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Title: Junior High School Literature, Book 1
Author: Elson, William H. (William Harris), Keck, Christine M.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Junior High School Literature, Book 1" ***

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                           JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL

                                BOOK ONE


                            WILLIAM H. ELSON


                            CHRISTINE M. KECK

                       SCOTT, FORESMAN AND COMPANY
                      CHICAGO   ATLANTA   NEW YORK

                             COPYRIGHT 1919
                     BY SCOTT, FORESMAN AND COMPANY

  For permission to use copyrighted material grateful acknowledgment
  is made to _The London Times_ for “The Guards Came Through” by Sir
  Arthur Conan Doyle; to Thomas Hardy for “Men Who March Away” from
  _The London Times_; to John Galsworthy for “England to Free Men” from
  _The Westminster Gazette_; to John Masefield for “Spanish Waters”;
  to Hamlin Garland for “The Great Blizzard” from _Boy Life on the
  Prairie_; to Doubleday Page & Co. for “The Gift of the Magi” by O.
  Henry; to G. P. Putnam’s Sons for “Old Ephraim, the Grizzly Bear,”
  from _The Wilderness Hunter_ by Theodore Roosevelt; to the George
  H. Doran Company for “Trees” from _Trees and Other Poems_ by Joyce
  Kilmer; to Mr. R. W. Lillard for “America’s Answer” from _The New
  York Evening Post_; to Horace Traubel for “Pioneers! O Pioneers!”, “I
  Hear America Singing”, “O Captain! My Captain!” by Walt Whitman; to
  Charles Scribner’s Sons for “On a Florida River” by Sidney Lanier,
  from _The Lanier Book_, copyright 1904; and to Frederick A. Stokes
  Company for “Kilmeny—A Song of the Trawlers” by Alfred Noyes from
  _The New Morning_, copyright 1919.

                          ROBERT O. LAW COMPANY
                       EDITION BOOK MANUFACTURERS
                            CHICAGO, U. S. A.


The Junior High School offers exceptional opportunity for relating
literature to life. In addition to the aesthetic and ethical purposes,
long recognized in the study of literature, the World War emphasized
the need for an extension of aims to include the teaching of certain
fundamental American ideals. To marshal the available material, setting
it to work in the service of social and civic ideals, is to give to
literature the “central place in a new humanism.” When we organize
reading in the schools with reference to the teaching of ideals—personal,
social, national, and patriotic—we “put the stress on literature as one
of the chief means through which the child enters on his intellectual and
spiritual inheritance.” Outstanding among these ideals are: freedom, love
of home and country, service, loyalty, courage, thrift, humane treatment
of animals, a sense of humor, love of Nature, and an appreciation of the
dignity of honest work. In a word, to provide a course in the history and
development of civilization, particularly stressing America’s part in it,
is the present-day demand on the school.

The Junior High School Literature Series, of which the present volume
is intended for use in the first year, provides such a course. The
literature brought together in this book is organized with reference
to the social ideal. Nature in its varied relations to human life,
particularly child life, is presented in stories and poems of animals,
birds, flowers, trees, and winter, all abounding in beauty and charm.
Interest in Nature leads to interest in the deeds of men filled with the
spirit of adventure. The heroism of brave men and women from the age of
chivalry to the days of self-sacrifice on Flanders Fields is told in
ballad and romance, thus stimulating qualities of courage, loyalty, and
devotion. Akin to these are the deeds of men who won freedom for their
fellows and gave meaning to the words, “our inheritance of freedom.”
Their heroism is told in story and song, from the time of the Great
Charter and Robert the Bruce to the Declaration of Independence and
the recent treaty of Versailles. The whole culminates in the literature
and life in the homeland, interpreting America’s part in these great
enterprises of the human spirit. Through legend and history the spirit
and thoughts of our developing nation are portrayed in a literature of
compelling interest, distinctively American.

This book supplies material in such generous quantity as to provide in
one volume a complete one-year course of literature. There is material
suited to all the purposes that a collection of literature for this grade
should supply: reading for the story element, silent reading, reading
for expression, intensive reading, memorizing, dramatization, public
reading and recitation, plot study, etc. Moreover, the book offers a
wide variety of literature, representing various types: ballads, lyrics,
short stories, tales, biographies, and the rest. The selections comprise
not only those that have stood the test of time, but also some of the
choicest treasures of the modern creative period. They are given in
complete units, not mere excerpts or garbled “cross-sections.”

The helps to study are more than mere notes; they take into account
the larger purposes of the literature. Especially illuminating are the
selection “The Three Joys of Reading,” pages 9-14, and the Introductions
to Parts II, III, and IV; these should be read by pupils before beginning
the study of the selections in the several groups, for they interpret and
give greater significance to the units. The biographical and historical
notes provide helpful data for interpreting the stories and poems. A
comprehensive glossary, pages 592-626, contains the words and phrases of
the text that offer valuable vocabulary training, either of pronunciation
or meaning. An additional feature that will appeal to many teachers is
the list of common words frequently mispronounced given in connection
with the helps to study. See pages 14, 26, etc.

                                                             The Authors.



  PREFACE                                                              iii

  THE THREE JOYS OF READING                                             ix

                                 PART I

                       STORIES AND POEMS OF NATURE


    THE BUFFALO                         _Francis Parkman_                1

    OLD EPHRAIM, THE GRIZZLY BEAR       _Theodore Roosevelt_            15

    MOTI GUJ—MUTINEER                   _Rudyard Kipling_               27

    THE ELEPHANTS THAT STRUCK           _Samuel White Baker_            35


    ROBERT OF LINCOLN                   _William Cullen Bryant_         39

    THE MARYLAND YELLOW-THROAT          _Henry van Dyke_                43

    THE BELFRY PIGEON                   _Nathaniel Parker Willis_       45

    THE SANDPIPER                       _Celia Thaxter_                 47

    THE THROSTLE                        _Alfred, Lord Tennyson_         49

    TO THE CUCKOO                       _William Wordsworth_            50

    THE BIRDS’ ORCHESTRA                _Celia Thaxter_                 52


    TO THE FRINGED GENTIAN              _William Cullen Bryant_         53

    VIOLET! SWEET VIOLET!               _James Russell Lowell_          54

    TO THE DANDELION                    _James Russell Lowell_          56

    THE DAFFODILS                       _William Wordsworth_            59

    THE TRAILING ARBUTUS                _John Greenleaf Whittier_       60

    TO A MOUNTAIN DAISY                 _Robert Burns_                  61

    SWEET PEAS                          _John Keats_                    63

    CHORUS OF FLOWERS                   _Leigh Hunt_                    64

    TREES                               _Joyce Kilmer_                  68


    THE GREAT BLIZZARD                  _Hamlin Garland_                69

    THE FROST                           _Hannah F. Gould_               75

    THE FROST SPIRIT                    _John Greenleaf Whittier_       76

    THE SNOW STORM                      _Ralph Waldo Emerson_           78

    SNOWFLAKES                          _Henry W. Longfellow_           80

    MIDWINTER                           _John T. Trowbridge_            82

    BLOW, BLOW, THOU WINTER WIND        _William Shakespeare_           84

    WHEN ICICLES HANG BY THE WALL       _William Shakespeare_           85

                                 PART II

                         ADVENTURES OLD AND NEW

  INTRODUCTION                                                          89


    KING ARTHUR STORIES    Adapted from _Sir Thomas Malory_

      THE COMING OF ARTHUR                                              91

      THE STORY OF GARETH                                              105

      THE PEERLESS KNIGHT LANCELOT                                     126

      THE PASSING OF ARTHUR                                            149


    SIR PATRICK SPENS                   _Folk Ballad_                  168

    THE SKELETON IN ARMOR               _Henry W. Longfellow_          171

    THE THREE FISHERS                   _Charles Kingsley_             177

    LORD ULLIN’S DAUGHTER               _Thomas Campbell_              178

    THE PIPES AT LUCKNOW                _John Greenleaf Whittier_      181

    SPANISH WATERS                      _John Masefield_               184

    KILMENY—A SONG OF THE TRAWLERS      _Alfred Noyes_                 186

    THE GUARDS CAME THROUGH             _Sir Arthur Conan Doyle_       188


    A DESCENT INTO THE MAELSTROM        _Edgar Allan Poe_              191

    THE WRECK OF THE GOLDEN MARY        _Charles Dickens_              210


    AS YOU LIKE IT                      _Charles and Mary Lamb_        259

    THE TEMPEST                         _Charles and Mary Lamb_        275

                                PART III

                      IDEALS AND HEROES OF FREEDOM

  INTRODUCTION                                                         289


    TALES OF A GRANDFATHER              _Sir Walter Scott_             293

      THE STORY OF SIR WILLIAM WALLACE                                 293

      ROBERT THE BRUCE                                                 301

      THE BATTLE OF BANNOCKBURN                                        311

      EXPLOITS OF DOUGLAS AND RANDOLPH                                 318

    THE PARTING OF MARMION AND DOUGLAS  _Sir Walter Scott_             325

    BRUCE’S ADDRESS AT BANNOCKBURN      _Robert Burns_                 328


    THE LAST FIGHT OF THE REVENGE       _Sir Walter Raleigh_           330

    YE MARINERS OF ENGLAND              _Thomas Campbell_              336

    ENGLAND AND AMERICA NATURAL ALLIES  _John Richard Green_           338

    ENGLAND AND AMERICA IN 1782         _Alfred, Lord Tennyson_        340

    ENGLAND TO FREE MEN                 _John Galsworthy_              341

    MEN WHO MARCH AWAY                  _Thomas Hardy_                 343


    GRANDFATHER’S CHAIR                 _Nathaniel Hawthorne_          345

      HOW NEW ENGLAND WAS GOVERNED                                     345

      THE PINE-TREE SHILLINGS                                          349

      THE STAMP ACT                                                    354

      BRITISH SOLDIERS STATIONED IN BOSTON                             359

      THE BOSTON MASSACRE                                              364

      SOME FAMOUS PORTRAITS                                            370

    THE GRAY CHAMPION                   _Nathaniel Hawthorne_          376

    WARREN’S ADDRESS AT BUNKER HILL     _John Pierpont_                385

    LIBERTY OR DEATH                    _Patrick Henry_                386

    GEORGE WASHINGTON TO HIS WIFE                                      390

    GEORGE WASHINGTON TO GOVERNOR CLINTON                              393

    SONG OF MARION’S MEN                _William Cullen Bryant_        395

    TIMES THAT TRY MEN’S SOULS          _Thomas Paine_                 397

                                 PART IV


  INTRODUCTION                                                         403


    THE CHARACTER OF COLUMBUS           _Archbishop Corrigan_          405

    THE LANDING OF THE PILGRIM FATHERS  _Felicia Hemans_               407

    PHILIP OF POKANOKET                 _Washington Irving_            409

    THE COURTSHIP OF MILES STANDISH     _Henry W. Longfellow_          427


    MY VISIT TO NIAGARA                 _Nathaniel Hawthorne_          466

    ON A FLORIDA RIVER                  _Sidney Lanier_                473

    I SIGH FOR THE LAND OF THE CYPRESS  _Samuel Henry Dickson_         477

    THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW         _Washington Irving_            479

    THE GREAT STONE FACE                _Nathaniel Hawthorne_          510


    THE CELEBRATED JUMPING FROG         _Mark Twain_                   531

    THE HEIGHT OF THE RIDICULOUS        _Oliver Wendell Holmes_        538

    THE GIFT OF THE MAGI                _O. Henry_                     541

    THE RENOWNED WOUTER VAN TWILLER     _Washington Irving_            547


    MAKERS OF THE FLAG                  _Franklin K. Lane_             553

    I HEAR AMERICA SINGING              _Walt Whitman_                 556

    PIONEERS! O PIONEERS!               _Walt Whitman_                 557

    THE BEANFIELD                       _Henry David Thoreau_          559

    SHIP-BUILDERS                       _John Greenleaf Whittier_      562

    THE BUILDERS                        _Henry W. Longfellow_          566


    THE FLOWER OF LIBERTY               _Oliver Wendell Holmes_        568

    OLD IRONSIDES                       _Oliver Wendell Holmes_        570

    THE AMERICAN FLAG                   _Henry Ward Beecher_           572

    THE AMERICAN FLAG                   _Joseph Rodman Drake_          574

    THE FLAG GOES BY                    _Henry H. Bennett_             577

    THE STAR-SPANGLED BANNER            _Francis Scott Key_            578

    CITIZENSHIP                         _William Pierce Frye_          580

    THE CHARACTER OF WASHINGTON         _Thomas Jefferson_             583

    THE TWENTY-SECOND OF FEBRUARY       _William Cullen Bryant_        586

    ABRAHAM LINCOLN                     _Richard H. Stoddard_          587

    O CAPTAIN! MY CAPTAIN!              _Walt Whitman_                 588

    IN FLANDERS FIELDS                  _John D. McCrae_               590

    AMERICA’S ANSWER                    _R. W. Lillard_                591

  GLOSSARY                                                             592

                         THE LITERATURE SERIES
                      _for the Junior High School_

                      The complete series includes:

                      Book One, for the first year.
                      Book Two, for the second year.
                      Book Three, for the third year.


The picture on this page is called “A Reading from Homer.” Study each of
the people who form the group. Judging from their dress and appearance,
do you think they are people of the present time or of the ancient world?
From what sort of book is the poet reading? Should you think such “books”
could be owned by all sorts of people, or only by a few? Study the
reader’s expression. What sort of story do you think he is reading? Can
you decide anything about the listeners, who they are and what they are
thinking about? Who is most deeply interested in the story, and why?

[Illustration: A READING FROM HOMER]

Men do brave deeds on the sea, in far-off lands, or in war, and these
deeds are the subject of song and story. Youths who are looking forward
to heroic careers, and men and women to whom life has brought few
thrilling experiences, like to hear these tales. A well-told story opens
the door to a new pleasure in living. An animal knows only the present.
He is hungry, or tired, or his life is in danger, or he is well fed and
sleepy. But boys and girls, and grown-ups, too, have not only their
daily experience to draw upon, but through books and magazines and papers
they can enter into the experience of others, so that they may live many
lives in one.

Aladdin had a wonderful lamp. By rubbing it he could be anywhere he
chose or could possess anything he desired. Such a lamp the reader of
good books possesses. You come in from work or play, curl yourself up
in a big chair before the fire, open your book, and in a twinkling you
are whisked away to a new world. Your body is there, curled up before
the fire, but enchantment has come upon you. In imagination you are with
Sindbad the Sailor, or with Robinson Crusoe, or with King Arthur, or you
are in the Indian Jungle, or on a ship sailing the South Seas, or you
are hunting for Treasure Island. And you have it in your power to take
these wonderful trips instantly; no railway tickets are required, no long
delays. You may go on a journey to the other side of the world or into
the South Polar ice or out on a western ranch. What is more wonderful,
you may go back a century, or ten centuries; through this Aladdin’s lamp
of reading you are master not only of space, but also of time. Thus the
first joy of reading is the privilege of taking part in the experiences
of men of every time and every portion of the world. You multiply your
life, and the product is richness and joy.

The second joy of reading is even greater. Not only the world of
adventure is open to you by means of books, but also a life enriched by
the wisdom that has been gathered from a thousand poets and historians as
bees gather honey from a thousand flowers. There is a story of a great
Italian of the sixteenth century who found himself in the prime of life
without a position, without money, and even compelled to become an exile
because of a revolution. He retired to a farm remote from all the scenes
in which his previous life had been passed. All day he worked hard, for
only by hard work could he live. But in the evenings, when work was done,
when horses and oxen and the laborers who had toiled with them all the
day had gone to sleep, this man put on the splendid court dress he had
worn in the days of his prosperity, days when he had associated with
princes and the great ones of the earth, and so garbed he went into his
library and shut the door. And then, he tells us, for four hours he lived
amid the scenes that his books called up before him. He found in books
an Aladdin’s lamp that transported him to past times, that revealed the
secrets of nature, that showed him what men had accomplished. Through
history, he re-created the past. He could call on the wisest of men for
counsel, and he forgot during these hours his weariness and pain.

This story of the great Italian has been paralleled many times. There was
once a boy in a frontier cabin who had no such experience as this man
passed through centuries ago, but who was eager to know all that could
be learned about life. His days were long and hard, but he was dreaming
of things to come. At night by the light of the pine logs blazing in the
fireplace, this boy read and studied. Books were hard to get; sometimes
he tramped for miles to borrow one that he had heard a distant farmer
possessed. Thus Lincoln found the second of the joys of reading, the
stored-up wisdom of the race that he appropriated against the day when he
was to be not merely a student of history but a maker of history as well.

[Illustration: THE SONG OF THE LARK]

The third joy of reading is that through books our eyes are opened to
the beauty of the world in which we live. There is a famous painting
called “The Song of the Lark.” A peasant girl is on her way to work in
the fields, sickle in hand, in early morning. She has stopped to listen
to the flood of melody that pours from the sky above her, and is trying
in vain to see the bird which is singing the glorious song. Her dull,
unexpressive face is lighted up for the moment in the presence of a
beauty that she feels but does not comprehend. So the painter interprets
for us the effect of beauty upon even a dull intelligence. But the poet
translates the song into beautiful language, and we read and are happy.

Thousands of people pass unthinkingly by a field filled with the common
daisies. They know the name of the flower; they may even say, or think,
that the flowers make a pretty sight. But a poor young poet plows one up
on his farm and tells us of his sympathy for the little flower he has
destroyed; tells us, too, how the fate of the daisy suggests to him his
own fate, so that all who read the poem by Robert Burns no longer see in
the daisy a common flower, but see instead a symbol of beauty.

Bird-song and flower, the west wind as it drives the dead leaves before
it or hurries the clouds across the sky or piles up in great masses the
waters of the sea; the mountain that rises stark and stern above the
plain, the ocean over which men’s ships pass in safety or into whose
depths they plunge to their grave—all these things the poet helps us to
see and to feel. So once more our Aladdin’s lamp brings us into scenes
of enchantment, multiplies our lives, opens our eyes to things that the
fairy-folk know right well, but which are forbidden to mortal eye and ear
until the spell has worked its will.

These, then, are the three joys of reading: First, to be able to travel
at will in any country and in any period of time and to taste the salt
of adventure; to hear the great stories that the human race has garnered
through centuries of living; to know earth’s heroes and to become a part
of the company that surrounds them. Second, to enter into the inheritance
of wisdom that has come down from ancient times or that animates those
who are the builders of our present world. “Histories make men wise,”
said one of the wisest of men, by which he meant that history records
the experience of men in their attempts to make the world a place where
people may dwell together in safety, and that as men reflect on this
experience they become wiser. And poets and prose writers, too, have
told in books what they have thought to be the meaning of life. They are
like the wise old hermits, dwelling in little cabins by the edge of the
enchanted forest, who told Sir Galahad or Sir Gawain or Sir Lancelot
about the perils of the forest and how to win their way to the enchanted
castle where dwelt the Queen.

And the third joy of reading is that which brings us knowledge of this
enchanted world. For it _is_ a world of wonder in which we live as truly
as that fairy world which so delighted you when Mother told you stories
or when you read your fairy books. The journey of Captain Scott in search
of the South Pole was as thrilling as the voyage of Sinbad. Those brave
men who made the first flight in an airplane across the ocean the other
day were as venturesome as Columbus, and their journey was as wonderful
as that journey in 1492. But Captain Scott did not leave his comfortable
and safe life at home merely to seek adventure. It was an expedition
planned in order that he might bring back exact information about parts
of the earth where men had never been before. And the flight across the
Atlantic was just one more step in the development of a new form of
transportation. So science contributes in many ways to our happiness and
safety. What men do to develop the resources of the earth, what they do
to conquer disease, the inventions and discoveries that give us greater
power than if we possessed the open sesame of our fairy stories—these
also you learn about in your reading.

The book to which you are here introduced is planned in such a way as
to help you find these three joys of reading. It is a big generous
book, filled with good things. It is an Aladdin’s lamp. Take it to your
favorite big chair or to your favorite corner and test it. Do you wish to
get into the Enchanted Forest? The very first selections, about animals
and birds and growing things, take you there where you will find friends
old and new. Do you wish to go on a long journey back to King Arthur’s
time and meet the knights of the Round Table? The power is yours for the
asking. Or if you prefer songs and stories of the sea, here is a ballad
that has been sung for centuries, or you may have ballads about battles
in the war that ended the other day. And no one knew the secrets of the
Enchanted Forest better than William Shakespeare—here are two stories
that he loved.

At some other time your book will take you back to the days of Wallace
and Bruce, or will bring before you some of the things England has
done for Freedom, or will show you what Americans of the old time did
and thought when they were building their free land for you to dwell
in and to protect. And, last of all, there are stories of life in our
America—old legends and stories that will make you smile, and stories of
workers and their work. When you have finished the last section you will
be happier and a better citizen, ready to do your share every chance you

One word more. You know that, in order to work enchantment, people have
had to do certain things. There was the fern-seed, you know, or the charm
like “open sesame,” or you have to rub the wonderful lamp. Now to use
this book rightly, you must not think of it as a lesson book, containing
tasks. If you do that, it will be no Aladdin’s lamp at all but just a
dull old smoky lamp that would not even guide you to the cellar. You must
do these things: First, get that chair or that corner and make yourself
comfortable. Second, _look at the program_. What is that? Why, the “Table
of Contents,” of course. You must know where you are going and what you
are to see. In this book everything is arranged in such a way as to help
the charm to work. Third, you will find little questions and studies
every now and then, and a glossary, guide-posts so that you will not lose
your way. And, last of all, you are to try to see the book as a whole and
not as a sort of scrapbook about all sorts of things. For it all deals,
in one way or another, with the Enchanted Forest and the Castle of Life.



  _“Go forth, under the open sky, and list_
  _To Nature’s teachings.”_

                            —William Cullen Bryant.

[Illustration: From a Thistle Print, Copyright Detroit Publishing Co.







Four days on the Platte, and yet no buffalo! The wagons one morning had
left the camp; Shaw and I were already on horseback, but Henry Chatillon
still sat cross-legged by the dead embers of the fire, playing pensively
with the lock of his rifle, while his sturdy Wyandot pony stood quietly
behind him, looking over his head. At last he got up, patted the neck of
the pony (whom, from an exaggerated appreciation of his merits, he had
christened “Five Hundred Dollar”), and then mounted with a melancholy air.

“What is it, Henry?”

“Ah, I feel lonesome; I never been here before; but I see away yonder
over the buttes, and down there on the prairie, black—all black with

In the afternoon he and I left the party in search of an antelope; until,
at the distance of a mile or two on the right, the tall white wagons
and the little black specks of horsemen were just visible, so slowly
advancing that they seemed motionless; and far on the left rose the
broken line of scorched, desolate sand-hills. The vast plain waved with
tall rank grass that swept our horses’ bellies; it swayed to and fro in
billows with the light breeze, and far and near, antelope and wolves were
moving through it, the hairy backs of the latter alternately appearing
and disappearing as they bounded awkwardly along; while the antelope,
with the simple curiosity peculiar to them, would often approach us
closely, their little horns and white throats just visible above the
grass tops as they gazed eagerly at us with their round, black eyes.

I dismounted, and amused myself with firing at the wolves. Henry
attentively scrutinized the surrounding landscape; at length he gave
a shout, and called on me to mount again, pointing in the direction
of the sand-hills. A mile and a half from us, two minute black specks
slowly traversed the face of one of the bare, glaring declivities, and
disappeared behind the summit. “Let us go!” cried Henry, belaboring the
sides of Five Hundred Dollar; and I following in his wake, we galloped
rapidly through the rank grass toward the base of the hills.

From one of their openings descended a deep ravine, widening as it
issued on the prairie. We entered it, and galloping up, in a moment were
surrounded by the bleak sand-hills. Half of their steep sides were bare;
the rest were scantily clothed with clumps of grass and various uncouth
plants, conspicuous among which appeared the reptile-like prickly-pear.
They were gashed with numberless ravines; and as the sky had suddenly
darkened and a cold gusty wind arisen, the strange shrubs and the
dreary hills looked doubly wild and desolate. But Henry’s face was all
eagerness. He tore off a little hair from the piece of buffalo robe
under his saddle, and threw it up, to show the course of the wind. It
blew directly before us. The game were therefore to windward, and it was
necessary to make our best speed to get round them.

We scrambled from this ravine, and galloping away through the hollows,
soon found another, winding like a snake among the hills, and so deep
that it completely concealed us. We rode up the bottom of it, glancing
through the shrubbery at its edge, till Henry abruptly jerked his rein
and slid out of his saddle. Full a quarter of a mile distant, on the
outline of the farthest hill, a long procession of buffalo were walking,
in Indian file, with the utmost gravity and deliberation; then more
appeared, clambering from a hollow not far off, and ascending, one behind
the other, the grassy slope of another hill; then a shaggy head and a
pair of short, broken horns appeared, issuing out of a ravine close at
hand, and with a slow, stately step, one by one, the enormous brutes came
into view, taking their way across the valley, wholly unconscious of an
enemy. In a moment Henry was worming his way, lying flat on the ground,
through grass and prickly-pears, toward his unsuspecting victims. He
had with him both my rifle and his own. He was soon out of sight, and
still the buffalo kept issuing into the valley. For a long time all was
silent; I sat holding his horse, and wondering what he was about, when
suddenly, in rapid succession, came the sharp reports of the two rifles,
and the whole line of buffalo, quickening their pace into a clumsy trot,
gradually disappeared over the ridge of the hill. Henry rose to his feet,
and stood looking after them.

“You have missed them,” said I.

“Yes,” said Henry; “let us go.” He descended into the ravine, loaded the
rifles, and mounted his horse.

We rode up the hill after the buffalo. The herd was out of sight when
we reached the top, but lying on the grass not far off was one quite
lifeless, and another violently struggling in the death agony.

“You see I miss him!” remarked Henry. He had fired from a distance of
more than a hundred and fifty yards, and both balls had passed through
the lungs—the true mark in shooting buffalo.

The darkness increased, and a driving storm came on. Tying our
horses to the horns of the victims, Henry began the bloody work of
dissection, slashing away with the science of a connoisseur, while I
vainly endeavored to imitate him. Old Hendrick recoiled with horror and
indignation when I endeavored to tie the meat to the strings of rawhide,
always carried for this purpose, dangling at the back of the saddle.
After some difficulty we overcame his scruples; and heavily burdened with
the more eligible portions of the buffalo, we set out on our return.
Scarcely had we emerged from the labyrinth of gorges and ravines, and
issued upon the open prairie, when the pricking sleet came driving, gust
upon gust, directly in our faces. It was strangely dark, though wanting
still an hour of sunset. The freezing storm soon penetrated to the skin,
but the uneasy trot of our heavy-gaited horses kept us warm enough, as
we forced them unwillingly in the teeth of the sleet and rain by the
powerful suasion of our Indian whips. The prairie in this place was hard
and level. A flourishing colony of prairie dogs had burrowed into it
in every direction, and the little mounds of fresh earth around their
holes were about as numerous as the hills in a cornfield; but not a yelp
was to be heard; not the nose of a single citizen was visible; all had
retired to the depths of their burrows, and we envied them their dry and
comfortable habitations. An hour’s hard riding showed us our tent dimly
looming through the storm, one side puffed out by the force of the wind,
and the other collapsed in proportion, while the disconsolate horses
stood shivering close around, and the wind kept up a dismal whistling in
the boughs of three old, half-dead trees above. Shaw, like a patriarch,
sat on his saddle in the entrance, with a pipe in his mouth and his arms
folded, contemplating with cool satisfaction the piles of meat that we
flung on the ground before him. A dark and dreary night succeeded; but
the sun rose with a heat so sultry and languid that the captain excused
himself on that account from waylaying an old buffalo bull, who with
stupid gravity was walking over the prairie to drink at the river. So
much for the climate of the Platte!


But it was not the weather alone that had produced this sudden abatement
of the sportsmanlike zeal which the captain had always professed. He had
been out on the afternoon before, together with several members of his
party; but their hunting was attended with no other result than the loss
of one of their best horses, severely injured by Sorel in vainly chasing
a wounded bull. The captain, whose ideas of hard riding were all derived
from transatlantic sources, expressed the utmost amazement at the feats
of Sorel, who went leaping ravines and dashing at full speed up and down
the sides of precipitous hills, lashing his horse with the recklessness
of a Rocky Mountain rider. Unfortunately for the poor animal, he was the
property of R., against whom Sorel entertained an unbounded aversion. The
captain himself, it seemed, had also attempted to “run” a buffalo, but
though a good and practiced horseman, he had soon given over the attempt,
being astonished and utterly disgusted at the nature of the ground he was
required to ride over.

Nothing unusual occurred on that day; but on the following morning Henry
Chatillon, looking over the ocean-like expanse, saw near the foot of the
distant hills something that looked like a band of buffalo. He was not
sure, he said, but at all events, if they were buffalo there was a fine
chance for a race. Shaw and I at once determined to try the speed of our

“Come, captain; we’ll see which can ride hardest, a Yankee or an

But the captain maintained a grave and austere countenance. He mounted
his led horse, however, though very slowly, and we set out at a trot. The
game appeared about three miles distant. As we proceeded, the captain
made various remarks of doubt and indecision, and at length declared he
would have nothing to do with such a breakneck business; protesting that
he had ridden plenty of steeple-chases in his day, but he never knew what
riding was till he found himself behind a band of buffalo the day before
yesterday. “I am convinced,” said the captain, “that ‘running’ is out of
the question. Take my advice now and don’t attempt it. It’s dangerous,
and of no use at all.”

“Then why did you come out with us? What do you mean to do?”

“I shall ‘approach,’” replied the captain.

“You don’t mean to ‘approach’ with your pistols, do you? We have all of
us left our rifles in the wagons.”

The captain seemed staggered at the suggestion. In his characteristic
indecision, at setting out, pistols, rifles, “running,” and “approaching”
were mingled in an inextricable medley in his brain. He trotted on in
silence between us for a while; but at length he dropped behind, and
slowly walked his horse back to rejoin the party. Shaw and I kept on;
when lo! as we advanced, the band of buffalo were transformed into
certain clumps of tall bushes, dotting the prairie for a considerable
distance. At this ludicrous termination of our chase, we followed
the example of our late ally and turned back toward the party. We
were skirting the brink of a deep ravine, when we saw Henry and the
broad-chested pony coming toward us at a gallop.

“Here’s old Papin and Frederic, down from Fort Laramie!” shouted Henry,
long before he came up. We had for some days expected this encounter.
Papin was the _bourgeois_ of Fort Laramie. He had come down the river
with the buffalo robes and the beaver, the produce of the last winter’s
trading. I had among our baggage a letter which I wished to commit to
their hands; so, requesting Henry to detain the boats if he could until
my return, I set out after the wagons. They were about four miles in
advance. In half an hour I overtook them, got the letter, trotted back
upon the trail, and looking carefully as I rode, saw a patch of broken,
storm-blasted trees, and moving near them some little black specks like
men and horses. Arriving at the place, I found a strange assembly. The
boats, eleven in number, deep-laden with the skins, hugged close to
the shore to escape being borne down by the swift current. The rowers,
swarthy, ignoble Mexicans, turned their brutish faces upward to look as
I reached the bank. Papin sat in the middle of one of the boats upon the
canvas covering that protected the robes. He was a stout, robust fellow,
with a little gray eye that had a peculiarly sly twinkle. “Frederic”
also stretched his tall, rawboned proportions close by the _bourgeois_,
and “mountain-men” completed the group; some lounging in the boats, some
strolling on shore; some attired in gayly painted buffalo robes like
Indian dandies; some with hair saturated with red paint, and beplastered
with glue to their temples; and one bedaubed with vermilion upon his
forehead and each cheek. They were a mongrel race, yet the French blood
seemed to predominate; in a few, indeed, might be seen the black, snaky
eye of the Indian half-breed; and one and all, they seemed to aim at
assimilating themselves to their savage associates.

I shook hands with the _bourgeois_ and delivered the letter; then the
boats swung around into the stream and floated away. They had reason
for haste, for already the voyage from Fort Laramie had occupied a full
month, and the river was growing daily more shallow. Fifty times a
day the boats had been aground; indeed, those who navigate the Platte
invariably spend half their time upon sand-bars. Two of these boats,
the property of private traders, afterward separating from the rest,
got hopelessly involved in the shallows, not very far from the Pawnee
villages, and were soon surrounded by a swarm of the inhabitants. They
carried off everything that they considered valuable, including most of
the robes; and amused themselves by tying up the men left on guard, and
soundly whipping them with sticks.

We encamped that night upon the bank of the river. Among the emigrants
there was an overgrown boy, some eighteen years old, with a head as round
and about as large as a pumpkin, and fever-and-ague fits had dyed his
face of a corresponding color. He wore an old white hat, tied under his
chin with a handkerchief; his body was short and stout, but his legs of
disproportioned and appalling length. I observed him at sunset breasting
the hill with gigantic strides, and standing against the sky on the
summit like a colossal pair of tongs. In a moment after, we heard him
screaming frantically behind the ridge, and nothing doubting that he was
in the clutches of Indians or grizzly bears, some of the party caught up
their rifles and ran to the rescue. His outcries, however, proved but an
ebullition of joyous excitement; he had chased two little wolf pups to
their burrow, and he was on his knees, grubbing away like a dog at the
mouth of the hole, to get at them.

Before morning he caused more serious disquiet in the camp. It was his
turn to hold the middle guard; but no sooner was he called up than he
coolly arranged a pair of saddle-bags under a wagon, laid his head upon
them, closed his eyes, opened his mouth, and fell asleep. The guard on
our side of the camp, thinking it no part of his duty to look after
the cattle of the emigrants, contented himself with watching our own
horses and mules; the wolves, he said, were unusually noisy; but still
no mischief was anticipated, until the sun rose, and not a hoof or horn
was in sight! The cattle were gone! While Tom was quietly slumbering, the
wolves had driven them away.

Then we reaped the fruits of R.’s precious plan of traveling in company
with emigrants. To leave them in their distress was not to be thought
of, and we felt bound to wait until the cattle could be searched for,
and, if possible, recovered. But the reader may be curious to know
what punishment awaited the faithless Tom. By the wholesome law of
the prairie, he who falls asleep on guard is condemned to walk all
day, leading his horse by the bridle, and we found much fault with
our companions for not enforcing such a sentence on the offender.
Nevertheless, had he been of our own party, I have no doubt he would
in like manner have escaped scot-free. But the emigrants went further
than mere forbearance; they decreed that since Tom couldn’t stand guard
without falling asleep, he shouldn’t stand guard at all, and henceforward
his slumbers were unbroken. Establishing such a premium on drowsiness
could have no very beneficial effect upon the vigilance of our sentinels;
for it is far from agreeable, after riding from sunrise to sunset, to
feel your slumbers interrupted by the butt of a rifle nudging your side,
and a sleepy voice growling in your ear that you must get up, to shiver
and freeze for three weary hours at midnight.


“Buffalo! buffalo!” It was but a grim old bull, roaming the prairie by
himself in misanthropic seclusion; but there might be more behind the
hills. Dreading the monotony and languor of the camp, Shaw and I saddled
our horses, buckled our holsters in their places, and set out with Henry
Chatillon in search of the game. Henry, not intending to take part in the
chase, but merely conducting us, carried his rifle with him, while we
left ours behind as incumbrances. We rode for some five or six miles, and
saw no living thing but wolves, snakes, and prairie dogs.

“This won’t do at all,” said Shaw.

“What won’t do?”

“There’s no wood about here to make a litter for the wounded man; I have
an idea that one of us will need something of the sort before the day is

There was some foundation for such an apprehension, for the ground was
none of the best for a race, and grew worse continually as we proceeded;
indeed it soon became desperately bad, consisting of abrupt hills and
deep hollows, cut by frequent ravines not easy to pass. At length, a mile
in advance, we saw a band of bulls. Some were scattered grazing over a
green declivity, while the rest were crowded more densely together in
the wide hollow below. Making a circuit to keep out of sight, we rode
toward them until we ascended a hill within a furlong of them, beyond
which nothing intervened that could possibly screen us from their view.
We dismounted behind the ridge just out of sight, drew our saddle-girths,
examined our pistols, and mounting again rode over the hill and descended
at a canter toward them, bending close to our horses’ necks. Instantly
they took the alarm; those on the hill descended; those below gathered
into a mass, and the whole got in motion, shouldering each other along
at a clumsy gallop. We followed, spurring our horses to full speed; and
as the herd rushed, crowding and trampling in terror through an opening
in the hills, we were close at their heels, half suffocated by the
clouds of dust. But as we drew near, their alarm and speed increased;
our horses showed signs of the utmost fear, bounding violently aside as
we approached, and refusing to enter among the herd. The buffalo now
broke into several small bodies, scampering over the hills in different
directions, and I lost sight of Shaw; neither of us knew where the other
had gone. Old Pontiac ran like a frantic elephant up hill and down hill,
his ponderous hoofs striking the prairie like sledge-hammers. He showed
a curious mixture of eagerness and terror, straining to overtake the
panic-stricken herd, but constantly recoiling in dismay as we drew near.
The fugitives, indeed, offered no very attractive spectacle, with their
enormous size and weight, their shaggy manes and the tattered remnants
of their last winter’s hair covering their backs in irregular shreds
and patches, and flying off in the wind as they ran. At length I urged
my horse close behind a bull, and after trying in vain, by blows and
spurring, to bring him alongside, I shot a bullet into the buffalo from
this disadvantageous position. At the report, Pontiac swerved so much
that I was again thrown a little behind the game. The bullet, entering
too much in the rear, failed to disable the bull, for a buffalo requires
to be shot at particular points or he will certainly escape. The herd ran
up a hill, and I followed in pursuit. As Pontiac rushed headlong down on
the other side, I saw Shaw and Henry descending the hollow on the right
at a leisurely gallop; and in front, the buffalo were just disappearing
behind the crest of the next hill, their short tails erect and their
hoofs twinkling through a cloud of dust.

At that moment I heard Shaw and Henry shouting to me; but the muscles
of a stronger arm than mine could not have checked at once the furious
course of Pontiac, whose mouth was as insensible as leather. Added to
this, I rode him that morning with a common snaffle, having the day
before, for the benefit of my other horse, unbuckled from my bridle the
curb which I ordinarily used. A stronger and hardier brute never trod
the prairie; but the novel sight of the buffalo filled him with terror,
and when at full speed he was almost incontrollable. Gaining the top
of the ridge, I saw nothing of the buffalo; they had all vanished amid
the intricacies of the hills and hollows. Reloading my pistols in the
best way I could, I galloped on until I saw them again scuttling along
at the base of the hill, their panic somewhat abated. Down went old
Pontiac among them, scattering them to the right and left, and then we
had another long chase. About a dozen bulls were before us, scouring
over the hills, rushing down the declivities with tremendous weight and
impetuosity, and then laboring with a weary gallop upward. Still Pontiac,
in spite of spurring and beating, would not close with them. One bull at
length fell a little behind the rest, and by dint of much effort I urged
my horse within six or eight yards of his side. His back was darkened
with sweat, and he was panting heavily, while his tongue lolled out a
foot from his jaws. Gradually I came up abreast of him, urging Pontiac
with leg and rein nearer to his side, when suddenly he did what buffalo
in such circumstances will always do: he slackened his gallop, and
turning toward us with an aspect of mingled rage and distress, lowered
his huge shaggy head for a charge. Pontiac, with a snort, leaped aside
in terror, nearly throwing me to the ground, as I was wholly unprepared
for such an evolution. I raised my pistol in a passion to strike him on
the head, but thinking better of it, fired the bullet after the bull,
who had resumed his flight; then drew rein, and determined to rejoin
my companions. It was high time. The breath blew hard from Pontiac’s
nostrils, and the sweat rolled in big drops down his sides; I myself
felt as if drenched in warm water. Pledging myself (and I redeemed the
pledge) to take my revenge at a future opportunity, I looked round for
some indications to show me where I was, and what course I ought to
pursue. I might as well have looked for landmarks in the midst of the
ocean. How many miles I had run or in what direction, I had no idea; and
around me the prairie was rolling in steep swells and pitches, without a
single distinctive feature to guide me. I had a little compass hung at my
neck; and ignorant that the Platte at this point diverged considerably
from its easterly course, I thought that by keeping to the northward
I should certainly reach it. So I turned and rode about two hours in
that direction. The prairie changed as I advanced, softening away into
easier undulations, but nothing like the Platte appeared, nor any sign
of a human being; the same wild endless expanse lay around me still; and
to all appearance I was as far from my object as ever. I began now to
consider myself in danger of being lost; and therefore, reining in my
horse, summoned the scanty share of woodcraft that I possessed (if that
term be applicable upon the prairie) to extricate me. Looking round, it
occurred to me that the buffalo might prove my best guides. I soon found
one of the paths made by them in their passage to the river; it ran
nearly at right angles to my course; but turning my horse’s head in the
direction it indicated, his freer gait and erected ears assured me that I
was right.

But in the meantime my ride had been by no means a solitary one. The
whole face of the country was dotted far and wide with countless hundreds
of buffalo. They trooped along in files and columns, bulls, cows, and
calves, on the green faces of the declivities in front. They scrambled
away over the hills to the right and left; and far off, the pale blue
swells in the extreme distance were dotted with innumerable specks.
Sometimes I surprised shaggy old bulls grazing alone, or sleeping behind
the ridges I ascended. They would leap up at my approach, stare stupidly
at me through their tangled manes, and then gallop heavily away. The
antelope were very numerous; and as they are always bold when in the
neighborhood of buffalo, they would approach quite near to look at me,
gazing intently with their great round eyes, then suddenly leap aside and
stretch lightly away over the prairie as swiftly as a racehorse. Squalid,
ruffian-like wolves sneaked through the hollows and sandy ravines.
Several times I passed through villages of prairie dogs, who sat, each at
the mouth of his burrow, holding his paws before him in a supplicating
attitude and yelping away most vehemently, energetically whisking his
little tail with every squeaking cry he uttered. Prairie dogs are not
fastidious in their choice of companions; various long, checkered snakes
were sunning themselves in the midst of the village, and demure little
gray owls, with a large white ring around each eye, were perched side by
side with the rightful inhabitants. The prairie teemed with life. Again
and again I looked toward the crowded hillsides, and was sure I saw
horsemen; and riding near, with a mixture of hope and dread, for Indians
were abroad, I found them transformed into a group of buffalo. There was
nothing in human shape amid all this vast congregation of brute forms.

When I turned down the buffalo path, the prairie seemed changed; only
a wolf or two glided past at intervals, like conscious felons, never
looking to the right or left. Being now free from anxiety, I was at
leisure to observe minutely the objects around me; and here, for the
first time, I noticed insects wholly different from any of the varieties
found farther to the eastward. Gaudy butterflies fluttered about my
horse’s head; strangely formed beetles, glittering with metallic luster,
were crawling upon plants that I had never seen before; multitudes of
lizards, too, were darting like lightning over the sand.

I had run to a great distance from the river. It cost me a long ride
on the buffalo path before I saw from the ridge of a sand-hill the pale
surface of the Platte glistening in the midst of its desert valleys, and
the faint outline of the hills beyond waving along the sky. From where I
stood, not a tree nor a bush nor a living thing was visible throughout
the whole extent of the sun-scorched landscape. In half an hour I came
upon the trail, not far from the river; and seeing that the party had not
yet passed, I turned eastward to meet them, old Pontiac’s long, swinging
trot again assuring me that I was right in doing so. Having been slightly
ill on leaving camp in the morning, six or seven hours of rough riding
had fatigued me extremely. I soon stopped, therefore; flung my saddle on
the ground, and with my head resting on it, and my horse’s trail-rope
tied loosely to my arm, lay waiting the arrival of the party, speculating
meanwhile on the extent of the injuries Pontiac had received. At length
the white wagon coverings rose from the verge of the plain. By a singular
coincidence, almost at the same moment two horsemen appeared coming down
from the hills. They were Shaw and Henry, who had searched for me a while
in the morning, but well knowing the futility of the attempt in such a
broken country, had placed themselves on the top of the highest hill they
could find, and picketing their horses near them, as a signal to me, had
lain down and fallen asleep.


  =Biographical and Historical Note.= Francis Parkman (1823-1893)
  was an American writer, born in Boston, where his father was a
  well-known clergyman. At the age of eight years he went to live
  with his grandfather on a wild tract of land near Boston, and there
  developed the fondness for outdoor life which is shown in all his
  writings. Parkman was graduated from Harvard College in 1844, and
  from the Harvard Law School two years later, but he never practiced
  law. The journey related in his book, _The Oregon Trail_, from which
  “The Buffalo” is taken, was made immediately after Parkman completed
  his law studies. His purpose was to gain an intimate knowledge of
  Indian life. From the Missouri River two great overland routes led
  across the country to the Pacific. One, the Santa Fe trail, carried
  a large overland trade with northern Mexico and southern California;
  the other, the Oregon trail, was commonly used by emigrants on their
  way to the northwest coast. Parkman’s journey occupied about five
  months. He left Boston in April, 1846, accompanied by Quincy Adams
  Shaw, a relative, and went first to St. Louis, the trip by railroad,
  steamboat, and stage requiring about two weeks. Here they engaged two
  guides and procured an outfit, including a supply of presents for
  the Indians. After eight days on a river steamboat they arrived at
  Independence, Missouri, where the land journey began.

  In a newspaper item of March tenth, 1919, the following appeared:
  “For the first time in half a century bisons are on sale in Omaha.
  A herd of thirty-three, raised on a Colorado ranch, arrived at the
  stock yards yesterday. The meat will sell for around $1.00 a pound.”

  =Discussion.= 1. Locate on a map the Platte River and the region
  mentioned in the story. 2. What picture do you see as you read
  the fourth paragraph? 3. Briefly relate the incident of the first
  afternoon’s hunting trip. 4. What objections to traveling with
  emigrants did the party find? 5. What do you learn of prairie animals
  from this story? 6. Read the description of the prairie dog found on
  page 12; why is this description a good one? 7. What insects that
  differ from those found farther east does the author mention? 8.
  Point out lines that show Parkman to be excellent in description. 9.
  Compare travel at the time the author made this trip with travel at
  the present time. 10. Pronounce the following: alternately; minute;
  reptile; patriarch; inextricably; ally; robust; squalid; pumpkin;
  lolled; applicable; vehemently; buttes; gorges; circuit.


  (_The numbers in heavy type refer to pages; numbers in light type to

  Transcriber’s Note: This notation has not been reproduced in this
  e-text. The first number refers to the page, the second to the line.
  However, as the original pages and lines have not been preserved in
  this text version, you will need to search for words or phrases (or
  use the HTML version, in which links are provided to each phrase).

  exaggerated appreciation, 1, 7
  attentively scrutinized, 2, 11
  in his wake, 2, 17
  issued on the prairie, 2, 20
  gashed with numberless ravines, 2, 24
  doubly wild, 2, 27
  to windward, 2, 30
  Indian file, 3, 1
  worming his way, 3, 8
  science of a connoisseur, 3, 30
  overcame his scruples, 3, 35
  more eligible portions, 3, 35
  in the teeth of the sleet, 4, 5
  collapsed in proportion, 4, 15
  transatlantic sources, 4, 34
  an unbounded aversion, 5, 3
  to “run” a buffalo, 5, 4
  I shall “approach,” 5, 29
  staggered at the suggestion, 5, 32
  characteristic indecision, 5, 32
  _bourgeois_ of Fort Laramie, 6, 9
  rawboned proportions, 6, 26
  assimilating themselves, 6, 35
  involved in the shallows, 7, 8
  disproportioned and appalling, 7, 19
  breasting the hill, 7, 20
  hold the middle guard, 7, 31
  reaped the fruits, 8, 4
  precious plan, 8, 4
  wholesome law of the prairie, 8, 9
  such an apprehension, 9, 3
  drew our saddle-girths, 9, 14
  laboring with a weary gallop, 10, 28
  dint of much effort, 10, 31
  high time, 11, 7
  supplicating attitude, 12, 15
  rightful inhabitants, 12, 21
  vast congregation, 12, 26




The king of the game beasts of temperate North America, because the most
dangerous to the hunter, is the grizzly bear; known to the few remaining
old-time trappers of the Rockies and the Great Plains, sometimes as “Old
Ephraim” and sometimes as “Moccasin Joe”—the last in allusion to his
queer, half-human footprints, which look as if made by some misshapen
giant, walking in moccasins.

Bear vary greatly in size and color, no less than in temper and habits.
Old hunters speak much of them in their endless talks over the camp-fires
and in the snow-bound winter huts. They insist on many species; not
merely the black and the grizzly, but the brown, the cinnamon, the gray,
the silver-tip, and others with names known only in certain localities,
such as the range bear, the roach-back, and the smut-face. But, in
spite of popular opinion to the contrary, most old hunters are very
untrustworthy in dealing with points of natural history. They usually
know only so much about any given game animal as will enable them to
kill it. They study its habits solely with this end in view; and once
slain they only examine it to see about its condition and fur. With rare
exceptions they are quite incapable of passing judgment upon questions of
specific identity or difference. When questioned, they not only advance
perfectly impossible theories and facts in support of their views, but
they rarely even agree as to the views themselves. One hunter will assert
that the true grizzly is only found in California, heedless of the fact
that the name was first used by Lewis and Clark as one of the titles
they applied to the large bears of the plains country round the Upper
Missouri, a quarter of a century before the California grizzly was known
to fame. Another hunter will call any big brindled bear a grizzly no
matter where it is found; and he and his companions will dispute by the
hour as to whether a bear of large, but not extreme, size is a grizzly
or a silver-tip. In Oregon the cinnamon bear is a phase of the small
black bear; in Montana it is the plains variety of the large mountain
silver-tip. I have myself seen the skins of two bears killed on the upper
waters of Tongue River; one was that of a male, one of a female, and they
had evidently just mated; yet one was distinctly a “silver-tip” and the
other a “cinnamon.” The skin of one very big bear which I killed in the
Bighorn has proved a standing puzzle to almost all the old hunters to
whom I have shown it; rarely do any two of them agree as to whether it
is a grizzly, a silver-tip, a cinnamon, or a “smut-face.” Any bear with
unusually long hair on the spine and shoulders, especially if killed in
the spring, when the fur is shaggy, is forthwith dubbed a “roach-back.”
The average sporting writer, moreover, joins with the more imaginative
members of the “old hunter” variety in ascribing wildly various traits
to these different bears. One comments on the superior prowess of the
roach-back; the explanation being that a bear in early spring is apt to
be ravenous from hunger. The next insists that the California grizzly is
the only really dangerous bear; while another stoutly maintains that it
does not compare in ferocity with what he calls the “smaller” silver-tip
or cinnamon. And so on, and so on, without end. All of which is mere

Nevertheless, it is no easy task to determine how many species or
varieties of bear actually do exist in the United States, and I cannot
even say without doubt that a very large set of skins and skulls would
not show a nearly complete intergradation between the most widely
separated individuals. However, there are certainly two very distinct
types, which differ almost as widely from each other as a wapiti does
from a mule deer, and which exist in the same localities in most heavily
timbered portions of the Rockies. One is the small black bear, a bear
which will average about two hundred pounds weight, with fine, glossy,
black fur, and the foreclaws but little longer than the hinder ones;
in fact, the hairs of the forepaw often reach to their tips. This bear
is a tree climber. It is the only kind found east of the great plains,
and it is also plentiful in the forest-clad portions of the Rockies,
being common in most heavily timbered tracts throughout the United
States. The other is the grizzly, which weighs three or four times as
much as the black, and has a pelt of coarse hair, which is in color
gray, grizzled, or brown of various shades. It is not a tree climber,
and the foreclaws are very long, much longer than the hinder ones. It
is found from the great plains west of the Mississippi to the Pacific
coast. This bear inhabits indifferently lowland and mountain; the deep
woods and the barren plains where the only cover is the stunted growth
fringing the streams. These two types are very distinct in every way,
and their differences are not at all dependent upon mere geographical
considerations; for they are often found in the same district. Thus I
found them both in the Bighorn Mountains, each type being in extreme
form, while the specimens I shot showed no trace of intergradation.
The huge, grizzled, long-clawed beast, and its little, glossy-coated,
short-clawed, tree-climbing brother roamed over exactly the same country
in those mountains; but they were as distinct in habits, and mixed as
little together as moose and caribou.

On the other hand, when a sufficient number of bears from widely
separated regions are examined, the various distinguishing marks are
found to be inconstant and to show a tendency—exactly how strong I cannot
say—to fade into one another. The differentiation of the two species
seems to be as yet scarcely completed; there are more or less imperfect
connecting links, and as regards the grizzly it almost seems as if the
specific characters were still unstable. In the far Northwest, in the
basin of the Columbia, the “black” bear is as often brown as any other
color; and I have seen the skins of two cubs, one black and one brown,
which were shot when following the same dam. When these brown bears
have coarser hair than usual their skins are with difficulty to be
distinguished from those of certain varieties of the grizzly. Moreover,
all bears vary greatly in size; and I have seen the bodies of very large
black or brown bears with short foreclaws which were fully as heavy as,
or perhaps heavier than, some small but full-grown grizzlies with long
foreclaws. These very large bears with short claws are very reluctant to
climb a tree; and are almost as clumsy about it as is a young grizzly.
Among the grizzlies the fur varies much in color and texture even among
bears of the same locality; it is of course richest in the deep forest,
while the bears of the dry plains and mountains are of a lighter, more
washed-out hue.

A full-grown grizzly will usually weigh from five to seven hundred
pounds; but exceptional individuals undoubtedly reach more than twelve
hundredweight. The California bears are said to be much the largest.
This I think is so, but I cannot say it with certainty—at any rate, I
have examined several skins of full-grown Californian bears which were
no larger than those of many I have seen from the northern Rockies. The
Alaskan bears, particularly those of the peninsula, are even bigger
beasts; the skin of one which I saw in the possession of Mr. Webster,
the taxidermist, was a good deal larger than the average polar bear
skin; and the animal when alive, if in good condition, could hardly have
weighed less than 1400 pounds. Bears vary wonderfully in weight, even to
the extent of becoming half as heavy again, according as they are fat or
lean; in this respect they are more like hogs than like any other animals.


The grizzly is now chiefly a beast of the high hills and heavy timber;
but this is merely because he has learned that he must rely on cover to
guard him from man, and has forsaken the open ground accordingly. In old
days, and in one or two very out-of-the-way places almost to the present
time, he wandered at will over the plains. It is only the wariness born
of fear which nowadays causes him to cling to the thick brush of the
large river bottoms throughout the plains country. When there were no
rifle-bearing hunters in the land, to harass him and make him afraid,
he roved hither and thither at will, in burly self-confidence. Then he
cared little for cover, unless as a weather-break, or because it happened
to contain food he liked. If the humor seized him he would roam for
days over the rolling or broken prairie, searching for roots, digging
up gophers, or perhaps following the great buffalo herds either to prey
on some unwary straggler which he was able to catch at a disadvantage
in a washout, or else to feast on the carcasses of those which died by
accident. Old hunters, survivors of the long-vanished ages when the
vast herds thronged the high plains and were followed by the wild red
tribes, and by bands of whites who were scarcely less savage, have told
me that they often met bears under such circumstances; and these bears
were accustomed to sleep in a patch of rank sage bush, in the niche of a
washout, or under the lee of a bowlder, seeking their food abroad even in
full daylight. The bears of the Upper Missouri basin—which were so light
in color that the early explorers often alluded to them as gray or even
as “white”—were particularly given to this life in the open. To this day
that close kinsman of the grizzly known as the bear of the barren grounds
continues to lead this same kind of life, in the far north. My friend,
Mr. Rockhill, of Maryland, who was the first white man to explore eastern
Tibet, describes the large grizzly-like bear of those desolate uplands as
having similar habits.

However, the grizzly is a shrewd beast and shows the usual bear-like
capacity for adapting himself to changed conditions. He has in most
places become a cover-haunting animal, sly in his ways, wary to a degree,
and clinging to the shelter of the deepest forests in the mountains and
of the most tangled thickets in the plains. Hence he has held his own
far better than such game as the bison and elk. He is much less common
than formerly, but he is still to be found throughout most of his former
range; save, of course, in the immediate neighborhood of the large towns.

In most places the grizzly hibernates, or, as old hunters say, “holes
up,” during the cold season, precisely as does the black bear; but, as
with the latter species, those animals which live farthest south spend
the whole year abroad in mild seasons. The grizzly rarely chooses that
favorite den of his little black brother, a hollow tree or log, for
his winter sleep, seeking or making some cavernous hole in the ground
instead. The hole is sometimes in a slight hillock in a river bottom,
but more often on a hill-side, and may be either shallow or deep. In
the mountains it is generally a natural cave in the rock, but among the
foot-hills and on the plains the bear usually has to take some hollow or
opening, and then fashion it into a burrow to his liking with his big
digging claws.

Before the cold weather sets in, the bear begins to grow restless, and to
roam about seeking for a good place in which to hole up. One will often
try and abandon several caves or partially dug-out burrows in succession
before finding a place to its taste. It always endeavors to choose a spot
where there is little chance of discovery or molestation, taking great
care to avoid leaving too evident trace of its work. Hence it is not
often that the dens are found.

Once in its den the bear passes the cold months in lethargic sleep; yet,
in all but the coldest weather, and sometimes even then, its slumber is
but light, and if disturbed it will promptly leave its den, prepared for
fight or flight as the occasion may require. Many times when a hunter
has stumbled on the winter resting-place of a bear and has left it, as
he thought, without his presence being discovered, he has returned only
to find that the crafty old fellow was aware of the danger all the time,
and sneaked off as soon as the coast was clear. But in very cold weather
hibernating bears can hardly be wakened from their torpid lethargy.

The length of time a bear stays in its den depends of course upon the
severity of the season and the latitude and altitude of the country.

When the bear first leaves its den the fur is in very fine order, but it
speedily becomes thin and poor, and does not recover its condition until
the fall. Sometimes the bear does not betray any great hunger for a few
days after its appearance; but in a short while it becomes ravenous.
During the early spring, when the woods are still entirely barren and
lifeless, while the snow yet lies in deep drifts, the lean, hungry brute,
both maddened and weakened by long fasting, is more of a flesh eater than
at any other time. It is at this period that it is most apt to turn true
beast of prey, and show its prowess either at the expense of the wild
game, or of the flocks of the settler and the herds of the ranchman.
Bears are very capricious in this respect, however. Some are confirmed
game and cattle killers; others are not; while yet others either are or
are not, accordingly as the freak seizes them, and their ravages vary
almost unaccountably, both with the season and the locality.


I spent much of the fall of 1889 hunting on the head-waters of the Salmon
and Snake in Idaho, and along the Montana boundary line from the Big Hole
Basin and the head of the Wisdom River to the neighborhood of Red Rock
Pass and to the north and west of Henry’s Lake. During the last fortnight
my companion was the old mountain man named Griffeth or Griffin—I cannot
tell which, as he was always called either “Hank” or “Griff.” He was
a crabbedly honest old fellow, and a very skillful hunter; but he was
worn out with age and rheumatism, and his temper had failed even faster
than his bodily strength. He showed me a greater variety of game than
I had ever seen before in so short a time; nor did I ever before or
after make so successful a hunt. But he was an exceedingly disagreeable
companion on account of his surly, moody ways. I generally had to get
up first, to kindle the fire and make ready breakfast, and he was very
quarrelsome. Finally, during my absence from camp one day, while not very
far from Red Rock Pass, he found my whiskey-flask, which I kept purely
for emergencies, and drank all the contents. When I came back he was
quite drunk. This was unbearable, and after some high words I left him,
and struck off homeward through the woods on my own account. We had with
us four pack and saddle horses; and of these I took a very intelligent
and gentle little bronco mare, which possessed the invaluable trait of
always staying near camp, even when not hobbled. I was not hampered with
much of an outfit, having only my buffalo sleeping-bag, a fur coat,
and my washing-kit, with a couple of spare pairs of socks and some
handkerchiefs. A frying-pan, some salt, flour, baking-powder, a small
chunk of salt pork, and a hatchet made up a light pack, which, with the
bedding, I fastened across the stock saddle by means of a rope and a
spare packing cinch. My cartridges and knife were in my belt; my compass
and matches, as always, in my pocket. I walked, while the little mare
followed almost like a dog, often without my having to hold the lariat
which served as halter.

The country was for the most part fairly open, as I kept near the
foot-hills where glades and little prairies broke the pine forest. The
trees were of small size. There was no regular trail, but the course was
easy to keep, and I had no trouble of any kind save on the second day.
That afternoon I was following a stream which at last “canyoned up”—that
is, sank to the bottom of a canyon-like ravine impassable for a horse.
I started up a side valley, intending to cross from its head coulies to
those of another valley which would lead in below the canyon.

However, I got enmeshed in the tangle of winding valleys at the foot of
the steep mountains, and as dusk was coming on I halted and camped in a
little open spot by the side of a small, noisy brook, with crystal water.
The place was carpeted with soft, wet, green moss, dotted red with the
kinnikinnic berries, and at its edge, under the trees where the ground
was dry, I threw down the buffalo bed on the mat of sweet-smelling pine
needles. Making camp took but a moment. I opened the pack, tossed the
bedding on a smooth spot, knee-haltered the little mare, dragged up a few
dry logs, and then strolled off, rifle on shoulder, through the frosty
gloaming, to see if I could pick up a grouse for supper.

For half a mile I walked quickly and silently over the pine needles,
across a succession of slight ridges separated by narrow, shallow
valleys. The forest here was composed of lodge-pole pines, which on
the ridges grew close together, with tall slender trunks, while in the
valleys the growth was more open. Though the sun was behind the mountains
there was yet plenty of light by which to shoot, but it was fading

At last, as I was thinking of turning toward camp, I stole up to the
crest of one of the ridges, and looked over into the valley some sixty
yards off. Immediately I caught the loom of some large, dark object; and
another glance showed me a big grizzly walking slowly off with his head
down. He was quartering to me, and I fired into his flank, the bullet,
as I afterward found, ranging forward and piercing one lung. At the shot
he uttered a loud, moaning grunt and plunged forward at a heavy gallop,
while I raced obliquely down the hill to cut him off. After going a
few hundred feet he reached a laurel thicket, some thirty yards broad,
and two or three times as long, which he did not leave. I ran up to the
edge and there halted, not liking to venture into the mass of twisted,
close-growing stems and glossy foliage. Moreover, as I halted, I heard
him utter a peculiar, savage kind of whine from the heart of the brush.
Accordingly, I began to skirt the edge, standing on tiptoe and gazing
earnestly to see if I could not catch a glimpse of his hide. When I
was at the narrowest part of the thicket, he suddenly left it directly
opposite, and then wheeled and stood broadside to me on the hill-side, a
little above. He turned his head stiffly toward me; scarlet strings of
froth hung from his lips; his eyes burned like embers in the gloom.

I held true, aiming behind the shoulder, and my bullet shattered the
point or lower end of his heart, taking out a big nick. Instantly the
great bear turned with a harsh roar of fury and challenge, blowing the
bloody foam from his mouth, so that I saw the gleam of his white fangs;
and then he charged straight at me, crashing and bounding through the
laurel bushes, so that it was hard to aim. I waited until he came to a
fallen tree, raking him as he topped it with a ball which entered his
chest and went through the cavity of his body, but he neither swerved
nor flinched, and at the moment I did not know that I had struck him. He
came steadily on, and in another second was almost upon me. I fired for
his forehead, but my bullet went low, entering his open mouth, smashing
his lower jaw and going into the neck. I leaped to one side almost as I
pulled trigger; and through the hanging smoke the first thing I saw was
his paw as he made a vicious side blow at me. The rush of his charge
carried him past. As he struck he lurched forward, leaving a pool of
bright blood where his muzzle hit the ground; but he recovered himself
and made two or three jumps onward, while I hurriedly jammed a couple of
cartridges into the magazine, my rifle holding only four, all of which I
had fired. Then he tried to pull up, but as he did so his muscles seemed
suddenly to give way, his head drooped, and he rolled over and over like
a shot rabbit. Each of my first three bullets had inflicted a mortal

It was already twilight, and I merely opened the carcass, and then
trotted back to camp. Next morning I returned and with much labor took
off the skin. The fur was very fine, the animal being in excellent trim,
and unusually bright-colored. Unfortunately, in packing it out I lost the
skull, and had to supply its place with one of plaster. The beauty of the
trophy, and the memory of the circumstances under which I procured it,
make me value it perhaps more highly than any other in my house.

This is the only instance in which I have been regularly charged by a
grizzly. On the whole, the danger of hunting these great bears has been
much exaggerated. At the beginning of the present century, when white
hunters first encountered the grizzly, he was doubtless an exceedingly
savage beast, prone to attack without provocation, and a redoubtable foe
to persons armed with the clumsy, small-bore, muzzle-loading rifles of
the day. But at present, bitter experience has taught him caution. He
has been hunted for sport, and hunted for his pelt, and hunted for the
bounty, and hunted as a dangerous enemy to stock, until, save in the very
wildest districts, he has learned to be more wary than a deer, and to
avoid man’s presence almost as carefully as the most timid kind of game.
Except in rare cases he will not attack of his own accord, and, as a
rule, even when wounded his object is escape rather than battle.

Still, when fairly brought to bay, or when moved by a sudden fit of
ungovernable anger, the grizzly is beyond peradventure a very dangerous
antagonist. The first shot, if taken at a bear a good distance off and
previously unwounded and unharried, is not usually fraught with much
danger, the startled animal being at the outset bent merely on flight.
It is always hazardous, however, to track a wounded and worried grizzly
into thick cover, and the man who habitually follows and kills this chief
of American game in dense timber, never abandoning the bloody trail
whithersoever it leads, must show no small degree of skill and hardihood,
and must not too closely count the risk to life or limb. Bears differ
widely in temper, and occasionally one may be found who will not show
fight, no matter how much he is bullied; but, as a rule, a hunter must be
cautious in meddling with a wounded animal which has retreated into a
dense thicket, and has been once or twice roused; and such a beast, when
it does turn, will usually charge again and again, and fight to the last
with unconquerable ferocity. The short distance at which the bear can be
seen through the underbrush, the fury of its charge, and its tenacity of
life make it necessary for the hunter on such occasions to have steady
nerves and a fairly quick and accurate aim. It is always well to have
two men in following a wounded bear under such conditions. This is not
necessary, however, and a good hunter, rather than lose his quarry, will,
under ordinary circumstances, follow and attack it, no matter how tangled
the fastness in which it has sought refuge; but he must act warily and
with the utmost caution and resolution, if he wishes to escape a terrible
and probably fatal mauling. An experienced hunter is rarely rash, and
never heedless; he will not, when alone, follow a wounded bear into a
thicket, if by the exercise of patience, skill, and knowledge of the
game’s habits he can avoid the necessity; but it is idle to talk of the
feat as something which ought in no case to be attempted. While danger
ought never to be needlessly incurred, it is yet true that the keenest
zest in sport comes from its presence, and from the consequent exercise
of the qualities necessary to overcome it. The most thrilling moments of
an American hunter’s life are those in which, with every sense on the
alert, and with nerves strung to the highest point, he is following alone
into the heart of its forest fastness the fresh and bloody footprints of
an angered grizzly; and no other triumph of American hunting can compare
with the victory to be thus gained.


  =Biography.= Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), twenty-sixth President
  of the United States, was born in New York City. As a boy he was of
  frail physique, but overcame this handicap by systematic exercise
  and outdoor life. He was always interested in natural history, and
  at the age of fourteen, when he accompanied his father on a tour up
  the Nile, he made a collection of the Egyptian birds to be found in
  the Nile valley. This collection is now in the Smithsonian Museum,
  Washington, D. C. In 1884, Roosevelt bought two cattle ranches near
  Medora, in North Dakota, where for two years he lived and entered
  actively into western life and spirit.

  In 1909, at the close of his presidency, he conducted an expedition
  to Africa, to make a collection of tropical animals and plants.
  Expert naturalists accompanied the party, which remained in the
  wilderness for a year, and returned with a collection which
  scientists pronounce of unusual value for students of natural
  history. Most of the specimens are now in the Smithsonian Museum.
  Some of the books in which he has recorded his hunting experiences
  are: _African Game Trails_, _The Deer Family_, and _The Wilderness
  Hunter_, from which “Old Ephraim, the Grizzly Bear” is taken.

  Mr. Roosevelt’s last work as an explorer was his journey to South
  America. On this journey he penetrated wildernesses rarely explored
  by white men, and made many discoveries in the field of South
  American animal and vegetable life and in geography.

  The vigorous personality of this great American found expression not
  only in the life of men and their political and social relations, but
  also in his love of the great outdoors and the unbeaten tracks where
  life is an adventure, primitive in surroundings, such a life as was
  lived by Sir Walter Raleigh and other great seamen and explorers who
  were not content with the tameness of the commonplace.

  =Discussion.= 1. By what characteristics may the grizzly generally be
  distinguished from the black bear? 2. Which of these characteristics
  is most fixed? 3. What change has taken place in the habits of the
  North American grizzly? 4. Account for this change. 5. Locate the
  region in which the author was hunting at the time of the adventure
  he narrates. 6. Describe his outfit and tell what must be considered
  in providing such a hunting outfit. 7. What moments in the encounter
  with the grizzly were most exciting and dangerous? 8. What qualities
  must a hunter of such game possess? 9. What conclusions does the
  author give as a result of his experience in hunting “this chief of
  American game”? 10. What impression of the author do you gain from
  this story? 11. Pronounce: species; wariness; harass; lethargic;
  capricious; canyon; obliquely; severity; misshapen.


  popular opinion, 15, 14
  natural history, 15, 16
  specific identity, 15, 21
  standing puzzle, 16, 9
  superior prowess, 16, 17
  stoutly maintains, 16, 21
  widely separated individuals, 16, 28
  inhabits indifferently, 17, 7
  in extreme form, 17, 14
  imperfect connecting links, 17, 25
  rely on cover, 18, 23
  wariness born of fear, 18, 26
  lee of a bowlder, 19, 9
  wary to a degree, 19, 21
  held his own, 19, 23
  crabbedly honest, 21, 11
  quartering to me, 22, 34
  hunted for the bounty, 24, 17
  brought to bay, 24, 24
  beyond peradventure, 24, 25




Once upon a time there was a coffee-planter in India who wished to
clear some forest land for coffee-planting. When he had cut down all
the trees and burned the underwood, the stumps still remained. Dynamite
is expensive and slow fire slow. The happy medium for stump-clearing is
the lord of all beasts, who is the elephant. He will either push the
stump out of the ground with his tusks, if he has any, or drag it out
with ropes. The planter, therefore, hired elephants by ones and twos and
threes, and fell to work. The very best of all the elephants belonged to
the very worst of all the drivers or mahouts; and this superior beast’s
name was Moti Guj. He was the absolute property of his mahout, which
would never have been the case under native rule: for Moti Guj was a
creature to be desired by kings, and his name, being translated, meant
the Pearl Elephant. Because the British government was in the land,
Deesa, the mahout, enjoyed his property undisturbed. He was dissipated.
When he had made much money through the strength of his elephant, he
would get extremely drunk and give Moti Guj a beating with a tent-peg
over the tender nails of the forefeet. Moti Guj never trampled the life
out of Deesa on these occasions, for he knew that after the beating
was over, Deesa would embrace his trunk and weep and call him his love
and his life and the liver of his soul, and give him some liquor. Moti
Guj was very fond of liquor—arrack for choice, though he would drink
palm-tree toddy if nothing better offered. Then Deesa would go to sleep
between Moti Guj’s forefeet, and as Deesa generally chose the middle of
the public road, and as Moti Guj mounted guard over him, and would not
permit horse, foot, or cart to pass by, traffic was congested till Deesa
saw fit to wake up.

There was no sleeping in the daytime on the planter’s clearing: the
wages were too high to risk. Deesa sat on Moti Guj’s neck and gave him
orders, while Moti Guj rooted up the stumps—for he owned a magnificent
pair of tusks; or pulled at the end of a rope—for he had a magnificent
pair of shoulders—while Deesa kicked him behind the ears and said he
was the king of elephants. At evening time Moti Guj would wash down his
three hundred pounds’ weight of green food with a quart of arrack, and
Deesa would take a share, and sing songs between Moti Guj’s legs till it
was time to go to bed. Once a week Deesa led Moti Guj down to the river,
and Moti Guj lay on his side luxuriously in the shallows, while Deesa
went over him with a coir-swab and a brick. Moti Guj never mistook the
pounding blow of the latter for the smack of the former that warned him
to get up and turn over on the other side. Then Deesa would look at his
feet and examine his eyes, and turn up the fringes of his mighty ears in
case of sores or budding ophthalmia. After inspection the two would “come
up with a song from the sea,” Moti Guj, all black and shining, weaving a
torn tree branch twelve feet long in his trunk, and Deesa knotting up his
own long wet hair.

It was a peaceful, well-paid life till Deesa felt the return of the
desire to drink deep. He wished for an orgy. The little draughts that led
nowhere were taking the manhood out of him.

He went to the planter, and “My mother’s dead,” said he, weeping.

“She died on the last plantation two months ago, and she died once before
that when you were working for me last year,” said the planter, who knew
something of the ways of nativedom.

“Then it’s my aunt, and she was just the same as a mother to me,” said
Deesa, weeping more than ever. “She has left eighteen small children
entirely without bread, and it is I who must fill their little stomachs,”
said Deesa, beating his head on the floor.

“Who brought you the news?” said the planter.

“The post,” said Deesa.

“There hasn’t been a post here for the past week. Get back to your lines!”

“A devastating sickness has fallen on my village, and all my wives are
dying,” yelled Deesa, really in tears this time.

“Call Chihun, who comes from Deesa’s village,” said the planter. “Chihun,
has this man got a wife?”

“He?” said Chihun. “No. Not a woman of our village would look at him.
They’d sooner marry the elephant.”

Chihun snorted. Deesa wept and bellowed.

“You will get into a difficulty in a minute,” said the planter. “Go back
to your work!”

“Now I will speak Heaven’s truth,” gulped Deesa, with an inspiration. “I
haven’t been drunk for two months. I desire to depart in order to get
properly drunk afar off and distant from this heavenly plantation. Thus I
shall cause no trouble.”

A flickering smile crossed the planter’s face. “Deesa,” said he, “you’ve
spoken the truth, and I’d give you leave on the spot if anything could
be done with Moti Guj while you’re away. You know that he will only obey
your orders.”

“May the light of the heavens live forty thousand years. I shall be
absent but ten little days. After that, upon my faith and honor and
soul, I return. As to the inconsiderable interval, have I the gracious
permission of the heaven-born to call up Moti Guj?”

Permission was granted, and in answer to Deesa’s shrill yell, the mighty
tusker swung out of the shade of a clump of trees where he had been
squirting dust over himself till his master should return.

“Light of my heart, protector of the drunken, mountain of might, give
ear!” said Deesa, standing in front of him.

Moti Guj gave ear, and saluted with his trunk. “I am going away,” said

Moti Guj’s eyes twinkled. He liked jaunts as well as his master. One
could snatch all manner of nice things from the road-side then.

“But you, you fussy old pig, must stay behind and work.”

The twinkle died out as Moti Guj tried to look delighted. He hated
stump-hauling on the plantation. It hurt his teeth.

“I shall be gone for ten days, oh, delectable one! Hold up your near
forefoot and I’ll impress the fact upon it, warty toad of a dried
mud-puddle.” Deesa took a tent-peg and banged Moti Guj ten times on the
nails. Moti Guj grunted and shuffled from foot to foot.

“Ten days,” said Deesa, “you will work and haul and root the trees as
Chihun here shall order you. Take up Chihun and set him on your neck!”
Moti Guj curled the tip of his trunk, Chihun put his foot there, and was
swung on to the neck. Deesa handed Chihun the heavy _ankus_—the iron
elephant goad.

Chihun thumped Moti Guj’s bald head as a paver thumps a curbstone.

Moti Guj trumpeted.

“Be still, hog of the backwoods! Chihun’s your mahout for ten days. And
now bid me good-by, beast after mine own heart. Oh, my lord, my king!
Jewel of all created elephants, lily of the herd, preserve your honored
health; be virtuous. Adieu!”

Moti Guj lapped his trunk round Deesa and swung him into the air twice.
That was his way of bidding him good-by.

“He’ll work now,” said Deesa to the planter. “Have I leave to go?”

The planter nodded, and Deesa dived into the woods. Moti Guj went back to
haul stumps.


Chihun was very kind to him, but he felt unhappy and forlorn for all
that. Chihun gave him a ball of spices, and tickled him under the chin,
and Chihun’s little baby cooed to him after work was over, and Chihun’s
wife called him a darling; but Moti Guj was a bachelor by instinct, as
Deesa was. He did not understand the domestic emotions. He wanted the
light of his universe back again—the drink and the drunken slumber, the
savage beatings and the savage caresses.

None the less he worked well, and the planter wondered. Deesa had
wandered along the roads till he met a marriage procession of his own
caste, and, drinking, dancing, and tippling, had drifted with it past all
knowledge of the lapse of time.

The morning of the eleventh day dawned, and there returned no Deesa. Moti
Guj was loosed from his ropes for the daily stint. He swung clear, looked
round, shrugged his shoulders, and began to walk away, as one having
business elsewhere.

“Hi! ho! Come back, you!” shouted Chihun. “Come back and put me on your
neck, misborn mountain! Return, splendor of the hill-sides! Adornment of
all India, heave to, or I’ll bang every toe off your fat forefoot!”

Moti Guj gurgled gently, but did not obey. Chihun ran after him with a
rope and caught him up. Moti Guj put his ears forward, and Chihun knew
what that meant, though he tried to carry it off with high words.

“None of your nonsense with me,” said he. “To your pickets, devil-son!”

“Hrrump!” said Moti Guj, and that was all—that and the forebent ears.

Moti Guj put his hands in his pockets, chewed a branch for a toothpick,
and strolled about the clearing, making fun of the other elephants who
had just set to work.

Chihun reported the state of affairs to the planter, who came out with
a dog-whip and cracked it furiously. Moti Guj paid the white man the
compliment of charging him nearly a quarter of a mile across the clearing
and “Hrrumphing” him into his veranda. Then he stood outside the house,
chuckling to himself and shaking all over with the fun of it as an
elephant will.

“We’ll thrash him,” said the planter. “He shall have the finest thrashing
ever elephant received. Give Kala Nag and Nazim twelve foot of chain
apiece, and tell them to lay on twenty.”

Kala Nag—which means Black Snake—and Nazim were two of the biggest
elephants in the lines, and one of their duties was to administer the
graver punishment, since no man can beat an elephant properly.

They took the whipping-chains and rattled them in their trunks as they
sidled up to Moti Guj, meaning to hustle him between them. Moti Guj had
never, in all his life of thirty-nine years, been whipped, and he did
not intend to begin a new experience. So he waited, waving his head from
right to left, and measuring the precise spot in Kala Nag’s fat side
where a blunt tusk could sink deepest. Kala Nag had no tusks; the chain
was the badge of his authority; but for all that, he swung wide of Moti
Guj at the last minute, and tried to appear as if he had brought the
chain out for amusement. Nazim turned round and went home early. He did
not feel fighting fit that morning and so Moti Guj was left standing
alone with his ears cocked.

That decided the planter to argue no more, and Moti Guj rolled back to
his amateur inspection of the clearing. An elephant who will not work and
is not tied up is about as manageable as an eighty-one-ton gun loose in
a heavy seaway. He slapped old friends on the back and asked them if the
stumps were coming away easily; he talked nonsense concerning labor and
the inalienable rights of elephants to a long “nooning”; and, wandering
to and fro, he thoroughly demoralized the garden till sundown, when he
returned to his-picket for food.

“If you won’t work, you shan’t eat,” said Chihun, angrily. “You’re a wild
elephant, and no educated animal at all. Go back to your jungle.”

Chihun’s little brown baby was rolling on the floor of the hut, and
stretching out its fat arms to the huge shadow in the doorway. Moti Guj
knew well that it was the dearest thing on earth to Chihun. He swung out
his trunk with a fascinating crook at the end, and the brown baby threw
itself, shouting, upon it. Moti Guj made fast and pulled up till the
brown baby was crowing in the air twelve feet above his father’s head.

“Great Lord!” said Chihun. “Flour cakes of the best, twelve in number,
two feet across and soaked in rum, shall be yours on the instant, and two
hundred pounds weight of fresh-cut young sugar-cane therewith. Deign only
to put down safely that insignificant brat who is my heart and my life to

Moti Guj tucked the brown baby comfortably between his forefeet, that
could have knocked into toothpicks all Chihun’s hut, and waited for his
food. He ate it, and the brown baby crawled away. Moti Guj dozed and
thought of Deesa. One of many mysteries connected with the elephant is
that his huge body needs less sleep than anything else that lives. Four
or five hours in the night suffice—two just before midnight, lying down
on one side; two just after one o’clock, lying down on the other. The
rest of the silent hours are filled with eating and fidgeting, and long
grumbling soliloquies.

At midnight, therefore, Moti Guj strode out of his pickets, for a thought
had come to him that Deesa might be lying drunk somewhere in the dark
forest with none to look after him. So all that night he chased through
the undergrowth, blowing and trumpeting and shaking his ears. He went
down to the river and blared across the shallows where Deesa used to wash
him, but there was no answer. He could not find Deesa, but he disturbed
all the other elephants in the lines, and nearly frightened to death some
gypsies in the woods.

At dawn Deesa returned to the plantation. He had been very drunk indeed,
and he expected to get into trouble for outstaying his leave. He drew a
long breath when he saw that the bungalow and the plantation were still
uninjured, for he knew something of Moti Guj’s temper, and reported
himself with many lies and salaams. Moti Guj had gone to his pickets for
breakfast. The night exercise had made him hungry.

“Call up your beast,” said the planter; and Deesa shouted in the
mysterious elephant language that some mahouts believe came from China
at the birth of the world, when elephants and not men were masters. Moti
Guj heard and came. Elephants do not gallop. They move from places at
varying rates of speed. If an elephant wished to catch an express train
he could not gallop, but he could catch the train. So Moti Guj was at the
planter’s door almost before Chihun noticed that he had left his pickets.
He fell into Deesa’s arms, trumpeting with joy, and the man and beast
wept and slobbered over each other, and handled each other from head to
heel to see that no harm had befallen.

“Now we will get to work,” said Deesa. “Lift me up, my son and my joy!”

Moti Guj swung him up, and the two went to the coffee-clearing to look
for difficult stumps.

The planter was too astonished to be very angry.


  =Biography.= Rudyard Kipling (1865—) was born in Bombay, India, of
  British parents. He was sent to England for most of his education,
  but at the age of seventeen he returned to India to work as a
  journalist. Very soon he began to write tales of the life about him,
  as well as poems dealing with British civil officials and soldiers in
  India. By the time he was twenty-four he had won fame with his _Plain
  Tales from the Hills_ and other short stories; and when he published
  _Barrack Room Ballads_, in 1892, he was widely recognized as a great
  poet. From 1892 to 1896 he lived in the United States. Perhaps he is
  best known to boys and girls as the author of the _Jungle Books_.
  He is a master of the art of telling stories, either in prose or
  verse. His ballads about the British soldier, “Tommy Atkins,” and
  his experiences on the frontiers of civilization, have a ring and a
  movement that suggests the old days when the ballad-maker was a man
  of action, living the adventures that he celebrated in song.

  =Discussion.= 1. Read all that tells you of the time and place in
  which this mutiny occurred. 2. Read all that gives you a picture of
  life on the clearing. 3. Who is the principal character in the story?
  4. What caused the mutiny? 5. What ended it? 6. What is the most
  interesting point in the story? 7. Read parts that convince you that
  Kipling knows the characteristics of the elephant. 8. Find instances
  where he exaggerates the intelligence of the elephant, giving it
  human characteristics. 9. Does this add to or take from the interest
  of the story? 10. Read parts in which humor is shown in dialogue or
  incident. 11. Tell in your own words the main incident. 12. What do
  you like about this story? 13. Tell what you know of the author. 14.
  Pronounce the following: orgy; draughts; devastating; amateur; deign.


  happy medium, 27, 5
  absolute property, 27, 11
  the case under native rule, 27, 12
  liver of his soul, 27, 22
  draughts that led nowhere, 28, 22
  ways of nativedom, 28, 27
  with an inspiration, 29, 8
  inconsiderable interval, 29, 18
  mighty tusker, 29, 22
  domestic emotions, 30, 26
  savage caresses, 30, 28
  of his own caste, 30, 31
  adornment of all India, 31, 5
  forebent ears, 31, 14
  badge of his authority, 32, 2
  amateur inspection, 32, 8
  inalienable rights, 32, 13
  fascinating crook, 32, 22
  grumbling soliloquies, 33, 3
  blared across the shallows, 33, 9



I remember an occasion many years ago when in Ceylon I, in connection
with my brother, had organized a scheme for the development of a mountain
sanitarium at Newera Ellia. We had a couple of tame elephants employed
in various works; but it was necessary to obtain the assistance of the
government stables for the transport of very heavy machinery, which could
not be conveyed in the ordinary native carts. There were accordingly a
large number of elephant wagons drawn by their colossal teams, some of
which required four elephants.

It was the wet season upon the mountains. Our settlement was 6200 feet
above the sea, and the zigzag pass from Ramboddé, at the base of the
steep ascent, was fifteen miles in length. The crest of the pass was 7000
feet in altitude, from which we descended 800 feet to the Newera Ellia

The elephant wagons having arrived at Ramboddé from Colombo, about
100 miles distant, commenced the heavy uphill journey. The rain was
unceasing, the roads were soft, and the heavily laden wagons sank deeply
in the ruts; but the elephants were mighty beasts, and, laying their
weight against the work, they slowly dragged the vehicles up the yielding
and narrow way.

The abrupt zigzags bothered the long wagons and their still longer teams.
The bridges over dangerous chasms entailed the necessity of unloading the
heavier carts, and caused great delay. Day after day passed away; but
although the ascent was slow, the wagons still moved upwards, and the
region of everlasting mist (at that season) was reached. Dense forests
clothed the mountain sides; the roar of waterfalls resounded in the
depths of black ravines; tangled bamboo grass crept upwards from the wet
soil into the lower branches of the moss-covered trees, and formed a
green curtain impenetrable to sight.

The thermometer fell daily as the altitude increased. The elephants began
to sicken; two fine animals died. There was plenty of food, as the bamboo
grass was the natural provender, and in the carts was a good supply of
paddy; but the elephants’ intelligence was acting against them—they had
reasoned, and had become despondent.

For nine or ten days they had been exposed to ceaseless wet and cold,
dragging their unmanageable wagons up a road that even in dry weather was
insufficient to sustain the weight. The wheels sank deep below the metal
foundation, and became hopelessly imbedded. Again and again the wagons
had to be emptied of their contents, and extra elephants were taken from
other carts and harnessed to the empty wagons, which were by sheer weight
of animals dragged from the deep mire.

Thus the time had passed, and the elephants had evidently reasoned
upon the situation, and had concluded that there was no summit to the
mountain, and no end to the steep and horrible ascent; it would be,
therefore, useless to persevere in unavailing efforts. They determined,
under these heart-breaking circumstances, to strike work; and they did

One morning a couple of the elephant drivers appeared at my house in
Newera Ellia, and described the situation. They declared that it was
absolutely impossible to induce the elephants to work; they had given it
up as a bad job!

I immediately mounted my horse and rode up the pass, and then descended
the road upon the other side, timing the distance by my watch. Rather
under two miles from the summit I found the road completely blocked with
elephant carts and wagons; the animals were grazing upon bamboo grass
in the thick forest; the rain was drizzling, and a thick mist increased
the misery of the scene. I ordered four elephants to be harnessed to a
cart intended for only one animal. This was quickly effected, and the
drivers were soon astride the animals’ necks, and prodded them with the
persuasive iron hooks. Not an elephant would exert itself to draw. In
vain the drivers, with relentless cruelty, drove the iron points deep
into the poor brutes’ necks and heads, and used every threat of their
vocabulary; the only response was a kind of “marking time” on the part
of the elephants, which simply moved their legs mechanically up and down,
and swung their trunks to and fro; but none would pull or exert the
slightest power, neither did they move forward a single inch!

I never saw such an instance of passive and determined obstinacy; the
case was hopeless.

An idea struck me. I ordered the drivers to detach the four elephants
from the harness, and to ride them thus unfettered up the pass,
following behind my horse. It appeared to me that if the elephants were
heart-broken, and in despair at the apparently interminable mountain
pass, it would be advisable to let them know the actual truth, by showing
them that they were hardly two miles from the summit, where they would
exchange their uphill labor for a descent into Newera Ellia; they should
then have an extra feed, with plenty of jaggery (a coarse brown sugar).
If they passed an agreeable night, with the best of food and warm
quarters, they would possibly return on the following day to their work,
and with lighter hearts would put their shoulders to the wheel, instead
of yielding to a dogged attitude of despair.

The success of this ruse was perfect. The elephants accompanied me to
Newera Ellia, and were well fed and cared for. On the following day we
returned to the heavy work, and I myself witnessed their start with the
hitherto unyielding wagon. Not only did they exert their full powers,
and drag the lumbering load straight up the fatiguing hill without
the slightest hesitation, but their example, or some unaccountable
communication between them, appeared to give general encouragement.
I employed the most willing elephants as extras to each wagon, which
they drew to the summit of the pass, and then returned to assist the
others—thus completing what had been pronounced by the drivers as
utterly impossible. There can be no doubt that the elephants had at once
perceived the situation, and in consequence recovered their lost courage.


  =Biography.= Samuel White Baker (1821-1893) was an English engineer.
  At the age of twenty-four he went to Ceylon, where he founded an
  agricultural settlement. He soon became known as an explorer and
  a hunter of big game. With his wife he explored the region of the
  Nile, and later discovered the lake now called Albert Nyanza. His
  explorations in this part of central Africa were a part of the
  thrilling story of the discovery of the sources of the Nile, and of
  the opening of this region to civilization. To know the complete
  story of these explorations you should read something about Henry
  M. Stanley and David Livingstone. An interesting book covering
  explorations in Africa is Bayard Taylor’s _Central Africa_.

  Upon his return to England, Baker was greatly honored. He was
  knighted and sent to Egypt, where he was commissioned by the Khedive
  to suppress the slave traffic and establish regular trade. Later he
  explored and hunted in Cyprus, Syria, India, Japan, and the United
  States. He is the author of _Wild Beasts and Their Ways_, _The Rifle
  and the Hound in Ceylon_, and _True Tales for My Grandsons_, from
  which this selection was taken.

  =Discussion.= 1. Locate Ceylon on a map. 2. In what work were the
  elephants engaged when they became discouraged? 3. Why was the climb
  particularly difficult at this season? 4. What ruse was employed? 5.
  What success attended the plan? 6. Pronounce: vehicles; chasm; ruse;


  colossal teams, 35, 8
  entailed the necessity, 35, 23
  natural provender, 36, 3
  intelligence was acting against, 36, 5
  by sheer weight, 36, 13
  reasoned upon the situation, 36, 16
  persuasive iron hooks, 36, 34
  marking time, 37, 1
  passive obstinacy, 37, 5
  unaccountable communication, 37, 27





  Merrily swinging on brier and weed,
    Near to the nest of his little dame,
  Over the mountain side or mead,
    Robert of Lincoln is telling his name:
      “Bob-o’-link, bob-o’-link,
      Spink, spank, spink;
  Snug and safe is this nest of ours,
  Hidden among the summer flowers,
    Chee, chee, chee!”

  Robert of Lincoln is gayly dressed,
    Wearing a bright, black wedding coat;
  White are his shoulders, and white his crest,
    Hear him call in his merry note:
      “Bob-o’-link, bob-o’-link,
      Spink, spank, spink;
  Look what a nice new coat is mine;
  Sure, there was never a bird so fine.
    Chee, chee, chee!”

  Robert of Lincoln’s Quaker wife,
    Pretty and quiet, with plain brown wings,
  Passing at home a patient life,
    Broods in the grass while her husband sings:
      “Bob-o’-link, bob-o’-link,
      Spink, spank, spink;
  Brood, kind creature; you need not fear
  Thieves and robbers while I am here.
      Chee, chee, chee!”

  Modest and shy as a nun is she;
    One weak chirp is her only note;
  Braggart, and prince of braggarts is he,
    Pouring boasts from his little throat:
      “Bob-o’-link, bob-o’-link,
      Spink, spank, spink;
  Never was I afraid of man,
  Catch me, cowardly knaves, if you can.
    Chee, chee, chee!”

  Six white eggs on a bed of hay,
    Flecked with purple, a pretty sight,
  There, as the mother sits all day,
    Robert is singing with all his might:
      “Bob-o’-link, bob-o’-link,
      Spink, spank, spink;
  Nice good wife that never goes out,
  Keeping house while I frolic about.
      Chee, chee, chee!”

  Soon as the little ones chip the shell,
    Six wide mouths are open for food;
  Robert of Lincoln bestirs him well,
    Gathering seeds for the hungry brood.
      “Bob-o’-link, bob-o’-link,
      Spink, spank, spink;
  This new life is likely to be
  Hard for a gay young fellow like me.
      Chee, chee, chee!”

  Robert of Lincoln at length is made
    Sober with work, and silent with care,
  Off his holiday garment laid,
    Half forgotten that merry air:
      “Bob-o’-link, bob-o’-link,
      Spink, spank, spink;
  Nobody knows but my mate and I,
  Where our nest and our nestlings lie.
      Chee, chee, chee!”

  Summer wanes; the children are grown;
    Fun and frolic no more he knows,
  Robert of Lincoln’s a humdrum crone;
    Off he flies, and we sing as he goes:
      “Bob-o’-link, bob-o’-link,
      Spink, spank, spink;
  When you can pipe that merry old strain,
  Robert of Lincoln, come back again.
      Chee, chee, chee!”


  =Biography.= William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878) was the first great
  American poet. He was reared among the rugged Berkshire Hills of
  western Massachusetts. Outside the district school, he had little
  teaching except that given by his mother and what he gave himself
  through the excellent library of his father, who was a country
  physician. He grew up in close touch with nature and the simple farm
  surroundings, and this lonely life may have tended to make him rather
  more serious and thoughtful than most boys of his age. By the time
  he was nine years old he was putting his thoughts into verse in the
  stately fashion of the English poets of that time. In 1811, when yet
  scarcely eighteen, he wrote “Thanatopsis,” now one of the world’s

  By this time he had studied two years at a private school and seven
  months at Williams College. He was ambitious to continue his studies
  at Yale, but his father’s circumstances compelled him to give up that
  hope and to face the immediate problem of earning his own living. He
  studied law and was admitted to practice in 1815. After a few years
  he went to New York, where in 1825 he became editor of the _Evening
  Post_—a position which he continued to fill with distinction for more
  than half a century, until his death in 1878.

  And yet this busy editor of a great city newspaper found leisure
  from time to time to cultivate his love for verse and to continue to
  write poetry. His poems were popular with Americans because he chose
  for the most part American subjects taken from his own immediate
  surroundings and experience—the scenes and impressions of his
  boyhood, the flowers, the birds, the hills, the climate of his own
  New England.

  America’s first men of letters whose writings proved that the new
  republic could produce a literature worthy to be compared with that
  of the mother country were James Fenimore Cooper, writer of Indian
  tales; Washington Irving, writer of legends about America and the
  sketches about our old English home; and William Cullen Bryant.
  Cooper showed the strangeness and romance of frontier life. Irving
  tried to give to America the romantic background that the new country
  lacked. Bryant opened men’s eyes to the beauty of nature.

  Though Bryant was eleven years younger than Irving, his “Thanatopsis”
  was written only two years after Irving’s “Knickerbocker.”

  =Note.= The bobolink is an American song bird. In the spring the
  male is mostly black and white, while the female is streaked with
  yellowish brown. In midsummer the male bobolink molts, taking on
  “plain brown” plumage like that of his “Quaker wife.” In the spring
  he regains his black and buff colors without molting any feathers.
  He sings only in the spring. The bobolink makes long migrations
  extending from Canada to Paraguay, and in the late autumn collects in
  large flocks which feed in the rice fields of the South, where he is
  known as the _ricebird_, or _reedbird_.

  =Discussion.= 1. Read the lines that imitate the song of the
  bobolink. 2. Describe the dress of Robert of Lincoln and that of his
  “Quaker wife.” 3. How does her song differ from his? 4. What are the
  work and the care that make him silent? 5. How does the poet account
  for the change in his appearance as the season advances? 6. Where
  does he go for winter? When will he come again?


  prince of braggarts, 40, 12
  chip the shell, 40, 28
  bestirs him well, 40, 30
  summer wanes, 41, 15
  humdrum crone, 41, 17
  pipe that merry old strain, 41, 21



From _Poems of Henry van Dyke_; copyright 1897, 1911, by Charles
Scribner’s Sons. By permission of the publishers.

  While May bedecks the naked trees
  With tassels and embroideries,
  And many blue-eyed violets beam
  Along the edges of the stream,
  I hear a voice that seems to say,
  Now near at hand, now far away,

  An incantation so serene,
  So innocent, befits the scene:
  There’s magic in that small bird’s note—
  See, there he flits—the Yellow-Throat;
  A living sunbeam, tipped with wings,
  A spark of light that shines and sings

  You prophet with a pleasant name,
  If out of Mary-land you came,
  You know the way that thither goes
  Where Mary’s lovely garden grows;
  Fly swiftly back to her, I pray,
  And try to call her down this way,

  Tell her to leave her cockle-shells,
  And all her little silver bells
  That blossom into melody,
  And all her maids less fair than she.
  She does not need these pretty things,
  For everywhere she comes, she brings

  The woods are greening overhead,
  And flowers adorn each mossy bed;
  The waters babble as they run—
  One thing is lacking, only one:
  If Mary were but here today,
  I would believe your charming lay,

  Along the shady road I look—
  Who’s coming now across the brook?
  A woodland maid, all robed in white—
  The leaves dance round her with delight,
  The stream laughs out beneath her feet—,
  Sing, merry bird, the charm’s complete,


  =Biography.= Henry van Dyke (1852-⸺) was born in Germantown, which is
  now a part of the city of Philadelphia. When a small boy, his parents
  moved to Brooklyn. He was graduated from Princeton College in 1873
  and from the Princeton Theological Seminary in 1877. For several
  years he was pastor of the Brick Presbyterian Church in New York
  City. Later he was made professor of English Literature at Princeton
  University, which position he still holds. In 1913 Dr. van Dyke was
  appointed United States Minister to Holland, where he lived during
  the early years of the World War. He has written many stories and
  poems of great literary charm.

  =Discussion.= 1. What bird does the poet celebrate in this poem?
  2. What pictures does the first stanza give you? 3. What does the
  Yellow-Throat seem to say? 4. Make a list of all the names by which
  the poet speaks of the bird. 5. What fancy does the poet express in
  the third and fourth stanzas? 6. What does the poet say is wanting to
  make the day’s charm complete? 7. Which stanza do you like best? 8.
  What is the name of the “woodland maid”?


  May bedecks the naked trees, 43, 1
  incantation so serene, 43, 8
  befits the scene, 43, 9
  living sunbeam, 43, 12
  you prophet, 43, 15
  blossom into melody, 43, 24
  the woods are greening, 44, 1
  charming lay, 44, 6



  On the cross-beam under the Old South bell,
  The nest of a pigeon is builded well.
  In summer and winter, that bird is there,
  Out and in with the morning air.

  I love to see him track the street
  With his wary eye and active feet;
  And I often watch him, as he springs,
  Circling the steeple with easy wings,
  Till across the dial his shade has passed,
  And the belfry edge is gained at last.

  ’Tis a bird I love, with its brooding note,
  And the trembling throb in its mottled throat;
  There’s a human look in its swelling breast,
  And the gentle curve of its lowly crest;
  And I often stop with the fear I feel,
  He runs so close to the rapid wheel.
  Whatever is rung on that noisy bell,
  Chime of the hour, or funeral knell,
  The dove in the belfry must hear it well.

  When the tongue swings out to the midnight moon,
  When the sexton cheerily rings for noon,
  When the clock strikes clear at morning light,
  When the child is waked with “nine at night,”
  When the chimes play soft in the Sabbath air,
  Filling the spirit with tones of prayer,
  Whatever tale in the bell is heard,
  He broods on his folded feet unstirred,
  Or, rising half in his rounded nest,
  He takes the time to smooth his breast;
  Then drops again, with filméd eyes,
  And sleeps as the last vibration dies.

  Sweet bird! I would that I could be
  A hermit in the crowd, like thee!
  With wings to fly to wood and glen,
  Thy lot, like mine, is cast with men;
  And, daily, with unwilling feet,
  I tread, like thee, the crowded street;
  But, unlike me, when day is o’er,
  Thou canst dismiss the world, and soar;
  Or, at a half-felt wish for rest,
  Canst smooth the feathers on thy breast,
  And drop, forgetful, to thy nest.

  I would that, on such wings of gold,
  I could my weary heart upfold;
  I would I could look down unmoved
  (Unloving as I am unloved),
  And while the world throngs on beneath,
  Smooth down my cares and calmly breathe;
  And, never sad with others’ sadness,
  And never glad with others’ gladness,
  Listen, unstirred, to knell or chime,
  And, lapped in quiet, bide my time.


  =Biographical and Historical Note.= Nathaniel Parker Willis
  (1806-1867) was a native of Portland, Maine, and a graduate of Yale
  College. He was born one year earlier than Longfellow, and lived most
  of his life in New York City, being one of a small group of writers
  known as “The Knickerbockers,” who for many years made New York
  the literary center of the country. His father, the Rev. Nathaniel
  Willis, established in Boston _The Youth’s Companion._

  “Old South” is the name of a church in Boston, in which public
  meetings were held at the time of the Revolutionary War. It is now
  used as a museum of historic collections.

  =Discussion.= 1. What do the first two stanzas tell you about the
  bird? 2. Name the various sounds of the bell that the poet mentions.
  3. What comparison is found in the fifth stanza? 4. Compare the last
  stanza of “The Sandpiper” with the last stanza of this poem and tell
  which you like the better. 5. Can you give a reason why the pigeon is
  made the hero of this poem?


  track the street, 45, 5
  wary eye, 45, 6
  easy wings, 45, 8
  nine at night, 45, 23
  filméd eyes, 46, 3
  hermit in the crowd, 46, 6
  thy lot is cast with men, 46, 8
  with unwilling feet, 46, 9
  dismiss the world, 46, 12
  half-felt wish for rest, 46, 13
  weary heart upfold, 46, 17
  throngs on beneath, 46, 20
  lapped in quiet, 46, 25
  bide my time, 46, 25



  Across the lonely beach we flit,
    One little sandpiper and I;
  And fast I gather, bit by bit,
    The scattered driftwood, bleached and dry.
  The wild waves reach their hands for it,
    The wild wind raves, the tide runs high,
  As up and down the beach we flit,
    One little sandpiper and I.

  Above our heads the sullen clouds
    Scud, black and swift, across the sky;
  Like silent ghosts in misty shrouds
    Stand out the white lighthouses high.
  Almost as far as eye can reach
    I see the close-reefed vessels fly,
  As fast we flit along the beach,
    One little sandpiper and I.

  I watch him as he skims along,
    Uttering his sweet and mournful cry:
  He starts not at my fitful song,
    Nor flash of fluttering drapery.
  He has no thought of any wrong,
    He scans me with a fearless eye;
  Stanch friends are we, well tried and strong,
    The little sandpiper and I.

  Comrade, where wilt thou be tonight,
    When the loosed storm breaks furiously?
  My driftwood fire will burn so bright!
    To what warm shelter canst thou fly?
  I do not fear for thee, though wroth
    The tempest rushes through the sky;
  For are we not God’s children both,
    Thou, little sandpiper, and I?


  =Biography.= Celia Thaxter (1835-1894), whose father was a lighthouse
  keeper on White Island, one of the rocky isles known as the “Isles
  of Shoals,” off the coast of New Hampshire, had the ocean for her
  companion in her early years. She studied the sunrise and the sunset,
  the wild flowers, the birds, the rocks, and all sea life. This
  selection shows how intimate was her friendship with the bird life of
  the ocean.

  =Discussion.= 1. The poet and the sandpiper were comrades; in
  the first stanza, what tells you this? 2. Which lines give you a
  picture that might be used to illustrate this poem? 3. What common
  experiences did the poet and the bird have? 4. Give a quotation from
  the poem that describes the sandpiper and his habits. 5. What effect
  have the repetitions of the second line of the poem at the end of
  the first and second stanzas and the variations of it at the end of
  the third and fourth stanzas? 6. Which lines express confidence in
  God’s care for His children? 7. What classes of “God’s children” do
  “little sandpiper” and “I,” respectively, represent? 8. Pronounce the
  following: stanch; loosed; wroth.


  silent ghosts in misty shrouds, 47, 11
  close-reefed vessels, 47, 14
  my fitful song, 48. 3
  flash of fluttering drapery, 48, 4
  loosed storm breaks furiously, 48, 10
  wroth the tempest rushes, 48, 13



  “Summer is coming, summer is coming,
    I know it, I know it, I know it.
  Light again, leaf again, life again, love again!”
    Yes, my wild little Poet.

  Sing the new year in under the blue.
    Last year you sang it as gladly.
  “New, new, new, new!” Is it then so new
    That you should carol so madly?

  “Love again, song again, nest again, young again!”
    Never a prophet so crazy!
  And hardly a daisy as yet, little friend,
    See, there is hardly a daisy.

  “Here again, here, here, here, happy year!”
    O warble unchidden, unbidden!
  Summer is coming, is coming, my dear,
    And all the winters are hidden.


  =Biography.= Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) was poet laureate of
  England, succeeding Wordsworth. This means that he was appointed
  to write poems about matters of national interest, such as his ode
  on the death of the Duke of Wellington; and that he also expressed
  something of the national spirit of England, as in his poems about
  King Arthur (_The Idylls of the King_) and in many poems about his
  native land. He was born in Lincolnshire and studied at Trinity
  College, Cambridge. He lived a quiet life and devoted himself to
  poetry, in which he excelled in beauty of expression and choice of
  words. You will learn to know him as a teller of tales in verse,
  these tales being both modern ballads and romances about King Arthur;
  as a writer of many lovely song-poems or lyrics; and as a poet of
  religious faith.

  =Note.= The song-thrush, or throstle, is found in most parts of
  England, and is one of the finest songsters in Europe. Its note is
  rich and mellow. This is the bird of which Browning wrote,

        “He sings each song twice over,
  Lest you should think he never could recapture
  The first fine careless rapture!”

  =Discussion.= 1. Which lines in the first stanza represent the song
  of the bird? 2. Which line gives Tennyson’s answer to the throstle?
  3. Point out the words in the poem that represent the bird’s song. 4.
  Which lines tell you that Tennyson did not share the little bird’s
  hope? 5, What do the last two lines show that the bird did for the


  wild little Poet, 49, 4
  carol so madly, 49, 8
  never a prophet so crazy, 49, 10
  winters are hidden, 49, 16



  O blithe newcomer! I have heard,
    I hear thee and rejoice;
  O cuckoo! shall I call thee bird,
    Or but a wandering voice?

  While I am lying on the grass,
    Thy twofold shout I hear;
  From hill to hill it seems to pass,
    At once far off and near.

  Though babbling only to the vale,
    Of sunshine and of flowers,
  Thou bringest unto me a tale
    Of visionary hours.

  Thrice welcome, darling of the Spring!
    Even yet thou art to me
  No bird, but an invisible thing,
    A voice, a mystery;

  The same whom in my schoolboy days
    I listened to; that cry
  Which made me look a thousand ways,
    In bush, and tree, and sky.

  To seek thee did I often rove
    Through woods and on the green;
  And thou wert still a hope, a love;
    Still long’d for, never seen!

  And I can listen to thee yet;
    Can lie upon the plain
  And listen, till I do beget
    That golden time again.

  O blesséd bird! the earth we pace,
    Again appears to be
  An unsubstantial, fairy place,
    That is fit home for thee!


  =Biography.= William Wordsworth (1770-1850) was born in the beautiful
  Cumberland Highlands of northern England, which furnished the
  inspiration for most of his poetry. While still a young man, he
  retired to the beautiful Lake Country of northern England, where
  he lived a simple life. He was devoted to the cause of liberty; he
  was a believer in the beauty and charm of the humble life; he often
  wrote about peasants rather than about lords and ladies and knights
  of romance. His flower poems and bird poems show the simplicity and
  sincerity of his nature.

  =Note.= The cuckoo is a European bird noted for its two-syllable
  whistle, in imitation of which it is named; also for its habit of
  laying eggs in the nests of other birds for them to hatch, instead of
  building a nest of its own.

  =Discussion.= 1. Why does the poet call the cuckoo “a wandering
  voice”? 2. What other names does the poet call the cuckoo? 3. To
  what habit of the cuckoo does this poem call attention? 4. Why does
  the poet say a “fairy place” is a fit home for the cuckoo? 5. What
  “golden time” is mentioned?


  thy twofold shout, 50, 6
  at once far off and near, 50, 8
  tale of visionary hours, 50, 11
  beget that golden time again, 51, 11



  Bobolink shall play the violin,
    Great applause to win;
  Lonely, sweet, and sad, the meadow-lark
    Plays the oboe. Hark!
  Yellow-bird the clarionet shall play,
    Blithe, and clear, and gay.
  Purple-finch what instrument will suit?
    He can play the flute.
  Fire-winged blackbirds sound the merry fife,
    Soldiers without strife;
  And the robins wind the mellow horn
    Loudly, eve and morn.
  Who shall clash the cymbals? Jay and crow,
    That is all they know;
  And, to roll the deep melodious drum,
    Lo! the bull-frogs come.
  Then the splendid chorus! Who shall sing
    Of so fine a thing?
  Who the names of the performers call
    Truly, one and all?


  For Biography, see page 48.

  =Discussion.= 1. What instruments compose the birds’ orchestra? 2.
  Why does the poet say the jay and crow are assigned to the cymbals?
  3. Explain: “fire-winged” blackbirds. 4. What leads you to think that
  the author knew those birds intimately? 5. Do you think the chorus
  would be pleasing? 6. What assignments do you think are particularly


  soldiers without strife, 52, 10
  wind the mellow horn, 52, 11
  clash the cymbals, 52, 13
  roll the deep melodious drum, 52, 15





  Thou blossom, bright with autumn dew,
  And colored with the heaven’s own blue,
  That openest when the quiet light
  Succeeds the keen and frosty night;

  Thou comest not when violets lean
  O’er wandering brooks and springs unseen,
  Or columbines, in purple dressed,
  Nod o’er the ground bird’s hidden nest.

  Thou waitest late, and com’st alone,
  When woods are bare and birds are flown,
  And frosts and shortening days portend
  The aged year is near his end.

  Then doth thy sweet and quiet eye
  Look through its fringes to the sky,
  Blue—blue—as if that sky let fall
  A flower from its cerulean wall.

  I would that thus, when I shall see
  The hour of death draw near to me,
  Hope, blossoming within my heart,
  May look to heaven as I depart.


  For Biography, see page 41.

  =Discussion.= 1. To whom is this poem addressed? 2. What words tell
  you the time of year that the fringed gentian blooms? 3. What words
  does the poet use to tell the color of the gentian? 4. When does it
  open? 5. What words does Bryant use to mean early morning? 6. When
  do violets come and in what kind of soil do they grow? 7. What words
  in the poem tell you this? 8. What does the poet tell you about the
  violets when he says they “lean,” and about the columbine when he
  says it “nods”? 9. What signs of approaching winter does the poet
  mention? 10. Why does the poet repeat “blue” in the third line of
  stanza 4? 11. Of what is this color a symbol? 12. To what in his life
  does Bryant compare the end of the year? 13. In this comparison what
  does the little flower represent?


  heaven’s own blue, 53, 2
  quiet light succeeds, 53, 3
  shortening days portend, 53, 11
  cerulean wall, 53, 16



    Violet! sweet violet!
    Thine eyes are full of tears;
      Are they wet
      Even yet
  With the thought of other years?
  Or with gladness are they full,
  For the night so beautiful,
  And longing for those far-off spheres?

    Loved-one of my youth thou wast,
    Of my merry youth,
      And I see,
  All the fair and sunny past,
  All its openness and truth,
  Ever fresh and green in thee
  As the moss is in the sea.

    Thy little heart, that hath with love
    Grown colored like the sky above,
    On which thou lookest ever,
      Can it know
      All the woe
  Of hope for what returneth never,
  All the sorrow and the longing
  To these hearts of ours belonging?

    Out on it! no foolish pining
      For the sky
      Dims thine eye,
    Or for the stars so calmly shining;
    Like thee let this soul of mine
  Take hue from that wherefor I long,
  Self-stayed and high, serene and strong,
  Not satisfied with hoping—but divine.
    Violet! dear violet!
    Thy blue eyes are only wet
  With joy and love of him who sent thee,
  And for the fulfilling sense
  Of that glad obedience
  Which made thee all that nature meant thee!


  =Biography.= James Russell Lowell (1819-1891) came of one of the
  oldest and most influential New England families. Born in an
  atmosphere of learning, in the old family home in historic Cambridge,
  at the very doors of Harvard College, he enjoyed every advantage
  for culture that inherited tastes, ample means, and convenient
  opportunity could offer. Besides the facilities of the college near
  by, his father’s library, in which he roamed at will from his very
  infancy, was one of the richest in the whole country. It is not
  strange, then, that he grew to be one of the most scholarly Americans
  of his time.

  After leaving college he studied law and opened an office in Boston.
  He became deeply interested in the political issues of the times
  and was thus stirred to his first serious efforts in literature. In
  1848 appeared his “Vision of Sir Launfal,” founded upon the legend
  of the Holy Grail, and one of the most spiritually beautiful poems
  in any literature. Few patriotic poems surpass his “Commemoration
  Ode.” Besides his poetical works he wrote many essays and books of
  travel and of criticism. He succeeded Longfellow in his professorship
  at Harvard, and was the first editor of the _Atlantic Monthly_. He
  served successively as Minister to Spain and to England.

  =Discussion.= 1. In the first stanza, how does the poet account for
  the violet’s eyes being “full of tears”? 2. To the poet what does the
  violet represent? 3. What vision does the violet bring to the poet?
  4. How does the poet account for the color of the violet? 5. What
  change in the poet’s feeling is noted in the fourth stanza? 6. From
  what does the poet say his soul must “take hue”? 7. How does the poet
  in the last lines of the poem account for the violet’s eyes being
  “full of tears”?


  far-off spheres, 54, 8
  fair and sunny past, 55, 1
  fulfilling sense, 55, 24
  glad obedience, 55, 25



    Dear common flower, that grow’st beside the way,
  Fringing the dusty road with harmless gold,
        First pledge of blithesome May,
  Which children pluck, and, full of pride, uphold,
    High-hearted buccaneers, o’erjoyed that they
  An Eldorado in the grass have found,
      Which not the rich earth’s ample round
    May match in wealth—thou art more dear to me
    Than all the prouder summer-blooms may be.

    Gold such as thine ne’er drew the Spanish prow
  Through the primeval hush of Indian seas,
        Nor wrinkled the lean brow
  Of age, to rob the lover’s heart of ease;
    ’Tis the spring’s largess, which she scatters now
  To rich and poor alike, with lavish hand,
      Though most hearts never understand
    To take it at God’s value, but pass by
    The offered wealth with unrewarded eye.

    Thou art my tropics and mine Italy;
  To look at thee unlocks a warmer clime;
        The eyes thou givest me
  Are in the heart, and heed not space or time;
    Not in mid June the golden-cuirassed bee
  Feels a more summer-like warm ravishment
      In the white lily’s breezy tent,
    His fragrant Sybaris, than I, when first
    From the dark green thy yellow circles burst.

    Then think I of deep shadows on the grass—
  Of meadows where in sun the cattle graze,
        Where, as the breezes pass,
  The gleaming rushes lean a thousand ways—
    Of leaves that slumber in a cloudy mass,
  Or whiten in the wind—of waters blue
      That from the distance sparkle through
    Some woodland gap—and of a sky above,
    Where one white cloud like a stray lamb doth move.

    My childhood’s earliest thoughts are linked with thee;
  The sight of thee calls back the robin’s song,
        Who, from the dark old tree
  Beside the door, sang clearly all day long,
    And I, secure in childish piety,
  Listened as if I heard an angel sing
      With news from heaven, which he could bring
    Fresh every day to my untainted ears,
    When birds and flowers and I were happy peers.

    How like a prodigal doth nature seem,
  When thou, for all thy gold, so common art!
        Thou teachest me to deem
  More sacredly of every human heart,
    Since each reflects in joy its scanty gleam
  Of heaven, and could some wondrous secret show
      Did we but pay the love we owe,
    And with a child’s undoubting wisdom look
    On all these living pages of God’s book.


  For Biography, see page 55.

  =Discussion.= 1. In which stanzas does the poet express his love for
  the dandelion? 2. Which stanzas tell why the dandelion is so dear to
  the poet? 3. Where must the poet have lived to learn what he tells
  us in these stanzas? 4. Use your own words for “rich earth’s ample
  round.” 5. Name some “prouder summer-blooms.” 6. What gold “drew the
  Spanish prow,” and through what “Indian seas”? 7. What gold wrinkles
  “the lean brow of age” and robs “the lover’s heart of ease”? How does
  the dandelion’s gold differ from it? 8. Explain the last three lines
  of stanza 2, and name any other common things we do not value enough.
  9. How can the poet _look_ at the dandelion, but _see_ the tropics
  and Italy? 10. What “eyes are in the heart, and heed not space or
  time”? 11. Has a poet more vivid imagination than other people? Why?
  12. Compare the expression “eyes are in the heart, and heed not
  space or time” with that of Wordsworth in “The Daffodils,” page 59,
  lines 21 and 22, “that inward eye which is the bliss of solitude,”
  and with that of Trowbridge in “Midwinter,” page 83, lines 15 and
  16, “in my inmost ear is heard the music of a holier bird.” 13. Is
  there a similar idea in these expressions? 14. Which do you like
  best, “inward eye,” “inmost ear,” or “eyes in the heart”? 15. The
  dandelion is compared to gold and to sunshine; which comparison had
  the poet in mind in the first two lines of the last stanza? In the
  next four lines? 16. The flower reflects its “scanty gleam of heaven”
  in glowing color; how can human hearts reflect it?


  pledge of blithesome May, 58, 3
  high-hearted buccaneers, 56, 5
  primeval hush, 56, 11
  spring’s largess, 57, 1
  lavish hand, 57, 2
  unrewarded eye, 57, 5
  golden-cuirassed bee, 57, 10
  childish piety, 57, 28
  untainted ears, 57, 31
  living pages, 58, 9



  I wandered lonely as a cloud
    That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
  When all at once I saw a crowd,
    A host, of golden daffodils;
  Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
  Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

  Continuous as the stars that shine
    And twinkle on the milky way,
  They stretched in never-ending line
    Along the margin of a bay:
  Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
  Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

  The waves beside them danced; but they
    Outdid the sparkling waves in glee;
  A poet could not but be gay
    In such a jocund company;
  I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
  What wealth the show to me had brought;

  For oft when on my couch I lie
    In vacant or in pensive mood,
  They flash upon that inward eye
    Which is the bliss of solitude;
  And then my heart with pleasure fills,
  And dances with the daffodils.


  For Biography, see page 51.

  =Discussion.= 1. What picture do the first two stanzas give you? 2.
  To whom does “I” refer? 3. Point out the comparison and the things
  compared in stanza 1; in stanza 2. 4. Why does the poet use the
  word “host” when he has already spoken of a “crowd”? 5. Explain the
  peculiar fitness of the word “sprightly.” 6. What lines particularly
  express life and gayety?



  I wandered lonely where the pine-trees made
  Against the bitter East their barricade,
    And, guided by its sweet
  Perfume, I found, within a narrow dell,
  The trailing spring flower tinted like a shell
    Amid dry leaves and mosses at my feet.

  From under dead boughs, for whose loss the pines
  Moaned ceaseless overhead, the blossoming vines
    Lifted their glad surprise,
  While yet the bluebird smoothed in leafless trees
  His feathers ruffled by the chill sea-breeze,
    And snow-drifts lingered under April skies.

  As, pausing o’er the lonely flower I bent,
  I thought of lives thus lowly, clogged, and pent,
    Which yet find room,
  Through care and cumber, coldness and decay,
  To lend a sweetness to the ungenial day,
    And make the sad earth happier for their bloom.


  =Biography.= John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892) was born near the
  little town of Haverhill, Massachusetts, in the same county as Salem,
  the birthplace of Hawthorne. The old farmhouse in which Whittier was
  born was built by the poet’s great-great-grandfather. It still stands
  to mark the site of the old home. His family were Quakers, sturdy of
  stature as of character. Whittier’s boyhood was in complete contrast
  to that of Lowell or Longfellow. He led the life of a typical New
  England farm boy, used to hard work, no luxuries, and few pleasures.
  His library consisted of practically one book, the family Bible,
  which was later supplemented by a copy of Burns’s poems, loaned
  him by the district schoolmaster. Whittier is often compared with
  Burns in the simple homeliness of his style, his patriotism, his
  fiery indignation at wrong, and his sympathy with the humble and the

  =Discussion.= 1. Where did the poet find “the trailing spring
  flower”? 2. Have you found it? Where? When? 3. What beautiful thought
  came to the poet while he bent over the arbutus? 4. Have you known
  lowly lives that made the earth happier by their presence? 5. The
  poet _found_ the lowly flower that lends “sweetness to the ungenial
  day”; can we find the lowly person who “makes the earth happier”? 6.
  What does Nature teach through the lowly trailing arbutus? 7. What
  other selections by this author have you read?


  bitter East, 60, 2
  glad surprise, 60, 9
  clogged, and pent, 60, 14
  ungenial day, 60, 17



  Wee, modest, crimson-tippèd flow’r,
  Thou’s met me in an evil hour;
  For I maun[1] I crush amang the stoure[2]
        Thy slender stem.
  To spare thee now is past my pow’r,
        Thou bonnie[3] gem.

  Alas! it’s no thy neebor sweet,
  The bonnie Lark, companion meet,
  Bending thee ’mang the dewy weet,[4]
        Wi’ speckl’d breast!
  When upward-springing, blythe, to greet
        The purpling east.

  Cauld blew the bitter-biting north
  Upon thy early, humble birth;
  Yet cheerfully thou glinted forth
        Amid the storm,
  Scarce rear’d above the parent-earth
        Thy tender form.

  The flaunting flow’rs our gardens yield,
  High shelt’ring woods and wa’s[5] maun shield.
  But thou, beneath the random bield[6]
        O’ clod or stane,
  Adorns the histie[7] stibble[8]-field,
        Unseen, alane.

  There, in thy scanty mantle clad,
  Thy snawie bosom sunward spread,
  Thou lifts thy unassuming head
        In humble guise;
  But now the share uptears thy bed,
        And low thou lies!

  Such is the fate of simple Bard,
  On life’s rough ocean luckless starr’d!
  Unskillful he to note the card[9]
        Of prudent lore,
  Till billows rage, and gales blow hard,
        And whelm him o’er!

  Such fate to suffering worth is giv’n,
  Who long with wants and woes has striv’n,
  By human pride or cunning driv’n
        To mis’ry’s brink,
  Till wrench’d of ev’ry stay but Heav’n,
        He, ruin’d, sink!

  Ev’n thou who mourn’st the Daisy’s fate,
  That fate is thine—no distant date;
  Stern Ruin’s plowshare drives, elate,
        Full on thy bloom,
  Till crush’d beneath the furrow’s weight
        Shall be thy doom!

[1] _maun_, must.

[2] _stoure_, dust.

[3] _bonnie_, pretty.

[4] _weet_, wet.

[5] _wa’s_, walls.

[6] _bield_, shelter.

[7] _histie_, barren.

[8] _stibble_, stubble.

[9] _card_, compass-face.


  =Biography.= Robert Burns (1759-1796) was a Scottish poet, whose home
  was near Ayr, in Scotland. His life was short and filled with poverty
  and hardship, but he saw beauty in the common things of life and had
  a heart full of sympathy. He wrote this poem at a time when he was in
  great trouble. His farm was turning out badly, the soil was sour and
  wet, his crops were failures, and he saw nothing but ruin before him.
  Burns’s tenderness and sympathy are shown in the feeling expressed in
  this poem at crushing the flower.

  =Discussion.= 1. How does the English daisy, which Burns describes
  in the first line of the poem, differ from the daisy that you know,
  the American daisy? 2. Select and give the meaning of words that
  illustrate Burns’s use of the Scotch dialect. 3. Picture the incident
  related in the first stanza. 4. What do you know about the lark that
  helps you to understand why it is called the daisy’s “companion”
  and “neebor”? 5. What comparison is made between the daisy and the
  garden flowers? 6. What “share” is mentioned in stanza 5? 7. What
  characteristic of the flower does Burns seem to like best?


  companion meet, 61, 8
  purpling east, 61, 12
  glinted forth, 61, 15
  parent-earth, 61, 17
  unassuming head, 62, 9
  humble guise, 62, 10
  luckless starr’d, 62, 14
  prudent lore, 62, 16



  Here are sweet peas, on tiptoe for a flight,
  With wings of gentle flush o’er delicate white,
  And taper fingers catching at all things,
  To bind them all about with tiny rings.
  Linger a while upon some bending planks
  That lean against a streamlet’s rushy banks,
  And watch intently Nature’s gentle doings;
  They will be found softer than ringdove’s cooings.
  How silent comes the water round that bend!
  Not the minutest whisper does it send
  To the o’erhanging sallows; blades of grass
  Slowly across the checkered shadows pass.


  =Biography.= John Keats (1795-1821) was of humble birth, being the
  son of a London stablekeeper. He lived at the time of Wordsworth,
  Byron, Shelley, and Leigh Hunt, from all of whom he gathered
  inspiration. His years were few, and his fame did not come while he
  was living. He had a passion for beauty, which found expression in
  all his poetry. On account of failing health he went to Rome in 1820,
  where he died the year following.

  =Discussion.= 1. Why does the poet say sweet peas are “on tiptoe for
  a flight”? 2. What are the wings of the sweet pea? 3. The poet tells
  of the perfect stillness of the moving water in the stream; what
  words does he use in lines immediately preceding to prepare you for
  this stillness? 4. What picture does the last sentence of the poem
  give you?


  rushy banks, 63, 6
  ringdove’s cooings, 63, 8
  o’erhanging sallows, 63, 11
  checkered shadows, 63, 12



        We are the sweet flowers,
        Born of sunny showers;
  Think, whene’er you see us, what our beauty saith;
        Utterance, mute and bright,
        Of some unknown delight,
  We fill the air with pleasure by our simple breath.
        All who see us love us.
        We befit all places.
  Unto sorrow we give smiles, and unto graces, graces.

        Mark our ways, how noiseless
        All, and sweetly voiceless,
  Though the March winds pipe to make our passage clear;
        Not a whisper tells
        Where our small seed dwells,
  Nor is known the moment green when our tips appear.
        We thread the earth in silence;
        In silence build our bowers;
  And leaf by leaf in silence show, till we laugh atop sweet flowers.

        See and scorn all duller!
        Taste how Heaven loves color!
  How great Nature, clearly, joys in red and green!
        What sweet thoughts she thinks
        Of violets and pinks,
  And a thousand flashing hues made solely to be seen;
        See her whitest lilies
        Chill the silver showers;
  And what a red mouth has her rose, the woman of her flowers!

        Uselessness divinest,
        Of a use the finest,
  Painteth us, the teachers of the end of use.
        Travelers, weary-eyed,
        Bless us far and wide;
  Unto sick and prisoned thoughts we give sudden truce.
        Not a poor town window
        Loves its sickliest planting,
  But its wall speaks loftier truth than Babylonian vaunting.

        Sagest yet the uses
        Mixed with our sweet juices,
  Whether man or may-fly profits of the balm.
        As fairy fingers healed
        Knights of the olden field,
  We hold cups of mightiest force to give the wildest calm.
        E’en the terror, poison,
        Hath its plea for blooming;
  Life it gives to reverent lips, though death to the presuming.

        And oh! our sweet soul-taker,
        That thief, the honey-maker,
  What a house hath he by the thymy glen!
        In his talking rooms
        How the feasting fumes,
  Till his gold-cups overflow to the mouths of men!
        The butterflies come aping
        Those fine thieves of ours,
  And flutter round our rifled tops like tickled flowers with flowers.

        See those tops, how beauteous!
        What fair service duteous
  Round some idol waits, as on their lord the Nine?
        Elfin court ’twould seem,
        And taught, perchance, that dream
  Which the old Greek mountain dreamt upon nights divine;
        To expound such wonder,
        Human speech avails not,
  Yet there dies no poorest weed that such a glory exhales not.

        Think of all these treasures,
        Matchless works and pleasures,
  Every one a marvel, more than thought can say;
        Then think in what bright showers
        We thicken fields and bowers,
  And with what heaps of sweetness half stifle wanton May.
        Think of the mossy forests
        By the bee-birds haunted,
  And all those Amazonian plains, lone lying, as enchanted.

        Trees themselves are ours;
        Fruits are born of flowers;
  Peach and roughest nut were blossoms in the spring.
        The lusty bee knows well
        The news, and comes pell-mell
  And dances in the bloomy thicks with darksome antheming.
        Beneath the very burden
        Of planet-pressing ocean
  We wash our smiling cheeks in peace, a thought for meek devotion.

        Who shall say that flowers
        Dress not heaven’s own bowers?
  Who its love without them can fancy—or sweet floor?
        Who shall even dare
        To say we sprang not there,
  And came not down, that Love might bring one piece of heaven the more?
        Oh! pray believe that angels
        From those blue dominions
  Brought us in their white laps down, ’twixt their golden pinions.


  =Biographical and Historical Note.= Leigh Hunt (1784-1859) was an
  English poet, journalist, and essayist. He was a personal friend of
  Shelley and Byron, and an intimate friend of Keats. His poems and
  essays are marked by a delightful style.

  The “Nine” (stanza 7) refers to the Muses, patronesses of poetry and
  music, whose lord is Apollo, and who assembled on Mount Parnassus or
  Mount Helicon, to hold learned discussions on poetry, science, or

  =Discussion.= 1. What is a chorus? 2. Who are the singers? 3. What is
  the purpose of their song? 4. When you look at a flower, what things
  are you apt to notice about it? 5. Name a poem you have read that
  tells of the uses of a flower. 6. What poem that you have read in
  this book celebrates the color of the flower? 7. What familiar custom
  grows out of the belief that “unto sorrow we give smiles”? That
  “unto graces [we give] graces”? 8. For what purpose are flowers in
  “a thousand flashing hues”? 9. What things are compared in the last
  line of stanza 4? 10. What uses of flowers are pointed out in stanza
  5? 11. In stanza 7 what is compared with the “Nine” muses? 12. Read
  the lines that tell what lesson the sea-weeds teach. 13. What does
  the last stanza suggest as a possible source and use of flowers? 14.
  Which stanza do you like best?


  born of sunny showers, 64, 2
  sweetly voiceless, 64, 11
  thread the earth, 64, 16
  flashing hues, 65, 6
  sickliest planting, 65, 17
  Babylonian vaunting, 65, 18
  reverent lips, 65, 27
  death to the presuming, 65, 27
  thymy glen, 65, 30
  our rifled tops, 66, 4
  Amazonian plains, 66, 22
  comes pell-mell, 66, 27
  darksome antheming, 66, 28
  planet-pressing ocean, 66, 30
  blue dominions, 67, 9
  ’twixt their golden pinions, 67, 9



  I think that I shall never see
  A poem lovely as a tree;

  A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
  Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

  A tree that looks at God all day,
  And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

  A tree that may in Summer wear
  A nest of robins in her hair;

  Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
  Who intimately lives with rain.

  Poems are made by fools like me,
  But only God can make a tree.


  =Biography.= Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918) was born in New Brunswick, N.
  J. He was one of the first Americans to be deeply moved by Germany’s
  challenge to humanity. He gave up his journalistic career in New
  York, and enlisted seventeen days after the United States declared
  war. He was attached to the Intelligence Department of the army, one
  of his duties being to precede the troops before an attack and find
  out the positions of the enemy guns. He served during almost the
  whole of the battle of the Marne until August first, 1918, when he
  received a mortal wound. Kilmer was the first American man of letters
  to be killed in the war. At the time of his enlistment he was the
  editor of poetry for the _Literary Digest_.

  =Discussion.= 1. Do you agree with the poet’s conclusion given in
  the first stanza? 2. What is the most beautiful poem you have read?
  3. What fact relating to the tree does the second couplet tell? The
  third couplet? The fourth? The fifth? 4. What does the last couplet
  tell you?


  hungry mouth, 68, 3
  earth’s sweet flowing breast, 68, 4
  looks at God all day, 68, 5
  nest of robins in her hair, 68, 8





A blizzard on the prairie corresponds to a storm at sea; it never affects
the traveler twice alike. Each norther seems to have a manner of attack
all its own. One storm may be short, sharp, high-keyed, and malevolent,
while another approaches slowly, relentlessly, wearing out the souls of
its victims by its inexorable and long-continued cold and gloom. One
threatens for hours before it comes, the other leaps like a tiger upon
the defenseless settlement, catching the children unhoused, the men
unprepared; of this character was the first blizzard Lincoln ever saw.

The day was warm and sunny. The eaves dripped musically, and the
icicles dropping from the roof fell occasionally with pleasant crash.
The snow grew slushy, and the bells of wood teams jingled merrily all
the forenoon, as the farmers drove to their timber-lands five or six
miles away. The room was uncomfortably warm at times, and the master
opened the outside door. It was the eighth day of January. One afternoon
recess, as the boys were playing in their shirt-sleeves, Lincoln called
Milton’s attention to a great cloud rising in the west and north. A vast,
slaty-blue, seamless dome, silent, portentous, with edges of silvery
frosty light.

“It’s going to storm,” said Milton. “It always does when we have a south
wind and a cloud like that in the west.”

When Lincoln set out for home, the sun was still shining, but the edge of
the cloud had crept, or more properly slid, across the sun’s disk, and
its light was growing cold and pale. In fifteen minutes more the wind
from the south ceased—there was a moment of breathless pause, and then,
borne on the wings of the north wind, the streaming clouds of soft, large
flakes of snow drove in a level line over the homeward-bound scholars,
sticking to their clothing and faces and melting rapidly. It was not yet
cold enough to freeze, though the wind was colder. The growing darkness
troubled Lincoln most.

By the time he reached home, the wind was a gale, the snow a vast
blinding cloud, filling the air and hiding the road. Darkness came on
instantly, and the wind increased in power, as though with the momentum
of the snow. Mr. Stewart came home early, yet the breasts of his horses
were already sheathed in snow. Other teamsters passed, breasting the
storm, and calling cheerily to their horses. One team, containing a woman
and two men, neighbors living seven miles north, gave up the contest, and
turned in at the gate for shelter, confident that they would be able to
go on in the morning. In the barn, while rubbing the ice from the horses,
the men joked and told stories in a jovial spirit, with the feeling
generally that all would be well by daylight. The boys made merry also,
singing songs, popping corn, playing games, in defiance of the storm.

But when they went to bed, at ten o’clock, Lincoln felt some vague
premonition of a dread disturbance of nature, far beyond any other
experience in his short life. The wind howled like ten thousand tigers,
and the cold grew more and more intense. The wind seemed to drive in and
through the frail tenement; water and food began to freeze within ten
feet of the fire.

Lincoln thought the wind at that hour had attained its utmost fury, but
when he awoke in the morning, he saw how mistaken he had been. He crept
to the fire, appalled by the steady, solemn, implacable clamor of the
storm. It was like the roarings of all the lions of Africa, the hissing
of a wilderness of serpents, the lashing of great trees. It benumbed his
thinking, it appalled his heart, beyond any other force he had ever known.

The house shook and snapped, the snow beat in muffled, rhythmic
pulsations against the walls, or swirled and lashed upon the roof, giving
rise to strange, multitudinous sounds; now dim and far, now near and
all-surrounding; producing an effect of mystery and infinite reach, as
though the cabin were a helpless boat, tossing on an angry, limitless sea.

Looking out, there was nothing to be seen but the lashing of the wind
and snow. When the men attempted to face it, to go to the rescue of the
cattle, they found the air impenetrably filled with fine, powdery snow,
mixed with the dirt caught up from the plowed fields by a terrific blast,
moving ninety miles an hour. It was impossible to see twenty feet, except
at long intervals. Lincoln could not see at all when facing the storm.
When he stepped into the wind, his face was coated with ice and dirt, as
by a dash of mud—a mask which blinded the eyes, and instantly froze to
his cheeks. Such was the power of the wind that he could not breathe an
instant unprotected. His mouth being once open, it was impossible to draw
breath again without turning from the wind.

The day was spent in keeping warm and in feeding the stock at the barn,
which Mr. Stewart reached by desperate dashes, during the momentary
clearing of the air following some more than usually strong gust. Lincoln
attempted to water the horses from the pump, but the wind blew the water
out of the pail. So cold had the wind become that a dipperful, thrown
into the air, fell as ice. In the house it became more and more difficult
to remain cheerful, notwithstanding the family had fuel and food in

Oh, that terrible day! Hour after hour they listened to that prodigious,
appalling, ferocious uproar. All day Lincoln and Owen moved restlessly
to and fro, asking each other, “Won’t it ever stop?” To them the storm
now seemed too vast; too ungovernable, to ever again be spoken to a calm,
even by God Himself.

It seemed to Lincoln that no power whatever could control such fury; his
imagination was unable to conceive of a force greater than this war of
wind or snow.

On the third day the family rose with weariness, and looked into each
other’s faces with a sort of horrified surprise. Not even the invincible
heart of Duncan Stewart, nor the cheery good nature of his wife, could
keep a gloomy silence from settling down upon the house. Conversation
was scanty; nobody laughed that day, but all listened anxiously to
the invisible tearing at the shingles, beating against the door, and
shrieking around the eaves. The frost upon the windows, nearly half an
inch thick in the morning, kept thickening into ice, and the light was
dim at mid-day. The fire melted the snow on the window-panes and upon the
door, while around the key-hole and along every crack, frost formed. The
men’s faces began to wear a grim, set look, and the women sat with awed
faces and downcast eyes full of unshed tears, their sympathies going out
to the poor travelers, lost and freezing.

The men got to the poor dumb animals that day to feed them; to water them
was impossible. Mr. Stewart went down through the roof of the shed, the
door being completely sealed up with solid banks of snow and dirt. One
of the guests had a wife and two children left alone in a small cottage
six miles farther on, and physical force was necessary to keep him from
setting out in face of the deadly tempest. To him the nights seemed
weeks, and the days interminable, as they did to the rest, but it would
have been death to venture out.

That night, so disturbed had all become, they lay awake listening,
waiting, hoping for a change. About midnight Lincoln noticed that the
roar was no longer so steady, so relentless, and so high-keyed as before.
It began to lull at times, and though it came back to the attack with all
its former ferocity, still there was a perceptible weakening. Its fury
was becoming spasmodic. One of the men shouted down to Mr. Stewart, “The
storm is over,” and when the host called back a ringing word of cheer,
Lincoln sank into deep sleep in sheer relief.

Oh, the joy with which the children melted the ice on the window-panes,
and peered out on the familiar landscape, dazzling, peaceful, under the
brilliant sun and wide blue sky. Lincoln looked out over the wide plain,
ridged with vast drifts; on the far blue line of timber, on the near-by
cottages sending up cheerful columns of smoke (as if to tell him the
neighbors were alive), and his heart seemed to fill his throat. But the
wind was with him still, for so long and continuous had its voice sounded
in his ears, that even in the perfect calm his imagination supplied its
loss with fainter, fancied roarings.

Out in the barn the horses and cattle, hungry and cold, kicked and
bellowed in pain, and when the men dug them out, they ran and raced
like mad creatures, to start the blood circulating in their numbed and
stiffened limbs. Mr. Stewart was forced to tunnel to the barn door,
cutting through the hard snow as if it were clay. The drifts were solid,
and the dirt mixed with the snow was disposed on the surface in beautiful
wavelets, like the sands at the bottom of a lake. The drifts would bear
a horse. The guests were able to go home by noon, climbing above the
fences, and rattling across the plowed ground.

And then in the days which followed, came grim tales of suffering and
heroism. Tales of the finding of stage-coaches with the driver frozen on
his seat and all his passengers within; tales of travelers striving to
reach home and families. Cattle had starved and frozen in their stalls,
and sheep lay buried in heaps beside the fences where they had clustered
together to keep warm. These days gave Lincoln a new conception of the
prairies. It taught him that however bright and beautiful they might be
in summer under skies of June, they could be terrible when the Norther
was abroad in his wrath. They seemed now as pitiless and destructive as
the polar ocean. It seemed as if nothing could live there unhoused. All
was at the mercy of that power, the north wind, whom only the Lord Sun
could tame.

This was the worst storm of the winter, though the wind seemed never
to sleep. To and fro, from north to south, and south to north, the dry
snow sifted till it was like fine sand that rolled under the heel with
a ringing sound on cold days. After each storm the restless wind got to
work to pile the new-fallen flakes into ridges behind every fence or
bush, filling every ravine and forcing the teamsters into the fields and
out on to the open prairie. It was a savage and gloomy time for Lincoln,
with only the pleasure of his school to break the monotony of cold.


  =Biography.= Hamlin Garland (1860-⸺) was born in Wisconsin. His
  father was a farmer-pioneer, who, always eager to be upon the border
  line of agricultural development, moved from Wisconsin to Minnesota,
  from Minnesota to Iowa, and from Iowa to Dakota. The hope of cheaper
  acres, better soil, and bigger crops lured him on.

  When Hamlin Garland turned his attention to literature he was keen
  enough to see the literary value of his early experiences. He
  resolved to interpret truthfully the life of the western farmer and
  its great hardships and limitations, no less than its hopes, joys,
  and achievements. In doing this, through a succession of short
  stories and novels, he won fame and success. In _A Son of the Middle
  Border_, an autobiography, he has written an intensely interesting
  and valuable record of typical experiences in the development of the
  Middle West. This selection is taken from _Boy Life on the Prairie_.

  =Discussion.= 1. What distinguishes a blizzard from other violent
  storms? 2. What are the dangers when it comes without ample warning?
  3. What was the manner of attack of this blizzard? 4. What caused
  the early darkness? 5. What was it in the storm that “appalled” the
  boy’s heart and “benumbed his thinking”? 6. What effect had it upon
  other members of the household? 7. Has man any power to oppose the
  violence of such a storm? 8. What was the velocity of the wind? 9.
  How long did the blizzard last? How did it compare in this respect
  with the ordinary blizzard? 10. What name was given it because of its
  force, fury, and duration? 11. What results of the storm proved its
  violence? 12. What new idea of the prairie did the storm give the
  boy Lincoln? 13. Pronounce the following: recess; infinite; columns;
  calm; heroism; implacable.


  defenseless settlement, 69, 7
  dripped musically, 69, 10
  seamless dome, 70, 1
  breathless pause, 70, 9
  sheathed in snow, 70, 19
  vague premonition, 70, 30
  dread disturbance, 70, 30
  implacable clamor, 71, 1
  rhythmic pulsations, 71, 5
  multitudinous sounds, 71, 7
  invisible tearing, 72, 9
  perceptible weakening, 72, 33
  becoming spasmodic, 72, 33
  monotony of cold, 74, 4



  The Frost looked forth on a still, clear night,
  And whispered, “Now, I shall be out of sight;
  So, through, the valley, and over the height,
    In silence I’ll take my way.
  I will not go on like that blustering train,
  The wind and the snow, the hail and the rain,
  That make such a bustle and noise in vain;
    But I’ll be as busy as they!”

  So he flew to the mountain, and powdered its crest;
  He lit on the trees, and their boughs he dressed
  With diamonds and pearls; and over the breast
    Of the quivering lake, he spread
  A coat of mail, that it need not fear
  The glittering point of many a spear
  Which he hung on its margin, far and near,
    Where a rock could rear its head.

  He went to the window of those who slept,
  And over each pane like a fairy crept;
  Wherever he breathed, wherever he stepped,
    By the morning light were seen
  Most beautiful things!—there were flowers and trees,
  There were bevies of birds and swarms of bees;
  There were cities and temples and towers; and these
    All pictured in silvery sheen!

  But he did one thing that was hardly fair—
  He peeped in the cupboard, and finding there
    That all had forgotten for him to prepare,
    “Now, just to set them a-thinking,
  I’ll bite this basket of fruit,” said he,
  “And this costly pitcher I’ll burst in three!
  And the glass of water they’ve left for me,
    Shall ‘tchick’ to tell them I’m drinking.”


  =Biography.= Hannah F. Gould (1789-1865) was an American poet,
  born at Lancaster, Mass. At the age of eleven she removed with her
  parents to Newburyport, Mass., where she lived the rest of her life.
  A collection of her poems, entitled _Hymns and Poems for Children_,
  contains many beautiful selections.

  =Discussion.= 1. Why does the poet personify “The Frost”? 2. What
  pictures do the following give you: “powdered its crest”; “their
  boughs he dressed”? 3. What picture of the window pane does stanza
  3 give you? 4. Which line tells you on what kind of night to expect


  blustering train, 75, 5
  in vain, 75, 7
  hung on its margin, 75, 15
  burst in three, 76, 3



  He comes—he comes—the Frost Spirit comes! You may trace his footsteps now
  On the naked woods and the blasted fields and the brown hill’s withered
  He has smitten the leaves of the gray old trees where their pleasant
     green came forth,
  And the winds, which follow wherever he goes, have shaken them down to

  He comes—he comes—the Frost Spirit comes!—from the frozen Labrador—
  From the icy bridge of the Northern seas, which the white bear wanders
  Where the fisherman’s sail is stiff with ice, and the luckless forms
  In the sunless cold of the lingering night into marble statues grow!

  He comes—he comes—the Frost Spirit comes!—on the rushing Northern blast,
  And the dark Norwegian pines have bowed as his fearful breath went past.
  With an unscorched wing he has hurried on, where the fires of Hecla glow
  On the darkly beautiful sky above and the ancient ice below.

  He comes—he comes—the Frost Spirit comes!—and the quiet lake shall feel
  The torpid touch of his glazing breath, and ring to the skater’s heel;
  And the streams which danced on the broken rocks, or sang to the leaning
  Shall bow again to their winter chain, and in mournful silence pass.

  He comes—he comes—the Frost Spirit comes!—let us meet him as we may,
  And turn with the light of the parlor-fire his evil power away;
  And gather closer the circle round, when that fire-light dances high,
  And laugh at the shriek of the baffled Fiend as his sounding wing goes


  For Biography, see page 60.

  =Discussion.= 1. Why does the poet personify “The Frost Spirit”? 2.
  Why is “Fiend” personified? 3. How can one “trace his footsteps” on
  woods and fields? 4. Locate on a map Labrador, the pine region of
  Norway, and the volcano of Hecla. 5. What is “the icy bridge of the
  northern seas”? 6. What are “the luckless forms below”? 7. Why does
  the poet say “In the sunless cold of the lingering night”? 8. What
  does the poet mean by “the shriek of the baffled Fiend”?


  blasted fields, 76, 2
  luckless forms, 77, 1
  sunless cold, 77, 2
  fearful breath, 77, 4
  unscorched wing, 77, 5
  ancient ice, 77, 6
  torpid touch, 77, 8
  glazing breath, 77, 8



  Announced by all the trumpets of the sky
  Arrives the snow, and, driving o’er the fields,
  Seems nowhere to alight; the whited air
  Hides hills and woods, the river and the heaven,
  And veils the farmhouse at the garden’s end.
  The steed and traveler stopped, the courier’s feet
  Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit
  Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed
  In a tumultuous privacy of storm.
        Come, see the north wind’s masonry.
  Out of an unseen quarry evermore
  Furnished with tile, the fierce artificer
  Curves his white bastions with projected roof
  Round every windward stake, or tree, or door.
  Speeding, the myriad-handed, his wild work
  So fanciful, so savage, naught cares he
  For number or proportion. Mockingly
  On coop or kennel he hangs Parian wreaths;
  A swan-like form invests the hidden thorn;
  Fills up the farmer’s lane from wall to wall,
  Mauger the farmer’s sighs, and at the gate
  A tapering turret overtops the work.
  And when his hours are numbered, and the world
  Is all his own, retiring, as he were not,
  Leaves, when the sun appears, astonished Art
  To mimic in slow structures, stone by stone,
  Built in an age, the mad wind’s night-work,
  The frolic architecture of the snow.


  =Biography.= Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) was a native of Boston,
  born not far from Franklin’s birthplace. He was the oldest among that
  brilliant group of New England scholars and writers that developed
  under the influence of Harvard College. Emerson was a quiet boy,
  but that he had high ambitions and sturdy determination is shown
  by the fact that he worked his own way through college. He is best
  known for his essays, full of noble ideas and wise philosophy,
  but he also wrote poetry. As a poet he was careless of his meter,
  making his lines often purposely rugged, but they are always charged
  and bristling with thoughts that shock and thrill like electric
  batteries. In 1836 he wrote the “Concord Hymn” containing the famous

  “Here once the embattled farmers stood
  And fired the shot heard round the world!”

  His poems of nature are clear-cut and vivid as snapshots. “The Humble
  Bee,” as a critic puts it, “seems almost to shine with the heat and
  light of summer.”

  =Discussion.= 1. Picture the scene described in the first five
  lines. 2. Compare with the picture given you in the first stanza of
  “Snow-Flakes,” page 80. 3. Read in a way to bring out the contrast
  between the wild storm and the scene within the “farmhouse at the
  garden’s end.” 4. What is meant by “fierce artificer”? 5. What is
  the “tile” with which the poet imagines the “unseen quarry” is
  furnished? 6. Of what are the “white bastions” made? 7. Does the use
  of the word “windward” add to the picture and does such detail add
  to the beauty of the poem or detract from it? 8. Who is described as
  “myriad-handed”? 9. What is the mockery in hanging “Parian wreaths”
  on a coop or kennel? 10. What picture do lines 20, 21, and 22 give
  you? 11. What does the “mad wind’s night-work” do for Art?


  courier’s feet delayed, 78, 6
  radiant fireplace, 78, 8
  tumultuous privacy, 78, 9
  north wind’s masonry, 78, 10
  myriad-handed, 78, 15
  Parian wreaths, 78, 18
  tapering turret, 78, 22
  hours are numbered, 78, 23
  slow structures, 79, 2
  frolic architecture, 79, 4



  Out of the bosom of the Air,
    Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken
  Over the woodlands brown and bare,
    Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
      Silent, and soft, and slow,
      Descends the snow.

  Even as our cloudy fancies take
    Suddenly shape in some divine expression,
  Even as the troubled heart doth make
    In the white countenance confession,
      The troubled sky reveals
      The grief it feels.

  This is the poem of the air,
    Slowly in silent syllables recorded;
  This is the secret of despair,
    Long in its cloudy bosom hoarded,
      Now whispered and revealed
      To wood and field.


  =Biography.= Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) was born in
  Portland, Maine. In “The Courtship of Miles Standish” he has made
  us acquainted with his ancestors, John Alden and Priscilla Mullens,
  passengers on the _Mayflower_.

  Longfellow’s education was obtained in Portland and at Bowdoin
  College, where he had for classmates several youths who afterward
  became famous, notably, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Franklin Pierce.
  Upon Longfellow’s graduation, the trustees of the college, having
  decided to establish a chair of modern languages, proposed that this
  young graduate should fit himself for the position. Three years,
  therefore, he spent in delightful study and travel in France, Spain,
  Italy, and Germany. Here was laid the foundation for his scholarship,
  and, as in Irving on his first European trip, there was kindled
  that passion for romantic lore which followed him through life and
  which gave direction to much of his work. He mastered the language
  of each country visited, in a remarkably short time, and many of the
  choicer poems found in these languages he has given to us in English.
  After five years at Bowdoin, Longfellow was invited in 1834 to the
  chair of modern languages in Harvard College. Again he was given an
  opportunity to prepare himself by a year of study abroad. In 1836
  he began his active work at Harvard and took up his residence in
  the historic Craigie House, overlooking the Charles River—a house
  in which Washington had been quartered for some months when he came
  to Cambridge in 1775 to take command of the Continental forces.
  Longfellow was thenceforth one of the most prominent members of
  that group of men including Sumner, Hawthorne, Agassiz, Lowell, and
  Holmes, who gave distinction to the Boston and Cambridge of earlier

  For twenty years Longfellow served as a teacher, introducing hundreds
  of students to the literature of modern Europe. In his poetry, too,
  he exerted a powerful influence for bringing about a relationship
  between America and European civilization. He was thus a poet of
  culture, rendering a great service at a time when the thought
  of America was provincial. He was also a poet of the household,
  writing many poems about the joys and sorrows of home life, poems of
  aspiration and religious faith, poems about village characters as
  well as about national heroes. He excels, too, as a writer of tales
  in verse. “Evangeline,” a story of the Acadian exiles and their
  wanderings; “The Courtship of Miles Standish,” a story of early
  colonial life in Massachusetts; and “Hiawatha,” an Indian epic into
  which he put a vast amount of legendary matter belonging to the first
  owners of our country, are examples of his power in sustained verse
  narrative. His ballads, such as “The Skeleton in Armor” and “The
  Wreck of the Hesperus,” show his power to handle a legend in brief
  and stirring form. He was a writer of almost perfect sonnets, and a
  writer of prose of distinction. The most loved and most widely known
  of American poets, Longfellow helped to interpret our common life in
  terms of beauty.

  =Discussion.= 1. What picture does the first stanza give you? 2.
  Compare this picture with that found in the first ten lines of “The
  Snow Storm,” page 78, and with that given in the third, fourth,
  and fifth stanzas of “Midwinter,” page 82. 3. To what does “her”
  refer in the second line? 4. Explain how “the troubled heart” makes
  “confession in the countenance.” 5. How does the poet fancy “the
  troubled sky” reveals its grief? 6. What is “the poem of the air”?
  7. What are the “silent syllables” in which “the poem of the air” is
  recorded? 8. What is “whispered and revealed”?


  cloud-folds, 80, 2
  cloudy fancies, 80, 7
  secret of despair, 80, 15
  cloudy bosom, 80, 16



  The speckled sky is dim with snow,
  The light flakes falter and fall slow;
  Athwart the hilltop, rapt and pale,
  Silently drops a silvery veil;
  And all the valley is shut in
  By flickering curtains gray and thin.

  But cheerily the chickadee
  Singeth to me on fence and tree;
  The snow sails round him as he sings,
  White as the down on angels’ wings.

  I watch the snow flakes as they fall
  On bank and brier and broken wall;
  Over the orchard, waste and brown,
  All noiselessly they settle down,
  Tipping the apple boughs and each
  Light quivering twig of plum and peach.

  On turf and curb and bower roof
  The snowstorm spreads its ivory woof;
  It paves with pearl the garden walk;
  And lovingly round tattered stalk
  And shivering stem its magic weaves
  A mantle fair as lily leaves.
  The hooded beehive, small and low,
  Stands like a maiden in the snow;
  And an old door slab is half hid
  Under an alabaster lid.

  All day it snows; the sheeted post
  Gleams in the dimness like a ghost;
  All day the blasted oak has stood
  A muffled wizard of the wood;
  Garland and airy cap adorn
  The sumac and the wayside thorn,
  And clustering spangles lodge and shine
  In the dark tresses of the pine.

  The ragged bramble, dwarfed and old,
  Shrinks like a beggar in the cold;
  In surplice white the cedar stands,
  And blesses him with priestly hands.

  Still cheerily the chickadee
  Singeth to me on fence and tree;
  But in my inmost ear is heard
  The music of a holier bird;
  And heavenly thoughts as soft and white
  As snowflakes on my soul alight,
  Clothing with love my lonely heart,
  Healing with peace each bruiséd part,
  Till all my being seems to be
  Transfigured by their purity.


  =Biography.= John Townsend Trowbridge (1827-1916) was an American
  author. His home was in Cambridge, Mass., within the shadow of
  Harvard College. At one time he was one of the editors of _Our Young
  Folks’ Magazine_. “Midwinter” and “Darius Green and His Flying
  Machine” are two of his poems most widely known.

  =Discussion.= 1. Compare the picture that the first stanza gives you
  with that given you in the first stanza of “Snow-Flakes” and that
  given you by the first ten lines of “The Snow Storm.” 2. Compare the
  picture that the fourth stanza gives you with that given by lines
  17-22 of “The Snow Storm.” 3. In the fourth stanza, what does the
  poet say the snowstorm does? 4. What does the poet mean by “muffled
  wizard of the wood”? 5. What pictures does the sixth stanza give you?
  6. Which of these descriptions seems to you most apt? 7. What does
  the poet mean by “inmost ear”? 8. Compare this meaning with that
  of “inward eye” in Wordsworth’s “The Daffodils” and with “eyes in
  the heart” in Lowell’s “To the Dandelion.” 9. What do the “heavenly
  thoughts” suggested by the scene do for the poet?


  flickering curtains, 82, 6
  ivory woof, 82, 18
  paves with pearl, 82, 19
  tattered stalk, 82, 20
  shivering stem, 82, 21
  alabaster lid, 82, 26
  clustering spangles, 83, 7
  surplice white, 83, 11



      Blow, blow, thou winter wind,
      Thou art not so unkind
      As man’s ingratitude;
      Thy tooth is not so keen
      Because thou art not seen,
      Although thy breath be rude.
  Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly;
  Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly.
      Then heigh-ho! the holly!
      This life is most jolly.

      Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky,
      Thou dost not bite so nigh
      As benefits forgot;
      Though thou the waters warp,
      Thy sting is not so sharp
      As friend remembered not.
  Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly;
  Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly.
      Then heigh-ho! the holly!
      This life is most jolly.


  =Biography.= William Shakespeare (1564-1616) was the greatest
  English poet, and was one of the greatest poets the world has
  ever known. He wrote for all times and all peoples. He was born
  at Stratford-on-Avon, where fifty-two years later he died. At the
  age of twenty-two he removed to London, where for twenty years he
  wrote poems and plays, was an actor, and later a shareholder in the
  theater. The last six years of his life he spent quietly at Stratford.

  This song is from the comedy _As You Like It_, a story of the
  adventures of a group of courtiers and rustics in the forest of
  Arden. A charming element in Shakespeare’s romantic comedies is
  the introduction of song-poems or lyrics. All the writers of those
  days, the days of Good Queen Bess, wrote songs. England was “a nest
  of singing birds.” They were real songs, too, filled with joy and
  musical language, and all the people sang them to the accompaniment
  of the quaint musical instruments of the time. And all the people
  took part in games and pageants in “Merrie England,” and listened
  to the strange tales of seafarers, and went to the playhouse to see
  Shakespeare’s _As You Like It_.

  =Discussion.= 1. Why is the thought of green holly appropriate in
  connection with the winter wind? 2. What feeling does ingratitude
  arouse? 3. Why does the poet say the “tooth” of the wind is not so
  keen as man’s ingratitude? 4. What change of feeling do you notice
  after line 6? 5. What do you think caused the change? 6. In the
  second stanza read lines that show the poet did not really think that
  “life is most jolly.” 7. Which lines explain the poet’s distrust
  of friendship? 8. Which word in stanza I is explained by line 3 of
  stanza 2? 9. Find a word in stanza 1 that gives the same thought as
  the second line of the second stanza. 10. Give the meaning of “warp”
  in stanza 2 (an old Saxon proverb said, “Winter shall warp water”).


  benefits forgot, 84, 13
  friendship is feigning, 84, 18



  When icicles hang by the wall,
    And Dick the shepherd blows his nail,
  And Tom bears logs into the hall,
    And milk comes frozen home in pail,
  When blood is nipp’d, and ways be foul,
  Then nightly sings the staring owl,
  Tu-who—a merry note,
  While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.

  When all aloud the wind doth blow,
    And coughing drowns the parson’s saw,
  And birds sit brooding in the snow.
    And Marian’s nose looks red and raw,
  When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl,
  Then nightly sings the staring owl,
  Tu-who—a merry note,
  While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.


  For Biography, see page 85.

  This is the second part of a song of four stanzas, found in the
  comedy _Love’s Labor’s Lost_. The first two stanzas are descriptive
  of spring, and introduce the song of the cuckoo. The last two stanzas
  are given here.

  =Discussion.= 1. Do these lines describe life in the city or in the
  country? 2. What does the use of names, Dick, Tom, Joan, and Marian,
  add to the poem? 3. For what use were logs brought into the hall? 4.
  Can you see fitness in the use of the word “greasy”? 5. What is the
  song of the owl? 6. Explain the second line of stanza 2. 7. Why is
  the owl called “staring”?


  blows his nail, 85, 2
  ways be foul, 85, 5
  staring owl, 86, 1
  keel the pot, 86, 4
  parson’s saw, 86, 6
  brooding in the snow, 86, 7



_“Some say that the age of chivalry is past. The age of chivalry is never
past, so long as there is a wrong left unredressed on earth, or a man or
woman left to say, ‘I will redress that wrong or spend my life in the

—Charles Kingsley.

[Illustration: Copyright by Edwin A. Abbey (from a Copley Print,
copyright by Curtis & Cameron, Boston)


(Galahad is taking his place next to Sir Lancelot, while King Arthur
rises to receive the new knight)]



Along with our interest in the world of animals and the plant world and
the seasons, we are curious to know about people. A good deal of our
conversation is about what others say or do. And when we say of a man,
“He _does_ things,” we pay him the highest possible compliment.

Ever since man came on the earth he has been “doing things.” Centuries
ago, a man found out how to make fire by striking pieces of flint
together. Then other men discovered strange things that might be done by
means of the mysterious flame that sprang up. Another man ventured over
the hill or mountain out into the unknown world beyond, or far across
the blue water that seemed to reach to the end of the world. And when
the traveler returned, men listened eagerly to his stories. So from
earliest days men who ventured beyond the beaten track and did things
their fellows were too lazy or too timid to think of doing have been
interesting to those who stayed at home. In such ways ships were built to
carry voyagers to strange places. In such ways commerce sprang up, for
these adventurers brought back new foods and new objects, and knowledge
of men who lived in strange places. In such ways islands and continents
were discovered and settled, and men made war for the possession of rich
territories, and life for all men became more varied and interesting
through the adventures of the daring ones. For life is full of zest and
interest only in proportion as the spirit of adventure enters into it.

The men in former times who stood out above their fellows because of
their deeds were the subjects of song and story. Minstrels and poets in
all times have put into words the wonder and admiration of the people for
the doer of great deeds. Some stories of this kind you will read in the
pages that follow—just a few of the thousands of stories of adventure
that men have told in song and prose tale. Some of these stories
introduce King Arthur and his Round Table, in the days of chivalry, when
knighthood was in flower. A few of them are old ballads, which are tales
made by the people or by some of their number, and sung by the people or
by minstrels, or by mothers to their children, and so handed down from
one generation to another. And some of them are very recent indeed, for
they spring out of the heroic deeds of men in the World War that ended in
November, 1918.

This spirit of adventure that makes men willing to face danger, and even
death, to get some new experience or to render some service, the spirit
that makes some men explore strange places, or seek for the South Pole,
or fight in great battles—this spirit of adventure never dies. Sometimes
the story is of a knight clad in armor, and sometimes it is about a man
in khaki who died the other day that his fellows might live—the spirit is
the same. Men no longer dress like Lancelot, or like George Washington,
but they do the same sort of things. And people like to read of these
things or hear the stories told just as much now as they did when the
first traveler returned to the little village in Greece, or when Sir
Gareth and Sir Gawain won their victories, or when General Putnam or Mad
Anthony Wayne, in our Revolutionary War, performed some brave act for
the American cause. And now, all over the world, groups gather about the
soldier who has returned from Flanders Fields with his stories of valor.
Always the spirit of adventure lives; always we like to hear what it
brings back to us of news about life. If we have had no chance yet to do
a thing worth men’s praise, we get a larger view of life, a better sense
of what life really means, from reading or hearing such stories. And we
mean to do brave things ourselves, some day, so the stories thrill us
with the sense of what life holds for us.

These things we must remember, then, as we read. Through these stories
we become partners in all the brave deeds of the past. And, again, the
spirit of adventure is ever-living and is as keen today as in the past.
And, finally, by such stories our own knowledge of the fine qualities
of human nature is increased and our own experience enlarged so that we
become braver and better because we see what wonderful things life can






Long years ago, there ruled over Britain a king called Uther Pendragon. A
mighty prince was he, and feared by all men; yet, when he sought the love
of the fair Igraine of Cornwall, she would have naught to do with him, so
that, from grief and disappointment, Uther fell sick, and at last seemed
like to die.

Now in those days, there lived a famous magician named Merlin, so
powerful that he could change his form at will, or even make himself
invisible; nor was there any place so remote but that he could reach it
at once, merely by wishing himself there. One day, suddenly he stood at
Uther’s bedside, and said:

“Sir King, I know thy grief, and am ready to help thee. Only promise to
give me, at his birth, the son that shall be born to thee, and thou shalt
have thy heart’s desire.”

To this the King agreed joyfully, and Merlin kept his word: for he gave
Uther the form of one whom Igraine had loved dearly, and so she took him
willingly for her husband.

When the time had come that a child should be born to the King and
Queen, Merlin appeared before Uther to remind him of his promise; and
Uther swore it should be as he had said. Three days later, a prince was
born and, with pomp and ceremony, was christened by the name of Arthur;
but immediately thereafter the King commanded that the child should be
carried to the postern-gate, there to be given to the old man who would
be found waiting without.

Not long after, Uther fell sick, and he knew that his end was come; so,
by Merlin’s advice, he called together his knights and barons and said to

“My death draws near. I charge you, therefore, that ye obey my son even
as ye have obeyed me; and my curse upon him if he claim not the crown
when he is a man grown.”

Then the King turned his face to the wall and died.

Scarcely was Uther laid in his grave before disputes arose. Few of the
nobles had seen Arthur or even heard of him, and not one of them would
have been willing to be ruled by a child; rather, each thought himself
fitted to be king, and, strengthening his own castle, made war on his
neighbors until confusion alone was supreme, and the poor groaned because
there was none to help them.

Now when Merlin carried away Arthur—for Merlin was the old man who had
stood at the postern-gate—he had known all that would happen, and had
taken the child to keep him safe from the fierce barons until he should
be of age to rule wisely and well, and perform all the wonders prophesied
of him. He gave the child to the care of the good knight Sir Ector to
bring him up with his son Kay, but revealed not to him that it was the
son of Uther Pendragon that was given into his charge.

At last, when years had passed and Arthur was grown a tall youth
well skilled in knightly exercises, Merlin went to the Archbishop of
Canterbury and advised him that he should call together at Christmas-time
all the chief men of the realm to the great cathedral in London.

“For,” said Merlin, “there shall be seen a great marvel by which it
shall be made clear to all men who is the lawful king of this land.” The
Archbishop did as Merlin counseled. Under pain of a fearful curse, he
bade barons and knights come to London to keep the feast, and to pray
heaven to send peace to the realm.

The people hastened to obey the Archbishop’s commands and, from all
sides, barons and knights came riding in to keep the birth-feast of our
Lord. And when they had prayed, and were coming forth from the cathedral,
they saw a strange sight. There, in the open space before the church,
stood, on a great stone, an anvil thrust through with a sword; and on the
stone were written these words:

“Whoso can draw forth this sword is rightful King of Britain born.”

At once there were fierce quarrels, each man clamoring to be the first
to try his fortune, none doubting his own success. Then the Archbishop
decreed that each should make the venture in turn, from the greatest
baron to the least knight; and each in turn, having put forth his utmost
strength, failed to move the sword one inch, and drew back ashamed. So
the Archbishop dismissed the company, and having appointed guards to
watch over the stone, sent messengers through all the land to give word
of great jousts to be held in London at Easter, when each knight could
give proof of his skill and courage, and try whether the adventure of the
sword was for him.

Among those who rode to London at Easter was the good Sir Ector, and with
him his son, Sir Kay, newly made a knight, and the young Arthur. When the
morning came that the jousts should begin, Sir Kay and Arthur mounted
their horses and set out for the lists; but before they reached the
field, Kay looked and saw that he had left his sword behind. Immediately
Arthur turned back to fetch it for him, only to find the house fast shut,
for all were gone to view the tournament. Sore vexed was Arthur, fearing
lest his brother Kay should lose his chance of gaining glory, till, of
a sudden, he bethought him of the sword in the great anvil before the
cathedral. Thither he rode with all speed, and the guards having deserted
their posts to view the tournament, there was none to forbid him the
adventure. He leaped from his horse, seized the hilt, and instantly drew
forth the sword as easily as from a scabbard; then, mounting his horse
and thinking no marvel of what he had done, he rode after his brother
and handed him the weapon.

When Kay looked at it, he saw at once that it was the wondrous sword from
the stone. In great joy he sought his father, and showing it to him, said:

“Then must I be King of Britain.”

But Sir Ector bade him say how he came by the sword, and when Sir Kay
told how Arthur had brought it to him, Sir Ector bent his knee to the boy
and said:

“Sir, I perceive that ye are my King, and here I tender you my homage”;
and Kay did as his father. Then the three sought the Archbishop, to whom
they related all that had happened; and he, much marveling, called the
people together to the great stone, and bade Arthur thrust back the sword
and draw it forth again in the presence of all, which he did with ease.
But an angry murmur arose from the barons, who cried that what a boy
could do, a man could do; so, at the Archbishop’s word, the sword was put
back, and each man, whether baron or knight, tried in his turn to draw it
forth, and failed. Then, for the third time, Arthur drew forth the sword.
Immediately there arose from the people a great shout:

“Arthur is King! Arthur is King! We will have no King but Arthur”; and,
though the great barons scowled and threatened, they fell on their knees
before him while the Archbishop placed the crown upon his head, and they
swore to obey him faithfully as their lord and sovereign.

Thus Arthur was made king; and to all he did justice, righting wrongs and
giving to all their dues. Nor was he forgetful of those that had been his
friends; for Kay, whom he loved as a brother, he made seneschal and chief
of his household, and to Sir Ector, his foster father, he gave broad


Thus Arthur was made king, but he had to fight for his own; for eleven
great kings drew together and refused to acknowledge him as their lord,
and chief amongst the rebels was King Lot of Orkney, who had married
Arthur’s sister, Bellicent.

By Merlin’s advice Arthur sent for help overseas, to Ban and Bors, the
two great Kings who ruled in Gaul. With their aid, he overthrew his foes
in a fierce battle near the river Trent; and then he passed with them
into their own lands and helped them drive out their enemies. So there
was ever great friendship between Arthur and the Kings Ban and Bors, and
all their kindred; and afterwards some of the most famous Knights of the
Round Table were of that kin.

Then King Arthur set himself to restore order throughout his kingdom. To
all who would submit and amend their evil ways, he showed kindness; but
those who persisted in oppression and wrong he removed, putting in their
places others who would deal justly with the people. And because the
land had become overrun with forest during the days of misrule, he cut
roads through the thickets, that no longer wild beasts and men, fiercer
than the beasts, should lurk in their gloom, to the harm of the weak
and defenseless. Thus it came to pass that soon the peasant plowed his
fields in safety, and where had been wastes, men dwelt again in peace and

Amongst the lesser kings whom Arthur helped to rebuild their towns and
restore order was King Leodogran, of Cameliard. Now Leodogran had one
fair child, his daughter Guinevere; and from the time that first he saw
her, Arthur gave her all his love. So he sought counsel of Merlin, his
chief adviser. Merlin heard the King sorrowfully, and said:

“Sir King, when a man’s heart is set, he may not change. Yet had it been
well if ye had loved another.”

So the King sent his knights to Leodogran to ask of him his daughter; and
Leodogran consented, rejoicing to wed her to so good and knightly a king.
With great pomp, the princess was conducted to Canterbury, and there
the King met her, and they two were wed by the Archbishop in the great
cathedral, amid the rejoicings of the people.

On that same day did Arthur found his Order of the Round Table, the
fame of which was to spread throughout Christendom and endure through
all time. Now the Round Table had been made for King Uther Pendragon
by Merlin, who had meant thereby to set forth plainly to all men the
roundness of the earth. After Uther died, King Leodogran had possessed
it; but when Arthur was wed, he sent it to him as a gift, and great was
the King’s joy at receiving it. One hundred fifty knights might take
their places about it, and for them Merlin made sieges, or seats. One
hundred twenty-eight did Arthur knight at that great feast; thereafter,
if any sieges were empty, at the high festival of Pentecost new knights
were ordained to fill them, and by magic was the name of each knight
found inscribed, in letters of gold, in his proper siege. One seat only
long remained unoccupied, and that was the Siege Perilous. No knight
might occupy it until the coming of Sir Galahad; for, without danger to
his life, none might sit there who was not free from all stain of sin.

With pomp and ceremony did each knight take upon him the vows of true
knighthood: _to obey the King; to show mercy to all who asked it; to
defend the weak; and for no worldly gain to fight in a wrongful cause;_
and all the knights rejoiced together, doing honor to Arthur and to
his Queen. And all men of worship said it was merry to be under such a
chieftain, that would put his person in adventure as other poor knights
did. Then they rode forth to right the wrong and help the oppressed, and
by their aid, the King held his realm in peace, doing justice to all.


Now when Arthur was first made king, as young knights will, he courted
peril for its own sake, and often would he ride unattended by lonely
forest ways, seeking the adventure that chance might send him. All
unmindful was he of the ruin to his realm if mischief befell him; and
even his trusty counselors, though they grieved that he should thus
imperil him, yet could not but love him the more for his hardihood.

So, on a day, he rode through the Forest Perilous where dwelt the Lady
Annoure, a sorceress of great might, who used her magic powers but for
the furtherance of her own desires. And as she looked from a turret
window, she descried King Arthur come riding down a forest glade, and the
sunbeams falling upon him made one glory of his armor and of his yellow
hair. Then, as Annoure gazed upon the King, she resolved that, come
what might, she would have him for her own, to dwell with her always and
fulfill all her behests. And so she bade her men to lower the drawbridge
and raise the portcullis, and sallying forth accompanied by her maidens,
she gave King Arthur courteous salutation, and prayed him that he would
rest within her castle that day, for that she had a petition to make to
him; and Arthur, doubting nothing of her good faith, suffered himself to
be led within.

Then was a great feast spread, and Annoure caused the King to be seated
in a chair of state at her right hand, while squires and pages served him
on bended knee. So when they had feasted, the King turned to the Lady
Annoure and said courteously:

“Lady, somewhat ye said of a request that ye would make. If there be
aught in which I may give pleasure to you, I pray you let me know it, and
I will serve you as knightly as I may.”

“In truth,” said the lady, “there is that which I would fain entreat of
you, most noble knight; yet suffer, I beseech you, that first I may show
you somewhat of my castle and my estate, and then will I crave a boon of
your chivalry.”

Then the sorceress led King Arthur from room to room of her castle,
and ever each displayed greater store of beauty than the last. In some
the walls were hung with rich tapestries, in others they gleamed with
precious stones; and the King marveled what might be the petition of
one that was mistress of such wealth. Lastly, Annoure brought the King
out upon the battlements, and as he gazed around him, he saw that since
he had entered the castle there had sprung up about it triple walls of
defense that shut out wholly the forest from view. Then turned he to
Annoure, and gravely said:

“Lady, greatly I marvel in what a simple knight may give pleasure to one
that is mistress of so wondrous a castle as ye have shown me here; yet if
there be aught in which I may render you knightly service, right gladly
would I hear it now, for I must go forth upon my way to render service to
those whose knight I am sworn.”

“Nay, now, King Arthur,” answered the sorceress mockingly, “ye may
not deceive me! for well I know you, and that all Britain bows to your

“The more reason then that I should ride forth to right wrong and succor
them that, of their loyalty, render true obedience to their lord.”

“Ye speak as a fool,” said the sorceress; “why should one that may
command be at the beck and call of every hind and slave within his realm?
Nay, rest thee here with me, and I will make thee ruler of a richer land
than Britain, and satisfy thy every desire.”

“Lady,” said the King sternly, “I will hear and judge of your petition
here and now, and then will I go forth upon my way.”

“Nay,” said Annoure, “there needs not this harshness. I did but speak for
thine advantage. Only vow thee to my service, and there is naught that
thou canst desire that thou shalt not possess. Thou shalt be lord of this
fair castle and of the mighty powers that obey me. Why waste thy youth in
hardship and in the service of such as shall render thee little enough

Thereupon, without ever a word, the King turned him about and made for
the turret stair by which he had ascended, but nowhere could he find it.
Then said the sorceress, mocking him:

“Fair sir, how think ye to escape without my goodwill? See ye not the
walls that guard my stronghold? And think ye that I have not servants
enough to do my bidding?”

She clapped her hands and forthwith there appeared a company of squires
who, at her command, seized the King and bore him away to a strong
chamber where they locked him in.

And so the King abode that night, the prisoner of that evil sorceress,
with little hope that day, when it dawned, should bring him better cheer.
Yet lost he not courage, but kept watch and vigil the night through, lest
the powers of evil should assail him unawares. And with the early morning
light, Annoure came to visit him. More stately she seemed than the night
before, more tall and more terrible; and her dress was one blaze of
flashing gems so that scarce could the eye look upon her. As a queen
might address a vassal, so greeted she the King, and as condescending to
one of low estate, asked how he had fared that night. And the King made

“I have kept vigil as behooves a knight who, knowing himself to be in
the midst of danger, would bear himself meetly in any peril that should

And the Lady Annoure, admiring his knightly courage, desired more
earnestly even than before to win him to her will, and she said:

“Sir Arthur, I know well your courage and knightly fame, and greatly do
I desire to keep you with me. Stay with me and I promise that ye shall
bear sway over a wider realm than any that ye ever heard of, and I, even
I, its mistress, will be at your command. And what lose ye if ye accept
my offer? Little enough; for never think that ye shall win the world from
evil, and men to loyalty and truth.”

Then answered the King in anger: “Full well I see that thou art in league
with evil and that thou but seekest to turn me from my purpose. I defy
thee, foul sorceress. Do thy worst; though thou slay me, thou shalt never
sway me to thy will”; and therewith, the King raised his cross-hilted
sword before her. Then the lady quailed at that sight. Her heart was
filled with hate, but she said:

“Go your way, proud King of a petty realm. Rule well your race of
miserable mortals, since it pleases you more than to bear sway over the
powers of the air. I keep you not against your will.”

With these words she passed from the chamber, and the King heard her give
command to her squires to set him without her gates, give him his horse,
and suffer him to go on his way.

And so it came to pass that the King found himself once more at large,
and marveled to have won so lightly to liberty. Yet knew he not the
depths of treachery in the heart of Annoure; for when she found she might
not prevail with the King, she bethought her how, by mortal means, she
might bring him to dishonor and death. And so, by her magic art, she
caused the King to follow a path that brought him to a fountain, whereby
a knight had his tent, and, for the love of adventure, held the way
against all comers. Now this knight was Sir Pellinore, and at that time
he had not his equal for strength and knightly skill, nor had any been
found that might stand against him. So, as the King drew nigh, Pellinore

“Stay, knight, for no one passes this way except he joust with me.”

“That is not a good custom,” said the King; “and it were well that ye
followed it no more.”

“It is my custom, and I will follow it still,” answered Pellinore; “if ye
like it not, amend it if ye can.”

“I will do my endeavor,” said Arthur, “but, as ye see, I have no spear.”

“Nay, I seek not to have you at disadvantage,” replied Pellinore, and
bade his squire give Arthur a spear. Then they dressed their shields,
laid their lances in rest, and rushed upon each other. Now the King was
wearied by his night’s vigil, and the strength of Pellinore was as the
strength of three men; so, at the first encounter, Arthur was unhorsed.
Then said he:

“I have lost the honor on horseback, but now will I encounter thee with
my sword and on foot.”

“I, too, will alight,” said Pellinore; “small honor to me were it if I
slew thee on foot, I being horsed the while.” So they encountered each
other on foot, and so fiercely they fought that they hewed off great
pieces of each other’s armor, and the ground was dyed with their blood.
But at the last, Arthur’s sword broke off short at the hilt, and so he
stood all defenseless before his foe.

“I have thee now,” cried Pellinore; “yield thee as recreant or I will
slay thee.”

“That will I never,” said the King; “slay me if thou canst.”

Then he sprang on Pellinore, caught him by the middle, and flung him to
the ground, himself falling with him. And Sir Pellinore marveled, for
never before had he encountered so bold and resolute a foe; but exerting
his great strength, he rolled himself over, and so brought Arthur beneath
him. Then Arthur would have perished, but at that moment Merlin stood
beside him, and when Sir Pellinore would have struck off the King’s head,
stayed his blow, crying:

“Pellinore, if thou slayest this knight, thou puttest the whole realm in
peril; for this is none other than King Arthur himself.”

Then was Pellinore filled with dread, and cried:

“Better make an end of him at once; for if I suffer him to live, what
hope have I of his grace, that have dealt with him so sorely?”

But before Pellinore could strike, Merlin caused a deep sleep to come
upon him; and raising King Arthur from the ground, he stanched his wounds
and recovered him of his swoon.

But when the King came to himself, he saw his foe lie, still as in death,
on the ground beside him; and he was grieved, and said:

“Merlin, what have ye done to this brave knight? Nay, if ye have slain
him, I shall grieve my life long; for a good knight he is, bold and a
fair fighter, though something wanting in knightly courtesy.”

“He is in better case than ye are, Sir King, who so lightly imperil your
person, and thereby your kingdom’s welfare; and, as ye say, Pellinore
is a stout knight, and hereafter shall he serve you well. Have no fear.
He shall wake again in three hours and have suffered naught by the
encounter. But for you, it were well that ye came where ye might be
tended for your wounds.”

“Nay,” replied the King, smiling, “I may not return to my court thus
weaponless; first will I find means to possess me of a sword.”

“That is easily done,” answered Merlin; “follow me, and I will bring you
where ye shall get you a sword, the wonder of the world.”

So, though his wounds pained him sore, the King followed Merlin by many
a forest path and glade, until they came upon a mere, bosomed deep in
the forest; and as he looked thereon, the King beheld an arm, clothed in
white samite, above the surface of the lake, and in the hand was a fair
sword that gleamed in the level rays of the setting sun.

“This is a great marvel,” said the King, “what may it mean?”

And Merlin made answer: “Deep is this mere, so deep indeed that no
man may fathom it; but in its depths, and built upon the roots of the
mountains, is the palace of the Lady of the Lake. Powerful is she with a
power that works ever for good, and she shall help thee in thine hour of

Anon the damsel herself came unto Arthur and said: “Sir Arthur, King,
yonder sword is mine and if ye will give me a gift when I ask it of you,
ye shall have it.”

“By my faith,” said Arthur, “I will give you what ye will ask.”

Then was Arthur aware of a little skiff, half hidden among the bulrushes
that fringed the lake; and leaping into the boat, without aid of oar,
he was wafted out into the middle of the lake, to the place where, out
of the water, rose the arm and sword. And leaning from the skiff, he
took the sword from the hand, which forthwith vanished, and immediately
thereafter the skiff bore him back to land.

Arthur drew from its scabbard the mighty sword, wondering at the marvel
of its workmanship, for the hilt shone with the elfin light of twinkling
gems—diamond and topaz and emerald, and many another whose name none
knows. And as he looked on the blade, Arthur was aware of mystic writings
on the one side and the other, and calling to Merlin, he bade him
interpret them.

“Sir,” said Merlin, “on the one side is written ‘Keep me,’ and on the
other ‘Throw me away.’”

“Then,” said the King, “which does it behoove me to do?”

“Keep it,” answered Merlin; “the time to cast it away is not yet come.
This is the good brand Excalibur, or Cut Steel, and well shall it serve
you. But what think ye of the scabbard?”

“A fair cover for so good a sword,” answered Arthur.

“Nay, it is more than that,” said Merlin, “for so long as ye keep it,
though ye be wounded never so sore, yet ye shall not bleed to death.” And
when he heard that, the King marveled the more.

Then they journeyed back to Caerleon, where the knights made great joy
of the return of their lord. And presently, thither came Sir Pellinore,
craving pardon of the King, who made but jest of his own misadventure.
And afterwards Sir Pellinore became of the Round Table, a knight vowed,
not only to deeds of hardihood, but also to gentleness and courtesy; and
faithfully he served the King, fighting ever to maintain justice and put
down wrong, and to defend the weak from the oppressor.


  =Historical Note.= The ancient Britons looked out from their little
  island home with its protecting seas, and pictured the great unknown
  world beyond as a fairyland filled with enchanted cities and
  wonderful forests, and peopled by friendly fairies and magicians.
  About the beginning of our Christian era the Romans came among them
  for a time, teaching them obedience to law. Later, the barbarian
  hordes came over the North Sea, to conquer them. But the invaders
  were resisted by strong leaders among whom one by the name of Arthur
  stands pre-eminent. Historians generally agree that a chieftain of
  this name actually lived about the close of the fifth century or the
  beginning of the sixth. Some say he was from the north, some from the
  south, of England. Arthur became not only the great national hero,
  but also the champion of Christianity against heathen invaders. He is
  said to have united the scattered British clans and to have defeated
  the invaders in twelve great battles.

  In their days of distress many of the Britons fled across the Channel
  and settled among their kindred, the Bretons of northern France.
  From here Welsh bards with their harps wandered throughout all
  Christendom, singing of Arthur’s heroic deeds. As time went on these
  tales of Arthur became blended with the fairy stories of their old
  happy dream-life. When chivalry was at its height, from the twelfth
  to the fifteenth century, the strolling minstrels took up the legend,
  adapting it to the ideals of the times and to the tastes of their
  audiences in court and castle and market place.

  In these songs and legends, Arthur appeared as a great king
  surrounded at his “Table Round” with valiant knights who, under
  vows of purity and holiness, went forth in daily quest of noble
  deeds. Early in the twelfth century the legends were carried back to
  England. A Welsh priest, Geoffrey of Monmouth, gave a form to these
  tales which became widely popular, and later from this version and
  others, Sir Thomas Malory wrote his story, “Le Morte D’Arthur” (The
  Death of Arthur). In 1485, William Caxton, the first English printer,
  published Sir Thomas’s story, which became the chief source of modern
  poets who have written on this theme. Among these, the English poet,
  Tennyson, in his beautiful “Idylls of the King,” has told the story
  of Arthur and his knights.

  Britain at the time in which Arthur is supposed to have lived was a
  land of warring tribes. Christianity had gained little more than a
  foothold. It was an age in which might was greater than right. But
  when Arthur’s knights went forth at the command of their king, their
  aim was to overthrow the injustice and lawlessness then so common in
  the land. Wonderful deeds were done by that little company of brave
  men, who rode abroad “redressing wrongs.”

  =Discussion.= 1. Is there a historical basis for the stories of
  Arthur? 2. How did they become interwoven with myth and legend? 3.
  When Arthur became king, what was the condition of the people of
  Britain? 4. Why did the barons oppose Arthur? 5. What reforms did
  Arthur introduce? 6. Read lines which show that Arthur thought of
  the poor as well as of the rich and the great. 7. What was the Round
  Table? 8. Read the lines that tell of the vows made by the knights.
  9. What did the knights promise first? 10. Why do you think Arthur
  put this first? 11. What reason did Arthur give the sorceress for
  not wishing to remain longer in her castle? 12. Find a word in
  this speech that explains Arthur’s life. 13. Read lines which show
  Arthur’s generosity toward a foe. 14. What ideals of conduct did
  these stories uphold in times when might was greater than right? 15.
  Pronounce the following: joust; tournament; stanched.


  confusion alone was supreme, 92, 18
  knightly exercises, 92, 30
  pain of a fearful curse, 92, 37
  great jousts, 93, 20
  sore vexed, 93, 30
  tender you my homage, 94, 10
  foster father, 94, 31
  of that kin, 95, 8
  persisted in oppression, 95, 11
  days of misrule, 95, 14
  with pomp and ceremony, 96, 14
  men of worship, 96, 18
  put his person in adventure, 96, 19
  courted peril, 96, 24
  fulfill all her behests, 97, 3
  raise the portcullis, 97, 4
  courteous salutation, 97, 5
  fain entreat of you, 97, 17
  crave a boon of your chivalry, 97, 20
  render true obedience, 98, 4
  kept vigil, 99, 3
  bear himself meetly, 99, 4
  bear sway, 99, 11
  in league with evil, 99, 17
  petty realm, 99, 23
  by mortal means, 99, 34
  do my endeavor, 100, 11
  to have you at disadvantage, 100, 13
  dressed their shields, 100, 14
  yield thee as recreant, 100, 27
  stanched his wounds, 101, 9
  good brand Excalibur, 102, 24



King Arthur had a custom that at the feast of Pentecost he would not go
to meat until he had heard or seen a great marvel. And because of that
custom all manner of strange adventures came before him at that feast.

So Sir Gawain, a little before noon of the day of Pentecost, saw from a
window three men on horseback and a dwarf on foot, and one of the men was
higher than the other two, by a foot and a half. Then Sir Gawain went
unto the King and said, “Sir, go to your meat, for here at hand come
strange adventures.”

Right so came into the hall two men and upon their shoulders there
leaned the goodliest young man and the fairest that ever they all saw,
and he was tall and large and broad in the shoulders and the fairest and
largest-handed that ever man saw.

This young man said, “King Arthur, God bless you and all your fair
fellowship. For this cause I am come hither, to pray you to give me three
gifts and they shall not be unreasonably asked, but you may honorably
grant them me. The first gift I will ask now and the other two I will ask
this day twelvemonth.”

“Now ask,” said Arthur, “and ye shall have your asking.”

“Sir,” said the young man, “this is my petition, that ye will give me
meat and drink for this twelvemonth, and at that day I will ask mine
other two gifts.”

“My fair son,” said Arthur, “ask better, I counsel thee, for this is but
simple asking; for my heart tells me that thou shalt prove a man of right
great honor.”

“Sir,” said the young man, “be that as it may, I have asked that I will

“Well,” said the King, “ye shall have meat and drink enough; I never
refused that to friend or foe. But what is thy name?”

“I cannot tell you,” said the young man.

“That is strange,” said the King, “that thou knowest not thy name and
thou art the goodliest young man that ever I saw.”

Then the King charged Sir Kay, the steward, that he should give the young
man meat and drink of the best as though he were a lord’s son.

“There is no need of that,” said Sir Kay, “for I am sure he is of lowly
birth. If he had come of gentlemen he would have asked of you horse and
armor, but such as he is, so he asketh. And as he hath no name I shall
name him Beaumains, that is Fair-hands, and into the kitchen I shall take

Then was Sir Gawain wroth and Sir Lancelot bade Sir Kay stop his mocking
of the young man. But Sir Kay bade the young man sit down to meat with
the boys of the kitchen and there he ate sadly. And then Sir Lancelot
bade him come to his chamber and there he should have meat and drink
enough. And this Sir Lancelot did of his great gentleness and courtesy.
And Sir Gawain proffered him meat and drink, but he refused them both and
thus he was put into the kitchen.

So he endured all that twelvemonth and never displeased man nor child,
but always he was meek and kindly. But ever when there was any jousting
of knights, that would he see if he might.

So it passed on till the feast of Pentecost. On that day there came a
damsel into the hall and saluted the King and prayed for succor for her
lady who was besieged in her castle.

“Who is your lady and what is his name who hath besieged her?” asked the

“Sir King,” she said, “my lady’s name shall ye not know from me at this
time, but the tyrant that besiegeth her and destroyeth her lands is
called the Red Knight of the Red Lands.”

“I know him not,” said the King.

“Sir,” said Sir Gawain, “I know him well; men say that he hath seven
men’s strength and from him I escaped once full hard with my life.”

“Fair damsel,” said the King, “there be knights here would do their power
to rescue your lady, but because you will not tell her name, none of my
knights shall go with you by my will.”

Then Beaumains came before the King and said, “Sir King, I have been this
twelvemonth in your kitchen and now I will ask my two gifts.”

“Ask,” said the King, “and right gladly will I grant them.”

“Sir, these shall be my two gifts, first that ye will grant me to have
this adventure.”

“Thou shalt have it,” said the King.

“Then, sir, this is the other gift, that ye shall bid Sir Lancelot to
make me knight. And I pray you let him ride after me and make me knight
when I ask him.”

“All this shall be done,” said the King.

“Fie on thee,” said the damsel, “shall I have none but one that is your
kitchen boy?”

Then was she wroth and took her horse and departed from him.

And with that there came one to Beaumains and told him his horse and
armor were come and there was the dwarf ready with all things that he
needed in the richest manner. So when he was armed there were few so
goodly men as he was.

Then Sir Kay said all open in the hall, “I will ride after my boy of the
kitchen, to see whether he will know me for his better.” And as Beaumains
overtook the damsel, right so came Sir Kay and said, “Beaumains, what,
sir, know ye not me?”

“Yea,” said Beaumains, “I know you for an ungentle knight of the court
and therefore beware of me.”

Therewith Sir Kay put his spear in the rest and ran straight upon him,
and Beaumains came as fast upon him with his sword and thrust him through
the side, so that Sir Kay fell down as if he were dead and Beaumains took
Sir Kay’s shield and spear and rode on his way.

When Sir Lancelot overtook him he proffered Sir Lancelot to joust and
they came together fiercely and fought for an hour, and Lancelot marveled
at Beaumains’ strength, for he fought more like a giant than a knight. So
Sir Lancelot said, “Beaumains, fight not so sore; your quarrel and mine
is not so great but we may leave off.”

“Truly that is truth,” said Beaumains, “but it doth me good to feel your

“Hope ye that I may any while stand a proved knight?” said Beaumains.

“Yea,” said Lancelot, “do as ye have done and I shall be your warrant.”

“Then I pray you,” said Beaumains, “give me the order of knighthood.”

“Then must ye tell me your name,” said Lancelot.

“Sir,” he said, “my name is Gareth, and I am brother unto Sir Gawain.”

“Ah, sir,” said Lancelot, “I am more glad of you than I was, for ever
methought ye should be of great blood and that ye came not to the court
for meat or drink.”

Then Sir Lancelot gave him the order of knighthood and departed from him
and came to Sir Kay and made him to be borne home upon his shield and he
was healed of his wound.

But when Beaumains had overtaken the damsel, she said, “What dost thou
here? Thou smellest of the kitchen, thy clothes be soiled with the
grease and tallow that thou gainest in King Arthur’s kitchen. Therefore,
turn again, dirty kitchen boy; I know thee well, for Sir Kay named thee

“Damsel,” said Beaumains, “say to me what ye will, I will not go from
you, whatever ye say, for I have undertaken to King Arthur for to achieve
your adventure and so shall I finish it to the end or I shall die

So thus as they rode in the wood, there came a man flying all that ever
he might. “Whither wilt thou?” said Beaumains.

“O lord,” he said, “help me, for six thieves have taken my lord and bound
him, so I am afraid lest they will slay him.”

“Bring me thither,” said Beaumains.

And so they rode together until they came where the knight was bound and
then he rode unto the thieves and slew them all and unbound the knight.
And the knight thanked him and prayed him to ride with him to his castle
and he should reward him for his good deeds.

“Sir,” said Beaumains, “I will no reward have; I was this day made knight
of noble Sir Lancelot and therefore I will no reward have but God reward
me. Also I must follow this damsel.”

And when he came nigh her, she bade him ride from her. “For thou smellest
of the kitchen,” she said. Then the same knight which was rescued rode
after the damsel and prayed them to lodge with him that night, and so
that night they had good cheer and rest.

And on the morrow the damsel and Beaumains rode on their way until they
came to a great forest. And there was a river and but one passage and
there were two knights to prevent their crossing. “What sayest thou,”
said the damsel, “wilt thou match yonder knights or turn again?”

“Nay,” said Sir Beaumains, “I will not turn again if they were six more.”
And therewith he rushed into the water and they drew their swords and
smote at each other and Sir Beaumains slew both the knights.

“Alas,” said the damsel, “that a kitchen boy should have the fortune to
destroy two such brave knights.”

“Damsel,” said Beaumains, “I care not what ye say, so that I may rescue
your lady.”

“If you follow me,” said the damsel, “thou art but slain, for I see all
that ever thou dost is but by misadventure and not by might of thy hands.”

“Well, damsel, ye may say what ye will, but wheresoever ye go, I will
follow you.”

So Beaumains rode with that lady till evening and ever she chid him and
would not stop. And they came to a black plain and there was a black
hawthorne and thereon hung a black shield and by it stood a black spear,
great and long, and a great black horse covered with silk.


There sat a knight all armed in black armor and his name was the Knight
of the Black Lands. And when the damsel came nigh he said, “Damsel,
have ye brought this knight of King Arthur to be your champion?” “Nay,
fair knight,” said she, “this is but a kitchen boy that was fed in King
Arthur’s kitchen for alms.”

“Why cometh he,” said the knight, “in such array? It is shame that he
beareth you company.”

“Sir, I cannot be delivered of him; through mishap I saw him slay two
knights at the passage of the water and other deeds he did before right
marvelous and by chance.”

“I marvel,” said the Black Knight, “that any man that is of honor will
fight with him.”

“They know him not,” said the damsel.

“That may be,” said the knight, “but this much I shall grant you; I shall
put him down upon foot, and his horse and his armor he shall leave with
me, for it were shame to me to do him any more harm.”

When Sir Beaumains heard him say thus, he said, “Sir Knight, thou art
full liberal of my horse and armor. I let thee know it cost thee nought,
and horse nor armor gettest thou none of mine unless thou win them with
thy hands.”

Then in great wrath they departed with their horses and came together
as it had been thunder. When they had fought for an hour and a half the
Black Knight fell down off his horse in swoon and there he died. And
Beaumains armed him in his armor and took his horse and rode after the

When she saw him come nigh, she said, “Away, kitchen boy, for the smell
of thy clothes grieveth me. Alas, that a kitchen boy should by mishap
slay so good a knight as thou hast done.”

“I warn you, fair damsel,” said Beaumains, “that I will not flee away nor
leave your company for all that ye can say; therefore, ride on your way,
for follow you I will, whatsoever happen.”

Thus as they rode together they saw a knight come driving by them all in
green, both his horse and his armor, and when he came nigh the damsel, he
asked her, “Is that my brother, the Black Knight, that ye have brought
with you?”

“Nay, nay,” she said, “this kitchen boy hath slain your brother.”

“Ah! traitor,” said the Green Knight, “thou shalt die for slaying of my

“I defy thee,” said Beaumains, “for I slew him knightly and not

And then they ran together with all their might and fought a long while,
and at last Beaumains gave the Green Knight such a buffet upon the helmet
that he fell upon his knees. And then the Green Knight cried for mercy
and prayed Sir Beaumains to slay him not.

“Fair knight,” said the Green Knight, “save my life and I will forgive
thee the death of my brother and forever be thy man, and thirty knights
that follow me shall forever do you service.”

“Sir Knight,” said Beaumains, “all this availeth thee not unless this
damsel speak with me for thy life.” And therewith he made a motion as if
to slay him.

“Let be,” said the damsel, “slay him not, for if thou do thou shalt
repent it.”

Then Beaumains said, “Sir Knight, I release thee at this damsel’s

And then the Green Knight kneeled down and did him homage with his sword,
and he said, “Ye shall lodge with me this night and tomorrow I shall help
you through this forest.” So they took their horses and rode to his manor.

And ever the damsel rebuked Beaumains and would not allow him to sit at
her table. “I marvel,” said the Green Knight, “why ye rebuke this noble
knight as ye do, for I warn you, damsel, he is a full noble knight and
I know no knight is able to match him, therefore you do great wrong to
rebuke him.”

And on the morrow they took their horses and rode on their way and the
Green Knight said, “My lord Beaumains, I and these thirty knights shall
be always at your summons both early and late.”

“It is well said,” said Beaumains; “when I call upon you ye must yield
you unto King Arthur and all your knights.”

“If ye so command us, we shall be ready at all times,” said the Green
Knight. So then departed the Green Knight.

So within a while they saw a town as white as any snow and the lord of
the tower was in his castle and looked out at a window and saw a damsel
and a knight. So he armed him hastily. And when he was on horseback,
it was all red, both his horse and his armor. And when he came nigh
he thought it was his brother, the Black Knight, and he cried aloud,
“Brother, what do ye here?”

“Nay, nay,” said the damsel, “it is not he. This is but a kitchen boy. He
hath killed thy brother, the Black Knight. Also I saw thy brother, the
Green Knight, overcome by him. Now may ye be revenged on him.”

With this the knights came together with all their might and fought
furiously for two hours, so that it was wonder to see that strong battle.
Yet at the last, Sir Beaumains struck the Red Knight to the earth. And
the Red Knight cried mercy, saying, “Noble knight, slay me not, and I
shall yield me to thee with sixty knights that be at my command. And I
forgive thee all thou hast done to me, and the death of my brother, the
Black Knight.”

“All this availeth not,” said Beaumains, “unless the damsel pray me to
save thy life.” And therewith he made a motion as if to slay him.

“Let be,” said the damsel; “slay him not, for he is a noble knight.”

Then Beaumains bade the Red Knight stand up and the Red Knight prayed
them to see his castle and rest there that night. And upon the morn he
came before Beaumains with his three score knights and offered him his
homage and service.

“I thank you,” said Beaumains, “but this ye shall grant me: to come
before my lord King Arthur and yield you unto him to be his knight, when
I call upon you.”

“Sir,” said the Red Knight, “I will be ready at your summons.”

So Sir Beaumains departed and the damsel, and ever she rode chiding him.

“Damsel,” said Beaumains, “ye are uncourteous to rebuke me as ye do, for
I have done you good service.”

“Well,” said she, “right soon ye shall meet a knight who shall pay thee
all thy wages, for he is the greatest of the world, except King Arthur.”

And soon there was before them a city rich and fair, and between them and
the city there was a fair meadow and therein were many pavilions fair to

“Lo,” said the damsel, “yonder is a lord that owneth yonder city and his
custom is when the weather is fair to joust in this meadow. And ever
there be about him five hundred knights and gentlemen of arms.”

“That goodly lord,” said Beaumains, “would I fain behold.”

“Thou shalt see him time enough,” said the damsel, and so as she rode
near she saw the pavilion where he was. “Lo,” said she, “seest thou
yonder pavilion that is all blue of color, and the lord’s name is Sir
Persant, the lordliest knight that ever thou lookedst on?”

“It may well be,” said Beaumains, “but be he never so stout a knight, in
this field I shall abide until I see him.”

“Sir,” she said, “I marvel what thou art; boldly thou speakest and boldly
thou hast done, that have I seen; therefore I pray thee save thyself, for
thou and thy horse are weary and here I dread me sore lest ye catch some
hurt. But I must tell you that Sir Persant is nothing in might unto the
knight that laid the siege about my lady.”

“As for that,” said Sir Beaumains, “since I have come so nigh this
knight, I will prove his might before I depart from him.”

“Oh,” said the damsel, “I marvel what manner of man ye be, for so
shamefully did never woman treat knight as I have done you and ever
courteously ye have borne it. Alas, Sir Beaumains, forgive me all that I
have said or done against thee.”

“With all my heart,” said he, “I forgive you and now I think there is no
knight living, but I am able enough for him.”

When Sir Persant saw them in the field, he sent to them to know whether
Beaumains came in war or in peace.

“Say to thy lord,” said Beaumains, “that shall be as he pleases.”

And so Sir Persant rode against him, and his armor and trappings were
blue, and Beaumains saw him and made him ready and their horses rushed
together and they fought two hours and more. And at the last Beaumains
smote Sir Persant that he fell to the earth. Then Sir Persant yielded him
and asked mercy. With that came the damsel and prayed to save his life.

“I will gladly,” said Beaumains, “for it were pity this noble knight
should die.”

“Now this shall I do to please you,” said Sir Persant, “ye shall have
homage of me and an hundred knights to be always at your command.”

And so they went to Sir Persant’s pavilion to rest that night.

And so on the morn the damsel and Sir Beaumains took their leave.

“Fair damsel,” said Sir Persant, “whither are ye leading this knight?”

“Sir,” she said, “this knight is going to rescue my sister, Dame Liones,
who is besieged in the Castle Perilous.”

“Ah,” said Sir Persant, “she is besieged by the Red Knight of the Red
Lands, a man that is without mercy, and men say that he hath seven
men’s strength. He hath been well nigh two years at this siege and he
prolongeth the time, hoping to have Sir Lancelot to do battle with him,
or Sir Tristam, or Sir Lamorak, or Sir Gawain.”

“My lord, Sir Persant,” said the damsel, “I require that ye will make
this gentleman knight before he fight the Red Knight.”

“I will with all my heart,” said Sir Persant, “if it please him to take
the order of knighthood from so simple a man as I am.”

“Sir,” said Beaumains, “I thank you for your goodwill, but the noble
knight Sir Lancelot made me knight.”

“Ah,” said Sir Persant, “of a more renowned knight might ye not be made
knight, for of all knights he may be called chief of knighthood; and so
all the world saith that betwixt three knights is knighthood divided, Sir
Lancelot, Sir Tristam, and Sir Lamorak. Therefore, God speed ye well, for
if ye conquer the Red Knight, ye shall be called the fourth of the world.”

“Sir,” said Beaumains, “I would fain be of good fame and knighthood and
I will tell you both who I am. Truly then, my name is Gareth of Orkney,
and King Lot was my father, and my mother is King Arthur’s sister, and
Sir Gawain is my brother and so Sir Agravaine and Sir Gaheris, and I am
youngest of them all: And yet know not King Arthur nor Sir Gawain who I


The lady that was besieged had word of her sister’s coming by the dwarf,
and also how the knight had passed all the perilous passages.

“Dwarf,” said the lady, “I am glad of these things. Go thou unto my
sister and greet her well and commend me unto that gentle knight and pray
him to eat and to drink and make him strong, and say ye that I thank him
for his courtesy and goodness.”

So the dwarf departed and told Sir Beaumains all as ye have heard and
returned to the castle again. And there met him the Red Knight of the Red
Lands and asked him where he had been.

“Sir,” said the dwarf, “I have been with my lady’s sister of this castle,
and she hath been at King Arthur’s court and brought a knight with her.”

“Then I count her labor but lost, for though she had brought with her Sir
Lancelot, Sir Tristam, Sir Lamorak, or Sir Gawain, I would think myself
good enough for them all.”

“It may well be,” said the dwarf, “but this knight hath passed all the
perilous passages and slain the Black Knight and won the Green Knight,
the Red Knight, and the Blue Knight.”

“Then is he one of the four that I have named.”

“He is none of those,” said the dwarf.

“What is his name?” said the Red Knight.

“That will I not tell you,” said the dwarf.

“I care not,” said the Red Knight, “what knight soever he be, he shall
have a shameful death as many others have had.”

And then Beaumains and the damsel came to a plain and saw many tents and
a fair castle and there was much smoke and great noise and as they came
near they saw upon great trees there hung nigh forty goodly armed knights.

“Fair sir,” said the damsel, “all these knights came to this siege to
rescue my sister, and when the Red Knight of the Red Lands had overcome
them, he put them to this shameful death without mercy or pity.”

“Truly,” said Beaumains, “he useth shameful customs and it is marvel that
none of the noble knights of my lord Arthur have dealt with him.”

And there was near by a sycamore tree and there hung a horn and this Red
Knight had hanged it up there, that if there came any errant knight he
must blow that horn and then he would make him ready and come to him to
do battle.

“Sir, I pray you,” said the damsel, “blow ye not the horn till it be high
noon, for his strength increaseth until noon, and at this time men say he
hath seven men’s strength.”

“Ah, for shame, fair damsel, say ye so never more to me, for I will win
honorably, or die knightly in the field.”

Therewith he blew the horn so eagerly that the castle rang with the sound.

Then the Red Knight armed him hastily and all was blood red, his armor,
spear, and shield.

“Sir,” said the damsel, “yonder is your deadly enemy and at yonder window
is my sister.”

With that the Red Knight of the Red Lands called to Sir Beaumains, “Sir
knight, I warn thee that for this lady I have done many strong battles.”

“If thou have so done,” said Beaumains, “it was but waste labor, and
know, thou Red Knight of the Red Lands, I will rescue her or die.”

Then Sir Beaumains bade the damsel go from him, and then they put their
spears in their rests and came together with all their might.

Then they fought till it was past noon and when they had rested a while
they returned to the battle till evening, but at last Sir Beaumains smote
the sword out of the Red Knight’s hand and smote him on the helmet, so
that he fell to the earth.

Then the Red Knight said in a loud voice, “O noble knight, I yield me to
thy mercy.”

But Sir Beaumains said, “I may not with honor save thy life, for the
shameful deaths thou hast caused many good knights to die.”

“Sir,” said the Red Knight, “hold your hand and ye shall know the causes
why I put them to so shameful a death.”

“Say on,” said Sir Beaumains.

“Sir, a lady prayed me that I would make her a promise by the faith of my
knighthood that I would labor daily in arms, until I met Sir Lancelot or
Sir Gawain, who, she said, had slain her brother, and this is the cause
that I have put all these knights to death. And now I will tell thee that
every day my strength increaseth till noon and all this time have I seven
men’s strength.”

Then there came many earls and barons and noble knights and prayed Sir
Beaumains to save his life.

“Sir,” they said, “it were fairer to take homage and let him hold his
lands of you than to slay him; by his death ye shall have no advantage,
and his misdeeds that be done may not be undone, and therefore he shall
make amends to all parties and we all will become your men and do you

“Fair lords” said Beaumains, “I am loath to slay this knight;
nevertheless he hath done shamefully, but insomuch all that he did was
at a lady’s request, I will release him upon this condition, that he go
within the castle and yield him to the lady, and if she will forgive him,
I will. And also when that is done, that ye go unto the court of King
Arthur and there that you ask Sir Lancelot mercy and Sir Gawain, for the
evil will ye have had against them.”

“Sir,” said the Red Knight, “all this will I do as ye command.”

And so within a while the Red Knight went into the castle and promised
to make amends for all that had been done against the lady. And then
he departed unto the court of King Arthur and told openly how he was
overcome and by whom.

Then said King Arthur and Sir Gawain, “We marvel much of what blood he is
come, for he is a noble knight.”

“He is come of full noble blood,” said Sir Lancelot, “and as for his
might and hardiness, there be but few now living so mighty as he is.”


So leave we Sir Beaumains and turn we unto King Arthur, that at the
next feast of Pentecost held his feast, and there came the Green Knight
with thirty knights and yielded them all unto King Arthur. And so there
came the Red Knight, his brother, and yielded him unto King Arthur and
threescore knights with him. Also there came the Blue Knight, brother to
them, with an hundred knights and yielded them unto King Arthur.

These three brethren told King Arthur how they were overcome by a knight
that a damsel had with her and called him Beaumains.

“I wonder,” said the King, “what knight he is and of what lineage he is

So, right as the King stood talking with these three brothers, there came
Sir Lancelot and told the King that there was come a goodly lord and six
hundred knights with him.

Then this lord saluted the King.

“Sir,” he said, “my name is the Red Knight of the Red Lands, and here I
am sent by a knight that is called Beaumains, for he won me in battle
hand for hand.”

“Ye are welcome,” said the King, “for ye have long been a great foe to me
and my court and now I trust to God I shall so treat you that ye shall be
my friend.”

“Sir, both I and these knights shall always be at your summons to do you

“Then I shall make thee a knight of the Table Round, but thou must be no
more a murderer.”

“Sir, as to that, I have promised Sir Beaumains never more to use such
customs and I must go unto Sir Lancelot and to Sir Gawain and ask them
forgiveness of the evil will I had unto them.”

“They be here now,” said the King, “before thee; now may ye say to them
what ye will.”

And then he kneeled down unto Sir Lancelot and Sir Gawain and prayed for
forgiveness for the enmity that he had against them.


So then they went to meat, and as they sat at the meat there came in the
Queen of Orkney with ladies and knights, a great number. And then Sir
Gawain, Sir Agravaine, and Sir Gaheris arose and went to her and saluted
her upon their knees and asked her blessing, for in fifteen years they
had not seen her.

Then she spake to her brother, King Arthur, “Where is my young son, Sir
Gareth? He was here a twelvemonth, and ye made a kitchen boy of him,
which is shame to you all. Alas, where is my dear son that was my joy and
my bliss?”

“O dear mother,” said Sir Gawain, “I knew him not.” “Nor I,” said the
King, “but thank God he is proved an honorable knight as any now living
of his years, and I shall never be glad until I find him.”

“Ah, brother,” said the Queen, “ye did yourself great shame when you kept
my son in the kitchen.”

“Fair sister,” said the King, “I knew him not, nor did Sir Gawain. Also,
sister, ye might have told me of his coming and then, if I had not done
well to him, ye might have blamed me. For when he came to my court, he
asked me three gifts and one he asked the same day; that was, that I
would give him meat enough for that twelvemonth, and the other two gifts
he asked that day a twelvemonth and that was that he might have the
adventure for the damsel, and the third was that Sir Lancelot should make
him knight when he desired him. And so I granted him all his desire.”

“Sir,” said the Queen, “I sent him to you well armed and horsed and gold
and silver plenty to spend.”

“It may be,” said the King, “but thereof saw we none, save the day he
departed from us, knights told me that there came a dwarf hither suddenly
and brought him armor and a good horse, and thereat we all had marvel
from whence those riches came.”

“Brother,” said the Queen, “all that ye say I believe, but I marvel that
Sir Kay did mock and scorn him and gave him that so name Beaumains.”

“By the grace of God,” said Arthur, “he shall be found, so let all this
pass and be merry, for he is proved to be a man of honor and that is my

Then said Sir Gawain and his brethren to Arthur, “Sir, if ye will give us
leave, we will go and seek our brother.”

“Nay,” said Sir Lancelot, “that shall ye not need, for by my advice the
King shall send unto Dame Liones a messenger and pray that she will come
to the court in all the haste that she may and then she may give you best
counsel where to find him.”

“That is well said of you,” said the King.

So the messenger was sent forth and night and day he went until he came
to the Castle Perilous. And the lady was there with her brother and Sir
Gareth. When she understood the message she went to her brother and Sir
Gareth and told them how King Arthur had sent for her.

“That is because of me,” said Sir Gareth. “I pray you do not let them
know where I am. I know my mother is there and all my brethren and they
will take upon them to seek me.”

So the lady departed and came to King Arthur, where she was nobly
received and there she was questioned by the King. And she answered that
she could not tell where Sir Gareth was. But she said to Arthur, “Sir, I
will have a tournament proclaimed to take place before my castle and the
proclamation shall be this: that you, my lord Arthur, shall be there and
your knights; and I will provide that my knights shall be against yours
and then I am sure ye shall hear of Sir Gareth.”

“That is well advised,” said King Arthur, and so she departed.

When the Lady Liones returned to her home, she told what she had done and
the promise she had made to King Arthur. Then Sir Gareth sent unto Sir
Persant, the Blue Knight, and summoned him and his knights. Then he sent
unto the Red Knight and charged him that he be ready with all his knights.

Then the Red Knight answered and said, “Sir Gareth, ye shall understand
that I have been at the court of King Arthur and Sir Persant and his
brethren and there we have done our homage as ye commanded us. Also, I
have taken upon me with Sir Persant and his brethren to hold part against
my lord, Sir Lancelot and the knights of that court. And this have I done
for the love of you, my lord Sir Gareth.”

“Ye have well done,” said Sir Gareth, “but you must know you shall be
matched with the most noble knights of the world; therefore we must
provide us with good knights, wherever we may get them.”

So the proclamation was made in England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and
in Brittany, that men should come to the Castle Perilous and all the
knights should have the choice whether to be on the one party with the
knights of the castle or on the other party with King Arthur. And so
there came many good knights and chose to be on the side of the castle
and against King Arthur and his knights.


And there came with King Arthur many kings, princes, earls, barons, and
other noble knights. Then Sir Gareth prayed Dame Liones and the Red
Knight and Sir Persant that none should tell his name and that they
should make no more of him than of the least knight that was there.

Upon the day of the tournament the heralds sounded the trumpets to call
the knights to the field. After many noble knights had encountered, Sir
Gareth came upon the field. All the knights that encountered him were

“That knight is a good knight,” said King Arthur.

Wherefore the King called unto him Sir Lancelot and prayed him to
encounter with that knight.

“Sir,” said Lancelot, “when a good knight doth so well upon some day,
it is no good knight’s part to prevent him from receiving honor, and
therefore, as for me, this day he shall have the honor; though it lay in
my power to hinder him, I would not.”

Then betwixt many knights there was strong battle, and marvelous deeds of
arms were done. And two knights, who were brothers, assailed Sir Lancelot
at once and he, as the noblest knight of the world, fought with them
both, so that all men wondered at the nobility of Sir Lancelot. And then
came in Sir Gareth and knew that it was Sir Lancelot that fought with the
two strong knights. So Sir Gareth came with his good horse and hurled
them apart and no stroke would he smite to Sir Lancelot.

Sir Lancelot saw this and thought it must be the good Knight Sir Gareth
and Sir Gareth rode here and there and smote on the right hand and on the
left hand, so that all men said he best did his duty.

“Now go,” said King Arthur unto the heralds, “and ride about him and see
what manner of knight he is, for I have inquired of many knights this day
that be of his party and all say they know him not.”

And so a herald rode as near Sir Gareth as he could and there he saw
written upon his helmet in gold, “Sir Gareth of Orkney.” Then the herald
cried and many heralds with him, “This is Sir Gareth of Orkney.” Then all
the kings and knights pressed to behold him and ever the heralds cried,
“This is Sir Gareth of Orkney, King Lot’s son.”

When Sir Gareth saw that he was known, then he doubled his strokes and
with great difficulty made his way out of the crowd, and rode into the
forest. And then fell there a thunder and rain as though heaven and earth
should go together.

Sir Gareth was not a little weary, for all that day he had but little
rest, neither his horse nor he, and he rode in the forest until night
came. And ever it lightened and thundered but at last by fortune he came
to a castle.


Then Sir Gareth rode into the courtyard of the castle and prayed the
porter to let him in. The porter answered, “Thou gettest no lodging here.”

“Fair sir, say not so, for I am a knight of King Arthur’s, and pray the
lord or the lady of this castle to give me lodging for the love of King

Then the porter went unto the lady and told her there was a knight of
King Arthur’s would have lodging.

“Let him enter,” said the lady, “for King Arthur’s sake.”

Then she went up into a tower over the gate with great torchlight. When
Sir Gareth saw the light he cried aloud, “Whether thou be lord or lady,
giant or champion, I care not, so that I may have lodging this night; and
if it so be that I must fight, spare me not tomorrow when I have rested,
for both I and mine horse be weary.”

“Sir Knight,” said the lady, “thou speakest knightly and boldly, but the
lord of this castle loveth not King Arthur nor his court, for my lord
hath been ever against him and therefore thou were better not to come
within this castle, for if thou come in this night, then wherever thou
meet my lord, thou must yield thee to him as prisoner.”

“Madam,” said Sir Gareth, “what is your lord’s name?”

“Sir, my lord’s name is the Duke de la Rowse.”

“Well, madam,” said Sir Gareth, “I shall promise you in whatever place
I meet your lord, I shall yield me unto him and to his good grace, if I
understand he will do me no harm; and if I understand that he will, I
will release myself if I can, with my spear and my sword.”

“Ye say well,” said the lady, and then she let the drawbridge down and
he rode into the hall and there he alit, and his horse was led into a
stable. And in the hall he unarmed him and said, “Madam, I will not go
out of this hall this night, and when it is daylight, whoever will fight
me shall find me ready.”

Then was he set unto supper and had many good dishes, and so when he had
supped, he rested him all night. And on the morn he took his leave and
thanked the lady for her lodging and good cheer and then she asked him
his name.

“Madam,” he said, “truly my name is Gareth of Orkney and some men call me

So Sir Gareth departed and by fortune he came to a mountain and there he
found a goodly knight, who said, “Abide, sir knight, and joust with me.”

“What are ye called?” said Sir Gareth.

“My name is the Duke de la Rowse.”

“Ah, sir, I lodged in your castle and there I made promise unto your lady
that I should yield me unto you.”

“Ah,” said the duke, “art thou that proud knight that offerest to fight
with my knights? Make thee ready, for I will fight with you.”

So they did battle together more than an hour and at last Sir Gareth
smote the duke to earth and the duke yielded to him.

“Then must ye go,” said Sir Gareth, “unto King Arthur, my lord, at the
next feast and say that I, Sir Gareth of Orkney, sent you unto him.”

“It shall be done,” said the duke, “and I will do homage to you, and
a hundred knights with me, and all the days of my life do you service
wherever you command me.”


So the duke departed and Sir Gareth stood there alone and then he saw an
armed knight coming toward him. Then Sir Gareth mounted upon his horse
and they ran together as it had been thunder. And so they fought two
hours. At last came the damsel, who rode with Sir Gareth so long, and she
cried, “Sir Gawain, Sir Gawain, leave thy fighting with thy brother Sir

And when he heard her say so he threw away his shield and his sword and
ran to Sir Gareth and took him in his arms and then kneeled down and
asked for mercy.

“Who are ye,” said Sir Gareth, “that right now were so strong and so
mighty and now so suddenly yield you to me?”

“O Gareth, I am your brother, Gawain, that for your sake have had great
sorrow and labor.”

Then Sir Gareth unlaced his helmet and kneeled down to him and asked for
mercy. Then they rose and embraced each other and wept a great while and
either of them gave the other the prize of the battle. And there were
many kind words between them.

“Alas, my fair brother,” said Sir Gawain, “I ought of right to honor you,
if you were not my brother, for ye have honored King Arthur and all his
court, for ye have sent him more honorable knights this twelvemonth than
six of the best of the Round Table have done except Sir Lancelot.”

Then the damsel went to King Arthur, who was but two miles thence. And
when she told him of Sir Gawain and Sir Gareth, the King mounted a horse
and bade the lords and ladies come after, who that would, and there was
saddling and bridling of queens’ horses and princes’ horses and well was
he that was soonest ready.

And when the King came nigh Sir Gareth, he made great joy and ever he
wept as if he were a child. With that came Gareth’s mother and when she
saw Gareth she might not weep, but suddenly fell down in a swoon and lay
there a great while, as if she were dead. And then Sir Gareth comforted
his mother in such wise that she recovered and made good cheer.

Then made Sir Lancelot great cheer of Sir Gareth and he of him, for there
was never knight that Sir Gareth loved so well as he did Sir Lancelot,
and ever for the most part he would be in Sir Lancelot’s company.

And this Sir Gareth was a noble knight and a well-ruled and


  =Discussion.= 1. What classes of people are mentioned in this story?
  2. Were the people of one class on terms of equality with those of
  another class? Do all have equal opportunities under such a system?
  3. Upon what ideal was our government founded? 4. What reason can
  you give for Gareth’s wish to keep his name and rank secret? 5. One
  who wished to become a knight must first prove himself worthy of the
  honor; would it be easy for a kitchen boy to give this proof? 6.
  If, under such circumstances, he won the honor, could he feel sure
  that he had rightfully earned it? 7. What is the test to apply in
  judging others? 8. What characters in the story made rank their test?
  9. Which one of these acknowledged the mistake? 10. How did Arthur,
  Lancelot, and Gawain judge Gareth? 11. Point out lines that help to
  portray the character of Gareth by showing: (1) that he wished to win
  knighthood through ability, not through influence of his rank and
  wealth; (2) that he would take no reward for helping the distressed;
  (3) that he was not afraid when outnumbered; (4) that he could not be
  turned from his purpose by ridicule or injustice; (5) that he granted
  mercy to those who asked it; (6) that he would not take an unfair
  advantage of an opponent; (7) that he was always courteous; (8) that
  he was ready to forgive wrongs done to him; (9) that he desired to
  help in righting wrongs in Arthur’s kingdom. 12. What reasons had
  Arthur for founding such an order as the Knights of the Round Table?
  13. Is it necessary now to become a member of such an order if one
  wishes to help right wrongs? 14. Read the lines that tell of Gareth’s
  love for Sir Lancelot.


  ungentle knight, 107, 21
  fight not so sore, 107, 31
  your warrant, 108, 1
  achieve your adventure, 108, 21
  to be your champion, 109, 30
  in such array, 109, 33
  slew him knightly, 110, 33
  be thy man, 111, 4
  uncourteous to rebuke, 112, 26
  errant knight, 116, 1
  make amends, 117, 9
  tournament proclaimed, 120, 15
  to encounter with that knight, 121, 18
  well-ruled and fair-languaged, 125, 8



King Arthur proclaimed a great joust and a tournament that should be held
at Camelot, that is Winchester; and the King said that he and the King of
Scots would joust against all that would come against them. And when this
proclamation was made, thither came many knights.

So King Arthur made him ready to depart to these jousts, but Sir
Lancelot would not ride with the King, for he said he was suffering from
a grievous wound. And so the King departed toward Winchester with his
fellowship and by the way he lodged in a town called Astolat.

And upon the morn early Sir Lancelot departed and rode until he came to
Astolat and there it happened in the evening, he came to the castle of an
old baron, who was called Sir Bernard of Astolat. As Sir Lancelot entered
into his lodging, King Arthur saw him and knew him full well.

“It is well,” said King Arthur unto the knights that were with him. “I
have now seen one knight that will play his play at the jousts to which
we are going. I undertake he will do great marvels.”

“Who is that, we pray you tell us?” said many knights that were there at
that time.

“Ye shall not know from me,” said the King, “at this time.”

And so the King smiled and went to his lodging.

So when Sir Lancelot was in his lodging and unarmed him in his chamber,
the old baron came to him and welcomed him in the best manner, but the
old knight knew not Sir Lancelot.

“Fair sir,” said Sir Lancelot to his host, “I would pray you to lend me a
shield that were not openly known, for mine is well known.”

“Sir,” said his host, “ye shall have your desire for meseemeth ye be one
of the likeliest knights of the world and therefore I shall show you
friendship. Sir, I have two sons that were but late made knights and
the elder is called Sir Torre and he was hurt that same day he was made
knight, that he may not ride and his shield ye shall have, for that is
not known, I dare say, but here, and in no place else. And my younger son
is called Lavaine and if it please you, he shall ride with you unto the
jousts and he is of age and strong and brave; for much my heart giveth
unto you that ye be a noble knight. Therefore, I pray you tell me your
name,” said Sir Bernard.

“As for that,” said Sir Lancelot, “ye must hold me excused at this time
and if God give me grace to speed well at the jousts, I shall come again
and tell you. But, I pray you, in any wise, let me have your son, Sir
Lavaine, with me and that I may have his brother’s shield.”

“All this shall be done,” said Sir Bernard.

This old baron had a daughter that was called at that time the fair
maiden of Astolat and her name was Elaine. So this maiden besought Sir
Lancelot to wear upon him at the jousts a token of hers.

“Fair damsel,” said Sir Lancelot, “if I grant you that, I will do more
for you than ever I did for lady.”

Then he remembered him he would go to the jousts disguised. And because
he had never before that time borne the token of any lady, then he
bethought him that he would wear one of hers, that none of his blood
thereby might know him. And then he said, “Fair maiden, I will grant you
to wear a token of yours upon mine helmet and therefore what it is, show
it me.”

“Sir,” she said, “it is a sleeve of mine, of scarlet, well embroidered
with great pearls.”

And so she brought it him. So Sir Lancelot received it and gave the
maiden his shield in keeping, and he prayed her to keep that until he
came again.

So upon a day, on the morn, King Arthur and all his knights departed, for
the King had tarried three days to abide his noble knights. And so when
the King had gone, Sir Lancelot and Sir Lavaine made them ready to ride
and either of them had white shields, and the red sleeve Sir Lancelot
carried with him. So they took their leave of Sir Bernard, the old
baron, and of his daughter the fair maiden of Astolat.

And then they rode till they came to Camelot and there was a great press
of kings, dukes, earls, and barons and many noble knights. But there Sir
Lancelot was lodged by means of Sir Lavaine with a rich burgess so that
no man in that town knew who they were. And so they reposed them there,
till the day of the tournament.

So the trumpets blew unto the field and King Arthur was set on a high
place to behold who did best. Then some of the kings were that time
turned upon the side of King Arthur. And then on the other party were the
King of Northgalis and the King of the Hundred Knights and the King of
Northumberland and Sir Galahad, the noble prince. But these three kings
and this duke were passing weak to hold against King Arthur’s party, for
with him were the noblest knights of the world.

So then they withdrew them, either party from other, and every man made
him ready in his best manner to do what he might. Then Sir Lancelot made
him ready and put the red sleeve upon his head and fastened it fast; and
so Sir Lancelot and Sir Lavaine departed out of Winchester and rode into
a little leaved wood behind the party that held against King Arthur’s
party, and there they held them still till the parties smote together.

And then came in the King of Scots and the King of Ireland on Arthur’s
party and against them came the King of Northumberland, and the King with
the Hundred Knights smote down the King of Ireland. So there began a
strong assail upon both parties. And there came in together many knights
of the Table Round and beat back the King of Northumberland and the King
of Northgalis.

When Sir Lancelot saw this, he said unto Sir Lavaine, “See, yonder is a
company of good knights and they hold them together as boars that were
chased with dogs.”

“That is truth,” said Sir Lavaine.

“Now,” said Sir Lancelot, “if ye will help me a little, ye shall see
yonder fellowship that chaseth now these men on our side, that they shall
go as fast backward as they went forward.”

“Sir, spare not,” said Sir Lavaine, “for I shall do what I may.”

Then Sir Lancelot and Sir Lavaine came in at the thickest of the press
and there Sir Lancelot smote down five knights and all this he did with
one spear; and Sir Lavaine smote down two knights. And then Sir Lancelot
got another spear and there he smote down four knights and Sir Lavaine
smote one.

And then Sir Lancelot drew his sword and there he smote on the right hand
and on the left hand and by great force he unhorsed three knights; and
then the knights of the Table Round withdrew them back, after they had
gotten their horses as well as they might.

“Oh,” said Sir Gawain, “what knight is yonder that doth such, marvelous
deeds of arms in that field?”

“I know well who he is,” said King Arthur, “but at this time I will not
name him.”

“Sir,” said Sir Gawain, “I would say it were Sir Lancelot by his riding
and the blows I see him deal, but ever meseemeth it should not be he, for
that he beareth the red sleeve upon his head, for I know he never wore
token of lady at a joust.”

“Let him be,” said King Arthur; “he will be better known and do more, or
ever he depart.”

Then the party that was against King Arthur was well comforted and then
they held them together that beforehand were sore pressed. So nine
knights of Lancelot’s kin thrust in mightily, for they were all noble
knights; and they, of great hate that they had unto him, thought to
rebuke that noble knight, Sir Lancelot, and Sir Lavaine, for they knew
them not. And so they came charging together and smote down many knights
of Northgalis and Northumberland.

And when Sir Lancelot saw them fare so, he took a spear in his hand and
there encountered with him all at once, Sir Bors, Sir Ector, and Sir
Lionel, and all they three smote him at once with their spears.

And with force of themselves they smote Sir Lancelot’s horse to the earth
and by misfortune Sir Bors smote Sir Lancelot through the shield into the
side and the spear broke and the head was left in his side.

When Sir Lavaine saw his master lie on the ground, he ran to the King of
Scots and smote him to the earth; and by great force he took his horse
and brought it to Sir Lancelot, and in spite of them all he made him to
mount upon that horse. And then Sir Lancelot took a spear in his hand and
there he smote Sir Bors, horse and man, to the earth. In the same wise he
served Sir Ector and Sir Lionel.

And then Sir Lancelot drew his sword, for he felt himself so sore and
hurt that he thought there to have had his death. And he smote down three
knights more, but by this was Sir Bors horsed and then he came with
Sir Ector and Sir Lionel and all they three smote with swords upon Sir
Lancelot’s helmet. And when he felt their buffets and his wound, which
was so grievous, then he thought to do what he might, while he might

And then he gave Sir Bors such a buffet that he made him bow his head
passing low; and therewith he smote off his helmet and might have slain
him; and so pulled him down, and in the same wise he served Sir Ector and
Sir Lionel. For he might have slain them, but when he saw their faces his
heart might not serve him thereto, but left them there.

And so afterward he hurled into the thickest press of them all and
did there the most marvelous deeds of arms that ever man saw or heard
speak of, and ever Sir Lavaine, the good knight, with him. And there
Sir Lancelot with his sword smote down and pulled down more than thirty
knights and the most part were of the Table Round; and Sir Lavaine did
full well that day, for he smote down ten knights of the Table Round.

“I marvel,” said Sir Gawain, “what knight that is with the red sleeve.”

“Sir,” said King Arthur, “he will be known before he depart.”

And then the trumpets blew and the prize was given by heralds unto the
knight with the white shield that bore the red sleeve. Then came the
King with the Hundred Knights, the King of Northgalis and the King of
Northumberland and Sir Galahad, the noble prince, and said unto Sir
Lancelot, “Fair knight, God thee bless, for much have you done this day
for us; therefore, we pray you that ye will come with us, that ye may
receive the honor and the prize, as ye have honorably deserved it.”

“My fair lords,” said Sir Lancelot, “if I have deserved thanks, I have
sore bought it; and that me repenteth, for I am like never to escape with
my life; therefore, fair lords, I pray you that ye will suffer me to
depart where me liketh, for I am sore hurt. I care for no honor, for I
would more gladly repose me than to be lord of all the world.”

And therewithal he groaned piteously and rode away from them until he
came to a wood. And when he saw that he was from the field nigh a mile,
that he was sure he might not be seen, then he said, “O gentle knight,
Sir Lavaine, help me that this spear were out of my side, for it slayeth

“O mine own lord,” said Sir Lavaine, “I would fain do that might please
you, but I dread me sore, if I pull out the spear, that ye shall be in
peril of death.”

“I charge you,” said Sir Lancelot, “as ye love me, draw it out.”

And therewithal he descended from his horse and right so did Sir Lavaine;
and forthwith Sir Lavaine drew the spear out of his side and he gave a
great shriek and so swooned, pale and deadly.

“Alas,” said Sir Lavaine, “what shall I do?”

And so at the last Sir Lancelot cast up his eyes and said, “O Lavaine,
help me that I were on my horse, for here is fast by within this two
miles a gentle hermit, that sometime was a full noble knight and a great
lord of possessions. And for great goodness he hath taken him to poverty
and his name is Sir Baudwin of Brittany and he is a full noble surgeon.
Now let see, help me up that I were there, for ever my heart telleth me
that I shall never die of my cousin’s hands.”

And then with great pain Sir Lavaine helped him upon his horse. And then
they rode together and so by fortune they came to that hermitage, the
which was in a wood and a great cliff on the other side and fair water
running under it. And Sir Lavaine beat on the gate and there came a fair
child to them and asked them what they would.

“Fair son,” said Sir Lavaine, “go and pray thy lord, the hermit, to let
in here a knight that is full sore wounded; and this day, tell thy lord,
I saw him do more deeds of arms than ever I heard say that any man did.”

So the child went in lightly and then he brought the hermit, the which
was a passing good man. When Sir Lavaine saw him, he prayed him for

“What knight is he?” said the hermit. “Is he of the house of Arthur or

“I know not,” said Sir Lavaine, “what is he or what is his name, but well
I know I saw him do marvelously this day, as of deeds of arms.”

“On whose party was he?” said the hermit.

“Sir,” said Lavaine, “he was this day against King Arthur and there he
won the prize from all the knights of the Round Table.”

“I have seen the day,” said the hermit, “I would have loved him the worse
because he was against my lord, King Arthur, for sometime I was one of
the fellowship of the Round Table, but I thank God, now I am otherwise
disposed. But where is he? Let me see him.”

And when the hermit beheld him, he thought that he should know him, but
he could not bring him to knowledge because he was so pale.

“What knight are ye?” said the hermit.

“My fair lord,” said Lancelot, “I am a stranger and a knight adventurous,
that laboreth throughout many realms for to win honor.”

Then the hermit saw by a wound on his cheek that he was Sir Lancelot.

“Alas,” said the hermit, “mine own lord, why conceal you your name from
me? Forsooth, I ought to know you of right, for ye are the noblest knight
of the world, for well I know you for Sir Lancelot.”

“Sir,” said he, “since ye know me, help me if ye can, for I would be out
of this pain at once, either to death or to life.”

“Have ye no doubt,” said the hermit, “ye shall live and fare right well.”

And so the hermit called to him two of his servants and they bore him
into the hermitage and lightly unarmed him and laid him in his bed. And
then anon the hermit stanched his blood and soon Sir Lancelot was well
refreshed and knew himself.

Now turn we unto King Arthur and leave we Sir Lancelot in the hermitage.
So when the kings were come together on both parties and the great feast
should be held, King Arthur asked the King of Northgalis and their
fellowship, where was that knight that bore the red sleeve.

“Bring him before me, that he may have his praise and honor and the prize
as it is right.”

Then spake Sir Galahad, the noble prince, “We suppose that knight is
injured and that he is never like to see you nor any of us all, and that
is the greatest pity that ever we knew of any knight.”

“Alas,” said Arthur, “how may this be? Is he so hurt? What is his name?”

“Truly,” said they all, “we know not his name, nor from whence he came
nor whither he went.”

“Alas,” said the King, “this be to me the worst tidings that came to me
this seven year, for I would not for all the lands I possess to know that
that noble knight were slain.”

“Know ye him?” said they all.

“As for that,” said Arthur, “whether I know him or not, ye shall not know
from me what man he is, but God send me good tidings of him.”

“If it so be that the good knight be so sore hurt,” said Sir Gawain, “it
is great damage and pity to all this land, for he is one of the noblest
knights that ever I saw in a field handle a spear or a sword; and if he
may be found, I shall find him, for I am sure he is not far from this

Right so Sir Gawain took a squire with him and rode all about Camelot
within six or seven miles, but so he came again and could hear no word
of him. Then within two days King Arthur and all the fellowship returned
unto London again.

And so as they rode by the way, it happened that Sir Gawain lodged with
Sir Bernard where was Sir Lancelot lodged. And Sir Bernard and his
daughter, Elaine, came to him to cheer him and to ask him who did best at
that tournament.

“There were two knights,” said Sir Gawain, “that bore two white shields,
but one of them bore a red sleeve upon his head and certainly he was one
of the best knights that ever I saw joust in field. For I dare say, that
one knight with the red sleeve smote down forty knights of the Table
Round and his fellow did right well and honorably.”

“Now I thank God,” said Elaine, “that that knight sped so well.”

“Know ye his name?” said Sir Gawain.

“Nay, truly,” said the maiden, “I know not his name, nor whence he

“Tell me, then, how had ye knowledge of him first?” said Sir Gawain.

Then she told him as ye have heard before, and how her father intrusted
her brother to him to do him service and how her father lent him her
brother’s shield, “And here with me he left his shield,” she said.

“For what cause did he so?” said Sir Gawain.

“For this cause,” said the damsel, “for his shield was too well known
among many noble knights.”

“Ah, fair damsel,” said Sir Gawain, “please it you let me have a sight of
that shield.”

So when the shield was come, Sir Gawain knew it was Sir Lancelot’s shield.

“Ah,” said Sir Gawain, “now is my heart heavier than ever it was before.”

“Why?” said Elaine.

“I have great cause,” said Sir Gawain; “the knight that owneth this
shield is the most honorable knight of the world.”

“So I thought ever,” said Elaine.

“But I dread me,” said Sir Gawain, “that ye shall never see him in this
world and that is the greatest pity that ever was of earthly knight.”

“Alas,” said she, “how may this be? Is he slain?”

“I say not so,” said Sir Gawain, “but he is grievously wounded and
more likely to be dead than to be alive and he is the noble knight, Sir
Lancelot, for by this shield I know him.”

“Alas,” said Elaine, “how may this be and what was his hurt?”

“Truly,” said Sir Gawain, “the man in the world that loved him best,
hurt him so, and I dare say, if that knight that hurt him knew that he
had hurt Sir Lancelot, it would be the most sorrow that ever came to his

“Now, fair father,” said Elaine, “I require you give me leave to ride and
to seek him and my brother, Sir Lavaine.”

“Do as it liketh you,” said her father, “for me sore repenteth of the
hurt of that noble knight.”

Then on the morn Sir Gawain came to King Arthur and told him how he had
found Sir Lancelot’s shield in the keeping of the fair maiden of Astolat.

“All that I knew beforehand,” said King Arthur, “for I saw him when he
came to his lodging full late in the evening, in Astolat.”

So the King and all came to London and there Sir Gawain openly disclosed
to all the Court, that it was Sir Lancelot that jousted best.

And when Sir Bors heard that, he was a sorrowful man and so were all his
kinsmen. And Sir Bors said, “I will haste me to seek him and find him
wheresoever he be and God send me good tidings of him.”


And so we will leave Sir Bors and speak of Sir Lancelot that lay in great
peril. So as Elaine came to Winchester she sought there all about, and by
fortune, Sir Lavaine rode forth to exercise his horse. And anon as Elaine
saw him she knew him, and she called to him. When he heard her, he came
to her and then she asked her brother how did his lord, Sir Lancelot.

“Who told you, sister, that my lord’s name was Sir Lancelot?”

Then she told how Sir Gawain by his shield knew him. So they rode
together until they came to the hermitage. So Sir Lavaine brought her in
to Sir Lancelot and when she saw him so sick and pale she said, “My lord
Sir Lancelot, alas, why be ye in this plight?”

But Sir Lancelot said, “Fair maiden, if ye be come to comfort me, ye be
right welcome; and of this little hurt that I have, I shall be right
hastily whole by the grace of God. But, I marvel who told you my name?”

Then the fair maiden told him all, how Sir Gawain was lodged with her
father, “And there by your shield he discovered you.”

So Elaine watched Sir Lancelot and cared for his wound and did such
attendance to him that the story saith that never man had a kindlier
nurse. Then Sir Lancelot prayed Sir Lavaine to make inquiries in
Winchester for Sir Bors and told him by what tokens he should know him,
by a wound in his forehead.

“For well I am sure that Sir Bors will seek me,” said Sir Lancelot, “for
he is the same good knight that hurt me.”

Now turn we to Sir Bors that came unto Winchester to seek after his
cousin Sir Lancelot. And so when he came to Winchester, anon there were
men that Sir Lavaine had made to watch for such a man and anon Sir
Lavaine had warning; and then Sir Lavaine came to Winchester and found
Sir Bors and there he told him who he was and with whom he was and what
was his name.

“Now, fair knight,” said Sir Bors, “I require you that ye will bring me
to my lord, Sir Lancelot.”

“Sir,” said Sir Lavaine, “take your horse and within this hour ye shall
see him.”

And so they departed and came to the hermitage. And when Sir Bors saw
Sir Lancelot lie in his bed, pale and discolored, anon Sir Bors lost
his countenance and for kindness and pity he might not speak but wept
tenderly for a great while.

And then, when he might speak, he said thus, “O my lord, Sir Lancelot,
God you bless, and send you hasty recovery; and full heavy am I of my
misfortune and mine unhappiness, for now I may call myself unhappy. And I
dread me that God is greatly displeased with me, that He would suffer me
to have such a shame for to hurt you, that are our leader and our honor
and therefore I call myself unhappy. Alas, that ever such a miserable
knight, as I am, should have power by unhappiness to hurt the noblest
knight of the world! Where I so shamefully set upon you and over-charged
you, and where ye might have slain me, ye saved me; and so did not I,
for I and your kindred did to you our uttermost. I marvel, that my heart
or my blood would serve me, wherefore, my lord Sir Lancelot, I ask your

“Fair cousin,” said Sir Lancelot, “ye be right welcome; and much ye say
which pleaseth me not, for I have the same I sought; for I would with
pride have overcome you all, and there in my pride, I was near slain and
that was my own fault, for I might have given you warning of my being
there. And then would I have had no hurt; for it is an old saying, there
is hard battle when kin and friends do battle, either against other, for
there may be no mercy but mortal war. Therefore, fair cousin, all shall
be welcome that God sendeth; and let us leave off this matter and let us
speak of some rejoicing, for this that is done may not be undone; and let
us find a remedy how soon I may be whole.”

Then Sir Bors leaned upon his bed and told him how Sir Gawain knew him by
the shield he left with the fair maiden of Astolat and so they talked of
many more things. And so within three or four days Sir Lancelot was big
and strong again.

Then Sir Bors told Sir Lancelot how there was a great tournament and
joust agreed upon between King Arthur and the King of Northgalis.

“Is that the truth?” said Sir Lancelot. “Then shall ye abide with me
still a little while, until that I be whole, for I feel myself right big
and strong.”

Then were they together nigh a month and ever this maiden Elaine did her
diligent labor for Sir Lancelot, so that there never was a child or wife
meeker to her father or husband, than was that fair maiden of Astolat;
wherefore Sir Bors was greatly pleased with her.

So upon a day, Sir Lancelot thought to try his armor and his spear. And
so when he was upon his horse, he stirred him fiercely, and the horse was
passing strong and fresh, because he had not been labored for a month.
And then Sir Lancelot couched that spear in the rest. That courser leaped
mightily when he felt the spurs and he that was upon him, the which was
the noblest horse in the world, strained him mightily and kept still the
spear in the rest and therewith Sir Lancelot strained himself with so
great force, to get the horse forward that the wound opened and he felt
himself so feeble, that he might not sit upon his horse.

And then Sir Lancelot cried unto Sir Bors, “Ah, Sir Bors and Sir Lavaine,
help me, for I am come to my end.” And therewith he fell down to the
earth as if he were dead.

And then Sir Bors and Sir Lavaine came to him with sorrow. Then came the
holy hermit, Sir Baudwin of Brittany, and when he found Sir Lancelot in
that plight, he said but little, but know ye well that he was wroth; and
then he bade them, “Let us have him in.”

And so they all bare him into the hermitage and unarmed him and laid him
in his bed and evermore his wound bled piteously, but he stirred no limb.
Then the knight hermit put a little water in his mouth and Sir Lancelot
waked of his swoon and then the hermit stanched his bleeding.

And when he might speak he asked Sir Lancelot why he put his life in

“Sir,” said Sir Lancelot, “because I thought I had been strong and also
Sir Bors told me that there should be great jousts betwixt King Arthur
and the King of Northgalis and therefore I thought to try it myself,
whether I might be there or not.”

“Ah, Sir Lancelot,” said the hermit, “your heart and your courage will
never be done, until your last day, but ye shall do now by my counsel.
Let Sir Bors depart from you and let him do at that tournament what he
may. And by the grace of God, by that the tournament be done, and ye come
hither again, Sir Lancelot shall be as whole as ye, if so be that he will
be governed by me.”

Then Sir Bors made him ready to depart from Sir Lancelot; and then Sir
Lancelot said, “Fair cousin, Sir Bors, recommend me unto all them unto
whom I ought to recommend me. And I pray you, exert yourself at the
jousts that ye may be best, for my love; and here shall I abide you at
the mercy of God till ye come again.”

And so Sir Bors departed and came to the court of King Arthur and told
them in what place he had left Sir Lancelot.

“That grieveth me,” said the King, “but since he shall have his life we
all may thank God.”

And then every knight of the Round Table that was there at that time
present, made him ready to be at the jousts and thither drew many knights
of many countries. And as the time drew near, thither came the King of
Northgalis, and the King with the Hundred Knights and Sir Galahad, the
noble prince, and thither came the King of Ireland and the King of Scots.
So these three kings came on King Arthur’s party.

And that day Sir Gawain did great deeds of arms and began first. And the
heralds numbered that Sir Gawain smote down twenty knights. Then Sir Bors
came in the same time, and he was numbered that he smote down twenty
knights and therefore the prize was given betwixt them both, for they
began first and longest endured.

Also Sir Gareth did that day great deeds of arms, for he smote down and
pulled down thirty knights. But when he had done these deeds he tarried
not, but so departed, and therefore he lost his prize. And Sir Palomides
did great deeds of arms that day for he smote down twenty knights, but
he departed suddenly, and men thought Sir Gareth and he rode together to
some adventures.

So when this tournament was done, Sir Bors departed, and rode till he
came to Sir Lancelot, his cousin; and then he found him on his feet and
there either made great joy of other; and so Sir Bors told Sir Lancelot
of all the jousts, like as ye have heard.

“I marvel,” said Sir Lancelot, “at Sir Gareth when he had done such deeds
of arms, that he would not tarry.”

“Thereof we marvel all,” said Sir Bors, “for except you, or Sir Tristam,
or Sir Lamorak, I saw never knight bear down so many in so little a
while, as did Sir Gareth, and anon he was gone, we knew not where.”

“By my head,” said Sir Lancelot, “he is a noble knight and a mighty man
and well breathed; and if he were well tried, I would think he were good
enough for any knight that beareth the life; and he is a gentle knight,
courteous, true, bounteous, meek, and mild, and in him is no manner of
evil, but he is plain, faithful, and true.”

So then they made them ready to depart from the hermit. And so upon a
morn, they took their horses and Elaine with them and when they came to
Astolat, they were well lodged and had great cheer of Sir Bernard, the
old baron, and of Sir Torre, his son. And upon the morrow, Sir Lancelot
took his leave and came unto Winchester.

And when King Arthur knew that Sir Lancelot was come whole and sound the
King made great joy of him, and so did Sir Gawain and all the knights
except Sir Agravaine and Sir Modred.


Now speak we of the fair maiden of Astolat, that made such sorrow day and
night that she never slept, ate, or drank because she grieved so for Sir
Lancelot. So when she had thus endured ten days, she became so feeble
that she knew she must die.

And then she called her father, Sir Bernard, and her brother, Sir Torre,
and heartily she prayed her father that her brother might write a letter
as she did tell him, and so her father granted her. And when the letter
was written, word by word as she said, then she prayed her father,
saying, “When I am dead, let this letter be put in my right hand and my
hand bound fast with the letter, and let me be put in a fair bed with
all the richest clothes that I have about me, and so let my bed be laid
with me in a chariot and carried unto the Thames. And there let me be
put within a barge and but one man with me, such as ye trust to steer me
thither. And let my barge be covered with black samite over and over;
thus, father, I beseech you let it be done.”

So her father granted it her faithfully, all things should be done as she
asked. Then her father and her brother made great sorrow, for they knew
she was dying. And so when she was dead her body was placed in a barge
and a man steered the barge unto Westminster, and there he rowed a great
while to and fro before any saw him.

So by fortune, King Arthur and Queen Guinevere were speaking together at
a window and so as they looked out on the Thames, they saw this black
barge and marveled what it meant. Then the King called Sir Kay and showed
it to him.

“Go thither,” said the King to Sir Kay, “and take with you Sir Brandiles
and Sir Agravaine and bring word what is there.”

Then these knights departed and came to the barge and went in; and there
they found the fair maiden lying in a rich bed, and a poor man sitting
in the barge’s end and no word would he speak. So these knights returned
unto the King again and told him what they found.

And then the King took the Queen by the hand and went thither. Then the
King made the barge to be held fast and then the King and Queen entered
with certain knights with them, and there they saw the fairest maiden in
a rich bed, covered with many rich clothes and all was cloth of gold, and
she lay as though she smiled.

Then the Queen saw a letter in her right hand and told the King. Then the
King took it and said, “Now I am sure this letter will tell what she was
and why she is come hither.”

So then the King and the Queen went out of the barge, and so when the
King was come within his chamber, he called many knights about him, and
said he would know openly what was written within that letter. Then the
King opened it and made a clerk read it, and this was the letter:

“Most noble knight, Sir Lancelot, I was called the Fair Maiden of
Astolat. Pray for my soul and give me burial at least. This is my last
request. Pray for my soul, Sir Lancelot, as thou art a peerless knight.”

This was all the substance of the letter. And when it was read, the King,
the Queen, and all the knights wept for pity. Then was Sir Lancelot sent
for; and when he was come King Arthur made the letter to be read to him.

And when Sir Lancelot heard it word by word, he said, “My lord, King
Arthur, I am right sorrowful because of the death of this fair damsel.
She was both fair and good and much was I indebted to her for her care.
I offered her for her kindness that she showed me, a thousand pounds
yearly, whensoever she would wed some good knight, and always while I
live to be her own knight.”

Then said the King unto Sir Lancelot, “It will be to your honor that ye
see that she be buried honorably.”

“Sir,” said Sir Lancelot, “that shall be done as I can best do it.”

And so upon the morn she was buried richly, and all the knights of the
Round Table were there with Sir Lancelot. And then the poor man went
again with the barge.


So time passed on till Christmas and then every day there were jousts
made for a diamond, who that jousted best should have a diamond. But
Sir Lancelot would not joust, but if it were at a great joust. But Sir
Lavaine jousted there passing well and best was praised, for there were
but few that did so well. Wherefore, all manner of knights thought that
Sir Lavaine should be made Knight of the Round Table at the next feast of
Pentecost. So after Christmas, King Arthur called unto him many knights
and there they advised together to make a great tournament. And the
King of Northgalis said to Arthur that he would have on his party the
King of Ireland and the King with the Hundred Knights and the King of
Northumberland and Sir Galahad, the noble prince. And so then four kings
and this mighty duke took part against King Arthur and the Knights of the
Table Round.

And the proclamation was made that the jousts should be at Westminster,
and so the knights made them ready to be at the jousts in the freshest
manner. Then Queen Guinevere sent for Sir Lancelot and said thus, “I
forbid you that ye ride in jousts or tournaments, unless your kinsmen
know you. And at these jousts that be, ye shall have of me a sleeve of
gold, and I charge you, that ye warn your kinsmen that ye will bear that
day the sleeve of gold upon your helmet.”

“Madam,” said Sir Lancelot, “it shall be done.”

And when Sir Lancelot saw his time, he told Sir Bors that he would depart
and have no one with him but Sir Lavaine, unto the good hermit that dwelt
in the forest of Windsor, and there he thought to repose him and take all
the rest that he might, so that he would be fresh at that day of jousts.

So Sir Lancelot and Sir Lavaine departed, that no creature knew where
he was gone, but the noble men of his blood. And when he was come to the
hermitage he had good cheer. And so daily Sir Lancelot would go to a
well, fast by the hermitage and there he would lie down and see the well
spring and bubble, and sometimes he slept there.

So when the day was come Sir Lancelot planned that he should be arrayed,
and Sir Lavaine and their horses, as though they were Saracens, and so
they departed and came nigh to the field.

The King of Northgalis brought with him a hundred knights, and the King
of Northumberland brought with him a hundred good knights, and the King
of Ireland brought with him a hundred good knights ready to joust, and
Sir Galahad brought with him a hundred good knights, and the King with
the Hundred Knights brought with him as many, and all these were proved
good knights.

Then came in King Arthur’s party, and there came in the King of Scots
with a hundred knights, and King Uriens brought with him a hundred
knights, and King Howel of Brittany brought with him a hundred knights,
and King Arthur himself came into the field with two hundred knights and
the most part were knights of the Table Round, that were proved noble
knights, and there were old knights set in a high place, to judge with
the Queen who did best.

Then the heralds blew the call to the field, and then the King of
Northgalis encountered with the King of Scots and then the King of Scots
had a fall: and the King of Ireland smote down King Uriens and the King
of Northumberland smote down King Howel of Brittany. And then King Arthur
was wroth and ran to the King with the Hundred Knights and there King
Arthur smote him down; and after, with that same spear, King Arthur smote
down three other knights. And when his spear was broken, King Arthur did
exceedingly well; and so therewith came in Sir Gawain and Sir Gaheris,
Sir Agravaine and Sir Modred, and there each of them smote down a knight,
and Sir Gawain smote down four knights.

Then began a strong battle, for there came in the knights of Sir
Lancelot’s kindred and Sir Gareth and Sir Palomides with them, and many
knights of the Table Round, and they began to press the four kings and
the mighty duke so hard that they were discomfited; but this Duke Galahad
was a noble knight and by his mighty prowess he held back the knights of
the Table Round.

All this saw Sir Lancelot and then he came into the field with Sir
Lavaine as if it had been thunder. And then anon Sir Bors and the knights
of his kindred saw Sir Lancelot, and Sir Bors said to them all, “I warn
you beware of him with the sleeve of gold upon his head, for he is Sir
Lancelot himself.”

And for great goodness Sir Bors warned Sir Gareth. “I am well satisfied,”
said Sir Gareth, “that I may know him.” “But who is he,” said they all,
“that rideth with him in the same array?”

“That is the good and gentle knight, Sir Lavaine,” said Sir Bors.

So Sir Lancelot encountered with Sir Gawain and there by force Sir
Lancelot smote down Sir Gawain and his horse to the earth, and so he
smote down Sir Agravaine and Sir Gaheris and also he smote down Sir
Modred, and all this was with one spear. Then Sir Lavaine met with Sir
Palomides and either met other so hard and so fiercely, that both their
horses fell to the earth. And then they were horsed again, and then met
Sir Lancelot with Sir Palomides and there Sir Palomides had a fall; and
so Sir Lancelot, without stopping, as fast as he might get spears, smote
down thirty knights and the most part of them were knights of the Table
Round; and ever the knights of his kindred withdrew and fought in other
places where Sir Lancelot came not.

And then King Arthur was wroth when he saw Lancelot do such deeds for he
knew not that it was Sir Lancelot; and then the King called unto him nine
knights and so the King with these knights made ready to set upon Sir
Lancelot and Sir Lavaine.

All this saw Sir Bors and Sir Gareth.

“Now I dread me sore,” said Sir Bors, “that my lord Sir Lancelot will be
hard matched.”

“By my head,” said Sir Gareth, “I will ride unto my lord Sir Lancelot, to
help him, come what may; for he is the same man that made me knight.”

“Ye shall not do so by mine counsel,” said Sir Bors, “unless that ye were

“Ye shall see me disguised,” said Sir Gareth.

Therewithal he saw a Welsh knight, who was sore hurt by Sir Gawain, and
to him Gareth rode and prayed him of his knighthood to lend him his green
shield in exchange for his own.

“I will gladly,” said the Welsh knight.

Then Sir Gareth came driving to Sir Lancelot all he might and said,
“Knight, defend thyself, for yonder cometh King Arthur with nine knights
with him to overcome you, and so I am come to bear you fellowship for old
love ye have showed me.”

“I thank you greatly,” said Sir Lancelot.

“Sir,” said Gareth, “encounter ye with Sir Gawain and I will encounter
with Sir Palomides and let Sir Lavaine match with the noble King Arthur.”

Then came King Arthur with his nine knights with him, and Sir Lancelot
encountered with Sir Gawain and gave him such a buffet that Sir Gawain
fell to the earth. Then Sir Gareth encountered with the good knight, Sir
Palomides, and he gave him such a buffet that both he and his horse fell
to the earth. Then encountered King Arthur with Sir Lavaine and there
either of them smote the other to the earth, horse and all, so that they
lay a great while.

Then Sir Lancelot smote down Sir Agravaine, Sir Gaheris, and Sir Modred,
and Sir Gareth smote down Sir Kay, Sir Safere, and Sir Griflet. And
then Sir Lavaine was horsed again and he smote down Sir Lucan and Sir
Bedivere, and then there began a great press of good knights. Then Sir
Lancelot dashed here and there and smote off and pulled off helmets,
so that none might strike him a blow with spear or with sword; and Sir
Gareth did such deeds of arms that all men marveled what knight he was
with the green shield, for he smote down that day and pulled down more
than thirty knights.

And Sir Lancelot marveled, when he beheld Sir Gareth do such deeds, what
knight he might be! and Sir Lavaine pulled down and smote down twenty
knights. Also Sir Lancelot knew not Sir Gareth, for if Sir Tristam or
Sir Lamorak had been alive, Sir Lancelot would have thought he had been
one of the two.

So this tournament continued till it was near night, for the Knights of
the Round Table rallied ever unto King Arthur, for the King was wroth
that he and his knights might not prevail that day. Then Sir Gawain said
to the King, “I marvel where all this day Sir Bors and his fellowship of
Sir Lancelot’s kindred have been. I marvel all this day they be not about
you. It is for some cause,” said Sir Gawain.

“By my head,” said Sir Kay, “Sir Bors is yonder all this day upon the
right hand of this field and there he and his kindred have won more honor
than we have.”

“It may well be,” said Sir Gawain, “but I believe this knight with the
sleeve of gold is Sir Lancelot himself. I know it by his riding and by
his great strokes. And the other knight in the same colors is the good
young knight, Sir Lavaine. Also, that knight with the green shield is my
brother, Sir Gareth, and he has disguised himself, for no man shall ever
make him be against Sir Lancelot, because he made him knight.”

“Nephew, I believe you,” said King Arthur; “therefore tell me now what is
your best counsel.”

“Sir,” said Gawain, “ye shall have my counsel. Let the heralds blow the
close of the tournament, for if he be Sir Lancelot and my brother, Sir
Gareth, with him, with the help of that good young knight, Sir Lavaine,
trust me, it will be no use to strive with them, unless we should fall
ten or twelve upon one knight, and that were no glory, but shame.”

“Ye say truth,” said the King; “it were shame to us, so many as we be, to
set upon them any more; for they be three good knights and, particularly,
that knight with the sleeve of gold.”

So the trumpets blew and forthwith King Arthur sent to the four kings and
to the mighty duke and prayed them that the knight with the sleeve of
gold depart not from them, but that the King might speak with him. Then
King Arthur unarmed him and rode after Sir Lancelot. And so he found him
with the four kings and the duke and there the King prayed them all unto
supper and they said they would, with good will.

And when they were unarmed, then King Arthur knew Sir Lancelot, Sir
Lavaine and Sir Gareth.

“Ah, Sir Lancelot,” said the King, “this day ye have heated me and my

And so they went unto King Arthur’s lodging all together, and there was
a great feast and the prize was given unto Sir Lancelot; and the heralds
announced that he had smitten down fifty knights, and Sir Gareth, five
and thirty, and Sir Lavaine, four and twenty knights.

Then King Arthur blamed Sir Gareth, because he left his fellowship and
held with Sir Lancelot.

“My lord,” said Sir Gareth, “he made me a knight and when I saw him so
hard pressed, methought it was my duty to help him, for I saw him do so
much and so many noble knights against him; and when I understood that he
was Sir Lancelot, I was ashamed to see so many knights against him alone.”

“Truly,” said King Arthur unto Sir Gareth, “ye say well, and manfully
have you done and won for yourself great honor, and all the days of my
life I shall love you and trust you more and more. For ever it is an
honorable knight’s deed to help another honorable knight when he seeth
him in great danger; for ever an honorable man will be sorry to see a
brave man shamed. But he that hath no honor, and acts with cowardice,
never shall he show gentleness nor any manner of goodness, where he
seeth a man in any danger; for then ever will a coward show no mercy.
And always a good man will do ever to another man as he would be done to

So then there were great feasts and games and play, and all manner of
noble deeds were done; and he that was courteous, true, and faithful to
his friend, was that time cherished.


  =Discussion.= 1. What was the condition of Arthur’s kingdom when he
  began to reign? 2. What was Arthur’s purpose in founding the Order
  of the Round Table? 3. Why was a training in strength and bravery
  in battle necessary to these knights? 4. What way of supplying this
  training is described in this story? 5. Tell what you know of this
  custom. 6. Have we any contests of skill that bear any resemblance to
  this in method or purpose? 7. Give a brief account of the tournament
  at Winchester. 8. What plan had Lancelot for disguising himself?
  9. What reasons had he for such a plan? 10. How was Lancelot’s
  personality shown in the impression he made on the baron? 11. What
  custom of the joust is indicated by Elaine’s request? 12. Picture the
  scene as the tournament opened; where was the King? Where were the
  opposing knights? 13. What knightly qualities did Lancelot show in
  this contest? 14. How would a “full noble surgeon” of King Arthur’s
  time compare with a present-day surgeon? 15. Why did Lancelot
  call his injury “a little hurt” when speaking to Elaine? 16. What
  qualities are we told were most admired in the days of chivalry? 17.
  Is this true of the present time? 18. What quality of Lancelot do you
  admire most?


  with his fellowship, 126, 9
  undertake he will do marvels, 126,18
  likeliest knight, 126, 31
  my heart giveth unto you, 127, 7
  with a rich burgess, 128, 6
  a strong assail, 128, 27
  might not serve him thereto, 130, 19
  suffer me, 131, 6
  a full noble surgeon, 131, 27
  prayed him for succor, 132, 5
  bring him to knowledge, 132, 21
  openly disclosed, 135, 20
  lost his countenance, 136, 28
  mighty prowess, 144, 4



Before Merlin passed from the world of men, he uttered many marvelous
prophecies and one that boded ill for King Arthur. He foretold that a son
of Arthur’s sister should stir up bitter war against the King and that a
great battle should be fought in the West when many brave men should find
their doom.

Among the nephews of King Arthur was one most dishonorable; his name was
Modred. No knightly deed had he ever done and he hated even to hear the
good report of others. Of all who sat at the Round Table there was none
that Modred hated more than Sir Lancelot du Lac, whom all true knights
held in most honor. In his jealous rage he spoke evil of the Queen and
Sir Lancelot. Now Modred’s brothers, Sir Gawain and Sir Gareth, refused
to listen to these slanders, holding that Sir Lancelot, in his knightly
service to the Queen, did honor to King Arthur also.

When these evil tales reached King Arthur, he rebuked the tale bearers
and declared his faith in Sir Lancelot and his lady, the Queen. But
Modred, enraged by the rebuke, determined to find cause against them, and
not long after it seemed that the occasion had come. For when King Arthur
had ridden forth to hunt far from Carlisle, where he then held court, the
Queen sent for Lancelot to speak with her in her bower. Modred and his
brother, Sir Agravaine, got together twelve knights, persuading them that
they were doing the King a service. They waited until they saw Lancelot
enter all unarmed and then called to him to come forth. The whole court
echoed with their cries of “Traitor.” Lancelot, arming himself in haste,
rushed out upon them and soon the entire company lay cold in death upon
the earth. Only Modred escaped, for he fled, but even so he was sore


When Modred escaped from Sir Lancelot he got to horse, all wounded as he
was, and never drew rein until he had found King Arthur, to whom he told
all that had happened.

Then great was the King’s grief. Despite all that Modred could say, he
was slow to doubt Sir Lancelot, whom he loved, but his mind was filled
with forebodings; for many a knight had been slain and well he knew that
their kin would seek vengeance on Sir Lancelot, and the noble fellowship
of the Round Table be utterly destroyed by their feuds.

All too soon it proved even as the King had feared. Many were found to
hold with Sir Modred; some because they were kin to the knights that had
been slain, some from envy of the honor and worship of the noble Sir
Lancelot; and among them even were those who dared to raise their voice
against the Queen herself, calling for judgment upon her as leagued
with a traitor against the King, and as having caused the death of so
many good knights. Now in those days the law was that if any one were
accused of treason by witnesses, or taken in the act, that one should die
the death by burning, be it man or woman, knight or churl. So then the
murmurs grew to a loud clamor that the law should have its course, and
that King Arthur should pass sentence on the Queen. Then was the King’s
woe doubled.

“For,” said he, “I sit as King to be a rightful judge and keep all the
law; wherefore I may not do battle for my own Queen, and now there is
none other to help her.”

So a decree was issued that Queen Guinevere should be burnt at the stake
outside the walls of Carlisle.

Forthwith, King Arthur sent for his nephew, Sir Gawain, and said to him:

“Fair nephew, I give it in charge to you to see that all is done as has
been decreed.”

But Sir Gawain answered boldly: “Sir King, never will I be present to see
my lady the Queen die. It is of ill counsel that ye have consented to her

Then the King bade Gawain send his two young brothers, Sir Gareth and
Sir Gaheris, to receive his commands, and these he desired to attend the
Queen to the place of execution. So Gareth made answer for both:

“My Lord the King, we owe you obedience in all things, but know that it
is sore against our wills that we obey you in this; nor will we appear in
arms in the place where that noble lady shall die”; then sorrowfully they
mounted their horses and rode to Carlisle.

When the day appointed had come, the Queen was led forth to a place
without the walls of Carlisle, and there she was bound to the stake to
be burnt to death. Loud were her ladies’ lamentations, and many a lord
was found to weep at that grievous sight of a Queen brought so low; yet
was there none who dared come forward as her champion, lest he should be
suspected of treason. As for Gareth and Gaheris, they could not bear the
sight, and stood with their faces covered in their mantles. Then, just as
the torch was to be applied to the fagots, there was a sound as of many
horses galloping, and the next instant a band of knights rushed upon the
astonished throng, their leader cutting down all who crossed his path
until he had reached the Queen, whom he lifted to his saddle and bore
from the press. Then all men knew that it was Sir Lancelot, come knightly
to rescue the Queen, and in their hearts they rejoiced. So with little
hindrance they rode away, Sir Lancelot and all his kin with the Queen in
their midst, till they came to the castle of the Joyous Garde, where they
held the Queen in safety and all reverence.

But of that day came a kingdom’s ruin; for among the slain were Gawain’s
brothers Sir Gareth and Sir Gaheris. Now Sir Lancelot loved Sir Gareth
as if he had been his own younger brother, and himself had knighted him;
but, in the press, he struck at him and killed him, not seeing that he
was unarmed and weaponless; and in like wise, Sir Gaheris met his death.
So when word was brought to King Arthur of what had passed, Sir Gawain
asked straightway how his brothers had fared.

“Both are slain,” said the messenger.

“Alas! my dear brothers!” cried Sir Gawain; “how came they by their

“They were both slain by Sir Lancelot,” said the messenger.

“That will I never believe,” cried Sir Gawain; “for my brother, Sir
Gareth, had such love for Sir Lancelot that there was naught Sir Lancelot
could ask him that he would not do.”

But the man said again, “He is slain, and by Sir Lancelot.”

Then, from sheer grief, Sir Gawain fell swooning to the ground. When he
was recovered, he said:

“My lord and uncle, is it even as this man says, that Sir Lancelot has
slain my brother Sir Gareth?”

“Alas!” said the King. “Lancelot rode upon him in the press and slew him,
not seeing who he was or that he was unarmed.”

“Then,” cried Gawain fiercely, “here I make my vow. Never, while my
life lasts, will I leave Sir Lancelot in peace until he has rendered me
account for the slaying of my brothers.”

From that day forth, Sir Gawain would not suffer the King to rest until
he had gathered all his host and marched against the Joyous Garde. Thus
began the war which broke up the fellowship of the Round Table.


Now it came to the ears of the Pope in Rome that King Arthur was
besieging Sir Lancelot in the castle of the Joyous Garde, and it grieved
him that there should be strife between two such goodly knights, the
like of whom was not to be found in Christendom. So he called to him the
Bishop of Rochester and bade him carry word to Britain, both to Arthur
and to Sir Lancelot, that they should be reconciled, the one to the
other, and that King Arthur should receive again Queen Guinevere.

Forthwith Sir Lancelot desired of King Arthur assurance of liberty
and reverence for the Queen, as also safe conduct for himself and his
knights, that he might bring Queen Guinevere with due honor to the King
at Carlisle; and thereto the King pledged his word.

So Lancelot set forth with the Queen, and behind them rode a hundred
knights arrayed in green velvet, the housings of the horses of the same,
all studded with precious stones; thus they passed through the city of
Carlisle openly, in the sight of all, and there were many who rejoiced
that the Queen was come again and Sir Lancelot with her, though they of
Gawain’s party scowled upon him.

When they were come into the great hall where Arthur sat with Sir Gawain
and other great lords about him, Sir Lancelot led Guinevere to the throne
and both knelt before the King; then rising, Sir Lancelot lifted the
Queen to her feet and thus he spoke to King Arthur, boldly and well,
before the whole court:

“My lord, Sir Arthur, I bring you here your Queen, than whom no truer
nor nobler lady ever lived; and here stand I, Sir Lancelot du Lac, ready
to do battle with any that dare gainsay it”; and with these words Sir
Lancelot turned and looked upon the lords and knights present in their
places, but none would challenge him in that cause, not even Sir Gawain,
for he had ever affirmed that Queen Guinevere was a true and honorable

Then Sir Lancelot spoke again: “Now, my Lord Arthur, in my own defense it
behooves me to say that never in aught have I been false to you. That I
slew certain knights is true, but I hold me guiltless, seeing that they
brought death upon themselves. For no sooner had I gone to the Queen’s
bower, as she had commanded me, than they beset the door with shameful
outcry, that all the court might hear, calling me traitor and felon

“And rightly they called you,” cried Sir Gawain fiercely.

“My Lord, Sir Gawain,” answered Sir Lancelot, “in their quarrel they
proved not themselves right, else had not I, alone, encountered fourteen
knights and come forth unscathed.”

Then said King Arthur: “Sir Lancelot, I have ever loved you above all
other knights, and trusted you to the uttermost; but ill have ye done by
me and mine.”

“My lord,” said Lancelot, “that I slew Sir Gareth I shall mourn as long
as life lasts. As soon would I have slain my own nephew, Sir Bors, as
have harmed Sir Gareth wittingly; for I myself made him knight, and loved
him as a brother.”

“Liar and traitor,” cried Sir Gawain, “ye slew him, defenseless and

“It is full plain, Sir Gawain,” said Lancelot, “that never again shall I
have your love; and yet there has been old kindness between us, and once
ye thanked me that I saved your life.”

“It shall not avail you now,” said Sir Gawain; “traitor ye are, both to
the King and to me. Know that while life lasts, never will I rest until I
have avenged my brother Sir Gareth’s death upon you.”

“Fair nephew,” said the King, “cease your bawling. Sir Lancelot has come
under surety of my word that none shall do him harm. Elsewhere, and at
another time, fasten a quarrel upon him, if quarrel ye must.”

“I care not,” cried Sir Gawain fiercely. “The proud traitor trusts so
in his own strength that he thinks none dare meet him. But here I defy
him and swear that, be it in open combat or by stealth, I shall have his
life. And know, mine uncle and King, if I shall not have your aid, I and
mine will leave you for ever and, if need be, fight even against you.”

“Peace,” said the King, and to Sir Lancelot: “We give you fifteen days in
which to leave this kingdom.”

Then Sir Lancelot sighed heavily and said, “Full well I see that no
sorrow of mine for what is past availeth me.”

Then he went to the Queen where she sat, and said: “Madam, the time is
come when I must leave this fair realm that I have loved. Think well of
me, I pray you, and send for me if ever there be aught in which a true
knight may serve a lady.” Therewith he turned him about and, without
greeting to any, passed through the hall, and with his faithful knights,
rode to the Joyous Garde, though ever thereafter, in memory of that sad
day, he called it the Dolorous Garde.

There he called about him his friends and kinsmen, saying, “Fair knights,
I must now pass into my own lands.” Then they all, with one voice, cried
that they would go with him. So he thanked them, promising them all fair
estates and great honor when they were come to his kingdom; for all
France belonged to Sir Lancelot. Yet was he loath to leave the land where
he had followed so many glorious adventures, and sore he mourned to part
in anger from King Arthur.

“My mind misgives me,” said Sir Lancelot, “but that trouble shall come
of Sir Modred, for he is envious and a mischief-maker, and it grieves me
that never more I may serve King Arthur and his realm.”

So Sir Lancelot sorrowed; but his kinsmen, wroth for the dishonor done
him, made haste to depart and, by the fifteenth day, they were all
embarked to sail overseas to France.


From the day when Sir Lancelot brought the Queen to Carlisle, never would
Gawain suffer the King to be at rest; but always he desired him to call
his army together that they might go to attack Sir Lancelot in his own

Now King Arthur was loath to war against Sir Lancelot, and seeing this,
Sir Gawain upbraided him bitterly.

“I see well it is naught to you that my brother, Sir Gareth, died
fulfilling your behest. Little ye care if all your knights be slain, if
only the traitor Lancelot escape. Since, then, ye will not do me justice
nor avenge your own nephew, I and my fellows will take the traitor when
and how we may. He trusts in his own might that none can encounter with
him; let see if we may not entrap him.”

Thus urged, King Arthur called his army together and ordered that a great
fleet be collected; for rather would he fight openly with Sir Lancelot
than that Sir Gawain should bring such dishonor upon himself as to slay
a noble knight treacherously. So with a great host, the King passed
overseas to France, leaving Sir Modred to rule Britain in his stead.

When Lancelot heard that King Arthur and Sir Gawain were coming against
him, he withdrew into the strong castle of Benwick; for unwilling,
indeed, was he to fight with the King, or to do an injury to Sir Gareth’s
brother. The army passed through the land, laying it waste, and presently
encamped about the castle, besieging it closely; but so thick were the
walls and so watchful the garrison that in no way could they prevail
against it.

One day, there came to Sir Lancelot seven brethren, brave knights of
Wales, who had joined their fortunes to his, and said:

“Sir Lancelot, bid us sally forth against this host which has invaded
and laid waste your lands, and we will scatter it; for we are not wont to
cower behind walls.”

“Fair lords,” answered Lancelot, “it is grief to me to war on good
Christian knights and especially upon my lord, King Arthur. Have but
patience, and I will send to him and see if, even now, there may not be a
treaty of peace between us, for better far is peace than war.”

So Sir Lancelot sought out a damsel and, mounting her upon a palfrey,
bade her ride to King Arthur’s camp and require of the King to cease
warring on his lands, proffering fair terms of peace. When the damsel
came to the camp, there met her Sir Lucan the Butler.

“Fair damsel,” said Sir Lucan, “do ye come from Sir Lancelot?”

“Yea, in good truth,” said the damsel; “and, I pray you, lead me to King

“Now may ye prosper in your errand,” said Sir Lucan. “Our King loves Sir
Lancelot dearly and wishes him well; but Sir Gawain will not suffer him
to be reconciled to him.”

So when the damsel had come before the King, she told him all her tale,
and much she said of Sir Lancelot’s love and goodwill to his lord the
King, so that the tears stood in Arthur’s eyes. But Sir Gawain broke in

“My lord and uncle, shall it be said of us that we came hither with such
a host to hie us home again, nothing done, to be the scoff of all men?”

“Nephew,” said the King, “methinks Sir Lancelot offers fair and
generously. It were well if ye would accept his proffer. Nevertheless, as
the quarrel is yours, so shall the answer be.”

“Then, damsel,” said Sir Gawain, “say unto Sir Lancelot that the time for
peace is past. And tell him that I, Sir Gawain, swear by the faith I owe
to knighthood that never will I forego my revenge.”

So the damsel returned to Sir Lancelot and told him all. Sir Lancelot’s
heart was filled with grief nigh unto breaking; but his knights were
enraged and clamored that he had endured too much of insult and wrong,
and that he should lead them forth to battle. Sir Lancelot armed him
sorrowfully and presently the gates were set open and he rode forth, he
and all his company. But to all his knights he had given commandment that
none should seek King Arthur; “for never,” said he, “will I see the noble
King who made me knight, either killed or shamed.”

Fierce was the battle between those two hosts. On Lancelot’s side, Sir
Bors and Sir Lavaine and many another did right well; while on the other
side, King Arthur bore him as the noble knight he was, and Sir Gawain
raged through the battle, seeking to come at Sir Lancelot. Presently, Sir
Bors encountered King Arthur and unhorsed him. This Sir Lancelot saw and,
coming to the King’s side, he alighted and raising him from the ground,
mounted him upon his own horse. Then King Arthur, looking upon Lancelot,
cried, “Ah! Lancelot, Lancelot! That ever there should be war between us
two!” and tears stood in the King’s eyes.

“Ah! my Lord Arthur,” cried Sir Lancelot, “I pray you stop this war.”

As they spoke thus, Sir Gawain came upon them and, calling Sir Lancelot
traitor and coward, had almost ridden upon him before Lancelot could find
another horse. Then the two hosts drew back, each on its own side, to see
the battle between Sir Lancelot and Sir Gawain; for they wheeled their
horses and, departing far asunder, rushed again upon each other with the
noise of thunder, and each bore the other from his horse. Then they put
their shields before them and set on each other with their swords; but
while ever Sir Gawain smote fiercely, Sir Lancelot was content only to
ward off blows, because he would not, for Sir Gareth’s sake, do any harm
to Sir Gawain. But the more Sir Lancelot forebore him, the more furiously
Sir Gawain struck, so that Sir Lancelot had much ado to defend himself
and at the last smote Gawain on the helm so mightily that he bore him
to the ground. Then Sir Lancelot stood back from Sir Gawain. But Gawain

“Why do ye draw back, traitor knight? Slay ye while ye may, for never
will I cease to be your enemy while my life lasts.”

“Sir,” said Lancelot, “I shall withstand you as I may; but never will I
smite a fallen knight.”

Then he spoke to King Arthur: “My Lord, I pray you, if only for this day,
draw off your men. And think upon our former love if ye may; but, be ye
friend or foe, God keep you.”

Thereupon Sir Lancelot drew off his men into his castle and King Arthur
and his company to their tents. As for Sir Gawain, his squires bore him
to his tent where his wounds were dressed.


So Sir Gawain lay healing of the grim wound which Sir Lancelot had
given him, and there was peace between the two armies, when there came
messengers from Britain bearing letters for King Arthur; and more evil
news than they brought might not well be, for they told how Sir Modred
had usurped his uncle’s realm. First, he had caused it to be noised
abroad that King Arthur was slain in battle with Sir Lancelot and, since
there be many ever ready to believe any idle rumor and eager for any
change, it had been no hard task for Sir Modred to call the lords to a
Parliament and persuade them to make him king. But the Queen could not
be brought to believe that her lord was dead, so she took refuge in the
Tower of London from Sir Modred’s violence, nor was she to be induced to
leave her strong refuge for aught that Modred could promise or threaten.

This was the news that came to Arthur as he lay encamped about Sir
Lancelot’s castle of Benwick. Forthwith, he bade his host make ready to
move and, when they had reached the coast they embarked and made sail to
reach Britain with all possible speed.

Sir Modred, on his part, had heard of their sailing and hasted to get
together a great army. It was grievous to see how many a stout knight
held by Modred, ay, even many whom Arthur himself had raised to honor
and fortune; for it is the nature of men to be fickle. Thus it was that,
when Arthur drew near to Dover, he found Modred with a mighty host
waiting to oppose his landing. Then there was a great sea-fight, those
of Modred’s party going out in boats, great and small, to board King
Arthur’s ships and slay him and his men or ever they should come to land.
Right valiantly, did King Arthur bear him, as was his wont, and boldly
his followers fought in his cause, so that at last they drove off their
enemies and landed at Dover in spite of Modred and his array. For that
time Modred fled, and King Arthur bade those of his party bury the slain
and tend the wounded.

So as they passed from ship to ship, salving and binding the hurts of the
men, they came at last upon Sir Gawain, where he lay at the bottom of a
boat, wounded to the death, for he had received a great blow on the wound
that Sir Lancelot had given him. They bore him to his tent and his uncle,
the King, came to him, sorrowing beyond measure.

“Methinks,” said the King, “my joy on earth is done; for never have I
loved any men as I have loved you, my nephew, and Sir Lancelot. Sir
Lancelot I have lost, and now I see you on your death-bed.”

“My King,” said Sir Gawain, “my hour is come and I have got my death
at Sir Lancelot’s hand; for I am smitten on the wound he gave me. And
rightly am I served, for of my wilfulness and stubbornness comes this
unhappy war. I pray you, my uncle, raise me in your arms and let me write
to Sir Lancelot before I die.”

Thus, then, Sir Gawain wrote: “To Sir Lancelot, the noblest of all
knights, I, Gawain, send greeting before I die. For I am smitten on the
wound ye gave me before your castle of Benwick in France, and I bid all
men bear witness that I sought my own death and that ye are innocent of
it. I pray you, by our friendship of old, come again into Britain and,
when ye look upon my tomb, pray for Gawain of Orkney. Farewell.”

So Sir Gawain died and was buried in the Chapel at Dover.


The day after the battle at Dover, King Arthur and his host pursued Sir
Modred to Barham Down, where again there was a great battle fought, with
much slaughter on both sides; but, in the end, Arthur was victorious, and
Modred fled to Canterbury.

Now by this time, many that Modred had cheated by his lying reports,
had drawn unto King Arthur, to whom at heart they had ever been loyal,
knowing him for a true and noble King and hating themselves for having
been deceived by such a false usurper as Sir Modred. Then when he found
that he was being deserted, Sir Modred withdrew to the far West, for
there men knew less of what had happened, and so he might still find some
to believe in him and support him; and being without conscience, he even
called to his aid the heathen hosts that his uncle, King Arthur, had
driven from the land in the good years when Lancelot was of the Round

King Arthur followed ever after, for in his heart was bitter anger
against the false nephew who had brought woe upon him and all his realm.
At the last, when Modred could flee no further, the two hosts were drawn
up near the shore of the great western sea; and it was the Feast of the
Holy Trinity.

That night, as King Arthur slept, he thought that Sir Gawain stood before
him, looking just as he did in life, and said to him:

“My uncle and my King, God in his great love has suffered me to come unto
you, to warn you that in no wise ye fight on the morrow; for if ye do, ye
shall be slain and with you the most part of the people on both sides.
Make ye, therefore, treaty for a month and within that time, Sir Lancelot
shall come to you with all his knights and ye shall overthrow the traitor
and all that hold with him.”

Therewith Sir Gawain vanished. Immediately the King awoke and called to
him the best and wisest of his knights, the two brethren, Sir Lucan the
Butler and Sir Bedivere and others, to whom he told his dream. Then all
were agreed that, on any terms whatsoever, a treaty should be made with
Sir Modred, even as Sir Gawain had said; and with the dawn, messengers
went to the camp of the enemy, to call Sir Modred to a conference. So it
was determined that the meeting should take place in the sight of both
armies, in an open space between the two camps, and that King Arthur and
Modred should each be accompanied by fourteen knights. Little enough
faith had either in the other, so when they set forth to the meeting,
they bade their hosts join battle if ever they saw a sword drawn. Thus
they went to the conference.

Now as they talked, it happened that an adder, coming out of a bush hard
by, stung a knight in the foot; and he, seeing the snake, drew his sword
to kill it and thought no harm thereby. But on the instant that the sword
flashed, the trumpets blared on both sides and the two hosts rushed to
battle. Never was there fought a fight of such bitter enmity, for brother
fought with brother, and comrade with comrade, and fiercely they cut and
thrust, with many a bitter word between; while King Arthur himself, his
heart hot within him, rode through and through the battle, seeking the
traitor Modred. So they fought all day till at last the evening fell.
Then Arthur, looking around him, saw of his valiant knights but two left,
Sir Lucan and Sir Bedivere, and these sore wounded; and there, over
against him, by a great heap of the dead, stood Sir Modred, the cause of
all this ruin. Thereupon the King, his heart nigh broken with grief for
the loss of his true knights, cried with a loud voice, “Traitor! now is
thy doom upon thee!” and with his spear gripped in both hands, he rushed
upon Sir Modred and smote him that the weapon stood out a fathom behind.
And Sir Modred knew that he had his death-wound. With all the might that
he had, he thrust him up the spear to the haft and, with his sword,
struck King Arthur upon the head that the steel pierced the helmet and
bit into the head; then Sir Modred fell back, stark and dead.

Sir Lucan and Sir Bedivere went to the King where he lay, swooning from
the blow, and bore him to a little chapel on the seashore. As they laid
him on the ground, Sir Lucan fell dead beside the King, and Arthur,
coming to himself, found but Sir Bedivere alive beside him.


So King Arthur lay wounded to the death, grieving, not that his end was
come, but for the desolation of his kingdom and the loss of his good
knights. And looking upon the body of Sir Lucan, he sighed and said:

“Alas! true knight, dead for my sake! If I lived, I should ever grieve
for thy death, but now mine own end draws nigh.”

Then turning to Sir Bedivere, who stood sorrowing beside him, he said:
“Leave weeping now, for the time is short and much to do. Hereafter
shalt thou weep if thou wilt. But take now my sword Excalibur, hasten to
the water side and fling it into the deep. Then watch what happens and
bring me word thereof.”

“My Lord,” said Sir Bedivere, “your command shall be obeyed”; and taking
the sword, he departed. But as he went on his way he looked on the sword,
how wondrously it was formed, and the hilt all studded with precious
stones; and, as he looked, he called to mind the marvel by which it had
come into the King’s keeping. For on a certain day, as Arthur walked on
the shore of a great lake, there had appeared above the surface of the
water a hand brandishing a sword. On the instant, the King had leaped
into a boat, and, rowing into the lake, had got the sword and brought it
back to land. Then he had seen how, on one side the blade, was written,
“Keep me,” but on the other, “Throw me away,” and sore perplexed, he had
shown it to Merlin, the great wizard, who said: “Keep it now. The time
for casting away has not yet come.”

Thinking on this, it seemed to Bedivere that no good, but harm, must come
of obeying the King’s word; so hiding the sword under a tree, he hastened
back to the little chapel.

Then said the King: “What saw’st thou?”

“Sir,” answered Bedivere, “I saw naught but the waves, heard naught but
the wind.”

“That is untrue,” said King Arthur; “I charge thee, as thou art true
knight, go again and spare not to throw away the sword.”

Sir Bedivere departed a second time and his mind was to obey his lord;
but when he took the sword in his hand, he thought:

“Sin it is and shameful, to throw away so glorious a sword.” Then hiding
it again, he hastened back to the King.

“What saw’st thou?” said King Arthur.

“Sir, I saw the water lap on the crags.”

Then spoke the King in great wrath: “Traitor and unkind! Twice hast thou
betrayed me! Art dazzled by the splendor of the jewels, thou that, till
now, hast ever been dear and true to me? Go yet again, but if thou fail
me this time, I will arise and, with mine own hands, slay thee.”

Then Sir Bedivere left the King and, that time, he took the sword
quickly from the place where he had hidden it and, forbearing even to
look upon it, he twisted the belt about it and flung it with all his
force into the water. A wondrous sight he saw, for, as the sword touched
the water, a hand rose from out the deep, caught it, brandished it thrice
and threw it beneath the surface.

So Bedivere hastened back to the King and told him what he had seen.

“It is well,” said Arthur; “now, bear me to the water’s edge and hasten,
I pray thee, for I have tarried over long and my wound has taken cold.”

So Sir Bedivere raised the King on his back and bore him tenderly to the
lonely shore, where the lapping waves floated many an empty helmet and
the fitful moonlight fell on the upturned faces of the dead. Scarce had
they reached the shore when there hove in sight a barge, and on its deck
stood three tall women, robed all in black and wearing crowns on their

“Place me in the barge,” said Arthur, and softly Sir Bedivere lifted the
King into it. And these three queens wept sore over Arthur, and one took
his head in her lap and chafed his hands, crying:

“Alas! my brother, thou hast been overlong in coming, and I fear me thy
wound has taken cold.”

Then the barge began to move slowly forth from the land. When Sir
Bedivere saw this, he lifted up his voice and cried with a bitter cry:

“Ah! my Lord Arthur, thou art taken from me! And I, whither shall I go?”

“Comfort thyself,” said the King, “for in me is no comfort more. I pass
to the Valley of Avilion, to heal me of my grievous wound. If thou seest
me never again, pray for me.”

So the barge floated away out of sight and Sir Bedivere stood straining
his eyes after it till it had vanished utterly. Then he turned him
about and journeyed through the forest until, at day-break, he reached
a hermitage. Entering it, he prayed the holy hermit that he might abide
with him and there he spent the rest of his life in prayer and holy

But of King Arthur is no more known. Some men, indeed, say that he is not
dead, but abides in the happy Valley of Avilion until such time as his
country’s need is sorest, when he shall come again and deliver it. Others
say that, of a truth, he is dead and that, in the far West, his tomb may
be seen and written on it these words:



When news reached Sir Lancelot in his own land of the treason of Modred,
he gathered his lords and knights together, and rested not till he had
come to Britain to aid King Arthur. He landed at Dover and there the evil
tidings were told him, how the King had met his death at the hands of his
traitor nephew. Then was Sir Lancelot’s heart nigh broken for grief.

“Alas!” he cried, “that I should live to know my King overthrown by such
a felon! What have I done that I should have caused the deaths of the
good knights Sir Gareth, Sir Gaheris, and Sir Gawain, and yet that such a
villain should escape my sword!”

Then he desired to be led to Sir Gawain’s tomb, where he remained long
in prayer and in great lamentation; after which, he called to him his
kinsmen and friends and said to them:

“My fair lords, I thank you all most heartily that, of your courtesy, ye
came with me to this land. That we be come too late is a misfortune that
might not be avoided, though I shall mourn it my life long. And now I
will ride forth alone to find my lady the Queen in the West, whither men
say she has fled. Wait for me, I pray you, for fifteen days and then, if
ye hear naught of me, return to your own lands.”

So Sir Lancelot rode forth alone, nor would he suffer any to follow him
despite their prayers and entreaties.

Thus he rode some seven or eight days until, at the last, he came to a
nunnery where he saw in the cloister many nuns waiting on a fair lady,
none other, indeed, than Queen Guinevere herself. And she, looking up,
saw Sir Lancelot and, at the sight, grew so pale that her ladies feared
for her; but she recovered and bade them go and bring Sir Lancelot to her
presence. When he was come, she said to him:

“Sir Lancelot, glad am I to see thee once again that I may bid thee
farewell; for in this world shall we never meet again.”

“Sweet Madam,” answered Sir Lancelot, “I was minded, with your leave, to
bear you to my own country, where I doubt not but I should guard you well
and safely from your enemies.”

“Nay, Lancelot,” said the Queen, “that may not be; I am resolved never to
look upon the world again, but here to pass my life in prayer and in such
good works as I may. But thou, do thou get back to thine own land and
take a fair wife, and ye both shall ever have my prayers.”

“Madam,” replied Sir Lancelot, “ye know well that shall never be. And
since ye are resolved to lead a life of prayer, I, too, will forsake the
world if I can find hermit to share his cell with me; for ever your will
has been mine.”

Long and earnestly he looked upon her as though he might never gaze
enough; then, getting to horse, he rode slowly away.

Nor did they ever meet again in life. For Queen Guinevere abode in
the great nunnery of Almesbury where Sir Lancelot had found her and
presently, for the holiness of her life, was made Abbess. But Sir
Lancelot, after he had left her, rode on his way till he came to the cell
where Sir Bedivere dwelt with the holy hermit; and when Sir Bedivere had
told him all that had befallen, of the great battle in the West, and of
the passing away of Arthur, Sir Lancelot flung down his arms and implored
the holy hermit to let him remain there as the servant of God. So Sir
Lancelot donned the serge gown and abode in the hermitage as the priest
of God.

Presently, there came riding that way the good Sir Bors, Lancelot’s
nephew; for, when Sir Lancelot returned not to Dover, Sir Bors and
many another knight went forth in search of him. There, then, Sir Bors
remained and, within a half year, there joined themselves to these three
many who in former days had been fellows of the Round Table; and the
fame of their piety spread far and wide.

So six years passed and then, one night, Lancelot had a vision. It seemed
to him that one said to him:

“Lancelot, arise and go in haste to Almesbury. There shalt thou find
Queen Guinevere dead and it shall be for thee to bury her.”

Sir Lancelot arose at once and, calling his fellows to him, told them
his dream. Immediately, with all haste, they set forth toward Almesbury
and, arriving there the second day, found the Queen dead, as had been
foretold in the vision. So with the state and ceremony befitting a great
Queen, they buried her in the Abbey of Glastonbury, in that same church
where, some say, King Arthur’s tomb is to be found. Lancelot it was who
performed the funeral rites and chanted the requiem; but when all was
done, he pined away, growing weaker daily. So at the end of six weeks, he
called to him his fellows and, bidding them all farewell, desired that
his dead body should be conveyed to the Joyous Garde, there to be buried,
for that in the church at Glastonbury he was not worthy to lie. And that
same night he died, and was buried, as he had desired, in his own castle.
So passed from the world the bold Sir Lancelot du Lac, bravest, most
courteous, and most gentle of knights, whose peer the world has never
seen nor ever shall see.

After Sir Lancelot’s death, Sir Bors and the pious knights, his
companions, took their way to the Holy Land and there they died in battle
against the Turk.

So ends this story of King Arthur and his noble fellowship of the Round


  =Discussion.= 1. Were Arthur and his knights successful in restoring
  order in the kingdom? 2. Why were they so successful? 3. What value
  have union and loyalty in any cause? 4. When did this union of King
  Arthur and his knights begin to weaken? 5. Whose unfaithfulness
  and treachery began its destruction? 6. What was the great fault
  in Modred that prevented him from being loyal? 7. How did “true
  knights” regard Sir Lancelot? 8. Did Arthur think it right to take
  the law into his own hands? 9. Read lines which show that he did not
  think himself greater than the law. 10. Can good government exist
  without respect for law? 11. Trace the progress of disunion from its
  beginning in Modred’s jealousy as follows: jealousy; plot; combat;
  deaths; vengeance; false accusation; decree of death by burning;
  rescue; deaths; vow of vengeance; war. 12. What proof did Sir
  Lancelot give of his love for the King, even while at war with him?
  13. Was King Arthur at fault when he allowed himself to be persuaded
  by Sir Gawain to make war on Sir Lancelot? 14. Read the lines that
  show the King loved Lancelot, in spite of all that had come between
  them. 15. Read lines that show how Sir Gawain’s love and generosity
  triumphed over his desire for vengeance. 16. Over what did King
  Arthur grieve when he lay wounded after the “battle in the West”? 17.
  Do you think it is the fine ideals of these old legends—union for
  defense of the weak, mercy to all, and wrongful gain to none—that
  make them live?


  boded ill, 149, 2
  jealous rage, 149, 11
  ill counsel, 150, 33
  from the press, 151, 21
  rendered me account, 152, 14
  safe conduct, 152, 28
  housings of the horses, 152, 33
  it behooves me, 153, 17
  felon knight, 153, 22
  under surety of my word, 154, 8
  fasten a quarrel upon him, 154, 9
  by stealth, 154, 13
  fulfilling your behest, 155, 14
  to hie us home, 156, 25
  the scoff of all men, 156, 25
  faith I owe to knighthood, 156, 32
  noised abroad, 158, 12
  idle rumor, 158, 14
  as was his wont, 158, 35
  Modred and his array, 159, 2
  sorrowing beyond measure, 159, 10
  heathen hosts, 160, 6
  I charge thee, 162, 24
  chafed his hands, 163, 20
  donned the serge gown, 165, 31
  funeral rites, 166, 15





  The king sits in Dumferling toune,
    Drinking the blude-reid wine:
  “O whar will I get guid sailor,
    To sail this schip of mine?”

  Up and spak an eldern knicht,[10]
    Sat at the king’s richt kne:
  “Sir Patrick Spens is the best sailor
    That sails upon the se.”

  The king has written a braid[11] letter,
    And signed it wi his hand,
  And sent it to Sir Patrick Spens,
    Was walking on the sand.

  The first line that Sir Patrick red,
    A loud lauch lauched he;
  The next line that Sir Patrick red,
    The teir blinded his ee.

  “O wha is this has don this deid,
    This ill deid don to me,
  To send me out this time o’ the yeir,
    To sail upon the se!

  “Mak haste, mak haste, my mirry men all,
    Our guid schip sails the morne.”
  “O say na sae[12], my master deir,
    For I feir a deadlie storme.

  “Late, late yestreen[13] saw the new moone,
    Wi the auld moone in hir arme,
  And I feir, I feir, my deir master,
    That we will cum to harme.”

  O our Scots nobles wer richt laith[14]
    To weet[15] their cork-heild schoone[16];
  Bot lang owre[17] a’ the play wer playd,
    Thair hats they swam aboone.[18]

  O lang, lang may their ladies sit,
    Wi thair fans into their hand,
  Or eir[19] they se Sir Patrick Spens,
    Cum sailing to the land.

  O lang, lang may the ladies stand,
    Wi thair gold kems[20] in their hair,
  Waiting for thair ain deir lords,
    For they’ll se thame na mair.

  Haf owre[21], haf owre to Aberdour,
    It’s fiftie fadom[22] deip,
  And thair lies guid Sir Patrick Spens,
    Wi the Scots lords at his feit.[23]

[10] _knicht_, knight

[11] _braid_, long

[12] _na sae_, not so

[13] _yestreen_, yesterday evening

[14] _laith_, loath

[15] _weet_, wet

[16] _schoone_, shoes

[17] _owre_, before

[18] _aboone_, above

[19] _or eir_, before

[20] _kems_, combs

[21] _owre_, over

[22] _fadom_, fathoms

[23] _feit_, feet


  =Historical Note.= The old folk ballads, of which this one is an
  excellent example, have all come down to us from the far-off past.
  Such ballads are not the work of any one author, but like the stories
  of King Arthur, were preserved mainly in the memories of men. Some
  of them were sung or recited to the music of the harp or lute by
  minstrels who wandered from village to village, and from castle to
  castle, entertaining their hearers in return for food and lodging;
  or by the bards and minstrels who were maintained by kings and
  nobles to entertain them and to celebrate their deeds and honors.
  Often they were made by the people, not by professional singers,
  and were expressions of the folk love of adventure. Indeed, the
  best definition of a popular, or folk, ballad is that it is “a tale
  telling itself in song.” This means that a ballad always tells a
  story; that it has no known author, being composed by several people
  or by a community and then handed down orally, not in writing, from
  generation to generation; and finally, that it is sung, not recited.
  In this way such folk ballads as “Sir Patrick Spens” were transmitted
  for generations, in different versions, before they were written down
  and became a part of what we call _literature_, that is, something
  written. When the invention of the printing press made it possible
  to put these old ballads in a permanent form, they were collected
  from the recitations of old men and women who knew them, and printed.
  Thus they have become a precious literary possession, telling us
  something of the life, the history, and the standards, superstitions,
  and beliefs of distant times, and thrilling us with their stirring
  stories. The beauty of these old ballads lies in the story they
  tell, and in their directness and simplicity. They are almost wholly
  without literary ornament; their language is the language of the
  people, not of the court.

  Many modern poets have written stories in verse which are also called
  ballads. Some are in imitation of the old ballads, using the old
  ballad meter and riming system, and employing old-fashioned words and
  expressions, to add to the effect. Other modern ballads are simple
  narratives in verse—short stories dealing with stirring subjects,
  with battle, adventure, etc. But while the true old ballad holds the
  attention upon the story only, the modern ballads often introduce
  descriptions of the characters.

  =Discussion.= 1. Why did the king choose Sir Patrick Spens? 2. What
  did Sir Patrick say when he had read the king’s letter? 3. What signs
  of a storm had been noticed? 4. Point out all the ways in which the
  ballad tells that the ship was wrecked. 5. How have the old ballads
  come down to us? 6. What other old ballad have you read? 7. Tell how
  the old ballads came into being, and name a characteristic of them.
  8. What do the old ballads tell us of the life of the early people?
  9. How does a modern ballad differ from a folk, or popular, ballad?



  “Speak! speak! thou fearful guest!
  Who, with thy hollow breast
  Still in rude armor drest,
    Comest to daunt me!
  Wrapt not in Eastern balms,
  But with thy fleshless palms
  Stretched, as if asking alms,
    Why dost thou haunt me?”

  Then, from those cavernous eyes
  Pale flashes seemed to rise,
  As when the Northern skies
    Gleam in December;
  And, like the water’s flow
  Under December’s snow,
  Came a dull voice of woe
    From the heart’s chamber.

  “I was a Viking old!
  My deeds, though manifold,
  No Skald in song has told,
    No Saga taught thee!
  Take heed, that in thy verse
  Thou dost the tale rehearse,
  Else dread a dead man’s curse;
    For this I sought thee.

  “Far in the Northern Land,
  By the wild Baltic’s strand,
  I, with my childish hand,
    Tamed the gerfalcon;
  And, with my skates fast-bound,
  Skimmed the half-frozen Sound,
  That the poor whimpering hound
    Trembled to walk on.

  “Oft to his frozen lair
  Tracked I the grizzly bear,
  While from my path the hare
    Fled like a shadow;
  Oft through the forest dark
  Followed the were-wolf’s bark,
  Until the soaring lark
    Sang from the meadow.

  “But when I older grew,
  Joining a corsair’s crew,
  O’er the dark sea I flew
    With the marauders.
  Wild was the life we led,
  Many the souls that sped,
  Many the hearts that bled,
    By our stern orders.

  “Many a wassail-bout
  Wore the long winter out;
  Often our midnight shout
    Set the cocks crowing,
  As we the Berserk’s tale
  Measured in cups of ale,
  Draining the oaken pail,
    Filled to o’erflowing.

  “Once as I told in glee
  Tales of the stormy sea,
  Soft eyes did gaze on me,
    Burning yet tender;
  And as the white stars shine
  On the dark Norway pine,
  On that dark heart of mine
    Fell their soft splendor.

  “I wooed the blue-eyed maid,
  Yielding, yet half afraid,
  And in the forest’s shade
    Our vows were plighted.
  Under its loosened vest
  Fluttered her little breast,
  Like birds within their nest
    By the hawk frighted.

  “Bright in her father’s hall
  Shields gleamed upon the wall,
  Loud sang the minstrels all,
    Chanting his glory;
  When of old Hildebrand
  I asked his daughter’s hand,
  Mute did the minstrels stand
    To hear my story.

  “While the brown ale he quaffed,
  Loud then the champion laughed,
  And as the wind-gusts waft
    The sea-foam brightly,
  So the loud laugh of scorn,
  Out of those lips unshorn,
  From the deep drinking-horn
    Blew the foam lightly.

  “She was a Prince’s child,
    I but a Viking wild,
  And though she blushed and smiled,
    I was discarded!
  Should not the dove so white
  Follow the sea-mew’s flight,
  Why did they leave that night
    Her nest unguarded?

  “Scarce had I put to sea,
  Bearing the maid with me,—
  Fairest of all was she
    Among the Norsemen!—
  When on the white sea-strand,
  Waving his armèd hand,
  Saw we old Hildebrand,
    With twenty horsemen.

  “Then launched they to the blast,
  Bent like a reed each mast,
  Yet we were gaining fast,
    When the wind failed us;
  And with a sudden flaw
  Came round the gusty Skaw,
  So that our foe we saw
    Laugh as he hailed us.

  “And as to catch the gale
  Round veered the flapping sail,
  Death! was the helmsman’s hail,
    Death without quarter!
  Mid-ships with iron keel
  Struck we her ribs of steel;
  Down her black hulk did reel
    Through the black water!

  “As with his wings aslant,
  Sails the fierce cormorant,
  Seeking some rocky haunt,
    With his prey laden,
  So toward the open main,
  Beating to sea again,
  Through the wild hurricane,
    Bore I the maiden.

  “Three weeks we westward bore,
  And when the storm was o’er,
  Cloud-like we saw the shore
    Stretching to leeward;
  There for my lady’s bower
  Built I the lofty tower,
  Which, to this very hour,
    Stands looking seaward.

  “There lived we many years;
  Time dried the maiden’s tears;
  She had forgot her fears,
    She was a mother;
  Death closed her mild blue eyes,
  Under that tower she lies;
  Ne’er shall the sun arise
    On such another!

  “Still grew my bosom then,
  Still as a stagnant fen!
  Hateful to me were men,
    The sunlight hateful.
    In the vast forest here,
  Clad in my warlike gear,
  Fell I upon my spear,
    Oh, death was grateful!

  Thus, seamed with many scars,
  Bursting these prison bars,
  Up to its native stars
    My soul ascended!
  There from the flowing bowl
  Deep drinks the warrior’s soul,
  _Skoal!_ to the Northland! _skoal!_”
    —Thus the tale ended.


  For Biography, see page 81.

  =Discussion.= 1. With which stanza does the narrative begin? 2.
  What may the first three stanzas be called? 3. Which of these three
  stanzas is descriptive? 4. In which does the Viking make himself
  known? 5. In what stanzas is the story told? 6. With what line does
  the story end? 7. What relation to the poem has the last line? 8.
  Describe the scene suggested by the first stanza; who is speaking?
  9. Describe the guest to whom the poet speaks. 10. In using the word
  “fearful” to describe this guest, was the poet emphasizing only the
  outward appearance of his guest? 11. Can you use other words equally
  exact and poetical for “daunt” and “haunt”? 12. Give a name to the
  “flashes” that are seen when the Northern skies gleam in December.
  13. To what is the voice of the skeleton compared? 14. Is it an apt
  comparison? 15. Does the second stanza prepare us for a story of
  happy things? 16. What stanzas help you to see the kind of people the
  Vikings were, and to imagine the life they led? 17. The Viking showed
  his wonderful courage in going out into the “open main” in a wild
  hurricane; give all the other evidences of his courage found in the
  poem. 18. The Introduction (pages 89 and 90) gives various motives
  for seeking adventures; do you think the Knights and the Vikings had
  the same motive? 19. How does this ballad differ from a folk ballad,
  such as “Sir Patrick Spens”? 20. Pronounce the following: daunt;
  palms; alms; haunt; launched.


  rude armor, 171, 3
  fleshless palms, 171, 6
  cavernous eyes, 171, 9
  pale flashes, 171, 10
  heart’s chamber, 171, 16
  poor whimpering hound, 172, 3
  frozen lair, 172, 5
  souls that sped, 172, 18
  measured in cups of ale, 172, 26
  soft splendor, 173, 4
  vows were plighted, 173, 8
  lips unshorn, 173, 26
  death without quarter, 174, 24
  wings aslant, 174, 29
  open main, 175, 1
  stretching to leeward, 175, 8
  time dried the maiden’s tears, 175, 14
  stagnant fen, 175, 22
  warlike gear, 175, 26
  flowing bowl, 176, 1



  Three fishers went sailing away to the West,
    Away to the West as the sun went down;
  Each thought on the woman who loved him the best,
    And the children stood watching them out of the town;
  For men must work and women must weep,
  And there’s little to earn and many to keep,
    Though the harbor bar be moaning.

  Three wives sat up in the lighthouse tower,
    And they trimmed the lamps as the sun went down;
  They looked at the squall and they looked at the shower,
    And the nightrack came rolling up ragged and brown;
  But men must work and women must weep,
  Though storms be sudden and waters deep,
    And the harbor bar be moaning.

  Three corpses lay out on the shining sands,
    In the morning gleam as the tide went down,
  And the women are weeping and wringing their hands
    For those who will never come home to the town;
  For men must work and women must weep,
  And the sooner it’s over the sooner to sleep,
    And good-bye to the bar and its moaning.


  =Biography.= Charles Kingsley (1819-1875), clergyman, lecturer, poet,
  and novelist, was born in Dartmoor, England. During his earlier years
  he lived in the beautiful Fen Country, the scenery of which made a
  deep impression on him. He was a friend of Tennyson and a poet of
  real excellence. His ballads, “The Three Fishers” and “The Sands of
  Dee,” are widely read and admired, and his novel _Westward Ho!_ is
  a brilliant narrative of adventure. In “The Three Fishers” he shows
  that he has studied the fisher folk of his native country and sees
  with genuine sympathy their hard life and the courage that enables
  them to brave the perils of the sea.

  =Discussion.= 1. What does the poem tell you about the three fishers?
  2. What does it suggest? 3. Where could a stanza be inserted to tell
  a part of the story that is only suggested? 4. Do you think this
  would improve the poem? 5. What signs were there of an approaching
  storm? 6. Why does the occupation of deep-sea fishers train them to
  understand signs indicating changes in the weather? 7. Why did these
  fishers go out to sea notwithstanding signs of a storm? 8. What other
  thought do you think was in their minds as “Each thought on the woman
  who loved him best”? 9. What idea of the deep-sea fishers does this
  poem give you? 10. What idea of the sea? 11. What other poems do you
  know that tell of life on the sea? 12. What idea of the sea does each


  harbor bar be moaning, 177, 7
  nightrack came rolling, 177, 11
  morning gleam, 177, 16
  the sooner to sleep, 177, 20



  A chieftain to the Highlands bound
    Cries “Boatman, do not tarry!
  And I’ll give thee a silver pound
    To row us o’er the ferry!”

  “Now who be ye, would cross Lochgyle,
    This dark and stormy water?”
  “O I’m the chief of Ulva’s isle,
    And this, Lord Ullin’s daughter.

  “And fast before her father’s men
    Three days we’ve fled together,
  For should he find us in the glen,
    My blood would stain the heather.

  “His horsemen hard behind us ride—
    Should they our steps discover,
  Then who will cheer my bonny bride,
    When they have slain her lover?”

  Out spoke the hardy Highland wight,
    “I’ll go, my chief, I’m ready;
  It is not for your silver bright,
    But for your winsome lady.

  “And by my word! the bonny bird
    In danger shall not tarry;
  So though the waves are raging white
    I’ll row you o’er the ferry.”

  By this the storm grew loud apace,
    The water-wraith was shrieking;
  And in the scowl of Heaven each face
    Grew dark as they were speaking.

  But still as wilder blew the wind,
    And as the night grew drearer,
  Adown the glen rode arméd men,
    Their trampling sounded nearer.

  “O haste thee, haste!” the lady cries,
    “Though tempests round us gather;
  I’ll meet the raging of the skies,
    But not an angry father.”

  The boat has left a stormy land,
    A stormy sea before her—
  When, oh! too strong for human hand
    The tempest gather’d o’er her.

  And still they row’d amidst the roar
    Of waters fast prevailing;
  Lord Ullin reach’d that fatal shore—
    His wrath was changed to wailing.

  For, sore dismay’d, through storm and shade
    His child he did discover;
  One lovely hand she stretch’d for aid,
    And one was round her lover.

  “Come back! come back!” he cried in grief,
    “Across this stormy water;
  And I’ll forgive your Highland chief,
    My daughter!—Oh, my daughter!”

  ’Twas vain: the loud waves lash’d the shore,
    Return or aid preventing;
  The waters wild went o’er his child,
    And he was left lamenting.


  =Biography.= Thomas Campbell (1777-1844) was a popular Scottish
  poet. He was born in Glasgow, his father being a prominent merchant
  of that city. At an early age Campbell began to write poetry,
  and at twenty-one had published “The Pleasures of Hope,” a poem
  that was received with much favor. He excelled in war poetry, his
  “Hohenlinden”, “The Battle of the Baltic”, and “Ye Mariners of
  England” being the most widely read. His ballads “Lochiel” and “Lord
  Ullin’s Daughter” are the best known. Campbell is remembered not
  alone for these stirring narrative poems, but also for the excellence
  of favorite lines that he wrote, such as “To live in the hearts we
  leave behind is not to die,” and “’Tis distance lends enchantment to
  the view.”

  =Discussion.= 1. Tell briefly the story of the poem. 2. What
  picture do the first two stanzas give you? 3. What reason did the
  boatman give for saying he would row them over the ferry? 4. What
  change of time do you notice in the tenth stanza? 5. What does the
  eleventh stanza tell you? 6. Which stanza tells you of the tragedy?
  7. What other poems of the sea have you read in this book? 8. What
  characteristics of the ballad has this poem?


  to the Highlands bound, 178, 1
  stain the heather, 178, 12
  hardy Highland wight, 179, 1
  raging white, 179, 7
  grew loud apace, 179, 9
  in the scowl of Heaven, 179, 11
  waters fast prevailing, 179, 26
  fatal shore, 179, 27



  Pipes of the misty moorlands,
    Voice of the glens and hills,
  The droning of the torrents,
    The treble of the rills!
  Not the braes of broom and heather,
    Nor the mountains dark with rain,
  Nor maiden bower, nor border tower,
    Have heard your sweetest strain!

  Dear to the Lowland reaper,
    And plaided mountaineer,
  To the cottage and the castle
    The Scottish pipes are dear;
  Sweet sounds the ancient pibroch
    O’er mountain, loch, and glade;
  But the sweetest of all music
    The Pipes at Lucknow played.

  Day by day the Indian tiger
    Louder yelled, and nearer crept;
  Round and round the jungle-serpent
    Near and nearer circles swept.
  “Pray for rescue, wives and mothers—
    Pray today!” the soldier said;
  “Tomorrow, death’s between us
    And the wrong and shame we dread.”

  O they listened, looked, and waited,
    Till their hope became despair;
  And the sobs of low bewailing
    Filled the pauses of their prayer.
  Then up spake a Scottish maiden,
    With her ear unto the ground:
  “Dinna ye hear it?—dinna ye hear it?
    The pipes o’ Havelock sound!”

  Hushed the wounded man his groaning;
    Hushed the wife her little ones;
  Alone they heard the drum-roll
    And the roar of Sepoy guns.
  But to sounds of home and childhood
    The Highland ear was true;
  As her mother’s cradle-crooning
    The mountain pipes she knew.

  Like the march of soundless music
    Through the vision of the seer,
  More of feeling than of hearing,
    Of the heart than of the ear,
  She knew the droning pibroch,
    She knew the Campbell’s call;
  “Hark! hear ye no’ MacGregor’s,
    The grandest o’ them all!”

  O they listened, dumb and breathless,
    And they caught the sound at last;
  Faint and far beyond the Goomtee
    Rose and fell the piper’s blast!
  Then a burst of wild thanksgiving
    Mingled woman’s voice and man’s;
  “God be praised!—the March of Havelock!
    The piping of the clans!”

  Louder, nearer, fierce as vengeance,
    Sharp and shrill as swords at strife,
  Came the wild MacGregor’s clan-call,
    Stinging all the air to life.
  But when the far-off dust-cloud
    To plaided legions grew,
  Full tenderly and blithesomely
    The pipes of rescue blew!

  Round the silver domes of Lucknow,
    Moslem mosque and pagan shrine,
  Breathed the air to Britons dearest,
    The air of Auld Lang Syne.
  O’er the cruel roll of war-drums
    Rose that sweet and homelike strain;
  And the tartan clove the turban,
    As the Goomtee cleaves the plain.

  Dear to the corn-land reaper
    And plaided mountaineer,
  To the cottage and the castle
    The piper’s song is dear.
  Sweet sounds the Gaelic pibroch
    O’er mountain, glen, and glade;
  But the sweetest of all music
    The Pipes at Lucknow played!


  For Biography, see page 60.

  =Historical Note.= The Indian Mutiny was the great revolt of the
  Bengal native army (the Sepoys) against the British rule in 1857. At
  Lucknow, in northern India, the English were almost overcome. The
  town, defended by a garrison of only 1720 men, who were protecting
  many women and children, was besieged by a greatly superior number.
  The defense, nevertheless, was maintained from the 30th of June to
  the 26th of September, when the relief column under the Scottish
  general, Sir Henry Havelock, preceded by the music of the bagpipes,
  reached the city.

  =Discussion.= 1. What stanzas picture Scotland and the feeling her
  people have for the music of the bagpipe? 2. What contrasts show how
  universal this feeling is? 3. In the first stanza, what is this music
  said to be like? 4. What do you know about the bagpipe that makes
  this comparison especially apt? 5. The poem tells a story; with what
  stanzas does the story begin and end? 6. What relation to this story
  have the first two stanzas? 7. What do you know of the Indian Mutiny
  that helps you to understand this story? 8. Who first heard the sound
  of the pipes? 9. How is this accounted for? 10. What did this sound
  mean to her? 11. Read the stirring lines that give the spirit of the
  martial music of the pipes. 12. Why did the piper change to the air
  “Auld Lang Syne”? What stanzas picture the feeling of those who heard
  this music? 13. What people wear the “tartan”? The “turban”? 14. What
  is the most interesting point in the story? 15. Does the story make
  clear the poet’s reason for saying that the “sweetest strain” the
  pipes ever played was at Lucknow?


  droning of the torrents, 181, 3
  treble of the rills, 181, 4
  braes of broom, 181, 5
  plaided mountaineer, 181, 10
  ancient pibroch, 181, 13
  the Indian tiger, 181, 17
  jungle-serpent, 181, 19
  low bewailing, 181, 27
  cradle-crooning, 182, 11
  vision of the seer, 182, 14
  fierce as vengeance, 182, 29
  Moslem mosque, 183, 6
  pagan shrine, 183, 6
  Goomtee cleaves the plain, 183, 12



  Spanish waters, Spanish waters, you are ringing in my ears,
  Like a slow sweet piece of music from the gray forgotten years;
  Telling tales, and beating tunes, and bringing weary thought to me
  Of the sandy beach at Muertos, where I would that I could be.

  There’s a surf breaks on Los Muertos, and it never stops to roar,
  And it’s there we came to anchor, and it’s there we went ashore,
  Where the blue lagoon is silent amid snags of rotting trees,
  Dropping like the clothes of corpses cast up by the seas.

  We anchored at Los Muertos when the dipping sun was red,
  We left her half-a-mile to sea, to west of Nigger Head;
  And before the mist was on the Cay, before the day was done,
  We were all ashore on Muertos with the gold that we had won.

  We bore it through the marshes in a half-score battered chests,
  Sinking, in the sucking quagmires, to the sunburn on our breasts,
  Heaving over tree-trunks, gasping, damning at the flies and heat,
  Longing for a long drink, out of silver, in the ship’s cool lazareet.

  The moon came white and ghostly as we laid the treasure down,
  There was gear there’d make a beggarman as rich as Lima Town,
  Copper charms and silver trinkets from the chests of Spanish crews,
  Gold doubloons and double moydores, louis d’ors and ortagues.

  Clumsy yellow-metal earrings from the Indians of Brazil,
  Uncut emeralds out of Rio, bezoar stone from Guayaquil,
  Silver, in the crude and fashioned, pots of old Arica bronze,
  Jewels from the bones of Incas desecrated by the Dons.

  We smoothed the place with mattocks, and we took and blazed the tree,
  Which marks yon where the gear is hid that none will ever see,
  And we laid aboard the ship again, and south away we steers,
  Through the loud surf of Los Muertos which is beating in my ears.

  I’m the last alive that knows it. All the rest have gone their ways,
  Killed, or died, or come to anchor in the old Mulatas Cays,
  And I go singing, fiddling, old and starved and in despair,
  And I know where all that gold is hid, if I were only there.

  It’s not the way to end it all. I’m old and nearly blind,
  And an old man’s past’s a strange thing, for it never leaves his mind.
  And I see in dreams, awhiles, the beach, the sun’s disc dipping red,
  And the tall ship, under topsails, swaying in past Nigger Head.

  I’d be glad to step ashore there. Glad to take a pick and go
  To the lone blazed coco-palm tree in the place no others know,
  And lift the gold and silver that has moldered there for years
  By the loud surf of Los Muertos which is beating in my ears.


  =Biography.= John Masefield (1875-⸺) is an English poet and
  playwright. When a small boy he had a mania for running away from
  home; to satisfy this longing his father sent him to sea when he was
  fourteen years old, in charge of the captain of a sailing vessel.
  During his travels he collected much material which he afterward
  used in his poems. On one of his trips he landed in New York City,
  where he acquired considerable knowledge of American customs. Next to
  Kipling he is England’s greatest singer of her “Seven Seas and Five

  Early in 1916 Masefield came to the United States on a lecture tour
  which aroused much interest in him and his writings. During the
  recent World War he served in France in connection with the Red
  Cross. He also served in the campaign on the Gallipoli Peninsula and
  wrote a splendid account of that unfortunate undertaking.

  =Discussion.= 1. Who is addressed in the first stanza? 2. What
  comparison do you find in this stanza? 3. Tell the story in your own
  words. 4. Where was the treasure secured? 5. What marks of the ballad
  do you find in this poem? 6. What do you particularly like in this
  poem? 7. Pronounce the following: quagmires; palm.


  gray forgotten years, 184, 2
  bringing weary thought, 184, 3
  sunburn on our breasts, 185, 2
  rich as Lima Town, 185, 6
  in the crude and fashioned, 185, 11
  laid aboard the ship, 185, 15




  Dark, dark lay the drifters, against the red west,
    As they shot their long meshes of steel overside;
  And the oily green waters were rocking to rest
    When _Kilmeny_ went out, at the turn of the tide.
  And nobody knew where that lassie would roam,
    For the magic that called her was tapping unseen.
  It was well nigh a week ere _Kilmeny_ came home,
    And nobody knew where _Kilmeny_ had been.

  She’d a gun at her bow that was Newcastle’s best,
    And a gun at her stern that was fresh from the Clyde,
  And a secret her skipper had never confessed,
    Not even at dawn, to his newly wed bride;
  And a wireless that whispered above like a gnome,
    The laughter of London, the boasts of Berlin.
  O it may have been mermaids that lured her from home,
    But nobody knew where _Kilmeny_ had been.

  It was dark when _Kilmeny_ came home from her quest,
    With her bridge dabbled red where her skipper had died;
  But she moved like a bride with a rose at her breast;
    And “Well done, _Kilmeny_!” the admiral cried.
  Now at sixty-four fathom a conger may come,
    And nose at the bones of a drowned submarine;
  But late in the evening _Kilmeny_ came home,
    And nobody knew where _Kilmeny_ had been.

  There’s a wandering shadow that stares at the foam,
    Though they sing all the night to old England, their queen,
  Late, late in the evening _Kilmeny_ came home,
    And nobody knew where _Kilmeny_ had been.


  =Biography.= Alfred Noyes (1880-⸺), an English poet, lives in London.
  He was educated at Oxford, where for three years he rowed on the
  college crew. As soon as his college days were over he devoted
  himself to literature, contributing to many English magazines. During
  the World War he wrote many stirring poems, of which “Kilmeny” is
  among the best. In 1918-1919 Mr. Noyes was professor of literature in
  Princeton University.

  =Discussion.= 1. What picture does the first stanza give you? 2. What
  suggests to you the work in which the trawler was engaged? 3. Which
  stanza suggests the result of _Kilmeny’s_ trip? 4. What was the magic
  that called _Kilmeny_ to the quest? 5. What other poems of the sea
  have you read in this book? 6. Tell what you know about the author.


  against the red west, 186, 1
  long meshes of steel, 186, 2
  turn of the tide, 186, 4
  Newcastle’s best, 187, 1
  like a gnome, 187, 5
  wandering shadow, 187, 17



  Men of the Twenty-first
    Up by the Chalk Pit Wood,
  Weak with our wounds and our thirst,
    Wanting our sleep and our food,
  After a day and a night—
    God, shall we ever forget!
  Beaten and broke in the fight,
    But sticking it—sticking it yet.
  Trying to hold the line,
    Fainting and spent and done,
  Always the thud and the whine,
    Always the yell of the Hun!
  Northumberland, Lancaster, York,
    Durham, and Somerset,
  Fighting alone, worn to the bone,
    But sticking it—sticking it yet.

  Never a message of hope!
    Never a word of cheer!
  Fronting Hill 70’s shell-swept slope,
    With the dull dead plain in our rear.
  Always the whine of the shell,
    Always the roar of its burst,
  Always the tortures of hell,
    As waiting and wincing we cursed
  Our luck and the guns and the _Boche_,
    When our Corporal shouted, “Stand to!”
  And I heard someone cry, “Clear the front for the Guards!”
  And the Guards came through.

  Our throats they were parched and hot,
    But Lord, if you’d heard the cheers!
  Irish and Welsh and Scot,
    Coldstream and Grenadiers.
  Two brigades, if you please,
    Dressing as straight as a hem,
  We—we were down on our knees,
    Praying for us and for them!
  Lord, I could speak for a week,
    But how could you understand!
  How should _your_ cheeks be wet,
    Such feelin’s don’t come to _you_.
  But when can we or my mates forget,
    When the Guards came through?

  “Five yards left extend!”
    It passed from rank to rank.
  Line after line with never a bend,
    And a touch of the London swank.
  A trifle of swank and dash,
    Cool as a home parade,
  Twinkle and glitter and flash,
    Flinching never a shade,
  With the shrapnel right in their face
    Doing their Hyde Park stunt,
  Keeping their swing at an easy pace,
    Arms at the trail, eyes front!
  Man, it was great to see!
    Man, it was fine to do!
  It’s a cot and a hospital ward for me,
  But I’ll tell ’em in Blighty, wherever I be,
    How the Guards came through.


  =Biography.= Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-⸺) is an English author.
  He was educated in Stonyhurst College and at the University of
  Edinburgh. In 1885 he was graduated as a doctor of medicine and soon
  afterwards began practice. It was about this time that his first
  book, _A Study in Scarlet_, was published. His greatest success
  came with the publication of _The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes_, a
  collection of detective stories that introduced a character who has
  become as famous as if he had actually lived. Other books that have
  added to his fame are _The Lost World_, _The New Revelation_, and
  _The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes_. He has written many interesting
  articles on the World War, particularly descriptions of the western
  campaigns. In 1902 he was knighted.

  =Discussion.= 1. Who is supposed to be telling the story? 2. Why
  were the soldiers of the Twenty-first so disheartened? 3. What
  effect upon them had the arrival of the Guards? 4. Do you think
  that you would have felt like cheering if you had been a soldier of
  the Twenty-first? 5. What effect upon you has the line “Dressing as
  straight as a hem”? 6. What picture does the last stanza give you? 7.
  Does the poet make you see the Guards as they came through? 8. What
  do the last three lines suggest? 9. What does “Blighty” mean to you?
  10. Why does the one who is telling the story say that _we_ could not


  shell-swept slope, 188, 19
  waiting and wincing, 188, 24
  swank and dash, 189, 19
  arms at the trail, 189, 26






We had now reached the summit of the loftiest crag. For some minutes the
old man seemed too much exhausted to speak.

“Not long ago,” said he at length, “and I could have guided you on this
route as well as the youngest of my sons; but, about three years past,
there happened to me an event such as never happened before to mortal
man—or at least such as no man ever survived to tell of—and the six
hours of deadly terror which I then endured have broken me up, body and
soul. You suppose me a _very_ old man—but I am not. It took less than a
single day to change these hairs from a jetty black to white, to weaken
my limbs, and to unstring my nerves, so that I tremble at the least
exertion, and am frightened at a shadow. Do you know I can scarcely look
over this little cliff without getting giddy?”

The “little cliff,” upon whose edge he had so carelessly thrown himself
down to rest that the weightier portion of his body hung over it, while
he was only kept from falling by the tenure of his elbow on its extreme
and slippery edge—this “little cliff” arose, a sheer unobstructed
precipice of black shining rock, some fifteen or sixteen hundred feet
from the world of crags beneath us. Nothing would have tempted me to
within half a dozen yards of its brink. In truth, so deeply was I excited
by the perilous position of my companion, that I fell at full length upon
the ground, clung to the shrubs around me, and dared not even glance
upward at the sky—while I struggled in vain to divest myself of the idea
that the very foundations of the mountain were in danger from the fury
of the winds. It was long before I could reason myself into sufficient
courage to sit up and look out into the distance.

“You must get over these fancies,” said the guide, “for I have brought
you here that you might have the best possible view of the scene of that
event I mentioned—and to tell you the whole story with the spot just
under your eye.

“We are now,” he continued, in that particularizing manner which
distinguished him—“we are now close upon the Norwegian coast—in the
sixty-eighth degree of latitude—in the great province of Nordland—and in
the dreary district of Lofoden. The mountain upon whose top we sit is
Helseggen, the Cloudy. Now raise yourself up a little higher—hold on to
the grass if you feel giddy—so—and look out, beyond the belt of vapor
beneath us, into the sea.”

I looked dizzily, and beheld a wide expanse of ocean, whose waters wore
so inky a hue as to bring at once to my mind the Nubian geographer’s
account of the _Mare Tenebrarum_. A panorama more deplorably desolate no
human imagination can conceive. To the right and left, as far as the eye
could reach, there lay outstretched, like ramparts of the world, lines of
horridly black and beetling cliff, whose character of gloom was but the
more forcibly illustrated by the surf which reared high up against it,
its white and ghastly crest, howling and shrieking forever. Just opposite
the promontory upon whose apex we were placed, and at a distance of some
five or six miles out at sea, there was visible a small, bleak-looking
island; or, more properly, its position was discernible through the
wilderness of surge in which it was enveloped. About two miles nearer
the land arose another of smaller size, hideously craggy and barren, and
encompassed at various intervals by a cluster of dark rocks.

The appearance of the ocean, in the space between the more distant island
and the shore, had something very unusual about it. Although, at the
time, so strong a gale was blowing landward that a brig in the remote
offing lay to under a double-reefed try-sail, and constantly plunged her
whole hull out of sight, still there was here nothing like a regular
swell, but only a short, quick, angry cross-dashing of water in every
direction—as well in the teeth of the wind as otherwise. Of foam there
was little except in the immediate vicinity of the rocks.

“The island in the distance,” resumed the old man, “is called by the
Norwegians Vurrgh. The one midway is Moskoe. That a mile to the northward
is Ambaaren. Yonder are Iflesen, Hoeyholm, Kieldholm, Suarven, and
Buckholm. Farther off—between Moskoe and Vurrgh—are Otterholm, Flimen,
Sandflesen, and Skarholm. These are the true names of the places—but why
it had been thought necessary to name them at all is more than either you
or I can understand. Do you hear anything? Do you see any change in the

We had now been about ten minutes upon the top of Helseggen, to which
we had ascended from the interior of Lofoden, so that we had caught no
glimpse of the sea until it had burst upon us from the summit. As the
old man spoke, I became aware of a loud and gradually increasing sound,
like the moaning of a vast herd of buffaloes upon an American prairie;
and at the same moment I perceived that what seamen term the _chopping_
character of the ocean beneath us, was rapidly changing into a current
which set to the eastward. Even while I gazed, this current acquired
a monstrous velocity. Each moment added to its speed—to its headlong
impetuosity. In five minutes the whole sea, as far as Vurrgh, was lashed
into ungovernable fury; but it was between Moskoe and the coast that
the main uproar held its sway. Here the vast bed of the waters, seamed
and scarred into a thousand conflicting channels, burst suddenly into
frenzied convulsion—heaving, boiling, hissing—gyrating in gigantic
and innumerable vortices, and all whirling and plunging on to the
eastward with a rapidity which water never elsewhere assumes, except in
precipitous descents.

In a few minutes more, there came over the scene another radical
alteration. The general surface grew somewhat more smooth, and the
whirlpools, one by one, disappeared, while prodigious streaks of foam
became apparent where none had been seen before. These streaks, at
length, spreading out to a great distance, and entering into combination,
took unto themselves the gyratory motion of the subsided vortices, and
seemed to form the germ of another more vast. Suddenly—very suddenly—this
assumed a distinct and definite existence, in a circle of more than a
mile in diameter. The edge of the whirl was represented by a broad belt
of gleaming spray; but no particle of this slipped into the mouth of the
terrific funnel, whose interior, as far as the eye could fathom it, was
a smooth, shining, and jet-black wall of water, inclined to the horizon
at an angle of some forty-five degrees, speeding dizzily round and round
with a swaying and sweltering motion, and sending forth to the winds an
appalling voice, half shriek, half roar, such as not even the mighty
cataract of Niagara ever lifts up in its agony to Heaven.

The mountain trembled to its very base, and the rock rocked. I threw
myself upon my face, and clung to the scant herbage in an excess of
nervous agitation.

“This,” said I at length, to the old man—“this _can_ be nothing else than
the great whirlpool of the Maelstrom.”

“So it is sometimes termed,” said he. “We Norwegians call it the
Moskoe-strom, from the island of Moskoe in the midway.”

The ordinary accounts of this vortex had by no means prepared me for what
I saw. That of Jonas Ramus, which is perhaps the most circumstantial of
any, cannot impart the faintest conception either of the magnificence
or of the horror of the scene—or of the wild bewildering sense of _the
novel_ which confounds the beholder. I am not sure from what point of
view the writer in question surveyed it, nor at what time; but it could
neither have been from the summit of Helseggen, nor during a storm.
There are some passages of his description, nevertheless, which may be
quoted for their details, although their effect is exceedingly feeble in
conveying an impression of the spectacle.

“Between Lofoden and Moskoe,” he says, “the depth of the water is between
thirty-six and forty fathoms; but on the other side, toward Ver (Vurrgh),
this depth decreases so as not to afford a convenient passage for a
vessel, without the risk of splitting on the rocks, which happens even
in the calmest weather. When it is flood, the stream runs up the country
between Lofoden and Moskoe with a boisterous rapidity; but the roar of
its impetuous ebb to the sea is scarce equaled by the loudest and most
dreadful cataracts, the noise being heard several leagues off; and the
vortices or pits are of such an extent and depth, that if a ship comes
within its attraction, it is inevitably absorbed and carried down to the
bottom, and there beat to pieces against the rocks; and when the water
relaxes, the fragments thereof are thrown up again. But these intervals
of tranquillity are only at the turn of the ebb and flood, and in calm
weather, and last but a quarter of an hour, its violence gradually
returning. When the stream is most boisterous, and its fury heightened by
a storm, it is dangerous to come within a Norwegian mile of it. Boats,
yachts, and ships have been carried away by not guarding against it
before they were within its reach. It likewise happens frequently that
whales come too near the stream, and are overpowered by its violence; and
then it is impossible to describe their howlings and bellowings in their
fruitless struggles to disengage themselves. A bear once, attempting to
swim from Lofoden to Moskoe, was caught by the stream and borne down,
while he roared terribly, so as to be heard on shore. Large stocks of
firs and pine trees, after being absorbed by the current, rise again
broken and torn to such a degree as if bristles grew upon them. This
plainly shows the bottom to consist of craggy rocks, among which they are
whirled to and fro. This stream is regulated by the flux and reflux of
the sea—it being constantly high and low water every six hours. In the
year 1645, early in the morning of Sexagesima Sunday, it raged with such
noise and impetuosity that the very stones of the houses on the coast
fell to the ground.”

In regard to the depth of the water, I could not see how this could have
been ascertained at all in the immediate vicinity of the vortex. The
“forty fathoms” must have reference only to portions of the channel close
upon the shore either of Moskoe or Lofoden. The depth in the center of
the Moskoe-strom must be immeasurably greater; and no better proof of
this fact is necessary than can be obtained from even the sidelong glance
into the abyss of the whirl which may be had from the highest crag of
Helseggen. Looking down from this pinnacle upon the howling Phlegethon
below, I could not help smiling at the simplicity with which the honest
Jonas Ramus records, as a matter difficult of belief, the anecdotes of
the whales and the bears; for it appeared to me, in fact, a self-evident
thing that the largest ships of the line in existence, coming within
the influence of that deadly attraction, could resist it as little as a
feather the hurricane, and must disappear bodily and at once.

The attempts to account for the phenomenon—some of which, I remember,
seemed to me sufficiently plausible in perusal—now wore a very different
and unsatisfactory aspect. The idea generally received is that this, as
well as three smaller vortices among the Faroe Islands, “have no other
cause than the collision of waves rising and falling, at flux and reflux,
against a ridge of rocks and shelves, which confines the water so that
it precipitates itself like a cataract; and thus the higher the flood
rises, the deeper must the fall be, and the natural result of all is a
whirlpool or vortex, the prodigious suction of which is sufficiently
known by lesser experiments.”—These are the words of the _Encyclopedia
Britannica_. Kircher and others imagine that in the center of the channel
of the Maelstrom is an abyss penetrating the globe, and issuing in some
very remote part—the Gulf of Bothnia being somewhat decidedly named in
one instance. This opinion, idle in itself, was the one to which, as I
gazed, my imagination most readily assented; and, mentioning it to the
guide, I was rather surprised to hear him say that, although it was the
view almost universally entertained of the subject by the Norwegians,
it nevertheless was not his own. As to the former notion he confessed
his inability to comprehend it; and here I agreed with him—for, however
conclusive on paper, it becomes altogether unintelligible, and even
absurd, amid the thunder of the abyss.


“You have had a good look at the whirl now,” said the old man, “and if
you will creep round this crag, so as to get in its lee, and deaden the
roar of the water, I will tell you a story that will convince you I ought
to know something of the Moskoe-strom.”

I placed myself as desired, and he proceeded.

“Myself and my two brothers once owned a schooner-rigged smack of about
seventy tons burden, with which we were in the habit of fishing among
the islands beyond Moskoe, nearly to Vurrgh. In all violent eddies at
sea there is good fishing, at proper opportunities, if one has only the
courage to attempt it; but among the whole of the Lofoden coastmen we
three were the only ones who made a regular business of going out to the
islands, as I tell you. The usual grounds are a great way lower down to
the southward. There fish can be got at all hours, without much risk,
and therefore these places are preferred. The choice spots over here
among the rocks, however, not only yield the finest variety, but in far
greater abundance; so that we often got in a single day what the more
timid of the craft could not scrape together in a week. In fact, we made
it a matter of desperate speculation—the risk of life standing instead of
labor, and courage answering for capital.

“We kept the smack in a cove about five miles higher up the coast than
this; and it was our practice, in fine weather, to take advantage of
the fifteen minutes’ slack to push across the main channel of the
Moskoe-strom, far above the pool, and then drop down upon anchorage
somewhere near Otterholm, or Sandflesen, where the eddies are not so
violent as elsewhere. Here we used to remain until nearly time for slack
water again, when we weighed and made for home. We never set out upon
this expedition without a steady side wind for going and coming—one that
we felt sure would not fail us before our return—and we seldom made a
miscalculation upon this point. Twice, during six years, we were forced
to stay all night at anchor on account of a dead calm, which is a rare
thing indeed just about here; and once we had to remain on the ground
nearly a week, starving to death, owing to a gale which blew up shortly
after our arrival, and made the channel too boisterous to be thought
of. Upon this occasion we should have been driven out to sea in spite
of everything (for the whirlpools threw us round and round so violently
that, at length, we fouled our anchor and dragged it) if it had not been
that we drifted into one of the innumerable cross currents—here today
and gone tomorrow—which drove us under the lee of Flimen, where, by good
luck, we brought up.

“I could not tell you the twentieth part of the difficulties we
encountered ‘on the ground’—it is a bad spot to be in, even in good
weather—but we made shift always to run the gauntlet of the Moskoe-strom
itself without accident; although at times my heart has been in my mouth
when we happened to be a minute or so behind or before the slack. The
wind sometimes was not as strong as we thought it at starting, and then
we made rather less way than we could wish, while the current rendered
the smack unmanageable. My eldest brother had a son eighteen years old,
and I had two stout boys of my own. These would have been of great
assistance at such times, in using the sweeps, as well as afterward in
fishing—but, somehow, although we ran the risk ourselves, we had not the
heart to let the young ones get into the danger—for, after all said and
done, it _was_ a horrible danger, and that is the truth.

“It is now within a few days of three years since what I am going to tell
you occurred. It was on the tenth of July, 18—, a day which the people of
this part of the world will never forget—for it was one in which blew the
most terrible hurricane that ever came out of the heavens. And yet all
the morning, and indeed until late in the afternoon, there was a gentle
and steady breeze from the southwest, while the sun shone brightly, so
that the oldest seaman among us could not have foreseen what was to

“The three of us—my two brothers and myself—had crossed over to the
islands about two o’clock P.M., and soon nearly loaded the smack with
fine fish, which, we all remarked, were more plenty that day than we had
ever known them. It was just seven, _by my watch_, when we weighed and
started for home, so as to make the worst of the Strom at slack water,
which we knew would be at eight.

“We set out with a fresh wind on our starboard quarter, and for some time
spanked along at a great rate, never dreaming of danger, for indeed we
saw not the slightest reason to apprehend it. All at once we were taken
aback by a breeze from over Helseggen. This was most unusual—something
that had never happened to us before—and I began to feel a little uneasy,
without exactly knowing why: We put the boat on the wind, but could make
no headway at all for the eddies, and I was upon the point of proposing
to return to the anchorage, when, looking astern, we saw the whole
horizon covered with a singular copper-covered cloud that rose with the
most amazing velocity.

“In the meantime the breeze that had headed us off fell away, and we were
dead becalmed, drifting about in every direction. This state of things,
however, did not last long enough to give us time to think about it. In
less than a minute the storm was upon us—in less than two the sky was
entirely overcast—and what with this and the driving spray, it became
suddenly so dark that we could not see each other in the smack.

“Such a hurricane as then blew it is folly to attempt describing. The
oldest seaman in Norway never experienced anything like it. We had let
our sails go by the run before it cleverly took us; but, at the first
puff, both our masts went by the board as if they had been sawed off—the
mainmast taking with it my youngest brother, who had lashed himself to it
for safety.

“Our boat was the lightest feather of a thing that ever sat so upon
water. It had a complete flush deck, with only a small hatch near the
bow, and this hatch it had always been our custom to batten down when
about to cross the Strom, by way of precaution against the chopping
seas. But for this circumstance we should have foundered at once—for
we lay entirely buried for some moments. How my elder brother escaped
destruction I cannot say, for I never had an opportunity of ascertaining.
For my part, as soon as I had let the foresail run, I threw myself flat
on deck, with my feet against the narrow gunwale of the bow, and with
my hands grasping a ringbolt near the foot of the foremast. It was mere
instinct that prompted me to do this—which was undoubtedly the very best
thing I could have done—for I was too much flurried to think.


“For some moments we were completely deluged, as I say, and all this time
I held my breath, and clung to the bolt. When I could stand it no longer
I raised myself upon my knees, still keeping hold with my hands, and thus
got my head clear. Presently our little boat gave herself a shake, just
as a dog does in coming out of the water, and thus rid herself, in some
measure, of the seas. I was now trying to get the better of the stupor
that had come over me, and to collect my senses so as to see what was to
be done, when I felt somebody grasp my arm. It was my elder brother, and
my heart leaped for joy, for I had made sure that he was overboard—but
the next moment all this joy was turned into horror—for he put his mouth
close to my ear, and screamed out the word ‘_Moskoe-strom!_’

“No one will ever know what my feelings were at that moment. I shook from
head to foot as if I had had the most violent fit of the ague. I knew
what he meant by that one word well enough—I knew what he wished to make
me understand. With the wind that now drove us on, we were bound for the
whirl of the Strom, and nothing could save us!

“You perceive that in crossing the Strom _channel_, we always went a long
way up above the whirl, even in the calmest weather, and then had to wait
and watch carefully for the slack—but now we were driving right upon the
pool itself, and in such a hurricane as this! ‘To be sure,’ I thought,
‘we shall get there just about the slack—there is some little hope in
that’—but in the next moment I cursed myself for being so great a fool
as to dream of hope at all. I knew very well that we were doomed, had we
been ten times a ninety-gun ship.

“By this time the first fury of the tempest had spent itself, or perhaps
we did not feel it so much as we scudded before it; but at all events
the seas, which at first had been kept down by the wind, and lay flat and
frothing, now got up into absolute mountains. A singular change, too,
had come over the heavens. Around in every direction it was still black
as pitch, but nearly overhead there burst out, all at once, a circular
rift of clear sky—as clear as I ever saw—and of a deep bright blue—and
through it there blazed forth the full moon with a luster that I never
before knew her to wear. She lit up everything about us with the greatest
distinctness—but, oh, God, what a scene it was to light up!

“I now made one or two attempts to speak to my brother—but, in some
manner which I could not understand, the din had so increased that I
could not make him hear a single word, although I screamed at the top
of my voice in his ear. Presently he shook his head, looking as pale as
death, and held up one of his fingers, as if to say _listen_!

“At first I could not make out what he meant—but soon a hideous thought
flashed upon me. I dragged my watch from its fob. It was not going. I
glanced at its face by the moonlight, and then burst into tears as I
flung it far away into the ocean. _It had run down at seven o’clock! We
were behind the time of the slack, and the whirl of the Strom was in full

“When a boat is well built, properly trimmed, and not deep laden, the
waves in a strong gale, when she is going large, seem always to slip from
beneath her—which appears very strange to a landsman—and this is what is
called _riding_, in sea phrase.

“Well, so far we had ridden the swells very cleverly; but presently a
gigantic sea happened to take us right under the counter, and bore us
with it as it rose—up—up—as if into the sky. I would not have believed
that any wave could rise so high. And then down we came with a sweep,
a slide, and a plunge, that made me feel sick and dizzy, as if I was
falling from some lofty mountain-top in a dream. But while we were up I
had thrown a quick glance around—and that one glance was all-sufficient.
I saw our exact position in an instant. The Moskoe-strom whirlpool was
about a quarter of a mile dead ahead—but no more like the everyday
Moskoe-strom than the whirl as you now see it is like a mill-race. If I
had not known where we were, and what we had to expect, I should not have
recognized the place at all. As it was, I involuntarily closed my eyes in
horror. The lids clenched themselves together as if in a spasm.

“It could not have been more than two minutes afterwards until we
suddenly felt the waves subside, and were enveloped in foam. The boat
made a sharp half turn to larboard, and then shot off in its new
direction like a thunderbolt. At the same moment the roaring noise of
the water was completely drowned in a kind of shrill shriek—such a sound
as you might imagine given out by the water-pipes of many thousand steam
vessels, letting off their steam all together. We were now in the belt
of surf that always surrounds the whirl; and I thought, of course, that
another moment would plunge us into the abyss—down which we could only
see indistinctly on account of the amazing velocity with which we were
borne along. The boat did not seem to sink into the water at all, but to
skim like an air-bubble upon the surface of the surge. Her starboard side
was next the whirl, and on the larboard arose the world of ocean we had
left. It stood like a huge, writhing wall between us and the horizon.

“It may appear strange, but now, when we were in the very jaws of the
gulf, I felt more composed than when we were only approaching it. Having
made up my mind to hope no more, I got rid of a great deal of that terror
which unmanned me at first. I suppose it was despair that strung my

“It may look like boasting—but what I tell you is truth—I began to
reflect how magnificent a thing it was to die in such a manner, and how
foolish it was in me to think of so paltry a consideration as my own
individual life, in view of so wonderful a manifestation of God’s power.
I do believe that I blushed with shame when this idea crossed my mind.
After a little while I became possessed with the keenest curiosity about
the whirl itself. I positively felt a _wish_ to explore its depths, even
at the sacrifice I was going to make; and my principal grief was that
I should never be able to tell my old companions on shore about the
mysteries I should see. These, no doubt, were singular fancies to occupy
a man’s mind in such extremity—and I have often thought since, that the
revolutions of the boat around the pool might have rendered me a little

“There was another circumstance which tended to restore my
self-possession; and this was the cessation of the wind, which could
not reach us in our present situation—for, as you saw yourself, the
belt of surf is considerably lower than the general bed of the ocean,
and this latter now towered above us, a high, black, mountainous ridge.
If you have never been at sea in a heavy gale, you can form no idea of
the confusion of mind occasioned by the wind and spray together. They
blind, deafen, and strangle you, and take away all power of action
or reflection. But we were now, in a great measure, rid of these
annoyances—just as death-condemned felons in prisons are allowed petty
indulgences forbidden them while their doom is yet uncertain.

“How often we made the circuit of the belt it is impossible to say.
We careered round and round for perhaps an hour, flying rather than
floating, getting gradually more and more into the middle of the surge,
and then nearer and nearer to its horrible inner edge. All this time I
had never let go of the ringbolt. My brother was at the stern, holding on
to a small empty water-cask which had been securely lashed under the coop
of the counter, and was the only thing on deck that had not been swept
overboard when the gale first took us. As we approached the brink of the
pit he let go his hold upon this, and made for the ring, from which, in
the agony of his terror, he endeavored to force my hands, as it was not
large enough to afford us both a secure grasp. I never felt deeper grief
than when I saw him attempt this act—although I knew he was a madman when
he did it—a raving maniac through sheer fright. I did not care, however,
to contest the point with him. I knew it could make no difference whether
either of us held on at all; so I let him have the bolt, and went astern
to the cask. This there was no great difficulty in doing; for the smack
flew round steadily enough, and upon an even keel—only swaying to and
fro, with the immense sweeps and swelters of the whirl. Scarcely had
I secured myself in my new position, when we gave a wild lurch to
starboard, and rushed headlong into the abyss. I muttered a hurried
prayer to God, and thought all was over.

“As I felt the sickening sweep of the descent, I had instinctively
tightened my hold upon the barrel, and closed my eyes. For some seconds
I dared not open them—while I expected instant destruction, and wondered
that I was not already in my death-struggles with the water. But moment
after moment elapsed. I still lived. The sense of falling had ceased;
and the motion of the vessel seemed much as it had been before, while in
the belt of foam, with the exception that she now lay more along. I took
courage and looked once again upon the scene.

“Never shall I forget the sensations of awe, horror, and admiration with
which I gazed about me. The boat appeared to be hanging, as if by magic,
midway down, upon the interior surface of a funnel vast in circumference,
prodigious in depth, and whose perfectly smooth sides might have been
mistaken for ebony, but for the bewildering rapidity with which they spun
around, and for the gleaming and ghastly radiance they shot forth, as
the rays of the full moon, from that circular rift amid the clouds which
I have already described, streamed in a flood of golden glory along the
black walls, and far away down into the inmost recesses of the abyss.

“At first I was too much confused to observe anything accurately.
The general burst of terrific grandeur was all that I beheld. When I
recovered myself a little, however, my gaze fell instinctively downward.
In this direction I was able to obtain an unobstructed view, from the
manner in which the smack hung on the inclined surface of the pool. She
was quite upon an even keel—that is to say, her deck lay in a plane
parallel with that of the water—but this latter sloped at an angle of
more than forty-five degrees, so that we seemed to be lying upon our
beam-ends. I could not help observing, nevertheless, that I had scarcely
more difficulty in maintaining my hold and footing in this situation,
than if we had been upon a dead level; and this, I suppose, was owing to
the speed at which we revolved.

“The rays of the moon seemed to search the very bottom of the profound
gulf; but still I could make out nothing distinctly, on account of a
thick mist in which everything there was enveloped, and over which there
hung a magnificent rainbow, like that narrow and tottering bridge which
Mussulmans say is the only pathway between Time and Eternity. This mist,
or spray, was no doubt occasioned by the clashing of the great walls of
the funnel, as they all met together at the bottom—but the yell that went
up to the heavens from out of that mist, I dare not attempt to describe.

“Our first slide into the abyss itself, from the belt of foam above,
had carried us to a great distance down the slope; but our farther
descent was by no means proportionate. Round and round we swept—not with
any uniform movement, but in dizzying swings and jerks, that sent us
sometimes only a few hundred yards—sometimes nearly the complete circuit
of the whirl. Our progress downward, at each revolution, was slow, but
very perceptible.


“Looking about me upon the wide waste of liquid ebony on which we were
thus borne, I perceived that our boat was not the only object in the
embrace of the whirl. Both above and below us were visible fragments
of vessels, large masses of building timber and trunks of trees, with
many smaller articles, such as pieces of house furniture, broken boxes,
barrels, and staves. I have already described the unnatural curiosity
which had taken the place of my original terrors. It appeared to grow
upon me as I drew nearer and nearer to my dreadful doom. I now began
to watch, with a strange interest, the numerous things that floated in
our company. I _must_ have been delirious—for I even sought _amusement_
in speculating upon the relative velocities of their several descents
toward the foam below. ‘This fir tree,’ I found myself at one time
saying, ‘will certainly be the next thing that takes the awful plunge
and disappears,’—and then I was disappointed to find that the wreck of a
Dutch merchant ship overtook it and went down before. At length, after
making several guesses of this nature, and being deceived in all—this
fact—the fact of my invariable miscalculation, set me upon a train of
reflection that made my limbs again tremble, and my heart beat heavily
once more.

“It was not a new terror that thus affected me, but the dawn of a more
exciting _hope_. This hope arose partly from memory, and partly from
present observation. I called to mind the great variety of buoyant matter
that strewed the coast of Lofoden, having been absorbed and then thrown
forth by the Moskoe-strom. By far the greater number of the articles
were shattered in the most extraordinary way—so chafed and roughened
as to have the appearance of being stuck full of splinters—but then I
distinctly recollected that there were _some_ of them which were not
disfigured at all. Now I could not account for this difference except by
supposing that the roughened fragments were the only ones which had been
_completely absorbed_—that the others had entered the whirl at so late a
period of the tide, or, from some reason, had descended so slowly after
entering, that they did not reach the bottom before the turn of the flood
came, or of the ebb, as the case might be. I conceived it possible, in
either instance, that they might thus be whirled up again to the level
of the ocean, without undergoing the fate of those which had been drawn
in more early or absorbed more rapidly. I made, also, three important
observations. The first was, that as a general rule, the larger the
bodies were, the more rapid their descent; the second, that, between two
masses of equal extent, the one spherical, and the other _of any other
shape_, the superiority in speed of descent was with the sphere; the
third, that, between two masses of equal size, the one cylindrical, and
the other of any other shape, the cylinder was absorbed the more slowly.
Since my escape, I have had several conversations on this subject with
an old schoolmaster of the district; and it was from him that I learned
the use of the words ‘cylinder’ and ‘sphere.’ He explained to me—although
I have forgotten the explanation—how what I observed was, in fact, the
natural consequence of the forms of the floating fragments, and showed
me how it happened that a cylinder, swimming in a vortex, offered more
resistance to its suction, and was drawn in with greater difficulty, than
an equally bulky body, of any form whatever.

“There was one startling circumstance which went a great way in enforcing
these observations, and rendering me anxious to turn them to account, and
this was that, at every revolution, we passed something like a barrel,
or else the yard or mast of a vessel, while many of these things, which
had been on our level when I first opened my eyes upon the wonders of the
whirlpool, were now high up above us, and seemed to have moved but little
from their original station.

“I no longer hesitated what to do. I resolved to lash myself securely to
the water cask upon which I now held, to cut it loose from the counter,
and to throw myself with it into the water. I attracted my brother’s
attention to signs, pointed to the floating barrels that came near us,
and did everything in my power to make him understand what I was about
to do. I thought at length that he comprehended my design—but, whether
this was the case or not, he shook his head despairingly, and refused to
move from his station by the ringbolt. It was impossible to reach him;
the emergency admitted of no delay; and so, with a bitter struggle, I
resigned him to his fate, fastened myself to the cask by means of the
lashings which secured it to the counter, and precipitated myself with it
into the sea, without another moment’s hesitation.

“The result was precisely what I had hoped it might be. As it is myself
who now tells you this tale—as you see that I _did_ escape—and as you are
already in possession of the mode in which this escape was effected, and
must therefore anticipate all that I have further to say—I will bring my
story quickly to conclusion. It might have been an hour, or thereabout,
after my quitting the smack, when, having descended to a vast distance
beneath me, it made three or four wild gyrations in rapid succession,
and, bearing my loved brother with it, plunged headlong, at once and
forever, into the chaos of foam below. The barrel to which I was attached
sunk very little farther than half the distance between the bottom of
the gulf and the spot at which I leaped overboard, before a great change
took place in the character of the whirlpool. The slope of the sides of
the vast funnel became momently less and less steep. The gyrations of
the whirl grew, gradually, less and less violent. By degrees, the froth
and the rainbow disappeared, and the bottom of the gulf seemed slowly to
uprise. The sky was clear, the winds had gone down, and the full moon
was setting radiantly in the west, when I found myself on the surface
of the ocean, in full view of the shores of Lofoden, and above the spot
where the pool of the Moskoe-strom _had been_. It was the hour of the
slack; but the sea still heaved in mountainous waves from the effects of
the hurricane. I was borne violently into the channel of the strom, and
in a few minutes was hurried down the coast into the ‘grounds’ of the
fishermen. A boat picked me up—exhausted from fatigue—and (now that the
danger was removed) speechless from the memory of its horror. Those who
drew me on board were my old mates and daily companions, but they knew me
no more than they would have known a traveler from the spirit-land. My
hair, which had been raven-black the day before, was as white as you see
it now. They say, too, that the whole expression of my countenance had
changed. I told them my story—they did not believe it. I now tell it to
you—and I can scarcely expect you to put more faith in it than did the
merry fishermen of Lofoden.”


  =Biography.= Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) was the greatest poet and
  short story writer the South has produced. His parents belonged
  by profession to the stage; his mother was English and his father
  American by birth. Born in Boston, he was left an orphan at an early
  age, and was adopted by a Mr. Allan, a wealthy citizen of Richmond,
  Virginia. Poe was sent to school in London, and later he attended the
  University of Virginia, and the military academy at West Point. Mr.
  Allan lavished money and other inducements upon him in vain efforts
  to get him to settle down to a permanent profession, but finally
  abandoned him to his own resources. From that time on, Poe eked out a
  living by publishing poems and tales, by contributions to newspapers
  and magazines, and by editorial work. But he was too erratic in his
  habits to retain long either positions or friends. His writings,
  like his character, were weird, mysterious, haunted by brooding
  melancholy. But his poetry is perhaps the most purely musical of any
  in our language—for Poe believed that poetry should be the language
  of the feelings rather than of thought, and that it should therefore
  seek to produce its effects through “harmony of sweet sounds” rather
  than through the meaning of its lines. His prose tales of mystery
  and adventure are remarkable for their imaginative and poetic style;
  they have served as models for many well known writers. Poe was the
  originator of the modern short story.

  Poe’s erratic, troubled life ended at Baltimore, in 1849, in the
  fortieth year of his age. The pathos of it is well summed up in the
  inscription on a memorial tablet erected to him in the New York
  Museum of Art: “He was great in his genius, unhappy in his life,
  wretched in his death, but in his fame, immortal.”

  =Discussion.= 1. Locate the scene of this story on a map. 2. Read
  from the dictionary and encyclopedia to learn about whirlpools. 3.
  What do you learn from Jonas Ramus’s description of the whirlpool?
  4. How does the _Encyclopedia Britannica_ account for the vortex? 5.
  What was the theory of Kircher? 6. How does the hero account for his
  apparent age? 7. Relate briefly in your own words the hero’s story
  of his experience in the maelstrom. 8. What tempted him to brave the
  dangers of the whirlpool? 9. Account for his miscalculation of the
  time of the slack. 10. What three observations did the hero make
  while descending into the maelstrom? 11. How did he make his escape?
  12. How does Poe try to give an idea of the noise of the whirlpool?
  13. How does it differ from Hawthorne’s description of the roar of
  Niagara? (See page 466.) 14. How had the “ordinary accounts of the
  vortex” prepared Poe to see it? 15. In what were these accounts of
  the vortex inadequate? 16. Compare this with Hawthorne’s statement
  concerning what he had read of Niagara. 17. From this story what do
  you think of Poe’s powers of imagination and description? 18. What
  other authors have you read that have similar powers? 19. Point
  out descriptions in this selection that you particularly like. 20.
  Pronounce the following: ungovernable; maelstrom; vortices; herbage;
  gauntlet; ague; buoyant.


  sheer unobstructed precipice, 192, 4
  particularizing manner, 192, 18
  deplorably desolate, 192, 29
  precipitous descents, 194, 3
  gleaming spray, 194, 15
  terrific funnel, 194, 16
  boisterous rapidity, 195, 10
  fruitless struggles, 195, 26
  flux and reflux, 195, 33
  immediate vicinity, 196, 2
  abyss of the whirl, 196, 8
  plausible in perusal, 196, 18
  collision of waves, 196, 21
  desperate speculation, 197, 22
  flood of golden glory, 204, 20
  terrific grandeur, 204, 24
  wide waste of liquid ebony, 205, 17
  the gyrations of the whirl, 207, 37





I was apprenticed to the Sea when I was twelve years old, and I have
encountered a great deal of rough weather, both literal and metaphorical.
It has always been my opinion since I first possessed such a thing as
an opinion, that the man who knows only one subject is next tiresome to
the man who knows no subject. Therefore, in the course of my life I have
taught myself whatever I could, and although I am not an educated man, I
am able, I am thankful to say, to have an intelligent interest in most

A person might suppose, from reading the above, that I am in the habit
of holding forth about number one. That is not the case. Just as if I
were to come into a room among strangers, and must either be introduced
or introduce myself, so I have taken the liberty of passing these few
remarks, simply and plainly that it may be known who and what I am.
I will add no more of the sort than that my name is William George
Ravender, that I was born at Penrith half a year after my own father
was drowned, and that I am on the second day of this present blessed
Christmas week of one thousand eight hundred and fifty-six, fifty-six
years of age.

When the rumor first went flying up and down that there was gold in
California—which, as most people know, was before it was discovered
in the British colony of Australia—I was in the West Indies, trading
among the Islands. Being in command and likewise part-owner of a smart
schooner, I had my work cut out for me, and I was doing it. Consequently,
gold in California was no business of mine.

But, by the time when I came home to England again, the thing was as
clear as your hand held up before you at noon-day. There was Californian
gold in the museums and in the goldsmiths’ shops, and the very first
time I went upon ’Change, I met a friend of mine (a seafaring man like
myself), with a Californian nugget hanging to his watch-chain. I handled
it. It was as like a peeled walnut with bits unevenly broken off here and
there, and then electrotyped all over, as ever I saw anything in my life.

I am a single man (she was too good for this world and for me, and she
died six weeks before our marriage-day), so when I am ashore, I live
in my house at Poplar. My house at Poplar is taken care of and kept
ship-shape by an old lady who was my mother’s maid before I was born. She
is as handsome and as upright as any old lady in the world. She is as
fond of me as if she had ever had an only son, and I were he. Well do I
know wherever I sail that she never lays down her head at night without
having said, “Merciful Lord! bless and preserve William George Ravender,
and send him safe home, through Christ our Savior!” I have thought of it
in many a dangerous moment, when it has done me no harm, I am sure.

In my house at Poplar, along with this old lady, I lived quiet for the
best part of a year, having had a long spell of it among the Islands,
and having (which was very uncommon in me) taken the fever rather badly.
At last, being strong and hearty, and having read every book I could lay
hold of right out, I was walking down Leadenhall Street in the City of
London, thinking of turning-to again, when I met what I call Smithick and
Watersby of Liverpool. I chanced to lift up my eyes from looking in at a
ship’s chronometer in a window, and I saw him bearing down upon me, head

It is, personally, neither Smithick, nor Watersby, that I here mention,
nor was I ever acquainted with any man of either of those names, nor do
I think that there has been any one of either of those names in that
Liverpool House for years back. But, it is in reality the House itself
that I refer to; and a wiser merchant or a truer gentleman never stepped.

“My dear Captain Ravender,” says he. “Of all the men on earth, I wanted
to see you most. I was on my way to you.”

“Well!” says I. “That looks as if you _were_ to see me, don’t it?” With
that I put my arm in his, and we walked on toward the Royal Exchange,
and when we got there, walked up and down at the back of it where the
Clock-Tower is. We walked an hour and more, for he had much to say to me.
He had a scheme for chartering a new ship of their own to take out cargo
to the diggers and emigrants in California, and to buy and bring back
gold. Into the particulars of that scheme I will not enter, and I have no
right to enter. All I say of it is, that it was a very original one, a
very fine one, a very sound one, and a very lucrative one beyond doubt.

He imparted it to me as freely as if I had been a part of himself. After
doing so, he made me the handsomest sharing offer that ever was made to
me, boy or man—or I believe to any other captain in the Merchant Navy—and
he took this round turn to finish with:

“Ravender, you are well aware that the lawlessness of that coast and
country at present is as special as the circumstances in which it is
placed. Crews of vessels outward bound desert as soon as they make the
land; crews of vessels homeward bound, ship at enormous wages, with the
express intention of murdering the captain and seizing the gold freight;
no man can trust another, and the devil seems let loose. Now,” says he,
“you know my opinion of you, and you know I am only expressing it, and
with no singularity, when I tell you that you are almost the only man on
whose integrity, discretion, and energy—” etc., etc. For I don’t want to
repeat what he said, though I was and am sensible of it.

Notwithstanding my being, as I have mentioned, quite ready for a voyage,
still I had some doubts of this voyage. Of course I knew, without being
told, that there were peculiar difficulties and dangers in it, a long way
over and above those which attend all voyages. It must not be supposed
that I was afraid to face them; but, in my opinion a man has no manly
motive or sustainment in his own breast for facing dangers, unless he has
well considered what they are, and is quietly able to say to himself,
“None of these perils can now take me by surprise; I shall know what
to do for the best in any of them; all the rest lies in the higher and
greater hands to which I humbly commit myself.” On this principle I have
so attentively considered (regarding it as my duty) all the hazards I
have ever been able to think of, in the ordinary way of storm, shipwreck,
and fire at sea, that I hope I should be prepared to do in any of those
cases whatever could be done, to save the lives entrusted to my charge.

As I was thoughtful, my good friend proposed that he should leave me to
walk there as long as I liked, and that I should dine with him by-and-by
at his club in Pall Mall. I accepted the invitation and I walked up and
down there, quarter-deck fashion, a matter of a couple of hours; now and
then looking up at the weathercock as I might have looked up aloft; and
now and then taking a look into Cornhill, as I might have taken a look
over the side.

All dinner-time, and all after dinner-time, we talked it over again. I
gave him my views of his plan, and he very much approved of the same.
I told him I had nearly decided, but not quite. “Well, well,” says he,
“come down to Liverpool tomorrow with me, and see the Golden Mary.” I
liked the name (her name was Mary, and she was golden, if golden stands
for good), so I began to feel that it was almost done when I said I
would go to Liverpool. On the next morning but one we were on board the
Golden Mary. I might have known, from his asking me to come down and see
her, what she was. I declare her to have been the completest and most
exquisite Beauty that ever I set my eyes upon.

We had inspected every timber in her, and had come back to the gangway
to go ashore from the dock-basin, when I put out my hand to my friend.
“Touch upon it,” says I, “and touch heartily. I take command of this ship
and I am hers and yours, if I can get John Steadiman for my chief mate.”

John Steadiman had sailed with me four voyages. The first voyage John was
third mate out to China, and came home second. The other three voyages he
was my first officer. At this time of chartering the Golden Mary, he was
aged thirty-two. A brisk, bright, blue-eyed fellow, a very neat figure
and rather under the middle size, never out of the way and never in it,
a face that pleased everybody and that all children took to, a habit of
going about singing as cheerily as a blackbird, and a perfect sailor.

We were in one of those Liverpool hackney-coaches in less than a minute,
and we cruised about in her upwards of three hours, looking for John.
John had come home from Van Diemen’s Land barely a month before, and I
had heard of him as taking a frisk in Liverpool. We asked after him,
among many other places, at the two boarding-houses he was fondest
of, and we found he had had a week’s spell at each of them; but, he
had gone here and gone there, and had set off “to lay out on the
main-to’-gallant-yard of the highest Welsh mountain” (so he had told the
people of the house), and where he might be then, or when he might come
back nobody could tell us. But it was surprising, to be sure, to see how
every face brightened the moment there was mention made of the name of
Mr. Steadiman.

We were taken aback at meeting with no better luck, and we had wore ship
and put her head for my friend’s, when as we were jogging through the
streets, I clap my eyes on John himself coming out of a toy-shop! He was
carrying a little boy, and conducting two uncommon pretty women to their
coach, and he told me afterwards that he had never in his life seen one
of the three before, but that he was so taken with them on looking in
at the toy-shop while they were buying the child a cranky Noah’s Ark,
very much down by the head, that he had gone in and asked the ladies’
permission to treat him to a tolerably correct Cutter there was in the
window, in order that such a handsome boy might not grow up with a
lubberly idea of naval architecture.

We stood off and on until the ladies’ coachman began to give way, and
then we hailed John. On his coming aboard of us, I told him, very
gravely, what I had said to my friend. It struck him, as he said himself,
amidships. He was quite shaken by it. “Captain Ravender,” were John
Steadiman’s words, “such an opinion from you is true commendation, and
I’ll sail around the world with you for twenty years if you hoist the
signal, and stand by you for ever!” And now indeed I felt that it was
done, and that the Golden Mary was afloat.

Grass never grew yet under the feet of Smithick and Watersby. The riggers
were out of that ship in a fortnight’s time, and we had begun taking in
cargo. John was always aboard, seeing everything stowed with his own
eyes; and whenever I went aboard myself early or late, whether he was
below in the hold, or on deck at the hatchway, or overhauling his cabin,
nailing up pictures in it of the Blush Roses of England, the Blue Belles
of Scotland, and the female Shamrock of Ireland, of a certainty I heard
John singing like a blackbird.


We had room for twenty passengers. Our sailing advertisement was no
sooner out, than we might have taken these twenty times over. In entering
our men, I and John (both together) picked them, and we entered none but
good hands—as good as were to be found in that port. And so, in a good
ship of the best build, well owned, well arranged, well officered, well
manned, well found in all respects, we parted with our pilot at a quarter
past four o’clock in the afternoon of the seventh of March, one thousand
eight hundred and fifty-one, and stood with a fair wind out to sea.

It may be easily believed that up to that time I had had no leisure to be
intimate with my passengers. The most of them were then in their berths
seasick; however, in going among them, telling them what was good for
them, persuading them not to be there, but to come up on deck and feel
the breeze, and in rousing them with a joke, or a comfortable word, I
made acquaintance with them, perhaps, in a more friendly and confidential
way from the first, than I might have done at the cabin table.

Of my passengers, I need only particularize, just at present, a
bright-eyed blooming young wife who was going out to join her husband in
California, taking with her their only child, a little girl three years
old, whom he had never seen; a sedate young woman in black, some five
years older (about thirty as I should say), who was going out to join a
brother; and an old gentleman, a good deal like a hawk if his eyes had
been better and not so red, who was always talking, morning, noon, and
night, about the gold discovery. But, whether he was making the voyage,
thinking his old arms could dig for gold, or whether his speculation
was to buy it, or to barter for it, or to cheat for it, or to snatch it
anyhow from other people, was his secret. He kept his secret.

These three and the child were the soonest well. The child was a most
engaging child, to be sure, and very fond of me; though I am bound to
admit that John Steadiman and I were borne on her pretty little books
in reverse order, and that he was captain there, and I was mate. It was
beautiful to watch her with John, and it was beautiful to watch John
with her. Few would have thought it possible, to see John playing at
Bo-peep round the mast, that he was the man who had caught up an iron bar
and struck a Malay and a Maltese dead, as they were gliding with their
knives down the cabin stair aboard the bark Old England, when the captain
lay ill in his cot, off Sauger Point. But he was; and give him his back
against a bulwark, he would have done the same by half a dozen of them.
The name of the young mother was Mrs. Atherfield, the name of the young
lady in black was Miss Coleshaw, and the name of the old gentleman was
Mr. Rarx.

As the child had a quantity of shining fair hair, clustering in curls all
around her face, and as her name was Lucy, Steadiman gave her the name
of Golden Lucy. So, we had the Golden Lucy and the Golden Mary; and John
kept up the idea to that extent as he and the child went playing about
the decks, that I believe she used to think the ship was alive somehow—a
sister or companion, going to the same place as herself. She liked to
be by the wheel, and in fine weather, I have often stood by the man
whose trick it was at the wheel, only to hear her, sitting near my feet,
talking to the ship. Never had a child such a doll before, I suppose; but
she made a doll of the Golden Mary, and used to dress her up by tying
ribbons and little bits of finery to the belaying pins; and nobody ever
moved them, unless it was to save them from being blown away.

Of course I took charge of the two young women, and I called them “my
dear,” and they never minded, knowing that whatever I said was said in a
fatherly and protecting spirit. I gave them their places on each side of
me at dinner, Mrs. Atherfield on my right and Miss Coleshaw on my left;
and I directed the unmarried lady to serve out the breakfast, and the
married lady to serve out the tea. Likewise I said to my black steward in
their presence, “Tom Snow, these two ladies are equally the mistresses of
this house, and do you obey their orders equally”; at which Tom laughed,
and they all laughed.

Old Mr. Rarx was not a pleasant man to look at, nor yet to talk to, or to
be with, for no one could help seeing that he was a sordid and selfish
character, and that he had warped further and further out of the straight
with time. Not but what he was on his best behavior with us, as everybody
was; for we had no bickering among us, for’ard or aft. I only mean to
say, he was not the man one would have chosen for a messmate. If choice
there had been, one might even have gone a few points out of one’s course
to say, “No! Not him!” But, there was one curious inconsistency in Mr.
Rarx. That was, that he took an astonishing interest in the child. He
looked, and I may add, he was, one of the last men to care at all for a
child, or care much for any human creature. Still, he went so far as to
be habitually uneasy, if the child was long on deck, out of his sight. He
was always afraid of her falling overboard, or falling down a hatchway,
or of a block or what not coming down upon her from the rigging in the
working of the ship, or of her getting some hurt or other. He used to
look at her and touch her, as if she was something precious to him. He
was always solicitous about her not injuring her health, and constantly
entreated her mother to be careful of it. This was so much the more
curious, because the child did not like him, but used to shrink away from
him, and would not even put out her hand to him without coaxing from
others. I believe that every soul on board frequently noticed this, and
not one of us understood it. However, it was such a plain fact, that John
Steadiman said more than once when old Mr. Rarx was not within earshot,
that if the Golden Mary felt a tenderness for the dear old gentleman she
carried in her lap, she must be bitterly jealous of the Golden Lucy.

Before I go any further with this narrative, I will state that our ship
was a bark of three hundred tons, carrying a crew of eighteen men, a
second mate in addition to John, a carpenter, an armorer or smith, and
two apprentices (one a Scotch boy, poor little fellow). We had three
boats; the Long-boat, capable of carrying twenty-five men; the Cutter,
capable of carrying fifteen; and the Surf-boat, capable of carrying ten.
I put down the capacity of these boats according to the numbers they were
really meant to hold.

We had tastes of bad weather and head-winds, of course; but, on the
whole, we had as fine a run as any reasonable man could expect, for sixty
days. I then began to enter two remarks in the ship’s Log and in my
Journal; first, that there was an unusual and amazing quantity of ice;
second, that the nights were most wonderfully dark in spite of the ice.

For five days and a half, it seemed quite useless and hopeless to alter
the ship’s course so as to stand out of the way of this ice. I made
what southing I could; but, all that time, we were beset by it. Mrs.
Atherfield, after standing by me on deck once, looking for some time in
an awed manner at the great bergs that surrounded us, said in a whisper,
“Oh! Captain Ravender, it looks as if the whole solid earth had changed
into ice, and broken up!” I said to her, laughing, “I don’t wonder that
it does, to your inexperienced eyes, my dear.” But I had never seen a
twentieth part of the quantity, and, in reality, I was pretty much of her

However, at two P. M. on the afternoon of the sixth day, that is to say,
when we were sixty-six days out, John Steadiman, who had gone aloft,
sang out from the top, that the sea was clear ahead. Before four P. M. a
strong breeze springing up right astern, we were in open water at sunset.
The breeze then freshening into half a gale of wind, and the Golden Mary
being a very fast sailer, we went before the wind merrily, all night.

I had thought it impossible that it could be darker than it had been,
until the sun, moon, and stars should fall out of the Heavens, and Time
should be destroyed; but, it had been next to light, in comparison with
what it was now. The darkness was so profound, that looking into it was
painful and oppressive—like looking, without a ray of light, into a dense
black bandage put as close before the eyes as it could be, without
touching them. I doubled the lookout, and John and I stood in the bow
side-by-side, never leaving it all night. Yet I should no more have known
that he was near me when he was silent, without putting out my arm and
touching him, than I should if he had turned in and been fast asleep
below. We were not so much looking out, all of us, as listening to the
utmost, both with our eyes and ears.

Next day, I found that the mercury in the barometer, which had risen
steadily since we cleared the ice, remained steady. I had had very good
observations, with now and then the interruption of a day or so, since
our departure. I got the sun at noon, and found that we were in Lat. 58°
S., Long. 60° W., off New South Shetland; in the neighborhood of Cape
Horn. We were sixty-seven days out, that day. The ship’s reckoning was
accurately worked and made up. The ship did her duty admirably, all on
board were well, and all hands were as smart, efficient, and contented as
it was possible to be.

When the night came on again as dark as before, it was the eighth night
I had been on deck. Nor had I taken more than a very little sleep in the
daytime, my station being always near the helm, and often at it, while
we were among the ice. Few but those who have tried it can imagine the
difficulty and pain of only keeping the eyes open—physically open—under
such circumstances, in such darkness. They get struck by the darkness,
and blinded by the darkness. They make patterns in it, and they flash in
it, as if they had gone out of your head to look at you. On the turn of
midnight, John Steadiman, who was alert and fresh (for I had always made
him turn in by day), said to me, “Captain Ravender, I entreat of you to
go below. I am sure you can hardly stand, and your voice is getting weak,
sir. Go below, and take a little rest. I’ll call you if a block chafes.”
I said to John in answer, “Well, well, John! Let us wait till the turn of
one o’clock, before we talk about that.” I had just had one of the ship’s
lanterns held up, that I might see how the night went by my watch, and it
was then twenty minutes after twelve.

At five minutes before one, John sang out to the boy to bring the lantern
again, and when I told him once more what the time was, entreated and
prayed of me to go below. “Captain Ravender,” says he, “all’s well; we
can’t afford to have you laid up for a single hour; and I respectfully
and earnestly beg of you to go below.” The end of it was, that I agreed
to do so, on the understanding that if I failed to come up of my own
accord within three hours, I was to be punctually called. Having settled
that, I left John in charge. But I called him to me once afterwards, to
ask him a question. I had been to look at the barometer, and had seen the
mercury still perfectly steady, and had come up the companion again to
take a last look about me—if I can use such a word in reference to such
darkness—when I thought that the waves, as the Golden Mary parted them
and shook them off, had a hollow sound in them; something that I fancied
was a rather unusual reverberation. I was standing by the quarterdeck
rail on the starboard side, when I called John aft to me, and bade him
listen. He did so with the greatest attention. Turning to me he then
said, “Rely upon it, Captain Ravender, you have been without rest too
long, and the novelty is only in the state of your sense of hearing.” I
thought so too by that time, and I think so now, though I can never know
for absolute certain in this world, whether it was or not.

When I left John Steadiman in charge, the ship was still going at a great
rate through the water. The wind still blew right astern. Though she was
making great way, she was under shortened sail, and had no more than she
could easily carry. All was snug, and nothing complained. There was a
pretty sea running, but not a high sea neither, nor at all a confused one.

I turned in, as we seamen say, all standing. The meaning of that is, I
did not pull my clothes off—no, not even so much as my coat; though I
did my shoes, for my feet were badly swelled with the deck. There was
a little swing-lamp alight in my cabin. I thought, as I looked at it
before shutting my eyes, that I was so tired of darkness and troubled by
darkness, that I could have gone to sleep best in the midst of a million
of flaming gas-lights. That was the last thought I had before I went off,
except the prevailing thought that I should not be able to get to sleep
at all.


I dreamed that I was back at Penrith again, and was trying to get round
the church, which had altered its shape very much since I last saw it,
and was cloven all down the middle of the steeple in a most singular
manner. Why I wanted to get round the church I don’t know; but I was as
anxious to do it as if my life depended on it. Indeed, I believe it did
in the dream. For all that, I could not get round the church. I was still
trying, when I came against it with a violent shock, and was flung out of
my cot against the ship’s side. Shrieks and a terrific outcry struck me
far harder than the bruising timbers, and amidst sounds of grinding and
crashing, and a heavy rushing and breaking of water—sounds I understood
too well—I made my way on deck. It was not an easy thing to do, for the
ship heeled over frightfully, and was beating in a furious manner.

I could not see the men as I went forward, but I could hear that they
were hauling in sail, in disorder. I had my trumpet in my hand, and,
after directing and encouraging them in this till it was done, I hailed
first John Steadiman, and then my second mate, Mr. William Rames. Both
answered clearly and steadily. Now, I had practiced them and all my crew,
as I have ever made it a custom to practice all who sail with me, to take
certain stations and wait my orders, in case of any unexpected crisis.
When my voice was heard hailing, and their voices were heard answering,
I was aware, through all the noises of the ship and sea, and all the
crying of the passengers below, that there was a pause. “Are you ready,
Rames?”—“Ay, ay, sir!”—“Then light up, for God’s sake!” In a moment he
and another were burning blue-lights, and the ship and all on board
seemed to be enclosed in a mist of light, under a great black dome.

The light shone up so high that I could see the huge Iceberg upon which
we had struck, cloven at the top and down the middle, exactly like
Penrith Church in my dream. At the same moment I could see the watch last
relieved crowding up and down on deck; I could see Mrs. Atherfield and
Miss Coleshaw thrown about on the top of the companion as they struggled
to bring the child up from below; I could see that the masts were going
with the shock and the beating of the ship; I could see the frightful
breach stove in on the starboard side, half the length of the vessel,
and the sheathing and timbers spirting up; I could see that the Cutter
was disabled, in a wreck of broken fragments; and I could see every eye
turned upon me. It is my belief that if there had been ten thousand eyes
there, I should have seen them all, with their different looks. And all
this in a moment. But you must consider what a moment.

I saw the men, as they looked at me, fall toward their appointed
stations, like good men and true. If she had not righted, they could
have done very little there or anywhere but die—not that it is little
for a man to die at his post—I mean they could have done nothing to save
the passengers and themselves. Happily, however, the violence of the
shock with which we had so determinedly borne down direct on that fatal
Iceberg, as if it had been our destination instead of our destruction,
had so smashed and pounded the ship that she got off in this same instant
and righted. I did not want the carpenter to tell me she was filling and
going down; I could see and hear that. I gave Rames the word to lower the
Long-boat and the Surf-boat, and I myself told off the men for each duty.
Not one hung back, or came before the other. I now whispered to John
Steadiman, “John, I stand at the gangway here, to see every soul on board
safe over the side. You shall have the next post of honor, and shall be
the last but one to leave the ship. Bring up the passengers, and range
them behind me; and put what provision and water you can get at in the
boats. Cast your eye forward, John, and you’ll see you have not a moment
to lose.”

My noble fellows got the boats over the side as orderly as I ever saw
boats lowered with any sea running, and when they were launched, two or
three of the nearest men in them as they held on, rising and falling with
the swell, called out, looking up at me, “Captain Ravender, if anything
goes wrong with us, and you are saved, remember, we stood by you!”—“We’ll
all stand by one another ashore, yet, please God, my lads!” says I. “Hold
on bravely, and be tender with the women.”

The women were an example to us. They trembled very much, but they were
quiet and perfectly collected. “Kiss me, Captain Ravender,” says Mrs.
Atherfield, “and God in heaven bless you, you good man!” “My dear,” says
I, “those words are better for me than a life-boat.” I held her child in
my arms till she was in the boat, and then kissed the child and handed
her safe down. I now said to the people in her, “You have got your
freight, my lads, all but me, and I am not coming yet awhile. Pull away
from the ship, and keep off!”

That was the Long-boat. Old Mr. Rarx was one of her complement, and he
was the only passenger who had greatly misbehaved since the ship struck.
Others had been a little wild, which was not to be wondered at, and
not very blamable; but, he had made a lamentation and uproar which it
was dangerous for the people to hear, as there is always contagion in
weakness and selfishness. His incessant cry had been that he must not be
separated from the child, that he couldn’t see the child, and that he and
the child must go together. He had even tried to wrest the child out of
my arms, that he might keep her in his. “Mr. Rarx,” said I to him when
it came to that, “I have a loaded pistol in my pocket; and if you don’t
stand out of the gangway, and keep perfectly quiet, I shall shoot you
through the heart, if you have got one.” Says he, “You won’t do murder,
Captain Ravender!” “No, sir,” says I, “I won’t murder forty-four people
to humor you, but I’ll shoot you to save them.” After that he was quiet,
and stood shivering a little way off, until I named him to go over the

The Long-boat being cast off, the Surf-boat was soon filled. There only
remained aboard the Golden Mary, John Mullion, the man who had kept
on burning the blue-lights (and who had so lighted every new one at
every old one before it went out, as quietly as if he had been at an
illumination); John Steadiman; and myself. I hurried those two into the
Surf-boat, called to them to keep off, and waited with a grateful and
relieved heart for the Long-boat to come and take me in, if she could. I
looked at my watch, and it showed me, by the blue-light, ten minutes past
two. They lost no time. As soon as she was near enough, I swung myself
into her, and called to the men, “With a will, lads! She’s reeling!”
We were not an inch too far out of the inner vortex of her going down,
when, by the blue-light which John Mullion still burnt in the bow of the
Surf-boat, we saw her lurch, and plunge to the bottom head-foremost. The
child cried, weeping wildly, “O the dear Golden Mary! O look at her! Save
her! Save the poor Golden Mary!” And then the light burned out, and the
black dome seemed to come down upon us.


I suppose if we had all stood atop of a mountain, and seen the whole
remainder of the world sink away from under us, we could hardly have
felt more shocked and solitary than we did when we knew we were alone on
the wide ocean, and that the beautiful ship in which most of us had been
securely asleep within half an hour was gone for ever. There was an awful
silence in our boat, and such a kind of palsy on the rowers and the man
at the rudder, that I felt they were scarcely keeping her before the sea.
I spoke out then, and said, “Let every one here thank the Lord for our
preservation!” All the voices answered (even the child’s), “We thank the
Lord!” I then said the Lord’s Prayer, and all hands said it after me with
a solemn murmuring. Then I gave the word “Cheerily, O men, cheerily!”
and I felt that they were handling the boat again as a boat ought to be

The Surf-boat now burned another blue-light to show us where they were,
and we made for her, and laid ourselves as nearly alongside of her as we
dared. I had always kept my boats with a coil or two of good stout stuff
in each of them, so both boats had a rope at hand. We made a shift, with
much labor and trouble, to get near enough to one another to divide the
blue-lights (they were no use after that night, for the sea-water soon
got at them), and to get a tow-rope out between us. All night long we
kept together, sometimes obliged to cast off the rope, and sometimes
getting it out again, and all of us wearying for the morning—which
appeared so long in coming that old Mr. Rarx screamed out, in spite of
his fears of me, “The world is drawing to an end, and the sun will never
rise any more!”

When the day broke, I found that we were all huddled together in a
miserable manner. We were deep in the water; being, as I found on
mustering, thirty-one in number, or at least six too many. In the
Surf-boat they were fourteen in number, being at least four too many. The
first thing I did, was to get myself passed to the rudder—which I took
from that time—and to get Mrs. Atherfield, her child, and Miss Coleshaw,
passed on to sit next me. As to old Mr. Rarx, I put him in the bow, as
far from us as I could. And I put some of the best men near us in order
that if I should drop there might be a skillful hand ready to take the

The sea moderating as the sun came up, though the sky was cloudy and
wild, we spoke the other boat, to know what stores they had, and to
overhaul what we had. I had a compass in my pocket, a small telescope,
a double-barreled pistol, a knife, and a fire-box and matches. Most of
my men had knives, and some had a little tobacco; some, a pipe as well.
We had a mug among us, and an iron spoon. As to provisions, there were
in my boat two bags of biscuit, one piece of raw beef, one piece of raw
pork, a bag of coffee, roasted but not ground (thrown in, I imagine, by
mistake, for something else), two small casks of water, and about half a
gallon of rum in a keg. The Surf-boat, having rather more rum than we,
and fewer to drink it, gave us, as I estimated, another quart into our
keg. In return, we gave them three double handfuls of coffee, tied up in
a piece of a handkerchief; they reported that they had aboard besides, a
bag of biscuit, a piece of beef, a small cask of water, a small box of
lemons, and a Dutch cheese. It took a long time to make these exchanges,
and they were not made without risk to both parties; the sea running
quite high enough to make our approaching near to one another very
hazardous. In the bundle with the coffee, I conveyed to John Steadiman
(who had a ship’s compass with him), a paper written in pencil, and torn
from my pocket-book, containing the course I meant to steer, in the hope
of making land, or being picked up by some vessel—I say in the hope,
though I had little hope of either deliverance. I then sang out to him,
so as all might hear, that if we two boats could live or die together, we
would; but, that if we should be parted by the weather, and join company
no more, they should have our prayers and blessings, and we asked for
theirs. We then gave them three cheers, which they returned, and I saw
the men’s heads droop in both boats as they fell to their oars again.

These arrangements had occupied the general attention advantageously
for all, though (as I expressed in the last sentence) they ended in a
sorrowful feeling. I now said a few words to my fellow-voyagers on the
subject of the small stock of food on which our lives depended if they
were preserved from the great deep, and on the rigid necessity of our
eking it out in the most frugal manner. One and all replied that whatever
allowance I thought best to lay down should be strictly kept to. We made
a pair of scales out of a thin scrap of iron-plating and some twine, and
I got together for weights such of the heaviest buttons among us as I
calculated made up some fraction over two ounces. This was the allowance
of solid food served out once a day to each, from that time to the end;
with the addition of a coffee-berry, or sometimes half a one, when the
weather was very fair, for breakfast. We had nothing else whatever, but
half a pint of water each per day, and sometimes, when we were coldest
and weakest, a teaspoonful of rum each, served out as a dram. I know
how learnedly it can be shown that rum is poison, but I also know that
in this case, as in all similar cases I have ever read of—which are
numerous—no words can express the comfort and support derived from it.
Nor have I the least doubt that it saved the lives of far more than half
our number. Having mentioned half a pint of water as our daily allowance,
I ought to observe that sometimes we had less, and sometimes we had
more; for much rain fell, and we caught it in a canvas stretched for the

Thus, at that tempestuous time of the year, and in that tempestuous
part of the world, we shipwrecked people rose and fell with the waves.
It is not my intention to relate (if I can avoid it) such circumstances
appertaining to our doleful condition as have been better told in many
other narratives of the kind than I can be expected to tell them. I will
only note, in so many passing words, that day after day and night after
night, we received the sea upon our backs to prevent it from swamping the
boat; that one party was always kept bailing, and that every hat and
cap among us soon got worn out, though patched up fifty times, as the
only vessels we had for that service; that another party lay down in the
bottom of the boat, while a third rowed; and that we were soon all in
boils and blisters and rags.

The other boat was a source of such anxious interest to all of us that I
used to wonder whether, if we were saved, the time could ever come when
the survivors in this boat of ours could be at all indifferent to the
fortunes of the survivors in that. We got out a tow-rope whenever the
weather permitted, but that did not often happen, and how we two parties
kept within the same horizon, as we did, He, who mercifully permitted
it to be so for our consolation, only knows. I never shall forget the
looks with which, when the morning light came, we used to gaze about
us over the stormy waters, for the other boat. We once parted company
for seventy-two hours, and we believed them to have gone down, as they
did us. The joy on both sides when we came within view of one another
again, had something in a manner Divine in it; each was so forgetful of
individual suffering, in tears of delight and sympathy for the people in
the other boat.

I have been wanting to get round to the individual or personal part of my
subject, as I call it, and the foregoing incident puts me in the right
way. The patience and good disposition aboard of us, was wonderful. I was
not surprised by it in the women; for all men born of women know what
great qualities they will show when men fail; but, I own I was a little
surprised by it in some of the men. Among one-and-thirty people assembled
at the best of times, there will usually, I should say, be two or three
uncertain tempers. I knew that I had more than one rough temper with me
among my own people, for I had chosen those for the Long-boat that I
might have them under my eye. But, they softened under their misery, and
were as considerate of the ladies, and as compassionate of the child,
as the best among us, or among men—they could not have been more so. I
heard scarcely any complaining. The party lying down would moan a good
deal in their sleep, and I would often notice a man—not always the same
man, it is to be understood, but clearly all of them at one time or
other—sitting moaning at his oar, or in his place, as he looked mistily
over the sea. When it happened to be long before I could catch his eye,
he would go on moaning all the time in the dismalest manner; but when
our looks met, he would brighten and leave off. I almost always got the
impression that he did not know what sound he had been making, but that
he thought he had been humming a tune.

Our sufferings from cold and wet were far greater than our sufferings
from hunger. We managed to keep the child warm; but, I doubt if any one
else among us ever was warm for five minutes together; and the shivering,
and the chattering of teeth, were sad to hear. The child cried a little
at first for her lost playfellow, the Golden Mary; but hardly ever
whimpered afterwards; and when the state of the weather made it possible,
she used now and then to be held up in the arms of some of us, to look
over the sea for John Steadiman’s boat. I see the golden hair and the
innocent face now, between me and the driving clouds, like an angel going
to fly away.

It happened on the second day, toward night, that Mrs. Atherfield, in
getting little Lucy to sleep, sang her a song. She had a soft, melodious
voice, and when she had finished it, our people up and begged for
another. She sang them another, and after it had fallen dark ended with
the Evening Hymn. From that time, whenever anything could be heard above
the sea and wind, and while she had any voice left, nothing would serve
the people but that she should sing at sunset. She always did, and always
ended with the Evening Hymn. We mostly took up the last line, and shed
tears when it was done, but not miserably. We had a prayer night and
morning, also, when the weather allowed of it.

Twelve nights and eleven days we had been driving in the boat, when
old Mr. Rarx began to be delirious, and to cry out to me to throw the
gold overboard or it would sink us, and we should all be lost. For days
past the child had been declining, and that was the great cause of his
wildness. He had been over and over again shrieking out to me to give
her all the remaining meat, to give her all the remaining rum, to save
her at any cost, or we should all be ruined. At this time, she lay in
her mother’s arms at my feet. One of her little hands was almost always
creeping about her mother’s neck or chin. I had watched the wasting of
the little hand, and I knew it was nearly over.

The old man’s cries were so discordant with the mother’s love, and
submission, that I called out to him in an angry voice, unless he held
his peace on the instant, I would order him to be knocked on the head
and thrown overboard. He was mute then, until the child died, very
peacefully, an hour afterwards; which was known to all in the boat by
the mother’s breaking out into lamentations for the first time since the
wreck—for she had great fortitude and constancy, though she was a little
gentle woman. Old Mr. Rarx then became quite ungovernable, tearing what
rags he had on him, raging in imprecations, and calling to me that if I
had thrown the gold overboard (always the gold with him!) I might have
saved the child. “And now,” says he, in a terrible voice, “we shall
founder, and all go to the Devil, for our sins will sink us, when we have
no innocent child to bear us up!” We soon discovered with amazement, that
this old wretch had only cared for the life of the pretty little creature
dear to all of us, because of the influence he superstitiously hoped she
might have in preserving him! Altogether it was too much for the smith,
or armorer, who was sitting next the old man, to bear. He took him by the
throat and rolled him under the thwarts, where he lay still enough for
hours afterwards.

All that thirteenth night, Miss Coleshaw, lying across my knees as I kept
the helm, comforted and supported the poor mother. Her child, covered
with a pea-jacket of mine, lay in her lap. It troubled me all night to
think that there was no Prayer-Book among us, and that I could remember
but very few of the exact words of the burial service. When I stood up at
broad day, all knew what was going to be done, and I noticed that my poor
fellows made the motion of uncovering their heads, though their heads had
been stark bare to the sky and sea for many a weary hour. There was a
long heavy swell on, but otherwise it was a fair morning, and there were
broad fields of sunlight on the waves in the east. I said no more than
this: “I am the Resurrection and the Life, saith the Lord. He raised the
daughter of Jairus the ruler, and said she was not dead but slept. He
raised the widow’s son. He arose Himself, and was seen of many. He loved
little children, saying, ‘Suffer them to come unto Me and rebuke them
not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.’ In His name, my friends, and
committed to His merciful goodness!” With those words I laid my rough
face softly on the placid little forehead, and buried the Golden Lucy in
the grave of the Golden Mary.

Having had it on my mind to relate the end of this dear little child, I
have omitted something from its exact place, which I will supply here. It
will come quite as well here as anywhere else.

Foreseeing that if the boat lived through the stormy weather, the time
must come, and soon come, when we should have absolutely no morsel
to eat, I had one momentous point often in my thoughts. Although I
had, years before that, fully satisfied myself that the instances in
which human beings in the last distress have fed upon each other, are
exceedingly few, and have very seldom indeed (if ever) occurred when
the people in distress, however dreadful their extremity, have been
accustomed to moderate forbearance and restraint; I say, though I had
long before quite satisfied my mind on this topic, I felt doubtful
whether there might not have been in former cases some harm and danger
from keeping it out of sight and pretending not to think of it. I felt
doubtful whether some minds, growing weak with fasting and exposure and
having such a terrific idea to dwell upon in secret, might not magnify
it until it got to have an awful attraction about it. This was not a
new thought of mine, for it had grown out of my reading. However, it
came over me stronger than it had ever done before—as it had reason for
doing—in the boat, and on the fourth day I decided that I would bring
out into the light that unformed fear which must have been more or less
darkly in every brain among us. Therefore, as a means of beguiling
the time and inspiring hope, I gave them the best summary in my power
of Bligh’s voyage of more than three thousand miles, in an open boat,
after the Mutiny of the Bounty, and of the wonderful preservation of
that boat’s crew. They listened throughout with great interest, and I
concluded by telling them that, in my opinion, the happiest circumstance
in the whole narrative was that Bligh, who was no delicate man, either,
had solemnly placed it on record therein that he was sure and certain
that under no conceivable circumstances whatever would that emaciated
party, who had gone through all the pains of famine, have preyed on one
another. I cannot describe the visible relief which this spread through
the boat, and how the tears stood in every eye. From that time I was as
well convinced as Bligh himself that there was no danger, and that this
phantom, at any rate, did not haunt us.

Now, it was a part of Bligh’s experience that when the people in his boat
were most cast down, nothing did them so much good as hearing a story
told by one of their number. When I mentioned that, I saw that it struck
the general attention as much as it did my own, for I had not thought
of it until I came to it in my summary. This was on the day after Mrs.
Atherfield first sang to us. I proposed that, whenever the weather would
permit, we should have a story two hours after dinner (I always issued
the allowance I have mentioned at one o’clock, and called it by that
name), as well as our song at sunset. The proposal was received with a
cheerful satisfaction that warmed my heart within me; and I do not say
too much when I say that those two periods in the four-and-twenty hours
were expected with positive pleasure, and were really enjoyed by all
hands. Specters as we soon were, in our bodily wasting, our imaginations
did not perish like the gross flesh upon our bones. Music and Adventure,
two of the great gifts of Providence to mankind, could charm us long
after that was lost.

The wind was almost always against us after the second day; and for many
days together we could not nearly hold our own. We had all varieties of
bad weather. We had rain, hail, snow, wind, mist, thunder, and lightning.
Still the boats lived through the heavy seas, and still we perishing
people rose and fell with the great waves.

Sixteen nights and fifteen days, twenty nights and nineteen days,
twenty-four nights and twenty-three days. So the time went on.
Disheartening as I knew that our progress, or want of progress, must be,
I never deceived them as to my calculations of it. In the first place, I
felt that we were all too near eternity for deceit; in the second place,
I knew that if I failed, or died, the man who followed me must have a
knowledge of the true state of things to begin upon. When I told them at
noon, what I reckoned we had made or lost, they generally received what
I said in a tranquil and resigned manner, and always gratefully toward
me. It was not unusual at any time of the day for some one to burst out
weeping loudly without any new cause; and, when the burst was over, to
calm down a little better than before. I had seen exactly the same thing
in a house of mourning.

During the whole of this time, old Mr. Rarx had had his fits of calling
out to me to throw the gold (always the gold!) overboard, and of heaping
violent reproaches upon me for not having saved the child; but now, the
food being all gone, and I having nothing left to serve out but a bit
of coffee-berry now and then, he began to be too weak to do this, and
consequently fell silent. Mrs. Atherfield and Miss Coleshaw generally
lay, each with an arm across one of my knees and her head upon it. They
never complained at all. Up to the time of her child’s death, Mrs.
Atherfield had bound up her own beautiful hair every day; and I took
particular notice that this was always before she sang her song at night,
when every one looked at her. But she never did it after the loss of her
darling; and it would have been now all tangled with dirt and wet, but
that Miss Coleshaw was careful of it long after she was, herself, and
would sometimes smooth it down with her weak thin hands.

We were past mustering a story now; but one day, at about this period,
I reverted to the superstition of old Mr. Rarx, concerning the Golden
Lucy, and told them that nothing vanished from the eye of God, though
much might pass away from the eyes of men. “We were all of us,” says I,
“children once; and our baby feet have strolled in green woods ashore;
and our baby hands have gathered flowers in gardens, where the birds were
singing. The children that we were, are not lost to the great knowledge
of our Creator. Those innocent creatures will appear with us before
Him, and plead for us. What we were in the best time of our generous
youth will arise and go with us too. The purest part of our lives will
not desert us at the pass to which all of us here present are gliding.
What we were then, will be as much in existence before Him, as what we
are now.” They were no less comforted by this consideration, than I was
myself; and Miss Coleshaw, drawing my ear nearer to her lips, said,
“Captain Ravender, I was on my way to marry a disgraced and broken man,
whom I dearly loved when he was honorable and good. Your words seem to
have come out of my own poor heart.” She pressed my hand upon it, smiling.

Twenty-seven nights and twenty-six days. We were in no want of
rain-water, but we had nothing else. And yet, even now, I never turned
my eyes on a waking face but it tried to brighten before mine. O what
a thing it is, in a time of danger and in the presence of death, the
shining of a face upon a face! I have heard it broached that orders
should be given in great new ships by electric telegraph. I admire
machinery as much as any man, and am as thankful to it as any man can be
for what it does for us. But it will never be a substitute for the face
of a man, with his soul in it, encouraging another man to be brave and
true. Never try it for that. It will break down like a straw.

I now began to remark certain changes in myself which I did not like.
They caused me much disquiet. I often saw the Golden Lucy in the air
above the boat. I often saw her I have spoken of before, sitting beside
me. I saw the Golden Mary go down, as she really had gone down, twenty
times in a day. And yet the sea was mostly, to my thinking, not sea
neither, but moving country and extraordinary mountainous regions, the
like of which have never been beheld. I felt it time to leave my last
words regarding John Steadiman, in case any lips should last out to
repeat them to any living ears. I said that John had told me (as he had
on deck) that he had sung out “Breakers ahead!” the instant they were
audible, and had tried to wear ship, but she struck before it could
be done. (His cry, I dare say, had made my dream.) I said that the
circumstances were altogether without warning, and out of any course that
could have been guarded against; that the same loss would have happened
if I had been in charge; and that John was not to blame, but from first
to last had done his duty nobly, like the man he was. I tried to write
it down in my pocket-book, but could make no words, though I knew what
the words were that I wanted to make. When it had come to that, her
hands—though she was dead so long—laid me down gently in the bottom of
the boat, and she and the Golden Lucy swung me to sleep.


_All that follows was written by John Steadiman, Chief Mate:_

On the twenty-sixth day after the foundering of the Golden Mary at sea,
I, John Steadiman, was sitting in my place in the stern-sheets of the
Surf-boat, with just sense enough left in me to steer—that is to say,
with my eyes strained, wide-awake, over the bows of the boat, and my
brains fast asleep and dreaming—when I was roused upon a sudden by our
second mate, Mr. William Rames.

“Let me take a spell in your place,” says he. “And look you out for
the Long-boat astern. The last time she rose on the crest of a wave, I
thought I made out a signal flying aboard her.”

We shifted our places, clumsily and slowly enough, for we were both of us
weak and dazed with wet, cold, and hunger. I waited some time, watching
the heavy rollers astern, before the Long-boat rose atop of one of them
at the same time with us. At last, she was heaved up for a moment well in
view, and there, sure enough, was the signal flying aboard of her—a strip
of rag of some sort, rigged to an oar, and hoisted in her bows.

“What does it mean?” says Rames to me in a quavering, trembling sort of
voice. “Do they signal a sail in sight?”

“Hush, for God’s sake!” says I, clapping my hand over his mouth. “Don’t
let the people hear you. They’ll all go mad together if we mislead them
about that signal. Wait a bit, till I have another look at it.”

I held on by him, for he had set me all of a tremble with his notion of
a sail in sight, and watched for the Long-boat again. Up she rose on the
top of another roller. I made out the signal clearly, that second time,
and saw that it was rigged half-mast.

“Rames,” says I, “it’s a signal of distress. Pass the word forward to
keep her before the sea, and no more. We must get the Long-boat within
hailing distance of us, as soon as possible.”

I dropped down into my old place at the tiller without another word—for
the thought went through me like a knife that something had happened to
Captain Ravender. I should consider myself unworthy to write another line
of this statement, if I had not made up my mind to speak the truth, the
whole truth, and nothing but the truth—and I must, therefore, confess
plainly that now, for the first time, my heart sank within me. This
weakness on my part was produced in some degree, as I take it, by the
exhausting effects of previous anxiety and grief.

Our provisions—if I may give that name to what we had left—were
reduced to the rind of one lemon and about a couple of handfuls of
coffee-berries. Besides these great distresses, caused by the death,
the danger, and the suffering among my crew and passengers, I had had a
little distress of my own to shake me still more, in the death of the
child whom I had got to be very fond of on the voyage out—so fond that I
was secretly a little jealous of her being taken in the Long-boat instead
of mine when the ship foundered. It used to be a great comfort to me, and
I think to those with me also, after we had seen the last of the Golden
Mary, to see the Golden Lucy, held up by the men in the Long-boat, when
the weather allowed it, as the best and brightest sight they had to show.
She looked, at the distance we saw her from, almost like a little white
bird in the air. To miss her for the first time, when the weather lulled
a little again, and we all looked out for our white bird and looked in
vain, was a sore disappointment. To see the men’s heads bowed down and
the captain’s hand pointing into the sea when we hailed the Long-boat, a
few days after, gave me as heavy a shock and as sharp a pang of heartache
to bear as ever I remember suffering in all my life. I only mention these
things to show that if I did give way a little at first, under the dread
that our captain was lost to us, it was not without having been a good
deal shaken beforehand by more trials of one sort or another than often
fall to one man’s share.

I had got over the choking in my throat with the help of a drop of
water, and had steadied my mind again so as to be prepared against the
worst, when I heard the hail (Lord help the poor fellows, how weak it

“Surf-boat, ahoy!”

I looked up, and there were our companions in misfortune tossing abreast
of us; not so near that we could make out the features of any of them,
but near enough, with some exertion for people in our condition, to make
their voices heard in the intervals when the wind was weakest.

I answered the hail, and waited a bit, and heard nothing, and then sang
out the captain’s name. The voice that replied did not sound like his;
the words that reached us were:

“Chief mate wanted on board!”

Every man of my crew knew what that meant as well as I did. As second
officer in command, there could be but one reason for wanting me on board
the Long-boat. A groan went all round us, and my men looked darkly in
each other’s faces, and whispered under their breaths:

“The captain is dead!”

I commanded them to be silent, and not to make too sure of bad news,
at such a pass as things had now come to with us. Then, hailing the
Long-boat, I signified that I was ready to go on board when the weather
would let me—stopped a bit to draw a good long breath—and then called out
as loud as I could the dreadful question:

“Is the captain dead?”

The black figures of three or four men in the after-part of the Long-boat
all stooped down together as my voice reached them. They were lost to
view for about a minute; then appeared again—one man among them was held
up on his feet by the rest, and he hailed back the blessed words (a very
faint hope went a very long way with people in our desperate situation):
“Not yet!”

The relief felt by me, and by all with me, when we knew that our captain,
though unfitted for duty, was not lost to us, it is not in words—at
least, not in such words as a man like me can command—to express. I did
my best to cheer the men by telling them what a good sign it was that
we were not as badly off yet as we had feared, and then communicated
what instructions I had to give, to William Rames, who was to be left
in command in my place when I took charge of the Long-boat. After that,
there was nothing to be done, but to wait for the chance of the wind
dropping at sunset, and the sea going down afterwards, so as to enable
our weak crews to lay the two boats alongside of each other, without
undue risk—or, to put it plainer, without saddling ourselves with the
necessity for any extraordinary exertion of strength or skill. Both
the one and the other had now been starved out of us for days and days

At sunset the wind suddenly dropped, but the sea, which had been running
high for so long a time past, took hours after that before it showed any
signs of getting to rest. The moon was shining, the sky was wonderfully
clear, and it could not have been, according to my calculations, far off
midnight, when the long, slow, regular swell of the calming ocean fairly
set in, and I took the responsibility of lessening the distance between
the Long-boat and ourselves.

It was, I dare say, a delusion of mine; but I thought I had never seen
the moon shine so white and ghastly anywhere, either at sea or on land,
as she shone that night while we were approaching our companions in
misery. When there was not much more than a boat’s length between us, and
the white light streamed cold and clear over all our faces, both crews
rested on their oars with one great shudder, and stared over the gunwale
of either boat, panic-stricken at the first sight of each other.

“Any lives lost among you?” I asked, in the midst of that frightful

The men in the Long-boat huddled together like sheep at the sound of my

“None yet, but the child, thanks be to God!” answered one among them.

And at the sound of his voice, all my men shrank together like the men
in the Long-boat. I was afraid to let the horror produced by our first
meeting at close quarters after the dreadful changes that wet, cold, and
famine had produced, last one moment longer than could be helped; so,
without giving time for any more questions and answers, I commanded
the men to lay the two boats close alongside of each other. When I rose
up and committed the tiller to the hands of Rames, all my poor fellows
raised their white faces imploringly to mine. “Don’t leave us, sir,” they
said, “don’t leave us.” “I leave you,” says I, “under the command and the
guidance of Mr. William Rames, as good a sailor as I am, and as trusty
and kind a man as ever stepped. Do your duty by him, as you have done it
by me; and remember to the last, that while there is life there is hope.
God bless and help you all!”

With those words I collected what strength I had left, and caught at two
arms that were held out to me, and so got from the stern-sheets of one
boat into the stern-sheets of the other.

“Mind where you step, sir,” whispered one of the men who had helped me
into the Long-boat. I looked down as he spoke. Three figures were huddled
up below me, with the moonshine falling on them in ragged streaks through
the gaps between the men standing or sitting above them. The first face
I made out was the face of Miss Coleshaw; her eyes were wide open and
fixed on me. She seemed still to keep her senses, and, by the alternate
parting and closing of her lips, to be trying to speak, but I could not
hear that she uttered a single word. On her shoulder rested the head of
Mrs. Atherfield. The mother of our poor little Golden Lucy must, I think,
have been dreaming of the child she had lost; for there was a faint
smile just ruffling the white stillness of her face, when I first saw it
turned upward, with peaceful closed eyes toward the heavens. From her,
I looked down a little, and there, with his head on her lap, and with
one of her hands resting tenderly on his cheek—there lay the captain, to
whose help and guidance, up to this miserable time, we had never looked
in vain,—there, worn out at last in our service, and for our sakes, lay
the best and bravest man of all our company. I stole my hand in gently
through his clothes and laid it on his heart, and felt a little feeble
warmth over it, though my cold dulled touch could not detect even the
faintest beating. The two men in the stern-sheets with me, noticing what
I was doing—knowing I loved him like a brother—and seeing, I suppose,
more distress in my face than I myself was conscious of its showing, lost
command over themselves altogether, and burst into a piteous moaning,
sobbing lamentation over him. One of the two drew aside a jacket from his
feet, and showed me that they were bare, except where a wet, ragged strip
of stocking still clung to one of them. When the ship struck the Iceberg,
he had run on deck leaving his shoes in his cabin. All through the voyage
in the boat his feet had been unprotected; and not a soul had discovered
it until he dropped! As long as he could keep his eyes open, the very
look of them had cheered the men, and comforted and upheld the women.
Not one living creature in the boat, with any sense about him, but had
felt the good influence of that brave man in one way or another. Not one
but had heard him, over and over again, give the credit to others which
was due only to himself; praising this man for patience, and thanking
that man for help, when the patience and the help had really and truly,
as to the best part or both, come only from him. All this, and much
more, I heard pouring confusedly from the men’s lips while they crouched
down, sobbing and crying over their commander, and wrapping the jacket
as warmly and tenderly as they could over his cold feet. It went to my
heart to check them; but I knew that if this lamenting spirit spread
any further, all chance of keeping alight any last sparks of hope and
resolution among the boat’s company would be lost for ever. Accordingly
I sent them to their places, spoke a few encouraging words to the men
forward, promising to serve out, when the morning came, as much as I
dared, of any eatable thing left in the lockers; called to Rames, in my
old boat, to keep as near us as he safely could; drew the garments and
coverings of the two poor suffering women more closely about them; and,
with a secret prayer to be directed for the best in bearing the awful
responsibility now laid on my shoulders, took my captain’s vacant place
at the helm of the Long-boat.

This, as well as I can tell it, is the full and true account of how I
came to be placed in charge of the lost passengers and crew of the Golden
Mary, on the morning of the twenty-seventh day after the ship struck the
Iceberg, and foundered at sea.



When the sun rose on the twenty-seventh day of our calamity, the first
question that I secretly asked myself was, “How many more mornings
will the stoutest of us live to see”? I had kept count, ever since we
took to the boats, of the days of the week; and I knew that we had now
arrived at another Thursday. Judging by my own sensations (and I believe
I had as much strength left as the best man among us), I came to the
conclusion that, unless the mercy of Providence interposed to effect our
deliverance, not one of our company could hope to see another morning
after the morning of Sunday.

Two discoveries that I made—after redeeming my promise overnight, to
serve out with the morning whatever eatable thing I could find—helped
to confirm me in my gloomy view of our future prospects. In the first
place, when the few coffee-berries left, together with a small allowance
of water, had been shared all round, I found on examining the lockers
that not one grain of provision remained, fore or aft, in any part of
the boat, and that our stock of fresh water was reduced to not much more
than would fill a wine-bottle. In the second place, after the berries had
been shared, and the water equally divided, I noticed that the sustenance
thus administered produced no effect whatever, even of the most momentary
kind, in raising the spirits of the passengers (excepting in one case) or
in rallying the strength of the crew. The exception was Mr. Rarx. This
tough and greedy old sinner seemed to wake up from the trance he had
lain in so long, when the smell of the berries and water was under his
nose. He swallowed his share with a gulp that many a younger and better
man in the boat might have envied; and went maundering on to himself
afterwards, as if he had got a new lease of life. He fancied now that he
was digging a gold-mine, all by himself, and going down bodily straight
through the earth at the rate of thirty or forty miles an hour. “Leave
me alone,” says he, “leave me alone. The lower I go, the richer I get.
Down I go!—down, down, down, down, till I burst out at the other end of
the world in a shower of gold!” So he went on, kicking feebly with his
heels from time to time against the bottom of the boat.

But, as for all the rest, it was a pitiful and dreadful sight to see
of how little use their last shadow of a meal was to them. I myself
attended, before anybody else was served, to the two poor women. Miss
Coleshaw shook her head faintly, and pointed to her throat, when I
offered her the few berries that fell to her share. I made a shift to
crush them up fine and mix them with a little water, and got her to
swallow that miserable drop of drink with the greatest difficulty. When
it was down there came no change for the better over her face. Nor did
she recover, for so much as a moment, the capacity to speak, even in a
whisper. I next tried Mrs. Atherfield. It was hard to wake her out of
the half-swooning, half-sleeping condition in which she lay—and harder
still to get her to open her lips when I put the tin-cup to them. When
I had at last prevailed on her to swallow her allowance, she shut her
eyes again, and fell back into her old position. I saw her lips moving;
and, putting my ear close to them, caught some of the words she was
murmuring to herself. She was still dreaming of the Golden Lucy. She and
the child were walking somewhere by the banks of a lake, at the time the
buttercups are out. The Golden Lucy was gathering the buttercups, and
making herself a watch-chain out of them, in imitation of the chain that
her mother wore. They were carrying a little basket with them, and were
going to dine together in a great hollow tree growing on the banks of the
lake. To get this pretty picture painted on one’s mind as I got it, while
listening to the poor mother’s broken words, and then to look up at the
haggard faces of the men in the boat, and at the wild ocean rolling all
round us, was such a change from fancy to reality as it has fallen, I
hope, to few men’s lots to experience.

My next thought, when I had done my best for the women, was for the
captain. I was free to risk losing my own share of water, if I pleased,
so I tried, before tasting it myself, to get a little between his lips;
but his teeth were fast clenched, and I had neither strength nor skill
to open them. The faint warmth still remained, thank God, over his
heart—but, in all other respects he lay beneath us like a dead man. In
covering him up again as comfortably as I could, I found a bit of paper
crunched in one of his hands, and took it out. There was some writing on
it, but not a word was readable. I suppose, poor fellow, that he had been
trying to write some last instructions for me, just before he dropped at
his post. If they had been ever so easy to read, they would have been
of no use now. To follow instructions we must have had some power to
shape the boat’s course in a given direction—and this, which we had been
gradually losing for some days past, we had now lost altogether.

I had hoped that the serving out of the refreshment would have put a
little modicum of strength into the arms of the men at the oars; but,
as I have hinted, this hope turned out to be perfectly fruitless. Our
last mockery of a meal, which had done nothing for the passengers, did
nothing either for the crew—except to aggravate the pangs of hunger in
the men who were still strong enough to feel them. While the weather held
moderate, it was not of much consequence if one or two of the rowers kept
dropping, in turn, into a kind of faint sleep over their oars. But if it
came on to blow again (and we could expect nothing else in those seas and
at that time of the year), how was I to steer, when the blades of the
oars were out of the water ten times as often as they were in? The lives
which we had undergone such suffering to preserve would have been lost
in an instant by the swamping of the boat, if the wind had risen on the
morning of Thursday, and had caught us trying to row any longer.

Feeling this, I resolved, while the weather held moderately fine, to
hoist the best substitute for a sail that we could produce, and to drive
before the wind, on the chance (the last we had hope for) of a ship
picking us up. We had only continued to use the oars up to this time in
order to keep the course which the captain had pointed out as likeliest
to bring us near the land. Sailing had been out of the question from the
first, the masts and suits of sails belonging to each boat having been
out of them at the time of the wreck, and having gone down with the
ship. This was an accident which there was no need to deplore, for we
were too crowded from the first to admit of handling the boats properly,
under their regular press of sail, in anything like rough weather.

Having made up my mind on what it was necessary to do I addressed the
men, and told them that any notion of holding longer on our course with
the oars was manifestly out of the question, and dangerous to all on
board, as their own common sense might tell them, in the state to which
the stoutest arms among us were now reduced. They looked round on each
other as I said that, each man seeming to think his neighbor weaker than
himself. I went on, and told them that we must take advantage of our
present glimpse of moderate weather, and hoist the best sail we could
set up, and drive before the wind, in the hope that it might please God
to direct us in the way of some ship before it was too late. “Our only
chance, my men,” I said, in conclusion, “is the chance of being picked
up; and in these desolate seas one point of the compass is just as likely
a point for our necessities as another. Half of you keep the boat before
the sea, the other half bring out your knives, and do as I tell you.” The
prospect of being relieved from the oars struck the wandering attention
of the men directly; and they said, “Ay, ay, sir!” with something like a
faint reflection of their former readiness, when the good ship was under
their feet, and the mess-cans were filled with plenty of wholesome food.

Thanks to Captain Ravender’s forethought in providing both boats with a
coil of rope, we had our lashings, and the means of making what rigging
was wanted, ready to hand. One of the oars was made fast to the thwart,
and well stayed fore and aft, for a mast. A large pilot-coat that I wore
was spread; enough of sail for us. The only difficulty that puzzled me
was occasioned by the necessity of making a yard. The men tried to tear
up one of the thwarts, but were not strong enough. My own knife had
been broken in the attempt to split a bit of plank for them; and I was
almost at my wit’s end, when I luckily thought of searching the captain’s
pockets for his knife. I found it—a fine large knife of Sheffield
manufacture, with plenty of blades, and a small saw among them. With
this we made a shift to saw off about a third of another oar; and then
the difficulty was conquered; and we got my pilot-coat hoisted on our
jury-mast, and rigged it as nigh as we could to the fashion of a lug-sail.

I had looked anxiously toward the Surf-boat, while we were rigging our
mast, and observed, with a feeling of great relief, that the men in
her—as soon as they discovered what we were about—were wise enough to
follow our example. They got on faster than we did; being less put to it
for room to turn round in. We set our sails as nearly as possible about
the same time; and it was well for both boats that we finished our work
when we did. At noon the wind began to rise again to a stiff breeze,
which soon knocked up a heavy, tumbling sea. We drove before it in a
direction North by East, keeping wonderfully dry, considering all things.
The mast stood well; and the sail, small as it was, did good service
in steadying the boat and lifting her easily over the seas. I felt the
cold after the loss of my coat, but not so badly as I had feared; for
the two men who were with me in the stern-sheets, sat as close as they
could on either side of me, and helped with the warmth of their own
bodies to keep the warmth in mine. Forward, I told off half a dozen of
the most trustworthy of the men who could still muster strength enough to
keep their eyes open, to set a watch, turn and turn about, on our frail
rigging. The wind was steadily increasing; and if any accident happened
to our mast the chances were that the boat would broach-to, and that
every one of us would go to the bottom.

So we drove on—all through that day—sometimes catching sight of the
Surf-boat a little ahead of us—sometimes losing her altogether in the
scud. How little and frail, how very different to the kind of boat that
I had expected to see, she looked to my eyes now that I was out of her,
and saw what she showed like on the waters for the first time! But to
return to the Long-boat. The watch on the rigging was relieved every
two hours, and at the same regular periods all the brightest eyes left
amongst us looked out for the smallest vestige of a sail in view, and
looked in vain. Among the passengers, nothing happened in the way of a
change—except that Miss Coleshaw seemed to grow fainter, and that Mrs.
Atherfield got restless, as if she were waking out of her long dream
about the Golden Lucy.

It got on toward sunset. The wind was rising to half a gale. The clouds,
which had been heavy all over the firmament since noon, were lifting to
the westward, and leaving there, over the horizon line of the ocean, a
long strip of clear, pale, greenish sky, overhung by a cloud-bank, whose
ragged edges were tipped with burning crimson by the sun. I did not like
the look of the night, and, keeping where I was, in the forward part of
the boat, I helped the men to ease the strain off our mast, by lowering
the yard a little and taking a pull on the sheet, so as to present to the
wind a smaller surface even of our small sail. Noting the wild look of
the weather, and the precautions we were taking against the chance of a
gale rising in the night—and being, furthermore, as I believe, staggered
in their minds by the death that had taken place among them—three of the
passengers struggled up in the bottom of the boat, clasped their arms
around me as if they were drowning men already, and hoarsely clamored
for a last drink of water, before the storm rose and sent us all to the

“Water you shall have,” I said, “when I think the time has come to serve
it out. The time has not come yet.”

“Water, pray!” they all three groaned together. Two more passengers who
were asleep, woke up, and joined the cry.

“Silence!” I said. “There are not two spoonfuls of fresh water left for
each man in the boat. I shall wait three hours more for the chance of
rain before I serve that out. Silence, and drop back to your places!”


They let go of me, but clamored weakly for water still; and, this time,
the voices of some of the crew joined them. At this moment, to my great
alarm (for I thought they were going mad and turning violent against me),
I was seized round the neck by one of the men, who had been standing up,
holding on by the mast, and looking out steadily to the westward.

I raised my right hand to free myself; but before I touched him, the
sight of the man’s face close to mine made me drop my arm again. There
was a speechless, breathless, frantic joy in it, that made all the blood
in my veins stand still in a moment.

“Out with it!” I said. “Man alive, out with it, for God’s sake!”

His breath beat on my cheek in hot, quick, heavy gasps; but he could not
utter a word. For a moment he let go of the mast (tightening his hold on
me with the other arm) and pointed out westward—then slid heavily down on
to the thwart behind us.

I looked westward, and saw that one of the two trustworthy men whom I had
left at the helm was on his feet looking out westward, too. As the boat
rose, I fixed my eyes on the strip of clear greenish sky in the west, and
on the bright line of the sea just under it. The boat dipped again before
I could see anything. I squeezed my eyelids together to get the water out
of them, and when we rose again looked straight into the middle of the
bright sea-line. My heart bounded as if it would choke me—my tongue felt
like a cinder in my mouth—my knees gave way under me—I dropped down on to
the thwart, and sobbed out, with a great effort, as if I had been dumb
for weeks before, and had only that instant found my speech:

“A sail! a sail!”

The words were instantly echoed by the man in the stern-sheets.

“Sail, ho!” he screeches out, turning round on me and swinging his arms
about his head like a madman.

This made three of our company who had seen the ship already, and that
one fact was sufficient to remove all dread lest our eyes might have been
deceiving us. The great fear now was, not that we were deluded, but that
we might come to some serious harm through the excess of joy among the
people; that is to say, among such of the people as still had the sense
to feel and the strength to express what they felt. I must record in
my own justification, after confessing that I lost command over myself
altogether on the discovery of the sail, that I was the first who set
the example of self-control. I was in a manner forced to this by the crew
frantically entreating me to lay-to until we could make out what course
the ship was steering—a proceeding which, with the sea then running, with
the heavy lading of the boat, and with such feeble substitutes for mast
and sail as we possessed, must have been attended with total destruction
to us all. I tried to remind the men of this, but they were in such a
transport—hugging each other round the neck, and crying and laughing all
in a breath—that they were not fit to listen to reason. Accordingly, I
myself went to the helm again, and chose the steadiest of my two men in
the after-part of the boat, as a guard over the sheet, with instructions
to use force, if necessary, toward any one who stretched out so much as a
finger to it. The wind was rising every minute, and we had nothing for it
but to scud, and be thankful to God’s mercy that we had sea-room to do it

“It will be dark in an hour’s time, sir,” says the man left along with
me when I took the helm again. “We have no light to show. The ship will
pass us in the night. Lay-to, sir! For the love of Heaven, give us all
a chance, and lay-to!” says he, and goes down on his knees before me,
wringing his hands.

“Lay-to!” says I. “Lay-to, under a coat! Lay-to, in a boat like this,
with the wind getting up a gale! A seaman like you talk in that way! Who
have I got along here with me? Sailors who know their craft, or a pack of
’longshore lubbers, who ought to be turned adrift in a ferry-boat on a
pond?” My heart was heavy enough, God knows, but I spoke out as loud as I
could, in that light way, to try and shame the men back to their proper
senses. I succeeded at least in restoring silence; and that was something
in such a condition as ours.

My next anxiety was to know if the men in the Surf-boat had sighted the
sail to the westward. She was still driving ahead of us, and the first
time I saw her rise on the waves, I made out a signal on board—a strip
of cloth fastened to a boat-hook. I ordered the man by my side to return
it with his jacket tied on to the end of the oar; being anxious to see
whether his agitation had calmed down and left him fit for his duty
again. He followed my direction steadily and when he got his jacket on
again, asked me to pardon him for losing his self-command, in a quiet,
altered voice.

I shook hands with him, and gave him the helm, in proof that my
confidence was restored; then stood up and turned my face to the westward
once again. I looked long into the belt of clear sky, which was narrowing
already as the cloud-bank above sank over it. I looked with all my heart
and soul and strength. It was only when my eyes could stand the strain on
them no longer, that I gave in, and sat down again by the tiller. If I
had not been supported by a firm trust in the mercy of Providence, which
had preserved us thus far, I am afraid I should have abandoned myself at
that trying time to downright hopeless, speechless despair.

It would not express much to any but seafaring readers if I mentioned
the number of leagues off that I considered the ship to be. I shall give
a better idea of the terrible distance there was between us, when I say
that no landsman’s eye could have made her out at all, and that none of
us sailors could have seen her but for the bright opening in the sky,
which made even a speck on the waters visible to a mariner’s experienced
sight all that weary way off. When I have said this, I have said enough
to render it plain to every man’s understanding that it was a sheer
impossibility to make out what course the ship was steering, seeing that
we had no chance of keeping her in view at that closing time of day for
more than another half-hour, at most. There she was, astern to leeward
of us; and here were we, driving for our lives before the wind, with any
means of kindling a light that we might have possessed on leaving our
ship, wetted through long ago—with no guns to fire as signals of distress
in the darkness—and with no choice, if the wind shifted, but still to
scud in any direction in which it might please to drive us. Supposing,
even at the best, that the ship was steering on our course, and would
overhaul us in the night, what chance had we of making our position known
to her in the darkness? Truly, look at it anyhow we might from our poor
mortal point of view, our prospect of deliverance seemed to be of the
most utterly hopeless kind that it is possible to conceive.

The men felt this bitterly, as the cloud-bank dropped to the verge of the
waters, and the sun set redly behind it. The moaning and lamenting among
them was miserable to hear, when the last speck and phantom of the ship
had vanished from view. Some few still swore they saw her when there was
hardly a flicker of light left in the west, and only gave up looking out,
and dropped down in the boat, at my express orders. I charged them all
solemnly to set an example of courage to the passengers, and to trust
the rest to the infinite wisdom and mercy of the Creator of us all. Some
murmured, some fell to repeating scraps out of the Bible and Prayer-Book,
some wandered again in their minds. This went on till the darkness
gathered—then a great hush of silence fell drearily over passengers and
crew; and the waves and the wind hissed and howled about us, as if we
were tossing in the midst of them, a boat-load of corpses already!

Twice in the fore-part of the night the clouds overhead parted for a
little, and let the blessed moonlight down upon us. On the first of
those occasions, I myself served out the last drops of fresh water we
had left. The two women—poor suffering creatures!—were past drinking.
Miss Coleshaw shivered a little when I moistened her lips with the water;
and Mrs. Atherfield, when I did the same for her, drew her breath with a
faint, fluttering sigh, which was just enough to show that she was not
dead yet. The captain still lay as he had lain ever since I got on board
the boat. The others, both passengers and crew, managed for the most
part to swallow their share of the water—the men being just sufficiently
roused by it to get up on their knees, while the moonlight lasted, and
look about wildly over the ocean for a chance of seeing the ship again.
When the clouds gathered once more, they crouched back in their places
with a long groan of despair. Hearing that, and dreading the effect of
the pitchy darkness (to say nothing of the fierce wind and sea) on their
sinking spirits, I resolved to combat their despondency, if it were still
possible to contend against it, by giving them something to do. First
telling them that no man could say at what time of the night the ship
(in case she was steering our course) might forge ahead of us, or how
near she might be when she passed, I recommended that all who had the
strength should join their voices at regular intervals, and shout their
loudest when the boat rose highest on the waves, on the chance of that
cry of distress being borne by the wind within hearing of the watch on
board the ship. It is unnecessary to say that I knew well how near it was
to an absolute impossibility that this last feeble exertion on our parts
could lead to any result. I only proposed it because I was driven to the
end of my resources to keep up the faintest flicker of spirit among the
men. They received my proposal with more warmth and readiness than I had
ventured, in their hopeless state, to expect from them. Up to the turn
of midnight they resolutely raised their voices with me, at intervals of
from five to ten minutes, whenever the boat was tossed highest on the
waves. The wind seemed to whirl our weak cries savagely out of our mouths
almost before we could utter them. I, sitting astern in the boat, only
heard them, as it seemed, for something like an instant of time. But
even that was enough to make me creep all over—the cry was so forlorn
and fearful. Of all the dreadful sounds I had heard since the first
striking of the ship, that shrill wail of despair—rising on the wavetops,
one moment; whirled away the next, into the black night—was the most
frightful that entered my ears. There are times, even now, when it seems
to be ringing in them still.

Whether our first gleam of moonshine fell upon old Mr. Rarx, while he
was sleeping, and helped to upset his weak brains altogether, is more
than I can say. But, for some reason or other, before the clouds parted
and let the light down on us for the second time, and while we were
driving along awfully through the blackest of the night, he stirred in
his place, and began rambling and raving again more vehemently than
ever. To hear him now—that is to say, as well as I could hear him for
the wind—he was still down in his gold-mine; but was laden so heavy with
his precious metal that he could not get out, and was in mortal peril of
being drowned by the water rising in the bottom of the shaft. So far,
his maundering attracted my attention disagreeably, and did no more. But
when he began—if I may say so—to take the name of the dear little dead
child in vain, and to mix her up with himself and his miserly greed of
gain, I got angry and called to the men forward to give him a shake and
make him hold his tongue. Whether any of them obeyed or not, I don’t
know—Mr. Rarx went on raving louder than ever. The shrill wind was now
hardly more shrill than he. He swore he saw the white frock of our poor
little lost pet fluttering in the daylight, at the top of the mine, and
he screamed out to her in a great fright that the gold was heavy, and the
water rising fast, and that she must come down as quick as lightning if
she meant to be in time to help them. I called again angrily to the men
to silence him; and just as I did so, the clouds began to part for the
second time, and the white tip of the moon grew visible.

“There she is!” screeches Mr. Rarx; and I saw him by the faint light,
scramble on his knees in the bottom of the boat, and wave a ragged old
handkerchief up at the moon.

“Pull him down!” I called out. “Down with him; and tie his arms and legs!”

Of the men who could still move about, not one paid any attention to me.
They were all upon their knees again, looking out in the strengthening
moonlight for a sight of the ship.

“Quick, Golden Lucy!” screams Mr. Rarx, and creeps under the thwarts
right forward into the bows of the boat. “Quick! my darling, my beauty,
quick! The gold is heavy, and the water rises fast! Come down and save
me, Golden Lucy! Let all the rest of the world drown, and save me! Me!
me! me! me!”

He shouted these last words out at the top of his cracked, croaking
voice, and got on his feet, as I conjectured (for the coat we had spread
for a sail now hid him from me) in the bows of the boat. Not one of the
crew so much as looked round at him, so eagerly were their eyes seeking
for the ship. The man sitting by me was sunk in a deep sleep. If I had
left the helm for a moment in that wind and sea, it would have been the
death of every soul of us. I shouted desperately to the raving wretch to
sit down. A screech that seemed to cut the very wind in two answered me.
A huge wave tossed the boat’s head up wildly at the same moment. I looked
aside to leeward as the wash of the great roller swept by us, gleaming of
a lurid, bluish white in the moonbeams; I looked and saw, in one second
of time, the face of Mr. Rarx rush past on the wave, with the foam
seething in his hair and the moon shining in his eyes. Before I could
draw my breath he was a hundred yards astern of us, and the night and the
sea had swallowed him up and had hid his secret, which he had kept all
the voyage, from our mortal curiosity, for ever.

“He’s gone! he’s drowned!” I shouted to the men forward.

None of them took any notice; none of them left off looking out over the
ocean for a sight of the ship. Nothing that I could say on the subject of
our situation at that fearful time can, in my opinion, give such an idea
of the extremity and the frightfulness of it, as the relation of this one
fact. I leave it to speak by itself the sad and shocking truth, and pass
on gladly to the telling of what happened next, at a later hour of the

After the clouds had shut out the moon again, the wind dropped a little
and shifted a point or two, so as to shape our course nearer to the
eastward. How the hours passed after that, till the dawn came, is more
than I can tell. The nearer the time of daylight approached the more
completely everything seemed to drop out of my mind, except the one
thought of where the ship we had seen in the evening might be, when we
looked for her with the morning light.

It came at last—that gray, quiet light which was to end all our
uncertainty; which was to show us if we were saved, or to warn us if
we were to prepare for death. With the first streak in the east, every
one of the boat’s company, excepting the sleeping and the senseless,
roused up and looked out in breathless silence upon the sea. Slowly and
slowly the daylight strengthened, and the darkness rolled off farther and
farther before it over the face of the waters. The first pale flush of
the sun flew trembling along the paths of light broken through the gray
wastes of the eastern clouds. We could look clearly—we could see far; and
there, ahead of us—O! merciful, bountiful providence of God!—there was
the ship!

I have honestly owned the truth, and confessed to the human infirmity
under suffering of myself, my passengers, and my crew. I have earned,
therefore, as I would fain hope, the right to record it to the credit
of all, that the men, the moment they set eyes on the ship, poured out
their whole heart in humble thanksgiving to the Divine Mercy which had
saved them from the very jaws of death. They did not wait for me to bid
them do this; they did it of their own accord, in their own language,
fervently, earnestly, with one will and one heart.


We had hardly made the ship out—a fine brigantine, hoisting English
colors—before we observed that her crew suddenly hove her up in the wind.
At first we were at a loss to understand this; but as we drew nearer, we
discovered that she was getting the Surf-boat (which had kept ahead of us
all through the night) alongside of her, under the lee bow. My men tried
to cheer when they saw their companions in safety, but their weak cries
died away in tears and sobbing.

In another half-hour we, too, were alongside of the brigantine.

From this point I recollect nothing very distinctly. I remember faintly
many loud voices and eager faces—I remember fresh, strong, willing
fellows, with a color in their cheeks, and a smartness in their movements
that seemed quite preternatural to me at that time, hanging over us in
the rigging of the brigantine, and dropping down from her sides into
our boat—I remember trying with my feeble hands to help them in the
difficult and perilous task of getting the two poor women and the captain
on board—I remember one dark hairy giant of a man swearing that it was
enough to break his heart, and catching me in his arms like a child—and
from that moment I remember nothing more with the slightest certainty for
over a week of time.

When I came to my own senses again, in my cot on board the brigantine, my
first inquiries were naturally for my fellow-sufferers. Two—a passenger
in the Long-boat, and one of the crew of the Surf-boat—had sunk in spite
of all the care that could be taken of them. The rest were likely, with
time and attention, to recover. Of those who have been particularly
mentioned in this narrative, Mrs. Atherfield had shown signs of rallying
the soonest; Miss Coleshaw, who had held out longer against exhaustion,
was now the slower to recover. Captain Ravender, though slowly mending,
was still not able to speak or to move in his cot without help. The
sacrifices for us all which this good man had so nobly undergone, not
only in the boat, but before that, when he had deprived himself of his
natural rest on the dark nights that preceded the wreck of the Golden
Mary, had sadly undermined his natural strength of constitution. He,
the heartiest of all, when we sailed from England, was now, through his
unwearying devotion to his duty and to us, the last to recover, the
longest to linger between life and death.

My next questions (when they helped me on deck to get my first blessed
breath of fresh air) related to the vessel that had saved us. She was
bound to the Columbia River—a long way to the northward of the port for
which we had sailed in the Golden Mary. Most providentially for us,
shortly after we had lost sight of the brigantine in the shades of the
evening, she had been caught in a squall, and had sprung her foretopmast
badly. This accident had obliged them to lay-to for some hours, while
they did their best to secure the spar, and had warned them, when they
continued on their course, to keep the ship under easy sail through the
night. But for this circumstance we must, in all human probability, have
been too far astern when the morning dawned, to have had the slightest
chance of being discovered.

Excepting always some of the stoutest of our men, the next of the
Long-boat’s company who was helped on deck was Mrs. Atherfield. Poor
soul! when she and I first looked at each other, I could see that her
heart went back to the early days of our voyage, when the Golden Lucy and
I used to have our game of hide-and-seek round the mast. She squeezed my
hand as hard as she could with her wasted trembling fingers, and looked
up piteously in my face, as if she would like to speak to little Lucy’s
playfellow, but dared not trust herself—then turned away quickly and laid
her head against the bulwarks, and looked out upon the desolate sea that
was nothing to her now but her darling’s grave. I was better pleased when
I saw her later in the day, sitting by Captain Ravender’s cot; for she
seemed to take comfort in nursing him. Miss Coleshaw soon afterwards got
strong enough to relieve her at this duty; and, between them, they did
the captain such a world of good, both in body and spirit, that he also
got strong enough before long to come on deck, and to thank me, in his
old, generous, self-forgetful way, for having done my duty—the duty which
I had learned how to do by his example.

Hearing what our destination had been when we sailed from England, the
captain of the brigantine (who had treated us with the most unremitting
attention and kindness, and had been warmly seconded in his efforts
for our good by all the people under his command) volunteered to
go sufficiently out of his course to enable us to speak the first
Californian coasting-vessel sailing in the direction of San Francisco. We
were lucky in meeting with one of these sooner than we expected. Three
days after parting from the kind captain of the brigantine, we, the
surviving passengers and crew of the Golden Mary, touched the firm ground
once more, on the shores of California.

We were hardly collected here before we were obliged to separate again.
Captain Ravender, though he was hardly yet in good traveling trim,
accompanied Mrs. Atherfield inland, to see her safe under her husband’s
protection. Miss Coleshaw went with them, to stay with Mrs. Atherfield
for a little while before she attempted to proceed with any matters of
her own which had brought her to this part of the world. The rest of us,
who were left behind with nothing particular to do until the captain’s
return, followed the passengers to the gold-diggings. Some few of us had
enough of the life there in a very short time. The rest seemed bitten by
old Mr. Rarx’s mania for gold, and insisted on stopping behind when Rames
and I proposed going back to the port. We two, and five of our steadiest
seamen, were all the officers and crew left to meet the captain on his
return from the inland country.

He reported that he had left Mrs. Atherfield and Miss Coleshaw safe and
comfortable under Mr. Atherfield’s care. They sent affectionate messages
to all of us, and especially (I am proud to say) to me. After hearing
this good news, there seemed nothing better to do than to ship on board
the first vessel bound for England. There were plenty in port, ready to
sail and only waiting for the men belonging to them who had deserted to
the gold-diggings. We were all snapped up eagerly, and offered any rate
we chose to set on our services, the moment we made known our readiness
to ship for England—all, I ought to have said, except Captain Ravender,
who went along with us in the capacity of passenger only.

Nothing of any moment occurred on the voyage back. The captain and I got
ashore at Gravesend safe and hearty, and went up to London as fast as the
train could carry us, to report the calamity that had occurred to the
owners of the Golden Mary. When that duty had been performed, Captain
Ravender went back to his own house at Poplar, and I traveled to the West
of England to report myself to my old father and mother.

Here I might well end all these pages of writing; but I cannot refrain
from adding a few more sentences, to tell the reader what I am sure he
will be glad to hear. In the summer-time of this present year eighteen
hundred and fifty-six, I happened to be at New York, and having spare
time on my hands, and spare cash in my pocket, I walked into one of the
biggest and grandest of their ordinaries there, to have my dinner. I had
hardly sat down at table, before whom should I see opposite but Mrs.
Atherfield, as bright-eyed and pretty as ever, with a gentleman on her
right hand, and on her left—another Golden Lucy! Her hair was a shade or
two darker than the hair of my poor little pet of past sad times; but in
all other respects the living child reminded me so strongly of the dead,
that I quite started at the first sight of her. I could not tell if I was
to try, how happy we were after dinner, or how much we had to say to each
other. I was introduced to Mrs. Atherfield’s husband, and heard from him,
among other things, that Miss Coleshaw was married to her old sweetheart,
who had fallen into misfortunes and errors, and whom she was determined
to set right by giving him the great chance in life of getting a good
wife. They were settled in America, like Mr. and Mrs. Atherfield—these
last and the child being on their way, when I met them, to visit a friend
living in the northernmost part of the States.

With the relation of this circumstance, and with my personal testimony to
the good health and spirits of Captain Ravender the last time I saw him,
ends all that I have to say in connection with the subject of the Wreck
of the Golden Mary, and the Great Deliverance of her People at Sea.


  =Biography.= Charles Dickens (1812-1870) was a great English
  novelist. When a mere boy he moved to London, where he afterward
  lived and wrote. As a child he was neglected and his education was
  limited. He first showed his ability to write when he became a
  reporter for a London newspaper. Here his unusual powers of narration
  and description brought him marked success in writing character
  sketches, which he signed “Boz.” Before Dickens was thirty he was
  the most popular writer in England. He attacked the cruelty and
  stupidity with which the children of the poor were treated in English
  schools; he opened the eyes of the people to the injustice that was
  suffered by laborers and all poor people; he saw also, like Robert
  Burns, the sincerity and simple happiness that often make the poor
  more to be envied than the rich. No other novelist has invented so
  many characters that seem flesh and blood; they appeal to us because
  they are “folks,” not imaginary dwellers in an unreal world. You will
  note this ability and the author’s rare power of telling a story,
  as you read “The Wreck of the Golden Mary.” Dickens made two visits
  to America, where he was received with great enthusiasm. His second
  visit was made in 1867, when he gave public readings from his own
  works. His vivid imagination and keen human sympathy give to his
  writings a peculiar interest and charm.

  =Discussion.= 1. Has Dickens any purpose in writing this story,
  except to interest and entertain? 2. Are you more interested in the
  characters, or in the things that happen to them; that is, is this
  tale a character study or a story of adventure? 3. Is it both? 4.
  Does the story contain much conversation, or is it mainly narration?
  5. Are there many descriptions in it? 6. Are they descriptions of
  nature, of people, or of events? 7. Read what you consider the finest
  description. 8. What two persons tell the story? 9. Which makes the
  more decided impression upon you? 10. How does Captain Ravender
  describe himself? 11. Are his words in keeping with his education and
  occupation—such as a self-educated, seafaring man would be likely
  to use? 12. Select and read expressions which indicate that he is a
  sailor and uses a sailor’s speech. 13. Name some of the Captain’s
  characteristics and read passages to illustrate each. 14. Notice
  that his character is revealed to us, (1) through his own words
  in relating the story; (2) through what he does; (3) through the
  conduct of others toward him; and (4) through the chief mate’s words.
  Read lines to illustrate each. 15. Which of the other characters
  is most interesting? 16. Select incidents which show the influence
  upon others of the Captain’s cheerfulness, resourcefulness,
  bravery, common-sense, and determination. 17. Do you think one of
  the purposes Dickens had in writing this story may have been to
  picture the influence of a brave, just, and generous spirit in such
  adverse circumstances? 18. Pronounce the following: extraordinary;
  calculations; sustenance.


  literal and metaphorical, 210, 2
  dangerous moment, 211, 18
  ship’s chronometer, 211, 28
  lucrative one, 212, 10
  tolerably correct, 214, 26
  hoist the signal, 214, 35
  curious inconsistency, 217, 15
  a block chafes, 219, 31
  frightful breach, 222, 2
  inner vortex, 224, 2
  tow-rope, 224, 29
  frugal manner, 226, 10
  circumstances appertaining, 226, 33
  great fortitude, 229, 10
  raging in imprecations, 229, 13
  past mustering, 232, 28
  to wear ship, 233, 33
  exhausting effects, 235, 12
  tossing abreast, 236, 6
  sobbing lamentation, 239, 1
  went maundering, 240, 28
  desolate seas, 243, 19
  instantly echoed, 246, 25
  entreating me to lay-to, 247, 2
  combat their despondency, 249, 33
  perilous task, 253, 21
  sprung her foretopmast, 254, 16
  unremitting attention, 255, 7
  traveling trim, 255, 18





During the time that France was divided into provinces (or dukedoms as
they were called) there reigned in one of these provinces an usurper, who
had deposed and banished his elder brother, the lawful duke.

The duke, who was thus driven from his dominions, retired with a few
faithful followers to the forest of Arden; and here the good duke lived
with his loving friends, who had put themselves into a voluntary exile
for his sake, while their land and revenues enriched the false usurper;
and custom soon made the life of careless ease they led here more sweet
to them than the pomp and uneasy splendor of a courtier’s life. Here they
lived like the old Robin Hood of England, and to this forest many noble
youths daily resorted from the court, and did fleet the time carelessly,
as they did who lived in the golden age. In the summer they lay along
under the fine shade of the large forest trees, marking the playful
sports of the wild deer; and so fond were they of these poor dappled
fools, who seemed to be the native inhabitants of the forest, that it
grieved them to be forced to kill them to supply themselves with venison
for their food. When the cold winds of winter made the duke feel the
change of his adverse fortune, he would endure it patiently, and say,
“These chilling winds which blow upon my body are true counselors; they
do not flatter, but represent truly to me my condition; and though they
bite sharply, their tooth is nothing like so keen as that of unkindness
and ingratitude. I find that howsoever men speak against adversity, yet
some sweet uses are to be extracted from it; like the jewel, precious
for medicine, which is taken from the head of the venomous and despised
toad.” In this manner did the patient duke draw a useful moral from
everything that he saw; and by the help of this moralizing turn, in that
life of his, remote from public haunts, he could find tongues in trees,
books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.

The banished duke had an only daughter, named Rosalind; whom the usurper,
Duke Frederick, when he banished her father, still retained in his court
as a companion for his own daughter Celia. A strict friendship subsisted
between these ladies, which the disagreement between their fathers did
not in the least interrupt, Celia striving by every kindness in her
power to make amends to Rosalind for the injustice of her own father
in deposing the father of Rosalind; and whenever the thoughts of her
father’s banishment, and her own dependence on the false usurper, made
Rosalind melancholy, Celia’s whole care was to comfort and console her.

One day, when Celia was talking in her usual kind manner to Rosalind,
saying, “I pray you, Rosalind, my sweet cousin, be merry,” a messenger
entered from the duke, to tell them that if they wished to see a
wrestling match, which was just going to begin, they must come instantly
to the court before the palace; and Celia, thinking it would amuse
Rosalind, agreed to go and see it.

In those times wrestling, which is only practiced now by country clowns,
was a favorite sport even in the courts of princes, and before fair
ladies and princesses. To this wrestling match, therefore, Celia and
Rosalind went. They found that it was likely to prove a very tragical
sight; for a large and powerful man who had been long practiced in the
art of wrestling, and had slain many men in contests of this kind, was
just going to wrestle with a very young man, who, from his extreme youth
and inexperience in the art, the beholders all thought would certainly be

When the duke saw Celia and Rosalind, he said, “How now, daughter and
niece, are you crept hither to see the wrestling? You will take little
delight in it, there is such odds in the men; in pity to this young man,
I would wish to persuade him from wrestling. Speak to him, ladies, and
see if you can not move him.”

The ladies were well pleased to perform this humane office, and first
Celia entreated the young stranger that he would desist from the
attempt; and then Rosalind spoke so kindly to him, and with such feeling
consideration for the danger he was about to undergo, that instead of
being persuaded by her gentle words to forego his purpose, all his
thoughts were bent to distinguish himself by his courage in this lovely
lady’s eyes. He refused the request of Celia and Rosalind in such
graceful and modest words, that they felt still more concern for him;
he concluded his refusal with saying, “I am sorry to deny such fair and
excellent ladies anything. But let your fair eyes and gentle wishes go
with me to my trial, wherein if I be conquered there is one shamed that
was never gracious; if I am killed, there is one dead that is willing to
die; I shall do my friends no wrong, for I have none to lament me; the
world no injury, for in it I have nothing; for I only fill up a place in
the world which may be better supplied when I have made it empty.”

And now the wrestling match began. Celia wished the young stranger might
not be hurt; but Rosalind felt most for him. The friendless state which
he said he was in, and that he wished to die, made Rosalind think that he
was like herself, unfortunate; and she pitied him so much, and so deep an
interest she took in his danger while he was wrestling, that she might
almost be said at that moment to have fallen in love with him.

The kindness shown this unknown youth by these fair and noble ladies gave
him courage and strength, so that he performed wonders; and in the end
completely conquered his antagonist, who was so much hurt, that for a
while he was unable to speak or move.

The Duke Frederick was much pleased with the courage and skill shown by
this young stranger; and desired to know his name and parentage, meaning
to take him under his protection.

The stranger said his name was Orlando, and that he was the youngest son
of Sir Rowland de Boys.

Sir Rowland de Boys, the father of Orlando, had been dead some years; but
when he was living, he had been a true subject and dear friend of the
banished duke; therefore, when Frederick heard Orlando was the son of his
banished brother’s friend, all his liking for this brave young man was
changed into displeasure, and he left the place in very ill humor. Hating
to hear the very name of any of his brother’s friends, and yet still
admiring the valor of the youth, he said, as he went out, that he wished
Orlando had been the son of any other man.

Rosalind was delighted to hear that her new favorite was the son of her
father’s old friend; and she said to Celia, “My father loved Sir Rowland
de Boys, and if I had known this young man was his son, I would have
added tears to my entreaties before he should have ventured.”

The ladies then went up to him; and seeing him abashed by the sudden
displeasure shown by the duke, they spoke kind and encouraging words to
him; and Rosalind, when they were going away, turned back to speak some
more civil things to the brave young son of her father’s old friend; and
taking a chain from off her neck, she said, “Gentleman, wear this for
me. I am out of suits with fortune, or I would give you a more valuable

When the ladies were alone, Rosalind’s talk being still of Orlando, Celia
began to perceive her cousin had fallen in love with the handsome young
wrestler, and she said to Rosalind, “Is it possible you should fall in
love so suddenly?” Rosalind replied, “The duke, my father, loved his
father dearly.” “But,” said Celia, “does it therefore follow that you
should love his son dearly? for then I ought to hate him, for my father
hated his father; yet I do not hate Orlando.”

Frederick being enraged at the sight of Sir Rowland de Boys’ son,
which reminded him of the many friends the banished duke had among the
nobility, and having been for some time displeased with his niece,
because the people praised her for her virtues and pitied her for her
good father’s sake, his malice suddenly broke out against her; and while
Celia and Rosalind were talking of Orlando, Frederick entered the room,
and with looks full of anger ordered Rosalind instantly to leave the
palace, and follow her father into banishment; telling Celia, who in vain
pleaded for her, that he had only suffered Rosalind to stay upon her
account. “I did not then,” said Celia, “entreat you to let her stay, for
I was too young at that time to value her; but now that I know her worth,
and that we so long have slept together, risen at the same instant,
learned, played, and eaten together, I cannot live out of her company.”
Frederick replied, “She is too subtle for you; her smoothness, her very
silence, and her patience speak to the people, and they pity her. You
are a fool to plead for her, for you will seem more bright and virtuous
when she is gone; therefore open not your lips in her favor, for the doom
which I have passed upon her is irrevocable.”

When Celia found she could not prevail upon her father to let Rosalind
remain with her, she generously resolved to accompany her; and leaving
her father’s palace that night, she went along with her friend to seek
Rosalind’s father, the banished duke, in the forest of Arden.

Before they set out, Celia considered that it would be unsafe for two
young ladies to travel in the rich clothes they then wore; she therefore
proposed that they should disguise their rank by dressing themselves like
country maids. Rosalind said it would be a still greater protection if
one of them was to be dressed like a man; and so it was quickly agreed on
between them, that as Rosalind was the taller, she should wear the dress
of a young countryman, and Celia should be habited like a country lass,
and that they should say they were brother and sister, and Rosalind said
she would be called Ganymede, and Celia chose the name of Aliena.

In this disguise, and taking their money and jewels to defray their
expenses, these fair princesses set out on their long travel; for the
forest of Arden was a long way off, beyond the boundaries of the duke’s

The lady Rosalind (or Ganymede as she must now be called) with her manly
garb seemed to have put on a manly courage. The faithful friendship Celia
had shown in accompanying Rosalind so many weary miles, made the new
brother, in recompense for this true love, exert a cheerful spirit, as
if he were indeed Ganymede, the rustic and stout-hearted brother of the
gentle village maiden, Aliena.

When at last they came to the forest of Arden, they no longer found the
convenient inns and good accommodations they had met with on the road;
and being in want of food and rest, Ganymede, who had so merrily cheered
his sister with pleasant speeches and happy remarks all the way, now
owned to Aliena that he was so weary, he could find in his heart to
disgrace his man’s apparel, and cry like a woman; and Aliena declared
she could go no farther; and then again Ganymede tried to recollect
that it was a man’s duty to comfort and console a woman, as the weaker
vessel; and to seem courageous to his new sister, he said, “Come, have
a good heart, my sister Aliena; we are now at the end of our travel, in
the forest of Arden.” But feigned manliness and forced courage would no
longer support them; for though they were in the forest of Arden, they
knew not where to find the duke; and here the travel of these weary
ladies might have come to a sad conclusion, for they might have lost
themselves and perished for want of food; but providentially, as they
were sitting on the grass, almost dying with fatigue and hopeless of any
relief, a countryman chanced to pass that way, and Ganymede once more
tried to speak with a manly boldness, saying, “Shepherd, if love or gold
can in this desert place procure us entertainment, I pray you bring us
where we may rest ourselves; for this young maid, my sister, is much
fatigued with traveling, and faints for want of food.”

The man replied that he was only a servant to a shepherd, and that his
master’s house was just going to be sold, and therefore they would find
but poor entertainment; but that if they would go with him, they should
be welcome to what there was. They followed the man, the near prospect
of relief giving them fresh strength; and bought the house and sheep of
the shepherd, and took the man who conducted them to the shepherd’s house
to wait on them; and being by this means so fortunately provided with a
neat cottage, and well supplied with provisions, they agreed to stay here
till they could learn in what part of the forest the duke dwelt.

When they were rested after the fatigue of their journey, they began to
like their new way of life, and almost fancied themselves the shepherd
and shepherdess they feigned to be; yet sometimes Ganymede remembered he
had once been the same lady Rosalind who had so dearly loved the brave
Orlando, because he was the son of old Sir Rowland, her father’s friend;
and though Ganymede thought that Orlando was many miles distant, even so
many weary miles as they had traveled, yet it soon appeared that Orlando
was also in the forest of Arden; and in this manner this strange event
came to pass.

Orlando was the youngest son of Sir Rowland de Boys, who, when he died,
left him (Orlando being then very young) to the care of his eldest
brother Oliver, charging Oliver on his blessing to give his brother
a good education, and provide for him as became the dignity of their
ancient house. Oliver proved an unworthy brother; and disregarding the
commands of his dying father, he never put his brother to school, but
kept him at home untaught and entirely neglected. But in his nature
and in the noble qualities of his mind Orlando so much resembled his
excellent father, that without any advantages of education he seemed like
a youth who had been bred with the utmost care; and Oliver so envied the
fine person and dignified manners of his untutored brother, that at last
he wished to destroy him; and to effect this he set on people to persuade
him to wrestle with the famous wrestler, who, as has been before related,
had killed so many men. Now, it was this cruel brother’s neglect of him
which made Orlando say he wished to die, being so friendless.

When, contrary to the wicked hopes he had formed, his brother proved
victorious, his envy and malice knew no bounds, and he swore he would
burn the chamber where Orlando slept. He was overheard making this vow
by one that had been an old and faithful servant to their father, and
that loved Orlando because he resembled Sir Rowland. This old man went
out to meet him when he returned from the duke’s palace, and when he saw
Orlando, the peril his dear young master was in made him break out into
these passionate exclamations: “O my gentle master, my sweet master, O
you memory of old Sir Rowland! why are you virtuous? why are you gentle,
strong, and valiant? and why would you be so fond to overcome the famous
wrestler? Your praise is come too swiftly home before you.” Orlando,
wondering what all this meant, asked him what was the matter. And then
the old man told him how his wicked brother, envying the love all people
bore him, and now hearing the fame he had gained by his victory in the
duke’s palace, intended to destroy him, by setting fire to his chamber
that night; and in conclusion, advised him to escape the danger he was in
by instant flight; and knowing Orlando had no money, Adam (for that was
the good old man’s name) had brought out with him his own little hoard,
and he said, “I have five hundred crowns, the thrifty hire I saved under
your father, and laid by to be provision for me when my old limbs should
become unfit for service; take that, and he that doth the ravens feed be
comfort to my age! Here is the gold; all this I give to you; let me be
your servant; though I look old I will do the service of a younger man
in all your business and necessities.” “O good old man!” said Orlando,
“how well appears in you the constant service of the old world! You are
not for the fashion of these times. We will go along together, and before
your youthful wages are spent, I shall light upon some means for both our

Together then this faithful servant and his loved master set out; and
Orlando and Adam traveled on, uncertain what course to pursue, till they
came to the forest of Arden, and there they found themselves in the
same distress for want of food that Ganymede and Aliena had been. They
wandered on, seeking some human habitation, till they were almost spent
with hunger and fatigue. Adam at last said, “O my dear master, I die for
want of food; I can go no farther!” He then laid himself down, thinking
to make that place his grave, and bade his dear master farewell. Orlando,
seeing him in this weak state, took his old servant up in his arms and
carried him under the shelter of some pleasant trees; and he said to him,
“Cheerly, old Adam, rest your weary limbs here awhile and do not talk of

Orlando then searched about to find some food, and he happened to arrive
at that part of the forest where the duke was; and he and his friends
were just going to eat their dinner, this royal duke being seated on the
grass, under no other canopy than the shady covert of some large trees.

Orlando, whom hunger had made desperate, drew his sword, intending to
take their meat by force, and said, “Forbear and eat no more; I must
have your food!” The duke asked him if distress had made him so bold,
or if he were a rude despiser of good manners. On this Orlando said he
was dying with hunger; and then the duke told him he was welcome to sit
down and eat with them. Orlando hearing him speak so gently, put up his
sword, and blushed with shame at the rude manner in which he had demanded
their food. “Pardon me, I pray you,” said he; “I thought that all things
had been savage here, and therefore I put on the countenance of stern
command; but whatever men you are, that in this desert, under the shade
of melancholy boughs, lose and neglect the creeping hours of time; if
ever you have looked on better days; if ever you have been where bells
have knolled to church; if you have ever sat at any good man’s feast; if
ever from your eyelids you have wiped a tear, and know what it is to pity
or be pitied, may gentle speeches now move you to do me human courtesy!”
The duke replied, “True it is that we are men (as you say) who have seen
better days, and though we have now our habitation in this wild forest,
we have lived in towns and cities, and have with holy bell been knolled
to church, have sat at good men’s feasts, and from our eyes have wiped
the drops which sacred pity has engendered; therefore sit you down, and
take of our refreshments as much as will minister to your wants.” “There
is an old poor man,” answered Orlando, “who has limped after me many a
weary step in pure love, oppressed at once with two sad infirmities, age
and hunger; till he be satisfied, I must not touch a bit.” “Go, find
him out, and bring him hither,” said the duke; “we will forbear to eat
till you return.” Then Orlando went like a doe to find its fawn and give
it food; and presently returned, bringing Adam in his arms; and the duke
said, “Set down your venerable burthen; you are both welcome”; and they
fed the old man and cheered his heart, and he revived, and recovered his
health and strength again.

The duke inquired who Orlando was; and when he found that he was the son
of his old friend, Sir Rowland de Boys, he took him under his protection,
and Orlando and his old servant lived with the duke in the forest.

Orlando arrived in the forest not many days after Ganymede and Aliena
came there, and (as has been before related) bought the shepherd’s

Ganymede and Aliena were strangely surprised to find the name of Rosalind
carved on the trees, and love-sonnets, fastened to them, all addressed
to Rosalind; and while they were wondering how this could be, they met
Orlando, and they perceived the chain which Rosalind had given him about
his neck.

Orlando little thought that Ganymede was the fair princess Rosalind, who,
by her noble condescension and favor, had so won his heart that he passed
his whole time in carving her name upon the trees, and writing sonnets
in praise of her beauty; but being much pleased with the graceful air of
this pretty shepherd-youth, he entered into conversation with him, and he
thought he saw a likeness in Ganymede to his beloved Rosalind, but that
he had none of the dignified deportment of that noble lady; for Ganymede
assumed the forward manners often seen in youths when they are between
boys and men, and with much archness and humor talked to Orlando of a
certain lover, “who,” said he, “haunts our forest, and spoils our young
trees with carving, ‘Rosalind,’ upon their barks; and he hangs odes upon
hawthorns and elegies on brambles, all praising this same Rosalind. If I
could find this lover, I would give him some good counsel that would soon
cure him of his love.”

Orlando confessed that he was the fond lover of whom he spoke, and asked
Ganymede to give him the good counsel he talked of. The remedy Ganymede
proposed, and the counsel he gave him, was that Orlando should come every
day to the cottage where he and his sister Aliena dwelt. “And then,” said
Ganymede, “I will feign myself to be Rosalind, and you shall feign to
court me in the same manner as you would do if I was Rosalind, and then I
will imitate the fantastic ways of whimsical ladies to their lovers, till
I make you ashamed of your love; and this is the way I propose to cure
you.” Orlando had no great faith in the remedy, yet he agreed to come
every day to Ganymede’s cottage, and feign a playful courtship; and every
day Orlando visited Ganymede and Aliena, and Orlando called the shepherd
Ganymede his Rosalind, and every day talked over all the fine words and
flattering compliments which young men delight to use when they court
their mistresses. It does not appear, however, that Ganymede made any
progress in curing Orlando of his love for Rosalind.

Though Orlando thought all this was but a sportive play (not dreaming
that Ganymede was his very Rosalind), yet the opportunity it gave him of
saying all the fond things he had in his heart, pleased his fancy almost
as well as it did Ganymede’s, who enjoyed the secret jest in knowing
these fine love-speeches were all addressed to the right person.

In this manner many days passed pleasantly on with these young people;
and the good-natured Aliena, seeing it made Ganymede happy, let him have
his own way, and was diverted at the mock-courtship, and did not care to
remind Ganymede that the lady Rosalind had not yet made herself known to
the duke her father, whose place of resort in the forest they had learnt
from Orlando. Ganymede met the duke one day, and had some talk with him,
and the duke asked of what parentage he came. Ganymede answered that
he came of as good parentage as he did, which made the duke smile, for
he did not suspect the pretty shepherd-boy came of royal lineage. Then
seeing the duke look well and happy, Ganymede was content to put off all
further explanation for a few days longer.

One morning, as Orlando was going to visit Ganymede, he saw a man lying
asleep on the ground, and a large green snake had twisted itself
about his neck. The snake, seeing Orlando approach, glided away among
the bushes. Orlando went nearer, and then he discovered a lioness lie
crouching, with her head on the ground, with a cat-like watch, waiting
until the sleeping man awaked (for it is said that lions will prey on
nothing that is dead or sleeping). It seemed as if Orlando was sent by
Providence to free the man from the danger of the snake and lioness; but
when Orlando looked in the man’s face, he perceived that the sleeper who
was exposed to this double peril, was his own brother Oliver, who had so
cruelly used him, and had threatened to destroy him by fire; and he was
almost tempted to leave him a prey to the hungry lioness; but brotherly
affection and the gentleness of his nature soon overcame his first anger
against his brother; and he drew his sword, and attacked the lioness, and
slew her, and thus preserved his brother’s life both from the venomous
snake and from the furious lioness; but before Orlando could conquer the
lioness, she had torn one of his arms with her sharp claws.

While Orlando was engaged with the lioness, Oliver awaked, and perceiving
that his brother Orlando, whom he had so cruelly treated, was saving him
from the fury of a wild beast at the risk of his own life, shame and
remorse at once seized him, and he repented of his unworthy conduct, and
besought with many tears his brother’s pardon for the injuries he had
done him. Orlando rejoiced to see him so penitent, and readily forgave
him; they embraced each other; and from that hour Oliver loved Orlando
with a true brotherly affection, though he had come to the forest bent on
his destruction.

The wound in Orlando’s arm having bled very much, he found himself too
weak to go to visit Ganymede, and therefore he desired his brother to
go and tell Ganymede, “whom,” said Orlando, “I in sport do call my
Rosalind,” the accident which had befallen him.

Thither then Oliver went, and told to Ganymede and Aliena how Orlando had
saved his life; and when he had finished the story of Orlando’s bravery,
and his own providential escape, he owned to them that he was Orlando’s
brother, who had so cruelly used him; and then he told them of their

The sincere sorrow that Oliver expressed for his offenses made such a
lively impression on the kind heart of Aliena, that she instantly fell
in love with him; and Oliver observing how much she pitied the distress
he told her he felt for his fault, he as suddenly fell in love with her.
But while love was thus stealing into the hearts of Aliena and Oliver,
he was no less busy with Ganymede, who hearing of the danger Orlando
had been in, and that he was wounded by the lioness, fainted; and when
he recovered, he pretended that he had counterfeited the swoon in the
imaginary character of Rosalind, and Ganymede said to Oliver, “Tell your
brother Orlando how well I counterfeited a swoon.” But Oliver saw by the
paleness of his complexion that he did really faint, and much wondering
at the weakness of the young man, he said, “Well, if you did counterfeit,
take a good heart, and counterfeit to be a man.” “So I do,” replied
Ganymede, truly, “but I should have been a woman by right.”

Oliver made this visit a very long one, and when at last he returned back
to his brother, he had much news to tell him; for besides the account
of Ganymede’s fainting at the hearing that Orlando was wounded, Oliver
told him how he had fallen in love with the fair shepherdess Aliena, and
that she had lent a favorable ear to his suit, even in this their first
interview; and he talked to his brother, as of a thing almost settled,
that he should marry Aliena, saying, that he so well loved her, that he
would live here as a shepherd, and settle his estate and house at home
upon Orlando.

“You have my consent,” said Orlando. “Let your wedding be tomorrow, and
I will invite the duke and his friends. Go and persuade your shepherdess
to agree to this; she is now alone; for look, here comes her brother.”
Oliver went to Aliena; and Ganymede, whom Orlando had perceived
approaching, came to inquire after the health of his wounded friend.

When Orlando and Ganymede began to talk over the sudden love which had
taken place between Oliver and Aliena, Orlando said he had advised his
brother to persuade his fair shepherdess to be married on the morrow, and
then he added how much he could wish to be married on the same day to his

Ganymede, who well approved of this arrangement, said that if Orlando
really loved Rosalind as well as he professed to do, he should have his
wish; for on the morrow he would engage to make Rosalind appear in her
own person, and also that Rosalind should be willing to marry Orlando.

This seemingly wonderful event, which, as Ganymede was the lady Rosalind,
he could so easily perform, he pretended he would bring to pass by the
aid of magic, which he said he had learnt of an uncle who was a famous

The fond lover Orlando, half believing and half doubting what he heard,
asked Ganymede if he spoke in sober meaning. “By my life I do,” said
Ganymede; “therefore put on your best clothes, and bid the duke and your
friends to your wedding; for if you desire to be married tomorrow to
Rosalind, she shall be here.”

The next morning, Oliver having obtained the consent of Aliena, they came
into the presence of the duke, and with them also came Orlando.

They being all assembled to celebrate this double marriage, and as
yet only one of the brides appearing, there was much of wondering and
conjecture, but they mostly thought that Ganymede was making a jest of

The duke, hearing that it was his own daughter that was to be brought in
this strange way, asked Orlando if he believed the shepherd-boy could
really do what he had promised; and while Orlando was answering that
he knew not what to think, Ganymede entered, and asked the duke, if he
brought his daughter, whether he would consent to her marriage with
Orlando. “That I would,” said the duke, “if I had kingdoms to give with
her.” Ganymede then said to Orlando, “And you say you will marry her if
I bring her here?” “That I would,” said Orlando, “if I were king of many

Ganymede and Aliena then went out together, and Ganymede throwing
off his male attire, and being once more dressed in woman’s apparel,
quickly became Rosalind without the power of magic; and Aliena changing
her country garb for her own rich clothes, was with as little trouble
transformed into the lady Celia.

While they were gone, the duke said to Orlando, that he thought the
shepherd Ganymede very like his daughter Rosalind; and Orlando said, he
also had observed the resemblance.

They had no time to wonder how all this would end, for Rosalind and Celia
in their own clothes entered; and no longer pretending that it was by the
power of magic that she came there, Rosalind threw herself on her knees
before her father, and begged his blessing. It seemed so wonderful to
all present that she should so suddenly appear, that it might well have
passed for magic; but Rosalind would no longer trifle with her father,
and told him the story of her banishment, and of her dwelling in the
forest as a shepherd-boy, her cousin Celia passing as her sister.

The duke ratified the consent he had already given to the marriage; and
Orlando and Rosalind, Oliver and Celia, were married at the same time.
And though their wedding could not be celebrated in this wild forest with
any of the parade or splendor usual on such occasions, yet a happier
wedding-day was never passed; and while they were eating their venison
under the cool shade of the pleasant trees, as if nothing should be
wanting to complete the felicity of this good duke and the true lovers,
an unexpected messenger arrived to tell the duke the joyful news, that
his dukedom was restored to him.

The usurper, enraged at the flight of his daughter Celia, and hearing
that every day men of great worth resorted to the forest of Arden to join
the lawful duke in his exile, much envying that his brother should be so
highly respected in his adversity, put himself at the head of a large
force, and advanced toward the forest, intending to seize his brother,
and put him with all his faithful followers to the sword; but, by a
wonderful interposition of Providence, this bad brother was converted
from his evil intention; for just as he entered the skirts of the wild
forest, he was met by an old religious man, a hermit, with whom he had
much talk, and who in the end completely turned his heart from his
wicked design. Thenceforward he became a true penitent, and resolved,
relinquishing his unjust dominion, to spend the remainder of his days in
a religious house. The first act of his newly-conceived penitence was to
send a messenger to his brother (as has been related) to offer to restore
to him his dukedom, which he had usurped so long, and with it the lands
and revenues of his friends, the faithful followers of his adversity.

This joyful news, as unexpected as it was welcome, came opportunely to
heighten the festivity and rejoicings at the wedding of the princesses.
Celia complimented her cousin on this good fortune which had happened to
the duke, Rosalind’s father, and wished her joy very sincerely, though
she herself was no longer heir to the dukedom, but by this restoration
which her father had made, Rosalind was now the heir; so completely was
the love of these two cousins unmixed with anything of jealousy or of

The duke had now an opportunity of rewarding those true friends who had
stayed with him in his banishment; and these worthy followers, though
they had patiently shared his adverse fortune, were very well pleased to
return in peace and prosperity to the palace of their lawful duke.


  =Biography.= Charles Lamb (1775-1834) was an English writer who
  spent his entire life in London. He was a classmate of the poet
  Coleridge. His father was a clerk in a lawyer’s office, and Charles
  was an accountant until he was fifty years of age. He was, however,
  a great reader and spent his hours of leisure at the bookstalls and
  printshops or at home reading with his sister Mary. He and Mary
  wrote _Tales from Shakespeare_, giving the story or plot of many of
  Shakespeare’s plays. In a letter to his friend Mr. Manning, Lamb
  said of his sister: “She is doing for Godwin’s bookseller twenty
  of Shakespeare’s plays, to be made into children’s tales. Six are
  already done by her: _The Tempest_, _Winter’s Tale_, _Midsummer
  Night_, _Much Ado_, _Two Gentlemen of Verona_, and _Cymbeline;_ and
  the _Merchant of Venice_ is in forwardness. I have done _Othello_
  and _Macbeth_, and mean to do all the tragedies. I think it will be
  popular among the little people, besides money. It is to bring in
  sixty guineas. Mary has done them capitally, I think you’d think.”
  Lamb’s rich personality gave flavor and enduring fame to his writings.

  =Discussion.= 1. Be prepared to tell the story in the fewest possible
  words. 2. Make an outline giving the principal events of the story.
  3. Note all that is said of the forest of Arden; where may such a
  forest be found? 4. Is the forest described a real one? 5. What
  impression of the elder duke’s character do you get from the story?
  6. What evidences of true friendship did Celia show? 7. Who are the
  important characters? The most important? 8. Give your opinion of
  these: Rosalind, Celia, Orlando. 9. Are the characters real and
  lifelike or are they improbable? 10. What humorous situations do you
  find? 11. Pronounce the following: haunts; wrestling; fatigue.


  usurper, who had deposed, 259, 3
  voluntary exile, 259, 8
  uneasy splendor, 259,11
  dappled fools, 259, 17
  adverse fortune, 260, 3
  humane office, 261, 11
  to forego his purpose, 261, 15
  malice suddenly broke, 263, 4
  defray their expenses, 263, 36
  recompense for this, 264, 6
  malice knew no bounds, 265, 36
  shady covert, 267,10
  sacred pity, 267, 33
  venerable burthen, 268, 5
  fantastic ways, 269, 6
  bent on his destruction, 270, 27
  counterfeited the swoon, 271, 9
  wondering and conjecture, 272, 20
  ratified the consent, 273, 12
  respected in his adversity, 273, 25
  wonderful interposition, 273, 28
  newly-conceived penitence, 273, 35



There was a certain island in the sea, the only inhabitants of which were
an old man, whose name was Prospero, and his daughter Miranda, a very
beautiful young lady. She came to this island so young that she had no
memory of having seen any other human face than her father’s.

They lived in a cave, or cell, made out of a rock; it was divided into
several apartments, one of which Prospero called his study; there he kept
his books, which chiefly treated of magic, a study at that time much
affected by all learned men. The knowledge of this art he found very
useful to him; for being thrown by a strange chance upon this island,
which had been enchanted by a witch called Sycorax, who died there a
short time before his arrival, Prospero, by virtue of his art, released
many good spirits that Sycorax had imprisoned in the bodies of large
trees, because they had refused to execute her wicked commands. These
gentle spirits were ever after obedient to the will of Prospero. Of these
Ariel was the chief.

The lively little sprite Ariel had nothing mischievous in his nature,
except that he took rather too much pleasure in tormenting an ugly
monster called Caliban, for he owed him a grudge because he was the son
of his old enemy Sycorax. This Caliban, Prospero found in the woods, a
strange misshapen thing, far less human in form than an ape. He took
him home to his cell, and taught him to speak; and Prospero would have
been very kind to him, but the bad nature which Caliban inherited from
his mother Sycorax, would not let him learn anything good or useful;
therefore he was employed like a slave, to fetch wood, and do the most
laborious offices; and Ariel had the charge of compelling him to these

When Caliban was lazy and neglected his work, Ariel (who was invisible to
all eyes but Prospero’s) would come slyly and pinch him, and sometimes
tumble him down in the mire; and then Ariel, in the likeness of an
ape, would make mouths at him. Then swiftly changing his shape, in the
likeness of a hedgehog, he would lie tumbling in Caliban’s way, who
feared the hedgehog’s sharp quills would prick his bare feet. With a
variety of such-like vexatious tricks Ariel would often torment him,
whenever Caliban neglected the work which Prospero commanded him to do.

Having these powerful spirits obedient to his will, Prospero could by
their means command the winds, and the waves of the sea. By his orders
they raised a violent storm, in the midst of which, and struggling with
the wild sea-waves that every moment threatened to swallow it up, he
showed his daughter a fine large ship, which he told her was full of
living beings like themselves. “O my dear father,” said she, “if by your
art you have raised this dreadful storm, have pity on their sad distress.
See! the vessel will be dashed to pieces. Poor souls! they will all
perish. If I had power, I would sink the sea beneath the earth, rather
than the good ship should be destroyed, with all the precious souls
within her.”

“Be not so amazed, daughter Miranda,” said Prospero; “there is no harm
done. I have so ordered it, that no person in the ship shall receive any
hurt. What I have done has been in care of you, my dear child. You are
ignorant who you are, or where you came from, and you know no more of me
but that I am your father, and live in this poor cave. Can you remember a
time before you came to this cell? I think you cannot, for you were not
then three years of age.”

“Certainly I can, sir,” replied Miranda.

“By what?” asked Prospero; “by any other house or person? Tell me what
you can remember, my child.”

Miranda said, “It seems to me like the recollection of a dream. But had I
not once four or five women who attended upon me?”

Prospero answered, “You had, and more. How is it that this still lives in
your mind? Do you remember how you came here?”

“No, sir,” said Miranda, “I remember nothing more.”

“Twelve years ago, Miranda,” continued Prospero, “I was duke of Milan,
and you were a princess, and my only heir. I had a younger brother, whose
name was Antonio, to whom I trusted everything; and as I was fond of
retirement and deep study, I commonly left the management of my state
affairs to your uncle, my false brother (for so indeed he proved). I,
neglecting all worldly ends, buried among my books, did dedicate my
whole time to the bettering of my mind. My brother Antonio being thus
in possession of my power, began to think himself the duke indeed. The
opportunity I gave him of making himself popular among my subjects
awakened in his bad nature a proud ambition to deprive me of my dukedom;
this he soon effected with the aid of the king of Naples, a powerful
prince, who was my enemy.”

“Wherefore,” said Miranda, “did they not that hour destroy us?”

“My child,” answered her father, “they durst not, so dear was the love
that my people bore me. Antonio carried us on board a ship, and when we
were some leagues out at sea, he forced us into a small boat, without
either tackle, sail, or mast; there he left us, as he thought, to perish.
But a kind lord of my court, one Gonzalo, who loved me, had privately
placed in the boat, water, provisions, apparel, and some books which I
prize above my dukedom.”

“O my father,” said Miranda, “what a trouble must I have been to you

“No, my love,” said Prospero, “you were a little cherub that did preserve
me. Your innocent smiles made me bear up against my misfortunes. Our
food lasted till we landed on this desert island, since when my chief
delight has been in teaching you, Miranda, and well have you profited by
my instructions.”

“Heaven thank you, my dear father,” said Miranda. “Now pray tell me, sir,
your reason for raising this sea-storm?”

“Know then,” said her father, “that by means of this storm, my enemies,
the King of Naples and my cruel brother, are cast ashore upon this

Having so said, Prospero gently touched his daughter with his magic
wand, and she fell fast asleep; for the spirit Ariel just then presented
himself before his master, to give an account of the tempest, and how he
had disposed of the ship’s company, and though the spirits were always
invisible to Miranda, Prospero did not choose she should hear him holding
converse (as would seem to her) with the empty air.

“Well, my brave spirit,” said Prospero to Ariel, “how have you performed
your task?”

Ariel gave a lively description of the storm, and of the terrors of the
mariners; and how the King’s son, Ferdinand, was the first who leaped
into the sea; and his father thought he saw his dear son swallowed up by
the waves and lost. “But he is safe,” said Ariel, “in a corner of the
isle, sitting with his arms folded, sadly lamenting the loss of the King,
his father, whom he concludes drowned. Not a hair of his head is injured,
and his princely garments, though drenched in the sea-waves, look fresher
than before.”

“That’s my delicate Ariel,” said Prospero. “Bring him hither; my daughter
must see this young prince. Where is the King, and my brother?”

“I left them,” answered Ariel, “searching for Ferdinand, whom they have
little hopes of finding, thinking they saw him perish. Of the ship’s crew
not one is missing; though each one thinks himself the only one saved;
and the ship, though invisible to them, is safe in the harbor.”

“Ariel,” said Prospero, “thy charge is faithfully performed; but there is
more work yet.”

“Is there more work?” said Ariel. “Let me remind you, master, you
have promised me my liberty. I pray remember I have done you worthy
service, told you no lies, made no mistakes, served you without grudge or

“How now!” said Prospero. “You do not recollect what a torment I freed
you from. Have you forgot the wicked witch Sycorax, who with age and envy
was almost bent double? Where was she born? Speak; tell me.”

“Sir, in Algiers,” said Ariel.

“O was she so?” said Prospero. “I must recount what you have been, which
I find you do not remember. This bad witch, Sycorax, for her witchcrafts,
too terrible to enter human hearing, was banished from Algiers, and
here left by the sailors; and because you were a spirit too delicate to
execute her wicked commands, she shut you up in a tree, where I found you
howling. This torment, remember, I did free you from.”

“Pardon me, dear master,” said Ariel, ashamed to seem ungrateful; “I will
obey your commands.”

“Do so,” said Prospero, “and I will set you free.” He then gave orders
what further he would have him do; and away went Ariel, first to where he
had left Ferdinand, and found him still sitting on the grass in the same
melancholy posture.

“O my young gentleman,” said Ariel, when he saw him, “I will soon move
you. You must be brought, I find, for the Lady Miranda to have a sight of
your pretty person. Come, sir, follow me.” He then began singing,

  “Full fathom five thy father lies;
      Of his bones are coral made;
  Those are pearls that were his eyes.
      Nothing of him that doth fade,
  But doth suffer a sea-change
  Into something rich and strange.
  Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell;
  Hark! now I hear them,—Ding-dong, bell.”

This strange news of his lost father soon roused the prince from the
stupid fit into which he had fallen. He followed in amazement the sound
of Ariel’s voice, till it led him to Prospero and Miranda, who were
sitting under the shade of a large tree. Now Miranda had never seen a
man before, except her own father.

“Miranda,” said Prospero, “tell me what you are looking at yonder.”

“O father,” said Miranda, in a strange surprise, “surely that is a
spirit. Lord! how it looks about! Believe me, sir, it is a beautiful
creature. Is it not a spirit?”

“No, girl,” answered her father; “it eats, and sleeps, and has senses
such as we have. This young man you see was in the ship. He is somewhat
altered by grief, or you might call him a handsome person. He has lost
his companions, and is wandering about to find them.”

Miranda, who thought all men had grave faces and gray beards like her
father, was delighted with the appearance of this beautiful young prince;
and Ferdinand, seeing such a lovely lady in this desert place, and from
the strange sounds he had heard, expecting nothing but wonders, thought
he was upon an enchanted island, and that Miranda was the goddess of the
place, and as such he began to address her.

She timidly answered, she was no goddess, but a simple maid, and was
going to give him an account of herself, when Prospero interrupted her.
He was well pleased to find they admired each other, for he plainly
perceived they had (as we say) fallen in love at first sight; but to try
Ferdinand’s constancy, he resolved to throw some difficulties in their
way; therefore advancing forward, he addressed the prince with a stern
air, telling him, he came to the island as a spy, to take it from him
who was the lord of it. “Follow me,” said he, “I will tie you neck and
feet together. You shall drink sea-water; shell-fish, withered roots, and
husks of acorns shall be your food.” “No,” said Ferdinand, “I will resist
such entertainment, till I see a more powerful enemy,” and drew his
sword; but Prospero, waving his magic wand, fixed him to the spot where
he stood, so that he had no power to move.

Miranda hung upon her father, saying, “Why are you so ungentle? Have
pity, sir; I will be his surety. This is the second man I ever saw, and
to me he seems a true one.”

“Silence,” said the father; “one word more will make me chide you, girl!
What! an advocate for an impostor! You think there are no more such fine
men, having seen only him and Caliban. I tell you, foolish girl, most
men as far excel this, as he does Caliban.” This he said to prove his
daughter’s constancy; and she replied, “My affections are most humble. I
have no wish to see a goodlier man.”

“Come on, young man,” said Prospero to the Prince; “you have no power to
disobey me.”

“I have not indeed,” answered Ferdinand; and not knowing that it was by
magic he was deprived of all power of resistance, he was astonished to
find himself so strangely compelled to follow Prospero; looking back on
Miranda as long as he could see her, he said, as he went after Prospero
into the cave, “My spirits are all bound up, as if I were in a dream; but
this man’s threats, and the weakness which I feel, would seem light to me
if from my prison I might once a day behold this fair maid.”

Prospero kept Ferdinand not long confined within the cell; he soon
brought out his prisoner, and set him a severe task to perform, taking
care to let his daughter know the hard labor he had imposed on him, and
then pretending to go into his study, he secretly watched them both.

Prospero had commanded Ferdinand to pile up some heavy logs of wood.
Kings’ sons not being much used to laborious work, Miranda soon after
found her lover almost dying with fatigue. “Alas!” said she, “do not work
so hard; my father is at his studies, he is safe for these three hours;
pray rest yourself.”

“O my dear lady,” said Ferdinand, “I dare not. I must finish my task
before I take my rest.”

“If you will sit down,” said Miranda, “I will carry your logs the while.”
But this Ferdinand would by no means agree to. Instead of a help Miranda
became a hindrance, for they began a long conversation, so that the
business of log-carrying went on very slowly.

Prospero, who had enjoined Ferdinand this task merely as a trial of his
love, was not at his books, as his daughter supposed, but was standing by
them invisible, to overhear what they said.

Ferdinand inquired her name, which she told, saying it was against her
father’s express command she did so.

Prospero only smiled at this first instance of his daughter’s
disobedience, for having by his magic art caused his daughter to fall in
love so suddenly, he was not angry that she showed her love by forgetting
to obey his commands. And he listened well pleased to a long speech of
Ferdinand’s, in which he professed to love her above all the ladies he
ever saw.

In answer to his praises of her beauty, which he said exceeded all the
women in the world, she replied, “I do not remember the face of any
woman, nor have I seen any more men than you, my good friend, and my dear
father. How features are abroad, I know not; but, believe me, sir, I
would not wish any companion in the world but you, nor can my imagination
form any shape but yours that I could like. But, sir, I fear I talk to
you too freely, and my father’s precepts I forget.”

At this Prospero smiled, and nodded his head, as much as to say, “This
goes on exactly as I could wish; my girl will be Queen of Naples.”

And then Ferdinand, in another fine long speech (for young princes speak
in courtly phrases), told the innocent Miranda he was heir to the crown
of Naples, and that she should be his Queen.

“Ah! sir,” said she, “I am a fool to weep at what I am glad of. I will
answer you in plain and holy innocence. I am your wife if you will marry

Prospero prevented Ferdinand’s thanks by appearing visible before them.

“Fear nothing, my child,” said he; “I have overheard, and so approve of
all you have said. And, Ferdinand, if I have too severely used you, I
will make you rich amends, by giving you my daughter. All your vexations
were but trials of your love, and you have nobly stood the test. Then as
my gift, which your true love has worthily purchased, take my daughter,
and do not smile that I boast she is above all praise.” He then, telling
them that he had business which required his presence, desired they would
sit down and talk together till he returned; and this command Miranda
seemed not at all disposed to disobey.

When Prospero left them, he called his spirit Ariel, who quickly appeared
before him, eager to relate what he had done with Prospero’s brother
and the King of Naples. Ariel said he had left them almost out of their
senses with fear, at the strange things he had caused them to see and
hear. When fatigued with wandering about, and famished for want of food,
he had suddenly set before them a delicious banquet, and then, just as
they were going to eat, he appeared visible before them in the shape of a
harpy, a voracious monster with wings, and the feast vanished away. Then,
to their utter amazement, this seeming harpy spoke to them, reminding
them of their cruelty in driving Prospero from his dukedom, and leaving
him and his infant daughter to perish in the sea; saying, that for this
cause these terrors were suffered to afflict them.

The King of Naples, and Antonio, the false brother, repented the
injustice they had done to Prospero; and Ariel told his master he was
certain their penitence was sincere, and that he, though a spirit, could
not but pity them.

“Then bring them hither, Ariel,” said Prospero; “if you, who are but a
spirit, feel for their distress, shall not I, who am a human being like
themselves, have compassion on them? Bring them, quickly, my dainty

Ariel soon returned with the King, Antonio, and old Gonzalo in their
train, who had followed him, wondering at the wild music he played in the
air to draw them on to his master’s presence. This Gonzalo was the same
who had so kindly provided Prospero formerly with books and provisions,
when his wicked brother left him, as he thought, to perish in an open
boat in the sea.

Grief and terror had so stupefied their senses, that they did not know
Prospero. He first discovered himself to the good old Gonzalo, calling
him the preserver of his life; and then his brother and the King knew
that he was the injured Prospero.

Antonio with tears, and sad words of sorrow and true repentance, implored
his brother’s forgiveness, and the King expressed his sincere remorse
for having assisted Antonio to depose his brother; and Prospero forgave
them; and, upon their engaging to restore his dukedom, he said to the
King of Naples, “I have a gift in store for you, too”; and opening a
door, showed him his son Ferdinand playing at chess with Miranda.

Nothing could exceed the joy of the father and the son at this unexpected
meeting, for they each thought the other drowned in the storm.

“O wonder!” said Miranda, “what noble creatures these are! It must surely
be a brave world that has such people in it.”

The King of Naples was almost as much astonished at the beauty and
excellent graces of the young Miranda, as his son had been. “Who is this
maid?” said he; “she seems the goddess that has parted us, and brought
us thus together.” “No, sir,” answered Ferdinand, smiling to find his
father had fallen into the same mistake that he had done when he first
saw Miranda, “she is a mortal, but by immortal Providence she is mine;
I chose her when I could not ask you, my father, for your consent, not
thinking you were alive. She is the daughter to this Prospero, who is the
famous duke of Milan, of whose renown I have heard so much, but never saw
him till now; of him I have received a new life: he has made himself to
me a second father, giving me this dear lady.”

“Then I must be her father,” said the King; “but oh! how oddly will it
sound, that I must ask my child forgiveness.”

“No more of that,” said Prospero; “let us not remember our troubles
past, since they so happily have ended.” And then Prospero embraced his
brother, and again assured him of his forgiveness; and said that a wise
over-ruling Providence had permitted that he should be driven from his
poor dukedom of Milan, that his daughter might inherit the crown of
Naples, for that by their meeting in this desert island, it had happened
that the King’s son had loved Miranda.

These kind words which Prospero spoke, meaning to comfort his brother,
so filled Antonio with shame and remorse, that he wept and was unable to
speak; and the kind old Gonzalo wept to see this joyful reconciliation,
and prayed for blessings on the young couple.

Prospero now told them that their ship was safe in the harbor, and the
sailors all on board her, and that he and his daughter would accompany
them home the next morning. “In the meantime,” says he, “partake of
such refreshments as my poor cave affords; and for your evening’s
entertainment I will relate the history of my life from my first landing
in this desert island.” He then called for Caliban to prepare some food,
and set the cave in order; and the company were astonished at the uncouth
form and savage appearance of this ugly monster, who (Prospero said) was
the only attendant he had to wait upon him.

Before Prospero left the island, he dismissed Ariel from his service,
to the great joy of that lively little spirit; who, though he had been
a faithful servant to his master, was always longing to enjoy his free
liberty, to wander uncontrolled in the air, like a wild bird, under green
trees, among pleasant fruits, and sweet-smelling flowers. “My quaint
Ariel,” said Prospero to the little sprite when he made him free, “I
shall miss you; yet you shall have your freedom.” “Thank you, my dear
master,” said Ariel; “but give me leave to attend your ship home with
prosperous gales, before you bid farewell to the assistance of your
faithful spirit; and then, master, when I am free, how merrily I shall
live!” Here Ariel sang this pretty song:

    “Where the bee sucks, there suck I;
    In a cowslip’s bell I lie;
    There I crouch when owls do cry.
    On the bat’s back I do fly
    After summer merrily.
    Merrily, merrily shall I live now
  Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.”

Prospero then buried deep in the earth his magical books and wand, for
he was resolved never more to make use of the magic art. And having thus
overcome his enemies, and being reconciled to his brother and the King of
Naples, nothing now remained to complete his happiness, but to revisit
his native land, to take possession of his dukedom, and to witness the
happy nuptials of his daughter and Prince Ferdinand, which the King said
should be instantly celebrated with great splendor on their return to
Naples. At which place, under the safe convoy of the spirit Ariel, they,
after a pleasant voyage, soon arrived.


  For Biography, see Page 274.

  =Discussion.= 1. Make a list of the characters mentioned in the
  story. 2. Which are the principal characters? 3. What was Prospero’s
  purpose in raising a violent storm? 4. What tells you that it is a
  magic storm? 5. Tell the story that Prospero told his daughter. 6.
  Why is Miranda made to sleep? 7. What is the purpose of Ariel’s song?
  8. Compare the “love at first sight” of Miranda and Ferdinand with
  that of Orlando and Rosalind in “As You Like It.” 9. Tell the story
  of the reconciliation of Antonio and Prospero. 10. Repeat from memory
  Ariel’s farewell song. 11. Which of the characters do you like best?
  Why? 12. Mention humorous incidents in the story. 13. What is the
  aptness of the song “Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind”? See page 84 in
  this book. 14. In a few brief sentences tell the plot of the story.
  15. Pronounce the following: mischievous; heir; uncouth.


  much affected by learned men, 275, 9
  refused to execute, 275, 15
  owed him a grudge, 276, 1
  such-like vexatious tricks, 276, 17
  worldly ends, 277, 17
  dedicate my whole time, 277, 17
  holding converse, 278, 14
  lamenting the loss, 278, 23
  altered by grief, 280, 10
  advocate for an impostor, 281, 2
  power of resistance, 281, 11
  set him a severe task, 281, 19
  became a hindrance, 281, 32
  had enjoined, 281, 35
  father’s precepts, 282, 16
  penitence was sincere, 283, 19
  have compassion, 283, 23
  stupefied their senses, 283, 31
  engaging to restore, 284, 1
  uncouth form, 285, 8
  prosperous gales, 285, 19
  happy nuptials, 285, 35



  _“When a deed is done for Freedom, through the broad earth’s aching
  _Runs a thrill of joy prophetic, trembling on from east to west.”_

                                                   —James Russell Lowell.

[Illustration: Copyright by M. G. Abbey (from a Copley Print, copyright
by Curtis & Cameron, Boston)




  We must be free or die, who speak the tongue
    That Shakespeare spake; the faith and morals hold
  Which Milton held. In everything we are sprung
    Of Earth’s first blood, have titles manifold.


These lines remind us of the great inheritance, not alone of Englishmen
but of all who speak the English tongue, whether they live in the United
States or England, in Canada or in Australia. This inheritance is due to
the fact that English-speaking peoples govern themselves, that they were
the first to invent the means by which free government became possible.
It sometimes seems a simple thing, very much a matter of course, that in
America the rulers are all the people, who adopt the laws they desire;
who submit to rules of life because they themselves think these rules to
be wise, not because they are compelled to submit through the will of an
emperor. But in reality this free government, this democracy, has grown
very slowly, through centuries. It is an inheritance of freedom.

The story of this inheritance is filled with deeds of heroes. These
heroes lived and died, not to win glory for themselves, but to win
freedom for their fellows. Sometimes they were English barons, daring to
defy a wicked king, and forcing him to sign a Great Charter that gave
them a share in the government. Sometimes they were the peasants seeking
the right to live more comfortably. Sometimes they were statesmen who
secured for Parliament the right to levy taxes and to be consulted about
the way England was to be ruled, and the right to drive a selfish tyrant
from the throne. And sometimes they were the farmers and village men
forming in battle line at Lexington and Concord. It is a long story that
you will read, in many places, not all of it at one time; but little by
little you will come to see what meaning lies in the simple words “our
inheritance of freedom,” and then you will be ready to give your time,
and if need be, your life, to keep this inheritance and to hand it on to
those who will speak the English tongue when you are dead.

Only a few bits of the story can be given here. You will read something
about Scotland’s struggle for the right to be governed by her own people,
not by the tyrannical kings who then ruled England and who looked upon
Scotland as a mere province fit only to supply money for their selfish
desires. Next you will read several selections which show that the
tyranny against which Wallace and Bruce fought, like the tyranny against
which Warren and Washington and Patrick Henry fought, did not spring from
the English spirit, but from kings who tried to keep even Englishmen
in slavery. It is all one story—at one time the action takes place in
Scotland, at another in England, at still another time in America; but
the story is the story of our inheritance of freedom.

“We must be free or die”—these words express the spirit of all who speak
the English tongue. The stories of Wallace and Bruce tell it. The story
of the last fight of the _Revenge_ tells it—a story written by the man
who first began to plant English colonies in America, and who helped
defend England against the tyranny which King Philip of Spain tried to
establish. The stories of the Gray Champion, and of Warren at Bunker
Hill, and of Patrick Henry of Virginia, and of Washington and Marion, are
also a part of the great story of our inheritance of freedom.

You should keep this always in mind: the heroes who made good the
Declaration of Independence and set up a new and freer government in
America were men whose ideals of freedom came to them from England.
They did not fight against the English _people_. Their spirit was also
the fundamental English spirit. Many of the greatest Englishmen of
that period used every effort to win fair treatment for the colonies,
sympathized with their struggle for independence and rejoiced when at
last George III and his ministers were told that America would no longer
submit to oppression.

One of the greatest of these Englishmen was Edmund Burke, who lived
in the time of George III and took the part of the colonies in their
struggle against the King’s tyranny. He worked for the repeal of the
taxation laws that so offended the Americans. He made many speeches in
Parliament and elsewhere pleading with Englishmen not to drive their
fellow Englishmen into civil war. And when at last war came, Burke still
sought to bring about reconciliation. He wrote the King a letter in which
he said that the British government was not representing the British
spirit of freedom in its dealings with the colonies. He wrote a letter
to the colonies in which he begged them not to believe that they were at
war with England. “Do not think,” he said, “that the whole or even the
majority of Englishmen in the island are enemies to their own blood on
the American continent.” And a little later he said, “But still a large,
and we trust the largest and soundest part of this kingdom perseveres in
the most perfect unity of sentiments, principles, and affections with
you. _It spreads out a large and liberal platform of common liberty upon
which we may all unite forever._” The whole matter he sums up by saying
that the spirit of England loves not conquest or vast empire for the sake
of wealth, but “this is the peculiar glory of England: those who have
and who hold to that foundation of common liberty, whether on this or
on your side of the ocean, we consider as the true, and the only true,

All Americans need to remember these words written by a great friend
of the colonies during the Revolutionary War, a man who also explained
more clearly and more eloquently than any other Englishman in any time
the principles on which our inheritance of freedom rests. His interest
in the American cause was not merely the interest of a sympathetic
friend; over and over again he pointed out that the colonies, and not the
King’s ministry, represented the true English spirit. To him the mode of
self-government set up in Massachusetts and Virginia represented the very
ideal for which patriotic Englishmen had struggled for centuries. The
British parliament, in Burke’s time, was not made up of representatives
from all the population; only a small part of the population could vote,
and many districts had no representation at all. Complete control of the
government by the people was what Burke and thousands of other Englishmen
had been trying to win. In America such a form of popular government
had developed freely, because the British King paid little attention to
the colonies until they became wealthy enough to be a source of riches.
It was this fact that made the American revolution not merely a war
for the establishment of a new nation, but quite as much a war for the
development of free government in England itself. Burke realized this
fact, and expressed it by saying, “We view the establishment of the
English colonies on principles of liberty as that which is to render this
kingdom venerable to future ages.”

The prophecy has been fulfilled. Britain still has a king, but he is
king in name only; the real power rests in the people. The struggle
in which the American colonists bore a part has resulted not only in
a free America, but also in a free England and in freedom for the
great dominions—Canada, Australia, and New Zealand—which have much the
same form of government. The inheritance of freedom belongs to all
English-speaking peoples, and the spread of these ideals means freedom
for the world.

These ideals center around the brotherhood of man. In our Revolutionary
period Robert Burns sang of the coming of a time when these ideals should
be acknowledged:

  “It’s coming yet, for a’ that,
  That man to man, the world o’er,
  Shall brothers be, for a’ that.”

Long before the time of Burns, John Milton, a great poet, who worked
throughout his life for freedom, and who held the same ideals as those
held by the founders of Plymouth Colony, wrote of the same thing: “Who
knows not that there is a mutual bond of brotherhood between man and man
over all the world?”

The recent war has brought England and America together once more, as
defenders of the right of all people to self-government. For English
ideals, planted on American soil, victorious over the tyranny of George
III and his ministry, have not only found their most complete development
in our America, but have given the vision of liberty to all men. Thus we
are able to understand what President Wilson meant when he said, “And the
heart of America shall interpret the heart of the world.”






William Wallace was none of the high nobles of Scotland, but the son
of a private gentleman, called Wallace of Ellerslie, in Renfrewshire,
near Paisley. He was very tall and handsome, and one of the strongest
and bravest men that ever lived. He had a very fine countenance, with a
quantity of fair hair, and was particularly dexterous in the use of all
weapons which were then employed in battle. Wallace, like all Scotsmen
of high spirit, had looked with great indignation upon the usurpation of
the crown by Edward, and upon the insolences which the English soldiers
committed on his countrymen. It is said, that when he was very young, he
went a-fishing for sport in the river of Irvine, near Ayr. He had caught
a good many trout, which were carried by a boy, who attended him with a
fishing-basket, as is usual with anglers. Two or three English soldiers,
who belonged to the garrison of Ayr, came up to Wallace, and insisted,
with their usual insolence, on taking the fish from the boy. Wallace was
contented to allow them a part of the trout, but he refused to part with
the whole basketful. The soldiers insisted, and from words came to blows.
Wallace had no better weapon than the butt-end of his fishing rod; but
he struck the foremost of the Englishmen so hard under the ear with it
that he killed him on the spot; and getting possession of the slain man’s
sword, he fought with so much fury that he put the others to flight,
and brought home his fish safe and sound. The English governor of Ayr
sought for him, to punish him with death for this action; but Wallace lay
concealed among the hills and great woods till the matter was forgotten.

But the action which occasioned his finally rising in arms is believed
to have happened in the town of Lanark. Wallace was at this time married
to a lady of that place, and residing there with his wife. It chanced,
as he walked in the market-place, dressed in a green garment, with a
rich dagger by his side, that an Englishman came up and insulted him
on account of his finery, saying a Scotsman had no business to wear so
gay a dress, or carry so handsome a weapon. It soon came to a quarrel,
and Wallace, having killed the Englishman, fled to his own house which
was speedily assaulted by all the English soldiers. While they were
endeavoring to force their way in at the front of the house, Wallace
escaped by a back door, and got in safety to a rugged and rocky glen,
near Lanark, called the Cartland Crags, all covered with bushes and
trees, and full of high precipices, where he knew he should be safe from
the pursuit of the English soldiers. In the meantime the governor of
Lanark, whose name was Hazelrigg, burned Wallace’s house and put his wife
and servants to death; and by committing this cruelty, increased to the
highest pitch, as you may well believe, the hatred which the champion
had always borne against the English usurper. Hazelrigg also proclaimed
Wallace an outlaw, and offered a reward to any one who should bring him
to an English garrison, alive or dead.

On the other hand, Wallace soon collected a body of men, outlawed like
himself, or willing to become so, rather than any longer endure the
oppression of the English. One of his earliest expeditions was directed
against Hazelrigg, whom he killed, and thus avenged the death of his
wife. He fought skirmishes with the soldiers who were sent against
him, and often defeated them; and in time became so well known and so
formidable, that multitudes began to resort to his standard, until at
length he was at the head of a considerable army, with which he proposed
to restore his country to independence.

Thus Wallace’s party grew daily stronger and stronger, and many of the
Scottish nobles joined with him. Among these was Sir William Douglas,
the Lord of Douglasdale, and the head of a great family often mentioned
in Scottish history. There was also Sir John the Grahame, who became
Wallace’s bosom friend and greatest confidant. Many of these great
noblemen, however, deserted the cause of the country on the approach
of John de Warenne, Earl of Surrey, the English governor, at the head
of a numerous and well-appointed army. They thought that Wallace would
be unable to withstand the attack of so many disciplined soldiers and
hastened to submit themselves to the English, for fear of losing their
estates. Wallace, however, remained undismayed, and at the head of a
considerable army. He had taken up his camp upon the northern side of the
river Forth, near the town of Stirling. The river was there crossed by a
long wooden bridge, about a mile above the spot where the present bridge
is situated.

The English general approached the banks of the river on the southern
side. He sent two clergymen to offer a pardon to Wallace and his
followers, on condition that they should lay down their arms. But such
was not the purpose of the high-minded champion of Scotland.

“Go back to Warenne,” said Wallace, “and tell him we value not the pardon
of the King of England. We are not here for the purpose of treating for
peace, but of abiding battle, and restoring freedom to our country. Let
the English come on; we defy them to their very beards!”

The English, upon hearing this haughty answer, called loudly to be led to
the attack. The Earl of Surrey hesitated, for he was a skillful soldier,
and he saw that to approach the Scottish army, his troops must pass
over the long, narrow, wooden bridge; so that those who should get over
first might be attacked by Wallace with all his forces, before those who
remained behind could possibly come to their assistance. He therefore
inclined to delay the battle. But Cressingham the Treasurer, who was
ignorant and presumptuous, insisted that it was their duty to fight
and put an end to the war at once; and Surrey gave way to his opinion,
although Cressingham, being a churchman, could not be so good a judge of
what was fitting as he himself, an experienced officer.

The English army began to cross the bridge, Cressingham leading the van,
or foremost division of the army; for, in those military days, even
clergymen wore armor and fought in battle. That took place which Surrey
had foreseen. Wallace suffered a considerable part of the English army to
pass the bridge, without offering any opposition; but when about one-half
were over, and the bridge was crowded with those who were following,
he charged those who had crossed, with his whole strength, slew a very
great number, and drove the rest into the river Forth, where the greater
part were drowned. The remainder of the English army, who were left on
the southern bank of the river, fled in great confusion, having first
set fire to the wooden bridge, that the Scots might not pursue them.
Cressingham was killed in the very beginning of the battle.

The remains of Surrey’s great army fled out of Scotland after this
defeat, and the Scots, taking arms on all sides, attacked the castles
in which the English soldiers continued to shelter themselves, and took
most of them by force or stratagem. Many wonderful stories are told of
Wallace’s exploits on these occasions, some of which are no doubt true,
while others are either invented or very much exaggerated. It seems
certain, however, that he defeated the English in several combats, chased
them almost entirely out of Scotland, regained the towns and castles
of which they had possessed themselves, and recovered for a time the
complete freedom of the country.

Edward I was in Flanders when all these events took place. You may
suppose he was very angry when he learned that Scotland, which he thought
completely subdued, had risen into a great insurrection against him,
defeated his armies, killed his Treasurer, chased his soldiers out of
their country, and invaded England with a great force. He came back from
Flanders in a mighty rage, and determined not to leave that rebellious
country until it was finally conquered, for which purpose he assembled a
very fine army and marched into Scotland.

In the meantime the Scots prepared to defend themselves, and chose
Wallace to be Governor, or Protector, of the kingdom, because they had
no king at the time. He was now titled Sir William Wallace, Protector,
or Governor, of the Scottish nation. But although Wallace, as we have
seen, was the best soldier and bravest man in Scotland, and therefore
the most fit to be placed in command at this critical period, when the
King of England was coming against them with such great forces, yet the
nobles of Scotland envied him this important situation, because he was
not a man born in high rank, or enjoying a large estate. So great was
their jealousy of Sir William Wallace, that many of these great barons
did not seem very willing to bring forward their forces, or fight against
the English, because they would not have a man of inferior condition to
be general. Yet, notwithstanding this unwillingness of the great nobility
to support him, Wallace assembled a large army; for the middling, but
especially the lower classes, were very much attached to him. He marched
boldly against the King of England, and met him near the town of Falkirk.
Most of the Scottish army were on foot, because, as I already told you,
in those days only the nobility and great men of Scotland fought on
horseback. The English King, on the contrary, had a very large body of
the finest cavalry in the world, Normans and English, all clothed in
complete armor. He had also the celebrated archers of England, each of
whom was said to carry twelve Scotsmen’s lives under his girdle; because
every archer had twelve arrows stuck in his belt, and was expected to
kill a man with every arrow.

The Scots had some good archers from the Forest of Ettrick, who fought
under command of Sir John Stewart of Bonkill; but they were not nearly
equal in number to the English. The greater part of the Scottish army
were on foot, armed with long spears; they were placed thick and close
together, and laid all their spears so close, point over point, that it
seemed as difficult to break through them, as through the wall of a
strong castle.

The English made the attack. King Edward, though he saw the close ranks,
and undaunted appearance, of the Scottish infantry, resolved nevertheless
to try whether he could not ride them down with his fine cavalry. He
therefore gave his horsemen orders to advance. They charged accordingly
at full gallop.

The first line of cavalry was commanded by the Earl Marshal of England,
whose progress was checked by a morass. The second line of English horse
was commanded by Antony Beck, the Bishop of Durham, who nevertheless
wore armor and fought like a lay baron. He wheeled round the morass; but
when he saw the deep and firm order of the Scots, his heart failed, and
he proposed to Sir Ralph Basset of Drayton, who commanded under him,
to halt till Edward himself brought up the reserve. “Go say your mass,
Bishop,” answered Basset contemptuously, and advanced at full gallop with
the second line. However, the Scots stood their ground with their long
spears; many of the foremost of the English horses were thrown down,
and the riders were killed as they lay rolling, unable to rise, owing
to the weight of their heavy armor. The English cavalry attempted again
and again to disperse the deep and solid ranks in which Wallace had
stationed his foot soldiers. But they were repeatedly beaten off with
loss, nor could they make their way through that wood of spears, as it
is called by one of the English historians. King Edward then commanded
his archers to advance; and these approaching within arrow-shot of the
Scottish ranks, poured on them such close and dreadful volleys of arrows,
that it was impossible to sustain the discharge. It happened at the same
time, that Sir John Stewart was killed by a fall from his horse; and the
archers of Ettrick Forest, whom he was bringing forward to oppose those
of King Edward, were slain in great numbers around him. Their bodies
were afterward distinguished among the slain, as being the tallest and
handsomest men of the army.

The Scottish spearmen being thus thrown into some degree of confusion, by
the loss of those who were slain by the arrows of the English, the heavy
cavalry of Edward again charged with more success than formerly, and
broke through the ranks, which were already disordered. Sir John Grahame,
Wallace’s great friend and companion, was slain, with many other brave
soldiers; and the Scots, having lost a very great number of men, were at
length obliged to take to flight.

The King of England possessed so much wealth, and so many means of
raising soldiers, that he sent army after army into the poor oppressed
country of Scotland, and obliged all its nobles and great men, one
after another, to submit themselves once more to his yoke. Sir William
Wallace, alone, or with a very small band of followers, refused either to
acknowledge the usurper Edward, or to lay down his arms. He continued to
maintain himself among the woods and mountains of his native country for
no less than seven years after his defeat at Falkirk, and for more than
one year after all the other defenders of Scottish liberty had laid down
their arms. Many proclamations were sent out against him by the English,
and a great reward was set upon his head; for Edward did not think he
could have any secure possession of his usurped kingdom of Scotland while
Wallace lived. At length he was taken prisoner; and, shame it to say, a
Scotsman called Sir John Monteith was the person by whom he was seized
and delivered to the English.

Edward, having thus obtained possession of the person whom he considered
as the greatest obstacle to his complete conquest of Scotland, resolved
to make Wallace an example to all Scottish patriots who should in future
venture to oppose his ambitious projects. He caused this gallant defender
of his country to be brought to trial in Westminster Hall, before the
English judges, and produced him there, crowned in mockery, with a green
garland, because they said he had been king of outlaws and robbers among
the Scottish woods. Wallace was accused of having been a traitor to the
English crown; to which he answered, “I could not be a traitor to Edward,
for I was never his subject.” He was then charged with having taken and
burned towns and castles, with having killed many men and done much
violence. He replied, with the same calm resolution, that it was true he
had killed many Englishmen, but it was because they had come to subdue
and oppress his native country of Scotland; and far from repenting what
he had done, he declared he was only sorry that he had not put to death
many more of them.

Notwithstanding that Wallace’s defense was a good one, both in law and
in common sense (for surely every one has not only a right to fight
in defense of his native country, but is bound in duty to do so), the
English judges condemned him to be executed.


  =Biography.= Walter Scott (1771-1832) was born in Edinburgh,
  Scotland. Even in his childhood he loved nothing better than to
  wander through Scotland, looking up castles and ruins and listening
  to the stories connected with them as told by the old people of the
  villages. He became familiar with all the ballads and legends of his
  locality, and these, with Bishop Percy’s collection of ballads which
  he read later, exerted a strong influence on his life. He loved the
  history and romance of Scotland and made them known to all the world
  through his poems and novels.

  In 1827 he published the _Tales of a Grandfather_, because, as he
  writes in his diary, the good thought came to him to write stories
  from the history of Scotland for his grandson, John Hugh Lockhart,
  whom he calls Hugh Littlejohn. “Children hate books which are written
  down to their capacity, and love those that are composed more for
  their elders. I will,” he says, “make, if possible, a book that a
  child shall understand, yet a man will feel some temptation to peruse
  should he chance to take it up.”

  =Discussion.= 1. This story relates five episodes in the life of
  William Wallace: The Basket of Fish; The Green Garment; The Wooden
  Bridge at Stirling Town; A Wood of Spears; The Trial in Westminster
  Hall. Relate the episode that seems most vivid to you. 2. Read three
  speeches that show clearly the character of William Wallace. 3. Would
  you have joined Wallace if you had been a Scottish nobleman? 4.
  Why did many of the nobles refuse to join Wallace? 5. Describe the
  Scottish infantry and archers, and the English cavalry and archers
  at Falkirk. 6. What is your opinion of Sir John Monteith? 7. Locate
  on your map: Ayr; Lanark; Clyde River; Stirling; Falkirk; Edinburgh;
  Northumberland; London. 8. Pronounce the following: usurpation;
  formidable; stratagem; exploits; undaunted; morass.


  particularly dexterous, 293, 6
  usurpation of the crown, 293, 8
  usual insolence, 293, 16
  resort to his standard, 295, 2
  high-minded champion, 295, 25
  undaunted appearance, 298, 4
  volleys of arrows, 298, 28
  ambitious projects, 299, 26

ROBERT THE BRUCE (1305-1313)

Robert Bruce, Earl of Carrick, and John Comyn, usually called the Red
Comyn, two great and powerful barons, had taken part with Sir William
Wallace in the wars against England; but, after the defeat of Falkirk,
being fearful of losing their great estates, and considering the freedom
of Scotland as beyond the possibility of being recovered, both Bruce
and Comyn had not only submitted themselves to Edward, and acknowledged
his title as King of Scotland, but even borne arms, along with the
English, against such of their countrymen as still continued to resist
the usurper. But the feelings of Bruce concerning the baseness of
this conduct are said, by the old tradition of Scotland, to have been
awakened by the following incident. In one of the numerous battles, or
skirmishes, which took place at the time between the English and their
adherents on the one side, and the insurgent, or patriotic, Scots upon
the other, Robert the Bruce was present, and assisted the English to gain
the victory. After the battle was over, he sat down to dinner among his
southern friends and allies, without washing his hands, on which there
still remained spots of the blood which he had shed during the action.
The English lords, observing this, whispered to each other in mockery,
“Look at that Scotsman, who is eating his own blood!” Bruce heard what
they said, and began to reflect that the blood upon his hands might be
indeed called his own, since it was that of his brave countrymen who were
fighting for the independence of Scotland, whilst he was assisting its
oppressors, who only laughed at and mocked him for his unnatural conduct.
He was so much shocked and disgusted, that he arose from table, and,
going into a neighboring chapel, shed many tears, and asking pardon of
God for the great crime he had been guilty of, made a solemn vow that he
would atone for it, by doing all in his power to deliver Scotland from
the foreign yoke. Accordingly, he left, it is said, the English army, and
never joined it again, but remained watching an opportunity for restoring
the freedom of his country.

Now, this Robert the Bruce was a remarkably brave and strong man; there
was no man in Scotland that was thought a match for him except Sir
William Wallace; and now that Wallace was dead, Bruce was held the best
warrior in Scotland. He was very wise and prudent, and an excellent
general. He was generous, too, and courteous by nature; but he had some
faults, which perhaps belonged as much to the fierce period in which he
lived as to his own character. He was rash and passionate, and in his
passion, he was sometimes relentless and cruel.

Robert the Bruce had fixed his purpose, as I told you, to attempt once
again to drive the English out of Scotland, and he desired to prevail
upon Sir John the Red Comyn, who was his rival in his pretensions to the
throne, to join with him in expelling the foreign enemy by their common
efforts. With this purpose, Bruce posted down from London to Dumfries, on
the borders of Scotland, and requested an interview with John Comyn. They
met in the church of the Minorites in that town, before the high altar.
What passed betwixt them is not known with certainty; but they quarreled,
either concerning their mutual pretensions to the crown, or because
Comyn refused to join Bruce in the proposed insurrection against the
English; or, as many writers say, because Bruce charged Comyn with having
betrayed to the English his purpose of rising up against King Edward.
It is, however, certain, that these two haughty barons came to high
and abusive words, until at length Bruce, who I told you was extremely
passionate, forgot the sacred character of the place in which they stood,
and struck Comyn a blow with his dagger. Having done this rash deed, he
instantly ran out of the church and called for his horse. Two gentlemen
of the country, Lindesay and Kirkpatrick, friends of Bruce, were then in
attendance on him. Seeing him pale, and in much agitation, they eagerly
inquired what was the matter.

“I doubt,” said Bruce, “that I have slain the Red Comyn.”

“Do you leave such a matter in doubt?” said Kirkpatrick. “I will make
sicker!”—that is, I will make certain.

Accordingly, he and his companion Lindesay rushed into the church, and
made the matter certain with a vengeance, by dispatching the wounded
Comyn with their daggers. This slaughter of Comyn was a most rash
and cruel action; and the historian of Bruce observes, that it was
followed by the displeasure of Heaven; for no man ever went through more
misfortunes than Robert Bruce, although he at length rose to great honor.

The commencement of Bruce’s undertaking was most disastrous. He was
crowned on the twenty-ninth of March, 1306. On the nineteenth of June,
the new King was completely defeated near Methven by the English Earl of
Pembroke. Robert’s horse was killed under him in the action, and he was
for a moment a prisoner. But he had fallen into the power of a Scottish
knight, who, though he served in the English army, did not choose to be
the instrument of putting Bruce into their hands, and allowed him to

Driven from one place in the Highlands to another, starved out of some
districts, and forced from others by the opposition of the inhabitants,
Bruce attempted to force his way into Lorn; but he found enemies

At last dangers increased so much around the brave King Robert, that he
was obliged to separate himself from his Queen and her ladies; for the
winter was coming on, and it would be impossible for the women to endure
this wandering sort of life when the frost and snow should set in. So
Bruce left his Queen, with the Countess of Buchan and others, in the
only castle which remained to him, which was called Kildrummie, and is
situated near the head of the river Don in Aberdeenshire. The King also
left his youngest brother, Nigel Bruce, to defend the castle against the
English; and he himself, with his second brother Edward, who was a very
brave man, but still more rash and passionate than Robert himself, went
over to an island called Rachrin, on the coast of Ireland, where Bruce
and the few men who followed his fortunes passed the winter of 1306.

The news of the taking of Kildrummie, the captivity of his wife, and
the execution of his brother, reached Bruce while he was residing in a
miserable dwelling at Rachrin, and reduced him to the point of despair.

It was about this time that an incident took place, which, although it
rests only on tradition in families of the name of Bruce, is rendered
probable by the manners of the times. After receiving the last unpleasing
intelligence from Scotland, Bruce was lying one morning on his wretched
bed, and deliberating with himself whether he had not better resign all
thoughts of again attempting to make good his right to the Scottish
crown, and, dismissing his followers, transport himself and his brothers
to the Holy Land, and spend the rest of his life in fighting against the
Saracens; by which he thought, perhaps, he might deserve the forgiveness
of Heaven for the great sin of stabbing Comyn in the church at Dumfries.
But then, on the other hand, he thought it would be both criminal and
cowardly to give up his attempts to restore freedom to Scotland while
there yet remained the least chance of his being successful in an
undertaking, which, rightly considered, was much more his duty than to
drive the infidels out of Palestine.

While he was divided betwixt these reflections, and doubtful of what he
should do, Bruce was looking upward to the roof of the cabin in which he
lay; and his eye was attracted by a spider, which, hanging at the end of
a long thread of its own spinning, was endeavoring, as is the fashion
of that creature, to swing itself from one beam in the roof to another,
for the purpose of fixing the line on which it meant to stretch its web.
The insect made the attempt again and again without success; at length
Bruce counted that it had tried to carry its point six times, and been as
often unable to do so. It came into his head that he had himself fought
just six battles against the English and their allies, and that the poor
persevering spider was exactly in the same situation with himself, having
made as many trials and been as often disappointed in what it aimed at.
“Now,” thought Bruce, “as I have no means of knowing what is best to be
done, I will be guided by the luck which shall attend this spider. If
the insect shall make another effort to fix its thread, and shall be
successful, I will venture a seventh time to try my fortune in Scotland;
but if the spider shall fail, I will go to the wars in Palestine, and
never return to my native country more.”

While Bruce was forming this resolution the spider made another exertion
with all the force it could muster, and fairly succeeded in fastening
its thread to the beam which it had so often in vain attempted to reach.
Bruce, seeing the success of the spider, resolved to try his own fortune;
and as he had never before gained a victory, so he never afterwards
sustained any considerable or decisive check or defeat. I have often met
with people of the name of Bruce, so completely persuaded of the truth of
this story, that they would not on any account kill a spider, because it
was that insect which had shown the example of perseverance, and given a
signal of good luck to their great namesake.

Having determined to renew his efforts to obtain possession of Scotland,
notwithstanding the smallness of the means which he had for accomplishing
so great a purpose, the Bruce removed himself and his followers from
Rachrin to the island of Arran, which lies in the mouth of the Clyde. The
King landed and inquired of the first woman he met what armed men were
in the island. She returned for answer that there had arrived there very
lately a body of armed strangers, who had defeated an English officer,
the governor of the castle of Brathwick, had killed him and most of his
men, and were now amusing themselves with hunting about the island.
The King, having caused himself to be guided to the woods which these
strangers most frequented, there blew his horn repeatedly. Now, the chief
of the strangers who had taken the castle was James Douglas, one of the
best of Bruce’s friends, and he was accompanied by some of the bravest of
that patriotic band. When he heard Robert Bruce’s horn, he knew the sound
well, and cried out that yonder was the King; he knew by his manner of
blowing. So he and his companions hastened to meet King Robert, and there
was great joy on both sides; whilst at the same time they could not help
weeping when they considered their own forlorn condition, and the great
loss that had taken place among their friends since they had last parted.
But they were stout-hearted men, and looked forward to freeing their
country in spite of all that had yet happened.

When King Edward the First heard that Scotland was again in arms against
him, he marched down to the borders with many threats of what he would
do to avenge himself on Bruce and his party, whom he called rebels.

Other great lords besides Douglas were now exerting themselves to attack
and destroy the English. Amongst those was Sir Thomas Randolph, whose
mother was a sister of King Robert. He had joined with the Bruce when he
first took up arms. Afterwards being made prisoner by the English, when
the King was defeated at Methven, Sir Thomas Randolph was obliged to join
the English to save his life. He remained so constant to them, that he
was in company with Aymer de Valence and John of Lorn, when they forced
the Bruce to disperse his little band; and he followed the pursuit so
close, that he made his uncle’s standard-bearer prisoner and took his
banner. Afterwards, however, he was himself made prisoner, at a solitary
house on Lyne-water, by the good Lord James Douglas, who brought him
captive to the King. Robert reproached his nephew for having deserted his
cause; and Randolph, who was very hot-tempered, answered insolently, and
was sent by King Robert to prison. Shortly after, the uncle and nephew
were reconciled, and Sir Thomas Randolph, created Earl of Murray by the
King, was ever afterwards one of Bruce’s best supporters. There was a
sort of rivalry between Douglas and him, which should do the boldest and
most hazardous actions. I will just mention one or two circumstances,
which will show you what awful dangers were to be encountered by these
brave men, in order to free Scotland from its enemies and invaders.

While Robert Bruce was gradually getting possession of the country, and
driving out the English, Edinburgh, the principal town of Scotland,
remained, with its strong castle, in possession of the invaders. Sir
Thomas Randolph was extremely desirous to gain this important place; but,
as you well know, the castle is situated on a very steep and lofty rock,
so that it is difficult or almost impossible even to get up to the foot
of the walls, much more to climb over them.

So while Randolph was considering what was to be done, there came to him
a Scottish gentleman named Francis, who had joined Bruce’s standard, and
asked to speak with him in private. He then told Randolph, that in his
youth he had lived in the Castle of Edinburgh, and that his father had
then been keeper of the fortress. It happened at that time that Francis
was much in love with a lady, who lived in a part of the town beneath the
castle, which is called the Grassmarket. Now, as he could not get out
of the castle by day to see her, he had practiced a way of clambering
by night down the castle rock on the south side, and returning at his
pleasure; when he came to the foot of the wall, he made use of a ladder
to get over it, as it was not very high at that point, those who built it
having trusted to the steepness of the crag; and, for the same reason, no
watch was placed there. Francis had gone and come so frequently in this
dangerous manner, that, though it was now long ago, he told Randolph he
knew the road so well that he would undertake to guide a small party of
men by night to the bottom of the wall; and as they might bring ladders
with them, there would be no difficulty in scaling it. The great risk
was that of their being discovered by the watchmen while in the act of
ascending the cliff, in which case every man of them must have perished.

Nevertheless, Randolph did not hesitate to attempt the adventure. He took
with him only thirty men (you may be sure they were chosen for activity
and courage), and came one dark night to the foot of the rock, which they
began to ascend under the guidance of Francis, who went before them, upon
his hands and feet, up one cliff, down another, and round another, where
there was scarce room to support themselves. All the while these thirty
men were obliged to follow in a line, one after the other, by a path
that was fitter for a cat than a man. The noise of a stone falling, or a
word spoken from one to another, would have alarmed the watchmen. They
were obliged, therefore, to move with the greatest precaution. When they
were far up the crag, and near the foundation of the wall, they heard
the guards going their rounds, to see that all was safe in and about the
castle. Randolph and his party had nothing for it but to lie close and
quiet, each man under the crag, as he happened to be placed, and trust
that the guards would pass by without noticing them. And while they
were waiting in breathless alarm they got a new cause of fright. One of
the soldiers of the castle, willing to startle his comrades, suddenly
threw a stone from the wall, and cried out, “Aha, I see you well!” The
stone came thundering down over the heads of Randolph and his men, who
naturally thought themselves discovered. If they had stirred, or made
the slightest noise, they would have been entirely destroyed; for the
soldiers above might have killed every man of them merely by rolling down
stones. But being courageous and chosen men, they remained quiet, and
the English soldiers, who thought their comrade was merely playing them
a trick (as, indeed, he had no other meaning in what he did and said),
passed on without further examination.

Then Randolph and his men got up and came in haste to the foot of the
wall, which was not above twice a man’s height in that place. They
planted the ladders they had brought, and Francis mounted first to show
them the way; Sir Andrew Grey, a brave knight, followed him, and Randolph
himself was the third man who got over. Then the rest followed. When
once they were within the walls, there was not so much to do, for the
garrison were asleep and unarmed, excepting the watch, who were speedily
destroyed. Thus was Edinburgh Castle taken in March, 1312-13.

It was not, however, only by the exertions of great and powerful barons,
like Randolph and Douglas, that the freedom of Scotland was to be
accomplished. The stout yeomanry and the bold peasantry of the land, who
were as desirous to enjoy their cottages in honorable independence as
the nobles were to reclaim their castles and estates from the English,
contributed their full share in the efforts which were made to deliver
the country from the invaders. I will give you one instance among many.

There was a strong castle near Linlithgow, or Lithgow, as the word is
more generally pronounced, where an English governor, with a powerful
garrison, lay in readiness to support the English cause, and used to
exercise much severity upon the Scots in the neighborhood. There lived
at no great distance from this stronghold, a farmer, a bold and stout
man, whose name was Binnock, or, as it is now pronounced, Binning. This
man saw with great joy the progress which the Scots were making in
recovering their country from the English, and resolved to do something
to help his countrymen, by getting possession, if it were possible,
of the Castle of Lithgow. But the place was very strong, situated by
the side of a lake, defended not only by gates, which were usually kept
shut against strangers, but also by a portcullis. A portcullis is a sort
of door formed of cross-bars of iron, like a grate. It has not hinges
like a door, but is drawn up by pulleys, and let down when any danger
approaches. It may be let go in a moment, and then falls down into the
doorway; and as it has great iron spikes at the bottom, it crushes all
that it lights upon; thus in case of a sudden alarm, a portcullis may be
let suddenly fall to defend the entrance, when it is not possible to shut
the gates. Binnock knew this very well, but he resolved to be provided
against this risk also when he attempted to surprise the castle. So he
spoke with some bold, courageous countrymen, and engaged them in his
enterprise, which he accomplished thus:

Binnock had been accustomed to supply the garrison of Linlithgow
with hay, and he had been ordered by the English governor to furnish
some cart-loads, of which they were in want. He promised to bring it
accordingly; but the night before he drove the hay to the castle, he
stationed a party of his friends, as well armed as possible, near the
entrance, where they could not be seen by the garrison, and gave them
directions that they should come to his assistance as soon as they should
hear him cry a signal, which was to be, “Call all, call all!” Then he
loaded a great wagon with hay. But in the wagon he placed eight strong
men, well armed, lying flat on their breasts, and covered over with hay,
so that they could not be seen. He himself walked carelessly beside the
wagon; and he chose the stoutest and bravest of his servants to be the
driver, who carried at his belt a strong ax or hatchet. In this way
Binnock approached the castle early in the morning; and the watchman, who
only saw two men, Binnock being one of them, with a cart of hay, which
they expected, opened the gates and raised up the portcullis, to permit
them to enter the castle. But as soon as the cart had gotten under the
gateway, Binnock made a sign to his servant, who with his ax suddenly
cut asunder the _soam_, that is, the yoke which fastens the horses to
the cart, and the horses finding themselves free, naturally started
forward, the cart remaining behind. At the same moment, Binnock cried,
as loud as he could, “Call all, call all!” and drawing the sword, which
he had under his country habit, he killed the porter. The armed men then
jumped up from under the hay where they lay concealed, and rushed on the
English guard. The Englishmen tried to shut the gates, but they could
not, because the cart of hay remained in the gateway, and prevented the
folding-doors from being closed. The portcullis was also let fall, but
the grating was caught on the cart, and so could not drop to the ground.
The men who were in ambush near the gate, hearing the cry, “Call all,
call all,” ran to assist those who had leaped out from amongst the hay;
the castle was taken, and all the Englishmen killed or made prisoners.
King Robert rewarded Binnock by bestowing on him an estate, which his
posterity long afterwards enjoyed.

The English now possessed scarcely any place of importance in Scotland,
excepting Stirling, which was besieged, or rather blockaded, by Edward
Bruce, the King’s brother. To blockade a town or castle is to quarter an
army around it, so as to prevent those within from getting provisions.
This was done by the Scots before Stirling, till Sir Philip Mowbray, who
commanded the castle, finding that he was like to be reduced to extremity
for want of provisions, made an agreement with Edward Bruce that he would
surrender the place, provided he were not relieved by the King of England
before midsummer. Sir Edward agreed to these terms, and allowed Mowbray
to go to London, to tell King Edward of the conditions he had made. But
when King Robert heard what his brother had done, he thought it was too
great a risk, since it obliged him to venture a battle with the full
strength of Edward the Second, who had under him England, Ireland, Wales,
and great part of France, and could within the time allowed assemble a
much more powerful army than the Scots could, even if all Scotland were
fully under the King’s authority. Sir Edward answered his brother with
his naturally audacious spirit, “Let Edward bring every man he has, we
will fight them, were they more.” The King admired his courage, though
it was mingled with rashness. “Since it is so, brother,” he said, “we
will manfully abide battle, and assemble all who love us, and value the
freedom of Scotland, to come with all the men they have, and help us to
oppose King Edward, should he come with his army, to rescue Stirling.”


  =Discussion.= 1. What incident made Robert Bruce leave the English
  army? 2. What qualities for leadership did he possess? 3. What
  happened when Comyn and Bruce met at the church in Dumfries? 4.
  How was Bruce punished for this deed? 5. Mention some of Bruce’s
  misfortunes. 6. Which did you wish Bruce to do, fight the Saracens,
  or fight for Scotland? 7. Why? 8. What did the spider show Bruce? 9.
  How did Bruce and James Douglas meet? 10. What do you know about Sir
  Thomas Randolph? 11. Describe the taking of Edinburgh Castle. 12. By
  what stratagem was the Castle of Lithgow taken? 13. Read lines that
  show the character of the King’s brother, Sir Edward. 14. Pronounce
  the following: patriotic; yeomanry; severity; audacious.


  resist the usurper, 301, 9
  baseness of this conduct, 301, 10
  foreign yoke, 301, 31
  down from London, 302, 15
  church of Minorites, 302, 17
  mutual pretensions, 302, 19
  unpleasing intelligence, 304, 4
  stout-hearted men, 305, 34
  stout yeomanry, 308, 23
  bold peasantry, 308, 23


When Sir Philip Mowbray, the governor of Stirling, came to London, to
tell the King that Stirling, the last Scottish town of importance which
remained in possession of the English, was to be surrendered if it were
not relieved by force of arms before midsummer, then all the English
nobles called out, it would be a sin and shame to permit the fair
conquest which Edward the First had made, to be forfeited to the Scots
for want of fighting.

King Edward the Second, therefore, assembled one of the greatest armies
which a King of England ever commanded. There were troops brought from
all his dominions. Many brave soldiers from the French provinces which
the King of England possessed in France—many Irish, many Welsh—and
all the great English nobles and barons, with their followers, were
assembled in one great army. The number was not less than one hundred
thousand men.

King Robert the Bruce summoned all his nobles and barons to join him,
when he heard of the great preparations which the King of England was
making. They were not so numerous as the English by many thousand men.
In fact, his whole army did not very much exceed thirty thousand, and
they were much worse armed than the wealthy Englishmen; but then,
Robert, who was at their head, was one of the most expert generals of
the time; and the officers he had under him were his brother Edward, his
nephew Randolph, his faithful follower the Douglas, and other brave and
experienced leaders, who commanded the same men that had been accustomed
to fight and gain victories under every disadvantage of situation and

The King, on his part, studied how he might supply, by address and
stratagem, what he wanted in numbers and strength. He knew the
superiority of the English, both in their heavy-armed cavalry, which
were much better mounted and armed than that of the Scots, and in their
archers, who were better trained than any others in the world. Both these
advantages he resolved to provide against. With this purpose, he led his
army down into a plain near Stirling, called the Park, near which, and
beneath it, the English army must needs pass through a boggy country,
broken with water-courses, while the Scots occupied hard dry ground. He
then caused all the ground upon the front of his line of battle, where
cavalry were likely to act, to be dug full of holes, about as deep as a
man’s knee. They were filled with light brushwood, and the turf was laid
on the top, so that it appeared a plain field, while in reality it was
all full of these pits as a honeycomb is of holes. He also, it is said,
caused steel spikes, called calthrops, to be scattered up and down in the
plain, where the English cavalry were most likely to advance, trusting in
that manner to lame and destroy their horses.

When the Scottish army was drawn up, the line stretched north and
south. On the south, it was terminated by the banks of the brook,
called Bannockburn, which are so rocky, that no troops could attack
them there. On the left, the Scottish line extended near to the town
of Stirling. Bruce reviewed his troops very carefully; all the useless
servants, drivers of carts, and such like, of whom there were very many,
he ordered to go behind a height, afterwards, in memory of the event,
called the Gillies’ hill, that is, the Servants’ hill. He then spoke to
the soldiers, and expressed his determination to gain the victory, or to
lose his life on the field of battle. He desired that all those who did
not propose to fight to the last should leave the field before the battle
began, and that none should remain except those who were determined to
take the issue of victory or death, as God should send it.

When the main body of his army was thus placed in order, the King posted
Randolph, with a body of horse, near to the Church of St. Ninian’s,
commanding him to use the utmost diligence to prevent any succors from
being thrown into Stirling Castle. He then dispatched James of Douglas,
and Sir Robert Keith, the Mareschal of the Scottish army, in order that
they might survey as nearly as they could, the English force, which was
now approaching from Falkirk. They returned with information, that the
approach of that vast host was one of the most beautiful and terrible
sights which could be seen—that the whole country seemed covered with
men-at-arms on horse and foot—that the number of standards, banners, and
pennons made so gallant a show, that the bravest and most numerous host
in Christendom might be alarmed to see King Edward moving against them.

It was upon the twenty-third of June (1314) the King of Scotland heard
the news, that the English army were approaching Stirling. He drew out
his army, therefore, in the order which he had before resolved on. After
a short time, Bruce, who was looking out anxiously for the enemy, saw a
body of English cavalry trying to get into Stirling from the eastward.
This was the Lord Clifford, who, with a chosen body of eight hundred
horse, had been detached to relieve the castle.

“See, Randolph,” said the King to his nephew, “there is a rose fallen
from your chaplet.” By this he meant that Randolph had lost some honor,
by suffering the enemy to pass where he had been stationed to hinder
them. Randolph made no reply but rushed against Clifford with little
more than half his number. The Scots were on foot. The English turned
to charge them with their lances, and Randolph drew up his men in close
order to receive the onset. He seemed to be in so much danger, that
Douglas asked leave of the King to go and assist him. The King refused
him permission.

“Let Randolph,” he said, “redeem his own fault; I cannot break the order
of battle for his sake.” Still the danger appeared greater, and the
English horse seemed entirely to encompass the small handful of Scottish
infantry. “So please you,” said Douglas to the king, “my heart will
not suffer me to stand idle and see Randolph perish—I must go to his
assistance.” He rode off accordingly; but long before they had reached
the place of combat, they saw the English horses galloping off, many with
empty saddles.

“Halt!” said Douglas to his men, “Randolph has gained the day; since we
were not soon enough to help him in the battle, do not let us lessen his
glory by approaching the field.” Now, that was nobly done; especially as
Douglas and Randolph were always contending which should rise highest in
the good opinion of the King of the nation.

The van of the English army now came in sight, and a number of their
bravest knights drew near to see what the Scots were doing. They saw King
Robert dressed in his armor and distinguished by a gold crown, which he
wore over his helmet. He was not mounted on his great war-horse, because
he did not expect to fight that evening. But he rode on a little pony up
and down the ranks of his army, putting his men in order, and carried in
his hand a sort of battle-ax made of steel.

The next morning, being the twenty-fourth of June, at break of day, the
battle began in terrible earnest. The English as they advanced saw the
Scots getting into line. The Abbot of Inchaffray walked through their
ranks bare-footed, and exhorted them to fight for their freedom. They
kneeled down as he passed, and prayed to Heaven for victory. King Edward,
who saw this, called out, “They kneel down—they are asking forgiveness.”
“Yes,” said a celebrated English baron, called Ingelram de Umphraville,
“but they ask it from God, not from us—these men will conquer, or die
upon the field.”

The English King ordered his men to begin the battle. The archers then
bent their bows, and began to shoot so closely together, that the arrows
fell like flakes of snow on a Christmas day. They killed many of the
Scots, and might, as at Falkirk, and other places, have decided the
victory; but Bruce, as I told you before, was prepared for them. He had
in readiness a body of men-at-arms, well mounted, who rode at full gallop
among the archers, and as they had no weapons save their bows and arrows,
which they could not use when they were attacked hand to hand, they were
cut down in great numbers by the Scottish horsemen, and thrown into total

The fine English cavalry then advanced to support their archers, and to
attack the Scottish line. But coming over the ground which was dug full
of pits, the horses fell into these holes, and the riders lay tumbling
about, without any means of defense, and unable to rise, from the weight
of their armor. The Englishmen began to fall into general disorder; and
the Scottish King, bringing up more of his forces, attacked and pressed
them still more closely.

On a sudden, while the battle was obstinately maintained on both sides,
an event happened which decided the victory. The servants and attendants
on the Scottish camp had, as I told you, been sent behind the army to a
place afterwards called the Gillies’ hill. But when they saw that their
masters were likely to gain the day, they rushed from their place of
concealment with such weapons as they could get, that they might have
their share in the victory and in the spoil. The English, seeing them
come suddenly over the hill, mistook this disorderly rabble for a new
army coming up to sustain the Scots, and, losing all heart, began to
shift every man for himself. Edward himself left the field as fast as he
could ride. A valiant knight, Sir Giles de Argentine, much renowned in
the wars of Palestine, attended the King till he got him out of the press
of the combat. But he would retreat no farther. “It is not my custom,”
he said, “to fly.” With that he took leave of the King, set spurs to his
horse, and calling out his war-cry of Argentine! Argentine! he rushed
into the thickest of the Scottish ranks, and was killed.

Edward first fled to Stirling Castle, and entreated admittance; but Sir
Philip Mowbray, the governor, reminded the fugitive sovereign that he
was obliged to surrender the castle next day, so Edward was fain to fly
through the Torwood, closely pursued by Douglas with a body of cavalry.

Douglas and Abernethy continued the chase, not giving King Edward time
to alight from horseback even for an instant, and followed him as far as
Dunbar, where the English had still a friend, in the governor, Patrick,
Earl of March. The Earl received Edward in his forlorn condition, and
furnished him with a fishing skiff, or small ship, in which he escaped to
England, having entirely lost his fine army, and a great number of his
bravest nobles.

The English never before or afterwards, whether in France or Scotland,
lost so dreadful a battle as that of Bannockburn, nor did the Scots
ever gain one of the same importance. Many of the best and bravest of
the English nobility and gentry, as I have said, lay dead on the field;
a great many more were made prisoners; and the whole of King Edward’s
immense army was dispersed or destroyed.

The English, after this great defeat, were no longer in a condition to
support their pretensions to be masters of Scotland, or to continue, as
they had done for nearly twenty years, to send armies into that country
to overcome it. On the contrary, they became for a time scarce able to
defend their own frontiers against King Robert and his soldiers.

Thus did Robert Bruce arise from the condition of an exile, hunted with
bloodhounds like a stag or beast of prey, to the rank of an independent
sovereign, universally acknowledged to be one of the wisest and bravest
kings who then lived. The nation of Scotland was also raised once more
from the situation of a distressed and conquered province to that of a
free and independent state, governed by its own laws, and subject to
its own princes; and although the country was, after the Bruce’s death,
often subjected to great loss and distress, both by the hostility of the
English, and by the unhappy civil wars among the Scots themselves, yet
they never afterwards lost the freedom for which Wallace had laid down
his life, and which King Robert had recovered, not less by his wisdom
than by his weapons. And therefore most just it is, that while the
country of Scotland retains any recollection of its history, the memory
of those brave warriors and faithful patriots should be remembered with
honor and gratitude.


  =Discussion.= 1. Describe the two armies, the English and the
  Scottish. 2. What stratagem did the King use? 3. Draw a diagram
  of the Scottish line showing the relative positions of the Park,
  Bannockburn, Stirling, Gillies’ hill, the church of St. Ninian’s, and
  Falkirk. 4. What did the King mean when he said to Randolph, “There
  is a rose fallen from your chaplet”? 5. Read passages that show two
  fine sides of Douglas’s nature. 6. Describe the Scottish king as
  he rode up and down the ranks of his army. 7. Describe the battle.
  8. What decided the victory? 9. Read the passages that seem to you
  the most thrilling. 10. Why was this such an important battle? 11.
  Read Bruce’s address to his soldiers as given by Robert Burns in his
  poem “Bannockburn.” 12. Pronounce the following: boggy; exhorted;
  fugitive; frontiers.


  fair conquest, 311, 8
  disadvantage of situation, 312, 15
  was obstinately maintained, 315, 22
  disorderly rabble, 315, 30
  valiant knight, 315, 33
  entreated admittance, 316, 3
  fugitive sovereign, 316, 4
  civil wars, 316, 37


Robert Bruce continued to reign gloriously for several years, and was so
constantly victorious over the English, that the Scots seemed during his
government to have acquired a complete superiority over their neighbors.
But then we must remember that Edward the Second, who then reigned in
England, was a foolish prince, and listened to bad counsels; so that it
is no wonder that he was beaten by so wise and experienced a general
as Robert Bruce, who had fought his way to the crown through so many
disasters, and acquired in consequence so much renown, that, as I have
often said, he was generally accounted one of the best soldiers and
wisest sovereigns of his time.

In the last year of Robert the Bruce’s reign, he became extremely sickly
and infirm, chiefly owing to a disorder called the leprosy, which he had
caught during the hardships and misfortunes of his youth, when he was so
frequently obliged to hide himself in woods and morasses, without a roof
to shelter him. While Bruce was in this feeble state, Edward the Second,
King of England, died, and was succeeded by his son Edward the Third.
He turned out afterwards to be one of the wisest and bravest kings whom
England ever had; but when he first mounted the throne he was very young,
and under the entire management of his mother.

The war between the English and the Scots still lasting at the time,
Bruce sent his two great commanders, the good Lord James Douglas,
and Thomas Randolph, Earl of Murray, to lay waste the counties of
Northumberland and Durham, and distress the English as much as they could.

Their soldiers were about twenty thousand in number, all lightly armed,
and mounted on horses that were quite small in height, but excessively
active. The men themselves carried no provision, except a bag of oatmeal;
and each had at his saddle a small plate of iron called a girdle, on
which, when they pleased, they could bake the oatmeal into cakes. They
killed the cattle of the English, as they traveled through the country,
roasted the flesh on wooden spits, or boiled it in the skins of the
animals themselves, putting in a little water with the beef, to prevent
the fire from burning the hide to pieces. This was rough cookery. They
made their shoes, or rather sandals, in as coarse a way; cutting them
out of the raw hides of the cattle, and fitting them to their ankles,
like what are now called short gaiters. As this sort of buskin had the
hairy side of the hide outermost, the English called those who wore
them _rough-footed_ Scots, and sometimes, from the color of the hide,

As such forces needed to carry nothing with them, either for provisions
or ammunition, the Scots moved with amazing speed, from mountain to
mountain, and from glen to glen, pillaging and destroying the country
wheresoever they came. In the meanwhile, the King of England pursued
them with a much larger army; but, as it was encumbered by the necessity
of carrying provisions in great quantities, and by the slow motions of
men in heavy armor, they could not come up with the Scots, although
they saw every day the smoke of the houses and villages which they were
burning. The King of England was extremely angry; for, though only a boy
sixteen years old, he longed to fight the Scots and to chastise them for
the mischief they were doing to his country; and at length he grew so
impatient that he offered a large reward to any one who would show him
where the Scottish army were.

At length, after the English host had suffered severe hardships, from
want of provisions, and fatiguing journeys through fords, and swamps,
and morasses, a gentleman named Rokeby came into the camp and claimed
the reward which the King had offered. He told the King that he had been
made prisoner by the Scots, and that they said they should be as glad to
meet the English King as he to see them. Accordingly, Rokeby guided the
English army to the place where the Scots lay encamped.

But the English King was no nearer to the battle which he desired; for
Douglas and Randolph, knowing the force and numbers of the English army,
had taken up their camp on a steep hill, at the bottom of which ran a
deep river called the Wear, having a channel filled with large stones, so
that there was no possibility for the English to attack the Scots without
crossing the water, and then climbing up the steep hill in the very face
of their enemy; a risk which was too great to be attempted.

Then the King sent a message of defiance to the Scottish generals,
inviting them either to draw back their forces, and allow him freedom
to cross the river and time to place his army in order of battle on the
other side, that they might fight fairly, or offering, if they liked it
better, to permit them to cross over to his side without opposition, that
they might join battle on a fair field. Randolph and Douglas did nothing
but laugh at this message. They said that when they fought, it should be
at their own pleasure, and not because the King of England chose to ask
for a battle. They reminded him, insultingly, how they had been in his
country for many days, burning, taking spoil, and doing what they thought
fit. If the King was displeased with this, they said he must find his way
across the river to fight them, the best way he could.

The English King, determined not to quit sight of the Scots, encamped
on the opposite side of the river to watch their motions, thinking that
want of provisions would oblige them to quit their strong position on
the mountains. But the Scots once more showed Edward their dexterity
in marching, by leaving their encampment, and taking up another post,
even stronger and more difficult to approach than the first which they
had occupied. King Edward followed, and again encamped opposite to his
dexterous and troublesome enemies, desirous to bring them to a battle,
when he might hope to gain an easy victory, having more than double the
number of the Scottish army, all troops of the very best quality.

While the armies lay thus opposed to each other, Douglas resolved to give
the young King of England a lesson in the art of war. At the dead of
night, he left the Scottish camp with a small body of chosen horse, not
above two hundred, well armed. He crossed the river in deep silence and
came to the English camp, which was but carelessly guarded. Seeing this,
Douglas rode past the English sentinels as if he had been an officer of
the English army, saying—“Ha, Saint George! you keep bad watch here.” In
those days, you must know, the English used to swear by Saint George, as
the Scots did by Saint Andrew. Presently after, Douglas heard an English
soldier, who lay stretched by the fire, say to his comrade, “I cannot
tell what is to happen to us in this place; but, for my part, I have a
great fear of the Black Douglas playing us some trick.”

“You shall have cause to say so,” said Douglas to himself.

When he had thus got into the midst of the English camp without being
discovered, he drew his sword, and cut asunder the ropes of a tent,
calling out his usual war-cry, “Douglas, Douglas! English thieves, you
are all dead men.” His followers immediately began to cut down and
overturn the tents, cutting and stabbing the English soldiers as they
endeavored to get to arms.

Douglas forced his way to the pavilion of the King himself, and very
nearly carried the young prince prisoner out of the middle of his great
army. Edward’s chaplain, however, and many of his household, stood to
arms bravely in his defense, while the young King escaped by creeping
away beneath the canvas of his tent. The chaplain and several of the
King’s officers were slain; but the whole camp was now alarmed and in
arms, so that Douglas was obliged to retreat, which he did by bursting
through the English at the side of the camp opposite to that by which he
had entered. Being separated from his men in the confusion, he was in
great danger of being slain by an Englishman who encountered him with a
huge club. This man he killed, but with considerable difficulty; and then
blowing his horn to collect his soldiers, who soon gathered around him,
he returned to the Scottish camp, having sustained very little loss.

Edward, much mortified at the insult which he had received, became still
more desirous of chastising those audacious adversaries; and one of them
at least was not unwilling to afford him an opportunity of revenge. This
was Thomas Randolph, Earl of Murray. He asked Douglas, when he returned
to the Scottish camp, what he had done. “We have drawn some blood.”—“Ah,”
said the Earl, “had we gone all together to the night attack, we should
have discomfited them.”—“It might well have been so,” said Douglas,
“but the risk would have been too great.”—“Then will we fight them in
open battle,” said Randolph, “for if we remain here, we shall in time
be famished for want of provisions.”—“Not so,” replied Douglas; “we
will deal with this great army of the English as the fox did with the
fisherman in the fable.”—“And how was that?” said the Earl of Murray.
Hereupon the Douglas told him this story:

“A fisherman,” he said, “had made a hut by a river side, that he might
follow his occupation of fishing. Now, one night he had gone out to look
after his nets, leaving a small fire in his hut; and when he came back,
behold there was a fox in the cabin, taking the liberty to eat one of the
finest salmon he had taken. ‘Ho, Mr. Robber!’ said the fisherman, drawing
his sword, and standing in the doorway to prevent the fox’s escape, ‘you
shall presently die the death.’ The poor fox looked for some hole to get
out at, but saw none; whereupon he pulled down with his teeth a mantle,
which was lying on the bed, and dragged it across the fire. The fisherman
ran to snatch his mantle from the fire—the fox flew out at the door with
the salmon; and so,” said Douglas, “shall we escape the great English
army by subtlety, and without risking battle with so large a force.”

Randolph agreed to act by Douglas’s counsel, and the Scottish army
kindled great fires through their encampment, and made a noise and
shouting, and blowing of horns, as if they meant to remain all night
there, as before. But in the meantime, Douglas had caused a road to
be made through two miles of a great morass which lay in their rear.
This was done by cutting down to the bottom of the bog, and filling the
trench with faggots of wood. Without this contrivance it would have
been impossible that the army could have crossed; and through this
passage, which the English never suspected, Douglas and Randolph, and
all their men, moved at the dead of night. They did not leave so much as
an errand-boy behind, and so bent their march toward Scotland, leaving
the English disappointed and affronted. Great was their wonder in the
morning, when they saw the Scottish camp empty, and found no living man
in it, but two or three English prisoners tied to trees, whom they had
left with an insulting message to the King of England, saying that if
he were displeased with what they had done, he might come and revenge
himself in Scotland.

After this a peace was concluded with Robert Bruce, on terms highly
honorable to Scotland; for the English King renounced all pretensions
to the sovereignty of the country, and, moreover, gave his sister, a
princess called Joanna, to be wife to Robert Bruce’s son, called David.
This treaty was very advantageous to the Scots. It was called the treaty
of Northampton, because it was concluded at that town, in the year 1328.

Good King Robert did not long survive this joyful event. He was not
aged more than four-and-fifty years, but, as I said before, his bad
health was caused by the hardships which he sustained during his youth,
and at length he became very ill. Finding that he could not recover,
he assembled around his bedside the nobles and counselors in whom he
most trusted. He told them that now, being on his death-bed, he sorely
repented all his misdeeds, and particularly, that he had, in his passion,
killed Comyn with his own hand, in the church and before the altar. He
said that if he had lived, he had intended to go to Jerusalem, to make
war upon the Saracens who held the Holy Land, as some expiation for the
evil deeds he had done. The King soon afterwards expired and his body was
laid in the sepulcher in the midst of the church of Dunfermline, under a
marble stone. But the church becoming afterwards ruinous, and the roof
falling down with age, the monument was broken to pieces, and nobody
could tell where it stood. But six or seven years ago, when they were
repairing the church at Dunfermline, and removing the rubbish, lo! they
found fragments of the marble tomb of Robert Bruce. Then they began to
dig farther, thinking to discover the body of this celebrated monarch;
and at length they came to the skeleton of a tall man, and they knew it
must be that of King Robert, as he was known to have been buried in a
winding sheet of cloth of gold, of which many fragments were found about
this skeleton. So orders were sent from the King’s Court of Exchequer
to guard the bones carefully, until a new tomb should be prepared, into
which they were laid with profound respect. A great many gentlemen and
ladies attended, and almost all the common people in the neighborhood;
and as the church could not hold half the numbers, the people were
allowed to pass through it, one after another, that each one, the
poorest as well as the richest, might see all that remained of the great
King, Robert Bruce, who restored the Scottish monarchy.

It is more than five hundred years since the body of Bruce was first
laid into the tomb; and how many, many millions of men have died since
that time. It was a great thing to see that the wisdom, courage, and
patriotism of a King could preserve him for such a long time in the
memory of the people over whom he once reigned. But then, my dear
child, you must remember that it is only desirable to be remembered for
praiseworthy and patriotic actions, such as those of Robert Bruce. It
would be better for a prince to be forgotten like the meanest peasant
than to be recollected for actions of tyranny or oppression.


  =Discussion.= 1. What was the condition of King Robert at the
  opening of the story? 2. What is said about King Edward III? 3. Who
  were the “red-shanks”? 4. Why could these forces move so easily and
  quickly? 5. Describe the Scottish camp on the Wear. 6. What was King
  Edward’s proposition? 7. What was the lesson Douglas gave the young
  King? 8. What do you think of this exploit? 9. What is the story
  of the fisherman and the fox? 10. What is the significance of this
  story? 11. What was Douglas’s plan of escape? 12. What qualities
  does Douglas show in these exploits? 13. What part did the Scottish
  peasantry take in the struggle for independence? 14. What were the
  terms of the treaty of Northampton? 15. What was King Robert’s
  great regret? 16. Describe the finding of Robert Bruce’s remains in
  Dunfermline. 17. Pronounce the following: dexterous; adversaries;
  subtlety; affronted; advantageous; tyranny.

  If you have enjoyed these stories, inquire at the library for a
  copy of _Tales of a Grandfather_, and read other stories, such as
  “Macbeth,” “Tournaments,” “King David,” and “James I.”


  acquired in consequence, 318, 9
  lay waste, 318, 25
  wooden spits, 319, 1
  dexterity in marching, 320, 20
  Saint George, 320, 34
  Saint Andrew, 320, 36
  pavilion of the King, 321, 12
  audacious adversaries, 321, 28
  renounced all pretensions, 323, 2
  King’s Court of Exchequer, 323, 32



  Not far advanced was morning day,
  When Marmion did his troop array,
      To Surrey’s camp to ride;
  He had safe conduct for his band,
  Beneath the royal seal and hand,
      And Douglas gave a guide.

  The train from out the castle drew,
  But Marmion stopped to bid adieu:
      “Though something I might ’plain,” he said,
  “Of cold respect to stranger guest,
  Sent hither by your King’s behest,
  While in Tantallon’s towers I stayed,
  Part we in friendship from your land,
  And, noble Earl, receive my hand.”
  But Douglas round him drew his cloak,
  Folded his arms, and thus he spoke:
  “My manors, halls, and bowers shall still
  Be open, at my Sovereign’s will,
  To each one whom he lists, howe’er
  Unmeet to be the owner’s peer.
  My castles are my King’s alone,
  From turret to foundation stone;
  The hand of Douglas is his own,
  And never shall, in friendly grasp,
  The hand of such as Marmion clasp.”

  Burned Marmion’s swarthy cheek like fire,
  And shook his very frame for ire;
      And “This to me,” he said,
  “An’ ’twere not for thy hoary beard,
  Such hand as Marmion’s had not spared
      To cleave the Douglas’ head!
  And, first, I tell thee, haughty peer,
  He, who does England’s message here,
  Although the meanest in her state,
  May well, proud Angus, be thy mate:
  And, Douglas, more, I tell thee here,
      Even in thy pitch of pride—
  Here, in thy hold, thy vassals near,
      I tell thee, thou’rt defied!
  And if thou said’st I am not peer
  To any lord in Scotland here,
  Lowland or Highland, far or near,
      Lord Angus, thou hast lied!”

  On the Earl’s cheek, the flush of rage
  O’ercame the ashen hue of age;
  Fierce he broke forth: “And dar’st thou then
  To beard the lion in his den,
      The Douglas in his hall?
  And hop’st thou hence unscathed to go?
  No, by Saint Bride of Bothwell, no!
  Up drawbridge, grooms—what, warder, ho!
      Let the portcullis fall.”
  Lord Marmion turned—well was his need,
  And dashed the rowels in his steed;
  Like arrow through the archway sprung;
  The ponderous grate behind him rung—
  To pass there was such scanty room,
  The bars, descending, razed his plume.

  The steed along the drawbridge flies,
  Just as it trembled on the rise;
  Nor lighter does the swallow skim
  Along the smooth lake’s level brim;
  And when Lord Marmion reached his band
  He halts, and turns with clinchéd hand
  And shout of loud defiance pours,
  And shook his gauntlet at the towers,
  “Horse! horse!” the Douglas cried, “and chase!”
  But soon he reined his fury’s pace:
  “A royal messenger he came,
  Though most unworthy of the name.
  Saint Mary mend my fiery mood!
  Old age ne’er cools the Douglas’ blood;
  I thought to slay him where he stood.
  ’Tis pity of him, too,” he cried;
  “Bold he can speak, and fairly ride—
  I warrant him a warrior tried.”
  With this his mandate he recalls,
  And slowly seeks his castle halls.


  =Note.= Marmion, an English nobleman, has been sent as an envoy by
  Henry the Eighth, King of England, to James the Fourth, King of
  Scotland. The two countries are on the eve of war with each other.
  Arriving in Edinburgh, Marmion is entrusted by King James to the care
  and hospitality of Douglas, Earl of Angus, who, taking him to his
  castle at Tantallon, treats him with the respect due his position as
  representative of the King, but at the same time dislikes him. The
  war approaching, Marmion leaves to join the English camp. This sketch
  describes the leave-taking.

  =Discussion.= 1. In what part of the castle does this conversation
  take place? 2. Why did Douglas refuse to receive the hand of Marmion?
  3. Read the lines that give a vivid picture of the defiant Douglas.
  4. What distinction does Douglas make between the ownership of his
  “castle” and that of his “hand”? 5. How does Marmion answer the
  implied insult in “howe’er unmeet to be the owner’s peer”? 6. What
  claim does Marmion make for one “who does England’s message”? 7. What
  do we call one “who does England’s message” at Washington? 8. What
  does Douglas mean by “to beard the lion in his den”? 9. What lines
  show Marmion’s narrow escape? 10. Why do you think Douglas changed
  his mind? 11. Would you have admired him more if he had given chase
  to Marmion? 12. Which man appears to better advantage in this scene?


  troop array, 325, 2
  safe conduct, 325, 4
  something I might ’plain, 325, 9
  pitch of pride, 326, 8
  in thy hold, 326, 9
  dashed the rowels, 326, 25



  Scots, wha hae wi’[24] Wallace bled,
  Scots, wham[25] Bruce has aften led;
  Welcome to your gory bed,
        Or to victory!

  Now’s the day, and now’s the hour;
  See the front o’ battle lour;
  See approach proud Edward’s power—
        Chains and slavery!

  Wha will be a traitor knave?
  Wha can fill a coward’s grave?
  Wha sae[26] base as be a slave?
        Let him turn and flee!

  Wha for Scotland’s king and law
  Freedom’s sword will strongly draw,
  Freeman stand, or Freeman fa’,[27]
        Let him follow me!

  By oppression’s woes and pains!
  By your sons in servile chains!
  We will drain our dearest veins,
        But they shall be free!

  Lay the proud usurpers low!
  Tyrants fall in every foe!
  Liberty’s in every blow!—
        Let us do or die!

[24] _wha hae wi’_, who have with

[25] _wham_, whom

[26] _sae_, so

[27] _fa’_, fall


  For Biography, see page 63.

  =Historical Note.= Burns wrote this ode to fit an old air, said in
  Scottish tradition to have been Robert Bruce’s march at the battle
  of Bannockburn. “This thought,” he says, “in my solitary wanderings,
  has warmed me to a pitch of enthusiasm on the theme of liberty and
  independence.” The story is told that Burns wrote this poem while
  riding on horseback over a wild moor in Scotland in company with a
  Mr. Syme, who, observing the expression on the poet’s face, refrained
  from speaking to him. Doubtless this vigorous hymn was singing itself
  through the soul of Burns as he wrote it. The poem is considered the
  most stirring war ode ever written.

  =Discussion.= 1. Who is supposed to speak the words? 2. To whom are
  they supposed to be addressed? 3. For what did Bruce contend? 4. What
  patriot before him had fought against great odds in the same cause?
  5. In these lines, what choice does Bruce offer his army? 6. To
  what deep feeling does he appeal? 7. Does this poem represent truly
  Bruce’s own feeling for his country, as history acquaints us with it?
  8. Which are the most stirring lines? 9. What was Burns’s purpose in
  writing it? 10. What influence does such a poem have?


  traitor knave, 328, 9
  servile chains, 328, 18
  dearest veins, 328, 19
  proud usurpers, 328, 21





The Lord Thomas Howard, with six of her Majesty’s ships, six victuallers
of London, the bark _Raleigh_, and two or three pinnaces, riding at
anchor near unto Flores, one of the westerly islands of the Azores,
the last of August in the afternoon, had intelligence by one Captain
Middleton of the approach of the Spanish Armada.

He had no sooner delivered the news but the fleet was in sight. Many of
our ships’ companies were on shore in the island, some providing ballast
for their ships, others filling of water and refreshing themselves from
the land with such things as they could either for money or by force
recover. By reason whereof our ships being all pestered and every thing
out of order, very light for want of ballast, and that which was most to
our disadvantage, the one half of the men of every ship sick and utterly
unserviceable. For in the _Revenge_ there were ninety diseased; in the
_Bonaventure_, not so many in health as could handle her mainsail; the
rest, for the most part, were in little better state.

The names of her Majesty’s ships were these, as followeth: the
_Defiance_, which was Admiral, the _Revenge_, Vice Admiral, the
_Bonaventure_, commanded by Captain Crosse, the _Lion_, by George Fenner,
the _Foresight_, by Thomas Vavisour, and the _Crane_, by Duffield; the
_Foresight_ and the _Crane_ being but small ships only—the others were of
middle size. The rest, besides the bark _Raleigh_, commanded by Captain
Thin, were victuallers, and of small force or none.

The Spanish fleet, having shrouded their approach by reason of the
island, were now so soon at hand as our ships had scarce time to weigh
their anchors, but some of them were driven to let slip their cables and
set sail. Sir Richard Grenville was the last weighed, to recover the
men that were upon the island, which otherwise had been lost. The Lord
Thomas with the rest very hardly recovered the wind, which Sir Richard
Grenville not being able to do, was persuaded by the master and others to
cut his mainsail and cast about, and to trust to the sailing of his ship.
But Sir Richard utterly refused to turn from the enemy, alleging that he
would rather choose to die than to dishonor himself, his country, and her
Majesty’s ship, persuading his company that he would pass through the two
squadrons in despite of them and enforce those of Seville to give him
way. Which he performed upon divers of the foremost, who, as the mariners
term it, fell under the lee of the _Revenge_.

In the meanwhile, as he attended those which were nearest him, the great
_San Philip_, being in the wind of him, and coming toward him, becalmed
his sails—so huge was the Spanish ship, being of a thousand and five
hundred tons; who afterlaid the _Revenge_ aboard. When he was thus bereft
of his sails, the ships that were under his lee also laid him aboard;
of which the next was the admiral of the Biscayans, a very mighty and
puissant ship commanded by Brittan Dona. The said _Philip_ carried three
tier of ordnance on a side and eleven pieces in every tier.

After the _Revenge_ was entangled with this _Philip_, four others boarded
her, two on her larboard and two on her starboard. The fight thus
beginning at three of the clock in the afternoon continued very terrible
all that evening. But the great _San Philip_, having received the lower
tier of the _Revenge_, shifted herself with all diligence from her
sides, utterly misliking her first entertainment. Some say that the ship
foundered, but we cannot report it for truth unless we were assured.

The Spanish ships were filled with companies of soldiers, in some two
hundred besides the mariners, in some five, in others eight hundred. In
ours there were none at all besides the mariners but the servants of the
commanders and some few voluntary gentlemen only.

After many interchanged volleys of great ordnance and small shot, the
Spaniards deliberated to enter the _Revenge_, and made divers attempts,
hoping to force her by the multitudes of their armed soldiers and
musketeers, but were still repulsed again and again, and at all times
beaten back into their own ships or into the seas. In the beginning
of the fight, the _George Noble_ of London, having received some shot
through her by the armados, asked Sir Richard what he would command him,
being but one of the victuallers and of small force. Sir Richard bade him
save himself, and leave him to his fortune.

After the fight had thus without intermission continued while the day
lasted and some hours of the night, many of our men were slain and hurt,
and one of the great galleons of the Armada and the admiral of the Hulks
both sunk, and in many other of the Spanish ships great slaughter was
made. Some write that Sir Richard was very dangerously hurt almost in the
beginning of the fight and lay speechless for a time ere he recovered.
But two of the _Revenge’s_ own company affirmed that he was never so
wounded as that he forsook the upper deck till an hour before midnight;
and then being shot into the body with a musket, as he was a-dressing was
again shot into the head, and withal his chirurgeon wounded to death.

But to return to the fight, the Spanish ships which attempted to board
the _Revenge_, as they were wounded and beaten off, so always others came
in their places, she having never less than two mighty galleons by her
sides and aboard her. So that ere the morning from three of the clock the
day before, there had fifteen several armados assailed her; and all so
ill approved their entertainment, as they were by the break of day far
more willing to hearken to a composition than hastily to make any more
assaults or entries. But as the day increased so our men decreased; and
as the light grew more and more, by so much more grew our discomforts.
For none appeared in sight but enemies, saving one small ship called the
_Pilgrim_, commanded by Jacob Whiddon, who hovered all night to see the
success; but in the morning was hunted like a hare among many ravenous
hounds, but escaped.

All the powder of the _Revenge_ to the last barrel was now spent, all
her pikes broken, forty of her best men slain, and the most part of the
rest hurt. In the beginning of the fight she had but one hundred free
from sickness, and fourscore and ten sick. A small troop to man such a
ship, and a weak garrison to resist so mighty an army! By those hundred
all was sustained, the volleys, boardings, and enterings of fifteen ships
of war. On the contrary the Spanish were always supplied with soldiers
brought from every squadron, all manner of arms and powder at will. Unto
ours there remained no comfort at all, no hope, no supply either of
ships, men, or weapons; the masts all beaten overboard, all her tackle
cut asunder, her upper work altogether razed; and, in effect, even she
was with the water, but the very foundation or bottom of a ship, nothing
being left overhead either for flight or defense.

Sir Richard finding himself in this distress, and unable any longer to
make resistance, having endured in this fifteen hours’ fight the assault
of fifteen several armados, all by turns aboard him, and by estimation
eight hundred shot of great artillery, besides many assaults and entries,
and that himself and the ship must needs be possessed by the enemy, who
were now cast in a ring round about him, the _Revenge_ not able to move
one way or other but as she was moved by the waves and billows of the
sea—commanded the master gunner, whom he knew to be a most resolute man,
to split and sink the ship, that thereby nothing might remain of glory
or victory to the Spaniards, seeing in so many hours’ fight and with so
great a navy, they were not able to take her, having had fifteen hours’
time, fifteen thousand men, and fifty and three sail of men-of-war to
perform it withal; and persuaded the company, or as many as he could
induce, to yield themselves unto God, and to the mercy of none else, but,
as they had, like valiant resolute men, repulsed so many enemies, they
should not now shorten the honor of their nation by prolonging their own
lives for a few hours or a few days.

The master gunner readily condescended, and divers others. But the
Captain and the Master were of another opinion and besought Sir Richard
to have care of them, alleging that the Spaniard would be as ready to
entertain a composition as they were willing to offer the same, and that
there being divers sufficient and valiant men yet living, and whose
wounds were not mortal, they might do their country and prince acceptable
service hereafter.

And as the matter was thus in dispute, and Sir Richard refusing to
hearken to any of those reasons, the Master of the _Revenge_ (while the
Captain won unto him the greater party) was convoyed aboard the _General
Don Alfonso Bassan_. Who, finding none over hasty to enter the _Revenge_
again, doubting lest Sir Richard would have blown them up and himself,
and perceiving by the report of the Master of the _Revenge_ his dangerous
disposition, yielded that all their lives should be saved. To this he
so much the rather condescended, as well, as I have said, for fear of
further loss and mischief to themselves, as also for the desire he had
to recover Sir Richard Grenville; whom for his notable valor he seemed
greatly to honor and admire.

When this answer was returned, and that safety of life was promised,
the common sort being now at the end of their peril, the most drew back
from Sir Richard and the gunner, it being no hard matter to dissuade men
from death to life. The master gunner finding himself and Sir Richard
thus prevented and mastered by the greater number, would have slain
himself with a sword had he not been by force withheld and locked into
his cabin. Then the _General_ sent many boats aboard the _Revenge_, and
divers of our men, fearing Sir Richard’s disposition, stole away aboard
the _General_ and other ships. Sir Richard, thus overmatched, was sent
unto by Alfonso Bassan to remove out of the _Revenge_, the ship being
marvelous unsavory, filled with blood and bodies of dead and wounded men
like a slaughter-house. Sir Richard answered that he might do with his
body what he list, for he esteemed it not; and as he was carried out of
the ship he swooned, and reviving again desired the company to pray for
him. The General used Sir Richard with all humanity, and left nothing
unattempted that tended to his recovery, highly commending his valor and
worthiness and greatly bewailed the danger wherein he was, being unto
them a rare spectacle, to see one ship turn toward so many enemies, to
endure the charge and boarding of so many huge armados, and to resist and
repel the assaults and entries of so many soldiers.

Sir Richard died, as it is said, the second or third day aboard the
_General_, and was by them greatly bewailed. What became of his body,
whether it was buried in the sea or on the land we know not; the comfort
that remaineth to his friends is that he hath ended his life honorably
in respect of the reputation won to his nation and country, and of the
same to his posterity, and that, being dead, he hath not outlived his own



  =Biographical and Historical Note.= In the autumn of 1591 a small
  fleet of English vessels lay at the Azores to intercept the Spanish
  treasure ships from the Indies. On the appearance of the Spanish
  war-vessels sent to convoy the treasure ships, the much smaller
  English fleet took flight with the exception of the _Revenge_,
  commanded by Sir Richard Grenville. Lord Bacon described the fight as
  “a defeat exceeding victory.”

  This story of the fight of the _Revenge_ was written by Sir Walter
  Raleigh (1552-1618), a cousin of Grenville’s. He was an English
  explorer, colonizer, and historian. He planted the first English
  colony in America, on Roanoke Island, off the coast of North
  Carolina. Later, he was interested in an attempt to form a colony
  in Guiana, and his account of his experiences is one of the most
  thrilling adventure stories in the world. His daring exploits made
  him a favorite at the court of Queen Elizabeth, but after her death
  he gained the ill-will of James I and was executed on a false charge
  of piracy and treason.

  =Discussion.= 1. Describe the English fleet as it lay anchored near
  Flores. 2. What was the condition of the men on the _Revenge_ and
  the _Bonaventure_? 3. What two things could Sir Richard do? 4. Which
  did he choose? Why? 5. How were the Spanish ships manned as compared
  with the English? 6. What quality of character did Sir Richard show
  in his treatment of the _George Noble_? 7. Describe the condition
  of the _Revenge_ on the second day of the fighting. 8. What was Sir
  Richard’s order to the master gunner? 9. What was the opinion of the
  captain and the Master? 10. What do you think about the reasons
  they gave? 11. What was the Spaniard’s offer? 12. Would you have
  been on the side of the captain and the Master of the _Revenge_, or
  on the side of Sir Richard and the master gunner? 13. Pronounce the
  following: Armada; Azores; becalmed; tiers; bade; hovered; ravenous;


  providing ballast, 330, 9
  shrouded their approach, 331, 5
  weigh their anchors, 331, 8
  puissant ship, 331, 27
  hearken to a composition, 332, 35
  tackle cut asunder, 333, 17
  divers sufficient, 334, 7
  he esteemed it not, 334, 36



  Ye Mariners of England,
  That guard our native seas,
  Whose flag has braved, a thousand years,
  The battle and the breeze!
  Your glorious standard launch again
  To match another foe,
  And sweep through the deep,
  While the stormy winds do blow;
  While the battle rages loud and long,
  And the stormy winds do blow.

  The spirits of your fathers
  Shall start from every wave!—
  For the deck it was their field of fame,
  And Ocean was their grave.
  Where Blake and mighty Nelson fell,
  Your manly hearts shall glow,
  As ye sweep through the deep,
  While the stormy winds do blow;
  While the battle rages loud and long
  And the stormy winds do blow.

  Britannia needs no bulwarks,
  No towers along the steep;
  Her march is o’er the mountain-waves,
  Her home is on the deep.
  With thunders from her native oak
  She quells the floods below,
  As they roar on the shore,
  When the stormy winds do blow;
  When the battle rages loud and long
  And the stormy winds do blow.

  The meteor flag of England
  Shall yet terrific burn;
  Till danger’s troubled night depart,
  And the star of peace return.
  Then, then, ye ocean-warriors!
  Our song and feast shall flow
  To the fame of your name,
  When the storm has ceased to blow;
  When the fiery fight is heard no more,
  And the storm has ceased to blow.


  For Biography, see page 180.

  =Discussion.= 1. Which stanza refers to the present; which one to the
  past; and which one to the future? 2. Why does the poet take this
  view into the past and the future? 3. Notice the interesting rime in
  the seventh line of every stanza. 4. Compare the eighth, ninth, and
  tenth lines of the fourth stanza with the corresponding lines in the
  other stanzas. 5. Notice the pleasing effect which the poet produces
  by using, in one line, several words beginning with the same letter:
  “battle,” “breeze,” “loud and long.” 6. Find other examples. 7. Show
  that this poem, written long after Sir Richard Grenville’s death,
  expresses the spirit in which he fought.


  glorious standard, 336, 5
  field of fame, 336, 13
  meteor flag, 337, 11
  danger’s troubled night, 337, 13
  star of peace, 337, 14
  ocean-warriors, 337, 15



Whatever might be the importance of American independence in the history
of England, it was of unequaled moment in the history of the world. If it
crippled for a while the supremacy of the English nation, it founded the
supremacy of the English race. From the hour of American Independence the
life of the English people has flowed not in one current, but in two; and
while the older has shown little signs of lessening, the younger has fast
risen to a greatness which has changed the face of the world. In 1783
America was a nation of three millions of inhabitants, scattered thinly
along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. It is now [1877] a nation of forty
millions, stretching over the whole continent from the Atlantic to the
Pacific. In wealth and material energy, as in numbers, it far surpasses
the mother-country from which it sprang. It is already the main branch of
the English people; and in the days that are at hand the main current of
that people’s history must run along the channel not of the Thames or the
Mersey, but of the Hudson and the Mississippi.

But distinct as these currents are, every year proves more clearly that
in spirit the English people are one. The distance that parted England
from America lessens every day. The ties that unite them grow every day
stronger. The social and political differences that threatened a hundred
years ago to form an impassable barrier between them grow every day less.
Against this silent and inevitable drift of things the spirit of narrow
isolation on either side the Atlantic struggles in vain. It is possible
that the two branches of the English people will remain forever separate
political existences. It is likely enough that the older of them may
again break in twain, and that the English people in the Pacific may
assert as distinct a national life as the two English peoples on either
side the Atlantic. But the spirit, the influence, of all these branches
will remain one.

And in thus remaining one, before half a century is over it will change
the face of the world. As two hundred millions of Englishmen fill the
valley of the Mississippi, as fifty millions of Englishmen assert
their lordship over Australasia, this vast power will tell through
Britain on the old world of Europe, whose nations will have shrunk into
insignificance before it. What the issues of such a world-wide change may
be, not even the wildest dreamer would dare to dream. But one issue is
inevitable. In the centuries that lie before us, the primacy of the world
will lie with the English people. English institutions, English speech,
English thought, will become the main features of the political, the
social, and the intellectual life of mankind.


  =Biography.= John Richard Green (1837-1883) was born at Oxford,
  England. In his early life he entered the ministry and became
  not only an eloquent preacher, but an effective worker among his
  parishioners. Ill health caused him to resign and devote his time
  entirely to writing. He was a noted English historian, the author of
  _A History of the English People_ and _The Making of England_. His
  vivid imagination enabled him to picture the life of the people and
  to make history interesting and popular.

  =Discussion.= 1. What do you think of the reasoning in the first
  paragraph? 2. What victory was there in the political defeat of
  the British government? 3. How is the distance between England and
  America lessened today? 4. How are the ties between the two countries
  being strengthened? 5. What does the author hint at in the last part
  of the second paragraph? 6. What do you think of the prophecy in the
  first sentence of the last paragraph? 7. Is his dream any nearer
  reality today than when the author wrote these lines? 8. Pronounce
  the following: Thames; isolation; inevitable; primacy.


  unequaled moment, 338, 2
  material energy, 338, 12
  impassable barrier, 338, 23
  inevitable drift, 338, 24
  narrow isolation, 338, 24
  political existences, 338, 27
  assert their lordship, 339, 3
  one issue is inevitable, 339, 7
  primacy of the world, 339, 8
  English institutions, 339, 9



  O Thou, that sendest out the man
    To rule by land and sea,
  Strong mother of a Lion-line,
  Be proud of those strong sons of thine
    Who wrench’d their rights from thee!

  What wonder, if in noble heat
    Those men thine arms withstood,
  Re-taught the lesson thou hadst taught,
  And in thy spirit with thee fought—
    Who sprang from English blood!

  But Thou rejoice with liberal joy,
    Lift up thy rocky face,
  And shatter, when the storms are black,
  In many a streaming torrent back,
    The seas that shock thy base!

  Whatever harmonies of law
    The growing world assume,
  Thy work is thine—the single note
  From that deep chord which Hampden smote
    Will vibrate to the doom.


  For Biography, see page 49.

  =Historical Note.= John Hampden (1594-1643) was a celebrated English
  statesman and patriot. When Charles I attempted to impose a tax upon
  his subjects without the authority of Parliament, Hampden refused to
  pay. The King’s government brought suit against him, and although the
  case was decided against Hampden, later the House of Lords ordered
  the judgment of the court to be canceled.

  =Discussion.= 1. Why does the poet think England should be proud of
  America? 2. Name some of the rights won by those of “English blood”
  before this. 3. Read the lines that tell, in figurative language,
  what England and Englishmen will do when their rights are attacked.
  4. Notice in the last stanza how the words _harmonies_, _note_,
  _chord_, _smote_, and _vibrate_ all help to carry out the thought,
  expressed in figurative language. 5. What was the “chord which
  Hampden smote”? 6. Is it still “vibrating”? 7. Did the poet use the
  same riming scheme in each of the stanzas?


  strong mother of a Lion-line, 340, 3
  wrench’d their rights, 340, 5
  in noble heat, 340, 6
  thine arms withstood, 340, 7
  re-taught the lesson thou hadst taught, 340, 8
  thy rocky face, 340, 12
  harmonies of law, 340, 16



  Men of my blood, you English men!
  From misty hill and misty fen,
  From cot, and town, and plow, and moor.
  Come in—before I shut the door!
  Into my courtyard paved with stones
  That keep the names, that keep the bones,
  Of none but English men who came
  Free of their lives, to guard my fame.

  I am your native land who bred
  No driven heart, no driven head;
  I fly a flag in every sea
  Round the old Earth, of Liberty!
  I am the Land that boasts a crown;
  The sun comes up, the sun goes down—
  And never men may say of me,
  Mine is a breed that is not free.

  I have a wreath! My forehead wears
  A hundred leaves—a hundred years
  I never knew the words: “You must!”
  And shall my wreath return to dust?
  Freemen! The door is yet ajar;
  From northern star to southern star,
  O ye who count and ye who delve,
  Come in—before my clock strikes twelve!


  =Biography.= John Galsworthy (1867-⸺) was born in Coombe, Surrey,
  England, and has led the life of the typical English gentleman. After
  spending five years at Harrow he went to Oxford University. In 1890
  he was admitted to the bar, but he disliked the profession of law and
  never practiced it. He spent several years, after leaving college, in
  foreign travel, and did not begin to write until he was thirty years
  old. He has written a number of dramas dealing with social questions,
  such as “Justice” and “Strife.” He is also well-known for his short
  stories and novels. During the recent World War, Mr. Galsworthy
  served several months in an English hospital for French soldiers.

  The poem “England to Free Men” was written when England was for the
  first time about to adopt conscription as a method of recruiting an
  army to oppose German aggression in Belgium and France.

  =Discussion.= 1. Who is supposed to be speaking in this poem? 2. Whom
  does the speaker address? 3. Of what “courtyard” does the poet speak?
  4. What is the meaning of the first two lines of the second stanza?
  5. What kind of flag does the poet say England “flies in every sea”?
  6. Explain the “wreath” mentioned in the last stanza. 7. What does
  the poet mean by “before my clock strikes twelve”? 8. What has been
  America’s attitude toward conscription? 9. What impression of the
  author do you gain from this poem? 10. Tell what you know of him.


  men of my blood, 341, 1
  free of their lives, 341, 7
  who bred no driven heart, 341, 9
  that boasts a crown, 341, 13
  the door is yet ajar, 342, 7
  ye who delve, 342, 9


(Song of the Soldiers)


  What of the faith and fire within us
      Men who march away
      Ere the barn-cocks say
      Night is growing gray,
  Leaving all that here could win us;
  What of the faith and fire within us
      Men who march away?

  Is it a purblind prank, O think you,
      Friend with the musing eye,
      Who watch us stepping by
      With doubt and dolorous sigh?
  Can much pondering so hoodwink you!
  Is it a purblind prank, O think you,
      Friend with the musing eye?

  Nay. We well see what we are doing,
      Though some may not see,
      Dalliers as they be;
      England’s need are we;
  Her distress would leave us rueing:
  Nay. We well see what we are doing,
      Though some may not see!

  In our heart of hearts believing
      Victory crowns the just,
      And that braggarts must
      Surely bite the dust,
  Press we to the field ungrieving,
  In our heart of hearts believing
      Victory crowns the just.

  Hence the faith and fire within us
      Men who march away
      Ere the barn-cocks say
      Night is growing gray,
  Leaving all that here could win us;
  Hence the faith and fire within us
      Men who march away.


  =Biography.= Thomas Hardy (1840-⸺) was born in Dorsetshire, England.
  He was educated at local schools and by private tutors. At the early
  age of sixteen he was apprenticed to an architect of Worcester, in
  which line of work he made sufficient success to win a prize for
  design from the Architectural Association. At the same time he was
  writing some verse and an occasional short story, and was at a loss
  to know which kind of work to follow for a profession. However, after
  1870 he spent most of his time in writing. He excels as a short story
  writer, his “The Three Strangers” appearing in a number of lists of
  the one hundred best short stories. Among his other works, _Laughing
  Stock and Other Verses_, _Under the Greenwood Tree_, and _A Pair
  of Blue Eyes_ are widely known. Mr. Hardy was given the Order of
  Merit in 1910. The Poem “Men Who March Away,” from _Selected Poems
  of Thomas Hardy_, was written at the time the English soldiers were
  entering the World War.

  =Discussion.= 1. What “faith and fire” must the soldier have who
  freely enlists in the service of his country in war? 2. Whom does
  the poet address in the second stanza? 3. Use other words instead
  of “purblind prank.” 4. Explain the meaning of the fourth and fifth
  lines of the third stanza. 5. Why does the poet say the soldiers
  march away to war ungrieving? 6. What reason is given for the “faith
  and fire” of the soldiers? 7. In the fourth stanza, with what belief
  does the author accredit us? 8. What effect does the poet create by
  repeating the first stanza in closing the poem?


  the faith and fire within us, 343, 1
  purblind prank, 343, 8
  friend with the musing eye, 343, 9
  dalliers as they be, 343, 17
  bite the dust, 343, 25
  to the field ungrieving, 343, 26






The children had now learned to look upon the chair with an interest
which was almost the same as if it were a conscious being and could
remember the many famous people whom it had held within its arms.

Even Charley, lawless as he was, seemed to feel that this venerable chair
must not be clambered upon or overturned, although he had no scruple in
taking such liberties with every other chair in the house. Clara treated
it with still greater reverence, often taking occasion to smooth its
cushion and to brush the dust from the carved flowers and grotesque
figures of its oaken back and arms. Laurence would sometimes sit a whole
hour, especially at twilight, gazing at the chair and by the spell of his
imagination summoning up its ancient occupants to appear in it again.

Little Alice evidently employed herself in a similar way, for once, when
Grandfather had gone abroad, the child was heard talking with the gentle
Lady Arbella as if she were still sitting in the chair. So sweet a child
as little Alice may fitly talk with angels such as Lady Arbella had long
since become.

Grandfather was soon importuned for more stories about the chair. He had
no difficulty in relating them, for it really seemed as if every person
noted in our early history had on some occasion or other found repose
within its comfortable arms. If Grandfather took pride in anything, it
was in being the possessor of such an honorable and historic elbow-chair.

“I know not precisely who next got possession of the chair after Governor
Vane went back to England,” said Grandfather, “but there is reason
to believe that President Dunster sat in it when he held the first
commencement at Harvard College. You have often heard, children, how
careful our forefathers were to give their young people a good education.
They had scarcely cut down trees enough to make room for their own
dwellings before they began to think of establishing a college. Their
principal object was to rear up pious and learned ministers, and hence
old writers call Harvard College a school of the prophets.”

“Is the college a school of the prophets now?” asked Charley.

“It is a long while since I took my degree, Charley. You must ask some
of the recent graduates,” answered Grandfather. “As I was telling you,
President Dunster sat in Grandfather’s chair in 1642 when he conferred
the degree of bachelor of arts on nine young men. They were the first in
America who had received that honor. And now, my dear auditors, I must
confess that there are contradictory statements and some uncertainty
about the adventures of the chair for a period of almost ten years. Some
say that it was occupied by your own ancestor, William Hawthorne, first
Speaker of the House of Representatives. I have nearly satisfied myself,
however, that during most of this questionable period it was literally
the chair of state. It gives me much pleasure to imagine that several
successive governors of Massachusetts sat in it at the council board.”

“But, Grandfather,” interposed Charley, who was a matter-of-fact little
person, “what reason have you to imagine so?”

“Pray do imagine it, Grandfather,” said Laurence.

“With Charley’s permission I will,” replied Grandfather, smiling. “Let
us consider it settled, therefore, that Winthrop, Bellingham, Dudley,
and Endicott, each of them, when chosen governor, took his seat in our
great chair on Election day. In this chair, likewise, did those excellent
governors preside while holding consultation with the chief councilors
of the province, who were styled assistants. The governor sat in this
chair, too, whenever messages were brought to him from the chamber of

And here Grandfather took occasion to talk rather tediously about
the nature and forms of government that established themselves
almost spontaneously in Massachusetts and the other New England
colonies. Democracies were the natural growth of the new world. As
to Massachusetts, it was at first intended that the colony should be
governed by a council in London. But in a little while the people had
the whole power in their own hands, and chose annually the governor, the
councilors, and the representatives. The people of Old England had never
enjoyed anything like the liberties and privileges which the settlers
of New England now possessed. And they did not adopt these modes of
government after long study, but in simplicity, as if there were no other
way for people to be ruled.

“But, Laurence,” continued Grandfather, “when you want instruction on
these points you must seek it in Mr. Bancroft’s History. I am merely
telling the history of a chair. To proceed. The period during which the
governors sat in our chair was not very full of striking incidents. The
province was now established on a secure foundation, but it did not
increase so rapidly as at first, because the Puritans were no longer
driven from England by persecution. However, there was still a quiet and
natural growth. The legislature incorporated towns and made new purchases
of lands from the Indians. A very memorable event took place in 1643. The
colonies of Massachusetts, Plymouth Connecticut, and New Haven formed a
union for the purpose of assisting each other in difficulties, for mutual
defense against their enemies. They called themselves the United Colonies
of New England.”

“Were they under a government like that of the United States?” inquired

“No,” replied Grandfather; “the different colonies did not compose one
nation together; it was merely a confederacy among the governments. It
somewhat resembled the league of the Amphictyons, which you remember
in Grecian history. But to return to our chair. In 1644 it was highly
honored, for Governor Endicott sat in it when he gave audience to an
ambassador from the French governor of Acadia, or Nova Scotia. A treaty
of peace between Massachusetts and the French colony was then signed.”

“Did England allow Massachusetts to make war and peace with foreign
countries?” asked Laurence.

“Massachusetts and the whole of New England were then almost independent
of the mother country,” said Grandfather. “There was now a civil war in
England, and the King, as you may well suppose, had his hands full at
home, and could pay but little attention to these remote colonies. When
the Parliament got the power into their hands they likewise had enough
to do in keeping down the Cavaliers. Thus New England, like a young and
hardy lad whose father and mother neglect it, was left to take care of
itself. In 1646, King Charles was beheaded. Oliver Cromwell then became
Protector of England, and, as he was a Puritan himself and had risen
by the valor of the English Puritans, he showed himself a loving and
indulgent father to the Puritan colonies in America.”

Grandfather might have continued to talk in this dull manner nobody knows
how long, but, suspecting that Charley would find the subject rather dry,
he looked sidewise at that vivacious little fellow and saw him give an
involuntary yawn. Whereupon Grandfather proceeded with the history of the
chair, and related a very entertaining incident which will be found in
the next chapter.


  =Biography.= Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) was a master of the
  short story as a means for interpreting character. His ancestors
  were men of action—soldiers, seamen, and public officials. But he
  was unlike them; all his life he was a dreamer who loved solitude
  better than society. The subject of his dreaming was human character,
  particularly the character of the Puritan founders of New England.
  He told many legends of colonial times, some of them portraying the
  stern methods of Governor Endicott, or telling a humorous story of
  the Pine-Tree Shillings, or recounting the weird story of the old
  gray champion who defied Governor Andros. But besides these legends
  he wrote stories, visions of life in which one can scarcely draw
  the line between reality and illusion; stories of lovers who sought
  vainly for happiness; stories of a great stone face on the mountain
  side, and what it signified. Somewhat longer than these tales—_Twice
  Told Tales_ he called them—are his romances, such as _The Scarlet
  Letter_, and _The House of the Seven Gables_. Besides his longer
  romances he popularized New England history in the form of stories
  for children. From one such book, _Grandfather’s Chair_, these
  stories have been taken.

  =Discussion.= 1. What can you tell of the character of each of the
  children, Charley, Clara, Laurence, and Alice, from their treatment
  of the chair? 2. What interesting facts did you learn about Harvard
  College and President Dunster? 3. Mention some of the famous
  governors that sat in Grandfather’s chair. 4. What does Grandfather
  mean by saying that “democracies were the natural growth of the new
  world”? 5. Tell about the union known as the United Colonies of
  New England. 6. What famous governor sat in the chair in 1644? 7.
  What was the occasion? 8. Why was Oliver Cromwell friendly to the
  colonies? 9. State three interesting facts which you have learned
  regarding the government of New England. 10. Pronounce the following:
  grotesque; importuned; tediously; spontaneously; memorable; vivacious.


  a conscious being, 345, 2
  venerable chair, 345, 6
  grotesque figures, 345, 10
  ancient occupants, 345, 13
  took my degree, 346, 18
  council board, 346, 31
  striking incidents, 347, 24
  league of the Amphictyons, 348, 2
  gave audience, 348, 5
  indulgent father, 348, 21


“According to the most authentic records, my dear children,” said
Grandfather, “the chair about this time had the misfortune to break its
leg. It was probably on account of this accident that it ceased to be
the seat of the governors of Massachusetts, for, assuredly, it would
have been ominous of evil to the commonwealth if the chair of state had
tottered upon three legs. Being therefore sold at auction—alas! what
a vicissitude for a chair that had figured in such high company!—our
venerable friend was knocked down to a certain Captain John Hull. This
old gentleman, on carefully examining the maimed chair, discovered that
its broken leg might be clamped with iron and made as serviceable as

“Here is the very leg that was broken!” exclaimed Charley, throwing
himself down on the floor to look at it. “And here are the iron clamps.
How well it was mended!”

When they had all sufficiently examined the broken leg Grandfather told
them a story about Captain John Hull and the Pine-tree Shillings.

The Captain John Hull aforesaid was the mint-master of Massachusetts,
and coined all the money that was made there. This was a new line of
business, for in the earlier days of the colony the current coinage
consisted of gold and silver money of England, Portugal, and Spain.
These coins being scarce, the people were often forced to barter their
commodities instead of selling them.

For instance, if a man wanted to buy a coat, he perhaps exchanged a
bear-skin for it. If he wished for a barrel of molasses, he might
purchase it with a pile of pine boards. Musket-bullets were used instead
of farthings. The Indians had a sort of money called wampum, which was
made of clam-shells, and this strange sort of specie was likewise taken
in payment of debts by the English settlers. Bank-bills had never been
heard of. There was not money enough of any kind, in many parts of the
country, to pay the salaries of the ministers, so that they sometimes had
to take quintals of fish, bushels of corn, or cords of wood instead of
silver or gold.

As the people grew more numerous and their trade one with another
increased, the want of current money was still more sensibly felt. To
supply the demand the general court passed a law for establishing a
coinage of shillings, sixpences, and threepences. Captain John Hull was
appointed to manufacture this money, and was to have about one shilling
out of every twenty to pay him for the trouble of making them.

Hereupon all the old silver in the colony was handed over to Captain
John Hull. The battered silver cans and tankards, I suppose, and silver
buckles, and broken spoons, and silver buttons of worn-out coats, and
silver hilts of swords that had figured at court—all such curious old
articles were doubtless thrown into the melting-pot together. But by far
the greater part of the silver consisted of bullion from the mines of
South America, which the English buccaneers—who were little better than
pirates—had taken from the Spaniards and brought to Massachusetts.

All this old and new silver being melted down and coined, the result was
an immense amount of splendid shillings, sixpences, and threepences.
Each had the date 1652 on the one side and the figure of a pine tree on
the other. Hence they were called pine-tree shillings. And for every
twenty shillings that he coined, you will remember, Captain John Hull was
entitled to put one shilling into his own pocket.

The magistrates soon began to suspect that the mint-master would have
the best of the bargain. They offered him a large sum of money if he
would but give up that twentieth shilling which he was continually
dropping into his own pocket. But Captain Hull declared himself perfectly
satisfied with the shilling. And well he might be, for so diligently did
he labor that in a few years his pockets, his money-bags, and his strong
box were over-flowing with pine-tree shillings. This was probably the
case when he came into possession of Grandfather’s chair; and, as he had
worked so hard at the mint, it was certainly proper that he should have a
comfortable chair to rest himself in.

When the mint-master had grown very rich, a young man, Samuel Sewell
by name, came a-courting to his only daughter. His daughter—whose name
I do not know, but we will call her Betsey—was a fine, hearty damsel,
by no means so slender as some young ladies of our own days. On the
contrary, having always fed heartily on pumpkin pies, doughnuts, Indian
puddings, and other Puritan dainties, she was as round and plump as a
pudding herself. With this round, rosy Miss Betsey did Samuel Sewell fall
in love. As he was a young man of good character, industrious in his
business, and a member of the church, the mint-master very readily gave
his consent.

“Yes, you may take her,” said he, in his rough way, “and you’ll find her
a heavy burden enough.”

On the wedding-day we may suppose that honest John Hull dressed himself
in a plum-colored coat, all the buttons of which were made of pine-tree
shillings. The buttons of his waistcoat were sixpences, and the knees of
his small clothes were buttoned with silver threepences. Thus attired, he
sat with great dignity in Grandfather’s chair, and, being a portly old
gentleman, he completely filled it from elbow to elbow. On the opposite
side of the room, between her bridesmaids, sat Miss Betsey. She was
blushing with all her might, and looked like a full-blown peony or a
great red apple.

There, too, was the bridegroom, dressed in a fine purple coat and
gold-lace waistcoat, with as much other finery as the Puritan laws and
customs would allow him to put on. His hair was cropped close to his
head, because Governor Endicott had forbidden any man to wear it below
the ears. But he was a very personable young man, and so thought the
bridesmaids and Miss Betsey herself.

The mint-master also was pleased with his new son-in-law, especially as
he had courted Miss Betsey out of pure love, and had said nothing at all
about her portion. So, when the marriage ceremony was over, Captain Hull
whispered a word to two of his men-servants, who immediately went out,
and soon returned lugging in a large pair of scales. They were such a
pair as wholesale merchants use for weighing bulky commodities, and quite
a bulky commodity was now to be weighed in them.

“Daughter Betsey,” said the mint-master, “get into one side of these

Miss Betsey—or Mrs. Sewell, as we must now call her—did as she was bid,
like a dutiful child, without any question of the why and wherefore. But
what her father could mean, unless to make her husband pay for her by the
pound (in which case she would have been a dear bargain), she had not the
least idea.

“And now,” said honest John Hull to the servants, “bring that box hither.”

The box to which the mint-master pointed was a huge, square, iron-bound
oaken chest; it was big enough, my children, for all four of you to play
at hide-and-seek in. The servants tugged with might and main, but could
not lift this enormous receptacle, and were finally obliged to drag it
across the floor. Captain Hull, then took a key from his girdle, unlocked
the chest, and lifted its ponderous lid. Behold! it was full to the brim
of bright pine-tree shillings fresh from the mint, and Samuel Sewell
began to think that his father-in-law had got possession of all the money
in the Massachusetts treasury. But it was only the mint-master’s honest
share of the coinage.

Then the servants, at Captain Hull’s command, heaped double handfuls of
shillings into one side of the scales while Betsey remained in the other.
Jingle, jingle, went the shillings as handful after handful was thrown
in, till, plump and ponderous as she was, they fairly weighed the young
lady from the floor.

“There, son Sewell!” cried the honest mint-master, resuming his seat in
Grandfather’s chair, “take these shillings for my daughter’s portion. Use
her kindly and thank Heaven for her. It is not every wife that’s worth
her weight in silver.”

The children laughed heartily at this legend, and would hardly be
convinced but that Grandfather had made it out of his own head. He
assured them faithfully, however, that he had found it in the pages
of a grave historian, and had merely tried to tell it in a somewhat
funnier style. As for Samuel Sewell, he afterward became chief justice of

“Well, Grandfather,” remarked Clara, “if wedding portions nowadays were
paid as Miss Betsey’s was, young ladies would not pride themselves upon
an airy figure, as many of them do.”


  =Discussion.= 1. Describe bartering in the early colonial days. 2.
  When was the coinage of money established by law? 3. Who was the
  first mint master? 4. Upon what conditions did he manufacture the
  coins? 5. What do you think of Captain Hull’s bargain? 6. Where did
  the silver come from? 7. Describe the pine-tree shillings. 8. Tell
  the story of the romance between Betsey Hull and Samuel Sewell. 9.
  To what great position did Samuel Sewell attain? 10. Find out all
  you can about our government mints today. 11. Where are some of them
  located? 12. Where does the gold, silver, nickel, and copper come
  from? 13. Pronounce the following: authentic; ominous; specie.


  authentic records, 349, 1
  ominous of evil, 349, 5
  knocked down, 349, 9
  current coinage, 350, 13
  barter their commodities, 350, 15
  strange sort of specie, 350, 21
  English buccaneers, 351, 5
  personable young man, 352, 16
  bulky commodities, 352, 25
  enormous receptacle, 353, 1


“Charley, my boy,” said Grandfather, “do you remember who was the last
occupant of the chair?”

“It was Lieutenant-governor Hutchinson,” answered Charley. “Sir Francis
Bernard, the new governor, had given him the chair instead of putting
it away in the garret of the Province-house. And when we took leave
of Hutchinson he was sitting by his fireside and thinking of the past
adventures of the chair and of what was to come.”

“Very well,” said Grandfather, “and you recollect that this was in 1763
or thereabouts, at the close of the Old French War. Now, that you may
fully comprehend the remaining adventures of the chair, I must make some
brief remarks on the situation and character of the New England colonies
at this period.”

So Grandfather spoke of the earnest loyalty of our fathers during the Old
French War and after the conquest of Canada had brought that war to a
triumphant close.

The people loved and reverenced the King of England even more than if the
ocean had not rolled its waves between him and them, for at the distance
of three thousand miles they could not discover his bad qualities and
imperfections. Their love was increased by the dangers which they had
encountered in order to heighten his glory and extend his dominion.
Throughout the war the American colonists had fought side by side with
the soldiers of Old England, and nearly thirty thousand young men had
laid down their lives for the honor of King George. And the survivors
loved him the better because they had done and suffered so much for his

But there were some circumstances that caused America to feel more
independent of England than at an earlier period. Canada and Acadia had
now become British provinces, and our fathers were no longer afraid of
the bands of French and Indians who used to assault them in old times.
For a century and a half this had been the great terror of New England.
Now the old French soldier was driven from the north forever. And even
had it been otherwise, the English colonies were growing so populous
and powerful that they might have felt fully able to protect themselves
without any help from England.

There were thoughtful and sagacious men who began to doubt whether a
great country like America would always be content to remain under the
government of an island three thousand miles away. This was the more
doubtful because the English Parliament had long ago made laws which were
intended to be very beneficial to England at the expense of America. By
these laws the colonists were forbidden to manufacture articles for their
own use or to carry on trade with any nation but the English.

“Now,” continued Grandfather, “if King George III and his counselors had
considered these things wisely, they would have taken another course than
they did. But when they saw how rich and populous the colonies had grown,
their first thought was how they might make more profit out of them than
heretofore. England was enormously in debt at the close of the Old French
War, and it was pretended that this debt had been contracted for the
defense of the American colonies, and that therefore a part of it ought
to be paid by them.”

“Why, this was nonsense!” exclaimed Charley. “Did not our fathers spend
their lives, and their money too, to get Canada for King George?”

“True, they did,” said Grandfather, “and they told the English rulers so.
But the King and his ministers would not listen to good advice. In 1765
the British Parliament passed a stamp act.”

“What was that?” inquired Charley.

“The stamp act,” replied Grandfather, “was a law by which all deeds,
bonds, and other papers of the same kind were ordered to be marked with
the king’s stamp, and without this mark they were declared illegal and
void. Now, in order to get a blank sheet of paper with the king’s stamp
upon it, people were obliged to pay threepence more than the actual value
of the paper. And this extra sum of threepence was a tax and was to be
paid into the king’s treasury.”

“I am sure threepence was not worth quarreling about!” remarked Clara.

“It was not for threepence, nor for any amount of money, that America
quarreled with England,” replied Grandfather; “it was for a great
principle. The colonists were determined not to be taxed except by their
own representatives. They said that neither the King and Parliament nor
any other power on earth had a right to take their money out of their
pockets unless they freely gave it. And, rather than pay threepence when
it was unjustly demanded, they resolved to sacrifice all the wealth of
the country, and their lives along with it. They therefore made a most
stubborn resistance to the stamp act.”

“That was noble!” exclaimed Laurence. “I understand how it was. If
they had quietly paid the tax of threepence, they would have ceased to
be freemen and would have become tributaries of England. And so they
contended about a great question of right and wrong, and put everything
at stake for it.”

“You are right, Laurence,” said Grandfather, “and it was really amazing
and terrible to see what a change came over the aspect of the people the
moment the English Parliament had passed this oppressive act. The former
history of our chair, my children, has given you some idea of what a
harsh, unyielding, stern set of men the old Puritans were. For a good
many years back, however, it had seemed as if these characteristics were
disappearing. But no sooner did England offer wrong to the colonies than
the descendants of the early settlers proved that they had the same kind
of temper as their forefathers. The moment before, New England appeared
like a humble and loyal subject of the Crown; the next instant she showed
the grim, dark features of an old king-resisting Puritan.”

Grandfather spoke briefly of the public measures that were taken in
opposition to the stamp act. As this law affected all the American
colonies alike, it naturally led them to think of consulting together
in order to procure its repeal. For this purpose the legislature of
Massachusetts proposed that delegates from every colony should meet in
congress. Accordingly, nine colonies, both Northern and Southern, sent
delegates to the city of New York.

“And did they consult about going to war with England?” asked Charley.

“No, Charley,” answered Grandfather; “a great deal of talking was yet
to be done before England and America could come to blows. The Congress
stated the rights and grievances of the colonists. They sent a humble
petition to the King and a memorial to the Parliament beseeching that the
stamp act might be repealed. This was all that the delegates had it in
their power to do.”

“They might as well have stayed at home, then,” said Charley.

“By no means,” replied Grandfather. “It was a most important and
memorable event, this first coming together of the American people by
their representatives from the North and South. If England had been wise,
she would have trembled at the first word that was spoken in such an

These remonstrances and petitions, as Grandfather observed, were the work
of grave, thoughtful, and prudent men. Meantime the young and hot-headed
people went to work in their own way. It is probable that the petitions
of Congress would have had little or no effect on the British statesmen
if the violent deeds of the American people had not shown how much
excited the people were. Liberty Tree was soon heard of in England.

“What was Liberty Tree?” inquired Clara.

“It was an old elm tree,” answered Grandfather, “which stood near the
corner of Essex street, opposite the Boylston Market. Under the spreading
branches of this great tree the people used to assemble whenever they
wished to express their feelings and opinions. Thus, after a while it
seemed as if the liberty of the country was connected with Liberty Tree.”

“It was glorious fruit for a tree to bear,” remarked Laurence.

“It bore strange fruit sometimes,” said Grandfather. “One morning in
August, 1765, two figures were found hanging on the sturdy branches of
Liberty Tree. They were dressed in square-skirted coats and smallclothes,
and as their wigs hung down over their faces they looked like real men.
One was intended to represent the Earl of Bute, who was supposed to have
advised the King to tax America. The other was meant for the effigy of
Andrew Oliver, a gentleman belonging to one of the most respectable
families in Massachusetts.”

“What harm had he done?” inquired Charley.

“The King had appointed him to be distributer of the stamps,” answered
Grandfather. “Mr. Oliver would have made a great deal of money by this
business; but the people frightened him so much by hanging him in effigy,
and afterward by breaking into his house, that he promised to have
nothing to do with the stamps. And all the King’s friends throughout
America were compelled to make the same promise.”


  =Discussion.= 1. Describe the loyalty of the colonists to King
  George. 2. Give two reasons why the colonies began to feel more
  and more independent. 3. What were some of the laws passed by the
  English Parliament that made the colonies wish for independence? 4.
  What was the Stamp Act? 5. Would you have felt as Clara did or as
  Laurence felt? 6. Describe the change that these wrongs wrought in
  the colonists. 7. Describe the congress proposed by the Massachusetts
  legislature. 8. What did this congress do? 9. Why was this congress
  so important? 10. How did Liberty Tree get its name? 11. What “fruit”
  did it bear? 12. Pronounce the following: comprehend; sagacious;
  tributaries; effigy; Parliament.


  sagacious men, 355, 11
  illegal and void, 356, 1
  stubborn resistance, 356, 17
  the aspect of the people, 356, 24
  oppressive act, 356, 26
  subject of the Crown, 356, 33
  public measures, 356, 34
  humble petition to the King, 357, 12
  memorable event, 357, 18
  remonstrances and petitions, 357, 22
  violent deeds, 357, 27
  hanging him in effigy, 358, 13


The next evening, Clara, who remembered that our chair had been left
standing in the rain under Liberty Tree, earnestly besought Grandfather
to tell when and where it had next found shelter. Perhaps she was afraid
that the venerable chair, by being exposed to the inclemency of a
September gale, might get the rheumatism in its aged joints.

“The chair,” said Grandfather, “after the ceremony of Mr. Oliver’s oath,
appears to have been quite forgotten by the multitude. Indeed, being
much bruised and rather rickety, owing to the violent treatment it had
suffered from the Hutchinson mob, most people would have thought that its
days of usefulness were over. Nevertheless, it was conveyed away under
cover of the night and committed to the care of a skillful joiner. He
doctored our old friend so successfully that in the course of a few days
it made its appearance in the public room of the British Coffee-house in
King Street.”

“But why did not Mr. Hutchinson get possession of it again?” inquired

“I know not,” answered Grandfather, “unless he considered it a dishonor
and disgrace to the chair to have stood under Liberty Tree. At all
events, he suffered it to remain at the British Coffee-house, which
was the principal hotel in Boston. It could not possibly have found a
situation where it would be more in the midst of business and bustle, or
would witness more important events, or be occupied by a greater variety
of persons.”

Grandfather went on to tell the proceedings of the despotic King and
ministry of England after the repeal of the stamp act. They could not
bear to think that their right to tax America should be disputed by the
people. In the year 1767, therefore, they caused Parliament to pass an
act for laying a duty on tea and some other articles that were in general
use. Nobody could now buy a pound of tea without paying a tax to King
George. This scheme was pretty craftily contrived, for the women of
America were very fond of tea, and did not like to give up the use of it.

But the people were as much opposed to this new act of Parliament as
they had been to the stamp act. England, however, was determined that
they should submit. In order to compel their obedience two regiments,
consisting of more than seven hundred British soldiers, were sent to
Boston. They arrived in September, 1768, and were landed on Long Wharf.
Thence they marched to the Common with loaded muskets, fixed bayonets,
and great pomp and parade. So now at last the free town of Boston was
guarded and overawed by red-coats as it had been in the days of old Sir
Edmond Andros.

In the month of November more regiments arrived. There were now four
thousand troops in Boston. The Common was whitened with their tents.
Some of the soldiers were lodged in Faneuil Hall, which the inhabitants
looked upon as a consecrated place because it had been the scene of a
great many meetings in favor of liberty. One regiment was placed in the
Town House, which we now call the Old State House. The lower floor of
this edifice had hitherto been used by the merchants as an exchange. In
the upper stories were the chambers of the judges, the representatives,
and the governor’s council. The venerable councilors could not assemble
to consult about the welfare of the province without being challenged by
sentinels and passing among the bayonets of the British soldiers.

Sentinels likewise were posted at the lodgings of the officers in many
parts of the town. When the inhabitants approached, they were greeted by
the sharp question, “Who goes there?” while the rattle of the soldier’s
musket was heard as he presented it against their breasts. There was no
quiet even on the Sabbath day. The pious descendants of the Puritans
were shocked by the uproar of military music, the drum, fife, and bugle
drowning the holy organ-peal and the voices of the singers. It would
appear as if the British took every method to insult the feelings of the

“Grandfather,” cried Charley, impatiently, “the people did not go to
fighting half soon enough! These British red-coats ought to have been
driven back to their vessels the very moment they landed on Long Wharf.”

“Many a hot-headed young man said the same as you do, Charley,” answered
Grandfather, “but the elder and wiser people saw that the time was not
yet come. Meanwhile, let us take another peep at our old chair.”

“Ah, it drooped its head, I know,” said Charley, “when it saw how the
province was disgraced. Its old Puritan friends never would have borne
such doings.”

“The chair,” proceeded Grandfather, “was now continually occupied by some
of the high Tories, as the King’s friends were called, who frequented the
British Coffee House. Officers of the custom-house too, which stood on
the opposite side of King Street, often sat in the chair wagging their
tongues against John Hancock.”

“Why against him?” asked Charley.

“Because he was a great merchant and contended against paying duties to
the King,” said Grandfather.

“Well, frequently, no doubt, the officers of the British regiments, when
not on duty, used to fling themselves into the arms of our venerable
chair. Fancy one of them a red-nosed captain in his scarlet uniform,
playing with the hilt of his sword and making a circle of his brother
officers merry with ridiculous jokes at the expense of the poor Yankees.
And perhaps he would call for a bottle of wine or a steaming bowl of
punch and drink confusion to all rebels.”

“Our grave old chair must have been scandalized at such scenes,” observed
Laurence—“the chair that had been the Lady Arbella’s and which the holy
apostle Eliot had consecrated.”

“It certainly was little less than sacrilege,” replied Grandfather; “but
the time was coming when even the churches where hallowed pastors had
long preached the word of God were to be torn down or desecrated by the
British troops. Some years passed, however, before such things were done.”

Grandfather now told his auditors that in 1769 Sir Francis Bernard went
to England, after having been governor of Massachusetts ten years. He was
a gentleman of many good qualities, an excellent scholar, and a friend
to learning. But he was naturally of an arbitrary disposition, and he had
been bred at the University of Oxford, where young men were taught that
the divine right of kings was the only thing to be regarded in matters
of government. Such ideas were ill adapted to please the people of
Massachusetts. They rejoiced to get rid of Sir Francis Bernard, but liked
his successor, Lieutenant-governor Hutchinson, no better than himself.

About this period the people were much incensed at an act committed by
a person who held an office in the custom-house. Some lads or young men
were snowballing his windows. He fired a musket at them and killed a poor
boy only eleven years old. This event made a great noise in town and
country, and much increased the resentment that was already felt against
the servants of the Crown.

“Now, children,” said Grandfather, “I wish to make you comprehend the
position of the British troops in King Street. This is the same which we
now call State Street. On the south side of the Town House, or Old State
House, was what military men call a court of guard, defended by two brass
cannons which pointed directly at one of the doors of the above edifice.
A large party of soldiers were always stationed in the court of guard.
The custom-house stood at a little distance down King Street, nearly
where the Suffolk Bank now stands, and a sentinel was continually pacing
before its front.”

“I shall remember this tomorrow,” said Charley, “and I will go to State
Street, so as to see exactly where the British troops were stationed.”

“And before long,” observed Grandfather, “I shall have to relate an event
which made King Street sadly famous on both sides of the Atlantic. The
history of our chair will soon bring us to this melancholy business.”

Here Grandfather described the state of things which arose from the
ill-will that existed between the inhabitants and the red-coats. The
old and sober part of the townspeople were very angry at the government
for sending soldiers to overawe them. But those gray-headed men were
cautious, and kept their thoughts and feelings in their own breasts,
without putting themselves in the way of the British bayonets.

The younger people, however, could hardly be kept within such prudent
limits. They reddened with wrath at the very sight of a soldier, and
would have been willing to come to blows with them at any moment. For it
was their opinion that every tap of a British drum within the peninsula
of Boston was an insult to the brave old town.

“It was sometimes the case,” continued Grandfather, “that affrays
happened between such wild young men as these and small parties of the
soldiers. No weapons had hitherto been used except fists or cudgels. But
when men have loaded muskets in their hands, it is easy to foretell that
they will soon be turned against the bosoms of those who provoke their

“Grandfather,” said little Alice, looking fearfully into his face, “your
voice sounds as though you were going to tell us something awful.”


  =Discussion.= 1. What act did Parliament pass after the repeal of
  the Stamp Act? 2. What did England do to compel the colonists to
  submit to this new act? 3. Why was it a good thing for the chair to
  be in the British Coffee House? 4. Describe the British soldiers in
  Boston, on the Common, in Faneuil Hall, and in the Old State House.
  5. How was the Sabbath spent? 6. What did the chair experience during
  these days? 7. What happened at the custom-house? 8. What was the
  difference in behavior between the older townspeople and the younger
  ones? 9. What was the King’s purpose in stationing the British
  soldiers in Boston? 10. Pronounce the following: inclemency; aged;
  edifice; frequented.


  exposed to the inclemency, 359, 5
  under cover of the night, 359, 12
  committed to the care, 359, 13
  skillful joiner, 359, 13
  craftily contrived, 359, 33
  the Common, 360, 9
  pomp and parade, 360, 10
  venerable councilors, 360, 22
  arbitrary disposition, 362, 2
  divine right of kings, 362, 4
  court of guard, 362, 20
  within such prudent limits, 363, 3


Little Alice, by her last remark, proved herself a good judge of what was
expressed by the tones of Grandfather’s voice. He had given the above
description of the enmity between the townspeople and the soldiers in
order to prepare the minds of his auditors for a very terrible event. It
was one that did more to heighten the quarrel between England and America
than anything that had yet occurred.

Without further preface Grandfather began the story of the Boston

It was now the 3d of March, 1770. The sunset music of the British
regiments was heard as usual throughout the town. The shrill fife and
rattling drum awoke the echoes in King Street while the last ray of
sunshine was lingering on the cupola of the Town House, And now all
the sentinels were posted. One of them marched up and down before the
custom-house, treading a short path through the snow and longing for the
time when he would be dismissed to the warm fireside of the guard-room.
Meanwhile, Captain Preston was perhaps sitting in our great chair before
the hearth of the British Coffee House. In the course of the evening
there were two or three slight commotions which seemed to indicate that
trouble was at hand. Small parties of young men stood at the corners of
the streets or walked along the narrow pavements. Squads of soldiers
who were dismissed from duty passed by them, shoulder to shoulder, with
the regular step which they had learned at the drill. Whenever these
encounters took place it appeared to be the object of the young men to
treat the soldiers with as much incivility as possible.

“Turn out, you lobster-backs!” one would say. “Crowd them off the
sidewalks!” another would cry. “A red-coat has no right in Boston

“Oh, you rebel rascals!” perhaps the soldiers would reply, glaring
fiercely at the young men. “Some day or other we’ll make our way through
Boston streets at the point of the bayonet!”

Once or twice such disputes as these brought on a scuffle, which passed
off, however, without attracting much notice. About eight o’clock, for
some unknown cause, an alarm bell rang loudly and hurriedly.

At the sound many people ran out of their houses, supposing it to be an
alarm of fire. But there were no flames to be seen, nor was there any
smell of smoke in the clear, frosty air, so that most of the townsmen
went back to their own firesides and sat talking with their wives and
children about the calamities of the times. Others who were younger and
less prudent remained in the streets, for there seems to have been a
presentiment that some strange event was on the eve of taking place.

Later in the evening, not far from nine o’clock, several young men passed
by the Town House and walked down King Street. The sentinel was still
on his post in front of the custom-house, pacing to and fro, while as
he turned, a gleam of light from some neighboring window glittered on
the barrel of his musket. At no great distance were the barracks and the
guard-house, where his comrades were probably telling stories of battle
and bloodshed.

Down toward the custom-house, as I told you, came a party of wild young
men. When they drew near the sentinel he halted on his post and took his
musket from his shoulder, ready to present the bayonet at their breasts.

“Who goes there?” he cried, in the gruff, peremptory tones of a soldier’s

The young men, being Boston boys, felt as if they had a right to walk
their own streets without being accountable to a British red-coat, even
though he challenged them in King George’s name. They made some rude
answer to the sentinel. There was a dispute, or perhaps a scuffle. Other
soldiers heard the noise, and ran hastily from the barracks to assist
their comrades. At the same time many of the townspeople rushed into
King Street by various avenues and gathered in a crowd round about the
custom-house. It seemed wonderful how such a multitude had started up all
of a sudden.

The wrongs and insults which the people had been suffering for many
months now kindled them into a rage. They threw snowballs and lumps of
ice at the soldiers. As the tumult grew louder it reached the ears of
Captain Preston, the officer of the day. He immediately ordered eight
soldiers of the main guard to take their muskets and follow him. They
marched across the street, forcing their way roughly through the crowd
and pricking the townspeople with their bayonets.

A gentleman (it was Henry Knox, afterward general of the American
artillery) caught Captain Preston’s arm.

“For Heaven’s sake, sir,” exclaimed he, “take heed what you do or there
will be bloodshed!”

“Stand aside!” answered Captain Preston, haughtily. “Do not interfere,
sir. Leave me to manage the affair.”

Arriving at the sentinel’s post, Captain Preston drew up his men in
a semicircle with their faces to the crowd and their rear to the
custom-house. When the people saw the officer and beheld the threatening
attitude with which the soldiers fronted them their rage became almost

“Fire, you lobster-backs!” bellowed some.

“You dare not fire, you cowardly red-coats!” cried others.

“Rush upon them!” shouted many voices. “Drive the rascals to their
barracks! Down with them! Down with them! Let them fire if they dare!”

Amid the uproar the soldiers stood glaring at the people with the
fierceness of men whose trade was to shed blood.

Oh, what a crisis had now arrived! Up to this very moment the angry
feelings between England and America might have been pacified. England
had but to stretch out the hand of reconciliation and acknowledge that
she had hitherto mistaken her rights, but would do so no more. Then the
ancient bonds of brotherhood would again have been knit together as
firmly as in old times. The habit of loyalty which had grown as strong
as instinct was not utterly overcome. The perils shared, the victories
won, in the Old French War, when the soldiers of the colonies fought
side by side with their comrades from beyond the sea, were unforgotten
yet. England was still that beloved country which the colonists called
their home. King George, though he had frowned upon America, was still
reverenced as a father.

But should the King’s soldiers shed one drop of American blood, then it
was a quarrel to the death. Never, never would America rest satisfied
until she had torn down the royal authority and trampled it in the dust.

“Fire if you dare, villains!” hoarsely shouted the people while the
muzzles of the muskets were turned upon them. “You dare not fire!”

They appeared ready to rush upon the level bayonets. Captain Preston
waved his sword and uttered a command which could not be distinctly
heard amid the uproar of shouts that issued from a hundred throats. But
his soldiers deemed that he had spoken the fatal mandate, “Fire!” The
flash of their muskets lighted up the street, and the report rang loudly
between the edifices. It was said, too, that the figure of a man with a
cloth hanging down over his face was seen to step into the balcony of the
custom-house and discharge a musket at the crowd.

A gush of smoke had overspread the scene. It rose heavily, as if it were
loath to reveal the dreadful spectacle beneath it. Eleven of the sons of
New England lay stretched upon the street. Some, sorely wounded, were
struggling to rise again. Others stirred not nor groaned, for they were
past all pain. Blood was streaming upon the snow, and that purple stain
in the midst of King Street, though it melted away in the next day’s sun,
was never forgotten nor forgiven by the people.

Grandfather was interrupted by the violent sobs of little Alice. In his
earnestness he had neglected to soften down the narrative so that it
might not terrify the heart of this unworldly infant. Since Grandfather
began the history of our chair little Alice had listened to many tales
of war, but probably the idea had never really impressed itself upon her
mind that men had shed the blood of their fellow-creatures. And now that
this idea was forcibly presented to her, it affected the sweet child with
bewilderment and horror.

“I ought to have remembered our dear little Alice,” said Grandfather
reproachfully to himself. “Oh, what a pity! Her heavenly nature has now
received its first impression of earthly sin and violence.—Well, Clara,
take her to bed and comfort her. Heaven grant that she may dream away
the recollection of the Boston massacre!”

“Grandfather,” said Charley when Clara and little Alice had retired, “did
not the people rush upon the soldiers and take revenge?”

“The town drums beat to arms,” replied Grandfather, “the alarm-bells
rang, and an immense multitude rushed into King Street. Many of them had
weapons in their hands. The British prepared to defend themselves. A
whole regiment was drawn up in the street expecting an attack, for the
townsmen appeared ready to throw themselves upon the bayonets.”

“And how did it end?” asked Charley.

“Governor Hutchinson hurried to the spot,” said Grandfather, “and
besought the people to have patience, promising that strict justice
should be done. A day or two afterward the British troops were withdrawn
from town and stationed at Castle William. Captain Preston and the eight
soldiers were tried for murder, but none of them were found guilty. The
judges told the jury that the insults and violence which had been offered
to the soldiers justified them in firing at the mob.”

“The Revolution,” observed Laurence, who had said but little during the
evening, “was not such a calm, majestic movement as I supposed. I do not
love to hear of mobs and broils in the street. These things were unworthy
of the people when they had such a great object to accomplish.”

“Nevertheless, the world has seen no grander movement than that of our
Revolution from first to last,” said Grandfather. “The people, to a man,
were full of a great and noble sentiment. True, there may be much fault
to find with their mode of expressing this sentiment, but they knew no
better; the necessity was upon them to act out their feelings in the best
manner they could. We must forgive what was wrong in their actions, and
look into their hearts and minds for the honorable motives that impelled

“And I suppose,” said Laurence, “there were men who knew how to act
worthily of what they felt.”

“There were many such,” replied Grandfather, “and we will speak of some
of them hereafter.”

Grandfather here made a pause. That night Charley had a dream about the
Boston massacre, and thought that he himself was in the crowd and struck
down Captain Preston with a great club. Laurence dreamed that he was
sitting in our great chair at the window of the British Coffee-house, and
beheld the whole scene which Grandfather had described. It seemed to him,
in his dream, that if the townspeople and the soldiers would have but
heard him speak a single word, all the slaughter might have been averted.
But there was such an uproar that it drowned his voice.

The next morning the two boys went together to State Street and stood on
the very spot where the first blood of the Revolution had been shed. The
Old State House was still there, presenting almost the same aspect that
it had worn on that memorable evening one and seventy years ago. It is
the sole remaining witness of the Boston massacre.


  =Discussion.= 1. Describe the scene before the custom-house on the
  evening of March 3, 1770. 2. What do you think of the conduct of the
  young men of Boston? 3. How did it happen that the crowd gathered so
  quickly? 4. What is your opinion of Captain Preston as compared with
  Henry Knox? 5. Why was the situation called a crisis? 6. How could it
  have been avoided? 7. What was the effect of the fateful order? 8. Do
  you admire Governor Hutchinson’s stand? 9. What happened to Captain
  Preston and his soldiers? 10. What defense did Captain Preston
  probably make? 11. Do you sympathize with Laurence in his feeling
  about the Revolution? 12. In what respects do you think the dreams
  of the two boys expressed their natures? 13. Read the paragraphs
  that seem to you most thrilling and dramatic. 14. Select sentences
  that you think show Hawthorne’s skill at descriptive writing. 15.
  Pronounce the following: hearth; incivility; peremptory; villains.


  awoke the echoes, 364, 12
  lingering on the cupola, 364, 13
  lobster-backs, 364, 28
  rebel rascals, 364, 31
  peremptory tones, 365, 24
  accountable to, 365, 27
  fatal mandate, 367, 12
  loath to reveal, 367, 18
  unworldly infant, 367, 27
  strict justice, 368, 14
  majestic movement, 368, 22
  mobs and broils, 368, 23
  necessity was upon them, 368, 30
  sole remaining witness, 369, 14


The next evening the astral lamp was lighted earlier than usual, because
Laurence was very much engaged in looking over the collection of
portraits which had been his New Year’s gift from Grandfather.

Among them he found the features of more than one famous personage who
had been connected with the adventures of our old chair. Grandfather
bade him draw the table nearer to the fireside, and they looked over
the portraits together, while Clara and Charley likewise lent their
attention. As for little Alice, she sat in Grandfather’s lap, and seemed
to see the very men alive whose faces were there represented.

Turning over the volume, Laurence came to the portrait of a stern,
grim-looking man in plain attire, of much more modern fashion than that
of the old Puritans. But the face might well have befitted one of those
iron-hearted men. Beneath the portrait was the name of Samuel Adams.

“He was a man of great note in all the doings that brought about the
Revolution,” said Grandfather. “His character was such that it seemed as
if one of the ancient Puritans had been sent back to earth to animate
the people’s hearts with the same abhorrence of tyranny that had
distinguished the earliest settlers. He was as religious as they, as
stern and inflexible, and as deeply imbued with democratic principles.
He, better than any one else, may be taken as a representative of the
people of New England, and of the spirit with which they engaged in
the Revolutionary struggle. He was a poor man, and earned his bread by
a humble occupation, but with his tongue and pen he made the King of
England tremble on his throne. Remember him, my children, as one of the
strong men of our country.”

“Here is one whose looks show a very different character,” observed
Laurence, turning to the portrait of John Hancock. “I should think, by
his splendid dress and courtly aspect, that he was one of the King’s

“There never was a greater contrast than between Samuel Adams and
John Hancock,” said Grandfather, “yet they were of the same side in
politics, and had an equal agency in the Revolution. Hancock was born to
the inheritance of the largest fortune in New England. His tastes and
habits were aristocratic. He loved gorgeous attire, a splendid mansion,
magnificent furniture, stately festivals, and all that was glittering
and pompous in external things. His manners were so polished that there
stood not a nobleman at the footstool of King George’s throne who was a
more skillful courtier than John Hancock might have been. Nevertheless,
he in his embroidered clothes and Samuel Adams in his threadbare coat
wrought together in the cause of liberty. Adams acted from pure and
rigid principle. Hancock, though he loved his country, yet thought quite
as much of his own popularity as he did of the people’s rights. It is
remarkable that these two men, so very different as I describe them, were
the only two exempted from pardon by the King’s proclamation.”

On the next leaf of the book was the portrait of General Joseph Warren.
Charley recognized the name, and said that here was a greater man than
either Hancock or Adams.

“Warren was an eloquent and able patriot,” replied Grandfather. “He
deserves a lasting memory for his zealous efforts in behalf of liberty.
No man’s voice was more powerful in Faneuil Hall than Joseph Warren’s.
If his death had not happened so early in the contest, he would probably
have gained a high name as a soldier.”

The next portrait was a venerable man who held his thumb under his
chin, and through his spectacles appeared to be attentively reading a

“Here we see the most illustrious Boston boy that ever lived,” said
Grandfather. “This is Benjamin Franklin. But I will not try to compress
into a few sentences the character of the sage who, as a Frenchman
expressed it, snatched the lightning from the sky and the scepter from a
tyrant. Mr. Sparks must help you to the knowledge of Franklin.”

The book likewise contained portraits of James Otis and Josiah Quincy.
Both of them, Grandfather observed, were men of wonderful talents and
true patriotism. Their voices were like the stirring tones of a trumpet
arousing the country to defend its freedom. Heaven seemed to have
provided a greater number of eloquent men than had appeared at any other
period, in order that the people might be fully instructed as to their
wrongs and the method of resistance.

“It is marvelous,” said Grandfather, “to see how many powerful writers,
orators, and soldiers started up just at the time when they were wanted.
There was a man for every kind of work. It is equally wonderful that men
of such different characters were all made to unite in the one object
of establishing the freedom and independence of America. There was an
overruling Providence above them.”

“Here was another great man,” remarked Laurence, pointing to the portrait
of John Adams.

“Yes; an earnest, warm-tempered, honest, and most able man,” said
Grandfather. “At the period of which we are now speaking he was a lawyer
in Boston. He was destined in after years to be ruler over the whole
American people, whom he contributed so much to form into a nation.”

Grandfather here remarked that many a New Englander who had passed his
boyhood and youth in obscurity afterward attained to a fortune which he
never could have foreseen even in his most ambitious dreams. John Adams,
the second President of the United States and the equal of crowned kings,
was once a schoolmaster and country lawyer. Hancock, the first signer
of the Declaration of Independence, served his apprenticeship with a
merchant. Samuel Adams, afterward governor of Massachusetts, was a small
tradesman and a tax-gatherer. General Warren was a physician, General
Lincoln a farmer, and General Knox a bookbinder. General Nathaniel
Greene, the best soldier except Washington in the Revolutionary army,
was a Quaker and a blacksmith. All these became illustrious men, and can
never be forgotten in American history.

“And any boy who is born in America may look forward to the same things,”
said our ambitious friend Charley.

After these observations Grandfather drew the book of portraits toward
him, showed the children several British peers and members of Parliament
who had exerted themselves either for or against the rights of America.
There were the Earl of Bute, Mr. Grenville, and Lord North. These were
looked upon as deadly enemies to our country.

Among the friends of America was Mr. Pitt, afterward Earl of Chatham, who
spent so much of his wondrous eloquence in endeavoring to warn England
of the consequences of her injustice. He fell down on the floor of the
House of Lords after uttering his almost dying words in defense of our
privileges as freemen. There was Edmund Burke, one of the wisest men and
greatest orators that ever the world produced. There was Colonel Barré,
who had been among our fathers, and knew that they had courage enough to
die for their rights. There was Charles James Fox, who never rested until
he had silenced our enemies in the House of Commons.

“It is very remarkable to observe how many of the ablest orators in
the British Parliament were favorable to America,” said Grandfather.
“We ought to remember these great Englishmen with gratitude, for their
speeches encouraged our fathers almost as much as those of our own
orators in Faneuil Hall and under Liberty Tree. Opinions which might have
been received with doubt if expressed only by a native American were set
down as true beyond dispute when they came from the lips of Chatham,
Burke, Barré, or Fox.”

“But, Grandfather,” asked Laurence, “were there no able and eloquent men
in this country who took the part of King George?”

“There were many men of talent who said what they could in defense of
the King’s tyrannical proceedings,” replied Grandfather, “but they had
the worst side of the argument, and therefore seldom said anything worth
remembering. Moreover, their hearts were faint and feeble, for they
felt that the people scorned and detested them. They had no friends, no
defense, except in the bayonets of the British troops. A blight fell upon
all their faculties because they were contending against the rights of
their own native land.”

“What were the names of some of them?” inquired Charley.

“Governor Hutchinson, Chief-justice Oliver, Judge Auchmuty, the Reverend
Mather Byles, and several other clergymen were among the most noted
loyalists,” answered Grandfather.

“I wish the people had tarred and feathered every man of them!” cried

“That wish is very wrong, Charley,” said Grandfather. “You must not think
that there was no integrity and honor except among those who stood up
for the freedom of America. For aught I know, there was quite as much of
these qualities on one side as on the other. Do you see nothing admirable
in a faithful adherence to an unpopular cause? Can you not respect
that principle of loyalty which made the royalists give up country,
friends, fortune, everything, rather than be false to their king? It was
a mistaken principle, but many of them cherished it honorably and were
martyrs to it.”

“Oh, I was wrong,” said Charley, ingenuously. “And I would risk my
life rather than one of those good old royalists should be tarred and

“The time is now come when we may judge fairly of them,” continued
Grandfather. “Be the good and true men among them honored, for they were
as much our countrymen as the patriots were. And, thank Heaven! our
country need not be ashamed of her sons—of most of them at least—whatever
side they took in the Revolutionary contest.”

Among the portraits was one of King George III. Little Alice clapped her
hands and seemed pleased with the bluff good nature of his physiognomy.
But Laurence thought it strange that a man with such a face, indicating
hardly a common share of intellect, should have had influence enough on
human affairs to convulse the world with war. Grandfather observed that
this poor king had always appeared to him one of the most unfortunate
persons that ever lived. He was so honest and conscientious that if he
had been only a private man his life would probably have been blameless
and happy. But his was that worst of fortunes—to be placed in a station
far beyond his abilities.

“And so,” said Grandfather, “his life, while he retained what intellect
Heaven had gifted him with, was one long mortification. At last he
grew crazed with care and trouble. For nearly twenty years the monarch
of England was confined as a madman. In his old age, too, God took away
his eyesight, so that his royal palace was nothing to him but a dark,
lonesome prison-house.”


  =Discussion.= 1. Describe the family group around the fireside. 2.
  What is the center of interest? 3. Contrast the pictures of Samuel
  Adams and John Hancock. 4. What is said about General Joseph Warren?
  5. Would you have been able to recognize Hawthorne’s word picture
  of Benjamin Franklin without the name? 6. How does Grandfather
  explain the existence of these remarkable men just when they were
  most needed? 7. Do you know of any other time in our history when
  this seemed true? 8. Mention the humble origin of some of the
  Revolutionary patriots. 9. What do you think about them as fitting
  people to be founders of a great democracy? 10; What suggestion
  was there in this for Charley? 11. Name four famous Englishmen who
  took sides with the colonies. 12. What was their great service? 13.
  What do you think of Grandfather’s answer to Charley’s outburst
  against the loyalists? 14. Do you admire the quality Grandfather
  shows of seeing both sides of a question? 15. What was Grandfather’s
  comment on King George III? 16. Pronounce the following: abhorrence;
  gorgeous; courtier; admirable; ingenuously.


  astral lamp, 370, 1
  animate the people’s hearts, 370, 20
  abhorrence of tyranny, 370, 20
  imbued with democratic principles, 370, 22
  equal agency, 371, 3
  gorgeous attire, 371, 6
  skillful courtier, 371, 10
  overruling Providence, 372, 12
  ambitious dreams, 372, 24
  tyrannical proceedings, 373, 29
  blight upon their faculties, 373, 34
  faithful adherence, 374, 10
  principle of loyalty, 374, 11
  bluff good nature of his physiognomy, 374, 26



There was once a time when New England groaned under the actual pressure
of heavier wrongs than those threatened ones which brought on the
Revolution. James II, the bigoted successor of Charles the Voluptuous,
had annulled the charters of all the colonies, and sent a harsh and
unprincipled soldier to take away our liberties and endanger our
religion. The administration of Sir Edmund Andros lacked scarcely a
single characteristic of tyranny: a Governor and Council, holding office
from the King, and wholly independent of the Country; laws made and
taxes levied without concurrence of the people, immediate or by their
representatives; the rights of private citizens violated, and the titles
of all landed property declared void; the voice of complaint stifled by
restrictions on the press; and, finally, disaffection overawed by the
first band of mercenary troops that ever marched on our free soil. For
two years our ancestors were kept in sullen submission by that filial
love which had invariably secured their allegiance to the mother country,
whether its head chanced to be a Parliament, Protector, or Monarch. Till
these evil times, however, such allegiance had been merely nominal, and
the colonists had ruled themselves, enjoying far more freedom than even
yet the privilege of the native subjects of Great Britain.

At length a rumor reached our shores that the Prince of Orange had
ventured on an enterprise the success of which would be the triumph of
civil and religious rights and the salvation of New England. It was but
a doubtful whisper; it might be false, or the attempt might fail; and,
in either case, the man that stirred against King James would lose his
head. Still, the intelligence produced a marked effect. The people smiled
mysteriously in the streets, and threw bold glances at their oppressors;
while, far and wide, there was a subdued and silent agitation, as if
the slightest signal would rouse the whole land from its sluggish
despondency. Aware of their danger, the rulers resolved to avert it by an
imposing display of strength, and perhaps to confirm their despotism by
yet harsher measures. One afternoon in April, 1689, Sir Edmund Andros and
his favorite councilors, being warm with wine, assembled the red-coats of
the Governors’ Guard, and made their appearance in the streets of Boston.
The sun was near setting when the march commenced.

The roll of the drum, at that unquiet crisis, seemed to go through the
streets, less as the martial music of the soldiers, than as a muster-call
to the inhabitants themselves. A multitude, by various avenues, assembled
in King Street, which was destined to be the scene, nearly a century
afterwards, of another encounter between the troops of Britain and a
people struggling against her tyranny. Though more than sixty years had
elapsed since the Pilgrims came, this crowd of their descendants still
showed the strong and somber features of their character, perhaps more
strikingly in such a stern emergency than on happier occasions. There was
the sober garb, the general severity of mien, the gloomy but undismayed
expression, the Scriptural forms of speech, and the confidence in
Heaven’s blessing on a righteous cause, which would have marked a band of
the original Puritans, when threatened by some peril of the wilderness.
Indeed, it was not yet time for the old spirit to be extinct; since there
were men in the street, that day, who had worshiped there beneath the
trees, before a house was reared to the God for whom they had become
exiles. Old soldiers of the Parliament were here, too, smiling grimly
at the thought that their aged arms might strike another blow against
the house of Stuart. Here, also, were the veterans of King Philip’s
war, who had burned villages and slaughtered young and old, with pious
fierceness, while the godly souls throughout the land were helping them
with prayer. Several ministers were scattered among the crowd, which,
unlike all other mobs, regarded them with such reverence as if there were
sanctity in their very garments. These holy men exerted their influence
to quiet the people, but not to disperse them. Meantime, the purpose of
the Governor, in disturbing the peace of the town, at a period when the
slightest commotion might throw the country into a ferment, was almost
the universal subject of inquiry, and variously explained.

“Satan will strike his master-stroke presently,” cried some, “because he
knoweth that his time is short. All our godly pastors are to be dragged
to prison! We shall see them at a Smithfield fire in King Street!”

Hereupon the people of each parish gathered closer round their minister,
who looked calmly upwards and assumed a more apostolic dignity, as well
befitted a candidate for the highest honor of his profession, the crown
of martyrdom. It was actually fancied, at that period, that New England
might have a John Rogers of her own, to take the place of that worthy in
the Primer.

“We are to be massacred, both man and male child!” cried others.

Neither was this rumor wholly discredited, although the wiser class
believed the Governor’s object somewhat less atrocious. His predecessor
under the old charter, Bradstreet, a venerable companion of the first
settlers, was known to be in town. There were grounds for conjecturing
that Sir Edmund Andros intended, at once, to strike terror, by a parade
of military force, and to confound the opposite faction by possessing
himself of their chief.

“Stand firm for the old charter, Governor!” shouted the crowd, seizing
upon the idea. “The good old Governor Bradstreet!”

While this cry was at the loudest, the people were surprised by the
well-known figure of Governor Bradstreet himself, a patriarch of
nearly ninety, who appeared on the elevated steps of a door, and, with
characteristic mildness, besought them to submit to the constituted

“My children,” concluded this venerable person, “do nothing rashly. Cry
not aloud, but pray for the welfare of New England, and expect patiently
what the Lord will do in this matter!”

The event was soon to be decided. All this time the roll of the drum
had been approaching through Cornhill, louder and deeper, till with
reverberations from house to house, and the regular tramp of martial
footsteps, it burst into the street. A double rank of soldiers made their
appearance, occupying the whole breadth of the passage, with shouldered
matchlocks, and matches burning, so as to present a row of fires in the
dusk. Their steady march was like the progress of a machine, that would
roll irresistibly over everything in its way. Next, moving slowly, with
a confused clatter of hoofs on the pavement, rode a party of mounted
gentlemen, the central figure being Sir Edmund Andros, elderly, but erect
and soldier-like. Those around him were his favorite councilors, and the
bitterest foes of New England. At his right hand rode Edward Randolph,
our arch-enemy, that “blasted wretch,” as Cotton Mather calls him, who
achieved the downfall of our ancient government, and was followed with
a sensible curse, through life and to his grave. On the other side was
Bullivant, scattering jests and mockery as he rode along. Dudley came
behind, with a downcast look, dreading, as well he might, to meet the
indignant gaze of the people, who beheld him, their only countryman by
birth, among the oppressors of his native land. The captain of a frigate
in the harbor, and two or three civil officers under the Crown, were also
there. But the figure which most attracted the public eye, and stirred
up the deepest feeling, was the Episcopal clergyman of King’s Chapel,
riding haughtily among the magistrates in his priestly vestments, the
fitting representative of prelacy and persecution, the union of Church
and State, and all those abominations which had driven the Puritans to
the wilderness. Another guard of soldiers, in double rank, brought up the

The whole scene was a picture of the condition of New England, and
its moral, the deformity of any government that does not grow out of
the nature of things and the character of the people. On one side the
religious multitude, with their sad visages and dark attire, and on the
other, the group of despotic rulers, with the High-Churchman in the
midst, and here and there a crucifix at their bosoms, all magnificently
clad, flushed with wine, proud of unjust authority, and scoffing at the
universal groan. And the mercenary soldiers, waiting but the word to
deluge the street with blood, showed the only means by which obedience
could be secured.

“O Lord of Hosts,” cried a voice among the crowd, “provide a Champion for
thy people!”

This ejaculation was loudly uttered, and served as a herald’s cry, to
introduce a remarkable personage. The crowd had rolled back, and were
now huddled together nearly at the extremity of the street, while the
soldiers had advanced no more than a third of its length. The intervening
space was empty—a paved solitude, between lofty edifices, which threw
almost a twilight shadow over it. Suddenly, there was seen the figure of
an ancient man, who seemed to have emerged from among the people, and was
walking by himself along the center of the street, to confront the armed
band. He wore the old Puritan dress, a dark cloak and a steeple-crowned
hat, in the fashion of at least fifty years before, with a heavy sword
upon his thigh, but a staff in his hand to assist the tremulous gait of

When at some distance from the multitude, the old man turned slowly
round, displaying a face of antique majesty, rendered doubly venerable by
the hoary beard that descended on his breast. He made a gesture at once
of encouragement and warning, then turned again, and resumed his way.

“Who is this gray patriarch?” asked the young men of their sires.

“Who is this venerable brother?” asked the old men among themselves.

But none could make reply. The fathers of the people, those of fourscore
years and upwards, were disturbed, deeming it strange that they should
forget one of such evident authority, whom they must have known in their
early days, the associate of Winthrop, and all the old councilors,
giving laws, and making prayers, and leading them against the savage.
The elderly men ought to have remembered him, too, with locks as gray
in their youth as their own were now. And the young! How could he have
passed so utterly from their memories—that hoary sire, the relic of
long-departed times, whose awful benediction had surely been bestowed on
their uncovered heads, in childhood?

“Whence did he come? What is his purpose? Who can this old man be?”
whispered the wondering crowd.

Meanwhile, the venerable stranger, staff in hand, was pursuing his
solitary walk along the center of the street. As he drew near the
advancing soldiers, and as the roll of their drum came full upon his
ear, the old man raised himself to a loftier mien, while the decrepitude
of age seemed to fall from his shoulders, leaving him in gray but
unbroken dignity. Now, he marched onward with a warrior’s step, keeping
time to the military music. Thus the aged form advanced on one side, and
the whole parade of soldiers and magistrates on the other, till, when
scarcely twenty yards remained between, the old man grasped his staff by
the middle, and held it before him like a leader’s truncheon.

“Stand!” cried he.

The eye, the face, and attitude of command, the solemn, yet warlike
peal of that voice, fit either to rule a host in the battlefield or
be raised to God in prayer, were irresistible. At the old man’s word
and outstretched arm, the roll of the drum was hushed at once, and
the advancing line stood still. A tremulous enthusiasm seized upon
the multitude. That stately form, combining the leader and the saint,
so gray, so dimly seen, in such an ancient garb, could only belong to
some old champion of the righteous cause, whom the oppressor’s drum had
summoned from his grave. They raised a shout of awe and exultation, and
looked for the deliverance of New England.

The Governor, and the gentlemen of his party, perceiving themselves
brought to an unexpected stand, rode hastily forward, as if they would
have pressed their snorting and affrighted horses right against the hoary
apparition. He, however, blenched not a step, but glancing his severe eye
round the group, which half encompassed him, at last bent it sternly on
Sir Edmund Andros. One would have thought that the dark old man was chief
ruler there, and that the Governor and Council, with soldiers at their
back, representing the whole power and authority of the Crown, had no
alternative but obedience.

“What does this old fellow here?” cried Edward Randolph, fiercely. “On,
Sir Edmund! Bid the soldiers forward, and give the dotard the same choice
that you give all his countrymen—to stand aside or be trampled on!”

“Nay, nay, let us show respect to the good grandsire,” said Bullivant,
laughing. “See you not, he is some old roundheaded dignitary, who hath
lain asleep these thirty years, and knows nothing of the change of
times? Doubtless, he thinks to put us down with a proclamation in Old
Noll’s name!”

“Are you mad, old man?” demanded Sir Edmund Andros, in loud and harsh
tones. “How dare you stay the march of King James’s Governor?”

“I have stayed the march of a king himself, ere now,” replied the gray
figure, with stern composure. “I am here, Sir Governor, because the
cry of an oppressed people hath disturbed me in my secret place; and
beseeching this favor earnestly of the Lord, it was vouchsafed me to
appear once again on earth, in the good old cause of his saints. And what
speak ye of James? There is no longer a tyrant on the throne of England,
and by tomorrow noon his name shall be a byword in this very street,
where ye would make it a word of terror. Back, thou that wast a Governor,
back! With this night thy power is ended—tomorrow, the prison!—back, lest
I foretell the scaffold!”

The people had been drawing nearer and nearer, and drinking in the
words of their champion, who spoke in accents long disused, like one
unaccustomed to converse, except with the dead of many years ago. But
his voice stirred their souls. They confronted the soldiers, not wholly
without arms, and ready to convert the very stones of the street into
deadly weapons. Sir Edmund Andros looked at the old man; then he cast
his hard and cruel eye over the multitude, and beheld them burning with
that lurid wrath, so difficult to kindle or to quench; and again he fixed
his gaze on the aged form, which stood obscurely in an open space, where
neither friend nor foe had thrust himself. What were his thoughts, he
uttered no word which might discover. But whether the oppressor were
overawed by the Gray Champion’s look, or perceived his peril in the
threatening attitude of the people, it is certain that he gave back,
and ordered his soldiers to commence a slow and guarded retreat. Before
another sunset, the Governor, and all that rode so proudly with him,
were prisoners, and long ere it was known that James had abdicated, King
William was proclaimed throughout New England.

But where was the Gray Champion? Some reported, that when the troops had
gone from King Street, and the people were thronging tumultuously in
their rear, Bradstreet, the aged Governor, was seen to embrace a form
more aged than his own. Others soberly affirmed, that while they marveled
at the venerable grandeur of his aspect, the old man had faded from their
eyes, melting slowly into the hues of twilight, till, where he stood,
there was an empty space. But all agreed that the hoary shape was gone.
The men of that generation watched for his reappearance, in sunshine and
in twilight, but never saw him more, nor knew when his funeral passed,
nor where his gravestone was.

And who was the Gray Champion? Perhaps his name might be found in the
records of that stern Court of Justice which passed a sentence, too
mighty for the age, but glorious in all after times, for its humbling
lesson to the monarch and its high example to the subject. I have heard,
that whenever the descendants of the Puritans are to show the spirit of
their sires, the old man appears again. When eighty years had passed, he
walked once more in King Street. Five years later, in the twilight of
an April morning, he stood on the green, beside the meeting-house, at
Lexington, where now the obelisk of granite, with a slab of slate inlaid,
commemorates the first fallen of the Revolution. And when our fathers
were toiling at the breastwork on Bunker’s Hill, all through that night
the old warrior walked his rounds. Long, long may it be, ere he comes
again! His hour is one of darkness, and adversity, and peril. But should
domestic tyranny oppress us, or the invader’s step pollute our soil,
still may the Gray Champion come, for he is the type of New England’s
hereditary spirit, and his shadowy march, on the eve of danger, must ever
be the pledge that New England’s sons will vindicate their ancestry.


  =Historical Note.= A tradition handed down from the time of King
  Philip’s war gave Hawthorne the suggestion for this story. In the
  attack made upon the village of Hadley, Massachusetts, by the
  Indians in 1675 a venerable man, of stately form, and with flowing
  white beard, suddenly appeared among the panic-stricken villagers,
  took command, and helped them put the savages to flight. Then he
  disappeared as suddenly as he had come. In their wonder, not knowing
  where he had come from or where he had gone, many believed he had
  been sent from Heaven to deliver them.

  Their defender was William Goffe, who had been an officer in
  Cromwell’s army, and a member of the court which condemned Charles
  I to death. (Read the reference to this court in the story.) He was
  a Puritan, a man of deep religious feeling, whose acts had been
  governed by the desire to secure his countrymen their liberties.
  When Charles II succeeded to the English throne, Goffe fled to New
  England to escape his vengeance. Officers were sent across the ocean
  in pursuit of him. For this reason he lived in hiding, his name and
  identity being known only to friends who aided and protected him.
  He had many narrow escapes, but was never captured. From his hiding
  place he had seen the Indians stealing upon the people of Hadley and
  had gone forth to battle against them. After living in exile for the
  rest of his life, he died about 1679.

  In this story Hawthorne altered facts to suit his purpose, making the
  Gray Champion appear at the time of the Boston Insurrection, in 1689.
  In this year James II, who had succeeded his brother, Charles II, was
  dethroned, and fled from his kingdom, and his son-in-law, William
  III, Prince of Orange, was made King of England.

  The Gray Champion is made to typify the Spirit of Liberty—that spirit
  which animated Goffe as a Puritan soldier under Cromwell and which
  sent the Pilgrims and Puritans forth to find a home in the New World.

  =Discussion.= 1. Read that part of the story which pictures the
  conditions of New England under Andros. 2. What were the wrongs under
  which the people suffered? 3. Did they submit willingly? 4. What
  rumor gave them hope of a return of “civil and religious rights”?
  5. How did this rumor affect the Governor and his councilors? 6.
  Why was the Guard assembled? 7. What effect upon the people had its
  appearance at this time? 8. What does Hawthorne call this scene in
  the street? 9. What does he say is its “moral”? 10. Who came to have
  the advantage, the Governor and his soldiers, or the people? 11. Read
  all that accounts for the Champion and his sudden appearance. 12.
  What great cause did he come to champion? 13. What cause were Andros
  and his soldiers supporting? 14. Who was victorious? 15. Tell briefly
  the main incident. 16. Give your opinion as to Hawthorne’s purpose in
  writing this story.


  mercenary troops, 376, 14
  filial love, 376, 16
  allegiance merely nominal, 376, 19
  civil and religious rights, 376, 24
  sluggish despondency, 376, 31
  severity of mien, 377, 17
  apostolic dignity, 378, 6
  confound the opposite faction, 378, 20
  prelacy and persecution, 379, 20
  leader’s truncheon, 381, 8
  hoary apparition, 381, 24
  half encompassed, 381, 25
  roundheaded dignitary, 381, 36
  lurid wrath, 382, 25
  obelisk of granite, 383, 19
  vindicate their ancestry, 383, 28



  Stand! the ground’s your own, my braves!
  Will ye give it up to slaves?
  Will ye look for greener graves?
      Hope ye mercy still?
  What’s the mercy despots feel?
  Hear it in that battle peal!
  Read it on yon bristling steel!
      Ask it—ye who will.

  Fear ye foes who kill for hire?
  Will ye to your _homes_ retire?
  Look behind you! they’re afire!
      And, before you, see
  Who have done it!—From the vale
  On they come!—and will ye quail?—
  Leaden rain and iron hail
      Let their welcome be!

  In the God of battles trust!
  Die we may—and die we must;
  But, O where can dust to dust
      Be consigned so well,
  As where heaven its dews shall shed,
  On the martyred patriot’s bed,
  And the rocks shall raise their head,
      Of his deeds to tell?


  =Biography.= John Pierpont (1785-1866) was a Unitarian clergyman of
  Connecticut and the author of several volumes of poetry.

  =Historical Note.= General Joseph Warren was one of the generals in
  command of the patriot army at the Battle of Bunker Hill. His death
  in this battle, while a great loss to the American forces, inspired
  the army to heroic efforts. He is considered one of the bravest and
  most unselfish patriots of the Revolutionary War. Read what your
  history text says about him.

  =Discussion.= 1. In this poem we have the poet’s idea of how General
  Warren inspired his men. 2. What do you think he did in reality?
  3. Read the lines that are an answer to those who still hoped for
  mercy from the British. 4. What lines show the striking contrast
  between those who fight for hire and those who fight to protect their
  homes? 5. Which of the appeals in the first and second stanzas seems
  most forceful to you? 6. Where have you read of a hero who made an
  argument similar to the one made in the third stanza? 7. How does
  the Bunker Hill Monument fulfill the prophecy in the last lines of
  the poem? 8. Notice the interesting rime-scheme and point out how it
  increases the effectiveness of the poem.


  greener graves, 385, 3
  mercy despots feel, 385, 5
  battle peal, 385, 6
  bristling steel, 385, 7
  leaden rain, 385, 15
  iron hail, 385, 15



Mr. President,—No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as
well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed
the House. But different men often see the same subject in different
lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to
those gentlemen, if, entertaining, as I do, opinions of a character very
opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without
reserve. This is no time for ceremony. The question before the House is
one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as
nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to
the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It
is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the
great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep
back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should
consider myself as guilty of treason toward my country, and of an act of
disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly

Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope.
We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the
song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part
of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are
we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and
having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal
salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am
willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.

I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided; and that is the lamp
of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the
past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in
the conduct of the British Ministry for the last ten years to justify
those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves
and the House? Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has
been lately received? Trust it not, sir; it will prove a snare to your
feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves
how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike
preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and
armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown
ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled that force must be called in
to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the
implements of war and subjugation—the last arguments to which kings
resort. I ask, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be
not to force us to submission? Can gentlemen assign any other possible
motive for it? Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world,
to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies? No, sir, she
has none. They are meant for us; they can be meant for no other. They
are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British
Ministry have been so long forging. And what have we to oppose to them?
Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten
years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing. We have
held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has
been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication?
What terms shall we find, which have not been already exhausted? Let us
not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves longer. Sir, we have done
everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming
on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated;
we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored
its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the Ministry and
Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have
produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been
disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of
the throne! In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope
of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope. If
we wish to be free—if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable
privileges for which we have been so long contending—if we mean not
basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long
engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon, until the
glorious object of our contest shall be attained—we must fight! I repeat
it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of Hosts is all
that is left us!

They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable
an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week,
or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a
British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength
by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual
resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive
phantom of hope until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?

Sir, we are not weak, if we make a proper use of those means which the
God of nature hath placed in our power. Three millions of people, armed
in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we
possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us.
Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God
who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends
to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone;
it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have
no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late
to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and
slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains
of Boston! The war is inevitable—and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let
it come!

It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace,
peace!—but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale
that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding
arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What
is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or
peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?
Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as
for me, give me liberty or give me death!


  =Historical Note.= Patrick Henry (1736-1799) delivered this speech at
  the Virginia Convention, March 28, 1775. For some years this fiery
  young orator had been active in Virginia in stirring up resistance to
  the tyrannical acts of the King. In 1774 the royal governor in that
  colony reported that every county was arming a company of men for
  the purpose of protecting their committees, which had been formed,
  as in the other colonies, to work out a plan of coöperation against
  the British government. In March, 1775, the second revolutionary
  convention of Virginia met at Richmond. A resolution was offered to
  put the colony into a state of defense. Some delegates objected to
  such radical action, and it is to these men that Henry addressed the
  opening sentences of his speech.

  The resolution was adopted. The chief command of the Virginia forces
  was offered to Colonel Washington, who accepted with the words, “It
  is my full intention to devote my life and fortune to the cause in
  which we are engaged.”

  =Discussion.= 1. From reading the first paragraph, what idea do you
  get of Patrick Henry as an opponent? 2. Do you think Patrick Henry
  expresses a truth for all time when he says, “In proportion to the
  magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate”? 3.
  Find, in your history, the chief acts of the British Ministry for
  the ten years prior to 1775. 4. What are the arguments which Patrick
  Henry uses to convince the delegates of the need of immediate action?
  5. What did the next gale sweeping from the north bring to their
  ears? 6. Notice Patrick Henry’s use of figurative language throughout
  this speech. 7. Pronounce the following: siren; illusion; arduous;
  solace; insidious; inestimable; formidable.


  of awful moment, 386, 8
  illusions of hope, 387, 10
  arduous struggle, 387, 13
  temporal salvation, 387, 16
  anguish of spirit, 387, 17
  insidious smile, 387, 24
  implements of war, 387, 33
  martial array, 387, 34
  preserve inviolate, 388, 22
  inestimable privileges, 388, 22
  cope with so formidable, 388, 29
  supinely on our backs, 388, 35
  delusive phantom, 388, 35
  extenuate the matter, 389, 14


                                              Philadelphia, 18 June, 1775

My Dearest:

I am now set down to write to you on a subject which fills me with
inexpressible concern, and this concern is greatly aggravated and
increased when I reflect upon the uneasiness I know it will give you.
It has been determined in Congress that the whole army raised for the
defense of the American cause shall be put under my care, and that it is
necessary for me to proceed immediately to Boston to take upon me the
command of it.

You may believe me, my dear Patsy, when I assure you, in the most solemn
manner, that, so far from seeking this appointment, I have used every
endeavor in my power to avoid it, not only from my unwillingness to part
with you and the family, but from a consciousness of its being a trust
too great for my capacity, and that I should enjoy more real happiness
in one month with you at home, than I have the most distant prospect of
finding abroad, if my stay were to be seven times seven years. But as it
has been a kind of destiny that has thrown me upon this service, I shall
hope that my undertaking it is designed to answer some good purpose. You
might, and I suppose did perceive, from the tenor of my letters, that I
was apprehensive I could not avoid this appointment, as I did not pretend
to intimate when I should return. That was the case. It was utterly out
of my power to refuse this appointment, without exposing my character to
such censures as would have reflected dishonor upon myself and given pain
to my friends. This, I am sure, could not, and ought not, to be pleasing
to you, and must have lessened me considerably in my own esteem. I shall
rely, therefore, confidently on that Providence which has heretofore
preserved and been bountiful to me, not doubting but that I shall return
safe to you in the fall. I shall feel no pain from the toil or the danger
of the campaign; my unhappiness will flow from the uneasiness I know you
will feel from being left alone. I therefore beg that you will summon
your whole fortitude and pass your time as agreeably as possible. Nothing
will give me so much sincere satisfaction as to hear this, and to hear it
from your own pen. My earnest and ardent desire is that you would pursue
any plan that is most likely to produce content and a tolerable degree of
tranquillity; as it must add greatly to my uneasy feelings to hear that
you are dissatisfied or complaining at what I really could not avoid.

As life is always uncertain and common prudence dictates to every man the
necessity of settling his temporal concerns while it is in his power,
and while the mind is calm and undisturbed, I have, since I came to this
place (for I had not time to do it before I left home), got Colonel
Pendleton to draft a will for me, by the directions I gave him, which
will I now enclose. The provision made for you in case of my death will,
I hope, be agreeable.

I shall add nothing more, as I have several letters to write, but to
desire that you will remember me to your friends, and to assure you that
I am with the most unfeigned regard, my dear Patsy, your affectionate,


  =Historical Note.= George Washington (1732-1799) came from Virginia
  to attend the second meeting of the Continental Congress held in
  Philadelphia May 10, 1775. He was at that time commander of the
  militia of Virginia and sat in Congress in his colonel’s uniform. In
  the name of “The United Colonies” the Congress voted to authorize the
  enlistment of troops, to build and garrison forts, and to issue notes
  to the amount of three million dollars, the original “Liberty Loan”
  in America. There was an army of about ten thousand men encamped
  around Boston and these Congress adopted as “The Continental Army.”
  John Adams rose in his place and proposed the name of the Virginian,
  George Washington, to be commander-in-chief of this New England army.
  “The gentleman,” he said, “is among us and is very well known to us
  all; a gentleman whose skill and experience as an officer, whose
  independent fortune, great talents, and excellent universal character
  would command the approbation of all America, and unite the cordial
  exertions of all the colonies better than any other person in the
  Union.” The pay of the commander-in-chief was fixed at five hundred
  dollars a month and on June 15 Washington received the unanimous
  vote for this all-important office. His lofty stature, exceeding six
  feet, his grave and handsome face, his noble bearing and courtly
  grace of manner all proclaimed him worthy of the honor. In a brief
  speech expressive of his high sense of the honor conferred upon him,
  he said, “I beg it may be remembered by every gentleman in this room,
  that I this day declare, with the utmost sincerity, that I do not
  think myself equal to the command I am honored with. As to pay, I
  beg leave to assure the Congress that, as no pecuniary consideration
  could have tempted me to accept this arduous employment, at the
  expense of my domestic ease and happiness, I do not wish to make any
  profit of it. I will keep an exact account of my expenses. Those, I
  doubt not, they will discharge; and that is all I desire.”

  As there was no time for a visit to his home, Mt. Vernon, on the
  Potomac River, Washington was obliged to give his wife this important
  information by letter. (In 1759 Washington had married Mrs. Martha
  Custis, the widow of one of the wealthiest planters in the Virginia
  Colony. She had two beautiful children at the time of her marriage,
  but when Washington went north to Philadelphia Mrs. Washington was
  quite alone, for her son was away from home and her daughter had died
  a few years before.) Later in the year Mrs. Washington went north
  and spent the winter with her husband at Craigie house, the army
  headquarters in Cambridge.

  =Discussion.= 1. Name the fine qualities of Washington shown in this
  letter. 2. Read the sentence that tells briefly what has happened. 3.
  What do you imagine was Mrs. Washington’s reply to this letter?


  inexpressible concern, 390, 2
  consciousness of a trust, 390, 13
  too great for my capacity, 390, 13
  distant prospect, 390, 15
  perceive, from the tenor, 391, 4
  exposing my character to censures, 391, 8
  summon your fortitude, 391, 17
  ardent desire, 391, 20
  tolerable degree of tranquillity, 391, 22
  prudence dictates, 391, 25
  temporal concerns, 391, 26
  unfeigned regard, 391, 34


                                          Valley Forge, 16 February, 1778

Dear Sir:

It is with great reluctance I trouble you on a subject which does not
properly fall within your province; but it is a subject that occasions
me more distress than I have felt since the commencement of the war; and
which loudly demands the most zealous exertions of every person of weight
and authority, who is interested in the success of our affairs; I mean
the present dreadful situation of the army, for want of provision, and
the miserable prospects before us, with respect to futurity. It is more
alarming than you will probably conceive; for, to form a just idea of it,
it were necessary to be on the spot. For some days past, there has been
little less than a famine in camp. A part of the army has been a week
without any kind of flesh, and the rest three or four days. Naked and
starving as they are, we cannot enough admire the incomparable patience
and fidelity of the soldiery, that they have not been, ere this, excited
by their suffering to a general mutiny and dispersion. Strong symptoms,
however, of discontent have appeared in particular instances; and nothing
but the most active efforts, everywhere, can long avert so shocking a

Our present sufferings are not all. There is no foundation laid for any
adequate relief hereafter. All the magazines provided in the States
of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland, and all the
immediate additional supplies they seem capable of affording, will not be
sufficient to support the army more than a month longer, if so long. Very
little has been done at the eastward, and as little to the southward; and
whatever we have a right to expect from those quarters must necessarily
be very remote, and is, indeed, more precarious than could be wished.
When the before-mentioned supplies are exhausted, what a terrible crisis
must ensue, unless all the energy of the Continent shall be exerted to
provide a timely remedy!

I am etc.


  =Historical Note.= This letter was addressed to George Clinton,
  governor of New York from 1777-1795. Washington appealed to Clinton
  because of the abilities and resources of New York and also because
  the governor’s zeal as a patriot was well known. At the same time
  Washington addressed a similar letter to the inhabitants of New
  Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia, urging the
  farmers to provide cattle for the use of the army. He assures them of
  a bountiful price as well as the knowledge that they have rendered
  most essential service to the illustrious cause of their country.

  =Discussion.= 1. Read in your history text what is said about the
  winter of 1777-1778 at Valley Forge. 2. How do the methods of
  conserving food for the army in Washington’s time compare with those
  of our own time? 3. How does Washington hope to avert a terrible
  crisis? 4. Pronounce the following: incomparable; catastrophe;
  adequate; precarious.


  fall within your province, 393, 2
  zealous exertions, 393, 5
  with respect to futurity, 393, 8
  incomparable patience, 393, 14
  excited to mutiny and dispersion, 393, 15
  symptoms of discontent, 393, 16
  avert so shocking a catastrophe, 393, 18
  adequate relief hereafter, 393, 21
  the magazines provided, 393, 21
  crisis must ensue, 394, 7



  Our band is few, but true and tried,
    Our leader frank and bold;
  The British soldier trembles
    When Marion’s name is told.
  Our fortress is the good greenwood,
    Our tent the cypress-tree;
  We know the forest round us,
    As seamen know the sea.
  We know its walls of thorny vines,
    Its glades of reedy grass,
  Its safe and silent islands
    Within the dark morass.

  Woe to the English soldiery
    That little dread us near!
  On them shall light at midnight
    A strange and sudden fear;
  When waking to their tents on fire
    They grasp their arms in vain,
  And they who stand to face us
    Are beat to earth again;
  And they who fly in terror deem
    A mighty host behind,
  And hear the tramp of thousands
    Upon the hollow wind.

  Then sweet the hour that brings release
    From danger and from toil;
  We talk the battle over,
    And share the battle’s spoil.
  The woodland rings with laugh and shout,
    As if a hunt were up,
  And woodland flowers are gathered
    To crown the soldier’s cup.
  With merry songs we mock the wind
    That in the pine-top grieves,
  And slumber long and sweetly,
    On beds of oaken leaves.

  Well knows the fair and friendly moon
    The band that Marion leads—
  The glitter of their rifles,
    The scampering of their steeds.
  ’Tis life our fiery barbs to guide
    Across the moonlight plains;
  ’Tis life to feel the night-wind
    That lifts their tossing manes.
  A moment in the British camp—
    A moment—and away
  Back to the pathless forest,
    Before the peep of day.

  Grave men there are by broad Santee,
    Grave men with hoary hairs,
  Their hearts are all with Marion,
    For Marion are their prayers.
  And lovely ladies greet our band,
    With kindliest welcoming,
  With smiles like those of summer,
    And tears like those of spring.
  For them we wear these trusty arms,
    And lay them down no more
  Till we have driven the Briton,
    Forever, from our shore.


  For Biography, see page 41.

  =Historical Note.= General Francis Marion was a general of the
  Revolutionary period. He was a leader of a band of men who worried
  the victorious British troops in the Carolinas in 1780 and 1781
  and assisted in driving Cornwallis north, where he surrendered at
  Yorktown in 1781. Marion and his men in their greenwood fortress
  remind us of Robin Hood and his merry men.

  =Discussion.= 1. Who is speaking in this poem? 2. What does the word
  “band” tell you about these men? 3. How do seamen know their way
  when on the ocean? 4. How do woodsmen know their way in the forest?
  5. Read the lines that picture a southern forest. 6. What does the
  second stanza tell you of Marion’s method of attack? 7. Notice in the
  third stanza how the men spend their leisure time. 8. When did these
  hours of release occur? 9. Why is the moon called friendly? 10. Which
  lines show their quickness of movement? 11. For whom are these men


  true and tried, 395, 1
  our tent the cypress-tree, 395, 6
  walls of thorny vines, 395, 9
  glades of reedy grass, 395, 10
  dark morass, 395, 12
  hollow wind, 395, 24
  hour that brings release, 395, 25
  battle’s spoil, 395, 28
  as if a hunt were up, 396, 2
  fiery barbs, 396, 13
  broad Santee, 396, 21
  smiles like those of summer, 396, 27



These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the
sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his
country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man
and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this
consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the
triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; ’tis dearness
only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper
price upon its goods; it would be strange indeed, if so celestial an
article as freedom should not be highly rated. Britain, with an army
to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right, not only to
tax, but to “bind us in all cases whatsoever,” and if being bound in
that manner is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery
upon earth. Even the expression is impious, for so unlimited a power can
belong only to God.

I have as little superstition in me as any man living, but my secret
opinion has been, and still is, that God Almighty will not give up a
people to military destruction, or leave them unsupportedly to perish,
who have so earnestly and so repeatedly sought to avoid the calamities of
war, by every decent method which wisdom could invent.

I once felt all that kind of anger, which a man ought to feel, against
the mean principles that are held by the tories: a noted one, who kept
a tavern at Amboy, was standing at his door, with as pretty a child
in his hand, about eight or nine years old, as I ever saw, and after
speaking his mind as freely as he thought was prudent, finished with
this unfatherly expression, “Well! give me peace in my day.” Not a man
lives on the continent but fully believes that a separation must some
time or other finally take place, and a generous parent should have said,
“If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have
peace”; and his single reflection, well applied, is sufficient to awaken
every man to duty. Not a place upon earth might be so happy as America.
Her situation is remote from all the wrangling world, and she has nothing
to do but to trade with them. A man can distinguish in himself between
temper and principle, and I am as confident, as I am that God governs the
world, that America will never be happy till she gets clear of foreign
dominion. Wars, without ceasing, will break out till that period arrives,
and the continent must in the end be conqueror; for though the flame of
liberty may sometimes cease to shine, the coal can never expire.

The heart that feels not now, is dead; the blood of his children will
curse his cowardice, who shrinks back at a time when a little might have
saved the whole, and made them happy. I love the man that can smile in
trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by
reflection. ’Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose
heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his
principles unto death. My own line of reasoning is to myself as straight
and clear as a ray of light. Not all the treasures of the world, so far
as I believe, could have induced me to support an offensive war, for I
think it murder; but if a thief breaks into my house, burns and destroys
my property, and kills or threatens to kill me, or those that are in
it, and to “bind me in all cases whatsoever” to his absolute will, am I
to suffer it? What signifies it to me, whether he who does it is a king
or a common man; my countryman or not my countryman; whether it be done
by an individual villain, or an army of them? If we reason to the root
of things we shall find no difference; neither can any just cause be
assigned why we should punish in the one case and pardon in the other.


  =Historical Note.= Thomas Paine (1737-1809), an interesting figure
  of the Revolutionary period, did much by his writings to help win
  the war. Franklin on one occasion said, “Where liberty is, there is
  my home.” Whereupon Paine answered, “Where liberty is not, there
  is my home.” He came to America from England in 1774 and fought
  for America’s freedom as a volunteer under Washington. After the
  Revolution he went to France, where again he fought for liberty in
  the French Revolution.

  This selection is from a pamphlet called “The Crisis,” published in
  1776 by Paine. Washington had lost the battle of Long Island and
  had been compelled to retreat from New York toward Philadelphia. In
  Philadelphia there were many royalists who hoped that England would
  win the war. Washington’s soldiers, who had enlisted for short terms,
  were encouraged to desert or to resign at the end of their terms. The
  situation was serious.

  Washington ordered that “The Crisis” be read before every company of
  soldiers in his army.

  =Discussion.= 1. Select from these paragraphs sentences that would
  make good mottoes. 2. What political and military situation did Paine
  have in mind in the opening sentences? 3. What do you think of the
  argument of the tavern-keeper at Amboy as compared with Paine’s? 4.
  What do we think today of our “remoteness from the wrangling world”?
  5. What, in the last one hundred years, has brought Europe and
  America closer together than they were in Paine’s day? 6. Under what
  conditions does Paine think war is justified?


  summer soldier, 397, 1
  sunshine patriot, 397, 2
  celestial an article, 397, 9
  expression is impious, 398, 5
  unsupportedly to perish, 398, 9
  calamities of war, 398, 11
  single reflection, 398, 23
  foreign dominion, 398, 30
  pursue his principles, 399, 3
  offensive war, 399, 6



  _“One flag, one land, one heart, one hand,_
  _One Nation evermore!”_

                         —Oliver Wendell Holmes.

[Illustration: Copyright by M. G. Abbey (from a Copley Print, copyright
by Curtis & Cameron, Boston)




It is a hard thing to picture to ourselves our Homeland. Is America just
a lot of cities and towns and farms, or a collection of so many thousands
of square miles of prairies and mountains, the sort of thing one would
see from an airplane if one could get up high enough and had good enough
eyes? Or is it a collection of states with queer boundary lines that look
plainer on a map than they do when we cross them in the train? There are
people who try to find America in some motto or symbol. One of our great
cities has for its motto the words “I will,” and the people who live in
that city like to think that the enterprise by which they build great
industries and give work to great numbers of people is the expression of
their Americanism. And some people see in the Statue of Liberty in the
New York harbor, a statue holding aloft a blazing torch to give light to
all people, the symbol that best expresses the spirit of America.

Both the motto and the statue help us to see our country as something
more than a part of a book called “Geography” or “History.” Both of them
express what America had always been to its citizens and what it became
to the world in 1917. We did not desire to enter the war, but when it
became necessary to do so no true American hesitated. There were great
difficulties: an army to raise and equip and train so that it could meet
an army that had been preparing for forty years to fight the world; an
army to be transported over three thousand miles of water, a terrific
task even in normal times, but made a hundred-fold harder because of the
monsters that lurked under the sea waiting a chance to send a transport
to the bottom. And once across, there were docks and railroads to be
built and a great industrial organization to be set going. But the will
of America was triumphant and the job was done. And the statue, like the
“I will,” is a symbol of the spirit in America that has helped the spirit
of liberty throughout the world, so that we now know the day is coming
when all peoples, everywhere, shall be free. We can make a beginning,
therefore, in our effort to form a picture of what America means, by
thinking of this Statue of Liberty and of these words of high purpose, “I

But we must fill in the picture. No statue will do, for it, after all,
is lifeless. No motto will do, for it is only a phrase, an inscription.
A photograph on which you have written a date or the record of a happy
meeting with your friend, is very interesting indeed, and helps you to
call to mind your friend. But in reality the photograph merely suggests
to you your friend and your happy times together. Your friend has many
moods, now sad, now gay. Your friend looks different at different times.
The history of your friendship has many events in it, and all these
go together, a thousand details, to make up your own idea “this is my
friend.” So it is with America. History and legend, the knowledge of past
events, must acquaint us with our country as with our friend. Infinite
variety of mood she has, now stern and grave like her mountains, now
placid like her vast expanse of prairie or her waving fields of grain;
now laughing like the waters in the sunlight, or beautiful in anger
as mighty storms sweep hill and plain. And infinite, again, are her
activities—great factories and mills, lofty office buildings filled with
workers, trains speeding like mighty shuttles through vast distances,
farms filled with growing food for a world. All these you must bring into
your picture, and more, for infinite, also, are the ideals and hopes that
go to make up this many-sided personality that we name Our Country.

The selections that follow will help you to make this picture that is
to be more to us than a statue or a photograph. Some of them are little
views, snapshots of our nation’s childhood. Others are pictures of
various moods or appearances of the later America. Some show the spirit
of laughter in America; others give some of the songs of America; and at
the end are a few pictures of America at work. All will help, but they
are only an imperfect and brief introduction to a subject that is going
to interest you all through your life: What is America to me, and what
can I do to make her happy?





To us it is given to behold in its full splendor what Columbus, like
another Moses on the borders of the Land of Promise, could only discern
in dim and distant outlines. And, therefore, with Italy, the land of his
birth; with Spain, the land of his adoption; with the other nations of
the globe who are debtors to his daring, we gladly swell the universal
chorus in his honor of praise and of thanksgiving.

In 1792 the ocean separated us by a journey of seventy days from Europe;
our self-government was looked upon as a problem still to be solved;
at home, facilities of travel and of intercommunication were yet to be
provided. More than this, the unworthy innuendoes, the base as well as
baseless charges that sought to tarnish the fair fame of Columbus, had
not been removed by patient historical research and critical acumen.
Fortunately, these clouds that gathered around the exploits of the great
discoverer have been almost entirely dispelled, thanks especially to the
initiative of a son of our Empire State, the immortal Washington Irving.

I beg to present Columbus as a man of science and a man of faith.
As a scientist, considering the time in which he lived, he eminently
deserves our respect. Both in theory and in practice he was one of the
best geographers and cosmographers of the age. According to reliable
historians, before he set out to discover new seas, he had navigated
the whole extent of those already known. Moreover, he had studied so
many authors and to such advantage that Alexander von Humboldt affirmed:
“When we consider his life we must feel astonishment at the extent of his
literary acquaintance.”

Columbus took nothing for granted. While he bowed reverently to
the teachings of his faith, he brushed away as cobwebs certain
interpretations of Scripture more fanciful than real, and calmly
maintained that the Word of God cannot be in conflict with scientific
truth. The project of bearing Christ over the waters sank deeply into
his heart. Time and again he alludes to it as the main object of his
researches and the aim of his labors. Other motives of action undoubtedly
he had, but they were a means to an end.

Moreover, may we not reasonably assume that the great navigator, after
all, was a willing instrument in the hands of God? The old order
was changing. Three great inventions, already beginning to exert a
most potent influence, were destined to revolutionize the world—the
printing-press, which led to the revival of learning; the use of
gun-powder, which changed the methods of warfare; the mariner’s compass,
which permitted the sailor to tempt boldly even unknown seas.

These three great factors of civilization, each in its own way, so
stimulated human thought that the discovery of America was plainly in the
designs of that Providence which “reacheth from end to end mightily and
ordereth all things sweetly.”


  =Biography.= Michael Augustine Corrigan (1839-1902) was born in
  Newark, New Jersey. He became Archbishop of New York and was a
  distinguished Prelate. This selection is taken from a Columbus Day
  address he gave in Chicago in 1892.

  =Discussion.= 1. Explain the comparison found in the second line. 2.
  What claims does the author make for Columbus as a scientific man?
  3. What great inventions occurred previous to Columbus’s voyage that
  affected his discovery of America? 4. Do you think the spirit of
  adventure had something to do with Columbus’s discovery? Pronounce
  the following: government; acumen; exploits; geographers; alludes.


  unworthy innuendoes, 405, 11
  critical acumen, 405, 14
  potent influence, 406, 22
  factors of civilization, 406, 27



  The breaking waves dashed high
    On a stern and rock-bound coast,
  And the woods against a stormy sky
    Their giant branches tossed;

  And the heavy night hung dark
    The hills and waters o’er,
  When a band of exiles moored their bark
    On the wild New England shore.

  Not as the conqueror comes,
    They, the true-hearted, came;
  Not with the roll of the stirring drums,
    And the trumpet that sings of fame;

  Not as the flying come,
    In silence and in fear;
  They shook the depths of the desert gloom
    With their hymns of lofty cheer.

  Amidst the storm they sang,
    And the stars heard and the sea;
  And the sounding aisles of the dim woods rang
    To the anthem of the free!

  The ocean eagle soared
    From his nest by the white wave’s foam;
  And the rocking pines of the forest roared—
    This was their welcome home!

  There were men with hoary hair
    Amidst that pilgrim band;
  Why had _they_ come to wither there,
    Away from their childhood’s land?

  There was woman’s fearless eye,
    Lit by her deep love’s truth;
  There was manhood’s brow serenely high,
    And the fiery heart of youth.

  What sought they thus afar?
    Bright jewels of the mine?
  The wealth of seas, the spoils of war?
    They sought a faith’s pure shrine!

  Ay, call it holy ground,
    The soil where first they trod.
  They have left unstained what there they found—
    Freedom to worship God.


  =Biography.= Felicia Hemans (1793-1835), an English poet, was born
  in Liverpool. She began to write poetry when young, and in 1819 won
  a prize of £50 offered for the best poem on “The Meeting of Wallace
  and Bruce on the Banks of the Carron.” She is best known by her short
  poems, some of which have become standard English lyrics, such as
  “The Landing of the Pilgrim Fathers,” “Treasures of the Deep,” and

  =Discussion.= 1. What picture do the first two stanzas give you? 2.
  Compare the coming of a conqueror with the coming of these early
  settlers. 3. What different kinds of persons composed the “pilgrim
  band”? 4. Why did they come to this new country? 5. Why does the poet
  say “holy ground”? 6. What legacy have the Pilgrims left us?


  hung dark, 407, 5
  stirring drums, 407, 11
  hoary hair, 408, 1
  pilgrim band, 408, 2
  spoils of war, 408, 11
  faith’s pure shrine, 408, 12




  As monumental bronze unchanged his look;
  A soul that pity touch’d but never shook;
  Train’d from his tree-rock’d cradle to his bier,
  The fierce extremes of good and ill to brook
  Impassive—fearing but the shame of fear—
  A stoic of the woods—a man without a tear.


It is to be regretted that those early writers, who treated of the
discovery and settlement of America, have not given us more particular
and candid accounts of the remarkable characters that flourished in
savage life. The scanty anecdotes which have reached us are full of
peculiarity and interest; they furnish us with nearer glimpses of
human nature, and show what man is in a comparatively primitive state,
and what he owes to civilization. There is something of the charm of
discovery in lighting upon these wild and unexplored tracts of human
nature; in witnessing, as it were, the native growth of moral sentiment,
and perceiving those generous and romantic qualities which have been
artificially cultivated by society, vegetating in spontaneous hardihood
and rude magnificence.

In civilized life, where the happiness, and indeed almost the existence,
of man depends so much upon the opinion of his fellow-men, he is
constantly acting a studied part. The bold and peculiar traits of native
character are refined away, or softened down by the leveling influence of
what is termed good-breeding; and he practices so many petty deceptions,
and affects so many generous sentiments, for the purposes of popularity,
that it is difficult to distinguish his real from his artificial
character. The Indian, on the contrary, free from the restraints and
refinements of polished life, and, in a great degree, a solitary and
independent being, obeys the impulses of his inclination or the dictates
of his judgment; and thus the attributes of his nature, being freely
indulged, grow singly great and striking. Society is like a lawn, where
every roughness is smoothed, every bramble eradicated, and where the eye
is delighted by the smiling verdure of a velvet surface; he, however,
who would study nature in its wildness and variety, must plunge into
the forest, must explore the glen, must stem the torrent, and dare the

These reflections arose on casually looking through a volume of early
colonial history, wherein are recorded, with great bitterness, the
outrages of the Indians, and their wars with the settlers of New England.
It is painful to perceive even from these partial narratives, how the
footsteps of civilization may be traced in the blood of the aborigines;
how easily the colonists were moved to hostility by the lust of conquest;
how merciless and exterminating was their warfare. The imagination
shrinks at the idea, how many intellectual beings were hunted from the
earth, how many brave and noble hearts, of nature’s sterling coinage,
were broken down and trampled in the dust!

Such was the fate of Philip of Pokanoket, an Indian warrior, whose name
was once a terror throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut. He was the
most distinguished of a number of contemporary Sachems who reigned over
the Pequods, the Narragansets, the Wampanoags, and the other eastern
tribes, at the time of the first settlement of New England; a band of
native untaught heroes, who made the most generous struggle of which
human nature is capable; fighting to the last gasp in the cause of their
country, without a hope of victory or a thought of renown. Worthy of an
age of poetry, and fit subjects for local story and romantic fiction,
they have left scarcely any authentic traces on the page of history, but
stalk, like gigantic shadows, in the dim twilight of tradition.

When the pilgrims, as the Plymouth settlers are called by their
descendants, first took refuge on the shores of the New World, from
the religious persecutions of the Old, their situation was to the
last degree gloomy and disheartening. Few in number, and that number
rapidly perishing away through sickness and hardships; surrounded by a
howling wilderness and savage tribes; exposed to the rigors of an almost
arctic winter, and the vicissitudes of an ever-shifting climate; their
minds were filled with doleful forebodings, and nothing preserved them
from sinking into despondency but the strong excitement of religious
enthusiasm. In this forlorn situation they were visited by Massasoit,
chief Sagamore of the Wampanoags, a powerful chief, who reigned over a
great extent of country. Instead of taking advantage of the scanty number
of the strangers, and expelling them from his territories, into which
they had intruded, he seemed at once to conceive for them a generous
friendship, and extended toward them the rites of primitive hospitality.
He came early in the spring to their settlement of New Plymouth, attended
by a mere handful of followers, entered into a solemn league of peace
and amity; sold them a portion of the soil, and promised to secure for
them the good-will of his savage allies. Whatever may be said of Indian
perfidy, it is certain that the integrity and good faith of Massasoit
have never been impeached. He continued a firm and magnanimous friend
of the white men; suffering them to extend their possessions, and to
strengthen themselves in the land; and betraying no jealousy of their
increasing power and prosperity. Shortly before his death he came once
more to New Plymouth, with his son Alexander, for the purpose of renewing
the covenant of peace, and of securing it to his posterity.

At this conference he endeavored to protect the religion of his
forefathers from the encroaching zeal of the missionaries; and stipulated
that no further attempt should be made to draw off his people from their
ancient faith; but, finding the English obstinately opposed to any such
condition, he mildly relinquished the demand. Almost the last act of
his life was to bring his two sons, Alexander and Philip (as they had
been named by the English), to the residence of a principal settler,
recommending mutual kindness and confidence; and entreating that the same
love and amity which had existed between the white men and himself might
be continued afterwards with his children. The good old Sachem died in
peace, and was happily gathered to his fathers before sorrow came upon
his tribe; his children remained behind to experience the ingratitude of
white men.

His eldest son, Alexander, succeeded him. He was of a quick and impetuous
temper, and proudly tenacious of his hereditary rights and dignity. The
intrusive policy and dictatorial conduct of the strangers excited his
indignation; and he beheld with uneasiness their exterminating wars with
the neighboring tribes. He was doomed soon to incur their hostility,
being accused of plotting with the Narragansets to rise against the
English and drive them from the land. It is impossible to say whether
this accusation was warranted by facts or was grounded on mere suspicion.
It is evident, however, by the violent and overbearing measures of the
settlers, that they had by this time begun to feel conscious of the rapid
increase of their power, and to grow harsh and inconsiderate in their
treatment of the natives. They despatched an armed force to seize upon
Alexander, and to bring him before their courts. He was traced to his
woodland haunts, and surprised at a hunting house, where he was reposing
with a band of his followers, unarmed, after the toils of the chase.
The suddenness of his arrest, and the outrage offered to his sovereign
dignity, so preyed upon the irascible feelings of this proud savage, as
to throw him into a raging fever. He was permitted to return home, on
condition of sending his son as a pledge for his reappearance; but the
blow he had received was fatal, and before he had reached his home he
fell a victim to the agonies of a wounded spirit.

The successor of Alexander was Metacomet, or King Philip, as he was
called by the settlers, on account of his lofty spirit and ambitious
temper. These, together with his well-known energy and enterprise, had
rendered him an object of great jealousy and apprehension, and he was
accused of having always cherished a secret and implacable hostility
toward the whites. Such may very probably, and very naturally, have
been the case. He considered them as originally but mere intruders into
the country, who had presumed upon indulgence, and were extending an
influence baneful to savage life. He saw the whole race of his countrymen
melting before them from the face of the earth; their territories
slipping from their hands, and their tribes becoming feeble, scattered,
and dependent. It may be said that the soil was originally purchased by
the settlers; but who does not know the nature of Indian purchases, in
the early periods of colonization? The Europeans always made thrifty
bargains through their superior adroitness in traffic; and they gained
vast accessions of territory by easily provoked hostilities. An
uncultivated savage is never a nice inquirer into the refinements of
law, by which an injury may be gradually and legally inflicted. Leading
facts are all by which he judges; and it was enough for Philip to know
that before the intrusion of the Europeans his countrymen were lords of
the soil, and that now they were becoming vagabonds in the land of their

But whatever may have been his feelings of general hostility, and his
particular indignation at the treatment of his brother, he suppressed
them for the present, renewed the contract with the settlers, and
resided peaceably for many years at Pokanoket, or, as it was called by
the English, Mount Hope, the ancient seat of dominion of his tribe.
Suspicions, however, which were at first but vague and indefinite,
began to acquire form and substance; and he was at length charged with
attempting to instigate the various Eastern tribes to rise at once, and,
by a simultaneous effort, to throw off the yoke of their oppressors. It
is difficult at this distant period to assign the proper credit due to
these early accusations against the Indians. There was a proneness to
suspicion, and an aptness to acts of violence, on the part of the whites,
that gave weight and importance to every idle tale. Informers abounded
where talebearing met with countenance and reward; and the sword was
readily unsheathed when its success was certain, and it carved out empire.

The only positive evidence on record against Philip is the accusation of
one Sausaman, a renegado Indian, whose natural cunning had been quickened
by a partial education which he had received among the settlers. He
changed his faith and his allegiance two or three times, with a facility
that evinced the looseness of his principles. He had acted for some time
as Philip’s confidential secretary and counselor and had enjoyed his
bounty and protection. Finding, however, that the clouds of adversity
were gathering round his patron, he abandoned his service and went over
to the whites; and, in order to gain their favor, charged his former
benefactor with plotting against their safety. A rigorous investigation
took place. Philip and several of his subjects submitted to be examined,
but nothing was proved against them. The settlers, however, had now gone
too far to retract; they had previously determined that Philip was a
dangerous neighbor; they had publicly evinced their distrust; and had
done enough to insure his hostility; according, therefore, to the usual
mode of reasoning in these cases, his destruction had become necessary
to their security. Sausaman, the treacherous informer, was shortly
afterwards found dead in a pond, having fallen a victim to the vengeance
of his tribe. Three Indians, one of whom was a friend and counselor of
Philip, were apprehended and tried, and, on the testimony of one very
questionable witness, were condemned and executed as murderers.

This treatment of his subjects, and ignominious punishment of his friend,
outraged the pride and exasperated the passions of Philip. The bolt which
had fallen thus at his very feet awakened him to the gathering storm, and
he determined to trust himself no longer in the power of the white men.
The fate of his insulted and broken-hearted brother still rankled in his
mind and he had a further warning in the tragical story of Miantonimo, a
great Sachem of the Narragansets, who, after manfully facing his accusers
before a tribunal of the colonists, exculpating himself from a charge
of conspiracy, and receiving assurances of amity, had been perfidiously
despatched at their instigation. Philip, therefore, gathered his fighting
men about him; persuaded all strangers that he could, to join his cause;
sent the women and children to the Narragansets for safety; and, wherever
he appeared, was continually surrounded by armed warriors.

When the two parties were thus in a state of distrust and irritation,
the least spark was sufficient to set them in a flame. The Indians,
having weapons in their hands, grew mischievous, and committed various
petty depredations. In one of their maraudings a warrior was fired on
and killed by a settler. This was the signal for open hostilities; the
Indians pressed to revenge the death of their comrade, and the alarm of
war resounded through the Plymouth colony.

In the early chronicles of these dark and melancholy times we meet
with many indications of the diseased state of the public mind. The
gloom of religious abstraction, and the wildness of their situation,
among trackless forests and savage tribes, had disposed the colonists
to superstitious fancies, and had filled their imaginations with the
frightful chimeras of witchcraft and spectrology. They were much given
also to a belief in omens. The troubles with Philip and his Indians were
preceded, we are told, by a variety of those awful warnings which forerun
great and public calamities. The perfect form of an Indian bow appeared
in the air at New Plymouth, which was looked upon by the inhabitants as
a “prodigious apparition,” At Hadley, Northampton, and other towns in
their neighborhood, “was heard the report of a great piece of ordnance,
with a shaking of the earth and a considerable echo.” Others were alarmed
on a still, sunshiny morning, by the discharge of guns and muskets;
bullets seemed to whistle past them, and the noise of drums resounded in
the air, seeming to pass away to the westward; others fancied that they
heard the galloping of horses over their heads; and certain monstrous
births, which took place about the time, filled the superstitious in
some towns with doleful forebodings. Many of these portentous sights and
sounds may be ascribed to natural phenomena: to the northern lights which
occur vividly in those latitudes; the meteors which explode in the air;
the casual rushing of a blast through the top branches of the forest;
the crash of fallen trees or disrupted rocks; and to those other uncouth
sounds and echoes which will sometimes strike the ear so strangely amidst
the profound stillness of woodland solitudes. These may have startled
some melancholy imaginations, may have been exaggerated by the love of
the marvelous, and listened to with that avidity with which we devour
whatever is fearful and mysterious. The universal currency of these
superstitious fancies, and the grave record made of them by one of the
learned men of the day, are strongly characteristic of the times.

The nature of the contest that ensued was such as too often distinguishes
the warfare between civilized men and savages. On the part of the
whites it was conducted with superior skill and success; but with a
wastefulness of the blood, and a disregard of the natural rights of their
antagonists; on the part of the Indians it was waged with the desperation
of men fearless of death, and who had nothing to expect from peace, but
humiliation, dependence, and decay.

The events of the war are transmitted to us by a worthy clergyman of the
time, who dwells with horror and indignation on every hostile act of the
Indians, however justifiable, whilst he mentions with applause the most
sanguinary atrocities of the whites. Philip is reviled as a murderer and
a traitor, without considering that he was a true born prince, gallantly
fighting at the head of his subjects to avenge the wrongs of his family,
to retrieve the tottering power of his line, and to deliver his native
land from the oppression of usurping strangers.

The project of a wide and simultaneous revolt, if such had really been
formed, was worthy of a capacious mind, and, had it not been prematurely
discovered, might have been overwhelming in its consequences. The war
that actually broke out was but a war of detail, a mere succession of
casual exploits and unconnected enterprises. Still it sets forth the
military genius and daring prowess of Philip; and wherever, in the
prejudiced and passionate narrations that have been given of it, we
can arrive at simple facts, we find him displaying a vigorous mind, a
fertility of expedients, a contempt of suffering and hardship, and an
unconquerable resolution, that command our sympathy and applause.

Driven from his paternal domains at Mount Hope, he threw himself into the
depths of those vast and trackless forests that skirted the settlements,
and were almost impervious to anything but a wild beast or an Indian.
Here he gathered together his forces, like the storm accumulating
its stores of mischief in the bosom of the thunder cloud, and would
suddenly emerge at a time and place least expected, carrying havoc and
dismay into the villages. There were now and then indications of these
impending ravages, that filled the minds of the colonists with awe and
apprehension. The report of a distant gun would perhaps be heard from
the solitary woodlands, where there was known to be no white man; the
cattle which had been wandering in the woods would sometimes return home
wounded; or an Indian or two would be seen lurking about the skirts of
the forests, and suddenly disappearing; as the lightning will sometimes
be seen playing silently about the edge of the cloud that is brewing up
the tempest.

Though sometimes pursued and even surrounded by the settlers, yet Philip
as often escaped almost miraculously from their toils, and, plunging into
the wilderness, would be lost to all search or inquiry, until he again
emerged at some far distant quarter, laying the country desolate. Among
his strongholds were the great swamps or morasses, which extend in some
parts of New England; composed of loose bogs of deep black mud; perplexed
with thickets, brambles, rank weeds, the shattered and moldering trunks
of fallen trees, overshadowed by lugubrious hemlocks. The uncertain
footing and the tangled mazes of these shaggy wilds rendered them
almost impracticable to the white man, though the Indian could thread
their labyrinths with the agility of a deer. Into one of these, the
great swamp of Pocasset Neck, was Philip once driven with a band of his
followers. The English did not dare to pursue him, fearing to venture
into these dark and frightful recesses, where they might perish in fens
and miry pits, or be shot down by lurking foes. They therefore invested
the entrance to the Neck, and began to build a fort, with the thought
of starving out the foe; but Philip and his warriors wafted themselves
on a raft over an arm of the sea, in the dead of the night, leaving the
women and children behind; and escaped away to the westward, kindling the
flames of war among the tribes of Massachusetts and the Nipmuck country,
and threatening the colony of Connecticut.

In this way Philip became a theme of universal apprehension. The mystery
in which he was enveloped exaggerated his real terrors. He was an evil
that walked in darkness; whose coming none could foresee, and against
which none knew when to be on the alert. The whole country abounded
with rumors and alarms. Philip seemed almost possessed of ubiquity; for,
in whatever part of the widely-extended frontier an irruption from the
forest took place, Philip was said to be its leader. Many superstitious
notions also were circulated concerning him. He was said to deal in
necromancy, and to be attended by an old Indian witch or prophetess, whom
he consulted, and who assisted him by her charms and incantations. This
indeed was frequently the case with Indian chiefs; either through their
own credulity, or to act upon that of their followers; and the influence
of the prophet and the dreamer over Indian superstition has been fully
evidenced in recent instances of savage warfare.

At the time that Philip effected his escape from Pocasset, his fortunes
were in a desperate condition. His forces had been thinned by repeated
fights, and he had lost almost the whole of his resources. In this time
of adversity he found a faithful friend in Canonchet, chief Sachem of
all the Narragansets. He was the son and heir of Miantonimo, the great
Sachem, who, as already mentioned, after an honorable acquittal of the
charge of conspiracy, had been privately put to death at the perfidious
instigations of the settlers. “He was the heir,” says the old chronicler,
“of all his father’s pride and insolence, as well as of his malice toward
the English”;—he certainly was the heir of his insults and injuries, and
the legitimate avenger of his murder. Though he had forborne to take an
active part in this hopeless war, yet he received Philip and his broken
forces with open arms; and gave them the most generous countenance and
support. This at once drew upon him the hostility of the English; and
it was determined to strike a signal blow that should involve both the
Sachems in one common ruin. A great force was, therefore, gathered
together from Massachusetts, Plymouth, and Connecticut, and was sent into
the Narraganset country in the depth of winter, when the swamps, being
frozen and leafless, could be traversed with comparative facility, and
would no longer afford dark and impenetrable fastnesses to the Indians.

Apprehensive of attack, Canonchet had conveyed the greater part of his
stores, together with the old, the infirm, the women and children of
his tribe, to a strong fortress; where he and Philip had likewise drawn
up the flower of their forces. This fortress, deemed by the Indians
impregnable, was situated upon a rising mound or kind of island, of five
or six acres, in the midst of a swamp; it was constructed with a degree
of judgment and skill vastly superior to what is usually displayed in
Indian fortification, and indicative of the martial genius of these two

Guided by a renegado Indian, the English penetrated, through December
snows, to this stronghold, and came upon the garrison by surprise. The
fight was fierce and tumultuous. The assailants were repulsed in their
first attack, and several of their bravest officers were shot down in the
act of storming the fortress sword in hand. The assault was renewed with
greater success. A lodgment was effected. The Indians were driven from
one post to another. They disputed their ground inch by inch, fighting
with the fury of despair. Most of their veterans were cut to pieces; and
after a long and bloody battle, Philip and Canonchet, with a handful
of surviving warriors, retreated from the fort, and took refuge in the
thickets of the surrounding forest.

The victors set fire to the wigwams and the fort; the whole was soon in
a blaze; many of the old men, the women, and the children perished in
the flames. This last outrage overcame even the stoicism of the savage.
The neighboring woods resounded with the yells of rage and despair,
uttered by the fugitive warriors, as they beheld the destruction of their
dwellings, and heard the agonizing cries of their wives and offspring.
“The burning of the wigwams,” says a contemporary writer, “the shrieks
and cries of the women and children, and the yelling of the warriors,
exhibited a most horrible and affecting scene, so that it greatly moved
some of the soldiers.” The same writer cautiously adds, “They were in
_much doubt_ then, and afterwards seriously inquired, whether burning
their enemies alive could be consistent with humanity, and the benevolent
principles of the Gospel.”

The fate of the brave and generous Canonchet is worthy of particular
mention: the last scene of his life is one of the noblest instances on
record of Indian magnanimity.

Broken down in his power and resources by this signal defeat, yet
faithful to his ally, and to the hapless cause which he had espoused,
he rejected all overtures of peace, offered on condition of betraying
Philip and his followers, and declared that “he would fight it out to
the last man, rather than become a servant to the English.” His home
being destroyed, his country harassed and laid waste by the incursions
of the conquerors, he was obliged to wander away to the banks of the
Connecticut; where he formed a rallying point to the whole body of
western Indians, and laid waste several of the English settlements.

Early in the spring he departed on a hazardous expedition, with only
thirty chosen men, to penetrate to Seaconck, in the vicinity of Mount
Hope, and to procure seed corn to plant for the sustenance of his troops.
This little band of adventurers had passed safely through the Pequod
country, and were in the center of the Narraganset, resting at some
wigwams near Pawtucket River, when an alarm was given of an approaching
enemy. Having but seven men by him at the time, Canonchet dispatched two
of them to the top of a neighboring hill, to bring intelligence of the

Panic-struck by the appearance of a troop of English and Indians rapidly
advancing, they fled in breathless terror past their chieftain, without
stopping to inform him of the danger. Canonchet sent another scout,
who did the same. He then sent two more, one of whom, hurrying back in
confusion and affright, told him that the whole British army was at hand.
Canonchet saw there was no choice but immediate flight. He attempted to
escape round the hill, but was perceived and hotly pursued by the hostile
Indians and a few of the fleetest of the English. Finding the swiftest
pursuer close upon his heels, he threw off, first his blanket, then his
silver-laced coat and belt of peag, by which his enemies knew him to be
Canonchet, and redoubled the eagerness of pursuit.

At length, in dashing through the river, his foot slipped upon a stone,
and he fell so deep as to wet his gun. This accident so struck him with
despair, that, as he afterwards confessed, “his heart and his bowels
turned within him, and he became like a rotten stick, void of strength.”

To such a degree was he unnerved that, being seized by a Pequod Indian
within a short distance of the river, he made no resistance, though a man
of great vigor of body and boldness of heart. But on being made prisoner
the whole pride of his spirit arose within him; and from that moment
we find, in the anecdotes given by his enemies, nothing but repeated
flashes of elevated and prince-like heroism. Being questioned by one
of the English who first came up with him, and who had not attained
his twenty-second year, the proud-hearted warrior, looking with lofty
contempt upon his youthful countenance, replied, “You are a child—you
cannot understand matters of war—let your brother or your chief come—him
will I answer.”

Though repeated offers were made to him of his life, on condition of
submitting with his nation to the English, yet he rejected them with
disdain, and refused to send any proposals of the kind to the great body
of his subjects; saying that he knew none of them would comply. Being
reproached with his breach of faith toward the whites, his boast that he
would not deliver up a Wampanoag nor the paring of a Wampanoag’s nail,
and his threat that he would burn the English alive in their houses, he
disdained to justify himself, haughtily answering that others were as
forward for the war as himself, and he desired to hear no more thereof.

So noble and unshaken a spirit, so true a fidelity to his cause and his
friend, might have touched the feelings of the generous and the brave;
but Canonchet was an Indian, a being toward whom war had no courtesy,
humanity no law, religion no compassion—he was condemned to die. The last
words of him that are recorded are worthy the greatness of his soul. When
sentence of death was passed upon him, he observed that he liked it well,
for he should die before his heart was soft, or he had spoken any thing
unworthy of himself. His enemies gave him the death of a soldier, for he
was shot at Stoningham, by three young Sachems of his own rank.

The defeat at the Narraganset fortress, and the death of Canonchet,
were fatal blows to the fortunes of King Philip. He made an ineffectual
attempt to raise a head of war, by stirring up the Mohawks to take
arms; but though possessed of the native talents of a statesman, his
arts were counteracted by the superior arts of his enlightened enemies,
and the terror of their warlike skill began to subdue the resolution
of the neighboring tribes. The unfortunate chieftain saw himself daily
stripped of power, and his ranks rapidly thinning around him. Some were
suborned by the whites; others fell victims to hunger and fatigue,
and to the frequent attacks by which they were harassed. His stores
were all captured; his chosen friends were swept away from before his
eyes; his uncle was shot down by his side; his sister was carried into
captivity; and in one of his narrow escapes he was compelled to leave
his beloved wife and only son to the mercy of the enemy. “His ruin,”
says the historian, “being thus gradually carried on, his misery was not
prevented, but augmented thereby; being himself made acquainted with the
sense and experimental feeling of the captivity of his children, loss of
friends, slaughter of his subjects, bereavement of all family relations,
and being stripped of all outward comforts, before his own life should be
taken away.”

To fill up the measure of his misfortunes, his own followers began to
plot against his life, that by sacrificing him they might purchase
dishonorable safety. Through treachery a number of his faithful
adherents, the subjects of Wetamoe, an Indian princess of Pocasset, a
near kinswoman and confederate of Philip, were betrayed into the hands of
the enemy. Wetamoe was among them at the time, and attempted to make her
escape by crossing a neighboring river; either exhausted by swimming, or
starved by cold and hunger, she was found dead and naked near the water

However Philip had borne up against the complicated miseries and
misfortunes that surrounded him, the treachery of his followers seemed to
wring his heart and reduce him to despondency. It is said that “he never
rejoiced afterwards, nor had success in any of his designs.” The spring
of hope was broken—the ardor of enterprise was extinguished—he looked
around, and all was danger and darkness; there was no eye to pity, nor
any arm that could bring deliverance. With a scanty band of followers,
who still remained true to his desperate fortunes, the unhappy Philip
wandered back to the vicinity of Mount Hope, the ancient dwelling of his
fathers. Here he lurked about, like a specter, among the scenes of former
power and prosperity, now bereft of home, of family, and friend. There
needs no better picture of his destitute and piteous situation than that
furnished by the homely pen of the chronicler, who is unwarily enlisting
the feelings of the reader in favor of the hapless warrior whom he
reviles. “Philip,” he says, “like a savage wild beast, having been hunted
by the English forces through the woods, above a hundred miles backward
and forward, at last was driven to his own den upon Mount Hope, where he
retired, with a few of his best friends, into a swamp, which proved but
a prison to keep him fast till the messengers of death came by divine
permission to execute vengeance upon him.”

Even in this last refuge of desperation and despair, a sullen grandeur
gathers round his memory. We picture him to ourselves seated among his
careworn followers, brooding in silence over his blasted fortunes,
and acquiring a savage sublimity from the wildness and dreariness of
his lurking-place. Defeated, but not dismayed—crushed to the earth,
but not humiliated—he seemed to grow more haughty beneath disaster,
and to experience a fierce satisfaction in draining the last dregs of
bitterness. Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune; but great
minds rise above it. The very idea of submission awakened the fury of
Philip, and he smote to death one of his followers, who proposed an
expedient of peace. The brother of the victim made his escape, and in
revenge betrayed the retreat of his chieftain. A body of white men
and Indians were immediately dispatched to the swamp where Philip lay
crouched, glaring with fury and despair. Before he was aware of their
approach, they had begun to surround him. In a little while he saw five
of his trustiest followers laid dead at his feet; all resistance was
vain; he rushed forth from his covert, and made a headlong attempt to
escape, but was shot through the heart by a renegado Indian of his own

Such is the scanty story of the brave but unfortunate King Philip;
persecuted while living, slandered and dishonored when dead. If,
however, we consider even the prejudiced anecdotes furnished us by his
enemies, we may perceive in them traces of amiable and lofty character
sufficient to awaken sympathy for his fate and respect for his memory.
We find that, amidst all the harassing cares and ferocious passions of
constant warfare, he was alive to the softer feelings of connubial love
and paternal tenderness, and to the generous sentiment of friendship.
The captivity of his “beloved wife and only son” are mentioned with
exultation as causing him poignant misery; the death of any near friend
is triumphantly recorded as a new blow on his sensibilities; but the
treachery and desertion of many of his followers, in whose affections he
had confided, is said to have desolated his heart, and to have bereaved
him of all further comfort. He was a patriot attached to his native
soil—a prince true to his subjects, and indignant of their wrongs—a
soldier, daring in battle, firm in adversity, patient of fatigue, of
hunger, of every variety of bodily suffering, and ready to perish in
the cause he had espoused. Proud of heart, and with an untamable love
of natural liberty, he preferred to enjoy it among the beasts of the
forests or in the dismal and famished recesses of swamps and morasses,
rather than bow his haughty spirit to submission, and live dependent and
despised in the ease and luxury of the settlements. With heroic qualities
and bold achievements that would have graced a civilized warrior and have
rendered him the theme of the poet and the historian, he lived a wanderer
and a fugitive in his native land, and went down, like a lonely bark
foundering amid darkness and tempest—without a pitying eye to weep his
fall or a friendly hand to record his struggle.


  =Biography.= Washington Irving (1783-1859) was born in New York
  City in the very year in which the Treaty of Peace that ended the
  Revolutionary War was signed. He was destined to do for American
  literature what the War had already done for the American government
  and people—make it respected among all nations. Irving’s mother said,
  “Washington’s great work is done; let us name our boy Washington,”
  little dreaming when thus naming him after the Father of his Country
  that he should one day come to be called the “Father of American

  On April 30, 1789, when this little boy was six years old, his father
  took him to Federal Hall in Wall Street, to witness Washington’s
  inauguration as the first president of the United States. It is told
  that President Washington laid his hand kindly on the head of his
  little namesake and gave him his blessing.

  Young Washington Irving led a happy life, rambling in his boyhood
  about every nook and corner of the city and the adjacent woods,
  which at that time were not very far to seek, idling about the busy
  wharves, making occasional trips up the lordly Hudson, roaming,
  gun in hand, along its banks and over the neighboring Kaatskills,
  listening to the tales of old Dutch landlords and gossipy old Dutch
  housewives. When he became a young man he wove these old tales,
  scenes, experiences, and much more that his imagination and his merry
  humor added, into some of the most rollicking, mirthful stories that
  had been read in many a day. The first of these was a burlesque
  _History of New York_, purporting to have been found among the papers
  of a certain old Dutch burgher by the name of Diedrich Knickerbocker
  (1809). This may be said to have been his first important work. It
  made him instantly famous. But better than that, it silenced the
  sneers of the English critics who, up to that time, had been asking
  contemptuously, “Who reads an American book?” and set them all to
  reading and laughing over it with the rest of the world. It also
  showed to Americans as well as to foreigners what wealth of literary
  material this new country already possessed in its local legends and

  Ten years later, during his residence in England (1819-20), Irving
  published _The Sketch Book_, containing the inimitable “Rip van
  Winkle” and the delightful “Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” This may be
  said to mark the real beginning of American literature.

  A visit to Spain resulted in _The Alhambra_ and _The Life of
  Columbus_, descriptive and historical works in which Irving won
  as great success as he had attained with his humorous tales. Then
  followed some years of quiet life at his beautiful home, Sunnyside,
  near Tarrytown on the Hudson, in the midst of the favorite haunts of
  his boyhood days and the scenes which his pen had immortalized. He
  was not idle, however, for a half-dozen works appeared during these
  stay-at-home years, some of them growing out of his travels through
  our then rapidly expanding West. Only once more did he leave his
  native shores, when he served as Minister to Spain (1842-46). But
  through all his life he seems to have cherished a patriotic reverence
  for the great American whose name he bore, and now, as the crowning
  work of his ripe old age, he devoted his last years to completing his
  _Life of Washington_, the fifth and final volume of which appeared
  but a few months before his death on November 28, 1859. His genial,
  cheerful nature shines through all his works and makes him still, as
  his friend Thackeray said of him in his lifetime, “beloved of all the

  =Discussion.= 1. What effect does Irving say civilized life has
  upon traits of native character? 2. Explain the comparison,
  “Society is like a lawn.” 3. Who was Philip of Pokanoket? 4. What
  “league of peace” did Massasoit make with the Plymouth settlers?
  5. Give an account of Alexander’s career as Sachem. 6. What was
  the attitude of the white settlers toward Philip? 7. What evidence
  of friendliness toward the settlers did he give? 8. What omens
  disturbed the Indians? 9. What natural explanation can you give for
  these “awful warnings”? 10. Give a brief account of the Indian war
  that followed. 11. Describe the death of King Philip. 12. Point
  out evidences of military ability on the part of King Philip. 13.
  What traces of lofty character does Philip show in the face of
  persecution? 14. Read passages that show his courage. 15. Does Irving
  give you the impression that the white settlers may have been partly
  responsible for the conflict with King Philip and his followers?
  16. Other interesting books dealing with Indian life are Cooper’s
  _Leather Stocking Tales_ and his _The Last of the Mohicans_; have
  you read these? 17. Pronounce the following: attributes; aborigines;
  Sachem; amity; tenacious; haunts; implacable; simultaneous; patron;
  mischievous; revolt; indicative; harassed.


  artificially cultivated, 409, 11
  vegetating in spontaneous hardihood, 409, 12
  petty deceptions, 409, 19
  affects so many generous sentiments, 409, 19
  impulses of his inclination, 410, 2
  dictates of his judgment, 410, 2
  smiling verdure, 410, 6
  footsteps of civilization, 410, 14
  sterling coinage, 410, 19
  any authentic traces, 410, 31
  dim twilight of tradition, 410, 32
  doleful forebodings, 411, 5
  rites of primitive hospitality, 411, 13
  encroaching zeal, 411, 27
  proudly tenacious, 412, 4
  hereditary rights and dignity, 412, 4
  intrusive policy, 412, 5
  after the toils of the chase, 412, 19
  sovereign dignity, 412, 20
  implacable hostility, 412, 32
  superior adroitness, 413, 5
  easily provoked hostilities, 413, 7
  proneness to suspicion, 413, 25
  ignominious punishment, 414, 18
  exasperated the passions, 414, 19
  perfidiously despatched, 414, 28
  religious abstraction, 415, 6
  superstitious fancies, 415, 8
  frightful chimeras of witchcraft, 415, 9
  portentous sights and sounds, 415, 25
  capacious mind, 416, 19
  casual exploits, 416, 22
  fertility of expedients, 416, 26
  impending ravages, 416, 37
  lugubrious hemlocks, 417, 18
  possessed of ubiquity, 418, 2
  perfidious instigations, 418, 20
  legitimate avenger, 418, 24
  comparative facility, 418, 34
  incursions of the conquerors, 420, 6
  subdue the resolution, 422, 3
  suborned by the whites, 422, 5
  sullen grandeur, 423, 15
  savage sublimity, 423, 18
  graced a civilized warrior, 424, 22




    In the Old Colony days, in Plymouth the land of the Pilgrims,
  To and fro in a room of his simple and primitive dwelling,
  Clad in doublet and hose, and boots of Cordovan leather,
  Strode, with a martial air, Miles Standish the Puritan Captain.
  Buried in thought he seemed, with his hands behind him, and pausing
  Ever and anon to behold his glittering weapons of warfare,
  Hanging in shining array along the walls of the chamber—
  Cutlass and corselet of steel, and his trusty sword of Damascus,
  Curved at the point and inscribed with its mystical Arabic sentence,
  While underneath, in a corner, were fowling-piece, musket, and matchlock.
  Short of stature he was, but strongly built and athletic,
  Broad in the shoulders, deep-chested, with muscles and sinews of iron;
  Brown as a nut was his face, but his russet beard was already
  Flaked with patches of snow, as hedges sometimes in November.
  Near him was seated John Alden, his friend, and household companion,
  Writing with diligent speed at a table of pine by the window;
  Fair-haired, azure-eyed, with delicate Saxon complexion,
  Having the dew of his youth, and the beauty thereof, as the captives
  Whom Saint Gregory saw, and exclaimed, “Not Angles but Angels.”
  Youngest of all was he of the men who came in the May Flower.
    Suddenly breaking the silence, the diligent scribe interrupting,
  Spake, in the pride of his heart, Miles Standish the Captain of Plymouth.
  “Look at these arms,” he said, “the warlike weapons that hang here,
  Burnished and bright and clean, as if for parade or inspection!
  This is the sword of Damascus I fought with in Flanders; this
  Well I remember the day! once saved my life in a skirmish;
  Here in front you can see the very dint of the bullet
  Fired point-blank at my heart by a Spanish arcabucero.
  Had it not been of sheer steel, the forgotten bones of Miles Standish
  Would at this moment be mold, in their grave in the Flemish morasses.”
  Thereupon answered John Alden, but looked not up from his writing:
  “Truly the breath of the Lord hath slackened the speed of the bullet;
  He in his mercy preserved you, to be our shield and our weapon!”
  Still the Captain continued, unheeding the words of the stripling:
  “See, how bright they are burnished, as if in an arsenal hanging;
  That is because I have done it myself, and not left it to others.
  Serve yourself, would you be well served, is an excellent adage;
  So I take care of my arms, as you of your pens and your ink-horn.
  Then, too, there are my soldiers, my great, invincible army,
  Twelve men, all equipped, having each his rest and his matchlock,
  Eighteen shillings a month, together with diet and pillage,
  And, like Cæsar, I know the name of each of my soldiers!”
  This he said with a smile, that danced in his eyes, as the sunbeams
  Dance on the waves of the sea, and vanish again in a moment.
  Alden laughed as he wrote, and still the Captain continued:
  “Look! you can see from this window my brazen howitzer planted
  High on the roof of the church, a preacher who speaks to the purpose,
  Steady, straightforward, and strong, with irresistible logic,
  Orthodox, flashing conviction right into the hearts of the heathen.
  Now we are ready, I think, for any assault of the Indians;
  Let them come, if they like, and the sooner they try it the better—
  Let them come if they like, be it sagamore, sachem, or pow-wow,
  Aspinet, Samoset, Corbitant, Squanto, or Tokamahamon!”

    Long at the window he stood, and wistfully gazed on the landscape,
  Washed with a cold gray mist, the vapory breath of the east wind,
  Forest and meadow and hill, and the steel-blue rim of the ocean,
  Lying silent and sad, in the afternoon shadows and sunshine.
  Over his countenance flitted a shadow like those on the landscape,
  Gloom intermingled with light; and his voice was subdued with emotion,
  Tenderness, pity, regret, as after a pause he proceeded:
  “Yonder there, on the hill by the sea, lies buried Rose Standish;
  Beautiful rose of love, that bloomed for me by the wayside!
  She was the first to die of all who came in the May Flower!
  Green above her is growing the field of wheat we have sown there,
  Better to hide from the Indian scouts the graves of our people,
  Lest they should count them and see how many already have perished!”
  Sadly his face he averted, and strode up and down, and was thoughtful.

    Fixed to the opposite wall was a shelf of books, and among them
  Prominent three, distinguished alike for bulk and for binding:
  Bariffe’s Artillery Guide, and the Commentaries of Cæsar,
  Out of the Latin translated by Arthur Goldinge of London,
  And, as if guarded by these, between them was standing the Bible.
  Musing a moment before them, Miles Standish paused, as if doubtful
  Which of the three he should choose for his consolation and comfort,
  Whether the wars of the Hebrews, the famous campaigns of the Romans,
  Or the Artillery practice, designed for belligerent Christians.
  Finally down from its shelf he dragged the ponderous Roman,
  Seated himself at the window, and opened the book, and in silence
  Turned o’er the well-worn leaves, where thumb-marks thick on the margin,
  Like the trample of feet, proclaimed the battle was hottest.
  Nothing was heard in the room but the hurrying pen of the stripling,
  Busily writing epistles important, to go by the May Flower,
  Ready to sail on the morrow, or next day at latest, God willing!
  Homeward bound with the tidings of all that terrible winter,
  Letters written by Alden, and full of the name of Priscilla,
  Full of the name and the fame of the Puritan maiden Priscilla!


    Nothing was heard in the room but the hurrying pen of the stripling,
  Or an occasional sigh from the laboring heart of the Captain,
  Reading the marvelous words and achievements of Julius Cæsar.
  After a while he exclaimed, as he smote with his hands, palm downwards,
  Heavily on the page: “A wonderful man was this Cæsar!
  You are a writer, and I am a fighter, but here is a fellow
  Who could both write and fight, and in both was equally skillful!”
  Straightway answered and spake John Alden, the comely, the youthful:
  “Yes, he was equally skilled, as you say, with his pen and his weapons.
  Somewhere have I read, but where I forget, he could dictate
  Seven letters at once, at the same time writing his memoirs.”
  “Truly,” continued the Captain, not heeding or hearing the other,
  “Truly a wonderful man was Caius Julius Cæsar!
  Better be first, he said, in a little Iberian village,
  Than be second in Rome, and I think he was right when he said it.
  Twice was he married before he was twenty, and many times after;
  Battles five hundred he fought, and a thousand cities he conquered;
  He, too, fought in Flanders, as he himself has recorded;
  Finally he was stabbed by his friend, the orator Brutus!
  Now, do you know what he did on a certain occasion in Flanders,
  When the rear-guard of his army retreated, the front giving way too,
  And the immortal Twelfth Legion was crowded so closely together
  There was no room for their swords? Why, he seized a shield from a
  Putting himself straight at the head of his troops, and commanded the
  Calling on each by his name, to order forward the ensigns;
  Then to widen the ranks, and give more room for their weapons;
  So he won the day, the battle of something-or-other.
  That’s what I always say: if you wish a thing to be well done,
  You must do it yourself, you must not leave it to others!”

    All was silent again; the Captain continued his reading.
  Nothing was heard in the room but the hurrying pen of the stripling
  Writing epistles important to go next day by the May Flower,
  Filled with the name and the fame of the Puritan maiden Priscilla;
  Every sentence began or closed with the name of Priscilla,
  Till the treacherous pen, to which he confided the secret,
  Strove to betray it by singing and shouting the name of Priscilla!
  Finally closing his book, with a bang of the ponderous cover,
  Sudden and loud as the sound of a soldier grounding his musket,
  Thus to the young man spake Miles Standish the Captain of Plymouth:
  “When you have finished your work, I have something important to tell
  Be not however in haste; I can wait; I shall not be impatient!”
  Straightway Alden replied, as he folded the last of his letters,
  Pushing his papers aside, and giving respectful attention:
  “Speak; for whenever you speak, I am always ready to listen,
  Always ready to hear whatever pertains to Miles Standish.”
  Thereupon answered the Captain, embarrassed, and culling his phrases:
  “’Tis not good for a man to be alone, say the Scriptures.
  This I have said before, and again and again I repeat it;
  Every hour in the day, I think it, and feel it, and say it.
  Since Rose Standish died, my life has been weary and dreary;
  Sick at heart have I been, beyond the healing of friendship.
  Oft in my lonely hours have I thought of the maiden Priscilla.
  She is alone in the world; her father and mother and brother
  Died in the winter together; I saw her going and coming,
  Now to the grave of the dead, and now to the bed of the dying,
  Patient, courageous, and strong, and said to myself, that if ever
  There were angels on earth, as there are angels in heaven,
  Two have I seen and known; and the angel whose name is Priscilla
  Holds in my desolate life the place which the other abandoned.
  Long have I cherished the thought, but never have dared to reveal it,
  Being a coward in this, though valiant enough for the most part.
  Go to the damsel Priscilla, the loveliest maiden of Plymouth,
  Say that a blunt old Captain, a man not of words but of actions,
  Offers his hand and his heart, the hand and heart of a soldier.
  Not in these words, you know, but this in short is my meaning;
  I am a maker of war, and not a maker of phrases.
  You, who are bred as a scholar, can say it in elegant language,
  Such as you read in your books of the pleadings and wooings of lovers,
  Such as you think best adapted to win the heart of a maiden.”

    When he had spoken, John Alden, the fair-haired, taciturn stripling,
  All aghast at his words, surprised, embarrassed, bewildered,
  Trying to mask his dismay by treating the subject with lightness,
  Trying to smile, and yet feeling his heart stand still in his bosom,
  Just as a timepiece stops in a house that is stricken by lightning,
  Thus made answer and spake, or rather stammered than answered:
  “Such a message as that I am sure I should mangle and mar it;
  If you would have it well done—I am only repeating your maxim—
  You must do it yourself, you must not leave it to others!”
  But with the air of a man whom nothing can turn from his purpose,
  Gravely shaking his head, made answer the Captain of Plymouth:
  “Truly the maxim is good, and I do not mean to gainsay it;
  But we must use it discreetly, and not waste powder for nothing.
  Now, as I said before, I was never a maker of phrases.
  I can march up to a fortress and summon the place to surrender,
  But march up to a woman with such a proposal, I dare not.
  I’m not afraid of bullets, nor shot from the mouth of a cannon,
  But of a thundering ‘No!’ point-blank from the mouth of a woman,
  That I confess I’m afraid of, nor am I ashamed to confess it!
  So you must grant my request, for you are an elegant scholar,
  Having the graces of speech, and skill in the turning of phrases.”
  Taking the hand of his friend, who still was reluctant and doubtful,
  Holding it long in his own, and pressing it kindly, he added:
  “Though I have spoken thus lightly, yet deep is the feeling that
     prompts me;
  Surely you cannot refuse what I ask in the name of our friendship!”
  Then made answer John Alden: “The name of friendship is sacred;
  What you demand in that name, I have not the power to deny you!”
  So the strong will prevailed, subduing and molding the gentler,
  Friendship prevailed over love, and Alden went on his errand.


  So the strong will prevailed, and Alden went on his errand,
  Out of the street of the village, and into the paths of the forest,
  Into the tranquil woods, where bluebirds and robins were building
  Towns in the populous trees, with hanging gardens of verdure,
  Peaceful, aerial cities of joy and affection and freedom.
  All around him was calm, but within him commotion and conflict,
  Love contending with friendship, and self with each generous impulse.
  To and fro in his breast his thoughts were heaving and dashing,
  As in a foundering ship, with every roll of the vessel,
  Washes the bitter sea, the merciless surge of the ocean!
  “Must I relinquish it all,” he cried with a wild lamentation,
  “Must I relinquish it all, the joy, the hope, the illusion?
  Was it for this I have loved, and waited, and worshiped in silence?
  Was it for this I have followed the flying fleet and the shadow
  Over the wintry sea, to the desolate shores of New England?
  Truly the heart is deceitful, and out of its depths of corruption
  Rise, like an exhalation, the misty phantoms of passion;
  Angels of light they seem, but are only delusions of Satan.
  All is clear to me now; I feel it, I see it distinctly!
  This is the hand of the Lord; it is laid upon me in anger,
  For I have followed too much the heart’s desires and devices,
  Worshiping Astaroth blindly, and impious idols of Baal.
  This is the cross I must bear; the sin and the swift retribution.”

    So through the Plymouth woods John Alden went on his errand;
  Crossing the brook at the ford, where it brawled over pebble and
  Gathering still, as he went, the May-flowers blooming around him,
  Fragrant, filling the air with a strange and wonderful sweetness,
  Children lost in the woods, and covered with leaves in their slumber.
  “Puritan flowers,” he said, “and the type of Puritan maidens,
  Modest and simple and sweet, the very type of Priscilla!
  So I will take them to her; to Priscilla the May-flower of Plymouth,
  Modest and simple and sweet, as a parting gift will I take them;
  Breathing their silent farewells, as they fade and wither and perish,
  Soon to be thrown away as is the heart of the giver.”
  So through the Plymouth woods John Alden went on his errand;
  Came to an open space, and saw the disk of the ocean,
  Sailless, somber, and cold with the comfortless breath of the east-wind;
  Saw the new-built house, and people at work in a meadow;
  Heard, as he drew near the door, the musical voice of Priscilla
  Singing the hundredth Psalm, the grand old Puritan anthem,
  Music that Luther sang to the sacred words of the Psalmist,
  Full of the breath of the Lord, consoling and comforting many.
  Then, as he opened the door, he beheld the form of the maiden
  Seated beside her wheel, and the carded wool like a snow-drift
  Piled at her knee, her white hands feeding the ravenous spindle,
  While with her foot on the treadle she guided the wheel in its motion.
  Open wide on her lap lay the well-worn psalm-book of Ainsworth,
  Printed in Amsterdam, the words and the music together,
  Rough-hewn, angular notes, like stones in the wall of a churchyard,
  Darkened and overhung by the running vine of the verses.
  Such was the book from whose pages she sang the old Puritan anthem,
  She, the Puritan girl, in the solitude of the forest,
  Making the humble house and the modest apparel of home-spun
  Beautiful with her beauty, and rich with the wealth of her being!
  Over him rushed, like a wind that is keen and cold and relentless,
  Thoughts of what might have been, and the weight and woe of his errand;
  All the dreams that had faded, and all the hopes that had vanished,
  All his life henceforth a dreary and tenantless mansion,
  Haunted by vain regrets, and pallid, sorrowful faces.
  Still he said to himself, and almost fiercely he said it,
  “Let not him that putteth his hand to the plow look backwards;
  Though the plowshare cut through the flowers of life to its fountains,
  Though it pass o’er the graves of the dead and the hearts of the living,
  It is the will of the Lord; and his mercy endureth forever!”

    So he entered the house; and the hum of the wheel and the singing
  Suddenly ceased; for Priscilla, aroused by his step on the threshold,
  Rose as he entered, and gave him her hand, in signal of welcome,
  Saying, “I knew it was you, when I heard your step in the passage;
  For I was thinking of you, as I sat there singing and spinning.”
  Awkward and dumb with delight, that a thought of him had been mingled
  Thus in the sacred psalm, that came from the heart of the maiden,
  Silent before her he stood, and gave her the flowers for an answer,
  Finding no words for his thought. He remembered that day in the winter,
  After the first great snow, when he broke a path from the village,
  Reeling and plunging along through the drifts that encumbered the
  Stamping the snow from his feet as he entered the house, and Priscilla
  Laughed at his snowy locks, and gave him a seat by the fireside,
  Grateful and pleased to know he had thought of her in the snowstorm.
  Had he but spoken then! perhaps not in vain had he spoken;
  Now it was all too late; the golden moment had vanished!
  So he stood there abashed, and gave her the flowers for an answer.

    Then they sat down and talked of the birds and the beautiful
  Talked of their friends at home, and the May Flower that sailed on
     the morrow.
  “I have been thinking all day,” said gently the Puritan maiden,
  “Dreaming all night, and thinking all day, of the hedge-rows of England—
  They are in blossom now, and the country is all like a garden;
  Thinking of lanes and fields, and the song of the lark and the linnet,
  Seeing the village street, and familiar faces of neighbors
  Going about as of old, and stopping to gossip together,
  And, at the end of the street, the village church, with the ivy
  Climbing the old gray tower, and the quiet graves in the churchyard.
  Kind are the people I live with, and dear to me my religion;
  Still my heart is so sad, that I wish myself back in Old England.
  You will say it is wrong, but I cannot help it; I almost
  Wish myself back in Old England, I feel so lonely and wretched.”

    Thereupon answered the youth:—“Indeed I do not condemn you;
  Stouter hearts than a woman’s have quailed in this terrible winter.
  Yours is tender and trusting, and needs a stronger to lean on;
  So I have come to you now, with an offer and proffer of marriage
  Made by a good man and true, Miles Standish the Captain of Plymouth!”

    Thus he delivered his message, the dexterous writer of letters—
  Did not embellish the theme, nor array it in beautiful phrases,
  But came straight to the point, and blurted it out like a schoolboy;
  Even the Captain himself could hardly have said it more bluntly.
  Mute with amazement and sorrow, Priscilla the Puritan maiden
  Looked into Alden’s face, her eyes dilated with wonder,
  Feeling his words like a blow, that stunned her and rendered her
  Till at length she exclaimed, interrupting the ominous silence:
  “If the great Captain of Plymouth is so very eager to wed me,
  Why does he not come himself, and take the trouble to woo me?
  If I am not worth the wooing, I surely am not worth the winning!”
  Then John Alden began explaining and smoothing the matter,
  Making it worse as he went, by saying the Captain was busy
  Had no time for such things;—such things! the words grating harshly
  Fell on the ear of Priscilla; and swift as a flash she made answer:
  “Has he no time for such things, as you call it, before he is married,
  Would he be likely to find it, or make it, after the wedding?
  That is the way with you men; you don’t understand us, you cannot.
  When you have made up your minds, after thinking of this one and
     that one,
  Choosing, selecting, rejecting, comparing one with another,
  Then you make known your desire, with abrupt and sudden avowal,
  And are offended and hurt, and indignant perhaps, that a woman
  Does not respond at once to a love that she never suspected,
  Does not attain at a bound the height to which you have been climbing.
  This is not right nor just; for surely a woman’s affection
  Is not a thing to be asked for, and had for only the asking.
  When one is truly in love, one not only says it, but shows it.
  Had he but waited awhile, had he only showed that he loved me,
  Even this Captain of yours—who knows?—at last might have won me,
  Old and rough as he is; but now it never can happen.”

    Still John Alden went on, unheeding the words of Priscilla,
  Urging the suit of his friend, explaining, persuading, expanding;
  Spoke of his courage and skill, and of all his battles in Flanders,
  How with the people of God he had chosen to suffer affliction,
  How, in return for his zeal, they had made him Captain of Plymouth;
  He was a gentleman born, could trace his pedigree plainly
  Back to Hugh Standish of Duxbury Hall, in Lancashire, England,
  Who was the son of Ralph, and the grandson of Thurston de Standish;
  Heir unto vast estates, of which he was basely defrauded,
  Still bore the family arms, and had for his crest a cock argent
  Combed and wattled gules, and all the rest of the blazon.
  He was a man of honor, of noble and generous nature;
  Though he was rough, he was kindly; she knew how during the winter
  He had attended the sick, with a hand as gentle as woman’s;
  Somewhat hasty and hot, he could not deny it, and headstrong,
  Stern as a soldier might be, but hearty, and placable always,
  Not to be laughed at and scorned, because he was little of stature;
  For he was great of heart, magnanimous, courtly, courageous;
  Any woman in Plymouth, nay any woman in England,
  Might be happy and proud to be called the wife of Miles Standish!

    But as he warmed and glowed, in his simple and eloquent language,
  Quite forgetful of self, and full of the praise of his rival,
  Archly the maiden smiled, and, with eyes overrunning with laughter,
  Said, in a tremulous voice, “Why don’t you speak for yourself, John?”


    Into the open air John Alden, perplexed and bewildered,
  Rushed like a man insane, and wandered alone by the seaside;
  Paced up and down the sands, and bared his head to the east wind,
  Cooling his heated brow, and the fire and fever within him.
  Slowly as out of the heavens, with apocalyptical splendors,
  Sank the City of God, in the vision of John the Apostle,
  So, with its cloudy walls of chrysolite, jasper, and sapphire,
  Sank the broad red sun, and over its turrets uplifted
  Glimmered the golden reed of the angel who measured the city.

    “Welcome, O wind of the East!” he exclaimed in his wild exultation,
  “Welcome, O wind of the East, from the caves of the misty Atlantic!
  Blowing o’er fields of dulse, and measureless meadows of sea-grass,
  Blowing o’er rocky wastes, and the grottoes and gardens of ocean!
  Lay thy cold, moist hand on my burning forehead, and wrap me
  Close in thy garments of mist, to allay the fever within me!”

    Like an awakened conscience, the sea was moaning and tossing,
  Beating remorseful and loud the mutable sands of the seashore.
  Fierce in his soul was the struggle and tumult of passions contending;
  Love triumphant and crowned, and friendship wounded and bleeding,
  Passionate cries of desire, and importunate pleadings of duty!
  “Is it my fault,” he said, “that the maiden has chosen between us?
  Is it my fault that he failed—my fault that I am the victor?”
  Then within him there thundered a voice, like the voice of the Prophet:
  “It hath displeased the Lord!”—and he thought of David’s transgression,
  Bathsheba’s beautiful face, and his friend in the front of the battle!
  Shame and confusion of guilt, and abasement and self-condemnation,
  Overwhelmed him at once; and he cried in the deepest contrition:
  “It hath displeased the Lord! It is the temptation of Satan!”

    Then, uplifting his head, he looked at the sea, and beheld there
  Dimly the shadowy form of the May Flower riding at anchor,
  Rocked on the rising tide, and ready to sail on the morrow;
  Heard the voices of men through the mist, the rattle of cordage
  Thrown on the deck, the shouts of the mate, and the sailors’ “Ay, ay,
  Clear and distinct, but not loud, in the dripping air of the twilight.
  Still for a moment he stood, and listened, and stared at the vessel,
  Then went hurriedly on, as one who, seeing a phantom,
  Stops, then quickens his pace, and follows the beckoning shadow.
  “Yes, it is plain to me now,” he murmured; “the hand of the Lord is
  Leading me out of the land of darkness, the bondage of error,
  Through the sea, that shall lift the walls of its waters around me,
  Hiding me, cutting me off, from the cruel thoughts that pursue me.
  Back will I go o’er the ocean, this dreary land will abandon,
  Her whom I may not love, and him whom my heart has offended.
  Better to be in my grave in the green old churchyard in England,
  Close by my mother’s side, and among the dust of my kindred;
  Better be dead and forgotten, than living in shame and dishonor!
  Sacred and safe and unseen, in the dark of the narrow chamber
  With me my secret shall lie, like a buried jewel that glimmers
  Bright on the hand that is dust, in the chambers of silence and darkness—
  Yes, as the marriage ring of the great espousal hereafter!”

    Thus as he spake, he turned, in the strength of his strong resolution,
  Leaving behind him the shore, and hurried along in the twilight,
  Through the congenial gloom of the forest silent and somber,
  Till he beheld the lights in the seven houses of Plymouth,
  Shining like seven stars in the dusk and mist of the evening.
  Soon he entered his door, and found the redoubtable Captain
  Sitting alone, and absorbed in the martial pages of Cæsar,
  Fighting some great campaign in Hainault or Brabant or Flanders.
  “Long have you been on your errand,” he said with a cheery demeanor,
  Even as one who is waiting an answer, and fears not the issue.
  “Not far off is the house, although the woods are between us;
  But you have lingered so long, that while you were going and coming
  I have fought ten battles and sacked and demolished a city.
  Come, sit down, and in order relate to me all that has happened.”

    Then John Alden spake, and related the wondrous adventure,
  From beginning to end, minutely, just as it happened;
  How he had seen Priscilla, and how he had sped in his courtship,
  Only smoothing a little, and softening down her refusal.
  But when he came at length to the words Priscilla had spoken,
  Words so tender and cruel: “Why don’t you speak for yourself, John?”
  Up leaped the Captain of Plymouth, and stamped on the floor, till his
  Clanged on the wall, where it hung, with a sound of sinister omen.
  All his pent-up wrath burst forth in a sudden explosion,
  Even as a hand-grenade, that scatters destruction around it.
  Wildly he shouted, and loud: “John Alden! you have betrayed me!
  Me, Miles Standish, your friend! have supplanted, defrauded, betrayed me!
  One of my ancestors ran his sword through the heart of Wat Tyler;
  Who shall prevent me from running my own through the heart of a traitor?
  Yours is the greater treason, for yours is a treason to friendship!
  You, who lived under my roof, whom I cherished and loved as a brother;
  You, who have fed at my board, and drunk at my cup, to whose keeping
  I have intrusted my honor, my thoughts the most sacred and secret—
  You too, Brutus! ah woe to the name of friendship hereafter!
  Brutus was Cæsar’s friend, and you were mine, but henceforward
  Let there be nothing between us save war, and implacable hatred!”

    So spake the Captain of Plymouth, and strode about in the chamber,
  Chafing and choking with rage; like cords were the veins on his temples.
  But in the midst of his anger a man appeared at the doorway,
  Bringing in uttermost haste a message of urgent importance,
  Rumors of danger and war and hostile incursions of Indians!
  Straightway the Captain paused, and, without further question or parley,
  Took from the nail on the wall his sword with its scabbard of iron,
  Buckled the belt round his waist, and, frowning fiercely, departed.
  Alden was left alone. He heard the clank of the scabbard
  Growing fainter and fainter, and dying away in the distance.
  Then he arose from his seat, and looked forth into the darkness,
  Felt the cool air blow on his cheek, that was hot with the insult,
  Lifted his eyes to the heavens, and, folding his hands as in childhood,
  Prayed in the silence of night to the Father who seeth in secret.

    Meanwhile the choleric Captain strode wrathful away to the council,
  Found it already assembled, impatiently waiting his coming;
  Men in the middle of life, austere and grave in deportment,
  Only one of them old, the hill that was nearest to heaven,
  Covered with snow, but erect, the excellent Elder of Plymouth.
  God had sifted three kingdoms to find the wheat for this planting,
  Then had sifted the wheat, as the living seed of a nation;
  So say the chronicles old, and such is the faith of the people!
  Near them was standing an Indian, in attitude stern and defiant,
  Naked down to the waist, and grim and ferocious in aspect;
  While on the table before them was lying unopened a Bible,
  Ponderous, bound in leather, brass-studded, printed in Holland,
  And beside it outstretched the skin of a rattlesnake glittered,
  Filled, like a quiver, with arrows; a signal and challenge of warfare,
  Brought by the Indian, and speaking with arrowy tongues of defiance.
  This Miles Standish beheld, as he entered, and heard them debating
  What were an answer befitting the hostile message and menace,
  Talking of this and that, contriving, suggesting, objecting;
  One voice only for peace, and that the voice of the Elder,
  Judging it wise and well that some at least were converted,
  Rather than any were slain, for this was but Christian behavior!
  Then outspoke Miles Standish, the stalwart Captain of Plymouth,
  Muttering deep in his throat, for his voice was husky with anger:
  “What! do you mean to make war with milk and the water of roses?
  Is it to shoot red squirrels you have your howitzer planted
  There on the roof of the church, or is it to shoot red devils?
  Truly the only tongue that is understood by a savage
  Must be the tongue of fire that speaks from the mouth of the cannon!”
  Thereupon answered and said the excellent Elder of Plymouth,
  Somewhat amazed and alarmed at this irreverent language:
  “Not so thought St. Paul, nor yet the other Apostles;
  Not from the cannon’s mouth were the tongues of fire they spake with!”
  But unheeded fell this mild rebuke on the Captain,
  Who had advanced to the table, and thus continued discoursing:
  “Leave this matter to me, for to me by right it pertaineth.
  War is a terrible trade; but in the cause that is righteous,
  Sweet is the smell of powder; and thus I answer the challenge!”

    Then from the rattlesnake’s skin, with a sudden, contemptuous gesture,
  Jerking the Indian arrows, he filled it with powder and bullets
  Full to the very jaws, and handed it back to the savage,
  Saying, in thundering tones: “Here, take it! this is your answer!”
  Silently out of the room then glided the glistening savage,
  Bearing the serpent’s skin, and seeming himself like a serpent,
  Winding his sinuous way in the dark to the depths of the forest.


    Just in the gray of the dawn, as the mists uprose from the meadows,
  There was a stir and a sound in the slumbering village of Plymouth;
  Clanging and clicking of arms, and the order imperative, “Forward!”
  Given in tone suppressed, a tramp of feet, and then silence.
  Figures ten, in the mist, marched slowly out of the village.
  Standish the stalwart it was, with eight of his valorous army,
  Led by their Indian guide, by Hobomok, friend of the white men,
  Northward marching to quell the sudden revolt of the savage.
  Giants they seemed in the mist, or the mighty men of King David;
  Giants in heart they were, who believed in God and the Bible—
  Ay, who believed in the smiting of Midianites and Philistines.
  Over them gleamed far off the crimson banners of morning;
  Under them loud on the sands, the serried billows, advancing,
  Fired along the line, and in regular order retreated.
  Many a mile had they marched, when at length the village of Plymouth
  Woke from its sleep, and arose, intent on its manifold labors.
  Sweet was the air and soft, and slowly the smoke from the chimneys
  Rose over roofs of thatch, and pointed steadily eastward;
  Men came forth from the doors, and paused and talked of the weather,
  Said that the wind had changed, and was blowing fair for the May Flower;
  Talked of their Captain’s departure, and all the dangers that menaced,
  He being gone, the town, and what should be done in his absence.
  Merrily sang the birds, and the tender voices of women
  Consecrated with hymns the common cares of the household.
  Out of the sea rose the sun, and the billows rejoiced at his coming;
  Beautiful were his feet on the purple tops of the mountains;
  Beautiful on the sails of the May Flower riding at anchor,
  Battered and blackened and worn by all the storms of the winter.
  Loosely against her masts was hanging and flapping her canvas,
  Rent by so many gales, and patched by the hands of the sailors.
  Suddenly from her side, as the sun rose over the ocean,
  Darted a puff of smoke, and floated seaward; anon rang
  Loud over field and forest the cannon’s roar, and the echoes
  Heard and repeated the sound, the signal-gun of departure!
  Ah! but with louder echoes replied the hearts of the people!
  Meekly, in voices subdued, the chapter was read from the Bible,
  Meekly the prayer was begun, but ended in fervent entreaty!
  Then from their houses in haste came forth the Pilgrims of Plymouth,
  Men and women and children, all hurrying down to the seashore,
  Eager, with tearful eyes, to say farewell to the May Flower,
  Homeward bound o’er the sea, and leaving them here in the desert.

    Foremost among them was Alden. All night he had lain without slumber,
  Turning and tossing about in the heat and unrest of his fever.
  He had beheld Miles Standish, who came back late from the council,
  Stalking into the room, and heard him mutter and murmur;
  Sometimes it seemed a prayer, and sometimes it sounded like swearing.
  Once he had come to the bed, and stood there a moment in silence;
  Then he had turned away, and said: “I will not awake him;
  Let him sleep on, it is best; for what is the use of more talking!”
  Then he extinguished the light, and threw himself down on his pallet.
  Dressed as he was, and ready to start at the break of the morning—
  Covered himself with the cloak he had worn in his campaigns in Flanders—
  Slept as a soldier sleeps in his bivouac, ready for action.
  But with the dawn he arose; in the twilight Alden beheld him
  Put on his corselet of steel, and all the rest of his armor,
  Buckle about his waist his trusty blade of Damascus,
  Take from the corner his musket, and so stride out of the chamber.
  Often the heart of the youth had burned and yearned to embrace him,
  Often his lips had essayed to speak, imploring for pardon,
  All the old friendship came back, with its tender and grateful emotions.
  But his pride overmastered the noble nature within him—
  Pride, and the sense of his wrong, and the burning fire of the insult.
  So he beheld his friend departing in anger, but spake not,
  Saw him go forth to danger, perhaps to death, and he spake not!
  Then he arose from his bed, and heard what the people were saying,
  Joined in the talk at the door, with Stephen and Richard and Gilbert,
  Joined in the morning prayer, and in the reading of Scripture,
  And, with the others, in haste went hurrying down to the seashore,
  Down to the Plymouth Rock, that had been to their feet as a doorstep
  Into a world unknown—the corner-stone of a nation!

    There with his boat was the Master, already a little impatient
  Lest he should lose the tide, or the wind might shift to the eastward,
  Square-built, hearty, and strong, with an odor of ocean about him,
  Speaking with this one and that, and cramming letters and parcels
  Into his pockets capacious, and messages mingled together
  Into his narrow brain, till at last he was wholly bewildered.
  Nearer the boat stood Alden, with one foot placed on the gunwale,
  One still firm on the rock, and talking at times with the sailors,
  Seated erect on the thwarts, all ready and eager for starting.
  He too was eager to go, and thus put an end to his anguish,
  Thinking to fly from despair, that swifter than keel is or canvas,
  Thinking to drown in the sea the ghost that would rise and pursue him.
  But as he gazed on the crowd, he beheld the form of Priscilla
  Standing dejected among them, unconscious of all that was passing.
  Fixed were her eyes upon his, as if she divined his intention,
  Fixed with a look so sad, so reproachful, imploring, and patient,
  That with a sudden revulsion his heart recoiled from its purpose,
  As from the verge of a crag, where one step more is destruction.
  Strange is the heart of man, with its quick, mysterious instincts!
  Strange is the life of man, and fatal or fated are moments,
  Whereupon turn, as on hinges, the gates of the wall adamantine!
  “Here I remain!” he exclaimed, as he looked at the heavens above him,
  Thanking the Lord whose breath had scattered the mist and the madness,
  Wherein, blind and lost, to death he was staggering headlong.
  “Yonder snow-white cloud, that floats in the ether above me,
  Seems like a hand that is pointing and beckoning over the ocean.
  There is another hand, that is not so spectral and ghost-like,
  Holding me, drawing me back, and clasping mine for protection.
  Float, O hand of cloud, and vanish away in the ether!
  Roll thyself up like a fist, to threaten and daunt me; I heed not
  Either your warning or menace, or any omen of evil!
  There is no land so sacred, nor air so pure and so wholesome,
  As is the air she breathes, and the soil that is pressed by her
  Here for her sake will I stay, and like an invisible presence
  Hover around her forever, protecting, supporting her weakness;
  Yes! as my foot was the first that stepped on this rock at the landing,
  So, with the blessing of God, shall it be the last at the leaving!”

    Meanwhile the Master alert, but with dignified air and important,
  Scanning with watchful eye the tide and the wind and the weather,
  Walked about on the sands; and the people crowded around him
  Saying a few last words, and enforcing his careful remembrance.
  Then, taking each by the hand, as if he were grasping a tiller,
  Into the boat he sprang, and in haste shoved off to his vessel,
  Glad in his heart to get rid of all this worry and flurry,
  Glad to be gone from a land of sand and sickness and sorrow,
  Short allowance of victual, and plenty of nothing but Gospel!
  Lost in the sound of the oars was the last farewell of the Pilgrims.
  O strong hearts and true! not one went back in the May Flower!
  No, not one looked back, who had set his hand to this plowing!

    Soon were heard on board the shouts and songs of the sailors
  Heaving the windlass round, and hoisting the ponderous anchor.
  Then the yards were braced, and all sails set to the west-wind,
  Blowing steady and strong; and the May Flower sailed from the harbor,
  Rounded the point of the Gurnet, and leaving far to the southward
  Island and cape of sand, and the Field of the First Encounter,
  Took the wind on her quarter, and stood for the open Atlantic,
  Borne on the send of the sea, and the swelling hearts of the Pilgrims.

    Long in silence they watched the receding sail of the vessel,
  Much endeared to them all, as something living and human;
  Then, as if filled with the spirit, and wrapt in a vision prophetic,
  Baring his hoary head, the excellent Elder of Plymouth
  Said, “Let us pray!” and they prayed and thanked the Lord and took
  Mournfully sobbed the waves at the base of the rock, and above them
  Bowed and whispered the wheat on the hill of death, and their kindred
  Seemed to awake in their graves, and to join in the prayer that they
  Sun-illumined and white, on the eastern verge of the ocean
  Gleamed the departing sail, like a marble slab in a graveyard;
  Buried beneath it lay forever all hope of escaping.
  Lo! as they turned to depart, they saw the form of an Indian,
  Watching them from the hill; but while they spake with each other,
  Pointing with outstretched hands, and saying, “Look!” he had vanished.
  So they returned to their homes; but Alden lingered a little,
  Musing alone on the shore, and watching the wash of the billows
  Round the base of the rock, and the sparkle and flash of the sunshine,
  Like the spirit of God, moving visibly over the waters.


    Thus for a while he stood, and mused by the shore of the ocean,
  Thinking of many things, and most of all of Priscilla;
  And as if thought had the power to draw to itself, like the load-stone,
  Whatsoever it touches, by subtle laws of its nature,
  Lo! as he turned to depart, Priscilla was standing beside him.

    “Are you so much offended you will not speak to me?” said she.
  “Am I so much to blame, that yesterday, when you were pleading
  Warmly the cause of another, my heart, impulsive and wayward,
  Pleaded your own, and spake out, forgetful perhaps of decorum?
  Certainly you can forgive me for speaking so frankly, for saying
  What I ought not to have said, yet now I can never unsay it;
  For there are moments in life, when the heart is so full of emotion,
  That if by chance it be shaken, or into its depths like a pebble
  Drops some careless word, it overflows, and its secret,
  Spilt on the ground like water, can never be gathered together.
  Yesterday I was shocked, when I heard you speak of Miles Standish,
  Praising his virtues, transforming his very defects into virtues,
  Praising his courage and strength, and even his fighting in Flanders,
  As if by fighting alone you could win the heart of a woman,
  Quite overlooking yourself and the rest, in exalting your hero.
  Therefore I spake as I did, by an irresistible impulse.
  You will forgive me, I hope, for the sake of the friendship between us,
  Which is too true and too sacred to be so easily broken!”
  Thereupon answered John Alden, the scholar, the friend of Miles Standish:
  “I was not angry with you, with myself alone I was angry,
  Seeing how badly I managed the matter I had in my keeping.”
  “No!” interrupted the maiden, with answer prompt and decisive;
  “No; you are angry with me, for speaking so frankly and freely.
  It was wrong, I acknowledge; for it is the fate of a woman
  Long to be patient and silent, to wait like a ghost that is speechless,
  Till some questioning voice dissolves the spell of its silence.
  Hence is the inner life of so many suffering women
  Sunless and silent and deep, like subterranean rivers
  Running through caverns of darkness, unheard, unseen, and unfruitful,
  Chafing their channels of stone, with endless and profitless murmurs.”
  Thereupon answered John Alden, the young man, the lover of women:
  “Heaven forbid it, Priscilla; and truly they seem to me always
  More like the beautiful rivers that watered the garden of Eden.
  More like the river Euphrates, through deserts of Havilah flowing,
  Filling the land with delight, and memories sweet of the garden!”
  “Ah, by these words, I can see,” again interrupted the maiden,
  “How very little you prize me, or care for what I am saying.
  When from the depths of my heart, in pain and with secret misgiving,
  Frankly I speak to you, asking for sympathy only and kindness,
  Straightway you take up my words, that are plain and direct and in
  Turn them away from their meaning, and answer with flattering phrases.
  This is not right, is not just, is not true to the best that is in you;
  For I know and esteem you, and feel that your nature is noble,
  Lifting mine up to a higher, a more ethereal level.
  Therefore I value your friendship, and feel it perhaps the more keenly
  If you say aught that implies I am only as one among many,
  If you make use of those common and complimentary phrases
  Most men think so fine, in dealing and speaking with women,
  But which women reject as insipid, if not as insulting.”

    Mute and amazed was Alden; and listened and looked at Priscilla,
  Thinking he never had seen her more fair, more divine in her beauty.
  He who but yesterday pleaded so glibly the cause of another,
  Stood there embarrassed and silent, and seeking in vain for an answer.
  So the maiden went on, and little divined or imagined
  What was at work in his heart, that made him so awkward and speechless.
  “Let us, then, be what we are, and speak what we think, and in all things
  Keep ourselves loyal to truth, and the sacred professions of friendship.
  It is no secret I tell you, nor am I ashamed to declare it:
  I have liked to be with you, to see you, to speak with you always.
  So I was hurt at your words, and a little affronted to hear you
  Urge me to marry your friend, though he were the Captain Miles Standish.
  For I must tell you the truth: much more to me is your friendship
  Than all the love he could give, were he twice the hero you think him.”
  Then she extended her hand, and Alden, who eagerly grasped it,
  Felt all the wounds in his heart, that were aching and bleeding so
  Healed by the touch of that hand, and he said, with a voice full of
  “Yes, we must ever be friends; and of all who offer you friendship
  Let me be ever the first, the truest, the nearest and dearest!”

    Casting a farewell look at the glimmering sail of the May Flower,
  Distant, but still in sight, and sinking below the horizon,
  Homeward together they walked, with a strange, indefinite feeling,
  That all the rest had departed and left them alone in the desert.
  But, as they went through the fields in the blessing and smile of the
  Lighter grew their hearts, and Priscilla said very archly:
  “Now that our terrible Captain has gone in pursuit of the Indians,
  Where he is happier far than he would be commanding a household,
  You may speak boldly, and tell me of all that happened between you,
  When you returned last night, and said how ungrateful you found me.”
  Thereupon answered John Alden, and told her the whole of the story—
  Told her his own despair, and the direful wrath of Miles Standish.
  Whereat the maiden smiled, and said between laughing and earnest,
  “He is a little chimney, and heated hot in a moment!”
  But as he gently rebuked her, and told her how much he had suffered—
  How he had even determined to sail that day in the May Flower,
  And had remained for her sake, on hearing the dangers that threatened—
  All her manner was changed, and she said with a faltering accent,
  “Truly I thank you for this; how good you have been to me always!”

    Thus, as a pilgrim devout, who toward Jerusalem journeys,
  Taking three steps in advance, and one reluctantly backward,
  Urged by importunate zeal, and withheld by pangs of contrition;
  Slowly but steadily onward, receding yet ever advancing,
  Journeyed this Puritan youth to the Holy Land of his longings,
  Urged by the fervor of love, and withheld by remorseful misgivings.


    Meanwhile the stalwart Miles Standish was marching steadily northward,
  Winding through forest and swamp, and along the trend of the seashore,
  All day long, with hardly a halt, the fire of his anger
  Burning and crackling within, and the sulphurous odor of powder
  Seeming more sweet to his nostrils than all the scents of the forest.
  Silent and moody he went, and much he revolved his discomfort;
  He who was used to success, and to easy victories always,
  Thus to be flouted, rejected, and laughed to scorn by a maiden,
  Thus to be mocked and betrayed by the friend whom most he had trusted!
  Ah! ’twas too much to be borne, and he fretted and chafed in his armor!

    “I alone am to blame,” he muttered, “for mine was the folly.
  What has a rough old soldier, grown grim and gray in the harness,
  Used to the camp and its ways, to do with the wooing of maidens?
  ’Twas but a dream—let it pass—let it vanish like so many others!
  What I thought was a flower, is only a weed, and is worthless;
  Out of my heart will I pluck it, and throw it away, and henceforward
  Be but a fighter of battles, a lover and wooer of dangers!”
  Thus he revolved in his mind his sorry defeat and discomfort,
  While he was marching by day or lying at night in the forest,
  Looking up at the trees, and the constellations beyond them.

    After a three days’ march he came to an Indian encampment
  Pitched on the edge of a meadow, between the sea and the forest;
  Women at work by the tents, and the warriors, horrid with war-paint,
  Seated about a fire, and smoking and talking together;
  Who, when they saw from afar the sudden approach of the white men,
  Saw the flash of the sun on breast-plate and saber and musket,
  Straightway leaped to their feet, and two, from among them advancing,
  Came to parley with Standish, and offer him furs as a present;
  Friendship was in their looks, but in their hearts there was hatred.
  Braves of the tribe were these, and brothers gigantic in stature,
  Huge as Goliath of Gath, or the terrible Og, king of Bashan;
  One was Pecksuot named, and the other was called Wattawamat.
  Round their necks were suspended their knives in scabbards of wampum,
  Two-edged, trenchant knives, with points as sharp as a needle.
  Other arms had they none, for they were cunning and crafty.
  “Welcome, English!” they said—these words they had learned from the
  Touching at times on the coast, to barter and chaffer for peltries.
  Then in their native tongue they began to parley with Standish,
  Through his guide and interpreter, Hobomok, friend of the white man,
  Begging for blankets and knives, but mostly for muskets and powder,
  Kept by the white man, they said, concealed, with the plague, in his
  Ready to be let loose, and destroy his brother the red man!
  But when Standish refused, and said he would give them the Bible,
  Suddenly changing their tone, they began to boast and to bluster.
  Then Wattawamat advanced with a stride in front of the other,
  And, with a lofty demeanor, thus vauntingly spake to the Captain:
  “Now Wattawamat can see, by the fiery eyes of the Captain,
  Angry is he in his heart; but the heart of the brave Wattawamat
  Is not afraid at the sight. He was not born of a woman,
  But on a mountain, at night, from an oak-tree riven by lightning,
  Forth he sprang at a bound, with all his weapons about him,
  Shouting, ‘Who is there here to fight with the brave Wattawamat?’”
  Then he unsheathed his knife, and, whetting the blade on his left hand,
  Held it aloft and displayed a woman’s face on the handle,
  Saying, with bitter expression and look of sinister meaning:
  “I have another at home, with the face of a man on the handle;
  By and by they shall marry; and there will be plenty of children!”

    Then stood Pecksuot forth, self-vaunting, insulting Miles Standish;
  While with his fingers he patted the knife that hung at his bosom,
  Drawing it half from its sheath, and plunging it back, as he muttered:
  “By and by it shall see; it shall eat; ah, ha! but shall speak not!
  This is the mighty Captain the white men have sent to destroy us!
  He is a little man; let him go and work with the women!”

    Meanwhile Standish had noted the faces and figures of Indians
  Peeping and creeping about from bush to tree in the forest,
  Feigning to look for game, with arrows set on their bow-strings,
  Drawing about him still closer and closer the net of their ambush.
  But undaunted he stood, and dissembled and treated them smoothly;
  So the old chronicles say, that were writ in the days of the fathers.
  But when he heard their defiance, the boast, the taunt, and the insult,
  All the hot blood of his race, of Sir Hugh and of Thurston de Standish,
  Boiled and beat in his heart, and swelled in the veins of his temples.
  Headlong he leaped on the boaster, and, snatching his knife from its
  Plunged it into his heart, and, reeling backward, the savage
  Fell with his face to the sky, and a fiendlike fierceness upon it.
  Straight there arose from the forest the awful sound of the war-whoop,
  And, like a flurry of snow on the whistling wind of December,
  Swift and sudden and keen came a flight of feathery arrows.
  Then came a cloud of smoke, and out of the cloud came the lightning,
  Out of the lightning thunder; and death unseen ran before it.
  Frightened, the savages fled for shelter in swamp and in thicket.
  Hotly pursued and beset; but their sachem, the brave Wattawamat,
  Fled not; he was dead. Unswerving and swift had a bullet
  Passed through his brain, and he fell with both hands clutching the
  Seeming in death to hold back from his foe the land of his fathers.

    There on the flowers of the meadow the warriors lay, and above them,
  Silent, with folded arms, stood Hobomok, friend of the white man.
  Smiling at length, he exclaimed to the stalwart Captain of Plymouth:
  “Pecksuot bragged very loud, of his courage, his strength, and his
  Mocked the great Captain, and called him a little man; but I see now
  Big enough have you been to lay him speechless before you!”

    Thus the first battle was fought and won by the stalwart Miles
  When the tidings thereof were brought to the village of Plymouth,
  And as a trophy of war the head of the brave Wattawamat
  Scowled from the roof of the fort, which at once was a church and a
  All who beheld it rejoiced, and praised the Lord, and took courage.
  Only Priscilla averted her face from this specter of terror.
  Thanking God in her heart that she had not married Miles Standish;
  Shrinking, fearing almost, lest, coming home from his battles,
  He should lay claim to her hand, as the prize and reward of his valor.


    Month after month passed away, and in autumn the ships of the merchants
  Came with kindred and friends, with cattle and corn for the Pilgrims.
  All in the village was peace; the men were intent on their labors,
  Busy with hewing and building, with garden-plot and with merestead,
  Busy with breaking the glebe, and mowing the grass in the meadows,
  Searching the sea for its fish, and hunting the deer in the forest.
  All in the village was peace; but at times the rumor of warfare
  Filled the air with alarm, and the apprehension of danger.
  Bravely the stalwart Miles Standish was scouring the land with his
  Waxing valiant in fight and defeating the alien armies,
  Till his name had become a sound of fear to the nations.
  Anger was still in his heart, but at times the remorse and contrition
  Which in all noble natures succeed the passionate outbreak,
  Came like a rising tide, that encounters the rush of a river,
  Staying its current awhile, but making it bitter and brackish.

    Meanwhile Alden at home had built him a new habitation.
  Solid, substantial, of timber roughhewn from the firs of the forest.
  Wooden-barred was the door, and the roof was covered with rushes;
  Latticed the windows were, and the window-panes were of paper,
  Oiled to admit the light, while wind and rain were excluded.
  There too he dug a well, and around it planted an orchard;
  Still may be seen to this day some trace of the well and the orchard.
  Close to the house was the stall, where, safe and secure from annoyance,
  Raghorn, the snow-white bull, that had fallen to Alden’s allotment
  In the division of cattle, might ruminate in the night-time
  Over the pastures he cropped, made fragrant by sweet penny-royal.

    Oft when his labor was finished, with eager feet would the dreamer
  Follow the pathway that ran through the woods to the house of Priscilla,
  Led by illusions romantic and subtle deceptions of fancy,
  Pleasure disguised as duty, and love in the semblance of friendship.
  Ever of her he thought, when he fashioned the walls of his dwelling;
  Ever of her he thought, when he delved in the soil of his garden;
  Ever of her he thought, when he read in his Bible on Sunday
  Praise of the virtuous woman, as she is described in the Proverbs—
  How the heart of her husband doth safely trust in her always,
  How all the days of her life she will do him good, and not evil,
  How she seeketh the wool and the flax and worketh with gladness,
  How she layeth her hand to the spindle and holdeth the distaff,
  How she is not afraid of the snow for herself or her household,
  Knowing her household are clothed with the scarlet cloth of her weaving!

    So as she sat at her wheel one afternoon in the Autumn,
  Alden, who opposite sat, and was watching her dexterous fingers,
  As if the thread she was spinning were that of his life and his fortune,
  After a pause in their talk, thus spake to the sound of the spindle.
  “Truly, Priscilla,” he said, “when I see you spinning and spinning,
  Never idle a moment, but thrifty and thoughtful of others,
  Suddenly you are transformed, are visibly changed in a moment;
  You are no longer Priscilla, but Bertha the Beautiful Spinner.”
  Here the light foot on the treadle grew swifter and swifter; the spindle
  Uttered an angry snarl, and the thread snapped short in her fingers;
  While the impetuous speaker, not heeding the mischief, continued:
  “You are the beautiful Bertha, the spinner, the queen of Helvetia;
  She whose story I read at a stall in the streets of Southampton,
  Who, as she rode on her palfrey, o’er valley and meadow and mountain,
  Ever was spinning her thread from a distaff fixed to her saddle.
  She was so thrifty and good that her name passed into a proverb.
  So shall it be with your own, when the spinning-wheel shall no longer
  Hum in the house of the farmer, and fill its chambers with music.
  Then shall the mothers, reproving, relate how it was in their childhood,
  Praising the good old times, and the days of Priscilla the spinner!”
  Straight uprose from her wheel the beautiful Puritan maiden,
  Pleased with the praise of her thrift from him whose praise was the
  Drew from the reel on the table a snowy skein of her spinning,
  Thus making answer, meanwhile, to the flattering phrases of Alden:
  “Come, you must not be idle; if I am a pattern for housewives,
  Show yourself equally worthy of being the model of husbands.
  Hold this skein on your hands, while I wind it, ready for knitting;
  Then who knows but hereafter, when fashions have changed and the manners,
  Fathers may talk to their sons of the good old times of John Alden!”
  Thus, with a jest and a laugh, the skein on his hands she adjusted,
  He sitting awkwardly there, with his arms extended before him,
  She standing graceful, erect, and winding the thread from his fingers,
  Sometimes chiding a little his clumsy manner of holding,
  Sometimes touching his hands, as she disentangled expertly
  Twist or knot in the yarn, unawares—for how could she help it?—
  Sending electrical thrills through every nerve in his body.

    Lo! in the midst of this scene, a breathless messenger entered,
  Bringing in hurry and heat the terrible news from the village.
  Yes; Miles Standish was dead!—an Indian had brought them the tidings—
  Slain by a poisoned arrow, shot down in the front of the battle,
  Into an ambush beguiled, cut off with the whole of his forces;
  All the town would be burned, and all the people be murdered!
  Such were the tidings of evil that burst on the hearts of the hearers.
  Silent and statue-like stood Priscilla, her face looking backward
  Still at the face of the speaker, her arms uplifted in horror;
  But John Alden, upstarting, as if the barb of the arrow
  Piercing the heart of his friend had struck his own, and had sundered
  Once and forever the bonds that held him bound as a captive,
  Wild with excess of sensation, the awful delight of his freedom,
  Mingled with pain and regret, unconscious of what he was doing.
  Clasped, almost with a groan, the motionless form of Priscilla,
  Pressing her close to his heart, as forever his own, and exclaiming:
  “Those whom the Lord hath united, let no man put them asunder!”

    Even as rivulets twain, from distant and separate sources,
  Seeing each other afar, as they leap from the rocks, and pursuing
  Each one its devious path, but drawing nearer and nearer,
  Rush together at last, at their trysting-place in the forest;
  So these lives that had run thus far in separate channels,
  Coming in sight of each other, then swerving and flowing asunder,
  Parted by barriers strong, but drawing nearer and nearer,
  Rushed together at last, and one was lost in the other.


  Forth from the curtain of clouds, from the tent of purple and scarlet,
  Issued the sun, the great High-Priest, in his garments resplendent,
  Holiness unto the Lord, in letters of light, on his forehead,
  Round the hem of his robe the golden bells and pomegranates.
  Blessing the world he came, and the bars of vapor beneath him
  Gleamed like a grate of brass, and the sea at his feet was a laver!

    This was the wedding morn of Priscilla the Puritan maiden.
  Friends were assembled together; the Elder and Magistrate also
  Graced the scene with their presence, and stood like the Law and the
  One with the sanction of earth and one with the blessing of heaven.
  Simple and brief was the wedding, as that of Ruth and of Boaz.
  Softly the youth and the maiden repeated the words of betrothal,
  Taking each other for husband and wife in the Magistrate’s presence,
  After the Puritan way, and the laudable custom of Holland.
  Fervently then, and devoutly, the excellent Elder of Plymouth
  Prayed for the hearth and the home, that were founded that day in
  Speaking of life and of death, and imploring divine benedictions.

    Lo! when the service was ended, a form appeared on the threshold,
  Clad in armor of steel, a somber and sorrowful figure!
  Why does the bridegroom start and stare at the strange apparition?
  Why does the bride turn pale, and hide her face on his shoulder?
  Is it a phantom of air—a bodiless spectral illusion?
  Is it a ghost from the grave, that has come to forbid the betrothal?
  Long had it stood there unseen, a guest uninvited, unwelcomed;
  Over its clouded eyes there had passed at times an expression
  Softening the gloom and revealing the warm heart hidden beneath them,
  As when across the sky the driving rack of the rain-cloud
  Grows for a moment thin, and betrays the sun by its brightness.
  Once it had lifted its hand, and moved its lips, but was silent,
  As if an iron will had mastered the fleeting intention.
  But when were ended the troth and the prayer and the last benediction,
  Into the room it strode, and the people beheld with amazement
  Bodily there in his armor Miles Standish, the Captain of Plymouth!
  Grasping the bridegroom’s hand, he said with emotion, “Forgive me!
  I have been angry and hurt—too long have I cherished the feeling;
  I have been cruel and hard, but now, thank God! it is ended.
  Mine is the same hot blood that leaped in the veins of Hugh Standish,
  Sensitive, swift to resent, but as swift in atoning for error.
  Never so much as now was Miles Standish the friend of John Alden.”
  Thereupon answered the bridegroom: “Let all be forgotten between us—
  All save the dear old friendship, and that shall grow older and dearer!”
  Then the Captain advanced, and, bowing, saluted Priscilla,
  Gravely, and after the manner of old-fashioned gentry in England,
  Something of camp and of court, of town and of country, commingled,
  Wishing her joy of her wedding, and loudly lauding her husband.
  Then he said with a smile: “I should have remembered the adage—
  If you would be well served, you must serve yourself; and moreover,
  No man can gather cherries in Kent at the season of Christmas!”

    Great was the people’s amazement, and greater yet their rejoicing,
  Thus to behold once more the sunburnt face of their Captain,
  Whom they had mourned as dead; and they gathered and crowded about him,
  Eager to see him and hear him, forgetful of bride and of bridegroom,
  Questioning, answering, laughing, and each interrupting the other,
  Till the good Captain declared, being quite overpowered and bewildered,
  He had rather by far break into an Indian encampment,
  Than come again to a wedding to which he had not been invited.

    Meanwhile the bridegroom went forth and stood with the bride at the
  Breathing the perfumed air of that warm and beautiful morning.
  Touched with autumnal tints, but lonely and sad in the sunshine,
  Lay extended before them the land of toil and privation;
  There were the graves of the dead, and the barren waste of the seashore,
  There the familiar fields, the groves of pine, and the meadows;
  But to their eyes transfigured, it seemed as the Garden of Eden,
  Filled with the presence of God, whose voice was the sound of the ocean.

    Soon was their vision disturbed by the noise and stir of departure,
  Friends coming forth from the house, and impatient of longer delaying,
  Each with his plan for the day, and the work that was left uncompleted.
  Then from a stall near at hand, amid exclamations of wonder,
  Alden the thoughtful, the careful, so happy, so proud of Priscilla,
  Brought out his snow-white bull, obeying the hand of its master,
  Led by a cord that was tied to an iron ring in its nostrils,
  Covered with crimson cloth, and a cushion placed for a saddle.
  She should not walk, he said, through the dust and heat of the noon-day;
  Nay, she should ride like a queen, not plod along like a peasant.
  Somewhat alarmed at first, but reassured by the others,
  Placing her hand on the cushion, her foot in the hand of her husband,
  Gayly, with joyous laugh, Priscilla mounted her palfrey.
  “Nothing is wanting now,” he said, with a smile, “but the distaff;
  Then you would be in truth my queen, my beautiful Bertha!”

    Onward the bridal procession now moved to their new habitation,
  Happy husband and wife, and friends conversing together.
  Pleasantly murmured the brook, as they crossed the ford in the forest,
  Pleased with the image that passed, like a dream of love through its
  Tremulous, floating in air, o’er the depths of the azure abysses.
  Down through the golden leaves the sun was pouring his splendors,
  Gleaming on purple grapes, that, from branches above them suspended,
  Mingled their odorous breath with the balm of the pine and the fir-tree,
  Wild and sweet as the clusters that grew in the valley of Eshcol.
  Like a picture it seemed of the primitive pastoral ages,
  Fresh with the youth of the world, and recalling Rebecca and Isaac,
  Old and yet ever new, and simple and beautiful always,
  Love immortal and young in the endless succession of lovers.
  So through the Plymouth woods passed onward the bridal procession.


  For Biography, see page 80.

  =Discussion.= 1. Read the history of the Pilgrims’ settlement
  at Plymouth. 2. Describe the Plymouth of the first year of the
  settlement. 3. How long had the Pilgrims been in their new home at
  the time this story opens? 4. What tells you this? 5. Find lines
  that tell how hard the first winter had been. 6. What tells you that
  the Captain had read his Cæsar many times? 7. What principle of
  conduct did he learn from Cæsar’s victories? 8. When did he entirely
  disregard this principle? 9. What excuse did he give for not acting
  upon it? 10. Read the words in which John Alden tells why he will
  undertake the Captain’s errand. 11. What ideal of friendship had
  he? 12. What do you think of Alden’s description of his friend’s
  character? 13. Read the lines in which Priscilla shows her love of
  truth and loyalty. 14. When does Miles Standish show himself most
  noble? 15. Who is the real hero of this poem? 16. Commit to memory
  lines which seem to you to express the moral truths and the high
  ideals which the poem puts before us. 17. Make a brief outline of
  the story. 18. Pronounce the following: athletic; sinews; memoirs;
  taciturn; aerial; impious; capacious; stalwart; subtle; hearth.


  corselet of steel, 427, 8
  mystical Arabic sentence, 427, 9
  Spanish arcabucero, 428, 7
  Flemish morasses, 428, 9
  brazen howitzer, 428, 25
  irresistible logic, 428, 27
  belligerent Christians, 429, 27
  Iberian village, 430, 23
  grounding his musket, 431, 19
  culling his phrases, 431, 27
  taciturn stripling, 432, 23
  mask his dismay, 432, 25
  aerial cities, 433, 25
  misty phantoms, 434, 8
  swift retribution, 434, 14
  ravenous spindle, 435, 6
  embellish the theme, 437, 10
  dilated with wonder, 437, 14
  apocalyptical splendors, 439, 9
  fields of dulse, 439, 16
  mutable sands, 439, 21
  importunate pleadings, 439, 24
  rattle of cordage, 440, 11
  bondage of error, 440, 18
  congenial gloom, 441, 3
  sacked and demolished, 441, 13
  sound of sinister omen, 441, 22
  hand-grenade, 441, 24
  implacable hatred, 442, 7
  hostile incursions, 442, 12
  choleric Captain, 442, 22
  sinuous way, 444, 7
  serried billows, 444, 20
  dangers that menaced, 445, 1
  lose the tide, 446, 22
  on the thwarts, 447, 2
  divined his intention, 447, 8
  wall adamantine, 447, 14
  grasping a tiller, 448, 5
  heaving the windlass round, 448, 14
  yards were braced, 448, 15
  irresistible impulse, 450, 3
  subterranean rivers, 450, 15
  a more ethereal level, 451; 3
  sacred professions, 451, 16
  urged by importunate zeal, 452, 24
  withheld by remorseful misgivings, 453, 3
  to be flouted, 453, 11
  scabbards of wampum, 454, 11
  trenchant knives, 454, 12
  chaffer for peltries, 454, 15
  sinister meaning, 455, 5
  breaking the glebe, 457, 5
  apprehension of danger, 457, 8
  timber roughhewn, 457, 17
  Alden’s allotment, 457, 24
  led by illusions, 458, 5
  subtle deceptions of fancy, 458, 5
  into an ambush beguiled, 460, 7
  trysting-place, 460, 23
  sanction of earth, 461, 9
  a bodiless spectral illusion, 461, 21
  driving rack, 461, 26
  atoning for error, 462, 10
  azure abysses, 464, 9





Never did a pilgrim approach Niagara with deeper enthusiasm than mine.
I had lingered away from it, and wandered to other scenes, because my
treasury of anticipated enjoyments, comprising all the wonders of the
world, had nothing else so magnificent, and I was loath to exchange the
pleasures of hope for those of memory so soon. At length the day came.
The stage-coach, with a Frenchman and myself on the back seat, had
already left Lewiston, and in less than an hour would set us down in
Manchester. I began to listen for the roar of the cataract, and trembled
with a sensation like dread, as the moment drew nigh, when its voice
of ages must roll, for the first time, on my ear. The French gentleman
stretched himself from the window, and expressed loud admiration, while,
by a sudden impulse, I threw myself back and closed my eyes. When the
scene shut in, I was glad to think, that for me the whole burst of
Niagara was yet in futurity. We rolled on, and entered the village of
Manchester, bordering on the falls.

I am quite ashamed of myself here. Not that I ran like a madman to the
falls, and plunged into the thickest of the spray—never stopping to
breathe, till breathing was impossible; not that I committed this,
or any other suitable extravagance. On the contrary, I alighted with
perfect decency and composure, gave my cloak to the black waiter, pointed
out my baggage, and inquired, not the nearest way to the cataract, but
about the dinner-hour. The interval was spent in arranging my dress.
Within the last fifteen minutes, my mind had grown strangely benumbed,
and my spirits apathetic, with a slight depression, not decided enough
to be termed sadness. My enthusiasm was in a deathlike slumber. Without
aspiring to immortality, as he did, I could have imitated that English
traveler who turned back from the point where he first heard the thunder
of Niagara, after crossing the ocean to behold it. Many a Western trader,
by the by, has performed a similar act of heroism with more heroic
simplicity, deeming it no such wonderful feat to dine at the hotel and
resume his route to Buffalo or Lewiston, while the cataract was roaring

Such has often been my apathy, when objects, long sought, and earnestly
desired, were placed within my reach. After dinner—at which an unwonted
and perverse epicurism detained me longer than usual—I lighted a cigar
and paced the piazza, minutely attentive to the aspect and business of
a very ordinary village. Finally, with reluctant step, and the feeling
of an intruder, I walked toward Goat Island. At the toll-house, there
were further excuses for delaying the inevitable moment. My signature
was required in a huge ledger, containing similar records innumerable,
many of which I read. The skin of a great sturgeon, and other fishes,
beasts, and reptiles; a collection of minerals, such as lie in heaps near
the falls; some Indian moccasins, and other trifles, made of deer-skin
and embroidered with beads; several newspapers, from Montreal, New York,
and Boston—all attracted me in turn. Out of a number of twisted sticks,
the manufacture of a Tuscarora Indian, I selected one of curled maple,
curiously convoluted, and adorned with the carved images of a snake and
a fish. Using this as my pilgrim’s staff, I crossed the bridge. Above
and below me were the rapids, a river of impetuous snow, with here and
there a dark rock amid its whiteness, resisting all the physical fury, as
any cold spirit did the moral influences of the scene. On reaching Goat
Island, which separates the two great segments of the falls, I chose the
right-hand path, and followed it to the edge of the American cascade.
There, while the falling sheet was yet invisible, I saw the vapor that
never vanishes, and the Eternal Rainbow of Niagara.

It was an afternoon of glorious sunshine, without a cloud, save those
of the cataracts. I gained an insulated rock, and beheld a broad sheet
of brilliant and unbroken foam, not shooting in a curved line from the
top of the precipice, but falling headlong down from height to depth. A
narrow stream diverged from the main branch, and hurried over the crag
by a channel of its own, leaving a little pine-clad island and a streak
of precipice between itself and the larger sheet. Below arose the mist,
on which was painted a dazzling sunbow with two concentric shadows—one,
almost as perfect as the original brightness; and the other, drawn
faintly round the broken edge of the cloud.

Still I had not half seen Niagara. Following the verge of the island, the
path led me to the Horseshoe, where the real, broad St. Lawrence, rushing
along on a level with its banks, pours its whole breadth over a concave
line of precipice, and thence pursues its course between lofty crags
toward Ontario. A sort of bridge, two or three feet wide, stretches out
along the edge of the descending sheet, and hangs upon the rising mist,
as if that were the foundation of the frail structure. Here I stationed
myself in the blast of wind, which the rushing river bore along with it.
The bridge was tremulous beneath me, and marked the tremor of the solid
earth. I looked along the whitening rapids, and endeavored to distinguish
a mass of water far above the falls, to follow it to their verge, and go
down with it, in fancy, to the abyss of clouds and storm. Casting my eyes
across the river, and every side, I took in the whole scene at a glance,
and tried to comprehend it in one vast idea. After an hour thus spent, I
left the bridge, and by a stair-case, winding almost interminably round
a post, descended to the base of the precipice. From that point, my path
lay over slippery stones, and among great fragments of the cliff, to the
edge of the cataract, where the wind at once enveloped me in spray, and
perhaps dashed the rainbow round me. Were my long desires fulfilled? And
had I seen Niagara?

Oh, that I had never heard of Niagara till I beheld it! Blessed were the
wanderers of old, who heard its deep roar, sounding through the woods,
as the summons to an unknown wonder, and approached its awful brink, in
all the freshness of native feeling. Had its own mysterious voice been
the first to warn me of its existence, then, indeed, I might have knelt
down and worshiped. But I had come thither, haunted with a vision of foam
and fury, and dizzy cliffs, and an ocean tumbling down out of the sky—a
scene, in short, which nature had too much good taste and calm simplicity
to realize. My mind had struggled to adapt these false conceptions to the
reality, and finding the effort vain, a wretched sense of disappointment
weighed me down. I climbed the precipice, and threw myself on the earth,
feeling that I was unworthy to look at the Great Falls, and careless
about beholding them again.

All that night, as there has been and will be for ages past and to come,
a rushing sound was heard, as if a great tempest were sweeping through
the air. It mingled with my dreams, and made them full of storm and
whirlwind. Whenever I awoke, and heard this dread sound in the air, and
the windows rattling as with a mighty blast, I could not rest again,
till looking forth, I saw how bright the stars were, and that every leaf
in the garden was motionless. Never was a summer night more calm to the
eye, nor a gale of autumn louder to the ear. The rushing sound proceeds
from the rapids, and the rattling of the casements is but an effect of
the vibration of the whole house, shaken by the jar of the cataract. The
noise of the rapids draws the attention from the true voice of Niagara,
which is a dull, muffled thunder, resounding between the cliffs. I spent
a wakeful hour at midnight, in distinguishing its reverberations, and
rejoiced to find that my former awe and enthusiasm were reviving.

Gradually, and after much contemplation, I came to know, by my own
feelings, that Niagara is indeed a wonder of the world, and not the less
wonderful, because time and thought must be employed in comprehending it.
Casting aside all preconceived notions, and preparation to be dire-struck
or delighted, the beholder must stand beside it in the simplicity of his
heart, suffering the mighty scene to work its own impression. Night
after night I dreamed of it, and was gladdened every morning by the
consciousness of a growing capacity to enjoy it. Yet I will not pretend
to the all-absorbing enthusiasm of some more fortunate spectators, nor
deny that very trifling causes would draw my eyes and thoughts from the

The last day that I was to spend at Niagara, before my departure for the
Far West, I sat upon the Table Rock. This celebrated station did not now,
as of old, project fifty feet beyond the line of the precipice, but was
shattered by the fall of an immense fragment, which lay distant on the
shore below. Still, on the utmost verge of the rock, with my feet hanging
over it, I felt as if suspended in the open air. Never before had my mind
been in such perfect unison with the scene. There were intervals when I
was conscious of nothing but the great river, rolling calmly into the
abyss, rather descending than precipitating itself, and acquiring tenfold
majesty from its unhurried motion. It came like the march of Destiny. It
was not taken by surprise, but seemed to have anticipated, in all its
course through the broad lakes, that it must pour their collected waters
down this height. The perfect foam of the river, after its descent, and
the ever-varying shapes of mist, rising up, to become clouds in the
sky, would be the very picture of confusion, were it merely transient,
like the rage of a tempest. But when the beholder has stood awhile, and
perceives no lull in the storm, and considers that the vapor and the foam
are as everlasting as the rocks which produce them, all this turmoil
assumes a sort of calmness. It soothes, while it awes the mind.

Leaning over the cliff, I saw the guide conducting two adventurers behind
the falls. It was pleasant, from that high seat in the sunshine, to
observe them struggling against the eternal storm of the lower regions,
with heads bent down, now faltering, now pressing forward, and finally
swallowed up in their victory. After their disappearance, a blast rushed
out with an old hat, which it had swept from one of their heads. The
rock, to which they were directing their unseen course, is marked, at
a fearful distance on the exterior of the sheet, by a jet of foam. The
attempt to reach it appears both poetical and perilous to a looker-on,
but may be accomplished without much more difficulty or hazard than in
stemming a violent northeaster. In a few moments, forth came the children
of the mist. Dripping and breathless, they crept along the base of the
cliff, ascended to the guide’s cottage, and received, I presume, a
certificate of their achievement, with three verses of sublime poetry on
the back.

My contemplations were often interrupted by strangers who came down
from Forsyth’s to take their first view of the falls. A short, ruddy,
middle-aged gentleman, fresh from Old England, peeped over the rock,
and evinced his approbation by a broad grin. His spouse, a very robust
lady, afforded a sweet example of maternal solicitude, being so intent
on the safety of her little boy that she did not even glance at Niagara.
As for the child, he gave himself wholly to the enjoyment of a stick of
candy. Another traveler, a native American, and no rare character among
us, produced a volume of Captain Hall’s tour, and labored earnestly to
adjust Niagara to the captain’s description, departing, at last, without
one new idea or sensation of his own. The next comer was provided, not
with a printed book, but with a blank sheet of foolscap, from top to
bottom of which, by means of an ever-pointed pencil, the cataract was
made to thunder. In a little talk which we had together, he awarded
his approbation to the general view, but censured the position of Goat
Island, observing that it should have been thrown farther to the right,
so as to widen the American falls, and contract those of the Horseshoe.
Next appeared two traders of Michigan, who declared, that, upon the
whole, the sight was worth looking at; there certainly was an immense
water-power here; but that, after all, they would go twice as far to
see the noble stone-works of Lockport, where the Grand Canal is locked
down a descent of sixty feet. They were succeeded by a young fellow,
in a homespun cotton dress, with a staff in his hand, and a pack over
his shoulders. He advanced close to the edge of the rock, where his
attention, at first wavering among the different components of the scene,
finally became fixed in the angle of the Horseshoe falls, which is indeed
the central point of interest. His whole soul seemed to go forth and be
transported thither, till the staff slipped from his relaxed grasp, and
falling down—down—down—struck upon the fragment of the Table Rock.

In this manner I spent some hours, watching the varied impression made
by the cataract on those who disturbed me, and returning to unwearied
contemplation, when left alone. At length my time came to depart. There
is a grassy footpath through the woods, along the summit of the bank,
to a point whence a cause-way, hewn in the side of the precipice, goes
winding down to the Ferry, about half a mile below the Table Rock. The
sun was near setting, when I emerged from the shadow of the trees, and
began the descent. The indirectness of my downward road continually
changed the point of view, and showed me, in rich and repeated
succession, now, the whitening rapids and majestic leap of the main
river, which appeared more deeply massive as the light departed; now,
the lovelier picture, yet still sublime, of Goat Island, with its rocks
and grove, and the lesser falls, tumbling over the right bank of the St.
Lawrence, like a tributary stream; now, the long vista of the river, as
it eddied and whirled between the cliffs, to pass through Ontario toward
the sea, and everywhere to be wondered at, for this one unrivaled scene.
The golden sunshine tinged the sheet of the American cascade, and painted
on its heaving spray the broken semi-circle of a rainbow, heaven’s own
beauty crowning earth’s sublimity. My steps were slow, and I paused long
at every turn of the descent, as one lingers and pauses who discerns a
brighter and brightening excellence in what he must soon behold no more.
The solitude of the old wilderness now reigned over the whole vicinity of
the falls. My enjoyment became the more rapturous, because no poet shared
it, nor wretch devoid of poetry profaned it; but the spot so famous
through the world was all my own!


  For Biography, see page 348.

  =Discussion.= 1. Why was Hawthorne at first disappointed in Niagara?
  2. How did he finally come to know that it is one of the world’s
  wonders? 3. What feelings did Niagara produce in Hawthorne? 4. What
  effect on the reader did he seek to produce? 5. What does Hawthorne
  say is necessary in order to appreciate nature? 6. Account for
  the fact that Niagara grew on Hawthorne. 7. What comments of other
  observers does Hawthorne give? 8. What do you think determines the
  kind of response an observer gives to a wonderful scene in nature,
  such as Niagara? 9. Pronounce the following: loath; heroism; route;
  unwonted; minutely; reptiles; tremor; abyss; tour; idea.


  anticipated enjoyments, 466, 3
  suitable extravagance, 467, 1
  perverse epicurism, 467, 18
  impetuous snow, 467, 34
  Eternal Rainbow, 468, 3
  insulated rock, 468, 6
  abyss of clouds, 468, 28
  native feeling, 469, 4
  tributary stream, 472, 21
  eddied and whirled, 472, 22
  unrivaled scene, 472, 23
  brightening excellence, 472, 25



For a perfect journey God gave us a perfect day. The little Ocklawaha
steamboat Marion had started on her voyage some hours before daylight.
She had taken on her passengers the night previous. By seven o’clock on
such a May morning as no words could describe we had made twenty-five
miles up the St. Johns. At this point the Ocklawaha flows into the St.
Johns, one hundred miles above Jacksonville.

Presently we abandoned the broad highway of the St. Johns, and turned off
to the right into the narrow lane of the Ocklawaha. This is the sweetest
water-lane in the world, a lane which runs for more than one hundred and
fifty miles of pure delight betwixt hedge-rows of oaks and cypresses and
palms and magnolias and mosses and vines; a lane clean to travel, for
there is never a speck of dust in it save the blue dust and gold dust
which the wind blows out of the flags and lilies.

As we advanced up the stream our wee craft seemed to emit her steam
in leisurely whiffs, as one puffs one’s cigar in a contemplative walk
through the forest. Dick, the pole-man, lay asleep on the guards, in
great peril of rolling into the river over the three inches between his
length and the edge; the people of the boat moved not, and spoke not;
the white crane, the curlew, the heron, the water-turkey, were scarcely
disturbed in their quiet avocations as we passed, and quickly succeeded
in persuading themselves after each momentary excitement of our gliding
by, that we were really no monster, but only some day-dream of a monster.

“Look at that snake in the water!” said a gentleman, as we sat on deck
with the engineer, just come up from his watch.

The engineer smiled. “Sir, it is a water-turkey,” he said, gently.

The water-turkey is the most preposterous bird within the range of
ornithology. He is not a bird; he is a neck with such subordinate rights,
members, belongings, and heirlooms as seem necessary to that end. He has
just enough stomach to arrange nourishment for his neck, just enough
wings to fly painfully along with his neck, and just big enough legs to
keep his neck from dragging on the ground; and his neck is light-colored,
while the rest of him is black. When he saw us he jumped up on a limb and
stared. Then suddenly he dropped into the water, sank like a leaden ball
out of sight, and made us think he was drowned. Presently the tip of his
beak appeared, then the length of his neck lay along the surface of the
water. In this position, with his body submerged, he shot out his neck,
drew it back, wriggled it, twisted it, twiddled it, and poked it spirally
into the east, the west, the north, and the south, round and round with a
violence and energy that made one think in the same breath of corkscrews
and of lightnings. But what nonsense! All that labor and perilous
contortion for a beggarly sprat or a couple of inches of water-snake.

Some twenty miles from the mouth of the Ocklawaha, at the right-hand edge
of the stream, is the handsomest residence in America. It belongs to a
certain alligator of my acquaintance, a very honest and worthy reptile
of good repute. A little cove of water, dark-green under the overhanging
leaves, placid and clear, curves round at the river edge into the flags
and lilies, with a curve just heart-breaking for its pure beauty. This
house of the alligator is divided into apartments, little bays which
are scalloped out by the lily-pads, according to the winding fancies
of their growth. My reptile, when he desires to sleep, has but to lie
down anywhere; he will find marvelous mosses for his mattress beneath
him; his sheets will be white lily-petals; and the green disks of the
lily-pads will straightway embroider themselves together above him for
his coverlet. He never quarrels with his cook, he is not the slave of a
kitchen, and his one house-maid—the stream—forever sweeps his chambers
clean. His conservatories there under the glass of that water are ever,
without labor, filled with the enchantments of under-water growths.

His parks and his pleasure-grounds are larger than any king’s. Upon my
saurian’s house the winds have no power, the rains are only a new delight
to him, and the snows he will never see. Regarding fire, as he does not
use it as a slave, so he does not fear it as a tyrant.

Thus all the elements are the friends of my alligator’s house. While he
sleeps he is being bathed. What glory to awake sweetened and freshened by
the sole, careless act of sleep!

Lastly, my saurian has unnumbered mansions, and can change his dwelling
as no human house-holder may; it is but a flip of his tail, and lo! he is
established in another place as good as the last, ready furnished to his

On and on up the river! We find it a river without banks. The swift, deep
current meanders between tall lines of trees; beyond these, on either
side, there is water also—a thousand shallow rivulets lapsing past the
bases of a multitude of trees.

Along the edges of the stream every tree-trunk, sapling, and stump is
wrapped about with a close-growing vine. The edges of the stream are also
defined by flowers and water-leaves. The tall blue flags, the lilies
sitting on their round lily-pads like white queens on green thrones, the
tiny stars and long ribbons of the water-grasses—all these border the
river in an infinite variety of adornment.

And now, after this day of glory, came a night of glory. Deep down in
these shaded lanes it was dark indeed as the night drew on. The stream
which had been all day a girdle of beauty, blue or green, now became a
black band of mystery.

But presently a brilliant flame flares out overhead: They have lighted
the pine-knots on top of the pilot-house. The fire advances up these dark
windings like a brilliant god.

The startled birds suddenly flutter into the light and after an instant
of illuminated flight melt into the darkness. From the perfect silence of
these short flights one derives a certain sense of awe.

Now there is a mighty crack and crash: limbs and leaves scrape and scrub
along the deck; a little bell tinkles; we stop. In turning a short curve,
the boat has run her nose smack into the right bank, and a projecting
stump has thrust itself sheer through the starboard side. Out, Dick! Out,
Henry! Dick and Henry shuffle forward to the bow, thrust forth their long
white pole against a tree-trunk, strain and push and bend to the deck as
if they were salaaming the god of night and adversity. Our bow slowly
rounds into the stream, the wheel turns and we puff quietly along.

And now it is bed-time. Let me tell you how to sleep on an Ocklawaha
steamer in May. With a small bribe persuade Jim, the steward, to take the
mattress out of your berth and lay it slanting just along the railing
that encloses the lower part of the deck in front and to the left of
the pilot-house. Lie flat on your back down on the mattress, draw your
blanket over you, put your cap on your head, on account of the night air,
fold your arms, say some little prayer or other, and fall asleep with a
star looking right down on your eye. When you wake in the morning you
will feel as new as Adam.


  =Biography.= Sidney Lanier (1842-1881) was a native of Georgia. When
  a mere lad, just out of college, he entered the Confederate army
  and faithfully devoted the most precious years of his life to that
  service. While in a military prison he contracted the dread “White
  Plague,” and during his few remaining years he struggled constantly
  with disease and poverty. He was a talented musician and often found
  it necessary to supplement the earnings of his pen by playing in an
  orchestra. His thorough knowledge and fine sense of music also appear
  in his masterly treatise on the “Science of English Verse.” During
  his last years he held a lectureship on English Literature in Johns
  Hopkins University, at Baltimore. He has often been compared with Poe
  in the exquisite melody of his verse, while in unaffected simplicity
  and in truthfulness to nature he is not surpassed by Bryant or
  Whittier. His prose as well as his poetry breathes the very spirit of
  his sunny southland. In the “Song of the Chattahoochee”, “The Marshes
  of Glynn,” and “On a Florida River,” one scents the balsam of the
  Georgia pines among which he lived, and the odor of magnolia groves,
  jessamine, and wild honey-suckle.

  =Discussion.= 1. From this selection what do you think of the
  author’s power of description? 2. Mention instances in which he makes
  use of humor to add to his descriptive power. 3. Quote his words
  describing the Ocklawaha. 4. What does the author mean by saying,
  “We find it a river without banks”? 5. In your own words, give a
  description of the alligator’s home. 6. Make a list of things Lanier
  saw on this trip that he would not see on a trip down a river in
  New England. 7. What gives melody to this piece of prose? 8. What
  comparison do you find in lines 31 and 32, page 475? 9. Point out
  some examples of alliteration; for what purpose does the author use
  alliteration? 10. Pronounce the following: palms; leisurely; infinite.


  quiet avocations, 474, 5
  day-dream of a monster, 474, 8
  subordinate rights, 474, 15
  perilous contortion, 474, 29
  reptile of good repute, 474, 34
  infinite variety, 475, 32
  girdle of beauty, 475, 36
  band of mystery, 475, 37
  brilliant flame flares, 476, 1
  sense of awe, 476, 6



  I sigh for the land of the cypress and pine;
  Where the jessamine blooms, and the gay woodbine;
  Where the moss droops low from the green oak tree—
  Oh, that sun-bright land is the land for me!

  The snowy flower of the orange there
  Sheds its sweet fragrance through the air;
  And the Indian rose delights to twine
  Its branches with the laughing vine.

  There the deer leaps light through the open glade,
  Or hides him far in the forest shade,
  When the woods resound in the dewy morn
  With the clang of the merry hunter’s horn.

  There the humming-bird, of rainbow plume,
  Hangs over the scarlet creeper’s bloom;
  While ’midst the leaves his varying dyes
  Sparkle like half-seen fairy eyes.

  There the echoes ring through the livelong day
  With the mock-bird’s changeful roundelay;
  And at night, when the scene is calm and still,
  With the moan of the plaintive whip-poor-will.

  Oh! I sigh for the land of the cypress and pine,
  Of the laurel, the rose, and the gay woodbine,
  Where the long, gray moss decks the rugged oak tree,—
  That sun-bright land is the land for me.


  =Biography.= Samuel Henry Dickson (1798-1872) was born in
  Charleston, South Carolina. He was graduated at Yale College in
  1814, and afterward took a course in medicine at the University of
  Pennsylvania. Dr. Dickson was professor of medicine successively
  at the medical school at Charleston, at the University of the City
  of New York, and at Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia. He
  wrote several books on medicine. His love for his native sun-bright
  southland is beautifully expressed, in this poem.

  =Discussion.= 1. What part of the country does the poet mean when he
  refers to the “land of Cyprus and pine”? 2. Mention the beautiful
  things named in the first stanza which characterize this land. 3.
  Have you ever seen the moss “which droops low from the green oak
  tree”? Where? 4. What birds does the poet mention in this selection?
  5. Do you think these birds would be found in the woods of Maine
  or Wisconsin? 6. Note the changes of the time of day throughout
  the poem. In which stanza is the “morn” spoken of? The “livelong
  day”? The night? 7. Have you ever heard “the moan of the plaintive
  whip-poor-will”? 8. Do you think the poet was right in calling its
  note a “moan”? Do you know how this bird got its name? 9. Does the
  poet convince you that this is a land worth sighing for?



  A pleasing land of drowsy head it was,
  Of dreams that wave before the half-shut eye;
  And of gay castles in the clouds that pass,
  Forever flushing round a summer sky.

                                      —CASTLE OF INDOLENCE.


In the bosom of one of those spacious coves which indent the eastern
shore of the Hudson, at that broad expansion of the river denominated
by the ancient Dutch navigators the Tappan Zee, and where they always
prudently shortened sail, and implored the protection of St. Nicholas
when they crossed, there lies a small market-town or rural port, which
by some is called Greensburgh, but which is more generally and properly
known by the name of Tarry Town. This name was given, we are told, in
former days, by the good housewives of the adjacent country, from the
inveterate propensity of their husbands to linger about the village
tavern on market days. Be that as it may, I do not vouch for the fact,
but merely advert to it, for the sake of being precise and authentic.
Not far from this village, perhaps about two miles, there is a little
valley, or rather lap of land, among high hills, which is one of the
quietest places in the whole world. A small brook glides through it, with
just murmur enough to lull one to repose; and the occasional whistle of
a quail, or tapping of a woodpecker, is almost the only sound that ever
breaks in upon the uniform tranquillity.

I recollect that, when a stripling, my first exploit in squirrel-shooting
was in a grove of tall walnut trees that shades one side of the valley. I
had wandered into it at noon time, when all nature is peculiarly quiet,
and was startled by the roar of my own gun, as it broke the Sabbath
stillness around, and was prolonged and reverberated by the angry echoes.
If ever I should wish for a retreat, whither I might steal from the
world and its distractions, and dream quietly away the remnant of a
troubled life, I know of none more promising than this little valley.

From the listless repose of the place, and the peculiar character of
its inhabitants, who are descendants from the original Dutch settlers,
this sequestered glen has long been known by the name of Sleepy Hollow,
and its rustic lads are called the Sleepy Hollow Boys throughout all
the neighboring country. A drowsy, dreamy influence seems to hang over
the land, and to pervade the very atmosphere. Some say that the place
was bewitched by a high German doctor, during the early days of the
settlement; others, that an old Indian chief, the prophet or wizard of
his tribe, held his pow-wows there before the country was discovered by
Master Hendrick Hudson. Certain it is, the place still continues under
the sway of some witching power, that holds a spell over the minds of the
good people, causing them to walk in a continual reverie. They are given
to all kinds of marvelous beliefs; are subject to trances and visions;
and frequently see strange sights, and hear music and voices in the air.
The whole neighborhood abounds with local tales, haunted spots, and
twilight superstitions; stars shoot and meteors glare oftener across the
valley than in any other part of the country, and the nightmare, with her
whole nine fold, seems to make it the favorite scene of her gambols.

The dominant spirit, however, that haunts this enchanted region, and
seems to be commander-in-chief of all the powers of the air, is the
apparition of a figure on horseback without a head. It is said by some
to be the ghost of a Hessian trooper, whose head had been carried away
by a cannon-ball, in some nameless battle during the Revolutionary war;
and who is ever and anon seen by the country folk, hurrying along in
the gloom of night, as if on the wings of the wind. His haunts are not
confined to the valley, but extend at times to the adjacent roads, and
especially to the vicinity of a church at no great distance. Indeed,
certain of the most authentic historians of those parts, who have been
careful in collecting and collating the floating facts concerning this
specter, allege that the body of the trooper having been buried in the
churchyard, the ghost rides forth to the scene of battle in nightly
quest of his head; and that the rushing speed with which he sometimes
passes along the Hollow, like a midnight blast, is owing to his being
belated, and in a hurry to get back to the churchyard before daybreak.

Such is the general purport of this legendary superstition, which has
furnished materials for many a wild story in that region of shadows; and
the specter is known, at all the country firesides, by the name of the
Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow.

It is remarkable that the visionary propensity I have mentioned is not
confined to the native inhabitants of the valley, but is unconsciously
imbibed by every one who resides there for a time. However wide awake
they may have been before they entered that sleepy region, they are sure,
in a little time, to inhale the witching influence of the air, and begin
to grow imaginative—to dream dreams, and see apparitions.

I mention this peaceful spot with all possible laud; for it is in such
little retired Dutch valleys, found here and there embosomed in the great
State of New York, that population, manners, and customs remain fixed;
while the great torrent of migration and improvement, which is making
such incessant changes in other parts of this restless country, sweeps by
them unobserved. They are like those little nooks of still water which
border a rapid stream; where we may see the straw and bubble riding
quietly at anchor, or slowly revolving in their mimic harbor, undisturbed
by the rush of the passing current. Though many years have elapsed since
I trod the drowsy shades of Sleepy Hollow, yet I question whether I
should not still find the same trees and the same families vegetating in
its sheltered bosom.


In this by-place of nature, there abode, in a remote period of American
history, that is to say, some thirty years since, a worthy wight of
the name of Ichabod Crane; who sojourned, or, as he expressed it,
“tarried,” in Sleepy Hollow, for the purpose of instructing the children
of the vicinity. He was a native of Connecticut, a State which supplies
the Union with pioneers for the mind as well as for the forest, and
sends forth yearly its legions of frontier woodsmen and country
school-masters. The cognomen of Crane was not inapplicable to his person.
He was tall, but exceedingly lank, with narrow shoulders, long arms and
legs, hands that dangled a mile out of his sleeves, feet that might have
served for shovels, and his whole frame most loosely hung together. His
head was small, and flat at top, with huge ears, large green glassy eyes,
and a long snipe nose, so that it looked like a weather-cock, perched
upon his spindle neck, to tell which way the wind blew. To see him
striding along the profile of a hill on a windy day, with his clothes
bagging and fluttering about him, one might have mistaken him for the
genius of famine descending upon the earth, or some scarecrow eloped from
a cornfield.

His schoolhouse was a low building of one large room, rudely constructed
of logs; the windows partly glazed, and partly patched with leaves of
old copy-books. It was most ingeniously secured at vacant hours, by a
withe twisted in the handle of the door, and stakes set against the
window shutters; so that, though a thief might get in with perfect ease,
he would find some embarrassment in getting out; an idea most probably
borrowed by the architect, Yost Van Houten, from the mystery of an
eel-pot. The schoolhouse stood in a rather lonely but pleasant situation,
just at the foot of a woody hill, with a brook running close by, and a
formidable birch tree growing at one end of it. From hence the low murmur
of his pupils’ voices, conning over their lessons, might be heard in a
drowsy summer’s day, like the hum of a bee-hive; interrupted now and
then by the authoritative voice of the master, in the tone of menace or
command; or, peradventure, by the appalling sound of the birch, as he
urged some tardy loiterer along the flowery path of knowledge. Truth to
say, he was a conscientious man, and ever bore in mind the golden maxim,
“Spare the rod and spoil the child.”—Ichabod Crane’s scholars certainly
were not spoiled.

I would not have it imagined, however, that he was one of those cruel
potentates of the school, who joy in the smart of their subjects; on
the contrary, he administered justice with discrimination rather than
severity, taking the burthen off the backs of the weak and laying it on
those of the strong. Your mere puny stripling, that winced at the least
flourish of the rod, was passed by with indulgence; but the claims of
justice were satisfied by inflicting a double portion on some little,
tough, wrong-headed, broad-skirted Dutch urchin, who sulked and swelled
and grew dogged and sullen beneath the birch. All this he called “doing
his duty by their parents” and he never inflicted a chastisement without
following it by the assurance, so consolatory to the smarting urchin,
that “he would remember it, and thank him for it the longest day he had
to live.”

When school hours were over, he was even the companion and playmate
of the larger boys; and on holiday afternoons would convoy some of
the smaller ones home, who happened to have pretty sisters, or good
housewives for mothers, noted for the comforts of the cupboard. Indeed it
behooved him to keep on good terms with his pupils. The revenue arising
from his school was small, and would have been scarcely sufficient to
furnish him with daily bread, for he was a huge feeder, and, though
lank, had the dilating powers of an anaconda; but to help out his
maintenance, he was, according to country custom in those parts, boarded
and lodged at the houses of the farmers whose children he instructed.
With these he lived successively a week at a time; thus going the rounds
of the neighborhood, with all his worldly effects tied up in a cotton

That all this might not be too onerous on the purses of his rustic
patrons, who are apt to consider the costs of schooling a grievous
burden, and schoolmasters as mere drones, he had various ways of
rendering himself both useful and agreeable. He assisted the farmers
occasionally in the lighter labors of their farms; helped to make hay;
mended the fences; took the horses to water; drove the cows from pasture;
and cut wood for the winter fire. He laid aside, too, all the dominant
dignity and absolute sway with which he lorded it in his little empire,
the school, and became wonderfully gentle and ingratiating. He found
favor in the eyes of the mothers, by petting the children, particularly
the youngest; and like the lion bold, which whilom so magnanimously the
lamb did hold, he would sit with a child on one knee, and rock a cradle
with his foot for whole hours together.

In addition to his other vocations, he was the singing-master of the
neighborhood, and picked up many bright shillings by instructing the
young folks in psalmody. It was a matter of no little vanity to him, on
Sundays, to take his station in front of the church gallery, with a band
of chosen singers; where, in his own mind, he completely carried away the
palm from the parson. Certain it is, his voice resounded far above all
the rest of the congregation; and there are peculiar quavers still to be
heard in that church, and which may even be heard half a mile off, quite
to the opposite side of the mill-pond, on a still Sunday morning, which
are said to be legitimately descended from the nose of Ichabod Crane.
Thus, by divers little makeshifts in that ingenious way which is commonly
denominated “by hook and by crook,” the worthy pedagogue got on tolerably
enough, and was thought, by all who understood nothing of the labor of
headwork, to have a wonderfully easy life of it.

The schoolmaster is generally a man of some importance in the female
circle of a rural neighborhood, being considered a kind of idle
gentlemanlike personage, of vastly superior taste and accomplishments to
the rough country swains, and, indeed, inferior in learning only to the
parson. His appearance, therefore, is apt to occasion some little stir at
the tea table of a farmhouse, and the addition of a supernumerary dish
of cakes or sweetmeats, or, peradventure, the parade of a silver teapot.
Our man of letters, therefore, was peculiarly happy in the smiles of all
the country damsels. How he would figure among them in the churchyard,
between services on Sundays! gathering grapes for them from the wild
vines that overran the surrounding trees; reciting for their amusement
all the epitaphs on the tombstones; or sauntering, with a whole bevy of
them, along the banks of the adjacent mill-pond; while the more bashful
country bumpkins hung sheepishly back, envying his superior elegance and

From his half itinerant life, also, he was a kind of traveling gazette,
carrying the whole budget of local gossip from house to house; so that
his appearance was always greeted with satisfaction. He was, moreover,
esteemed by the women as a man of great erudition, for he had read
several books quite through, and was a perfect master of Cotton Mather’s
history of New England Witchcraft, in which, by the way, he most firmly
and potently believed.

He was, in fact, an odd mixture of small shrewdness and simple credulity.
His appetite for the marvelous, and his powers of digesting it, were
equally extraordinary; and both had been increased by his residence
in this spellbound region. No tale was too gross or monstrous for his
capacious swallow. It was often his delight, after his school was
dismissed in the afternoon, to stretch himself on the rich bed of
clover, bordering the little brook that whimpered by his schoolhouse,
and there con over old Mather’s direful tales, until the gathering dusk
of the evening made the printed page a mere mist before his eyes. Then,
as he wended his way, by swamp and stream and awful woodland, to the
farmhouse where he happened to be quartered, every sound of nature,
at that witching hour, fluttered his excited imagination: the moan of
the whippoorwill from the hill-side; the boding cry of the tree-toad,
that harbinger of storm; the dreary hooting of the screech-owl, or the
sudden rustling in the thicket of birds frightened from their roost. The
fire-flies, too, which sparkled most vividly in the darkest places, now
and then startled him, as one of uncommon brightness would stream across
his path; and if, by chance, a huge blockhead of a beetle came winging
his blundering flight against him, the poor varlet was ready to give up
the ghost, with the idea that he was struck with a witch’s token. His
only resource on such occasions, either to drown thought, or drive away
evil spirits, was to sing psalm tunes; and the good people of Sleepy
Hollow, as they sat by their doors of an evening, were often filled with
awe, at hearing his nasal melody, “in linked sweetness long drawn out,”
floating from the distant hill, or along the dusky road.

Another of his sources of fearful pleasure was to pass long winter
evenings with the old Dutch wives, as they sat spinning by the fire, with
a row of apples roasting and spluttering along the hearth, and listen
to their marvelous tales of ghosts and goblins, and haunted fields, and
haunted brooks, and haunted bridges, and haunted houses, and particularly
of the headless horseman, or galloping Hessian of the Hollow, as they
sometimes called him. He would delight them equally by his anecdotes of
witchcraft, and of the direful omens and portentous sights and sounds in
the air, which prevailed in the earlier times of Connecticut; and would
frighten them woefully with speculations upon comets and shooting stars;
and with the alarming fact that the world did absolutely turn round, and
that they were half the time topsy-turvy!

But if there was a pleasure in all this, while snugly cuddling in the
chimney corner of a chamber that was all of a ruddy glow from the
crackling wood fire, and where, of course, no specter dared to show his
face, it was dearly purchased by the terrors of his subsequent walk
homewards. What fearful shapes and shadows beset his path amidst the dim
and ghastly glare of a snowy night!—With what wistful look did he eye
every trembling ray of light streaming across the waste fields from some
distant window!—How often was he appalled by some shrub covered with
snow, which, like a sheeted specter, beset his very path!—How often did
he shrink with curdling awe at the sound of his own steps on the frosty
crust beneath his feet; and dread to look over his shoulder, lest he
should behold some uncouth being tramping close behind him!—and how often
was he thrown into complete dismay by some rushing blast, howling among
the trees, in the idea that it was the Galloping Hessian on one of his
nightly scourings!

All these, however, were mere terrors of the night, phantoms of the
mind that walk in darkness; and though he had seen many specters in his
time, and been more than once beset by Satan in divers shapes, in his
lonely perambulations, yet daylight put an end to all these evils; and
he would have passed a pleasant life of it, in despite of the devil and
all his works, if his path had not been crossed by a being that causes
more perplexity to mortal man than ghosts, goblins, and the whole race of
witches put together, and that was—a woman.

Among the musical disciples who assembled, one evening in each week,
to receive his instructions in psalmody, was Katrina Van Tassel, the
daughter and only child of a substantial Dutch farmer. She was a
blooming lass of fresh eighteen; plump as a partridge; ripe and melting
and rosy cheeked as one of her father’s peaches; and universally famed,
not merely for her beauty, but her vast expectations. She was withal a
little of a coquette, as might be perceived even in her dress, which
was a mixture of ancient and modern fashions, as most suited to set
off her charms. She wore the ornaments of pure yellow gold, which her
great-great-grandmother had brought over from Saardam; the tempting
stomacher of the olden time; and withal a provokingly short petticoat, to
display the prettiest foot and ankle in the country round.

Ichabod Crane had a soft and foolish heart toward the sex; and it is
not to be wondered at that so tempting a morsel soon found favor in his
eyes, more especially after he had visited her in her paternal mansion.
Old Baltus Van Tassel was a perfect picture of a thriving, contented,
liberal-hearted farmer. He seldom, it is true, sent either his eyes or
his thoughts beyond the boundaries of his own farm; but within those
every thing was snug, happy, and well-conditioned. He was satisfied with
his wealth, but not proud of it; and piqued himself upon the hearty
abundance, rather than the style in which he lived. His stronghold was
situated on the banks of the Hudson, in one of those green, sheltered,
fertile nooks, in which the Dutch farmers are so fond of nestling. A
great elm-tree spread its broad branches over it; at the foot of which
bubbled up a spring of the softest and sweetest water, in a little
well, formed of a barrel; and then stole sparkling away through the
grass, to a neighboring brook, that bubbled along among alders and
dwarf willows. Hard by the farmhouse was a vast barn, that might have
served for a church; every window and crevice of which seemed bursting
forth with the treasures of the farm; the flail was busily resounding
within it from morning to night; swallows and martins skimmed twittering
about the eaves; and rows of pigeons, some with one eye turned up, as
if watching the weather, some with their heads under their wings or
buried in their bosoms, and others swelling, and cooing, and bowing
about their dames, were enjoying the sunshine on the roof. Sleek
unwieldy porkers were grunting in the repose and abundance of their
pens, whence sallied forth, now and then, troops of sucking pigs, as if
to snuff the air. A stately squadron of snowy geese were riding in an
adjoining pond, convoying whole fleets of ducks; regiments of turkeys
were gobbling through the farmyard, and guinea fowls fretting about it,
like ill-tempered housewives, with their peevish discontented cry. Before
the barn door strutted the gallant cock, that pattern of a husband, a
warrior, and a fine gentleman, clapping his burnished wings, and crowing
in the pride and gladness of his heart—sometimes tearing up the earth
with his feet, and then generously calling his ever-hungry family of
wives and children to enjoy the rich morsel which he had discovered.

The pedagogue’s mouth watered, as he looked upon this sumptuous promise
of luxurious winter fare. In his devouring mind’s eye he pictured to
himself every roasting-pig running about with a pudding in his belly,
and an apple in his mouth; the pigeons were snugly put to bed in a
comfortable pie, and tucked in with a coverlet of crust; the geese were
swimming in their own gravy; and the ducks pairing cozily in dishes,
like snug married couples, with a decent competency of onion sauce. In
the porkers he saw carved out the future sleek side of bacon, and juicy
relishing ham; not a turkey but he beheld daintily trussed up, with its
gizzard under its wing, and peradventure, a necklace of savory sausages;
and even bright chanticleer himself lay sprawling on his back, in a
side-dish, with uplifted claws, as if craving that quarter which his
chivalrous spirit disdained to ask while living.

As the enraptured Ichabod fancied all this, and as he rolled his great
green eyes over the fat meadow-lands, the rich fields of wheat, of rye,
of buckwheat, and Indian corn, and the orchards burthened with ruddy
fruit which surrounded the warm tenement of Van Tassel, his heart yearned
after the damsel who was to inherit these domains, and his imagination
expanded with the idea, how they might be readily turned into cash, and
the money invested in immense tracts of wild land, and shingle palaces
in the wilderness. Nay, his busy fancy already realized his hopes, and
presented to him the blooming Katrina, with a whole family of children,
mounted on the top of a wagon loaded with household trumpery, with pots
and kettles dangling beneath; and he beheld himself bestriding a pacing
mare, with a colt at her heels, setting out for Kentucky, Tennessee, or
the Lord knows where.

When he entered the house the conquest of his heart was complete. It was
one of those spacious farmhouses, with high-ridged, but lowly-sloping
roofs, built in the style handed down from the first Dutch settlers;
the low projecting eaves forming a piazza along the front, capable of
being closed up in bad weather. Under this were hung flails, harness,
various utensils of husbandry, and nets for fishing in the neighboring
river. Benches were built along the sides for summer use; and a great
spinning-wheel at one end, and a churn at the other, showed the various
uses to which this important porch might be devoted. From this piazza
the wondering Ichabod entered the hall, which formed the center of the
mansion and the place of usual residence. Here rows of resplendent
pewter, ranged on a long dresser, dazzled his eyes. In one corner
stood a huge bag of wool ready to be spun; in another a quantity of
linsey-woolsey just from the loom; ears of Indian corn, and strings of
dried apples and peaches, hung in gay festoons along the walls, mingled
with the gaud of red peppers; and a door left ajar gave him a peep
into the best parlor, where the claw-footed chairs and dark mahogany
tables shone like mirrors; and irons, with their accompanying shovel and
tongs, glistened from their covert of asparagus tops; mock-oranges and
conch-shells decorated the mantelpiece; strings of various colored birds’
eggs were suspended above it; a great ostrich egg was hung from the
center of the room; and a corner cupboard, knowingly left open, displayed
immense treasures of old silver and well-mended china.

From the moment Ichabod laid his eyes upon these regions of delight the
peace of his mind was at an end, and his only study was how to gain the
affections of the peerless daughter of Van Tassel. In this enterprise,
however, he had more real difficulties than generally fell to the lot of
a knight-errant of yore, who seldom had anything but giants, enchanters,
fiery dragons, and such like easily-conquered adversaries, to contend
with; and had to make his way merely through gates of iron and brass,
and walls of adamant, to the castle keep, where the lady of his heart
was confined, all which he achieved as easily as a man would carve his
way to the center of a Christmas pie; and then the lady gave him her
hand as a matter of course. Ichabod, on the contrary, had to win his way
to the heart of a country coquette, beset with a labyrinth of whims and
caprices, which were forever presenting new difficulties and impediments;
and he had to encounter a host of fearful adversaries of real flesh and
blood, the numerous rustic admirers, who beset every portal to her heart;
keeping a watchful and angry eye upon each other, but ready to fly out in
the common cause against any new competitor.


Among these the most formidable was a burly, roaring, roystering blade,
of the name of Abraham, or, according to the Dutch abbreviation, Brom
Van Brunt, the hero of the country round, which rang with his feats of
strength and hardihood. He was broad-shouldered and double-jointed, with
short curly black hair, and a bluff but not unpleasant countenance,
having a mingled air of fun and arrogance. From his Herculean frame and
great powers of limb, he had received the nickname of BROM BONES, by
which he was universally known. He was famed for great knowledge and
skill in horsemanship, being as dexterous on horseback as a Tartar. He
was foremost at all races and cock-fights; and, with the ascendency
which bodily strength acquires in rustic life, was the umpire in all
disputes, setting his hat on one side, and giving his decisions with
an air and tone admitting of no gainsay or appeal. He was always ready
for either a fight or a frolic; but had more mischief than ill-will in
his composition; and, with all his overbearing roughness, there was a
strong dash of waggish good humor at bottom. He had three or four boon
companions, who regarded him as their model, and at the head of whom he
scoured the country, attending every scene of feud or merriment for miles
round. In cold weather he was distinguished by a fur cap, surmounted
with a flaunting fox’s tail; and when the folks at a country gathering
descried this well-known crest at a distance, whisking about among a
squad of hard riders, they always stood by for a squall. Sometimes
his crew would be heard dashing along past the farmhouses at midnight,
with whoop and halloo, like a troop of Don Cossacks; and the old
dames, startled out of their sleep, would listen for a moment till the
hurry-scurry had clattered by, and then exclaim, “Ay, there goes Brom
Bones and his gang!” The neighbors looked upon him with a mixture of awe,
admiration, and good will; and when any madcap prank or rustic brawl
occurred in the vicinity, always shook their heads, and warranted Brom
Bones was at the bottom of it.

This rantipole hero had for some time singled out the blooming Katrina
for the object of his uncouth gallantries, and though his amorous toyings
were something like the gentle caresses and endearments of a bear, yet it
was whispered that she did not altogether discourage his hopes. Certain
it is, his advances were signals for rival candidates to retire, who
felt no inclination to cross a lion in his amours; insomuch, that when
his horse was seen tied to Van Tassel’s paling, on a Sunday night, a
sure sign that his master was courting, or, as it is termed, “sparking,”
within, all other suitors passed by in despair, and carried the war into
other quarters.

Such was the formidable rival with whom Ichabod Crane had to contend,
and, considering all things, a stouter man than he would have shrunk from
the competition, and a wiser man would have despaired. He had, however,
a happy mixture of pliability and perseverance in his nature; he was in
form and spirit like a supple-jack—yielding, but tough; though he bent,
he never broke; and though he bowed beneath the slightest pressure, yet,
the moment it was away—jerk! he was as erect, and carried his head as
high as ever.

To have taken the field openly against his rival would have been madness;
for he was not a man to be thwarted in his amours, any more than that
stormy lover, Achilles. Ichabod, therefore, made his advances in a
quiet and gently-insinuating manner. Under cover of his character of
singing-master, he made frequent visits at the farmhouse; not that he had
anything to apprehend from the meddlesome interference of parents, which
is so often a stumbling-block in the path of lovers. Balt Van Tassel was
an easy, indulgent soul; he loved his daughter better even than his
pipe, and, like a reasonable man and an excellent father, let her have
her way in everything. His notable little wife, too, had enough to do to
attend to her housekeeping and manage her poultry; for, as she sagely
observed, ducks and geese are foolish things, and must be looked after,
but girls can take care of themselves. Thus while the busy dame bustled
about the house, or plied her spinning-wheel at one end of the piazza,
honest Balt would sit smoking his evening pipe at the other, watching the
achievements of a little wooden warrior, who, armed with a sword in each
hand, was most valiantly fighting the wind on the pinnacle of the barn.
In the meantime, Ichabod would carry on his suit with the daughter by
the side of the spring under the great elm, or sauntering along in the
twilight, that hour so favorable to the lover’s eloquence.

I profess not to know how women’s hearts are wooed and won. To me they
have always been matters of riddle and admiration. Some seem to have but
one vulnerable point, or door of access; while others have a thousand
avenues, and may be captured in a thousand different ways. It is a
great triumph of skill to gain the former, but a still greater proof of
generalship to maintain possession of the latter, for the man must battle
for his fortress at every door and window. He who wins a thousand common
hearts is therefore entitled to some renown; but he who keeps undisputed
sway over the heart of a coquette is indeed a hero. Certain it is, this
was not the case with the redoubtable Brom Bones; and from the moment
Ichabod Crane made his advances, the interests of the former evidently
declined; his horse was no longer seen tied at the palings on Sunday
nights, and a deadly feud gradually arose between him and the preceptor
of Sleepy Hollow.

Brom, who had a degree of rough chivalry in his nature, would fain have
carried matters to open warfare, and have settled their pretensions
to the lady, according to the mode of those most concise and simple
reasoners, the knights-errant of yore—by single combat; but Ichabod was
too conscious of the superior might of his adversary to enter the lists
against him; he had overheard a boast of Bones, that he would “double the
schoolmaster up, and lay him on a shelf of his own schoolhouse”; and he
was too wary to give him an opportunity. There was something extremely
provoking in this obstinately pacific system; it left Brom no alternative
but to draw upon the funds of rustic waggery in his disposition, and
to play off boorish practical jokes upon his rival. Ichabod became the
object of whimsical persecution to Bones and his gang of rough riders.
They harried his hitherto peaceful domains; smoked out his singing
school, by stopping up the chimney; broke into the schoolhouse at night,
in spite of its formidable fastenings of withe and window stakes, and
turned everything topsy-turvy; so that the poor schoolmaster began to
think all the witches of the country held their meetings there. But what
was still more annoying, Brom took all opportunities of turning him into
ridicule in presence of his mistress, and had a scoundrel dog whom he
taught to whine in the most ludicrous manner, and introduced as a rival
of Ichabod’s to instruct her in psalmody.


In this way matters went on for some time, without producing any
material effect on the relative situation of the contending powers.
On a fine autumnal afternoon, Ichabod, in pensive mood, sat enthroned
on the lofty stool whence he usually watched all the concerns of his
little literary realm. In his hand he swayed a ferrule, that scepter
of despotic power; the birch of justice reposed on three nails, behind
the throne, a constant terror to evil doers; while on the desk before
him might be seen sundry contraband articles and prohibited weapons,
detected upon the persons of idle urchins; such as half-munched apples,
popguns, whirligigs, fly-cages, and whole legions of rampant little paper
game-cocks. Apparently there had been some appalling act of justice
recently inflicted, for his scholars were all busily intent upon their
books, or slyly whispering behind them with one eye kept upon the master;
and a kind of buzzing stillness reigned throughout the schoolroom. It was
suddenly interrupted by the appearance of a negro, in tow-cloth jacket
and trousers, a round-crowned fragment of a hat, like the cap of Mercury,
and mounted on the back of a ragged, wild, half-broken colt, which he
managed with a rope by way of halter. He came clattering up to the school
door with an invitation to Ichabod to attend a merry-making or “quilting
frolic,” to be held that evening at Mynheer Van Tassel’s; and having
delivered his message with that air of importance, and effort at fine
language, which a negro is apt to display on petty embassies of the kind,
he dashed over the brook, and was seen scampering away up the hollow,
full of the importance and hurry of his mission.

All was now bustle and hubbub in the late quiet schoolroom. The scholars
were hurried through their lessons, without stopping at trifles; those
who were nimble skipped over half with impunity, and those who were tardy
had a smart application now and then in the rear to quicken their speed
or help them over a tall word. Books were flung aside without being put
away on the shelves, inkstands were over-turned, benches thrown down, and
the whole school was turned loose an hour before the usual time, bursting
forth like a legion of young imps, yelping and racketing about the green,
in joy of their early emancipation.

The gallant Ichabod now spent at least an extra half hour at his toilet,
brushing and furbishing up his best, and indeed only, suit of rusty
black, and arranging his locks by a bit of broken looking-glass, that
hung up in the schoolhouse. That he might make his appearance before
his mistress in the true style of a cavalier he borrowed a horse from
the farmer with whom he was domiciled, a choleric old Dutchman, of the
name of Hans Van Ripper, and, thus gallantly mounted, issued fo