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Mariner's Hymn, and Longfellow's Building of the Ship. A few prose allegories, among which are Addison's Vision of Mirza, and Johnson's Hill of Science, and The Journey of a Day, are so poetical in thought and conception that they may be studied with profit in this connection.

FABLES: Of the fables in our language we need speak but very briefly. The student has but to remember what we have said concerning some of our earliest allegories to understand the close relationship which exists between the fable and the ordinary allegory. Chaucer's Parlament of Foules, his Nun's Priest's Tale, and other similar stories, might with propriety be called fables. The best-known collection of fables in the language is that made by John Gay, about 1720. These are written in easy octo-syllabic verse, in a style easily understood and readily appreciated by young people. There is but little to recommend them, however, in the way of picturesqueness or genuine wit, and they fall far below the matchless performances of Æsop and La Fontaine. Hazlitt says: “They are certainly a work of great merit, both as to the quantity of invention implied and as to the elegance and facility of the execution.” The following is an example:


In other men we faults can spy,
And blame the mote that dims their eye,
Each little speck and blemish find;
To our own stronger errors blind.

A Turkey tired of common food,
Forsook the barn and sought the wood,
Behind her ran an infant train,
Collecting here and there a grain.

“ Draw near, my birds !" the mother cries,
“ This hill delicious fare supplies ;
Behold the busy negro race,
See millions blacken all the place!
Fear not! like me with freedom eat;
An Ant is most delightful meat.

How bless'd, how envied were our life,
Could we but 'scape the poulterer's knife;
But man, curs'd man, on Turkeys preys,
And Christmas shortens all our days.
Sometimes with oysters we combine,
Sometimes assist the savory chine;
From the low peasant to the lord,
The Turkey smokes on every board.
Sure men for gluttony are cursed
Of the seven deadly sins the worst.'

An Ant who climb'd beyond his reach,
Thus answer'd from the neighboring beech :

"Ere you remark another's sin,
Bid thy own conscience look within;
Control thy more voracious bill,
Nor for a breakfast nations kill.”

Single short fables may be found in great numbers throughout our literature. Spenser, in The Shepherd's Calendar, introduces the two fables of The Briar and the Oak and The Fox and the Kid. Dryden, in The Hind and the Panther, relates the fables of The Swallows and the Martin and The Pigeons and the Buzzard. Such fables have always been used as a convenient and simple means of illustration, and will never lose their popularity.

Burns's poem, The Twa Dogs, may be included among the fables of our literature. In it two dogs are represented as discussing the relative amount of happiness enjoyed by the rich and the poor, leading us to conclude that, after all, there is not very much real difference. The Brigs of Ayr is a similar performance, being a conversation between the old bridge and the new, wherein an ingenious comparison is drawn between the architecture and manners of olden times and those of the present. Both poems are admirable examples of their author's rare ability in combining humorous and picturesque descriptions with sober reflections and moralizing sentiments.

We shall close the present chapter with the following charming little fable from Leigh Hunt:


To Fish.
You strange, astonished-looking, angle-faced,
Dreary-mouthed, gaping wretches of the sea,
Gulping salt-water everlastingly,
Cold-blooded, though with red your blood be graced,
And mute, though dwellers in the roaring waste;
And you, all shapes beside, that fishy be,-
Some round, some flat, some long, all devilry,
Legless, unloving, infamously chaste :-
O scaly, slippery, wet, swift, staring wights,
What is't ye do? what life lead? eh, dull goggles ?
How do ye vary your vile days and nights?
How pass your Sundays ? Are ye still but joggles
In ceaseless wash? Still nought but gapes, and bites,
And drinks, and stares, diversified with boggles ?

A Fish Answers.

Amazing monster! that, for aught I know,
With the first sight of thee didst make our race
Forever stare! O flat and shocking face,
Grimly divided from the breast below!
Thou that on dry land horribly dost go
With a split body and most ridiculous pace,
Prong after prong, disgracer of all grace,
Long-useless-finned, haired, upright, unwet, slow!

O breather of unbreathable, sword-sharp air,
How canst exist? How bear thyself, thou dry
And dreary sloth! What particle canst share
Of the only blessed life, the watery?
I sometimes see of ye an actual pair
Go by ! linked fin by fin! most odiously.

The Fish turns into a Man, and then into a Spirit, and again

Indulge thy smiling scorn, if smiling still,
() man! and loathe, but with a sort of love:
For difference must its use by difference prove,

And, in sweet clang, the spheres with music fill.
One of the spirits am I, that at his will
Live in whate'er has life-fish, eagle, dove-
No hate, no pride, beneath nought, nor above,
A visitor of the rounds of God's sweet skill.

Man's life is warm, glad, sad, 'twixt loves and graves,
Boundless in hope, honored with pangs austere,
Heaven-gazing; and his angel-wings he craves :
The fish is swift, small-needing, vague yet clear,
A cold, sweet, silver life, wrapp'd in round waves,
Quickened with touches of transporting fear.



Study the history of England from the close of the fourteenth century to the beginning of the seventeenth century, with special reference to the reign of Queen Elizabeth.


Chaucer : See list of references at the end of the fourth chapter. Study Lounsbury's edition of The Parlament of Foules. A good edition of Chaucer's complete works is that by Thomas Tyrwhitt (1775), republished in London (1874). See, also, The Life of Chaucer, by William Godwin, London (1803); Illustrations of Chaucer, by Rev. John Todd (1810); Tales from Chaucer in Prose, by Matthew Brown ; Coleridge's Table Talk.

SPENSER: Hazlitt's English Poets; Morley's Library of English Literature; Craik's Spenser and his Poetry; Life of Spenser, by Rev. John Todd; Lowell's Among My Books; Taine's English Literature. A good edition of Spenser's complete works is that by Rev. Henry John Todd (1805), republished in London (1872). A good American edition was edited by George S. Hillard (1839).

Dunbar: See Warton's History of English Poetry; Morley's First Sketch of English Literature. His works, edited by Laing, were published in 1824.

BUNYAN: Study the rise and progress of Puritanism in England. Read Macaulay's Essay on Bunyan; George Offor's edition of the Pilgrim's Progress (1856); Cheever's Lectures on Bunyan; Taine's English Literature,

THOMSON: One of the best editions of his works is that by Robert Bell (1855).

Gay: See the Biographia Britannica and Thackeray's English Humorists. CHAPTER VI.


Definition-Early Rhyming Chronicles—The Mirror for Magistrates

Michael Drayton-Polyolbion-Other Works of Drayton-Samuel Daniel-The Civil Wars- -Mirabilis Annus-Annus Mirabilis of Dryden-Addison's Campaign-Scott's Field of Waterloo—The Columbiad, by Joel Barlow— Miscellaneous Poems.

An historical poem is a metrical narrative usually written to commemorate some important public event. Properly speaking, it is not poetry, for although it may be constructed strictly according to the rules of versification, it lacks those elements which appeal to the fancy and the imagination, and without which no real poetry can exist. Whether the poetical romance suggested the historical poem, or the historical poem the poetical romance, it is impossible to say, as both appeared at about the same period in our literature, and the earliest specimens of botlı possess so many characteristics in common that it is sometimes difficult to determine to which class a poem properly belongs. This is especially true of the early rhyming chronicles, of which we have spoken in a preceding chapter. The chronicles of Layamon and of Robert Manning of Brunne, although professing to be metrical histories, contain so large an element of the purely fabulous and imaginative, that they are more properly romances. Robert of Gloucester's Chronicle contains niore trustworthy information regarding the physical features and the social condition of England in the thirteenth century, and yet it does not rise to the dignity or truthfulness of history. Neither can we say much more for the historical accuracy of the histories, or “ tragedies," as they were called, which compose the Mirror for Magistrates, published in 1559. The

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