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The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave the lustre of midday to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny rein-deer,
With a little old driver so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer! now, Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Dunder and Blixen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
As dry leaves before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys-and St. Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof,
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof;
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys was flung on his back,
And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack;
His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry,
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry;
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath,
He had a broad face, and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him in spite of myself.
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all his stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle;
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night."
THE COW AND THE ASS.-Anonymous.
Hard by a green meadow a stream used to flow,
So clear one might see the white pebbles below;
To this cooling stream the warm cattle would stray,
To stand in the shade on a hot summer's day.
A cow, quite oppressed with the heat of the sun,
Came here to refresh as she often had done;
And standing stock still, leaning over the stream,
Was musing, perhaps, or perhaps she might dream.
But soon a brown ass of respectable look,
Came trotting up also to taste of the brook,
And to nibble a few of the daises and grass:
"How d'ye do?" said the cow, "how d'ye do?" said the ass.
"Take a seat," cried the cow, gently waving her hand, "By no means, dear madam," said he, "while you stand;" Then stooping to drink, with a complaisant bow,
"Ma'am, your health," said the ass,-"thank you, sir,” said the cow.
When a few of these compliments more had been past,
They laid themselves down on the herbage at last,
And waiting politely as gentlemen must,
The ass held his tongue, that the cow might speak first.
Then with a deep sigh, she directly began,
"Don't you think, Mr. Ass, we are injured by man?
'Tis a subject that lays with a weight on my mind:
We certainly are much oppressed by mankind.
Now what is the reason? I see none at all,
That I always must go when Suke chooses to call:
Whatever I'm doing, 'tis certainly hard,
At once I must go to be milked in the yard.
I've no will of my own, but must do as they please,
And give them my milk to make butter and cheese;
I've often a vast mind to knock down the pail,
Or give Suke a box of the ears with my tail."
"But ma'am," said the ass, "not presuming to teachO dear, I beg pardon,-pray finish your speech; I thought you had done, ma'am indeed," said the swain, "Go on, and I'll not interrupt you again."
"Why, sir, I was only going to observe,
I'm resolved, that these tyrants no longer I'll serve;
But leave them for ever to do as they please,
And look somewhere else for their butter and cheese."
Ass waited a moment, to see if she'd done,
And then," not presuming to teach"-he begun--
"With submission, dear madam, to your better wit,
I own I am not quite convinced by it yet.
That you're of great service to them is quite true,
But surely they are of some service to you;
"Tis their nice green meadows in which you regale,
They feed you in winter when grass and weeds fail.
"Tis under their shelter you snugly repose,
When without it, dear ma'am, you perhaps might be froze;
For my own part, I know, I receive much from man,
And for him in return, I do all that I can."
The cow upon this cast her eyes on the grass,
Not pleased at thus being reproved by an ass;
Yet, thought she, I'm determined I'll benefit by't,
For I really believe that the fellow is right.
30. THE FRENCHMAN AND THE RATS.—Anonymous.
A Frenchman once, who was a merry wight,
Passing to town from Dover in the night,
Near the roadside an ale-house chanced to spy:
And being rather tired as well as dry,
Resolved to enter; but first he took a peep,
In hopes a supper he might get, and cheap.
He enters: "hallo! Garçon if you please,
Bring me a little bit of bread and cheese.
And hallo! Garçon, a pot of portar too!" he said,
"Vich I shall take, and den myself to bed."
His supper done, some scraps of cheese were left, Which our poor Frenchman, thinking it no theft,
Into his pocket put; then slowly crept
To wished-for bed; but not a wink he slept-
For, on the floor, some sacks of flour were laid,
To which the rats a nightly visit paid.
Our hero now undressed, popped out the light,
Put on his cap and bade the world good-night;
But first his breeches, which contained the fare,
Under his pillow he had placed with care.
Sans cérémonie, soon the rats all ran,
And on the flour-sacks greedily began;
At which they gorged themselves; then smelling round, Under the pillow soon the cheese they found;
And while at this they regaling sat,
Their happy jaws disturbed the Frenchman's nap;
Who, half awake, cries out, "Hallo! hallo!
Vat is dat nibbel at my pillow so?
Ah! 'tis one big huge rat!
Vat de diable is it he nibbel, nibbel at?"
In vain our little hero sought repose;
Sometimes the vermin galloped o'er his nose;
And such the pranks they kept up all the night
That he, on end antipodes upright,
Bawling aloud, called stoutly for a light.
"Hallo! Maison! Garçon, I say!
Bring me the bill for vat I have to pay !"
The bill was brought, and to his great surprise,
Ten shillings was the charge, he scarce believes his eyes;
With eager haste, he runs it o'er,
And every time he viewed it thought it more.
"Vy zounds, and zounds!" he cries, "I sall no pay;
Vat charge ten shelangs for vat I have mangé?
A leetal sup of portar, dis vile bed,
Vare all de rats do run about my head?"
Plague on those rats!" the landlord muttered out; "I wish upon my word, that I could make 'em scout:
I'll pay him well that can."
"Vat's dat you say?"
"I'll pay him well that can." "Attend to me, I
Vil you dis charge forego, vat I am at,
If from your house I drive away de rat?"
"With all my heart," the jolly host replies,
"E'coutez donc, ami ;" the Frenchman cries.
"First, den-Regardez, if you please,
Bring to dis spot a leetal bread and cheese,
Eh bien! a pot of portar too;
And den invite de rats to sup vid you;
And after-no matter dey be villing
For vat dey eat, you charge dem just ten shelang:
And I am sure, ven dey behold de score,
Dey'll quit your house, and never come no more."
Dear friends, we thank you for your condescension,
In deigning thus to lend us your attention;
And hope the various pieces we recite,
(Boys though we are,) will yield you some delight.
From wisdom and from knowledge, pleasure springs,
Surpassing far the glaring pomp of kings;
All outward splendor quickly dies away,
But wisdom's honors never can decay.
Blest is the man, who treads her paths in youth,
They lead to virtue, happiness, and truth;--
Sages and patriots in these ways have trod,
Saints have walked in them till they reached their God.
The powers of eloquence can charm the soul,
Inspire the virtuous, and the bad control;
Can rouse the passions, or their rage can still,
And mold a stubborn mob to one man's will.
Such powers the great Demosthenes attained,
Who haughty Philip's conquering course restrained;
Indignant thundering at his country's shame,
Till every breast in Athens caught the flame.
Such powers were Cicero's :—with patriot might,
He dragged the lurking treason forth to light,
Which long had festered in the heart of Rome,
And saved his country from her threatened doom.
Nor to the senate or the bar confined,
The pulpit shows its influence o'er the mind;
Such glorious deeds can eloquence achieve;
Such fame, such deathless laurels, it can give.