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EDMUND SPENSER (1553-1599) was born in London, and educated at Cambridge. He is one of the greatest English poets; his chief work is the Faerie Queene, an allegorical poem, designed to celebrate the principal virtues. He was buried in Westminster Abbey.

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So forth issued the Seasons of the year;
First lusty Spring, all dight* in leaves and flowers
That freshly budded, and new blossoms did bear,
In which a thousand birds had built their bowers,
That sweetly sung to call forth paramours ;*
And in his hand a javelin he did bear,
And on his head (as fit for warlike stours)
A gilt engraven morion * he did wear,
That as some did him love, so others did him fear.

Then came the jolly Summer, being dight
In a thin silken cassock coloured green
That was unlinèd all, to be more light,
And on his head a garland* well beseen
He

*

wore, from which, as he had chauffèd * been,
The sweat did drop, and in his hand he bore
A bow and shaft, as he in forest green
Had hunted late the libbard * or the boar,
And now would bathe his limbs, with labour

heated sore.

Then came the Autumn, all in yellow clad,
As though he joyèd in his plenteous store,
Laden with fruits that made him laugh, full glad
That he had banished Hunger, which tofore*

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Had by the belly oft him pinched sore;
Upon his head a wreath, that was enrolled
25 With ears of corn of every sort, he bore,
And in his hand a sickle he did hold,

To reap the ripened fruits the which the earth
had yold.*

*

Lastly came Winter, clothed all in frize,* Chattering his teeth for cold that did him chill, 30 Whilst on his hoary* beard his breath did freeze, And the dull drops that from his purpled bill As from a limbeck * did adown distil; In his right hand a tippèd staff he held, With which his feeble steps he stayed still, 35 For he was faint with cold and weak with eld * That scarce his loosèd limbs he able was to weld.*

Yold, yielded, given.

Frize (frieze), a coarse kind of cloth, with Hoary, grey.

nap on one side of it.

Bill, nose.

Limbeck, a vessel used in distilling.

Eld, old age.

Weld, to use, to manage.

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THE SPANISH CHAMPION.*-Mrs. Hemans.

THE warrior bowed his crested head, and tamed
his heart of fire,

*

And sued the haughty* king to free his long-
imprisoned sire :

*

"I bring thee here my fortress keys, I bring
my captive train;

I pledge my faith, my liege,* my lord-oh!
break my father's chain."

"Rise! rise! even now thy father comes, a

*

ransomed man this day;

Mount thy good steed, and thou and I will
meet him on his way:"

Then lightly rose that loyal son, and bounded
on his steed;

And urged, as if with lance in hand, his
charger's foaming speed.

And lo! from far, as on they pressed, there

came a glittering * band,

10 With one that 'mid them stately rode, as a

leader in the land:

"Now haste, Bernardo, haste! for there, in
very truth, is he,

The father whom thy grateful heart hath
yearned * so long to see."

Sued, begged, im

plored.
Haughty, proud.
His long-imprisoned
sire, Don Sancho,
Count Saldana of

Spain, had been kept

in prison for many years by the king. At length his son, Bernardo del Carpio, took up arms to effect

his release.

Captive train, the prisoners taken in battle.

Liege, lord, a feudal superior; one having

vassals or liegemen.

Ransomed, redeemed, saved.

Glittering, bright, beautiful to behold.

Yearned, desired very much.

* Champion, a hero, one who fights in single combat for himself or for another.

F

His dark eye flashed, his proud breast heaved, his cheek's
blood came and went;

He reached that grey-haired chieftain's side, and there
dismounting bent.

A lowly knee to earth he bent, his father's hand he 15
took ;-

What was there in its touch that all his fiery spirit

shook?

That hand was cold, a frozen thing-it dropped from his
like lead;

He looked up to the face above-the face was of the
The dead, in

order to de

ceive the son, his father's

dead;

*

A plume waved o'er that noble brow-the brow was
fixed and white;

dead body He met at length his father's eyes, but in them was no
was placed

on horseback by command of the king Paint that gaze, describe or tell exactly how he looked.

Renown, fame of

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sight!

Up from the ground he sprang, and gazed; but who can
paint that gaze?

*

They hushed their very hearts who saw its horror and

amaze:

They might have chained him, as before that noble form

he stood;

For the power was stricken from his arm, and from his
cheek the blood.

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"Father!" at length he murmured low, and wept like 25 childhood then

(Talk not of grief till thou hast seen the tears of warlike

men-)

He thought on all his glorious hopes, on all his high

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great name, Then flung the falchion* from his side, and in the dust celebrity.

Falchion, a

sat down ;

short curved And, covering with his steel-gloved hand his darkly

sword.

Wildered, astonished, surprised. Courtier, a person who

lives at court.

mournful brow,

"No more, there is no more," he said, "to lift the sword 30

for now;

My king is false ! my hope betrayed! my father-oh!

the worth,

The glory, and the loveliness, are passed away from

earth!"

Up from the ground he sprang once more, and seized the
monarch's rein

Amid the pale and wildered * looks of all the courtier

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35 And with a fierce, o'ermastering* grasp, the rearing war-
horse led,

And sternly set them face to face-the king before the
dead!

O'ermaster

ing, overpowering

"Came I not forth upon thy pledge,* my father's hand Pledge, pro-
to kiss?

Be still, and gaze thou on, false king! and tell me what
is this?

mise.

The voice, the glance, the heart I sought-give answer,
where are they?

*

soul, send life

Perjurer,

40 If thou wouldst clear thy perjured
through this cold clay!

"Into these glassy eyes put light-be still, keep down
thine ire!

Bid these white lips a blessing speak-this earth is not
my sire!

Give me back him for whom I strove, for whom my
blood was shed!

Thou canst not !—and, O king! his dust be mountains
on thy head!"

45 He loosed the steed-his slack hand fell; upon the

silent face

He cast one long, deep, troubled look, then turned from
that sad place:

His hope was crushed-his after-fate untold in martial
strain-*

His banner led the spears no more amidst the hills of
Spain ! *

one who knowingly takes a false

oath.

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HOW THEY BROUGHT THE GOOD NEWS FROM
GHENT TO AIX.*—R. Browning.

ROBERT BROWNING (1812- ), born at Camberwell, and educated at London University, ranks among the foremost of living poets. He possesses a wonderful power of condensed expression, and his writings are deeply thoughtful and expressive. Chief works: Men and Women, The Ring and the Book, Dramatic Lyrics, and other poems.

I

sprang to the stirrup, and Joris, and he;

I galloped, Dirck galloped, we galloped all three ;

"Good speed!" cried the watch, as the gate-bolts

undrew ;

"Speed!" echoed* the wall to us galloping through:

Echo, to send

back a sound,

*Ghent, the chief town of East Flanders, in Belgium. Aix-la-Chapelle, a city in Rhenish Prussia. The two towns are more than a hundred miles apart.

Postern, a

small door or

gate in or by the side of

a larger entrance-gate,

Pique, a lance carried at the saddle.

A whit, a point, a jot.

Lokeren, in East Flanders, Belgium.

Boom, Düffeld, Mechlin, in Antwerp Mechlin is

noted for its lace.

Behind shut the postern,* the lights sank to rest,
And into the midnight we galloped abreast.

Not a word to each other, we kept the great pace,
Neck by neck, stride by stride, never changing our

place;

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I turned in my saddle, and made its girths tight,
Then shortened each stirrup, and set the pique* 10
right,

Rebuckled the check-strap, chained slacker the bit,
Nor galloped less steadily Roland a whit.*

'Twas moonset at starting; but while we drew near
Lokeren,* the cocks crew and twilight dawned clear;
At Boom,* a great yellow star came out to see;
At Düffeld,* 'twas morning as plain as could be ;
And from Mechlin* church-steeple we heard the
half-chime,

So Joris broke silence with, "Yet there is time!"

At Aerschot, up leaped of a sudden the sun,
And against him the cattle stood black every one,
To stare through the mist at us galloping past,
And I saw my stout galloper Roland at last,
With resolute shoulders, each butting away
firm, steady, The haze,* as some bluff river-headland its spray.

Resolute,

bold.

Haze, mist.

Intelligence, quickness to

understand. Askance, sideways

Spumeflakes,

flakes of foam. Aye and

anon, now and then. Hasselt, in Belgium. Roos (Ger. Ross), a com

mon name

for a horse.

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And his low head and crest, just one sharp ear bent 25 back

*

For my voice, and the other pricked out on his track;
And one eye's black intelligence —ever that glance
O'er its white edge at me, his own master, askance ! *
And the thick heavy spume-flakes which aye and

anon

*

His fierce lips shook upwards in galloping on.

By Hasselt,* Dirck groaned, and cried Joris, "Stay

spur!

Your Roos galloped bravely, the fault's not in her,
We'll remember at Aix"-for one heard the quick
wheeze

Of her chest, saw the stretched neck and staggering

knees,

And sunk tail, and horrible heave of the flank,
As down on her haunches she shuddered and sank.

So we were left galloping, Joris and I,
Past Looz and past Tongres, no cloud in the sky;

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