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Either man's work, or His own gifts; who best

Bear His mild yoke, they serve Him best; His state Is kingly; thousands at His bidding speed,

And post o'er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait."

John Milton (1608-1674). 1. Sonnet.-A short poem, usually 4. Light denied. That is, when limited to fourteen lines.

light is denied. 2. Ere half my days.-Milton was The great lesson Milton says he taken blind in 1652, when he was learnt from his blindness was that it about 44 years old. He lived 22 was possible to serve God while preyears afterwards.

vented from doing any active work. 3. One talent. This refers to the He must be among those who “stand Parable of the Talents (Matt. xxv.). and wait,” but can “also serve." Milton only claims to have received one talent or gift.


THE ANCIENT CAPITAL OF MEXICO. 1. The following sketch of the ancient capital of Mexico describes a state of civilization now passed away. This description refers to the time when that country was conquered by a few Spanish troops, under Cortes, in 1519. It became a Spanish colony, and remained under the arbitrary and oppressive government of Spain until 1821, when, after a long struggle, its independence was secured.

2. Mexico was the residence of the great chiefs whom the sovereign compelled to spend part of the year in the capital. The mansions of these nobles were on a scale of rude magnificence corresponding with their state. They were low, seldom of more than one floor, never exceeding two. They spread over a wide extent of ground, and were arranged in the form of a quadrangle, with a court in the centre. They were surrounded


by porticoes ornamented with porphyry and jasper, which are easily found in the neighbourhood. Generally a fountain of crystal water in the centre shed a grateful coolness over the atmosphere.

3. The dwellings of the people were also placed on foundations of stone, which rose to the height of a few feet, and were then succeeded by courses of unbaked bricks, crossed now and then by wooden rafters. Most of the streets were mean and nar

Some few, however, were wide and of great length. The principal street extended some miles in a straight line through the whole length of the city, and, unlike most of the others, was wide. A spectator standing at one end of it, as his eye rested on the long series of temples, terraces, and gardens, might clearly see the other end, with the blue mountains in the distance, which, in the clear atmosphere of the table-land, seemed almost to touch the buildings.

4. The great streets, which were coated with a hard cement, were crossed by numerous canals. Some of these canals were flanked by a solid pathway, which served as a foot-walk for passengers, and as a landing-place where boats might discharge their cargoes. There were several bridges over these canals, many of which could be raised, thus affording the means of cutting off the communications between different parts of the city.

5. The population of this city at the time of the conquest is variously stated. No writer at the time estimates it to contain less than sixty thousand houses. According to the usual standard, this would give a population of three hundred thousand souls. If a dwelling often contained, as is asserted, several families, it would swell the amount considerably higher. All the evidence that can be gathered goes to prove that the population was very large—far beyond that of the present capital, which is estimated at about two hundred and thirty thousand.

6. A careful police provided for the health and cleanliness of the city. A thousand persons are said to have been daily employed in watering and sweeping the streets, so that a man (to borrow.the language of an old Spaniard) could walk through them with as little danger of soiling his feet as his hands. A liberal supply of water was brought from a hill at some distance from the city, through an earthen pipe, by means of a dike constructed for the purpose.

7. That there might be no failure in so essential an article when repairs were going on, a double course of pipes was laid. In this way a large column of water was conducted into the heart of the capital, where it fed the fountains and reservoirs of the principal mansions. The sovereign, whose name was Montezuma, encouraged a taste for architectural magnificence among his nobles, and contributed his own share to the adornment of the city.

8. But few remains of this interesting city are left. Every vestige of the old civilization was mercilessly stamped out by the Spaniards. These few remains are gathered in the National Museum

of the modern capital, which occupies the same site. The modern Mexico is a beautiful and wellbuilt city, and occupies ground sixteen miles in circumference. The splendid cathedral and the huge palace, once the residence of the Spanish governors, still tell of the supremacy of the Christian faith, and of three centuries of unwilling submission to the cruel yoke of Spain.

This account of a capital city found by the first explorers in Mexico may well be compared with that of London in the time of Queen Elizabeth (see Book V., page 174). In many respects the arrangements of the Indian city were far superior to those of our own London. The people living in Mexico at the time of the Spanish conquest were called Aztecs.

Prescott. 1. Montezuma was the second monarch of that name who ruled over Mexico. He was kept in a kind of confinement by Cortes, the Spanish conqueror, and was obliged to acknowledge himself a vassal of Spain. His people rose against him, and caused his death in 1520.

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He who hath bent him o'er the dead,
Ere the first day of death is fled,
Before decay's effacing fingers
Have swept the lines where beauty lingers ;
And marked the mild angelic air,
The rapture of repose that's there,
The fixed yet tender traits that streak
The languor of the placid cheek;
And but for that sad shrouded eye,
That fires not—wins not-weeps not-now;
And but for that chill, changeless brow,
Where cold obstruction's apathy
Appals the gazing mourner's heart,
As if to him it could impart
The doom he dreads, yet dwells upon ;-

Yes, but for these, and these alone,
Some moments, ay, one treacherous hour,
He still might doubt the tyrant's power ;
So fair, so calm, so softly sealed,
The first—last look-by death revealed !
Such is the aspect of this shore -
'Tis Greece—but living Greece no more !

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So coldly sweet, so deadly fair,
He starts—for soul is wanting there.
Hers is the loveliness in death,
That parts not quite with parting breath,
But beauty with that fearful bloom,
That hue which haunts it to the tomb-

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