« PreviousContinue »
Pride in the power that guards his country's
In times severe, when many a sturdy swain? Felt in his pride, his comfort to complain, Isaac their wants would soothe, his own would
hide, And feel in that his comfort and his pride.
I feel his absence in the hours of prayer,
1 Pomp and pageantry, the pride of 4 Serene, calm, peaceful.
show and appearing grand be- 5 Dismayed, afraid.
6 Deride, make game of. 2 Allied, to be joined to.
7 Swain, a countryman. 3 Contemning, looking down upon as
age of the
1. It cannot be discovered in what world Britain first became a scene of human habitation. There is nothing in all history, no written record of any kind, to yield us any information concerning the original possessors of the land.
2. But the history of the early Britons, though it was never written, may be read. A curious history it is; and the way in which the materials of it have been gathered and put together is a fine example of the triumphs of patient thought. The historian of other periods finds his material in books, in written records and documents.
3. The materials for the history of this period have been found on waste moors and in deep mosses, in caves and on hills, under ancient burial mounds and cairns, by the margins of rivers and on the beds of drained lochs.?
4. Here for instance, is an ancient boat, found a few years since on the south bank of the Clyde, when excavations were being made for the purpose of enlarging the harbour of Glasgow. It is of oak, not planked or built, but hewn out of the trunk of a single tree. The hollow has been made with fire, as the marks still show. Within it, when it was discovered, there lay au axe-head of stone.
5. Now, that fire-hollowed boat and stone axe tell their story as plainly as a printed book. The savage on the shores of the Pacific cuts a groove in the bark round the root of the tree of which he intends to form his canoe. Into this groove he puts burning embers till it is charred to some depth. Next he deepens the groove by hewing out the charred wood with his stone hatchet. Then he applies the fire again ; and so on, until, by the alternate use of fire and axe, the tree is brought to the ground.
6. By the same process it is hollowed out, and shaped into a canoe. The ancient boat-maker of the Clyde had used exactly such a method of forming his little vessel. The stone axe, brought to light after untold ages, bears mute but expressive witness that its owner was a savage.
7. The axe with which the ancient Briton hollowed his canoe, served him also as a weapon in battle. Under a large cairn, on a moor in the south of Scotland, a stone coffin of very rude workmanship was found.
It contained the skeleton of a man of uncommon size. One of the arms had been almost severed from theshoulder. A fragment of very hard stone was sticking in the shattered bone. That blow had been struck with a stone
8. When the victor, after the fight, looked at his bloody weapon, he saw that a splinter had broken from its edge. Thousands of years passed, the cairn of the dead was opened, and that splinter was found in the bone of the once mighty arm which the axe had all but hewn away. What a curious tale to be told by a single splinter of stone!
9. On yonder lea field the ploughman turns over the grassy sward. At the furrow's end, as he breathes his horses for a moment and looks at his work, bis eye is caught by some object sticking in the upturned mould. He picks it up
It is a barbed arrow-head neatly chipped out of yellow flint. How came it there? It is no elf-arrow, shot by the fairies. It was once, when tied to a reed with a sinew or a strip of skin, an arrow in the quiver of an ancient British savage hunting the deer.
10. There are spots where the flint arrowheads have been found in such numbers as to show that the barbarian tribes had met there in battle. Spear-heads, too, and knives of flint, have been dug up from time to time in various parts. The ancient race who employed such weapons must have existed before the use of iron, or any other metal, was known.
11. That period when the rude inhabitants of a country were ignorant of metals, and formed their tools and weapons of stone, is called the Stone Period.
12. Had this ancient race any idea of religion