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This short poem, by CAMPBELL, is perhaps the most remarkable instance of compression in English poetry. A long and eventful story is told in four short verses-A high-born lady is slandered; an unknown knight enters the lists to clear her good name; he conquers. Then follows a conversation between the lady and the knight, in which the lady makes a remarkable discovery.
THE ordeal's' fatal trumpet sounded,*
When forth a valiant champion bounded,
delivered from her danger;
"For he is in a foreign far land
Whose arms should now have set me free;
say not that his faith is tainted!"
CAUTIONS: a. The whole poem must be read with the greatest clearness and distinctness, as every line, and almost every word, contains a new development of some incident of the story. Thus, there are four events in the first four lines. b. Sad belongs to came; and pale to Adelgitha. The prose would be: "And pale Adelgitha came sadly to the lists." c. There is a mournful and weary emphasis on the I.
MEANINGS: 1. Ordeal, trial by arms. 2. Fatal, announcing death to one of the combatants. 3. Hapless, unfortunate. 4. The willow garland was worn by those who had been forsaken. 5. Visor, the front part of his helmet, through which he sees (viser).
This is an Eastern story, told in LEIGH HUNT's best manner. A wicked officer of the sultan enters by force the house of a poor person, and acts there in a cruel and tyrannical way to all of the inmates. The poor man makes his complaint in Eastern fashion, direct to the sultan; and the sultan, also in Eastern fashion, avenges his wrong by slaying the guilty officer on the very scene of his crime. The sultan was afraid that the criminal might have been one of his own sons; but, on finding that he is not, kneels and reverently thanks God, the just Arbiter of all.
THERE came a man, making his hasty moan
Before the Sultan Mahmoud
on his throne,
"Sorrow," said Mahmoud, " is a reverend1 thing:
And the wild villain comes and makes me mad with life."
"Is he there now ?" said Mahmoud. "No; he left
And laughed me down the street, because I vowed
And oh, thou Sultan Mahmoud, God cries out for thee!"
The sultan comforted the man, and said,
"Go home, and I will send thee wine and bread
(For he was poor), and other comforts. Go; And should the wretch return, let Sultan Mahmoud know."
In two days' time, with haggard eyes and beard,
And said, "He's come."-Mahmoud said not a word,
"Go in," said Mahmoud, "and put out the light;
The man went in. There was a cry, and hark! A table falls, the window is struck dark: Forth rush the breathless women; and behind With curses comes the fiend in desperate mind.3 In vain the sabres : soon cut short the strife, And chop the shrieking wretch, and drink his bloody life.
"Now light the light," the sultan cried aloud. 'Twas done; he took it in his hand and bowed Over the corpse, and looked upon the face; Then turned and knelt beside it in the place, And said a prayer, and from his lips there crept Some gentle words of pleasure, and he wept.
In reverent silence the spectators wait,
THE BURIAL OF MOSES.
The man amazed, all mildness now and tears,
The sultan said, with much humanity,*
For this I had the light put out. But when
The first time since thou cam'st and marr'd'st my solitude."7
CAUTIONS: a. This line to be said slowly and quietly. b. This set of circumstances to be narrated deliberately and slowly. c. Care must be taken not to let the accent fall on to, and for this purpose a pause should come after rose up.
MEANINGS: 1. Reverend, worthy of respect. 2. Bereft, deprived. 3. In desperate mind, with desperate intention. 4. Humanity, kindness. 5. Part, duty. 6. Arbiter, judge. 7. Marr'd'st my solitude, took away my peace of mind when alone.
THE BURIAL OF MOSES.
These verses are from a longer poem, founded on the statement in Deut. xxxiv. 5, 6. "So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord. And He buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Beth-peor; but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day." The feeling of the poem is that of intense loneliness, the loneliness and the solitude of God.
CAUTIONS: a. The first verse must be read in the slow level tone of ordinary narrative. The subject proper is not reached until we come to the second verse. b. Noiselessly belongs to and modifies go forth. The funeral train went forth as noiselessly as the daylight comes to us.
MEANINGS: 1. Curious is here used in the old sense of inquisitive, trying to know too much. 2. Mysteries, secrets. Mysteries of grace, secrets and unintelligible dealings, which yet are acts of the truest kindness and grace. 3. Sleep. Compare the text: "He giveth His beloved sleep."
This poem, by THOMAS CHATTERTON, who died in 1770, at the early age of eighteen, is a dirge or elegiac poem on the death of a young man. Its usual title is, "The Minstrel's Song in Ella."
O SING unto my roundelay1;*
O drop the briny tear with me;
Gone to his death-bed,
Black his hair as the winter night,
as summer snow,
Ruddy his face as the morning light,
My love is dead,
Gone to his death-bed,
CAUTIONS: a. Take care not to mark the verse-accent on unto, but slur over the word, and make a slight pause after sing. b. This refrain should be read in a very slow and low tone.
MEANINGS: 1. Roundelay, a song or lay which goes round the companya part-song. 2. Briny, salt. 3. Tabor, a musical instrument. 4. Dell, a narrow dale.
ST. PHILIP NERI AND THE YOUTH.
one day :
St. P. N. Tell me what brings you, gentle youth, to Rome?
St. P. N. And, when you ared one, what do you intend ?
Suppose it so5-what have you next in view?
St. P. N.