MacMillan's Reading Books eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 236 pages of information about MacMillan's Reading Books.
by his whole daily life, how that battle was to be fought; and stood there before them, their fellow-soldier and the captain of their band.  The true sort of captain, too, for a boy’s army, one who had no misgivings, and gave no uncertain word of command, and, let who would yield or make truce, would fight the fight out (so every boy felt) to the last gasp and the last drop of blood.  Other sides of his character might take hold of and influence boys here and there, but it was this thoroughness and undaunted courage which more than anything else won his way to the hearts of the great mass of those on whom he left his mark, and made them believe first in him, and then in his Master.

It was this quality, above all others, which moved such boys as Tom Brown, who had nothing whatever remarkable about him except excess of boyishness; by which I mean animal life in its fullest measure; good nature and honest impulses, hatred of injustice and meanness, and thoughtlessness enough to sink a three-decker.  And so, during the next two years, in which it was more than doubtful whether he would get good or evil from the school, and before any steady purpose or principle grew up in him, whatever his week’s sins and shortcomings might have been, he hardly ever left the chapel on Sunday evenings without a serious resolve to stand by and follow the doctor, and a feeling that it was only cowardice (the incarnation of all other sins in such a boy’s mind) which hindered him from doing so with all his heart.

Tom Brown’s School Days.

[Note:  Dr. Arnold, the head-master of Rugby School, died 1842.  His life, which gives an account of the work done by him to promote education, has been written by Dean Stanley.]

* * * * *

    MARTYRS

    Patriots have toil’d, and in their country’s cause
    Bled nobly; and their deeds, as they deserve,
    Receive proud recompense.  We give in charge
    Their names to the sweet lyre.  The Historic Muse,
    Proud of the treasure, marches with it down
    To latest times; and Sculpture, in her turn,
    Gives bond in stone and ever-during brass
    To guard them, and to immortalize her trust. 
    But fairer wreaths are due—­though never paid—­
    To those who, posted at the shrine of Truth,
    Have fallen in her defence.  A patriot’s blood,
    Well spent in such a strife, may earn indeed,
    And for a time ensure, to his loved land
    The sweets of liberty and equal laws;
    But martyrs struggle for a brighter prize,
    And win it with more pain.  Their blood is shed
    In confirmation of the noblest claim,—­
    Our claim to feed upon immortal truth,
    To walk with God, to be divinely free,
    To soar and to anticipate the skies.—­
    Yet few remember them!  They lived unknown,
    Till persecution dragged them into fame,
    And chased them up to Heaven. 

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MacMillan's Reading Books from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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