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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 fortress, built by nature for herself
And we shall shock them.5 Nought shall make us rue
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.
PRIAM AT THE FEET OF ACHILLES.
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.
Holding the mules and horses; and the old man
The household sat apart and two alone,
A branch of Mars, stood by him. They had been
To foreign lands, and comes into the house
And the rest wondered, looking at each other.
Of age and though the neighbouring chiefs may vex him
Yet, when he hears that thou art still alive,
The knees of many of these fierce Mars has loosened; *
For I am much more wretched, and have borne
He spoke; and there arose
And the whole house might hear them as they moaned.
His soul with tears, and sharp desire had left
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
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, sir,
Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice
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.
EVE TO ADAM.
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.
MEANINGS 1. Conversing, talking. 2. Orient, rising. 3. Glistering, sparkling. 4. Fragrant, sweet-smelling. 5. Her solemn bird, the owl.