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For only one short hour
To feel as I used to feel, Before I knew the woes of want
And the walk that costs a meal!
“Oh but for one short hour !
A respite however brief !
But only time for Grief !
But in their briny bed
Hinders needle and thread !”
With fingers weary and worn,
, With eyelids heavy and red, A woman' sat in unwomanly rags,
Plying her needle and thread
In poverty, hunger, and dirt,
sang this “Song of the Shirt !”
1 Song of the Shirt. This beautiful 4 And sew, &c. Her mind is so much poem appeared first in the Christ
occupied with her business that mas number of Punch for 1843. It even in her sleep she fancies she caused a great sensation through- is still at work. out the country, and served to 5 Chime to chime, from hour to hour. draw attention to the needle- 6 A respite, &c., to cease from her women and their hard lot. It
labour, but only for a short time. made Hood famous.
7 A woman, &c. The sentiments aro 2 Dolorous, sorrowful.
supposed to be uttered by a poor 3 Gusset, an angular piece of cloth needlewoman who has been reinserted in a garment to streng.
duced to the greatest poverty. then some part of it.
THE STORY OF WILLIAM WALLACE.
1. William Wallace was none of the high nobles of Scotland, but the son of a private gentleman called Wallace of Ellerslie, in Renfrewshire, near Paisley. He was very tall and handsome, and one of the strongest and bravest men that ever lived. He had a very fine countenance, with a quantity of fair hair, and was particularly clever in the use of all weapons which were then employed in battle.
2. Wallace, like all Scotchmen of high spirit, had looked with great indignation upon the usurpation ’ of the crown by Edward, and upon the insolence which the English soldiers committed on his countrymen.
3. The action which occasioned his finally rising in arms happened in the town of Lanark. Wallace was at this time married to a lady of that place, and residing there with his wife. It chanced, as he walked in the market-place, dressed in a green garment with a rich dagger by his side, that an Englishman came up and insulted him on account of his finery, saying, a Scotchman had no business to wear so gay a dress, or carry so handsome a weapon.
4. It soon came to a quarrel, and Wallace having killed the Englishman, fled to his own house, which was speedily assaulted by all the English soldiers. The governor of Lanark, whose name was Hazelrig, burned the house, and put his wife and servants to death. He also proclaimed Wallace an outlaw, and offered a reward to any one who should bring him to an English garrison alive or dead.
5. On the other hand, Wallace soon collected a body of men outlawed like himself. One of his earliest expeditions was directed against Hazelrig, whom he killed. He fought skirmishes with the soldiers who were sent against him, and often defeated them; and in time became so well known and so formidable, that multitudes began to resort to his standard, until at length he was at the head of a considerable army, with which he proposed to restore his country to independence.
6. At length an opportunity presented itself near Stirling to engage the English army under the Earl of Surrey, when the Scots were victorious. Stirling, about twenty-two miles north-east of Glasgow, was the strongest fortress in Scotland. The battle was fought at the bridge which crossed the river Forth, near Stirling, and which was so narrow that only three or four could march over it abreast. Wallace, who had loosened the beams supporting the bridge, waited till about 5000 of the English had crossed.
Then he drew away the supports, and as the bridge broke and tumbled into the river, he fell upon the English who had crossed, every man of whom
perished on the field or were drowned in the river Forth.
7. The remains of Surrey's great army fled out of Scotland after this defeat; and the Scots, taking arms on all sides, attacked the castles in which the English soldiers continued to shelter themselves, and took most of them by force or stratagem. Wallace defeated the English in several combats, chased them almost entirely out of Scotland, regained the towns and castles of which they had possessed themselves, and recovered for a time the complete freedom of the country.
8. He even marched into England, and laid Cumberland and Northumberland waste, where the Scottish soldiers, in revenge for the mischief which the English had done in their country, committed great cruelties. Wallace did not approve of their killing the people who were not in arms, and he endeavoured to protect the clergymen and others who were not able to defend themselves.
9. “Remain with me,” he said to the priests of Hexham, a large town in Northumberland, "for I cannot protect you from my soldiers when you are out of my presence. The troops who followed Wallace received no pay, because he had no money to give them ; and that was one great reason why he could not keep them under restraint, or prevent them doing much harm to the defenceless country people. He remained in England more than