Page images
PDF
EPUB

sleep in the cow house besides ; you may fancy how happy I was now, at the prospect of earning so much money.

“There was an old woman among the laborers who used to sell us soup; I got a cupful every day for a halfpenny, with a bit of bread in it; and I might eat as much beet-root besides as I liked.

“So, every Saturday when work was over, I had thirty sous to carry home to mother; and tired though I was, I walked merrily to our village to see her again. On the road there was a great wood to pass through, and this frightened me; for if a thief should come and rob me of my whole week's earnings, what could a poor lone girl do to help herself? But I found a remedy for this too, and no thieves ever came near me; I used to begin saying my prayers as I entered the forest, and never stopped until I was safe home; and safe I always arrived, with my thirty sous in my pocket.

“Ah, you may be sure, Sunday was a merry day for us all.. Beatrice has now warm gowns, and stout shoes, and plenty of good food. She has had her little brother from Picardy; clothed, fed, and educated him; that young gentleman is now a carpenter, and an honor to his profession. Madam Merger is in easy circumstances, and receives, yearly,

, fifty francs from her daughter. To crown all, Made

, moiselle Beatrice herself is a funded proprietor.” [Abridgment.]

WILLIAM MAKEPEACE THACKERAY.

DYING IN HARNESS.

John BOYLE O'REILLY was born in Ireland, June 28, 1844. While yet in his youth he engaged in newspaper work. Becoming involved in political movements intended for the benefit of his native land, he was seized and condemned to death. This sentence, however, was remitted, and he was banished to Australia. He escaped thence, and in an American whale ship he reached Philadelphia in 1869. His life as an active literary force began in this country. He became editor of the Boston Pilot and held that position for many years. From his hand came several volumes of poems, a novel, a book of short stories, and other works. He is a noble and picturesque figure in later American literature.

He died at his home in Hull, Massachusetts, Aug. 10, 1890.

[graphic]

Only a fallen horse, stretched out there on the road, Stretched in the broken shafts, and crushed by the heavy

load; Only a fallen horse, and a circle of wondering eyes

a Watching the frightened teamster goading the beast to

rise.

Hold! for his toil is over; no more labor for him ;
See the poor neck outstretched, and the patient eyes grow

dim ;

See on the friendly stones how peacefully rests the head,
Thinking, if dumb beasts think, how good it is to be dead;
After the weary journey, how restful it is to lie
With the broken shafts and the cruel load, waiting only

to die.

Watchers, he died in harness, died in the shafts and straps, Fell, and the burden killed him : one of the day's mis

haps; One of the passing wonders marking the city road, A toiler dying in harness, heedless of call or goad.

Passers, crowding the pathway, staying your steps awhile, What is the symbol ? Only death; why should we cease

to smile At death for a beast of burden? On, through the busy

street That is ever and ever echoing the tread of the hurrying

feet.

What was the sign? A symbol to touch the tireless will ? Does He who taught in parables speak in parables still? The seed on the rock is wasted on heedless hearts of

men, That gather and sow and grasp and lose — labor and

sleep -- and then Then for the prize! - A crowd in the street of ever-echo

ing treadThe toiler, crushed by the heavy load, is there in his harness - dead.

John BOYLE O'REILLY.

WORK.

THOMAS CARLYLE was born in Scotland, Dec. 4, 1795, the son of a stonemason. He was educated at Edinburgh University. During several years he taught in public schools and as a private tutor. Afterwards he removed to London and began the writing of the books that have made his name famous. “Sartor Resartus" was published in 1834. This book drew the immediate attention of scholarly readers in England and America. In 1837 his History of the French Revolution"

appeared. This work established his reputation as a writer of the highest rank. His largest work is his “ History of Frederick the Great." He wrote many other books. His style is always vigorous and peculiarly his own.

He died in London, Feb. 5, 1881.

[graphic]

66

All true Work is sacred ; in all true Work, were it but true hand labor, there is something of divineness. Labor, wide as the earth, has its summit in Heaven.

Sweat of the brow; and up from that to sweat of the brain, sweat of the heart; which includes all Kepler calculations, Newton meditations, all Sciences, all spoken epics, all acted Heroisms, Martyrdoms up to that “Agony of bloody sweat,” which all men have called divine. O brother, if this is not “ worship,” then I say,

the more pity for worship; for this is the noblest thing yet discovered under God's sky.

Who art thou that complainest of thy life of toil ? Complain not. Look up, my wearied brother; see thy fellow-workmen there, in God's Eternity; surviving there, they alone surviving ; sacred band of the Immortals, celestial Body-guard of the Empire of Mankind.

Even in the weak Human Memory they survive so long, as saints, as heroes, as gods; they alone surviving; peopling, they alone, the immeasured solitudes of Time!

To thee Heaven, though severe, is not unkind; Heaven is kind — as a noble Mother; as that Spartan Mother, saying, as she gave her son his shield, “ With it, my son, or upon it !”

Thou too shalt return home, in honor to thy fardistant Home, in honor; doubt it not — if in the battle thou keep thy shield !

THOMAS CARLYLE.

LABOR.

Labor is health! Lo! the husbandman reaping,
How through his veins goes the life-current leaping!
How his strong arm, in its stalwart pride sweeping,

True as a sunbeam the swift sickle guides !
Labor is wealth, in the sea the pearl groweth;
Rich the queen's robe from the frail cocoon floweth;
From the fine acorn the strong forest bloweth ;
Temple and statue the marble block hides.

FRANCES S. OSGOOD.

« PreviousContinue »