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English Language and History .com is a collection of two-minute tales drawn from history, myth and fiction. Each tale is accompanied by word games testing grammar and expression, based on textbooks used in British schools from the 1920s to the 1960s.

Three Posts
Mrs Bold’s Thunderclap
Music: Charles Villiers Stanford
There comes a point in some relationships when words just aren’t enough.
By Anthony Trollope
(1815-1882)

“AH, Eleanor, will it not be sweet, with the Lord’s assistance, to travel hand in hand through this mortal valley which His mercies will make pleasant to us, till hereafter we shall dwell together at the foot of His throne?”

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‘God Tempers the Wind to the Shorn Lamb’
Music: Charles Villiers Stanford
Mary Mason could not forgive herself for a past misdeed.
By Anthony Trollope
(1815-1882)

I MAY, perhaps be thought to owe an apology to my readers in that I have asked their sympathy for a woman who had so sinned as to have placed her beyond the general sympathy of the world at large.

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Happy Government
Music: Charles Villiers Stanford
Lady Glencora scolds the Earl of Brentford for political inactivity, but he warns her to be careful what she wishes for.
By Anthony Trollope
(1815-1882)

“WHAT a nice, happy, lazy time you’ve had of it since you’ve been in,” said she to the Earl.

“I hope we have been more happy than lazy,” said the Earl.

“But you’ve done nothing. Mr Palliser has twenty schemes of reform, all mature; but among you you’ve not let him bring in one of them. The Duke and Mr Mildmay and you will break his heart among you.”

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Featured Topic
Tagged ‘Classical History’ (24 posts)
page 1
1 The Golden Age of Carausius
A Roman commander facing court martial took refuge in politics, and for ten years London was an imperial capital.
2 A Pyrrhic Victory
By Plutarch
(AD 46-120)
The ancient Greek King knew victory had cost his army more than it could afford to lose.
3 The Rewards of Treachery
By Marcus Tullius Cicero
(106-43 BC)
Cicero warns those who seek power through civic unrest that they will never be the beneficiaries of it.
4 St Helen Finds the True Cross
Based on ‘Elene’ by Cynewulf
(8th century)
The mother of the Roman Emperor goes to Jerusalem on a quest close to her heart.
5 Xerxes Scourges the Hellespont
By Herodotus
(?484-?425 BC)
The Persian King felt that a lord of his majesty should not have to take any nonsense from an overgrown river.
6 Boudica
British sympathy for Roman imperial progress evaporated when officials began asset-stripping the country.
page 2
7 St George the Triumphant Martyr
One of the Emperor Galerius’s most trusted generals openly defied him.
8 ‘Stand out of my Sunshine!’
By Plutarch
(AD 45-120)
Alexander the Great dropped a hint to his sycophantic entourage.
9 Alcibiades
In the populist democracy of 5th-century BC Athens, heroes fell as quickly as they rose.
10 Pericles and the Fickle Public of Athens
The leader of 5th-century BC Athens lavished public money on the city and its adoring citizens.
11 The Last Days of Socrates
Socrates was placed on death row while Athens celebrated a religious festival.
12 The Battle of Marathon
Remembered as the inspiration of the famous Olympic road race, but much more important than that.
page 3
13 First Contact
Julius Caesar came over from France expecting to silence the noisy neighbours, but things did not go according to plan.
14 The Season of ‘Goodwill’
‘Goodwill’ was on everyone’s lips, but the Roman Emperor and the God of Israel had very different ideas about it.
15 Keep away from the Games!
From ‘Letters to Lucilius’ by Seneca the Younger
(?4BC-?AD65)
The wise old philosopher had learnt that popular entertainments rot the soul.
16 The Speech of King Caratacus
By Cornelius Tacitus
(AD 56-117)
A proud British king, taken to Rome as a trophy of Empire, refused to plead for his life.
17 A Battle of Wills
Based on ‘A Book of Golden Deeds’ by Charlotte Yonge
(1823-1901)
Two strong and determined men refused to back down.
18 A Man called ‘Beta’
For a perennial ‘runner-up’, Eratosthenes had a peculiar knack of being first.
page 4
19 Hannibal’s Passage of the Alps
Hannibal’s crossing of the Alps with nearly 50,000 men and 38 elephants is the stuff of legend.
20 A Bird in the Hand is Worth...
From ‘History of the Wars’ by Procopius of Caesarea
(c.500—c.560)
The Roman Emperor Honorius, so the story goes, had more on his mind than the impending sack of one of Europe’s iconic cities.
21 The Battle of Ynys Mon
Based on an account by Cornelius Tacitus
(AD 56-117)
Suetonius Paulinus, Governor of Britain, hoped to enhance his reputation.
22 Horatius at the Bridge
Based on a story by Charlotte Yonge
(1823-1901)
Horatius Cocles was the last man standing between Rome’s republic and the return of totalitarian government in 509 BC.
23 The Last Gladiator
The people of Rome suddenly turned their back on centuries of ‘sport’ - all because of one harmless old man.
24 The Battle of Salamis
Defeat for the Greeks would have changed the course of Western civilization.

Word Play: Verb or Noun?

Use each of the words below once as a noun and once as a verb:

Father. Fine. Register.

What’s New
By Cynewulf
(8th century)
Northumbrian poet Cynewulf paints a word-picture of heaven and the seraph-band that swoops and soars before the throne.
By Sir Winston S. Churchill
(1874-1965)
As a last, desperate throw of the dice in the Great War, the Germans detonated an unusual kind of weapon in St Petersburg.
Based on the play by William Shakespeare
(1564-1616)
Don Pedro’s brother John tries to ensure that the course of true love does not run smooth.
By Saint Bede of Jarrow
(672-735)
St Bede says that Christ’s Transfiguration should remind us that we live in two worlds at the same time.
Try writing complete sentences using these verbs in either the active or the passive voice.
Decide whether a word is a verb or a noun (or both), and compose example sentences.
Polyword ‘Vine’
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 Newcastle (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.

Note: You can find more Polywords and other games on our Nine Lives puzzle page, and most of our stories are accompanied by games with words, grammar and numbers.

More Puzzles
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with FULL and finish with STOP.
Do you know ‘conclusive evidence’ (5 letters), and ‘perceptive realisation’ (6 letters)?
Try writing complete sentences using these verbs in either the active or the passive voice.
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with SPIT and finish with FIRE.
Do you know ‘a brilliant solo passage in a concerto’ (7 letters), and ‘e.g. lion, tiger’ (3,3 letters)?
Make words like ‘give in’ and ‘switch off’, and then find other words to express their meaning.
top topics
History (351)
Fiction (73)

letters game

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numbers game

Make the total shown using two or more of the numbers underneath it. You can add, subtract, divide and multiply. Use any number once only.

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