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VI. — EXECUTION OF CHARLES THE FIRST.
GUIZOT AND LINGARD.
Pronounce EXERCISE, GOVERNMENT, LIBERTY, MISERY, as $ 7; CHOSEN, HEAVEN, LESSON, OPEN, as g 10, with the vowel of the second syllable unsounded ; HEARD, WERE, § 9; BURST, FIRST, § 16; POSSESS, § 17; SOLITARY, $ 29; GUARD, KIND, | 21.
See in Index, AXE or ax, CORDON, EITHER, ODIOUS, SOVEREIGN, SWORD, VISOR, Guizot, LINGARD, STUART.
Delivery. See the remarks, $ 48, on the Narrative style. The great historical event here recorded, in simple but most expressive words, should be delivered in tones earnest and weighty, to correspond with the august character of the subject; but the conversation should be in a purely colloquial tone, appropriate to the occasion.
1. On the last night of his life, namely, the thirtieth of January, 1649, Charles, after having slept soundly about four hours, rose from his bed. “I have a great business on hand,” said he to his attendant, Herbert; “ I. must rise betimes.” And he began to dress himself. Herbert, profoundly afflicted, was less careful than usual in combing the king's hair. “ Take the same pains as usual, I pray you,” said Charles ; “though my head is not to rest long on my shoulders, I would to-day be trim as a bridegroom.”
2. In dressing, he ordered an additional shirt. “The weather is so cold,” said he, “that I might tremble, and some persons would attribute it to fear. I would have no such supposition possible. I fear not death. Death is not terrible to me. I bless my God I am prepared.” At daybreak Dr. Juxon, bishop of London, arrived, and an hour was spent in religious exercises.
3. As the bishop read, from the twenty-seventh chapter of the Gospel according to St. Matthew, the recital of Christ's crucifixion and death, the king demanded, “ Have you chosen this chapter as applicable to my situation ?” — “I pray your majesty to remark,” replied the bishop, “ that it is the lesson of the day, as the calendar will prove.” The king seemed profoundly
touched by the coincidence, and continued his prayers with redoubled fervor.
4. About ten o'clock there was a gentle knock at the chamber door. Herbert remained motionless. A second knock was heard, a little louder, but still light. “Go see who is there," said the king. It was Colonel Hacker. “Let him enter,” exclaimed Charles. “Sire,” said the colonel, in low and half tremulous tones, “it is time to go to Whitehall; your majesty will have yet an hour longer for repose.”
5. “I will go on the instant,” replied Charles; “ leave me.” Hacker went out. The king passed a few minutes more in meditation, and then, taking the bishop by the hand, said, “ Come, let us go; Herbert, open the door.” And he descended and crossed the park to the celebrated palace of Whitehall. Here he remained almost two hours in constant expectation of the last summons, and often in discourse with the bishop.
6. Again there was a knock, and a second time it. was from Colonel Hacker. Charles caused the door to be opened. " Proceed,” said he to the colonel ; “I follow you.” It was about two o'clock in the afternoon. The king walked through the long gallery, lined on either side with soldiers. A crowd of men and women had găthered there at the peril of their lives. While the king passed on they stood immovable behind the guards, and prayed aloud for him. The soldiers were silent and offered no molestation.
7. At the extremity of the hall an opening, made for the occasion in the wall, led at once to the scaffold, which was covered with black cloth. At the further end were seen the block and the axe. Near by stood two men wearing visors, and habited in the dress of sailors. These were the executioners. In the street below appeared in arms several regiments of horse and foot; and beyond, as far as the eye could reach, surged a dense crowd of spectators.
8. The king stepped forth upon the scaffold and stood collected and undismayed amid this apparatus of death. With head erect he cast his glances around on all sides, secking to speak to the people; but they were kept beyond the reach of his voice by the swords of the military. There was in his countenance that cheerful intrepidity, in his demeanor that dignified calmness, which had characterized, in the hall of Fotheringay, his royal grandmother, Mary Stuart.
9. Turning to Juxon and Tomlinson, who stood with him on the scaffold, he said: “I can be heard only by you: it shall be to you then that I will address a few words.” And he delivered a brief discourse which he had duly prepared. It was grave and calm even to coldness. In it he maintained that he had been in the right; that the violation of the prerogatives of the sovereign was the true cause of the miseries of the people; that the people ought not to have any part in the government; that only on this condition could the kingdom recover its peace and its liberties.
10. While he was speaking, some one touched the axe. The king turned quickly, and remarked, “Don't spoil the axe; it would hurt me the more." And at the end of his discourse, some one coming near, Charles, in a tone of alarm, exclaimed, “ Take care of the axe! take care of the axe!” The most profound silence was maintained. He put upon his head the silk cap, and addressing the executioner asked, “Does my hair incommode you ?”
11. “I pray your majesty," replied the man, with a bow, “to găther your locks under your cap.” The king, with the bishop's aid, arranged them. While thus employed, “I have on my side,” said he, “a good cause and a gracious God.” — “ Yes, sire,” said the bishop; “there is but one stage more: it is a turbulent and troublesome, but a short one. It will carry you from earth to heaven, and there you will find joy and comfort.”
12. To which the king replied: “I go from a corruptible to an incorruptible crown, — where I shall have no more trouble to fear, - no kind of trouble." And then turning to the executioner, he asked, “Is my hair right?” Removing his cloak and his cordon of the order of St. George, he gave the latter to the bishop, saying, “ Remember!” Then he put aside his coat, threw down his cloak, and eying the block, said to the executioner, “ Place it so it will be firm.”
13. “ It is firm, sire,” was the reply. “Well,” said the king, “I shall just make a short prayer, and when I stretch out my hands, then — " There was no need of further explanation. He assumed the air of one collecting his thoughts, repeated to himself a few words in a low tone, raised his eyes to heaven, knelt down, and placed his head on the block. The executioner took hold of the king's hair to gather the curls under the cap. The king thought he was about to strike, and said, “ Wait for the signal.” — “I shall wait, sire, your majesty's good pleasure,” replied the man.
14. At the expiration of a minute Charles stretched out his hands. The executioner at once gave the fatal blow, and, at the first stroke of the axe the head fell. The masked assistant took it and held it up, streaming with blood, in view of the spectators, and cried aloud, “ This is the head of a traitor!” A deep, prolonged groan burst from the multitude assembled round Whitehall. Numbers of persons rushed to the scaffold to dip their handkerchiefs in the king's blood. Two troops of horse coming up dispersed the crowd in different directions.
15. The scaffold remained standing, dark and solitary. The king's body was removed and placed in a coffin. Oliver Cromwell went to see it. He surveyed it attentively for a while, and taking in his hands the head, as if to assure himself that it had been well severed from the trunk, remarked : “ It is the body of
wit; and to malty, to watt; an aw
a man of good constitution and one that gave promise of a long life.”
16. “Such," says Lingard, “ was the end of the unfortunate Charles Stuart; an awful lesson to the pos-. sessors of royalty, to watch the growth of public opinion, and to moderate their pretensions in conformity with the reasonable desires of their subjects. It was resistance that made him a tyrant. The spirit of the people refused to yield to the encroachments of authority; and one act of oppression placed him under the necessity of committing another, till he had revived and enforced all those odious prerogatives, which, though usually claimed, were but sparingly exercised by his predecessors.”
VII. - THE SEVENTH PLAGUE OF EGYPT.
The o in SHONE is pronounced long by Webster, short or long by Worcester. For CAVERNS, COVERED, see $ 7; SHRINK, 9; HELM, 15; WEARY, HOARY, LURID, FURIOUS, § 11; ARROW, HOLLOW, \ 9; STAFF, § 22.
See in Index, HUMBLE, PAGEANT, PLOW or PLOUGH, SATRAP, TIARA, WAND; ARAB (år'rab), CHALDEE, PHARAOH, CROLY.
Delivery. The tone of the narrative portion of this spirited poem should be orotund; the time between medium and slow. The speeches of Moses should be in the middle pitch, the force moderate, and all the intonations suggestive of moral dignity and reserved power. Pharaoh's speech should be almost aspirate in its quality, at first tending to the low pitch of suppressed rage, and the slow time of sarcastic utterance, but rising in pitch, and quickening in rate at the sixth line of the fourth stanza. The words in the ninth stanza, “ Be injured Israël free," should be uttered as if wrung with difficulty from the speaker.