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EXHORTATION TO BATTLE

by: Callinus

OW long will ye slumber? when will ye take heart
And fear the reproach of your neighbors at hand?
Fie! comrades, to think ye have peace for your part,
Whilst the sword and the arrow are wasting our land!
Shame! grasp the shield close! cover well the bold breast!
Aloft raise the spear as ye march on your foe!
With no thought of retreat, with no terror confessed,
Hurl your last dart in dying, or strike your last blow.
Oh, ‘t is noble and glorious to fight for our all,–
For our country, our children, the wife of our love!
Death comes not the sooner; no soldier shall fall,
Ere his thread is spun out by the sisters above.
Once to die is man’s doom; rush, rush to the fight!
He cannot escape, though his blood were Jove’s own.
For a while let him cheat the shrill arrow by flight;
Fate will catch him at last in his chamber alone.
Unlamented he dies; — unregretted. Not so,
When, the tower of his country, in death falls the brave;
Thrice hallowed his name amongst all, high or low,
As with blessings alive, so with tears in the grave.

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Rudyard Kipling: The Jungle Book

Now Rann the Kite brings home the night
That Mang the Bat sets free–
The herds are shut in byre and hut
For loosed till dawn are we.
This is the hour of pride and power,
Talon and tush and claw.
Oh, hear the call!–Good hunting all
That keep the Jungle Law!
— Night-Song in the Jungle

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It was seven o’clock of a very warm evening in the Seeonee hills when Father Wolf woke up from his day’s rest, scratched himself, yawned, and spread out his paws one after the other to get rid of the sleepy feeling in their tips. Mother Wolf lay with her big gray nose dropped across her four tumbling, squealing cubs, and the moon shone into the mouth of the cave where they all lived. “Augrh!” said Father Wolf. “It is time to hunt again.” He was going to spring down hill when a little shadow with a bushy tail crossed the threshold and whined: “Good luck go with you, O Chief of the Wolves. And good luck and strong white teeth go with noble children that they may never forget the hungry in this world.”

It was the jackal–Tabaqui, the Dish-licker–and the wolves of India despise Tabaqui because he runs about making mischief, and telling tales, and eating rags and pieces of leather from the village rubbish-heaps. But they are afraid of him too, because Tabaqui, more than anyone else in the jungle, is apt to go mad, and then he forgets that he was ever afraid of anyone, and runs through the forest biting everything in his way. Even the tiger runs and hides when little Tabaqui goes mad, for madness is the most disgraceful thing that can overtake a wild creature. We call it hydrophobia, but they call it dewanee–the madness– and run.

“Enter, then, and look,” said Father Wolf stiffly, “but there is no food here.”

“For a wolf, no,” said Tabaqui, “but for so mean a person as myself a dry bone is a good feast. Who are we, the Gidur-log [the jackal people], to pick and choose?” He scuttled to the back of the cave, where he found the bone of a buck with some meat on it, and sat cracking the end merrily.

LIFE IS A DREAM

A synopsis of the play by Calderon

LIFE IS A DREAM was published in 1636 or 1637 before Calderon was forty. Inasmuch as plays in seventeenth century Spain were written primarily for immediate production it is probable that this play had been presented on the Madrid stage before that date.

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THE horoscope of the infant Prince, Segismund, convinces the Polish King, Basilio, that Segismund is destined to bring dishonor on Poland and downfall to his father, Basilio. He therefore announces that Segismund has died with his mother in birth. Confined in a tower, deep in the rocky fastnesses of the frontier, Segismund grows to manhood chained like an animal to a ring in the floor, guarded under direction of Basilio’s confidential general, Clotaldo.

As the play opens two strangers whose storm-frighted horses have bolted, stumble on Segismund’s prison. One of them confesses in a voice all too gentle for her masculine attire that she has come from Muscovy on a matter of vengeance and Segismund, for the moment unguarded, confesses that he too, thinks often on revenge. Clotaldo’s appearance is about to result in death for the newcomers when the general recognizes the stranger’s sword as one he had left years before in Muscovy as pledge for favor owed. The stranger identifies herself as Rosaura, daughter of Clotaldo’s quondam benefactor, and is proffered safe conduct to Warsaw.

Meanwhile the King has Segismund brought to court while in a drugged sleep, to wake to all the appearances of royal splendor. His tragic story is related to him, he meets his cousins, Astolfo and Estrella, and falls promptly in love with the latter. When, however, his father, the King, appears, his desire for revenge on an unnatural father is too strong and he would have attacked the King had not the guards prevented. For this action he is returned in a drugged sleep to his prison and the King prepares to carry out his plans to marry his nephew, Duke Astolfo of Muscovy, to his niece, Estrella, and turn over his kingdom to them.

Meanwhile, back in the prison, Segismund is convinced by Clotaldo that the entire day’s happenings are but a dream. Clotaldo nevertheless chides him for his unprincelike lack of self-control so effectively that when later in the day he is rescued by revolting Polish troops directed to his prison by Rosaura, he treats the vanquished King with great nobility and returns to him his forfeit crown. When he discovers that Astolfo has broken his engagement to Rosaura in hopes of gaining the Polish crown through marriage to Estrella, he dissolves the new bond, returning Astolfo to Rosaura and claims Estrella for himself.

KITTY’S DREAM

by: Henry Baker (1698-1774)

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N her couch, one summer’s day;
Beauteous, youthful Kitty lay:
Venus saw her from above,
(Smiling Venus, queen of love:)
Amaz’d at each celestial grace,
Her polish’d limbs, her blooming face;
Come here, my son, she said, and see
One you might have took for me.
Roguish Cupid, laughing, cries,
O give me leave to quit the skies,
And make that heav’nly maiden prove
The various mysteries of love:
The close embrace, the juicy kiss,
The raging, dying, melting bliss.
Venus consented; go, my boy,
Make her know the heights of joy.
Away the archer and his train
Sport along th’ ethereal plain.
Now, around the sleeping fair,
A thousand Cupids fill the air;
In her bosom some inspire
Tender wishes, warm desire;
Some in balmy kisses sip
Nectar from her glowing lip;
Her each heaving snowy breast,
Some with wanton ardor press;
Twining round her slender waist,
Some with eager joy embrac’d;
While at random others rove
Through the fragrant groves of love.
While thus the god his revel keeps,
Kitty, happy virgin! sleeps:
A pleasing dream her soul employs,
Rich with imaginary joys.
She thinks Sir Charles upon his knees,
Beseeching her to give him ease;
That she disdainful looks a while;
At length with a complying smile
His fears dispelling, lets him see
She burns with love as well as he:
That folded in his eager arms,
He boldly rifles all her charms,
While she returns the warm embrace,
Breast to breast, and face to face!
Sighing, she wakes: ah, love! she cries,
How vast must be thy real joys!
When thus divinely great they seem,
Tho’ but imagin’d in a dream!
Scarcely this reflection o’er,
A footman thunders at the door:
Kitty, disorder’d, leaves her couch,
And Betty tells the knight’s approach.
He enters with becoming grace,
Blushes overspread her face;
In a soft persuasive strain
He begs her to relieve his pain:
Nothing she says; but from her eyes
He learns that nothing she denies.
Encourag’d thence, her lips, her breast
He tries, and wanders o’er the rest;
The glowing maid, no longer coy,
Gives an unbounded loose to joy;
Around him folds her snowy arms,
At once bestowing all her charms:
And now, this happy couple prove
All the substantial sweets of love,
While thousand Cupids, laughing by,
Assist their blissful ecstasy.
Loosen’d from his fond embrace,
My dream, she cries, is come to pass!–
And did my charmer dream of this?
(Sir Charles replies, and takes a kiss)
Henceforth, whene’er you dream, my dear,
Let me be your interpreter.

AN ACCOUNT OF THE GREATEST ENGLISH POETS

 

by: Joseph Addison (1672-1719)

ONG had our dull forefathers slept supine,
Nor felt the raptures of the tuneful Nine;
Till Chaucer first, the merry bard, arose,
And many a story told in rhyme and prose.
But age has rusted what the poet writ,
Worn out his language, and obscur’d his wit;
In vain he jests in his unpolish’d strain,
And tries to make his readers laugh, in vain.
  

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Old Spenser next, warm’d with poetic rage,
In ancient tales amus’d a barb’rous age;
An age that yet uncultivate and rude,
Where’er the poet’s fancy led, pursu’d
Through pathless fields, and unfrequented floods,
To dens of dragons and enchanted woods.
But now the mystic tale, that pleas’d of yore,
Can charm an understanding age no more;
The long-spun allegories fulsome grow.
While the dull moral lies too plain below.
We view well-pleas’d at distance all the sights
Of arms and palfreys, battles, fields, and fights,
And damsels in distress, and courteous knights;
But when we look too near, the shades decay,
And all the pleasing landscape fades away.
 
Great Cowley then (a mighty genius) wrote,
O’er-run with wit, and lavish of his thought:
His turns too closely on the reader press;
He more had pleas’d us, had he pleas’d us less,
One glitt’ring thought no sooner strikes our eyes
With silent wonder, but new wonders rise;
As in the milky-way a shining white
O’er-flows the heavn’s with one continu’d light,
That not a single star can show his rays,
Whilst jointly all promote the common blaze.
Pardon, great poet, that I dare to name
Th’ unnumber’d beauties of thy verse with blame;
Thy fault is only wit in its excess,
But wit like thine in any shape will please.
What muse but thine can equal hints inspire,
And fit the deep-mouth’d Pindar to thy lyre;
Pindar, whom others, in a labour’d strain
And forc’d expression, imitate in vain?
Well-pleas’d in thee he soars with new delight,
And plays in more unbounded verse, and takes a nobler flight.

BELLFLOWER II

I cannot describe the profound, poignant, terrible emotion which stirred my childish heart. I went slowly down into the drawing-room and hid myself in a dark corner, in the depths of a great, old arm-chair, where I knelt and wept. I remained there for a long time no doubt, for night came on. Suddenly some one came in with a lamp–without seeing me, however–and I heard my father and mother talking with the medical man, whose voice I recognized.

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He had been sent for immediately, and he was explaining the cause of the accident, of which I understood nothing, however. Then he sat down and had a glass of liqueur and a biscuit.

He went on talking, and what he then said will remain engraved on my mind until I die! I think that I can give the exact words which he used.

“Ah!” said he, “the poor woman! she broke her leg the day of my arrival here. I had not even had time to wash my hands after getting off the diligence before I was sent for in all haste, for it was a bad case, very bad.

“She was seventeen, and a pretty girl, very pretty! Would anyone believe it? I have never told her story before, in fact no one but myself and one other person, who is no longer living in this part of the country, ever knew it. Now that she is dead, I may be less discreet.

“A young assistant teacher had just come to live in the village; he was good-looking and had the bearing of a soldier. All the girls ran after him, but he was disdainful. Besides that, he was very much afraid of his superior, the schoolmaster, old Grabu, who occasionally got out of bed the wrong foot first.

“Old Grabu already employed pretty Hortense, who has just died here, and who was afterward nicknamed Clochette. The assistant master singled out the pretty young girl, who was no doubt flattered at being chosen by this disdainful conqueror; at any rate, she fell in love with him, and he succeeded in persuading her to give him a first meeting in the hayloft behind the school, at night, after she had done her day’s sewing.

“She pretended to go home, but instead of going downstairs when she left the Grabus’, she went upstairs and hid among the hay, to wait for her lover. He soon joined her, and he was beginning to say pretty things to her, when the door of the hayloft opened and the schoolmaster appeared, and asked: ‘What are you doing up there, Sigisbert?’ Feeling sure that he would be caught, the young school-master lost his presence of mind and replied stupidly: ‘I came up here to rest a little among the bundles of hay, Monsieur Grabu.’

“The loft was very large and absolutely dark. Sigisbert pushed the frightened girl to the further end and said: ‘Go there and hide yourself. I shall lose my situation, so get away and hide yourself.’

“When the schoolmaster heard the whispering, he continued: ‘Why, you are not by yourself?’

” ‘Yes I am, Monsieur Grabu!’

” ‘But you are not, for you are talking.’

” ‘I swear I am, Monsieur Grabu.’

” ‘I will soon find out,’ the old man replied, and double-locking the door, he went down to get a light.

“Then the young man, who was a coward such as one sometimes meets, lost his head, and he repeated, having grown furious all of a sudden: ‘Hide yourself, so that he may not find you. You will deprive me of my bread for my whole life; you will ruin my whole career! Do hide yourself!’

“They could hear the key turning in the lock again, and Hortense ran to the window which looked out on to the street, opened it quickly, and then in a low and determined voice said: ‘You will come and pick me up when he is gone,’ and she jumped out.

“Old Grabu found nobody, and went down again in great surprise. A quarter of an hour later, Monsieur Sigisbert came to me and related his adventure. The girl had remained at the foot of the wall unable to get up, as she had fallen from the second story, and I went with him to fetch her. It was raining in torrents, and I brought the unfortunate girl home with me, for the right leg was broken in three places, and the bones had come out through the flesh. She did not complain, and merely said, with admirable resignation: ‘I am punished, well punished!’

“I sent for assistance and for the workgirl’s friends and told them a made-up story of a runaway carriage which had knocked her down and lamed her, outside my door. They believed me, and the gendarmes for a whole month tried in vain to find the author of this accident.

“That is all! Now I say that this woman was a heroine, and had the fiber of those who accomplish the grandest deeds in history.

“That was her only love affair, and she died a virgin. She was a martyr, a noble soul, a sublimely devoted woman! And if I did not absolutely admire her, I should not have told you this story, which I would never tell anyone during her life: you understand why.”

The doctor ceased; mamma cried and papa said some words which I did not catch; then they left the room, and I remained on my knees in the armchair and sobbed, while I heard a strange noise of heavy footsteps and something knocking against the side of the staircase.

They were carrying away Clochette’s body.

by: Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893)

The following short story is reprinted from A Selection from the Writings of Guy de Maupassant. Guy de Maupassant. New York: The Review of Reviews Co., 1903.

BELLFLOWER

How strange are those old recollections which haunt us, without our being able to get rid of them!

This one is so very old that I cannot understand how it has clung so vividly and tenaciously to my memory. Since then I have seen so many sinister things, either affecting or terrible, that I am astonished at not being able to pass a single day without the face of Mother Bellflower recurring to my mind’s eye, just as I knew her formerly, long, long ago, when I was ten or twelve years old.

She was an old seamstress who came to my parents’ house once a week, every Thursday, to mend the linen. My parents lived in one of those country houses called chateaux, which are merely old houses with pointed roofs, to which are attached three or four adjacent farms.

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The village, a large village, almost a small market town, was a few hundred yards off, and nestled round the church, a red brick church, which had become black with age.

Well, every Thursday Mother Bellflower came between half past six and seven in the morning, and went immediately into the linen-room and began to work. She was a tall, thin, bearded or rather hairy woman, for she had a beard all over her face, a surprising, an unexpected beard, growing in improbable tufts, in curly bunches which looked as if they had been sown by a madman over that great face, the face of a gendarme in petticoats. She had them on her nose, under her nose, round her nose, on her chin, on her cheeks; and her eyebrows, which were extraordinarily thick and long, and quite gray, bushy and bristling, looked exactly like a pair of mustaches stuck on there by mistake.

She limped, but not like lame people generally do, but like a ship pitching. When she planted her great, bony, vibrant body on her sound leg, she seemed to be preparing to mount some enormous wave, and then suddenly she dipped as if to disappear in an abyss, and buried herself in the ground. Her walk reminded one of a ship in a storm, and her head, which was always covered with an enormous white cap, whose ribbons fluttered down her back, seemed to traverse the horizon from North to South and from South to North, at each limp.

I adored Mother Bellflower. As soon as I was up I used to go into the linen-room, where I found her installed at work, with a foot-warmer under her feet. As soon as I arrived, she made me take the foot-warmer and sit upon it, so that I might not catch cold in that large, chilly room under the roof.

“That draws the blood from your head,” she would say to me.

She told me stories, while mending the linen with her long, crooked, nimble fingers; behind her magnifying spectacles, for age had impaired her sight, her eyes appeared enormous to me, strangely profound, double.

As far as I can remember from the things which she told me and by which my childish heart was moved, she had the large heart of a poor woman. She told me what had happened in the village, how a cow had escaped from the cowhouse and had been found the next morning in front of Prosper Malet’s mill, looking at the sails turning, or about a hen’s egg which had been found in the church belfry without anyone being able to understand what creature had been there to lay it, or the queer story of Jean Pila’s dog, who had gone ten leagues to bring back his master’s breeches which a tramp had stolen while they were hanging up to dry out of doors, after he had been caught in the rain. She told me these simple adventures in such a manner that in my mind they assumed the proportions of never-to-be-forgotten dramas, of grand and mysterious poems; and the ingenious stories invented by the poets, which my mother told me in the evening, had none of the flavor, none of the fullness or of the vigor of the peasant woman’s narratives.

Well, one Thursday when I had spent all the morning in listening to Mother Clochette, I wanted to go upstairs to her again during the day, after picking hazelnuts with the manservant in the wood behind the farm. I remember it all as clearly as what happened only yesterday.

On opening the door of the linen-room, I saw the old seamstress lying on the floor by the side of her chair, her face turned down and her arms stretched out, but still holding her needle in one hand and one of my shirts in the other. One of her legs in a blue stocking, the longer one no doubt, was extended under her chair, and her spectacles glistened by the wall, where they had rolled away from her.

I ran away uttering shrill cries. They all came running, and in a few minutes I was told that Mother Clochette was dead…

by: Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893)

The following short story is reprinted from A Selection from the Writings of Guy de Maupassant. Guy de Maupassant. New York: The Review of Reviews Co., 1903.