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4. Every one that flatters thee
Is no friend in misery.
No man will supply thy want.
Bountiful they will him call;
Use his company no more.
He will help thee in thy need;
---Richard Barnefield (1574).
he will weep,
Pandion was a mythical king of Athens, whose daughter, Philo. méla, it was fabled, was changed into a nightingale.
1. Devouring Time, blunt thou the lion's paws,
And make the earth devour her own sweet brood;
And burn the long-lived phenix in her blood; 2. Make glad and sorry seasons as thou fleets,
And do whate'er thou wilt, swift-footed Time,
But I forbid thee one most heinous crime:
Nor draw no lines there with thine antique pen;
For beauty's pattern to succeeding men.
The long-lived Phoenix, a fabulous bird said to belong to Arabia, and to live for 500 years. As the time of its death approaches, it was said, it builds a nest of frankincense, myrrh, and other spices, into which in due time it enters and there dies. As its flesh decays a worm is produced, which is nourished by the juices of the dead bird and brings forth feathers. By and by the new bird bears the nest which contains its parent's bones and lays it on the altar of the Sun. The priests inspect the register of dates, and find that it has returned exactly after 500 years.
THE NORTH-EAST PASSAGE.
1. The continents of Europe and Asia, for the first time in the history of the world, were circumnavigated by a Swedish expedition in the years 1878 and 1879. The attempt was made three centuries ago and failed. In 1553 Sir Hugh Willoughby set sail from London, hoping to open up this road to India, but the gallant commander and all his crew perished on the coast of Lapland. Subsequent attempts had met with no better success. For the most part they ended with the loss of the ship and the sacrifice of many valuable lives.
2. It has been left for the Vega, a Swedish vessel fitted out at the joint expense of King Oscar II. and two wealthy merchants, to accomplish without the loss of a single life or the slightest damage to the vessel what had for so many ages been attempted in vain. The triumph is a geographical one but it is more. Communication by sea has been opened up with the three great rivers of Siberia, the Obi, Yenesei, and Lena, from which commerce had formerly been excluded. The rich mineral and agricultural resources of that vast territory will doubtless by this means be developed and a vast region, hitherto closed to the world, opened up to trade and colonisation.
3. The Vega left Gothenburg on the 4th of July 1878, attended by three other vessels laden with merchandise for the Yenesei and Lena. On the 10th of August the northern extremity of Asia was passed, and on the 28th of September the ship had reached a point slightly north of the entrance to the Pacific by Behring Straits. But for delays incident to a first voyage in unknown seas, the Vega would probably have reached the Pacific within little more than two months from the time at which the expedition set out. Unfortunately the commander, Baron Nordenskiold, lingered for three days off the Chukches' coast, in hope of an improvement in the condition of the ice. His mortification was intense when he pushed forward after this brief delay, to find a belt of newly-formed ice
effectually barring his progress at a distance not greater than six English miles from the open ocean.
4. It was only on the 18th of July, 1879, that the imprisoned explorers were able to free themselves from the ice and proclaim that the long-sought North-east Passage was an accomplished fact. In April the harbingers of release, in the form of large flocks of geese, ducks, gulls, and other birds began to appear and cheered the dreary monotony of their life. Flocks also of a sweet-singing little bird settled on the ship's deck. For a time they were evidently exhausted by their lengthened flight, but by and by, greatly to the delight of the sailors, they prepared to make themselves at home in the rigging of the ship.
5. When at last deliverance came, it was entirely unexpected. So confident was the head of the expedition that the barrier of ice which had for many months imprisoned the voyagers would not speedily be broken up that on the morning of the day of their release he had actually set out on an excursion to a point several days distant. Fortunately he had to turn back as the river by which he hoped to reach his destination had suddenly fallen.
6. The officers were at dinner. Suddenly it was observed that the vessel was moving slightly. A rush was immediately made on deck. The ice was seen to be in motion. The boiler fires were lighted, and the Vega set sail. Open water of sufficient depth was found all along the coast, no other obstacles of any importance were encountered, and by 11 A.M. of the following day they “were in the middle of the sound which unites the North Polar Sea with the Pacific and from this point the Vega greeted the Old and New Worlds by a display of flags and the firing of a Swedish salute.”
7. “It was with pride,” says the brave commander of the Vega, "we saw the blue-yellow flag rise to the masthead and heard the Swedish salute in the sound where the Old and the New Worlds reach hands to each other. The course along which we sailed is indeed no longer required as a commercial route between Europe and China. But it has been granted to this and the preceding Swedish expeditions to open a sea to navigation, and to confer on half a continent the possibility of communicating by sea with the oceans of the world."
Questions on the lesson :—What is the great achievement of which the lesson gives an account? By whom was it made? In what two aspects may the triumph be regarded? What were the stages of the Vega’s progress? What unfortunate delay occurred? What circumstance shows the suddenness of the deliverance?