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CATO ON THE IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL.

It must be so Plato, thou reasonest well!
Else whence this pleasing hope, this fond desire,
This longing after immortality ?
Or whence this secret dread and inward horror
Of falling into naught? Why shrinks the soul
Back on herself, and startles at destruction ?
'Tis the Divinity that stirs within us;
'Tis Heaven itself, that points out an hereafter,
And intimates eternity to man.
Eternity ! — thou pleasing, dreadful thought!
Through what variety of untried being,
Through what new scenes and changes, must we pass!
The wide, the unbounded prospect lies before me,
But shadows, clouds, and darkness, rest upon it.
Here will I hold. If there's a Power above us,
And that there is, all nature cries aloud
Through all her works, — he must delight in virtue;
And that which he delights in must be happy.
But when ? or where? This world was made for Cæsar.
I'm weary of conjectures -- this must end them.

(Laying his hand on his sword.)
Thus I am doubly armed. My death and life,
My bane and antidote, are both before me.
This in a moment brings me to an end;
But this informs me I shall never die !
The soul, secured in her existence, smiles
At the drawn dagger, and defies its point.
The stars shall fade away, the sun himself

Grow dim with age, and nature sink in years;
But thou shalt flourish in immortal youth,
Unhurt amidst the war of elements,
The wreck of matter and the crush of worlds !

THE SPACIOUS FIRMAMENT.

THE spacious firmament on high,
With all the blue ethereal sky,
And spangled heavens, a shining frame,
Their great Original proclaim.
Th' unwearied sun, from day to day,
Does his Creator's power display,
And publishes to every land
The work of an almighty hand.

Soon as the evening shades prevail,
The moon takes up the wondrous tale,
And nightly to the listening earth,
Repeats the story of her birth.
And all the stars that round her burn,
And all the planets in their turn,
Confirm the tidings as they roll,
And spread the truth from pole to pole.

What though, in solemn silence, all
Move round this dark terrestrial ball;
What though no real voice nor sound,
Among their radiant orbs be found ;
In reason's ear they all rejoice,
And utter forth a glorious voice,
For ever singing as they shine,
“The hand that made us is divine."

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SIR WALTER SCOTT.

1771-1832.

A PICTURE OF ANGLO-NORMAN DAYS.'

FIRST READING.

an-tip'a-thy, aversion, dislike. im-pending, approaching. di'a-lect, form of speech.

in-vet'er-ate, deep-rooted. e-lá'tion, pride of success.

license, lawless authority. em'ū--ted, imitated.

nour'ish-ing (nůr-), cherishing. en-hance', increase.

pre-cā'ri-ous, uncertain, doubtful. e-vent', result, issue.

pre-di-lec'tion, partiality. ex-or'bi-tant (egz-), excessive. pre-mise', to set forth beforehand. ex'tir--ted, rooted out, destroyed. seats, estates, residences. feudal (fūd'al), pertaining to so- vas'sal age, state of servitude.

ciety in the Middle Ages. yore, times gone by.

Thus communed these; while to their lowly dome
The full-fed swine returned with evening home;
Compelled, reluctant, to the several sties,
With din obstreperous, and ungrateful cries.

POPE's Odyssey.

In that pleasant district of merry England which is watered by the river Don, there extended in ancient times a large forest, covering the greater part of the beautiful hills and valleys which lie between Sheffield and the pleasant town of Doncaster. The remains of this extensive wood are still to be seen at the noble seats of Wentworth, of Wharncliffe Park, and around Rotherham. Here haunted of yore the fabulous Dragon of Wantley ; here were fought many of the most desperate battles during the Civil Wars of the Roses; and

I From Ivanhoe, Chap. I.

here also flourished in ancient times those bands of gallant outlaws, whose deeds have been rendered so popular in English song.

Such being our chief scene, the date of our story refers to a period towards the end of the reign of Richard the First, when his return from his long captivity had become an event rather wished than hoped for by his despairing subjects, who were in the mean time subjected to every species of subordinate oppression.

The nobles, whose power had become exorbitant during the reign of Stephen, and whom the prudence of Henry the Second had scarcely reduced into some degree of subjection to the Crown, had now resumed their ancient license in its utmost extent ; despising the feeble interference of the English Council of State, fortifying their castles, increasing the number of their dependants, reducing all around them to a state of vassalage, and striving by every means in their power to place themselves each at the head of such forces as might enable him to make a figure in the national convulsions which appeared to be impending.

The situation of the inferior gentry, or franklins as they were called, who, by the law and spirit of the English constitution, were entitled to hold themselves independent of feudal tyranny, became now unusually precarious. If, as was most generally the case, they placed themselves under the protection of any of the petty kings in their vicinity, accepted of feudal offices in his household, or bound themselves, by mutual treaties of alliance and protection, to support him in his enterprises, they might indeed purchase temporary repose ;

but it must be with the sacrifice of that independence which was so dear to every English bosom, and at the certain hazard of being involved as a party in whatever rash expedition the ambition of their protector might lead him to undertake.

On the other hand, such and so multiplied were the means of vexation and oppression possessed by the great barons, that they never wanted the pretext, and seldom the will, to harass and pursue, even to the very edge of destruction, any of their less powerful neighbors, who attempted to separate themselves from their authority, and to trust for their protection, during the dangers of the times, to their own inoffensive conduct, and to the laws of the land.

A circumstance which greatly tended to enhance the tyranny of the nobility, and the sufferings of the inferior classes, arose from the consequences of the Norman conquest by Duke William of Normandy. Four generations had not sufficed to blend the hostile blood of the Normans and Anglo-Saxons, or to unite, by common language and mutual interests, two hostile races, one of which still felt the elation of triumph, while the other groaned under all the consequences of defeat. The power had been completely placed in the hands of the Norman nobility, by the event of the battle of Hastings, and it had been used, as our histories assure us, with no moderate hand.

The whole race of Saxon princes and nobles had been extirpated or disinherited, with few or no exceptions; nor were the numbers great who possessed land in the country of their fathers, even as proprietors of the second or of yet inferior classes. The royal policy had

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