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7. We will merely touch, in passing, upon the horsechestnut, with its great glistening spring-buds bursting into cones of pearly, red-spotted blossoms that almost cover its noble dome of foliage ; upon the hemlock, with its masses of evergreen needles, and the cedar, with its misty blue berries; upon those tree-like shrubs—the hopple, with its gigantic leaves serving as sylvan goblets at picnics; the sumac, with its clusters of splendid crimson ; the sassafras, diffusing from its thick leaf a most delicious breath; the laurel, arching above the brooks a roof radiant with immense bouquets of rose-touched snow, and even garlanding the apex of the water-beech with its superb chalices, while its younger sister, the ivy, crouches at the foot of the tamarack and spruce, rich in red-streaked urns of blossoms; and the witch-hazel, smiling at winter, with its curled, sharp-cut flowers of golden velvet.
8. We come now to the pine,-of all, my greatest favorite. Ho! ho! the burly pine! Hurrah! Hurrah for the pine! The oak may be king of the lowlands, but the pine is the king of the hills—aye, and mountains too.
9. Ho! ho ! the burly pine! how he strikes his clubbed foot deep into the cleft of the rock, or grasps its span with conscious power! There he lifts his haughty front like the warrior monarch that he is. No flinching about the pine, let the time be ever so stormy. His throne is the crag, and his crown is a good way up in the heavens; and as for the clouds, he tears them asunder sometimes, and uses them for robes. Then hurrah again for the pine ! say I.
10. Reader, did you ever hear him shout? Did you ever hear thunder ?—for there is a pine-mountain on the upper Delaware that out-roars, in a winter-storm, all the thunder you ever heard ! Stern, deep, awfully deep, that roar makes the heart quiver. It is an airquake of tremendous power. And his single voice is by no means silvery when he is “ in a breeze.” When the stern warrior-king has aroused his energies to meet the onslaught of the storm, the battle-cry he sends down the wind is heard above all the voices of the greenwood. His robe streams out like a banner, and so wild does he look, you would think he was about to dash himself from his throne of rock upon the valley beneath. But
no ; his great foot grasps more closely the crag; and when, after a while, the tempest leaves him, how quietly he settles to his repose !
11. He adorns his crown with a rich wreath caught from the sunset, and an hour after, he wears the orbed moon as a splendid jewel upon his haughty brow. The scented breeze of the soft evening breathes upon him, and the grim warriorking wakes his murmuring lute, and oh! such sounds—so sweet, so soothing! Years that have passed live again in the music ; tones long since hushed echo once more in the heart; faces that have turned to dust—but how loved in the old time !-glimmer among the dusky boughs ; eyes that years ago closed on earth to open in heaven smile kindly upon us. We lie down in the dark shadow upon the mossy roots and are happy-happy in a sad, sweet, tender tranquillity that purifies the soul, and while it makes us content with earth, fills us with love for heaven.
WOODMAN, SPARE THAT TREE.
GEO. P. MORRIS.
Touch not a single bough:
And I'll protect it now.
That placed it near his cot;
Thy ax shall harm it not :
2. That old familiar tree,
Whose glory and renown
And wouldst thou hack it down?
Cut not its earth-bound ties;
Now towering to the skies.
3. When but an idle boy,
I sought its grateful shade;
Here, too, my sisters played.
My father pressed my hand :
But let that old oak stand !
4. My heart-strings round thee cling,
Close as thy bark, old friend !
And still thy branches bend.
And, woodman, leave the spot;
Thy ax shall harm it not.
QUESTIONS.—Enumerate the reasons given against cutting down the tree. What feeling is expressed in the first stanza? In what way do you think the old tree's "glory and renown” were “spread o'er land and sea”? What emotions are expressed in the third stanza? What is meant by “gushing joy"? Explain the first two lines of the fourth stanza. Are the thoughts in this selection highly poetical? Are there any faults in the meter? Are the words in it mostly long or short ? What tones are necessary in reading it ? What pitch of voice? What degree of force ? of speed ?
A VISIT FROM OLD NEPTUNE.
J. S. SLEEPER.
1. As we drew near the equinoctial line, I occasionally heard some talk among the officers on the subject of a visit from Old Neptune; and as there were three of the crew who had never crossed the line, it was thought probable that the venerable sea-god would visit the brig, and shake hands with the strangers, welcoming them to his dominions.
2. A few days afterwards, when the latitude was determined by a meridian altitude of the sun, Captain Page ordered Collins to go aloft and take a good look around the horizon, as it was not unlikely something was in sight. Collins grinned, and went aloft. He soon hailed the deck from the fore-topsail yard, and said he saw a boat broad off on the weather bow, with her sails spread "wing and wing," and steering directly for the brig.
3. “That's Old Neptune himself !” shouted Captain Page, clapping his hands. “He will soon be alongside, Mr. Abbot,” continued he, speaking to the chief mate, “let the men get their dinners at once. We must be prepared to receive the old gentleman !”.
4. After dinner, Mr. Fairfield ordered those of the crew, including myself, who had never crossed the line, into the forecastle, to remove one of the water casks. We had no sooner descended the ladder than the fore-scuttle was closed and fastened, and we were caught like rats in a trap. Preparations of a noisy character were now made on deck for the reception of Old Neptune.
5. An hour—a long and tedious one it appeared to those confined below-elapsed before the old gentleman got within hail. At length we heard a great trampling on the forecastle; and, anon, a gruff voice, which seemed to come from the end of the flying jib-boom, yelled out, “ Brig, ahoy!”
“Hallo!” replied the captain.
“Heave me a rope ! I'll come alongside and shave them directly!”
6. A cordial greeting was soon interchanged between Captain Page and Old Neptune on deck, to which we prisoners listened with much interest. The slide of the scuttle was removed, and orders given for one of the “strangers” to come on deck and be shaved. Anxious to develop the mystery and be qualified to bear a part in the frolic, I pressed forward ; but as soon as my hand appeared above the rim of the scuttle I was seized, blindfolded, and led to the main deck, where I was urged, by a press of politeness I could not withstand, to be seated on a plank.
7. The process of shaving commenced, which, owing to the peculiar roughness of the razor and the repulsive qualities of the lather, was more painful and disagreeable than pleasant, but to which I submitted without a murmur. When the scarifying process was finished, I was told to hold up my head, raise my voice to its highest pitch, and say “Yarns!” I obeyed the mandate, as in duty bound ; and to give full and distinct utterance to the word, opened my mouth as if about to swallow a whale, when some remorseless knave, amid shouts of laughter from the surrounding group, popped into my open mouth the huge tar-brush, well charged with the unsavory ingredients for shaving.
8. I now thought my trials were over. Not so. I was interrogated through a speaking trumpet on several micellaneous subjects ; but, suspecting some trick, my answers were brief and given through closed teeth. At length, Captain Page exclaimed, “Old Neptune, this will never do. Give him a speaking trumpet also, and let him answer according to rule, and in shipshape fashion, so that we can all hear and understand him.”
9. I put the trumpet to my mouth, and to the next question attempted to reply in stunning tones, “None of your business !”—for I was getting impatient, and felt somewhat angry. The sentence was but half uttered when a whole bucket of salt water was hurled into the broad end of the speaking trumpet, which conducted it into my mouth and down my throat, nearly producing strangulation; at the same time, the seat was pulled from beneath me, and I was plunged over head and ears in the briny element.
10. As soon as I recovered my breath, the bandage was removed from my eyes, and I found myself floating in the long-boat, which had been nearly filled with water for the occasion, and surrounded by as jovial a set of fellows as ever played off a practical joke. Old Neptune proved to be Jim Sinclair, of Marblehead, but so disguised that his own mother could not have known him. His ill-favored and weather-beaten visage was covered with streaks of paint, like the face of a wild Indian on the war-path. He had a thick beard made of oakum ; and a wig of rope-yarns, the curls hanging gracefully on his shoulders, was surmounted with a