+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

And they call it a Fever,
Putrid or low;
But I and the weaver
Both of us know
That the fetid well-water, and steaming styes,
And the choked drains' gases, that unseen rise,
Subtle and still,
Snre and slow,
Certain to kill
With an unheard blow,
Are the fiends who poisoned that maiden's breath,
And cling to her still as she sleeps in death!

And the weaver, haggard, and worn to the bone,
With clasp├ęd hands and despairing moan,
Knowing the poison that lurks in the room,
Still doggedly stays till he meets his doom!
I laugh to think,
How they greedily drink
Of the poisoned cup
Till they drink it up!
And ever to time-honoured filth revert.
And love to the death their old King Dirt!


LITTLE children are sometimes as much
puzzled as older people, about how the world
got on before they and other wise moderns
were born; about how men lived without the
conveniences and comforts afforded by our
arts of life. We are not quite so conceited now
as we were a century ago, in regard to our
superiority to the ancients; for, the farther
we go back among ancient monuments, the
more evidence we find, that some of our
most recent inventions and luxuries were in
common use before old Troy was founded,
and before the venerable Abraham set out
on his travels a young man. About one
thing, however, little children are right
enough, as far as we know. They are not
absurd in asking, how people, in old times,
ever got on without glass windows? We
knew a little child, who was fond of looking
out of the window in bad weather, when
there was no getting a walk: and the same
child had to go a long journey in a post-chaise,
day after day, before railroads were
made; and how any child could have borne
the being boxed up in a post-chaise so long,
without a window to look out of when it was
windy, and the rain-drops to watch on the
pane during the showers, there is no saying.
She was so far aware of this, that she asked
everybody likely to answer her, what people
did when there were no windows? The
more she was told of wooden shutters, that
were closed in bad weather, or of horn or
parchment panes, which let in a dim, dirty
light, but could not be seen through, the
more she pitied the ancients, who knew
nothing of the amusement of watching the
jerking, capricious drops on a window, which
seem never to be able to make up their minds
which way they shall run, in their inevitable
general direction from top to bottom. And
what groping work, trying to read, write, or
sew, behind parchment panes! and how cold,
most days of the year, if the wooden shutters
were opened to lot in light! Something of
this may be seen now, in the homes of some
people who speak our language, and otherwise
live pretty much as we do- the settlers in
the wilder parts of the American woods,
where the glazier has not yet found his

When the mail drives up at night, with its
load of hungry passengers, there shines the
settler's dwelling- the yellow light, and the
scent of broiling ham or venison, diffusing
themselves at once through the square holes,
which will be closed by shutters when the
mail drives off. The light streams out, and
strikes red upon the stems of the pines, or
yellow upon those of the beeches; the fragrance
streams out upon the fainting senses
of travellers, and unto the nostrils of the
negroes, who gather about the door, as the
heavy coach jolts up to the threshold, and
the chill night air rushes in upon the cooking
dame and her "help," and makes the lamp
flare; or, if the air be not chilly, swarms of
mosquitoes invade the dwelling, and amply
prove the curse of the want of glass windows.
Yet this- if we leave out the mosquitoes, and
aggravate the dulness and dampness of the
air- was what our forefathers had to put up
with, not so very long ago. Three centuries
since- when Alnwick Castle was in its glory,
and had all manner of conveniences that
ordinary dwellings were without- the glass
windows of the Duke of Northumberland
were put up only when the family were at
home, and taken down immediately on their
departure, for fear of accident. So lately as
two centuries ago, the only glazed windows
in Scotch dwellings were those of the upper
rooms in palaces; the lower windows being
still furnished simply with wooden shutters.
It is true, this was one thousand years after
some of our churches and abbeys had been
graced, and kept warm and dry, by the use
of glass windows. At least, we know that
artists were brought from the Continent to
glaze the windows of a church and monastery
at Wearmouth, in the county of Durham, in
the year 674; and the mention of the subject
brings before us the beautiful painted windows
that the pious put up in our cathedrals, and
other churches, long before that Duke of
Northumberland was born, whose ''casements"
were taken such care of whenever
he left Alnwick.

Suppose any one had mentioned, at any of
these dates, such a thing as a whole house
made of glass,- what a romance the notion
would have appeared! Some say, indeed,
that old Chaucer did imagine such a thing;
and in his "House of Fame" there is a description
of a dream of a temple of glass,
with metal pillars, stretching far away, and
crowds of people from all regions roaming
about within it: but Chaucer's readers received
this as a dream. The chimera has come