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Beside the bed where parting life was laid,
At church, with meek and unaffected grace,
The service past, around the pious man,
His ready smile a parent's warmth expressed ;
As some tall cliff, that lifts its awful form,
- OLIVER GOLDSMITH.
THE VILLAGE SCHOOLMASTER
BESIDE yon straggling fence that skirts the way, With blossomed furze unprofitably gay, There, in his noisy mansion, skilled to rule, The village master taught his little school — A man severe he was, and stern to view ; I knew him well, and every truant knew. Well had the boding tremblers learned to trace The day's disasters in his morning face; Full well they laughed with counterfeited glee At all his jokes, for many a joke had he; Full well the busy whisper, circling round, Conveyed the dismal tidings when he frowned.
Yet he was kind; or, if severe in aught, The love he bore to learning was in fault; The village all declared how much he knew; 'Twas certain he could write, and cipher too ; Lands he could measure, terms and tides presage, And even the story ran that he could gauge; In arguing, too, the parson owned his skill, For, e'en though vanquished, he could argue still; While words of learnèd length and thundering sound Amazed the gazing rustics ranged around; And still they gazed, and still the wonder grew, That one small head could carry all he knew.
But past is all his fame: the very spot
- OLIVER GOLDSMITH.
A GREAT PHILOSOPHER
SOCRATES was of humble birth. He was born in Greece nearly five hundred years before Christ, and lived for seventy years. His father was a sculptor, and he followed the same profession.
We know very little about the events of his life except that he served as a soldier in three campaigns, that he strictly obeyed the laws of his country, and once when acting as a judge refused at the peril of his life to perform an unjust deed.
A striking picture is given us of the personal appearance of this great philosopher. His ugliness of face was a matter of jest in Athens. He had a flat nose, thick lips, and prominent eyes. Yet he was as strong as he was ugly. Few Athenians could equal him in strength and endurance. While serving as a soldier he was able to bear heat and cold, hunger and fatigue in a manner that astonished his companions. He went barefoot in all weather, and wore the same clothing winter and summer. He lived on the simplest food, and it was his constant aim to limit his wants, and to avoid all excesses.
Socrates possessed the highest and noblest qualities of mind. Naturally he had a violent temper,
but he held it under severe control. In depth of thought, and in powers of argument, he stands in the very first ranks of the teachers of mankind.
From morning till night Socrates might be seen in the streets and public places engaged in endless talk, – prattling, his enemies called it.
In the early morning his pale face and his sturdy figure, shabbily dressed, were familiar visions in the public walks and in the Athenian schools. At the hour when the market place was most crowded Socrates would be there, walking about among the booths and tables, and talking to every one that would listen to him. Thus was his whole day spent. He was ready to talk with any one, old or young, rich or poor.
None seemed to tire of hearing this wise man, and many sought him in his haunts eager to learn from him. Many, indeed, came from other cities of Greece, drawn to Athens by his fame, and anxious to hear the wonderful teacher. These became known as his scholars or disciples, though he had nothing like a school, and received no pay for his teaching.
The talk of Socrates was never idle nor meaningless chat. He felt that he had a special mission to fulfill, and he declared that a divine voice spoke to him and kept him from unwise acts or sayings. It had been