Page images
PDF
EPUB

XVI.

“ Think of your woods and orchards without birds !

Of empty nests that cling to boughs and beams As in an idiot's brain remembered words

Hang empty ’mid the cobwebs of his dreams! Will bleat of flocks or bellowing of herds

Make up for the lost music, when your teams
Drag home the stingy harvest, and no more
The feathered gleaners follow to your door?

XVII.

"What! would you rather see the incessant stir

Of insects in the windrows of the hay, And hear the locust and the grasshopper

Their melancholy hurdy-gurdies play? Is this more pleasant to you than the whir

Of meadow-lark, and her sweet roundelay, Or twitter of little field-fares, as you take Your nooning in the shade of bush and brake?

XVIII.

6. You call them thieves and pillagers; but know,

They are the winged wardens of your farms, Who from the cornfields drive the sidious foe,

And from your harvest keep a hundred harms; Even the blackest of them all, the crow,

Renders good service as your man-at-arms,
Crushing the beetle in his coat of mail
And crying havoc on the slug and snail.

XIX.

5. How can I teach your children gentleness,

And mercy to the weak, and reverence
For life, which in its weakness or excess,

Is still a gleam of God's omnipotence,
Or Death, which, seeming darkness, is no less

The self-same lights, although averted hence, When by your laws, your actions and your speech, You contradict the very thing you teach?”

XX.

With this he closed; and through the audience went

A murmur like the rustle of dead leaves ;
The farmers laughed and nodded, and some bent

Their yellow heads together like their sheaves ;
Men have no faith in fine-spun sentiment

Who put their trust in bullocks and in beeves. The birds were doomed ; and, as the record shows, A bounty offered for the heads of crows.

XXI.

And so the dreadful massacre began;

O’er fields and orchards, and o’er woodland crests, The ceaseless fusillade of terror ran;

Dead fell the birds with blood stains on their breasts, Or wounded crept away from sight of man,

While the young died of famine in their nests ;
A slaughter to be told in groans, not words,
The very St. Bartholomew of Birds!

XXII.

The summer came and all the birds were dead;

The days were like hot coals; the very ground Was burned to ashes; in the orchards fed

Myriads of caterpillars, and around The cultivated fields and garden beds

Hosts of devouring insects crawled, and found No foe to check their march, till they had made The land a desert without leaf or shade.

XXIII.

Devoured by worms, like Herod, was the town,

Because, like Herod, it had ruthlessly Slaughtered the Innocents. From the trees spun down

The canker-worms upon the passers by, Upon each woman's bonnet, shawl and gown,

Who shook them off with just a little cry; They were the terror of each favorite walk, The endless theme of all the village talk,

[blocks in formation]

That year in Killingworth the Autumn came,

Without the light of his majestic look, The wonder of the falling tongue of flame,

The illumined pages of Doom's Day Book. A few lost leaves blushed crimson with their flame,

And drowned themselves despairing in the brook, While the wild wind went moaning everywhere, Lamenting the dead children of the air.

XXV.

But the next spring a stranger sight was seen,

A sight that never yet by bard was sung, As great a wonder as it would have been

If some dumb animal had found a tongue ! A wagon, overarched with evergreen,

Upon whose bows were wicker-cages hung, All full of singing birds, came down the street, Filling the air with music wild and sweet.

XXVI.

From all the country round these birds were brought,

By order of the town, with anxious quest, And loosened from their wicker prisons, sought

In woods and fields the places they love best, Singing loud canticles, which many thought

Were satires to the authorities addressed, While others listening in green lanes, averred Such lovely music never had been heard !

XXVII.

But blither still and louder caroled they

Upon the morrow, for they seemed to know It was the fair Alvira's wedding-day,

And everywhere, around, above, below,

When the Preceptor bore his bride away,

Their songs burst forth in joyous overflow,
And a new heaven bent over a new earth
Amid the sunny farms of Killingworth.

Spell and use in sentences: van'guard măd'ri gals

măs'sa cre gib’ber ish wind'rows

fu'sil lade bồm ba zine? roun'de lay

myr'i ads di'a lect in sid'i ous

de vour'ing Topical Review. This poem is one of Longfellow's Tales of a Wayside Inn. Describe the season (I., II., III). How were the farmers affected ? What did they do? Who were the principal characters in the meeting? Who defended the birds? Memorize verse XV. Give some arguments showing the usefulness of birds. How did this speech affect the meeting? What did they resolve to do? What followed the destruction of the birds? What took place in the autumn (XXIV.)?—the next spring? When did the birds carol blither and louder?

[blocks in formation]

The six primary vowels, ē, ā, ä, , 7, 00, have six corresponding short vowels which are made by opening the mouth a little wider from the same position and making a staccato sound. Thus: ē, i; ā, ē; â, ă; 0, o; , ŭ; 00, 00.

Phonic Drill, No. 5.
Say i, e, ă, o, ŭ, 00.

REMARK.—These vowels never end a syllable, but are always followed by a consonant sound.

For this reason, they are called stopped vowels.

XXI.

THE RAMPANT CARRONADE.

1. On the evening of June 1st, 1793, about an hour before sunset, a corvette set sail from a solitary little British Bay, in that kind of foggy weather which is favorable to flight, because pursuit is rendered dangerous. The vessel was manned by a French crew, although it made a part of the English fleet.

2. This vessel had the appearance of a transport, but was in reality a war corvette. She had the heavy pacific look of a merchantman, but it would not have been safe to trust to that; for she had been built for a double purpose, cunning and strength.

3. For the service before her this night, the lading of the lower deck had been replaced by thirty carronades of heavy calibre. To prevent the vessel from having a suspicious appearance, these carronades were securely fastened within by triple chains, and the hatches above shut close. Nothing was to be seen from without. The ports were blinded, the slides were closed, as if the corvette had put on a mask.

4. The crew, all French, was composed of refugee officers and deserter sailors. They

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »