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2. Here I indulge my memory and imagination in a thousand devious wanderings. I recall the distant shadows of departed time that have by degrees faded almost into oblivion, and send my mind on errands to the future. At times, I become so completely abstracted from the scenes around, as to forget where I am, and to lose almost the consciousness of being. I ruminate, I ponder, and I dream.
3. On one of these occasions, about the middle of the month of August, when the *dog-star rages, and all nature sinks into a sort of luxurious repose, I had become somewhat tired with a ramble longer than usual, and laid myself listlessly along the margin of a little + twittering stream, that stole its winding way among the deep obscurities of the wood; diffusing coolness, and inviting to repose.
4. Through the arched canopy of foliage that overhung the little stream, I could see it coursing its way on each hand among the rocks, glittering as if by moonlight, and disappearing after a thousand meanderings. It is impossible, ---at least with me it is impossible, — to resist the influence of such a scene. Reflecting beings like ourselves, sink into a sort of melancholy +reverie, under the influence of the hallowed quiet that reigns all around.
5. As I thus lay, in languid listlessness along the stream, as quiet as the leaves that breathed not a whisper above me, I gradually sunk into almost #unconsciousness of all the world and all it holds. The little birds sported about, careless of my presence, and the insects pursued that incessant turmoil, which seems never to cease, until winter lays his icy fetters on all nature, and drives them into their inscrutable hiding-places.
6. There is a + lapse in the recollection of the current of my thoughts at that moment, a short period of forgetfulness, from which I was roused by a hoarse, croaking voice, exclaiming, “Cruel, savage monster, what does he here?” I looked all around, and could see only a hawk seated on the limb of a dry tree, eyeing me, as I fancied, with a peculiar expression of hostility.
7. In a few minutes, I again relapsed into a profound reverie, from which I was awakened once more by a small squeaking whisper, “I dare say the blood-thirsty villain has been setting traps for us." I looked again, and at first sight, could see nothing from which I supposed the voice might proceed, but, at the same time, imagined that I distinguished a sort of confused whisper, in which many little voices seemed +commingled.
8. My curiosity was awakened, and peering about quietly, I found it proceeded from a collection of animals, birds, and insects,
gathered together for some unaccountable purpose. They seemed very much excited, and withal in a great passion about something, all talking at once. Listening attentively, I could distinguish one from the other.
9. “Let us + pounce upon the tyrant, and kill him in his sleep," cried a bald eagle: "for he grudges me a miserable little lamb now and then, though I don't require one above once a week. See ! where he wounded me in the wing, so that I can hardly get an honest living, by prey."
10. “Let me scratch his eyes out,” screamed a hawk, “for he will not allow_me peaceably to carry off a chicken from his barnyard, though I am dying of hunger, and come in open day to claim my natural, indispensable right.
11. “Ay, ay,” barked the fox, “he interferes in the same base manner with my privileges, though I visit bis henroost in the night, that I may not disturb him.'
Agreed,” hissed a rattlesnake, “for he won't let me bite him, though he knows it is my nature, and kills me according to Scripture. And thereupon, he rattled his tail, curled himself in *spiral volumes, and darted his tongue at me in the most fearful manner.
13. “Agreed,” said a great fat spider, which sat in his net, surrounded by the dead bodies of half a dozen insects, “agreed, for the bloody-minded savage takes delight in destroying the
fruits of my honest labors, on all occasions."
14. “By all means,” buzzed a great blue-bottle fly, “for he will not let me tickle his nose, of a hot summer day, though he must see with half an eye, that it gives me infinite satisfaction.”
15. “Kill him,” cried a little ant, that ran foaming and fretting about at a furious rate, “kill him without mercy, for he do n't mind treading me into a million of atoms, a bit more than you do killing a fly," addressing the spider. “The less you say about that, the better," whispered the spider.
16. “Odds fish!” exclaimed a beautiful trout, that I should like very much to have caught, popping his head out of the brook, “ Odds fish! kill the monster by all means; hook him, I say, for he entices me with worms, and devours me to gratify his + insatiable appetite.”
17. “To be sure,” said a worm, “kill him as he sleeps, and I'll eat him afterward; for though I am acknowledged on all hands to be his brother, he impales me alive on a hook, only for his amusement."
18. “I consent,” cooed the dove, “for he has deprived me of my mate, and made me a disconsolate widow.” Upon which, she began to mourn so piteously, that the whole assembly deeply + sympathized in her forlorn condition.
19. “He has committed a million of murders,” cried the spider. “He drowns all my kittens,” mewed the cat. “He tramples upon me without mercy," whispered the toad, only because I'm no beauty.” “He is a treacherous, cunning villain," barked the fox. “ He has no more mercy than a wolf,” screamed the hawk. “ He is a bloody tyrant,” croaked the eagle.
“ He is the common enemy of all nature, and deserves a hundred and fifty thousand deaths,” exclaimed they all in one voice.
20. I began to be heartily ashamed of myself, and was casting about how I might slip away from hearing these pleasant reproaches; but curiosity and listlessness together kept me quiet, while they continued to + discuss the best mode of destroying the tyrant. There was, as is usual in such cases, great diversity of opinion.
21. “I'll bury my talons in his brain,” said the eagle. “I'll tear his eyes out,” screamed the hawk. “I'll whip him to death with my tail,” barked the fox. “I'll sting him home,” hissed the rattlesnake. “I'll poison him,” said the spider. “I'll fly-blow him,” buzzed the ily. “I'll drown him, if he'll only come into my brook, so I will,' quoth the trout.
22. “I'll drag him into my hole, and do his business there, I warrant,” said the ant; and thereupon there was a giggle among the whole set. 66 And I'll - I'll” – said the worm. i What will you do, you poor Satan?” exclaimed the rest in a titter. " What will I do? Why I'll eat him after he's dead,” replied sir worm; and then he strutted about, until he +unwarily came so near that he slipped into the brook, and was snapped up in a moment by the trout. 23. The example was contagious. “Oho! you are for that
* sport,” mewed the cat, and clawed the trout before he could get his head under water. “Tit for tat," barked Reynard, and snatching pussy up in his teeth, was off like a shot. “ Since 't is the fashion,” said the spider, “I'll have a crack at that same bluebottle," and thereupon he nabbed the poor fly in a twinkling. “By your leave,” said the toad, and snapped up the spider in less than no time. “You ugly thief of the world,” hissed the rattlesnake in great wrath, and + indignantly laying hold of the toad, managed to swallow him about half way, where he lay in all his glory.
24. “What a nice morsel for my poor fatherless ones," cooed the dove, and, pecking at the ant, was just flying away with it in quite a +sentimental style, when the hawk, seeing this, screamed out, "what a pretty plump dove for a dinner! Providence has ordained that I should eat her.” He was carrying her off, when the
upon him, and soaring to his aerie on the summit of an + inaccessible rock, composedly made a meal of both hawk and dove. Then picking his teeth with his claws, he exclaimed with great complacency, “What a glorious thing it is to be king of birds !"
25. “Humph,” exclaimed I, rubbing my eyes, for it seemed I had been half asleep, “humph, a man is not so much worse than his neighbors, after all,” and shaking off the spell that was over me, bent my steps homeward, wondering why it was, that it seemed as if all living things were created for the sole purpose of preying on each other.
QUESTIONS.- By what authority does man hold dominion over animals? Does this include the right to torture them, or to kill them unnecessarily? Under what circumstances is it right to kill them? On what account are the animals, in this fable, supposed to be incensed at man ? How did they show, by their own conduct, the folly of finding fault with others ? When we see faults in others, where should our attention be directed? In what way can we make the best use of the faults of others?
TO TEACHERS. Frequent examination in grammatical construction will add interest to the reading lesson, and will be highly profitable to the pupil. A few questions of this kind are occasionally inserted in this book, merely as examples of the manner of conducting this exercise. This and all the collateral exercises should receive due attention, for this alone will redeem the read. ing exercise from its usual prosy and monotonous character, and give to it proper variety, interest, and profit.
ARTICULATION. Truly, trusty, thrifty, throttl'd, through, thrall. Truly he is trusty and thrifty. The brute was with difficulty throttld. Through the storm and danger's thrall. He has many cents, and but little sense. The prince bought some prints.
Pronounce correctly.—Mel-an-chol-y, not mel-un-chul-y: meadows, not mead-ers: hol-lows, not hol-luz: rust-le, pro, rus’l: beau-te-ous, not beau-che-ous : up-land, not up-lund: youth-ful, not youth-f'l: cold, not cole: moist, not mois : friend, not fren: flowers, not flow-uz.
1. Wail.ing.gra, beharting, mourning. | 3. Glade, m.augen place in the forest.
, valley, .
THE DEATH OF THE FLOWERS.
1. THE + melancholy days are come,
The saddest of the year,
And + meadows, brown and sear.
The withered leaves lie dead;
And to the rabbit's tread.
And from the shrub the jay,
Through all the gloomy day.
That lately sprang and stood
A + beauteous + sisterhood ?
The gentle race of flowers