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Engraved byJofir, M K Oof fm. Philadelphia

frOIn i:i











AINSWORTH R. SPOFFORD, Librarian of Congress, and
CHARLES GIBBON, Author of " Robin Gray," Etc.











Moss-side Professor Wilson 1

Maud Miiller J. G. Whittier 5

Grieve not for the Past Sir William Davenant .... 6

A Pilot's Wife Harriet Prescott Spoffbrd . . 6

A Lover's Chronicle Abraham Cowley 15

The Dream Confirmed James Hogg 16

Time Rev. Benjamin Marsden ... 20

Ehrenbreitstein Mrs. Gore 21

Songs of Robin Hood Leigh Hunt 24

The Hour is Come Thomas Atkinson 28

Ethical and Artistic Notes John Ruskin 28

The Lover's Ideal Ben Jonson 31

Sappho Rev. George Croly 32

The Hour of Prayer Mrs. Hemans 32

Mrs. Malaprop R. Brinsley Sheridan .... 32

Aspirations of Youth James Montgomery 38

Elegy written in a Country Church-yard Thomas Gray 38

The Beggar's Marriage-gift F. Kind 49

Description of a Beauty Sir John Suckling 44

The Horologe Thomas Doublcday 44

Little Daffydowndilly Nathaniel Hawthorne .... 44

It's Hame and it's Hame Allan Cunningham 47

Learned Women Sir John Vanbrugh 47

Maria, Nun of Santa Clara Anon 48

The Nun H. W. Longfellow 49

The Opium-eater Thomas De Qwincey 50

The Worth of Hours Lord Houghton ...:... 54

Fancies on a Tea-cup Thomas Hood 54

The Faint-hearted Lover Sir John Suckling 55

Reverses Blackivood's Magazine .... 55

Song, from the Slavonian Sir John Bowriny 61

Hymn to the Sea Dean Alford 61

My Grandfather's Story A. B. Picken 62

Kilmeny James Hogg 67

Frank Kennedy William Hamilton Maxwell . 70

Fair Helen Otd Ballad 78

Anne Page and Slender Shakspeare 79

Flowers of the Field Rev. John Keble 81

gin my Love were yon Red Rose Old Song 81

Cupid Greybeard Tom Hood 82

What Love is like Thomas Middleton 86

Gondolieds II. H. 87

The Borough John Malcolm 87

He that Loves a Rosy Cheek Thomas Carcw 91

The Adventures of Parson Schmolke Augustus F. Langbein .... 91

The Evening; of a Village Festival Dean Alford 93

S. W. and by W. W Captain 'Marry at 93

Proverbs Michael Drayton 100

Ajax Pindar 101

The Four Great Games Pindar 101

Reynard the Fox Anon 102

Intoxicated Geese Anon 105

Jefferson's Character of Washington Thomas Jefferson 106

The Recovery of Jerusalem Torquato Tasso 107



Scenery of Lake Superior ... If. R. Schoolcraft 108

Old Lawyers J- P- Kennedy 109

The Journey to Palmyra William Ware Ill

Characteristics of Children JohnNeal 113

To His Wife Samuel Bishop 114

Song to David Christopher Smart 115

American History Gulian C. Verplanck 116

The Alhambra F. M. De la Rosa 118

The Parrot J. B. L. Gresset 118

The Midnight Wreck Isa Craig Knox 119

1 he Starling Captivity Laurence Sterne 120

Death of Two Lovers by Lightning Alexander Pope 121

Mr. Mum ford's Story T. W. Robertson 122

The Indians Joseph Story 126

The Nibelungen-Lied Anon 127

My Fatherland Karl Thcodor KiJrner .... 131

Charles Edward Stuart, the young Pretender Philip II. Stanhope 131

The Briefless Barrister J. G. Saxe 135

Cromwell's Expulsion of the Parliament in 1G53 .... Dr. John Lingard 135

Speech of Chatham, The Anti-Indian Wm. Pitt, Earl of Chatham . 137

Character of Chatham Henri/ Grattan 140

The American Revolution Jared Sparks . . ... 140

Noonday Celebrated . Juan M. Valdes 142

The Pond Dr. John JByrom 143

The Modest Muse Earl of Roscommon 144

Caution against False Pride Earl of Roscommon 145

Songs John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester 145

Songs Sir Charles Sedley 147

The French Revolutionary Assassins Sir Archibald Alison .... 148

Greek Language and Literature Hugh S. LegarS 149

Superstitious Beliefs Thos. Keightley 150

The Great Barn and the Sheep -Shearers Thos. Hardy 152

A Thunder Storm Thos. Hardy 153

Valediction Forbidding Mourning John Donne 155

My Mind to me a Kingdom is Sir Edward Dyer 156

The Battle of Hastings, Oct. 14th, 1066 Sir Francis Palgrave .... 156

First Love's Recollections John Clare 159

Beth Gelert, or the Grave of the Greyhound W. R. Spencer 159

Godiva Robert B. Brough 161

Spring Ludwig Tieck 162

The Mountain Boy Johann Ludwig Uhland ... 1C3

The Passage Johann Ludwig Uhland . . . 163

Christkindlein Frederick Ruckcrt 163

The Ladies of Long Ago Francois Villon 164

Of Profit and Honesty Montaigne 165

Curfew must not Ring to-night Mrs. E. C.Thorpe 173

Charles II. 's Flight after the Battle of Worcester . . . .Clarendon 174

The Nut Brown Maid Anon 177

The Theogony Hesiod 181

Wirt's Portrait of Blannerhasset William Wirt 187

Hamilton on a Dissolution of the Union Alexander Hamilton .... 189

Dr. Pangloss and His Pupil George Colman 190

Fancy and Desire Earl of Oxford 192

Reasons for the Soul's Immortality Sir John Davies 193

The Quarrel of Squire Bull and His Son Tames Kirke Paulding .... 193

Public Opinion Daniel Webster 194

South Carolina and Massachusetts Daniel Wfbstcr 195

Importance of Preserving the Union Daniel Webster 196

Old Grimes A. G. Greene 197

Discovery of America William Robertson 198



Workers in Art Samuel Smiles 201

The Nightingale Rev. John Keble 204

Song M. R. Milford 204

A Bachelor's Complaint Charles Lamb 205

An Irish Peasant's Home William Allingham 208

Lucy William Wordsworth 210

Tomasso and Pepina William Gilbert 211

Exmoor Harvest Song Richard D. Blackmore . . . . 219

A Vision of Mighty Book-hunters J. H. Burton 220

The Return Robert Southey 223

The Man who Stole a Meeting-house J. T. Trowbridge 224

The Canary in his Cage Author of "John Halifax, Gentleman' 1 231

Restraint John Ruskin 232

A Land Shipwreck John Heywood 232

Vagabond Jack Henry de la Madelene .... 233

Old Times Gerald Griffin 248

The Page William Sawyer 249

The Faithful Page . Anon 249

Modesty Coventry Patmore 253

My Cottage Professor Wilson 253

Lacon Rev. C. C. Colton 255

Love's Perversity Coventry Patmore 259

The Authoress Mrs. Opie .' 259

My Mother's Grave W. Mackworth Praed .... 261

Ten Years Ago Alaric A. Watts 261

The March of Intellect Theodore Hook 261

The Posie Robert Burns 263

Hymn of the Hebrew Maid Sir Walter Scott 264

Cousin Tomkins, the Tailor W. H. Harrison 264

Fool and Wise Coventry Patmore 273

Farewell to Nancy Robert Burns 274

She was a Phantom of Delight William Wordsworth .... 274

The Minister's Wig John Gait f . . . 274

They all are Gone Henry Vaughan 276

Sonnet Robert Burns 276

In Peril H. D. Inglis . 277

A Summer's Eve Henry Kirke White 281

Le Revenant Blackwood"s Magazine .... 281

Poortith Cauld Robert Burns 288

Robert Burns James Montgomery 288

The Ribbonman William Carleton ...... 289

The Two Roses From the Italian 297

The Duchess of Malfy John Webster 297

Sweet Things Depart Richard Bedingfield 300

The Spinster's Progress Theodore Hook 301

Fair Annie of Lochroyan Old Ballad 302

Marian Jacob De Liefde 304

Released Mrs. A. D. T. Whitney ... 311

The Czar and Czarowitz : A Russian Legend Anon 311

Cousin Winnie Gerald Massey 316

The Humorous Man Anon 317

Anster Fair William Tennant 319

To-morrow Martial 320

Grace Huntley Mrs. Anna Maria Hall. . . . 320

Ode on Melancholy j ^ n ^eats 327

Life's Chase Schultze 327

Altho' thou maun never be mine Robert Burns 327

Behaviour Ralph Waldo Emerson .... 327

Love London Magazine 333

The Floating Beacon John Howison 333



" Will Sail To-morrow " Autltor of "John Halifax, Gentleman"' 343

The Devil's Ladder Aloise Schreiber 344

Politics . Robert Burns 346

Go, Lovely Rose Waller and II. K. White . . . 347

The Prodigal Coventry Putmorc 347

The Oyster Anon 347

Sun of the Sleepless Lord Byron 349

Two-fold M- A. D. T. \V/,itucy . . . 850

The Bagpiper W. Barry 350

Children at Play Gerald Massey 352

The Piper of Mucklebrowst Richard Thomson 352

Power and Gentleness Leigh Uunt 357

Peter Klaus Anon 357

The Lupracaun, or Fairy Shoemaker William Allingham 359

The Way to Wealth Benjamin Franklin 359

A Grecian Eden Perlty Bysshc Shelley .... 363

The Nightingale Samuel T. Coleridge 363

To a Sensitive Young Lady Justus Moser 364

Pleasure and Pain Sir Thomas Wyi:t 3*6

Oh, Open the Door Robert Burns 366

Lord Gregory Robert Burns 366

Children Jean Paul F. Richter .... 367

The Jackdaw of Rheirns Rev. R. H. Barham 368

Arne Bjornstjerne Bjornson .... 370

Utopia F. T. Palgrave 376

Watching Emily C. Judson 377

"Ad Arnicos" 1829-1876 Oliver Wendell Holmes . ... 877

The Duke's Plot John Lothrop Motley .... 378

ABairnie's Song Anon 381

Beauty Sydney Dobell 882

Self-culture Dr. W. E. Channinff .... 383




GROUP OF AUTHORS (Bancroft, Motley, Prescott) Frontispiece.











[John Wilson, born in Paisley, 18th May, 1785; died
in Edinburgh. 3d April, 1S54. Poet, novelist, miscel-
laneous writer, and professor of moral philosophy in the
University of Edinburgh. Amongst the contemporaries
of Scott, none hold a more enduring position than
"Christoi her North." He was educated at Glasgow
and at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he gained the
Newdigate prize of fifty guineas by a poem on Painting,
Piitti-j/, and Aroliitecture. Having succeeded to a con-
siderable fortune oi! the death of his father, he purchased,
in 1808. Elleray, a small estate iu Cumberland, where
he settled for a time, with Wordsworth, Coleridge, and
Southey for his neighbours and friends. In 1814 he
bscame a member of the Edinburgh bar. Meanwhile
he had been making some reputation as a poet ; and
in his lines called "The Magic Mirror." published in
the Annual Register for 1812, he was the first to hail
Scott as "the great Magician." In the same year his
puem the hie of Palms ap]>eared, and Jeffrey predicted
that the author would "rise to high honours in the
corps of Lake poets." The City of the Plapue was issued
four years after, and Allan Cunningham characterized
it as "a noble and deeply pathetic poem." In 1820 he
succeeded Dr. Thomas Brown in the chair of moral
philosophy. Two years later appeared his first essay as
a novelist. The Ligh'i and Shdws </ Scottigh life; "a
selection from the papers of the late Arthur Austin,"
comprising twenty -four tales and sketches, one of which
we quote here The Trials of Mo.rfio.ret Lyndsaji and
the Fonstei-x followed, and obtained extensive favour.
Wilson's greatest popularity, however was earned as
"Christopher North," und by the Nnctes Ainbrosiauce,
which first appeared in BtaclfVgo<f*Kaptitt*e(l8M-l8S6),
and were subsequently collected and published in three
volumes. Humour, satire, and incisive criticism of
men and books render the Noctes one of the most notable
literary productions of the century. Wilson resigned
his professorship in 18 >2, and about the same time hie
name was placed on the civil list for an annuity of
300. A bronze statue of him by Steell was erected in
the Princes Street Gardens in 1865.]

r\ ILBERT AINSLIE was a poor man; and
vjT he had been a poor man all the days of
his life, which were not few, for his thin hair was
now waxing gray. He had been born and bred
on the small moorland farm which he now oc-
cupied; and he hoped to die there, as his father


and grandfather had done before him, leaving
a family just above the more bitter wants of
this world. Labour, hard and unremitting,
had been his lot in life; but although sometimes
severely tried, he had never repined; and
through all the mist and gloom, and even the
storms, that had assailed him, he had lived on
from year to year in that calm and resigned
contentment which unconsciously cheers the
hearthstone of the blameless poor. With his
own hands he had ploughed, sowed, and reaped
his often scanty harvest, assisted, as they grew
up, by three sons, who, even in boyhood, were
happy to work along with their father in the
fields. ' Out of doors or in, Gilbert Ainslie was
never idle. The spade, the shears, the plough-
shaft, the sickle, and the flail, all came readily
to hands that grasped them well; and not a
morsel of food was eaten under his roof, or a
garment worn there, that was not honestly,
severely, nobly earned. Gilbert Ainslie was
a slave, but it was for them he loved with a
sober and deep affection. The thraldom under
which he lived God had imposed, and it only
served to give his character a shade of silent
gravity, but not austere; to make his smiles
fewer, but more Ireartfelt; to calm his soul at
grace before and after meals; and to kindle it
in morning and evening prayer.

There is no need to tell the character of the
wife of such a man. Meek and thoughtful,
yet gladsome and gay withal, her heaven was
in her house; and her gentler and weaker hands
helped to bar the door against want. Of ten
children that had been born to them, they bad
lost three; and as they had fed, clothed, and
educated them respectably, so did they give
them who died a respectable funeral. The
living did not grudge to give up, for a while,
some of their daily comforts, for the sake of
the dead: and bought, with the little sums
which their industry had saved, decent mourn-
ings, worn on Sabbath, and then carefully
laid by. Of the seven that survived, two sons


were farm-servants in the neighbourhood, while
three daughters and two sons remained at home,
growing, or grown up, a small, happy, hard-
working household.

Many cottages are there in Scotland like
Moss-side, and many such humble and virtuous
cottagers as were now beneath its roof of straw.
The eye of the passing traveller may mark
them or mark them not, but they stand peace-
fully in thousands over all the land; and most
beautiful do they make it, through all its wide
valleys and narrow glens, its low holms en-
circled by the rocky walls of some bonnie burn,
its green mounts elated with their little
crowning groves of plane-trees, its yellow
cornfields, its bare pastoral hillsides, and all
its heathy moors, on whose black bosom lie
shining or concealed glades of excessive verdure,
inhabited by flowers, and visited only by the
far-flying bees. Moss-side was not beautiful
to a careless or hasty eye; but when looked on
and surveyed, it seemed a pleasant dwelling.
Its roof, overgrown with grass and moss, was
almost as green as the ground out of which its
weather-stained walls appeared to grow. The
moss behind it was separated from a little
garden by a narrow slip of arable land, the
dark colour of which showed that it had been
won from the wild by patient industry, and
by patient industry retained. It required a
bright sunny day to make Moss-side fair; but
then it was fair indeed; and when the little
brown moorland birds were singing their short
songs among the rushes and the heather, or
a lark, perhaps, lured thither by some green
barley-field for its undisturbed nest, rose ring-
ing all over the enlivened solitude, the little
bleak farm smiled like the paradise of poverty,
sad and affecting in its lone and extreme sim-
plicity. The boys and girls had made some
plots of flowers among the vegetables that the
little garden supplied for their homely meals;
pinks and carnations, brought from walled
gardens of rich men farther down in the culti-
vated strath, grew here with somewhat dimin-
ished lustre; a bright show of tulips had a
strange beauty in the midst of that moorland ;
and the smell of roses mixed well with that of
the clover the beautiful fair clover, that loves
the soil and the air of Scotland, and gives the
rich and bdmy milk to the poor man's lips.

In this cottage Gilbert's youngest child, a
girl about nine years of age, had been lying
for a week in a fever. It was now Saturday
evening, and the ninth day of the disease.
>Vas she to live or die? It seemed as if a very
few hours were between the innocent creature
and heaven. All the symptoms were those

of approaching death. The parents knew well
the change that comes over the human face,
whether it be in infancy, youth, or prime, just
before the departure of the spirit; and as they
stood together by Margaret's bed, it seemed to
them that the fatal shadow had fallen upon
her features. The surgeon of the j fcr.sh lived
some miles distant, but they expected him
now every moment, and many a wistful look
was directed by tearful eyes along the moor.
The daughter who was out at service came
anxiously home on this night, the only one
that could be allowed her, for the poor must
work in their grief, and their servants must
do their duty to those whose bread they eat,
even when nature is sick, sick at heart.
Another of the daughters came in from the
potato-field beyond the brae, with what was
to be their frugal supper. The calm noiseless
spirit of life was in and around the house, while
death seemed dealing with one who, a few days
ago, was like light upon the floor, and the
sound of music, that always breathed up when
most wanted; glad and joyous in common talk,
sweet, silvery, and mournful, when it joined
in hymn or psalm. One after the other they
all continued going up to the bedside, and
then coming away sobbing or silent, to see
their merry little sister, who used to keep
dancing all day like a butterfly in a meadow-
field, or like a butterfly with shut wings on a
flower, trifling for a while in the silence of her
joy, now tossing restlessly on her bed, and
scarcely sensible to the words of endearment
whispered around her, or the kisses dropped
with tears, in spite of themselves, on her burn-
ing forehead.

Utter poverty often kills the affections; but
a deep, constant, and common feeling of this
world's hardships, and an equal participation
in all those struggles by which they may be
softened, unite husband and wife, parents and
children, brothers and sisters, in thoughtful
and subdued tenderness, making them happy
indeed while the circle round the fire is un-
broken, and yet preparing them every day to
bear the separation, when some one or other is
taken slowly or suddenly away. Their souls
are not moved by fits and starts, although, in-
deed, nature sometimes will wrestle with ne-
cessity; and there is a wise moderation, both
in the joy and the grief of the intelligent poor,
which keeps lasting trouble away from their
earthly lot, and prepares them silently and
unconsciously for heaven.

"Do you think the child is dying?" said
Gilbert with a calm voice to the surgeon, who.
on his wearied horse, had just arrived Irom


another sick-bed, over the misty range of hills;
and hid been looking steadfastly for some
minutes on the little patient. The humane
man knew the family well in the midst of
whom he was standing, and replied, "While
there is life there is hope; but my pretty little
Margaret is, 1 fear, in the last extremity."
There was no loud lamentation at these words
all had before known, though they would
not confess it to themselves, what they now
were told and though the certainty that was
in the words of the skilful man made their
hearts beat for a little with sicker throbbings,
made their pale faces paler, and brought out
from some eyes a greater gush of tears, yet
death had been before in this house, and in
this case he came, as he always does, in awe,
but not in terror. There were wandering and
wavering and dreamy delirious phantasies in
the brain of the innocent child; but the few
words she indistinctly uttered were affecting,
not rending to the heart, for it was plain that
she thought herself herding her sheep in the
green silent pastures, and sitting wrapped in
her plaid upon the lown and sunny side of the
Hirk-knowe. She was too much exhausted
there was too little life too little breath in
her heart, to frame a tune; but some of her
words seemed to be from favourite old songs:
and at last her mother wept, and turned aside
her face, when the child, whose blue eyes were
shut, and her lips almost still, breathed out
these lines of the beautiful twenty-third psalm:

"The Lord's my Shepherd, I'll not want.

He makes me down to lie
In pastures green : he leadeth me
The quiet waters by."

The child was now left with none but her
mother by the bedside, for it was said to be
best so; and Gilbert and his family sat down
round the kitchen fire, for a while in silence.
In about a quarter of an hour they began to
rise calmly, and to go each to his allotted work.
One of the daughters went forth with the pail
to milk the cow, and another began to set out
the table in the middle of the floor for supper,
covering it with a white cloth. Gilbert viewed
theusual household arrangements with asolemn
and untroubled eye; and there was almost the
fuint light of a grateful smile on his cheek, as
he said to the worthy surgeon, "You will par-
take of our fare aft-3'. your day's travel and
toil of humanity." In a short silent half hour
the potatoes and oat-cakes, butter and milk,
weje on the boai'd; and Gilbert, lifting up his
toil-hardened but manly hand, with a slow
motion, at w-hich the room was as hushed as if
it had been empty, closed his eyes in. reverence,

and asked a blessing. There was a little stool,
on which no one sat, by the old man's side.
It had been put there unwittingly, when the
other seats were all placed in their usual order;
but the golden head that was wont to rise at
that part of the table was now wanting. There
was silence not a word was said their meal
was before them, God had been thanked, and
they began to eat.

While they were at their silent meal a horse-
man came galloping to the door, and, with a
loud voice, called out that he had been sent
express with a letter to Gilbert Ainslie; at the
same time rudely, and with an oath, demanding
a dram for his trouble. The eldest son, a lad
of eighteen, fiercely seized the bridle of his
horse, and turned its head away from the door.
The rider, somewhat alarmed at the flushed
face of the powerful stripling, threw down the
letter and rode off. Gilbert took the letter
from his son's hand, casting, at the same time,
a half upbraiding look on his face, that was
returning to its former colour. "I feared,"
said the youth, with a tear in his eye, "I
feared that the brute's voice, and the trampling
of the horse's feet, would have disturbed her."
Gilbert held the letter hesitatingly in his hand,
as if afraid, at that moment, to read it; at
length he said aloud to the surgeon: "You
know that I am a poor man, and debt, if justly
incurred, and punctually paid when due, is no
dishonour." Both his hand and his voice shook
slightly as he spoke; but he opened the letter
from the lawyer, and read it in silence. At
this moment his wife came from her child's
bedside, and looking anxiously at her husband,
told him "not to mind about the money, that
no man, who knew him, would arrest his goods,
or put him into prison, though, dear me, it is
cruel to be put to it thus, when our bairn is
dying, and when, if so it be the Lord's will,
she should have a decent burial, poor innocent,
like them that went before her." Gilbert con-
tinued reading the letter with a face on which
no emotion could be discovered; and then,
folding it up, he gave it to his wife, told her
she might read it if she chose, and then put it
into his desk in the room, beside the poor dear
bairn. She took it from him, without reading
it, and crushed it into her bosom; for she turned
her ear towards her cbi'd, and, thinking she
heard it stir, ran out hastily to its bedside.

Another hour of trial passed, and the child
was still swimming for its life. The very dogs
knew there was grief in the house, and lay
without stirring, as if hiding themselves, below
the long table at the window. One sister sat
with an unfinished gown on her knees, that


she had been sewing for the dear child, and
etill continued at the hopeless work, she scarcely
knew why; and often, often, putting up her
hand to wipe away a tear. "What is that? 1 '

Online LibraryUnknownThe library of choice literature : poetry and prose selected from the most admired authors (Volume 4) → online text (page 1 of 75)