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Nobody could guess what they had got;
They would not tell what they were about;
But in spite of all their loud halloos,
They could not quite drown the squeaks and mews
Which told of tortures of stifling cats,
And rejoiced the hearts of listening rats.
A vial of ether each boy kept
Hid in his hand, as he slyly crept
Under the school-room windows, and hung
His bag to a long, stout rope which swung
From the second story. One good dose
Of ether, under each cat's nose
Was enough to keep her still;
And the girls above pulled with a will.
Cat after cat, hand over hand-
Oh! never was mischief better planned.
Twenty-five cats--a cat to a girl-
Went through the air in a dizzy whirl;
And then the boys sat down in the dark,
Lying in wait to chuckle and hark.
In the great west room the old trustees
And the Grimkins sat, eating at ease
Turkeys and chickens, oysters and hams,
Pies and sweet-cakes, jellies and jams.
Each girl, like a ghost, in long night-gown,
Ran with her cat, and setting it down
Close to the dining-room doorway, fled,
And in one jiffy was snug in bed.
The cats, between ether and the fright,
Felt most uncommonly like a fight,
And in less than the time I take to tell
This story, they all began, pell-mell,
To scratch and to bite, to fly and spit,
With frightful yells. The girls were fit
To burst with laughing; and when the noiso
Began to be heard outside, the boys
Began to scream, and whistle, and“yaow,”
As only bad boys and cats know how.
A rash trusteeman opened the door,
And the din grew fiercer than before,
For the cats rushed in and plunged about,
And no one knew how to drive them out.
The old nun Grimkins fainted away,
And a cat jumped on her as she lay
Full length on the chair, and scratched her face,
And tore her hair in a dreadful place,
Where 'twas only fastened on with thread
To cover a bald spot on her head.
As soon as the cats smelled out the meat,
They mewed the louder for some to eat.
They stood on hind legs and clawed and clung,
And pulled at the table-cloth, and sprung
Over each other, and bit and scratched.
The poor trusteemen were overmatched;
The youngest Miss Grimkins hysterics had,
And finally every soul was glad
To jump up in chairs and cry, “Shoo! shoo!"
But the cats knew this was “bugaboo !"
And matters went on from bad to worse,
Till language couldn't the scene rehearse;
And if old Grimkins hadn't come to,
And clearly seen the one thing to do,
They might have stood on their chairs all night-
Trustees and all-in a sorry plight.
An heroic deed it was she did,
One turkey from off its plate she slid-
A whole one, a fat one, crisp and brown;
With many a sigh she held it down
Where the cats could see and snuff it well;
Then opened the window-plump it fell!
And out went the cats by twos and threes--
Heads over heels and down on their knees.
When the boys who lingered still about,
Saw this, they set up a deafening shout,
And the girls in bed began to quake,
Knowing that Grimkins now would make
A search in their rooms.
Pale with the fright
And pale with her wrath, she took a light,
That awful Grimkins, and stalked away
Up the long stairs, all fierce for the fray.
With heavy hand she opened the doors;
But everywhere such innocent snores,
And eyes with such hermetical seals!
Although she clattered her angry heels,
Not a single girl was found awake,
And so Miss Grimkins thought best to take
Her way down stairs with much less noise,
And pretend that she believed the boys
Had played the trick.
But the feast was spoiled.
Poor Grimkins! In vain they smiled and toiled
To seem at ease. The trusteemen smiled
And toiled, too, but were not beguiled.
They little ate, and departed soon,
And the girls a dinner had, next noon,
Better than ever before or since-
A good enough dinner for a prince.
The poor Miss Grimkins they went away
In less than a year; for, from that day,
They could not stir out, by day or night,
But cats followed them, left and right,
Till citizens laughed with shouts and roars.
The night they left, the old house burnt down;
And a few years after that the town,
Buying the lot cheap at trustees' sale,
Built on the spot a strong stone jail,
And called it always, making merry,
“The Grimkins' Penitentiary.”
XERXES AT THE HELLESPONT.-R. C. TRENCH.
“Calm is now that stormy water,—it has learned to fear my
wrath : Lashed and fettered, now it yields me for my hosts an easy
path !" Seven long days did Persia's monarch on the Hellespontine
shore, Throned in state, behold his armies without pause defil
ing o'er; Only on the eighth the rearward to the other side were
past, Then one haughty glance of triumph far as eye could reach
he cast; Far as eye could reach he saw them, multitudes equipped
for war, Medians with their bows and quivers, linkéd armor and tiar: From beneath the sun of Afric, from the snowy hills of
Thrace, And from Ir.dia's utmost borders, nations gathered in one
place: At a single mortal's bidding all this pomp of war unfurled,
All in league against the freedom and the one hope of the
world! “What though once some petty trophies from my captains
thou hast won, Think not, Greece, to see another such a day as Marathon: Wilt thou dare await the conflict, or in battle hope to stand, When the lord of sixty nations takes himself his cause in
hand ? Lo! they come, and mighty rivers, which they drink of once,
are dried ; And the wealthiest cities beggared, that for them one mea!
provide. Powers of number by their numbers infinite are overborne, So I measure men by measure, as a husbandman his corn.
Mine are all,—this sceptre sways them,-mine is all in every
part !" And he named himself most happy, and he blessed himself
in heart, Blessed himself, but on that blessing tears abundant fol.
lowed straight, For that moment thoughts came o'er him of man's painful
brief estate: Ere a hundred years were finished, where would all those
myriads be? Hellespont would still be rolling his blue waters to the sea; But of all those countless numbers, not one living would be
found, A dead host with their dead monarch, silent in the silent
THE BATTLE OF SALAMIS.- ÆSCHYLUS.
[Translation by J. S. Blackie.]
Some evil god, or an avenging spirit,
Began the fray. From the Athenian fleet
There came a Greek, and thus thy son bespoke:
“Soon as the gloom of night shall fall, the Greeks
No more will wait, but, rushing to their oars,
Each man will seek his safety where he may
By secret flight." This Xerxes heard, but knew not
The guile of Greece, nor yet the jealous gods,
And to his captains straightway gave command
That, when the sun withdrew his burning beams,
And darkness filled the temple of the sky,
In triple lines their ships they should dispose,
Each wave-plashed outlet guarding, fencing round
The isle of Ajax surely. Should the Greeks
Deceive this guard, or with their ships escape
In secret flight, each captain with his head
Should pay for his remissness. These commands
With lofty heart, thy son gave forth nor thought
What harm the gods were weaving. They obeyed.
Each man prepared his supper, and the sailors
Bound the blithe oar to its familiar block.
Then, when the sun his shining glory paled,
And night swooped down, each master of the oar,
Each marshaler of arms, embarked; and then
Line called on line to take its ordered place.
All night they cruised, and with a moving belt
Prisoned the frith, till day 'gan peep, and still
No stealthy Greek the expected fight essayed.
But when at length the snowy-steeded day
Burst o'er the main, all beautiful to see,
First from the Greeks a tuneful shout uprose,
Well omened, and, with replication loud,
Leaped the blithe echo from the rocky shore.
Fear seized the Persian host, no longer tricked
By vain opinion; not like wavering Hight
Billowed the solemn pæan of the Greeks,
But like the shout of men to battle urging,
With lusty cheer. Then the fierce trumpet's voice
Blazed o'er the main; and on the salt sea flood
Forthwith the oars with measured plash descended,
And all their lines, with dexterous speed displayed,
Stood with opposing front. The right wing first,
Then the whole feet, bore down, and straight uprose
A mighty shout:
“Sons of the Greeks, advance!
Your country free, your children free, your wives,
The altars of your native gods deliver,
And your ancestral tombs,--all's now at stake!”
A like salute from our whole line back rolled
In Persian speech. Nor more delay, but straight
Trireme on trireme, brazen beak on beak,
Dashed furious. A Greek ship led on the attack,
And from the prow of a Phænician struck
The figure-head; and now the grapple closed
Of each ship with his adverse desperate.
At first the main line of the Persian fleet
Stood the harsh shock: but soon their multitude
Became their ruin : in the narrow frith
They might not use their strength, and, jammed together,
Their ships with brazen beaks did bite each other,
and shattered their own oars. Meanwhile the Greeks
Stroke after stroke dealt dexterous all around,
Till our ships showed their keels, and the blue sea
Was seen no more, with multitude of ships
And corpses covered. All the shores were strewn,
And the rough rocks, with dead: till, in the end,
Each ship in the barbaric host, that yet
Had oars, in most disordered flight rowed off.
As men that fish for tunnies, so the Greeks,
With broken booms, and fragments of the wreck,
Struck our snared men, and hacked them, that the sea
With wail and moaning was possessed around,
Till black-eyed Night shot darkness o'er the fray.
These ills thou hearest: to rehearse the whole,
Ten days were few; but this, my queen, believe,
Ņo day yet shone on earth whose brightness looked
On such a tale of death.