MacMillan's Reading Books eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 344 pages of information about MacMillan's Reading Books.
before you as your one object, and you will be right, whether you make a living or not; but if you dwell on the other, you’ll very likely drop into mere money-making, and let the world take care of itself, for good or evil.  Don’t be in a hurry about finding your work in the world for yourself; you are not old enough to judge for yourself yet, but just look about you in the place you find yourself in, and try to make things a little better and honester there.  You’ll find plenty to keep your hand in at Oxford, or wherever else you go.  And don’t be led away to think this part of the world important, and that unimportant.  Every corner of the world is important.  No man knows whether this part or that is most so, but every man may do some honest work in his own corner.”

Tom Brown’s School Days.

* * * * *


    As an ant, of his talents superiorly vain,
    Was trotting, with consequence, over the plain,
    A worm, in his progress remarkably slow,
    Cried—­“Bless your good worship wherever you go;
    I hope your great mightiness won’t take it ill,
    I pay my respects with a hearty good-will.” 
    With a look of contempt, and impertinent pride,
    “Begone, you vile reptile,” his antship replied;
    “Go—­go, and lament your contemptible state,
    But first—­look at me—­see my limbs how complete;
    I guide all my motions with freedom and ease,
    Run backward and forward, and turn when I please;
    Of nature (grown weary) you shocking essay! 
    I spurn you thus from me—­crawl out of my way.” 
      The reptile, insulted and vex’d to the soul,
    Crept onwards, and hid himself close in his hole;
    But nature, determined to end his distress,
    Soon sent him abroad in a butterfly’s dress. 
      Erelong the proud ant, as repassing the road,
    (Fatigued from the harvest, and tugging his load),
    The beau on a violet-bank he beheld,
    Whose vesture, in glory, a monarch’s excelled;
    His plumage expanded—­’twas rare to behold
    So lovely a mixture of purple and gold. 
      The ant, quite amazed at a figure so gay,
    Bow’d low with respect, and was trudging away. 
    “Stop, friend,” says the butterfly; “don’t be surprised,
    I once was the reptile you spurn’d and despised;
    But now I can mount, in the sunbeams I play,
    While you must for ever drudge on in your way.”


[Note:  Of nature (grown weary) you shocking essay = you wretched attempt (= essay) by nature, when she had grown weary.]

* * * * *


    Between Nose and Eyes a strange contest arose. 
       The spectacles set them unhappily wrong;
    The point in dispute was, as all the world knows,
       To which the said spectacles ought to belong.

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