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And the morning mist was on the stream
And the vapor on the hill,
In the motionless air, all still-
In the thick boughs rustled lightly,
On the green leaves glistening brightly.
“ Caw! caw! Hurrah ! hurrah !
Caw! Caw! Caw !”
With a corn-field just below,
And the gentleman was a crow.
On branch ! on twig! on bush ! on tree !
On every spot there was a crow.
And throats all much more stretched than they,
Or half-feëd lawyers for their pay:
To hear a testator's will-
The executive chair to fill;
Who had held it rather too long,
And being impeached for wrong,
And instead of allowing the strong majority
Of an officer in the minority ?
So at it they went with beak and claw
A president to elect,
A candidate to select,
But crows are but men,
A person anoints
The sensitive souls of crows
And thus they are led by the nose.
Being just in the same condition,
Fig for your abolition.
The one, was an antiquated crow,
Some service, I hardly can tell what--
Before they began to ballot.
With a knowing cock of his eye,
Ever thought that he did, and that " by
'If they didn't, he'd “ never say die.”
Or a judge when charging à jury,
Or a senator not in a fury-
Whatever he could
He cheerfully would”-
He stood alone-for the crowd was gone,
Though he knew not why they went-
Forgetting that he was a crow-
An enemy down below.
A flash-and the whistling lead
And him, without a head.
Binghampton, Feb. 1845.
The use of Allegories for the purpose duct of the three daughters in “ Lear,” of conveying instruction is of the most are taken directly from two of the stories. primitive origin. It is impossible to trace A s for the present version of the Gesta, it back to any particular period or nation. they are well executed; but the maIn written forms they are among the ear- chinery of the three college students, liest embodiments of thought existing. Thompson, Herbert, and Latbom, might The Hebrew writings of which the re- as well be spared. With their angular ceived Scriptures form the greater part commentaries, stiffly endeavoring at ease, extant-furnish many examples, as do they form no very graceful links between also the sacred writings of the Persians, the beauties of the antique fictions. The the Chinese, and the most ancient people story of Queen Semiramis, which we exof Egypt and Hindostan, with the more tract, is not in the character of the book, polished and poetical creations of classic as it is not allegorical; but we remember Mythology. The rude Myths of the to have been delighted with it many years Scandinavian nations, and the yet ruder ago, and it will doubtless please our oral traditions of the American Indians readers now. exhibit the same covered representations of ideas. It seems, in fact, to have been
QUEEN SEMIRAMIS. the tendency of the human mind in the
"" Or all my wives,” said king Ninus to imaginative early ages of nations to repre- Semiramis, “it is you I love the best. sent the varieties of human thought and None have charms and graces like you, action under a guise of personification and for you I would willingly resign them and fictitious incident. Nearly all the all. characters in the mythology of different “Let the king consider well what he countries would be found, on a curious says,' replied Semiramis. "What if I were investigation, to have been merely vari- to take him at his word ? ous abstract attributes, personified and “'Do so,' returned the monarch ; clothed by the inventive and restless im. 'whilst beloved by you, I am indifferent to
all others. aginations of men.
“ So, then, if I asked it,' said SemiThe “Gesta Romanorum” is a collec
ramis, you would banish all your other tion of stories, invented, as far as can be
wives, and love me alone? I should be determined, by some monk, or monks, of alone your consort, the partaker of your the middle ages. They are mostly of an
power, and queen of Assyria ? allegorical design, made to represent the “Queen of Assyria! Are you not so nature, relations and tendencies of the already,' said Ninus, since you reign by virtues and passions of men, under the your beauty over its king ? guise of a great variety of persons, high “No-no,' answered his lovely misand low, mostly taken from the first cen tress; I am at present only a slave whom turies after the Christian Era, and under you love. I reign not; 1 merely charm. Roman domination. Like Pilgrim's Pro
When I give an order, you are consulted
before I am obeyed. gress, however--that finest of all allego. "" And to reign, then, you think so ries—they are not the less delightful fic
great a pleasure ?' tions for their sober application; nor ««Yes, to one who has never experi. would the unadvised reader be likely to enced it.' suspect their secret design. There is a “ • And do you wish, then, to experience vast deal of magic and necromancy in it? Would you like to reign a few days in many of them, showing an evident East- my place? ern origin-elements altogether in keep- • Take care, 0 king! do not offer too ing with the simple and credulous age in muc which they were written. Many of the “No, I repeat it,' said the captivated tales are very beautiful; and no less
monarch. Would you like, for one whole
day, to be sovereign mistress of Assyria ? writers than Shakspeare, Chaucer, Schil. "
". And all which I command, then, ler. Scott, Southey and Parnell are in- shall be executed ? debted to those old monks for many of "Yes, I will resign to you, for one their fine plots and striking incidents. entire day, my power and my golden The choosing of the three caskets in sceptre.' “ The Merchant of Venice," and the con- «. And when shall this be ?
* New York: Wiley & Putnam, 161 Broadway.
«« Tomorrow, if you like.'
the king's seal, and deliver to me this de. " I do,' said Semiramis; and let her head cree. Write again: Under penalty of fall upon the shoulder of the king, like a death, the general of the army encamped beautiful woman asking pardon for some under the walls of Babylon is ordered to caprice which has been yielded to
resign the command of the army to him “ The next morning Semiramis called who shall be the bearer of this order.' her women, and commanded them to dress Fold, seal, and deliver to me this decree.' her magnificently. On her head she wore a “She took the three orders thus diccrown of precious stones, and appeared tated, and put them in her bosom. The thus before Ninus. Ninus, enchanted whole court was struck with consterna. with her beauty, ordered the officers of the tion; the king himself was surprised. palace to assemble in the state chamber, « Listen,' said Semiramis. In two and his golden sceptre to be brought from hours hence let all the officers of the state the treasury. He then entered the chamo come and offer me presents, as is the cusber, leading Semiramis by the hand. All tom on the accession of new princes, and prostrated themselves before the aspect of let a festival be prepared for this evening. the king, who conducted Semiramis to the Now, let all depart. Let my faithful serthrone, and seated her upon it. Then vant Ninus alone remain. I have to conordering the whole assembly to rise, he sult him upon affairs of state.' announced to the court that they were to “When all the rest had gone out - You obey, during the whole day, Semiramis as see,' said Semiramis, that I know how to himself. So saying, he took up the golden play the queen.' sceptre, and placing it in the hands of "Ninus laughed. Semiramis- Queen,' said he, 'I commit “My beautiful queen,' said he, you to you the emblem of sovereign power; play your part with astonishment. But, take it, and command with sovereign au- if your servant may dare question you, thority. All here are your slaves, and I what would you do with the orders you myself am nothing more than your servant have dictated? for the whole of this day. Whoever shall “I should be no longer queen, were I be remiss in executing your orders, let obliged to give an account of my actions. him be punished as if he had disobeyed the Nevertheless, this was my motive. I have commands of the king.'
a vengeance to execute against the three “ Having thus spoken, the king knelt officers whom these orders menace.' down before Semiramis, who gave him, «• Vengeance--and wherefore ?" with a smile, her hand to kiss. The court ". The first, the governor of the citadel, iers then passed in succession, each mak- is one-eyed, and frightens me every time I ing oath to execute blindly the orders of meet him ; the second, the chief of the Semiramis. When the ceremony was fin- slaves, I hate, because he threatens me ished, the king made her his compliments, with rivals ; the third, the general of the and asked her how she had managed to go army, deprives me too often of your comthrough it with so grave and majestical an pany; you are constantly in the camp.' air.
“ This reply, in which caprice and flat“Whilst they were promising to obey tery were mingled, enchanted Ninus. me,' said Semiramis, 'I was thinking what "Good,' said he, laughing. · Here are the I should command each of them to do. three first officers of the empire dismissed I have but one day of power, and I will for very sufficient reasons.' employ it well.
“ The gentlemen of the court now came " The king laughed at this reply. Semi to present their gifts to the queen. Some ramis appeared more piquante and amiable gave precious stones; others, of a lower than ever. Let us see,' said he, how rank, fowers and fruits; and the slaves, you will continue your part. By what having nothing to give, gave nothing but orders will you begin ?
homage. Among these last, there were “Let the secretary of the king ap three young brothers, who had come from proach my throne,' said Semiramis, with a the Caucasus with Semiramis, and had loud voice.
rescued the caravan in which the women “ The secretary approached--two slaves were from an enormous tiger. When they placed a little table before him.
passed before the throne• Write,' said Semiramis ; 'Under pen "And you,' said she to the three broalty of death, the governor of the citadel of thers, ' have you no present to make to Babylon is ordered to yield up the com- your queen ? mand of the citadel to him who shall bear ". No other,' replied the first, Zopire, to him this order.' Fold this order, seal than my life to defend her.' it with the king's seal, and give it to me. “. None other,' replied the second, ArtaWrite now: Under penalty of death, the ban, 'than my sabre against her enemies.' governor of the slaves of the palace is or “None other,' replied the third, Assar, dered to resign the command of the slaves than the respect and admiration which into the hands of the person who shall pre- her presence inspires.' sent to him this order. Fold, seal it with " Slaves,' said Semiramis, it is you
who have made me the most valuable pre- ral gaiety, Semiramis rose from her elesent of the whole court, and I will not be vated seat, and saidMy lords, the treaungrateful. You, who have offered me surer of the empire has read me a list of your sword against my enemies, take this those who this morning have brought me order, carry it to the general of the army their gifts of congratulation on my joyful encamped under the walls of Babylon, give accession to the throne. One grandee it to him, and see what he will do for you. alone of the court has failed to bring his You, who have offered me your life for my gift.' defence, take this order to the governor of "• Who is it?" cried Ninus. He must the citadel, and see what he will do for be punished severely.' you; and you who offer me the respect " It is yourself, my lord-you who and admiration which my presence in speak; what have you given to the queen spires, take this order, give it to the com- this morning ? mandant of the slaves of the palace, and “Ninus rose, and came with a smiling see what will be the result.'
countenance to whisper something into “Never had Semiramis displayed so the ear of the queen. The queen is insultmuch gaiety, so much folly, and so much ed by her servant,' exclaimed Semiramis. grace, and never was Ninus so captivated. “ I embrace your knees to obtain my Nor were her charms lessened in his eyes, pardon, beautiful queen,' said he; “parwhen a slave not having executed promptly don me, pardon me;' and he added in a lowan insignificant order, she commanded his er tone, I wish this fête were finished.' head to be struck off, which was imme- ". You wish, then, that I should abdidiately done.
cate?' said Semiramis. But no-I have Without bestowing a thought on this still two hours to reign;' and at the same trivial matter, Ninus continued to con- time she withdrew her hand, which the verse with Semiramis till the evening king was covering with kisses. I pardon and the fête arrived. When she entered not, said she with a loud voice, such an the saloon which had been prepared for insult on the part of a slave. Slave, prethe occasion, a slave brought her a plate pare thyself to die.' in which was the head of the decapitated "Silly child that thou art,' said Ninus, eunuch- 'Tis well,' said she, after hav. still on his knees, ' yet will I give way to ing examined it. Place it on a stake in thy folly ; but patience, thy reign will the court of the palace, that all may see soon be over.' it, and be you there on the spot to proclaim “You will not, then, be angry,' said to every one that the man to whom this she in a whisper, 'at something I am going head belonged lived three hours ago, but to order at this moment? that having disobeyed my will, his head “ No,' said he. was separated from his body
«« Slaves !' said she aloud, seize this “ The fête was magnificent; a sump- man-seize this Ninus ! tuous banquet was prepared in the gardens, “ Ninus, smiling, put himself into the and Semiramis received the homage of all hands of the slaves. with a grace and majesty perfectly regal; “ Take him out of the saloon, lead him she continually turned to and conversed into the court of the seraglio, prepare everywith Ninus, rendering him the most dis- thing for his death, and wait my orders.' tinguished honor. • You are,' said she, “The slaves obeyed, and Ninus followed .a foreign king, come to visit me in my them, laughing, into the court of the palace, I must make your visit agreeable seraglio. They passed by the head of to you.'
the disobeying eunuch. Then Semiramis * Shortly after the banquet was served, placed herself on a balcony. Ninus had Semiramis confounded and reversed all suffered his hands to be tied. ranks. Ninus was placed at the bottom of “«Hasten,' said the queen, 'hasten, Zothe table. He was the first to laugh at pire, to the fortress; you to the camp, this caprice; and the court, following his Artaban; Assar, do you secure all the example, allowed themselves to be placed, gates of the palace. without murmuring, according to the will ." These orders were given in a whisper, of the queen. She seated near herself the and executed immediately three brothers from the Caucasus.
" Beautiful queen,' said Ninus, laugh“Are my orders executed ?" she de ing, this comedy wants but its conclumanded of them.
sion; pray, let it be a prompt one.' “« Yes,' replied they
" I will,' said Semiramis. Slaves, “ The fête was very gay. A slave hav. recollect the eunuch. Strike! ing, by the force of habit, served the king “They struck; Ninus had hardly time to first, Semiramis had him beaten with rods. utter a cry: when his head fell upon the His cries mingled with the laughter of the pavement, the smile was still upon his lips. guests. Every one was inclined to merri * "Now I am queen of Assyria,' exment. It was a comedy, in which each claimed Semiramis; "and perish every played his part. Towards the end of the one, like the eunuch and Ninus, who dare. repast, when wine had added to the gene disobey my orders.'”