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THE GREEDY FOX.
LESSON VII. The Greedy Fox; a Fable.
1. On a winter's night,
3. On a roost there sat
Some chickens, as fat
As foxes could wish for their dinners;
So the prowlers found
And they both went in, the sinners!
4. They both went in
With a squeeze and a grin,
And the chickens were quickly killed;
5. The other, more wise,
With a squeeze and a grin,
He remarked, that the hole was small.
6. And the cunning elf
He said to himself,
"If I eat too much, it 's plain,
7. Thus matters went on
And the farmer came out with a pole ;
And one went through,
But the greedy one stuck in the hole!
8. In the hole he stuck,
So full was his pluck
Of the chickens he had been eating;
He could not get out
Or turn about,
And there he was killed by beating.
LESSON VIII. The Last of the Mamelukes.
1. THE Mamelukes were a powerful body of soldiers, that had long been in the service of the Pacha of Egypt. A few years since, the Pacha, or chief of that country, finding them troublesome and dangerous to his power, determined to destroy them. Accordingly, they were invited to a feast in a citadel, the place being surrounded by the Pacha's garrison, except on one side, where there was a deep precipice.
2. They came, according to custom, superbly mounted on the finest horses, and in their richest costume. At a signal given by the Pacha, death burst forth on all sides. Crossing and enfilading batteries poured forth their flame
RUBENS AND THE SPANISH MONK. 41 and iron, and men and horses were at once weltering in their blood.
3. Many precipitated themselves from the summit of the citadel, and were destroyed in the abyss below. Two, however, recovered themselves. At the first shock of the concussion both horses and riders were stunned; they trembled for an instant, like equestrian riders shaken by an earthquake, and then darted off with the rapidity of lightning; they passed the nearest gate, which fortunately was not closed, and found themselves out of Cairo. One of the fugitives took the road to Ell Azish, the other darted up the mountains. The pursuers divided, one half following each.
4. It was a fearful thing, that race for life and death! The steeds of the desert, let loose on the mountains, bounded from rock to rock, forded torrents, or sped along the edges of precipices. Three times the horse of one Mameluke fell breathless; three times, hearing the tramp of the pursuers, he arose and renewed his flight. He fell at length not to rise again.
5. His master exhibited a touching instance of reciprocal fidelity instead of gliding down the rocks into some defile, or gaining a peak inaccessible to cavalry, he seated himself by the side of his courser, threw the bridle over his arin, and awaited the arrival of his executioners. They came up, and he fell beneath a score of sabres, without a motion of resistance, a word of complaint, or a prayer for mercy.
6. The other Mameluke, more fortunate than his companion, traversed Ell Azish, gained the desert, escaped unhurt, and, in time, became the Governor of Jerusalem, where, at a later date, I had the pleasure to see him, the last and only remnant of that redoubtable corps, which, thirty years before, rivalled in courage, though not in fortune, the chosen men of Napoleon's army.
LESSON. IX. Rubens and the Spanish Monk.
Rubens was a very celebrated painter, born at Cologne, in 1577.
1. ONE day, during his residence in Spain, Rubens made an excursion in the environs of Madrid, accompanied
by several of his pupils. He entered a convent, where he observed, with no small degree of surprise, in the choir of the chapel, a picture which bore evidence of having been executed by an artist of sublime genius. The picture represented the death of a monk. Rubens called his pupils, showed them the picture, and they all shared the admiration which the master-piece excited in their master.
2. "Who painted this picture?" inquired Van Dyck, the favorite pupil of Rubens.
"The name of the artist was inscribed at the bottom of the picture," observed Van Tulden, "but it has been carefully effaced."
3. Rubens sent for the old prior of the convent, and requested that he would tell him the name of the artist.
"The painter is no longer of this world," answered the monk.
"What!" exclaimed Rubens, "dead! and unknown! His name deserves to be immortal. It would have obliterated the remembrance of mine, and yet," added he, with pardonable vanity, "I am Peter Paul Rubens."
4. At these words the pale countenance of the prior became flushed and animated. His eyes sparkled, and he fixed on Rubens a look which betrayed a stronger feeling than curiosity. But this excitement was merely momentary. The monk cast down his eyes, crossed on his bosom the arms which he had raised to heaven by an impulse of enthusiasm, and repeated:
"The artist is no longer of this world."
5. "Tell me his name, father," exclaimed Rubens; "tell me his name, I conjure you, that I may repeat it throughout the world, and give to him the glory which is his due !" And Rubens, Van Dyck, Jordaens, Van Nuel, and Van Tulden, surrounded the prior, and earnestly entreated that he would tell them the name of the painter.
6. The monk trembled, and his lips convulsively quivered, as if ready to reveal the secret. Then, making a solemn motion with his hand, he said:
"Hear me ! you misunderstand what I said. I told you that the painter of that picture was no longer of this world, but I did not mean that he was dead."
"Does he then live? Oh! tell us where we may find him!"
KUBENS AND THE SPANISH MONK.
"He has renounced the world, and retired to a cloister: He is a monk."
7. "A monk, father! a monk! Oh! tell me then in what convent he is, for he must quit it. When Heaven has marked a man with the stamp of genius, that man should not bury himself in solitude. God has given him a sublime mission, and he must fulfil it. Tell me the cloister in which he is hidden. I will draw him from his retirement, and show him the glory that awaits him. Should he refuse, I will procure an order from our holy father, the Pope, to make him return to the world, and exercise his talent. The Pope, father, is a kind friend to me, and he will listen to
8. "I will neither tell you his name nor that of the convent to which he has retired,” replied the monk, in a resolute tone.
"But the Pope will compel you to do so," exclaimed Rubens, impatiently.
9. "Hear me," said the monk, "hear me in the name of Heaven. Can you imagine that this man, before he quitted the world, before he renounced fortune and fame, did not struggle painfully against that resolution? Can you believe anything short of the most cruel deception and bitter sorrow could have brought him to the conviction that all here below is mere vanity? Leave him, then, to die in the asylum to which he has fled from the world and despair. Besides, all your efforts would be fruitless. He would triumphantly resist every temptation. God would not refuse him his aid! God, who in his mercy, has called him to himself, will not dismiss him from his
10. "But, father, he has renounced immortality! "Immortality is nothing in comparison with eternity!" Saying this, the monk drew his cowl over his forehead and changed the conversation, so as to prevent Rubens from further urging his plea.
11. The celebrated Flemish artist left the convent accompanied by his brilliant train of pupils, and they all returned to Madrid, lost in conjectures respecting the painter whose name had been so obstinately withheld from them.
12. The prior, who was himself the painter of the picture, returned to his lonely cell, knelt down on the straw mat which served as his bed, and offered up a fervent prayer