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3. More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, (94) And he whistled, and shouted, and call’d them by name:- : (part) “Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer! now, Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Dunder and Blitzen! (pap) To the top of the porch, to the top of the wall!
Now, dash away, dash away, dash away, all!" 4. As dry leaves before the wild hurricane fly',
When they meet with an obstacle mount to the sky,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound. 5 He was dress'd all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnish'd with ashes and soot;
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath. 6. He was chubby and plump', a right jolly old elf',
And I laugh'd when I saw him', in spite of myself'.
SCENE WITH A PANTHER.
BY CHARLES B. BROWN.
CHARLES BROCKDEN Brown was born in Philadelphia in 1771. At the age of sixteen, he entered upon the study of the law; but the profession did not please him, and he soon abandoned it for the employment of an author. He was the first person in America who ventured to pursue literature as a profession. He became highly distinguished as a novelist. He also edited a periodical for six years, wrote a number of political essays, and planned a system of general geography, which was nearly completed at the time of his death. He died in 1810.
1. I PASSED through the cave. At that moment torrents of rain poured from above, and stronger blasts thundered amidst these desolate recesses and profound chasms. Instead of lamenting the prevalence of the tempest, I now began to regard it with pleasure. It conferred new forms of sublimity and grandeur on the scene. As I crept with hands and feet along my imperfect bridge, a sudden gust had nearly whirled me into the frightful · abyss. To preserve myself, I was obliged to loose my hold of my burden, and it fell into the gulf. This incident disconcerted and distressed me. As soon as I had effected my dangerous passage, I screened myself behind a cliff and gave myself up to reflection.
2. While thus occupied, my eyes were fixed upon the opposite stecps. The tops of the trees waving to and fro in the wildest commotion, and their trunks occasionally bending to the blast, which in these lofty regions blew with a violence unknown in tracts below, exhibited an awful spectacle. At length, my attention was attracted by the trunk which lay across the gulf and which I had converted into a bridge. I perceived that it had already somewhat swerved from its original position, that every blast broke or loosened some of the fibers by which its roots were connected with the opposite bank, and that, if the storm did not immediately abate, there was imminent danger of its being torn from the rock and precipitated into the chasm.
3. Thus my retreat would be cut off, and the evils from which I was endeavoring to rescue another would be experienced by myself. I believed my destiny to hang upon the expedition with which I should recross this gulf. The moments that were spent in these deliberations were critical; and I shuddered to observe that the trunk was held in its place by one or two roots, which were already stretched almost to breaking. To pass along the trunk, rendered slippery by the wet and unsteadfast by the winds, was eminently dangerous. To maintain my hold in passing, in defiance of the whirlwind, required the most vigorous exertions. For this end it was necessary to discommode myself of my cloak and book.
4. Just as I had disposed of these encumbrances, and had risen from my seat, my attention was again called to the opposite steep, by the most unwelcome object that at this time could possibly present itself. Something was moving among the bushes and rocks, which for a time I hoped was no more than a raccoon. or an opossum, but which presently appeared to be a panther. His gray coat, extended claws, fiery eyes, and a cry which he at that moment uttered, and which, by its resemblance to the human voice, is peculiarly terrific, denoted him to be the most ferocious and untamable of that detested race.
5. The industry of our hunters has nearly banished animals of prey from these precincts. The fastnesses of Norwalk, however, could not but afford a refuge to some of them. 'Of late I had met them so rarely that my fears were seldom alive; and I trod without caution the ruggedest and most solitary haunts. Still, however, I had seldom been unfurnished in my rambles with the means of defense. The unfrequency with which I had lately encountered this foe, and the encumbrance of provision, made me neglect, on this occasion, to bring with me my usual arms. The animal that was now before me, when stimulated by hunger, was accustomed to assail whatever could provide him with a banquet of blood.
6. He would set upon the man and the deer with equal and irresistible ferocity. His sagacity was equal to his strength, and he seemed able to discover when his antagonist was armed. My past experience enabled me to estimate the full extent of my danger. He sat on the brow of the steep, eyeing the bridge, and apparently deliberating whether he should cross it. It was probable that he had scented my footsteps thus far, and, should he pass over, his vigilance could scarcely fail of detecting my asylum. Should he retain his present station, my danger was scarcely lessened. To pass over in the face of a famished panther was only to rush upon my fate.
7. The falling of the trunk, which had lately been so anxiously deprecated, was now, with no less solicitude, desired. Every new gust I hoped would tear asunder its remaining bands, and, by cutting off all communication between the opposite steeps, place me in security. My hopes, however, were destined to be frustrated. The roots of the prostrate tree were obstinately tenacious of their
hold; and presently the animal scrambled down the rock and proceeded to cross it. Of all kinds of death, that which now menaced me was the most abhorred. To die by disease, or by the hand of a fellow-creature, was lenient in comparison with being rent to pieces by the fangs of this savage beast.
8. To perish in this obscure retreat, by means so impervious to the,anxious curiosity of my friends, to lose my portion of existence by so untoward and ignoble a destiny, was insupportable. I bitterly deplored my rashness in coming hither unprovided for an encounter like this. The evil of my present circumstances consisted chiefly in suspense. My death was unavoidable, but my imagination had leisure to torment itself by anticipations. One foot of the animal was slowly and cautiously moved after the other. He struck his claws so deeply into the bark that they were with difficulty withdrawn. At length he leaped upon the ground. We were now separated by an interval of scarcely eight
9. To leave the spot where I crouched was impossible. Behind and beside me the cliff rose perpendicularly, and before me was this grim and terrific visage. I shrunk still closer to the ground and closed my eyes. From this pause of horror I was aroused by the noise occasioned by a second spring of the animal. He leaped into the pit in which I had so deeply regretted that I had not taken refuge, and disappeared. My rescue was so sudden, and so much beyond my belief or my hope, that I doubted for a moment whether my senses did not deceive me. This opportunity of escape was not to be neglected. I left my place and scrambled over the trunk with a precipitation which was near proving fatal. The tree groaned and shook under me, the wind blew with unexampled violence, and I had scarcely reached the opposite side when the roots were severed from the rock and the whole fell thundering to the bottom of the chasm.
10. My trepidations were not speedily quieted. I looked back with wonder on my hairbreadth escape, and on that singular concurrence of events which had placed me in so short a period in absolute security. Had the trunk fallen a moment earlier, I should have been imprisoned on the hill or thrown headlong. Had its fall been delayed another moment, I should have been pursued; for the panther now issued from his den, and testified his surprise and disappointment by tokens, the sight of which made my blood run cold. He saw me and hastened to the verge of the chasm. He crouched on his hind-legs, and assumed the attitude of one preparing to leap. My consternation was excited afresh by these appearances.
11. It seemed at first as if the rift was too wide for any power of muscles to carry him in safety over; but I knew the un- paralleled agility of this animal, and that his experience bad made him a better judge of the practicability of this exploit than I was. Still, there was hope that he would relinquish this desigu as desperate. This hope was quickly at an end. He sprung, and his fore-legs touched the verge of the rock on which I stood. In spite of vehement exertions, however, the surface was too smooth and too hard to allow him to make good his hoid. He fell; and a piercing cry, uttered below, showed that nothing had obstructed his descent to the bottom.
KING HENRY TO HIS TROOPS.
1 (p^f^) ONCE more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
2 Then, lend the eye a terrible aspect';
Let it pry through the portage of the head',
(p*f5) Now set the teeth', and stretch the nostril wide';