Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

As Cresus rich ;-I'm sure
He could not pride himself upon his wit;
And as for wisdom, he had none of it;
He had what's better,-he had wealth.

What a confusion ! all stand up erect-
These crowd around to ask him of his health ;

These bow in honest duty and respect;
And these arrange a sofa or a chair,
And these conduct him there.
“ Allow me, sir, the honor;"—then a bow
Down to the earth-is 't possible to show

Meet gratitude for such kind condescension ?
The poor man hung his head,
And to himself he said,

“This is indeed beyond my comprehension :"
Then looking round, one friendly face he found,
And said—“ Pray tell me why is wealth preferred
To wisdom ?"_“That's a silly question, friend !"
Replied the other—"Have you never heard,
A man may lend his store
Of gold or silver ore,

But wisdom none can borrow, none can lend !"

66

DU GUESCLIN'S RANSOM.

HOWITT.

[This capital ballad may vie with almost any of the metrical romances of

yo olden time.” It gives a graphic delineation of the days of chivalry-and of the noble sentimenis that surcbarged the breasts of the Knights Paladins. Duglesclin's words should peal out like the strong notes of a silver trumpet, and his attitude and manner should be that of a brave warrior sans peur et sans reproche.)

THE black Prince Edward sate at meat

Amid his chivalrie,
Two hundred knights at the board were set,

And the rosy wine ran free:
They were mailed men in merry cheer,

And the Priuce sate on the dais,
And his laugh was loudest through the hall,

Upon that day of grace :

66

And some they told the jester's tale,

And some they gaily sang,
Till the hall of old

Valenciennes
To the dusky rafters rang;
But 'mid the mirth and 'mid the wine

There sate an aged knight,
And heavy thoughts within his soul

Had dimmed his spirits light;
Quoth Edward, “By my faith, this man

Doth mar our heartsome cheer! Sir knight, do battle with thy woe,

Or stay no longer here." “ My liege,” said he, “my soul is dark

With pondering on the wrong,
Done to the bravest man of France,

Within a dungeon strong,
Where night and day he pineth sore

To hear the small bird's song,
And all afar through Christendom

Thou’rt blamed for his thrall, Even by the knights at thy right hand,

And the fair dames in the hall !" “ He shall be free !” Prince Edward said,

“No longer on a name,
So fair and far renowned as mine

Shall rest unknightly shame!
Go fetch him from his dungeon deep,

Myself will do him right.”
Eftsoons into that banquet room

Was brought the prisoned knight. Quoth Edward, " Thou’rt a noble knight

Name now thy ransom fee,
How small soe'er, by my good sword,

Thy ransom it shall be !"
Du Guesclin in his prison garb

Stood proudly in the ring,
And named such ransom as would free

From thrall a captive king; Prince Edward's brow grew darkly red;

“Sir Knight, I say thee nay; Such ransom as thou nam'st, by Heaven,

No Christian knight could pay !" Three paces stepped Du Guesclin on,

And haughtier grew his brow,
Quoth he. " Is knighthood thus esteemed

By such a man as thou !
The kings of France and fair Castile

a

The sum would not gainsay,
And it I lacked elsewhere the gold,

• My ranson they would pay ;
I know a hundred Breton knights,

All men of high degree,
And each his old and fair domain

Would sell to make me free;
There's not a woman at her wheel

Throughout this chivalrous land,
That would not labor night and day

To free me from thy hand.”
Prince Edward from the dais stepped down,

W Give me thy hand !” said he,
“Sir Knight, thou’rt brave as thou art proud,

And thou honorest chivalrie,
And therefore like thy chainless soul,

Unransomed, thou art free!"
Then burst forth plaudits long and loud,

And they sate till set of sun,
And the old knight said, as he poured the wine,

“ 'Twas a fair deed nobly done.'

[ocr errors]

Next morning, on his gallant steed,

With his own good sword and lance,
Rode forward, trom that castle-gate;

The bravest man of France;
And the people, as he passed along.

In the sunshine shouted free,
“Du Guesclin hath great honor done

To France and chivalrie!"

TEMPTATIONS OF LARGE CITIES.

DEWEY.

(This is an extract from a discourse delivered in the city of New York, by one of our most eloquent preachers and excellent men. The lessons are inculcated in powerful and elegant sentences; and bould be delivered in strong earnest tones, commensurate in solem. nity with the terrible truths enunciated.]

How many youth are there, alas ! and must we say of both sexes? who came from their native hills, pure as the streams that gush forth at their side, and have found in our city, allurement, enticement, pollution, poverty, disease, and premature death. Look at that young man, if indeed vice and misery have left him yet young; look at him as he stands in the early morning, perhaps, at the entrance of some porter-house or grog-shop, pale, irresolute, destitute, friendless, not knowing where to go, or what to do; fix your eye, ay, and a compassionate eye, upon him for one moment, and I will tell you his history.

A few years only have passed over him, since he was the cherished member of a ppy country-home. It was at that period that his own inclination, or family straits, led him to seek his fortune abroad in the world.

What a moment is that, when the first great tie of nature is broken; the tie to home! The long pent-up and quiet tenderness of family affection swells in the eye of the mother, and trenibles at her heart, as she busies herself with the little preparations necessary for the departure of her son ; her charge, till now, from infancy.

At length the day comes for him to bid adieu to the scenes of his early life. Amidst the blessings and prayers of kindred, with many precious words spoken to him, he turns away, himselt moved to tears perhaps, as he catches the last glance of the holy roof of his childhood. He comes to the great city; and for a time, probably, all is well with him. Home is dear at his heart, and the words of parental caution and of sisterly love are still in his ears; and the new scenes seem strange, and almost sad to him. But, left alone in the city throng, he must seek companions.

And here, alas ! is his first great peril. Could he have been acquainted with but two or three virtuous and agreeable families, with whom to pass his leisure hours, all might still have been well. But left to chance for his associates, chance is but too likely to provide him with associates that will tempt him to go astray: Their apparently honest wonder at his country simplicity, their ridicule of his fears, their jeers at his doubts and scruples, ere long wear off the first freshness of virtue.

He consents, for experiment's sake, it may be, to take one step with his evil advisers. That step sets the seal of doora upon his whole after career. Now, and from henceforth, every step is downward-downward-lownward-till, on earth, there is no lower point to reach. And what though for a while he maintain some outward decency! What though he dress well and live luxuriously, and amass wealth to pamper his vices! It is but a cloth of gold spread over the fatal gangrene, that is eating into his vitals, and bis very heart !

But, oftei, instead of that cloth of gold, are the rags beggary, or the garb of the convict. Vice is expensive and

of

wasteful. It wants means at the same time that it is losing credit. It must, without a rare fortune, descend to beggary or crime. How often does it find both mingled in its bitter cup! How many are there in this city who have descended from the high places of honor and hope, to a degradation of which once they never dreamed as possible!

Alas! how sad is the contrast between what that man is and what he once was! But a little time ago, and he knew gentle nurture, and the music of kind words, and the holy serenity of nature, and quiet rural labor; the peace and plenty of a country-home were around him; and a mother's gentle tone, and a sister's kind voice, were in his ears; and words of sweet and solemn prayer rose each morning and evening, perhaps, beneath the venerable roof where he dwelt; and now-in the prison or the poor-house, or in some dwelling more desolate, pent up with stiffling filth and squalid wretchedness, amidst oaths, and blows, and blasphemies, he is pursuing his dark and desperate way to a grave, that already yawns to receive him !

And when he is buriedm" his pale forin shall not be laid with many tears” beneath the green fresh sod of his native fields; but he shall be hurried and huddled into some charnel-house, unwept, unhonored, unblessed, even there, where “the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest!"

A REAL KING,

From the Rev. JAMES WHITE's play THE KING OF THE COMMONS

CHARACTERS.

JAMES V., King of Scotland,
MALCOLM YOUNG, a Student,
MADELEINE, a Young Lady.

[The subject matter of this play is illustrative of some of the inci. dents, highly romantic and dramatic, in the life of the gallant Scottish King James the Fifth. The portion that we have selected is where the monarch, having been rescued from assassination by a youth named Malcolm Young, interests himself in his behalf-the text explains the manner of his doing so. James is a fine bluff, hon

« VorigeDoorgaan »