Sunday, February 22, 2009

Govern thyself by law

This week, my sixth graders will study Alfred the Great.

It is with joyful anticipation that I look forward to introducing the new memorization piece: King Alfred's Farewell Address to his son.

A number of year's ago, I read Jacob Abbott's Alfred the Great. Abbott was a19th century writer, and this book was first published in 1849. The writing is exquisite.

Many parts impressed me, but my very favorite is toward the end of Alfred's life. He addresses his son with valuable words. These words I want the sixth graders to memorize. Note particularly the italicized lines.

"Thou, my dear son, set thee now beside me,
and I will deliver thee true instructions.
I feel that my hour is coming.
My strength is gone; my countenance is wasted and pale.
My days are almost ended. We must now part.
I go to another world,
and thou art to be left alone in the possession of all that I have thus far held.
I pray thee, my dear child, to be a father to thy people.
Be the children's father and the widow's friend.
Comfort the poor, protect and shelter the weak,
and, with all thy might, right that which is wrong.
And, my son, govern thyself by law.
Then shall the Lord love thee, and God himself shall be thy reward.
Call thou upon him to advise thee in all thy need,
and he shall help thee to compass all thy desires.

Abbott's Alfred the Great can be found online. I got mine years ago from Abeka who published several of Abbott's books. I'm sure some used copies can be found at Alibris. If you are like me, you must hold a real book in your real hands. I would have to be more than desperate to read a book from my computer screen. :)

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