2. “Oh, blessed, blessed rain!" sang forth the grass,

In chorus low and deep,
From hill, and vale, and steep,
One joyous lay it sent
Up to the firmament,

Thank God!” 3. “Oh, blessed, blessed rain!" murmured the brook,

"Again I flow along,
To my old familiar song;
My tripping, silver feet
Glide to the measure sweet,

Thank God!” 4. Oh, blessed, blessed rain!” sang shrub and tree,

Spreading their branches wide
To catch the joyous tide
That downward rushed headlong
Joining the grateful song,

Thank God!” 5. “Oh, blessed, blessed rain!” was whispered forth

From every shady nook
And every tiny brook;
E'en the dry and dusty street
Echoed, in numbers sweet,

“ Thank God!"
6. “Oh, blessed, blessed rain!” the insects sang;

Gay butterfly and bee
Swelled loud the melody;
Bird, beast, each in its way,
Joined in the happy lay,

“Thank God!”

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7. “Oh, blessed, blessed rain!" man utters forth;

"Praise to our God above,
The fountain of all love,
For sunshine and for rain,
Bless we His name again:

Thank God!”

withered, dried up. familiar, well known. melody, tune.

rais-ing un-fold-ing join-ing

grate-ful foun-tain


firmament, the sky.
tiny, small.
whispered, spoke softly.
trip-ping down-ward
but-ter-fly join-ed
a-gain swell-ed


1. Italy is a very interesting country. Its history for many centuries was the history of the world. More than 1800 years ago it was the centre of civilization. Several of the most celebrated nations of antiquity fell under its power.

2. No nation, except perhaps our own, ever established so many colonies. France, Spain, and England rose from a state of barbarism as colonies of the Roman empire. Wherever the Roman armies went, they left their mark. They constructed splendid roads, built fine towns, erected great walls or fortifications, and did much to improve the manners and customs of the people amongst whom they settled.

3. England indeed owes much to these colonists. London, Bath, and most of the towns that end in ter,

as Manchester, Lancaster, Exeter, &c., were Roman colonies, and many of the great roads in our country were originally constructed by them.

4. Italy itself is a long peninsula in the south of Europe, stretching in a south-easterly direction between the Mediterranean and Adriatic seas.

5. Its physical features are very simple. A long range of mountains, called the Apennines, runs down its entire length, sometimes approaching the Mediterranean and at others inclining towards the Adriatic. On each side of these mountains are beautiful fertile plains, intersected by short, and in some parts, rapid rivers.

6. One of these plains, the Plain of Lombardy, is inclosed on three sides by very high mountains. It is watered by numerous rivers, and has on its northern side some of the most beautiful and picturesque lakes to be found in the world. It is so fertile, that many

of the plants and fruits of warmer countries grow there to perfection.

7. The climate of Italy is dry and warm, with bright, blue skies during the greater part of the year. Some parts, however, are very unhealthy, especially in the districts around Rome. Here there are great areas of ill-drained land and marsh, which render it uninhabitable during six months of the year. 8. “There are bright scenes beneath Italian skies,

Where glowing suns their purest light diffuse,
Uncultured flowers in wild profusion rise,

And nature lavishes her warmest hues;
But trust thou not her smile, her balmy breath;
Away! her charms are but the pomp of death.”

9. A fever, called the Malaria, is prevalent in Central Italy, and on the West coast. Whole districts that once supported a large population are now uninhabitable.

Wild animals are not numerous. They are the wild boar, the chamois, wild goat, and porcupine.

10. Fruits and vegetables are grown in abundance, and are excellent in quality. The chief are the olive, lemon, orange, maize, vine, citron, and rice. The mulberry tree is cultivated to a large extent—the leaves forming the chief food of the silkworm. Italy, indeed, produces more silk than any other European country.

11. The minerals of Italy are not very important. They are chiefly iron, lead, quicksilver, sulphur, and alum. In the Apennines are found many marble quarries. The most famous quarry is that of Carrara, which supplies the finest statuary marble.

12. Italy is remarkable for its volcanoes; the most noted being that of Vesuvius, near Naples. Nearly 2000 years ago this volcano was celebrated and described. In A.D. 79, one of its eruptions overwhelmed and buried two old towns, Pompeii and Herculaneum. These towns have been partly excavated within the last hundred years, and the details of Roman life at the time of their destruction have been revealed to us with wonderful clear


13. Mount Etna, in Sicily, one of the Italian Islands, is the largest volcano in Europe. It is nearly 80 miles around its base, and is very frequently active. In the Lipari Islands, near the Italian coast, is a small volcano named Stromboli, which is so active that there is an eruption every fifteen minutes.

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14. Italy has for centuries been noted for her great scholars, painters, sculptors, and scientific men. Her schools and universities were the nurseries of the arts and sciences. In the middle ages the most promising pupils from foreign countries were sent to these universities. They copied the fashions of the country, studied its architecture, imitated the poets, and bought up, as most valuable treasures, the works of the painters and sculptors.

15. Even at the present day, Italy is the home of art, and painters go there from all parts of the world


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