« AnteriorContinuar »
ber of inefficient and badly-paid workmen, about 20,000 persons then derived their bread directly from the manufacture of earthenware, without taking into account the increased numbers to which it gave employment in coal-mines, and in the carrying trade by land and sea.
Adapted from Smiles' “ Self-Help.”
Midnight was come, and every vital thing
Now sweetly slept, beside their mother's breast,
The waters calm, the cruel seas did cease,
The golden stars were whirled amid their race, And on the earth did laugh with their twinkling
light, When each thing nestled in his resting-place,
Forgot day's pain with pleasure of the night; The hare had not the greedy hounds in sight;
The fearful deer of death stood not in doubt; The partridge dreamed not of the falcon's
The ugly bear now minded not the stake,
Nor how the cruel mastiffs do him tear ; The stag lay still unrousèd from the brake;
The foamy boar feared not the hunter's spear ; All things were still in desert, bush and brereThe quiet hearts now from their travails
rest, Soundly they slept, in most of all their rest. Thomas Sackville, Earl of Dorset,
B. 1536, D. 1608.
67.-AN ADVENTURE OF RICHARD
per-ceiv-ing sur-round-ed During Richard's stay at Joppa, an adventure befell him which was like to prove very fatal to him, and from which he was delivered by a sort of miracle. One day, being tired with hunting, as he lay asleep under a tree, with only six persons about him, he was roused by the sudden approach of some Saracen horse, who were near the place where he slept. As they were but few in number, he had no .dread upon him, but immediately mounting his horse, rode after them, which they perceiving, feigned to fly before them, and by that means drew him into an ambuscade, where he saw himself on a sudden surrounded by a squadron of horse. He defended himself for a
long time with a wonderful bravery, without any thoughts of retreating, notwithstanding the number of his enemies. At length, four of his attendants being slain, he was on the point of being slain, or taken, when William Despreaux, one of his company, cried out in the Saracen language, “I am the King of England!” at which words those that were fighting with Richard left him, to have a share in the taking of Despreaux, whom they imagined to be the king. This device gave Richard time to ride off at full speed, whilst the Saracens, content with their success, conducted their prisoner to Saladin. Despreaux had the prudence not to discover himself till he came before the Sultan, to whom he ingenuously confessed what he had done to save his master. Saladin commended his fidelity, and did him great honour.
But as he was very sensible that Richard would never suffer one who had done him so signal a service to remain long a captive, he set his ransom so high that he got ten emirs, or Saracen princes, in exchange for that faithful servant. Rapin's “ History of England."
68.—THE TAMING OF BUCEPHALUS.
While Alexander was yet very young, he entertained the ambassadors from the King of Persia in the absence of his father, and charmed them with his politeness and affability. But they were particularly pleased with the questions he asked them, which were far from being childish or trifling; for he inquired of them the distances of places, the manner of travelling in the remoter parts of Asia, the character of their king, how he behaved to his enemies, and what forces he could bring into the field; so that they were struck with admiration of him, and looked upon the abilities of Philip, though so highly celebrated, to be nothing in comparison of the extensive genius, and enterprising spirit of his son. Whenever he heard that Philip had taken any town of importance, or won any signal victory, instead of rejoicing at it, he would tell his companions “ that his father would anticipate everything, and leave him and them no opportunities of performing great and illustrious actions."
When Philonicus the Thessalian brought the horse Bucephalus to Philip, offering to sell him for thirteen talents, they went into the field to try him; but they found him so very vicious and unmanageable, that he reared up when they endeavoured to back him, and would not so much as endure the voice of any of Philip's attendants. Philip disliking him, and ordering his servants to lead him away, as altogether wild and untractable, Alexander, who stood by, would not let them, saying, “ What an excellent horse do they lose for want of address and boldness to manage him ! ” Philip at first took no notice of what he said ; but
when he heard him repeat the same thing, and saw that he was uneasy, he said, “Do you reproach those who are elder than yourself, as if you knew more, and were better able to manage a horse than they?"
“ Yes,” replied he, “ with this horse I could deal better than any one else."
“ And if you do not,” said Philip, “what will you forfeit for your rashness ? "
“ The whole price of the horse,” said Alexander.
At this the whole company fell a-laughing; but as soon as the agreement was made between them about the money, he immediately ran to the horse, and taking hold of the bridle, turned him directly towards the sun, having, it seems, observed that he was frightened by the motion of his own shadow. Then letting him go forward a little, still keeping the reins in his hand, and stroking him gently, when he found his fury began to abate, he let fall his upper garment softly, and with one nimble leap mounted upon his back; and when he was securely seated, by little and little he straitened the bridle, and curbed him without striking, or teasing him. Afterwards, when he perceived his heat and mettle was less impetuous, though he was still eager to run, he let him go at full speed, not only encouraging him with a commanding voice, but pressing him forward also with his heel. All who were present beheld this action at first with silent astonishment, and apprehension for Alexander's safety; till, seeing him turn at the end of his