Page images
PDF
EPUB

CHAPTER XXXIX.

TRIBUTE OF AFFECTION. * 1. My heart stops me to drop the tear of sensibility, thou great, thou venerable Patriot, Hero, Sage, due to the Majesty of thy departed greatness ! Retire !-the world, and all its vanities, shut out! I venerate the character of him, whose life was glorious in the cause of virtue, humanity, and his God !

2. Great, immortal WASHINGTON ! Too soon for many hast thou ascended to glory! Humanity mourns! virtue rejoices in thy worth! Angels shout, “Welcome ! great Hero, to thy home !"? Thy benevolence embraced mankind; thy services blessed the world. Too good for earth, to heaven art thou fled, and left the world in tears !

3: Weep, generous Nations ! weep the sad, the swift remove df him, whom heaven, indulgent, sent to man: recalled from earth, adorned with bright religion's gems

! Thou favorite Child of heaven ! stripped of thy mortal form, clad in thy native divinity, hast thou ascended to heaven, there to enjoy the presence of thy God !

4. Come, Patriots, Statesmen, Citizens, come ! drop the honest tear of sensibility on the tomb of him whose virtues shall survive the marble monuments of fame! whose glories shall be revered as long as goodness itself shall be beloved, and innocence and worth by heaven approved !

CHAPTER XL.
LECTURES ON THE HEAD OF A COMICAL FELLOW.

1. HERE'S a head full charged with fun, (shews the
head) a comical half foolish face, what a great many peo-
ple upon the stage can put on, and what a great many
people, not upon the stage, can't put off. This man al-
ways laughed at what he said himself, and he imagined a
inan of wit must always be upon the broad grin; and
whenever he was in company he was always teazing some
one to be merry, saying, Now you Master, what do you call
em? do now suy something to make us all laugh ; come do now
be comical a little.
2. But if there is no other person will speak, he will

. See Rule V, page 17.

[ocr errors]

threaten to tell you a story to make you die with laughing, and he will assure you, it is the most bestest and the most comicaless story that ever you heard in all your born days; and he always interlards his narration with, so as I was a saging, says 1, and so as he was a saying, says be ; so says he to me, and I to bim, and he to me again, did you ever hear any thing more comical in all your born days ? But after he had concluded his narration, not finding any person even to smile at what he said, struck with the disappointment, he puts on a sad face himself, and, looking round upon the company, he says, it was a good story when I heard it too ; why then, so, and so, and so, that's all, that's all, gentlemen.

CHAPTER XLI. STORY OF THE SIEGE OF CALAIS. 1. EDWARD the III. after the battle of Cressy, laid siege to Calais. He had fortified his camp in so impregnable a manner, that all the efforts of France proved inessectual to raise the siege, or throw succours into the city. The citizens, under count Vienne, their gallant governor, made an admirable defence. France had now put the sickle into her second harvest, since Edward, with his victorious ary, sat down before the town. The

eyes

of all Europe were intent on the issue. At length, famine did more for Edward than arms. After suffering unheard of calamities, they resolved to attempt the enemy's camp: They boldly sallied forth; the English joined battle; and after a long and desperate engagement, count Vienne was taken prisoner, and the citizens who survived the slaughter, retired within their gates.

2. The command devolving upon Eustace St Pierre, a man of mean birth, but of exalted virtue, he offered to capitulate with Edward, provided he permitted him to depart with life and liberty. Edward, to avoid the imputation of cruelty, consented to spare the bulk of the Piebeians, provided they delivered up to him six of their principalcitizens, with halters about their necks,asvictims of Jue atonement for that spirit of rebellion with which they had inflamed the vulgar. When this messenger, Sir Walter Mauny,delivered theterms, consternation and paledismay were impressed on every countenance. To a long and dead silence, deep sighs and groans succeeded, till Eustace St. Pierre, getting up to a little eminence, thus addressed the assembly.

3. “My friends, we are brought to great straits this day, we must either yield to the terms of our cruel and ensnaring conqueror, or give up our tender infants, our wives and daughters, to the bloody and brutal lusts of the violating soldiers. Is there any expedient left whereby we may avoid the guilt and infamy of delivering up those who have suffered every misery with you, on the one hand; or the desolation and horror of a sacked city, on the other? There is, my friends; there is one expedient left; a gracious, an excellent, a godlike expedient ! Is there any here to whom virtue is dearer than life ? Let him offer himself an oblation for the safety of his people! He shall not fail of a blessed approbation from that Power, who offered up his only Son for the salvation of mankind."

4. He spoke-but an universal silence ensued. Each man looked around for the example of that virtue and magnanimity, which all wished to approve in themselves, though they wanted the resolution. At length St. Pierre resumed, «I doubt not but there are many as ready, nay more zealous of this martyrdom than I can be ; though the station to which I am raised, by the captivity of Lord Vienne, imparts a right to be the first in giving my life for your sakes. I give it freely ; I give it cheerfully. Who comes next;" “ Your son,” exclaimed a youth, not yet 4 come to maturity “ Ah, my child !" cried St. Pierre, “ I am then twice sacrificed. But, no; I have rather be. gotten thee a second time. Thy years are few, but full,

The victim of virtue has reached the utmost purpose and goal of mortality. Who next, my friends! This is the hour of heroes.” “ Your kinsman," cried John de Aire. “ Your kinsman," cried James Wissant. “ Your kinsman," cried Peter Wissant.

5. “ Ah !” exclaimed Sir Walter Mauny, bursting into tears, “Why was I not a citizen of Calais ?” The sixth victim was still wanting, but was quickly supplied by lot, from numbers who were now emulous of so ennobling an example. The keys of the city were then delivered to Sir Walter. He took the six prisoners into his custody;

[ocr errors]

my son.

then ordered the gates to be opened, and gave charge to his attendants to conduct the remaining citizens with their families, through the camp of the English. Before they departed, however, they desired permission to take their adieu of their deliverers. What a parting ! What a scene ! They crowded, with their wives, and children, about St. Pierre and his fellow prisoners. They embraced ; they clung around; they fell prostrate before them. They groaned ; they wept aloud ; and the joint clamor of their mourning passed the gates of the city, and was heard throughout the English camp. The English by this tiine were apprized of what passed within Calais. They heard the voice of lamentation, and they were touched with compassion. Each of the soldiers prepared a portion of his own victuals to welcome and entertain the half-famished inhabitants; and they loaded thens with as much as their present weakness was able to bear, in order to supply them with sustenance by the way.

CHAPTER XLII. THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED. 1. AT length St. Pierre and his fellow victims appeared under the conduct of Sir Walter and a guard. All the tents of the English were instantly emptied. The soldiers poured from all parts, and arranged themselves on cach side, to behold, to contemplate, to admire, this little band of patriots as they passed. They bowed down to them on all sides. They murmured their applause of that virtue, which they could not but revere, even in enemies; and they regarded those ropes which they volun. tarily assumed about their necks, as ensigns of greater dignity than that of the British garter.

2. As soon as they had reached the presence, “Mausy," says the Monarch, “are these the principal inhabitants of Calais ?” “ They are,” says Mauny; “they are pot only the principal men of Calais, but they are the principal men of France, my Lord, if virtue has

any

share in the act of ennobling." « Were they delivered peaceably," says Edward ? «Was there no resistance, no commotion among the people ?” “Not in the least, my Lord ! the people would all have perished, rather than bare de livered the least of these to your Majesty. They are self-delivered, self-devoted, and come to offer up their inestimable heads, as an ample equivalent for the ransom of thousands."

3. Edward was secretly piqued at this reply of sir Wal. ter ; but he knew the privilege of a British subject, and suppressed his resentment. “Experience," says he, "has ever shown, that lenity only serves to invite people to new crimes. Severity, at times, is indispensably necessary, to compel subjects to submission, by punishment and example.” “Go,” he cried to an officer, “ lead these men to execution.” At this instant a sound of triumph was beard throughout the camp. The Queen had just arrived with a powerful reenforcement of gallant troops. Sir Walter Mauny flew to receive her Majesty, and briefly informed her of the particulars respecting the six victims.

4. As soon as she had been welcomed by Edward and his court, she desired a private audience. "My Lord,” said she, "the question I am to enter upon, is not touching the lives of a few mechanics--it respects the honour of the English nation; it respects the glory of my Edward, my husband, and my king. You think you have sentenced six of your enemies to death. No, my Lord, they have sentenced themselves ; and their execution would be the execution of their own orders, not the orders of Edward. The stage on which they would suffer, would be to them a stage of honour, but a stage of shame to Edo ward; a reproach on his conquests; an indelible disgrace to his name."

5. “Let us rather disappoint these haughty burghers, who wish to invest themselves with glory at our expense. We cannot wholly deprive them of the merit of a sacri. fice so nobly intended, but we may cut them short of their desires; in place of that death in which their glory would be consummate, let us bury them under gifts; let us put them to confusion with-applauses. We shall thereby defeat them of that popular opinion, which never fails to attend those who suffer in the cause of virtue." "I ani convinced; you have prevailed. Be it 80," replied Edward; “prevent the execution; have them instantly before us.

6. They came ; when the Queen, with an aspect and

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »