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His spear down the traitor's throat he drove,
Till out at his back the red point clove.

Then up he rushed to the bridal bower,
Where drooped his lady like some pale flower.

And ere she could speak a single word,
She fell at his feet beneath his sword.


''O holy priest! now tell to me
What didst thou up at the castle see?"

"I saw a grief and a terror more
Than ever I saw on earth, before.

"I saw a martyr give up her breath,
And her slayer sorrowing e'en to death."

"O holy priest! now tell to me
What didst thou down at the crossway see?"

"I saw a corpse that all mangled lay,
And the dogs and ravens made their prey."

"O holy priest! now tell to me
What didst thou next in the churchyard see?"

"By a new-made grave in soft moonlight,
I saw a fair lady clothed in white;

"Nursing a little child on her knee
A dark red wound on his breast had he.

"A noble hound lay couched at her right,
A steed at her left of bonniest white;

"The first a gash in his throat had wide,
And this as deep a stab in its side.

"They raised their heads to the lady's knee,
And they licked their soft hands tenderly.

"She gently patted their necks, the while
Smiling, though stilly, a fair sweet smile.

"The child, as it fain its love would speak.
Caressed and fondled its mother's cheek.

"But down went the moon then silently.
And my eyes no more their forms could see;

"But I heard a bird from out the skies
Warbling a song of Paradise!"


He lived on the bank of a mighty river,
broad and deep, which was always silently
rolling on to a vast undiscovered ocean. It
had rolled on, ever since the world began. It
had changed its course sometimes, and turned
into new channels, leaving its old ways dry
and barren; but it had ever been upon the
flow, and ever was to flow until Time shall be
no more. Against its strong, unfathomable
stream, nothing made head. No living
creature, no flower, no leaf, no particle of animate
or inanimate existence, ever strayed back from
the undiscovered ocean. The tide of the river
set resistlessly towards it; and the tide
never stopped, any more than the earth stops
in its circling round the sun.

He lived in a busy place, and he worked
very hard to live. He had no hope of ever
being rich enough to live a month without
hard work, but he was quite content, God
knows, to labour with a cheerful will. He
was one of an immense family, all of whose
sons and daughters gained their daily bread
by daily work, prolonged from their rising up
betimes until their lying down at night.
Beyond this destiny he had no prospect, and he
sought none.

There was over-much drumming, trumpeting,
and speechmaking, in the neighbourhood
where he dwelt; but he had nothing to do
with that. Such clash and uproar came from
the Bigwig family, at the unaccountable
proceedings of which race he marvelled much.
They set up the strangest statues, in iron,
marble, bronze, and brass, before his door;
and darkened his house with the legs and
tails of uncouth images of horses. He
wondered what it all meant, smiled in a rough
good-humoured way he had, and kept at his
hard work.

The Bigwig family (composed of all the
stateliest people thereabouts, and all the
noisiest) had undertaken to save him the trouble
of thinking for himself, and to manage him
and his affairs. "Why truly," said he, "I
have little time upon my hands; and if you
will be so good as to take care of me, in
return for the money I pay over"—for the
Bigwig family were not above his money—"I
shall be relieved and much obliged, considering
that you know best." Hence the drumming,
trumpeting, and speechmaking, and the
ugly images of horses which he was expected
to fall down and worship.

"I don't understand all this," said he,
rubbing his furrowed brow confusedly. "But
it has a meaning, may be, if I could find it

"It means," returned the Bigwig family,
suspecting something of what he said, "honour
and glory in the highest, to the highest merit."

"Oh!" said he. And he was glad to hear

But, when he looked among the images in
iron, marble, bronze, and brass, he failed to
find a rather meritorious countryman of his,
once the son of a Warwickshire wool-dealer,
or any single countryman whomsoever of that
kind. He could find none of the men whose
knowledge had rescued him and his children
from terrific and disfiguring disease, whose
boldness had raised his forefathers from the
condition of serfs, whose wise infancy had
opened a new and high existence to the
humblest, whose skill had filled the working man's
world with accumulated wonders. Whereas,
he did find others whom he knew no good of,
and even others whom he knew much ill of.

"Humph!" said he. "I don't quite understand

So, he went home, and sat down by his
fire-side to get it out of his mind.

Now, his fire-side was a bare one, all hemmed
in by blackened streets; but it was a
precious place to him. The hands of his wife
were hardened with toil, and she was old

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