Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

8. Do you think, O blue-eyed banditti,

Because you have scaled the wall,
Such an old mustache as I am
Is not a match for

you

all !

9. I have you fast in my fortress,

And will not let you depart,
But put you down into the dungeon
In the round-tower of

my

heart.

10. And there will I keep you forever,

Yes, forever and a day,
Till the walls shall crumble to ruin,
And molder in dust away!

Questions.

What is meant by the word “ lower”? In what part of the house does the poet's “study” seem to be? Meaning of “ raid”? “turret”? “banditti”? Why does the poet call himself “an old mustache”? Tell the story of the “ Bishop of Bingen.” (See Exercise xxXI.) What “wall ” have they “scaled”? Meaning of " 'dungeon”? “round-tower”?

What kind of piece is this? Is the sentiment of it agreeable? Is it desirable to cultivate this genial, affectionate intercourse between members of a family? With what tone of voice should this be read? Let it be read naturally and feelingly.

IV.-OLIVER CROMWELL.

CHARLES DICKENS.

1. The rest of the history of the protectorate of Oliver Cromwell is a history of his parliaments. His first one not pleasing him at all, he waited until the five months were out, and then dissolved it. The next was better suited to his views; and from that he desired to get — if he could with safety to himself - the title of king. He had had this in his mind some time; whether because he thought that the English people, being more used to the title, were more likely to obey it, or whether because he really wished to be a king himself, and to leave the succession to that title in his family, is far from clear. He was already as high, in England and in all the world, as he would ever be, and I doubt myself if he cared for the mere name.

2. However, a paper, called the “ Humble Petition and Advice," was presented to him by the House of Commons, praying him to take a high title, and to appoint his successor. That he would have taken the title of king there is no doubt, but for the strong opposition of the army. This induced him to forbear, and to assent only to the other points of the petition ; upon which occasion there was another grand show in Westminster Hall, when the Speaker of the House of Commons formally invested him with a purple robe, lined with ermine, and presented him with a splendidly-bound Bible, and put a golden scepter in his hand.

3. The next time the Parliament met, he called a House of Lords of sixty members, as the petition gave him power to do; but as that Parliament did not please him either, and would not proceed to the business of the country, he jumped into a coach one morning, took six guards with him, and sent them to the right-about I wish this had been a warning to parliaments to avoid long speeches and do more work.

4. It was the month of August, one thousand six hundred and fifty-eight, when Oliver Cromwell's favorite daughter, Elizabeth Claypole (who had lately lost her youngest son), lay very ill, and his mind was greatly troubled, because he loved her dearly. Another of his daughters was married to Lord Falconberg, another to the grandson of the Earl of

Warwick, and he had made his son Richard one of the members of the Upper House.

5. He was very kind and loving to them all, being a good father and a good husband; but he loved this daughter the best of the family, and went down to Hampton Court to see her, and could hardly be induced to stir from her sick room until she died. Although his religion had been of a gloomy kind, his disposition had been always cheerful. He had been fond of music in his home, and had kept open table once a week for all officers of the army not below the rank of a captain, and had always preserved in his home a quiet, sensible dignity. He encouraged men of genius and learning, and loved to have them about him. Milton was one of his great friends.

6. He was good-humored, too, with the nobility, whose dresses and manners were very different from his; and to show them what good information he had, he would sometimes, jokingly, tell them, when they were his guests, where they had last drank the health of the "king over the water,” and would recommend them to be more private (if they could) another time. But he had lived in busy times, had borne the weight of heavy state affairs, and had often gone in fear of his life.

7. He was ill of the gout and ague; and when the death of his beloved child came upon him in addition, he sank, never to raise his head again. He told his physicians, on the twenty-fourth of August, that the Lord had assured him that he was not to die in that illness, and that he would certainly get better. This was only his sick fancy; for, on the third of September, which was the anniversary of the great battle of Worcester, and the day of the year which he called his fortune day, he died, in the sixtieth year of 8. He had been delirious, and had lain insensible some hours, but he had been overheard to murmur a very good prayer the day before. The whole country lamented his death. If you want to know the real worth of Oliver Cromwell, and his real services to his country, you can hardly do better than compare England under him, with England under Charles the Second.

his age.

Questions. What is meant by the “protectorate” of Oliver Cromwell? What “five months” are meant- here? [He had agreed to allow this Parliament to sit at least five months.] Who was the “ king over the water”? Why so called ? [See Notes, Charles II., Exercise V.] What does Mr. Dickens seem to think of Oliver Cromwell ?

What kind of a selection is this? What tone is required ? What degree of force?

V.- ENGLAND UNDER CHARLES II.

CHARLES DICKENS.

1. There never were such profligate times in England as under Charles the Second. Whenever you see his portrait, with his swarthy, ill-looking face and great nose, you may fancy him in his court at Whitehall, surrounded by some of the very worst vagabonds in the kingdom (though they were lords and ladies), drinking, gambling, indulging in vicious conversation, and committing every kind of profligate

It has been a fashion to call Charles the Second the “ Merry Monarch." Let me try to give you a general idea of some of the merry things that were done in the merry days when this merry gentleman sat upon his merry throne in merry England.

excess.

2. The first, merry proceeding was, of course, to declare that he was one of the greatest, the wisest, and the noblest kings that ever shone, like the blessed sun itself, on this benighted earth. The next merry and pleasant piece of business was for the Parliament, in the humblest manner, to give him one million two hundreri thousand pounds a year, and to settle upon him for life that old disputed tonnage and poundage which had been so bravely fought for. Then General Monk being made Earl of Albemarle, and a few other royalists similarly rewarded, the law went to work to see what was to be done to those persons (they were called regicides ) who had been concerned in making a martyr of the late king.

3. Ten of these were merrily executed; that is to say, six of the judges, one of the council, Colonel Hacker, and another officer who had commanded the Guards, and IIugh Peters, a preacher, who had preached against the martyr with all his heart. These executions were so extremely merry that every horrible circumstance which Cromwell had abandoned was revived with appalling cruelty. The hearts of the sufferers were torn out of their living bodies; their bowels were burned before their faces; the executioner cut jokes to the next victim, as he rubbed his filthy hands together that were reeking with the blood of the last; and the heads of the dead were drawn on sledges with the living to the place of suffering. Still, even so merry a monarch could not force one of these dying men to say that he was sorry for what he had done. Nay, the most memorable thing said among them was, that if the thing were to do again, they would do it.

4. Sir Harry Vane, who had furnished the evidence against Strafford, and was one of the most staunch of the republicans, was also tried, found guilty, and ordered for execution. When he came upon the scaffold, on Tower Hill,

« ForrigeFortsett »