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to think of preparing for a battle; but before he ventured on so bold a measure, he wished to ascertain the strength
of the enemy.
9. It is said that, instead of trusting to the reports of others, he went himself, in the disguise of a wandering minstrel, into the Danish camp, and was admitted to the presence of the chiefs. They were quite delighted with his performance on the harp, and made him partake of their good cheer, being entirely unaware of the real quality of their guest.
10. Alfred soon discovered that the Danes thought of little but feasting and enjoying themselves. He resolved, therefore, to attack them suddenly while they were thus unprepared, and sent messengers to all the English nobles on whose fidelity he could rely, desiring them to assemble secretly and speedily, with their vassals, in Selwood Forest.
11. The summons was joyfully obeyed, for most of his subjects, as well as his enemies, had believed that he was dead. The chiefs armed their followers, and led them to the spot, to wait the arrival of their monarch, whose appearance was greeted with long and loud cheers. To be brief, the war was renewed, the Danes were completely routed, and Alfred was happily restored to the throne.-Charles Dickens.
SUMMARY.-England suffered greatly for many years from the incursions of the Danes or Northmen, before the days of King Alfred, who began to reign in 871. He was a prince of remarkable ability and goodness, a wise law-maker, and brave in the day of battle. During the earlier years of his reign he was continually engaged in strife with the Danes, who were trying to conquer England. They were at last defeated, and compelled to retire to their native country. Alfred · had to endure much personal suffering during these years of warfare ; but his efforts were at last rewarded by a peaceful settlement on the throne.
Ac-com-plish-ment, acquirement. Fl-del-i-ty, faithfulness, loyalty. As-cer-tain', to learn, to make For-ti-fied, made strong. certain.
Leg-is-lat-or, one who makes Con-cealed', hid.
laws. De-sert'ed, forsaken.
Mon-as-ter-y, a house for reliDes-o-late, lonely, waste.
gious retirement. Des-ti-tute of, without.
0-bliged', compelled. Dis-guise', to conceal by an un- Pi-rate, a sea robber. usual dress.
Sus-pi-cion, mistrust. Do-mes-tic, at home.
Vas-sal, a dependant, a subject.
QUESTIONS. Who were long a cause of trouble hide himself? Where did he seek to England ?
the shelter? How did he find out the nobles compelled to act ? When weakness of the enemy's plans? did Alfred begin his reign? How Where did Alfred gather his folwere the earliest years spent ? lowers? What happened to the Why was Alfred compelled to Danes at last ?
EXERCISES.-1. Parse and Analyse-Alfred went himself, in the disguise of a wandering minstrel, into the Danish camp.
2. Adjectives are formed by adding ish, which has the power of a diminutive; as, greenish, rather green; feverish, slightly fevered. Give the exact meaning of the following words—whitish, stiffish, blackish.
XXVII.—THE HOLLY-TREE. cat-tle çir'-cling per-ceives' re-served' hol-ly-tree cheer-ful graz-ing prof-it wrink-led se-ri-ous
(ROBERT SOUTHEY (b. 1774, d. 1843) was the son of a draper, and was born in Bristol. After trying a variety of occupations, he settled at last near Keswick, and devoted himself to study. He seems, indeed, to have overtasked his mind, for in the later years of his life it gave way altogether. In 1813 he was made poet-laureate, or poet to the king. His smaller pieces, such as the “Holly-Tree," "To a Bee,” and “Mary, the Maid of the Inn,” are the most popular of his poems, and possess a simplicity and grace not found in his more laboured productions. Thalaba,” “Madoc,” and “The Curse of Kehama," are the names of his larger works.] 1. O reader ! hast thou ever stood to see
Its glossy leaves,
2. Below a circling fence its leaves are seen,
Wriukled and keen;
Can reach to wound;
3. I love to view these things with curious eyes,
And moralise ;
Can emblems see
4. Thus, though abroad perchance I might appear
Harsh and austere,
Reserved and rude,
5. And should my youth, as youth is apt, I know,
Some harshness show,
Would wear away,
6. And as when all the summer trees are seen,
So bright and green,
Less bright than they ;
7. So serious should my youth appear among
The thoughtless throng;
-Southey. SUMMARY.—The growth of the holly-tree is very peculiar. Its foliage is of a very dark green, which it generally retains during the winter. The bark has a bitter acrid taste, so that rabbits and hares avoid it. Towards the bottom of the tree the leaves are furnished with stiff sharp prickles, which securely protect them from the bite of quadrupeds, but towards the top these prickles disappear. From this striking mode of growth the poet seeks to deduce a moral for the life of man. Youth, represented by the under leaves, is apt to be rash and impulsive, but this fiery zeal must be gradually tempered and moulded into the calm, harmless, and mature wisdom of age, fitly represented by the top leaves of the holly-tree. As-per-i-ty, roughness, harsh- Hue, colour, tint.
In-telli-gence, skill. A-the-ist, one who denies the In-trude', to thrust in. existence of a God.
Mor-al-ise', to discourse on moral Au-stere', severe, harsh.
subjects. Con-tem-plates, views.
Per-chance', perhaps. Em-blem, a figure.
Soph-is-try, fallacious reasoning. Gloss'y, smooth and shining. Rhyme, poetry.
QUESTIONS. What kind of leaves las the resemble the holly-tree? What holly? How are they described “vain asperities ?” “sober in the second verse ? What is an hue?” “green winter ?” “thoughtemblem? What may be said to less throng ?”
EXERCISES.—1. Parse and analyse-All vain asperities I day by day would wear away.
2. Adjectives are formed by adding less, which mean “without;" as, harmless, without harm; breathless, without breath. Give the exact meaning of the following words—lifeless, friendless, senseless, doubtless. “All green was vanished save of pine and yew,
That still displayed their melancholy hue ;
XXVIII.–POOR RICHARD. auc-tion mit-tens dil-i-gence com-mis-sion-ers bail-iff poul-try gov'ern-ment ex-pe-ri-ence griev-ous prac-tised grat-i-fied in-dus-tri-ous horse-shoe re-late' leg-a-cy
nec-es-sar-y knuck-les trav-els pro-ceed-ed prof-it-a-ble mis-chief where-as' sig-ni-fies re-spect-ful-ly
1. I have heard that nothing gives a writer so great pleasure as to find his work respectfully quoted by others. Judge, then, how much I must have been gratified by an incident I am going to relate. I stopped my horse, lately, where a number of people were collected at an auction of merchants' goods. The hour of the sale not being come, they were conversing on the badness of the times. One of the company called to a plain, clean old man, with white locks,“ Pray, father Abraham, what think you of the times ? Will not those heavy taxes quite ruin the country? How shall we ever be able to pay them ? What would you advise us to do ?”
2. Father Abraham stood up, and replied : “ If you would have my advice, I will give it to you in short; for
A word to the wise is enough, as poor Richard says." They joined in desiring him to speak his mind, and gathered round him while he proceeded as follows.
3. “Friends," said he, “the taxes are indeed heavy; and if those laid on by the government were the only ones we had to pay, we might easily discharge them; but we have many others, and much more grievous to some of us. We are taxed twice as much by our idleness, three times as much by our pride, and four times as much by our folly and self-indulgence; and from these taxes the commissioners cannot ease or deliver us by allowing an abatement. However, let us hearken to good