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ROBERT SOUTHEY.

BORN, 1774; DIED, 1843. Principal Works.—Joan of Arc, Madoc, Curse of Kehama,

Roderick, Vision of Judgment.

THE BATTLE OF BLENHEIM.

It was a summer evening,

Old Kaspar's work was done;
And he before his cottage door

Was sitting in the sun,
And by him sported on the green
His little grandchild Wilhelmine.

She saw her brother Peterkin

Roll something large and round, That he beside the rivulet

In playing there had found; He came to ask what he had found, That was so large, and smooth, and round.

Old Kaspar took it from the boy,

Who stood expectant by;
And then the old man shook his head,

And with a natural sigh,
'Tis some poor fellow's skull, said he,
Who fell in the great victory.

ROBERT SOUTHEY.

127

I find them in the garden, for

There's many here about,
And often when I go to plough,

The ploughshare turns them out.
For many thousand men, said he,
Were slain in the great victory.

Now tell us what 'twas all about,

Young Peterkin he cries,
And little Wilhelmine looks up

With wonder-waiting eyes;
Now tell us all about the war,
And what they kill'd each other for.

It was the English, Kaspar cried,

That put the French to rout; But what they kill'd each other for,

I could not well make out. But everybody said, quoth he, That 'twas a famous victory.

My father lived at Blenheim then,

Yon little stream hard by,
They burnt his dwelling to the grounil,

And he was forced to fly;
So with his wife and child he fled,
Nor had he where to rest his head.

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ROBERT SOUTHEY.

With fire and sword the country rounu

Was wasted far and wide,
And many a childing mother then,

And new-born infant died.
But things like that, you know, must be
At every famous victory.

They say it was a shocking siglit

After the field was won,
For many thousand bodies here

Lay rotting in the sun;
But things like that, you know, must be
After a famous victory.

Great praise the Duko of Marlbro' won

And our good Prince Eugene.-
Why 'twas a very wicked thing!

Said little Wilhelmine.
Nay-nay-my little girl, quoth ho,
It was a famous victory.

And everybody praised the Duke

Who such a fight did win.
But what good came of it at last ?-

Quoth little Peterkin.
Why that I cannot tell, said he,
But 'twas a famous victory.

REVENGE.

The man who supposes that he appears great by returning an injury, and who, from a mistaken pride, does it at the expense of pain to himself, would assuredly act otherwise, could he be convinced that true greatness of mind consists in despising an injury, and that no man is too weak to revenge one.

The Roman nation, one of the wisest as well as the greatest in the world, would not condescend to destroy a vanquished enemy, lest it should be suspected that they feared him; and they were too proud to revenge an injury, since that would convince the world that they felt it. The opinion of truly great men has ever countenanced that system, by declaring cruelty to be the genuine effects of cowardice ; and revenge, the legitimate offspring of fear.

Revenge, indeed, is but cruelty under a certain form, and is as constant an attendant on a contemptible and abject disposition, as that passion is: we always find the weakest minds the most malicious and revengeful; the great avoid a torment which cheats those who embrace it, by bearing the name of pleasure.

It is one of those crimes which nature has made its own avenger: it is never harboured in any breast, but it gnaws the heart that fosters it; nor is it ever exerted, but it gives more pain to the person who employs it, than to him who is the object of it. Many uneasy

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days and many watchful nights does he suffer who meditates revenge, while he against whom it is levelled goes free; and, when the scheme is laid, the execution is always attended with guilt, and often with immediate danger. The mischief often retorts with fatal fury on the head that designed it; and if it succeeds, the eye of justice views the act without entering into the consideration of the cause, and the offender will find, that ignominy of character, a wounded conscience, and a testimony written in the heart that what he endures is not a misfortune, but the punishment of a crime, are the inevitable attendants of the vengeful passions.

While revenge is difficult, dangerous, and painful, the opposite quality of forgiveness is easy, peaceful, and secure. Nothing is so easy as to resent, nothing so noble as to pardon. To be above the reach of offence is great; but to feel and afterwards to forgive it, is still greater. The man who despises, can never be hurt by injuries; nor can there be a severer punishment inflicted on him who makes the world a witness to his attempt of giving pain to another, than the showing that same world that he is too inconsiderable to effect it.

The generality of injuries call for contempt instead of resentment, and there is more triumph in baffling, than possibly can attend the returning them. Would we arrive at real greatness of soul, we should consider that the greater the wrong is, the nobler it is to pardon it; and the more justifiable revenge would prove, so much the more honour is there in clemency.

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