Note the position of the negative, “No flocks that range,” &c. = I do not condemn the flocks that range.
Guiltless feast. Because it does not involve the death of a fellow-creature.
Scrip. A purse or wallet; a word of Teutonic origin. Distinguish from scrip, a writing or certificate, from the Latin word scribo, I write.
Far in a wilderness obscure. Obscure goes with mansion, not with wilderness.
And gaily pressed (him to eat).
With answering care, i.e., with sympathetic care.
A charm that lulls to sleep. Charm is here in its proper sense: that of a thing pleasing to the fancy is derivative.
A shade that follows wealth or fame. A shade = a ghost or phantom.
Swift mantling, &c. Spreading quickly over, like a cloak or mantle.
Where heaven and you reside = where you, whose only thoughts are of Heaven, reside.
Whom love has taught to stray. This use of the word “taught” for “made” or “forced,” is taken from a Latin idiom, as in Virgil, “He teaches the woods to ring with the name of Amaryllis.” It is stronger than “made” or “forced,” and implies, as here, that she had forgotten all but the wandering life that is now hers.
He had but only me. But or only is redundant.
To emulate his mind = to be equal to his mind in purity.
Their constancy was mine. This verse has often been accused of violating sense; but, however artificial the expression may be, neither the sense is obscure, nor the way of expressing it inaccurate. It is evidently only another way of saying “in the little they had of constancy they resembled me as they resembled him in their charms.”]
* * * * *
We listened, as all boys in their better moods will listen (ay, and men too, for the matter of that), to a man whom we felt to be, with all his heart and soul and strength, striving against whatever was mean and unmanly and unrighteous in our little world. It was not the cold, clear voice of one giving advice and warning from serene heights to those who were struggling and sinning below, but the warm, living voice of one who was fighting for us, and by our sides, and calling on us to help him and ourselves and one another. And so, wearily and little by little, but surely and steadily on the whole, was brought home to the young boy, for the first time, the meaning of his life: that it was no fool’s or sluggard’s paradise into which he had wandered by chance, but a battle-field ordained from of old, where there are no spectators, but the youngest must take his side, and the stakes are life and death. And he who roused this consciousness in them showed them, at the same time, by every word he spoke in the pulpit, and