« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
scattered before the gates of his palace, like human bones before the cave of some giant. The avenues to his castle were guarded with turnpikes and palisadoes, all after the modern way of fortification. After you had passed several courts, you came to the centre, wherein you might behold the constable himself in his own lodgings, which had windows fronting to each avenue, and ports to sally out upon all occasions of prey or defence.
In this mansion he had for some time dwelt in peace and plenty, without danger to his person by swallows from above, or to his palace by brooms from below; when it was the pleasure of fortune to conduct thither a wandering bee, to whose curiosity a broken pane in the glass had discovered itself, and in he went; where, expatiating awhile, he at last happened to alight upon one of the outward walls of the spider's citadel ; which, yielding to the unequal weight, sunk down to the very foundation. Thrice he endeavoured to force his passage, and thrice the centre shook.
The spider within, feeling the terrible convulsion, supposed at first that nature was approaching to her final dissolution ; or else, that Beelzebub,(1) with all his legions, was come to revenge the death of many thousands of his subjects whom his enemy had slain and devoured. However, he at length valiantly resolved to issue forth and meet his fate. Meanwhile, the bee had acquitted himself of his toils, and, posted securely at some distance, was employed in cleansing his wings, and disengaging them from the rugged remnants of the cobweb.
By this time, the spider was adventured out, when, beholding the chasms, the ruins, and dilapidations of his fortress, he was very near at his wits' end ; he stormed and swore like a madman, and swelled till he was ready to burst. At length, casting his eye upon the bce, and wisely
this preferment till his death in 1745. Swift possessod great powers as a satirist, and his style is remarkably clear and vigorous, though many of his productions are disfigured by a tendency to offensive coarseness. IIis principal works are "Gulliver's Travels, “ The Tale of a Tub," and * Political Tracts against the Whigs." The above is an extract from the “ Battle of the Books," one of Swift's earlier writings.
(1) The word Beo:zebub is a Hebrew name which means "princo of: flies.”
gathering causes from events (for they knew each other by sight), “A plague split you,” said he, "for a giddy puppy. Is it you, with a vengeance, that have made this litter here? Could you not look before you? Do you think I have nothing else to do but to mend and repair after you ?”
“Good words, friend,” said the bee, having now pruned himself, and being disposed to be droll. “I'll give you my hand and word to come near your kennel no more. I was never in such a confounded pickle since I was born.”
"Sirrah,” replied the spider, “if it were not for breaking an old custom in our family, never to stir abroad against an enemy, I should come and teach you better manners."
have patience,” said the bee, “or you'll spend your substance; and, for aught I see, you may stand in need of it all toward the repair of your house."
“Rogue, rogue,” replied the spider ; “yet methinks you should have more respect to a person whom all the world allows to be so much your better.”
“ By my troth,” said the bee, “the comparison will amount to a very good jest; and you will do me a favour to let me know the reasons that all the world is pleased to use in so hopeful a dispute."
At this, the spider, having swelled himself into the size and posture of a disputant, began his argument in the true spirit of controversy, with resolution to be heartily scurrilous and angry; to urge on his own reasons, without the least regard to the answers or objections of his opposite ; and fully predetermined in his mind against all conviction.
"Not to disparage myself," said he, by the comparison with such a rascal, what art thou but a vagabond, without house or home, without stock or inheritance, born to no possession of your own, but a pair of wings and a dronepipe ? Your livelihood is a universal plunder upon nature; you are a freebooter over fields and gardens; and, for the sake of stealing, will rob a nettle as easily as a violet. Whereas I am a domestic animal, furnished with a native stock within myself. This large castle (to show my improvements in the mathematics) is all built with my own hands, and the materials extracted altogether out of my own person.”
"I am glad,” answered the bee, “to hear you grant at least that I am come honestly by my wings and my voice, for then it seems I am obliged to Heaven alone for my flights and my music; and Providence would never have bestowed on me two such gifts without designing them for the noblest ends. I visit, indeed, all the flowers and blossoms of the field and garden ; but whatever I collect thence enriches myself, without the least injury to their beauty, their smell, or their taste. Now, for you and your skill in architecture and other mathematics, I have little to say: in that building of yours there might, for aught I know, have been labour and method enough ; but, by woeful experience for us both, it is too plain the materials are naught; and I hope you will henceforth take warning, and consider duration and matter, as well as method and art. You boast, indeed, of being obliged to no other creature, but of drawing and spinning out all from yourself ; that is to say, if we may judge of the liquor in the vessel from what issues out, you possess a good plentiful store of dirt and poison in your breast; and though I would by no means lessen or disparage your genuine stock of either, yet I doubt you are somewhat obliged for an increase of both, to a little foreign assistance. Your inherent portion of dirt does not fail of acquisitions by sweepings exhaled from below; and one insect furnishes you with a share of poison to destroy another. So that, in short, the question comes all to this; whether is the nobler being of the two, that which by a lazy contemplation of four inches round, by an overweening pride, feeding and engendering on itself, turns all into filth and venom, producing nothing at all but flybane and cobweb; or that which, by a universal range, with long search, much study, true judgment, and distinction of things, brings home honey and wax ?"
EXERCISE.-8. COMPOSITION. 1. What is an apologue? Mention any apologues that you may remember
2. Relate briefly, in your own words, the fable of the spider and the bee, and state the conclusions that you draw from the arguments advanced on either side in favour of the superiority of each speaker to the other. 3. Write out all you know about bees, their habits, and what they make..
in the Bible ?
HOW THEY BROUGHT THE GOOD NEWS
FROM GHENT TO AIX.
ROBERT BROWNING.* gal-loped (1.-S.gchleapan, to leap), rode at a rapid pace. post-ern [L. porta, a gate), a small gate or door in or by the side of a larger entrance-gate or door. flock-ing [A.-S. floc, a company], gathering in crowds. bur-gess-es [A.-S. burg, a town], inhabitants or freemen of a city or borough. I SPRANG to the stirrup, and Joris, and he ; I galloped, Dirck galloped, we galloped all three; “Good speed !” cried the watch, as the gate-bolts un.
"Speed !” echoed the wall to us galloping through;
chime, So Joris broke silence with “ Yet there is time!”
* ROBERT BROWNING, one of the most fertile and facile of our living poets, was born at Camberwell, one of the southern suburbs of London, in 1812. His poems are remarkable for force of language and descriptive power; but here and there, like George Herbert, he mars the general effect of his poetry by some eccentricity of style or expression. Of all his writ. ings, perhaps "Pippa Passes," and a tragedy called the “ Blot in the Scutcheon,” are the best.
[") The pupil should point out as many of the towns named as possible in a good map of Belgium. The distance from Ghent, in Belgium, to Aixla-Chapelle, in Rhenish Prussia, is about 105 miles as the crow flies. Mechlin, or Malines, famed among other things for the beautiful laco that is made thcre,
So we were left galloping, Joris and I,
, Shook off both my jack-boots, let go belt and all, Stood up in the stirrup, leaned, patted his ear, Called my Roland his pet-name, my horse without peer;