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THE SOLDIER'S DREAM.
A soldier, bivouacking in the open air, falls asleep after a day's hard fighting, and dreams that he is home again. He dreams this dream several times: but the coming of the morning light awakens him to the stern facts.
OUR bugles sang truce,' for the night-cloud had lowered,
The weary to sleep, and the wounded to die.
To the home of my fathers, that welcomed me back.
In life's morning march, when my bosom was young;
And knew the sweet strain that the corn-reapers sung.
And the voice in my dreaming ear melted away.
CAUTIONS: a. So oft to be uttered slowly, and with some emphasis. b. There is some difficulty in avoiding the verse-accent here, which has a tendency to throw weeping friends into one word. To avoid this, a very slight pause should be made after weeping. c. The same remark may be made about the phrase dreaming ear. They must be sounded as two words; though the tendency of the verse is to throw them into one.
MEANINGS: 1. Our bugles sang truce, our bugles gave the signal for leaving off fighting. 2. The wolf-scaring faggot, the fire to keep the wolves off. 3. Fain, anxious, wishful.
THE DEATH BED.
This short, but perfect, poem is by THOMAS HOOD, who is better known as a writer of humorous verse. But some of his more serious poems belong to the highest rank, because of the purity and depth of the feeling, and the truth and sincerity and vigour of the language.
ABOU BEN ADHEM.
WE watched her breathing through the night,*
So silently we seemed to speak,-
As we had lent her1 half our powers
Our very hopes belied3 our fears,
For when the morn came,
dim and sad,
CAUTIONS: a. This poem must be read in a low tone-slowly and solemnly. No one will be able to read it well who does not realize the whole scene, and the feelings of the scene. b. Avoid the verse-accent on when. c. The pause after for will enable the reader to slur over the when, and to connect it with its own verb, came.
MEANINGS: 1. As we had lent her, as if we had lent her. 2. To eke out her being, to add to and prolong her existence. 3. Belied, gave the lie to. There was a constant conflict of hope and fear in the breasts of her friends.
ABOU BEN ADHEM.
Abou Ben Adhem (that is, Abou the son of Adhem) is a poem by LEIGH HUNT, in the same style as "Mahmoud," which shows that God accepts the love of our neighbour as the love of HIMSELF; and it is a poetical explanation of the text in the Epistle of St. John: "He who loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen ?"
ABOU BEN ADHEM (may his tribe increase!)"
Answer'd, "The names of those who love the Lord."
"And is mine one?" said Abou. "Nay, not so,"
The angel wrote and vanished. The next night,
CAUTIONS: a. The whole poem must be read with great slowness and with the greatest clearness. The first sentence (down to gold) wants a good deal of careful management, and much practice. b. A quiet and mild emphasis upon then.
THE BATTLE OF MORGARTEN.
In the year 1315 the Austrians resolved to break down the resistance and completely to conquer the whole of Switzerland. On the 6th of December the Swiss met them at the pass of Morgarten. This pass lay between the lake of Morgarten and a high cliff, on which the Swiss had secretly and silently posted themselves. The Austrians numbered 15,000 men; and the Swiss only 1400. The Austrians were allowed to enter the pass; and, when all were fairly in, at a given signal the Swiss shepherds hurled down large rocks upon the cavalry; and the Swiss soldiers attacked the Austrians at both ends of the pass. Most of the Austrians were driven into the lake; very few escaped; and among those few was the leader, Duke Leopold. Mrs. Hemans, in this poem, makes the battle take place in autumn; but this is incorrect.
THE wine-month' shone in its golden prime,
A sound, through vaulted cave,
And a trumpet, pealing wild and far,
'Midst the ancient rocks was blown, Till the Alps replied to that voice of war With a thousand of their own.
And through the forest-glooms
And the winds were tossing knightly plumes,
In Hasli's wilds there was gleaming steel,
THE BATTLE OF MORGARTEN.
And the Schreckhorn's rocks, with a savage peal,
Up 'midst the Righi snows
With the charger's tramp, whence fire-sparks rose,
But a band, the noblest band of all,
Through the rude Morgarten strait, With blazoned streamers, and lances tall, Moved onwards in princely state.
They came with heavy chains, For the race despised so longBut amidst his Alp-domains,
The herdsman's arm is strong!
The sun was reddening the clouds of morn
But on the misty height,
Where the mountain people stood, There was stillness, as of night, When storms at distance brood."
There was stillness, as of deep' dead' night,
While the Switzers gazed on the gathering might
On wound those columns bright
But they looked not to the misty height
The pass was filled with their serried power,
And their steps had sounds like a thunder-shower
There were prince and crested knight,
When a shout arose from the misty height
And the mighty rocks came bounding down,
With a joyous whirl from the summit thrown--
They came like avalanche hurled
When the echoes shout through the snowy world
There was tumult in the crowded strait,10
And the empire's banner then
With their pikes and massy clubs they brake
And the war-horse dashed to the reddening lake
The field-but not of sheaves :-
Oh! the sun in heaven fierce havoc viewed,
And the leader of the war
With a hurrying step on the wilds afar,
But the sons of the land which the freeman tills
To their cabin homes 'midst the deep green hills
There were songs and festal fires
CAUTIONS: a. Avoid the verse accent on as, hurry on to night, and place the emphasis upon it. b. Both these words take a weighty emphasis, and should be uttered very slowly.
MEANINGS: 1. Wine-month, October. 2. Switzer's clime, the country of Switzerland. 3. Vintage, gathering of grapes. 4. Day, light. 5. Hasli's wilds, the valley of the Hasli River. 6. Schreckhorn and Righi, mountains in the Oberland. 7. Brood, gather. 8. Serried, closely packed together. 9. All helmed and mail-arrayed, all wearing helmets and armour. 10. Strait, narrow pass. 11. Forest-sea, Lake Lucerne, which is called the lake of the four Forest Cantons. 12. Reapers of the field, the men who were slaying the Austrians. 13. Mien, face.