« ElőzőTovább »
Who that hath seen these splendours roll,
And gazed on this majestic scene,
Spurning its pleasures poor and mean—
And pass the gulf that yawns between?
Composition.—Write the sentiments and images of these verses in prose.
MY SETTLEMENT IN YORKSHIRE .—Sydney Smith.
For notice of Sydney Smith see Notes, p. 119.
A Diner out, a wit, and a popular preacher, I was suddenly caught up by the Archbishop of York, and transported to my living in Yorkshire, where there had not been a resident clergyman for a hundred and fifty years. Fresh from London, not knowing a turnip from a carrot, I was compelled to farm three hundred acres, and without capital to build a parsonage house.
I asked and obtained three years' leave from the Archbishop, in order to effect an exchange, if possible; and fixed myself meantime at a small village two miles from York, in which was a fine old house of the time of Queen Elizabeth, where resided the last of the squires, with his lady, who looked as if she had walked straight out of the Ark, or had been the wife of Enoch. He was a perfect specimen of the Trullibers of old; he smoked, hunted, drank beer at his door with his grooms and dogs, and spelt over the county paper on Sundays.
At first he heard that I was a Jacobin and a dangerous fellow, and turned aside as I passed; but at length, when he found the peace of the village undisturbed, harvests much as usual, Juno and Ponto uninjured, he first bowed, then called, and at last reached such a pitch of confidence, that he used to bring the papers, that I might explain the difficult words to him; actually discovered that I had made a joke, laughed till I thought he would have died of convulsions, and ended by inviting me to see his dogs.
All my efforts for an exchange having failed, I asked and obtained from my friend the Archbishop another year to build in. And I then set my shoulder to the wheel in good earnest, sent for an architect; he produced plans which would have ruined me. I made him my bow: "You build for glory, Sir; I, for use." I returned him his plans, with five and twenty pounds, and sat down in my thinking-chair; and in a few hours Mrs. Sydney and I concocted a plan which has produced what I called the model of parsonage-houses.
I then took to horse, to provide hricks and timber; was advised to make my own bricks of my own clay; of course when the kiln was opened, all bad; mounted my horse again, and in twentyfour hours had bought thousands of bricks and tons of timber. Was advised by neighbouring gentlemen to employ oxen; bought four, Tug and Lug, Haul and Brawl; but Tug and Lug took to fainting, and required buckets of sal-volatile, and Haul and Brawl to lie down in the mud. So I did as I ought to have done at first,—took the advice of a farmer, instead of the gentlemen; sold my oxen, bought a team of horses, and at last, in spite of a frost, which delayed me six weeks, in spite of walls running down with wet, in spite of the advice and remonstrances of friends, in spite of an infant of six months old, who had never been out of the house, I landed my family in my new house nine months after laying the first stone, on the 20th of March; and performed my promise to the letter to the Archbishop, by issuing forth at midnight with a lantern to meet the last cart with the cook and the cat, which had stuck in the mud, and fairly established them before twelve o'clock at night, in the new parsonage house; a feat, taking ignorance, inexperience, and poverty into consideration, requiring, I assure you, no small degree of energy.
It made me a very poor man for years, but I never repented it. I turned school-master, to educate my son, as I could not afford to send him to school. Mrs. Sydney turned schoolmistress, to educate my girls, as I could not afford a governess. I turned farmer, as I could not let my land. A man-servant was too expensive, so I caught up a little garden-girl, made like a millstone, christened her Bunch, put a napkin in her hand, and made her my butler. The girls taught her to read, Mrs. Sydney to wait, and I undertook her morals; Bunch became the best butler in the county.
I had little furniture, so I bought a cart-load of deals; took a carpenter (who came to me for parish relief) called Jack Robinson, with a face like a full-moon, into my service; established him in a barn, and said " Jack, furnish my house!" You see the result! At last it was suggested that a carriage was much wanted in the establishment. After diligent search, I discovered in the back settlements of a York coachmaker an ancient green chariot, supposed to have been the earliest invention of the kind. I brought it home in triumph to my admiring family. Being somewhat dilapidated, the village tailor lined it, the village blacksmith repaired it; nay, but for Mrs. Sydney's earnest entreaties we believe the village painter would have exercised his genius upon the exterior; it escaped this danger, however, and the result was wonderful.
THE BAD SQUIRE.—Charles Kingdey.
The merry brown hares came leaping
Over the crest of the hill,
Under the moonlight still.
Leaping late and early,
Till under their bite and their tread,
Lay cankered and trampled and dead.
A poacher's widow lay sighing
On the side of the white chalk bank,
Where under the gloomy fir-woods
She watched a long tuft of clover,
Where rabbit or hare never ran:
She thought of the dark plantation,
And the hares, and her husband's blood,
"I am long past wailing and whining—
I have wept too much in my life:
'A labourer in Christian England,
Where they cant of a Saviour's name, And yet waste men's lives like the vermin's For a few more brace of game.
"There's blood on your new foreign shrubs, squire, There's blood on your pointer's feet;
There's blood on the game you sell, squire,
"You made him a poacher yourself, squire,
And your barley-fed hares robbed the garden
"When, packed in one reeking chamber,
While the rain pattered in on the rotting bride-bed, And the walls let in the day;
"When we lay in the burning fever
On the mud of the cold clay floor,
At the dreary workhouse door.
"We quarreled like brutes, and who wonders?
What self-respect could we keep,
Worse fed than your hogs and your sheep?
"Our daughters with base-born babies
Have wandered away in their shame;
Your misses might do the same.
"Can your lady patch hearts that are breaking
With handfuls of coals and rice,
A little below cost price P
"You may tire of the jail and the workhouse,
And take the allotments and schools,
Be paid us by penny-club rules.
"In the season of shame and sadness,
In the dark and dreary day,
Are eating your race away;
"When to kennels and liveried varlets
You have cast your daughter's bread,
Your heir, at your feet, lies dead;
"When your youngest, the mealy-mouthed rector,
Lets your soul rot asleep to the grave,
Of the freeman you fancied your slave."
She looked at the tuft of clover,
And wept till her heart grew light;
Went wandering into the night.
But the merry brown hares came leaping
Over the uplands still,
On the side of the white chalk hill.
Composition.—"Write the substance of this poem in prose.