follow!" cried young Lochinvar.
There was mounting 'mong Graemes of the Netherby clan; Forsters, Fenwicks, and Musgraves, they rode and they ran; There was racing and chasing on Cannobie Lea, But the lost bride of Netherby ne'er did they see!
So daring in love, and so dauntless in war, Have ye e'er heard of gallant like young Lochinvar?
[Notes: Lochinvar. The song sung by Dame Heron in 'Marmion,' one of Scott's longest and most famous poems. The fame of Scott (1771-1832) rests partly on these poems, but much more on the novels, in which he is excelled by no one.
He stay'd not for brake. Brake, a word of Scandinavian origin, means a place overgrown with brambles; from the crackling noise they make as one passes over them.
Love swells like the Solway. For a scene in which the rapid advance of the Solway tide is described, see the beginning of Scott's novel of 'Redgauntlet.'
Galliard. A gay rollicker. Used also in Chaucer.
Scaur. A rough, broken ground. The same word as scar.]
* * * * *
LEARNING TO RIDE.
Some time before my father had bought a small Shetland pony for us, Moggy by name, upon which we were to complete our own education in riding, we had already mastered the rudiments under the care of our grandfather's coachman. He had been in our family thirty years, and we were as fond of him as if he had been a relation. He had taught us to sit up and hold the bridle, while he led a quiet old cob up and down with a leading rein. But, now that Moggy was come, we were to make quite a new step in horsemanship. Our parents had a theory that boys must teach themselves, and that a saddle (except for propriety, when we rode to a neighbour's house to carry a message, or had to appear otherwise in public) was a hindrance rather than a help. So, after our morning's lessons, the coachman used to take us to the paddock in which Moggy lived, put her bridle on, and leave us to our own devices. I could see that that moment was from the first one of keen enjoyment to my brother. He would scramble up on her back, while she went on grazing—without caring to bring her to the elm stool in the corner of the field, which was our mounting place—pull her head up, kick his heels into her sides, and go scampering away round the paddock with the keenest delight. He was Moggy's master from the first day, though she not unfrequently managed to get rid of him by sharp turns, or stopping dead short in her gallop. She knew it quite well; and, just as well, that she was mistress as soon as I was on her back. For weeks it never came to my turn, without my wishing myself anywhere else. George would give me a lift up, and start her. She would trot a few yards, and then begin grazing, notwithstanding my timid expostulations and gentle pullings at her bridle. Then he would run up, and pull up her head, and start her again, and she would bolt off with a flirt of her head, and never be content till I was safely on the grass. The moment that was effected she took to grazing again, and I believe enjoyed the whole performance as much as George, and certainly far more than I did. We always brought her a carrot, or bit of sugar, in our pockets, and she was much more like a great good-tempered dog with us than a pony.
Memoir of a Brother. T. HUGHES.
* * * * *
Oft has it been my lot to mark A proud, conceited, talking spark, With eyes that hardly served at most To guard their master 'gainst a post: Yet round the world the blade has been To see whatever can be seen. Returning from his finished tour, Grown ten times perter than before. Whatever word you chance to drop, The travelled fool your mouth will stop: "Sir, if my judgment you'll allow— I've seen—and sure I ought to know." So begs you'd pay a due submission And acquiesce in his decision. Two travellers of such a cast, As o'er Arabia's wilds they passed, And on their way in friendly chat, Now talked of this, and now of that: Discoursed a while, 'mongst other matter, Of the chameleon's form and nature. "A stranger animal," cries one, "Sure never lived beneath the sun; A lizard's body, lean and long, A fish's head, a serpent's tongue, Its foot with triple claw disjoined; And what a length of tail behind! How slow its pace! And then its hue— Who ever saw so fine a blue?"— "Hold there," the other quick replies, "'Tis green; I saw it with these eyes As late with open mouth it lay, And warmed it in the sunny ray; Stretched at its ease the beast I viewed, And saw it eat the air for food." "I've seen it, sir, as well as you, And must again affirm it blue: At leisure I the beast surveyed Extended in the cooling shade." "'Tis green, 'tis green, sir, I assure you." "Green!" cried the other in a fury: "Why, do you think I've lost my eyes?" "'Twere no great loss," the friend replies, "For if they always serve you thus, You'll find them of but little use." So high at last the contest rose, From words they almost came to blows, When luckily came by a third: To him the question they referred, And begged he'd tell them if he knew, Whether the thing was green or blue? "Sirs," cries the umpire, "cease your pother, The creature's neither one nor t'other. I caught the animal last night, And view'd it o'er by candle-light: I marked it well—'twas black as jet. You stare; but, sirs, I've got it yet: And can produce it"—"Pray, sir, do: I'll lay my life the thing is blue." "And I'll be sworn, that when you've seen The reptile you'll pronounce him green!" "Well, then, at once to ease the doubt," Replies the man, "I'll turn him out: And when before your eyes I've set him, If you don't find him black, I'll eat him," He said, and full before their sight, Produced the beast, and lo!—'twas white. Both stared: the man looked wondrous wise: "My children," the chameleon cries (Then first the creature found a tongue), "You all are right, and all are wrong; When next you tell of what you view, Think others see as well as you! Nor wonder if you find that none Prefers your eyesight to his own."
* * * * *
MOSES AT THE FAIR
All this conversation, however, was only preparatory to another scheme; and indeed I dreaded as much. This was nothing less than that, as we were now to hold up our heads a little higher in the world, it would be proper to sell the colt, which was grown old, at a neighbouring fair, and buy us a horse that would carry us single or double upon an occasion, and make a pretty appearance at church, or upon a visit. This at first I opposed stoutly; but it was stoutly defended. However, as I weakened, my antagonist gained strength, till at last it was resolved to part with him. As the fair happened on the following day, I had intentions of going myself; but my wife persuaded me that I had got a cold, and nothing could prevail upon her to permit me from home. "No, my dear," said she, "our son Moses is a discreet boy, and can buy and sell to a very good advantage: you know all our great bargains are of his purchasing. He always stands out and higgles, and actually tires them till he gets a bargain."
As I had some opinion of my son's prudence, I was willing enough to entrust him with this commission; and the next morning I perceived his sisters mighty busy in fitting out Moses for the fair; trimming his hair, brushing his buckles, and cocking his hat with pins. The business of the toilet being over, we had at last the satisfaction of seeing him mounted upon the colt, with a deal box before him to bring home groceries in. He had on a coat made of that cloth they call "thunder-and-lightning," which, though grown too short, was much too good to be thrown away. His waistcoat was of gosling green, and his sisters had tied his hair with a broad black riband. We all followed him several paces from the door, bawling after him, "Good luck! good luck!" till we could see him no longer. ***
I changed the subject by seeming to wonder what could keep our son so long at the fair, as it was now almost nightfall. "Never mind our son," cried my wife; "depend upon it, he knows what he is about. I'll warrant we'll never see him sell his hen of a rainy day. I have seen him bring such bargains as would amaze one. I'll tell you a good story about that, that will make you split your sides with laughing. But, as I live, yonder comes Moses, without a horse, and the box on his back."
As she spoke, Moses came slowly on foot, and sweating under the deal box, which he had strapped round his shoulders like a pedlar. "Welcome, welcome, Moses! Well, my boy, what have you brought us from the fair?" "I have brought you myself," cried Moses, with a sly look, and resting the box on the dresser. "Ay, Moses," cried my wife, "that we know; but where is the horse?" "I have sold him," cried Moses, "for three pounds five shillings and twopence." "Well done, my good boy," returned she; "I knew you would touch them off. Between ourselves, three pounds five shillings and twopence is no bad day's work. Come, let us have it then." "I have brought back no money," cried Moses again. "I have laid it all out in a bargain, and here it is," pulling out a bundle from his breast; "here they are; a gross of green spectacles, with silver rims and shagreen cases." "A gross of green spectacles!" repeated my wife, in a faint voice. "And you have parted with the colt, and brought us back nothing but a gross of green paltry spectacles!" "Dear mother," cried the boy, "why won't you listen to reason? I had them a dead bargain, or I should not have brought them. The silver rims alone will sell for double the money." "A fig for the silver rims," cried my wife, in a passion: "I dare swear they won't sell for above half the money at the rate of broken silver, five shillings an ounce." "You need be under no uneasiness," cried I, "about selling the rims, for they are not worth sixpence; for I perceive they are only copper varnished over." "What!" cried my wife, "not silver! the rims not silver?" "No," cried I, "no more silver than your saucepan." "And so," returned she, "we have parted with the colt, and have only got a gross of green spectacles, with copper rims and shagreen cases? A murrain take such trumpery! The blockhead has been imposed upon, and should have known his company better." "There, my dear," cried I, "you are wrong; he should not have known them at all." "Marry, hang the idiot!" returned she, "to bring me such stuff: if I had them I would throw them in the fire." "There again you are wrong, my dear," cried I, "for though they be copper, we will keep them by us, as copper spectacles, you know, are better than nothing."
By this time the unfortunate Moses was undeceived. He now saw that he had been imposed upon by a prowling sharper, who, observing his figure, had marked him for an easy prey. I therefore asked the circumstances of his deception. He sold the horse, it seems, and walked the fair in search of another. A reverend-looking man brought him to a tent, under pretence of having one to sell. "Here," continued Moses, "we met another man, very well dressed, who desired to borrow twenty pounds upon these, saying that he wanted money, and would dispose of them for a third of the value. The first gentleman, who pretended to be my friend, whispered me to buy them, and cautioned me not to let so good an offer pass. I sent for Mr. Flamborough, and they talked him up as finely as they did me; and so at last we were persuaded to buy the two gross between us."
[Note: Moses at the fair. This is an incident taken from Goldsmith's novel, 'The Vicar of Wakefield.' The narrator throughout is the Vicar himself, who tells us the simple joys and sorrows of his family, and the foibles of each member of it.]
* * * * *
Happy the man whose wish and care A few paternal acres bound, Content to breathe his native air In his own ground.
Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread, Whose flocks supply him with attire; Whose trees in summer yield him shade, In winter, fire.
Blest who can unconcernedly find Hours, days, and years, glide soft away In health of body, peace of mind, Quiet by day,
Sound sleep by night; study and ease Together mixed; sweet recreation, And innocence, which most does please, With meditation.
Thus let me live, unseen, unknown; Thus unlamented let me die; Steal from the world, and not a stone Tell where I lie.
[Notes: Alexander Pope, born 1688, died 1744. The author of numerous poems and translations, all of them marked by the same lucid thought and polished versification. The Essay on Man, the Satires and Epistles, and the translations of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, are amongst the most important.
Write a paraphrase of the first two stanzas.]
* * * * *
WHANG THE MILLER.
Whang, the miller, was naturally avaricious; nobody loved money better than he, or more respected those that had it. When people would talk of a rich man in company, Whang would say, "I know him very well; he and I are intimate; he stood for a child of mine." But if ever a poor man was mentioned, he had not the least knowledge of the man; he might be very well for aught he knew; but he was not fond of many acquaintances, and loved to choose his company.
Whang, however, with all his eagerness for riches, was in reality poor; he had nothing but the profits of his mill to support him; but though these were small, they were certain; while his mill stood and went, he was sure of eating; and his frugality was such that he every day laid some money by, which he would at intervals count and contemplate with much satisfaction. Yet still his acquisitions were not equal to his desires; he only found himself above want, whereas he desired to be possessed of affluence.
One day, as he was indulging these wishes, he was informed that a neighbour of his had found a pan of money under ground, having dreamed of it three nights running before. These tidings were daggers to the heart of poor Whang. "Here am I," says he, "toiling and moiling from morning till night for a few paltry farthings, while neighbour Hunks only goes quietly to bed, and dreams himself into thousands before morning. Oh that I could dream like him! with what pleasure would I dig round the pan; how slily would I carry it home; not even nay wife should see me; and then, oh, the pleasure of thrusting one's hand into a heap of gold up to the elbow!"
Such reflections only served to make the miller unhappy; he discontinued his former assiduity; he was quite disgusted with small gains, and his customers began to forsake him. Every day he repeated the wish, and every night laid himself down in order to dream. Fortune, that was for a long time unkind, at last, however, seemed to smile upon his distresses, and indulged him with the wished-for vision. He dreamed that under a certain part of the foundation of his mill there was concealed a monstrous pan of gold and diamonds, buried deep in the ground, and covered with a large flat stone. He rose up, thanked the stars that were at last pleased to take pity on his sufferings, and concealed his good luck from every person, as is usual in money dreams, in order to have the vision repeated the two succeeding nights, by which he should be certain of its veracity. His wishes in this also were answered; he still dreamed of the same pan of money, in the very same place.
Now, therefore, it was past a doubt; so, getting up early the third morning, he repairs alone, with a mattock in his hand, to the mill, and began to undermine that part of the wall which the vision directed. The first omen of success that he met was a broken mug; digging still deeper, he turns up a house tile, quite new and entire. At last, after much digging, he came to the broad flat stone, but then so large, that it was beyond one man's strength to remove it. "Here," cried he, in raptures, to himself, "here it is! under this stone there is room for a very large pan of diamonds indeed! I must e'en go home to my wife, and tell her the whole affair, and get her to assist me in turning it up." Away, therefore, he goes, and acquaints his wife with every circumstance of their good fortune. Her raptures on this occasion may easily be imagined; she flew round his neck, and embraced him in an agony of joy: but those transports, however, did not delay their eagerness to know the exact sum; returning, therefore, speedily together to the place where Whang had been digging, there they found—not indeed the expected treasure, but the mill, their only support, undermined and fallen.
[Note: He stood for a child of mine, i.e., stood as godfather for a child of mine.]
* * * * *
A SEA SONG.
A wet sheet and a flowing sea, A wind that follows fast, And fills the white and rustling sail And bends the gallant mast. And bends the gallant mast, my boys, While, like the eagle free, Away the good ship flies, and leaves Old England on the lee.
Oh, for a soft and gentle wind, I heard a fair one cry: But give to me the snoring breeze And white waves heaving high. And white waves heaving high, my lads, A good ship, tight and free, The world of waters is our home, And merry men are we.
There's tempest in yon horned moon, And lightning in yon cloud; And hark the music, mariners! The wind is piping loud. The wind is piping loud, my boys, The lightning flashes free; While the hollow oak our palace is, Our heritage the sea.
[Note: A wet sheet. The sheet is the rope fastened to the lower corner of a sail to retain it in position.]
* * * * *
ON THE LOSS OF THE 'ROYAL GEORGE.'
Toll for the brave! The brave that are no more; All sunk beneath the wave, Fast by their native shore!
Eight hundred of the brave, Whose courage well was tried, Had made the vessel heel, And laid her on her side.
A land breeze shook the shrouds, And she was overset; Down went the 'Royal George,' With all her crew complete.
Toll for the brave! Brave Kempenfeldt is gone; His last sea-fight is fought; His work of glory done.
It was not in the battle; No tempest gave the shock; She sprang no fatal leak; She ran upon no rock.
His sword was in its sheath; His fingers held the pen, When Kempenfeldt went down, With twice four hundred men.
Weigh the vessel up, Once dreaded by our foes! And mingle with our cup, The tear that England owes.
Her timbers yet are sound, And she may float again, Full-charged with England's thunder, And plough the distant main.
But Kempenfeldt is gone, His victories are o'er; And he and his eight hundred Shall plough the wave no more.
[Note: The Royal George. A ship of war, which went down with Admiral Kempenfeldt and her crew off Spithead in 1782, while undergoing a partial careening.]
* * * * *
After we had rowed, or rather driven, about a league and a half, as we reckoned it, a raging wave, mountain-like, came rolling astern of us, and plainly bade us expect our end. In a word, it took us with such a fury that it overset the boat at once; and, separating us as well from the boat as from one another, gave us not time hardly to say, "O God!" for we were all swallowed up in a moment.
Nothing can describe the confusion of thought which I felt when I sunk into the water; for though I swam very well, yet I could not deliver myself from the waves, so as to draw breath, till that wave having driven me, or rather carried me a vast way on towards the shore, and having spent itself, went back, and left me upon the land almost dry, but half dead from the water I took in. I had so much presence of mind as well as breath left, that, seeing myself nearer the mainland than I expected, I got upon my feet, and endeavoured to make on towards the land as fast as I could, before another wave should return, and take me up again. But I soon found it was impossible to avoid it; for I saw the sea come after me as high as a great hill, and as furious as an enemy, which I had no means or strength to contend with; my business was to hold my breath, and raise myself upon the water, if I could: and so by swimming to preserve my breathing, and pilot myself towards the shore, if possible; my greatest concern now being, that the sea, as it would carry me a great way towards the shore when it came on, might not carry me back again with it when it gave back towards the sea.
The wave that came upon me again, buried me at once twenty or thirty feet deep in its own body; and I could feel myself carried with a mighty force and swiftness towards the shore a very great way; but I held my breath, and assisted myself to swim still forward with all my might. I was ready to burst with holding my breath, when, as I felt myself rising up, so, to my immediate relief, I found my head and hands shoot out above the surface of the water; and though it was not two seconds of time that I could keep myself so, yet it relieved me greatly, gave me breath and new courage. I was covered again with water a good while, but not so long but I held it out; and finding the water had spent itself, and began to return, I struck forward against the return of the waves, and felt ground again with my feet. I stood still a few moments to recover breath, and till the water went from me, and then took to my heels, and run with what strength I had farther towards the shore. But neither would this deliver me from the fury of the sea, which came pouring in after me again, and twice more I was lifted up by the waves, and carried forwards as before, the shore being very flat.
The last time of these two had well near been fatal to me; for the sea having hurried me along as before, landed me, or rather dashed me against a piece of a rock, and that with such force as it left me senseless, and indeed helpless, as to my own deliverance; for the blow taking my side and breast, beat the breath, as it were, quite out of my body; and had it returned again immediately, I must have been strangled in the water; but I recovered a little before the return of the waves, and seeing I should be covered again with the water, I resolved to hold fast by a piece of the rock, and so to hold my breath, if possible, till the wave went back; now as the waves were not so high as at first, being near land, I held my hold till the wave abated, and then fetched another run, which brought me so near the shore that the next wave, though it went over me, yet did not so swallow me up as to carry me away, and the next run I took, I got to the main land, where, to my great comfort, I clambered up the clifts of the shore, and sat me down upon the grass, free from danger, and quite out of the reach of the water.
DEFOE'S Robinson Crusoe.
[Notes: Daniel Defoe, born 1663, died 1731. He was prominent as a political writer, but his later fame has rested chiefly on his works of fiction, of which 'Robinson Crusoe' (from which this extract is taken) is the most important.
"Gave us not time hardly to say." This to us has the effect of a double negative. But if we take "hardly" in its strict sense, the sentence is clear: "did not give us time, even with difficulty, to say."
(at foot)."As I felt myself rising up, so to my immediate relief." Note this use of as and so, in a way which now sounds archaic.
Run. The older form, for which we would use ran.
"That with such force, as it left me," &c. For as, we would now use that.
Clifts of the shore. Like clefts, broken openings in the shore.]
* * * * *
When Britain first, at Heaven's command, Arose from out the azure main, This was the charter of the land, And guardian angels sung this strain: Rule, Britannia, rule the waves, Britons never will be slaves!
The nations, not so blessed as thee, Must in their turn to tyrants fall; While thou shalt flourish great and free, The dread and envy of them all.
Still more majestic shalt thou rise, More dreadful from each foreign stroke; As the loud blast that tears the skies, Serves but to root thy native oak.
Thee haughty tyrants ne'er shall tame: All their attempts to bend thee down Will but arouse thy generous flame; But work their woe and thy renown.
To thee belongs the rural reign; Thy cities shall with commerce shine; All thine shall be the subject main: And every shore it circles thine.
The Muses, still with freedom found, Shall to thy happy coast repair: Blessed isle! with matchless beauty crowned, And manly hearts to guard the fair: Rule, Britannia, rule the waves, Britons never will be slaves!