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Phantom, ghost, apparition.





Chime to chime, from one hour to another.


“But why do I talk of Death ?

That phantom * of grisly bone,
I hardly fear his terrible shape,

It seems so like my own-
It seems so like my own,

Because of the fasts I keep;
O God ! that bread should be so dear,

And flesh and blood so cheap !
• Work-work-work !

My labour never flags;
And what are its wages ? A bed of straw,

A crust of bread—and rags.
That shattered roof,—and this naked floor,-

A table,-a broken chair,-
And a wall so blank, my shadow I thank

For sometimes falling there !

“Work—work—work !
From weary chime to chime,*

As prisoners work for crime !

Band, and gusset, and seam,
Seam, and gusset, and band,
Till the heart is sick and the brain be-

As well as the


“ Work—work—work,
In the dull December light,

And work—work—work,
When the weather is warm and bright-
While underneath the eaves

The brooding swallows cling,
As if to show me their sunny backs

And twit * me with the Spring.

" Oh but to breathe the breath
Of the cowslip and primrose sweet-

With the sky above my head,
And the grass beneath my feet,
For only one short hour

To feel as I used to feel,
Before I knew the woes of want

And the walk that costs a meal!
“Oh but for one short hour !

A respite * however brief !
No blessèd leisure * for Love or Hope,

But only time for Grief !


Benumbed, stupified.


Twit, mock,




A respite, &c., to cease from her labour but for a short time. Leisure, spare time.

Briny, salt.


A little weeping would ease my heart,

But in their briny * bed
My tears must stop, for every drop

Hinders needle and thread !
With fingers weary and worn,

With eyelids heavy and red,
A woman sat in unwomanly rags,
Plying her needle and thread-
Stitch ! stitch ! stitch !

In poverty, hunger, and dirt,
And still with a voice of dolorous pitch,
Would that its tone could reach the Rich !

She sang this “ Song of the Shirt !”

A woman, &c. The song is supposed to be sung by a needlewoman, who has been reduced to the greatest want.




THE SEASONS.-Spenser. EDMUND SPENSER (1553-1599) was born in London, and educated at Cambridge. He is one of the greatest English poets; his chief work is the Faerie Queene, an allegorical poem, designed to celebrate the principal virtues. He was buried in Westminster Abbey.

So forth issued the Seasons of the year ; Dight, adorned. First lusty Spring, all dight * in leaves and flowers

That freshly budded, and new blossoms did bear,

In which a thousand birds had built their bowers, Paramours, mates, That sweetly sung to call forth paramours ; 5

And in his hand a javelin he did bear, Stours, encounters, And on his head (as fit for warlike stours)

A gilt engraven morion * he did wear, Gilt morion, a gilded That as some did him

love, so others did him fear. helmet, having no visor, copied from the 'Moors by the Then came the jolly Summer, being dight Spaniards.

In a thin silken cassock coloured green

That was unlinèd all, to be more light, A garland, &c., a And on his head a garland * well beseen garland fair to see.

He Chauffèd (chafed),

wore, from which, as he had chauffed * been, heated, made hot by The sweat did drop, and in his hand he bore 15 rubbing.

A bow and shaft, as he in forest green
Libbard, leopard.

Had hunted late the libbard or the boar,
And now would bathe his limbs, with labour

heated sore.
Then came the Autumn, all in yellow clad,
As though he joyed in his plenteous store,
Laden with fruits that made him laugh, full glad
That he had banished Hunger, which tofore





Had by the belly oft him pinchèd sore ;
Upon his head a wreath, that was enrolled
With ears of corn of every sort, he bore,
And in his hand a sickle he did hold,
To reap the ripened fruits the which the earth
had yold.

Yold, yielded.
Lastly came Winter, clothed all in frize,* Frize, a coarse kind

of cloth, with nap on Chattering his teeth for cold that did him chill,

one side of it.
Whilst on his hoary beard his breath did freeze,
And the dull drops that from his purpled bill Bill, nose.
As from a limbeck * did adown distil;
In his right hand a tipped staff he held,

in distilling.
With which his feeble steps he stayed still,
For he was faint with cold and weak with eld* Eld, old age.
That scarce his loosèd limbs he able was to Weld, to use, to



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The warrior bowed his crested head, and tamed

his heart of fire,
And sued * the haughty * king to free his long- Sued, begged, im-

plored. imprisoned sire :

Haughty, proud. “I bring thee here my fortress keys, I bring His long-imprisoned

Sancho, my captive train ;

sire, Don

Count I pledge my faith, my liege,* my lord-oh! Spain, had been kept break my father's chain."

in prison for many

years by the king. Rise! rise ! even now thy father comes, a

At length his son,

Bernardo del Carpio, ransomed * man this day ;

took up arms to effect Mount thy good steed, and thou and I will his release. meet him on his way:”

Captive train, the

prisoners taken in Then lightly rose that loyal son, and bounded battle. on his steed;



that he would become And urged, as if with lance in hand, his his faithful subject. charger's foaming speed.

Ransomed, redeemed,

And lo! from far, as on they pressed, there
came a glittering * band,

Glittering, bright,

beautiful to behold. With one that ʼmid them stately rode, as a

leader in the land :
“Now haste, Bernardo, haste! for there, in

very truth, is he,
The father--whom thy grateful heart hath

Yearned, desired

very yearned * so long to see.”



* Champion, a hero, one who fights in single combat for himself or for another,

took ;




his father's
on horseback

His dark eye flashed, his proud breast heaved, his cheek's

blood came and went;
He reached that grey-haired chieftain's side, and there

dismounting bent:
A lowly knee to earth he bent, his father's hand he 15
What was there in its touch that all his fiery spirit

shook ?
That hand was cold, a frozen thing—it dropped from his

like lead ;

He looked up to the face above—the face was of the
The dead, in
order to de- A plume waved o'er that noble brow-the brow was

fixed and white;
body He met at length his father's eyes, but in them was no

by command
of the king. Up from the ground he sprang, and gazed; but who can

paint that gaze ?
They hushed their very hearts who saw its horror and

amaze :
They might have chained him, as before that noble form

he stood;
For the power was stricken from his arm, and from his

cheek the blood.
“Father!” at length he murmured low, and wept like 25

childhood then-
(Talk not of grief till thou hast seen the tears of warlike


He thought on all his glorious hopes, on all his high Renown, a

renown ; great name, Then flung the falchion * from his side, and in the dust celebrity. Falchion, a

sat down ; short curved sword. And, covering with his steel-gloved hand his darkly

mournful brow,
“No more, there is no more,” he said, “ to lift the sword 30

for now;
My king is false ! my hope betrayed ! my father-oh!

the worth,
The glory, and the loveliness, are passed away from

earth ? "

Up from the ground he sprang once more, and seized the surprised.

monarch's rein Courtier, a

Amid the pale and wildered * looks of all the courtier * person who lives at court.

train ;



35 And with a fierce, o’ermastering grasp, the rearing war

horse led,
And sternly set them face to face—the king before the

dead !
“ Came I not forth upon thy pledge,* my father's hand Pledge, pro-

to kiss ?
Be still, and gaze thou on, false king ! and tell me what

is this?
The voice, the glance, the heart I sought-give answer,

where are they? 40 If thou wouldst clear thy perjured * soul, send life Perjurer, through this cold clay !

knowingly “Into these glassy eyes put light—be still, keep down thine ire ! *

Ire, anger, Bid these white lips a blessing speak—this earth is not rage.

one who

takes a false oath.

my sire !

Give me back him for whom I strove, for whom my

blood was shed !
Thou canst not ?—and, O king ! his dust be mountains

on thy head ! ”
45 He loosed the steed—his slack hand fell ; upon the

silent face
He cast one long, deep, troubled look, then turned from

that sad place :
His hope was crushed-his after-fate untold in martial

His banner led the spears no more amidst the hills of

Spain !


GHENT TO AIX.*R. Browning. ROBERT BROWNING (1812- ), born at Camberwell, and educated at London University, ranks among the foremost of living poets. He possesses a wonderful power of condensed expression, and his writings are deeply thoughtful and expressive. Chief works : Men and Women, The Ring and the Book, Dramatic Lyrics, and other poems. I

sprang to the stirrup, and Joris, and he ; I galloped, Dirck galloped, we galloped all three ; “Good speed !” cried the watch, as the gate-bolts undrew;

Echo, to send “Speed !" echoed * the wall to us galloping through ; back a sound,

* Ghent, the chief town of East Flanders, in Belgium. Aix-la-Chapelle, a city in Rhenish Prussia. The two towns are more than a hundred miles apart.

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