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Others crowded upon him, with whom he struggled violently, looking to the boats, as if for assistance. At last, a savage struck him with a club, a blow which probably put an end to his life, as he struggled no longer. Thus died this great, benevolent, and truly enlightened navigator, about the 20th of February, 1779.
Read-reproduce—and compare according to
the Directions 80.
88. MODEL. — CLOSE OF THE BATTLE OF HASTINGS, 1066.
1. At one period of the battle, the Normans were nearly routed. The cry was raised that the Duke was slain, and they began to fly in every direction. William threw off his helmet, and galloping through the squadrons, rallied his barons, though not without great difficulty. Harold, on his part, used every possible exertion, and was distinguished as the bravest and most active among the soldiers in the host which he led on to destruction. A Norman arrow wounded him in the left eye; he dropped from his steed in agony, and was borne to the foot of the standard. The English began to give way; or, rather, to retreat to the standard as their rallying point. The Normans encircled them, and fought desperately to reach this goal. Robert Fitz-Ernest had almost seized the banner, but he was killed in the attempt. William led his troops on, with the intention, it is said, of measuring his sword with Harold. He did encounter an English horseman, from whom he received such a stroke upon his helmet that he was nearly brought to the ground. The Normans flew to the aid of their sovereign, and the bold Englishman was pierced by their lances.
2. About the same time, the tide of battle took a momentary turn. The Kentish men and East Saxons rallied, and repelled the Norman barons; but Harold was not amongst them; and William led on his troops with desperate intre
pidity. In the thick crowd of the assailants and the assailed, the hoofs of the horses were plunged deep into the gore of the dead and the dying. Gurth was at the foot of the standard, without hope, but without fear, he fell by the falchion of William. The English banner was cast down, and the Gonfanon, planted in its place, announced that William of Normandy was the Conqueror.
3. It was now late in the evening. The English troops were entirely broken, yet no Englishman would surrender. The conflict continued in many parts of the bloody field long after dark. The fugitives spread themselves over the adjoining country, then covered with wood and forest. Wherever the English could make a stand, they resisted; and the Normans confess that the great preponderance of their force alone enabled them to obtain the victory.
4. In the evening of the action, William ordered a space to be cleared near the Gonfanon, or holy standard, and his pavilion to be pitched among the corpses which were heaped around. He there supped with his barons, and they feasted among the dead. But when he surveyed the fearful slaughter, a natural feeling of pity, perhaps allied to repentance, arose in his stern mind; and the abbey of Battle, in which prayer was to be offered up perpetually for the repose of the souls of all that had fallen in the conflict, was at once the monument of his triumph and the evidence of his piety. The abbey was most richly endowed, possessing all the land for a league round. The abbot was exempted from the authority of the metropolitan of Canterbury; the high altar was erected on the spot where Harold's standard had waved; and the roll, deposited in the archives of the monastery, recorded the names of those who had fought with the Conqueror. But all this pomp and solemnity have passed away like a dream. The perpetual prayer has ceased for ever; the roll of victorious nobility is rent; the shields of the Norman lineages are trodden in the dust; the abbey is levelled with the ground; a dark and reedy pool fills the spot where the foundations of
the choir have been uncovered, to gratify the gaze of the idle visitor, or the prying curiosity of the antiquary.
EXERCISE.Read-reproduce—and compare according to
the Directions 80.
NARRATIONS FROM HINTS.
89. In this Section, the pupil is furnished with mere Hints or Heads; very briefly expressed in the order of their occurrence, and separated merely by commas. In these exercises, each subject must be arranged into appropriate paragraphs; the sentences constructed with neatness and perspicuity, and the ideas involved in each clause fully developed.
90. From the following hints, arrange a connected Narrative, properly divided, according to the preceding Directions.
Richard Porson, born Christmas-day, 1759, parents poor, but persons of sound sense, when Richard could speak, father taught him reading and writing by means of a piece of chalk or finger on sand, his fancy thus delighted, an ardour of imitating whatever was put before him was excited, the walls of the house were covered with characters, these attracted notice from their neatness and fidelity of delineation, excellence of penmanship was ever after one of his accomplishments, his father taught him arithmetic up to cube root without slate, before he was nine years of age, his extraordinary memory soon developed itself, he was noticed by several gentlemen, sent by them to school, he made rapid progress, read and re
tained every thing that came in his way, sent by the same friends to Eton, subsequently to Cambridge, became Greek professor there, afterwards appointed librarian to the London Institution, he enjoyed this for several years, died in London in 1808 in the 49th year of his age, he is said to have communicated information in a plain, direct, straightforward manner, and used to say, whether you quote or collate, do it fairly and accurately, whether it be Joe Miller or Tom Thumb, on one occasion he said, he never remembered anything but what he transcribed three times, or read over six times, at the least, and any one would have as good a memory who did the same, he often said he had not naturally a good memory, what he had obtained in this respect was the effect of discipline, his recollection really wonderful, has been known to challenge any one to repeat a line or phrase from any Greek dramatic authors and would instantly go on with the context, Porson by no means excelled in conversation, he neither wrote nor spoke with facility, in Porson were blended very opposite qualities, in some things he appeared to be of unshaken firmness, in others he was wayward capricious, discovered the weakness of a child, sometimes he would confine himself for days together in his chamber, at other times, he could not resist the allurements of social converse, he was a man of inflexible integrity, had an inviolable regard for truth, possessed the most determined perseverance, he would have been a greater man had he been a better man.
DIFFICULTIES OF KING ALFRED'S BOYHOOD.
91. From the following hints, arrange a connected Narrative, properly divided, according to the preceding Directions No. 89.
Alfred ignorant of letters till 12, loved by his parents, fondled for his beauty, the instruction withheld from the son of the Anglo-Saxon king which the poorest child can now obtain,
taught to wind the horn, to bend the bow, to hunt, to hawk, he acquired great skill in the chase, this considered in the middle ages as the most necessary accomplishment of nobility, book learning was thought of little use to them, Alfred's eager mind did not remain unemployed, he could not read he could attend, he listened eagerly to the verses which were recited in his father's hall by the minstrels and the glee men, the masters of Anglo-Saxon song, he would spend day and night in hearkening to these poems, he treasured them in his memory, during his whole life poetry continued to be his solace and amusement in trouble and care, one day Alfred's mother showed to him and his brothers a volume of AngloSaxon poetry which she possessed, she said, he shall have the book who first can read it, the bright gilding and colouring of one of the illuminated capital letters attracted Alfred's attention, he inquired if his mother would really keep her word, she confirmed the promise, she put the book into his hands, he applied steadily to his task, the book became his own, the information Alfred now possessed rendered him desirous of obtaining more, his ignorance of Latin was an insuperable objection, science and knowledge could not be acquired then otherwise than from Latin books, he earnestly sought for instruction in that language, none could be found, sloth had overspread the land, there were few Latin grammarians in the land, he was utterly unable to discover a competent teacher, Alfred was accustomed to say in after life that of all the hardships privations and misfortunes which had befallen him none he felt so grievous as this the enforced idleness of his youth, his intellect was fitted to receive the lesson, but his time was unoccupied, at a more advanced period the arduous toils of royalty and the pressure of severe and unremitting pain interrupted Alfred's studies which he was then enabled to pursue and harassed and disturbed his mind, he persevered, the unquestionable thirst for knowledge which the child had manifested continued, it did not abate till he was removed from this stage of exertion.