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"All night I lay in agony, in anguish dark and deep; my fevered eyes I dared not close, but stared aghast at Sleep; for sin had rendered unto her the keys of hell to keep!

"All night I lay in agony, from weary chime to chime, with one besetting horrid hint, that racked me all the time-a mighty yearning, like the first fierce impulse unto crime!

"One stern tyrannic thought that made all other thoughts its slave; stronger and stronger every pulse did that temptation crave -still urging me to go and see the dead man in his grave!

"Heavily I rose up as soon as light was in the sky--and sought the black accursed pool with a wild misgiving eye; and I saw the dead, in the river bed, for the faithless stream was dry!


Merrily rose the lark, and shook the dew-drop from its wing; but I never marked its morning flight, I never heard it sing: for I was stooping once again under the horrid thing.

"With breathless speed, like a soul in chase, I took him up and ran-there was no time to dig a grave before the day began in a lonesome wood, with heaps of leaves, I hid the murdered man!

"And all that day I read in school, but my thought was otherwhere! As soon as the mid-day task was done, in secret I was there and a mighty wind had swept the leaves, and still the corse was bare!

"Then down I cast me on my face, and first began to weep, for I knew my secret then was one that earth refused to keep-or land or sea, though he should be ten thousand fathoms deep.

"So wills the fierce avenging sprite, till blood for blood atones! Ay, though he's buried in a cave, and trodden down with stones, and years have rotted off his flesh-the world shall see his bones!

"O God! that horrid, horrid dream besets me now awake! again -again, with dizzy brain, the human life I take; and my red right hand grows raging hot, like Cranmer's at the stake.


And still, no peace for the restless soul will wave or mould allow ; the horrid thing pursues my soul-it stands before me now!" The fearful boy looked up, and saw huge drops upon his brow.

That very night, while gentle sleep the urchin's eyelids kissed, two stern-faced men set out from Lynn through the cold and heavy mist; and Eugene Aram walked between, with gyves upon his wrist.



BLANK verse is just as easy to read as rhymed verse, and perhaps easier. It is only necessary to remind the reader here again, that he must fill his whole mind with the sense,— try to bring that out,-and pay no attention to the measure or to the rhythm.


THIS royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle;
This earth of majesty; this seat of Mars;
This other Eden, demi-Paradise;1

This fortress, built by nature for herself
Against infection 2 and the hand of war.
This happy breed of men, this little world;
This precious gem set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office3 of a wall,
Or as a moat 4 defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happy lands.
For England never did, and never shall,
Lie at the proud foot of a conqueror !
Now that her princes are come home again,
Come the three corners of the world in arms,


And we shall shock them.5 Nought shall make us rue
If England to herself will rest but true.


MEANINGS: 1. Demi-paradise, half a paradise. 2. Infection, the spread of diseases. 3. In the office, instead of. 4. Moat, a deep trench or ditch dug round a castle. 5. Shock, drive them back. 6. Make us rue, do us harm.



Hector has been slain by Achilles, who, after dragging his dead body round the walls of Troy three times, takes it with him to his tent. Priam, king of Troy and the father of Hector, comes to his tent, with a "countless ransom in his hands, to beg for the dead body of his son; and the following exquisitely translated lines (translated by LEIGH HUNT) from the twenty-fourth book of the Iliad, depict the scene.

So saying, Mercury vanished up to heaven.
And Priam then alighted from the chariot,
Leaving Idous with it, who remained

Holding the mules and horses; and the old man
Went straight in-doors, where the beloved of Jove,
Achilles, sat, and found him there within.

The household sat apart and two alone,
The hero Automedon and Alcimus,

A branch of Mars, stood by him. They had been
At meals, and had not yet removed the board.
Great Priam came, without their seeing him,
And kneeling down, he grasped Achilles' knees,
And kissed those terrible hands, man-slaughtering,
Which had deprived him of so many sons.
And as a man, who is pressed heavily
For having slain another, flies away

To foreign lands, and comes into the house
Of some great man, and is beheld with wonder,
So did Achilles wonder to see Priam;

And the rest wondered, looking at each other.
But Priam, praying to him, spoke these words :-
"Godlike Achilles, think of thine own father,
Who is, as I am, at the weary door

Of age and though the neighbouring chiefs may vex him
And he has none to keep his evils off,

Yet, when he hears that thou art still alive,
He gladdens inwardly, and daily hopes
To see his dear son coming back from Troy.
But I, forbidden 2 creature! I had once
Brave sons in Troy, and now I cannot say
That one is left me. Fifty children had I,
When the Greeks came.

The knees of many of these fierce Mars has loosened; *
And he who had no peer, Troy's prop and theirs,
Him hast thou killed now, fighting for his country,
Hector; and for his sake am I come here
To ransom him, bringing a countless ransom.
But thou, Achilles, fear the gods, and think
Of thine own father, and have mercy on me;


For I am much more wretched, and have borne
What never mortal bore, I think, on earth,
To lift unto my mouth the hand of him
Who slew my boys."

He spoke; and there arose
Sharp longing in Achilles for his father;
And taking Priam by the hand, he gently
Put him away; for both shed tears to think
Of other times: the one, most bitter ones
For Hector, and with wilful wretchedness 1
Lay right before Achilles; and the other,5
For his own father now, and now his friend;

And the whole house might hear them as they moaned.
But when divine Achilles had refreshed

His soul with tears, and sharp desire had left
His heart and limbs, he got up from his throne,
And raised the old man by the hand, and took
Pity on his grey head, and his grey chin.


MEANINGS: 1. Branch, a son. 2. Forbidden, unlucky. 3. The knees of many of these fierce Mars has loosened, many of these have been killed in war. 4. With wilful wretchedness, in grief so deep that he refused all comfort. 5. The other, Achilles.


These lines are from the "Merchant of Venice." Portia, who appears as a Doctor of Laws, is counsel for Antonio; and, before applying her legal knowledge to the details of the case, puts before Shylock a plea for mercy, on the broad ground that man is the brother of man, and that we cannot pursue each other to extremes, and also on the ground that the only relation in which man can stand to God is not one of justice and equality, but one of mercy and submission.

THE quality of mercy is not strained.1

It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes;
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal 2 power,
The attribute3 to awe and majesty,

Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;

It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;

And earthly power doth then show likest God's

When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, sir,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That, in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation; we do pray for mercy;
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much
To mitigate the justice of thy plea;


Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice
Must needs give sentence 'gainst the merchant here.


MEANINGS 1. Strained, forced from any one. 2. Temporal, literally, that only lasts for a time; here it means earthly power. 3. Attribute, something which naturally belongs to, a quality of. 4. Plea, What you demand. 45. Mitigate, soften.


This is the loving address of Eve to Adam, as they walk through the garden of Paradise together in the quiet evening.

WITH thee conversing! I forget all time;

All seasons, and their change, all please alike.
Sweet is the breath of morn, her rising sweet,
With charm of earliest birds; pleasant the Sun,
When first on this delightful land he spreads
His orient 2 beams on herb, tree, fruit, and flower,
Glistering 3 with dew: fragrant the fertile earth
After soft showers; and sweet the coming on
Of grateful Evening mild; then silent night,
With this her solemn bird,5 and this fair moon,
And these the gems of heaven, her starry train.
But neither breath of morn, when she ascends
With charm of earliest birds; nor rising sun
On this delightful land; nor herb, fruit, flower,
Glistering with dew; nor fragrance after showers;
Nor grateful evening mild; nor silent night,
With this her solemn bird; nor walk by moon
Or glittering star-light, without thee, is sweet.


MEANINGS 1. Conversing, talking. 2. Orient, rising. 3. Glistering, sparkling. 4. Fragrant, sweet-smelling. 5. Her solemn bird, the owl.

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