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And to hang the old sword in its place (my
father's sword and mine), For the honour of old Bingen-dear Bingen on
“There's another--not a sister : in the happy
days gone by, You'd have known her by the merriment that
sparkled in her eye; Too innocent for coquetry—too fond for idle scorning!
35 O friend, I fear the lightest heart makes some
times heaviest mourning! Tell her the last night of my life (for ere this
moon be risen My body will be out of pain—my soul be out
of prison) I dreamed I stood with her, and saw the yellow
sunlight shine On the vine-clad hills of Bingen-fair Bingen
on the Rhine."
His voice grew faint and hoarser; his grasp was
childish weak; His eyes put on a dying look; he sighed, and
ceased to speak : His comrade bent to lift him, but the spark of
life had fled; The soldier of the Legion in a foreign land
was dead! And the soft moon rose up slowly, and calmly
she looked down
On the red sand of the battle-field, with bloody
corses strown; Yea, calmly on that dreadful scene her pale light
seemed to shine, As it shone on distant Bingen-fair Bingen on
NOTES. 1 Bingen, a town in Hesse-Darm- 1 2 Algiers, a country in the north of
stadt, one of the states in Ger- Africa, now belonging to France. many.
3 Dearth, want of.
RIP VAN WINKLE.
PART I. 1. Whoever has made a voyage up the Hudson must remember the Kaatskill mountains. They are a dismembered branch of the great Appalachian family, and are seen away to the west of the river, swelling up to a noble height, and lording it over the surrounding country. Every change of season, every change of weather, indeed every hour of the day, produces some change in the magical hues and shapes of these mountains, and they are regarded by all the good wives, far and near, as perfect barometers.
2. When the weather is fair and settled, they are clothed in blue and purple, and print their bold outlines on the clear evening sky; but sometimes, when the rest of the landscape is cloudless, they gather a hood of grey vapours about their summits which, in the last rays of the setting sun, will glow and light up crown of glory.
3. At the foot of these fairy mountains, the voyager may have descried the light smoke curling up from a village, whose shingle roofs gleam among the trees, just where the blue tints of the upland melt away into the fresh green of the nearer landscape. It is a little village of great antiquity, having been founded by some of the Dutch colonists in the early times of the province, just about the beginning of the government of the good Peter Stuyvesant (may he rest in peace !), and there were some of the houses of the original settlers standing within a few years, built of small yellow bricks brought from Holland, having latticed windows and gable fronts, surmounted with weather-cocks.
4. In that same village, and in one of these very houses (which, to tell the precise truth, was sadly time-worn and weather-beaten), there lived many years since, while the country was yet a province of Great Britain, a simple, goodnatured fellow, of the name of Rip Van Winkle. He was a descendant of the Van Winkles who figured so gallantly in the chivalrous' days of Peter Stuyvesant, and accompanied him to the siege of Christina. He inherited, however, but little of the martial character of his ancestors. I have observed that he was a simple, goodnatured man; he was, moreover, a kind neighbour, and an obedient, henpecked husband.
5. Indeed, to the latter circumstance might be owing that meekness of spirit which gained
him such universal popularity ;' for those men are most apt to be obsequious and conciliating abroad who are under the discipline of shrews at home. Their tempers, doubtless, are rendered pliant and malleable' in the fiery furnace of domestic tribulation, 10 and a curtain-lecture is worth all the sermons in the world for teaching the virtues of patience and long-suffering. A termagant wife may therefore, in some respects, be considered a tolerable 11 blessing; and if so, Rip Van Winkle was thrice blessed.
6. Certain it is that he was a great favourite among all the good wives of the village, who, as usual with the amiable sex, took his part in all family squabbles; and never failed, whenever they talked those matters over in their evening gossipings, to lay all the blame on Dame Van Winkle. The children of the village, too, would shout with joy whenever he approached.
7. He assisted at their sports, made their playthings, taught them to fly kites and shoot marbles, and told them long stories of ghosts, witches, and Indians. Whenever he went dogging about the village, he was surrounded by a troup of them, hanging on his skirts, clambering on his back, and playing a thousand tricks on him with impunity ; 12 and not a dog would bark at him throughout the neighbourhood.
8. The great error in Rip's composition was an insuperable 13 aversion to all kinds of profit
able labour. It could not be from the want of assiduity 14 or perseverance; for he would sit on a wet rock, with a rod as long and heavy as a Tartar's lance, and fish all day without a murmur, even though he should not be encouraged by a single nibble. He would
carry a fowling-piece on his shoulder for hours together, trudging through woods and swamps, and up hill and down dale, to shoot a few squirrels or wild pigeons.
9. He would never refuse to assist a neighbour even in the roughest toil, and was a foremost man at all country frolics for husking Indian corn, or building stone fences ; tlie women of the village, too, used to employ him to run their errands, and to do such little odd jobs as their less obliging husbands would not do for them. In a word, Rip was ready to attend to anybody's business but his own; but as to doing family duty, and keeping his farm in order, he found it impossible.
10. In fact, he declared it was of no use to work on his farm : it was the most pestilent little piece of ground in the whole country; everything about it went wrong and would go wrong in spite of him. His fences were continually falling to pieces : his cow would either go astray or get among the cabbages ; weeds were sure to grow quicker in his fields than anywhere else; the rain always made a point of setting in just as he had some outdoor work to do; so that, though his patrimonial estate