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hy awake, refreshed with the rest they have had. Their wit keeps them from becoming melancholy, and their invention is constantly finding new objects of interest
Gay hope is theirs, by fancy fed,
Less pleasing when possessed ;
The sunshine of the breast;
And lively Cheer of Vigour born;
[Those who appreciate this manner of opening up the meaning of poetry to
children, will find the most popular poems in the language so dealt with in Jorn Heywood's Explanatory Book of Standard Poetry, 160 pages, price One Shilling. 1
Gulliver in Browdingnag.
AVING been condemned by Nature and Fortune to
an active and restless life, in two months after my return I again left my native country, and took a passage in the Adventure, bound for Surat, in India, in 1702. We had a very prosperous gale till we arrived at the Cape of Good Hope. We wintered
at the Cape, and had a good voyage till we passed the Straits of Madagascar; but, having got northward of that island, the wind began to blow with much greater violence, and a dreadful storm set in; the sea breaking on the vessel in a strange and dangerous manner. During this storm we were carried, by my reckoning, about five hundred leagues to the east, so that the oldest sailor on board could not tell in what part of the world we
On the 16th June, 1703, a boy on the topmast discovered land; on the 17th we came in full view of a great island, or continent (we knew not which), on the south side of which was a small neck of land jutting out into the sea, and a creek too shallow to hold a vessel of the size of the Adventure.
We cast anchor within a league of this creek, and our captain sent a dozen of his men, well armed, in the longboat, with vessels for water if any could be found. I desired his leave to go with them, that I might see the country and make what discoveries I could. When we came to land we saw no river or spring, nor any sign of inhabitants; our men, therefore, wandered on shore to find some fresh water near the sea, and I walked, alone, about a mile on the other side, where I observed the country all barren and rocky.
I now began to be weary, and returned gently towards the creek, where I saw our men already in the boat and rowing for life to the ship. I was going to holloa after them, when I observed a huge creature walking after them in the sea as fast as he could. He waded not much deeper than his knees, and took prodigious strides; but our men had the start of him, and the monster was not able to overtake them. I ran as fast as I could the way I first went, and then climbed up a steep hill, which gave me some prospect of the country. I found it fully cultivated; but that which first surprised me was the length of the grass, which, in those grounds which seemed to be kept for hay, was about twenty feet high.*
I fell in with a high road-for so I took it to be, though it served the inhabitants only as a footpath through a field of barley. Here I walked on for some time, but could see little on either side, the corn rising at least forty feet. I was an hour walking to the end of this field, which was fenced in with a hedge at least one hundred and twenty feet high, and the trees so lofty that I could not calculate their height. There was a stile to pass from this field into the next. It had four steps, and a stone to cross over when you came to the topmost. It was impossible for me to climb this stile, because every step was six feet high, and the upper stone above twenty. I was trying to find some gap in the hedge, when I saw one of the inhabitants in the next field approaching the stile, of the same size with him whom I saw in the sea pursuing our boat.
He appeared as tall as an ordinary spire-steeple, and took
* In estimating the height of things mentioned in this work, it will be well to remember that a tall man is six feet high. The grass in Brobdingnag was, therefore, nearly four times the size of ordinary men.
about ten yards at every stride, as near as I could guess.
I was struck with the utmost fear and astonishment, and ran to hide myself in the corn. Looking back, I saw him at the top of the stile, and heard him call in a voice many degrees louder than a speaking trumpet; but the noise was so high in the air that at first I certainly thought it was thunder. Whereupon seven monsters like himself came towards him with reaping-hooks in their hands, each reaping-hook about the largeness of six scythes. These people were not so well clad as the first, whose servants they seemed to be, for, upon some words he spoke, they went to reap the corn in the field where I lay.
I kept from them at as great a distance as I could, but was forced to move with extreme difficulty, for the stalks of the corn were sometimes not above a foot distant, so that I could hardly squeeze my body between them. However, I made a shift to go forward till I came to a part of the field where the corn had been laid by the rain and the wind. Here it was impossible for me to advance a step; for the stalks were so interwoven that I could not creep through, and the beards of the fallen ears so strong and pointed that they pierced through my clothes into my flesh. At the same time, I heard the reapers not above a hundred yards behind me.
Being quite dispirited with toil, and wholly overcome by grief and despair, I lay down between two ridges and heartily wished I might there end my days. I bemoaned my desolate widow and fatherless children. I lamented my own folly and wilfulness in attempting a second voyage against the advice of all my friends and relations. In this terrible agitation of mind I could not forbear thinking of Lilliput, whose inhabitants looked upon me as the greatest prodigy that ever appeared in the world; where I was able to draw an imperial fleet in my hand, and perform those other actions which will be recorded for ever in the chronicles of that empire.
Scared and confounded as I was, I could not forbear going on with these reflections, when one of the reapers, approaching within ten yards of the ridge where I lay, made me fear that with the next step I should be crushed to death beneath his foot, or cut in two with his reaping-hook; and therefore, when he was again about to move, I screamed as loud as fear could make me;
whereupon the huge creature trod short, and, looking round about and under him for some time, at last espied me as I lay on the ground. He considered awhile, with the caution of one who endeavours to lay hold on a small dangerous animal so as it shall not be able to scratch or bite him, as I myself have sometimes done with a weazel in England. At length he ventured to take me by the middle with his finger and thumb, and brought me within three yards of his eyes, that he might behold my shape more perfectly. I guessed his meaning, and resolved not to struggle, though he held me in the air above sixty feet from the ground, and pinched my sides grievously. All I ventured was to raise my eyes towards the sun, place my hands together in a supplicating posture, and speak some words in an humble, melancholy tone suitable to the condition I then was in; for I apprehended every moment that he would dash me against the ground, as we do any little hateful animal which we have a mind to destroy
But my good star would have it that he appeared pleased with my voice and gesture, and began to look upon me as a curiosity, much wondering to hear me talk, though he could not understand
In the meantime, I was not able to forbear groaning, and shedding tears, and turning my head towards my sides; letting him know as well as I could how cruelly I was hurt by the pressure of his thumb and finger. He seemed to apprehend my meaning; for, lifting up the lappet of his coat, he put me gently into it and at once ran along with me to his master, who was a substantial farmer, and the same person I had first seen in the field.
The French ambassador who visited the illustrious Bacon during his last illness, on finding him in bed with the curtains drawn, addressed to him this fulsome compliment : “You are like the angels of whom we hear and read much, but have not the pleasure of seeing." The reply was the sentiment of a philosopher and the language of a Christian : “If the complaisance of others compares me to an angel, my infirmities tell me I am only a man.”
William the Conqueror and the Kentishmer.
STIGAND, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Ethelsy, Abbot of St. Augustine's, were among the first who fell under the Conqueror's displeasure. It is a common tradition that these two Churchmen were the advisers of a bold stratagem practised on the invaders by the freeholders of Kent, who are said to have assembled in great force at Swanscombe just after the battle of Hastings, and, disguising their position by large boughs of trees, took the Conqueror unawares, and forced him to grant them better terms than he imposed upon the rest of the nation. The country people in this part of Kent still make it their boast that their fathers never were conquered ; and it is a remaining proof of the truth of the tradition, that the customs respecting property in the weald of Kent still keep more of the Saxon character than is to be found in other parts of England. -Churton's Early English Church,
THEN as the Duke of Normandy,
With glittering spear and shield,
And foiled his foes in field ;
On Christmas-day in solemn sort
Then was he crownéd here,
Which being done he changéd quite
The customs of this land,
His statutes to withstand.
And many cities he subdued,
Fair London with the rest ;
And did his laws detest.
To Dover then he took his way,
The castle down to fling,
The noble British king.
Which when the brave Archbishop bold
Of Canterbury knew,
With all their gallant crew,