Abbildungen der Seite

although, as we said, the tide that pours over is thirty-five feet broad. But it widens as it descends, and curves a little on one side as it widens; so that it shapes itself, before it reaches its first bowl of granite, into the figure of a comet. More beautiful than the comet, however, we can see the substance of this watery loveliness ever renew itself, and ever pour

itself away.

9. The cataract seems to shoot out a thousand serwww.duna, pentine heads or knots of water, which wriggle down caulaus deliberately through the air, and expend themselves in:

mist before half the descent is over. Then a new set burst from the body and sides of the fall, with the same fortune on the remaining distance; and thus the most charming fretwork of watery nodules, gach trailing its vapory train for a hundred feet or more, is woven all over the cascade, which swings, now and then, thirty feet each way, on the mountain side, as if it were a pendulum of watery lace. Once in a while, too, the wind manages to get back of the fall, between it and the cliff, and then it will whirl it round and round, for two or three hundred feet, as if to try the experiment of twisting it to wring it dry.

10. Of course I visited the foot of the lowest fall of the Yo-Semite, and looked up through the spray, five hundred feet, to its crown. And I tried to climb to the base of the first or highest cataract, but lost my way among the steep, sharp rocks; for there is only one line by which the cliff can be scaled. But no nearer view that I found, or heard described, is com’parable with the picture, from the hotel, of the CometCurve of the upper cataract, fifteen hundred feet high, and the two falls immediately beneath it, in which the same water leaps to the level of the quiet Merced.

Rev. T. S. KING,



STRAIGHT (strāte), a., not crooked ;- VAN'GUARD, n., first line of an army.

ad., directly ; in the shortest time. LE'VER, n., bar for raising weights. CREST, n., an ornament on a helmet. DEIGN'ING, ppr., condescending. QUOTH (kwoth), v. i. defective, said. A-THWART', prep., across. ERE (like ere in there), ad., before. HAR'NESS, n., armor ; furniture for a DAUNTLESS (au as in father), a., fear- horse. less.

Gor'y, a., stained with clotted blood. In cap'tain, villain, &c., give ai the sound of short i. Do not say bil'ing for boil'ing.

It is recorded in the annals of ancient Rome that Horatius, assisted by Lartius and Herminius, defended the Sublician Bridge, over the Tiber, against the whole Etruscan army, under Por'sena, while the Romans broke down the bridge behind the “dauntless Three.” When the work was nearly finished, Horatius sent back his two companions. As soon as the bridge was quite destroyed, he plunged into the stream, and swam across to the city in safety, amid the arrows of the enemy.

1. Our spake the Consul roundly :

“The bridge must straight go down ;
For, since Janic'ulum * is lost,

Naught else can save the town."
Then out spake brave Hora'tius,

The Captain of the Gate :
To every man upon this earth

Death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better

Than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers,

And the temples of his gods?

[ocr errors]

2. “Hew down the bridge, Sir Consul, az
With all the speed you may;

I, with two more to help me,

Will hold the foe in play.
In yon straight path a thousand

May well be stopped by three.
Now, who will stand on either hand,

And keep the bridge with me?"

• One of the hills of ancient Rome, from which it was separated by the river Tiber. Porósena took the fort of Janiculum, and compelled the Romans to retreat, over the bridge, into the city.

3. Then out spake Spu'rius Lar'tius,

A Ram'nian * proud was he:-
Lo, I will stand on thy right hand,

And keep the bridge with thee."
And out spake strong Hermin'ius,-

Of Tatian blood was he:
"I will abide on thy left side,

And keep the bridge with thee."

4. “Horatius, quoth the Consul,

As thou say’st, so let it be.”
And straight against that great array

Forth went the dauntless three.
For Romans, in Rome's quarrel,

Spared neither land nor gold,
Nor son nor wife, nor limb nor-lifo,

In the brave days of old.

8. The three stood calm and silent,

And looked upon the foes,
And a great shout of laughter

From all the vanguard rose.
But soon Etruria's noblest

Felt their hearts sink to see
On the earth the bloody corpses,
In the path the dauntless three !

az is
6. Meanwhile the ax and lēver

Have manfully been plied,
And now the bridge hangs tottering

Above the boiling tide.
“Come back, come back, Hora'tius!"

Loud cried the Fathers † all;
“Back, Lar'tius! back, Hermin'ius!

Back, ere the ruin fall !”

• Romulus divided the Romans into three tribes, called Rhamnenses, Tati. onses, and Lucerenses.

+ The Roman Senators were called Fathers, or Conscript Fathers.

1. Back darted Spu'rius Lartius;

Herminius darted back ;
And, as they passed, beneath their feet

They felt the timbers crack.
But when they turned their faces,

And on the further shore
Saw brave Horatius stand alone,

They would have crossed once more. 8. But, with a crash like thunder,

Fell every loosened beam,
And, like a dam, the mighty wreck

Lay right athwart the stream ;
And a long shout of triumph

Rose from the walls of Rome,
As to the highest turret-tops

Was splashed the yellow foam.

9. Alone stood brave Horatius,

But constant still in mind;
Thrice thirty thousand foes before,

And the broad flood behind.
“Down with him!” cried false Sextus,

With a smile on his pale face.
“Now yield thee!” cried Lars* Por'sena,

“Now yield thee to our grace. 10. Round turned he, as not deigning

Those craven ranks to see;
Naught spake he to Lars Porsena,

To Sextus naught spake he;
But he saw on Pălati'nus

The white porch of his home;
And he spake to the noble river

That rolls by the towers of Rome:

11. "O Tiber! Father Tiber!

To whom the Romans pray!

* In the Etruscan language Lars meant "mighty chief,” or lord,

A Roman's life, a Roman's arms,

Take thou in charge this day!!
So he spake, and, speaking, sheathed

The good sword by his side,
And, with his harness on his back,

Plunged headlong in the tide.

12. No sound of joy or sorrow

Was heard from either bank ;
But friends and foes, in dumb surprise,
With parted lips and straining eyes,

Stood gazing where he sank;
And when above the surges

They saw his cřest appear,
All Rome sent forth a rapturous cry,
And even the ranks of Tuscany

Could scarce forbear to cheer.

3. “Out on him!” quoth false Sextus ;

Will not the villain drown?
But for this stay, ere close of day

We should have sacked the town !"
“Heaven help him !” quoth Lars Por'sena,

And bring him safe to shore ;
For such a gallant feat of arms

Was never seen before."

14. And now the ground he touches,

Now on dry earth he stands ;
Now round him throng the Fathers,

To press his gory hands;
And now, with shouts and clapping,

And noise of weeping loud,
He enters through the River-Gate,
Borne by the joyous crowd.

LORD MACAULAY. (1800-1860.)

« ZurückWeiter »