« ПредишнаНапред »
But on the hill the goldenrod, and the aster in the wood,
And the yellow sunflower by the brook in autumn beauty stood,
Till fell the frost from the clear cold heaven, as falls the plague on men,
And the brightness of their smile was gone from upland, glade, and glen.
4. And now, when comes the calm, mild day, as still such days will come,
To call the squirrel and the bee from out their winter home;
When the sound of dropping nuts is heard, though all the trees are still,
And twinkle in the smoky light the waters of the rill; The south-wind searches for the flowers whose fragrance late he bore,
And sighs to find them in the wood and by the stream no more.
5. And then I think of one who in her youthful beauty died,
The fair, meek blossom that grew up and faded by my side:
In the cold, moist earth we laid her, when the forests cast the leaf,
And we wept that one so lovely should have a life so brief;
Yet not unmeet it was that one, like that young friend of ours,
So gentle and so beautiful, should perish with the flowers. WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT.
William Cullen Bryant was born at Cummington, Massachusetts, in 1794 and died in New York City in 1878 from the effects of a sunstroke. He was a poet by nature; his "Thanatopsis,” written before he was nineteen, bids fair to secure him a literary immortality. He was a careful observer of nature, "as any one may prove who will take a volume of his poems out into the woods and fields, and read the descriptions in the presence of what is described." In 1826 Bryant became editor of the New York Evening Post, which position he retained until his death. His writings in that paper were ofter very anti-Catholic.
At what time of the year do the flowers fade? Why is this time called "the melancholy days" (1)? What is meant by "the fair and good of ours" (2)? What flowers remain in bloom until the end of autumn (3)? The "one who in her youthful beauty died” (5) is an allusion to the death of the poet's sister.
1. greet' ed; v. spoke to; addressed.
2. Im pos' ing; a. exciting attention.
2. peer' ing; v. looking curi
5. něst led; v. settled.
10. queue (kū); n. a tail-like twist of hair worn at the back of the head.
11. chintz; n. cotton cloth, printed with flowers and other designs in a number of colors.
An Old-fashioned Girl.
This Lesson is an extract from Mrs. Alcott's "Old-fashioned Girl." Polly, the heroine of the story, who lives in the country, is on a visit to her city friend Fanny Shaw. Tom, the "dreadful boy,” is Fanny's brother. Maud is a younger sister.
1. Polly hoped the "dreadful boy " would not be present; but he was, and stared at her all dinner-time in a most trying manner. Mr. Shaw, a busy-looking gentleman, said, "How do you do, my dear? Hope you'll enjoy yourself;" and then appeared to forget her entirely. Mrs. Shaw, a pale, nervous woman, greeted her little guest kindly, and took care that she wanted for nothing.
2. Madam Shaw, a quiet old lady, with an imposing cap, exclaimed, on seeing Polly, "Bless my heart! the image of her mother-a sweet woman-how is she, dear?" and kept peering at the newcomer over her glasses till, between Madam and Tom, poor Polly lost her appetite. Fanny chatted like a magpie, and little Maud fidgeted, till Tom proposed to put her under the big dish-cover, which produced such an explosion that the young lady was borne screaming away by the much-enduring Katy, the nurse.
3. It was, altogether, an uncomfortable dinner, and Polly was very glad when it was over. All went about their own affairs; and, after doing the honors of the house, Fan was called to the dressmaker, leaving Polly to amuse herself in the great drawing-room. Polly was glad to be alone for a few minutes; and, having examined all the pretty things about her, began to walk up and down over the soft, flowery carpet, humming to herself, as the daylight faded and only the ruddy glow of the fire filled the
4. Presently Madam came slowly in, and sat down in her arm-chair, saying, "That's a fine old tune; sing it to me, my dear. I haven't heard it this many a day." Polly didn't like to sing before strangers, for she had no teaching but such as her busy mother could give her; but she had been taught the utmost respect for old people, and, having no reason for refusing, she directly went to the piano and did as she was bid.
5. "That's the sort of music it's a pleasure to hear. Sing some more, dear," said Madam, in her gentle way, when she had done. Pleased with this praise, Polly sang away in a fresh little voice that went straight to the listener's heart and nested there. The sweet old tunes that one is never tired of were all Polly's store. The more she
sung, the better she did it; and when she wound up with "A Health to King Charlie," the room quite rung with the stirring music made by the big piano and the little maid. 6. "That's a jolly tune! Sing it again, please," cried Tom's voice; and there was Tom's red head bobbing up over the high back of the chair where he had hidden himself. It gave Polly quite a turn, for she thought no one was hearing her but the old lady dozing by the fire. "I can't sing any more; I'm tired," she said, and walked away to Madam in the other room. The red head vanished like a meteor, for Polly's tone had been decidedly cool.
7. The old lady put out her hand, and, drawing Polly to her knee, looked into her face with such kind eyes that Polly forgot the impressive cap, and smiled at her confidently; for she saw that her simple music had pleased her listener, and she felt glad to know it. "You mustn't mind my staring, dear," said Madam, softly pinching her rosy cheek, "I haven't seen a little girl for so long, it does my old eyes good to look at you." Polly thought that a very odd speech, and couldn't help saying, "Aren't Fan and Maud little girls, too?"
8. "Oh, dear, no! not what I call little girls. Fan has been a young lady these two years, and Maud is a spoiled baby. Your mother's a very sensible woman, my child." "What a queer old lady!" thought Polly; but she said "Yes'm," respectfully, and looked at the fire. "You don't understand what I mean, do you?" asked Madam, still holding her by the chin. "No'm; not quite."
9. "Well, dear, I'll tell you. In my day, children of fourteen and fifteen didn't dress in the height of the fashion; go to parties as nearly like those of grown people as it's possible to make them; lead idle, giddy, unhealthy lives,
and get blasé at twenty. We were little folks till eighteen or so; worked and studied, dressed and played, like children; honored our parents; and our days were much longer in the land than now, it seems to me."
10. The old lady appeared to forget Polly at the end of her speech; for she sat patting the plump little hand that lay in her own, and looking up at a faded picture of an old gentleman with a ruffled shirt and a queue. "Was he your father, Madam?"-"Yes, my dear; my honored father. I did up his frills to the day of his death; and the first money I ever earned was five dollars which he offered as a prize to whichever of his six girls would lay the handsomest darn in his silk stockings."
11. "How proud you must have been!" cried Polly, leaning on the old lady's knee with an interested face."Yes; and we all learned to make bread, and cook, and wore little chintz gowns, and were as gay and hearty as kittens. All lived to be grandmothers; and I'm the last— seventy next birthday, my dear, and not worn out yet; though daughter Shaw is an invalid at forty."
12. "That's the way I was brought up, and that's why Fan calls me old-fashioned, I suppose. Tell me more about your papa, please; I like it," said Polly." Sayfather.' We never called him papa; and if one of my brothers had addressed him as 'governor,' as boys now do, I really think he'd have cut him off with a shilling." LOUISA M. ALCOTT.
Explain the abbreviations: "aren't" (7); "Yes'm" (8); "No'm" (8); "it's" (9). "Blasé" (9) is a French word meaning rendered incapable of continued enjoyment. "Did up his frills (10) means to wash and iron the frills which gentlemen used to wear on their shirt-bosoms. “Cut him off with a shilling" (12) is to disinherit him.