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An ingenious projector, named Edward Heming, obtained letters patent, conveying to him for a term of years the exclusive right of lighting up London. He undertook for a moderate consideration to place a light before every tenth door on moonless nights, from Michaelmas to Lady Day, and from six to twelve of the clock.

Those who now see the capital all the year round, from dusk to dawn, blazing with a splendour compared with which the illuminations for La Hogue and Blenheim would have looked pale, may perhaps smile to think of Heming's lanterns, which glimmered feebly before one house in ten, during a small part of one night in three. But such was not the feeling of his contemporaries. His scheme was enthusiastically applauded, and furiously attacked. The friends of improvement extolled him as the greatest of all the benefactors of his city.

“What," they asked, “were the boasted inventions of Archimedes when compared with the achievement of the man who had turned the shades of night into the clearness of noontide ?"

In spite of these eloquent praises, the cause of night was not left undefended. There were fools in that age who opposed the introduction of what was called the new light as vigorously as fools in our age have opposed the introduction of vaccination and railroads ; as vigorously as the fools of

age before the dawn of history doubtless opposed the introduction of the plough and of



alphabetical writing. Many years after the date of Heming's patent there were extensive districts in which no lamp was seen.



[Lars Porsena, King of Etruria, marched to besiege Rome, and

would have taken it, had not his advance been foiled by three brave men, who kept him and his army at bay whilst the bridge behind them was being cut down.]



gor-y rap-tur-ous

But meanwhile, axe and lever

Have manfully been plied;
And now the bridge hangs tottering

Above the boiling tide.
“ Come back, come back, Horatius!”

Loud cried the fathers all.
“ Back, Lartius! back, Herminius!

Back, ere the ruin fall !”

Back darted Spurius Lartius;

Herminius darted back:
And, as they passed, beneath their feet

They felt the timbers crack.
But when they turned their faces,

And on the farther shore
Saw brave Horatius stand alone,

They would have crossed once more.

But with a crash like thunder

Fell every loosened beam,
And, like a dam, the mighty wreck

Lay right athwart the stream:
And a long shout of triumph

Rose from the walls of Rome, As to the highest turret-tops

Was splashed the yellow foam.

And, like a horse unbroken

When first he feels the rein, The furious river struggled hard,

And tossed his tawny mane,
And burst the curb, and bounded,

Rejoicing to be free,
And whirling down, in fierce career,
Battlement, and plank, and pier,

Rushed headlong to the sea.

Alone stood brave Horatius,

But constant still in mind; Thrice thirty thousand foes before,

And the broad flood behind. " Down with him!” cried false Sextus,

With a smile on his pale face. “ Now yield thee !” cried Lars Porsena,

“Now yield thee to our grace!

Round turned he, as not deigning

Those craven ranks to see; Nought spake he to Lars Porsena,

To Sextus nought spake he:

But he saw on Palatinus

The white porch of his home; And he spake to the noble river

That rolls by the towers of Rome.

« O Tiber! Father Tiber!

To whom the Romans pray,
A Roman's life, a Roman's arms,

Take thou in charge this day!”
So he spake, and speaking sheathed

The good sword by his side, And with his harness on his back,

Plunged headlong in the tide.

No sound of joy or sorrow

Was heard from either bank; But friends and foes in dumb surprise, With parted lips and straining eyes,

Stood gazing where he sank; And when above the surges

They saw his crest appear, All Rome sent forth a rapturous cry, And even the ranks of Tuscany

Could scarce forbear to cheer.


But fiercely ran the current,

Swollen high by months of rain : And fast his blood was flowing,

And he was sore in pain,

And heavy with his armour,

And spent with changing blows : And oft they thought him sinking,

But still again he rose.

Never, I ween, did swimmer,

In such an evil case,
Struggle through such a raging flood

Safe to the landing-place:
But his limbs were borne up bravely

By the brave heart within,
And our good Father Tiber

Bare bravely up his chin.

“Curse on him!” quoth false Sextus;

“Will not the villain drown? But for this stay, ere close of day

We should have sacked the town!" “Heaven help him!” quoth Lars Porsena,

“And bring him safe to shore; For such a gallant feat of arms

Was never seen before."

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And now he feels the bottom;

Now on dry earth he stands ;
Now round him throng the Fathers

To press his gory hands;
And now, with shouts and clapping,

And noise of weeping loud,
He enters through the River-Gate,

Borne by the joyous crowd.

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