« AnteriorContinuar »
one draught. Long and fiercely, three times over, Thor drank, but made hardly any impression. He was a weak child, they told him ; could he lift that cat he saw there? Small as the feat seemed, Thor, with his whole godlike strength, could not: he bent up the creature's back, could not raise its feet off the ground—could at the utmost raise one foot. "Why, you are
1 no man," said the Utgard people ; "there is an old woman that will wrestle
Thor, heartily ashamed, seized this haggard old woman, but could not throw her.
And now, on their quitting Utgard—the chief Jotun, escorting them politely a little way, said to Thor—"You are beaten, then; yet, be not so much ashamed: there was deception of appearance in it. That horn you
THE OIANT SKRYMIR.
tried to drink was the sea; you did make it ebb: but who could drink that, the bottomless? The eat you would have lifted—why, that is the Midgard Snake, the Great World Serpent—which, tail in mouth, girds and keeps up the whole created world. Had you torn that up, the world must have rushed to ruin. As for the old woman, she was Time, Old Age, Duration : with her what can wrestle? No man, nor no god, with her. Gods or men, she prevails over all! And then, those three strokes you struck—look at these valleys--your three strokes made these." Thor looked at his attendant Jotun—it was Skrymir. It was, say
old critics, the old chaotic rocky earth in person, and that glove house was some earth cavern! But Skrymir had vanished. Utgard, with its skyhigh gates, when Thor raised his hammer to smite them, had gone to air
- only the giant's voice was heard mocking; "Better come no more to Jotunheim!
VALUE OF THE BIBLE.
What an invaluable blessing it is to have the Bible in our own tongue. It is not only the oldest, but the best book in the world. Our forefathers rejoiced when they were first favoured with the opportunity of reading it for themselves. Infidels may reject, and the licentious may sneer ; but no one who ever wished to take away this foundation-stone, could produce any other equal to it, on which the structure of a pious mind, a solid hope, a comfortable state, or wise conduct, could be raised. We are told, that when Archbishop Cranmer's edition of the Bible was printed in 1538, and fixed to a desk in all parochial churches, the ardour with which men flocked to read it was incredible. They who could, procured it; and they who could not, crowded to read it, or to hear it read in churches. It was common to see little assemblies of mechanics meeting together for that purpose after the labour of the day. Many even learned to read in their old age, that they might have the pleasure of instructing themselves from the Scriptures. It is recorded of Edward VI., that upon a certain occasion, a paper
which was called for in the council-chamber happened to be out of reach ; the person concerned to produce it took a Bible that lay near, and, standing upon it, reached down the
paper. The King, observing what was done, ran to the place, and taking the Bible in his hands kissed it, and laid it
up again. This circumstance, though trifling in itself, showed his Majesty's
. great reverence for that best of all books ; and his example is a striking reproof to those who suffer their Bibles to lie covered with dust for months together, or who throw them about as if they were only a piece of useless lumber.
For the clear waters to pursue their race
His budding courage to the proof; and here
HUMANITY. During the retreat of the famous King Alfred at Athelney, in Somersetshire, after the defeat of his forces by the Danes, the following circumstance happened, which shows the extremities to which that great man was reduced, and gives a striking proof of his pious and benevolent disposition :
A beggar came to his little castle, and requested alms. His Queen informed him that they had only one small loaf remaining, which was insufficient for themselves and their friends, who were gone abroad in quest of food, though with little hopes of success. But the King replied, "Give the poor Christian the one half of the loaf. He that could feed five thousand with five loaves and two fishes, can certainly make that half of the loaf suffice for more than our necessities." Accordingly the poor man
was relieved ; and this noble act of charity was recompensed by a providential store of fresh provisions, with which his people returned.
Sir Philip Sydney, at the battle near Zutphen, displayed the most undaunted courage. He had two horses killed under him; and, whilst mounting a third, was wounded by a musket-shot out of the trenches, which broke the bone of his thigh. He returned about a mile and a half on horseback to the camp ; and being faint with the loss of blood, and parched with thirst from the heat of the weather, he called for drink. It was presently brought him; but, as he was putting the vessel to his mouth, a poor wounded soldier, who happened to be carried along at that instant, looked up to it with wistful eyes. The gallant and generous Sydney took the flagon from his lips, just when he was going to drink, and delivered it to the soldier, saying, "Thy necessity is greater than mine."
Frederick, King of Prussia, one day rang his bell, and nobody answered ; on which
he opened the door and found his page fast asleep in an elbowchair. He advanced toward him, and was going to awaken him, when he perceived a letter hanging out of his pocket. His curiosity prompting him to know what it was, he took it out and read it. It was a letter from the
young man's mother, in which she thanked him for having sent her part of his wages to relieve her in her misery, and finished with telling him that God would reward him for his dutiful affection. The King, after having read it, went back softly into his chamber, took a bag full of ducats, and slipped it with the letter into the page's pocket. Returning to his chamber, he rang the bell so violently that he awakened the page, who instantly made his appearance. “ You have had a sound sleep," said the King. The page was at a loss how to excuse himself, and, putting his hand into his pocket by chance, to his utter astonishment he there found a purse of ducats. He took it out, turned pale, and looking at the bag, burst into tears without being able to utter a single word. "What is that?" said the King ; " what is the matter ?" "Ah, sire!" said the young man, throwing himself on his knees, "somebody seeks my ruin! I know nothing of this money which I have just found in my pocket!"
"My young friend," replied Frederick, "God often does great things for us even in our sleep. Send that to your mother, salute her on my part, and assure her that I will take care of both her and you."
Beauties of History.
THE SPANIELS OF THE MONKS OF ST. BERNARD.
The convent of the Great St. Bernard is situated near the top of the mountain known by that name, near one of the most dangerous passes of the Alps, between Switzerland and Savoy. In these regions the traveller is often overtaken by the most severe weather, even after days of cloudless beauty, when the glaciers glitter in the sunshine, and the pink flowers of the rhododendron appear aa if they were never to be sullied by the tempest.
But a storm suddenly comes on; the roads are rendered impassable by drifts of snow; the avalanches, which are huge loosened masses of snow or ice, are swept into the valleys, carrying trees and crags of rock before them.
The hospitable monks, though their revenue is scanty, open their doors to every stranger that presents himself. To be cold, to be weary, to be benighted, constitutes the title to their comfortable shelter, their cheering meal, and their agreeable converse. But their attention to the dis