Parthagica Directory 10
Page 10

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Parthagica Directory 10
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In making his preparations for a descent upon the English coast, he prepared for a very determined contest, knowing well the character of the foes with whom he would have now to deal. He built two enormous ships, much larger than those of the ordinary size, and armed and equipped them in the most perfect manner. He filled them with selected men, and sailing down along the coast of Scotland, he watched for a place and an opportunity to land. Winds and storms are almost always raging among the dark and gloomy mountains and islands of Scotland. Ragnar's ships were caught on one of these gales and driven on shore. The ships were lost, but the men escaped to the land. Ragnar, nothing daunted, organized and marshaled them as an army, and marched into the interior to attack any force which might appear against them. His course led him to Northumbria, the most northerly Saxon kingdom. Here he soon encountered a very large and superior force, under the command of Ella, the king; but, with the reckless desperation which so strongly marked his character, he advanced to attack them. Three times, it is said, he pierced the enemy's lines, cutting his way entirely through them with his little column. He was, however, at length overpowered. His men were cut to pieces, and he was himself taken prisoner. We regret to have to add that our cruel ancestors put their captive to death in a very barbarous manner. They filled a den with poisonous snakes, and then drove the wretched Ragnar into it. The horrid reptiles killed him with their stings. It was Ella, the king of Northumbria, who ordered and directed this punishment.

The Pre-Raphaelites, for instance, were a group and not a coterie. They were engaged in working and enjoying, in looking out for artistic promise, in welcoming and praising any performance of a kind that Rossetti recognised as "stunning." They were sure of their ground. The brotherhood, with its magazine, The Germ, and its mystic initials, was all a gigantic game; and they held together because they were revolutionary in this, that they wished to slay, as one stabs a tyrant, the vulgarised and sentimental art of the day. They did not effect anything like a revolution, of course. It was but a ripple on the flowing stream, and they diverged soon enough, most of them, into definite tracks of their own. The strength of the movement lay in the fact that they hungered and thirsted after art, clamouring for beauty, so Mr. Chesterton says, as an ordinary man clamours for beer. But their aim was not to mystify or to enlarge their own consequence, but to convert the unbeliever, and to produce fine things.

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