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Briny, salt.

A little weeping would ease my heart,

But in their briny * bed
My tears must stop, for every drop
Hinders needle and thread !”

80 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,
Would that its tone could reach the Rich !

She sang this “ Song of the Shirt !”

A woman, &c. The song is supposed to be sung by a needlewoman,

who has been reduced to the greatest want.



THE SEASONS.—Spenser. EDMUND SPENSER (1553-1599) was born in London, and educated at Cam. bridge. He is one of the greatest English poets; his chief work is the Faerie Queene, an allegorical poem, designed to celebrate the principal virtues. He was buried in Westminster Abbey.

So forth issued the Seasons of the year; Dight, adorned. First lusty Spring, all dight * in leaves and flowers

That freshly budded, and new blossoms did bear,

In which a thousand birds had built their bowers, Paramours, mates, That sweetly sung to call forth paramours ; 5

And in his hand a javelin he did bear, Stours, encounters,

And on his head (as fit for warlike stours) *

A gilt engraven morion * he did wear, Gilt morion, a gilded That as some did him love, so others did him fear. helmet, having no visor, copied from the 'Moors by the Then came the jolly Summer, being dight Spaniards.

In a thin silken cassock coloured green

That was unlinèd all, to be more light,
A garland, &c., a And on his head a garland * well beseen
garland fair to see.
Chauffèd (chafed),

He wore, from which, as he had chauffed * been, heated, made hot by The sweat did drop, and in his hand he bore rubbing.

A bow and shaft, as he in forest green
Libbard, leopard.

Had hunted late the libbard * or the boar,
And now would bathe his limbs, with labour

heated sore.
Then came the Autumn, all in yellow clad,
As though he joyed in his plenteous store,

Laden with fruits that made him laugh, full glad Tofore, before.

That he had banished Hunger, which tofore *




Had by the belly oft bim pinched sore ;

Upon his head a wreath, that was enrolled 25 With ears of corn of every sort, he bore,

And in his hand a sickle he did hold,
To reap the ripened fruits the which the earth
had yold.*

Yold, yielded, given.
Lastly came Winter, clothed all in frize, * Frize (frieze), a coarse

Chattering his teeth for cold that did him chill, kind of cloth, with 30 Whilst on his hoary * beard his breath did freeze, Hoary, grey.

And the dull drops that from his purpled bill Bill, nose.
As from a limbeck * did adown distil;

Limbeck, a vessel used
In his right hand a tipped staff he held,

in distilling. With which his feeble steps he stayed still, 35 For he was faint with cold and weak with eld * Eld, old age. That scarce his loosed limbs he able was to

Weld, to use, to weld. *

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TAE warrior bowed his crested head, and tamed

his heart of fire,
And sued * the haughty * king to free his long- Sued, begged, im-
imprisoned sire :


Haughty, proud.
I bring thee here my fortress keys, I bring His long-imprisoned

Sancho, my captive train;

sire, Don
I pledge my faith, my liege,* my lord-oh! Spain, had been kept

father's chain."

in prison for many

years by the king. 5 “ Rise ! rise ! even now thy father comes, a

At length his son, ransomed * man this day ;

Bernardo del Carpio,

took up arms to effect Mount thy good steed, and thou and I will his release. meet him on his way:"

Captive train, the

prisoners taken in Then lightly rose that loyal son, and bounded battle. on his steed;

Liege, lord, a feudal And urged, as if with lance in hand, his vassals or liegemen.

superior; one having charger's foaming speed.

Ransomed, redeemed,

And lo! from far, as on they pressed, there
came a glittering * band,

Glittering, bright,

beautiful to behold. 10 With one that ʼmid them stately rode, as a

leader in the land :
“Now haste, Bernardo, haste! for there, in

very truth, is he,
The father-whom thy grateful heart hath

Yearned, desired very yearned * so long to see.” * Champion, a hero, one who fights in single combat for himself or for another.



took ;

dead ; *



on horseback

of the king





His dark eye flashed, his proud breast heaved, his cheek's

blood came and went;
He reached that grey-baired chieftain's side, and there

dismounting bent.
A lowly knee to earth he bent, his father's hand he 15
What was there in its touch that all his fiery spirit

shook ?
That hand was cold, a frozen thing-it dropped from his

like lead;

He looked up to the face above—the face was of the The dead, in order to de- A plume waved o'er that noble brow—the brow was ceive the son, father's

fixed and white; dead body He met at length his father's eyes, but in them was no placed

sight! by command

Up from the ground he sprang, and gazed ; but who can Paint that

paint * that


ce ? gaze, describe

They hushed their very hearts who saw its horror and actly how he amaze :

They might have chained him, as before that noble form

he stood ;
For the power was stricken from his arm, and from his

cheek the blood.
“Father!” at length he murmured low, and wept like 25

childhood then-
(Talk not of grief till thou hast seen the tears of warlike


He thought on all his glorious hopes, on all his high Renown,

renown ; great name, Then flung the falchion * from his side, and in the dust celebrity.

sat down ; Falchion, short curved And, covering with his steel-gloved hand his darkly .

mournful brow,
“No more, there is no more,” he said, “ to lift the sword 30

for now;
My king is false ! my hope betrayed ! my father-oh!

the worth,
The glory, and the loveliness, are passed away from


Up from the ground he sprang once more, and seized the surprised.

monarch's rein Courtier, a

Amid the pale and wildered * looks of all the courtier * lives at court.




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person who

train ;


one who

takes a false oath,

35 And with a fierce, o'ermastering * grasp, the rearing war

O'ermaster. horse led,

ing, over

powering And sternly set them face to face—the king before the

“ Came I not forth upon thy pledge,* my father's hand Pledge, pro-

to kiss ?
Be still, and gaze thou on, false king ! and tell me what

is this?
The voice, the glance, the heart I sought-give answer,

where are they? 40 If thou wouldst clear thy perjured * soul, send life Perjurer, through this cold clay!

knowingly “Into these glassy eyes put light—be still, keep down thine ire ! *

Ire, anger,
Bid these white lips a blessing speak—this earth is not rage.
Give me back him for whom I strove, for whom my

blood was shed !
Thou canst not !—and, O king! his dust be mountains

on thy head!”
45 He loosed the steed—his slack band fell ; upon the

silent face He cast one long, deep, troubled look, then turned from Martial

strain, war. that sad place:

like music. His hope was crushed his after-fate untold in martial Spain, a hilly strain

country in His banner led the spears no more amidst the hills of west of Spain ! *


my sire !

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the south


GHENT TO AIX.*—R. Browning. ROBERT BROWNING (1812- ), born at Camberwell, and educated at London University, ranks among the foremost of living poets. He possesses a wonderful power of condensed expression, and his writings are deeply thoughtful and expressive. Chief works : Men and Women, The Ring and the Book, Dramatic Lyrics, and other poems. 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 undrew;

Echo, to send “Speed !" echoed * the wall to us galloping through : back'a sound,

* Ghent, the chief town of East Flanders, in Belgium. Aix-la-Chapelle, a city in Rhenish Prussia, The two towns are more than a hundred miles apart.


lance carried at the saddle.

East Flan

Mechlin is noted for its lace.


Postern, a Behind shut the postern,* the lights sank to rest, 5 small door of And into the midnight we galloped abreast. gate in or by the side of a larger en. Not a word to each other, we kept the great pace, trance-gate, Neck by neck, stride by stride, never changing our


I turned in my saddle, and made its girths tight, Pique, a Then shortened each stirrup, and set the pique


Rebuckled the check-strap, chained slacker the bit, A whit, a Nor galloped less steadily Roland a whit.* point, a jot.

'Twas moonset at starting ; but while we drew near Lokeren, in Lokeren,* the cocks crew and twilight dawned clear; ders, Bel

At Boom,* a great yellow star came out to see ; 15 gium. At Düffeld, * 'twas morning as plain as could be ; Boom, Düf. And from Mechlin * church-steeple we heard the feld, Mechlin, in Antwerp

So Joris broke silence with, “Yet there is time !"
At Aerschot, up leaped of a sudden the sun,
And against him the cattle stood black every one,
To stare through the mist at us galloping past,

And I saw my stout galloper Roland at last,
Resolute, With resolute * shoulders, each butting away
firm, steady, The haze,* as some bluff river-headland its spray.
Haze, mist.

And his low head and crest, just one sharp ear bent 25


For my voice, and the other pricked out on his track ; Intelligence, And one eye's black intelligence *-ever that glance quickness to O'er its white edge at me, his own master, askance !* Askance, And the thick heavy spume-flakes * which age and sideways Spume flakes,

His fierce lips shook upwards in galloping on. 30 Aye and

By Hasselt,* Dirck groaned, and cried Joris, "Stay
anon, now
Hasselt, in Your Roos * galloped bravely, the fault's not in her,
Roos (Ger.

We'll remember at Aix"_for one heard the quick
Ross), a com-

Of her chest, saw the stretched neck and staggering

And sunk tail, and horrible heave of the flank, 35
As down on her haunches she shuddered and sank.
So we were left galloping, Joris and I,
Past Looz and past Tongres, no cloud in the sky.;.


flakes of foam.

and then.


mon name for a horse.

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