The Illustrated London Reading Book eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 275 pages of information about The Illustrated London Reading Book.

    Trust not for freedom to the Franks—­
      They have a King who buys and sells;
    In native swords and native ranks,
      The only hope of courage dwells: 
    But Turkish force and Latin fraud
    Would break your shield, however broad.

    Fill high the bowl with Samian wine! 
      Our virgins dance beneath the shade—­
    I see their glorious black eyes shine;
      But gazing on each glowing maid,
    My own the burning tear drop laves,
    To think such breasts must suckle slaves!

    Place me on Sunium’s marble steep,
      Where nothing, save the waves and I,
    May hear our mutual murmurs sweep;
      There swan-like let me sing and die: 
    A land of slaves shall ne’er be mine—­
    Dash down yon cup of Samian wine!

    BYRON.

[Illustration:  CORINTH.]

* * * * *

THE SIEGE OF ANTIOCH.

[Illustration:  Letter B.]

Baghasihan, the Turkish Prince, or Emir of Antioch, had under his command an Armenian of the name of Phirouz, whom he had entrusted with the defence of a tower on that part of the city wall which overlooked the passes of the mountains.  Bohemund, by means of a spy, who had embraced the Christian religion, and to whom he had given his own name at baptism, kept up a daily communication with this captain, and made him the most magnificent promises of reward if he would deliver up his post to the Crusaders.  Whether the proposal was first made by Bohemund or by the Armenian, is uncertain, but that a good understanding soon existed between them is undoubted; and a night was fixed for the execution of the project.  Bohemund communicated the scheme to Godfrey and the Count of Toulouse, with the stipulation that, if the city were won, he, as the soul of the enterprise, should enjoy the dignity of Prince of Antioch.  The other leaders hesitated:  ambition and jealousy prompted them to refuse their aid in furthering the views of the intriguer.  More mature consideration decided them to acquiesce, and seven hundred of the bravest knights were chosen for the expedition, the real object of which, for fear of spies, was kept a profound secret from the rest of the army.

[Illustration:  ANTIOCH.]

Everything favoured the treacherous project of the Armenian captain, who, on his solitary watch-tower, received due intimation of the approach of the Crusaders.  The night was dark and stormy:  not a star was visible above; and the wind howled so furiously as to overpower all other sounds.  The rain fell in torrents, and the watchers on the towers adjoining to that of Phirouz could not hear the tramp of the armed knights for the wind, nor see them for the obscurity of the night and the dismalness of the weather.  When within bow-shot of the walls, Bohemund sent forward an interpreter to confer with the Armenian.  The

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The Illustrated London Reading Book from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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