Sir Hornboook; or, Childe Launcelot's Expidition

I | II | III | IV | V | VI | VII


And now a wider space they gained,
A steeper, harder ground,
Where by one ample wall contained,
All earthly things they found: 12

All beings, rich, poor, weak, or wise,
Were there, full strange to see,
And attributes and qualities
Of high and low degree.

Before the circle stood a knight,
Sir Substantive his name, 13
With Adjective, his lady bright,
Who seemed a portly dame;

Yet only seemed; for whenso'er
She strove to stand alone, 14
She proved no more than smoke and air,
Who looked like flesh and bone.

And therefore to her husband's arm
She clung for evermore,
And lent him many a grace and charm
He had not known before;

Yet these the knight felt well advised,
He might have done without;
For lightly foreign help he prized
He was so staunch and stout.

Five sons had they, their dear delight,
Of different forms and faces;
And two of them were Numbers bright, 15
And three they christened Cases. 16

Now loudly rung Sir Hornbook's horn;
Childe Launcelot poised his spear;
And on they rushed, to conquest borne,
In swift and full career.

Sir Substantive kicked down the wall:
It fell with furious rattle:
And earthly things and beings all
Rushed forth to join the battle.

But earthly things and beings all,
Through mixed in boundless plenty,
Must one by one dissolving fall
To Hornbook's six-and-twenty.

Childe Launcelot won the arduous fray,
And, when they ceased from strife,
Led stout Sir Substantive away,
His children, and his wife.

Sir Hornbook wound his horn again,
Full long, and loud, and shrill:
His merrymen all, a warlike train,
Went marching up the hill.

12 A noun is the name of whatsoever thing or being we see or discourse of.

13 Nouns are of two kinds, substantives and adjectives. A noun substantive declares its own meaning, and requires not another world to be joined with it to show its signification; as, man, book, apple.

14 A noun adjective cannot stand alone, but always requires to be joined with a substantive, of which it shows the nature or quality, as, "a good girl,"--"a naughty boy."

15 Nouns have two numbers, singular and plural;--

16 and three cases: nominative, possessive, and objective.

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