Imágenes de páginas
PDF

the Jungle: old Baloo, who can come and go where he pleases because he eats only nuts and roots and honey — rose up on his hind

Hb quarters and grunted.

'The man's cub — the man's cub?' he said. 'I speak for the man's cub. There is no harm in a man's cub. I have no gift of words,

420 but I speak the truth. Let him run with the Pack, and be entered with the others. I myself will teach him.'

'We need yet another,' said Akela. 'Baloo has spoken, and he is our

426 teacher for the young cubs. Who speaks beside Baloo?'

A black shadow dropped down into the circle. It was Bagheera the Black Panther, inky black all over,

430 but with the panther markings showing up in certain lights like the pattern of watered silk. Every body knew Bagheera, and nobody cared to cross his path; for he was as cunning as

436 Tabaqui, as bold as the wild buffalo, and as reckless as the wounded elephant But he had a voice as soft as wild honey dripping from a tree, and a skin softer than down.

440 'O Akela, and ye the Free People,' he purred, 'I have no right in your assembly; but the Law of the Jungle says that if there is a doubt which is not a killing matter in regard to

446 a new cub, the life of that cub may be bought at a price. And the Law does not say who may or may not pay that price. Am I right?' 'Good! good!' said the young wolves,

460 who are always hungry. 'Listen to Bagheera. The cub can be bought for a price. It is the Law.'

'Knowing that I have no right to speak here, I ask your leave.'

466 'Speak then,' cried twenty voices. 'To kill a naked cub is shame. Besides, he may make better sport for you when he is grown. Baloo has spoken in his behalf. Now to

Herrig-Fortttr, Brltiih Authors.

Baloo's word I will add one bull, 46o and a fat one, newly killed, not half a mile from here, if ye will accept the man's cub according to the Law. Is it difficult?'

There was a clamour of scores of 466 voices, saying: 'What matter? He will die in the winter rains. He will scorch in the sun. What harm can a naked frog do us? Let him run with the Pack. Where is the bull, 470 Bagheera? Let him be accepted.' And then came Akela's deep bay, crying: 'Look well — look well, 0 Wolves!'

Mowgli was still deeply interested in the pebbles, and he did not notice 476 when the wolves came and looked at him one by one. At last they all went down the hill for the dead bull, and only Akela, Bagheera, Baloo, and Mowgli's own wolves were left 4so Shere Khan roared still in the night, for he was very angry that Mowgli had not been handed over to him.

'Ay, roar well,' said Bagheera, under his whiskers; 'for the time 485 comes when this naked thing will make thee roar to another tune, or I know nothing of man.'

'It was well done,' said Akela. 'Men and their cubs are very wise. 490 He may be a help in time.'

'Truly, a help in time of need; for none can hope to lead the Pack for ever,' said Bagheera.

Akela said nothing. He was think- 495 ing of the time that comes to every leader of every pack when his strength goes from him and he gets feebler and feebler, till at last he is killed by the wolves and a new leader &00 comes up — to be killed in his turn.

'Take him away,' he said to Father Wolf, 'and train him as befits one of the Free People.'

And that is how Mowgli was 505 entered into the Seeonee wolf-pack for the price of a bull and on Baloo's good word.

46

THE DEEP-SEA CABLES.

[From The Smen Seat (1896)]

The wrecks dissolve above us; their dust drops down from afar —
Down to the dark, to the utter dark, where the blind white sea-snakes are.
There is no sound, no echo of sound, in the deserts of the deep,
Or the great grey level plains of ooze where the shell-burred cables creep.

Here in the womb of the world — here on the tie-ribs of earth
Words, and the words of men, flicker and flutter and beat —

Warning, sorrow and gain, salutation and mirth —
For a Power troubles the Still that has neither voice nor feet

They have wakened the timeless Things; they have killed their father Time;

Joining hands in the gloom, a league from the last of the sun. Hush! Men talk to-day o'er the waste of the ultimate slime,

And a new Word runs between: whispering, 'Let us be one!'

RECESSIONAL.

[From 'The Times', July 17, 1897]

God of our fathers, known of old,
Lord of our far-flung battle-line,

Beneath whose awful Hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine —

Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,

Lest we forget — lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies;
The captains and the kings de-
part:

Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget — lest we forget!

Far-called, our navies melt away;

On dune and headland sinks the fire: Lo, all our pomp of yesterday

Is one with Nineveh and Tyre! it Judge of the Nations, spare us yet, Lest we forget — lest we forget!

H, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee
in awe, »

Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
Or lesser breeds without the Law —

Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,

Lest we forget — lest we forget! a

For heathen heart that puts her trust

In reeking tube and iron shard,
All valiant dust that builds on dust
28 And guarding, calls not Thee to guard,
For frantic boast and foolish word —
Thy Mercy on Thy People, Lord! Amen.

WHITE HORSES.

[From 'Literature', October 28, 1897]

Where run your colts at pasture?

Where hide your mares to breed? 'Mid bergs about the Ice-cap

Or wove Sargasso weed;

By chartless reef and channel,
Or crafty coastwise bars,

But most the ocean-meadows
All purple to the stars!

Who holds the rein upon you?

The latest gale let free. What meat is in your mangers? 12 The glut of all the sea. 'Twixt tide and tide's returning

Great store of newly dead, — The bones of those that faced us, 16 And the hearts of those that fled.

Afar, off-shore and single,

Some stallion, rearing swift,
Neighs hungry for new fodder,
20 And calls us to the drift
Then down the cloven ridges —

A million hooves unshod — Break forth the mad White Horses 24 To seek their meat from Godl

Girth-deep in hissing water

Our furious vanguard strains — Through mist of mighty tramplings 28 Roll up the fore-blown manes — A hundred leagues to leeward, Ere yet the deep is stirred, The groaning rollers carry 82 The coming of the herd!

Whose hand may grip your nostrils

Tour forelock who may hold? E'en they that use the broads with us— 86 The riders bred and bold, That spy upon our matdngs,

That rope us where we run — They know the strong White Horses 40 From father unto son.

We breathe about their cradles, We race their babes ashore, We snuff against their thresholds, « We nuzzle at their door;

By day with stamping squadrons,
By night in whinnying droves,

Creep up the wise White Horses,
To call them from their loves.

And come they for your calling?

No wit of man may save. They hear the loosed White Horses

Above their father's grave; And, kin of those we crippled,

And, sons of those we slew, Spur down the wild white riders

To school the herds anew.

What service have ye paid them,

Oh jealous steeds and strong? Save we that throw their weaklings,

Is none dare work them wrong; While thick around the homestead

Our snow-backed leaders graze — A guard behind their plunder,

And a veil before their ways.

With march and countermarchings —

With weight of wheeling hosts — Stray mob or bands embattled —

We ring the chosen coasts: And, careless of our clamour

That bids the stranger fly, At peace within our pickets

The wild white riders he.

Trust ye the curdled hollows —

Trust ye the neighing wind — Trust ye the moaning groundswell —

Our herds are close behind!
To bray your foeman's armies —

To chill and snap his sword — Trust ye the wild White Horses,

The Horses of the Lord!

AMERICAN AUTHORS.
WASHINGTON IRVING.

\A/ASHINGTON IRVING (1783—1859) TM • was the son of a Scotch merchant in New York. He read for the bar, but preferred a literary career, commencing with journalistic work. Prom 1816—32 he lived abroad in England, Germany, and Spain, partly in an official capacity as secretary to the U.S. Legation in London; and from 1842—46 he was American ambassador to Spain. The last years of his life he spent in happy seclusion at his cottage 'Sunnyside', near Tarrytown, N.Y., where he died in his seventy-seventh year.

Irving was the first American author to win the ear of the Old World. He holds a high place in literature both as an essayist and as a writer of biographical and historical works. His first success

was A History of New York, by Diedrich Knickerbocker (1809), which is a seriocomic account of the early Dutch settlers in New England. This was followed up by delightful pictures of English and American life in The Sketch-Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Oent. (1819—20), Bracebridge Hail, or the Humorists (1822), and Tales of a Traveller (1824). His historical work is chiefly concerned with Spain (A Chronicle of the Conquest of Granada 1829, The Alhambra 1832). Of his biographies may be mentioned the lives of Columbus (1828), Goldsmith (1849), and George Washington (6 vols. 1855—59). All his work is remarkable for a graceful and pleasant style, modelled on that of Addison and Goldsmith, which latter he also resembled in his genial humour.

RIP VAN WINKLE'S RETURN.

[From The Sketch-Book (1819)]

(Bip Van Winkle met with strange people in the Kaatskill Mountains, N.Y., and, having tasted of their gin-like liquor, fell asleep for twenty years.)

As Bip Van Winkle approached the village he met a number of people, but none whom he knew; which somewhat surprised him, for

6 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

10 with equal marks of surprise; and, whenever they cast eyes upon him, invariably stroked their chins. The constant recurrence of this gesture induced Rip, involuntarily, to do the

iB 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

20 children ran at his heels, hpfiting after him, and pointing at his grey

beard. The dogs, too, not one of which he recognized for an old acquaintance, barked at him as he passed. But the village itself was 25 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 ao names were over the doors — strange faces at the windows — every thing was strange! His mind now misgave him: he began to doubt whether both he and the world around him 35 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 *o was every Tiill and dale precisely as it had always been — Rip was

sorely perplexed. 'That flagon last night,1 thought he, 'has addled my

45 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

60 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

66 looked like Wolf, was Bkulking 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 dog7

60 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

es 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 all

70 again 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,

75 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

so the great tree that used to shelter the quiet little Dutch inn of ygxe, there now was reared a tall naked pole, with what looked like a red night-cap atop, and from it was flut

86 tering a flag, on which was a singular assemblage of stars and stripes

— all this was strange and incomprehensible. He recognized in the sign, however, the rubicund face of

go 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 95 sceptre, the head was decorated with a cocked hat, and underneath was painted in large characters,—'General Washington'.

There was, as usual, a crowd of 100 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 ac-105 customed 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 in- no stead 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 115 full of handbills, was haranguing vehemently about rights of citizens — elections — members of Congress — liberty — Bunker's Hill — heroes of 'Seventy-six — and other 120 words, that were a perfect Babylonish jargon to the bewildered Van Winkle.

The appearance of Rip, with his long grizzled beard, his rusty fowling-126 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, eyeing him from head 130 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 136 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 i«o

« AnteriorContinuar »