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expressed wonder and astonishment at the strange objects which presented themselves to their view.

14. Columbus was the first European who set foot on the new world which he had discovered. He landed in a rich dress, and with a naked sword in his hand. His men followed, and, kneeling down, they all kissed the ground which they had so long desired to see. They then took possession of the country for the crown of Castile and Leon with all the formalities which it was customary to observe in acts of this kind.

15. The Spaniards, while thus employed, were surrounded by many of the natives, who gazed in silent admiration upon actions which they could not comprehend." The dress of the Spaniards, the whiteness of their skins, their beards, their arms, appeared strange and surprising

16. The vast machines in which they had crossed the ocean, that seemed to move upon the water with wings, and uttered a dreadful sound resembling thunder, accompanied with lightning and smoke, struck them with such terror that they began to respect their new guests as a superior order of beings, and concluded that they were children of the sun, who had descended to visit the earth.

17. The Europeans were hardly less amazed at the scene now before them. Every herb and shrub and tree was different from those which flourished in Europe. The soil seemed to be rich, but bore few marks of cultivation. The black hair, long and uncurled, of the inhabitants, floated upon their shoulders, or was bound in tresses on their heads.

18. They had no beards : their complexion was of a dusky copper colour, and their aspect gentle and timid. Though not tall, they were well shaped and active. Their faces, and parts of their bodies, were painted with glaring colours. They were shy at first, through fear, but soon became familiar with the Spaniards, and with transports of joy received from them hawk-bells, glass-beads, and other baubles ; in return for which they gave such provisions as they had, and some cotton yarn, the only commodity of value which they could produce.

19. Towards evening, Columbus returned to his ship, accompanied by many of the islanders in their boats, which they called canoes, and though rudely formed out of the trunk of a single tree, they rowed them with surprising dexterity. Thus, in the first interview between the inhabitants of the old and new worlds, everything was conducted amicably and to their mutual satisfaction.


1 Supplications, prayers.

6 Symptoms, signs. 2 Tumultuously, in a rough manner. 7 Suspense, anxiou waiting. 3 Expostulations, grumblings.

8 Incredulity, unbelief. 4 Hazard, risk.

9 Commodity, any article for sale. 5 Infallible, not capable of being 10 Dexterity, cleverness,


[merged small][graphic]

With fingers weary and worn,

With eyelids heavy and red,
A woman sat, in unwomanly rags,

Plying her needle and thread
Stitch-stitch-stitch !

In poverty, hunger, and dirt,
And still with a voice of dolorous ? pitch

sang the "Song of the Shirt ?”




“ Work! work! work!

While the cock is crowing aloof! And work—work—work,

Till the stars shine through the roof! It's oh to be a slave

Along with the barbarous Turk, Where woman has never a soul to save,

If this is Christian work!


“ Work-work--work

Till the brain begins to swim ; Work—work-work

Till the eyes are heavy and dim ! Seam, and gusset, and band,

Band, and gusset, and seam, Till over the buttons I fall asleep,

And sew 4 them on in a dream!



“O Men, with Sisters dear!

O Men, with Mothers and Wives! It is not linen you're wearing out,

But human creatures' lives! Stitch—stitch-stitch,

In poverty, hunger, and dirt, Sewing at once, with a double thread,

A Shroud as well as a Shirt.


“But why do I talk of Death ?

That phantom of grisly bone, I hardly fear his terrible shape,

It seems so like my ownIt seems so like my own,

Because of the fasts I keep

35 40


O God! that bread should be so dear,

And flesh and blood so cheap!

My labour never flags ;
And what are its wages ? A bed, of straw,

A crust of bread-and rags.
That shattered roof,—and this naked floor,— 45

A table,--a broken chair,-
And a wall so blank, my shadow I thank

For sometimes falling there !
• Work-work-work!
From weary chime to chime,

50 Work-work-work

As prisoners work for crime ! Band, and gusset, and seam,

Seam, and gusset, and band, Till the heart is sick and the brain benumbed, 55 As well as the


hand. “ Work - work-work,

In the dull December light, And work—work—work,

When the weather is warm and bright— 60 While underneath the eaves

The brooding swallows cling,
As if to show me their sunny backs

And twit me with the Spring. “Oh but to breathe the breath

65 Of the cowslip and primrose sweetWith the sky above my head,

And the grass beneath my feet,

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