Page images

From all the batteries of the Tower pealed loud the voice of


And all the thousand masts of Thames sent back a louder

cheer : And from the farthest 32 wards was heard the rush of hurry

ing feet, And the broad streams of flags and pikes dashed down each

rousing street :

[graphic][ocr errors][merged small]

And broader still became the blaze, and louder still the din, As fast from every village round the horse came spurring in ; And eastward straight, for wild 33 Blackheath, the warlike

errand went; And roused, in many an ancient hall, the gallant squires of

Kent : Southward, for Surrey's pleasant hills, flew those bright

coursers forth; High on black 3* Hampstead's swarthy moor, they started for

the north ;



And on, and on, without a pause, untired they bounded still ; All night from tower to tower they sprang, all night from

hill to hill ; Till the proud peak unfurled the flag o'er 3 Derwent's rocky

dales ; Till, like volcanoes, flared to heaven the stormy hills of

Wales; Till twelve fair counties saw the blaze on 36 Malvern's lonely

height; Till streamed in crimson, on the wind, the 37 Wrekin's crest

of light; Till, broad and fierce, the star came forth, on 38 Ely's stately

fane, And town and hamlet rose in arms, o'er all the boundless

plain; Till Belvoir's lordly towers the sign to Lincoln sent, And Lincoln sped the message on, o'er the wide vale of

Trent ; Till 40 Skiddaw saw the fire that burnt on 41 Gaunt's embattled

pile, And the red glare on Skiddaw roused the burghers of Carlisle.


[ocr errors]








"list, wish, desire. ? Castile, a province of Spain ; here it means Spain generally. 3 Aurigny, one of the Channel Islands, Alderney. 5 van, front part of an army or navy. 5 Pinta, one of the largest of the Spanish ships. 6 beacon, signal-fire. ? Edgecombe, Mount Edgecombe, on Plymouth Sound. 8 post, swift messenger. "halberdiers, soldiers armed with a battle-axe. 10 behoves him, it is his duty. "her grace, Queen Elizabeth. 12 blazon, standard. 18 lion of the sca, emblem of England. lilies, emblem of France. 15 Picard field, the field of Cressy, 1346, in which the French were defeated. 18 Buhemia's plume, the plume of John, blind king of Bohemia. »? Genoa's bon, the Genoese archers. 18 semper eadem, always the

19 Eddystone, a reef of rocks near Plymouth, on which a splendid lighthouse now stands. 20 Berwick bounds, a town on the borders between England and Scotland. 21 Lynn, a seaport in



23 St.



Norfolk. 2 Milford Bay, Milford Haven, in Wales. Michael's Mount, in Mount's Bay, near Penzance, Cornwall. 24 Tamar, a river in Devonshire. 5 Mendip, the name of a range of hills in Somersetshire. Longleat, a country seat and park in Wiltshire. 27 Cranbourne, in Dorsetshire. 29 Beaulieu, in Hampshire. 29 Clifton, a suburb of Bristol. 30 Whitehall, the palace of the Stuarts, in Westminster. 31 Richmond, in Surrey, not far from London, 32 ward, a division of the city of London. 33 Blackheath, near Greenwich, in Kent. 34 Hampstead, in the north of London, now famous for its Heath. 35 Derwent, a river in the Peak district, Derbyshire. 26 Malvern, the Herefordshire Beacon, the highest of the Malvern Hills. 37 Wrekin, a solitary hill in Shropshire. Ely, a town in Cambridgeshire, having a cathedral with a high lantern tower. 39 Belvoir, a castle in Leicestershire, situated on a hill. 40 Skiddan, one of the highest mountains of the Cumbrian group.


41 Gaunt's embattled pile, Lancaster castle. John of Gaunt, son of Edward III., was Duke of Lancaster.



man-u-fac'-tur-ers com-pan'-ions dis-play'-ing stu'-di-ous op-por-tu'-ni-ties ab'-so-lute-ly flut'-ter-ing sanc'ti-ty hand'-ker-chief re-morse'-ful whis'-pered ar-ranged' ab-stract'-ing beck'-on-ing grim-a'-ces vi'-o-late SHORTLY after the schoolmaster had arranged the forms and taken his seat behind his desk, a small white-headed boy with a sunburnt face appeared at the door, and stopping there to make a rustic bow, came in and took his seat upon one of the forms. He then put an open book, astonishingly dog's-eared, upon his knees, and thrusting his hands into his pockets, began counting the marbles with which they were filled ; displaying,

in the expression of his face, a remarkable capacity of totally · abstracting his mind from the spelling on which his eyes were fixed.

Soon afterwards, another white-headed little boy came straggling in, and after him a red-headed lad, and then one with a flaxen poll, until the forms were occupied by a dozen boys, or thereabouts, with heads of every colour but grey, and ranging in their ages from four years old to fourteen years or more ; for the legs of the youngest were a long way from the floor when he sat upon the form ; and the eldest was a heavy, goodtempered fellow, about half a head taller than the schoolmaster.

At the top of the first form—the post of honour in the school—was the vacant place of the little sick scholar ; and, at the head of the row of pegs, on which those who wore hats or caps were wont to hang them, one was empty. No boy attempted to a violate the sanctity of seat or peg, but many a one looked from the empty space to the schoolmaster, and whispered to his idle neighbour behind his hand.

Then began the hum of 3 conning over lessons and getting them by heart, the whispered jest and stealthy game, and all the noise and drawl of school ; and in the midst of the din sat the poor schoolmaster, vainly attempting to fix his mind upon the duties of the day, and to forget his little sick friend. But the 4 tedium of his office reminded him more strongly of the willing scholar, and his


[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

thoughts were rambling from his pupils—it was plain.

None knew this better than the idlest boys, who, growing bolder with impunity, waxed louder and more daring ; playing “odd or even" under the master's eye; eating apples openly and without rebuke ; pinching each other in sport or malice without the least reserve ; and cutting their initials in the very legs of his desk. The puzzled dunce, who stood beside it to say his lesson" off the book, looked no longer at the ceiling for forgotten words, but drew closer to the master's elbow, and boldly cast his eye upon the page; the 6 wag of the little troop squinted and made grimaces (at the smallest boy, of course), holding no book before his face, and his approving companions knew no constraint in their delight. If the master did chance to rouse himself, and seem alive to what was going on, the noise subsided for a moment, and no eye met his but wore a studious and deeply humble look ; but the instant he relapsed again, it broke out afresh, and ten times louder than before.

Oh! how some of those idle fellows longed to be outside, and how they looked at the open door and window, as if they half meditated rushing violently out, plunging into the woods, and being wild boys and savages from that time forth. What rebellious thoughts of the cool river, and some shady bathing-place, beneath willow trees with branches dipping in the water, kept tempting and urging that sturdy boy, who, with his shirt-collar

« PreviousContinue »