The last time of these two had well near been fatal to me; for the sea having hurried me along as before, landed me, or rather dashed me against a piece of a rock, and that with such force as it left me senseless, and indeed helpless, as to my own deliverance; for the blow taking my side and breast, beat the breath, as it were, quite out of my body; and had it returned again immediately, I must have been strangled in the water; but I recovered a little before the return of the waves, and seeing I should be covered again with the water, I resolved to hold fast by a piece of the rock, and so to hold my breath, if possible, till the wave went back; now as the waves were not so high as at first, being near land, I held my hold till the wave abated, and then fetched another run, which brought me so near the shore that the next wave, though it went over me, yet did not so swallow me up as to carry me away, and the next run I took, I got to the main land, where, to my great comfort, I clambered up the clifts of the shore, and sat me down upon the grass, free from danger, and quite out of the reach of the water.
DEFOE’S Robinson Crusoe.
[Notes: Daniel Defoe, born 1663, died 1731. He was prominent as a political writer, but his later fame has rested chiefly on his works of fiction, of which ‘Robinson Crusoe’ (from which this extract is taken) is the most important.
“Gave us not time hardly to say.” This to us has the effect of a double negative. But if we take “hardly” in its strict sense, the sentence is clear: “did not give us time, even with difficulty, to say.”
(at foot)."As I felt myself rising up, so to my immediate relief.” Note this use of as and so, in a way which now sounds archaic.
Run. The older form, for which we would use ran.
“That with such force, as it left me,” &c. For as, we would now use that.
Clifts of the shore. Like clefts, broken openings in the shore.]
* * * * *
When Britain first, at Heaven’s
Arose from out the azure main,
This was the charter of the land,
And guardian angels sung this strain:
Rule, Britannia, rule the waves,
Britons never will be slaves!
The nations, not so blessed
Must in their turn to tyrants fall;
While thou shalt flourish great and free,
The dread and envy of them all.
Still more majestic shalt thou
More dreadful from each foreign stroke;
As the loud blast that tears the skies,
Serves but to root thy native oak.
tyrants ne’er shall tame:
All their attempts to bend thee down
Will but arouse thy generous flame;
But work their woe and thy renown.
To thee belongs the rural reign;
Thy cities shall with commerce shine;
All thine shall be the subject main:
And every shore it circles thine.