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While these reflections were rolling upon my mind, I was very thankful in my thoughts, that I was so happy as not to be thereabouts at that time, or that they did not see my boat, by which they would have concluded that some inhabitants had been in the place, and perhaps have searched farther for me: these terrible thoughts racked my imagination about their having found my boat, and that there were people here; and that if so, I should certainly have them come again in greater numbers and devour me; that if it should happen so that they should not find me, yet they would find my inclosure, destroy all my corn, carry away all my flock of tame goats, and I should perish at last for mere want.
Thus my fear banished all my religious hope ; all that former confidence in God, which was founded upon such wonderful experience as I had had of His goodness, now vanished, as if He that had fed me by miracle hitherto, could not preserve by His power the provision which He had made for me by His goodness; I reproached myself with my easiness, that would not sow any more corn one year than would just serve me till the next season, as if no accident could intervene to prevent my enjoying the crop that was upon the ground; and this I thought so just a reproof, that I resolved for the future to have two or three years' corn beforehand, so that whatever might come, I might not perish for want of bread.
How strange a chequer-work of Providence is the iife of man! and by what secret differing springs are the affections hurried about, as differing circumstances present! To-day we love what to-morrow we hate; to-day we seek what to-morrow we shun; to-day we desire what to-morrow we fear; nay, even tremble at the apprehensions of this was exemplified in me at this time in the most lively manner imaginable: for I whose only affliction was, that I seemed banished from human society, that I was alone, circumscribed by the boundless ocean, cut off from mankind, and condemned to what I called silent life; that I was as one whom Heaven thought not worthy to be numbered among the living, or to appear among the rest of His creatures ; that to have seen one of my own species would have seemed to me a raising me from death to life, and the greatest blessing that Heaven itself, next to the supreme blessing of salvation, could bestow; I say, that I should now tremble at the very apprehension of seeing a man, and was ready to sink into the ground at but the shadow or silent appearance of a man's having set his foot in the island.
A SKIRMISH OF DRAGOONS. I was quartered all this winter at Banbury, and went little abroad; nor had we any action till the latter end of February, when I was ordered to march to Leicester, with Sir Marmaduke Langdale, in order, as we thought, to raise a body of men in that county and Staffordshire to join the king.
We lay at Daventry one night, and continued our march to pass the river above Northampton; that town
being possessed by the enemy, we understood a party of Northampton forces were abroad, and intended to attack us. Accordingly, in the afternoon, our scouts brought us word the enemy were quartered in some villages on the road to Coventry; our commander thinking it much better to set upon them in their quarters, than to wait for them in the field, resolves to attack them early in the morning, before they were aware of it.
We refreshed ourselves in the field for that day, and getting into a great wood near the enemy we stayed there all night till almost break of day, without being discovered.
In the morning, very early, we heard the enemy's trumpets sound to horse; this roused us to look abroad; and sending out a scout, he brought us word a party of the enemy was at hand. We were vexed to be so disappointed, but finding their party small enough to be dealt with, Sir Marmaduke ordered me to charge them with three hundred horse and two hundred dragoons, while he at the same time entered the town. Accordingly I lay still till. they came to the very skirt of the wood where I was posted, when I saluted them with a volley from my dragoons out of the wood, and immediately showed myself with my horse on their front, ready to charge them they appeared not to be surprised, and received our charge with great resolution; and being above four hundred men, they pushed me vigorously in their turn, putting my men into some disorder.
In this extremity, I sent to order my dragoons to charge them in the flank, which they did with great bravery, and the other still maintained the fight with desperate resolution. There was no want of courage
in our men on both sides, but our dragoons had the advantage, and at last routed them, and drove them back to the village. Here Sir Marmaduke Langdale had his hands full too; for my firing had alarmed the towns adjacent, that when he came into the town, he found them all in arms; and contrary to his expectations, two regiments of foot with about three hundred horse more.
As Sir Marmaduke had no foot, only horse and dragoons, this was a surprise to him; but he caused his dragoons to enter the town, and charge the foot, while his horse secured the avenues of the town.
The dragoons bravely attacked the foot, and Sir Marmaduke falling in with his horse, the fight was obstinate and very bloody, when the horse that I had routed came flying into the street of the village, and my men at their heels. Immediately I left the pursuit, and fell in with all my force to the assistance of my friends, and after an obstinate resistance, we routed the whole party; we killed about seven hundred men, took three hundred and fifty, twenty-seven officers, one hundred arms, all their baggage, and two hundred horses, and continued our march to Harborough, where we halted to refresh ourselves.
JONATHAN SWIFT. Born 1667; Died 1745.
William Temple, Swift began the career of literary and political
THE SPIDER AND THE BEE. Things were upon this crisis, when a material accident fell out. For upon the highest corner of a large window there dwelt a certain spider, swollen up to the first magnitude by the destruction of infinite numbers of flies whose spoils lay scattered before the gates of his palace, like human bones before the cave of some giant. The avenues to his castle were guarded with turnpikes and palissadoes all after the modern way of fortification. After you had passed several courts you came to the centre, wherein you might behold the constable himself in his own lodgings, which had windows fronting to each avenue, and ports to sally out upon all occasions of prey or defence. In this mansion he had for some time dwelt in peace and plenty, without danger to his person by swallows