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DEATH ON THE FIELD OF BATTLE.

161

BIRTH AND DEATH.
Upon thy mother's knee, a new-born child,
Weeping thou satt'st, whilst all around thee smiled;
So live that sinking into death's long sleep,
Calm thou mayst smile, while all around thee weep.

SIR W. JONES.-From the Persian of Hafiz. CAUTION: The antithesis in these lines requires to be carefully brought out by the reader. It exists in the second and fourth lines.

THE EVENING STAR.
O HESPERUS?! thou bringest all good things

Home* to the weary, to the hungry cheer,2
To the young bird the parent's brooding wings,

The welcome stall to the o'er-laboured steer ;3
Whate'er of peace about our hearthstone clings,

Whate'er our household gods protect of dear,
Are gathered round us by thy look of rest;
Thou bring'st the child, too, to the mother's breast.

BYRON. CAUTIONS : a. The pause after home will enable the reader to avoid the, to. b. Put a gentle emphasis on thy, and slur over the by.

MEANINGS: 1. Hesperus was the Greek and Latin name for the evening star, which appears in the west above the sunken sun. Hence, Italy, as the land of the west, was called Hesperia by the Greeks; and Spain was called Hesperia by the Romans. 2. Cheer, pleasant food and refreshment. 3. Steer, ox. 4. Whate'er of dear, is a French idiom. It means, all that is dear.

b

DEATH ON THE FIELD OF BATTLE.
Day glimmers on the dying and the dead,
The cloven cuirass and the helmless' head;
The war-horse, masterless, is on the earth,
And that-last gasp

hath burst his bloody girth ;
And near, yet quivering with what life remained,
The heel that urged him, and the hand that reined;
And some, too, near that rolling torrent lie,
Whose waters mock the lips of those that die;
That panting thirst, which scorches in the breath
Of those that die the soldiers' fiery death.?

Byron. CAUTIONS : a. The first line must be read with great slowness and distinctness. b. Avoid the verse-accent upon the on. c. Read“ with what life remained.”

MEANINGS : 1. Helmless, without a helmet. 2. A wound produces the most utense thirst; and this is the source of the greatest pain to wounded soldiers.

M

I saw

THE LAST MAN. The following are two verses from a poem by Thomas CAMPBELL, who lived and wrote in the beginning of this century (died 1844). The idea of the poem is that the whole human race may die gradually out-till at last only one man survives; and an attempt is made in the other parts of the poem to depict his feelings.

All worldly shapes shall melt in gloom,

The sun himself must die,
Before this mortal shall assume

Its immortality!
I saw a vision in my sleep
That gave my spirit strength

to sweep
Adown the gulf of Time!

the last of human mould,
That shall creation's death behold,

As Adam saw her prime!
The sun's eye had a sickly glare,

The earth with age was wan,
The skeletons of nations

Around that lonely man!
Some had expired in fight,—the brands
Still rusted in their bony hands;

In plague and famine some!
Earth's cities had no sound nor tread;
And ships were drifting with the dead
To shores where all

was dumb! CAUTIONS : a. This poem must be read with extreme slowness, with fulness of voice, and with a certain pomp of solemnity. b. Around that lonely man should be read very slowly, and as if each word were a separate statement. c. All-was dumb. The two words all and dumb can take a great weight of accent.

MEANINGS: 1. As Adam saw her prime. Adam was the first man to see the beginnings of God's works.

were

TO A CHILD. These verses are from a longer poem, called “Casa Wappy," by Dr. Moir, a Scottish poet and writer in Blackwood's Magazine. The name was that given by the poor child to himself. He died early, but was never forgotten. He died suddenly, of croup. Always in the highest animal spirits, the sun of his life went down in its earliest morning.

Thy bright brief day knew no decline, a

'Twas cloudless joy;
Sunrise and night alone were thine,

Belovëd boy!
This morn beheld thee blithe and gay,
That found thee prostrate in decay,
And, ere a third shone, clay was clay.

THE LABOURER'S NOON-DAY HYMN.

163

Gem of our hearth, our household pride,

Earth's undefiled;
Could love have saved, thou hadst not died,

Our dear, sweet child !
Humbly we bow to God's decree;
Yet had we hoped that time should see
Thee mourn for us, not us for thee.
Even to the last thy every word

To glad, to grieve-
Was sweet as sweetest song of bird

On summer's eve;
In outward beauty undecayed,
Death o'er thy spirit cast no shade,

But like the rainbow thou didst fade.b CAUTIONS : a. Thy bright brief day knew no decline. This line has the emphasis on no; but this emphasis is not at all a strong one-it is mild, quiet, and sorrowful. b. The last line should be read with great slowness.

MEANINGS : 1. Prostrate, struck down. 2. Had we hoped, a poetical transposition of the words, for we had hoped. 3. In outward beauty undecayed. There is an emphasis on outward ; but it should be made very slight.

THE LABOURER'S NOON-DAY HYMN. This hymn, by WORDSWORTH, is written for out-of-door labourers; and the sun is taken as the example to be followed.

Up to the throne of God is borne
The voice of praise at early morn;
And He accepts the punctual hymn,
Sung as the light of day grows dim.
Nor will He turn His ear aside
From holy offerings at noon-tide;-
Then here reposing,

let us raise
A song of gratitude and praise.
What though our burden be not light,
We need not toil from morn to night;
The respite? of the mid-day hour
Is in the thankful creature's power.
Blest are the moments, doubly blest,
That, drawn from this hour of rest,
Are with a ready heart 3 bestowed
Upon the service of our God!
Each field is then a hallowed4 spot,
An altar is in each man's cotz
A church in every grove that spreads
Its living roof above our heads.

one

But our

7

Look up to heaven! th' industrious sun
Already half his race hath run:
He cannot halt nor go astray,

immortal spirits may.
Lord ! since his rising in the east,
If we have faltered 6 or transgressed,
Guide from Thy love's abundant source
What yet remains of this day's course.
Help with Thy grace through life's short day,
Our upward and our downward way;
And glorifys for us the west,
When we shall sink to final rest.

CAUTIONS : a. Slur over up to the. b. This line should be read very slowly. C. A slight emphasis on have.

MEANINGS : 1. Offerings, offerings of prayer and praise. 2. Respite, interval. 3. Ready heart, heart that is eager and willing. 4. Hallowed, made sacred. 5. Living roof, in contradistinction to an ordinary roof. 6. Faltered, been unsteady in the right way. 7. Transgressed, left the right way. 8. Glorify, light up with hopes and rays from another world. 9. Final rest, our last rest.

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PEACE. These lines are adapted from VAUGHAN, an exquisite poet of the 17th century. He wrote chiefly religious poems.

THERE is a peaceful country,

Beyond the farthest sky,
Where sorrow

finds no entry,
Where God is ever nigh.b
There, above strife and danger,

Sweet Peace sits crowned with song
And One born in a manger

Walks with the saintly throng.
If thou canst get but thither,
There grows

the flower of peace
The rose

that cannot wither, The love that cannot cease.

CAUTIONS:

: a. Avoid the verse-accent upon is, and dwell a little on the word peaceful. b. The emphasis-a quiet one-is on ever.

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THE DEAD INDIAN. The Indians provide the dead with weapons and provisions for their last long journey to the other world.

On the mat he's sitting there

See! he sits pright-
With the same look that he ware

When he saw the light.
But where now the hand's clenched weight?

Where the breath he drew,
That to the Great Spirit late

Forth the pipe-smoke blew ?
Where the eyes that, falcon-keen,

Marked the reindeer pass,
By the dew upon

the

green,
By the waving grass ?
These the limbs that, unconfined,

Bounded through the snow,
Like the stag that's twenty-tined,

Like the mountain roe !
These the arms that, stout and tense,

Did the bow-string twang!
See, the life is parted hence !

See how loose they hang !
Bring the last sad offerings hither;

Chant the death lament;
All inter with him together,

That can him content.3
'Neath his head the hatchet hide

That he swung so strong;
And the bear's ham set beside,

For the way is long;
Then the knife-sharp let it be-

That from foeman's crown,
Quick with dexterous cuts but three,4

Skin and tuft brought down.
Paints to smear his frame about,

Set within his hand,
That he redly may shine out
In the spirit land !

SCHILLER. CAUTION : The danger in reading this poem is sing-song. The greatest care must be taken to read clearly, slowly, and with the proper grouping of words.

MEANINGS: 1. Twenty-tined, with twenty branches to its antlers. 2. Tense, well-strung muscles. 3. These two lines mean : Bury everything together with him that can please him. 4. With dexterous cuts but three, with only three dexterous or skilful cuts.

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