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Altorff named Gesler; who, by abusing the power intrusted to him, iniquitously exercised the most cruel tyranny. Interest or caprice alone directed his decisions; justice and reason were banished; judgment was sold; the innocent were punished arbitrarily; and the ministers of the tyrant committed the most enormous crimes with impunity.
2. He at last added extravagance to cruelty, and, having caused a pole to be erected in a public square, and placed a hat upon it, he ordered, under pain of death, that all who passed that way should bow down before it, and reverence it as they did his own person.
3. In the same canton there lived a man of rough but frank manners, named WILLIAM TELL, who, having come on business to Altorff, passed through the publick square, and, beholding the pole with the hat upon it, hesitated a moment between wonder and laughter; but, not knowing its object, and but little curious to inquire, he negligently passed this emblem of power.
4. The irreverence paid to the pole, and the infraction of the severe edict, were speedily reported to the governour, who, being filled with rage, ordered the criminal to be instantly arrested, and brought before him. He received the offender with the savage look of cruelty peculiar to a base mind, jealous of its authority, and ferocious when it is made the subject of derision.
5. "Villain," said he, "is this your respect for my power and decrees? But you shall feel their full weight, and afford a wretched proof that my dignity is not to be affronted with impunity." Astonished, but not intimidated at this invective, Tell freely inquired of what he was accused, as he was unconscious of any crime.
6. "Contempt and derision of my power," said the tyrant. "I had no notice," replied Tell," of your edict; and, without being instructed, I should never have dreamt of saluting a pole, or that irreverence to a hat was high treason against the state."
7. Enraged at the tone and air of derision with which this was pronounced, and the reasonableness of the still more humiliating reply, he commanded the unfortunate man to be dragged away to the lowest dungeon of the cas tle, and there, loaded with chains, await his vengeance,
8. While the tyrant was revolving the subject in his own mind, and endeavouring to invent some unheard-of punishment, which should strike terrour into the Swiss, the only and beloved son of Tell was brought into his presence by the soldiers.
9. His ingenious cruelty immediately conceived the barbarous design of compelling the virtuous Tell to become the murderer of his son. For this purpose, he ordered the child to be placed at a considerable distance, and then, placing an apple upon his head, he offered a full pardon to the wretched parent, if he should strike it off with an arrow.
10. Horrour-struck at the proposal, he fell at the feet of the tyrant, and besought him to take his life, and not insist upon the fatal experiment. But the anguish of the parent only strengthened the determination of Gesler, and the bow and a quiver of arrows were brought forth.
11. The governour, attended by his satellites, now proceeded to the square to witness the scene. The unhappy boy was conducted into the centre, bound to the pole, and the fatal apple was placed upon his head. Gesler thrilled with joy at the preparations, but a groan of horrour arose on all sides from the populace who had assembled.
12. Although Tell was accounted the most skilful archer in the canton, it was some time before he could obtain his usual self-possession. At last, with a firm hand, he placed the arrow, and, when he drew the fatal string, the spectators, who had for some time remained in breathless silence, burst forth into a convulsive groan.
13. At that instant the arrow sped with the velocity of lightning, and, piercing the apple, bore it to some distance without injuring the child. A shout of applause testified the joy of the spectators. The governour alone appeared dissatisfied with the result, and turned his eye upon the successful archer with the aspect of disappointed revenge.
14. At that instant, another arrow, which Tell had concealed under his cloak, fell upon the ground. "Unequalled archer," said the tyrant, "since you were only to shoot once, for what purpose was this second arrow concealed?" “To have pierced you to the heart," replied the magnanimous Tell, “ if I had been so unfortunate as to kill my son."
15. The infuriate Gesler immediately ordered his sol
diers to seize him, but the populace interfered, and a tumult ensued, during which a well-directed arrow from the bow of Tell struck the tyrant to the heart, and obtained for the patriotick hero the honourable appellation of Deliverer of his Country.
THE FIELD Of Battle.
THE sun had disappeared beneath the flood,
3. How few, of all who met with deadly zeal,
5. No one so mean of all the brave who die,
6. Few see the father bending o'er the son,
7. O, could the wail of orphans reach his ear, Or could he feel a parent's agony,
And see the widowed mother's hopeless tear,
8. O, could the ambitious once approach, and view
The desolation his ambition made,
Methinks some milder method he'd pursue,
And quit for ever war's unhallowed trade.
9. O, when will justice guide, and wisdom light, And mercy to the great her rays impart !
A splendid victory proves no conqueror right,
11. Then, if the certain fruits of war are wo,
INSINCERITY IN CONVERSATION.
MUCH has been written on the art of translating from foreign languages, both dead and living; but I do not recollect that any one has expressly written on the subject of translations from our own language, and the common conversation of life.
2. I have often remarked how useful it would be, in our intercourse with men, if we could discover the real meaning of those who speak or write to us; not that people do not know how to express their sentiments, but because they wish to be unintelligible. 3. To prevent being deceived in this manner, it is very necessary to translate what men say into what they think. I do not profess, however, to be skilled in this science, and shall therefore, only point out a few general precepts, and explain them by examples.
4. Thus, whenever a man speaks against his own interest, and, with affected modesty, accuses himself of some defect, be on your guard against him; for, you may depend upon it, there is something in his conversation to be translated.
5. Great compliments, protestations of esteem, and eulogiums upon your merit, mean, in other words, that you are necessary to him who flatters you, and that he is about to ask Some favour of you.
6. In general, the good which is said of others stands in need of some explanation or commentary; but it is not so with
the good a man says of himself; his only fear is, that he may not be sufficiently explicit. The majority of females would be indignant at the flattery which is lavished upon them, if they had been accustomed, from their youth, to translate it into its true meaning.
7. One man is nominated to some publick office to which another is aspiring, who accuses him of incapability and dishonesty; but, should he talk whole hours in this strain, his conversation may be translated by one word, envy.
8. In fine, I would recommend to all persons who wish to know the truth, not to rest satisfied with the literal expression, but translate, translate; and recollect, that the obvious sense is not always the true one. Happy, indeed, are those friends, who can converse intelligibly together, and stand in no need of a translation.
THE YANKEE IN ENGLAND.
SELECTED, BY PERMISSION, FROM SCENES IN THE DRAMA OF GENERAL HUMPHREYS.
Enter Doolittle alone.
Doolittle. OH, Doolittle, Doolittle! you have brought your pigs to a fine market. Now I guess you'd better staid at hum with mother. She tell'd you all about the perils of the salt sea, but you would'nt believe her. No, no; you were too plaguy knowing for poor mother; and you e'en-a-most broke her heart, you know you did: (sobbing) yes, yes; you were a nation deal wiser than brother Jonathan and all the rest on 'em. Oh, Doolittle! Doolittle! what will become of you next? In strange parts; all in tatters; without a copper, or a cent. Where to git a day's work or a meal's victuals is more than I know. But there's no use in being dumpish and downish. I'll boost my sperits up a leetle higher, as the boys do when they go through the burying yard alone in a dark night. (Whistles the tune of Yankee doodle.)
Enter General Stuart.
Gen. You belong to this house, young man, don't you? Doo. No; I guess I belong to America, when I'm at hum. Gen. You did'nt exactly comprehend my meaning, but it is of no consequence. But, as you belong to America, and I