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Elson Grammer School Literature, Book Four. by William H. Elson and Christine Keck

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Find the Jordan on your map.

Locate the Dead Sea; the wood of Ephraim where Absalom was killed.

Describe the picture you see when you read the first stanza.

What do we call such expressions as "Night's silvery veil"?

What is night's silvery veil?

"The willow leaves with a soft cheek upon the lulling tide, Forgot the
lifting winds"--What does this mean? Why "lulling tide"?

What flowers does the poet mean in the eighth line? Is the poet true to
nature in what he says of them? Show why.

Select two words or expressions that seem to you to be especially beautiful
or fit, and tell why. Do you like the selection? Why?

Words and Phrases for Discussion.

"waters slept"
"melting tenderness"
"fashioned for a happier world"
"lifting winds"
"mantling blush"
"straightened for the grave"
"breathing sleep"
"resistless eloquence"
"bruised reed"
"still proportions"
"Whose diamonds lit the passage of his blade"

* * * * *

LOCHINVAR (From "Marmion.")


O, young Lochinvar is come out of the West,--
Through all the wide Border his steed was the best;
And, save his good broadsword, he weapons had none,--
He rode all unarmed and he rode all alone.
So faithful in love, and so dauntless in war,
There never was knight like the young Lochinvar.

He stayed not for brake, and he stopped not for stone,
He swam the Esk river, where ford there was none;
But ere he alighted at Netherby gate,
The bride had consented, the gallant came late:
For a laggard in love, and a dastard in war,
Was to wed the fair Ellen of brave Lochinvar.

So boldly he entered the Netherby hall,
'Mong bridesmen, and kinsmen, and brothers, and all:
Then spoke the bride's father, his hand on his sword
(For the poor, craven bridegroom said never a word),
"O, come ye in peace here, or come ye in war,
Or to dance at our bridal, young Lord Lochinvar?"

"I long wooed your daughter,--my suit you denied;--
Love swells like the Selway, but ebbs like its tide;
And now am I come, with this lost love of mine,
To lead but one measure, drink one cup of wine.
There are maidens in Scotland more lovely by far,
That would gladly be bride to the young Lochinvar!"

The bride kissed the goblet; the knight took it up,
He quaffed off the wine, and he threw down the cup.
She looked down to blush, and she looked up to sigh,
With a smile on her lips, and a tear in her eye.
He took her soft hand, ere her mother could bar,--
"Now tread we a measure!" said young Lochinvar.

So stately his form, and so lovely her face,
That never a hall such a galliard did grace;
While her mother did fret, and her father did fume,
And the bridegroom stood dangling his bonnet and plume,
And the bridemaidens whispered, "'Twere better, by far,
To have matched our fair cousin with young Lochinvar."

One touch to her hand, and one word in her ear,
When they reached the hall-door, and the charger stood near,
So light to the croupe the fair lady he swung,
So light to the saddle before her he sprung!
"She is won! we are gone, over bank, bush, and scaur;
They'll have fleet steeds that follow," quoth young Lochinvar.

There was mounting 'mong GrŠmes of the Netherby clan;
Forsters, Fenwicks, and Musgraves, they rode, and they ran;
There was racing and chasing on Cannobie Lee,
But the lost bride of Netherby ne'er did they see.
So daring in love, and so dauntless in war,
Have ye e'er heard of gallant like young Lochinvar?


Biographical and Historical: Walter Scott was born in Edinburgh, in 1771.
He loved the romance of Scotland's history and legends. A collection of
legendary ballads, songs, and traditions, published by him early in life
met with such immediate success that it confirmed him in his resolution to
devote himself to literary pursuits. The two selections here given, are
taken from his second metrical romance, "Marmion." Later Scott turned his
attention to prose and became the creator of the historical novel, of which
"Ivanhoe," "Kenilworth," and "Woodstock" are conspicuous examples. He died
in 1832, and lies buried in one of the most beautiful ruins in Scotland,
Dryburgh Abbey.

Notes and Questions.

Find Esk River and Solway Firth on your map.

Scott describes the tides of Solway Firth in Chapter IV of his novel,
"Redgauntlet." Compare the rhythm with that in "How They Brought the Good

What impression of Lochinvar do the opening stanzas give you?

What purpose does the fourth stanza serve?

Line 20--Explain this line.

Line 46--What was the result?

What picture does the sixth stanza give you?

Which stanza do you like best?

Which lines are most pleasing?

"galliard"--a gay dance.

"scaur"--steep bank of river.

"clan"--a group of related families.

Translate into your own words: "'They'll have fleet steeds that follow,'
quoth young Lochinvar."

Words and Phrases for Discussion.

"bonnet and plume"

* * * * *



Not far advanced was morning day,
When Marmion did his troop array,
To Surrey's camp to ride;
He had safe conduct for his band,
Beneath the royal seal and hand,
And Douglas gave a guide.

The train from out the castle drew,
But Marmion stopped to bid adieu:
"Though something I might 'plain," he said,
"Of cold respect to stranger guest,
Sent hither by your king's behest,
While in Tantallon's towers I staid;
Part we in friendship from your land,
And, noble Earl, receive my hand."
But Douglas round him drew his cloak,
Folded his arms, and thus he spoke:
"My manors, halls, and bowers shall still
Be open, at my sovereign's will,
To each one whom he lists, howe'er
Unmeet to be the owner's peer.
My castles are my king's alone,
From turret to foundation stone;
The hand of Douglas is his own;
And never shall, in friendly grasp,
The hand of such as Marmion clasp."

Burned Marmion's swarthy cheek like fire,
And shook his very frame for ire;
And "This to me," he said;
"An 'twere not for thy hoary beard,
Such hand as Marmion's had not spared
To cleave the Douglas' head!
And, first, I tell thee, haughty peer,
He, who does England's message here,
Although the meanest in her state,
May well, proud Angus, be thy mate:
And, Douglas, more, I tell thee here,
Even in thy pitch of pride--
Here, in thy hold, thy vassals near,
I tell thee, thou'rt defied!
And if thou said'st, I am not peer
To any lord in Scotland here,
Lowland or Highland, far or near,
Lord Angus, thou hast lied!"

On the Earl's cheek, the flush of rage
O'ercame the ashen hue of age:
Fierce he broke forth; "And dar'st thou then
To beard the lion in his den,
The Douglas in his hall?
And hopest thou hence unscathed to go?
No, by Saint Bride of Bothwell, no!
Up draw-bridge, grooms,--what, warder, ho!
Let the portcullis fall."
Lord Marmion turned,--well was his need,
And dashed the rowels in his steed,
Like arrow through the archway sprung;
The ponderous grate behind him rung:
To pass there was such scanty room,
The bars, descending, razed his plume.

The steed along the draw-bridge flies,
Just as it trembled on the rise;
Nor lighter does the swallow skim
Along the smooth lake's level brim;
And when Lord Marmion reached his band
He halts, and turns with clinched hand
And shout of loud defiance pours,
And shook his gauntlet at the towers.
"Horse! horse!" the Douglas cried, "and chase!"
But soon he reined his fury's pace:
"A royal messenger he came,
Though most unworthy of the name.
Saint Mary mend my fiery mood!
Old age ne'er cools the Douglas' blood;
I thought to slay him where he stood.
'Tis pity of him, too," he cried;
"Bold he can speak, and fairly ride--
I warrant him a warrior tried."
With this his mandate he recalls,
And slowly seeks his castle halls.


Historical: Marmion, an English nobleman, is sent as an envoy by Henry the
Eighth, King of England, to James the Fourth, King of Scotland. The two
countries are on the eve of war with each other. Arriving in Edinburgh,
Marmion is entrusted by King James to the care and hospitality of Douglas,
Earl of Angus, who, taking him to his castle at Tantallon, treats him with
the respect due his position as representative of the king, but at the same
time dislikes him. The war approaching, Marmion leaves to join the English
camp. This sketch describes the leave-taking.

Notes and Questions.

In what part of the castle does this conversation take place? What tells

Where are Marmion's followers during this time? Where are Douglas's
soldiery and servants? What lines tell you?

Notice how simply Marmion reminds Douglas of the claim he had upon
hospitality, while in Scotland. Lines 9 to 12.

Note the claims that have always been allowed the stranger: "And stranger
is a holy name, Guidance and rest and food and fire, In vain he never must

What part of Marmion's claim does Douglas recognize? Which lines show this?

What claim does Marmion make for one "who does England's message"?

What do we call one "who do England's message" at Washington?

Is this Marmion's personal pride or pride of country (patriotism)? Read the
lines in which Marmion's personal pride shows itself in resentment of
Douglas's insults.

What does Douglas forget when he threatens Marmion? Line 69.

Which man appears to greater advantage in this scene?



"Tantal'lon"--Douglas's castle.



"peer"--a nobleman.

"Saint Bride"--a saint belonging to the house of Douglas,

"rowel"--wheel of a spur.

Words and Phrases for Discussion.

"pitch of pride"
"ponderous grate"
"swarthy cheek"
"flush of rage"
"level brim"
"haughty peer"

* * * * *



Is there, for honest poverty,
That hangs his head, and a' that?
The coward-slave, we pass him by;
We dare be poor for a' that!
For a' that, and a' that,
Our toils obscure, and a' that;
The rank is but the guinea stamp,
The man's the gowd for a' that.

What though on hamely fare we dine,
Wear hodden-gray, an a' that;
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine,
A man's a man for a' that!
For a' that, and a' that,
Their tinsel show, and a' that;
The honest man, though e'er sae poor,
Is king o' men for a' that.

Ye see yon birkie, ca'd a lord,
Wha struts, and stares, and a' that;
Though hundreds worship at his word,
He's but a coof for a' that;
For a' that, and a' that,
His ribband, star, and a' that;
The man of independent mind,
He looks and laughs at a' that.

A prince can make a belted knight,
A marquis, duke, and a' that;
But an honest man's aboon his might,
Guid faith, he maunna fa' that!
For a' that, and a' that;
Their dignities, and a' that;
The pith o' sense, and pride o' worth,
Are higher rank than a' that.

Then let us pray that come it may,
As come it will for a' that,
That sense and worth, o'er a' the earth,
Shall bear the gree, and a' that.
For a' that, and a' that,
It's comin' yet, for a' that,
That man to man, the warld o'er
Shall brothers be for a' that.


Biographical: Robert Burns was born in Ayrshire, Scotland, in 1759. His
life was short and full of poverty and privation; but he saw poetry in all
the commonplace occurrences of every-day life. His sympathy went out to all
human kind and, as the above selection shows, he had a high regard for the
real worth of man.

Notes and Questions.

Does birth or station in life determine the man?

Lines 7, 8. Explain these lines.

Lines 29-40. What do these lines mean?

In the following what is omitted? Man's (27); It's (38); o'er (39).

Why did Burns use the word "coward-slave"?

Does the poet say a man is "king of men" because he is poor?

What makes a man a king among his fellowmen?

Scotch words and their English equivalents: a'--all; wha--who; gowd--gold;
hamely--homely; hodden--gray--coarse gray cloth; gie--give; sae--so;
birkie--clever fellow; ca'd--called; coof--dunce; aboon--above; guid--good;
maunna fa'--must not try; gree--prize.

Words and Phrases for Discussion.

"toils obscure"
"pith o' sense"
"guinea stamp"
"belted knight"

* * * * *




The quality of mercy is not strained;
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath; it is twice blessed;
It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes.
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The thronÚd monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings:
But mercy is above the sceptred sway:
It is enthronÚd in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute of God himself:
And earthly power doth then show likest God's,
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore,
Jew, though justice be thy plea, consider this,--
That, in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation; we do pray for mercy;
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy.


Biographical and Historical: William Shakespeare, the greatest of English
poets, indeed one of the greatest of the world's poets, was born in 1564 at
Stratford-on-Avon. As a young man of twenty-two, after his marriage with
Anne Hathaway, he went up to London, where he became connected with
theaters, first, tradition says, by holding horses at the doors. The next
twenty years he spent in London as an actor, and in writing poems and
plays, later becoming a shareholder as well as an actor. The last ten years
of his life were spent at Stratford, where he died at the age of fifty-two.
This was the time of Queen Elizabeth and is known as the Elizabethan Age.
It was the age richest in genius of all kinds, but especially in the
creation of dramatic literature.

In the foregoing selection, Portia, disguised as a lawyer, makes this
famous speech in pleading the cause of Antonio against Shylock.


"strained"--restrained "shows"--is the emblem of

Words and Phrases for Discussion.

"temporal power"
"sceptered sway"
"Earthly power doth then show likest
God's When mercy seasons justice"

* * * * *



ALL the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms;
Then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eye-brow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the Justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,--
With eyes severe, and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose, and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness, and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.



"his"--its, which was just coming into use at this time.
"formal cut"--trim, near--not shaggy as that of the soldier's,
"wise saws"--wise sayings.
"modern instances"--everyday examples, illustrations.
"strange oaths"--soldiers are proverbially profane--probably satirical
reference to the affectation of foreign oaths by soldiers who have been

Words and Phrases for Discussion.

"creeping like snail"
"sighing like furnace"
"bearded like the pard"

"eyes severe"
"woeful ballad"
"mere oblivion"
"Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth"

* * * * *



Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportioned thought his act.
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar:
The friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatched, unfledged comrade. Beware
Of entrance to a quarrel; but, being in,
Bear it, that the opposed may beware of thee.
Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice:
Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not expressed in fancy; rich, not gaudy:
For the apparel oft proclaims the man.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be:
For loan oft loses both itself and friend;
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all,--to thine own self be true;
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.


Notes and Questions.

"unproportioned"--not worthy or fitting the occasion.
"familiar"--courteous, friendly.
"vulgar"-unduly familiar.
"their adoption tried"--tested by long acquaintance.
"dull thy palm"--lose discrimination.
"expressed in fancy"--loud, ostentatious.

Put in your own words:

"Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportioned thought his act."

"Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice."

"The apparel oft proclaims the man."

"Borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry."

Words and Phrases for Discussion.

"hoops of steel"

* * * * *

4. MAN


What a piece of work is man!
How noble in reason! How infinite in faculties!
In form and movement, how express and admirable!
In action, how like an angel! In apprehension, how like a god!
The beauty of the world! The paragon of animals!


Words and Phrases for Discussion.


* * * * *



To be or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind, to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them. To die; to sleep;
No more; and, by a sleep to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to. 'Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep;
To sleep? Perchance to dream! ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiseover'd country, from whose bourn
No traveler returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pitch and moment,
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.




Words and Phrases for Discussion.

"shuffled off this mortal coil"
"puzzles the will"
"native hue of resolution"
"pale cast of thought"
"great pitch and moment"

* * * * *



Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
Is the immediate jewel of their souls:
Who steals my purse, steals trash; 'tis something, nothing;
'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
But he, that filches from me my good name,
Robs me of that which not enriches him,
And makes me poor indeed.


Words and Phrases for Discussion.

"immediate jewel of their souls"
"Who steals my purse steals trash"

* * * * *



WOLSEY: Farewell, a long farewell, to all my greatness!
This is the state of man: Today he puts forth
The tender leaves of hope; tomorrow blossoms,
And bears his blushing honors thick upon him;
The third day comes a frost, a killing frost,
And--when he thinks, good easy man, full surely
His greatness is a-ripening--nips his root;
And then he falls, as I do. I have ventured,
Like little wanton boys that swim on bladders,
This many summers, in a sea of glory;
But far beyond my depth: my high-blown pride
At length broke under me, and now has left me,
Weary and old with service, to the mercy
Of a rude stream, that must forever hide me.
Vain pomp and glory of this world, I hate ye:
I feel my heart new opened. O, how wretched
Is that poor man that hangs on princes' favors!
There is, betwixt that smile we would aspire to,
That sweet aspect of princes, and their ruin,
More pangs and fears than wars or women have;
And when he falls, he falls like Lucifer,
Never to hope again.--

Cromwell, I did not think to shed a tear
In all my miseries; but thou hast forced me,
Out of thy honest truth, to play the woman.
Let's dry our eyes; and thus far hear me, Cromwell;
And--when I am forgotten, as I shall be,
And sleep in dull cold marble, where no mention
Of me more must be heard of--say, I taught thee;
Say, Wolsey--that once trod the ways of glory,
And sounded all the depths and shoals of honor--
Found thee a way, out of his wreck, to rise in;
A sure and safe one, though thy master missed it.
Mark but my fall, and that that ruined me.
Cromwell, I charge thee, fling away ambition:
By that sin fell the angels: how can man, then,
The image of his Maker, hope to win by't?
Love thyself last; cherish those hearts that hate thee;
Corruption wins not more than honesty:
Still in thy right hand carry gentle peace,
To silence envious tongues. Be just, and fear not.
Let all the ends thou aim'st at be thy country's,
Thy God's, and truth's; then, if thou fall'st, O Cromwell,
Thou fall'st a blessed martyr! Serve the king;
And--Prithee, lead me in:
There take an inventory of all I have,
To the last penny; 'tis the king's; my robe,
And my integrity to Heaven, is all
I dare now call mine own. O Cromwell, Cromwell,
Had I but served my God with half the zeal
I served my king, he would not in mine age
Have left me naked to mine enemies!



"This many summers"--this nineteen years.
"Like Lucifer"--See Isaiah XIV, 12.
"To play the woman"--to shed tears.

* * * * *



_Iago_. What, are you hurt, lieutenant?

_Cassio_. Ay, past all surgery.

_Iago_. Marry, heaven forbid!

_Cas_. Reputation, reputation, reputation! O, I have lost my
reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is
bestial. My reputation, Iago, my reputation!

_Iago_. As I am an honest man, I thought you had received some bodily
wound; there is more sense in that than in reputation. Reputation is an
idle and most false imposition; oft got without merit, and lost without
deserving: you have lost no reputation at all, unless you repute yourself
such a loser. What, man! there are ways to recover the general again: you
are but now cast in his mood, a punishment more in policy than in malice;
even so as one would beat his offenceless dog to affright an imperious
lion: sue to him again, and he's yours.

_Cas_. I will rather sue to be despised than to deceive so good a
commander with so slight, so drunken, and so indiscreet an officer. Drunk?
and speak parrot? and squabble? swagger? swear? and discourse fustian with
one's own shadow? O thou invisible spirit of wine, if thou hast no name to
be known by, let us call thee devil!

_Iago_. What was he that you followed with your sword? What had he
done to you?

_Cas_. I know not.

_Iago_. Is't possible?

_Cas_. I remember a mass of things, but nothing distinctly; a quarrel,
but nothing wherefore. O God, that men should put an enemy in their mouths
to steal away their brains! that we should, with joy, pleasance, revel, and
applause, transform ourselves into beasts!

_Iago_. Why, but you are now well enough: how came you thus recovered?

_Cas_. It hath pleased the devil drunkenness to give place to the
devil wrath: one unperfectness shows me another, to make me frankly despise

_Iago_. Come, you are too severe a moraler: as the time, the place,
and the condition of this country stands, I could heartily wish this had
not befallen; but, since it is as it is, mend it for your own good.

_Cas_. I will ask him for my place again; he shall tell me I am a
drunkard! Had I as many mouths as Hydra, such an answer would stop them
all. To be now a sensible man, by and by a fool, and presently a beast! O
strange! Every inordinate cup is unblessed and the ingredient is a devil.

_Iago_. Come, come, good wine is a good familiar creature, if it be
well used: exclaim no more against it. And, good lieutenant, I think you
think I love you.

_Cas_. I have well approved it, sir. I drunk!

_Iago_. You or any man living may be drunk at a time, man. I'll tell
you what you shall do. Our general's wife is now the general: I may say so
in this respect, for that he hath devoted and given up himself to the
contemplation, mark, and denotement of her parts and graces: confess
yourself freely to her: importune her help to put you in your place again:
she is of so free, so kind, so apt, so blessed a disposition, she holds it
a vice in her goodness not to do more than she is requested: this broken
joint between you and her husband entreat her to splinter; and my fortunes
against any lay worth naming, this crack of your love shall grow stronger
than it was before.

_Cas_. You advise me well.

_Iago_. I protest in the sincerity of love and honest kindness.

_Cas_. I think it freely; and betimes in the morning I will beseech
the virtuous Desdemona to undertake for me: I am desperate of my fortunes
if they check me here.

_Iago_. You are in the right. Good night, lieutenant; I must to the

_Cas_. Good night, honest Iago.


"marry"--an exclamation--indeed!
"fustian"--empty phrasing,

Words and Phrases for Discussion.

"immortal part of myself"
"repute yourself"
"as many mouths as Hydra"
"crack of your love"
"false imposition"
"speak parrot"
"must to the watch"

* * * * *



_"He cometh unto you with a tale which holdeth children from play and old
men from the chimney corner."_


* * * * *


"Washington's work is ended and the child shall be named after him," so
said the mother of Washington Irving at his birth in New York, April 3,
1783. When, six years later, all New York was enthusiastically greeting the
first President of the United States, a Scotch servant in the Irving family
followed the President into a shop with the youngest son of the family and
approaching him said, "Please, your honor, here's a bairn was named for
you." Washington, putting his hand upon the boy's head, gave him his
blessing. It seems eminently fitting that this boy, who became known as the
Father of American Letters, should write the biography of the man whose
name he bore, and whom we know as the Father of his Country.

New York was then the capital of the country, a city of about twenty-five
thousand inhabitants, small enough so that it was an easy matter for the
city boy to get into the country. New York itself retained many traces of
its Dutch origin, and upon its streets could be seen men from all parts of
the world. Here the boy grew up happy, seeing many sides of American life,
both in the city and in the country. He was fun-loving and social, and
could hardly be called a student. He greatly preferred "Robinson Crusoe"
and "Sinbad" to the construing of Latin. Best of all, he liked to go
exploring down to the water front to see the tall ships setting sail for
the other side of the world, or, as he grew older, up the Hudson and into
the Catskills, or to that very Sleepy Hollow which lives for us now because
of him. Irving liked people, and had many warm friends.

These three tastes--for people, for books, and for travel--his life was
destined to gratify. His health being delicate, he was sent abroad at
twenty-one, and the captain of the ship he sailed in, noting his fragile
appearance, said, "There's one who'll go overboard before we get across,"
but he happily proved a mistaken prophet. Irving not only survived the
voyage, but spent two years traveling in Italy, France, Sicily, and the
Netherlands. The romantic spirit strong within him eagerly absorbed
mediŠval history and tradition. "My native country was full of youthful
promise; Europe was rich in the accumulated treasures of age."

Upon his return home, Irving was admitted to the bar, but he never
seriously turned his attention to law. In 1809 he published "A History of
New York by Diedrich Knickerbocker." It was a humorous history of New
Amsterdam, a delicious mingling of sense and nonsense, over which Walter
Scott said his "sides were absolutely sore with laughing." While writing
this history a great sorrow touched his life--the death of a young girl to
whom he was deeply attached.

Ten years later, upon his second visit to Europe, Irving published "The
Sketch Book." It rapidly won favor both in England and America. Byron said
of it: "I know it by heart; at least there is not a passage that I cannot
refer to immediately." This second visit to Europe was to be a short
business trip, but as it chanced, it lasted seventeen years. The first five
years were spent in England. Later he went to Spain, and as a result of
this visit, we have a series of books dealing with Spanish history and
tradition--"The Alhambra," "The Conquest of Granada" and "The Life of
Columbus." During all these years and in all these places, he met and won
the regard of hosts of interesting people. Everyone praised his books, and
everyone liked the likable American, with his distinguished face and gentle

In 1832 Irving was gladly welcomed back to America, for many had feared
that his long absence might mean permanent residence abroad. The next ten
years were spent in his beautiful home, Sunnyside, at
Tarrytown-on-the-Hudson. Daniel Webster, Secretary of State, could find no
person more gratifying to the Spanish people, than the author of the "Life
of Columbus" and, in 1842, persuaded Irving to represent us at the Spanish
court. After four years, he returned to America and passed his time almost
exclusively in writing. The work which he finished just before his death,
in November, 1859, was the "Life of Washington." He was buried on a hill
overlooking the river and a portion of the Sleepy Hollow Valley.

Because of the ease and smoothness of his style, and his delicate sense of
form, Irving delighted his own and succeeding generations of both his
countrymen and his British cousins. All his work is pervaded by the strong
and winning personal quality that brought him the love and admiration of
all. Charles Dudley Warner says of him: "The author loved good women and
little children and a pure life; he had faith in his fellow-men, a kindly
sympathy with the lowest, without any subservience to the highest. His
books are wholesome, full of sweetness and charm, of humor without any
sting, of amusement without any stain; and their more solid qualities are
marred by neither pedantry nor pretension."

* * * * *




By Woden, God of Saxons,
From whence comes Wensday, that is Wodensday.
Truth is a thing that ever I will keep
Unto thylke day in which I creep into
My sepulchre.

The following tale was found among the papers of the late Diedrich
Knickerbocker, an old gentleman of New York, who was very curious in the
Dutch history of the province, and the manners of the descendants from its
primitive settlers. His historical researches, however, did not lie so much
among books as among men; for the former are lamentably scanty on his
favorite topics; whereas he found the old burghers, and still more their
wives, rich in that legendary lore so invaluable to true history. Whenever,
therefore, he happened upon a genuine Dutch family, snugly shut up in its
low-roofed farmhouse under a spreading sycamore, he looked upon it as a
little clasped volume of black-letter, and studied it with the zeal of a
book worm. The result of all these researches was a history of the province
during the reign of the Dutch governors, which he published some years
since. There have been various opinions as to the literary character of his
work, and, to tell the truth, it is not a whit better than it should be.
Its chief merit is its scrupulous accuracy, which indeed was a little
questioned on its first appearance, but has since been completely
established; and it is now admitted into all historical collections, as a
book of unquestionable authority.

The old gentleman died shortly after the publication of his work, and now
that he is dead and gone, it cannot do much harm to his memory to say that
his time might have been much better employed in weightier labors. He,
however, was apt to ride his hobby his own way; and though it did now and
then kick up the dust a little in the eyes of his neighbors, and grieve the
spirit of some friends, for whom he felt the truest deference and
affection; yet his errors and follies are remembered "more in sorrow than
in anger," and it begins to be suspected that he never intended to injure
or offend. But however his memory may be appreciated by critics, it is
still held dear by many folk, whose good opinion is worth having;
particularly by certain biscuit-bakers, who have gone so far as to imprint
his likeness on their new-year cakes; and have thus given him a chance for
immortality, almost equal to the being stamped on a Waterloo Medal, or a
Queen Anne's Farthing.

Whoever has made a voyage up the Hudson must remember the Kaatskill
Mountains. They are a dismembered branch of the great Appalachian family,
and are seen away to the west of the river, swelling up to a noble height,
and lording it over the surrounding country. Every change of season, every
change of weather, indeed, every hour of the day, produces some change in
the magical hues and shapes of these mountains, and they are regarded by
all the good wives, far and near, as perfect barometers. When the weather
is fair and settled, they are clothed in blue and purple, and print their
bold outlines on the clear evening sky; but sometimes when the rest of the
landscape is cloudless they will gather a hood of gray vapors about their
summits, which, in the last rays of the setting sun, will glow and light up
like a crown of glory.

At the foot of these fairy mountains, the voyager may have descried the
light smoke curling up from a village, whose shingle-roofs gleam among the
trees, just where the blue tints of the upland melt away into the fresh
green of the nearer landscape. It is a little village of great antiquity,
having been founded by some of the Dutch colonists in the early time of the
province, just about the beginning of the government of the good Peter
Stuyvesant (may he rest in peace!), and there were some of the houses of
the original settlers standing within a few years, built of small yellow
bricks brought from Holland, having latticed windows and gable fronts,
surmounted with weathercocks.

In that same village, and in one of these very houses (which, to tell the
precise truth, was sadly time-worn and weather-beaten), there lived many
years since, while the country was yet a province of Great Britain, a
simple, good-natured fellow, of the name of Rip Van Winkle. He was a
descendant of the Van Winkles who figured so gallantly in the chivalrous
days of Peter Stuyvesant, and accompanied him to the siege of Fort
Christina. He inherited, however, but little of the martial character of
his ancestors. I have observed that he was a simple, good-natured man; he
was, moreover, a kind neighbor, and an obedient henpecked husband. Indeed,
to the latter circumstance might be owing that meekness of spirit which
gained him such universal popularity; for those men are most apt to be
obsequious and conciliating abroad, who are under the discipline of shrews
at home. Their tempers, doubtless, are rendered pliant and malleable in the
fiery furnace of domestic tribulation; and a curtain lecture is worth all
the sermons in the world for teaching the virtues of patience and
long-suffering. A termagant wife may, therefore, in some respects be
considered a tolerable blessing, and if so, rip Van Winkle was thrice

Certain it is, that he was a great favorite among all the good wives of the
village, who, as usual with the amiable sex, took his part in all family
squabbles; and never failed, whenever they talked those matters over in
their evening gossipings, to lay all the blame on Dame Van Winkle. The
children of the village, too, would shout with joy whenever he approached.
He assisted at their sports, made their playthings, taught them to fly
kites and shoot marbles, and told them long stories of ghosts, witches, and
Indians. Whenever he went dodging about the village, he was surrounded by a
troop of them, hanging on his skirts, clambering on his back, and playing a
thousand tricks on him with impunity; and not a dog would bark at him
throughout the neighborhood.

The great error in Rip's composition was an insuperable aversion to all
kinds of profitable labor. It could not be from the want of assiduity or
perseverance; for he would sit on a wet rock, with a rod as long and heavy
as a Tartar's lance, and fish all day without a murmur, even though he
should not be encouraged by a single nibble. He would carry a fowling-piece
on his shoulder for hours together, trudging through woods and swamps, and
up hill and down dale, to shoot a few squirrels or wild pigeons. He would
never refuse to assist a neighbor, even in the roughest toil, and was a
foremost man at all country frolics for husking Indian corn, or building
stone-fences; the women of the village, too, used to employ him to run
their errands, and to do such little odd jobs as their less obliging
husbands would not do for them. In a word, Rip was ready to attend to
anybody's business but his own; but as to doing family duty, and keeping
his farm in order, he found it impossible.

In fact, he declared it was of no use to work on his farm; it was the most
pestilent little piece of ground in the whole country; everything about it
went wrong, and would go wrong, in spite of him. His fences were
continually falling to pieces; his cow would either go astray or get among
the cabbages; weeds were sure to grow quicker in his fields than anywhere
else; the rain always made a point of setting in just as he had some
out-door work to do; so that though his patrimonial estate had dwindled
away under his management, acre by acre, until there was little more left
than a mere patch of Indian corn and potatoes, yet it was the
worst-conditioned farm in the neighborhood.

His children, too, were as ragged and wild as if they belonged to nobody.
His son Rip, an urchin begotten in his own likeness, promised to inherit
the habits, with the old clothes of his father. He was generally seen
trooping like a colt at his mother's heels, equipped in a pair of father's
cast-off galligaskins, which he had much ado to hold up with, one hand, as
a fine lady does her train in bad weather.

Rip Van Winkle, however, was one of those happy mortals, of foolish,
well-oiled dispositions, who take the world easy, eat white bread or brown,
whichever can be got with least thought or trouble, and would rather starve
on a penny than work for a pound. If left to himself, he would have
whistled life away in perfect contentment; but his wife kept continually
dinning in his ears about his idleness, his carelessness, and the ruin he
was bringing on his family. Morning, noon, and night her tongue was
incessantly going, and everything he said or did was sure to produce a
torrent of household eloquence. Rip had but one way of replying to all
lectures of the kind, and that, by frequent use, had grown into a habit. He
shrugged his shoulders, shook his head, cast up his eyes, but said nothing.
This, however, always provoked a fresh volley from his wife; so that he was
fain to draw off his forces, and take to the outside of the house--the only
side which, in truth, belongs to a henpecked husband.

Rip's sole domestic adherent was his dog Wolf, who was as much henpecked as
his master; for Dame Van Winkle regarded them as companions in idleness,
and even looked upon Wolf with an evil eye, as the cause of his master's
going so often astray. True it is, in all points of spirit befitting an
honorable dog, he was as courageous an animal as ever scoured the
woods--but what courage can withstand the ever-during and all-besetting
terrors of a woman's tongue? The moment Wolf entered the house his crest
fell, his tail drooped to the ground, or curled between his legs, he
sneaked about with a gallows air, casting many a sidelong glance at Dame
Van Winkle, and at the least flourish of a broomstick or ladle he would fly
to the door with yelping precipitation.

Times grew worse and worse with Rip Van Winkle as years of matrimony rolled
on; a tart temper never mellows with age, and a sharp tongue is the only
edged tool that grows keener with constant use. For a long while he used to
console himself, when driven from home, by frequenting a kind of perpetual
club of the sages, philosophers, and other idle personages of the village;
which held its sessions on a bench before a small inn, designated by a
rubicund portrait of His Majesty George the Third. Here they used to sit in
the shade through a long lazy summer's day, talking listlessly over village
gossip, or telling endless sleepy stories about nothing. But it would have
been worth any statesman's money to have heard the profound discussions
that sometimes took place, when by chance an old newspaper fell into their
hands from some passing traveler. How solemnly they would listen to the
contents, as drawled out by Derrick Van Bummel, the school-master, a dapper
learned little man, who was not to be daunted by the most gigantic word in
the dictionary; and how sagely they would deliberate upon public events
some months after they had taken place.

The opinions of this junto were completely controlled by Nicholas Vedder, a
patriarch of the village, and landlord of the inn, at the door of which he
took his seat from morning till night, just moving sufficiently to avoid
the sun and keep in the shade of a large tree; so that the neighbors could
tell the hour by his movements as accurately as by a sun-dial. It is true
he was rarely heard to speak, but smoked his pipe incessantly. His
adherents, however (for every great man has his adherents), perfectly
understood him, and knew how to gather his opinions. When anything that was
read or related displeased him, he was observed to smoke his pipe
vehemently, and to send forth short, frequent and angry puffs; but when
pleased, he would inhale the smoke slowly and tranquilly, and emit it in
light and placid clouds; and sometimes, taking the pipe from his mouth, and
letting the fragrant vapor curl about his nose, would gravely nod his head
in token of perfect approbation.

From even this stronghold the unlucky Rip was at length routed by his
termagant wife, who would suddenly break in upon the tranquillity of the
assemblage and call the members all to naught; nor was that august
personage, Nicholas Vedder himself, sacred from the daring tongue of this
terrible virago, who charged him outright with encouraging her husband in
habits of idleness.

Poor Rip was at last reduced almost to despair; and his only alternative,
to escape from the labor of the farm and clamor of his wife, was to take
gun in hand and stroll away into the woods. Here he would sometimes seat
himself at the foot of a tree, and share the contents of his wallet with
Wolf, with whom he sympathized, as a fellow-sufferer in persecution. "Poor
Wolf," he would say, "thy mistress leads thee a dog's life of it; but never
mind, my lad, whilst I live thou shalt never want a friend to stand by
thee!" Wolf would wag his tail, look wistfully in his master's face, and if
dogs can feel pity I verily believe he reciprocated the sentiment with all
his heart.

In a long ramble of the kind on a fine autumnal day, Rip had unconsciously
scrambled to one of the highest parts of the Kaatskill Mountains. He was
after his favorite sport of squirrel shooting, and the still solitudes had
echoed and re-echoed with the reports of his gun. Panting and fatigued, he
threw himself, late in the afternoon, on a green knoll, covered with
mountain herbage, that crowned the brow of a precipice. From an opening
between the trees he could overlook all the lower country for many a mile
of rich woodland. He saw at a distance the lordly Hudson, far, far below
him, moving on its silent but majestic course, with the reflection of a
purple cloud, or the sail of a lagging bark, here and there sleeping on its
glassy bosom, and at last losing itself in the blue highlands.

On the other side he looked down into a deep mountain glen, wild, lonely,
and shagged, the bottom filled with fragments from the impending cliffs,
and scarcely lighted by the reflected rays of the setting sun. For some
time Rip lay musing on this scene; evening was gradually advancing; the
mountains began to throw their long blue shadows over the valleys; he saw
that it would be dark long before he could reach the village, and he heaved
a heavy sigh when he thought of encountering the terrors of Dame Van

As he was about to descend, he heard a voice from a distance, hallooing,
"Rip Van Winkle! Rip Van Winkle!" He looked round, but could see nothing
but a crow winging its solitary flight across the mountain. He thought his
fancy must have deceived him, and turned again to descend, when he heard
the same cry ring through the still evening air: "Rip Van Winkle! Rip Van
Winkle!"--at the same time Wolf bristled up his back, and giving a low
growl, skulked to his master's side, looking fearfully down into the glen.
Rip now felt a vague apprehension stealing over him; he looked anxiously in
the same direction, and perceived a strange figure slowly toiling up the
rocks, and bending under the weight of something he carried on his back. He
was surprised to see any human being in this lonely and unfrequented place;
but supposing it to be some one of the neighborhood in need of assistance,
he hastened down to yield it.

On nearer approach he was still more surprised at the singularity of the
stranger's appearance. He was a short, square-built old fellow, with thick
bushy hair, and a grizzled beard. His dress was of the antique Dutch
fashion: a cloth jerkin strapped round the waist, several pair of breeches,
the outer one of ample volume, decorated with rows of buttons down the
sides, and bunches at the knees. He bore on his shoulder a stout keg, that
seemed full of liquor, and made signs for Rip to approach and assist him
with the load. Though rather shy and distrustful of this new acquaintance,
Rip complied with his usual alacrity; and mutually relieving one another,
they clambered up a narrow gully, apparently the dry bed of a mountain
torrent. As they ascended, Rip every now and then heard long rolling peals
like distant thunder, that seemed to issue out of a deep ravine, or rather
cleft, between lofty rocks, toward which their rugged path conducted. He
paused for a moment, but supposing it to be the muttering of one of those
transient thunder-showers which often take place in mountain heights, he
proceeded. Passing through the ravine, they came to a hollow, like a small
amphitheatre, surrounded by perpendicular precipices, over the brinks of
which impending trees shot their branches, so that you only caught glimpses
of the azure sky and the bright evening cloud. During the whole time Rip
and his companion had labored on in silence; for though the former marveled
greatly what could be the object of carrying a keg of liquor up this wild
mountain, yet there was something strange and incomprehensible about the
unknown, that inspired awe and checked familiarity.

On entering the amphitheatre, new objects of wonder presented themselves.
On a level spot in the centre was a company of odd-looking personages
playing at ninepins. They were dressed in a quaint outlandish fashion; some
wore short doublets, others jerkins, with long knives in their belts, and
most of them had enormous breeches of similar style with that of the
guide's. Their visages, too, were peculiar; one had a large beard, broad
face, and small piggish eyes; the face of another seemed to consist
entirely of nose, and was surmounted by a white sugar-loaf hat, set off
with a little red cock's tail. They all had beards, of various shapes and
colors. There was one who seemed to be the commander. He was a stout old
gentleman, with a weather-beaten countenance; he wore a laced doublet,
broad belt and hanger, high-crowned hat and feather, red stockings, and
high-heeled shoes, with roses in them. The whole group reminded Rip of the
figures in an old Flemish painting in the parlor of Dominie Van Shaick, the
village parson, which had been brought over from Holland at the time of the

What seemed particularly odd to Rip was, that though these folks were
evidently amusing themselves, yet they maintained the gravest faces, the
most mysterious silence, and were, withal, the most melancholy party of
pleasure he had ever witnessed. Nothing interrupted the stillness of the
scene but the noise of the balls, which, whenever they were rolled, echoed
along the mountains like rumbling peals of thunder.

As Rip and his companion approached them, they suddenly desisted from their
play, and stared at him with such fixed, statue-like gaze, and such
strange, uncouth, lack-lustre countenances, that his heart turned within
him, and his knees smote together. His companion now emptied the contents
of the keg into large flagons, and made signs to him to wait upon the
company. He obeyed with fear and trembling; they quaffed the liquor in
profound silence, and then returned to their game.

By degrees Rip's awe and apprehension subsided. He even ventured, when no
eye was fixed upon him, to taste the beverage, which he found had much of
the flavor of excellent Hollands. He was naturally a thirsty soul, and was
soon tempted to repeat the draught. One taste provoked another; and he
reiterated his visits to the flagon so often that at length his senses were
overpowered, his eyes swam in his head, his head gradually declined, and he
fell into a deep sleep.

On waking, he found himself on the green knoll whence he had first seen the
old man of the glen. He rubbed his eyes--it was a bright, sunny morning.
The birds were hopping and twittering among the bushes, and the eagle was
wheeling aloft, and breasting the pure mountain breeze. "Surely," thought
Rip, "I have not slept here all night." He recalled the occurrences before
he fell asleep. The strange man with a keg of liquor--the mountain
ravine--the wild retreat among the rocks--the woe-begone party at
ninepins--the flagon--"Oh! that flagon! that wicked flagon!" thought
Rip--"what excuse shall I make to Dame Van Winkle?"

He looked round for his gun, but in place of the clean, well-oiled
fowling-piece, he found an old firelock lying by him, the barrel incrusted
with rust, the lock falling off, and the stock worm-eaten. He now suspected
that the grave roisterers of the mountain had put a trick upon him, and,
having dosed him with liquor, had robbed him of his gun. Wolf, too, had
disappeared, but he might have strayed away after a squirrel or partridge.
He whistled after him, and shouted his name, but all in vain; the echoes
repeated his whistle and shout, but no dog was to be seen.

He determined to revisit the scene of the last evening's gambol, and if he
met with any of the party, to demand his dog and gun. As he rose to walk,
he found himself stiff in the joints, and wanting in his usual activity.
"These mountain beds do not agree with me," thought Rip, "and if this
frolic should lay me up with a fit of the rheumatism, I shall have a
blessed time with Dame Van Winkle." With some difficulty he got down into
the glen; he found the gully up which he and his companion had ascended the
preceding evening; but to his astonishment a mountain stream was now
foaming down it, leaping from rock to rock, and filling the glen with
babbling murmurs. He, however, made shift to scramble up its sides, working
his toilsome way through thickets of birch, sassafras, and witchhazel, and
sometimes tripped up or entangled by the wild grapevines that twisted their
coils or tendrils from tree to tree, and spread a kind of network in his

At length he reached to where the ravine had opened through the cliffs to
the amphitheatre; but no traces of such opening remained. The rocks
presented a high, impenetrable wall, over which the torrent came tumbling
in a sheet of feathery foam, and fell into a broad, deep basin, black from
the shadows of the surrounding forest. Here, then, poor Rip was brought to
a stand. He again called and whistled after his dog; he was only answered
by the cawing of a flock of idle crows, sporting high in air about a dry
tree that overhung a sunny precipice; and who, secure in their elevation,
seemed to look down and scoff at the poor man's perplexities. What was to
be done? the morning was passing away, and Rip felt famished for want of
his breakfast. He grieved to give up his dog and gun; he dreaded to meet
his wife; but it would not do to starve among the mountains. He shook his
head, shouldered the rusty fire-lock, and, with a heart full of trouble and
anxiety, turned his steps homeward.

As he approached the village he met a number of people, but none whom he
knew, which somewhat surprised him, for he had thought himself acquainted
with every one in the country round. Their dress, too, was of a different
fashion from that to which he was accustomed. They all stared at him with
equal marks of surprise, and whenever they cast their eyes upon him,
invariably stroked their chins. The constant recurrence of this gesture
induced Rip, involuntarily, to do the same, when, to his astonishment, he
found his beard had grown a foot long!

He had now entered the skirts of the village. A troop of strange children
ran at his heels, hooting after him, and pointing at his gray beard. The
dogs, too, not one of which he recognized for an old acquaintance, barked
at him as he passed. The very village was altered; it was larger and more
populous. There were rows of houses which he had never seen before, and
those which had been his familiar haunts had disappeared. Strange names
were over the doors--strange faces at the windows,--everything was strange.
His mind now misgave him; he began to doubt whether both he and the world
around him were not bewitched. Surely this was his native village, which he
had left but the day before. There stood the Kaatskill Mountains--there ran
the silver Hudson at a distance--there was every hill and dale precisely as
it had always been--Rip was sorely perplexed--"That flagon last night,"
thought he, "has addled my poor head sadly!"

It was with some difficulty that he found the way to his own house, which
he approached with silent awe, expecting every moment to hear the shrill
voice of Dame Van Winkle. He found the house gone to decay--the roof fallen
in, the windows shattered, and the doors off the hinges. A half-starved dog
that looked like Wolf was skulking about it. Rip called him by name, but
the cur snarled, showed his teeth, and passed on. This was an unkind cut
indeed--"My very dog," sighed poor Rip, "has forgotten me!"

He entered the house, which, to tell the truth, Dame Van Winkle had always
kept in neat order. It was empty, forlorn, and apparently abandoned. This
desolateness overcame all his connubial fears--he called loudly for his
wife and children--the lonely chambers rang for a moment with his voice,
and then again all was silence.

He now hurried forth, and hastened to his old resort, the village inn--but
it, too, was gone. A large, rickety wooden building stood in its place,
with great gaping windows, some of them broken and mended with old hats and
petticoats, and over the door was painted, "The Union Hotel, by Jonathan
Doolittle." Instead of the great tree that used to shelter the quiet little
Dutch inn of yore, there now was reared a tall naked pole, with something
on the top that looked like a red night-cap, and from it was fluttering a
flag, on which was a singular assemblage of stars and stripes--all this was
strange and incomprehensible. He recognized on the sign, however, the ruby
face of King George, under which he had smoked so many a peaceful pipe; but
even this was singularly metamorphosed. The red coat was changed for one of
blue and buff, a sword was held in the hand instead of a sceptre, the head
was decorated with a cocked hat, and underneath was painted in large

There was, as usual, a crowd of folk about the door, but none that Rip
recollected. The very character of the people seemed changed. There was a
busy, bustling, disputatious tone about it, instead of the accustomed
phlegm and drowsy tranquillity. He looked in vain for the sage Nicholas
Vedder, with his broad face, double chin, and fair long pipe, uttering
clouds of tobacco-smoke instead of idle speeches; or Van Bummel, the
schoolmaster, doling forth the contents of an ancient newspaper. In place
of these, a lean bilious-looking fellow, with his pockets full of hand
bills, was haranguing vehemently about rights of
citizens--elections--members of congress--liberty--Bunker's Hill--heroes of
seventy-six--and other words, which were a perfect Babylonish jargon to the
bewildered Van Winkle.

The appearance of Rip, with his long grizzled heard, his rusty
fowling-piece, his uncouth dress, and an army of women and children at his
heels, soon attracted the attention of the tavern-politicians. They crowded
round him, eying him from head to foot with great curiosity. The orator
bustled up to him, and, drawing him partly aside, inquired "on which side
he voted?" Rip stared in vacant stupidity. Another short but busy little
fellow pulled him by the arm, and, rising on tiptoe, inquired in his ear,
"Whether he was Federal or Democrat?" Rip was equally at a loss to
comprehend the question; when a knowing, self-important old gentleman, in a
sharp cocked hat, made his way through the crowd, putting them to the right
and left with his elbows as he passed, and planting himself before Van
Winkle, with one arm akimbo, the other resting on his cane, his keen eyes
and sharp hat penetrating, as it were, into his very soul, demanded in an
austere tone, "what brought him to the election with a gun on his shoulder
and a mob at his heels, and whether he meant to breed a riot in the
village?"--"Alas! gentlemen," cried Rip, somewhat dismayed, "I am a poor
quiet man, a native of the place, and a loyal subject of the king, God
bless him!"

Here a general shout burst from the bystanders--"A tory! a tory! a spy! a
refugee! hustle him! away with him!" It was with great difficulty that the
self-important man in the cocked hat restored order; and, having assumed a
tenfold austerity of brow, demanded again of the unknown culprit what he
came there for, and whom he was seeking? The poor man humbly assured him
that he meant no harm, but merely came there in search of some of his
neighbors, who used to keep about the tavern.

"Well--who are they?--name them."

Rip bethought himself a moment, and inquired, "Where's Nicholas Vedder?"

There was a silence for a little while, when an old man replied, in a thin,
piping voice: "Nicholas Vedder! why, he is dead and gone these eighteen
years! There was a wooden tombstone in the churchyard that used to tell all
about him, but that's rotten and gone too."

"Where's Brom Dutcher?"

"Oh, he went off to the army in the beginning of the war; some say he was
killed at the storming of Stony Point--others say he was drowned in a
squall at the foot of Antony's Nose. I don't know--he never came back

"Where's Van Bummel, the schoolmaster?"

"He went off to the wars too, was a great militia general, and is now in

Rip's heart died away at hearing of these sad changes in his home and
friends, and finding himself thus alone in the world. Every answer puzzled
him too, by treating of such enormous lapses of time, and of matters which
he could not understand: war--Congress--Stony Point; he had no courage to
ask after any more friends, but cried out in despair, "Does nobody here
know Rip Van Winkle?"

"Oh, Rip Van Winkle!" exclaimed two or three, "Oh, to be sure! that's Rip
Van Winkle yonder, leaning against the tree."

Rip looked, and beheld a precise counterpart of himself, as he went up the
mountain: apparently as lazy, and certainly as ragged. The poor fellow was
now completely confounded. He doubted his own identity, and whether he was
himself or another man. In the midst of his bewilderment, the man in the
cocked hat demanded who he was, and what was his name?

"God knows," exclaimed he, at his wit's end; "I'm not myself--I'm somebody
else--that's me yonder--no--that's somebody else got into my shoes--I was
myself last night, but I fell asleep on the mountain, and they've changed
my gun, and everything's changed, and I'm changed, and I can't tell what's
my name, or who I am!"

The bystanders began now to look at each other, nod, wink significantly,
and tap their fingers against their foreheads. There was a whisper, also,
about securing the gun, and keeping the old fellow from doing mischief, at
the very suggestion of which the self-important man in the cocked hat
retired with some precipitation. At this critical moment a fresh, comely
woman pressed through the throng to get a peep at the gray-bearded man. She
had a chubby child in her arms, which, frightened at his looks, began to
cry. "Hush, Rip," cried she, "hush, you little fool; the old man won't hurt
you." The name of the child, the air of the mother, the tone of her voice,
all awakened a train of recollections in his mind. "What is your name, my
good woman?" asked he.

"Judith Gardenier."

"And your father's name?"

"Ah, poor man, Rip Van Winkle was his name, but it's twenty years since he
went away from home with his gun, and never has been heard of since,--his
dog came home without him; but whether he shot himself, or was carried away
by the Indians, nobody can tell. I was then but a little girl."

Rip had but one question more to ask; and he put it with a faltering

"Where's your mother?"

"Oh, she too had died but a short time since; she broke a blood-vessel in a
fit of passion at a New England peddler."

There was a drop of comfort at least, in this intelligence. The honest man
could contain himself no longer. He caught his daughter and her child in
his arms. "I am your father!" cried he--"Young Rip Van Winkle once--old Rip
Van Winkle now! Does nobody know poor Rip Van Winkle?"

All stood amazed, until an old woman, tottering out from among the crowd,
put her hand to her brow, and peering under it in his face for a moment,
exclaimed, "Sure enough, it is Rip Van Winkle--it is himself! Welcome home
again, old neighbor--Why, where have you been these twenty long years?"

Rip's story was soon told, for the whole twenty years had been to him but
as one night. The neighbors stared when they heard it; some were seen to
wink at each other, and put their tongues in their cheeks; and the
self-important man in the cocked hat, who, when the alarm was over, had
returned to the field, screwed down the corners of his mouth and shook his
head--upon which there was a general shaking of the head throughout the

It was determined, however, to take the opinion of old Peter Vanderdonk,
who was seen slowly advancing up the road. He was a descendant of the
historian of that name, who wrote one of the earliest accounts of the
province. Peter was the most ancient inhabitant of the village, and well
versed in all the wonderful events and traditions of the neighborhood. He
recollected Rip at once, and corroborated his story in the most
satisfactory manner. He assured the company that it was a fact, handed down
from his ancestor the historian, that the Kaatskill Mountains had always
been haunted by strange beings. That it was affirmed that the great
Hendrick Hudson, the first discoverer of the river and country, kept a kind
of vigil there every twenty years, with his crew of the Half-moon; being
permitted in this way to revisit the scenes of his enterprise, and keep a
guardian eye upon the river and the great city called by his name. That his
father had once seen them in their old Dutch dresses playing at ninepins in
a hollow of the mountain; and that he himself had heard, one summer
afternoon, the sound of their balls like distant peals of thunder.

To make a long story short, the company broke up, and returned to the more
important concerns of the election. Rip's daughter took him home to live
with her; she had a snug well-furnished house, and a stout cheery farmer
for a husband, whom Rip recollected for one of the urchins that used to
climb upon his back. As to Rip's son and heir, who was the ditto of
himself, seen leaning against the tree, he was employed to work on the
farm; but evinced an hereditary disposition to attend to anything else but
his business.

Rip now resumed his old walks and habits; he soon found many of his former
cronies, though all rather the worse for the wear and tear of time; and
preferred making friends among the rising generation, with whom he soon
grew into great favor. Having nothing to do at home, and being arrived at
that happy age when a man can be idle with impunity, he took his place once
more on the bench at the inn door, and was reverenced as one of the
patriarchs of the village, and a chronicle of the old times "before the
war." It was some time before he could get into the regular track of
gossip, or could be made to comprehend the strange events that had taken
place during his torpor. How that there had been a revolutionary war--that
the country had thrown off the yoke of old England--and that, instead of
being a subject of his Majesty George the Third, he was now a free citizen
of the United States. Rip, in fact, was no politician; the changes of
states and empires made but little impression on him; but there was one
species of despotism under which he had long groaned, and that
was--petticoat government. Happily that was at an end; he had got his neck
out of the yoke of matrimony, and could go in and out whenever he pleased,
without dreading the tyranny of Dame Van Winkle. Whenever her name was
mentioned, however, he shook his head, shrugged his shoulders, and cast up
his eyes, which might pass either for an expression of resignation to his
fate, or joy at his deliverance.

He used to tell his story to every stranger that arrived at Mr. Doolittle's
hotel. He was observed, at first, to vary on some points every time he told
it, which was, doubtless, owing to his having so recently awaked. It at
last settled down precisely to the tale I have related, and not a man,
woman, or child in the neighborhood but knew it by heart. Some always
pretended to doubt the reality of it, and insisted that Rip had been out of
his head, and that this was one point on which he always remained flighty.
The old Dutch inhabitants, however, almost universally gave it full credit.
Even to this day they never hear a thunder-storm of a summer afternoon
about the Kaatskill, but they say Hendrick Hudson and his crew are at their
game of ninepins; and it is a common wish of all henpecked husbands in the
neighborhood, when life hangs heavy on their hands, that they might have a
quieting draught out of Rip Van Winkle's flagon.


The three stages of the story are: The sleep, the return, the recognition.
Through them all personal identity remains.

Notes and Questions.

Rip Van Winkle--the man: his characteristics, habits, family.

The place: the village, the inn, the surroundings, the times.

The autumn ramble: the woods, the dog, the gun, the Hudson, the stranger,
the "ninepins" company, the flagon, the waking--the changed scenes.

The afternoon of the day, the afternoon of the year (autumn), and the
afternoon of life (old man) are chosen by the author.

What is the fitness in selecting a village near the mountains? Why choose a
village at all?

Note the civic progress of the people--the change from a royal dependency
to an independent republic.

Locate on the map the scene of this selection and tell the period in which
it occurred. Point out parts of the story that tell you when it happened.

Select descriptions in this selection that are especially pleasing.

Words and Phrases, for Discussion

"self-important man"
"vacant stupidity"
"well-oiled disposition"
"cocked hat"
"torrent of household eloquence"
"ruby face"
"gaping windows"

* * * * *


From "The Sketch Book," by


Ships, ships, I will descrie you
Amidst the main,
I will come and try you,
What you are protecting,
And projecting,
What's your end and aim.

One goes abroad for merchandise and trading.
Another stays to keep his country from invading,
A third is coming home with rich and wealthy lading.
Halloo! my fancie, whither wilt thou go?

To an American visiting Europe, the long voyage he has to make is an
excellent preparative. The temporary absence of worldly scenes and
employments produces a state of mind peculiarly fitted to receive new and
vivid impressions. The vast space of waters that separates the hemispheres
is like a blank page in existence. There is no gradual transition, by
which, as in Europe, the features and population of one country blend
almost imperceptibly with those of another. From the moment you lose sight
of the land you have left, all is vacancy until you step on the opposite
shore, and are launched at once into the bustle and novelties of another

In traveling by land there is a continuity of scene and a connected
succession of persons and incidents, that carry on the story of life, and
lessen the effect of absence and separation. We drag, it is true, "a
lengthening chain," at each remove of our pilgrimage; but the chain is
unbroken: we can trace it back link by link; and we feel that the last
still grapples us to home. But a wide sea voyage severs us at once. It
makes us conscious of being cast loose from the secure anchorage of settled
life, and sent adrift upon a doubtful world. It interposes a gulf, not
merely imaginary, but real, between us and our homes--a gulf subject to
tempest, and fear, and uncertainty, rendering distance palpable, and return

Such, at least, was the case with myself. As I saw the last blue line of my
native land fade away like a cloud in the horizon, it seemed as if I had
closed one volume of the world and its concerns, and had time for
meditation, before I opened another. That land, too, now vanishing from my
view, which contained all most dear to me in life; what vicissitudes might
occur in it--what changes might take place in me, before I should visit it
again! Who can tell, when he sets forth to wander, whither he may be driven
by the uncertain currents of existence; or when he may return; or whether
it may ever be his lot to revisit the scenes of his childhood?

I said that at sea all is vacancy; I should correct the expression. To one
given to day-dreaming, and fond of losing himself in reveries, a sea voyage
is full of subjects for meditation: but then they are the wonders of the
deep, and of the air, and rather tend to abstract the mind from worldly
themes. I delighted to loll over the quarter-railing, or climb to the
maintop, of a calm day, and muse for hours together on the tranquil bosom
of a summer's sea; to gaze upon the piles of golden clouds just peering
above the horizon, fancy them some fairy realms, and people them with, a
creation of my own;--to watch the gentle undulating billows, rolling their
silver volumes, as if to die away on those happy shores.

There was a delicious sensation of mingled security and awe with which I
looked down from my giddy height, on the monsters of the deep at their
uncouth gambols. Shoals of porpoises tumbling about the bow of the ship,
the grampus slowly heaving his huge form above the surface; or the ravenous
shark, darting, like a spectre, through the blue waters. My imagination
would conjure up all that I had heard or read of the watery world beneath
me; of the finny herds that roam its fathomless valleys; of the shapeless
monsters that lurk among the very foundations of the earth; and of those
wild phantasms that swell the tales of fishermen and sailors.

Sometimes a distant sail, gliding along the edge of the ocean, would be
another theme of idle speculation. How interesting this fragment of a
world, hastening to rejoin the great mass of existence! What a glorious
monument of human invention; which has in a manner triumphed over wind and
wave; has brought the ends of the world into communion; has established an
interchange of blessings, pouring into the sterile regions of the north all
the luxuries of the south; has diffused the light of knowledge and the
charities of cultivated life; and has thus bound together those scattered
portions of the human race, between which nature seemed to have thrown an
insurmountable barrier.

We one day descried some shapeless object drifting at a distance. At sea,
everything that breaks the monotony of the surrounding expanse attracts
attention. It proved to be the mast of a ship that must have been
completely wrecked; for there were the remains of handkerchiefs, by which
some of the crew had fastened themselves to this spar, to prevent their
being washed off by the waves. There was no trace by which the name of the
ship could be ascertained. The wreck had evidently drifted about for many
months; clusters of shell-fish had fastened about it, and long sea-weeds
flaunted at its sides! But where, thought I, is the crew? Their struggle
has long been over--they have gone down amidst the roar of the
tempest--their bones lie whitening among the caverns of the deep. Silence,
oblivion, like the waves, have closed over them, and no one can tell the
story of their end. What sighs have been wafted after that ship! what
prayers offered up at the deserted fireside of home! How often has the
mistress, the wife, the mother, pored over the daily news, to catch some
casual intelligence of this rover of the deep! How has expectation darkened
into anxiety--anxiety into dread--and dread into despair! Alas! not one
memento may ever return for love to cherish. All that may ever be known,
is, that she sailed from her port, "and was never heard of more!"

The sight of this wreck, as usual, gave rise to many dismal anecdotes. This
was particularly the case in the evening, when the weather, which had
hitherto been fair, began to look wild and threatening, and gave
indications of one of those sudden storms which will sometimes break in
upon the serenity of a summer voyage. As we sat round the dull light of a
lamp in the cabin, that made the gloom more ghastly, every one had his tale
of shipwreck and disaster. I was particularly struck with a short one
related by the captain.

"As I was once sailing," said he, "in a fine stout ship across the banks of
Newfoundland, one of those heavy fogs which prevail in those parts rendered
it impossible for us to see far ahead even in the daytime; but at night the
weather was so thick that we could not distinguish any object at twice the
length of the ship. I kept lights at the mast-head, and a constant watch
forward to look out for fishing smacks, which are accustomed to lie at
anchor on the banks. The wind was blowing a smacking breeze, and we were
going at a great fate through the water. Suddenly the watch gave the alarm
of 'a sail ahead!'--it was scarcely uttered before we were upon her. She
was a small schooner, at anchor, with her broadside towards us. The crew
were all asleep, and had neglected to hoist a light. We struck her just
amidships. The force, the size, the weight of our vessel bore her down
below the waves; we passed over her and were hurried on our course. As the
crashing wreck was sinking beneath us, I had a glimpse of two or three
half-naked wretches rushing from her cabin; they just started from their
beds to be swallowed shrieking by the waves. I heard their drowning cry
mingling with the wind. The blast that bore it to our ears swept us out of
all farther hearing. I shall never forget that cry! It was some time before
we could put the ship about, she was under such headway. We returned, as
nearly as we could guess, to the place where the smack had anchored. We
cruised about for several hours in the dense fog. We fired signal guns, and
listened if we might hear the halloo of any survivors: but all was
silent--we never saw or heard anything of them more."

I confess these stories, for a time, put an end to all my fine fancies. The
storm increased with the night. The sea was lashed into tremendous
confusion. There was a fearful, sullen sound of rushing waves, and broken
surges. Deep called unto deep. At times the black column of clouds overhead
seemed rent asunder by flashes of lightning which quivered along the
foaming billows, and made the succeeding darkness doubly terrible. The
thunders bellowed over the wild waste of waters, and were echoed and
prolonged by the mountain waves. As I saw the ship staggering and plunging
among these roaring caverns, it seemed miraculous that she regained her
balance, or preserved her buoyancy. Her yards would dip into the water: her
bow was almost buried beneath the waves. Sometimes an impending surge
appeared ready to overwhelm her, and nothing but a dexterous movement of
the helm preserved her from the shock.

When I retired to my cabin, the awful scene still followed me. The
whistling of the wind through the rigging sounded like funereal wailings.
The creaking of the masts, the straining and groaning of bulk-heads, as the
ship labored in the weltering sea, were frightful. As I heard the waves
rushing along the sides of the ship, and roaring in my very ear, it seemed
as if Death were raging round this floating prison, seeking for his prey:
the mere starting of a nail, the yawning of a seam, might give him

A fine day, however, with a tranquil sea and favoring breeze, soon put all
these dismal reflections to flight. It is impossible to resist the
gladdening influence of fine weather and fair wind at sea. When the ship is
decked out in all her canvas, every sail swelled, and careering gayly over
the curling waves, how lofty, how gallant she appears--how she seems to
lord it over the deep!

I might fill a volume with the reveries of a sea voyage, for with me it is
almost a continual reverie--but it is time to get to shore.

It was a fine sunny morning when the thrilling cry of "land!" was given
from the mast-head. None but those who have experienced it can form an idea
of the delicious throng of sensations which rush into an American's bosom,
when he first comes in sight of Europe. There is a volume of associations
with the very name. It is the land of promise, teeming with every thing of
which his childhood has heard, or on which his studious years have

From that time until the moment of arrival, it was all feverish excitement.
The ships of war, that prowled like guardian giants along the coast; the
headlands of Ireland, stretching out into the channel; the Welsh mountains,
towering into the clouds; all were objects of intense interest. As we
sailed up the Mersey I reconnoitred the shores with a telescope. My eye
dwelt with delight on neat cottages, with their trim shrubberies and green
grass plots. I saw the mouldering ruin of an abbey overrun with ivy, and
the taper spire of a village church rising from the brow of a neighboring
hill--all were characteristic of England.

The tide and wind were so favorable that the ship was enabled to come at
once to the pier. It was thronged with people; some, idle lookers-on,
others, eager expectants of friends or relatives. I could distinguish the
merchant to whom the ship was consigned. I knew him by his calculating brow
and restless air. His hands were thrust into his pockets; he was whistling
thoughtfully, and walking to and fro, a small space having been accorded
him by the crowd, in deference to his temporary importance. There were
repeated cheerings and salutations interchanged between the shore and the
ship, as friends happened to recognize each other. I particularly noticed
one young woman of humble dress, but interesting demeanor. She was leaning
forward from among the crowd; her eye hurried over the ship as it neared
the shore, to catch some wished-for countenance. She seemed disappointed
and agitated; when I heard a faint voice call her name. It was from a poor
sailor who had been ill all the voyage, and had excited the sympathy of
every one on board. When the weather was fine, his messmates had spread a
mattress for him on deck in the shade, but of late his illness had so
increased that he had taken to his hammock, and only breathed a wish that
he might see his wife before he died. He had been helped on deck as we came
up the river, and was now leaning against the shrouds, with a countenance
so wasted, so pale, so ghastly, that it was no wonder even the eye of
affection did not recognize him. But at the sound of his voice, her eye
darted on his features; it read, at once, a whole volume of sorrow; she
clasped her hands, uttered a faint shriek, and stood wringing them in
silent agony.

All now was hurry and bustle. The meetings of acquaintances--the greetings
of friends--the consultations of men of business. I alone was solitary and
idle. I had no friend to meet, no cheering to receive. I stepped upon the
land of my forefathers--but felt that I was a stranger in the land.


Notes and Questions.

Why did the author realize so clearly the extent of the journey he had

How many days do you think Irving was on the ocean?

What change has taken place in the method of ocean travel since he made
this voyage?

Find words and lines which tell you the kind of vessel in which he crossed
the ocean.

Had Irving greater opportunity for observing "the monsters of the deep"
than is afforded people crossing the ocean at the present day? Why do you
think so?

What does Irving say is a "glorious monument of human invention"?

Name some inventions which seem to you more worthy of this designation.

Find the paragraph which describes the mast of a ship that was wrecked.

How does this description compare with his description of the "monsters of
the deep"?

Which description in this selection do you like best? Why?

What do you think of Irving's powers of description?

What does this sketch tell you of Irving's own character?

Words and Phrases for Discussion.

"undulating billows"
"idle speculation"
"delicious sensation"
"wild phantasms"
"monument of human invention"
"prowled like guardian giants"
"light of knowledge"
"insurmountable barrier"
"dismal anecdotes"

* * * * *


The ancestors of Hawthorne, unlike those of most of the New England
writers, were not of the clergy, but were seamen, soldiers, and
magistrates. Concerning one of these, a judge who dealt harshly with the
Salem witches, Hawthorne writes: "I take shame upon myself for their sakes
and yet strong traits of their nature have intertwined themselves with
mine." Hawthorne was born in Salem, Massachusetts, July 4, 1804, and when
only four years old lost his father, a sea captain.

The happiest years of his boyhood were spent at his uncle's home in the
forests of Maine. Here he loved to wander through the woods, afterwards
recording carefully his observations. His early education was rather
irregular; however, for a time he had for schoolmaster, Worcester, the
author of the dictionary. At Bowdoin college his studies were largely
literary. His life at college is chiefly remarkable for the friendships
formed there. Both Franklin Pierce, who later became president of the
United States, and Longfellow, the poet, were members of his class.

After graduation in 1825, while Longfellow was traveling in many lands and
yielding himself to the charm of mediŠval history and legend, Hawthorne
drifted into a strange mode of life, virtually disappearing from the world
for a dozen years and living in actual solitude. "I have made a captive of
myself," he wrote to Longfellow, "and put me into a dungeon; and now I
cannot find the key to let myself out." But the key was found. The
appreciation of Elizabeth and Sophia Peabody and the deep affection for the
latter acted as a spur to get him into active life. At thirty-eight he
married Sophia Peabody and took up courageously enough a life of poverty
and hard literary work at Concord in the Old Manse, which had formerly been
Emerson's home. There he came to know and value the friendship of Emerson,
who we may well believe was the inspiration of the allegory of the Great
Stone Face.

In curious contradiction with his natural love for solitude, Hawthorne
became interested in the experiment of communal life and spent the year
before his marriage at Brook Farm, where a number of literary men tried to
live simply and happily by combining intellectual and manual work.

During the years of his solitude he wrote incessantly and composed many of
those sketches of the fancy which won for him his peculiar place in
literature. Many of these sketches appeared in the collection "Twice Told
Tales." For children he has written the little stories and biographies of
"Grandfather's Chair" and the story of Greek and Roman Myths in his
"Wonder-Book" and "Tanglewood Tales." Sin and the effect of guilt upon
human conduct are the problems in his great romances.

Many of our literary men have held public positions, sometimes to help out
the meager financial returns of literary work, but more often because they
would bring honor to these positions. Hawthorne successively filled the
offices of weigher and gauger in the Boston Custom House, collector of
customs at Salem, and American consul at Liverpool, having been appointed
as consul by his old friend President Pierce. After four years' residence
in England he resigned his consulship and spent several years in travel on
the continent, spending two winters in Rome. Here he conceived his "Marble
Faun," which, though given an Italian setting, embodies the same problem of
conscience that we find in his earlier "Scarlet Letter."

In June, 1860, he returned to America. He was deeply agitated by the Civil
War, the more so because his sympathies were not entirely with his Northern
friends. In May, 1864, his old friend General Pierce suggested that they
make a journey to the scenes of their college days. On their way they
stopped at Plymouth, New Hampshire, and there, early on the morning of the
nineteenth, he passed quietly away.

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