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I once saw a poor fellow, keen and clever,
He walked on this side, then on that,
He tried to introduce a social chat;
A rich man burst the door;
As Crosus rich, I'm sure
What a confusion !--all stand up erect--
These bow in honest duty and respect;
The poor man hung his head,
And to himself he said, “This is indeed beyond my comprehension :"
Then looking round,
One friendly face he found,
A man may lend his store
Of gold or silver ore,
XXVIII.-ARRAIGNMENT OF CATILINE.
OW far, o Catiline! wilt thou abuse our patience ?
How long shalt thou baffle justice in thy mad career? To what extreme wilt thou carry thy audacity? Art thou nothing daunted by the nightly watch, posted to secure the Palatium*? Nothing, by the city guards? Nothing, by the rally of all good citizens ? Nothing, by the assembling of the Senate in this fortified place ? Nothing, by the averted looks of all here present?
2. Seest thou not that all thy plots are exposed ?—that thy wretched conspiracy is laid bare to the knowledge of every man here in the Senate ?—that we are well aware of thy proceedings of last night; of the night before; the place of meeting, the company convoked, the measures concerted ?
3. O, the times ! O, the morals of the times! The Senate understand all this. The Consul sees it. And yet the traitor lives! Lives? Ay, truly, and confronts us here in council,—presumes to take part in our deliberations,-and, with his calculating eye, marks out each man of us for slaughter! And we, the while, think we have amply discharged our duty to the State, if we do but succeed in warding off this madman's sword and fury !
4. Long since, O Catiline! ought the Consul to have ordered thee to execution, and brought upon thy own head the destruction thou hast been plotting against others ! There was in Rome that virtue once, that a wicked citizen was held more execrable than the deadliest foe. For thee, Catiline, we have still a law. Think not, because we are forbearing, that we are powerless.
5. We have a statute,-though it rests among our archives like a sword in its scabbard,-a statute which makes thy life the forfeit of thy crimes. And, should I order thee to be instantly seized and put to death, I do not doubt that
* Pronounced Pă-lā'-she-ům.
all good men would say that the punishment, instead of being too cruel, was only too long deferred.
6. But, for sufficient reasons, I will a while postpone the blow. Then will I doom thee, when no man is to be found, so lost to reason, so depraved, so like thyself, that he will not admit the sentence was deserved. While there is one man who ventures to defend thee, live!
7. But thou shalt live so beset, so hemmed in, so watched, by the vigilant guards I have placed around thee, that thou shalt not stir a foot against the Republic without my knowledge. There shall be eyes to detect thy slightest movement, and ears to catch thy wariest whisper. Thou shalt be seen and heard when thou dost not dream of a witness near. The darkness of night shall not cover thy treason; the walls of privacy shall not stifle its voice.
8. Baffled on all sides, thy most secret projects clear as noonday, what canst thou now devise ? Proceed, plot, conspire, as thou wilt; there is nothing thou canst contrive, propose, attempt, which I shall not promptly be made aware of. Thou shalt soon be convinced that I am even more active in providing for the preservation of the State, than thou in plotting its destruction!
XXIX.-A GREYPORT LEGEND, 1797.
They peered from the decks of the ships where they lay
“Ho, Starbuck and Pickney and Tenterden!
Run for your shallops, gather your men, Scatter your boats on the lower bay.”
Good cause for fear! In the thick mid-day
The hulk that lay by the rotten pier,
Filled with children in happy play,
Drifted clear beyond reach or call,
Thirteen children there were in all,All adrift in the lower bay!
Said a hard-faced skipper, “God help us all!
She will not float till the turning tide!” Said his wife, “My darling will hear my call, Whether in sea or heaven she bide."
And she lifted a quavering voice and high,
Wild and strange as a sea-bird's cry,
The fog drove down on each laboring crew,
Veiled each from each and the sky and shore; There was not a sound but the breath they drew, And the lap of water and creak of oar;
And they felt the breath of the downs, fresh blown
O'er leagues of clover and cold gray stone, But not from the lips that had gone before.
They come no more. But they tell the tale
That, when fogs are thick on the harbor reef,
For the voices of children, still at play
In phantom hulk that drifts alway Through channels whose waters never fail.
It is but a foolish shipman's tale,
A theme for a poet's idle page,
We hear from the misty, troubled shore
The voice of the children gone before, Drawing the soul to its anchorage.
F. BRET HARTE
XXX.-TWO VIEW'S OF CHRISTMAS. SCROOGE and his NEPHEW. Scene.—The Counting-Room of Scrooge. Nephew. A merry Christmas, uncle! Scrooge. Bah! humbug!
Neph. Christmas a humbug, uncle! You don't mean inat, I am sure?
Scrooge. I do. Out upon merry Christmas! What 's Christmas time to you but a time for paying bills without money; a time for finding yourself a year older, and not an hour richer; a time for balancing your books, and having every item in 'em through a round dozen of months presented dead against you? If I had my will, every idiot who goes about with “Merry Christmas” on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. He should !
Scrooge. Nephew, keep Christmas time in your own way, and let me keep it in mine. Neph. Keep it! But you don't keep it !
! Scrooge. Let me leave it alone, then. Much good may it do you! Much good it has ever done you!
Neph. There are many good things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say, Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round,-apart from the veneration due to its sacred origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that,--as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-travellers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say. God bless it!