Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

3. And here sat a baron, and there sat a knight,

And here stood a page in his habit all bright,
And here a young soldier in armor bedight,

With a friar carous'd, one and all.
Some play'd on the dulcimer, some on the lute,
And some, who had nothing to talk of, were mute,
Till the morning, awakened, put on her gray suit-

And the lark hovered over the hall.

4. It was in a vast gothic hall they sate,

And the tables were cover'd with rich gilded plate,
And the king and his minions were topping in state,

Till their noddles turn'd round, one and all :-
And the Sun through the tall painted windows 'gan peep,
And the vassals were sleeping, or longing to sleep,
Though the courtiers, still waking, their revels did keep,

While the minstrels played sweet, in the hall.

5. And, now in their cups, the bold topers began

To call for more wine, from the cellar yeoman,
And, while each one replenished his goblet or can,

The monarch thus spake to them all :
“ It is fit that the nobles do just what they please,
That the great live in idleness, riot, and ease,
And that those should be favored who mark my decrees,

And should feast in the banqueting-hall.”

6. “It is fit," said the monarch, " that riches should claim

A passport, to freedom, to honor, and fame,
That the poor should be humble, obedient, and tame,

And, in silence, submit-one and all.
That the wise and holy should toil for the great,
That the vassals should tend at the tables of state,
That the pilgrim should-pray for our souls at the gate,

While we feast in our banqueting-hall."

7. “That the rustic and low should be scantily fed —
That their drink should be small, and still smaller their

bread;
That their wives and their daughters to ruin be led,

And submit to our will, one and all !
It is fit, that whoever I choose to defend-
Shall be courted, and feasted, and loved as a friend,
While before them the good and enlighten'd shall bend,

While they sit in the banqueting-hall."

8. Now the topers grew bold, and each talk'd of his right;

One would be a baron, another a knight;
And another, (because at the tournament fight

He had vanquish'd his foes, one and all)
Demanded a tract of rich lands; and rich fare;
And of stout serving vassals a plentiful share ;
With a lasting exemption from penance and prayer,

And a throne in the banqueting-hall.

9. But one, who had neither been valiant nor wise,

With a tongue of importance, thus vauntingly cries :
“My liege, he knows how a good subject to prize-

And I therefore demand-before all-
I this castle possess : and the right to maintain
Five hundred stout bowmen to follow my train,
And as many strong vassals to guard my domain,

As the lord of the banqueting-hall !

10. “I have fought with all nations, and bled in the field,

See my lance is unshiver'd, though batter'd my shield;
I have combated legions, yet never would yield,

And the enemy fled--one and all !
I have rescu'd a thousand fair donnas, in Spain,
I have left in gay France ev'ry bosom in pain,
I have conquer'd the Russian, the Prussian, the Dane,

And will reign in the banqueting-hall !"

11. The monarch now rose, with majestical look,

And his sword from the scabbard of jewels he took,
And the castle with laughter and ribaldry shook,

While the braggart accosted thus he:
“I will give thee a place that will suit thy demand,
What to thee is more fitting than vassals or land
I will give thee,—what justice and valor command,

For a trumpeter bold--thou shalt be!

12. Now the revelers rose, and began to complain-
While they menac'd with gestures, and frown'd with dis-

dain,
And declar'd that the nobles were fitter to reign

Than a prince so unruly as he.
But the monarch cried sternly, they taunted him so,
“From this moment the counsel of fools I forego-
And on wisdom and virtue will honors bestow,

For such only are welcome to me !"

13. So saying, he quitted the banqueting-hall,

And leaving his courtiers and flatterers all-
Went forth to his chamber on Heaven to call :-

“O Father above! hear me,” said he :
“I have feasted the fool, I have pamper'd the knave,
I have scoff'd at the wise, and neglected the brave-
And here I am come thy forgiveness to crave-

For a penitent ñow I will be."

14. From that moment the monarch grew sober and good,

(And nestled with birds of a different brood ;)
For he found that the pathway which wisdom pursu'd,

Was pleasant, safe, quiet, and even !
That by temperance, virtue, and liberal deeds,
By nursing the flow'rets, and crushing the weeds,
The loftiest traveler always succeeds

For his journey will lead him to Heav'n.

WHAT CAME OF AN OMNIBUS RIDE.-FANNY FERN.

1. Some time ago (no matter when, little folks shouldn't be curious !) I was riding in an omnibus with some half-dozen well-dressed ladies and white-kidded gentlemen. At a signal from somebody on the sidewalk, the driver reined up his horses, and a very old man, with tremulous limbs and silvery locks, presented himself for admission. The driver shouted through the sky-light: “Room for one more, there, inside;" — but the gentlemen looked at the old man and frowned, and the ladies spread out their ruffled skirts, for his hat was shabby, and his coat very threadbare.

2. He saw how it was, and why there was no room,” and meekly turned about to go down the steps, when a fine looking young man, who sat next to me, sprang to the door, and seizing him by the arm, said: “Take my place, sir; you are quite welcome to it; I am young and hearty, it won't tire me to walk”—and kindly leading the old man to the vacant seat, he leaped from the steps and walked briskly down the street, while I looked admiringly after him, saying to myself: “That young man has had a good mother.”

3. We drove on, and the more I looked at the old man's silver hairs, and fine, honest face, the more indignant I felt at the way

he had been treated. Whether he read my thoughts in my countenance or not, I can't say; but after most of the passengers

had got out, he moved up to me and said: “Good boy-good boy-wasn't he? My dear, and here his voice sunk to a confidential whisper,) I have got money enough to buy out all the upstart people that filled this omnibus, twenty times over, but I like this old coat and hat. They are as good as a crucible. Help me to find out the true metal. Good morning, my dear. Thank you for your pity, just as much as if I needed it;" and the old man pulled the strap, got out of the omnibus, and hobbled off down street.

4. Some time after, I advertised for lodgings, and was an

was

swered by a widow lady. I liked the air of the house ; it so neat and quiet; and then the flowering plants in the window were a letter of recommendation to me. Your coldhearted, icicle people never care for flowers—(you may write that in the fly-leaf of your primer). But what particularly pleased me at Mrs. Harris', was the devotion of her son to his mother. I expected no less, because the minute he opened the door, I saw that he was the same young man who gave up his seat in the omnibus to the old gentleman.

5. John did all the marketing and providing as wisely and as well as if he were seventy, instead of seventeen. He wheeled his mother's arm-chair to the pleasantest corner; handed her her footstool, and newspaper and spectacles; of fered her his arm up stairs and down, and spent his evenings by her side, instead of joining other young men in racing over the city to find ways to kill time. It was a beautiful sight in these days, when beardless boys come stamping and whistling into their mother's presence, with their hats on, and call her 6 the old woman.'

6. I spent a pleasant autumn under Mrs. Harris' quiet roof. And now winter had set in, with its nice long evenings. John came in to tea one night with his bright face overclouded. His mother was at his side in an instant. John's master had failed, and John was thrown out of employment! Then I learned that it was only by the strictest economy, and hoarding of every cent of John's small salary, that the house rent was paid, and the table provided. And now, so the widow said, the house must be given up, for John might be a long while getting another place; clerkships were so difficult to obtain ; and they must not think of running into debt.

7. It was such a pity. We were all so comfortable and happy there in that cozy little parlor, with its sunny bow window full of flowers, and its bright Lehigh fire, and softlycushioned chairs; that cozy parlor, where the little round table, with its snowy cloth, had been so often spread; and the fragrant coffee, and delicate tea-biscuit, and racy newspaper

« AnteriorContinuar »