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HORATIO, of ideal courage vain,
Was flourishing in air his father's cane,
And, as the fumes of valour swelled his pate,
Now thought himself this hero, and now that.
"And now," he cried, "I will Achilles1 be;
My sword I brandish; mark! the Trojans flee!
Now I'll be Hector2 when his angry blade
A lane through heaps of slaughtered Grecians made!
And now my deeds, still braver, I'll evince,3
I am no less than Edward, the Black Prince.
Give way, ye coward French!" As thus he spoke,
And aimed in fancy a sufficient stroke
To fix the fate of Crecy or Poictiers
-Heroically spurning trivial fears"—
His milk-white hand he strikes against a nail,
Sees his own blood, and feels his courage fail.
Ah! where is now that boasted valour flown,
That in the tented field1 so late was shown ?
Achilles weeps; great Hector hangs his head,
And the Black Prince goes whimpering to bed.

CAUTIONS: a. The emphasis is on ideal, as opposed to real. b. This line, being a parenthesis, ought to be read quicker and in a lower tone than the others.


GOLDEN bill! Golden bill!
Lo! the peep of day*;
All the air is cool and still,
From the elm-tree on the hill



MEANINGS: 1. Achilles, the bravest hero among the Greeks in the Trojan war. 2. Hector, the bravest of the Trojans. 3. Evince, show. 4. Tented field, field of battle.

Chant away;

While the moon drops down the west,
And the stars before the sun
Melt, like snow-flakes, one by one,
Ere the lark has left his nest,

Let thy loud and welcome lay1
Pour along

Few notes, but strong.


Jet-bright wing! Jet-bright wing!
Flit across the sunset glade,
Lying there in wait to sing;
Listen, with thine head awry,
Keeping time with twinkling eye,
While, from all the woodland shade,
Birds of every plume2 and note
Strain the throat,

Till both hill and valley ring;
And the warbled minstrelsy3
Ebbing, flowing, like the sea,
Claims brief interludes from thee;
Then with simple swell and fall,
Breaking beautiful through all,
Let thy pure, clear pipe repeat
Few notes, but sweet.


CAUTIONS: a. This line should be read slowly and distinctly. The chief thing to be noticed throughout this poem is the constant alternation of lines which must be read quickly and lines which must be read slowly. The last three lines in each division must, in particular, be read very slowly.

MEANINGS: 1. Lay, song. 2. Plume, plumage, colour of the feathers. 3. Minstrelsy, concert of all the birds. 4. Interludes, a short piece of music played between two other pieces.


O SWIFTLY glides the bonny' boat

Just parted from the shore,
And to the fishers' chorus-note2

Soft moves the dipping oar.
His toils

are borne with lightsome cheer;3
And ever may they speed,1
Who feeble age and helpmates dear
And tender bairnies5 feed.

We cast our lines in Largo Bay;
Our nets are floating wide;
Our bonny boat, with yielding sway,"
Rocks lightly on the tide.

And happy prove our daily lot
Upon the summer sea,

And blest on land our kindly9 cot,

Where all our treasures 10 be!


CAUTIONS: a. Avoid the verse-accent on from, and hurry on to shore. b. By hastening on to the fishers' chorus-note, we shall best avoid the accent on


to. c. The emphasis is on they, and must not be put on may. d. Read on-thetide, and avoid the verse-accent upon on.

MEANINGS: 1. Bonny, pretty. 2. Chorus-note, song sung in chorus. 3. Lightsome cheer, merry heart. 4. Speed, be lucky. 5. Bairnies, Scotch for children. 6. Sway, motion up and down caused by the waves. 7. And happy prove, and may (our daily lot) prove happy. 8. And blest, and may our kindly cot prove blest. 9. Kindly, because it gives shelter and rest. 10. Treasures, wife and children.



This poem relates an incident that may happen at the mouth of any river, such as the Dee, with a broad estuary. The tide comes suddenly up across the level sands; and in Morecambe Bay and other such places, it has been known to overtake a horse at full gallop. This poem may be called a short lyrical drama; aud, as changes in the feeling and voice are necessary, it is not easy to read well.


Oн, Mary, go and call the cattle home,
And call the cattle home,
And call the cattle home,
Across the sands of Dee."

The western wind was wild and dark with foam,
And all alone went she.

(Read slowly.)

The western tide crept up along the sand,
And o'er and o'er the

And round and round the sand} (Very slow.)

As far as eye could see.

The rolling mist came down and hid the land:
And never home came she. (4 long pause.)
"Oh! is it weed, or fish, or floating hair-
A tress of golden hair,

A drowned maiden's hair,
Above the nets at sea?"

Was never salmon yet that shone so fair
Among the stakes1 of Dee.


They rowed her in

(This is the reply.)

across the rolling foam,
The cruel crawling foam,
The cruel hungry foam,
To her grave beside the sea.
But still the boatmen hear her call the cattle home,
Across the sands of Dee.

(Very slow.)


CAUTION: The danger in this poem is either that of falling into a monotonous manner, or of a too abrupt transition from one voice to another. As in all such instances, these dangers can be avoided only by the good sense of the reader, who should try to realize the whole feeling and every circumstance of the poem, before attempting to read it aloud.

MEANING: 1. Stakes, the stakes to which the fishing-nets are fastened. The dead body of the poor girl had become entangled among these stakes.



This poem was written by THOMAS MOORE, an Irish poet, who "flourished" in the time of George IV., and who died in 1852. It is supposed to be sung by boatmen on the St. Lawrence, just above where the Ottawa falls into it. It should be read slowly, with real expression, and with a certain measured cadence.

FAINTLY as tolls the evening chime,1
Our voices keep tune and our oars keep time."
Soon as the woods on the shore look dim,
We'll sing at St. Anne's our parting hymn.
Row, brothers, row,
the stream
runs fast,b
The rapids are near
and the daylight's past.

Why should we yet our sail unfurl2?
There is not a breath the blue wave to curl;
But when the wind blows off the shore,
Oh! sweetly we'll rest our weary oar.
Blow, breezes, blow, the stream
The rapids are near
and the daylight's past.
this trembling moon 4
over thy surges soon.

Ottawa's tide3!
Shall see us float
Saint of this green isle!
hear our prayers,
Oh, grant us cool heavens, and favouring airs.
Blow, breezes, blow, the stream runs fast,
and the daylight's past.

The rapids are near

runs fast,

CAUTIONS: a. "C 'As the evening chime tolls faintly, our voices keep tune," etc. This sense must be preserved in the reading. b. This line is almost broken up into separate words. c. The rhythm of this line expresses intense tranquillity.

MEANINGS: 1. Chime, a tune played upon church bells. 2. Unfurl, spread out. 3. Tide, poetic for stream. 4. Trembling moon. It is only the reflection of the moon in the water that is "trembling." 5. Favouring airs, favourable



The first three lines present an ordinary country picture. Then comes the summer rain, which is compared to a long line of spears-and then to a charge of cavalry.

is reaping the plain,1

BEFORE the stout harvesters falleth the grain,"
As when the strong storm-wind
And loiters the boy in the briery lane;"
But yonder aslant comes the silvery rain,
Like a long line of spears brightly burnished and tall.

Adown the white highway like cavalry fleet,
It dashes the dust with its numberless feet.

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Like a murmurless school, in their leafy retreat,

The wild birds sit listening the drops round them beat;2 And the boy crouches close to the blackberry wall.


CAUTIONS: a. The nature of the verse would induce the reader to read this poem rapidly; and he has to check this tendency. b. This line is a little difficult to read.

MEANINGS: 1. The meaning of the second line is: "As it falls when the strong storm-wind is scouring over the plain and beating down the corn." 2. The fourth line in the second verse, means: The wild birds sit listening to the drops that beat round them."



This poem was written by LEIGH HUNT (1784-1859). It is a version of a story which has been narrated by the German poet Schiller, and also by our own poet Robert Browning. It describes an event which is said to have really happened. A lady throws her glove between two lions; a knight jumps between them and brings it back. The result is told in the poem.

KING FRANCIS was a hearty king, and loved a royal sport,
And one day, as his lions strove, sat looking on the court:
The nobles filled the benches round, the ladies by their side,
And 'mongst them Count de Lorge, with one he hoped to make

his bride.

And truly 'twas a gallant thing,
Valour and love, and a king above,

to see that crowning show,1 and the royal beasts below.

Ramped and roared the lions, with horrid laughing jaws;
They bit, they glared, gave blows like beams, a wind went with their


With wallowing might and stifled roar they rolled one on another,
Till all the pit, with sand and mane, was in a thund'rous smother;"
The bloody foam above the bars came whizzing through the air;
Said Francis then, "Good gentlemen,
we're better here than


De Lorge's love o'erheard the king, a beauteous lively dame,
With smiling lips, and sharp bright eyes, which always seemed the


She thought, "The count, my lover, is as brave as brave can be;
He surely would do desperate things to show his love of me!
King, ladies, lovers, all look on; the chance is wondrous fine;
I'll drop my glove to prove his love; great glory will be mine!"

She dropped her glove to prove his love: then looked on him and smiled; He bowed,

and in a moment leaped among the lions wild!

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