« AnteriorContinuar »
Chamberlains and grooms came after, silver sticks and
gold sticks great, Chaplains, aides-de-camp, and pages -- all the officers of
Sliding after like his shadow, pausing when he chose to
pause, If a frown his face contracted, straight the courtiers dropped
their jaws; If to laugh the King was minded, out they burst in loud
But that day a something vexed him—that was clear to
old and young: Thrice his Grace had yawned at table, when his favorite
gleemen sung; Once the Queen would have consoled him, but he bade her
hold her tongue.
“Something ails my gracious master,” cried the Keeper of
the Seal. "Sure, my lord, it is the lampreys served to dinner, or the
veal?” “Psha!” exclaimed the angry monarch, “Keeper, 't is not
that I feel.
"'T is the heart, and not the dinner, fool, that doth my rest
impair: Can a king be great as I am, prithee, and yet know no care? Oh, I'm sick, and tired, and weary,”—Some one cried,
“The King's armchair!”
Then towards the lackeys turning, quick my Lord the Keeper
nodded; Straight the King's great chair was brought him, by two
footmen able-bodied; Languidly he sank into it: it was comfortably wadded. “Leading on my fierce companions,” cried he, "over storm
and brine, I have fought and I have conquered. Where was glory
like to mine?" Loudly all the courtiers echoed: “Where is glory like to
“What avail me all my kingdoms? Weary am I now and
old; Those fair sons I have begotten long to see me dead and
cold. Would I were, and quiet buried underneath the silent
“Yea, I feel,” continued Canute, “that my end is. drawing
near.” “Don't say so,” exclaimed the courtiers (striving each to
squeeze a tear). “Sure your Grace is strong and lusty, and may live this fifty
“Live these fifty years!” the Bishop roared, with actions made
to suit. “Are you mad, my good Lord Keeper, thus to speak of
Men have lived a thousand years, and sure His Majesty
will do 't..
“Did not once the Jewish captain stay the sun upon the hill,
And, the while he slew the foemen, bid the silver moon
stand still? So, no doubt, could gracious Canute, if it were his sacred will."
“Might I stay the sun above us, good Sir Bishop?" Canute
cried; "Could I bid the silver moon to pause upon her heavenly ride? If the moon obeys my orders, sure I can command the tide.
“Will the advancing waves obey me, Bishop, if I make the
sign?” Said the Bishop, bowing lowly, “Land and sea, my Lord, are
thine." Canute turned towards the ocean “Back!” he said, “thou
“From the sacred shore I stand on, I command thee to
retreat; Venture not, thou stormy rebel, to approach thy master's
seat. Ocean, be thou still! I bid thee come not nearer to my feet!"
But the sullen ocean answered with a louder, deeper roar, And the rapid waves drew nearer, falling sounding on the
shore. Back the Keeper and the Bishop, back the King and courtiers
And he sternly bade them never more to kneel to human
clay, But alone to praise and worship That which earth and seas
And his golden crown of empire never wore he from that day. King Canute is dead and gone: parasites exist alway.
Ca nute' (ka nūt'), a famous king of England and Denmark in the eleventh century; Chan'cel lor (chăn'sel ēr), high state official; Bish'op, high church official; se dāte', thoughtful; chām'hêr lains, officers who manage the royal household, silver sticks and gold sticks, officers of the life guards, so-called from the rods given them when they receive their commissions; āides-de-camp (kămp), military officers to assist a general or sovereign; court'iers (kõrt'yérz), gentlemen of the court; glee'men, minstrels, singers; lam' preys (lăm'priz), eel-like fish; prith'ee, pray thee; lack'eys (lăk'iz), servants; lŭsty, healthy; Jewish captain (jū'ish kăp'tỉn), Joshua (for the story, see Joshua x, 12); păr'a sites, toadies, persons who live off others. STUDY HELPS
Why was the king "weary-hearted"?
Why were the attendants of the king so concerned about his condition? Do you think they understood his trouble?
What instances of "toadyism” can you find in the story?
What did the king mean by saying, "If the moon obeys my orders, sure I can command the tides”?
What lesson did Canute read his followers?
SIR WALTER SCOTT'S PETS
I. THE DOGS
Scott proposed a ramble to show me something of the surrounding country. As we sallied forth, every dog in the establishment turned out to attend us. There was the old staghound Maida, a noble animal, and a great favorite of