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custom there that every host who entertains a guest shall assure him of the wholesomeness of his food, by partaking of it along with him. Far be it from me to suspect so holy a man of aught inhospitable, nevertheless I will be highly bound to you, would you comply with this Eastern custom. .
• To ease your unnecessary scruples, Sir Knight, I will for once depart from my rule,' replied the hermit. And as there were no forks in those days, his clutches were instantly in the bowels of the pasty.
The ice of ceremony being once broken, it seemed matter of rivalry between the guest and the entertainer which should display the best appetite ; and although the former had probably fasted longest, yet the hermit fairly surpassed him.
"Holy Clerk,' said the knight, when his hunger was appeased, 'I would gage my good horse yonder against a zecchin, that that same honest keeper to whom we are obliged for the venison has left thee a stoup of wine, or a runlet of canary, or some such trifle, by way of ally to this noble pasty. This would be a circumstance, doubtless, totally unworthy to dwell in the memory of so rigid an anchorite; yet, I think, were you to search yonder crypt once more, you would find that I am right in my conjecture.'
The hermit replied by a grin ; and returning to the hutch, he produced a leathern bottle, which might contain about four quarts. He also brought forth two large. drinking-cups, made out of the horn of the urus, and hooped with silver. Having made this goodly provision for washing down the supper, he seemed to think no further ceremonious scruple necessary on his part; but filling both cups, and saying in the Saxon fashion, "Waes hael, Sir Sluggish Knight!'he emptied his own at a draught.
• Drink hael, Holy Clerk of Copmanhurst !' answered the warrior, and did his host reason in a similar brimmer,
‘Holy Clerk,' said the stranger, after the first cup was thus swallowed, 'I cannot but marvel that à man possessed of such thews and sinews as thine, and who therewithal shews the talent of so goodly a trencherman, should think of abiding by himself in this wilderness. In my judgment, you are fitter to keep a castle or a fort, eating of the fat and drinking of the strong, than to live here upon pulse and water, or even upon the charity of the keeper. At least were I as thou, I should find myself both disport and plenty out of the king's deer. There is many a goodly herd in these forests; and a buck will never be missed that goes to the use of St Dunstan's chaplain.'
“Sir Sluggish Knight,' replied the Clerk, these are dangerous words, and I pray you to forbear them. I am true hermit to the king and law, and were I to spoil my liege's game, I should be sure of the prison, and, an my gown saved me not, were in some peril of hanging. .
Nevertheless, were I as thou,' said the knight, "I would take my walk by moonlight, when foresters and keepers were warm in bed, and ever and anon-as I pattered my prayers—I would let fly a shaft among the herds of dun deer that feed in the glades.—Resolve me, Holy Clerk, hast thou never practised such a pastime?'
* Friend Sluggard,' answered the hermit, “thou hast seen all that can concern thee of my housekeeping, and something more than he deserves who takes up his quarters by violence. Credit me, it is better to enjoy the good which God sends thee, than to be impertinently curious how it comes. Fill thy cup, and welcome ; and do not, I pray thee, by further impertinent inquiries, put me to shew that thou couldst hardly have made good thy lodging had I been earnest to oppose thee.'
By my faith,' said the knight, thou makest me more curious than ever! Thou art the most mysterious hermit I ever met; and I will know more of thee ere we part. As for thy threats, know, holy man, thou speakest to one whose trade it is to find out danger wherever it is to be met with.'
"Sir Sluggish Knight, I drink to thee,' said the hermit; respecting thy valour much, but deeming wondrous slightly of thy discretion. If thou wilt take equal arms with me, I will give thee, in all friendship and brotherly love, such sufficing penance and complete absolution, that thou shalt not for the next twelve months sin the sin of excess and curiosity.'
The knight pledged him, and desired him to name his weapons.
There is none,' replied the hermit, 'from the scissors of Delilah, and the tenpenny nail of Jael, to the scimitar of Goliah, at which I am not a match for thee.—But, if I am to make the election, what sayest thou, good friend, to these trinkets ?'
Thus speaking, he opened another hutch, and took out from it a couple of broadswords and bucklers, such as were used by the yeomanry of the period. The knight, who watched his motions, observed that this second place of concealment was furnished with two or three good long-hows, a cross-bow, a bundle of bolts for the latter, and half-a-dozen sheaves of arrows for the former. A harp, and other matters of very uncanonical appearance, were also visible when this dark recess was opened.
• I promise thee, brother Clerk,' said he, ‘I will ask thee no more offensive questions. The contents of that cupboard are an answer to all my inquiries; and I see a weapon there' (here he stooped and took out the harp)
on which I would more gladly prove my skill with thee, than at the sword and buckler.'
'I hope, Sir Knight,' said the hermit, 'thou hast given no good reason for thy surname of the Sluggard. I do promise thee I suspect thee grievously. Nevertheless, thou art my guest, and I will not put thy manhood to the proof without thine own free will. Sit thee down, then, and fill thy cup; let us drink, sing, and be merry. If thou knowest ever a good lay, thou shalt be welcome to a nook of pasty at Copmanhurst so long as I serve the chapel of St Dunstan, which, please God, shall be till I change my gray covering for one of green turf. But come, fill a flagon, for it will crave some time to tune the harp ; and nought pitches the voice and sharpens the ear like a cup of wine. For my part, I love to feel the grape at my very finger-ends before they make the harp-strings tinkle.'
NOTES. Anchorite, or 'anchoret,' hermit. Gr. | Pinfold, pound, place where beasts are
anachörētēs (from ana, up, back, confined. and chorěő, go), one that has retired Hermit. Gr. erēmitês (hence, directly, from the world to lead a solitary the form 'eremite'), from eremos (religious) life.
(solitary, deserted). Pater .. , aves ... credo. The Lord's | The Black Sluggard. At the great tourprayer, the Ave Maria, and the nament of Ashby-de-la-Zouch, 'there Creed in Latin: they begin with was among the ranks of the Dis
the words pater (father), ave (hail !) inherited Knight, a champion in · and credo (I believe).
black armour, mounted on a black Trivet, or 'trevet,' a three-legged horse,' whose apparent listlessness
stand, stool, &c. 0. Eng. thryfet and want of interest in the earlier
(three-feet, tripod; cf. Fr. trépied, stages of the fight, ‘procured him 1 from Lat. tres, ped-, foot). .
among the spectators the name of Pease. 0. Eng. pisa (from Lat. pisum: Le Noir Fainéant, or the Black
cf. Fr. pois) had plur. pesen and Sluggard' (chap. xiii.). · peses. Spenser says 'not worth a which being unfit . . . of it, &c.
pese;' Surrey says not worth two Change of construction (for simpeason' (or peasen). When the in plicity and directness) with redunflectional ending fell away, pease dancy of pronouns. (See Murison's was accepted as a plur. (though the First Work in English, sect. 538.) Ś belongs to the root, not to the Discountenanced, put out of counteending), and from it a new singular, nance, disconcerted, taken aback. pea, was formed. Now there is an Zecchin, or 'sequin,' a Venetian gold arbitrary distinction making peas coin, circulating in the East. In the regular plur., and pease collec- Italy, it was worth a little less than tive. In the present passage, Scott half a sovereign ; elsewhere, variuses pease in both senses.
Ranlet, earlier 'rundlet' (dim. from || lish drinking pledge. Lit. waes or 'round'), small barrel.
wes (old imperative of wesan (to be), Crypt, vault; cell, cave, &c., under | our 'was ’) = 'be,' and hael =
church or chapel. Gr. krupto (con "hale,' whole, in good health. Hence ceal).
wassail.' Hutch, bin, chest : pantry.
Impertinently curious, inquisitive or Urus, wild bull ; 'a very large untamable prying into things, when you have
animal with great spreading horns, nothing to do with them. Con
anciently found in central Europe. I trast to all that can concern thee' Waes hael, 'your health !' an old Eng- (above).
PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY.-1792–1822. PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY, our greatest lyric poet, was born in Sussex, and educated at Eton and at Oxford. Before he had resided many months at Oxford, he was expelled (1811) for not disowning the circulation of a pamphlet in defence of atheism. His father, Sir Timothy Shelley, casting him off, he went to London. After various domestic vicissitudes—marriage (1811), separation (1814), suicide of his wife (1816), and re-marriage (1816)—he left England (1817), and went to live in Italy. He perished on the coast of Tuscany through the upsetting of his boat by a squall, July 8, 1822.
Queen Mab was finished in 1813. Then followed Alastor ; or, the Spirit of Solitude (1815); The Revolt of Islam (1817), in twelve cantos; Julian and Maddalo (1818); Prometheus Unbound (1818–19), a lyrical drama, in four acts; The Cenci (1819), “the best tragedy of modern times; ' Adonais (1821), an elegy on the death of Keats; and Hellas (1821), a lyrical drama. Meantime he had written many miscellaneous short pieces, and executed some poetical translations from the Greek, German, Italian, &c.
SLEEPING BEAUTY AND THE FAIRY QUEEN.
(From Queen Mab, I.)
Death and his brother Sleep !
With lips of lurid blue;
It blushes o'er the world :