Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

12. Suppose some accident happen, - one of those accidents which, however impossible it may seem to your Pythias, constantly happen to the Pythiases of other Damons who draw bills on the bank of Futurity;

- suppose that the smut or the rain spoil the crops on which Pythias relies, — or the cargoes he expects from Marseilles, California, Utopia, go down to the bottomless seas; — Dionysius must come upon you! Can you pay to Dionysius what you pledge yourself to pay to him in spite of those accidents ?

13. If you can, and if you value Pythias more than the money, give the money, and there is an end of it; but if you cannot give the money, do not sign the bill. Do not become what, in rude truth, you do become a knave and a liar — if you guarantee to do what you know that you cannot do should the guarantee be exacted. Whatever you lend, let it be your money, and not your name.

14. With honor, poverty is a Noble; without honor, wealth is a Pauper. But if a usurer knock at your door, and show you a bill with your name as a promise to pay, and the bill he dishonored, pray, what becomes of your name? “My name !” falters Damon, — “I am but a surety, — go to Pythias.” — “Ah! Pythias has disappeared !” — Pay the bill, Damon, or — goodby to your honor.

15. Never borrow where there is a chance, however remote, that you may not be able to repay. Never lend what you are not prepared to give. Never guarantee for another what you cannot fulfill, if the other should fail. Guided by these rules, you start in life with this great advantage: whatever you have, be it little or much, is your own. Rich or poor, you start as a freeman, resolved to preserve in your freedom the noblest condition of your being as a man.

XXXVIII. – A DAY IN JUNE.

LOWELL.

See in Index, CHALICE, HEAVEN, SULPHUROUS, LOWELL.

Delivery. Few poets have expressed the enthusiasm excited by a beautiful day more eloquently than Lowell in these justly celebrated lines. They should be read in the middle pitch, with a joyous orotund quality of voice, time rather rapid than medium, force moderate, expression animated and almost jubilant.

1.

Oh! what is so rare as a day in June ?

Then, if ever, come perfect days;
Then Heaven tries the earth if it be in tune,

And over it softly her warm ear lays:
Whether we look, or whether we listen,

We hear life murmur, or see it glisten; · Every clod feels a stir of might,

An instinct within it that reaches and towers,
And, grasping blindly above it for light,

Climbs to a soul in grass and flowers; .
The flush of life may well be seen

Thrilling back over hills and valleys;
The cowslip startles in meadows green,

The buttercup catches the sun in its chalice,
And there's never a leaf or blade too mean
To be some happy creature's palace.

II.
The little bird sits at his door in the sun,

Atilt like a blossom among the leaves,
And lets his illumined being o'errun

With the deluge of summer it receives;
His mate feels the egg beneath her wings,
And the heart in her dumb breast flutters and sings ;
He sings to the wide world, and she to her nest -
In the nice ear of Nature which song is the best ?

III.

. Now is the high-tide of the year,

And whatever of life hath ebbed away

Comes flooding back, with a ripply cheer,

Into every bare inlet and creek and bay ; Now the heart is so full that a drop overfills it, We are happy now because God so wills it; No matter how barren the past may have been, "T is enough for us now that the leaves are green; We sit in the warm shade and feel right well How the sap creeps up and the blossoms swell.

[ocr errors]

We may shut our eyes, but we cannot help knowing
That skies are clear and grass is growing;
That the breeze comes whispering in our ear,
That dandelions are blossoming near,
That maize has sprouted, that streams are flowing,
That the river is bluer than the sky,
That the robin is plastering his house hard by.
And if the breeze kept the good news back,
For other couriers we should not lack;

We could guess it all by yon heifer's lowing -
And hark ! how clear bold chanticleer,
Warmed with the new wine of the year,

Tells all in his lusty crowing !

Joy comes, grief goes, we know not how :
Everything is happy now,

Everything is upward striving;
T is as easy now for the heart to be true
As for grass to be green or skies to be blue, -

'T is the natural way of living: Who knows whither the clouds have fled ?

In the unscarred heaven they leave no wake; And the eyes forget the tears they have shed,

The heart forgets its sorrow and ache: The soul partakes the season's youth,

And the sulphurous rifts of passion and woe Lie deep 'neath a silence pure and smooth,

Like burnt-out craters healed with snow.

XXXIX. - LAST HOURS OF MARY, QUEEN OF

SCOTS.

MISS BENGER.

During the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots, her kingdom became a scene of confusion and civil discord. Having been imprisoned in the castle of Loch Leven, she made her escape in 1568; but her party being defeated in the battle of Langside, she fled to England, and sought the protection of Queen Elizabeth; but that princess treated her as a personal and political rival, and kept her in safe custody for a period of eighteen years. At the end of that time she was tried for a conspiracy against the life of the Queen of England, condemned, and beheaded, February 8, 1587. The execution of Mary has left an ineffaceable stain upon the characters of Elizabeth and her advisers. The following narrative has been slightly condensed and altered from the original.

For ADVANCE, AFTER, ASK, TASK, see § 22; ORATORY, $ 29; in COUNCIL, SATIN, SYMBOL, sound the unaccented vowel, but not in COUSIN, PRISON.

See in Index, ADIEU, ALMONER, COMMUNE, CONFESSOR, COURTEOUS, DISCERN, EXHORT, PAGEANT, PEREMPTORY, SCAFFOLD, TOWARD, VEHEMENT, WOUND, GUISE, BENGER.

Delivery. The style is narrative, and the piece should be read in the middle pitch, with a pure quality of tone, moderate force, varied inflections, and such pauses chiefly as are indicated by the punctuation.

1. On the evening of the 7th of February, 1587, just as Mary had withdrawn to her inner chamber, the earls of Kent and Shrewsbury demanded to see her. At the summons, Mary, ever tenacious of princely dignity, ordered her sole remaining badge of royalty, the ermined mantle, to be brought, and having thrown it over her shoulders, hastened to receive her visitors, whose errand was bluntly announced by the earl of Kent, whilst the earl of Shrewsbury, with visible emotion, remained silent.

2. When Mary heard that she was to die on the morrow, she replied, with an unaltered countenance, The message is welcome; yet I did not think the queen, my sister, would have consented to my death." She then asked to be allowed to confer with her almoner, her steward, and her confessor. The presence of her confessor was peremptorily refused by the earl

confer the prese earl

of Kent, who exhorted her to commune with the dean of Peterborough; and when Mary declined accepting such assistance, he exclaimed, “ Your life is the death of our religion, as your death shall be its life.”

3. The earls having withdrawn, Mary desired that her household might be assembled for supper. She conversed with cheerfulness. Toward the close of the repast she drank to each of her servants, who, kneeling, pledged her in return, mingling tears with their wine, and beseeching their mistress to pardon their various offenses. In like manner she asked of them eternal forgiveness. During this interchange of good will, all but the queen burst into transports of grief: she endeavored to soothe their complaints, lamenting only that she could so ill requite their fidelity.

4. After supper she distributed money, linen, and jewels among her domestics; she then wrote her will; and finally addressed letters to the king of France, the duke of Guise, and her confessor. In the epistle to the last named she expressed the deepest sorrow that she had been denied the privilege of communicating with him in her last moments, but consoled herself by the thought that she was deemed worthy to die for the Catholic faith.

5. Her worldly concerns having been arranged, she besought her women to pray for her, whilst she retired to rest. At midnight she rose, refreshed by sleep, and repairing to her oratory, dropped on her knees, and remained several hours in devout and fervent supplication. The tears she shed were no longer those of passion, but of contrition and piety, and they were accompanied with touching expressions of humility and resignation.

6. When the morning dawned, Mary quitted the oratory to attire herself for the mournful solemnity. She soon issued from her chamber clad in such princely robes as she had been accustomed to wear on festivals,

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »