Page images
PDF
EPUB

Bonaparte, and we must avoid the mistakes which these nations made, if we would escape the rock on which they met their doom.

Notes. Legitimacy, the doctrine of the divine right of kings to rule by inheritance. The conqueror of Gaul, Julius Cæsar.

EXERCISE. Who was Philip? Alexander ? Cæsar? Cromwell? Bonaparte ? Where and what was the Rubicon? When Cæsar crossed the Rubicon it was in violation of orders from the Roman government and therefore equivalent to a declaration of war against it.

RECESSIONAL.

By RUDYARD KIPLING.

God of our fathers, known of old,

Lord of our far-flung battle line,
Beneath whose awful hand we hold

Dominion over palm and pine —
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget, lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies ;

The captains and the kings depart :
Still stands thine ancient sacrifice,

A humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget, lest we forget!

Far-called, our navies melt away ;

On dune and headland sinks the fire :
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday

Is one with Nineveh and Tyre !
Judge of the nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget, lest we forget!

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose

Wild tongues that have not thee in awe, -
Such boasting as the Gentiles use,

Or lesser breeds without the Law,-
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget, lest we forget !

For heathen heart that puts her trust

In reeking tube and iron shard, -
All valiant dust that builds on dust,

And guarding, calls not thee to guard,
For frantic boast and foolish word,
Thy mercy on thy people, Lord !

Amen.

- From the London Times, 1897. DEFINITIONS. Re cěs'sion al, a hymn sung in a procession returning from the choir to the robing room. Dune, a low hill of drifting sand. Tube, here used for gun. Shärd, sword.

THE TWO ROADS.

BY JEAN PAUL RICHTER.

It was New Year's night; and Von Arden, having fallen into an unquiet slumber, dreamed that he was an aged man standing at a window. He raised his mournful eyes toward the deep blue sky, where the stars were floating, like white lilies, on the surface of a clear, calm lake. Then he cast them on the earth, where few more helpless beings than himself now moved toward their certain goal — the tomb.

Already, as it seemed to him, he had passed sixty of the stages which led to it, and he had brought from his

journey nothing but errors and remorse. His health was destroyed, his mind vacant, his heart sorrowful, and his old age devoid of comfort.

The days of his youth rose up in a vision before him, and he recalled the solemn moment when his father had placed him at the entrance of two roads, — one leading into a peaceful, sunny land, covered with a fertile harvest, and resounding with soft, sweet songs; the other leading the wanderer into a deep, dark cave, whence there was no issue, where poison flowed instead of water, and where serpents hissed and crawled.

He looked toward the sky, and cried out in his agony : “Oh, days of my youth, return! Oh, my father, place me once more at the entrance to life, that I may choose the better way!” But the days of his youth and his father had both passed away.

He saw wandering lights floating away over dark marshes and then disappear: these were the days of his wasted life. He saw a star fall from heaven and vanish in darkness : this was an emblem of himself; and the sharp arrows of unavailing remorse struck home to his heart. Then he remembered his early companions, who entered on life with him, but who, having trod the paths of virtue and of labor, were now honored and happy on this New Year's night.

The clock in the high church tower struck, and, the sound falling on his ear, recalled his parents' early love for him, their erring son; the lessons they had taught him ; the prayers they had offered up on his behalf. Overwhelmed with shame and grief, he dared no longer look toward that heaven where his father dwelt; his darkened eyes dropped tears, and with one despairing

effort he cried aloud, “ Come back, my early days! come back!"

And his youth did return; for all this was but a dream which visited his slumbers on New Year's night. He was still young; his faults alone were real. He thanked God fervently that time was still his own; that he had not entered the deep, dark cavern, but that he was free to tread the road leading to the peaceful land, where sunny harvests wave.

Ye who still linger on the threshold of life, doubting which path to choose, remember that, when years have passed and your feet stumble on the dark mountain, you will cry bitterly, but cry in vain : "Oh, youth, return! Oh, give me back my early days!”

ABOU BEN ADHEM.

By Leigh Hunt.

Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase !)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold.
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold
And to the presence in the room he said,
“What writest thou?" The vision raised its head,
And, with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered, “The names of those who love the Lord."

“ And is mine one ?” said Abou. Nay, not so,” Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,

But cheerly still ; and said, " I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow-men."

The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blessed ;
And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.

THE DISCOVERY OF THE MISSISSIPPI.

BY GEORGE BANCROFT.

In 1673, on the tenth day of June, James Marquette and Louis Joliet, five Frenchmen as companions, and two Algonquins as guides, dragged their two canoes across the narrow portage that divides the Fox River from the Wisconsin. They reached the watershed; uttering a special prayer to the immaculate Virgin, they left the streams that could have borne their greetings to the castle of Quebec. “ The guides returned,” says the gentle Marquette, "leaving us alone, in this unknown land, in the hands of Providence."

Embarking on the broad Wisconsin, the discoverers went solitarily down its current, between alternate plains and hillsides, beholding neither man nor familiar beasts; no sound broke the silence but the ripple of their canoes and the lowing of the buffalo. In seven days “they entered happily the Great River, with a joy that could not be expressed," and, raising their sails under new skies and to unknown breezes, floated down the calm magnificence of the ocean stream, over the broad, clear sand bars, the resort of innumerable waterfowl, through clusters of

« PreviousContinue »