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Egyptian, Arab, Nubian, there,-
A dazzling ring round Pharaoh's throne.
There came a man: the human tide
A shudder of instinctive fear
Told the dark king what step was near;
He stooped not at the footstool stōne,
His only words, "Be just, O king!"
On Pharaoh's cheek the blood flushed high,
A fire was in his sullen eye;
Yet on the chief of Israël
No arrow of his thousands fell;
All mute and moveless as the grave
"Thou 'rt come," at length the monarch spoke;
The forehead peeled, the shoulder bare?
What better asks the howling slave
Shouted in pride the turbaned peers,
Sailed vapory mountains, wild and dun.
He raised his staff, the storm was stayed:
'King! be the word of freedom given :
What art thou, man, to war with Heaven?"
There came no word. - The thunder broke! -
Thick, lurid, stifling, mixed with flame,
Lay, corpse-like, on the smouldering ground. "Speak, king! the wrath is but begun!Still dumb? — then, Heaven, thy will be done! ”
Echoed from earth a hollow roar
Till man and cattle, crushed, congealed,
uprose the blast,
Still swelled the plague,
Broad burned again the joyous sun:
* The account of the seventh plague of Egypt, which the poet has paraphrased in these lines, may be found in the ninth chapter of Exodus, between the thirteenth and thirty-third verses.
VIII. — A WET DAY IN AN INN.
Pronounce BUTT'N, DOZ'N, ENLIV'N, EV'N, HARD'N, § 10; COW, DOWN, § 27; KIND, § 21; ROOM, § 9;-WREATHS, § 19.
See in Index, COMELY, HOSTLER, LOWERING, MANUFACTURER, MINE, OBLIGE, PURLIEU, QUARRELING or QUARRELLING, TORTOISE, TRAVELER or TRAVELLER, UPPER BENJAMIN, YCLEPED, IRVING.
Delivery. The style of this extract is a lively narrative, approaching the colloquial in parts. It requires the middle pitch, a pure quality of voice, time between moderate and rapid, and generally a delivery level and unemotional, though suggestive of an appreciation of the truthful and playful points in the picture. The scene lies in England.
1. Ir was a rainy Sunday in the gloomy month of November. I had been detained, in the course of a journey, by a slight indisposition, from which I was recovering, but was still feverish, and obliged to keep within doors all day, in an inn of the small town of Derby. A wet Sunday in a country inn! Whoever has had the luck to experience one can alone judge of my situation. The rain pattered against the casements; the bells tolled for church with a melancholy sound.
2. I went to the windows in quest of something to amuse the eye; but it seemed as if I had been placed completely out of the reach of all amusement. The windows of my bedroom looked out among tiled roofs and stacks of chimneys, while those of my sitting-room commanded a full view of the stable-yard. I know of nothing more calculated to make a man sick of this world than a stable-yard on a rainy day.
3. The place was littered with wet straw that had been kicked about by travelers and stable-boys. In one corner was a stagnant pool of water, surrounding an island of muck; there were several half-drowned fowls crowded together under a cart, among which was a miserable, crest-fallen rooster, drenched out of all life and spirit, his drooping feathers matted, as it were, into
a single plume, along which the water trickled from his back.
4. Near the cart was a half-dozing cow, chewing the cud, and standing patiently to be rained on, with wreaths of vapor rising from her reeking hide. A walleyed horse, tired of the loneliness of his stable, was poking his spectral head out of a window, with the rain dripping on it from the eaves. An unhappy cur, chained to a dog-house hard by, uttered something, every now and then, between a bark and a yelp.
5. An uncomely servant-girl tramped backward and forward through the yard in pattens, looking as sulky as the weather itself. Everything, in short, was comfortless and forlorn, excepting a crew of hardened ducks, assembled like boon companions round a puddle and making a riotous noise over their liquor.
6. I was lonely and listless, and wanted amusement. My room soon became insupportable. I abandoned it, and sought what is technically called the travelers'This is a public room set apart at most inns for the accommodation of a class of wayfarers called travelers, or riders; a kind of commercial knights-ĕrrant, who are incessantly scouring the kingdom in gigs, on horseback, or by coach. They are the only successors that I know of at the present day to the knights-errant of yore.
7. They lead the same kind of roving, adventurous life, only changing the lance for a driving-whip, the buckler for a pattern-card, and the coat of mail for an upper Benjamin. Instead of vindicating the charms of peerless beauty, they rove about, spreading the fame and standing of some substantial tradesman, or manufactu rer, and are ready at any time to bargain in his name; it being the fashion now-a-days to trade, instead of fight, with one another.
8. I was in hopes of finding some of these worthies to talk with, but was disappointed. One was just fin