« PreviousContinue »
be ready to present a ewer and basin for the king to wash his hands when his Majesty should come to Holyrood Palace, or should pass the bridge of Cramond. Accordingly, in the year 1822, when George IV. came to Scotland, the descendant of John Howieson of Braehead, who still possesses the estate which was given to his ancestor, appeared at
appeared at a solemn festival, and offered his Majesty water from a silver ewer, that he might perform the service by which he held his lands.
Sir W. Scott.
“ Our strong
The asses complained to Jupiter that mankind really treated them too badly. backs,” said they, “ bear their burdens, under which they and other weak animals would fall. And yet they wish, by merciless blows, to force us to a speed which our burdens would make quite impossible to us if even nature had not denied it to us. Forbid them, O Jupiter, to be so unreasonable, if it is possible to forbid men to do anything bad. We are willing to serve them, as it appears that thou hast created us for that purpose ; but we do not like to be beaten without a cause.
"My poor animals !” said Jupiter to their speaker, “your request is not unreasonable, but I see no possibility of convincing men that your natural slowness is not laziness, and so long as they believe this, you will be beaten. But I think I can lighten your hard lot. From this time forth you shall have a want of feeling ; your skin shall harden itself against blows, and tire out the arm of him that beats you.” “Jupiter,” said the asses, " thou art always wise and gracious ! ” They went joyfully from his throne, as from the seat of universal love.
con-tra-dic-tion en-light-en mon-arch
deck-ed I'm a strange contradiction; I'm new and I'm
old; I’m often in tatters, and oft decked in gold ; Though I never could read, yet lettered I'm found; Though blind, I enlighten; though loose, I am
bound; I am always in black, and I'm always in white; I am grave, and I'm gay, I am heavy and light; In form, too, I differ,—I'm thick and I.'m thin, I've no flesh and no bone, yet I'm covered with
skin; I've more points than the compass, more stops
than the flute; I sing without voice; without speaking, confute ;
I'm English, I'm German, I'm French, and I'm
Dutch ; Some love me too fondly, some slight me too
I often die soon, though I sometimes live ages, And no monarch alive has so many pages.
37,-UPON WESTMINSTER BRIDGE.
(September 3, 1802.)
Earth hath not anything to show more fair ;
38.-REGULUS (B.C. 249).
am-bass-a-dor sen-at-or plead-ing
The first wars that the Romans engaged in beyond the bounds of Italy were with the Carthaginians, about their possession in Sicily; this war lasted eight years, when it was resolved to send an army to fight the Carthaginians on their own shores. Manlius and Regulus were sent in charge of the army and fleet. On the way, there was a great sea-fight with the Carthaginian fleet, and this was the first battle the Romans ever gained. It made the way to Africa free; but the soldiers, who had never been so far from home before, murmured, for they expected to meet not only human enemies, but monstrous serpents, lions, elephants, asses with horns, and dog-headed monsters, to have a scorching sun overhead, and a noisome marsh under their feet. However, Regulus put a stop to all murmurs by making it known that any disaffection would be punished by death, and the army landed in Africa, and plundered the country round. Orders here came from Rome that Manlius should return thither, but that Regulus should remain to carry on the war. This was a great grief to him. He was a very poor man, with nothing of his own but a little farm of seven acres, and the person whom he had employed to cultivate it had died in his absence. A kind labourer had undertaken the care of it, but had been unfaithful, and had run away with his tools and his cattle ; so that he was afraid that unless he could return quickly, his wife and children would starve. However, the senate engaged to provide for his family, and he remained. The country was very rich and plentiful, and the Romans did cruel damage to it: they boasted of having sacked three hundred villages, and mercy was not yet known to them. The Carthaginians sent to offer terms of peace, but Regulus refused it, and they were at last driven to extremity. They sent in their distress to their soldiers in Greece, and among these came a Spartan, who at once took the command, and led the army out to battle with a long line of elephants ranged in front of them. The Romans had not yet learnt the best mode of fighting with elephants, namely, to leave lanes in their columns, where these beasts might advance harmlessly, instead of which the ranks were thrust and trampled down by the creature's bulk, and they suffered a terrible defeat. Regulus himself was seized by the horsemen, and dragged into Carthage, where the viotors feasted and rejoiced through half the night.