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resistance by lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of Nature hath placed in our power.
Three millions of people armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged. Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable, and let it come! I repeat, sir, let it come!
It is vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, peace! but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the North will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death !
STUDY HINTS Study the spelling and meaning of these words : insidious
1 Choice. H. & B. READINGS II
What is the question before the House? What does the speaker say of the condition of affairs in the colonies? What figure is the “lamp of experience”? How had the colonies acted towards the mother country for ten years? Where does Patrick Henry state his opponents' arguments? Notice his reasons for expecting success in the contest. What part of the speech do you think would be most inspiring to his hearers? When was the Declaration of Independence proclaimed ? Have any sentences in that as much vigor as some in this speech?
SUGGESTIONS FOR ORAL AND WRITTEN ENGLISH
Tell what interested you most in a public speech you have heard. Write a short speech nominating for class president a classmate. Think carefully over all the qualities your friend has which will make him a good leader. Arrange the points so that the best will come last. If you know of any qualities that others may object to, try to think of something that will counterbalance them. Make a spirited speech, full of enthusiasm, so that you will persuade others to agree with you. If you want to go somewhere on “school night,” think what arguments you can use to persuade your mother to let you go. Perhaps you have prepared your lessons, or you have a first-hour study period. Arrange your points in the order of the weight you think they will have with your mother, or with your father. Write a speech opposing the nomination of some one who in spite of his good qualities lacks one that makes for success in that particular position. Write a defense of some one — without mentioning the name — that you dislike. You have not prepared your lesson; state your reasons clearly and forcibly, using Patrick Henry's method of repetition, and of reserving his best points for the last. You want a camera, or a new golf stick, or a new hat which your parents think unnecessary; state your arguments in the most effective order.
State, in a way to conciliate, if possible, your opponents, your reasons for preferring a certain style of school pin, or school motto.
Debate: The Editor of a School Paper Must Have High Class Standing.
The United States Should Have a Standing Army.
SUGGESTIONS FOR ADDITIONAL READINGS
The Virginians. William Makepeace Thackeray.
The Youth of Washington. S. Weir Mitchell.
THE SKELETON IN ARMOR 1
HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) was born in Portland, Maine. He is the most popular poet of America, and he is the only American poet whose bust has been placed in the famous Poets' Corner of Westminster Abbey. He was a classmate and intimate friend of Nathaniel Hawthorne. Longfellow's poems are noteworthy because they preserve certain phases of American life not given by any one else. Examples of this are Evangeline, which deals with an incident of the French and Indian War; Paul Revere's Ride, and The Courtship of Miles Standish, which portray colonial life; and The Song of Hiawatha, which has preserved many Indian myths. He will probably be remembered longest for The Song of Hiawatha, though many of his lyrics are familiar to every child in America. The Skeleton in Armor refers to the early visits of the Norsemen to America. See also:
Halleck's History of American Literature, pp. 222–233, 283, 284.
[The period of this poem is the same as that of Hereward the Wake, i.e. eleventh century. Two facts suggested this ballad to the poet : the mystery as to the origin of the old Round Tower at Newport, and the unearthing of a skeleton near Fall River, clad in broken and corroded armor.]
“SPEAK! speak! thou fearful guest!
Who, with thy hollow breast 1 This poem from Longfellow is used by permission of, and by arrangement with Houghton Mifflin Company, authorized publishers of his works.
Still in rude armor drest,
Comest to daunt me! Wrapt not in Eastern balms," But with thy fleshless palms Stretched, as if asking alms,
Why dost thou haunt me?” Then, from those cavernous eyes Pale flashes seemed to rise, As when the Northern skies
Gleam in December;
From the heart's chamber.
No saga* taught thee!
For this I sought thee.
Tamed the gerfalcon; 5
Trembled to walk on. 1 That is, not after the fashion of an Egyptian mummy. 2A Scandinavian pirate.
3 A Scandinavian poet who celebrated the deeds of heroes, accompanying himself on the harp. * A Scandinavian legend.
5 A particularly fierce species of falcon.