Project Gutenberg's Eighth Reader, by James Baldwin and Ida C. Bender

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Title: Eighth Reader

Author: James Baldwin
        Ida C. Bender

Release Date: November 28, 2009 [EBook #30559]

Language: English

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David Copperfield at Salem House
(See page 23) David Copperfield at Salem House
(See page 23).

READING WITH EXPRESSION

EIGHTH READER

BY

JAMES BALDWIN

AUTHOR OF "SCHOOL READING BY GRADES—BALDWIN'S READERS,"
"HARPER'S READERS," ETC.

AND

IDA C. BENDER

SUPERVISOR OF PRIMARY GRADES, BUFFALO, NEW YORK


EIGHT-BOOK SERIES

NEW YORK : CINCINNATI : CHICAGO

AMERICAN BOOK COMPANY


Copyright, 1911, by
AMERICAN BOOK COMPANY.
Entered at Stationers' Hall, London.
B. & B. EIGHTH READER.
W. P. 2


TO THE TEACHER

The paramount design of this series of School Readers is to help young people to acquire the art and the habit of reading well—that is, of interpreting the printed page in such manner as to give pleasure and instruction to themselves and to those who listen to them. In his eighth year at school the pupil is supposed to be able to read, with ease and with some degree of fluency, anything in the English language that may come to his hand; but, that he may read always with the understanding and in a manner pleasing to his hearers and satisfactory to himself, he must still have daily systematic practice in the rendering of selections not too difficult for comprehension and yet embracing various styles of literary workmanship and illustrating the different forms of English composition. The contents of this volume have been chosen and arranged to supply—or, where not supplying, to suggest—the materials for this kind of practice.

Particular attention is called both to the high quality and to the wide variety of the selections herein presented. They include specimens of many styles of literary workmanship—the products of the best thought of modern times. It is believed that their study will not only prove interesting to pupils, but will inspire them with a desire to read still more upon the same subjects or from the works of the same authors; for it is only by loving books and learning to know them that any one can become a really good reader.

The pupils should be encouraged to seek for and point out the particular passages in each selection that are distinguished for their beauty, their truth, or their peculiar adaptability to the purpose in view. The habit should be cultivated of looking for and enjoying the admirable qualities of any worthy literary production; and special attention should be given to the style of writing which characterizes and gives value to the works of various authors. These points should be the subjects of daily discussions between teacher and pupils.

The notes under the head of "Expression," which follow many of the lessons, are intended, not only to aid in securing correctness of expression, but also to afford suggestions for the appreciative reading of the selections and an intelligent comparison of their literary peculiarities. In the study of new, difficult, or unusual words, the pupils should invariably refer to the dictionary.


CONTENTS

    PAGE
Brother and Sister George Eliot 11
My Last Day at Salem House Charles Dickens 22
The Departure from Miss Pinkerton's W. M. Thackeray 27
Two Gems from Browning:    
      I. Incident of the French Camp Robert Browning 36
     II. Dog Tray Robert Browning 41
The Discovery of America Washington Irving 43
The Glove and the Lions Leigh Hunt 48
St. Francis, the Gentle William Canton 51
The Sermon of St. Francis Henry W. Longfellow 54
In the Woods John Burroughs 56
Bees and Flowers John Burroughs 59
Song of the River Abram J. Ryan 64
Song of the Chattahoochee Sidney Lanier 66
War and Peace:    
   I. War as the Mother of Valor and Civilization Andrew Carnegie 68
  II. Friendship among Nations Victor Hugo 71
III. Soldier, Rest Sir Walter Scott 74
IV. The Soldier's Dream Thomas Campbell 75
 V. How Sleep the Brave? William Collins 76
Early Times in New York Washington Irving 77
A Winter Evening in Old New England J. G. Whittier 82
The Old-fashioned Thanksgiving Donald G. Mitchell 84
A Thanksgiving Robert Herrick 92
First Days at Wakefield Oliver Goldsmith 94
Doubting Castle John Bunyan 100
Shooting with the Longbow Sir Walter Scott 108
A Christmas Hymn Alfred Domett 117
Christmas Eve at Fezziwig's Charles Dickens 120
The Christmas Holly Eliza Cook 124
The New Year's Dinner Party Charles Lamb 125
The Town Pump Nathaniel Hawthorne 128
Come up from the Fields, Father Walt Whitman 135
The Address at Gettysburg Abraham Lincoln 139
Ode to the Confederate Dead Henry Timrod 140
The Chariot Race From Sophocles 141
The Coliseum at Midnight Henry W. Longfellow 145
The Deacon's Masterpiece Oliver Wendell Holmes 147
Dogs and Cats Alexandre Dumas 154
The Owl Critic James T. Fields 157
Mrs. Caudle's Umbrella Lecture Douglas William Jerrold 161
The Dark Day in Connecticut J. G. Whittier 164
Two Interesting Letters:    
   I. Columbus to the Lord Treasurer of Spain   167
  II. Governor Winslow to a Friend in England   171
Poems of Home and Country:    
   I. "This is My Own, My Native Land" Sir Walter Scott 174
  II. The Green Little Shamrock of Ireland Andrew Cherry 175
III. My Heart's in the Highlands Robert Burns 176
IV. The Fatherland James R. Lowell 177
 V. Home Oliver Goldsmith 178
The Age of Coal Agnes Giberne 179
Something about the Moon Richard A. Proctor 183
The Coming of the Birds Ralph Waldo Emerson 187
The Return of the Birds John Burroughs 188
The Poet and the Bird:    
   I. The Song of the Lark   193
  II. To a Skylark Percy B. Shelley 197
Hark, Hark! the Lark William Shakespeare 201
Echoes of the American Revolution:    
   I. Patrick Henry's Famous Speech   202
  II. Marion's Men W. Gilmore Simms 206
 III. In Memory of George Washington Henry Lee 209
Three Great American Poems:    
   I. Thanatopsis William Cullen Bryant 213
  II. The Bells Edgar Allan Poe 219
 III. Marco Bozzaris Fitz-Greene Halleck 224
The Indian Edward Everett 228
National Retribution Theodore Parker 231
Who are Blessed The Bible 233
Little Gems from the Older Poets:    
   I. The Noble Nature Ben Jonson 235
  II. A Contented Mind Joshua Sylvester 235
 III. A Happy Life Sir Henry Wotton 236
 IV. Solitude Alexander Pope 237
  V. A Wish Samuel Rogers 238
How King Arthur got his Name Fiona Macleod 239
Antony's Oration over Csar's Dead Body William Shakespeare 244
Selections to be Memorized:    
   I. The Prayer Perfect James Whitcomb Riley 250
  II. Be Just and Fear No William Shakespeare 250
 III. If I can Live Author Unknown 251
 IV. The Bugle Song Alfred Tennyson 251
  V. The Ninetieth Psalm Book of Psalms 252
 VI. Recessional Rudyard Kipling 253
Proper Names   255
List of Authors   257

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Acknowledgment and thanks are proffered to Andrew Carnegie for permission to reprint in this volume his tract on "War as the Mother of Civilization and Valor"; to the Bobbs-Merrill Company for their courtesy in allowing us to use "The Prayer Perfect," from James Whitcomb Riley's Rhymes of Childhood; to David Mackay for the poem by Walt Whitman entitled "Come up from the Fields, Father"; to Charles Scribner's Sons for the "Song of the Chattahoochee," from the Poems of Sidney Lanier; and, also, to the same publishers for the selection, "The Old-fashioned Thanksgiving," from Bound Together by Donald G. Mitchell. The selections from John Burroughs, Ralph Waldo Emerson, James T. Fields, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Henry W. Longfellow, and John G. Whittier are used by permission of, and special arrangement with, Houghton Mifflin Company, the authorized publishers of the works of those authors.


EIGHTH READER


BROTHER AND SISTER[1]

I. The Home Coming

Tom was to arrive early in the afternoon, and there was another fluttering heart besides Maggie's when it was late enough for the sound of the gig wheels to be expected. For if Mrs. Tulliver had a strong feeling, it was fondness for her boy. At last the sound came—that quick light bowling of the gig wheels.

"There he is, my sweet lad!" Mrs. Tulliver stood with her arms open; Maggie jumped first on one leg and then on the other; while Tom descended from the gig, and said, with masculine reticence as to the tender emotions, "Hallo! Yap—what! are you there?"

Nevertheless he submitted to be kissed willingly enough, though Maggie hung on his neck in rather a strangling fashion, while his blue eyes wandered toward the croft and the lambs and the river, where he promised himself he would begin to fish the first thing to-morrow morning. He was one of those lads that grow everywhere in England, and at twelve or thirteen years of age look as much alike as goslings,—a lad with a physiognomy in which it seems impossible to discern anything but the generic character of boyhood.

"Maggie," said Tom, confidentially, taking her into a corner, as soon as his mother was gone out to examine his box, and the warm parlor had taken off the chill he had felt from the long drive, "you don't know what I've got in my pockets," nodding his head up and down as a means of rousing her sense of mystery.

"No," said Maggie. "How stodgy they look, Tom! Is it marbles or cobnuts?" Maggie's heart sank a little, because Tom always said it was "no good" playing with her at those games—she played so badly.

"Marbles! no; I've swopped all my marbles with the little fellows, and cobnuts are no fun, you silly, only when the nuts are green. But see here!" He drew something half out of his right-hand pocket.

"What is it?" said Maggie, in a whisper. "I can see nothing but a bit of yellow."

"Why, it's—a—new—guess, Maggie!"

"Oh, I can't guess, Tom," said Maggie, impatiently.

"Don't be a spitfire, else I won't tell you," said Tom, thrusting his hand back into his pocket, and looking determined.

"No, Tom," said Maggie, imploringly, laying hold of the arm that was held stiffly in the pocket. "I'm not cross, Tom; it was only because I can't bear guessing. Please be good to me."

The Home Coming. The Home Coming.

Tom's arm slowly relaxed, and he said, "Well, then, it's a new fish line—two new ones—one for you, Maggie, all to yourself. I wouldn't go halves in the toffee and gingerbread on purpose to save the money; and Gibson and Spouncer fought with me because I wouldn't. And here's hooks; see here!—I say, won't we go and fish to-morrow down by the Round Pool? And you shall catch your own fish, Maggie, and put the worms on, and everything—won't it be fun?"

Maggie's answer was to throw her arms around Tom's neck and hug him, and hold her cheek against his without speaking, while he slowly unwound some of the line, saying, after a pause:—

"Wasn't I a good brother, now, to buy you a line all to yourself? You know, I needn't have bought it, if I hadn't liked."

"Yes, very, very good—I do love you, Tom."

Tom had put the line back in his pocket, and was looking at the hooks one by one, before he spoke again. "And the fellows fought me, because I wouldn't give in about the toffee."

"Oh, dear! I wish they wouldn't fight at your school, Tom. Didn't it hurt you?"

"Hurt me? no," said Tom, putting up the hooks again, taking out a large pocketknife, and slowly opening the largest blade, which he looked at meditatively as he rubbed his finger along it. Then he added—"I gave Spouncer a black eye, I know—that's what he got by wanting to leather me; I wasn't going to go halves because anybody leathered me."

"Oh, how brave you are, Tom! I think you're like Samson. If there came a lion roaring at me, I think you'd fight him—wouldn't you, Tom?"

"How can a lion come roaring at you, you silly thing? There's no lions, only in the shows."

"No; but if we were in the lion countries—I mean in Africa, where it's very hot—the lions eat people there. I can show it to you in the book where I read it."

"Well, I should get a gun and shoot him."

"But if you hadn't got a gun—we might have gone out, you know, not thinking just as we go fishing; and then a great lion might run toward us roaring, and we couldn't get away from him. What should you do, Tom?" Tom paused, and at last turned away contemptuously, saying, "But the lion isn't coming. What's the use of talking?"

"But I like to fancy how it would be," said Maggie, following him. "Just think what you would do, Tom."

"Oh, don't bother, Maggie! you're such a silly—I shall go and see my rabbits."

II. The Falling Out

Maggie's heart began to flutter with fear. She dared not tell the sad truth at once, but she walked after Tom in trembling silence as he went out, thinking how she could tell him the news so as to soften at once his sorrow and his anger; for Maggie dreaded Tom's anger of all things—it was quite a different anger from her own. "Tom," she said timidly, when they were out of doors, "how much money did you give for your rabbits?"

"Two half crowns and a sixpence," said Tom.

"I think I've got a great deal more than that in my steel purse upstairs. I'll ask mother to give it to you."

"What for?" said Tom. "I don't want your money, you silly thing. I've got a great deal more money than you, because I'm a boy. I always have half sovereigns and sovereigns for my Christmas boxes, because I shall be a man, and you only have five-shilling pieces, because you're only a girl."

"Well, but, Tom—if mother would let me give you two half crowns and a sixpence out of my purse to put into your pocket and spend, you know; and buy some more rabbits with it?"

"More rabbits? I don't want any more."

"Oh, but, Tom, they're all dead."

Tom stopped immediately in his walk and turned round toward Maggie. "You forgot to feed 'em, then, and Harry forgot," he said, his color heightening for a moment, but soon subsiding. "I'll pitch into Harry—I'll have him turned away. And I don't love you, Maggie. You shan't go fishing with me to-morrow. I told you to go and see the rabbits every day."

He walked on again.

"Yes, but I forgot—and I couldn't help it, indeed, Tom. I'm so very sorry," said Maggie, while the tears rushed fast.

"You're a naughty girl," said Tom, severely; "and I'm sorry I bought you the fish line. I don't love you."

"Oh, Tom, it's very cruel," sobbed Maggie. "I'd forgive you, if you forgot anything—I wouldn't mind what you did—I'd forgive you and love you."

"Yes, you're a silly—but I never do forget things—I don't."

"Oh, please forgive me, Tom; my heart will break," said Maggie, shaking with sobs, clinging to Tom's arm, and laying her wet cheek on his shoulder.

Tom shook her off, and stopped again, saying in a peremptory tone, "Now, Maggie, you just listen. Aren't I a good brother to you?"

"Ye-ye-es," sobbed Maggie, her chin rising and falling convulsedly.

"Didn't I think about your fish line all this quarter, and mean to buy it, and saved my money o' purpose, and wouldn't go halves in the toffee, and Spouncer fought me because I wouldn't?"

"Ye-ye-es—and I—lo-lo-love you so, Tom."

"But you're a naughty girl. Last holidays you licked the paint off my lozenge box, and the holidays before that you let the boat drag my fish line down when I'd set you to watch it, and you pushed your head through my kite, all for nothing."

"But I didn't mean," said Maggie; "I couldn't help it."

"Yes, you could," said Tom, "if you'd minded what you were doing. And you're a naughty girl, and you shan't go fishing with me to-morrow." With this terrible conclusion, Tom ran away from Maggie toward the mill.

Maggie stood motionless, except for her sobs, for a minute or two; then she turned round and ran into the house, and up to her attic, where she sat on the floor, and laid her head against the worm-eaten shelf, with a crushing sense of misery. Tom was come home, and she had thought how happy she should be—and now he was cruel to her. What use was anything, if Tom didn't love her? Oh, he was very cruel! Hadn't she wanted to give him the money, and said how very sorry she was? She had never been naughty to Tom—had never meant to be naughty to him.

"Oh, he is cruel!" Maggie sobbed aloud, finding a wretched pleasure in the hollow resonance that came through the long empty space of the attic. She was too miserable to be angry.

III. The Making Up

Maggie soon thought she had been hours in the attic, and it must be tea time, and they were all having their tea, and not thinking of her. Well, then, she would stay up there and starve herself—hide herself behind the tub, and stay there all night; and then they would all be frightened, and Tom would be sorry. Thus Maggie thought as she crept behind the tub; but presently she began to cry again at the idea that they didn't mind her being there.

Tom had been too much interested in going the round of the premises, to think of Maggie and the effect his anger had produced on her. He meant to punish her, and that business having been performed, he occupied himself with other matters, like a practical person. But when he had been called in to tea, his father said, "Why, where's the little wench?" and Mrs. Tulliver, almost at the same moment, said, "Where's your little sister?"—both of them having supposed that Maggie and Tom had been together all the afternoon.

"I don't know," said Tom. He didn't want to "tell" of Maggie, though he was angry with her; for Tom Tulliver was a lad of honor.

"What! hasn't she been playing with you all this while?" said the father. "She'd been thinking of nothing but your coming home."

"I haven't seen her this two hours," says Tom, commencing on the plum cake.

"Goodness heart! She's got drowned!" exclaimed Mrs. Tulliver, rising from her seat and running to the window. "How could you let her do so?" she added, as became a fearful woman, accusing she didn't know whom of she didn't know what.

"Nay, nay, she's none drowned," said Mr. Tulliver. "You've been naughty to her, I doubt, Tom?"

"I'm sure I haven't, father," said Tom, indignantly. "I think she's in the house."

"Perhaps up in that attic," said Mrs. Tulliver, "a-singing and talking to herself, and forgetting all about mealtimes."

"You go and fetch her down, Tom," said Mr. Tulliver, rather sharply, his perspicacity or his fatherly fondness for Maggie making him suspect that the lad had been hard upon "the little un," else she would never have left his side. "And be good to her, do you hear? Else I'll let you know better."

Tom never disobeyed his father, for Mr. Tulliver was a peremptory man; but he went out rather sullenly, carrying his piece of plum cake, and not intending to reprieve Maggie's punishment, which was no more than she deserved. Tom was only thirteen, and had no decided views in grammar and arithmetic, regarding them for the most part as open questions, but he was particularly clear and positive on one point—namely, that he would punish everybody who deserved it; why, he wouldn't have minded being punished himself, if he deserved it; but, then, he never did deserve it.

It was Tom's step, then, that Maggie heard on the stairs, when her need of love had triumphed over her pride, and she was going down with her swollen eyes and disheveled hair to beg for pity. At least her father would stroke her head and say, "Never mind, my wench."

But she knew Tom's step, and her heart began to beat violently with the sudden shock of hope. He only stood still at the top of the stairs and said, "Maggie, you're to come down." But she rushed to him and clung round his neck, sobbing, "O Tom, please forgive me—I can't bear it—I will always be good—always remember things—do love me—please, dear Tom!"

Maggie and Tom were still very much like young animals, and so she could rub her cheek against his, and kiss his ear in a random, sobbing way; and there were tender fibers in the lad that had been used to answer to Maggie's fondling; so that he behaved with a weakness quite inconsistent with his resolution to punish her as much as she deserved; he actually began to kiss her in return, and say:—

"Don't cry, then, Magsie—here, eat a bit o' cake." Maggie's sobs began to subside, and she put out her mouth for the cake and bit a piece; and then Tom bit a piece, just for company, and they ate together and rubbed each other's cheeks and brows and noses together, while they ate, with a humiliating resemblance to two friendly ponies.

"Come along, Magsie, and have tea," said Tom at last, when there was no more cake except what was downstairs.

So ended the sorrows of this day.

FOOTNOTE:

[1] From "The Mill on the Floss," by George Eliot.


MY LAST DAY AT SALEM HOUSE[2]

I pass over all that happened at school, until the anniversary of my birthday came round in March. The great remembrance by which that time is marked in my mind seems to have swallowed up all lesser recollections, and to exist alone.

It is even difficult for me to believe there was a gap of full two months between my return to Salem House and the arrival of that birthday. I can only understand that the fact was so, because I know it must have been so; otherwise I should feel convinced there was no interval, and that the one occasion trod upon the other's heels.

How well I recollect the kind of day it was! I smell the fog that hung about the place; I see the hoar-frost ghostly, through it; I feel my rimy hair fall clammy on my cheek; I look along the dim perspective of the schoolroom, with a spluttering candle here and there to light up the foggy morning, and the breath of the boys wreathing and smoking in the raw cold as they blow upon their fingers, and tap their feet upon the floor.

It was after breakfast, and we had been summoned in from the playground, when Mr. Sharp entered and said, "David Copperfield is to go into the parlor."

I expected a hamper from home, and brightened at the order. Some of the boys about me put in their claim not to be forgotten in the distribution of the good things, as I got out of my seat with great alacrity.

"Don't hurry, David," said Mr. Sharp. "There's time enough, my boy, don't hurry."

I might have been surprised by the feeling tone in which he spoke, if I had given it a thought; but I gave it none until afterward. I hurried away to the parlor; and there I found Mr. Creakle, sitting at his breakfast with the cane and newspaper before him, and Mrs. Creakle with an opened letter in her hand. But no hamper.

"David Copperfield," said Mrs. Creakle, leading me to a sofa, and sitting down beside me, "I want to speak to you very particularly. I have something to tell you, my child."

Mr. Creakle, at whom of course I looked, shook his head without looking at me, and stopped up a sigh with a very large piece of buttered toast.

"You are too young to know how the world changes every day," said Mrs. Creakle, "and how the people in it pass away. But we all have to learn it, David; some of us when we are young, some of us when we are old, some of us at all times of our lives."

I looked at her earnestly.

"When you came away from home at the end of the vacation," said Mrs. Creakle, after a pause, "were they all well?" After another pause, "Was your mamma well?"

I trembled without distinctly knowing why, and still looked at her earnestly, making no attempt to answer.

"Because," said she, "I grieve to tell you that I hear this morning your mamma is very ill."

A mist rose between Mrs. Creakle and me, and her figure seemed to move in it for an instant. Then I felt the burning tears run down my face, and it was steady again.

"She is very dangerously ill," she added.

I knew all now.

"She is dead." There was no need to tell me so. I had already broken out into a desolate cry, and felt an orphan in the wide world.

She was very kind to me. She kept me there all day, and left me alone sometimes; and I cried and wore myself to sleep, and awoke and cried again. When I could cry no more, I began to think; and then the oppression on my breast was heaviest, and my grief a dull pain that there was no ease for.

And yet my thoughts were idle; not intent on the calamity that weighed upon my heart, but idly loitering near it. I thought of our house shut up and hushed. I thought of the little baby, who, Mrs. Creakle said, had been pining away for some time, and who, they believed, would die too. I thought of my father's grave in the churchyard, by our house, and of my mother lying there beneath the tree I knew so well.

I stood upon a chair when I was left alone, and looked into the glass to see how red my eyes were, and how sorrowful my face. I considered, after some hours were gone, if my tears were really hard to flow now, as they seemed to be, what, in connection with my loss, it would affect me most to think of when I drew near home—for I was going home to the funeral. I am sensible of having felt that a dignity attached to me among the rest of the boys, and that I was important in my affliction.

If ever child were stricken with sincere grief, I was. But I remembered that this importance was a kind of satisfaction to me, when I walked in the playground that afternoon while the boys were in school. When I saw them glancing at me out of the windows, as they went up to their classes, I felt distinguished, and looked more melancholy, and walked slower. When school was over, and they came out and spoke to me, I felt it rather good in myself not to be proud to any of them, and to take exactly the same notice of them all, as before.

I was to go home next night; not by the mail, but by the heavy night coach, which was called the Farmer, and was principally used by country people traveling short intermediate distances upon the road. We had no story telling that evening, and Traddles insisted on lending me his pillow. I don't know what good he thought it would do me, for I had one of my own; but it was all he had to lend, poor fellow, except a sheet of letter paper full of skeletons; and that he gave me at parting, as a soother of my sorrows and a contribution to my peace of mind.

I left Salem House upon the morrow afternoon. I little thought then that I left it, never to return. We traveled very slowly all night, and did not get into Yarmouth before nine or ten o'clock in the morning. I looked out for Mr. Barkis, but he was not there; and instead of him a fat, short-winded, merry-looking little old man in black, with rusty little bunches of ribbons at the knees of his breeches, black stockings, and a broad-brimmed hat, came puffing up to the coach window, and said, "Master Copperfield?"

"Yes, sir."

"Will you come with me, young sir, if you please," he said, opening the door, "and I shall have the pleasure of taking you home!"

FOOTNOTE:

[2] From "David Copperfield," by Charles Dickens.


Expression: The two stories which you have just read were written by two of the greatest masters of fiction in English literature. Talk with your teacher about George Eliot and Charles Dickens, and learn all that you can about their works. Which of these two stories do you prefer? Why?

Reread the conversation on pages 14 and 15. Imagine yourself to be Tom or Maggie, and speak just as he or she did. Read the conversation on pages 16 and 17 in the same way. Reread other portions that you like particularly well.

In what respect does the second story differ most strongly from the first? Select the most striking passage and read it with expression sad feeling.


THE DEPARTURE FROM MISS PINKERTON'S[3]

I

One sunshiny morning in June, there drove up to the great iron gate of Miss Pinkerton's Academy for young ladies, on Chiswick Mall, a large family coach, with two fat horses in blazing harness, driven by a fat coachman in a three-cornered hat and wig, at the rate of four miles an hour.

A black servant, who reposed on the box beside the fat coachman, uncurled his bandy legs as soon as the equipage drew up opposite Miss Pinkerton's shining brass plate; and as he pulled the bell, at least a score of young heads were seen peering out of the narrow windows of the stately old brick house. Nay, the acute observer might have recognized the little red nose of good-natured Miss Jemima Pinkerton herself, rising over some geranium pots in the window of that lady's own drawing room.

"It is Mrs. Sedley's coach, sister," said Miss Jemima. "Sambo, the black servant, has just rung the bell; and the coachman has a new red waistcoat."

"Have you completed all the necessary preparations incident to Miss Sedley's departure?" asked Miss Pinkerton, that majestic lady, the friend of the famous literary man, Dr. Johnson, the author of the great "Dixonary" of the English language, called commonly the great Lexicographer.

"The girls were up at four this morning, packing her trunks, sister," answered Miss Jemima. "We have made her a bowpot."

"Say a bouquet, sister Jemima; 'tis more genteel."

"Well, a booky as big almost as a haystack. I have put up two bottles of the gillyflower water for Mrs. Sedley, and the receipt for making it is in Amelia's box."

"And I trust, Miss Jemima, you have made a copy of Miss Sedley's account. That is it, is it? Very good! Ninety-three pounds, four shillings. Be kind enough to address it to John Sedley, Esquire, and to seal this billet which I have written to his lady."

II

In Miss Jemima's eyes an autograph letter of her sister, Miss Pinkerton, was an object of as deep veneration as would have been a letter from a sovereign. Only when her pupils quitted the establishment, or when they were about to be married, and once when poor Miss Birch died of the scarlet fever, was Miss Pinkerton known to write personally to the parents of her pupils.

In the present instance Miss Pinkerton's "billet" was to the following effect:—

The Mall, Chiswick, June 15.

Madam:

After her six years' residence at the Mall, I have the honor and happiness of presenting Miss Amelia Sedley to her parents, as a young lady not unworthy to occupy a fitting position in their polished and refined circle. Those virtues which characterize the young English gentlewomen; those accomplishments which become her birth and station, will not be found wanting in the amiable Miss Sedley, whose industry and obedience have endeared her to her instructors, and whose delightful sweetness of temper has charmed her aged and her youthful companions.

In music, dancing, in orthography, in every variety of embroidery and needle-work she will be found to have realized her friends' fondest wishes. In geography there is still much to be desired; and a careful and undeviating use of the back-board, for four hours daily during the next three years, is recommended as necessary to the acquirement of that dignified deportment and carriage so requisite for every young lady of fashion.

In the principles of religion and morality, Miss Sedley will be found worthy of an establishment which has been honored by the presence of The Great Lexicographer and the patronage of the admirable Mrs. Chapone. In leaving them all, Miss Amelia carries with her the hearts of her companions and the affectionate regards of her mistress, who has the honor to subscribe herself,

Madam your most obliged humble servant,

Barbara Pinkerton.

P.S.—Miss Sharp accompanies Miss Sedley. It is particularly requested that Miss Sharp's stay in Russell Square may not exceed ten days. The family of distinction with whom she is engaged as governess desire to avail themselves of her services as soon as possible.

This letter completed, Miss Pinkerton proceeded to write her own name and Miss Sedley's in the flyleaf of a Johnson's Dictionary, the interesting work which she invariably presented to her scholars on their departure from the Mall. On the cover was inserted a copy of "Lines addressed to a Young Lady on quitting Miss Pinkerton's School, at the Mall; by the late revered Dr. Samuel Johnson." In fact, the Lexicographer's name was always on the lips of this majestic woman, and a visit he had paid to her was the cause of her reputation and her fortune.

Being commanded by her elder sister to get "The Dixonary" from the cupboard, Miss Jemima had extracted two copies of the book from the receptacle in question. When Miss Pinkerton had finished the inscription in the first, Jemima, with rather a dubious and timid air, handed her the second.

"For whom is this, Miss Jemima?" said Miss Pinkerton with awful coldness.

"For Becky Sharp," answered Jemima, trembling very much, and blushing over her withered face and neck, as she turned her back on her sister. "For Becky Sharp. She's going, too."

"MISS JEMIMA!" exclaimed Miss Pinkerton, in the largest capitals. "Are you in your senses? Replace the Dixonary in the closet, and never venture to take such a liberty in future."

With an unusual display of courage, Miss Jemima mildly protested: "Well, sister, it's only two and nine-pence, and poor Becky will be miserable if she doesn't get one."

"Send Miss Sedley instantly to me," was Miss Pinkerton's only answer. And, venturing not to say another word, poor Jemima trotted off, exceedingly flurried and nervous, while the two pupils, Miss Sedley and Miss Sharp, were making final preparations for their departure for Miss Sedley's home.

III

Well, then. The flowers, and the presents, and the trunks, and the bonnet boxes of Miss Sedley having been arranged by Mr. Sambo in the carriage, together with a very small and weather-beaten old cowskin trunk with Miss Sharp's card neatly nailed upon it, which was delivered by Sambo with a grin, and packed by the coachman with a corresponding sneer, the hour for parting came; and the grief of that moment was considerably lessened by the admirable discourse which Miss Pinkerton addressed to her pupil.

Not that the parting speech caused Amelia to philosophize, or that it armed her in any way with a calmness, the result of argument; but it was intolerably dull, and having the fear of her schoolmistress greatly before her eyes, Miss Sedley did not venture, in her presence, to give way to any ablutions of private grief. A seed cake and a bottle of wine were produced in the drawing room, as on the solemn occasions of the visits of parents; and these refreshments being partaken of, Miss Sedley was at liberty to depart.

"You'll go in and say good-by to Miss Pinkerton, Becky!" said Miss Jemima to that young lady, of whom nobody took any notice, and who was coming downstairs with her own bandbox.

"I suppose I must," said Miss Sharp calmly, and much to the wonder of Miss Jemima; and the latter having knocked at the door, and receiving permission to come in, Miss Sharp advanced in a very unconcerned manner, and said in French, and with a perfect accent, "Mademoiselle, je viens vous faire mes adieux."[4]

Miss Pinkerton did not understand French, as we know; she only directed those who did. Biting her lips and throwing up her venerable and Roman-nosed head, she said, "Miss Sharp, I wish you a good morning."

As she spoke, she waved one hand, both by way of adieu and to give Miss Sharp an opportunity of shaking one of the fingers of the hand, which was left out for that purpose. Miss Sharp only folded her own hands with a very frigid smile and bow, and quite declined to accept the proffered honor; on which Miss Pinkerton tossed up her turban more indignantly than ever. In fact, it was a little battle between the young lady and the old one, and the latter was worsted.

"Come away, Becky," said Miss Jemima, pulling the young woman away in great alarm; and the drawing room door closed upon her forever.

The Parting. The Parting.

Then came the struggle and parting below. Words refuse to tell it. All the servants were there in the hall—all the dear friends—all the young ladies—even the dancing master, who had just arrived; and there was such a scuffling and hugging, and kissing, and crying, with the hysterical yoops of Miss Schwartz, the parlor boarder, as no pen can depict, and as the tender heart would feign pass over.

The embracing was finished; they parted—that is, Miss Sedley parted from her friends. Miss Sharp had demurely entered the carriage some minutes before. Nobody cried for leaving her.

Sambo of the bandy legs slammed the carriage door on his young weeping mistress. He sprang up behind the carriage.

"Stop!" cried Miss Jemima, rushing to the gate with a parcel.

"It's some sandwiches, my dear," she called to Amelia. "You may be hungry, you know; and, Becky—Becky Sharp—here's a book for you, that my sister—that is, I—Johnson's Dixonary, you know. You mustn't leave us without that. Good-by! Drive on, coachman!—God bless you! Good-by."

Then the kind creature retreated into the garden, overcome with emotion.

But lo! and just as the coach drove off, Miss Sharp suddenly put her pale face out of the window, and flung the book back into the garden—flung it far and fast—watching it fall at the feet of astonished Miss Jemima; then sank back in the carriage, exclaiming, "So much for the 'Dixonary'; and thank God I'm out of Chiswick!"

The shock of such an act almost caused Jemima to faint with terror.

"Well, I never—" she began. "What an audacious—" she gasped. Emotion prevented her from completing either sentence.

The carriage rolled away; the great gates were closed; the bell rang for the dancing lesson. The world is before the two young ladies; and so, farewell to Chiswick Mall!

FOOTNOTES:

[3] From "Vanity Fair," by William Makepeace Thackeray.

[4] "Madam, I have come to tell you good-by."


Expression: By many able critics, Thackeray is regarded as a greater novelist than either Dickens or George Eliot. Compare this extract from one of his best works with the two selections which precede it. Which of the three stories is the most interesting to you? Which sounds the best when read aloud? Which is the most humorous? Which is the most pathetic?

Reread the three selections very carefully. Now tell what you observe about the style of each. In what respects is the style of the third story different from that of either of the others? Reread Miss Pinkerton's letter. What peculiarities do you observe in it? Select and reread the most humorous passage in this last story.


TWO GEMS FROM BROWNING

I. Incident of the French Camp

In the small kingdom of Bavaria, on the south bank of the Danube River, there is a famous old city called Ratisbon. It is not a very large city, but its history can be traced far back to the time when the Romans had a military camp there which they used as an outpost against the German barbarians. At one time it ranked among the most flourishing towns of Germany.

It is now of little commercial importance—a quaint and quiet old place, with a fine cathedral and many notable buildings which testify to its former greatness.

During the earlier years of the nineteenth century, Napoleon Bonaparte, emperor of the French, was engaged in bitter warfare with Austria and indeed with nearly the whole of Europe. In April, 1809, the Austrian army, under Grand Duke Charles, was intrenched in Ratisbon and the neighboring towns. There it was attacked by the French army commanded by Napoleon himself and led by the brave Marshal Lannes, Duke of Montebello.

The battle raged, first on this side of the city, then on that, and for several days no one could tell which of the combatants would be victorious. At length Napoleon decided to end the matter by storming the city and, if possible, driving the archduke from his stronghold. He, therefore, sent Marshal Lannes forward to direct the battle, while he watched the conflict and gave commands from a distance. For a long time the issue seemed doubtful, and not even Napoleon could guess what the result would be. Late in the day, however, French valor prevailed, the Austrians were routed, and Marshal Lannes forced his way into the city.

It was at this time that the incident described so touchingly in the following poem by Robert Browning is supposed to have taken place. We do not know, nor does any one know, whether the story has any foundation in fact. It illustrates, however, the spirit of bravery and self-sacrifice that prevailed among the soldiers of Napoleon; and such an incident might, indeed, have happened not only at Ratisbon, but at almost any place where the emperor's presence urged his troops to victory. For, such was Napoleon's magic influence and such was the love which he inspired among all his followers, that thousands of young men were ready cheerfully to give their lives for the promotion of his selfish ambition.

The poem, which is now regarded as one of the classics of our language, was first published in 1843, in a small volume entitled "Dramatic Lyrics." The same volume contained the well-known rime of "The Pied Piper of Hamelin." Robert Browning was at that time a young man of thirty, and most of the poems which afterwards made him famous were still unwritten.

Browning's Poem

You know, we French stormed Ratisbon:
A mile or so away,
On a little mound, Napoleon
Stood on our storming day:
With neck outthrust, you fancy how,
Legs wide, arms locked behind,
As if to balance the prone brow
Oppressive with its mind.
Just as perhaps he mused, "My plans
That soar, to earth may fall,
Let once my army leader Lannes
Waver at yonder wall,"—
Out 'twixt the battery smokes there flew
A rider, bound on bound
Full galloping; nor bridle drew
Until he reached the mound.
Then off there flung in smiling joy,
And held himself erect
By just his horse's mane, a boy:
You hardly could suspect—
(So tight he kept his lips compressed,
Scarce any blood came through)
You looked twice ere you saw his breast
Was all but shot in two.
"We've got you Ratisbon!" "We've got you Ratisbon!"
"Well," cried he, "Emperor by God's grace
We've got you Ratisbon!
The Marshal's in the market place,
And you'll be there anon
To see your flag bird flap his vans
Where I, to heart's desire,
Perched him!" The chiefs eye flashed; his plans
Soared up again like fire.
The chief's eye flashed; but presently
Softened itself, as sheathes
A film the mother eagle's eye
When her bruised eaglet breathes;
"You're wounded!" "Nay," the soldier's pride
Touched to the quick, he said:
"I'm killed, Sire!" And his chief beside,
Smiling, the boy fell dead.

Expression: This is a difficult selection to read properly and with spirit and feeling. Study each stanza until you understand it thoroughly. Practice reading the following passages, giving the proper emphasis and inflections.

You know, we French stormed Ratisbon.

With neck outthrust you fancy how.

"We've got you Ratisbon!"

"You're wounded!" "Nay, I'm killed, Sire!"

Word Study: Napoleon, Ratisbon, Bavaria, Lannes; anon, vans, sheathes, eaglet, Sire.

Explain: "To see your flag bird flap his vans." "His plans soared up again like fire."

II. Dog Tray[5]

A beggar child
Sat on a quay's edge: like a bird
Sang to herself at careless play,
And fell into the stream. "Dismay!
Help, you standers-by!" None stirred.
Bystanders reason, think of wives
And children ere they risk their lives.
Over the balustrade has bounced
A mere instinctive dog, and pounced
Plumb on the prize. "How well he dives!"
"Up he comes with the child, see, tight
In mouth, alive, too, clutched from quite
A depth of ten feet—twelve, I bet!
Good dog! What, off again? There's yet
Another child to save? All right!"
"How strange we saw no other fall!
It's instinct in the animal.
Good dog! But he's a long time under:
If he got drowned, I should not wonder—
Strong current, that against the wall!
"Here he comes, holds in mouth this time
—What may the thing be? Well, that's prime!
Now, did you ever? Reason reigns
In man alone, since all Tray's pains
Have fished—the child's doll from the slime!"

FOOTNOTE:

[5] By Robert Browning.



Expression: Read the story silently, being sure that you understand it clearly. Then read each passage aloud, giving special attention to emphasis and inflections. Answer these questions by reading from the poem:

Where was the child? What did she do?

What did some one cry out?

Why did not the bystanders help?

What did the dog do?

What did one bystander say?

What did another say when the dog came up?

What did he say when the dog went back?

Read correctly: "Well, that's prime!" "Now, did you ever?" "All right!" "If he got drowned, I should not wonder."

In what respects do these two poems differ from your favorite poems by Longfellow or Tennyson? Do you think there is much music in them?


THE DISCOVERY OF AMERICA[6]

It was on Friday morning, the 12th of October, that Columbus first beheld the New World. As the day dawned he saw before him a level island, several leagues in extent, and covered with trees like a continual orchard. Though apparently uncultivated, it was populous, for the inhabitants were seen issuing from all parts of the woods and running to the shore. They stood gazing at the ships, and appeared, by their attitudes and gestures, to be lost in astonishment.

Columbus made signal for the ships to cast anchor and the boats to be manned and armed. He entered his own boat richly attired in scarlet and holding the royal standard; while Martin Alonzo Pinzon and his brother put off in company in their boats, each with a banner of the enterprise emblazoned with a green cross, having on either side the letters F and Y, the initials of the Castilian monarchs Fernando and Ysabel, surmounted by crowns.

As he approached the shore, Columbus, who was disposed for all kinds of agreeable impressions, was delighted with the purity and suavity of the atmosphere, the crystal transparency of the sea, and the extraordinary beauty of the vegetation. He beheld also fruits of an unknown kind upon the trees which overhung the shores. On landing he threw himself on his knees, kissed the earth, and returned thanks to God with tears of joy.

His example was followed by the rest, whose hearts indeed overflowed with the same feelings of gratitude. Columbus then rising drew his sword, displayed the royal standard, and, assembling round him the two captains and the rest who had landed, he took solemn possession in the name of the Castilian sovereigns, giving the island the name of San Salvador. Having complied with the requisite forms and ceremonies, he called upon all present to take the oath of obedience to him as admiral and viceroy, representing the persons of the sovereigns.

The feelings of the crew now burst forth in the most extravagant transports. They had recently considered themselves devoted men hurrying forward to destruction; they now looked upon themselves as favorites of fortune and gave themselves up to the most unbounded joy. They thronged around the admiral with overflowing zeal, some embracing him, others kissing his hands.

Those who had been most mutinous and turbulent during the voyage were now most devoted and enthusiastic. Some begged favors of him, as if he had already wealth and honors in his gift. Many abject spirits, who had outraged him by their insolence, now crouched at his feet, begging pardon for all the trouble they had caused him and promising the blindest obedience for the future.

The natives of the island, when at the dawn of day they had beheld the ships hovering on their coast, had supposed them monsters which had issued from the deep during the night. They had crowded to the beach and watched their movements with awful anxiety. Their veering about apparently without effort, and the shifting and furling of their sails, resembling huge wings, filled them with astonishment. When they beheld their boats approach the shore, and a number of strange beings clad in glittering steel, or raiment of various colors, landing upon the beach, they fled in affright to the woods.

Finding, however, that there was no attempt to pursue or molest them, they gradually recovered from their terror and approached the Spaniards with great awe, frequently prostrating themselves on the earth and making signs of adoration. During the ceremonies of taking possession, they remained gazing in timid admiration at the complexion, the beards, the shining armor and splendid dress of the Spaniards. The admiral particularly attracted their attention, from his commanding height, his air of authority, his dress of scarlet, and the deference which was paid him by his companions; all which pointed him out to be the commander.

When they had still further recovered from their fears, they approached the Spaniards, touched their beards and examined their hands and faces, admiring their whiteness. Columbus was pleased with their gentleness and confiding simplicity, and soon won them by his kindly bearing. They now supposed that the ships had sailed out of the crystal firmament which bounded their horizon, or had descended from above on their ample wings, and that these marvelous beings were inhabitants of the skies.

The natives of the island were no less objects of curiosity to the Spaniards, differing as they did from any race of men they had ever seen. Their appearance gave no promise of either wealth or civilization, for they were entirely naked and painted with a variety of colors. With some it was confined merely to a part of the face, the nose, or around the eyes; with others it extended to the whole body and gave them a wild and fantastic appearance.

Their complexion was of a tawny, or copper hue, and they were entirely destitute of beards. Their hair was not crisped, like the recently discovered tribes of the African coast, under the same latitude, but straight and coarse, partly cut short above the ears, but some locks were left long behind and falling upon their shoulders. Their features, though obscured and disfigured by paint, were agreeable; they had lofty foreheads and remarkably fine eyes. They were of moderate stature and well shaped.

As Columbus supposed himself to have landed on an island at the extremity of India, he called the natives by the general name of Indians, which was universally adopted before the true nature of his discovery was known, and has since been extended to all the aboriginals of the New World.

The islanders were friendly and gentle. Their only arms were lances, hardened at the end by fire, or pointed with a flint, or the teeth or bone of a fish. There was no iron to be seen, nor did they appear acquainted with its properties; for, when a drawn sword was presented to them, they unguardedly took it by the edge.

Columbus distributed among them colored caps, glass beads, hawks' bells and other trifles, such as the Portuguese were accustomed to trade with among the nations of the gold coast of Africa. They received them eagerly, hung the beads round their necks, and were wonderfully pleased with their finery, and with the sound of the bells. The Spaniards remained all day on shore refreshing themselves, after their anxious voyage, amid the beautiful groves of the island, and returned on board late in the evening, delighted with all they had seen.

The island where Columbus had thus, for the first time, set his foot upon the New World, was called by the natives Guanahane. It still retains the name of San Salvador, which he gave to it, though called by the English Cat Island.

FOOTNOTE:

[6] From "The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus," by Washington Irving.


THE GLOVE AND THE LIONS[7]

King Francis was a hearty king, and loved a royal sport,
And one day as his lions fought, sat looking on the court;
The nobles filled the benches, with the ladies in their pride,
And 'mong them sat the Count de Lorge with one for whom he sighed:
And truly 'twas a gallant thing to see that crowning show,
Valor, and love, and a king above, and the royal beasts below.
Ramped and roared the lions, with horrid laughing jaws;
They bit, they glared, gave blows like beams, a wind went with their paws;
With wallowing might and stifled roar they rolled on one another,
Till all the pit with sand and mane was in a thundrous smother;
The bloody foam above the bars came whisking through the air;
Said Francis then, "Faith, gentlemen, we're better here than there."
The Glove and the Lions. The Glove and the Lions.
De Lorge's love o'erheard the King,—a beauteous lively dame
With smiling lips and sharp, bright eyes, which always seemed the same:
She thought, "The Count, my lover, is brave as brave can be;
He surely would do wondrous things to show his love of me;
King, ladies, lovers, all look on; the occasion is divine;
I'll drop my glove, to prove his love; great glory will be mine."
She dropped her glove, to prove his love, then looked at him and smiled;
He bowed, and in a moment leaped among the lions wild:
His leap was quick, return was quick, he has regained his place,
Then threw the glove, but not with love, right in the lady's face.
"Well done!" cried Francis, "bravely done!" and he rose from where he sat:
"No love," quoth he, "but vanity, sets love a task like that."

FOOTNOTE:

[7] By Leigh Hunt, an English essayist and poet (1784-1859).



Expression: Read this poem silently, trying to understand fully the circumstances of the story: (1) the time; (2) the place; (3) the character of the leading actors. Then read aloud each stanza with feeling and expression.


ST. FRANCIS, THE GENTLE[8]

Seven hundred years ago, Francis the gentlest of the saints was born in Assisi, the quaint Umbrian town among the rocks; and for twenty years and more he cherished but one thought, and one desire, and one hope; and these were that he might lead the beautiful and holy and sorrowful life which our Master lived on earth, and that in every way he might resemble Him in the purity and loveliness of his humanity.

Not to men alone but to all living things on earth and air and water was St. Francis most gracious and loving. They were all his little brothers and sisters, and he forgot them not, still less scorned or slighted them, but spoke to them often and blessed them, and in return they showed him great love and sought to be of his fellowship. He bade his companions keep plots of ground for their little sisters the flowers, and to these lovely and speechless creatures he spoke, with no great fear that they would not understand his words. And all this was a marvelous thing in a cruel time, when human life was accounted of slight worth by fierce barons and ruffling marauders.

For the bees he set honey and wine in the winter, lest they should feel the nip of the cold too keenly; and bread for the birds, that they all, but especially "my brother Lark," should have joy of Christmastide, and at Rieti a brood of redbreasts were the guests of the house and raided the tables while the brethren were at meals; and when a youth gave St. Francis the turtledoves he had snared, the Saint had nests made for them, and there they laid their eggs and hatched them, and fed from the hands of the brethren.

Out of affection a fisherman once gave him a great tench, but he put it back into the clear water of the lake, bidding it love God; and the fish played about the boat till St. Francis blessed it and bade it go.

"Why dost thou torment my little brothers the Lambs," he asked of a shepherd, "carrying them bound thus and hanging from a staff, so that they cry piteously?" And in exchange for the lambs he gave the shepherd his cloak. And at another time seeing amid a flock of goats one white lamb feeding, he was concerned that he had nothing but his brown robe to offer for it (for it reminded him of our Lord among the Pharisees); but a merchant came up and paid for it and gave it him, and he took it with him to the city and preached about it so that the hearts of those hearing him were melted. Afterwards the lamb was left in the care of a convent of holy women, and to the Saint's great delight, these wove him a gown of the lamb's innocent wool.

Fain would I tell of the coneys that took refuge in the folds of his habit, and of the swifts which flew screaming in their glee while he was preaching; but now it is time to speak of the sermon which he preached to a great multitude of birds in a field by the roadside, when he was on his way to Bevagno. Down from the trees flew the birds to hear him, and they nestled in the grassy bosom of the field, and listened till he had done. And these were the words he spoke to them:—

"Little birds, little sisters mine, much are you holden to God your Creator; and at all times and in every place you ought to praise Him. Freedom He has given you to fly everywhere; and raiment He has given you, double and threefold. More than this, He preserved your kind in the Ark, so that your race might not come to an end. Still more do you owe Him for the element of air, which He has made your portion. Over and above, you sow not, neither do you reap; but God feeds you, and gives you streams and springs for your thirst; the mountains He gives you, and the valleys for your refuge, and the tall trees wherein to build your nests. And because you cannot sew or spin, God takes thought to clothe you, you and your little ones. It must be, then, that your Creator loves you much, since He has granted you so many benefits. Be on your guard then against the sin of ingratitude, and strive always to give God praise."

And when the Saint ceased speaking, the birds made such signs as they might, by spreading their wings and opening their beaks, to show their love and pleasure; and when he had blessed them with the sign of the cross, they sprang up, and singing songs of unspeakable sweetness, away they streamed in a great cross to the four quarters of heaven.

FOOTNOTE:


[8] By William Canton, an English journalist and poet (1845- ).


THE SERMON OF ST. FRANCIS[9]

Up soared the lark into the air,
A shaft of song, a winged prayer,
As if a soul, released from pain,
Were flying back to heaven again.
St. Francis heard; it was to him
An emblem of the Seraphim;
The upward motion of the fire,
The light, the heat, the heart's desire.
Around Assisi's convent gate
The birds, God's poor who cannot wait,
From moor and mere and darksome wood,
Came flocking for their dole of food.
"O brother birds," St. Francis said,
"Ye come to me and ask for bread,
But not with bread alone to-day
Shall ye be fed and sent away.
"Ye shall be fed, ye happy birds,
With manna of celestial words;
Not mine, though mine they seem to be,
Not mine, though they be spoken through me.
"Oh, doubly are ye bound to praise
The great creator in your lays;
He giveth you your plumes of down,
Your crimson hoods, your cloaks of brown.
"He giveth you your wings to fly
And breathe a purer air on high,
And careth for you everywhere
Who for yourselves so little care."
With flutter of swift wings and songs
Together rose the feathered throngs
And, singing, scattered far apart;
Deep peace was in St. Francis' heart.
He knew not if the brotherhood
His homily had understood;
He only knew that to one ear
The meaning of his words was clear.

FOOTNOTE:

[9] By Henry W. Longfellow.


Expression: Talk with your teacher about the life, work, and influence of St. Francis. Refer to cyclopedias for information. Read aloud the prose version of his sermon to the birds; the poetical version. Compare the two versions. What is said in one that is not said in the other?


IN THE WOODS[10]

Years ago, when quite a youth, I was rambling in the woods one day with my brothers, gathering black birch and wintergreens.

As we lay upon the ground, gazing vaguely up into the trees, I caught sight of a bird, the like of which I had never before seen or heard of. It was the blue yellow-backed warbler, which I have found since; but to my young fancy it seemed like some fairy bird, so curiously marked was it, and so new and unexpected. I saw it a moment as the flickering leaves parted, noted the white spot on its wing, and it was gone.

It was a revelation. It was the first intimation I had had that the woods we knew so well held birds that we knew not at all. Were our eyes and ears so dull? Did we pass by the beautiful things in nature without seeing them? Had we been blind then? There were the robin, the bluejay, the yellowbird, and others familiar to every one; but who ever dreamed that there were still others that not even the hunters saw, and whose names few had ever heard?

The surprise that awaits every close observer of birds, the thrill of delight that accompanies it, and the feeling of fresh eager inquiry that follows can hardly be awakened by any other pursuit.

There is a fascination about it quite overpowering.

It fits so well with other things—with fishing, hunting, farming, walking, camping out—with all that takes one to the fields and the woods. One may go blackberrying and make some rare discovery; or, while driving his cow to pasture, hear a new song, or make a new observation. Secrets lurk on all sides. There is news in every bush. Expectation is ever on tiptoe. What no man ever saw may the next moment be revealed to you.

What a new interest this gives to the woods! How you long to explore every nook and corner of them! One must taste it to understand. The looker-on sees nothing to make such a fuss about. Only a little glimpse of feathers and a half-musical note or two—why all this ado? It is not the mere knowledge of birds that you get, but a new interest in the fields and woods, the air, the sunshine, the healing fragrance and coolness, and the getting away from the worry of life.

Yesterday was an October day of rare brightness and warmth. I spent the most of it in a wild, wooded gorge of Rock Creek. A tree which stood upon the bank had dropped some of its fruit in the water. As I stood there, half-leg deep, a wood duck came flying down the creek.

Presently it returned, flying up; then it came back again, and sweeping low around a bend, prepared to alight in a still, dark reach in the creek which was hidden from my view. As I passed that way about half an hour afterward, the duck started up, uttering its wild alarm note. In the stillness I could hear the whistle of its wings and the splash of the water when it took flight. Near by I saw where a raccoon had come down to the water for fresh clams, leaving its long, sharp track in the mud and sand. Before I had passed this hidden stretch of water, a pair of strange thrushes flew up from the ground and perched on a low branch.

Who can tell how much this duck, this footprint on the sand, and these strange thrushes from the far North enhanced the interest and charm of the autumn woods?

Birds cannot be learned satisfactorily from books. The satisfaction is in learning them from nature. One must have an original experience with the birds. The books are only the guide, the invitation. But let me say in the same breath that the books can by no manner of means be dispensed with.

In the beginning one finds it very difficult to identify a bird in any verbal description. First find your bird; observe its ways, its song, its calls, its flight, its haunts. Then compare with your book. In this way the feathered kingdom may soon be conquered.

FOOTNOTE:

[10] By John Burroughs, an American writer on nature (1837- ).


Expression: This and the selection which follows are fine examples of descriptive writing. Read them so that your hearers will understand every statement clearly and without special effort on their part. Talk about the various objects that are mentioned, and tell what you have learned about them from other sources.


BEES AND FLOWERS[11]

Fancy yourself to be in a pretty country garden on a hot summer's morning. Perhaps you have been walking, or reading, or playing, but it is getting too hot now to do anything. So you have chosen the shadiest nook under the walnut tree, close to some pretty flower bed.

As you lie there you notice a gentle buzzing near you, and you see that on the flower bed close by several bees are working busily among the flowers. They do not seem to mind the heat, nor do they wish to rest; and they fly so lightly, and look so happy over their work, that it is pleasant to watch them.

That great bumblebee takes it leisurely enough as she goes lumbering along, poking her head into the larkspurs; she remains so long in each that you might almost think she had fallen asleep. The brown hive-bee, on the other hand, moves busily and quickly among the stocks, sweet peas, and mignonette. She is evidently out on active duty, and means to get all she can from each flower, so as to carry a good load back to the hive. In some blossoms she does not stay a moment, but draws her head back almost as soon as she has popped it in, as if to say, "No honey there." But over other flowers she lingers a little, and then scrambles out again with her drop of honey, and goes off to seek more.

Let us watch her a little more closely. There are many different plants growing in the flower bed, but, curiously enough, she does not go first to one kind and then to another, but keeps to one the whole time.

Now she flies away. Rouse yourself to follow her, and you will see she takes her way back to the hive. We all know why she makes so many journeys between the garden and the hive, and that she is collecting drops of nectar from the flowers and carrying it to the hive to be stored up in the honeycomb for the winter's food. When she comes back again to the garden, we will follow her in her work among the flowers, and see what she is doing for them in return for their gifts to her.

No doubt you have already learned that plants can make better and stronger seeds when they can get the pollen dust from other plants. But I am sure that you will be very much surprised to hear that the colors, the scent, and the curious shapes of the flowers are all so many baits to attract insects. And for what reason? In order that the insects may come and carry the pollen dust from one plant to another.

So far as we know, it is entirely for this purpose that the plants form honey in different parts of the flower. This food they prepare for the insects, and then they have all sorts of contrivances to entice the little creatures to come and get it. The plants hang out gay-colored signs, as much as to say:—

"Come to me, and I will give you honey, if you will bring me pollen dust in exchange."

If you watch the different kinds of grasses, sedges, and rushes, which have such tiny flowers that you can scarcely see them, you will find that no insects visit them. Neither will you ever find bees buzzing round oak trees, elms, or birches. But on the pretty and sweet-smelling apple blossoms you will find bees, wasps, and other insects.

The reason of this is that grasses, sedges, rushes, and oak trees have a great deal of pollen dust. As the wind blows them to and fro it wafts the dust from one flower to another. And so these plants do not need to give out honey, or to have gaudy or sweet-scented flowers to attract insects.

But the brilliant poppy, the large-flowered hollyhock, the flaunting dandelion, and the bright blue forget-me-not,—all these are visited by insects, which easily catch sight of them and hasten to sip their honey.

We must not forget what the fragrance of the flowers can do. Have you ever noticed the delicious odor which comes from beds of mignonette, mint, or sweet alyssum? These plants have found another way of attracting the insects; they have no need of bright colors, for their fragrance is quite as true and certain a guide. You will be surprised if you once begin to count them up, how many dull-looking flowers are sweet-scented, while some gaudy flowers have little or no scent. Still we find some flowers, like the beautiful lily, the lovely rose, and the delicate hyacinth, which have color and fragrance and graceful shapes all combined.

But there are still other ways by which flowers secure the visits of insects. Have you not observed that different flowers open and close at different times? The daisy receives its name "day's eye" because it opens at sunrise and closes at sunset, while the evening primrose spreads out its flowers just as the daisy is going to bed.
What do you think is the reason of this? If you go near a bed of evening primroses just when the sun is setting, you will soon be able to guess. They will then give out such a sweet odor that you will not doubt for a moment that they are calling the evening moths to come and visit them. The daisy, however, opens by day and is therefore visited by day insects.

Again, some flowers close whenever rain is coming. Look at the daisies when a storm is threatening. As the sky grows dark and heavy, you will see them shrink and close till the sun shines again. They do this because in the center of the flower there is a drop of honey which would be spoiled if it were washed by the rain.

And now you will see why the cup-shaped flowers so often droop their heads,—think of the snowdrop, the lily-of-the-valley, and a host of others. How pretty they look with their bells hanging so modestly from the slender stalk! They are bending down to protect the honey within their cups.

We are gradually learning that everything which a plant does has its meaning, if we can only find it out. And when we are aware of this, a flower garden may become a new world to us if we open our eyes to all that is going on in it. And so we learn that even among insects and flowers, those who do most for others receive most in return. The bee and the flower do not reason about the matter; they only live their little lives as nature guides them, helping and improving each other.

I have been able to tell you but very little about the hidden work that is going on around us, and you must not for a moment imagine that we have fully explored the fairy land of nature. But at least we have passed through the gates, and have learned that there is a world of wonder which we may visit if we will. And it lies quite close to us, hidden in every dewdrop and gust of wind, in every brook and valley, in every little plant and animal.

FOOTNOTE:

[11] From "The Fairy Land of Nature," by Arabella B. Buckley.


Expression: Make a list of all the natural objects that are mentioned in this selection. Read what is said of each. Describe as many of them as you can in your own words. Tell what you have observed about bees and flowers. The daisy that is referred to is the true European daisy. The daisy, or whiteweed, of the United States does not open and close in the manner here described.


SONG OF THE RIVER[12]

A river went singing a-down to the sea,
A-singing—low—singing—
And the dim rippling river said softly to me,
"I'm bringing, a-bringing—
While floating along—
A beautiful song
To the shores that are white where the waves are so weary,
To the beach that is burdened with wrecks that are dreary.
"A song sweet and calm
As the peacefullest psalm;
And the shore that was sad
Will be grateful and glad,
And the weariest wave from its dreariest dream
Will wake to the sound of the song of the stream;
And the tempests shall cease
And there shall be peace."
From the fairest of fountains
And farthest of mountains,
From the stillness of snow
Came the stream in its flow.
Down the slopes where the rocks are gray,
Through the vales where the flowers are fair—
Where the sunlight flashed—where the shadows lay
Like stories that cloud a face of care,
The river ran on—and on—and on,
Day and night, and night and day.
Going and going, and never gone,
Longing to flow to the "far away."
Staying and staying, and never still,—
Going and staying, as if one will
Said, "Beautiful river, go to the sea,"
And another will whispered, "Stay with me"—
And the river made answer, soft and low,
"I go and stay—I stay and go."
"But what is the song?" I said at last
To the passing river that never passed;
And a white, white wave whispered, "List to me,
I'm a note in the song for the beautiful sea,
A song whose grand accents no earth din may sever,
And the river flows on in the same mystic key
That blends in one chord the 'forever and never.'"

FOOTNOTE:

[12] By Abram J. Ryan, an American clergyman and poet.


Expression: Read aloud the three lines which introduce the song of the river. Read them in such a manner as to call up a mental picture of the river on its way to the sea. Read the first five lines of the third stanza in a similar way, and tell what picture is now called up in your mind. Now read the river's song. Read what the white wave said. Read the whole poem with spirit and feeling.

Notice the words "a-down," "a-singing," "a-bringing." What effect is produced by the use of these unusual forms?


SONG OF THE CHATTAHOOCHEE[13]

Out of the hills of Habersham,
Down the valleys of Hall,
I hurry amain to reach the plain,
Run the rapid and leap the fall,
Split at the rock and together again,
Accept my bed or narrow or wide,
And flee from folly on every side
With a lover's pain to attain the plain
Far from the hills of Habersham,
Far from the valleys of Hall.
All down the hills of Habersham,
All through the valleys of Hall,
The rushes cried, "Abide, abide,"
The willful waterweeds held me thrall,
The loving laurel turned my tide,
The ferns and the fondling grass said, "Stay,"
The dewberry dipped for to work delay,
And the little reeds sighed, "Abide, abide,"
Here in the hills of Habersham,
Here in the valleys of Hall.
High o'er the hills of Habersham,
Veiling the valleys of Hall,
The hickory told me manifold
Fair tales of shade; the poplar tall
Wrought me her shadowy self to hold;
The chestnut, the oak, the walnut, the pine,
Overleaning, with flickering meaning and sign,
Said, "Pass not so cold, these manifold
Deep shades of the hills of Habersham,
These glades in the valleys of Hall."
And oft in the hills of Habersham,
And oft in the valleys of Hall,
The white quartz shone, and the smooth brook stone
Did bar me of passage with friendly brawl;
And many a luminous jewel lone
(Crystals clear or a-cloud with mist,
Ruby, garnet, or amethyst)
Made lures with the lights of streaming stone
In the clefts of the hills of Habersham,
In the beds of the valleys of Hall.

FOOTNOTE:

[13] By Sidney Lanier, an American musician and poet (1842-1881). From the Poems of Sidney Lanier, published by Charles Scribner's Sons.


Expression: Compare this poem with the one which precedes it. Compare them both with Tennyson's "Song of the Brook" ("Fifth Reader," p. 249). Which is the most musical? Which is the best simply as a description?

Make a list of the unusual words in this last poem, and refer to the dictionary for their meaning. In what state is the Chattahoochee River? "Habersham" and "Hall" are the names of two counties in the same state.

If you have access to a library, find Southey's poem, "The Cataract of Lodore," and read it aloud.


WAR AND PEACE

I. War as the Mother of Valor and Civilization [14]

We still hear war extolled at times as the mother of valor and the prime agency in the world's advancement. By it, we are told, civilization has spread and nations have been created, slavery has been abolished and the American Union preserved. It is even held that without war human progress would have been impossible.

The answer: Men were at first savages who preyed upon each other like wild beasts, and so they developed a physical courage which they shared with the brutes. Moral courage was unknown to them. War was almost their sole occupation. Peace existed only for short periods that tribes might regain strength to resume the sacred duty of killing each other.

Advancement in civilization was impossible while war reigned. Only as wars became less frequent and long intervals of peace supervened could civilization, the mother of true heroism, take root. Civilization has advanced just as war has receded, until in our day peace has become the rule and war the exception.

Arbitration of international disputes grows more and more in favor. Successive generations of men now live and die without seeing war; and instead of the army and navy furnishing the only careers worthy of gentlemen, it is with difficulty that civilized nations can to-day obtain a sufficient supply of either officers or men.

In the past, man's only method for removing obstacles and attaining desired ends was to use brute courage. The advance of civilization has developed moral courage. We use more beneficent means than men did of old. Britain in the eighteenth century used force to prevent American independence. In more recent times she graciously grants Canada the rights denied America.

The United States also receives an award of the powers against China, and, finding it in excess of her expenditures, in the spirit of newer time, returns ten million dollars. Won by this act of justice, China devotes the sum to the education of Chinese students in the republic's universities. The greatest force is no longer that of brutal war, but the supreme force of gentlemen and generosity—the golden rule.

The pen is rapidly superseding the sword. Arbitration is banishing war. More than five hundred international disputes have already been peacefully settled. Civilization, not barbarism, is the mother of true heroism. Our lately departed poet and disciple of peace, Richard Watson Gilder, has left us the answer to the false idea that brute force employed against our fellows ranks with heroic moral courage exerted to save or serve them:—

'Twas said: "When roll of drum and battle's roar
Shall cease upon the earth, oh, then no more
The deed, the race, of heroes in the land."
But scarce that word was breathed when one small hand
Lifted victorious o'er a giant wrong
That had its victims crushed through ages long;
Some woman set her pale and quivering face,
Firm as a rock, against a man's disgrace;
A little child suffered in silence lest
His savage pain should wound a mother's breast;
Some quiet scholar flung his gauntlet down
And risked, in Truth's great name, the synod's frown;
A civic hero, in the calm realm of laws,
Did that which suddenly drew a world's applause;
And one to the pest his lithe young body gave
That he a thousand thousand lives might save.

On the field of carnage men lose all human instincts in the struggle to protect themselves. The true heroism inspired by moral courage prompts firemen, policemen, sailors, miners, and others to volunteer and risk their lives to save the lives of their fellowmen. Such heroism is now of everyday occurrence.

In our age there is no more reason for permitting war between civilized nations than for relaxing the reign of law within nations, which compels men to submit their personal disputes to peaceful courts, and never dreams that by so doing they will be made less heroic....

When war ceases, the sense of human brotherhood will be strengthened and "heroism" will no longer mean to kill, but only to serve or save our fellows.

II. Friendship Among Nations [15]

Let us suppose that four centuries ago some far-seeing prophet dared to predict to the duchies composing the kingdom of France that the day would come when they would no longer make war upon each other. Let us suppose him saying:—

"You will have many disputes to settle, interests to contend for, difficulties to resolve; but do you know what you will select instead of armed men, instead of cavalry, and infantry, of cannon, lances, pikes, and swords?

"You will select, instead of all this destructive array, a small box of wood, which you will term a ballot-box, and from what shall issue—what? An assembly—an assembly in which you shall all live; an assembly which shall be, as it were, the soul of all; a supreme and popular council, which shall decide, judge, resolve everything; which shall say to each, 'Here terminates your right, there commences your duty: lay down your arms!'

"And in that day you will all have one common thought, common interests, a common destiny; you will embrace each other, and recognize each other as children of the same blood and of the same race; that day you shall no longer be hostile tribes—you will be a people; you will be no longer merely Burgundy, Normandy, Brittany, Provence—you will be France!

You will no longer make appeals to war; you will do so to civilization."

If, at that period I speak of, some one had uttered these words, all men would have cried out: "What a dreamer! what a dream! How little this pretended prophet is acquainted with the human heart!" Yet time has gone on and on, and we find that this dream has been realized.

Well, then, at this moment we who are assembled here say to France, to England, to Spain, to Italy, to Russia: "A day will come, when from your hands also the arms they have grasped shall fall. A day will come, when war shall appear as impossible, and will be as impossible, between Paris and London, between St. Petersburg and Berlin, as it is now between Rouen and Amiens, between Boston and Philadelphia.

"A day will come, when you, France; you, Russia; you, Italy; you, England; you, Germany; all of you nations of the continent, shall, without losing your distinctive qualities and your glorious individuality, be blended into a superior unity, and shall constitute an European fraternity, just as Normandy, Brittany, Burgundy, Lorraine, have been blended into France. A day will come when the only battle field shall be the market open to commerce, and the mind open to new ideas. A day will come when bullets and shells shall be replaced by votes, by the universal suffrage of nations, by the arbitration of a great sovereign senate.

Nor is it necessary for four hundred years to pass away for that day to come. We live in a period in which a year often suffices to do the work of a century.

Suppose that the people of Europe, instead of mistrusting each other, entertaining jealousy of each other, hating each other, become fast friends; suppose they say that before they are French or English or German they are men, and that if nations form countries, human kind forms a family. Suppose that the enormous sums spent in maintaining armies should be spent in acts of mutual confidence. Suppose that the millions that are lavished on hatred, were bestowed on love, given to peace instead of war, given to labor, to intelligence, to industry, to commerce, to navigation, to agriculture, to science, to art.

If this enormous sum were expended in this manner, know you what would happen? The face of the world would be changed. Isthmuses would be cut through. Railroads would cover the continents; the merchant navy of the globe would be increased a hundredfold. There would be nowhere barren plains nor moors nor marshes. Cities would be found where now there are only deserts. Asia would be rescued to civilization; Africa would be rescued to man; abundance would gush forth on every side, from every vein of the earth at the touch of man, like the living stream from the rock beneath the rod of Moses.

III. Soldier, Rest [16]

Soldier, rest! thy warfare o'er,
Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking;
Dream of battled fields no more,
Days of danger, nights of waking.
In our isle's enchanted hall,
Hands unseen thy couch are strewing,
Fairy strains of music fall,
Every sense in slumber dewing.
Soldier, rest! thy warfare o'er,
Dream of fighting fields no more;
Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking,
Morn of toil nor night of waking.
No rude sound shall reach thine ear,
Armor's clang, or war steed champing,
Trump nor pibroch summon here
Mustering clan or squadron tramping.
Yet the lark's shrill fife may come
At the daybreak from the fallow,
And the bittern sound his drum,
Booming from the sedgy shallow.
Ruder sounds shall none be near,
Guards nor warders challenge here,
Here's no war steed's neigh and champing,
Shouting clans, or squadrons stamping.

IV. The Soldier's Dream [17]

Our bugles sang truce, for the night cloud had lowered,
And the sentinel stars set their watch in the sky;
And thousands had sunk on the ground overpowered,
The weary to sleep, and the wounded to die.
When reposing that night on my pallet of straw,
By the wolf-scaring fagot that guarded the slain;
At the dead of the night a sweet vision I saw,
And thrice ere the morning I dreamt it again.
Methought from the battle field's dreadful array,
Far, far I had roamed on a desolate track;
'Twas autumn, and sunshine arose on the way
To the home of my fathers, that welcomed me back.
I flew to the pleasant fields traversed so oft
In life's morning march, when my bosom was young;
I heard my own mountain goats bleating aloft,
And knew the sweet strain that the corn reapers sung.
Then pledged we the wine cup, and fondly I swore
From my home and my weeping friends never to part;
My little ones kissed me a thousand times o'er,
And my wife sobbed aloud in her fullness of heart.
"Stay, stay with us—rest, thou art weary and worn;"
And fain was their war-broken soldier to stay;
But sorrow returned with the dawning of morn,
And the voice in my dreaming ear melted away.

V. How Sleep the Brave [18]

How sleep the brave who sink to rest
By all their country's wishes blest!
When Spring, with dewy fingers cold,
Returns to deck their hallowed mold,
She there shall dress a sweeter sod
Than Fancy's feet have ever trod.
By fairy hands their knell is rung,
By forms unseen their dirge is sung:
There Honor comes, a pilgrim gray,
To bless the turf that wraps their clay,
And Freedom shall awhile repair
To dwell a weeping hermit there.

FOOTNOTES:

[14] By Andrew Carnegie, a Scottish-American manufacturer and
philanthropist (1837- ).

[15] By Victor Hugo, a celebrated French writer (1802-1885).

[16] By Sir Walter Scott, a Scottish novelist and poet
(1771-1832).

[17] By Thomas Campbell, a Scottish poet (1777-1844).

[18] By William Collins, an English poet (1721-1759).


Expression: Which one of these three poems requires to be read with most spirit and enthusiasm? Which is the most pathetic? Which is the most musical? Which calls up the most pleasing mental pictures?

Talk with your teacher about the three authors of these poems, and learn all you can about their lives and writings.


EARLY TIMES IN NEW YORK. [19]

In those good old days of simplicity and sunshine, a passion for cleanliness was the leading principle in domestic economy, and the universal test of an able housewife.

The front door was never opened, except for marriages, funerals, New Year's Day, the festival of St. Nicholas, or some such great occasion. It was ornamented with a gorgeous brass knocker, which was curiously wrought,—sometimes in the device of a dog, and sometimes in that of a lion's head,—and daily burnished with such religious zeal that it was often worn out by the very precautions taken for its preservation.

The whole house was constantly in a state of inundation, under the discipline of mops and brooms and scrubbing brushes; and the good housewives of those days were a kind of amphibious animal, delighting exceedingly to be dabbling in water,—insomuch that an historian of the day gravely tells us that many of his townswomen grew to have webbed fingers, "like unto ducks."

The grand parlor was the sanctum sanctorum, where the passion for cleaning was indulged without control. No one was permitted to enter this sacred apartment, except the mistress and her confidential maid, who visited it once a week for the purpose of giving it a thorough cleaning. On these occasions they always took the precaution of leaving their shoes at the door, and entering devoutly in their stocking feet.

After scrubbing the floor, sprinkling it with fine white sand,—which was curiously stroked with a broom into angles and curves and rhomboids,—after washing the windows, rubbing and polishing the furniture, and putting a new branch of evergreens in the fireplace, the windows were again closed to keep out the flies, and the room was kept carefully locked, until the revolution of time brought round the weekly cleaning day.

As to the family, they always entered in at the gate, and generally lived in the kitchen. To have seen a numerous household assembled round the fire, one would have imagined that he was transported to those happy days of primeval simplicity which float before our imaginations like golden visions.

The fireplaces were of a truly patriarchal magnitude, where the whole family, old and young, master and servant, black and white,—nay, even the very cat and dog,—enjoyed a community of privilege, and had each a right to a corner. Here the old burgher would sit in perfect silence, puffing his pipe, looking in the fire with half-shut eyes, and thinking of nothing, for hours together; the good wife, on the opposite side, would employ herself diligently in spinning yarn or knitting stockings.

The young folks would crowd around the hearth, listening with breathless attention to some old crone of a negro, who was the oracle of the family, and who, perched like a raven in a corner of the chimney, would croak forth, for a long winter afternoon, a string of incredible stories about New England witches, grisly ghosts, and bloody encounters among Indians.

In those happy days, fashionable parties were generally confined to the higher classes, or noblesse; that is to say, such as kept their own cows, and drove their own wagons. The company usually assembled at three o'clock, and went away about six, unless it was in winter time, when the fashionable hours were a little earlier, that the ladies might reach home before dark.

The tea table was crowned with a huge earthen dish, well stored with slices of fat pork, fried brown, cut up into morsels, and swimming in gravy. The company seated round the genial board, evinced their dexterity in launching their forks at the fattest pieces in this mighty dish,—in much the same manner that sailors harpoon porpoises at sea, or our Indians spear salmon in the lakes.

Sometimes the table was graced with immense apple pies, or saucers full of preserved peaches and pears; but it was always sure to boast an enormous dish of balls of sweetened dough, fried in hog's fat and called doughnuts or olykoeks, a delicious kind of cake, at present little known in this city, except in genuine Dutch families.

The tea was served out of a majestic Delft teapot, ornamented with paintings of fat little Dutch shepherds and shepherdesses tending pigs,—with boats sailing in the air, and houses built in the clouds, and sundry other ingenious Dutch fancies. The beaux distinguished themselves by their adroitness in replenishing this pot from a huge copper teakettle. To sweeten the beverage, a lump of sugar was laid beside each cup, and the company alternately nibbled and sipped with great decorum; until an improvement was introduced by a shrewd and economic old lady, which was to suspend, by a string from the ceiling, a large lump directly over the tea table, so that it could be swung from mouth to mouth.

At these primitive tea parties, the utmost propriety and dignity prevailed,—no flirting nor coquetting; no romping of young ladies; no self-satisfied struttings of wealthy gentlemen, with their brains in their pockets, nor amusing conceits and monkey divertisements of smart young gentlemen, with no brains at all.

On the contrary, the young ladies seated themselves demurely in their rush-bottomed chairs, and knit their own woolen stockings; nor ever opened their lips, excepting to say "Yah, Mynheer," or "Yah, yah, Vrouw," to any question that was asked them; behaving in all things like decent, well-educated damsels. As to the gentlemen, each of them tranquilly smoked his pipe, and seemed lost in contemplation of the blue and white tiles with which the fireplaces were decorated; wherein sundry passages of Scripture were piously portrayed. Tobit and his dog figured to great advantage; Haman swung conspicuously on his gibbet; and Jonah appeared most manfully leaping from the whale's mouth, like Harlequin through a barrel of fire.

FOOTNOTE:

[19] From Diedrich Knickerbocker's, "History of New York," by Washington Irving.


Notes: More than two hundred and fifty years have passed since the "good old days" described in this selection. New York in 1660 was a small place. It was called New Amsterdam, and its inhabitants were chiefly Dutch people from Holland. Knickerbocker's "History of New York" gives a delightfully humorous account of those early times.

The festival of St. Nicholas occurs on December 6, and with the Dutch colonists was equivalent to our Christmas.

Word Study: sanctum sanctorum, a Latin expression meaning "holy of holies," a most sacred place.
noblesse, persons of high rank.

olykoeks (ŏl y cooks), doughnuts, or crullers.

Mynheer (mīn hār), sir, Mr.

Vrouw (vrou), madam, lady.

Tobit, a pious man of ancient times whose story is related in "The Book of Tobit."

Haman (ha man), the prime minister of the king of Babylon, who was hanged on a gibbet which he had prepared for another. See "The Book of Esther."

Har le quin, a clown well known in Italian comedy.

Look in the dictionary for: gorgeous, rhomboids, primeval, patriarchal, burgher, crone, porpoises, beverage, divertisements.


A WINTER EVENING IN OLD NEW ENGLAND

Shut in from all the world without,
We sat the clean-winged hearth about,
Content to let the north wind roar
In baffled rage at pane and door,
While the red logs before us beat
The frost line back with tropic heat;
And ever, when a louder blast
Shook beam and rafter as it passed,
The merrier up its roaring draft
The great throat of the chimney laughed.
The house dog on his paws outspread
Laid to the fire his drowsy head,
The cat's dark silhouette on the wall
A couchant tiger's seemed to fall;
And, for the winter fireside meet,
Between the andirons' straddling feet
The mug of cider simmered slow,
And apples sputtered in a row.
And, close at hand, the basket stood
With nuts from brown October's woods.
What matter how the night behaved?
What matter how the north wind raved?
Blow high, blow low, not all its snow
Could quench our hearth-fire's ruddy glow.
A Winter Evening in Old New England. A Winter Evening in Old New England.

THE OLD-FASHIONED THANKSGIVING [20]

I do not know but it is that old New England holiday of Thanksgiving which, for one of New England birth, has most of home associations tied up with it, and most of gleeful memories. I know that they are very present ones.

We all knew when it was coming; we all loved turkey—not Turkey on the map, for which we cared very little after we had once bounded it—by the Black Sea on the east, and by something else on the other sides—but basted turkey, brown turkey, stuffed turkey. Here was richness!

We had scored off the days until we were sure, to a recitation mark, when it was due—well into the end of November, when winds would be blowing from the northwest, with great piles of dry leaves all down the sides of the street and in the angles of pasture walls.

I cannot for my life conceive why any one should upset the old order of things by marking it down a fortnight earlier. A man in the country wants his crops well in and housed before he is ready to gush out with a round, outspoken Thanksgiving; but everybody knows, who knows anything about it, that the purple tops and the cow-horn turnips are, nine times in ten, left out till the latter days of November, and husking not half over.

We all knew, as I said, when it was coming. We had a stock of empty flour barrels on Town-hill stuffed with leaves, and a big pole set in the ground, and a battered tar barrel, with its bung chopped out, to put on top of the pole. It was all to beat the last year's bonfire—and it did. The country wagoners had made their little stoppages at the back door. We knew what was to come of that. And if the old cook—a monstrous fine woman, who weighed two hundred if she weighed a pound—was brusque and wouldn't have us "round," we knew what was to come of that, too. Such pies as hers demanded thoughtful consideration: not very large, and baked in scalloped tins, and with such a relishy flavor to them, as on my honor, I do not recognize in any pies of this generation....

The sermon on that Thanksgiving (and we all heard it) was long. We boys were prepared for that too. But we couldn't treat a Thanksgiving sermon as we would an ordinary one; we couldn't doze—there was too much ahead. It seemed to me that the preacher made rather a merit of holding us in check—with that basted turkey in waiting. At last, though, it came to an end; and I believe Dick and I both joined in the doxology.

All that followed is to me now a cloud of misty and joyful expectation, until we took our places—a score or more of cousins and kinsfolk; and the turkey, and celery, and cranberries, and what nots, were all in place.

Did Dick whisper to me as we went in, "Get next to me, old fellow"?

I cannot say; I have a half recollection that he did. But bless me! what did anybody care for what Dick said?

And the old gentleman who bowed his head and said grace—there is no forgetting him. And the little golden-haired one who sat at his left—his pet, his idol—who lisped the thanksgiving after him, shall I forget her, and the games of forfeit afterwards at evening that brought her curls near to me?

These fifty years she has been gone from sight, and is dust. What an awful tide of Thanksgivings has drifted by since she bowed her golden locks, and clasped her hand, and murmured, "Our Father, we thank thee for this, and for all thy bounties!"

Who else? Well, troops of cousins—good, bad, and indifferent. No man is accountable for his cousins, I think; or if he is, the law should be changed. If a man can't speak honestly of cousinhood, to the third or fourth degree, what can he speak honestly of? Didn't I see little Floy (who wore pea-green silk) make a saucy grimace when I made a false cut at that rolypoly turkey drumstick and landed it on the tablecloth?

There was that scamp Tom, too, who loosened his waistcoat before he went into dinner. I saw him do it. Didn't he make faces at me, till he caught a warning from Aunt Polly's uplifted finger?

A Thanksgiving Reunion. A Thanksgiving Reunion.

How should I forget that good, kindly Aunt Polly—very severe in her turban, and with her meeting-house face upon her, but full of a great wealth of bonbons and dried fruits on Saturday afternoons, in I know not what capacious pockets; ample, too, in her jokes and in her laugh; making that day a great maelstrom of mirth around her?

H—— sells hides now, and is as rich as Crœsus, whatever that may mean; but does he remember his venturesome foray for a little bit of crisp roast pig that lay temptingly on the edge of the dish that day?

There was Sarah, too,—turned of seventeen, education complete, looking down on us all—terribly learned (I know for a fact that she kept Mrs. Hemans in her pocket); terribly self-asserting, too. If she had not married happily, and not had a little brood about her in after years (which she did), I think she would have made one of the most terrible Sorosians of our time. At least that is the way I think of it now, looking back across the basted turkey (which she ate without gravy) and across the range of eager Thanksgiving faces.

There was Uncle Ned—no forgetting him—who had a way of patting a boy on the head so that the patting reached clear through to the boy's heart, and made him sure of a blessing hovering over. That was the patting I liked. That's the sort of uncle to come to a Thanksgiving dinner—the sort that eat double filberts with you, and pay up next day by noon with a pocketknife or a riding whip. Hurrah for Uncle Ned!

And Aunt Eliza—is there any keeping her out of mind? I never liked the name much; but the face and the kindliness which was always ready to cover, as well as she might, what wrong we did, and to make clear what good we did, make me enrol her now—where she belongs evermore—among the saints. So quiet, so gentle, so winning, making conquest of all of us, because she never sought it; full of dignity, yet never asserting it; queening it over all by downright kindliness of heart. What a wife she would have made! Heigho! how we loved her, and made our boyish love of her—a Thanksgiving!

Were there oranges? I think there were, with green spots on the peel—lately arrived from Florida. Tom boasted that he ate four. I dare say he told the truth—he looked peaked, and was a great deal the worse for the dinner next day, I remember.

Was there punch, or any strong liquors? No; so far as my recollection now goes, there was none.

Champagne?

I have a faint remembrance of a loud pop or two which set some cousinly curls over opposite me into a nervous shake. Yet I would not like to speak positively. Good bottled cider or pop beer may possibly account for all the special phenomena I call to mind.

Was there coffee, and were there olives? Not to the best of my recollection; or, if present, I lose them in the glamour of mince pies and Marlborough puddings.

How we ever sidled away from that board when that feast was done I have no clear conception. I am firm in the belief that thanksgiving was said at the end, as at the beginning. I have a faint recollection of a gray head passing out at the door, and of a fleece of golden curls beside him, against which I jostle—not unkindly.

Dark?

Yes; I think the sun had gone down about the time when the mince pies had faded.

Did Dick and Tom and the rest of us come sauntering in afterwards when the rooms were empty, foraging for any little tidbits of the feast that might be left, the tables showing only wreck under the dim light of a solitary candle?

How we found our way with the weight of that stupendous dinner by us to the heights of Town-hill it is hard to tell. But we did, and when our barrel pile was fairly ablaze, we danced like young satyrs round the flame, shouting at our very loudest when the fire caught the tar barrel at the top, and the yellow pile of blaze threw its lurid glare over hill and houses and town.

Afterwards I have recollection of an hour or more in a snug square parlor, which is given over to us youngsters and our games, dimly lighted, as was most fitting; but a fire upon the hearth flung out a red glory on the floor and on the walls.

Was it a high old time, or did we only pretend that it was?

Didn't I know little Floy in that pea-green silk, with my hands clasped round her waist and my eyes blinded—ever so fast? Didn't I give Dick an awful pinch in the leg, when I lay perdu under the sofa in another one of those tremendous games? Didn't the door that led into the hall show a little open gap from time to time—old faces peering in, looking very kindly in the red firelight flaring on them? And didn't those we loved best look oftenest? Don't they always?

Well, well—we were fagged at last: little Floy in a snooze before we knew it; Dick, pretending not to be sleepy, but gaping in a prodigious way. But the romps and the fatigue made sleep very grateful when it came at last: yet the sleep was very broken; the turkey and the nuts had their rights, and bred stupendous Thanksgiving dreams. What gorgeous dreams they were, to be sure!

I seem to dream them again to-day.

Once again I see the old, revered gray head bowing in utter thankfulness, with the hands clasped.

Once again, over the awful tide of intervening years—so full, and yet so short—I seem to see the shimmer of her golden hair—an aureole of light blazing on the borders of boyhood: "For this, and all thy bounties, our Father, we thank thee."

FOOTNOTE:

[20] From "Bound Together," by Donald G. Mitchell, published by Charles Scribner's Sons.


A THANKSGIVING [21]

Lord, thou hast given me a cell
Wherein to dwell—
A little house, whose humble roof
Is weatherproof—
Under the spans of which I lie
Both soft and dry,
Where thou, my chamber for to ward,
Hast set a guard
Of harmless thoughts, to watch and keep
Me while I sleep.
Low is my porch as is my fate—
Both void of state—
And yet the threshold of my door
Is worn by the poor
Who hither come, and freely get
Good words or meat.
Like as my parlor, so my hall
And kitchen's small.
A little buttery, and therein
A little bin.
Which keeps my little loaf of bread
Unchipt, unfled.
Some brittle sticks of thorn or brier
Make me a fire
Close by whose living coal I sit,
And glow like it.
Lord, I confess too, when I dine,
The pulse is thine,
And all those other bits that be
There placed by thee.
'Tis thou that crown'st my glittering hearth
With guiltless mirth,
And giv'st me wassail bowls to drink,
Spiced to the brink.
Lord, 'tis thy plenty-dropping hand
That soils my land,
And giv'st me for my bushel sown
Twice ten for one.
All these and better thou dost send
Me to this end,—
That I should render for my part,
A thankful heart;
Which, fired with incense, I resign
As wholly thine—
But the acceptance, that must be,
My God, by thee.

FOOTNOTE:

[21] By Robert Herrick, an English poet (1591-1674).


FIRST DAYS AT WAKEFIELD [22]

A proof that even the humblest fortune may grant happiness, which depends not on circumstances but constitution.

The place of our retreat was in a little neighborhood consisting of farmers, who tilled their own grounds, and were equal strangers to opulence and poverty. As they had almost all the conveniences of life within themselves, they seldom visited towns or cities in search of superfluity. Remote from the polite, they still retained the primeval simplicity of manners; and frugal by habit, they scarcely knew that temperance was a virtue.

They wrought with cheerfulness on days of labor; but observed festivals as intervals of idleness and pleasure. They kept up the Christmas carol, sent true love knots on Valentine morning, ate pancakes on Shrovetide, showed their wit on the first of April, and religiously cracked nuts on Michaelmas Eve.

Being apprised of our approach, the whole neighborhood came out to meet their minister, dressed in their finest clothes, and preceded by a pipe and tabor. A feast also was provided for our reception, at which we sat cheerfully down; and what the conversation wanted in wit was made up in laughter.

Our little habitation was situated at the foot of a slopping bill, sheltered with a beautiful underwood behind, and a prattling river before; on one side a meadow, on the other a green. My farm consisted of about twenty acres of excellent land, having given a hundred pounds for my predecessor's goodwill. Nothing could exceed the neatness of my little inclosures, the elms and hedgerows appearing with inexpressible beauty.

My house consisted of but one story, and was covered with thatch, which gave it an air of great snugness; the walls on the inside were nicely whitewashed, and my daughters undertook to adorn them with pictures of their own designing. Though the same room served us for parlor and kitchen, that only made it the warmer. Besides, as it was kept with the utmost neatness, the dishes, plates, and coppers being well scoured, and all disposed in bright rows on the shelves, the eye was agreeably relieved, and did not want richer furniture. There were three other apartments,—one for my wife and me, another for our two daughters, and the third, with two beds, for the rest of the children.

The little republic to which I gave laws was regulated in the following manner: by sunrise we all assembled in our common apartment, the fire being previously kindled by the servant. After we had saluted each other with proper ceremony—for I always thought fit to keep up some mechanical forms of good breeding, without which freedom ever destroys friendship—we all bent in gratitude to that Being who gave us another day.

This duty being performed, my son and I went to pursue our usual industry abroad, while my wife and daughters employed themselves in providing breakfast, which was always ready at a certain time. I allowed half an hour for this meal and an hour for dinner, which time was taken up in innocent mirth between my wife and daughters, and in philosophical arguments between my son and me.

As we rose with the sun, so we never pursued our labors after it was gone down, but returned home to the expecting family, where smiling looks, a neat hearth, and pleasant fire were prepared for our reception. Nor were we without guests: sometimes Farmer Flamborough, our talkative neighbor, and often the blind piper would pay us a visit, and taste our gooseberry wine, for the making of which we had lost neither the receipt nor the reputation.

The night was concluded in the manner we began the morning, my youngest boys being appointed to read the lessons of the day, and he that read loudest, distinctest and best was to have a halfpenny on Sunday to put in the poor's box.

When Sunday came it was indeed a day of finery, which all my sumptuary edicts could not restrain. How well soever I fancied my lectures against pride had conquered the vanity of my daughters, yet I still found them secretly attached to all their former finery; they still loved laces, ribbons, bugles, and catgut; my wife herself retained a passion for her crimson paduasoy, because I formerly happened to say it became her.

The First Sunday at Wakefield. The First Sunday at Wakefield.

The first Sunday in particular their behavior served to mortify me; I had desired my girls the preceding night to be dressed early the next day; for I always loved to be at church a good while before the rest of the congregation. They punctually obeyed my directions; but when we were to assemble in the morning at breakfast, down came my wife and daughters dressed out all in their former splendor; their hair plastered up with pomatum, their faces patched to taste, their trains bundled up in a heap behind, and rustling at every motion.

I could not help smiling at their vanity, particularly that of my wife, from whom I expected more discretion. In this exigence, therefore, my only resource was to order my son, with an important air, to call our coach. The girls were amazed at the command; but I repeated it with more solemnity than before.

"Surely, my dear, you jest," cried my wife; "we can walk it perfectly well; we want no coach to carry us now."

"You mistake, child," returned I, "we do want a coach; for if we walk to church in this trim, the very children in the parish will hoot after us."

"Indeed," replied my wife, "I always imagined that my Charles was fond of seeing his children neat and handsome about him."

"You may be as neat as you please," interrupted I, "and I shall love you the better for it; but all this is not neatness, but frippery. These rufflings and pinkings and patchings will only make us hated by all the wives of all our neighbors. No, my children," continued I, more gravely, "those gowns may be altered into something of a plainer cut; for finery is very unbecoming in us, who want the means of decency. I do not know whether such flouncing and shredding is becoming even in the rich, if we consider, upon a moderate calculation, that the nakedness of the indigent world may be clothed from the trimmings of the vain."

This remonstrance had the proper effect; they went with great composure, that very instant, to change their dress; and the next day I had the satisfaction of finding my daughters, at their own request, employed in cutting up their trains into Sunday waistcoats for Dick and Bill, the two little ones; and what was still more satisfactory, the gowns seemed improved by this curtailing.

FOOTNOTE:

[22] From "The Vicar of Wakefield," by Oliver Goldsmith, a celebrated English author (1728-1774).


Expression: In this selection and the two which follow we have three other specimens of English prose fiction. You will observe that they are very different in style, as well as in subject, from the three specimens at the beginning of this book. Compare them with one another. Reread the selections from Dickens, Thackeray, and George Eliot, and compare them with these. Which do you like best? Why?


DOUBTING CASTLE [23]

I. The Pilgrims lose their Way

Now I beheld in my dream that Christian and Hopeful had not journeyed far until they came where the river and the way parted, at which they were not a little sorry; yet they durst not go out of the way. Now the way from the river was rough, and their feet tender by reason of their travel; so the souls of the pilgrims were much discouraged because of the way. Wherefore, still as they went on, they wished for a better way.

Now, a little before them, there was in the left hand of the road a meadow, and a stile to go over into it; and that meadow is called By-path Meadow. Then said Christian to his fellow, "If this meadow lieth along by our wayside, let us go over into it." Then he went to the stile to see, and behold a path lay along by the way on the other side of the fence.

"'Tis according to my wish," said Christian; "here is the easiest going; come, good Hopeful, and let us go over."

"But how if this path should lead us out of the way?"

"That is not likely," said the other. "Look, doth it not go along by the wayside?"

So Hopeful, being persuaded by his fellow, went after him over the stile. When they were gone over, and were got into the path, they found it very easy for their feet; and withal they, looking before them, espied a man walking as they did, and his name was Vain-Confidence: so they called after him, and asked him whither that way led.

He said, "To the Celestial Gate."

"Look," said Christian, "did not I tell you so?—by this you may see we are right."

So they followed, and he went before them. But, behold, the night came on, and it grew very dark; so that they who were behind lost sight of them that went before. He, therefore, that went before—Vain-Confidence by name—not seeing the way before him, fell into a deep pit, and was dashed in pieces with his fall.

Now Christian and his fellow heard him fall; so they called to know the matter. But there was none to answer, only they heard a groan.

Then said Hopeful, "Where are we now?"

Then was his fellow silent, as mistrusting that he had led him out of the way; and now it began to rain and thunder and lightning in a most dreadful manner, and the water rose amain, by reason of which the way of going back was very dangerous.

Yet they adventured to go back; but it was so dark and the flood so high, that in their going back they had like to have been drowned nine or ten times. Neither could they, with all the skill they had, get back again to the stile that night. Wherefore, at last lighting under a little shelter, they sat down there until daybreak. But, being weary, they fell asleep.

In the Giant's Dungeon. In the Giant's Dungeon.

II. In the Giant's Dungeon

Now there was, not far from the place where they lay, a castle, called Doubting Castle, the owner whereof was Giant Despair; and it was in his grounds they now were sleeping. Wherefore he, getting up in the morning early, and walking up and down in his fields, caught Christian and Hopeful asleep in his grounds. Then with a grim and surly voice, he bid them awake, and asked them whence they were, and what they did in his grounds.

They told him they were pilgrims, and that they had lost their way.

Then said the giant, "You have this night trespassed on me, by trampling in and lying on my grounds, and therefore you must go along with me."

So they were forced to go, because he was stronger than they. They also had but little to say, for they knew themselves in a fault. The giant, therefore, drove them before him, and put them into his castle, in a very dark dungeon.

Here, then, they lay from Wednesday morning till Saturday night, without one bit of bread, or drop of drink, or light, or any to ask how they did: they were, therefore, here in evil case, and were far from friends and acquaintance.

Now Giant Despair had a wife, and her name was Diffidence. So, when he was gone to bed, he told his wife that he had taken a couple of prisoners, and had cast them into his dungeon for trespassing on his grounds. Then he asked her also what he had best do to them. So she asked him what they were, whence they came, and whither they were bound; and he told her. Then she counseled him, that when he arose in the morning he should beat them without mercy.

So when he arose, he getteth him a grievous crabtree cudgel, and goes into the dungeon to them, and there first falls to rating of them as if they were dogs, although they never gave him an unpleasant word. Then he fell upon them, and beat them fearfully, in such sort that they were not able to help themselves, or to turn them upon the floor. This done he withdraws, and leaves them there to condole their misery, and to mourn under their distress. So all that day they spent their time in nothing but sighs and bitter lamentations.

The next night she, talking with her husband further about them, and understanding that they were yet alive, did advise him to counsel them to make away with themselves. So, when morning was come, he goes to them in a surly manner as before, and perceiving them to be very sore with the stripes that he had given them the day before, he told them that, since they were never like to come out of that place, their only way would be forthwith to make an end of themselves, either with knife, halter, or poison: "for why," he said, "should you choose to live, seeing it is attended with so much bitterness?"

But they desired him to let them go. With that he looked ugly upon them, and, rushing to them, had doubtless made an end of them himself, but that he fell into one of his fits, and lost for a time the use of his hands. Wherefore he withdrew, and left them, as before, to consider what to do.

Then did the prisoners consult between themselves, whether it was best to take his counsel or no. But they soon resolved to reject it; for it would be very wicked to kill themselves; and, besides, something might soon happen to enable them to make their escape.

Well, towards evening the giant goes down to the dungeon again, to see if his prisoners had taken his counsel; but when he came there, he found them alive. I say, he found them alive; at which he fell into a grievous rage, and told them that, seeing they had disobeyed his counsel, it should be worse with them than if they had never been born.

At this they trembled greatly, and I think that Christian fell into a swoon; but, coming a little to himself again, they renewed their discourse about the giant's counsel, and whether yet they had best take it or no. Now Christian again seemed for doing it, but Hopeful reminded him of the hardships and terrors he had already gone through, and said that they ought to bear up with patience as well as they could, and steadily reject the giant's wicked counsel.

Now, night being come again, and the giant and his wife being in bed, she asked him concerning the prisoners, and if they had taken his counsel. To this he replied, "They are sturdy rogues, they choose rather to bear all hardships than to make away themselves."

Then said she, "Take them into the castle yard to-morrow, and show them the bones and skulls of those that thou hast already dispatched, and make them believe, thou wilt tear them in pieces, as thou hast done their fellows before them."

So when morning has come, the giant goes to them again, and takes them into the castle yard, and shows them as his wife had bidden him. "These," said he, "were pilgrims, as you are, once, and they trespassed on my grounds, as you have done; and when I thought fit, I tore them in pieces; and so within ten days I will do to you. Get you down to your den again."

And with that he beat them all the way thither.

Now, when night was come, Mrs. Diffidence and her husband began to renew their discourse of their prisoners. The old giant wondered that he could neither by his blows nor by his counsel bring them to an end.

And with that his wife replied, "I fear," said she, "that they live in hopes that some will come to relieve them, or that they have picklocks about them, by the means of which they hope to escape."

"And sayest thou so, my dear?" said the giant; "I will therefore search them in the morning."

Well, on Saturday, about midnight, they began to pray, and continued in prayer till almost break of day.

Now a little before it was day, good Christian, as one half amazed, brake out into a passionate speech: "What a fool am I, thus to lie in a dungeon! I have a key in my bosom, called Promise, that will, I am persuaded, open any lock in Doubting Castle."

Then said Hopeful, "That's good news, good brother; pluck it out of thy bosom and try."

Then Christian pulled it out of his bosom, and began to try at the dungeon door, whose bolt, as he turned the key, gave back, and the door flew open with ease, and Christian and Hopeful both came out.

After that, he went to the iron gate, for that must be opened too, but that lock went desperately hard; yet the key did open it. Then they thrust open the gate to make their escape with speed; but that gate, as it opened, made such a creaking, that it waked Giant Despair, who, hastily rising to pursue his prisoners, felt his limbs to fail, for his fits took him again, so that he could by no means go after them. Then they went on, and came to the King's highway, again, and so were safe.

FOOTNOTE:

[23] From "The Pilgrim's Progress," by John Bunyan, a famous English preacher and writer (1628-1688).


Expression: What peculiarities do you observe in Bunyan's style of writing? Select the three most striking passages in this story, and read them with spirit and correct expression.


SHOOTING WITH THE LONGBOW [24]

Proclamation was made that Prince John, suddenly called by high and peremptory public duties, held himself obliged to discontinue the entertainments of to-morrow's festival: nevertheless, that, unwilling so many good yeomen should depart without a trial of skill, he was pleased to appoint them, before leaving the ground, presently to execute the competition of archery intended for the morrow. To the best archer a prize was to be awarded, being a bugle-horn, mounted with silver, and a silken baldric richly ornamented with a medallion of St. Hubert, the patron of sylvan sport.

More than thirty yeomen at first presented themselves as competitors, several of whom were rangers and underkeepers in the royal forests of Needwood and Charnwood. When, however, the archers understood with whom they were to be matched, upwards of twenty withdrew themselves from the contest, unwilling to encounter the dishonor of almost certain defeat.

The diminished list of competitors for sylvan fame still amounted to eight. Prince John stepped from his royal seat to view more nearly the persons of these chosen yeomen, several of whom wore the royal livery. Having satisfied his curiosity by this investigation, he looked for the object of his resentment, whom he observed standing on the same spot, and with the same composed countenance which he had exhibited upon the preceding day.

"Fellow," said Prince John, "I guessed by thy insolent babble thou wert no true lover of the longbow, and I see thou darest not adventure thy skill among such merry men as stand yonder."

"Under favor, sir," replied the yeoman, "I have another reason for refraining to shoot, besides the fearing discomfiture and disgrace."

"And what is thy other reason?" said Prince John, who, for some cause which perhaps he could not himself have explained, felt a painful curiosity respecting this individual.

"Because," replied the woodsman, "I know not if these yeomen and I are used to shoot at the same marks; and because, moreover, I know not how your grace might relish the winning of a third prize by one who has unwittingly fallen under your displeasure."

Prince John colored as he put the question, "What is thy name, yeoman?"

"Locksley," answered the yeoman.

"Then, Locksley," said Prince John, "thou shalt shoot in thy turn, when these yeomen have displayed their skill. If thou carriest the prize, I will add to it twenty nobles; but if thou losest it, thou shalt be stripped of thy Lincoln green, and scourged out of the lists with bowstrings, for a wordy and insolent braggart."

"And how if I refuse to shoot on such a wager?" said the yeoman. "Your grace's power, supported, as it is, by so many men at arms, may indeed easily strip and scourge me, but cannot compel me to bend or to draw my bow."

"If thou refusest my fair proffer," said the prince, "the provost of the lists shall cut thy bowstring, break thy bow and arrows, and expel thee from the presence as a faint-hearted craven."

"This is no fair chance you put on me, proud prince," said the yeoman, "to compel me to peril myself against the best archers of Leicester and Staffordshire, under the penalty of infamy if they should overshoot me. Nevertheless, I will obey your pleasure."

"Look to him close, men at arms," said Prince John, "his heart is sinking; I am jealous lest he attempt to escape the trial. And do you, good fellows, shoot boldly round; a buck and a butt of wine are ready for your refreshment in yonder tent, when the prize is won."

A target was placed at the upper end of the southern avenue which led to the lists. The contending archers took their station in turn, at the bottom of the southern access; the distance between that station and the mark allowing full distance for what was called a "shot at rovers." The archers, having previously determined by lot their order of precedence, were to shoot each three shafts in succession. The sports were regulated by an officer of inferior rank, termed the provost of the games; for the high rank of the marshals of the lists would have been held degraded had they condescended to superintend the sports of the yeomanry.

One by one the archers, stepping forward, delivered their shafts yeomanlike and bravely. Of twenty-four arrows shot in succession, ten were fixed in the target, and the others ranged so near it that, considering the distance of the mark, it was accounted good archery.

Of the ten shafts which hit the target, two within the inner ring were shot by Hubert, a forester, who was accordingly pronounced victorious.

"Now, Locksley," said Prince John to the bold yeoman, with a bitter smile, "wilt thou try conclusions with Hubert, or wilt thou yield up bow, baldric, and quiver to the provost of the sports?"

"Sith it be no better," said Locksley, "I am content to try my fortune; on condition that, when I have shot two shafts at yonder mark of Hubert's, he shall be bound to shoot one at that which I shall propose."

"That is but fair," answered Prince John, "and it shall not be refused thee. If thou dost beat this braggart, Hubert, I will fill the bugle with silver pennies for thee."

"A man can but do his best," answered Hubert; "but my grandsire drew a good longbow at Hastings, and I trust not to dishonor his memory."

The former target was now removed, and a fresh one of the same size placed in its room. Hubert, who, as victor in the first trial of skill, had the right to shoot first, took his aim with great deliberation, long measuring the distance with his eye, while he held in his hand his bended bow, with the arrow placed on the string. At length he made a step forward, and raising the bow at the full stretch of his left arm, till the center of grasping place was nigh level with his face, he drew the bowstring to his ear. The arrow whistled through the air, and lighted within the inner ring of the target, but not exactly in the center.

"You have not allowed for the wind, Hubert," said his antagonist, bending his bow, "or that had been a better shot."

So saying, and without showing the least anxiety to pause upon his aim, Locksley stepped to the appointed station, and shot his arrow as carelessly in appearance as if he had not even looked at the mark. He was speaking almost at the instant that the shaft left the bowstring, yet it alighted in the target two inches nearer to the white spot which marked the center than that of Hubert.

"By the light of heaven!" said Prince John to Hubert, "an thou suffer that runagate knave to overcome thee, thou art worthy of the gallows!"

Hubert had but one set of speech for all occasions. "An your highness were to hang me," he said, "a man can but do his best. Nevertheless, my grandsire drew a good bow—"

"The foul fiend on thy grandsire and all his generation!" interrupted John. "Shoot, knave, and shoot thy best, or it shall be the worse for thee!"

Thus exhorted, Hubert resumed his place, and, not neglecting the caution which he had received from his adversary, he made the necessary allowance for a very light breath of wind which had just arisen, and shot so successfully that his arrow alighted in the very center of the target.
"A Hubert! a Hubert!" shouted the populace, more interested in a known person than in a stranger. "In the clout!—in the clout! A Hubert forever!"

"Thou canst not mend that shot, Locksley," said the prince, with an insulting smile.

"I will notch his shaft for him, however," replied Locksley. And, letting fly his arrow with a little more precaution than before, it lighted right upon that of his competitor, which it split to shivers. The people who stood around were so astonished at his wonderful dexterity, that they could not even give vent to their surprise in their usual clamor.

"This must be the devil, and no man of flesh and blood," whispered the yeomen to each other; "such archery was never seen since a bow was first bent in Britain!"

"And now," said Locksley, "I will crave your grace's permission to plant such a mark as is used in the north country, and welcome every brave yeoman to try a shot at it."

He then turned to leave the lists. "Let your guards attend me," he said, "if you please. I go but to cut a rod from the next willow bush."

Prince John made a signal that some attendants should follow him, in case of his escape; but the cry of "Shame! shame!" which burst from the multitude induced him to alter his ungenerous purpose.

Locksley returned almost instantly, with a willow wand about six feet in length, perfectly straight, and rather thicker than a man's thumb. He began to peel this with great composure, observing, at the same time, that to ask a good woodsman to shoot at a target so broad as had hitherto been used was to put shame upon his skill.

"For my own part," said he, "in the land where I was bred, men would as soon take for their mark King Arthur's Round Table, which held sixty knights around it.

"A child of seven years old might hit yonder target with a headless shaft; but," he added, walking deliberately to the other end of the lists and sticking the willow wand upright in the ground, "he that hits that rod at fivescore yards, I call him an archer fit to bear both bow and quiver before a king, and it were the stout King Richard himself!"

"My grandsire," said Hubert, "drew a good bow at the battle of Hastings, and never shot at such a mark in his life; neither will I. If this yeoman can cleave that rod, I give him the bucklers—or, rather, I yield to the devil that is in his jerkin, and not to any human skill. A man can but do his best, and I will not shoot where I am sure to miss. I might as well shoot at the edge of our parson's whittle, or at a wheat straw, or at a sunbeam, as at a twinkling white streak which I can hardly see."

"Cowardly dog!" exclaimed Prince John.—"Sirrah Locksley, do thou shoot; but if thou hittest such a mark, I will say thou art the first man ever did so. However it be, thou shalt not crow over us with a mere show of superior skill."

"'A man can but do his best!' as Hubert says," answered Locksley.

So saying, he again bent his bow, but, on the present occasion, looked with attention to his weapon, and changed the string, which he thought was no longer truly round, having been a little frayed by the two former shots. He then took his aim with some deliberation, and the multitude awaited the event in breathless silence. The archer vindicated their opinion of his skill: his arrow split the willow rod against which it was aimed. A jubilee of acclamations followed: and even Prince John, in admiration of Locksley's skill, lost for an instant his dislike to his person.

"These twenty nobles," he said, "which with the bugle thou hast fairly won, are thine own: we will make them fifty if thou wilt take livery and service with us as a yeoman of our bodyguard, and be near to our person; for never did so strong a hand bend a bow, or so true an eye direct a shaft."

"Pardon me, noble prince," said Locksley; "but I have vowed that, if ever I take service, it should be with your royal brother, King Richard. These twenty nobles I leave to Hubert, who has this day drawn as brave a bow as his grandsire did at Hastings. Had his modesty not refused the trial, he would have hit the wand as well as I."

Hubert shook his head as he received with reluctance the bounty of the stranger; and Locksley, anxious to escape further observation, mixed with the crowd and was seen no more.

FOOTNOTE:

[24] From "Ivanhoe," by Sir Walter Scott.


Expression: Compare this selection with the two which precede it. "Pilgrim's Progress," "The Vicar of Wakefield," and "Ivanhoe" rank high among the world's most famous books. Notice how long ago each was written. Talk with your teacher about Bunyan, Goldsmith, and Scott—their lives and their writings.


A CHRISTMAS HYMN [25]

It was the calm and silent night!
Seven hundred years and fifty-three
Had Rome been growing up to might,
And now was queen of land and sea.
No sound was heard of clashing wars—
Peace brooded o'er the hushed domain;
Apollo, Pallas, Jove, and Mars
Held undisturbed their ancient reign,
In the solemn midnight,
Centuries ago.
'Twas in the calm and silent night,
The senator of haughty Rome
Impatient urged his chariot's flight,
From lordly revel rolling home;
Triumphal arches, gleaming, swell
His breast with thoughts of boundless sway;
What recked the Roman what befell
A paltry province far away,
In the solemn midnight,
Centuries ago?
Within that province far away,
Went plodding home a weary boor;
A streak of light before him lay,
Fallen through a half-shut stable door
Across his path. He paused—for naught
Told what was going on within;
How keen the stars, his only thought,—
The air how cold and calm and thin,
In the solemn midnight,
Centuries ago!
Oh, strange indifference! low and high
Drowsed over common joys and cares;
The earth was still—but knew not why;
The world was listening unawares.
How calm a moment may precede
One that shall thrill the world forever!
To that still moment none would heed
Man's doom was linked no more to sever,
In the solemn midnight,
Centuries ago.
It is the calm and solemn night:
A thousand bells ring out and throw
Their joyous peals abroad, and smite
The darkness—charmed and holy now!
The night that erst no name had worn,
To it a happy name is given;
For in that stable lay, newborn,
The peaceful Prince of earth and heaven,
In the solemn midnight,
Centuries ago.

FOOTNOTE:

[25] By Alfred Domett, (dŏmet), an English writer (1811-1887).


CHRISTMAS EVE AT FEZZIWIG'S [26]

Old Fezziwig in his warehouse laid down his pen, and looked up at the clock which pointed to the hour of seven. He rubbed his hands; adjusted his waistcoat; laughed all over himself, from his shoes to his organ of benevolence; and called out in a comfortable, oily, rich, fat, jovial voice:—

"Yo ho, there! Ebenezer! Dick!"

Ebenezer came briskly in, followed by his fellow-'prentice.

"Yo ho, my boys!" said Fezziwig. "No more work to-night. Christmas Eve, Dick! Christmas, Ebenezer! Let's have the shutters up," cried old Fezziwig, with a sharp clap of his hands, "before a man can say Jack Robinson."

You wouldn't believe how those two fellows went at it! They charged into the street with the shutters—one, two, three—had 'em in their places—four, five, six—barred 'em and pinned 'em—seven, eight, nine—and came back before you could have got to twelve, panting like race horses.

"Hilli-ho!" cried old Fezziwig, skipping down from his desk, with wonderful agility. "Clear away, my lads, and let's have lots of room here! Hilli-ho, Dick! Chirrup, Ebenezer!"

Clear away? There was nothing they wouldn't have cleared away, or couldn't have cleared away, with old Fezziwig looking on. It was done in a minute. Every movable was packed off, as if it were dismissed from public life forevermore. The floor was swept and watered, the lamps were trimmed, fuel was heaped upon the fire; and the warehouse was as snug and warm, and dry and bright, as any ballroom you would desire to see upon a winter's night.

In came a fiddler with a music book, and went up to the lofty desk, and made an orchestra of it. In came Mrs. Fezziwig, one vast substantial smile. In came the three Miss Fezziwigs, beaming and lovable. In came the six young followers, whose hearts they broke. In came all the young men and young women employed in the business. In came the housemaid, with her cousin the baker. In came the cook, with her brother's particular friend the milkman. In came the boy from over the way, who was suspected of not having enough to eat from his master. In they all came, one after another—some shyly, some boldly, some gracefully, some awkwardly, some pushing, some pulling. In they all came, anyhow and everyhow.

Away they all went, twenty couples at once; down the middle and up again; round and round in various stages of affectionate grouping; old top couple always turning up in the wrong place; new top couple starting off again as soon as they got there; all top couples at last, and not a bottom one to help them!

When this result was brought about, old Fezziwig, clapping his hands to stop the dance, cried out, "Well done!" Then there were more dances, and there were forfeits, and more dances; and there was cake, and there was a great piece of cold roast, and there was a great piece of cold boiled, and there were mince pies and other delicacies. But the great effect of the evening came after the roast and the boiled, when the fiddler, artful dog, struck up "Sir Roger de Coverley." Then old Mr. Fezziwig stood out to dance with Mrs. Fezziwig. Top couple, too, with a good stiff piece of work cut out for them; three or four and twenty pair of partners; people who were not to be trifled with—people who would dance, and had no notion of walking.

But if they had been twice as many—aye, four times—old Mr. Fezziwig would have been a match for them, and so would Mrs. Fezziwig. As to her, she was worthy to be his partner in every sense of the term. If that's not high praise, tell me higher and I'll use it.... And when Mr. Fezziwig and Mrs. Fezziwig had gone all through the dance—advance and retire, both hands to your partner, bow and curtsy, thread the needle, and back to your place—Fezziwig "cut" so deftly that he appeared to wink with his legs, and came upon his feet again without a stagger.

Christmas Eve at Fezziwig's. Christmas Eve at Fezziwig's.

When the clock struck eleven, this domestic ball broke up. Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig took their stations, one on either side of the door, and shaking hands with every person individually as he or she went out, wished him or her a Merry Christmas. When everybody had retired but the two apprentices, they did the same to them; and thus the cheerful voices died away and the lads were left to their beds—which were under a counter in the back shop.

FOOTNOTE:

[26] From "A Christmas Carol," by Charles Dickens.


THE CHRISTMAS HOLLY [27]

The holly! the holly! oh, twine it with bay—
Come give the holly a song;
For it helps to drive stern winter away,
With his garment so somber and long;
It peeps through the trees with its berries of red,
And its leaves of burnished green,
When the flowers and fruits have long been dead,
And not even the daisy is seen.
Then sing to the holly, the Christmas holly,
That hangs over peasant and king;
While we laugh and carouse 'neath its glittering boughs,
To the Christmas holly we'll sing.

FOOTNOTE:

[27] By Eliza Cook, an English poet (1818-1889).


Expression: Imagine that you see Mr. Fezziwig with his apprentices preparing for the Christmas festivities. What is your opinion of him? Now read the story, paragraph by paragraph, trying to make it as interesting to your hearers as a real visit to Fezziwig warehouse would have been.


THE NEW YEAR'S DINNER PARTY [28]

The Old Year being dead, the New Year came of age, which he does by Calendar Law as soon as the breath is out of the old gentleman's body. Nothing would serve the youth but he must give a dinner upon the occasion, to which all the Days of the Year were invited.

The Festivals, whom he appointed as his stewards, were mightily taken with the notion. They had been engaged time out of mind, they said, in providing mirth and cheer for mortals below; and it was time that they should have a taste of their bounty.

All the Days came to dinner. Covers were provided for three hundred and sixty-five guests at the principal table; with an occasional knife and fork at the sideboard for the Twenty-ninth of February.

I should have told you that cards of invitation had been sent out. The carriers were the Hours—twelve as merry little whirligig footpages as you should desire to see. They went all round, and found out the persons invited well enough, with the exception of Easter Day, Shrove Tuesday, and a few such Movables, who had lately shifted their quarters.

Well, they were all met at last, four Days, five Days, all sorts of Days, and a rare din they made of it. There was nothing but "Hail! fellow Day!" "Well met, brother Day! sister Day!" only Lady Day kept a little on the aloof and seemed somewhat scornful. Yet some said that Twelfth Day cut her out, for she came in a silk suit, white and gold, like a queen on a frost-cake, all royal and glittering.

The rest came, some in green, some in white—but Lent and his family were not yet out of mourning. Rainy Days came in dripping, and Sunshiny Days helped them to change their stockings. Wedding Day was there in his marriage finery. Pay Day came late, as he always does. Doomsday sent word he might be expected.

April Fool (as my lord's jester) took upon himself to marshal the guests. And wild work he made of it; good Days, bad Days, all were shuffled together. He had stuck the Twenty-first of June next to the Twenty-second of December, and the former looked like a Maypole by the side of a marrow bone. Ash Wednesday got wedged in betwixt Christmas and Lord Mayor's Day.

At another part of the table, Shrove Tuesday was helping the Second of September to some broth, which courtesy the latter returned with the delicate thigh of a pheasant. The Last of Lent was springing upon Shrovetide's pancakes; April Fool, seeing this, told him that he did well, for pancakes were proper to a good fry-day.

May Day, with that sweetness which is her own, made a neat speech proposing the health of the founder. This being done, the lordly New Year from the upper end of the table, in a cordial but somewhat lofty tone, returned thanks.

They next fell to quibbles and conundrums. The question being proposed, who had the greatest number of followers—the Quarter Days said there could be no question as to that; for they had all the creditors in the world dogging their heels. But April Fool gave it in favor of the Forty Days before Easter; because the debtors in all cases outnumbered the creditors, and they kept Lent all the year.

At last, dinner being ended, the Days called for their cloaks, and great coats, and took their leaves. Lord Mayor's Day went off in a Mist as usual; Shortest Day in a deep black Fog, which wrapped the little gentleman all round like a hedgehog.

Two Vigils, or watchmen, saw Christmas Day safe home. Another Vigil—a stout, sturdy patrol, called the Eve of St. Christopher—escorted Ash Wednesday.

Longest Day set off westward in beautiful crimson and gold—the rest, some in one fashion, some in another, took their departure.

FOOTNOTE:

[28] By Charles Lamb, an English essayist and humorist (1775-1834).


Expression: What holidays are named in this selection? What holidays do you know about that were not present at this dinner? Refer to the dictionary and learn about all the days here mentioned. Select the humorous passages in this story, and tell why you think they are humorous.


THE TOWN PUMP [29]

[Scene.The corner of two principal streets. The Town Pump talking through its nose.]

Noon, by the north clock! Noon, by the east! High noon, too, by those hot sunbeams which fall, scarcely aslope, upon my head, and almost make the water bubble and smoke in the trough under my nose. Truly, we public characters have a tough time of it! And among all the town officers, chosen at the annual meeting, where is he that sustains, for a single year, the burden of such manifold duties as are imposed in perpetuity, upon the Town Pump?

The title of town treasurer is rightfully mine, as guardian of the best treasure the town has. The overseers of the poor ought to make me their chairman since I provide bountifully for the pauper, without expense to him that pays taxes. I am at the head of the fire department, and one of the physicians of the board of health. As a keeper of the peace all water drinkers confess me equal to the constable. I perform some of the duties of the town clerk, by promulgating public notices, when they am pasted on my front.

To speak within bounds, I am chief person of the municipality, and exhibit, moreover, an admirable pattern to my brother officers by the cool, steady, upright, downright, and impartial discharge of my business, and the constancy with which I stand to my post. Summer or winter, nobody seeks me in vain; for, all day long I am seen at the busiest corner, just above the market, stretching out my arms to rich and poor alike; and at night I hold a lantern over my head, to show where I am, and to keep people out of the gutters.

At this sultry noontide, I am cupbearer to the parched populace, for whose benefit an iron goblet is chained to my waist. Like a dram seller on the public square, on a muster day, I cry aloud to all and sundry, in my plainest accents, and at the very tiptop of my voice, "Here it is, gentlemen! Here is the good liquor! Walk up, walk up, gentlemen, walk up, walk up! Here is the superior stuff! Here is the unadulterated ale of father Adam! better than cognac, Hollands, Jamaica, strong beer, or wine of any price; here it is by the hogshead or the single glass, and not a cent to pay. Walk up, gentlemen, walk up, and help yourselves!"

It were a pity if all this outcry should draw no customers. Here they come. A hot day, gentlemen. Quaff and away again, so as to keep yourselves in a nice, cool sweat. You, my friend, will need another cupful to wash the dust out of your throat, if it be as thick there as it is on your cowhide shoes. I see that you have trudged half a score of miles to-day, and, like a wise man, have passed by the taverns, and stopped at the running brooks and well curbs. Otherwise, betwixt heat without and fire within, you would have been burnt to a cinder, or melted down to nothing at all—in the fashion of a jellyfish.

Drink, and make room for that other fellow, who seeks my aid to quench the fiery fever of last night's potations, which he drained from no cup of mine. Welcome, most rubicund sir! You and I have been strangers hitherto; nor, to confess the truth, will my nose be anxious for a closer intimacy till the fumes of your breath be a little less potent.

Mercy on you, man! The water absolutely hisses down your red-hot gullet, and is converted quite into steam in the miniature Tophet, which you mistake for a stomach. Fill again, and tell me, on the word of an honest toper, did you ever, in cellar, tavern, or any other kind of dramshop, spend the price of your children's food for a swig half so delicious? Now, for the first time these ten years, you know the flavor of cold water. Good-by; and whenever you are thirsty, recollect that I keep a constant supply at the old stand.

Who next? Oh, my little friend, you are just let loose from school, and come hither to scrub your blooming face, and drown the memory of certain taps of the ferule, and other schoolboy troubles, in a draft from the Town Pump. Take it, pure as the current of your young life; take it, and may your heart and tongue never be scorched with a fiercer thirst than now.

The Town Pump. The Town Pump.

There, my dear child, put down the cup, and yield your place to this elderly gentleman, who treads so tenderly over the paving stones that I suspect he is afraid of breaking them. What! he limps by without so much as thanking me, as if my hospitable offers were meant only for people who have no wine cellars.

Well, well, sir, no harm done, I hope! Go, draw the cork, tip the decanter; but when your great toe shall set you a-roaring, it will be no affair of mine. If gentlemen love the pleasant titillation of the gout, it is all one to the Town Pump. This thirsty dog, with his red tongue lolling out, does not scorn my hospitality, but stands on his hind legs and laps eagerly out of the trough. See how lightly he capers away again! Jowler, did your worship ever have the gout?

Your pardon, good people! I must interrupt my stream of eloquence, and spout forth a stream of water, to replenish the trough for this teamster and his two yoke of oxen, who have come all the way from Staunton, or somewhere along that way. No part of my business gives me more pleasure than the watering of cattle. Look! how rapidly they lower the watermark on the sides of the trough, till their capacious stomachs are moistened with a gallon or two apiece, and they can afford time to breathe, with sighs of calm enjoyment! Now they roll their quiet eyes around the brim of their monstrous drinking vessel. An ox is your true toper.

I hold myself the grand reformer of the age. From the Town Pump, as from other sources of water supply, must flow the stream that will cleanse our earth of a vast portion of the crime and anguish which have gushed from the fiery fountains of the still. In this mighty enterprise, the cow shall be my great confederate. Milk and water!

Ahem! Dry work this speechifying, especially to all unpracticed orators. I never conceived, till now, what toil the temperance lecturers undergo for my sake. Do, some kind Christian, pump a stroke or two, just to wet my whistle. Thank you, sir. But to proceed.

The Town Pump and the Cow! Such is the glorious partnership that shall finally monopolize the whole business of quenching thirst. Blessed consummation! Then Poverty shall pass away from the land, finding no hovel so wretched where her squalid form may shelter itself. Then Disease, for lack of other victims, shall gnaw his own heart and die. Then Sin, if she do not die, shall lose half her strength.

Then there will be no war of households. The husband and the wife, drinking deep of peaceful joy, a calm bliss of temperate affections, shall pass hand in hand through life, and lie down, not reluctantly, at its protracted close. To them the past will be no turmoil of mad dreams, nor the future an eternity of such moments as follow the delirium of a drunkard. Their dead faces shall express what their spirits were, and are to be, by a lingering smile of memory and hope.

Drink, then, and be refreshed! The water is as pure and cold as when it slaked the thirst of the red hunter, and flowed beneath the aged bough, though now this gem of the wilderness is treasured under these hot stones, where no shadow falls but from the brick buildings. But still is this fountain the source of health, peace, and happiness, and I behold, with certainty and joy, the approach of the period when the virtues of cold water, too little valued since our father's days, will be fully appreciated and recognized by all.

FOOTNOTE:

[29] By Nathaniel Hawthorne, an American writer of romances and short stories (1804-1864).


Expression: Read this selection again and again until you understand it clearly and appreciate its rare charm. Study each paragraph separately, observing how the topic of each is developed. Select the expressions which are the most pleasing to you. Tell why each pleases.

Did you ever see a town pump? In the cities and larger towns, what has taken its place? Can we imagine a hydrant or a water faucet talking as this town pump did? If Hawthorne were writing to-day, would he represent the town pump as the "chief person of the municipality"? Discuss this question fully.

Talk with your teacher about the life and works of the author of this selection. If you have access to any of his books, bring them to the class and read selections from them. Compare the style of this story with that of the selection from Dickens, page 22; or from Thackeray, page 27; or from Goldsmith, page 94.

Word Study: Refer to the dictionary for the pronunciation and meaning of: perpetuity, constable, municipality, cognac, quaff, rubicund, Tophet, decanter, titillation, capacious.


COME UP FROM THE FIELDS, FATHER [30]

Come up from the fields, father; here's a letter from our Pete,
And come to the front door, mother; here's a letter from thy dear son.
Lo, 'tis autumn;
Lo, where the fields, deeper green, yellower and redder,
Cool and sweeten Ohio's villages, with leaves fluttering in the moderate wind;
Where apples ripe in the orchards hang, and grapes on the trellised vines,
(Smell you the smell of the grapes on the vines?
Smell you the buckwheat, where the bees were lately buzzing?)
Above all, lo! the sky so calm, so transparent after the rain, and with wondrous clouds;
Below, too, all calm, all vital and beautiful,—and the farm prospers well.
Down in the fields all prospers well;
But now from the fields come, father,—come at the daughter's call;
And come to the entry, mother,—to the front door come, right away.
Fast as she can she hurries,—something ominous,—her steps trembling;
She does not tarry to smooth her white hair, nor adjust her cap.
Open the envelope quickly;
Oh, this is not our son's writing, yet his name is signed!
Oh, a strange hand writes for our dear son—O stricken mother's soul!
All swims before her eyes,—flashes with black,—she catches the main words only;
Sentences broken,—gunshot wound in the breastcavalry skirmish, taken to hospital,
At present low, but will soon be better.
Ah! now the single figure to me
Amid all teeming and wealthy Ohio, with all its cities and farms,
Sickly white in the face and dull in the head, very faint,
By the jamb of a door leans.
Grieve not so, dear mother (the just grown daughter speaks through her sobs;
The little sisters huddle around, speechless and dismayed).
See, dearest mother, the letter says Pete will soon be better.
Alas, poor boy! he will never be better (nor, maybe, needs to be better, that brave and simple soul).
While they stand at home at the door he is dead already,
The only son is dead.
"Come up from the fields, father." "Come up from the fields, father."
But the mother needs to be better;
She, with thin form, presently dressed in black;
By day her meals untouched,—then at night fitfully sleeping, often waking,
In the midnight waking, weeping, longing with one deep longing,
Oh, that she might withdraw unnoticed, silent from life, escape and withdraw,
To follow, to seek, to be with her dear dead son!

FOOTNOTE:

[30] By Walt Whitman, an American poet (1819-1892).



Expression: This poem is descriptive of an incident which occurred during the Civil War. There were many such incidents, both in the North and in the South. Read the selection silently to understand its full meaning. Who are the persons pictured to your imagination after reading it? Describe the place and the time.

Now read the poem aloud, giving full expression to its pathetic meaning. Select the most striking descriptive passage and read it. Select the stanza which seems to you the most touching, and read it.

Study now the peculiarities of the poem. Do the lines rime? Are they of similar length? What can you say about the meter?

Compare this poem with the two gems from Browning, pages 38 and 41. Compare it with the selection from Longfellow, page 54; with that from Lanier, page 66. How does it differ from any or all of these? What is poetry? Name three great American poets; three great English poets.


THE ADDRESS AT GETTYSBURG [31]

Fourscore and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation—or any nation so conceived and so dedicated—can long endure.

We are met on a great battle field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as the final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow, this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here; but it can never forget what they did here.

It is for us, the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us;—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion;—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

FOOTNOTE:

[31] By Abraham Lincoln, at the dedication of the National Cemetery, 1863.


ODE TO THE CONFEDERATE DEAD [32]

Sleep sweetly in your humble graves,
Sleep, martyrs of a fallen cause;
Though yet no marble column craves
The pilgrim here to pause.
In seeds of laurel in the earth
The blossom of your fame is blown,
And somewhere, waiting for its birth,
The shaft is in the stone.
Meanwhile, behalf the tardy years
Which keep in trust your storied tombs,
Behold! Your sisters bring their tears
And these memorial blooms.
Small tribute! but your shades will smile
More proudly on these wreathes to-day,
Than when some cannon-molded pile
Shall overlook this bay.
Stoop, angels, hither from the skies!
There is no holier spot of ground
Than where defeated valor lies,
By mourning beauty crowned.

FOOTNOTE:

[32] By Henry Timrod, an American poet (1829-1867).


THE CHARIOT RACE [33]

Orestes? He is dead. I will tell all as it happen

He journeyed forth to attend the great games which Hellas counts her pride, to join the Delphic contests. There he heard the herald's voice, with loud and clear command, proclaim, as coming first, the chariot race, and so he entered, radiant, every eye admiring as he passed. And in the race he equaled all the promise of his form in those his rounds, and so with noblest prize of conquest left the ground.

Summing up in fewest words what many scarce could tell, I know of none in strength and act like him. And having won the prize in all the fivefold forms of race which the umpires had proclaimed, he then was hailed, proclaimed an Argive, and his name Orestes, the son of mighty Agamemnon, who once led Hellas's glorious host.

So far, well. But when a god will injure, none can escape, strong though he be. For lo! another day, when, as the sun was rising, came the race swift-footed of the chariot and the horse, he entered the contest with many charioteers. One was an Achan, one was from Sparta, two were from Libya with four-horsed chariots, and Orestes with swift Thessalian mares came as the fifth. A sixth, with bright bay colts, came from tolia; the seventh was born in far Magnesia; the eighth was an nian with white horses; the ninth was from Athens, the city built by the gods; the tenth and last was a Bœotian.

The Chariot Race. The Chariot Race.

And so they stood, their cars in order as the umpires had decided by lot. Then, with sound of brazen trumpet, they started.

All cheering their steeds at the same moment, they shook the reins, and at once the course was filled with the clash and din of rattling chariots, and the dust rose high. All were now commingled, each striving to pass the hubs of his neighbors' wheels. Hard and hot were the horses' breathings, and their backs and the chariot wheels were white with foam.

Each charioteer, when he came to the place where the last stone marks the course's goal, turned the corner sharply, letting go the right-hand trace horse and pulling the nearer in. And so, at first, the chariots kept their course; but, at length, the nian's unbroken colts, just as they finished their sixth or seventh round, turned headlong back and dashed at full speed against the chariot wheels of those who were following. Then with tremendous uproar, each crashed on the other, they fell overturned, and Crissa's broad plain was filled with wreck of chariots.

The man from Athens, skilled and wise as a charioteer, saw the mischief in time, turned his steeds aside, and escaped the whirling, raging surge of man and horse. Last of all, Orestes came, holding his horses in check, and waiting for the end. But when he saw the Athenian, his only rival left, he urged his colts forward, shaking the reins and speeding onward. And now the twain continued the race, their steeds sometimes head to head, sometimes one gaining ground, sometimes the other; and so all the other rounds were passed in safety.

Upright in his chariot still stood the ill-starred hero. Then, just as his team was turning, he let loose the left rein unawares, and struck the farthest pillar, breaking the spokes right at his axles' center. Slipping out of his chariot, he was dragged along, with reins dissevered. His frightened colts tore headlong through the midst of the field; and the people, seeing him in his desperate plight, bewailed him greatly—so young, so noble, so unfortunate, now hurled upon the ground, helpless, lifeless.

The charioteers, scarcely able to restrain the rushing steeds, freed the poor broken body—so mangled that not one of all his friends would have known whose it was. They built a pyre and burned it; and now they bear hither, in a poor urn of bronze, the sad ashes of that mighty form—that so Orestes may have his tomb in his fatherland.

Such is my tale, full sad to hear; but to me who saw this accident, nothing can ever be more sorrowful.


FOOTNOTE:

[33] Translated from the "Electra" of Sophocles, written about 450 years before Christ. The narrative is supposed to have been related by the friend and attendant of the hero, Orestes.


THE COLISEUM AT MIDNIGHT [34]

I crossed the Forum to the foot of the Palatine, and, ascending the Via Sacra, passed beneath the Arch of Titus. From this point I saw below me the gigantic outline of the Coliseum, like a cloud resting upon the earth.

As I descended the hillside, it grew more broad and high,—more definite in its form, and yet more grand in its dimensions,—till, from the vale in which it stands encompassed by three of the Seven Hills of Rome, the majestic ruin in all its solitary grandeur "swelled vast to heaven."

A single sentinel was pacing to and fro beneath the arched gateway which leads to the interior, and his measured footsteps were the only sound that broke the breathless silence of night.

What a contrast with the scene which that same midnight hour presented, when in Domitian's time the eager populace began to gather at the gates, impatient for the morning sports! Nor was the contrast within less striking. Silence, and the quiet moonbeams, and the broad, deep shadow of the ruined wall!

Where now were the senators of Rome, her matrons, and her virgins? Where was the ferocious populace that rent the air with shouts, when, in the hundred holidays that marked the dedication of this imperial slaughter house, five thousand wild beasts from the Libyan deserts and the forests of Anatolia made the arena sick with blood?

Where were the Christian martyrs that died with prayers upon their lips, amid the jeers and imprecations of their fellow men? Where were the barbarian gladiators, brought forth to the festival of blood, and "butchered to make a Roman holiday"?

The awful silence answered, "They are mine!" The dust beneath me answered, "They are mine!"

FOOTNOTE:

[34] From "Outre Mer," by Henry W. Longfellow.


Expression: Learn all you can about the Coliseum. When was it built? by whom? For what was it used?

Word Study: Forum, Palatine, Via Sacra, Titus, Domitian, Libyan, Anatolia.


THE DEACON'S MASTERPIECE [35]

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,
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';
It should be so built that it couldn' break daown:
"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."
The Deacon's Masterpiece. The Deacon's Masterpiece.
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 white wood, that cuts 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 ax 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.

FOOTNOTE:

[35] From "The Autocrat or the Breakfast Table," by Oliver Wendell Holmes, a noted American author and physician (1809—1894).


Expression: Read the selection silently to appreciate its humor. Now read it aloud with careful attention to naturalness of expression. Study the historical allusions—"Georgius Secundus," "Lisbon town," "Braddock's army," "the Earthquake day," etc.

Read again the passages in which dialect expressions occur. Try to speak these passages as the author intended them to be spoken.

Select the passages which appeal most strongly to your sense of humor. Read them in such manner as to make their humorous quality thoroughly appreciable to those who listen to you.

Now study the selection as a poem, comparing it with several typical poems which you have already studied. Remembering your definition of poetry (page 138), what is the real poetical value of this delightful composition? Is it a true poem? Find some other poems written by Dr. Holmes. Bring them to the class and read them aloud.

Talk with your teacher about the life of Dr. Holmes and about his prose and poetical works. As a poet, how does he compare with Longfellow? with Whittier? with Walt Whitman? with Browning?


DOGS AND CATS [36]

Most people agree that the dog has intelligence, a heart, and possibly a soul; on the other hand, they declare that the cat is a traitor, a deceiver, an ingrate, a thief. How many persons have I heard say: "Oh, I can't bear a cat! The cat has no love for its master; it cares only for the house. I had one once, for I was living in the country, where there were mice. One day the cook left on the kitchen table a chicken she had just prepared for cooking; in came the cat, and carried it off, and we never saw a morsel of it. Oh, I hate cats; I will never have one."

True, the cat is unpopular. Her reputation is bad, and she makes no effort to improve the general opinion which people have of her. She cares as little about your opinion as does the Sultan of Turkey. And—must I confess—this is the very reason I love her.

In this world, no one can long be indifferent to things, whether trivial or serious—if, indeed, anything is serious. Hence, every person must, sooner or later, declare himself on the subjects of dogs and cats.

Well, then! I love cats.

Ah, how many times people have said to me, "What! do you love cats?"

"Certainly."

"Well, don't you love dogs better?"

"No, I prefer cats every time."

"Oh, that's very queer!"

The truth is, I would rather have neither cat nor dog. But when I am obliged to live with one of these beings, I always choose the cat. I will tell you why.

The cat seems to me to have the manners most necessary to good society. In her early youth she has all the graces, all the gentleness, all the unexpectedness that the most artistic imagination could desire. She is smart; she never loses herself. She is prudent, going everywhere, looking into everything, breaking nothing.

The cat steals fresh mutton just as the dog steals it, but, unlike the dog, she takes no delight in carrion. She is fastidiously clean—and in this respect, she might well be imitated by many of her detractors. She washes her face, and in so doing foretells the weather into the bargain. You may please yourself by putting a ribbon around her neck, but never a collar; she cannot be enslaved.

In short, the cat is a dignified, proud, disdainful animal. She defies advances and tolerates no insults. She abandons the house in which she is not treated according to her merits. She is, in both origin and character, a true aristocrat, while the dog is and always will be, a mere vulgar parvenu.

The only serious argument that can be urged against the cat is that she destroys the birds, not caring whether they are sparrows or nightingales. If the dog does less, it is because of his stupidity and clumsiness, not because he is above such business. He also runs after the birds; but his foolish barking warns them of his coming, and as they fly away he can only watch them with open mouth and drooping tail.

The dog submits himself to the slavery of the collar in order to be taught the art of circumventing rabbits and pigeons—and this not for his own profit, but for the pleasure of his master, the hunter. Foolish, foolish fellow! An animal himself, he delights in persecuting other animals at the command of the man who beats him.

But the cat, when she catches a bird, has a good excuse for her cruelty—she catches it only to eat it herself. Shall she be slandered for such an act? Before condemning her, men may well think of their own shortcomings. They will find among themselves, as well as in the race of cats, many individuals who have claws and often use them for the destruction of those who are gifted with wings.

FOOTNOTE:

[36] Translated from Alexandre Dumas, a noted French novelist (1802-1870).


Expression: In what does the humor of this selection consist? Read aloud and with expression the passages which appeal to you as the most enjoyable. Do you agree with all the statements made by the author? Read these with which you disagree, and then give reasons for your disagreement.


THE OWL CRITIC [37]

"Who stuffed that white owl?" No one spoke in the shop;
The barber was busy, and he couldn't stop;
The customers, waiting their turns, were all reading
The Daily, the Herald, the Post, little heeding
The young man who blurted out such a blunt question;
Not one raised a head, or even made a suggestion;
And the barber kept on shaving.
"Don't you see, Mister Brown,"
Cried the youth, with a frown,
"How wrong the whole thing is,
How preposterous each wing is,
How flattened the head is, how jammed down the neck is—
In short, the whole owl, what an ignorant wreck 'tis?
I make no apology;
I've learned owl-eology,
I've passed days and nights in a hundred collections,
And cannot be blinded to any deflections
Arising from unskillful fingers that fail
To stuff a bird right, from his beak to his tail.
Mister Brown! Mister Brown!
Do take that bird down,
Or you'll soon be the laughingstock all over town!"
And the barber kept on shaving.
The Owl Critic. The Owl Critic.
"I've studied owls,
And other night fowls,
And I tell you
What I know to be true:
An owl cannot roost
With his limbs so unloosed;
No owl in this world
Ever had his claws curled,
Ever had his legs slanted,
Ever had his bill canted,
Ever had his neck screwed
Into that attitude.
He can't do it, because
'Tis against all bird laws.
Anatomy teaches,
Ornithology preaches,
An owl has a toe
That can't turn out so!
I've made the white owl my study for years,
And to see such a job almost moves me to tears!
Mister Brown, I'm amazed
You should be so gone crazed
As to put up a bird
In that posture absurd!
To look at that owl really brings on a dizziness;
The man who stuffed him don't half know his business!"
And the barber kept on shaving.
"Examine those eyes.
I'm filled with surprise
Taxidermists should pass
Off on you such poor glass;
So unnatural they seem
They'd make Audubon scream,
And John Burroughs laugh
To encounter such chaff.
Do take that bird down:
Have him stuffed again, Brown!"
And the barber kept on shaving.
"With some sawdust and bark
I could stuff in the dark
An owl better than that.
I could make an old hat
Look more like an owl than that horrid fowl
Stuck up there so stiff like a side of coarse leather.
In fact, about him there's not one natural feather."
Just then, with a wink and a sly normal lurch,
The owl, very gravely, got down from his perch,
Walked round, and regarded his fault-finding critic
(Who thought he was stuffed) with a glance analytic,
And then fairly hooted, as if he should say,
"Your learning's at fault this time, anyway;
Don't waste it again on a live bird, I pray.
I'm an owl; you're another. Sir Critic, good day!"
And the barber kept on shaving.

FOOTNOTE:

[37] By James T. Fields, an American publisher and author (1817-1881).


MRS. CAUDLE'S UMBRELLA LECTURE [38]

Bah! That's the third umbrella gone since Christmas. What were you to do? Why, let him go home in the rain, to be sure. I'm very certain there was nothing about him that could spoil. Take cold? Indeed! He doesn't look like one of the sort to take cold. Besides, he'd better have taken cold than taken our umbrella. Do you hear the rain, Mr. Caudle? I say, DO YOU HEAR THE RAIN?

Pooh! don't think me a fool, Mr. Caudle. Don't insult me. He return the umbrella? Anybody would think you were born yesterday. As if anybody ever did return an umbrella!

I should like to know how the children are to go to school to-morrow. They shan't go through such weather, I'm determined. No! they shall stay at home and never learn anything—the blessed creatures—sooner than go and get wet. And when they grow up, I wonder whom they'll have to thank for knowing nothing—who, indeed, but their father?

But I know why you lent the umbrella. Oh, yes! I know very well. I was going out to tea at dear mother's to-morrow—you knew that—and you did it on purpose. Don't tell me; you hate to have me to go there, and take every mean advantage to hinder me. But don't you think it, Mr. Caudle. No, sir; if it comes down in bucketfuls I'll go all the more.

No! and I won't have a cab! Where do you think the money's to come from? You've got nice, high notions at that club of yours. A cab, indeed! Cost me sixteen pence at least—sixteen pence?—two-and-eight-pence, for there's back again! Cabs, indeed! I should like to know who is to pay for them! I can't pay for them, and I'm sure you can't if you go on as you do; throwing away your property and beggaring your children, buying umbrellas.

Do you hear the rain, Mr. Caudle? I say, DO YOU HEAR IT? But I don't care—I'll go to mother's to-morrow, I will; and what's more, I'll walk every step of the way; and you know that will give me my death. Don't call me a foolish woman; it's you that's the foolish man. You know I can't wear clogs; and with no umbrella, the wet's sure to give me a cold—it always does. But what do you care for that? Nothing at all. I may be laid up for what you care, as I dare say I shall—and a pretty doctor's bill there'll be. I hope there will! It will teach you to lend your umbrella again. I shouldn't wonder if I caught my death; and that's what you lent your umbrella for. Of course!

Nice clothes I shall get, too, traipsing through weather like this. My gown and bonnet will be spoiled quite. Needn't I wear them, then? Indeed, Mr. Caudle, I shall wear them. No, sir; I'm not going out a dowdy to please you or anybody else. Gracious knows, it isn't often I step over the threshold; indeed, I might as well be a slave at once—better, I should say. But when I go out, Mr. Caudle, I choose to go as a lady.

Ugh! I look forward with dread for to-morrow. How I'm to go to mother's I'm sure I can't tell. But, if I die, I'll go. No, sir; I won't borrow an umbrella.

No; and you shan't buy one. Mr. Caudle, if you bring home another umbrella, I'll throw it into the street. Ha! it was only last week I had a new nozzle put to that umbrella. I'm sure if I'd known as much as I do now, it might have gone without one, for all of me.

The children, too, dear things, they'll be sopping wet; for they shan't stay at home; they shan't lose their learning; it's all their father will leave them, I'm sure. But they shall go to school. Don't tell me I said they shouldn't; you are so aggravating, Caudle, you'd spoil the temper of an angel; they shall go to school; mark that! And if they get their deaths of cold, it's not my fault. I didn't lend the umbrella.

FOOTNOTE:

[38] By Douglas William Jerrold, an English humorous writer (1803-1857).


Note: Which of the various specimens of humor here presented do you enjoy most? Give reasons.


THE DARK DAY IN CONNECTICUT [39]

'Twas on a Mayday of the far old year,
Seventeen hundred eighty, that there fell
Over the bloom and sweet life of the spring,
Over the fresh earth and the heaven of noon,
A horror of great darkness, like the night
In day of which the Norland sagas tell,—
The Twilight of the Gods....
Birds ceased to sing, and all the barnyard fowls
Roosted; the cattle at the pasture bars
Lowed, and looked homeward; bats on leathern wings
Flitted abroad; the sounds of labor died;
Men prayed, and women wept; all ears grew sharp
To hear the doom blast of the trumpet shatter
The black sky, that the dreadful face of Christ
Might look from the rent clouds, not as he looked
A loving guest at Bethany, but stern
As Justice and inexorable Law.
Meanwhile in the old statehouse, dim as ghosts,
Sat the lawgivers of Connecticut,
Trembling beneath their legislative robes.
"It is the Lord's Great Day! Let us adjourn,"
Some said; and then as if with one accord
All eyes were turned to Abraham Davenport.
The Dark Day In Connecticut. The Dark Day In Connecticut.
He rose, slow cleaving with his steady voice
The intolerable hush. "This well may be
The Day of Judgment which the world awaits;
But be it so or not, I only know
My present duty, and my Lord's command
To occupy till he come. So at the post
Where he hath set me in his providence,
I choose, for one, to meet him face to face,—
No faithless servant frightened from my task,
But ready when the Lord of the harvest calls;
And therefore, with all reverence, I would say,
Let God do his work, we will see to ours.—
Bring in the candles!" And they brought them in.
Then, by the flaring lights the Speaker read,
Albeit with husky voice and shaking hands,
An act to amend an act to regulate
The shad and alewive fisheries. Whereupon
Wisely and well spake Abraham Davenport,
Straight to the question, with no figures of speech
Save the ten Arab signs, yet not without
The shrewd, dry humor natural to the man—
His awestruck colleagues listening all the while,
Between the pauses of his argument,
To hear the thunder of the wrath of God
Break from the hollow trumpet of the cloud.
And there he stands in memory to this day,
Erect, self-poised, a rugged face, half seen
Against the background of unnatural dark,
A witness to the ages as they pass,
That simple duty hath no place for fear.

FOOTNOTE:

[39] From "Abraham Davenport," by John Greenleaf Whittier.


TWO INTERESTING LETTERS

I. Columbus to the Lord Treasurer of Spain

Barcelona, 1493.

To Lord Raphael Sanchez:—

Knowing that it will afford you pleasure to learn that I have brought my undertaking to a successful termination, I have decided upon writing you this letter to acquaint you with all the events which have occurred in my voyage, and the discoveries which have resulted from it.

Thirty-three days after my departure from Cadiz I reached the Indian sea, where I discovered many islands, thickly peopled, of which I took possession without resistance in the name of our most illustrious monarchs, by public proclamation and with unfurled banners. To the first of these islands, which is called by the Indians Guanahani, I gave the name of the blessed Saviour, relying upon whose protection I had reached this as well as the other islands.

As soon as we arrived at that, which as I have said was named Juana, I proceeded along its coast a short distance westward, and found it to be so large and apparently without termination, that I could not suppose it to be an island, but the continental province of Cathay.

In the meantime I had learned from some Indians whom I had seized, that the country was certainly an island; and therefore I sailed toward the east, coasting to the distance of three hundred and twenty-two miles, which brought us to the extremity of it; from this point I saw lying eastwards another island, fifty-four miles distant from Juana, to which I gave the name Espaola.

All these islands are very beautiful, and distinguished by a diversity of scenery; they are filled with a great variety of trees of immense height, and which I believe to retain their foliage in all seasons; for when I saw them they were as verdant and luxurious as they usually are in Spain in the month of May,—some of them were blossoming, some bearing fruit, and all flourishing in the greatest perfection, according to their respective stages of growth, and the nature and quality of each; yet the islands are not so thickly wooded as to be impassable. The nightingale and various birds were singing in countless numbers, and that in November, the month in which I arrived there.

The inhabitants are very simple and honest, and exceedingly liberal with all they have; none of them refusing anything he may possess when he is asked for it, but on the contrary inviting us to ask them. They exhibit great love toward all others in preference to themselves: they also give objects of great value for trifles, and content themselves with very little or nothing in return.

I, however, forbade that these trifles and articles of no value (such as pieces of dishes, plates, and glass, keys, and leather straps) should be given to them, although, if they could obtain them, they imagined themselves to be possessed of the most beautiful trinkets in the world.

It even happened that a sailor received for a leather strap as much gold as was worth three golden nobles, and for things of more trifling value offered by our men, the Indian would give whatever the seller required.

On my arrival I had taken some Indians by force from the first island that I came to, in order that they might learn our language. These men are still traveling with me, and although they have been with us now a long time, they continue to entertain the idea that I have descended from heaven; and on our arrival at any new place they published this, crying out immediately with a loud voice to the other Indians, "Come, come and look upon beings of a celestial race": upon which both men and women, children and adults, young men and old, when they got rid of the fear they at first entertained, would come out in throngs, crowding the roads to see us, some bringing food, others drink, with astonishing affection and kindness.

Although all I have related may appear to be wonderful and unheard of, yet the results of my voyage would have been more astonishing if I had had at my disposal such ships as I required. But these great and marvelous results are not to be attributed to any merit of mine, but to the holy Christian faith, and to the piety and religion of our Sovereigns; for that which the unaided intellect of man could not compass, the spirit of God has granted to human exertions, for God is wont to hear the prayers of his servants who love his precepts even to the performance of apparent impossibilities.

Thus it has happened to me in the present instance, who have accomplished a task to which the powers of mortal men had never hitherto attained; for if there have been those who have anywhere written or spoken of these islands, they have done so with doubts and conjectures, and no one has ever asserted that he has seen them, on which account their writings have been looked upon as little else than fables.

Therefore let the king and queen, our princes and their most happy kingdoms, and all the other provinces of Christendom, render thanks to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who has granted us so great a victory and such prosperity.

Christopher Columbus.


Expression: In connection with this letter, read again the story of the discovery as narrated by Washington Irving, page 43. In what respect do the two accounts differ?


II. Governor Winslow to a Friend in England

Dear Friend,—

Although I received no letter from you by this ship, yet forasmuch as I know you expect the performance of my promise, which was to write to you truly and faithfully of all things, I have therefore, at this time, sent unto you accordingly, referring you for further satisfaction to our more large relations.

You shall understand that in this little time that a few of us have been here, we have built seven dwelling houses and four for the use of the plantation, and have made preparation for divers others.

We set the last spring some twenty acres of Indian corn, and sowed some six acres of barley and pease; and according to the manner of the Indians, we manured our ground with herrings, or rather shads, which we have in great abundance, and take with great ease at our doors.

Our corn did prove well; and God be praised, we had a good increase of Indian corn, and our barley indifferent good, but our pease not worth the gathering, for we feared they were too late sown. They came up very well, and blossomed; but the sun parched them in the blossom.

Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might, after a special manner, rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four, in one day, killed as much fowl as with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming among us, and among the rest their greatest king, Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted; and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation, and bestowed upon our governor, and upon the captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God we are so far from want, that we often wish you partakers of our plenty....

We have often found the Indians very faithful in their covenant of peace with us, very loving, and ready to pleasure us. We often go to them, and they come to us.... Yea, it hath pleased God so to possess the Indians with a fear of us and love to us, that not only the greatest king amongst them, called Massasoit, but also all the princes and peoples round about us, have either made suit to us, or been glad of any occasion to make peace with us; so that seven of them at once have sent their messengers to us to that end.... They are a people without any religion or knowledge of any God, yet very trusty, quick of apprehension, ripe-witted, just....

Now, because I expect you coming unto us, with other of our friends, I thought good to advertise you of a few things needful. Be careful to have a very good bread room to put your biscuits in. Let not your meat be dry-salted; none can better do it than the sailors. Let your meal be so hard trod in your cask that you shall need an adz or hatchet to work it out with. Trust not too much on us for corn at this time, for we shall have little enough till harvest.

Build your cabins as open as you can, and bring good store of clothes and bedding with you. Bring every man a musket or fowling piece. Let your piece be long in the barrel, and fear not the weight of it, for most of our shooting is from stands.

I forbear further to write for the present, hoping to see you by the next return. So I take my leave, commending you to the Lord for a safe conduct unto us, resting in him,

Your loving friend,

Edward Winslow.

Plymouth in New England,
this 11th of December, 1621.


POEMS OF HOME AND COUNTRY

I. "This is My Own, My Native Land"[40]

Breathes there the man with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land!
Whose heart hath ne'er within him burned
As home his footsteps he hath turned,
From wandering on a foreign strand?
If such there breathe, go, mark him well.
For him no minstrel raptures swell;
High though his titles, proud his name,
Boundless his wealth as wish can claim;
Despite those titles, power, and pelf,
The wretch concentered all in self,
Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
And, doubly dying, shall go down
To the vile dust, from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonored, and unsung.
O Caledonia! stern and wild,
Meet nurse for a poetic child!
Land of brown heath and shaggy wood,
Land of the mountain and the flood,
Land of my sires! what mortal hand
Can e'er untie the filial band,
That knits me to thy rugged strand?

II. The Green Little Shamrock of Ireland[41]

There's a dear little plant that grows in our isle,
'Twas St. Patrick himself, sure, that set it;
And the sun on his labor with pleasure did smile,
And with dew from his eye often wet it.
It thrives through the bog, through the brake, through the mireland,
And its name is the dear little shamrock of Ireland—
The sweet little shamrock, the dear little shamrock,
The sweet little, green little shamrock of Ireland.
This dear little plant still grows in our land,
Fresh and fair as the daughters of Erin,
Whose smiles can bewitch, whose eyes can command,
In what climate they chance to appear in;
For they shine through the bog, through the brake, through the mireland,
Just like their own dear little shamrock of Ireland—
The sweet little shamrock, the dear little shamrock,
The sweet little, green little shamrock of Ireland.
This dear little plant that springs from our soil,
When its three little leaves are extended,
Betokens that each for the other should toil,
And ourselves by ourselves be befriended,—
And still through the bog, through the brake, through the mireland,
From one root should branch like the shamrock of Ireland—
The sweet little shamrock, the dear little shamrock,
The sweet little, green little shamrock of Ireland!

III. My Heart's in the Highlands[42]

My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here;
My heart's in the Highlands a-chasing the deer,
Chasing the wild deer and following the roe—
My heart's in the Highlands wherever I go.
Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North,
The birthplace of valor, the country of worth;
Wherever I wander, wherever I rove,
The hills of the Highlands forever I love.
Farewell to the mountains high covered with snow;
Farewell to the straths and green valleys below;
Farewell to the forests and wild-hanging woods;
Farewell to the torrents and loud-pouring floods.
My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here;
My heart's in the Highlands a-chasing the deer,
Chasing the wild deer and following the roe—
My heart's in the Highlands wherever I go.

IV. The Fatherland[43]

Where is the true man's fatherland?
Is it where he by chance is born?
Doth not the yearning spirit scorn
In such scant borders to be spanned?
Oh, yes! his fatherland must be
As the blue heaven wide and free!
Is it alone where freedom is,
Where God is God, and man is man?
Doth he not claim a broader span
For the soul's love of home than this?
Oh, yes! his fatherland must be
As the blue heaven wide and free!
Where'er a human heart doth wear
Joy's myrtle wreath or sorrow's gyves,
Where'er a human spirit strives
After a life more true and fair,
There is the true man's birthplace grand,
His is a world-wide fatherland!
Where'er a single slave doth pine,
Where'er one man may help another,—
Thank God for such a birthright, brother,—
That spot of earth is thine and mine!
There is the true man's birthplace grand,
His is a world-wide fatherland!

V. Home[44]

But where to find that happiest spot below,
Who can direct when all pretend to know?
The shuddering tenant of the frigid zone
Boldly proclaims that happiest spot his own—
Extols the treasures of his stormy seas,
And his long nights of revelry and ease;
The naked negro, panting at the line,
Boasts of his golden sands and palmy wine,
Basks in the glare, or stems the tepid wave,
And thanks his gods for all the good they gave.
Such is the patriot's boast, where'er we roam,
His first, best country, ever is at home.
And yet, perhaps, if countries we compare,
And estimate the blessings which they share,
Though patriots flatter, still shall wisdom find
An equal portion dealt to all mankind;
As different good, by art or nature given,
To different nations makes their blessing even.

FOOTNOTES:

[40] From the "Lay of the Last Minstrel," by Sir Walter Scott.

[41] By Andrew Cherry, an Irish poet (1762-1812).

[42] By Robert Burns, a famous Scottish poet (1759-1796).

[43] By James Russell Lowell.

[44] By Oliver Goldsmith.


Expression: Read all of these poems silently with a view towards sympathizing with the feelings which they express. Now read each one separately, and compare them, one with another. What is the leading sentiment inculcated by each? Which poem appeals the most strongly to your own emotions?

Word Study: Caledonia, shamrock, brake, Erin, gyves, yearning, frigid, tepid, patriot.


THE AGE OF COAL[45]

Come with me, in fancy, back to those early ages of the world, thousands, yes millions, of years ago. Stand with me on some low ancient hill, which overlooks the flat and swampy lands that are to become the American continent.

Few heights are yet in sight. The future Rocky Mountains lie still beneath the surface of the sea. The Alleghanies are not yet heaved up above the level surface of the ground, for over them are spread the boggy lands and thick forests of future coal fields. The Mississippi River is not yet in existence, or if in existence, is but an unimportant little stream.

Below us, as we stand, we can see a broad and sluggish body of water, in places widening into shallow lakes. On either side of this stream, vast forests extend in every direction as far as the horizon, bounded on one side by the distant ocean, clothing each hilly rise, and sending islets of matted trees and shrubs floating down the waters.

Strange forests these are to us. No oaks, no elms, no beeches, no birches, no palms, nor many colored wild flowers are there. The deciduous plants so common in our modern forests are nowhere found; but enormous club mosses are seen, as well as splendid pines and an abundance of ancient trees with waving, frondlike leaves. Here also are graceful tree ferns and countless ferns of lower growth filling up all gaps.

No wild quadrupeds are yet in existence, and the silent forests are enlivened only by the stirring of the breeze among the trees or the occasional hum of monstrous insects. But upon the margin of yonder stream a huge four-footed creature creeps slowly along. He looks much like a gigantic salamander, and his broad, soft feet make deep impressions in the yielding mud.

No sunshine but only a gleam of light can creep through the misty atmosphere. The earth seems clothed in a garment of clouds, and the air is positively reeking with damp warmth, like the air of a hothouse. This explains the luxuriant growth of foliage.

Could we thus stand upon the hilltops and keep watch through the long coal building ages, we should see generation after generation of forest trees and underwoods living, withering, dying, falling to earth. Slowly a layer of dead and decaying vegetation thus collects, over which the forest flourishes still—tree for tree, and shrub for shrub, springing up in the place of each one that dies.

Then, after a very long time, through the working of mighty underground forces, the broad lands sink a little way—perhaps only a few feet—and the ocean tide rushes in, overwhelming the forests, trees and plants and living creatures, in one dire desolation.—No, not dire, for the ruin is not objectless or needless. It is all a part of the wonderful preparation for the life of man on earth.

Under the waves lie the overwhelmed forests—prostrate trunks and broken stumps in countless numbers overspreading the gathered vegetable remains of centuries before. Upon these the sea builds a protective covering of sand or mud, more or less thick. Here sea creatures come to live, fishes swim hungrily to and fro, and shellfishes die in the mud which, by and by, is to become firm rock with stony animal remains embedded in it.

After a while the land rises again to its former position. There are bare, sandy flats as before, but they do not remain bare. Lichens and hardier plants find a home. The light spores of the ancient forest trees take root and grow, and luxuriant forests, like those of old, spring again into being. Upon river and lake bottoms, and over the low damp lands, rich layers of decaying vegetation again collect. Then once more the land sinks and the ocean tide pours in; and another sandy or muddy stratum is built up on the overflowed lands. Thus the second layer of forest growth is buried like the first, and both lie quietly through the long ages following, hidden from sight, slowly changing in their substance from wood to shining coal.


Thus time after time, the land rose and sank, rose and sank, again and again. Not the whole continent is believed to have risen or sunk at the same time; but here at one period, there at another period, the movements probably went on.

The greater part of the vegetable mass decayed slowly; but when the final ruin of the forest came, whole trunks were snapped off close to the roots and flung down. These are now found in numbers on the tops of the coal layers, the barks being flattened and changed to shining black coal.

How wonderful the tale of those ancient days told to us by these buried forests!

FOOTNOTE:

[45] By Agnes Giberne, an English writer on scientific subjects.


SOMETHING ABOUT THE MOON[46]

I am going to say a few words about the moon; but there are many matters relating to her of great interest which I must leave untouched, for the simple reason that there is not room to speak of them in a single paper.

Thus the moon's changes of shape from the horned moon to the half, and thence to the full moon, with the following changes from full to half, and so to the horned form again, are well worth studying; but I should want all the space I am going to occupy, merely to explain properly those changes alone.

So a study of the way in which the moon rules the tides would, I am sure, interest every thoughtful reader; but there is not room for it here.

Let us now turn to consider the moon; not as the light which makes our nights beautiful, nor as the body which governs the mighty ocean in its tidal sway, but as another world,—the companion planet of the earth.

It has always been a matter not only of the deepest curiosity, but of the greatest scientific import, whether other planets, and particularly our own satellite, are inhabited or exhibit any traces whatever of animal or vegetable life.

One or two astronomers have claimed the discovery of vegetation on the moon's surface by reason of the periodic appearance of a greenish tint; but as the power of the telescope can bring the moon to within only about a hundred and twenty miles of us, these alleged appearances cannot be satisfactorily verified.

The moon is a globe, two thousand one hundred and sixty-five miles in diameter; very much less, therefore, than our earth, which has a diameter of about seven thousand nine hundred and twenty miles.

Thus the moon's surface is less than one thirteenth of the earth's. Instead of two hundred millions of square miles as the earth has, the moon has only about fourteen millions of square miles, or about the same surface as North and South America together, without the great American Islands of the Arctic regions.

The volume of the earth exceeds that of the moon more than forty-nine times. But the moon's substance is somewhat lighter. Thus the mass, or quantity of matter in the moon, instead of being a forty-ninth part of the earth's, is about an eighty-first part.

This small companion world travels like our own earth around the sun, at a distance of ninety-three millions of miles. The path of the moon around the sun is, in fact, so nearly the same as that of the earth that it would be almost impossible to distinguish one from the other, if they were both drawn on a sheet of paper a foot or so in diameter.

You may perhaps be surprised to find me thus saying that the moon travels round the sun, when you have been accustomed to hear that the moon travels round the earth. In reality, however, it is round the sun the moon travels, though certainly the moon and the earth circle around each other.

The distance of the moon from the earth is not always the same; but the average, or mean distance, amounts to about two hundred and thirty-eight thousand eight hundred and twenty-eight miles. This is the distance between the centers of the two globes. With this distance separating them, the companion worlds—the earth and the moon—circle round each other, as they both travel round the central sun.

But now you will be curious to learn whether our companion planet, the moon, really presents the appearance of a world, when studied with a powerful telescope.

If we judged the moon in this way, we should say that she is not only not inhabited by living creatures, but that she could not possibly be inhabited. What is it that makes our earth a fit abode for us who live upon it? Her surface is divided into land and water. We live on the land; but without the water we should perish.

Were there no water, there would be no clouds, no rain, no snow, no rivers, brooks, or other streams. Without these, there could be no vegetable life; and without vegetable life, there could be no animal life, even if animals themselves could live without water.

Yet again, the earth's globe is enwrapped in an atmosphere,—the air we breathe. Without this air, neither animals nor vegetables could live. I might go further and show other features of the earth, which we are at present justified in regarding as essential to the mere existence, and still more to the comfort, of creatures living upon the earth.

Now, before the telescope was invented, many astronomers believed that there was water on the moon, and probably air also. But as soon as Galileo examined the moon with his largest telescope (and a very weak telescope it was), he found that whatever the dark parts of the moon may be, they certainly are not seas.

More and more powerful telescopes have since been turned on the moon. It has been shown that there are not only no seas, but no rivers, pools, lakes, or other water surfaces. No clouds are ever seen to gather over any part of the moon's surface. In fact, nothing has ever yet been seen on the moon which suggests in the slightest degree the existence of water on her surface, or even that water could at present possibly exist; and, of course, without water it is safe to infer there could be neither vegetable nor animal existence.

It would seem, then, that apart from the absence of air on the moon, there is such an entire absence of water that no creatures now living on the earth could possibly exist upon the moon. Certainly man could not exist there, nor could animals belonging to any except the lowest orders of animal life.

FOOTNOTE:

[46] By Richard A. Proctor, a noted English astronomer (1837-1888).


THE COMING OF THE BIRDS[47]

I know the trusty almanac
Of the punctual coming-back,
On their due days, of the birds.
I marked them yestermorn,
A flock of finches darting
Beneath the crystal arch,
Piping, as they flew, a march,—
Belike the one they used in parting
Last year from yon oak or larch;
Dusky sparrows in a crowd,
Diving, darting northward free,
Suddenly betook them all,
Every one to his hole in the wall,
Or to his niche in the apple tree.
I greet with joy the choral trains
Fresh from palms and Cuba's canes.
Best gems of Nature's cabinet,
With dews of tropic morning wet,
Beloved of children, bards and Spring,
O birds, your perfect virtues bring,
Your song, your forms, your rhythmic flight,
Your manners for the heart's delight;
Nestle in hedge, or barn, or roof,
Here weave your chamber weather-proof,
Forgive our harms, and condescend
To man, as to a lubber friend,
And, generous, teach his awkward race
Courage and probity and grace!

FOOTNOTE:

[47] By Ralph Waldo Emerson, an American poet and philosopher (1803-1882).


THE RETURN OF THE BIRDS[48]

The coming and going of the birds is more or less a mystery and a surprise. We go out in the morning, and no thrush or finch is to be heard; we go out again, and every tree and grove is musical; yet again, and all is silent. Who saw them come? Who saw them depart?

This pert little winter wren, for instance, darting in and out the fence, diving under the rubbish here and coming up yards away,—how does he manage with those little circular wings to compass degrees and zones, and arrive always in the nick of time? Last August I saw him in the remotest wilds of the Adirondacks, impatient and inquisitive as usual; a few weeks later, on the Potomac, I was greeted by the same hardy little busybody. Does he travel by easy stages from bush to bush and from wood to wood? or has that compact little body force and courage to brave the night and the upper air, and so achieve leagues at one pull?

And yonder bluebird, with the earth tinge on his breast and the sky tinge on his back,—did he come down out of heaven on that bright March morning when he told us so softly and plaintively that spring had come? Indeed, there is nothing in the return of the birds more curious and suggestive than in the first appearance, or rumors of the appearance, of this little bluecoat.

The bird at first seems a mere wandering voice in the air; one hears its call or carol on some bright March morning, but is uncertain of its source or direction; it falls like a drop of rain when no cloud is visible; one looks and listens, but to no purpose. The weather changes, perhaps a cold snap with snow comes on, and it may be a week before I hear the note again, and this time or the next perchance see the bird sitting on a stake in the fence, lifting his wing as he calls cheerily to his mate. Its notes now become daily more frequent; the birds multiply, and, flitting from point to point, call and warble more confidently and gleefully.

Not long after the bluebird comes the robin, sometimes in March, but in most of the Northern states April is the month of the robin. In large numbers they scour the field and groves. You hear their piping in the meadow, in the pasture, on the hillside. Walk in the woods, and the dry leaves rustle with the whir of their wings, the air is vocal with their cheery call. In excess of joy and vivacity, they run, leap, scream, chase each other through the air, diving and sweeping among the trees with perilous rapidity.

In that free, fascinating, half work and half play pursuit,—sugar making,—a pursuit which still lingers in many parts of New York, as in New England, the robin is one's constant companion. When the day is sunny and the ground bare, you meet him at all points and hear him at all hours. At sunset, on the tops of the tall maples, with look heavenward, and in a spirit of utter abandonment, he carols his simple strain. And sitting thus amid the stark, silent trees, above the wet, cold earth, with the chill of winter in the air, there is no fitter or sweeter songster in the whole round year. It is in keeping with the scene and the occasion. How round and genuine the notes are, and how eagerly our ears drink them in! The first utterance, and the spell of winter is thoroughly broken, and the remembrance of it afar off.

Another April bird, which makes her appearance sometimes earlier and sometimes later than Robin, and whose memory I fondly cherish, is the Phœbe bird, the pioneer of the fly catchers. In the inland fanning districts, I used to notice her, on some bright morning about Easter Day, proclaiming her arrival with much variety of motion and attitude, from the peak of the barn or hay shed. As yet, you may have heard only the plaintive, homesick note of the bluebird, or the faint trill of the song sparrow; and Phœbe's clear, vivacious assurance of her veritable bodily presence among us again is welcomed by all ears. At agreeable intervals in her lay she describes a circle, or an ellipse in the air, ostensibly prospecting for insects, but really, I suspect, as an artistic flourish, thrown in to make up in some way for the deficiency of her musical performance.

Another April comer, who arrives shortly after robin redbreast, with whom he associates both at this season and in the autumn, is the golden-winged woodpecker, alias "high-hole," alias "flicker," alias "yarup." He is an old favorite of my boyhood, and his note to me means very much. He announces his arrival by a long, loud call, repeated from the dry branch of some tree, or a stake in the fence,—a thoroughly melodious April sound. I think how Solomon finished that beautiful climax on spring, "And the voice of the turtle is heard in the land," and see that a description of spring in this farming country, to be equally characteristic, should culminate in like manner, "And the call of the high-hole comes up from the wood."

The song sparrow, that universal favorite and firstling of the spring, comes before April, and its simple strain gladdens all hearts.

May is the month of the swallows and the orioles. There are many other distinguished arrivals, indeed, nine tenths of the birds are here by the last week in May, yet the swallows and orioles are the most conspicuous. The bright plumage of the latter seems really like an arrival from the tropics. I see them flash through the blossoming trees, and all the forenoon hear their incessant warbling and wooing. The swallows dive and chatter about the barn, or squeak and build beneath the eaves; the partridge drums in the fresh sprouting woods; the long, tender note of the meadow lark comes up from the meadow; and at sunset, from every marsh and pond come the ten thousand voices of the hylas. May is the transition month, and exists to connect April and June, the root with the flower.

With June the cup is full, our hearts are satisfied, there is no more to be desired. The perfection of the season, among other things, has brought the perfection of the song and plumage of the birds. The master artists are all here, and the expectations excited by the robin and the song sparrow are fully justified. The thrushes have all come; and I sit down upon the first rock, with hands full of the pink azalea, to listen. In the meadows the bobolink is in all his glory; in the high pastures the field sparrow sings his breezy vesper hymn; and the woods are unfolding to the music of the thrushes.

FOOTNOTE:

[48] By John Burroughs.


Expression: Read again the four descriptive selections beginning on page 179. Observe the wide difference in style of composition. Of the three prose extracts, which is the most interesting to you? Give reasons why this is so. Which passages require the most animation in reading? Read these passages so that those who are listening to you may fully appreciate their meaning.


THE POET AND THE BIRD

I. The Song of the Lark

On a pleasant evening in late summer the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and his wife, Mary Shelley, were walking near the city of Leghorn in Italy. The sky was cloudless, the air was soft and balmy, and the earth seemed hushed into a restful stillness. The green lane along which they were walking was bordered by myrtle hedges, where crickets were softly chirping and fireflies were already beginning to light their lamps. From the fields beyond the hedges the grateful smell of new-mown hay was wafted, while in the hazy distance the church towers of the city glowed yellow in the last rays of the sun, and the gray-green sea rippled softly in the fading light of day.

Suddenly, from somewhere above them, a burst of music fell upon their ears. It receded upward, but swelled into an ecstatic harmony, with fluttering intervals and melodious swervings such as no musician's art can imitate.

"What is that?" asked the poet, as the song seemed to die away in the blue vault of heaven.

"It is a skylark," answered his wife.

"Nay," said the poet, his face all aglow with the joy of the moment; "no mere bird ever poured forth such strains of music as that. I think, rather, that it is some blithe spirit embodied as a bird."

"Let us imagine that it is so," said Mary. "But, hearken. It is singing again, and soaring as it sings."

"Yes, and I can see it, too, like a flake of gold against the pale purple of the sky. It is so high that it soars in the bright rays of the sun, while we below are in the twilight shade. And now it is descending again, and the air is filled with its song. Hark to the rain of melody which it showers down upon us."

They listened enraptured, while the bird poured forth its flood of song. When at length it ceased, and the two walked home in the deepening twilight, the poet said:—

"We shall never know just what it was that sang so gloriously. But, Mary, what do you think is most like it?"

"A poet," she answered. "There is nothing so like it as a poet wrapt in his own sweet thoughts and singing till the world is made to sing with him for very joy."

"And I," said he, "would compare it to a beautiful maiden singing for love in some high palace tower, while all who hear her are bewitched by the enchanting melody."

"And I," said she, "would compare it to a red, red rose sitting among its green leaves and giving its sweet perfumes to the summer breezes."

"You speak well, Mary," said he; "but let me make one other comparison. Is it not like a glowworm lying unseen amid the grass and flowers, and all through the night casting a mellow radiance over them and filling them with divine beauty?"

The Song of the Lark. The Song of the Lark.

"I do not like the comparison so well," was the answer. "Yet, after all, there is nothing so like it as a poet—as yourself, for instance."

"No poet ever had its skill, because no poet was ever so free from care," said Shelley, sadly. "It is like an unbodied joy floating unrestrained whithersoever it will. Ah, Mary, if I had but half the gladness that this bird or spirit must know, I would write such poetry as would bewitch the world, and all men would listen, entranced, to my song."

That night the poet could not sleep for thinking of the skylark's song. The next day he sat alone in his study, putting into harmonious words the thoughts that filled his mind. In the evening he read to Mary a new poem, entitled "To a Skylark." It was full of the melody inspired by the song of the bird. Its very meter suggested the joyous flight, the fluttering pauses, the melodious swervings, the heavenward ascent of the bird. No poem has ever been written that is fuller of beautiful images and sweet and joyous harmonies.

Have you ever listened to the song of a bird and tried to attune your own thoughts to its unrestrained and untaught melodies? There are no true skylarks in America, and therefore you may never be able to repeat the experience of the poet or fully to appreciate the "harmonious madness" of his matchless poem; for no other bird is so literally the embodiment of song as the European skylark.


But now let us read Shelley's inimitable poem.

II. To a Skylark

Hail to thee, blithe spirit!
Bird thou never wert,
That from heaven, or near it,
Pourest thy full heart
In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.
Higher still and higher
From the earth thou springest
Like a cloud of fire;
The blue deep thou wingest,
And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest.
In the golden lightning
Of the sunken sun,
O'er which clouds are bright'ning,
Thou dost float and run,
Like an unbodied joy whose race is just begun.
The pale purple even
Melts around thy flight;
Like a star of heaven,
In the broad daylight
Thou art unseen, but yet I hear thy shrill delight.
Keen as are the arrows
Of that silver sphere,
Whose intense lamp narrows
In the white dawn clear,
Until we hardly see, we feel that it is there.
All the earth and air
With thy voice is loud,
As, when night is bare,
From one lonely cloud
The moon rains out her beams, and heaven is overflowed.
What thou art we know not;
What is most like thee?
From rainbow clouds there flow not
Drops so bright to see,
As from thy presence showers a rain of melody.
Like a poet hidden
In the light of thought,
Singing hymns unbidden,
Till the world is wrought
To sympathy with hopes and fears it heeded not;
Like a highborn maiden
In a palace tower,
Soothing her love-laden
Soul in secret hour
With music sweet as love, which overflows her bower;
Like a glowworm golden
In a dell of dew,
Scattering unbeholden
Its arial hue
Among the flowers and grass, which screen it from the view;
Like a rose embowered
In its own green leaves,
By warm winds deflowered,
Till the scent it gives
Make faint with too much sweet these heavy-wingd thieves.
Sound of vernal showers
On the twinkling grass,
Rain-awakened flowers,
All that ever was
Joyous, and clear, and fresh, thy music doth surpass.
Teach us, sprite or bird,
What sweet thoughts are thine:
I have never heard
Praise of love or wine
That panted forth a flood of rapture so divine.
Chorus Hymeneal,
Or triumphal chaunt,
Matched with thine would be all
But an empty vaunt,
A thing wherein we feel there is some hidden want.
What objects are the fountains
Of thy happy strain?
What fields, or waves, or mountains?
What shapes of sky or plain?
What love of thine own kind? What ignorance of pain?
With thy clear keen joyance
Languor cannot be:
Shadow of annoyance
Never came near thee:
Thou lovest; but ne'er knew love's sad satiety.
Waking or asleep,
Thou of death must deem
Things more true and deep
Than we mortals dream,
Or how could thy notes flow in such a crystal stream?
We look before and after,
And pine for what is not;
Our sincerest laughter
With some pain is fraught:
Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.
Yet if we could scorn
Hate, and pride, and fear;
If we were things born
Not to shed a tear,
I know not how thy joy we ever should come near.
Better than all measures
Of delightful sound,
Better than all treasures
That in books are found,
Thy skill to poet were, thou scorner of the ground!
Teach me half the gladness
That thy brain must know,
Such harmonious madness
From thy lips would flow,
The world should listen then, as I am listening now.

HARK, HARK! THE LARK[49]

Hark, hark! The lark at Heaven's gate sings,
And Phœbus 'gins arise,
His steeds to water at those springs
On chaliced flowers that lies;
And winking Mary-buds begin
To ope their golden eyes;
With everything that pretty is,
My lady sweet, arise;
Arise, arise!

FOOTNOTE:

[49] From "Cymbeline," by William Shakespeare.


Expression: Read Shelley's poem with care, trying to understand and interpret the poet's enthusiasm as he watched the flight of the lark. Point out the five passages in the poem which seem the most striking or the most beautiful. Memorize Shakespeare's song and repeat it in a pleasing manner. Point out any peculiarities you may notice.


ECHOES OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION

I. Patrick Henry's Famous Speech[50]

Mr. President, it is natural for man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth, to know the worst, and to provide for it.

I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that lamp is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And, judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry, for the last ten years, to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the house?

Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received? Trust it not, sir; it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike preparations which cover our waters, and darken our land.

Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation,—the last arguments to which kings resort.

I ask, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission? Can gentlemen assign any other possible motive for it? Has Great Britain any enemy in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies? No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us; they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging.

And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable, but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find, which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves longer.

Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned, we have remonstrated, we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament.

Our petitions have been slighted, our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult, our supplications have been disregarded, and we have been spurned with contempt from the foot of the throne. In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope.

If we wish to be free, if we mean to preserve inviolate these inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending, if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained,—we must fight. I repeat it, sir, we must fight. An appeal to arms, and to the God of hosts, is all that is left us.

They tell us, sir, that we are weak,—unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house?

Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?

Sir, we are not weak, if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. Three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us.

Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest.

There is no retreat, but in submission and slavery. Our chains are forged. Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston. The war is inevitable; and let it come!—I repeat it, sir, let it come. It is vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, peace! but there is no peace. The war is actually begun.

The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms. Our brethren are already in the field. Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but, as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!

II. Marion's Men[51]

We follow where the Swamp Fox guides,
His friends and merry men are we,
And when the troop of Tarleton rides,
We burrow in the cypress tree.
The turfy hummock is our bed,
Our home is in the red deer's den,
Our roof, the treetop overhead,
For we are wild and hunted men.
We fly by day and shun its light,
But, prompt to strike the sudden blow,
We mount and start with early night,
And through the forest track our foe.
And soon he hears our chargers leap,
The flashing saber blinds his eyes,
And, ere he drives away his sleep
And rushes from his camp, he dies.
Free bridle bit, good gallant steed,
That will not ask a kind caress,
To swim the Santee at our need,
When on his heels the foemen press,—
The true heart and the ready hand,
The spirit stubborn to be free,
The trusted bore, the smiting brand,—
And we are Marion's men, you see.
Marion's Men. Marion's Men.
Now light the fire and cook the meal,
The last perhaps that we shall taste;
I hear the Swamp Fox round us steal,
And that's a sign we move in haste.
He whistles to the scouts, and hark!
You hear his order calm and low,
Come, wave your torch across the dark,
And let us see the boys that go.
Now pile the brush and roll the log—
Hard pillow, but a soldier's head
That's half the time in brake and bog
Must never think of softer bed.
The owl is hooting to the night,
The cooter crawling o'er the bank,
And in that pond the flashing light
Tells where the alligator sank.

What! 'tis the signal! start so soon?
And through the Santee swamps so deep,
Without the aid of friendly moon,
And we, Heaven help us! half asleep?
But courage, comrades! Marion leads,
The Swamp Fox takes us out to-night;
So clear your swords and spur your steeds,
There's goodly chance, I think, of fight.
We follow where the Swamp Fox guides,
We leave the swamp and cypress tree,
Our spurs are in our coursers' sides,
And ready for the strife are we.
The Tory's camp is now in sight,
And there he cowers within his den;
He hears our shouts, he dreads the fight,
He fears, and flies from Marion's men.

III. In Memory of George Washington[52]

How, my fellow-citizens, shall I single to your grateful hearts his preminent worth? Where shall I begin in opening to your view a character throughout sublime? Shall I speak of his warlike achievements, all springing from obedience to his country's will—all directed to his country's good?

Will you go with me to the banks of the Monongahela, to see our youthful Washington supporting, in the dismal hour of Indian victory, the ill-fated Braddock and saving, by his judgment and his valor, the remains of a defeated army, pressed by the conquering savage foe? Or when, oppressed America nobly resolving to risk her all in defense of her violated right, he was elevated by the unanimous vote of Congress to the command of her armies?

Will you follow him to the high grounds of Boston, where to an undisciplined, courageous, and virtuous yeomanry his presence gave the stability of system and infused the invincibility of love of country? Or shall I carry you to the painful scenes of Long Island, York Island, and New Jersey, when, combating superior and gallant armies, aided by powerful fleets and led by chiefs high in the roll of fame, he stood the bulwark of our safety, undismayed by disasters, unchanged by change of fortune?

Or will you view him in the precarious fields of Trenton, where deep gloom, unnerving every arm, reigned triumphant through our thinned, worn-down, unaided ranks, to himself unknown? Dreadful was the night. It was about this time of winter; the storm raged; the Delaware, rolling furiously with floating ice, forbade the approach of man.

Washington, self-collected, viewed the tremendous scene. His country called; unappalled by surrounding dangers, he passed to the hostile shore; he fought, he conquered. The morning sun cheered the American world. Our country rose on the event, and her dauntless chief, pursuing his blow, completed in the lawns of Princeton what his vast soul had conceived on the shores of the Delaware.

Thence to the strong grounds of Morristown he led his small but gallant band; and through an eventful winter, by the high effort of his genius, whose matchless force was measurable only by the growth of difficulties, he held in check formidable hostile legions, conducted by a chief experienced in the arts of war, and famed for his valor on the ever memorable Heights of Abraham, where fell Wolfe, Montcalm, and since our much-lamented Montgomery, all covered with glory. In this fortunate interval, produced by his masterly conduct, our fathers, ourselves, animated by his resistless example, rallied around our country's standard, and continued to follow her beloved chief through the various and trying scenes to which the destinies of our union led.

Who is there that has forgotten the vales of Brandywine, the fields of Germantown, or the plains of Monmouth? Everywhere present, wants of every kind obstructing, numerous and valiant armies encountering, himself a host, he assuaged our sufferings, limited our privations, and upheld our tottering Republic. Shall I display to you the spread of the fire of his soul, by rehearsing the praises of the hero of Saratoga and his much-loved compeer of the Carolinas? No; our Washington wears not borrowed glory. To Gates, to Greene, he gave without reserve the applause due to their eminent merit; and long may the chiefs of Saratoga and of Eutaw receive the grateful respect of a grateful people.

Moving in his own orbit, he imparted heat and light to his most distant satellites; and combining the physical and moral force of all within his sphere, with irresistible weight, he took his course, commiserating folly, disdaining vice, dismaying treason, and invigorating despondency; until the auspicious hour arrived when united with the intrepid forces of a potent and magnanimous ally, he brought to submission the since conqueror of India; thus finishing his long career of military glory with a luster corresponding to his great name, and in this, his last act of war, affixing the seal of fate to our nation's birth....

First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen, he was second to none in the humble and endearing scenes of private life. Pious, just, humane, temperate, and sincere, uniform, dignified, and commanding, his example was edifying to all around him, as were the effects of that example lasting.

To his equals he was condescending; to his inferiors, kind; and to the dear object of his affections, exemplarily tender. Correct throughout, vice shuddered in his presence, and virtue always felt his fostering hand; the purity of his private character gave effulgence to his public virtues. His last scene comported with the whole tenor of his life. Although in extreme pain, not a sigh, not a groan, escaped him; and with undisturbed serenity he closed his well-spent life. Such was the man America has lost! Such was the man for whom our nation mourns!

FOOTNOTES:

[50] Before the Virginia Convention, March 25, 1775.

[51] By William Gilmore Simms, an American author (1806-1870).

[52] By Henry Lee of Virginia. Extract from an oration delivered in the House of Representatives, 1799.


THREE GREAT AMERICAN POEMS

I

One day when Dr. Peter Bryant of Cummington, Massachusetts, was looking through his writing desk, he found a small package of papers on which some verses were written. He recognized the neat, legible handwriting as that of his son, and he paused to open the papers and read. Presently, he called aloud to his wife, "Here, Sallie, just listen to this poem which Cullen has written!"

He began to read, and as he read, the proud mother listened with tears in her eyes. "Isn't that grand?" she cried. "I've always told you that Cullen would be a poet. And now just think what a pity it is that he must give up going to Yale College and settle down to the study of law!"

"Yes, wife," responded Dr. Bryant, "it is to be regretted. But people with small means cannot always educate their children as they wish. A lawyer is a better breadwinner than most poets are, and I am satisfied that our boy will be a successful lawyer."

"Of course he will," said Mrs. Bryant; "he will succeed at anything he may undertake. But that poem—why, Wordsworth never wrote anything half so grand or beautiful. What is the title?"

"Thanatopsis."

"Thanatopsis? I wonder what it means."

"It is from two Greek words, and means 'A View of Death.' I have half a notion to take the poem to Boston with me next winter. I want to show it to my friend Mr. Philips."

"Oh, do; and take some of Cullen's other poems with it. Perhaps he might think some of them good enough to publish."

Dr. Peter Bryant was at that time a member of the senate in the Massachusetts general assembly. When the time came for the meeting of the assembly he went up to Boston, and he did not forget to take several of his son's poems with him. The North American Review was a great magazine in those days, and Dr. Bryant was well acquainted with Mr. Philips, one of its editors. He called at the office of the Review, and not finding Mr. Philips, he left the package of manuscript with his name written upon it.

When Mr. Philips returned he found the package, and after reading the poems concluded that Dr. Bryant had written "Thanatopsis," and that the others were probably by his son Cullen.

"It is a remarkable poem—a remarkable poem," he said, as he showed it to his two fellow-editors. "We have never published anything better in the Review," he said, and he began to read it to them.

When he had finished, one of them, Richard Henry Dana, who was himself a poet, said doubtingly:

"Mr. Philips, you have been imposed upon. There is no person in America who can write a poem like that."

"Ah, but I know the man who wrote it," answered Mr. Philips. "He is in the state senate, and he isn't a man who would impose upon any person."

"Well, I must have a look at the man who can write such lines as those," said Mr. Dana.

He went to the statehouse, and to the senate chamber, and asked to see Senator Bryant. A tall, gray-bearded man was pointed out to him. Mr. Dana looked at him for a few minutes and then said to himself, "He has a fine head; but he is not the man who could write 'Thanatopsis'" So without speaking to him he returned to his office.

Mr. Philips, still full of enthusiasm, soon had an interview with Dr. Bryant, and learned the truth in regard to the authorship of the poem. It was printed in the next issue of the North American Review. It was the first great poem ever produced in America; it was the work of a young man not eighteen years of age, and it is without doubt the greatest poem ever written by one so young. But let us read it.

Thanatopsis

To him who in the love of Nature holds
Communion with her visible forms, she speaks
A various language; for his gayer hours
She has a voice of gladness, and a smile
And eloquence of beauty, and she glides
Into his darker musings with a mild
And healing sympathy, that steals away
Their sharpness ere he is aware. When thoughts
Of the last bitter hour come like a blight
Over thy spirit, and sad images
Of the stern agony, and shroud, and pall,
And breathless darkness, and the narrow house,
Make thee to shudder, and grow sick at heart,
Go forth, under the open sky, and list
To Nature's teachings, while from all around—
Earth and her waters, and the depths of air—
Comes a still voice:
Yet a few days, and thee
The all-beholding sun shall see no more
In all his course; nor yet in the cold ground,
Where thy pale form was laid, with many tears,
Nor in the embrace of ocean, shall exist
Thy image. Earth, that nourished thee, shall claim
Thy growth, to be resolved to earth again;
And, lost each human trace, surrendering up
Thine individual being, shalt thou go
To mix forever with the elements,
To be a brother to the insensible rock
And to the sluggish clod, which the rude swain
Turns with his share, and treads upon. The oak
Shall send his roots abroad, and pierce thy mold.
Yet not to thine eternal resting place
Shalt thou retire alone, nor couldst thou wish
Couch more magnificent. Thou shalt lie down
With patriarchs of the infant world—with kings,
The powerful of the earth—the wise, the good,
Fair forms, and hoary seers of ages past,
All in one mighty sepulcher. The hills
Rock-ribbed and ancient as the sun—the vales
Stretching in pensive quietness between—
The venerable woods—rivers that move
In majesty, and the complaining brooks
That make the meadows green; and, poured round all,
Old Ocean's gray and melancholy waste—
Are but the solemn decorations all
Of the great tomb of man. The golden sun,
The planets, all the infinite host of heaven,
Are shining on the sad abodes of death,
Through the still lapse of ages. All that tread
The globe are but a handful to the tribes
That slumber in its bosom. Take the wings
Of morning, pierce the Barcan wilderness,
Or lose thyself in the continuous woods
Where rolls the Oregon, and hears no sound
Save his own dashings,—yet the dead are there;
And millions in those solitudes, since first
The flight of years began, have laid them down
In their last sleep,—the dead reign there alone.
So shalt thou rest, and what if thou withdraw
In silence from the living, and no friend
Take note of thy departure? All that breathe
Will share thy destiny. The gay will laugh
When thou art gone, the solemn brood of care
Plod on, and each one as before will chase
His favorite phantom; yet all these shall leave
Their mirth and their employments and shall come
And make their bed with thee. As the long train
Of ages glides away, the sons of men,
The youth in life's fresh spring, and he who goes
In the full strength of years, matron and maid,
The speechless babe, and the gray-headed man,
Shall one by one be gathered to thy side
By those who in their turn shall follow them.
So live, that when thy summons comes to join
The innumerable caravan that moves
To the pale realms of shade, where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death,
Thou go not, like the quarry slave at night,
Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.

Expression: Observe that this poem is written in blank verse. In what respects does it differ from other forms of verse? Read it with great care, observing the marks of punctuation and giving to each passage the proper inflections and emphasis. Compare it with some other poems you have read.


II

One Sunday evening, in the summer of 1848, Edgar Allan Poe was visiting at the house of a friend in New York city. The day was warm, and the windows of the conservatory where he was sitting were thrown wide open to admit the breeze. Mr. Poe was very despondent because of many sorrows and disappointments, and he was plainly annoyed by the sound of some near-by church bells pealing the hour of worship.

"I have made an agreement with a publisher to write a poem for him," he said, "but I have no inspiration for such a task. What shall I do?"

His friend Mrs. Shew gave him an encouraging reply, and invited him to drink tea with her. Then she placed paper and ink before him and suggested that, if he would try to write, the required inspiration would come.

"No," he answered; "I so dislike the noise of bells to-night, I cannot write. I have no subject—I am exhausted."

Mrs. Shew then wrote at the top of the sheet of paper, The Bells, by E. A. Poe, and added a single line as a beginning:

"The bells, the little silver bells."

The poet accepted the suggestion, and after some effort finished the first stanza. Then Mrs. Shew wrote another line:

"The heavy iron bells."

This idea was also elaborated by Mr. Poe, who copied off the two stanzas and entitled them The Bells, by Mrs. M. L. Shew. He went home, pondering deeply upon the subject; the required inspiration was not long lacking; and in a few days the completed poem was ready to be submitted to the publisher.

The Bells

Hear the sledges with the bells—
Silver bells!
What a world of merriment their melody foretells!
How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
In the icy air of night!
While the stars that oversprinkle
All the heavens seem to twinkle
With a crystalline delight,
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rime,
To the tintinnabulation that so musically swells
From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells—
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.
Hear the mellow wedding bells—
Golden bells!
What a world of happiness their harmony foretells!
Through the balmy air of night
How they ring out their delight!
From the molten-golden notes,
And all in tune,
What a liquid ditty floats
To the turtledove that listens while she gloats
On the moon!
Oh, from out the sounding cells,
What a gush of euphony voluminously wells!
How it swells!
How it dwells
On the Future! how it tells
Of the rapture that impels
To the swinging and the ringing
Of the bells, bells, bells—
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells—
To the riming and the chiming of the bells!
Hear the loud alarum bells—
Brazen bells!
What a tale of terror, now, their turbulency tells!
In the startled ear of night
How they scream out their affright!
Too much horrified to speak,
They can only shriek, shriek,
Out of tune,
In a clamorous appealing to the mercy of the fire,
In a mad expostulation with the deaf and frantic fire
Leaping higher, higher, higher,
With a desperate desire
And a resolute endeavor
Now—now to sit or never,
By the side of the pale-faced moon.
Oh, the bells, bells, bells,
What a tale their terror tells
Of despair!
How they clang and crash and roar!
What a horror they outpour
On the bosom of the palpitating air!
Yet the ear it fully knows,
By the twanging
And the clanging,
How the danger ebbs and flows;
Yet the ear distinctly tells,
In the jangling
And the wrangling,
How the danger sinks and swells,
By the sinking or the swelling in the anger of the bells,
Of the bells,
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells!
In the clamor and the clangor of the bells.
Hear the tolling of the bells—
Iron bells!
What a world of solemn thought their monody compels!
In the silence of the night,
How we shiver with affright
At the melancholy menace of their tone!
For every sound that floats
From the rust within their throats
Is a groan.
And the people—ah, the people—
They that dwell up in the steeple,
All alone,
And who, tolling, tolling, tolling,
In that muffled monotone,
Feel a glory in so rolling
On the human heart a stone:
They are neither man nor woman;
They are neither brute nor human;
They are ghouls:
And their king it is who tolls;
And he rolls, rolls, rolls,
Rolls
A pan from the bells!
And his merry bosom swells
With the pan of the bells,
And he dances and he yells,
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rime,
To the pan of the bells—
Of the bells:
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rime,
To the throbbing of the bells—
Of the bells, bells, bells—
To the sobbing of the bells;
Keeping time, time, time,
As he knells, knells, knells,
In a happy Runic rime,
To the rolling of the bells—
Of the bells, bells, bells,—
To the tolling of the bells—
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells—
To the moaning and the groaning of the bells!

III

In the early part of the nineteenth century Fitz-Greene Halleck was regarded as one of the greatest of American poets. He is now, however, remembered chiefly as the author of a single poem, "Marco Bozzaris," published in 1827. This poem has been described, perhaps justly, as "the best martial lyric in the English language."

It was written at a time when the people of Greece were fighting for their independence; and it celebrates the heroism of the young Greek patriot, Marco Bozzaris, who was killed while leading a desperate but successful night attack upon the Turks, August 20, 1823. As here presented, it is slightly abridged.

Marco Bozzaris

At midnight, in his guarded tent,
The Turk was dreaming of the hour
When Greece, her knee in suppliance bent,
Should tremble at his power:
In dreams, through camp and court, he bore
The trophies of a conqueror;
In dreams his song of triumph heard;
Then wore his monarch's signet ring:
Then pressed that monarch's throne—a king;
As wild his thoughts, and gay of wing,
As Eden's garden bird.
At midnight, in the forest shades,
Bozzaris ranged his Suliote band,
True as the steel of their tried blades,
Heroes in heart and hand.
There had the Persian's thousands stood,
There had the glad earth drunk their blood
On old Plata's day;
And now there breathed that haunted air
The sons of sires who conquered there,
With arm to strike and soul to dare,
As quick, as far as they.
An hour passed on—the Turk awoke;
That bright dream was his last;
He woke—to hear his sentries shriek,
"To arms! they come! the Greek! the Greek!"
He woke—to die midst flame, and smoke,
And shout, and groan, and saber stroke,
And death shots falling thick and fast
As lightnings from the mountain cloud;
And heard, with voice as trumpet loud,
Bozzaris cheer his band:
"Strike—till the last armed foe expires;
Strike—for your altars and your fires;
Strike—for the green graves of your sires;
God—and your native land!"
They fought—like brave men, long and well;
They piled that ground with Moslem slain,
They conquered—but Bozzaris fell,
Bleeding at every vein.
His few surviving comrades saw
His smile when rang their proud hurrah,
And the red field was won;
Then saw in death his eyelids close
Calmly, as to a night's repose,
Like flowers at set of sun.

Bozzaris! with the storied brave
Greece nurtured in her glory's time,
Rest thee—there is no prouder grave,
Even in her own proud clime.
She wore no funeral weeds for thee,
Nor bade the dark hearse wave its plume
Like torn branch from death's leafless tree
In sorrow's pomp and pageantry,
The heartless luxury of the tomb;
But she remembers thee as one
Long-loved and for a season gone.
For thee her poet's lyre is wreathed,
Her marble wrought, her music breathed;
For thee she rings the birthday bells;
Of thee her babes' first lisping tells;
For thine her evening prayer is said
At palace couch and cottage-bed....
And she, the mother of thy boys,
Though in her eye and faded cheek
Is read the grief she will not speak,
The memory of her buried joys,
And even she who gave thee birth,
Will, by their pilgrim-circled hearth,
Talk of thy doom without a sigh;
For thou art Freedom's now, and Fame's:
One of the few, the immortal names,
That were not born to die.

Expression: Talk with your teacher about these three poems, and the proper manner of reading each. Learn all that you can about their authors.


THE INDIAN[53]

Think of the country for which the Indians fought! Who can blame them? As Philip looked down from his seat on Mount Hope and beheld the lovely scene which spread beneath at a summer sunset,—the distant hilltops blazing with gold, the slanting beams streaming across the waters, the broad plains, the island groups, the majestic forests,—could he be blamed, if his heart burned within him, as he beheld it all passing, by no tardy process, from beneath his control, into the hands of the stranger?

As the river chieftains—the lords of the waterfalls and the mountains—ranged this lovely valley, can it be wondered at, if they beheld with bitterness the forest disappearing beneath the settler's ax—the fishing places disturbed by his sawmills?

Can we not imagine the feelings, with which some strong-minded savage chief, who should have ascended the summit of the Sugarloaf Mountain, in company with a friendly settler, contemplating the progress already made by the white man and marking the gigantic strides with which he was advancing into the wilderness, should fold his arms, and say:—

"White man, there is an eternal war between me and thee. I quit not the land of my fathers, but with my life. In those woods where I bent my youthful bow, I will still hunt the deer; over yonder waters I will still glide unrestrained in my bark canoe; by those dashing waterfalls I will still lay up my winter's store of food; on these fertile meadows I will still plant my corn.

"Stranger! the land is mine. I understand not these paper rights. I gave not my consent, when, as thou sayest, these broad regions were purchased, for a few baubles, of my fathers. They could sell what was theirs; they could sell no more. How could my father sell that which the Great Spirit sent me into the world to live upon? He knew not what he did.

"The stranger came, a timid suppliant; he asked to lie down on the red man's bearskin, and warm himself at the red man's fire, and have a little piece of land to raise corn for his women and children. Now he is become strong and mighty and bold, and spreads out his parchment over the whole, and says, 'It is mine!'

"Stranger, there is no room for us both. The Great Spirit has not made us to live together. There is poison in the white man's cup; the white man's dog barks at the red man's heels.

"If I should leave the land of my fathers, whither shall I fly? Shall I go to the south, and dwell among the graves of the Pequots? Shall I wander to the west? The fierce Mohawk—the man-eater—is my foe. Shall I fly to the east? The great water is before me. No, stranger! Here have I lived, and here will I die; and if here thou abidest, there is eternal war between me and thee.

"Thou hast taught me thy arts of destruction; for that alone I thank thee. And now take heed to thy steps—the red man is thy foe.

"When thou goest forth by day, my bullet shall whistle past thee. When thou liest down by night, my knife shall be at thy throat. The noonday sun shall not discover thy enemy; and the darkness of midnight shall not protect thy rest. Thou shalt plant in terror, and I will reap in blood. Thou shalt sow the earth with corn, and I will strew it with ashes. Thou shalt go forth with the sickle, and I will follow after with the scalping knife. Thou shalt build, and I will burn—till the white man or the Indian perish from the land."

FOOTNOTE:

[53] By Edward Everett, an American statesman and orator (1794-1865).


Expression: This selection and also the selections on pages 202, 209, and 231 are fine examples of American oratory, such as was practiced by the statesmen and public speakers of the earlier years of our republic. Learn all that you can about Patrick Henry, Daniel Webster, Edward Everett, Theodore Parker, and other eminent orators. Before attempting to read this selection aloud, read it silently and try to understand every statement or allusion contained in it. Call to mind all that you have learned in your histories or elsewhere concerning the Indians and their treatment by the American colonists. Now read with energy and feeling each paragraph of this extract from Mr. Everett's oration. Try to make your hearers understand and appreciate the feelings which are expressed.


NATIONAL RETRIBUTION[54]

Do you know how empires find their end?

Yes. The great states eat up the little. As with fish, so with nations.

Come with me! Let us bring up the awful shadows of empires buried long ago, and learn a lesson from the tomb.

Come, old Assyria, with the Ninevitish dove upon thy emerald crown! What laid thee low?

Assyria answers: "I fell by my own injustice. Thereby Nineveh and Babylon came with me to the ground."

O queenly Persia, flame of the nations! Wherefore art thou so fallen? thou who trod the people under thee, bridged the Hellespont with ships, and poured thy temple-wasting millions on the western world?

Persia answers: "Because I trod the people under me, because I bridged the Hellespont with ships, and poured my temple-wasting millions on the western world, I fell by my own misdeeds!"

And thou, muselike Grecian queen, fairest of all thy classic sisterhood of states, enchanting yet the world with thy sweet witchery, speaking in art, and most seductive in song, why liest thou there with thy beauteous yet dishonored brow reposing on thy broken harp?

Greece answers: "I loved the loveliness of flesh, embalmed in Parian stone. I loved the loveliness of thought, and treasured that more than Parian speech. But the beauty of justice, the loveliness of love, I trod down to earth. Lo! therefore have I become as those barbarian states, and one of them."

O manly, majestic Rome, with thy sevenfold mural crown all broken at thy feet, why art thou here? 'Twas not injustice brought thee low, for thy great Book of Law is prefaced with these words, "Justice is the unchanging, everlasting will to give each man his right." It was not the saint's ideal. It was the hypocrite's pretense.

And Rome says: "I made iniquity my law! I trod the nations under me! Their wealth gilded my palaces, where now thou mayst see the fox and hear the owl. Wicked men were my cabinet counselors. The flatterer breathed his poison in my ear. Millions of bondmen wet the soil with tears and blood! Do you not hear it crying yet to God? Lo here have I my recompense, tormented with such downfalls as you see.

"Go back and tell the newborn child who sitteth on the Alleghanies, laying his either hand upon a tributary sea,—tell him there are rights which States must keep, or they shall suffer punishment. Tell him there is a God who hurls to earth the loftiest realm that breaks his just, eternal law. Warn the young empire, that he come not down, dim and dishonored, to my shameful tomb. Tell him that Justice is the unchanging, everlasting will, to give each man his right. I knew this law. I broke it. Bid him keep it, and be forever safe."

FOOTNOTE:

[54] By Theodore Parker, an eminent American clergyman and author (1810-1860).


WHO ARE BLESSED[55]

And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him.

And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying:

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven....

Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: but I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

FOOTNOTE:

[55] From the Gospel of Matthew.


LITTLE GEMS FROM THE OLDER POETS

I. The Noble Nature[56]

It is not growing like a tree
In bulk doth make man better be;
Or standing long an oak, three hundred year,
To fall a log at last, dry, bald, and sear.
A lily of a day
Is fairer far in May,
Although it fall and die that night,—
It was the plant and flower of light.
In small proportions we just beauties see;
And in short measures life may perfect be.

II. A Contented Mind[57]

I weigh not fortune's frown or smile;
I joy not much in earthly joys;
I seek not state, I seek not style;
I am not fond of fancy's toys;
I rest so pleased with what I have,
I wish no more, no more I crave.
I quake not at the thunder's crack;
I tremble not at noise of war;
I swound not at the news of wrack;
I shrink not at a blazing star;
I fear not loss, I hope not gain,
I envy none, I none disdain.
I feign not friendship, where I hate;
I fawn not on the great in show;
I prize, I praise a mean estate—
Neither too lofty nor too low;
This, this is all my choice, my cheer—
A mind content, a conscience clear.

III. A Happy Life[58]

How happy is he born and taught
That serveth not another's will;
Whose armor is his honest thought,
And simple truth his utmost skill;
Whose passions not his masters are,
Whose soul is still prepared for death,
Not tied unto the world with care
Of public fame, or private breath;
Who envies none that chance doth raise,
Nor vice; who never understood
How deepest wounds are given by praise;
Nor rules of state, but rules of good.
This man is freed from servile bands
Of hope to rise or fear to fall;
Lord of himself, though not of lands,
And having nothing, yet hath all.

IV. Solitude[59]

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 unconcern'dly find
Hours, days, and years slide soft away
In health of body, peace of mind,
Quiet by day,
Sound sleep by night; study and ease
Together mixt, 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.

V. A Wish[60]

Mine be a cot beside the hill;
A beehive's hum shall soothe my ear;
A willowy brook that turns a mill
With many a fall shall linger near.
The swallow, oft, beneath my thatch
Shall twitter from her clay-built nest;
Oft shall the pilgrim lift the latch,
And share my meal, a welcome guest.
Around my ivied porch shall spring
Each fragrant flower that drinks the dew;
And Lucy, at her wheel, shall sing
In russet gown and apron blue.
The village church among the trees,
Where first our marriage vows were given,
With merry peals shall swell the breeze
And point with taper spire to Heaven.

FOOTNOTES:

[56] By Ben Jonson (1573-1637).

[57] By Joshua Sylvester (1563-1618).

[58] By Sir Henry Wotton (1568-1639).

[59] By Alexander Pope (1688-1744).

[60] By Samuel Rogers (1763-1855).


Expression: Which of these poems do you like best? Give reasons for your preference. What sentiment is emphasized by all of them? What other pleasant ideas of life are expressed? What mental pictures are called up by reading the fourth poem? the fifth? What traits of character are alluded to in the first poem? the second? Now read each poem aloud, giving to each line and each stanza the thought which was in the author's mind when he wrote it.


HOW KING ARTHUR GOT HIS NAME[61]

One day at sunset, Snowbird, the young son of a king, came over the brow of a hill that stepped forward from a dark company of mountains and leaned over the shoreless sea which fills the West and drowns the North. All day he had been wandering alone, his mind heavy with wonder over many things. He had heard strange tales of late, tales about his heroic father and the royal clan, and how they were not like other men, but half divine. He had heard, too, of his own destiny,—that he also was to be a great king. What was Destiny, he wondered....

Then, as he wondered, he turned over and over in his mind all the names he could think of that he might choose for his own; for the time was come for him to put away the name of his childhood and to take on that by which he should be known among men.

He came over the brow of the hill, and out of the way of the mountain wind, and, being tired, lay down among the heather and stared across the gray wilderness of the sea. The sun set, and the invisible throwers of the nets trailed darkness across the waves and up the wild shores and over the faces of the cliffs. Stars climbed out of shadowy abysses, and the great chariots of the constellations rode from the West to the East and from the North to the South.

His eyes closed, ... but when he opened them again, he saw a great and kingly figure standing beside him. So great in stature, so splendid in kingly beauty, was the mysterious one who had so silently joined him, that he thought this must be one of the gods.

"Do you know me, my son?" said the kingly stranger.

The boy looked at him in awe and wonder, but unrecognizingly.

"Do you not know me, my son?" he heard again ... "for I am your father, Pendragon. But my home is yonder, and that is why I have come to you as a vision in a dream ..." and, as he spoke, he pointed to the constellation of the Arth, or Bear, which nightly prowls through the vast abysses of the polar sky.

When the boy turned his gaze from the great constellation which hung in the dark wilderness overhead, he saw that he was alone again. While he yet wondered in great awe at what he had seen and heard, he felt himself float like a mist and become like a cloud, rise beyond the brows of the hills, and ascend the invisible stairways of the sky....

It seemed to him thereafter that a swoon came over him, in which he passed beyond the far-off blazing fires of strange stars. At last, suddenly, he stood on the verge of Arth, Arth Uthyr, the Great Bear. There he saw, with the vision of immortal, not of mortal, eyes, a company of most noble and majestic figures seated at what he thought a circular abyss, but which had the semblance of a vast table. Each of these seven great knights or lordly kings had a star upon his forehead, and these were stars of the mighty constellation of the Bear which the boy had seen night after night from his home among the mountains by the sea.

It was with a burning throb at his heart that he recognized in the King of all these kings no other than himself.

While he looked, in amazement so great that he could hear the pulse of his heart, as in the silence of a wood one hears the tapping of a woodpecker, he saw this mighty phantom self rise till he stood towering over all there, and heard a voice as though an ocean rose and fell through the eternal silences.

"Comrades in God," it said, "the time is come when that which is great shall become small."

And when the voice was ended, the mighty figure faded in the blue darkness, and only a great star shone where the uplifted dragon helm had brushed the roof of heaven. One by one the white lords of the sky followed in his mysterious way, till once more were to be seen only the stars of the Bear.

The boy dreamed that he fell as a falling meteor, and that he floated over land and sea as a cloud, and then that he sank as mist upon the hills of his own land.

A noise of wind stirred in his ears. He rose stumblingly, and stood, staring around him. He glanced upward and saw the stars of the Great Bear in their slow march round the Pole.... Then he remembered.

He went slowly down the hill, his mind heavy with thought. When he was come to his own place, lo! all the fierce chivalry of the land came out to meet him; for the archdruid had foretold that the great King to be had received his mystic initiation among the holy silences of the hills.

"I am no more Snowbird, the child," the boy said, looking at them fearless and as though already King. "Henceforth I am Arth-Urthyr,[62] for my place is in the Great Bear which we see yonder in the north."

So all there acclaimed him as Arthur, the wondrous one of the stars, the Great Bear.

"I am old," said his father, "and soon you shall be King, Arthur, my son. So ask now a great boon of me and it shall be granted to you."

Then Arthur remembered his dream.

"Father and King," he said, "when I am King after you, I shall make a new order of knights, who shall be pure as the Immortal Ones, and be tender as women, and simple as little children. But first I ask of you seven flawless knights to be of my chosen company. To-morrow let the wood wrights make for me a round table, such as that where we eat our roasted meats, but round and of a size whereat I and my chosen knights may sit at ease."

The king listened, and all there.

"So be it," said the king.

Then Arthur chose the seven flawless knights, and called them to him. "Ye are now Children of the Great Bear," he said, "and comrades and liegemen to me, Arthur, who shall be King of the West.

"And ye shall be known as the Knights of the Round Table. But no man shall make a mock of that name and live: and in the end that name shall be so great in the mouths and minds of men that they shall consider no glory of the world to be so great as to be the youngest and frailest of that knighthood."

And that is how Arthur, who three years later became King of the West, read the rune of the stars that are called the Great Bear, and took their name upon him, and from the strongest and purest and noblest of the land made Knighthood, such as the world had not seen, such as the world since has not seen.

FOOTNOTES:

[61] A Gaelic legend, by Fiona Macleod.

[62] Pronounced Arth-Ur. In the ancient British language, Arth means Bear, and Urthyr, great, wondrous.


Expression: Read this selection very carefully to get at the true meaning of each sentence and each thought. What peculiarities do you notice in the style of the language employed? Talk about King Arthur, and tell what you have learned elsewhere about him and his knights of the Round Table. In what respects does this legend differ from some other accounts of his boyhood? Now reread the selection, picturing in your mind the peculiarities of place and time.


ANTONY'S ORATION OVER CSAR'S DEAD BODY[63]

Antony. Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears:
I come to bury Csar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interrd with their bones;
So let it be with Csar. The noble Brutus
Hath told you Csar was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Csar answered it.
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest—
For Brutus is an honorable man;
So are they all, all honorable men—
Come I to speak in Csar's funeral.
He was my friend, faithful and just to me;
But Brutus says he was ambitious,
And Brutus is an honorable man.
He hath brought many captives home to Rome,
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill;
Did this in Csar seem ambitious?
When that the poor have cried, Csar hath wept;
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff.
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious,
And Brutus is an honorable man.
You all did see, that on the Lupercal,
I thrice presented him a kingly crown,
Which he did thrice refuse. Was this ambition?
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious,
And, sure, he is an honorable man.
I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know.
You all did love him once, not without cause;
What cause withholds you, then, to mourn for him?
O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason.—Bear with me;
My heart is in the coffin there with Csar,
And I must pause till it come back to me.
But yesterday the word of Csar might
Have stood against the world; now lies he there,
And none so poor to do him reverence.
O masters! If I were disposed to stir
Your hearts and minds to mutiny and rage,
I should do Brutus wrong and Cassius wrong,
Who, you all know, are honorable men.
I will not do them wrong; I rather choose
To wrong the dead, to wrong myself and you,
Than I will wrong such honorable men.
But here's a parchment with the seal of Csar,
I found it in his closet; 'tis his will.
Let but the commons hear this testament,—
Which, pardon me, I do not mean to read,—
And they would go and kiss dead Csar's wounds,
And dip their napkins in his sacred blood;
Yea, beg a hair of him for memory,
And, dying, mention it within their wills,
Bequeathing it as a rich legacy
Unto their issue.
Citizen. We'll hear the will: read it, Mark Antony.
All. The will, the will! we will hear Csar's will.
Ant. Have patience, gentle friends, I must not read it;
It is not meet you know how Csar loved you.
You are not wood, you are not stones, but men;
And, being men, hearing the will of Csar,
It will inflame you, it will make you mad.
'Tis good you know not that you are his heirs;
For, if you should, oh, what would come of it!
Cit. Read the will! we'll hear it, Antony!
You shall read the will! Csar's will!
Ant. Will you be patient? Will you stay awhile?
I have o'ershot myself to tell you of it.
I fear I wrong the honorable men
Whose daggers have stabbed Csar. I do fear it.
Cit. They were traitors! honorable men!
All. The will! the testament!
Ant. You will compel me, then, to read the will?
Then make a ring about the corpse of Csar,
And let me show you him that made the will.
Shall I descend? And will you give me leave?
All. Come down.
2 Citizen. Descend. You shall have leave.
"You all do know this mantle." "You all do know this mantle."

(Antony comes down from the pulpit.)

Ant. If you have tears, prepare to shed them now.
You all do know this mantle; I remember
The first time ever Csar put it on.
'Twas on a summer's evening, in his tent,
That day he overcame the Nervii.
Look! in this place, ran Cassius's dagger through;
See what a rent the envious Casca made;
Through this, the well-belovd Brutus stabbed;
And, as he plucked his cursd steel away,
Mark how the blood of Csar followed it,
As rushing out of doors, to be resolved
If Brutus so unkindly knocked, or no;
For Brutus, as you know, was Csar's angel.—
Judge, O you gods, how dearly Csar loved him!—
This was the most unkindest cut of all;
For, when the noble Csar saw him stab,
Ingratitude, more strong than traitors' arms,
Quite vanquished him. Then burst his mighty heart;
And, in his mantle muffling up his face,
Even at the base of Pompey's statua,
Which all the while ran blood, great Csar fell.
Oh, what a fall was there, my countrymen!
Then I, and you, and all of us fell down,
Whilst bloody treason flourished over us.
Oh, now you weep, and I perceive you feel
The dint of pity; these are gracious drops.
Kind souls, What! weep you when you but behold
Our Csar's vesture wounded? Look you here,
Here is himself, marred, as you see, with traitors.
Good friends, sweet friends, let me not stir you up
To such a sudden flood of mutiny.
They that have done this deed are honorable.
What private griefs they have, alas! I know not,
That made them do it; they are wise and honorable,
And will, no doubt, with reasons answer you.
I come not, friends, to steal away your hearts.
I am no orator, as Brutus is,
But, as you know me all, a plain blunt man,
That love my friend; and that they know full well
That gave me public leave to speak of him.
For I have neither wit, nor words, nor worth,
Action, nor utterance, nor the power of speech,
To stir men's blood: I only speak right on;
I tell you that which you yourselves do know;
Show you sweet Csar's wounds, poor, poor dumb mouths,
And bid them speak for me. But were I Brutus,
And Brutus Antony, there were an Antony
Would ruffle up your spirits, and put a tongue
In every wound of Csar that should move
The stones of Rome to rise and mutiny.

FOOTNOTE:

[63] From "Julius Csar" by William Shakespeare (1564-1616).


SELECTIONS TO BE MEMORIZED

I. The Prayer Perfect[64]

Dear Lord! kind Lord!
Gracious Lord! I pray
Thou wilt look on all I love,
Tenderly to-day!
Weed their hearts of weariness;
Scatter every care
Down a wake of angel-wings,
Winnowing the air.
Bring unto the sorrowing
All release from pain;
Let the lips of laughter
Overflow again;
And with all the needy
Oh, divide, I pray,
This vast treasure of content
That is mine to-day!

II. Be Just and Fear Not[65]

Be just and fear not;
Let all the ends thou aim'st at be thy country's,
Thy God's, and truth's.

III. If I Can Live[66]

If I can live
To make some pale face brighter and to give
A second luster to some tear-dimmed eye,
Or e'en impart
One throb of comfort to an aching heart,
Or cheer some wayworn soul in passing by;
If I can lend
A strong hand to the falling, or defend
The right against one single envious strain,
My life, though bare,
Perhaps, of much that seemeth dear and fair
To us of earth, will not have been in vain.
The purest joy,
Most near to heaven, far from earth's alloy,
Is bidding cloud give way to sun and shine;
And 'twill be well
If on that day of days the angels tell
Of me, "She did her best for one of Thine."

IV. The Bugle Song[67]

The splendor falls on castle walls
And snowy summits old in story:
The long light shakes across the lakes,
And the wild cataract leaps in glory.
Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying,
Blow, bugle; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying.
O hark, O hear! how thin and clear,
And thinner, dearer, farther going!
O sweet and far from cliff and scar
The horns of Elfland faintly blowing!
Blow, let us hear the purple glens replying:
Blow, bugle; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying.
O love, they die in yon rich sky,
They faint on hill or field or river;
Our echoes roll from soul to soul,
And grow for ever and for ever.
Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying,
And answer, echoes, answer, dying, dying, dying.

V. The Ninetieth Psalm

Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.

Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.

Thou turns man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men.

For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.

Thou carried them away as with a flood; they are as a sleep: in the morning they are like grass which groweth up.

In the morning it flourisheth, and groweth up; in the evening it is cut down, and withereth.

For we are consumed by thine anger, and by thy wrath are we troubled.

Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.

For all our days are passed away in thy wrath; we spend our years as a tale that is told.

The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.

Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath.

So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom....

Oh, satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days....

Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children.

VI. Recessional[68]

God of our fathers, known of old—
Lord of our far-flung battle line—
Beneath Whose awful Hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!
The tumult and the shouting dies—
The captains and the kings depart—
Still stands Thine ancient Sacrifice,
A humble and a contrite heart.
God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!
Far-called, our navies melt away—
On dune and headland sinks the fire—
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!
If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe—
Such boasting as the Gentiles use
Or lesser breeds without the Law—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!
For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard,
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding calls not Thee to guard—
For frantic boast and foolish word,
Thy mercy on Thy people, Lord!

Amen.

FOOTNOTES:

[64] From "Rhymes of Childhood," by James Whitcomb Riley, copyright, 1890. Used by special permission of the publishers, The Bobbs-Merrill Company.

[65] By William Shakespeare.

[66] Author unknown.

[67] By Alfred Tennyson.

[68] By Rudyard Kipling.


PROPER NAMES

Ad i ron'dacks

tō'li a

Ag a mem'non

A lon'zo

A mē'li a

An a tō'li a

An'to ny

A pol'lo

Ar'gīve

Ar'thur

Assisi (äs sē zē)

As sy̆r'i a

Bar'ba ra

Ba vā'ri a

Ber'lin

Bevagno (ba vän'yo)

Bœtia (be ō'shĭ a)

Bo'na parte

Bozzaris (bo zăr'is)

Brit'ta ny

Bru'tus

Bun'yan

Bur'gun dy

Bysshe (bĭsh)

Ca'diz

Cal e do'ni a

Ca thay'

Cau'dle

Charn'wood

Chat ta hoo'chee

Chis̝'wick

Col i sē'um

Cop'per field

Cōv'er ley

Crēa'kle

Cris'sa

Dā'na

Dăn'ube

Dăv'en port

Delft

Domitian (do mĭsh'i an)

Eb en ē'zer

Espaola  (ĕs pan yō'la)

Eu'taw

Fer nan'do

Fĕz'zĭ wig

Fran'cis

Gal i lē'o

Get'tys burg

Gib'son

Guä nä hă'nï

Hab'er sham

Hā'man

Häm'elin

Har'le quin

Hĕl'las

Hel'les pont

Hu'bert

Ja māi'ca

Je mī'ma

John'son

Juana (hwä'na)

Knick'erbock er

La niēr'

Lannes (län)

Leg'horn

Locks'ley

Lor raine'

Mag ne'si a

Măr'i on

Mas'sa soit

Mĭcih'ael mas

Mon'mouth

Mont calm'

Mon te bel'lo

Mont göm'er y

Na pō'le on

Need'wood

Nich'o las

Nin'e veh

Or'e gon

O res'tēs

Pal'las

Phœ'bus

Pinzon (pēn thōn')

Pla t'a

Po to'mac

Pro vence' (-văns)

Răph'a el

Răt'is bon

Rieti (rē ĕ'tē)

Rog'er

Rouen (rōō än')

Sa'lem

San'chez

San Sal va dor'

San tee'

Sar a to'ga

Sed'ley

Shel'ley

Spoun'cer

Tō'bit

Tō'phet

Tul'lĭ ver

Tȳre

Um'bră a

Văl'en tīne

Wake' field

Ys̝'a bel


LIST OF AUTHORS

(Place of birth in parentheses. Title of one noted book in italics. Title of most famous poem in quotation marks.)

Browning, Robert. English poet. The Ring and the Book. (Born near London.) Lived in Italy. 1812-1889.

Bryant, William Cullen. American poet and journalist. "Thanatopsis." (Massachusetts.) New York. 1794-1878.

Buckley, Arabella B. (Mrs. Fisher). English writer on popular science. (Brighton, England.) 1840——.

Bunyan, John. English preacher and writer. Pilgrim's Progress. (Bedford.) London. 1628-1688.

Burns, Robert. Scottish poet. "Tam O'Shanter." (Alloway.) Dumfries. 1759-1796.

Campbell, Thomas. Scottish poet. "Hohenlinden." (Glasgow.) 1777-1844.

Canton, William. English journalist and writer. 1845——.

Carnegie (kär nĕg'ĭ), Andrew. American manufacturer and philanthropist. (Scotland.) New York. 1837——.

Cherry, Andrew. Irish poet and dramatist. All for Fame. (Ireland.) 1762-1812.

Collins, William. English poet. (Chichester.) 1721-1759.

Columbus, Christopher. The discoverer of America. (Genoa, Italy.) Spain. 1446(?)-1506.

Cook, Eliza. English poet. "The Old Arm-Chair." 1818-1889.

Dickens, Charles. English novelist. David Copperfield. (Portsmouth.) London. 1812-1870.

Domett (dŏm'et), Alfred. English poet and statesman. "Christmas Hymn." 1811-1887.

Dumas (dö mä'), Alexandre. French novelist and dramatist. The Count of Monte Cristo. 1802-1870.

Eliot, George (Mrs. Mary Ann Evans Cross). English novelist. The Mill on the Floss. 1819-1880.

Emerson, Ralph Waldo. American philosopher and poet. Essays. (Boston.) 1803-1882.

Everett, Edward. American statesman and orator. Orations and Speeches. (Massachusetts.) 1794-1865.

Fields, James T. American publisher and author. (New Hampshire.) Massachusetts. 1817-1881.

Giberne, Agnes. English writer on scientific subjects.

Goldsmith, Oliver. English poet and novelist. Vicar of Wakefield. (Ireland.) 1728-1774.

Halleck, Fitz-Greene. American poet. "Marco Bozzaris." (Connecticut.) 1790-1867.

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. American novelist. The Wonder Book. (Massachusetts.) 1804-1864.

Henry, Patrick. American patriot. (Virginia.) 1736-1799.

Herrick, Robert. English poet. 1591-1674.

Holmes, Oliver Wendell. American author. Autocrat of the Breakfast Table. (Massachusetts.) 1809-1894.

Hugo, Victor. French novelist and poet. 1802-1885.

Hunt, Leigh (James Henry Leigh Hunt). English essayist and poet. "Abou ben Adhem." 1784-1859.

Irving, Washington. American prose writer. The Sketch Book. (New York.) 1783-1859.

Jerrold, Douglas William. English humorist. Mrs. Caudle's Curtain Lectures. (London.) 1803-1857.

Jonson, Ben. English dramatist. 1573-1637.

Kipling, Rudyard. English writer. The Jungle Book. (Bombay, India.) England. 1865——.

Lamb, Charles. English essayist. (London.) 1775-1834.

Lanier, Sidney. American musician and author. Poems. (Georgia.) Maryland. 1842-1881.

Lee, Henry. American general, father of Robert E. Lee. (Virginia.) 1756-1818.

Lincoln, Abraham. Sixteenth president of the United States. (Kentucky.) Illinois. 1809-1865.

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. American poet. Poems. (Maine.) Massachusetts. 1807-1882.

Lowell, James Russell. American poet and essayist. (Massachusetts.) 1819-1891.

Macleod, Fiona (True name William Sharp). Scottish poet and story-writer. 1856-1905.

Mitchell, Donald G. American essayist. Reveries of a Bachelor. (Connecticut.) 1822-1908.

Parker, Theodore. American clergyman and author. (Massachusetts.) 1810-1860.

Poe, Edgar Allan. American poet and story-writer. "The Raven." (Massachusetts.) Virginia. 1809-1849.

Pope, Alexander. English poet. (London.) 1688-1744.

Proctor, Richard A. English astronomer. 1837-1888.

Riley, James Whitcomb. American poet. (Indiana.) 1852——.

Rogers, Samuel. English poet. (London.) 1763-1855.

Ryan, Abram J. American clergyman and poet. (Virginia.) Georgia; Kentucky. 1839-1886.

Scott, Sir Walter. Scottish poet and novelist. Ivanhoe. (Edinburgh.) 1771-1832.

Shakespeare, William. The greatest of English dramatists. (Stratford-on-Avon.) 1564-1616.

Sharp, William. See Macleod, Fiona.

Shelley, Percy Bysshe (bĭsh). English poet. Poems. 1792-1822.

Simms, William Gilmore. American novelist and poet. (South Carolina.) 1806-1870.

Sophocles (sŏf'o klēz). Greek tragic poet. 495-406 B.C.

Sylvester, Joshua. English poet. 1563-1618.

Tennyson, Alfred. English poet. In Memoriam. (Lincolnshire.) 1809-1892.

Thackeray, William Makepeace. English novelist and critic. (Calcutta, India.) London. 1811-1863.

Timrod, Henry. American poet. (South Carolina.) 1829-1867.

Whitman, Walt. American poet. Leaves of Grass. (New York.) Washington, D.C.; New Jersey. 1819-1892.

Whittier, John Greenleaf. American poet. Poems. (Massachusetts.) 1807-1892.

Winslow, Edward. Governor of Plymouth colony. (Worcestershire, Eng.) Plymouth, Massachusetts. 1595-1655.

Wotton, Sir Henry. English poet. 1568-1639.






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