Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

Explain "frail tenant," "irised ceiling rent," "sunless crypt unsealed.”

Was this shell quickly made? How do you know?
What did the nautilus do to gain a new chamber?

Express in your own words the beautiful lesson which this poem teaches us.

NOTES

The Pearly Nautilus lives in the seas of the “cloudless tropics,” being found in the Mediterranean Sea and in the Indian and Southern Pacific Ocean. It is a polyp, or mollusk, and has two broad, winglike appendages. These are like tiny sails when unfurled and expanded.

14 Irised. Iris was the goddess of the rainbow.

26 Triton. The son of Neptune and Amphitrite, and the trumpeter of Neptune. His trumpet was often pictured as made of a shell.

ADDITIONAL SELECTIONS

The Autocrat of the Breakfast

Table
Old Ironsides
The Voiceless
The Old Man Dreams
Contentment

Grandmother's Story of Bunker

Hill
The Last Leaf
Bill and Joe
The Boys
Under the Violets

THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW

(FOUND AMONG THE PAPERS OF THE LATE

DIEDRICH KNICKERBOCKER)

WASHINGTON IRVING

Washington Irving was born in New York City, April 3, 1783. His education, which was as good as the schools of those days afforded, was finished when he was about sixteen. He was very fond of reading when a boy, “The Arabian Nights,” and “Robinson Crusoe,” being his particular favorites. His first literary work was in the form of essays, written over the signature of Jonathan Oldstyle. In 1804, his health having declined, he went abroad. He returned to America with restored health, and two years later the “History of New York by Diedrich Knickerbocker," appeared. The “Conquest of Granada” and “The Alhambra” are the result of many delightful weeks spent in southern Spain. While Secretary of the London legation he wrote the “Companions of Columbus,” and received the degree of LL.D. from Oxford University. In 1842, he was appointed minister to Spain, returning to America four years later. During the last years of his life he wrote the “Life of Mahomet” and the “Life of Washington.” He died November 28, 1859, and his grave looks over the quiet loveliness of Sleepy Hollow and the winding Hudson.

A pleasing land of drowsy head it was,

Of dreams that wave before the half-shut eye:
And of gay castles in the clouds that pass,
Forever flushing round a summer sky.

- Castle of Indolence

In the bosom of one of those spacious coves which indent the eastern shore of the Hudson, at that broad expansion of the river denominated by the ancient Dutch navigators the Tappan Zee, and where they always pru5 dently shortened sail, and implored the protection of St. Nicholas when they crossed, there lies a small market town or rural fort, which by some is called Greensburgh, but which is more generally or properly known by the name of Tarry Town. This name was given it, we are told, in

former days, by the good housewives of the adjacent 5 country, from the inveterate propensity of their husbands

to linger about the village tavern on market days. Be that as it may, I do not vouch for the fact, but merely advert to it, for the sake of being precise and authentic.

Not far from this village, perhaps about three miles, there 10 is a little valley or rather lap of land among high hills,

which is one of the quietest places in the whole world. A small brook glides through it, with just murmur enough to lull one to repose; and the occasional whistle of a quail,

or tapping of a woodpecker, is almost the only sound that 15 ever breaks in upon the uniform tranquillity.

I recollect that, when a stripling, my first exploit in squirrel-shooting was in a grove of tall walnut-trees that shades one side of the valley. I had wandered into it at

noon-time when all nature is peculiarly quiet, and was 20 startled by the roar of my own gun, as it broke the Sabbath

stillness around, and was prolonged and reverberated by the angry echoes. If ever I should wish for a retreat whither I might steal from the world and its distractions

and dream quietly away the remnant of a troubled life, 25 I know of none more promising than this little valley.

From the listless repose of the place, and the peculiar character of its inhabitants, who are descendants from the original Dutch settlers, this sequestered glen has long been

known by the name of SLEEPY HOLLOW, and its rustic lads 30 are called the Sleepy Hollow boys throughout all the neigh

boring country. A drowsy, dreamy influence seems to hang over the land, and to pervade the very atmosphere. Some say that the place was bewitched by a high German

doctor, during the early days of the settlement: others, 35 that an old Indian chief, the prophet or wizard of his tribe, held his pow-wows there before the country was discovered by Master Hendrick Hudson. Certain it is, that the place still continues under the sway of some witching power,

that holds a spell over the minds of the good people, causing 5 them to walk in a continual reverie. They are given to all kinds of marvellous beliefs; are subject to trances and visions, and frequently see strange sights and hear music and voices in the air. The whole neighborhood abounds

with local tales, haunted spots, and twilight superstitions: 10 stars shoot and meteors glare oftener across the valley

than in any other part of the country, and the nightmare, with her whole nine fold, seems to make it the favorite scene of her gambols.

The dominant spirit, however, that haunts this en15 chanted region, and seems to be commander-in-chief of

all the powers of the air, is the apparition of a figure on horseback without a head. It is said by some to be the ghost of a Hessian trooper, whose head had been carried away

by a cannon-ball, in some nameless battle during the Revolu20 tionary War, and who is ever and anon seen by the country

folk, hurrying along in the gloom of night, as if on the wings of the wind. His haunts are not confined to the valley, but extend at times to the adjacent roads, and

especially to the vicinity of a church that is at no great 25 distance. Indeed, certain of the most authentic historians

of those parts who have been careful in collecting and collating the floating facts concerning this specter, allege that, the body of the trooper having been buried in the

churchyard, the ghost rides forth to the scene of battle 30 in nightly quest of his head, and that the rushing speed with

which he sometimes passes along the hollow, like a midnight þlast, is owing to his being belated, and in a hurry to get back to the churchyard before daybreak.

Such is the general purport of this legendary supersti35 tion, which has furnished material for many a wild story

in that region of shadows; and the spectre is known at all the country firesides by the name of The Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow.

It is remarkable that the visionary propensity I have 5 mentioned is not confined to the native inhabitants of the valley, but is unconsciously imbibed by every one who resides there for a time. However wide awake they may have been before they entered that sleepy region, they were sure,

in a little time, to inhale the witching influence of the air, 10 and begin to grow imaginative — to dream and see apparitions.

I mention this peaceful spot with all possible laud; for it is in such little retired Dutch valleys, found here and there

embosomed in the great State of New York, that popula15 tion, manners, and customs remain fixed, while the great

torrent of migration and improvement, which is making such incessant changes in other parts of this restless country, sweeps by them unobserved. They are like those

little nooks of still water, which border a rapid stream, 20 where we may see the straw and bubble riding quietly

at anchor, or slowly revolving in their mimic harbor, undisturbed by the rush of the passing current. Though many years have elapsed since I trod the drowsy shades of

Sleepy Hollow, yet I question whether I should not still find 25 the same trees and the same families vegetating in its sheltered bosom.

In this by-place of nature there abode, in a remote period of American history, that is to say, some thirty years since,

a worthy wight of the name of Ichabod Crane, who so30 journed, or, as he expressed it, “tarried,” in Sleepy Hollow,

for the purpose of instructing the children of the vicinity. He was a native of Connecticut, a State which supplies the Union with pioneers for the mind as well as for the forest,

and sends forth yearly its legions of frontier woodmen and 35 country schoolmasters. This cognomen of Crane was not

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »