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Gurth : “expound that to me, Wamba; for my brain is too dull, and my mind too vexed, to read riddles.”
Why, how call you those grunting brutes running about on their four legs ?” demanded Wamba.
“Swine, fool, swine," said the herd; “every fool knows that.”
"And swine is good Saxon,” said the jester. “But how call you the sow when she is flayed and drawn and quartered, and hung up by the heels like a traitor?”..
“Pork," answered the swineherd.
“I am very glad every fool knows that, too,” said Wamba; “and pork, I think, is good Norman-French.1 And so, when the brute lives, and is in the charge of a Saxon slave, she goes by her Saxon name; but becomes a Norman, and is called pork, when she is carried to the castle-hall to feast among the nobles. What dost thou think of this, friend Gurth, ha?”
“It is but too true doctrine, friend Wamba, however it got into thy fool's pate.”
Nay, I can tell you more,” said Wamba, in the same tone. “There is old Alderman Ox continues to hold his Saxon epithet 2 while he is under the charge of serfs and bondsmen such as thou; but becomes Beef, a fiery French gallant, when he arrives before the worshipful jaws that are destined to consume him. Mynheer Calf, too, becomes Monsieur de Veau 4 in the like manner. He is Saxon when he requires tendance,
| pork ... Norman-French. See 3 Beef. From French bouf, an Glossary for the etymology of ox. “pork."
4 Veau (pron. vo), a calf: hence 2 epithet, name, designation. vcal.
in the gap.
and takes a Norman name when he becomes matter of enjoyment."
“By St. Dunstan,” answered Gurth, “thou speaketh but sad truths. Little is left to us but the air we breathe; and that appears to have been reserved with much hesitation, solely for the purpose of enabling us to endure the tasks they lay upon our shoulders. The finest and the fattest is for their board; the best and bravest supply their foreign masters with soldiers, and whiten distant lands with their bones, leaving few here who have either will or the power to protect the unfortunate Saxon. God's blessing on our master Cedric! he hath done the work of a man in standing
But Reginald Front-de-Bæuf is coming down to this country in person, and we shall soon see how little Cedric's trouble will avail him. — Here, here!” he exclaimed again, raising his voice. “So ho! so ho! Well done, Fangs! thou hast them all before thee now, and bring'st them on bravely, lad.”
Gurth,” said the jester, “I know thou thinkest me a fool, or thou wouldst not be so rash in putting thy head into my mouth. One word to Reginald Frontde-Boeuf or Philip de Malvoisin, that thou hast 3 spoken treason against the Norman, and thou art but a castaway swineherd, thou wouldst waver on one of these trees, as a terror to all evil-speakers against dignities.”
“Dog! thou wouldst not betray me," said Gurth, "after having led me on to speak so much at disadvantage?”
1 whiten. with the bones. What is the figure of speech ?
2 thy head...mouth. Explain. 8 hast. Why second person ?
Betray thee!” answered the jester. “No; that were the trick of a wise man; a fool can not half so well help himself. But soft! whom have we here?” he said, listening to the trampling of several horses, which became then audible.1
"Never mind whom," answered Gurth, who had now got his herd before him, and, with the aid of Fangs, was driving them down one of the long dim vistas which we have endeavored to describe.
“Nay, but I must see the riders," answered Wamba. Perhaps they are come from fairy-land with a message from King Oberon.”2
“A murrain take thee!”3 rejoined the swineherd. “Wilt thou talk of such things while a terrible storm of thunder and lightning is raging within a few miles of us? Hark, how the thunder rumbles! and for summer rain, I never saw such broad downright flat drops fall out of the clouds. The oaks, too, notwithstanding the calm weather, sob 4 and creak with their great boughs, as if announcing a tempest. Thou canst play the rational if thou wilt: credit me for once, and let us home, ere the storm begins to rage, for the night will be fearful.”
Wamba seemed to feel the force of this appeal, and accompanied his companion, who began his journey after catching up a long quarter-staff' which lay upon
1 audible. See Glossary.
3 A murrain take thee: that is, 2 Oberon, the king of the elves a plague on you. See“ murrain” or fairies, and husband of Titania. in Glossary. He figures in Shakespeare's Mid 4 sob. Note the personification. summer Night's Dream.
5 quarter-staff. See Webster.
the grass beside him. This second Eumæus strode hastily down the forest glade, driving before him, with the assistance of Fangs, the whole herd of his inharmonious charge.
2.- THE LADY OF THE LAKE.
[The following extracts are from the fourth and fifth cantos of the Lady of the Lake. See Introduction for an account of the poem.]
The shades of eve come2 slowly down,
1 second Eumæus. The first was 8 fell, a stony hill. a swineherd who figures in Homer. 4 summer solstice, the time at
2 come. Note the use of the his- which the sun is at its greatest distorical present in this and subse- tance north of the equator, – the quent examples.
21st of June.
Tangled 1 and steep, he journeyed on,
Besides its embers, red and clear,
Rest and a guide, and food and fire. My life's beset, my path is lost, The gale has chilled my limbs with frost.” “Art thou a friend to Roderick ?" – "No." “Thou darest not call thyself a foe?” — “I dare! to him and all the band He brings to aid his murderous hand.” “Bold words! but, though the beast of game 8 The privilege of chase may claim, Though space and law the stag we lend Ere hound we slip or bow we bend, Who ever recked,4 where, how, or when The prowling fox was trapped or slain? Thus treacherous scouts 5 — yet sure they lie, Who say thou cam'st a secret spy!” “They do, by Heaven! Come Roderick Dhu, And of his clan? the boldest two,
5 Thus ...
1 Tangled, interwoven as with 4 recked, cared. briers, brambles, etc., in a confused
scouts. Supply the manner.
ellipsis. 2 beset: that is, beset with danger. 6 Come Roderick Dhu: that is,
8 beast of game. Such as deer, let him come. liares, etc.
7 clan. See Glossary.