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Robin's eyes brightened and his language grew poetical when he was aware of the approach of some swollen pluralist—a Dean of Carlisle, or an Abbot of St. Mary's—with sumpter-horses carrying tithes and dining-gear, and a slender train of attendants. He would meet him with great meekness and humility ; thank our Lady for having sent a man at once holy and rich into her servant's sylvan diocese; inquire too about the weight of his purse, as if desirous to augment it; but woe to the victim who, with gold in his pocket set up a plea of poverty. “ Kneel, holy man,” Robin would then say, “ kneel, and beg of the saint who rules thy abbey-stead to send money for thy present wants;" and as the request was urged by quarter-staff and sword, the prayer was a rueful one, while the gold which a search in the prelate's mails discovered, was facetiously ascribed to the efficacy of his intercession with his patron saint, and gravely parted between the divine and the robber.
Robin Hood differed from all other patriots-for patriot he was—of whom we read in tale or history. Wallace, to whom he has been compared, was a highsouled man of a sterner stamp, who loved better to see tyrants die than gain all the gold the world had to give; and Rob Roy, to whom the poet of Rydal Mount has likened the outlaw of Sherwood, had little of the merry humour and romantic courtesy of bold Robin. This seems to have arisen more from the nature than the birth of the man; he was no lover of blood, he delighted in sparing those who sought his life when they fell into his power; and he was beyond all examples, even of knighthood, tender and thoughtful about women ; even when he prayed, he preferred our Lady to all the other saints in the calendar. Next to the ladies, he loved the yeomanry of England : he molested no hind at the plough, no thresher in the barn, no shepherd with his flocks; he was the friend and protector of husbandman and hind, and woe to the priest who fleeced, or the noble who oppressed them. The widow too and the fatherless he looked upon as under his care, and wheresoever he went some old woman was ready to do him a kindness for a saved son or a rescued husband.
The personal strength of the outlaw was not equal to his activity ; but his wit so far excelled his might that he never found use for the strength which he had
so well did he form his plans and work out his stratagems. If his chief delight was to meet with a fierce sheriff or a purse-proud priest, “all under the greenwood tree,” his next was to encounter some burly groom who refused to give place to the king of the forest, and was ready to make good his right of way with cudgel or sword ; the tinker, who, with his crabtree staff, “made Robin's sword cry twang," was a fellow of their stamp. With such companions he recruited his bands when death or desertion thinned them, and it seemed that to be qualified for his service it was necessary to excel him at the use of the sword or the quarter staff; his skill in the bow was not so easily approached. He was a man, too, of winning manners and captivating address, for his eloquence united with his woodland cheer, sometimes prevailed on the very men who sought his life to assume his livery.
Pluralist.–One who holds several offices at the same time ;
generally applied to clergymen who hold several ecclesi
astical offices or several livings at the same time. Our Lady.—The Virgin Mary. The Poet of Rydal Mount.-Wordsworth, who has a short poem on
“Rob Roy's Grave,” in which occur the famous lines
“Because the good old rule
THE OLD SOLDIER. [OLIVER GOLDSMITH, who, as Dr. Johnson has said, tried every
kind of literature, and adorned whatever he tried, was born 10th November, 1728. He has given us one of the best novels in our language, “ The Vicar of Wakefield ;" one of the best comedies, “She Stoops to Conquer;" besides miscellaneous writings on almost every conceivable subject.
After a chequered life, he died 4th April, 1774.] No observation is more common, and at the same time more true, than that one half of the world are ignorant how the other half lives. The misfortunes of the great are held up to engage our attention ; are enlarged upon in tones of declamation; and the world is called upon to gaze at the noble sufferers; the great, under the pressure of calamity, are conscious of several others sympathising with their distress, and have at once the comfort of admiration and pity.
There is nothing magnanimous in bearing misfortunes with fortitude when the whole world is looking on : men in such circumstances will act bravely, even from motives of vanity; but he who, in the vale of obscurity, can brave adversity, who, without friends to encourage, acquaintances to pity, or even without hope to alleviate his misfortunes, can behave with tranquillity and indifference, is truly great: whether peasant or courtier, he deserves admiration, and should be held up for our imitation and respect.
While the slightest inconveniences of the great are magnified into calamities, while tragedy mouths out their sufferings in all the strains of eloquence, the miseries of the poor are entirely disregarded ; and yet some of the lower ranks of people undergo more real hardships in one day than those of a more exalted station suffer in their whole lives. It is inconceivable what difficulties the meanest of our common sailors and soldiers endure without murmuring or regret; without passionately declaiming against Providence, or calling their fellows to be gazers on their intrepidity.
Every day is to them a day of misery, and yet they entertain their hard fate without repining.
I have been led into these reflections from accidentally meeting, some days ago, a poor fellow, whom I knew when a boy, dressed in a sailor's jacket, and begging at one of the outlets of the town with a wooden leg. I knew him to have been honest and industrious when in the country, and was curious to learn what had reduced him to his present situation. Wherefore, after having given him what I thought proper, I desired to know the history of his life and misfortunes, and the manner in which he was reduced to his present distress. The disabled soldier (for such he was, though dressed in a sailor's habit), scratching his head, and leaning on his crutch, put himself in an attitude to comply with my request, and gave me his history as follows :
“ As for my misfortunes, master, I can't pretend to have gone through any more than other folks ; for, except the loss of my limb, and my being obliged to beg, I don't know any reason that I have to complain.
“I was born in Shropshire; my father was a labourer, and died when I was five years old; so I was put upon the parish. As he had been a wandering sort of a man, the parishioners were not able to tell to what parish I belonged or where I was born, so they sent me to another parish, and that parish sent me to a third. I thought in my heart, they kept sending me about so long, that they would not let me be born in any parish at all; but at last, however, they fixed me. I had some disposition to be a scholar, and was resolved at least to know my letters; but the master of the workhouse put me to business as soon as I was able to handle a mallet ; and here I lived an easy kind of life for five years. I only wrought ten hours in the day, and had my meat and drink provided for my labour. It is true, I was not suffered to stir out of the house, for fear, as they said, I should run away ; but what of that? I had the liberty of the whole house, and the yard before the door, and that was enough for me. I was then bound out to a farmer, where I was up both early and late ; but I ate and drank well, and liked my business well enough till he died, when I was obliged to provide for myself; so I was resolved to go seek
fortune. “In this manner I went from town to town, worked when I could get employment, and starved when I could get none: when happening one day to go through a field belonging to a justice of peace, I spied a hare crossing the path just before me; and flinging my stick at it, I killed the hare, and was bringing it away when the justice himself met me; he called me poacher and a villain ; and, collaring me, desired I would give an account of myself. I fell upon my knees, begged his worship's pardon, and began to give a full account of all that I knew of my breed, seed, and generation; but, though I gave a very true account, the justice said I could give no account; and so I was indicted at the sessions, found guilty of being poor, and sent up to London to Newgate, in order to be transported as a vagabond.
“People may say this and that of being in jail; but, for my part, I found Newgate as agreeable a place as ever I was in all my life. This kind of life was too good to last for ever; so I was taken out of prison, after five months; put on board a ship, and sent off, with two hundred more, to the plantations. We had but an indifferent passage ; for, being all confined in the hold, more than a hundred of our people died for want of sweet air; and those that remained were sickly enough. When we came ashore, we were sold to the planters, and I was bound for seven years
“When my time was expired, I worked my passage home, and glad I was to see Old England again, because I loved my country. I was afraid, however,