Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

(Author and date unknown.}

FLOATING LEGENDS. A LADY of rank, who vexed herself with the thought that her domestic interfered with her devotional duties, was, on one occasion, called away from church by some sudden summons. She found, on returning, that the pages she had missed in her breviary had been re-written, in letters of gold, and that an angel had taken her place, and prayed in her stead, during her absence.

ROGER A$ CHAM. 1525 - 1568. He was a distinguished writer of this age, and at one time preceptor to Queen Elizabeth. Ascham was the first writer on education in our language, and many of his views on this subject correspond with those considered best at the present day. On occasion of his death, Elizabeth remarked that she would rather have given ten thousand pounds than to have lost him. His principal work was The Schoolmaster.

[From "The Schoolmaster.") It is pity that commonly more care is had, and that among very wise men, to find out rather a cunning man for their horse, than a cunning man for their children. To the one, they will gladly give a stipend of two hundred crowns by the year, and loth to offer the other two hundred shillings. God, that sitteth in heaven, laugheth their choice to scorn, and rewardeth their liberality as it should; for he suffereth them to have tame and well-ordered horses, but wild and unfortunate children.

One example, whether love or fear doth work more in a child for virtue and learning, I will gladly report; which may be heard with some pleasure, and followed with more profit.

Before I went into Germany, I came to Broadgate, in Leicestershire, to take my leave of that noble lady, Jane Grey, to whom I was exceeding much beholden. Her parents, the duke and the duchess, with all the household, gentlemen and gentlewomen, were hunting in the park. I found her in her chamber, reading Phædon Platonis, in Greek, and that with as much delight as some gentlemen would read a merry tale in Bocace. After salutation and duty done, with some other talk, I asked her why she would lose such pastime in the park? Smiling, she answered me, “I wiss all their sport in the park is but a shadow to that pleasure that I find in Plato. Alas! good folk, they never felt what true pleasure meant.” “And how came you, madam,” quoth I, “ to this deep knowledge of pleasure ? And what did chiefly allure you unto it, seeing not many women, but very few men, hath attained thereunto ?” “I will tell you,” quoth she, “and tell you a truth which, perchance, ye will marvel at. One of the greatest benefits that ever God gave me is, that he sent me so sharp and severe parents, and so gentle a schoolmaster. For when I am in presence either of father or mother, whether I speak, keep silence, sit, stand, or go; eat, drink, be merry, or sad; be sewing, playing, dancing, or doing anything else; I must do it, as it were, in such weight, measure, and number, even so perfectly as God made the world, or else I am so sharply taunted, so cruelly threatened, yea, presently, sometimes, with pinches, nips, and bobs, and other ways, which I will not name for the honor I bear them – so without measure misordered — that I think myself in hell, till time come that I must go to Mr. Elmer; who teacheth me so gently, so pleasantly, with such fair allurements to learning, that I think all the time nothing while I am with him. And when I am called from him, I fall on weeping, because, whatever I do else, but learning, is full of grief, trouble, fear, and whole misliking unto me. And thus my book hath been so much my pleasure, and bringeth daily unto me more pleasure and more, that, in respect of it, all other pleasures, in very deed, be but trifles and troubles unto me."

Sir WALTER RALEIGH. 1552-1618.

“ In the brilliant constellation of great men, who adorned the reigns of Elizabeth and James, one of the most distinguished of those who added eminence in literature to high talent for active business, was Sir Walter Raleigh.” He had a handsome person and winning address, and was a favorite at the court of Elizabeth.

A well-known anecdote illustrates his gallantry and tact. “One day, when he was attending the queen on a walk, she came to a miry

part of the road, and for a moment hesitated to proceed. Raleigh, perceiving this, instantly pulled off his rich plush coat, and by spreading it before her feet, enabled her to pass unsoiled."

After James came to the throne, he was, by a judgment of which all parties were ashamed, condemned for high treason, and imprisoned in the Tower, where his wife was permitted to be with him. While here, for twelve years, he wrote the most of his works, especially his History of the World. He was released from the Tower, but was again arrested; and, as James, who owed him a spite, could find no other ground of accusation against him, he was beheaded upon the old sentence, after having been once reprieved from it, and set at liberty! He was calm on the scaffold - said of the axe, " This is a sharp medicine, but a sound cure for all diseases." He bade the executioner “ fear not, but strike home.” Being requested by the executioner to alter the position of his head, he replied, “So the heart be right, it is no matter which way the head lies.” The night before his execution, he composed the following lines.

“Even such is time, that takes on trust

Our youth, our joys, our all we have,
And pays us back with age and dust;

Who, in the dark and silent grave,
When we have wandered all our ways,
Shuts up the story of our days !”

LETTER TO HIS WIFE, WHEN HE WAS IN PRISON, IN

EXPECTATION OF DEATH. You shall receive, my dear wife, my last words, in these my last lines : my love I send you, that you may keep when I am dead; and my counsel, that you may remember it when I am no more. I would not, with my will, present you sorrows, dear Bess; let them go to the grave with me, and be buried in the dust. And seeing that it is not the will of God that I shall see you any more, bear my destruction patiently, and with a heart like yourself.

First, I send all the thanks which my heart can conceive, or my words express, for your many travails and cares for me, which, though they have not taken effect as you wished, yet my debt to you is not the less; but pay it I never shall, in this world.

Secondly, I beseech you, for the love you bear me living, that you do not hide yourself many days, but by your travails seek to help my miserable fortunes, and the right of your poor child; your mourning cannot avail me, that am but dust.

Dear wife, I beseech you, for my soul's sake, pay all poor men. When I am dead, no doubt you shall be much sought unto; for the world thinks I was very rich : have a care to fair pretences of men; for no greater misery can befall you, in this life, than to become a prey unto the world, and after to be despised. I speak, God knows, not to dissuade you from marriage ; for it will be best for you, both in respect of God and the world. As for me, I am no more yours, nor you mine ; death has cut us asunder, and God hath divided me from the world, and you from me. Remember your poor child, for his father's sake, who loved you in his happiest estate. I sued for my life; but God knows, it was for you and yours that I desired it; for know it, my dear wife, your child is the child of a true man, who, in his own respect, despiseth death and his misshapen and ugly forms. I cannot write much, (God knows how hardly I steal this time, when all sleep!) and it is also time for me to separate my thoughts from the world. Beg my dead body, which, living, was denied you, and either lay it in Sherburne or Exeter church, by my father and mother. I can say no more; time and death calleth me away.

The everlasting God, powerful, infinite, and inscrutable, God Almighty, who is goodness itself, the true light and life, keep you and yours, and have mercy upon me, and forgive my persecutors and false accusers, and send us to meet in his glorious kingdom! My dear wife, farewell; bless my boy; pray for me, and let my true God hold you both in his arms.

EDMUND SPENSER. 1553— 1599. This distinguished poet was born and died in London, although a considerable part of his life was passed in Kilcolman Castle, on his estate in Ireland. Here he wrote the most of his great work, The Faery Queen. Here Raleigh, an admiring friend of his, visited him, and read with delight the manuscript of that chivalrous poem. The queen settled on him a pension of £50 per annum. In consequence of a political offence he gave the Irish, in an insurrection, the insurgents plundered and set fire to his castle. He escaped, with his wife; but an infant child was, by some mishap, left behind, and perished in the flames. The poet, heart-broken and impoverished, died, about three months after. The Shepherd's Calendar, Tears of the Muses, Mother Hubbard, and the Epithalamium, are other works of his.

[From the Faery Queen.”] UNA AND THE RED CROSS KNIGHT. A GENTLE knight was pricking on the plain, Yclad in mighty arms and silver shield, Wherein old dints of deep wounds did remain, The cruel marks of many a bloody field ; Yet arms till that time did he never wield : His angry steed did chide his foaming bit, As much disdaining to the curb to yield. Full jolly knight he seemed, and fair did sit, As one for knightly jousts and fierce encounters fit..

And on his breast a bloody cross he bore,
The dear remembrance of his dying Lord,
For whose sweet sake that glorious badge he wore,
And dead, as living, ever him adored ;
Upon his shield the like was also scored,
For sovereign hope which in his help he had;
Right faithful true he was in deed and word;
But if his cheer did seem too solemn sad,
Yet nothing did he dread, but ever was ydrad.

Upon a great adventure he was bound,
That greatest Gloriana to him gave, -
That greatest glorious queen of faery-land, -
To win him worship, and her grace to have,
Which all of earthly things he most did crave;
And ever, as he rode, his heart did yearn
To prove his puissance in battle brave,
Upon his foe, and his new force to learn,
Upon his foe, a dragon horrible and stern.

A lovely lady rode him fair beside,
Upon a lovely ass, more white than snow;
Yet she much whiter, but the same did hide
Under a veil that wimpled was full low,
And over all a black stole did she throw,

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »