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At last, when care had banished sleep,
He saw one morning-dreaming-doating, An empty hogshead 2 from the deep
Come shoreward floating.
He hid it in a cave, and wrought
The livelong day laborious ; lurking Until he launched a tiny boat
By mighty working.
Heaven help us ! 'twas a thing beyond
Description wretched : such a wherry 3 Perhaps ne'er ventured on a pond,
Or crossed a ferry.
For ploughing in the salt sea field,
It would have made the boldest shudder ; Untarred, uncompassed, and unkeeled,
No sail—no rudder !
From neighbouring woods he interlaced
His sorry skiff with wattled willows; And thus equipped he would have passed
The foaming billows.
But Frenchmen caught him on the beach,
His little Argo 4 sorely jeering; Till tidings of him chanced to reach
With folded arms Napoleon stood,
Serene alike in peace and danger, And in his wonted attitude
Addressed the stranger :
'Rash man, that wouldst yon Channel pass
On twigs and staves so rudely fashioned ! Thy heart with some sweet British lass
Must be impassioned.''
NAPOLEON AND THE SAILOR.
'I have no sweetheart,' said the lad ;
But, absent long from one another,
To see my mother,
And so thou shalt !' Napoleon said ;
“Ye've both my favour fairly won : A noble mother must have bred
So brave a son.'
gave the tar a piece of gold,
And safely landed.
Our sailor oft could scantily shift
To find a dinner plain and hearty ;
1 Napoleon's banners at Boulogne. at Boulogne for the purpose of This was
in 1803 when the making a grand invasion ; but the ambitious First Consul looked determined attitude of , 400,000 covetously towards the white fully-armed islanders averted the cliffs beyond the narrow English descent of the haughty eagles. Channel. The government had 2 Hogshead, a large barrel capable of during that year seized all French containing about 54 gallons. vessels that approached British Wherry, a small boat used for crossharbours; France in return had ing a river. imprisoned all British subjects she 4 Argo. See note on 'Argosy,' page could lay hands on. Napoleon go. then assembled his fleet and forces 5 Impassioned, in love, betrothed.
His father's sheep were all his friends,
The lambs he called by name;
The child would share the game.
So peacefully their hours were spent
That life had scarce a sorrow;
And hoped for more to-morrow.
But oft some shining April morn
Is darkened in an hour ;
Alas! unseen may lower.
Not yet on Switzerland had dawned
Her day of liberty;
And pressed right heavily.
So one was sent, in luckless hour,
To rule in Austria’s name;
In pomp and pride he came.
One day, in wantonness of power,
He set his cap on high: • Bow down, ye slaves,' the order ran;
Who disobeys shall die!'
It chanced that William Tell that morn
Had left his cottage home,
To Altorf 3 town had come.
For oft the boy had eyed the spoil
His father homeward bore,
When they should roam for more.
And often on some merry night,
When wondrous feats were told, He longed his father's bow to take,
And be a hunter bold.
So towards the chamois'4 haunts they went
One sang his childish songs, The other brooded mournfully
O’er Uri's griefs and wrongs.
Tell saw the crowd, the lifted cap,
The tyrant's angry frown; And heralds shouted in his ear,
Bow down, ye slaves, bow down !'
Stern Gesler marked the peasant's mien,
And watched to see him fall;
Than Tell before them all.
My knee shall bend,' he calmly said,
"To God, and God alone : My life is in the Austrian's hand,
My conscience is my own.'
Seize him, ye guards !' the ruler cried,
While passion choked his breath ; “He mocks my power, he braves my lord
He dies the traitor's death.
“Yet wait. The Swiss are marksmen true
So all the world doth say ;
We'll try their skill to-day.'
Hard by a spreading lime-tree stood,
To this the youth was bound ; They placed an apple on his head ;
He looked in wonder round.