sanctuary (n.)
As long as you keep this country as the sanctuary of liberty, wherever the chosen race and sons of England worship freedom, they will turn their faces towards you.
Edmund Burke (1729-1797), ‘Speech on Conciliation with America (1775)’
White horses, Falkland Islands. © Vogelfreund, Wikimedia Commons. Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0.
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english language and history .com
a celebration in music, word games and two-minute tales
UK summer time

Two-minute tales from history, myth and fiction, accompanied by word games, grammar games and writing practice, all based on traditional school textbooks.

A to Z Index

Glorious John
Music: Johann Baptist Cramer
JB Cramer was one of the finest pianists of his day, though his reverence for Mozart made his own music more popular in the drawing room than the concert hall.

BY 1784, thirteen-year-old Johann Baptist Cramer was such a naturally gifted pianist that Muzio Clementi, his distinguished teacher, performed a duet with him in public. Four years later, Johann toured Europe, and again in 1799, attracting the notice of both Haydn and Beethoven, who declared him the finest pianist of the day.

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Six Posts
Cragside: the Home of Modern Living
Music: Charles Villiers Stanford
Lord Armstrong’s home was an Aladdin’s cave of Victorian technology.

CRAGSIDE House was developed over several years by Victorian industrialist William Armstrong, starting in 1863.

A keen naturalist, he planted his land with seven million trees and shrubs, chiefly conifers and rhododendrons, and created what remains one of Europe’s largest rock gardens.

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The Economic Case for Generous Wages
Music: William Herschel
Adam Smith asks employers to pay the most generous wages their finances will allow.
By Adam Smith
(1723-1790)

THE liberal reward of labour increases the industry of the common people. The wages of labour are the encouragement of industry, which, like every other human quality, improves in proportion to the encouragement it receives.

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Perfection is no Trifle
Music: Francesco Geminiani
Michelangelo had a message for all serious entrepreneurs.
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)

MICHAEL Angelo was one day explaining to a visitor at his studio, what he had been doing at a statue since his previous visit.

“I have retouched this part, — polished that, — softened this feature, — brought out that muscle,— given some expression to this lip, and more energy to that limb.”

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India’s First Railway
Music: Sir George Macfarren
The opening of the Bombay to Thane line was the real beginning of British India.

AT 3.30pm on April 16th, 1853, as the band played ‘God Save the Queen’, fourteen railway carriages carrying four hundred VIPs jolted, and left Bombay for Thane. It was the opening day of the Great Indian Peninsular Railway, India’s first passenger-carrying line, and ahead were twenty-one miles of 5'6" track, which the triple-headed train gobbled up in forty-five minutes.

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Hyder Ali and Tipu
two-part story
Music: Johann Christian Bach
The British encountered no stouter resistance in India than Mysore’s gifted commmander Hyder Ali and his son, Tipu.

IN 1778, King Louis XVI of France declared war on Britain, and London responded by driving the colonial French out of the port of Mahé in Mysore, a kingdom in southwest India dating back to the turn of the fifteenth century.

This trespass incensed Hyder Ali, Mysore’s brilliant military commander whose hero status had already relegated King Krishnaraja Wodeyar II to a mere figurehead.

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Cuthbert and the Expert Witness
two-part story
Music: Charles Villiers Stanford
A hungry monk thought he had got away with the tastiest of crimes, but St Cuthbert kept his promise to his beloved birds.
Based on the account by Reginald of Durham
(12th century)

SAINT Cuthbert loved all the birds of Inner Farne, and feared for them after he was gone. So he bequeathed to them a legacy, which is called ‘St Cuthbert’s Peace’.

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AZ Index

See a complete A-Z List of all the stories on this website.

Featured Topic
Tagged ‘Poets and Poetry’ (26 posts)
page 1
1 Autumn: A Dirge
By Percy Bysshe Shelley
(1792-1822)
Poet Percy Shelley calls on November’s sister months to watch by the graveside of the dead Year.
2 To Autumn
By John Keats
(1795-1821)
Poet John Keats speaks of the beauties of Autumn, her colours, her sounds and her rich harvest.
3 The Empire Within
By Percy Bysshe Shelley
(1792-1822)
Poet Percy Bysshe Shelley says that the pinnacle of political achievement is the government not of others, but of ourselves.
4 Eddi’s Service
By Rudyard Kipling
(1865-1936)
Rudyard Kipling’s poem about St Wilfrid’s chaplain and an unusual Christmas congregation.
5 ‘The Overland Mail’
By Rudyard Kipling
(1865-1936)
A tribute to the postal workers of British India, and to the kind of empire they helped to build.
6 ‘Recessional’
By Rudyard Kipling
(1865-1936)
A heartfelt plea for humility at the height of Britain’s Empire.
page 2
7 ‘The Nightingale and the Glow Worm’
By William Cowper
(1731-1800)
A kind of Aesop’s Fable in verse, about mutual respect among those with different talents.
8 Ring out the Old, Ring in the New
By Alfred, Lord Tennyson
(1809-1892)
For Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Christmas was a time to let the dead past bury its dead.
9 Christmas Bells
By Alfred, Lord Tennyson
(1809-1892)
The sounds of an English country Christmas helped Tennyson in his deep mourning for an old friend.
10 Six Honest Serving-Men
By Rudyard Kipling
(1865-1936)
A professional journalist and author recognises that he has met his match
11 Northumberland
By Wilfrid Wilson Gibson
(1878-1962)
A poem of nostalgia for the sea breezes and yellow gorse of Northumberland.
12 ‘Sussex’
By Rudyard Kipling
(1865-1936)
A meditation on our instinctive love for the place in which we live.
page 3
13 King Arthur’s Last Request
By Alfred, Lord Tennyson
(1809-1892)
The legendary British warrior makes ready for his final journey, leaving Sir Bedivere with one last duty to perform.
14 The Pitman Poet
Joseph Skipsey taught himself to read and write by candlelight, hundreds of feet below ground in a Northumberland pit.
15 ‘My Shadow’
By Robert Louis Stevenson
(1850-1894)
An enduringly popular, bitter-sweet poem by the author of ‘Treasure Island’.
16 A Farewell
By Charles Kingsley
(1819-75)
A last goodbye breathes promise of a merry meeting.
17 The Rainbow
By William Wordsworth
(1770-1850)
God’s covenant of love is a fresh joy every time it appears.
18 ‘Hail, Liberty!’
By Rudyard Kipling
(1865-1936)
Kipling borrowed from the Greek Independence movement to give thanks for the end of the Great War.
page 4
19 ‘If...’
By Rudyard Kipling
(1865-1936)
A reflection on what builds real character
20 Daffodils
By William Wordsworth
(1770-1850)
A poem about the blessing of fond memories.
21 Love’s Last Knot
By Richard Crashaw
(1613-1649)
Richard Crashaw offers the hope of eternity for wedded love.
22 ‘I Remember’
By Thomas Hood
(1799-1845)
A poem of nostalgia tinged with regret.
23 Unsung Heroes
By Thomas Gray
(1716-1771)
The poet reflects on the obscure lives that most of us lead.
24 November
By Thomas Hood
(1799-1845)
Humorist Thomas Hood obviously didn’t like to see the nights drawing in
page 5
25 Ozymandias
By Percy Bysshe Shelley
(1792-1822)
The glory of political power soon passes away.
26 The Music of Silence
By Samuel Taylor Coleridge
(1772-1834)
In Coleridge’s epic poem, the Ancient Mariner, amid the horrors of a ship of dead men, sees a sight both beautiful and surreal.
which is ‘English Style’ ?

Word Play: Confusables

Compose your own sentences to show the difference between these words:

Sever. Severe. Several.

JB Cramer was one of the finest pianists of his day, though his reverence for Mozart made his own music more popular in the drawing room than the concert hall.
By Percy Bysshe Shelley
(1792-1822)
Poet Percy Bysshe Shelley says that the pinnacle of political achievement is the government not of others, but of ourselves.
By John Keats
(1795-1821)
Poet John Keats speaks of the beauties of Autumn, her colours, her sounds and her rich harvest.
By Percy Bysshe Shelley
(1792-1822)
Poet Percy Shelley calls on November’s sister months to watch by the graveside of the dead Year.
Cut
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Polyword ‘Lane’
Make as many words as you can with the letters below. All your words must be at least four letters long, and must also include the highlighted letter. What’s the nine-letter word?

SEE how many words you can make using the letters below. All your words must be at least 4 letters long, and must include the letter (change).

We found commonly used words, plus one 9-letter word. Can you do better?

Use each letter only once. But if there are e.g. two As, you can used them both.

Don’t count proper nouns such as April, Zeus, or London (pretty much anything that has to be spelled with a capital letter at the start), or acronyms like HMRC.

Don’t just add -S for plurals or third person singular verbs, e.g. CAT → CATS or SPEAK → SPEAKS.

More Puzzles
Do you know ‘a brilliant solo passage in a concerto’ (7 letters), and ‘e.g. lion, tiger’ (3,3 letters)?
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with FRIES and finish with CHIPS.
Do you know ‘complaint’ (4 letters), and ‘be the right size and shape for a space’ (3 letters)?
Try writing complete sentences using these nouns as either the subject or the object of a verb.
See if you can guess these words letter-by-letter.
A word-making and word-searching game with a dash of strategy to it.
top topics
History (379)
Fiction (82)

letters game

What is the longest word you can make using these letters?

Press enter or type a space to see feedback on your word.

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numbers game

Work across from the number on the left, applying each arithmetical operation to the previous answer. What’s the final total?

Tip: Click any of the four inner squares to check your running total.

More like this: Maths Steps (Mental Arithmetic Game) Mental Arithmetic