Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

finder brought it to him, and demanded the reward. The usurer loath to give the reward, now that he had the bag, alleged, as soon as the bag was opened, that it contained, when he lost it, a hundred and ten dollars. Being called before the judge, he unwarily acknowledged that the seal was broken open in his own presence, and that the amount in the bag was but a hundred dollars.

“ You say,” said the judge, “that the bag you lost had a hundred and ten dollars in it?”—“Yes, sir."-" Then,” replied the judge, “this cannot be your bag, as it contained but a hundred dollars; therefore the plaintiff'ul must keep it till the true owner appears; and you must look for your bag where you can find it."

XIV. — ADORATION AMID NATURAL SCENES.
1. The turf shall be my fragrant shrine ;6

My temple, Lord ! that arch of thine ;
My censer's breath the mountain airs,

And silentol thoughts my only prayers.
2. My choir shall be the moonlit waves,

When murmuring homeward to their caves,
Or when the stiliness of the sea,

Even more than music, breathes of Thee.
3. I'll seek by day some glade unknown,

All light and silence, like thy throne !
And the pale stars shall be at night

The only eyes that watch my rite. Et
4. Thy heaven, 30 on which 't is bliss to look,

Shåll be my pure and shining book,
Where I shall read, in words of flame,

The glories of thy wondrous name.
5. I'll read thy anger in the racker

That clouds a while the day-beam's track;
Thy mercy in the azure hue

Of sunny brightness brcaking through!
6. There 's nothing bright, above, below,

From flowers that bloom to stars that glow
But in its light my soul can see

Some features of the Deity.
7. There's nothing dark, below, above,

But in its gloom I trace thy love,
And meekly wait that moment when
Thy touch shall turn all bright again. 23

MOORE,

XV. — THE SPARTAN BOY.* 1. WHEN I the memory repeat of the heroic actions great, which, in contempt of pain and death, were done by men who drew their breath in ages past, I find no deed that can in fortitude to exceed the noble boy, in Sparta - bred, who in the temple ministered.

2. By the sacrifice he stands, the lighted incense in his hands; through the smoking censer's lid dropped a burning coal which 103 slid into his sleeve, and passëd in between the folds, e’en to the skin.

3. Dire was the pain which then he proved, but not for this his sleeve he moved, or would the scorching ember shake out from the folds, lest it should make any confusion, or excite disturbance at the sacred rite;Ei but close he kept the burning coal, till it eat itself a hole in his flesh. The standers-by saw no sign and heard no cry. All this he did in noble scorn, and for he was a Spartan born.

4. Young student to who this story readest, and with the same thy thoughts now feedest, thy weaker nerves might thee forbid to do the thing the Spartan did ; thy feebler heart could not sustain such dire extremity of pain. But in this story thou mayest see what may useful prove to thee. By this example thou wilt find, that to the ingenuous mind shame can greater anguish bring than the body's suffering ; that pain is not the worst of ills, — not when it the body kills; that in fair religion's cause, for thy country, or the laws, when occasion dire shall offer, 't is reproachful not to suffer.

MISS LAMB.

XVI. — PRACTICAL JOKES.

1. The youth who resorts for amusement to hazardous practical jokes must be poorly off in resources of mirth. The most deplorable results have often followed the indulgence of this foolish propensity. Children have been seriously injured for life, and sometimes killed, by attempts to frighten them by means of masks, white sheets, and other contrivances. A boy

This poem is printed as prose, that the pupil may exercise his own ear for harmony in supplying the metrical divisions. Let him first acquaint bimself with what is said in paragraphe 156, 31 and 164, in respect to inverdon, the diæresis, the suspension of the voice at the end of lines, &c.

[ocr errors]

once told his little sister, in sport, that the rag-man was coming to carry her off. Afterwards, when the rag-man really came, the child was so terrified that she sickened and died in consequence.

2. An instance is related by Allstons of a collegian who undertook to frighten his fellow-student'' by appearing at midnight, dressed in white, in his sleeping-room. The victim of this stupid jest, roused from sleep, and seeing the white figure in his room, took a pistol from beneath his pillow," and threatened to fire. The figure did not move. The student fired, but, as the charge made no impression, he was so overcome with horror that he fell back a hopeless maniac. The practical joker had extracted the balls from the pistol before venturing upon his heartless experiment.

3. What numberless accidents have resulted from the levelling of fire-arms at persons, by practical jokers, young and old! The youth who, forewarned of the danger, still resorts to this practice, and who, to annoy or terrify another, aims at him a gun or pise tol, should be treated as little better than one who wants but opportunity to become a murderer. It is not merely levity, but wickedness,' to court such risks.

4. “ There are many good-natured fellows,” says the author of Lacon, EI “ who have paid the forfeit*: of their lives to their love of bantering99 and raillery. No doubt they have had much diversion, but they have purchased it too dear. Although their wit and their brilliancy may have been often extolled, yet it has at last been extinguished forever, and by a foe, perhaps, who had neither the one nor the other, but who found it easier to point a sword than a repartee.

5. “I have heard of a man, in the province of Bengal," who had been a long time very successful in hunting the tiger ; his skill gained him great éclat, and had insured him much diversion ; at length he narrowly escaped with his life. He then relinquished the sport, with this observation : • Tiger-hunting is very fine amusement, so long as we hunt the tiger ; but it is rather awkward when the tiger takes it into his head to hunt uy,'

6. “Again ;98 this skill in small wit, like skill in small arms, is very apt to beget a confidence which may prove fatal” in the end. We may either mistake the proper moment (for even cowards have their fighting days), or we may mistake the proper man. A certain Savoyard got his livelihood hy exhibiting a monkey and a bear. fle gained so much applause from his tricks with the monkey, that he was encouraged to practise some of them upon the bear; he was dreadfully lacerated, and, on being rescued with great difficulty from the gripe of Bruin, E1 be exclaimed, . What a fool was I not to distinguish between a

monkey and a bear! A bear, my friends, is a very grave kind of a personage, and, as you plainly see, does not understand a joke!'"

7. The fate of Gonello, the jester, is memorable in the history of practical jokes. He was the son of a glover in Florence, and born between the years 1390 and 1400. Having been received into the service of Nicūlo the Third, Marquis of Ferra'ra, El as a buffoon or jester, he became a great favorite. But at last the marquis falling ill of a quartanEl ague, the court physician recommended that his excellency should be suddenly submerged in cold water, without warning or preparation.

8. Poor Gonello generously undertook to carry out the prescription; and, one day, as the marquis was strolling along the bank of a river, Gonello ran up, and pushed him suddenly into the water. On being pulled out, the marquis was so enraged that he would listen to no explanation of the jester's conduct. Gonello fled from the city to Padua ;E1 and the marquis issued an edict against him, proclaiming sentence of death “should he again set foot on Ferrara ground.”

9. As Gonello soon heard, however, that the marquis (thanks to his ducking) was fast recovering his health and good humor,54 and as it was not a practical joke, but an act of humanity, that the jester had intended, he determined, in spite of the edict, to return to Ferrara. But, that he might go as much in character as possible, keeping within the letter of the law at the same time, he procured a cart filled with earth from Padua, and, standing upon it, entered Ferrara, protesting that the edict could not apply to him, as it was on “ Ferrara ground” only that he was liable to be arrested, whereas he could prove that he stood on Paduan soil.

10. This speciale pleading did not, however, avail. He was hurried off to prison; the last rites of religion were administered to him; and the next day he was brought forth, in the presence of an immense assemblage, to the scaffold. Poor fellow! He thought it a very hard case that such a tragedy should succeed so much mirth as he had been the means of dispensing. Commending his soul to Heaven," he forgave all his enemies, laid his head upon the block, and told the executioner to do his work quickly.

11. With a grin upon his countenance, that functionary approached, made a flourish with his axe, and then dexterously Blipping it out of sight, seized a pail of water, and emptied it on the bare throat of the prisoner. The assembled crowd burst into shouts of exultation and joy. But why does Gonella remain motionless, with his head on the block? Is he attempt

ing another joke, by feigning to be asleep? Alas! he is dead ! Yes; the mortal life of the jester of Ferrara terminated there. lle was the victim of a practical joke, but a crueller one than he had ever himself attempted. The marquis was overwhelmed with griet' by the disastrous result, and paid every honor to the memory of the unfortunate Gonello.

XVII. — CONTRASTED SOLILOQUIES. 1. “ Alas!” exclaimed a silver-headed sage, “ how narrow is the utmost extent of human science ! - how circumscribed the sphere of intellectual exertion! I have spent my life in acquir. ing knowledge ; but how little do I know! The further I attempt to penetrate the secrets of nature, the more I am bewildered and benighted. Beyond a certain limit, all is but confusion or conjecture; so that the advantage of the learnëd over the ignorant consists greatly in having ascertained how little is to be kuown.

2. “It is true that I can measure the sun, and compute the distances of the planets; I can calculate their periodical movements, and even ascertain the laws by which they perform their sublime revolutions; but, with regard to their construction, and the beings which inhabit them, what do I know more than the clown?

3. “ Delighting to examine the economy of nature in our own world, I have analyzed the elements, and have given names to their component parts. And yet, should I not be as much at a loss to explain the burning of fire, or to account for the liquid quality of water, as the vulgar, who use and enjoy them without thought or examination ?

4. “I remark that all bodies, unsupported, fall to the ground; and I am taught to account for this by the law of gravitation. Es But what have I gained here more than a term? Does it convey to my mind any idea of the nature of that mysterious and invisible chain, which draws all things to a common centre ? I observe the effect, I give a name to the cause; but can I explain or comprehend it?

5. “ Pursuing the track of the naturalist, I have learned to distinguish the animal, vegetable and mineral kingdonis, and to divide these into their distinct tribes and families; but can I tell, after all this toil, whence a single bladle of grass derives its vitality ? Could the most minute researches enable me to discover the exquisite pencil that paints and fringes the flower of the field ? Have I ever detected the secret that gives their brilliant dye to the rubye and the emeraid, or the art that enamels the delicate shell ?

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »