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The Shield of Achilles, with variations

And in it he placed the Fitzwilliam and King's College Chapel and the lofty towered church of the Great Saint Mary, which looketh toward the Senate House, and King's Parade and Trumpington Road and the Pitt Press and the divine opening of the Market Square and the beautiful flowing fountain which formerly Hobson laboured to make with skilful art; him did his father beget in the many-public-housed Trumpington from a slavey mother, and taught him blameless works; and he, on the other hand, sprang up like a young shoot, and many beautifully matched horses did he nourish in his stable, which used to convey his rich possessions to London and the various cities of the world; but oftentimes did he let them out to others and whensoever anyone was desirous of hiring one of the long-tailed horses, he took them in order so that the labour was equal to all, wherefore do men now speak of the choice of the renowned Hobson. And in it he placed the close of the divine Parker, and many beautiful undergraduates were delighting their tender minds upon it playing cricket with one another; and a match was being played and two umpires were quarrelling with one another; the one saying that the batsman who was playing was out, and the other declaring with all his might that he was not; and while they two were contending, reviling one another with abusive language, a ball came and hit one of them on the nose, and the blood flowed out in a stream, and darkness was covering his eyes, but the rest were crying out on all sides:

"Shy it up."

And he could not; him then was his companion addressing with scornful words:

"Arnold, why dost thou strive with me since I am much wiser? Did I not see his leg before the wicket and rightly declare him to be out? Thee then has Zeus now punished according to thy deserts, and I will seek some other umpire of the game equally-participated-in-by-both- sides."

And in it he placed the Cam, and many boats equally rowed on both sides were going up and down on the bosom of the deep-rolling river, and the coxswains were cheering on the men, for they were going to enter the contest of the scratchean fours; and three men were rowing together in a boat, strong and stout and determined in their hearts that they would either first break a blood-vessel or earn for themselves the electroplated-Birmingham-manufactured magnificence of a pewter to stand on their hall tables in memorial of their strength, and from time to time drink from it the exhilarating streams of beer whensoever their dear heart should compel them; but the fourth was weak and unequally matched with the others, and the coxswain was encouraging him and called him by name and spake cheering words:

"Smith, when thou hast begun the contest, be not flurried nor strive too hard against thy fate; look at the back of the man before thee and row with as much strength as the Fates spun out for thee on the day when thou fellest between the knees of thy mother, neither lose thine oar, but hold it tight with thy hands."


Samuel Butler