The seas are quiet when the winds give
So calm are we when passions are no more.
For then we know how vain it was to boast
Of fleeting things, too certain to be lost.
Clouds of affection from our younger eyes
Conceal that emptiness which age descries.
The soul’s dark cottage, battered and decayed,
Lets in new light through chinks that time has made:
Stronger by weakness, wiser men become,
As they draw near to their eternal home.
Leaving the old, both worlds at once they view,
That stand upon the threshold of the new.
VI. MILTON. (96)
John Dryden, 1631-1703, was a noted English writer, who was made poet laureate by James ii. On the expulsion of James, and the accession of William and Mary, Dryden lost his offices and pension, and was compelled to earn his bread by literary work. It was during these last years of his life that his best work was done. His “Ode for St. Cecilia’s Day” is one of his most, celebrated poems. His prose writings are specimens of good, strong English. ###
Three poets, in three distant ages born,
Greece, Italy, and England did adorn;
The first in loftiness of thought surpassed,
The next in majesty, in both the last.
The force of nature could no further go;
To make a third she joined the other two.
Note.—The two poets referred to, other than Milton, are Homer and Dante.
XIII. DEATH OF LITTLE NELL. (96)
Charles Dickens. 1812-1870, one of the greatest novelists of modern, times, was born in Portsmouth, but spent nearly all his life in London. His father was a conscientious man, but lacked capacity for getting a livelihood. In consequence, the boy’s youth was much darkened by poverty. It has been supposed that he pictured his father in the character of “Micawber.” He began his active life as a lawyer’s apprentice; but soon left this employment to become a reporter. This occupation he followed from 1831 to 1836. His first book was entitled “Sketches of London Society, by Boz.” This was followed, in 1837, by the “Pickwick Papers,” a work which suddenly brought much fame to the author. His other works followed with great rapidity, and his last was unfinished at the time of his death. He was buried in Westminster Abbey. Mr. Dickens visited America in 1842, and again in 1867. During his last visit, he read his works in public, in the principal cities of the United States.