Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB
[merged small][ocr errors]

8. The dew

falling fast, the stars began to blink.

II. Write five sentences of your own, using was correctly; five, using were.

Quotations.

How many people are represented as speaking in The Skeleton in Armor? Why has the first stanza quotation marks at the close as well as at the beginning, while the third has them only at the beginning? Which stanza is not a quotation? Why is the last line of the poem not inclosed by quotation marks?

Written Exercise. Copy the following sentences, placing quota. tion marks where they are needed :

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

1. The red rose says, Be sweet,

The lily bids, Be pure,

The hardy, brave chrysanthemum,
Be patient and endure.

2. Pussy said to the Owl, You elegant fowl,

How charmingly sweet you sing!

3. Hans Christian Andersen said, Every man's life is a fairy

tale written by the hand of God.

4. Then out spake brave Horatius,
The captain of the gate,

To every man upon this earth

Death cometh soon or late.

5. We should be as careful of our words, said Cicero, as of our actions.

6. Rise up, rise up now, Lord Douglas, she says,
And put on your armor so bright.

26

SIEGFRIED THE VOLSUNG

[The greatest nero of the ancient German tribes to which the English are akin was Sigurd or Siegfried. The story of his deeds and his adventures was told in old poems and tales, and was used by Wagner as the foundation of his famous music drama, Siegfried. The form of the tale which we use in the following lessons is abridged from Katharine F. Boult's Heroes of the Norselands, in the Temple Series of Classics for Young People. The same story is told at greater length in James Baldwin's Story of Siegfried.]

IN the dawn of the world, when first the Northern Lands were peopled, Odin, a mighty god, came out of the East to rule and direct them; for he saw that these men with fair hair and blue eyes would do great deeds, and that, because of them, the North should be held in honor 5 by all nations as long as the earth should last.

Now there was a young prince in Hunland, named Volsung. Men said he was Odin's son, and certain it was that Odin loved and favored him. He grew to be a great and powerful chief, and was lord of many tribes 10 that he had fought and conquered; and he had ten sons, of whom the eldest was Sigmund, and one daughter, Signi, who was twin with Sigmund, and the most beautiful woman of her time.

Now King Volsung built for himself a house after 15 the fashion of those times, only larger and grander.

20

Near the seashore, at the edge of the great forest, stood a mighty oak. Around this did the King build his feasting hall, so that the oak rose up in the midst, and the branches came out through the roof and overshadowed the house. This was called the Branstock.

Inside, the hall was pillared with the trunks of trees, against which were stands for torches, and whereon also the fighting men could hang their weapons, so that each man's arms should be to his hand if sudden alarm should 10 arise; and down the center of it, in the winter time, there were four fires, but in summer only one was kept burning.

In Gothland dwelt a mighty king, named Siggeir, and to him came the fame of Signi's beauty and wisdom and 15 of her father's wealth. Then he bethought him to take her for his wife, and, that Volsung should not dare to say him nay, he made ready his whole train of warships and men, and sailed with his great company oversea to Hunland.

And when the King Volsung saw the army of warships with their terrible painted figureheads of dragons, eagles, and strange sea monsters; and the long line of shields hung over their sides, showing the number of fighting men Siggeir had brought, 25 of Siggeir; and when he strode

he feared the wrath

into the hall and made his demand, Volsung spoke him fair, and asked time to think about it.

[ocr errors]

And in the end King Volsung determined to give his Signi to Siggeir, and he made a great feast at midsummer, and runners went throughout the land to summon the chiefs to the wedding of the king's only daughter..

And King Siggeir sat on the high seat over against 5 his host, King Volsung, and pledged him in the ale cup, passed across the central fire, as the custom of the time. was; for one fire burnt every day and night, in the hall of the Branstock. Now, when the feasting was at its highest, there strode into the hall an aged man of ruddy face and 10 great stature, who had but one eye. On his head was a hood that half hid his face, over his shoulders a cloak of blue-gray, and his feet were bare. In his hand was a great sword that glinted in the torchlight, and none dared greet him as he passed up the hall to the Branstock, 15 although none guessed that this was Odin, All-Father.

Amid the silence of that great company, the Wanderer smote his sword deep into the trunk of the Branstock, so that only the glittering hilt stood out. Then, turning, he said, “To him that can draw it forth, give I this sword; 20 a better could he ne'er ask." And ere any could speak with him he disappeared.

Then each man, desiring to gain the sword, strove with his neighbor to be the first to touch the hilt, and King Volsung said, "Unseemly is this strife; let the noblest - 25 our guest and son-in-law- try first, then each according to his rank."

[ocr errors]
[graphic][merged small]
« ZurückWeiter »