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Serf   /sərf/   Listen
Serf

noun
1.
(Middle Ages) a person who is bound to the land and owned by the feudal lord.  Synonyms: helot, villein.



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"Serf" Quotes from Famous Books



... and bold beady eyes, he looked what he was, the superb brute—the brute reckless of all save the instant satisfaction of his desires. He came of a family of colliers, the most debased class in a lawless district. Jack's father had been a colliery-serf, legally enslaved to his colliery, legally liable to be sold with the colliery as a chattel, and legally bound to bring up all his sons as colliers, until the Act of George III. put an end to this incredible survival from the customs of the Dark Ages. Black Jack was now a hero to the crowd, ...
— Tales of the Five Towns • Arnold Bennett

... fancies it fired! What golden wishes and hopes inspired! To give but a mere abridgment— What a leg to leg-bail Embarrassment's serf! What a leg for a Leg to take on the turf! What a ...
— The Poetical Works of Thomas Hood • Thomas Hood

... from the Saxon's face. "Chastise me!" he repeated. "You would find it somewhat difficult, Master Fitz-Urse. Do you think you are talking to a Norman serf? You will please to remember you are in England; but if you are not satisfied with my apology, I will ride with you a few miles into the country, and we will then try with equal arms where the chastisement is ...
— Wulf the Saxon - A Story of the Norman Conquest • G. A. Henty

... long completely his own master, consented to become the servant even of famous Royal princes? I think that as mothers accept irksome situations for the support of their children, so La Bruyere became the serf of the Condes for the sake of his book. For it is now time to reveal the fact that in this apparently listless, empty life there was one absorbing secret interest. This was the collection of the maxims, reflections, pictures, and what not which ...
— Three French Moralists and The Gallantry of France • Edmund Gosse

... Kenric, who helped him when he faltered in his narrative. The two brothers might almost have been mistaken for master and serf, so much did their appearance differ. Kenric's face was unwashed and streaked with the traces of tears. His brown hair, lighter than Alpin's, was rough and tangled, and now, as always, he wore no covering on his head. His coarse buckskin coat looked mean beside the richer apparel of his brother, ...
— The Thirsty Sword • Robert Leighton

... peasant became a landed proprietor, and though his little estate had only been under cultivation for two years, he had five hundred acres cleared by his own hands, and five hundred head of cattle. He was his own master, after having been a serf in Europe, and as independent as one can be in the freest country ...
— In Search of the Castaways • Jules Verne

... that gilds alike the palace walls And lowly hut, with genial radiance falls On peer and peasant,—but the lowliest here Walks in the sunshine, free as is a peer. Proudly he stands with muscles strong and free, The serf—the slave of no man, doomed to be. His own, the arm the heavy axe that wields,— His own, the hands that till the summer fields,— His own, the babes that prattle in the door,— His own, the wife that treads the cottage floor, All the sweet ties of life to him are sure, All the proud rights ...
— Poems of the Heart and Home • Mrs. J.C. Yule (Pamela S. Vining)

... injustice. It was proposed to punish him for no crime, to declare the laborer not worthy of his hire, to leave him friendless and forlorn, without sympathy, without rights under the law, socially an outcast and industrially a serf—a serf who had no connection with the land he tilled, and who had none of the protection which even the Autocracy of Russia extended to the lowliest creature that acknowledged the sovereignty of ...
— Twenty Years of Congress, Volume 2 (of 2) • James Gillespie Blaine

... shrill music, a laughter at all things, was everywhere. And the new spirit repaired even to church to take part in the novel offices of the Feast of Fools. Heads flung back in ecstasy—the morning sleep among the vines, when the fatigue of the night was over—dew-drenched garments—the serf lying at his ease at last: the artists, then so [62] numerous at the place, caught what they could, something, at least, of the richness, the flexibility of the visible aspects of life, from all this. With them the ...
— Imaginary Portraits • Walter Horatio Pater

... now you enter on a realm where all— Use, custom, morals—are untried and strange, In Poland here reigns freedom absolute; The king himself, although in pomp supreme, Must ofttime be the serf of his noblesse; But there the father's sacred power prevails, And in the subject ...
— Demetrius - A Play • Frederich Schiller

... that time I have lived on one meal a day. That is what we have come to; we of the submerged majority. And that isn't all. The wage-worker himself, when he is fortunate enough to find a chance to earn his crust, is but a serf; a chattel among the other possessions of some fellow man who has acquired him in the plutocratic redistribution of the ...
— The Price • Francis Lynde

... saloon-keepers, he was serf to a brewery; and the particular brewery whose beer his mortgage compelled him to push did not make a beer that could be pushed. People complained that it had a disagreeably bitter aftertaste. In the second place, Mrs. Lange ...
— Susan Lenox: Her Fall and Rise • David Graham Phillips

... the rebound from repression was tremendous, like a powerful spring that has been held down, or like an explosive which is the more destructive in proportion as it is more confined. People newly made free go to the opposite extreme. Emancipate a serf and he becomes insolent, he does not know how to use his freedom, and becomes violent. The great majority of the people are smarting from the old land laws, which have left a bitter animosity against English rule, which is popularly denounced ...
— Ireland as It Is - And as It Would be Under Home Rule • Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)

... sunrise, and herald of life to be, Smiled as dawn on the spirit of man, and the thrall was free. Slave of nature and serf of time, the bondman of life and death, Dumb with passionless patience that breathed but forlorn and reluctant breath, Heard, beheld, and his soul made answer, and communed aloud ...
— A Channel Passage and Other Poems - Taken from The Collected Poetical Works of Algernon Charles - Swinburne—Vol VI • Algernon Charles Swinburne

... all hearts to worship—how a robe Which from her shoulders, at a royal feast, To some importunate as alms she sent, By miracle within her bower was hung again: And how on her own couch the Incarnate Son In likeness of a leprous serf, she laid: And many a wondrous tale till now unheard; Which, from her handmaid's oath and attestation, Siegfried of Maintz to far Perugia sent, And sainted Umbria's labyrinthine hills, Even to the holy Council, where the Patriarchs Of Antioch and Jerusalem, and with them A host ...
— The Saint's Tragedy • Charles Kingsley

... them to cultivate it without depending on a landlord. More than once, when comparing the position of a landowner with that of an owner of serfs, Nekhludoff had compared the renting of land to the peasants instead of cultivating it with hired labour, to the old system by which serf proprietors used to exact a money payment from their serfs in place of labour. It was not a solution of the problem, and yet a step towards the solution; it was a movement towards a less rude form of slavery. And it was in this way ...
— Resurrection • Count Leo Tolstoy

... two soldiers—between Mr. Phil and the title, and that even to be the Honourable Mrs. Compton was something for a young lady, who was, if he might venture to say so, nobody—not to say a word against her charms. Lord St. Serf was hourly getting an old man, and the chances that his client might step over a hecatomb of dead relations to the height of fortune was a thing quite worth taking into account. It was a much better argument, however, to return to the analogy of other ...
— The Marriage of Elinor • Margaret Oliphant

... now, now lost in vapor's blind; Broad prairie rather, genial, level-lined, Fruitful and friendly for all human kind, Yet also nigh to Heaven and loved of loftiest stars. Nothing of Europe here, Or, then, of Europe fronting mornward still, Ere any names of serf and peer Could Nature's equal scheme deface And thwart her genial will; Here was a type of the true elder race, And one of Plutarch's men talked with us face to face. I praise him not; it were too late; And some innative weakness ...
— America First - Patriotic Readings • Various

... up the White Man's burden— No tawdry rule of kings, But toil of serf and sweeper— The tale of common things. The ports ye shall not enter, The roads ye shall not tread, Go make them with your living, And ...
— Kipling Stories and Poems Every Child Should Know, Book II • Rudyard Kipling

... those of the stuffed and dim little hall of audience, smelling of peppermint and orange-peel, where the curtain rose on our gasping but rewarded patience, two performances only stand out for me, though these in the highest relief. Love, or the Countess and the Serf, by J. Sheridan Knowles—I see that still as the blazonry of one of them, just as I see Miss Emily Mestayer, large, red in the face, coifed in a tangle of small, fine, damp-looking short curls and clad ...
— A Small Boy and Others • Henry James

... legitimates the baseness of to-day by the baseness of yesterday, a school which explains every cry of the serf against the knout as rebellious, once the knout becomes a prescriptive, a derivative, a historical knout, a school to which history only shows itself a posteriori, like the God of Israel to his servant Moses, the historical juridical school would have ...
— Selected Essays • Karl Marx

... bearing whole volumes of direful meaning, is given in the single fact that it was a common belief of that period that the holy Inquisitors would sit with Christ in the judgment at the last day.48 If king or noble took offence at some uneasy retainer or bold serf, he ordered him to be secretly buried in the cell of some secluded fortress, and he was never heard of more. So, if pope or priest hated or feared some stubborn thinker, he straightway, "Would banish him to wear a burning ...
— The Destiny of the Soul - A Critical History of the Doctrine of a Future Life • William Rounseville Alger

... years of the reign of Alexander II. have to be kept in mind, in order to understand that humanitarian motives were not the ruling ones in the final adoption of the Serf Emancipation measure. On his death-bed, Nicholas is stated to have said to his son:— "Thou hast two enemies—the nobility and the Poles. Emancipate the serfs; and do not allow the ...
— The Contemporary Review, Volume 36, September 1879 • Various

... the spirit of the age. Here are seen the old fossil footprints of feudalism. The law relating to woman tends to make every family a barony or a monarchy or a despotism, of which the husband is the baron, king, or despot, and the wife the dependent, serf, or slave. That this is not always the fact, is not due to the law, but to the enlarged humanity which spurns the narrow limits of its rules. The progress of civilization has changed the family from a barony to a republic; but the law has not kept pace ...
— Women and the Alphabet • Thomas Wentworth Higginson

... passport. Their sons might not be educated to anything but agriculture; their daughters could not be married without paying a fine to the master. Worse things than these are told of some, for of course the condition of the serf largely depended on the disposition ...
— A Forgotten Hero - Not for Him • Emily Sarah Holt

... began rapidly to develop the elements of popular force. In 1120, a Flemish knight who might descend so far as to marry a woman of the plebeian ranks incurred the penalty of degradation and servitude. In 1220, scarcely a serf was to be found in all Flanders. The Countess Jane had enfranchised all those belonging to her as early as 1222. In 1300, the chiefs of the gilden, or trades, were more powerful than the nobles. These dates and these facts must suffice to mark the epoch at which the great mass of the ...
— Holland - The History of the Netherlands • Thomas Colley Grattan

... age, mother handing down to child themes unexposed to foreign influence. It is true the Church has altered the application of many by dressing up afresh pagan observances in Christian costumes. There are several, but one of the songs of the Russian serf to his prattling offspring illustrates this statement. Before reading it, it should be borne in mind that Ovsen is the Teutonic Sun God who possessed a boar, and that the antiquity of the song belongs to a time when the Russian peasant's forefathers ...
— A History of Nursery Rhymes • Percy B. Green

... Vosnesenski Prospekt brought to the police office notice of the fact that the Pole, Kasimir Bodlevski, had left the city; and the housekeeper of the late Princess Chechevinski informed the police that the serf girl Natalia Pavlovna (Natasha) had disappeared without leaving a trace, which the housekeeper now announced, as the three ...
— The Most Interesting Stories of All Nations • Julian Hawthorne

... or selfish: but there is also noble reverence, that is to say, reasonable and loving; and a man is never so noble as when he is reverent in this kind; nay, even if the feeling pass the bounds of mere reason, so that it be loving, a man is raised by it. Which had, in reality, most of the serf nature in him,—the Irish peasant who was lying in wait yesterday for his landlord, with his musket muzzle thrust through the ragged hedge; or that old mountain servant, who, 200 years ago, at Inverkeithing, gave up his own life and the lives of his seven sons ...
— The Stones of Venice, Volume II (of 3) • John Ruskin

... absence of the beloved, choosing to be without hope, protesting [217] against all lower uses of love, barren, extravagant, antinomian. It is the love which is incompatible with marriage, for the chevalier who never comes, of the serf for the chatelaine, of the rose for the nightingale, of Rudel for the Lady of Tripoli. Another element of extravagance came in with the feudal spirit: Provencal love is full of the very forms of vassalage. To be the ...
— Aesthetic Poetry • Walter Horatio Pater

... o'er our cloudy bars, A sea-mark now, now lost in vapors blind; Broad prairie rather, genial, level-lined, Fruitful and friendly for all human kind, Yet also nigh to heaven and loved of loftiest stars. Nothing of Europe here, Or, then, of Europe fronting mornward still, Ere any names of Serf and Peer, Could Nature's equal scheme deface; New birth of our new soil, ...
— The Frontier in American History • Frederick Jackson Turner

... fugitive serf was liable to a fine of twelve silver lions into court and twenty-four to ...
— Roumania Past and Present • James Samuelson

... chased tide sword mail nun plain pour fate wean hoard berth isle throne vane seize sore slight freeze knave fane reek Rome rye style flea faint peak throw bourn route soar sleight frieze nave reck sere wreak roam wry flee feint pique mite seer idle pistol flower holy serf borough capital canvas indict martial kernel carat bridle lesson council collar levy accept affect deference emigrant prophesy sculptor plaintive populous ingenious lineament desert extent pillow stile descent incite pillar device patients lightening ...
— The Art Of Writing & Speaking The English Language - Word-Study and Composition & Rhetoric • Sherwin Cody

... at Pompeii show the devotion of the people to luxurious bathing. The Romans are famous to this day for the magnificence of their lavatories and the universal use of them by the rich and poor alike. In Russia the bath is general, from the Czar to the poorest serf, and through all Finland, Lapland, Sweden and Norway, no hut is so destitute as not to have its family bath. Equally general is the custom in Turkey, Egypt and Persia, among all classes from the Pasha down to the ...
— The Royal Road to Health • Chas. A. Tyrrell

... entertainment they never overlooked what was inherently believed the patriotic duty of combining a display of loyalty to their sovereign with a proportionate degree of disloyalty to the captain and owner who were responsible for supplying them with food that even a Russian serf might have felt justified in complaining about. So a doggerel verse was composed and sung fervently to a modified form of the National Anthem by way of intimating their grievance forcefully to the notice of their commander. Relevancy did not come within ...
— The Shellback's Progress - In the Nineteenth Century • Walter Runciman

... present to describe bad or disagreeable things were used quite differently originally. The word villain is, perhaps, the most expressive we can use to show our opinion of the depths of a person's wickedness. Yet in the Middle Ages a villain, or "villein," was merely a serf or labourer bound to work on the land of a particular lord. The word in Saxon times would have been churl. As time went on both these words became terms of contempt. The lords in the Middle Ages were certainly often more wicked than the serfs, as we see in ...
— Stories That Words Tell Us • Elizabeth O'Neill

... now, how, with a baseness and vileness beyond belief, 'democratic' editors continue to lick the hands which smite them, we do not wonder that the Southerner, taking the doughface for a type of the whole North, characterizes all Yankees as serf-like, servile cap-in-hand crawlers and beggars for patronage. For if we were all of the pro-slavery Democracy, and especially of those who even now continue to yelp for Southern rights and grinningly assure patriots ...
— Continental Monthly, Vol. II. July, 1862. No. 1. • Various

... the soil came into my head; tilling the soil was a healthful and noble pursuit! but my idea of tilling the soil had no connection with Britain; for I could only expect to till the soil in Britain as a serf. I thought of tilling it in America, in which it was said there was plenty of wild, unclaimed land, of which any one, who chose to clear it of its trees, might take possession. I figured myself in America, in an immense forest, clearing the land destined, ...
— The Romany Rye - A Sequel to 'Lavengro' • George Borrow

... detail that needs correcting. He must bring nothing outside; we will go in—in among the dirt, and possibly other repulsive things,—and take the food with the household, and after the fashion of the house, and all on equal terms, except the man be of the serf class; and finally, there will be no ewer and no napkin, whether he be serf or free. Please walk again, my liege. There—it is better—it is the best yet; but not perfect. The shoulders have known no ignobler burden than iron mail, and they will ...
— Innocents abroad • Mark Twain

... rear. The damsel donned her kirtle sheen; The hall was dressed with holly green; Forth to the wood did merry men go, To gather in the mistletoe. Then opened wide the baron's hall To vassal, tenant, serf, and all; Power laid his rod of rule aside, And Ceremony doffed his pride. The heir, with roses in his shoes, That night might village partner choose; The lord, underogating, share The vulgar game of "post and pair." ...
— Marmion: A Tale of Flodden Field • Walter Scott

... thee, blest weed, whose sovereign wiles, O'er cankered care bring radiant smiles, Best gift of Love to mortals given! At once the bud and bliss of Heaven! Crownless are kings uncrowned by thee; Content the serf in thy sweet liberty, O charm of life! O foe ...
— Pipe and Pouch - The Smoker's Own Book of Poetry • Various

... churchyard he was joined by an old house-serf, who had once been his nurse. The money-lender had deprived this old man of his monthly allowance, and driven him off the estate; since then his refuge had been a corner in a peasant's hut. Misha had been too short a time in possession of his estate ...
— A Desperate Character and Other Stories • Ivan Turgenev

... I'm nothing but a serf and yet he sees to it that I should be treated well, too. S'help me God! Say we'd stop at some place and he'd ask, "Well, Osip, have they treated you well?" "No, badly, your Excellency." "Ah," he'd say, "Osip, he's not a good host. Remind me when ...
— The Inspector-General • Nicolay Gogol

... 'Liza. Even my less critical father's shout of laughter at any unusual freak or experiment abraded my moral cuticle sometimes. At home the colored children would have entered heartily into my mortuary enterprise,—yes! and kept my counsel. The reticence of the serf exceeds in dumb doggedness that of a misunderstood child. But I did not play with Uncle Carter's little negroes. Every Southern child comprehended the distinction between ...
— When Grandmamma Was New - The Story of a Virginia Childhood • Marion Harland

... price of producing food; on the contrary, it is decidedly its inferior. There, as in love, the apprentice is the master. The proof of this is decisive. Poland can raise wheat with ease at fifteen or twenty shillings a quarter, while England requires fifty. The serf of the Ukraine would make a fortune on the price at which the farmer of Kent or East Lothian would be rendered bankrupt. The Polish cultivators have no objection whatever to a free competition with the British; but the British anticipate, and ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, No. 341, March, 1844, Vol. 55 • Various

... of men; only when the evening was come, and all things sought their rest, he prayed the peasant and other mean folk of that country, of their charity to grant him shelter for the night. From the serf he gathered tidings of the King. These gave again to him what they, in turn, had taken from some outlawed knight. Thus Tristan learned that when Pentecost was come King Mark purposed to hold high Court at Tintagel, and keep the feast ...
— French Mediaeval Romances from the Lays of Marie de France • Marie de France

... enacted by the old slave States under President Johnson's administration, that led Douglass to urge the enfranchisement of the freedmen. He maintained that in a free country there could be no safe or logical middle ground between the status of freeman and that of serf. There has been much criticism because the negro, it is said, acquired the ballot prematurely. There seemed imperative reasons, besides that of political expediency, for putting the ballot in his hands. Recent events have demonstrated that this necessity ...
— Frederick Douglass - A Biography • Charles Waddell Chesnutt

... to the very foundation of our theories and our institutions. It is simply, —Shall the course of the Republic be so directed as to subserve the interests of aristocracy or of democracy? Shall our Territories be occupied by lord and serf, or by intelligent freemen?—by laborers who are owned, or by men who own themselves? The Republican Party has no need of appealing to prejudice or passion. In this case, there is a meaning in the phrase, Manifest Destiny. America is to be the land of the workers, ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Vol. II., November, 1858., No. XIII. • Various

... it compels us to worship with more than Japanese devotion. It has contradicted Nature in the most obvious things, and been listened to with abject submission. Its empire has been no less extensive than deep-seated. The serf to custom points his finger at the slave to fashion—as if it signified whether it is an old or a new thing which is irrationally conformed to. The man of letters despises both the slaves of fashion and of custom, but often runs his narrow career of thought, ...
— Friends in Council (First Series) • Sir Arthur Helps

... "Insolent serf! unsay thy words, or maintain them with thy sword!—Crouch, like a low-born slave as thou art, and beg Macpherson's pardon, if thou darest not bare ...
— Wilson's Tales of the Borders and of Scotland, Volume VI • Various

... from him on condition of military service, their vassals pledging military service and obedience to them again on similar terms, and sub-vassals again to them repeating the pledge; and so on in descending chain, until at last the serf, that wretched being whom none looks up to nor fears, is ground to powder beneath the superimposed mass; no appeal from the authority, no escape from the caprice or cruelty of his feudal lord. Could ...
— A Short History of France • Mary Platt Parmele

... father to son, and graven in mystic symbols on a tablet of the stone of Syene. But of what avail was it to be Royal by right when Egypt, my heritage, was a slave—a slave to do the pleasure and minister to the luxury of the Macedonian Lagidae—ay, and when she had been so long a serf that, perchance, she had forgotten how to put off the servile smile of Bondage and once more to look across the ...
— Cleopatra • H. Rider Haggard

... that what you boast of— Your happiness, peasant?" Exclaims an old lackey With legs weak and gouty. 240 "Treat me, little brothers, I'm happy, God sees it! For I was the chief serf Of Prince Peremeteff, A rich prince, and mighty, My wife, the most favoured By him, of the women; My daughter, together With his, the young lady, Was taught foreign languages, 250 French and some others; And she was permitted To sit, and not stand, In her mistress's ...
— Who Can Be Happy And Free In Russia? • Nicholas Nekrassov

... the maids, with the simple familiarity of the Russian serf, taking their dismissal reluctantly. But Madame Dravikine held them all in awe, and before her they did not dare the protest that their Princess might have listened to. When the sisters were alone, they ...
— The Genius • Margaret Horton Potter

... of serfdom a proprietor could send his human property into exile. He was not required to give any reason, the record accompanying the order of banishment stating only that the serf was exiled "by the will of his master." This privilege was open to enormous abuse, but happily the ukase of liberty has removed it. The design of the system was no doubt to enable proprietors to rid themselves of serfs who were idle, dissolute, or quarrelsome, but had not committed any ...
— Overland through Asia; Pictures of Siberian, Chinese, and Tartar - Life • Thomas Wallace Knox

... the conditions that appertained when great open chimneys allowed the rain and snow to fall upon the fire or on the logs laid ready for the burning, the difficulties of lighting a fire were experienced. Then the local smith came to the aid of the "domestic" or serf, and hammered into shape what were termed andirons, their use making it easier to light the logs, giving a current of air under them, causing them to burn brighter. The andirons were afterwards called fire-dogs, and in course of time bars rested ...
— Chats on Household Curios • Fred W. Burgess

... miles from Moscow. The members of the party were met by the Prince and went with him to a part of the park where a deputation of peasants awaited them. Leader of the peasant group was the mayor of the neighboring village, an emancipated serf, who presented Fox with bread and salt—traditional symbols of Russian hospitality—on a silver salver ...
— Presentation Pieces in the Museum of History and Technology • Margaret Brown Klapthor

... expression of Jakoff's face and the way in which he twitched his fingers showed that this order had given him great satisfaction. He was a serf, and a most zealous, devoted one, but, like all good bailiffs, exacting and parsimonious to a degree in the interests of his master. Moreover, he had some queer notions of his own. He was forever endeavouring to increase his master's property at the expense of his mistress's, and to ...
— Childhood • Leo Tolstoy

... patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary re-constitution of society at large, ...
— The Communist Manifesto • Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

... those months in which he is engaged in the labours of preparing the land and sowing the seed. As soon as the harvest time arrives, he ceases to be master of his estate, and sinks into the condition of a serf of the revenue officer, or of the farmer of the land revenue. It is true, that the government tax only amounts to a tenth of the gross produce of the soil; but, in virtue of this right to a tenth, government assumes the entire direction of ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine - Volume 55, No. 344, June, 1844 • Various

... of prime significance. Universal service was, it is true, an obligation. But it was more: it was the mark of freedom. Not to be summoned stamped a man as a slave, a serf, or an alien. The famous "Assize of Arms" ends with the words: "Et praecepit rex quod nullus reciperetur ad sacramentum armorum nisi liber homo."[8] A summons was a right quite as much as a duty. The English were a brave and martial race, proud of their ancestral liberty. Not to be called to defend ...
— Freedom In Service - Six Essays on Matters Concerning Britain's Safety and Good Government • Fossey John Cobb Hearnshaw

... sure to listen if they find that you are a good speaker. There was a notion that came into my mind while you were speaking; I said to myself: 'Well, and what if Euthyphro does prove to me that all the gods regarded the death of the serf as unjust, how do I know anything more of the nature of piety and impiety? for granting that this action may be hateful to the gods, still piety and impiety are not adequately defined by these distinctions, for that which is hateful to the gods has been shown to be also ...
— Euthyphro • Plato

... even sing a psalm when the former lord of Borreby was laid in the earth to rest! Oh, everything has an end, even misery. Sister Ida became the wife of a peasant. That was the hardest trial that befell our father, that the husband of a daughter of his should be a miserable serf, whom the proprietor could mount on the wooden horse for punishment! I suppose he is under the ground now. And thou, Ida? Alas, alas! it is not ended yet, wretch that I am! Grant me that ...
— What the Moon Saw: and Other Tales • Hans Christian Andersen

... the covenant established by God through the Lord Christ."27 To this purpose the Brethren held firm. In every detail of their lives—in business, in pleasure, in civil duties—they took the Sermon on the Mount as the lamp unto their feet. From the child to the old man, from the serf to the lord, from the acoluth to the bishop, the same strict law held good. What made the Brethren's Church shine so brightly in Bohemia before Luther's days was not their doctrine, but their lives; not their theory, but their practice; not their opinions, but their ...
— History of the Moravian Church • J. E. Hutton

... Woman is held politically to have no existence; (2) civilly, she is a minor; (3) in marriage she is a serf; (4) in labor she is made inferior and robbed of her earnings; (5) in public instruction she is sacrificed to man; (6) out of marriage, answers to the faults committed by both; (7) as a mother is deprived of her right to her children; (8) she is only deemed equally responsible, ...
— History of Woman Suffrage, Volume III (of III) • Various

... their sins. They are dying of a terrible plague which is in the air, in the earth, in the very meat and drink which God has given us, in the heat of the day, and in the chill of night—a plague which is no respecter of persons, but slays lord and serf, rich and poor alike; which will visit you, too, if not to-day then to-morrow, which will destroy a tenth part of your households, which will search you out wherever you are, in the forest, in the fields, within your cottages, though you were to slay instantly every gentleman in the county. You ...
— The Day of Wrath • Maurus Jokai

... change; when it was recognized that the application of a new principle, or the invention of a new machine, was better than the acquisition of an additional slave, peace became preferable to war. And not only so, but nations possessing great slave or serf populations, as was the care in America and Russia, found that considerations of humanity were supported by considerations of interest, and ...
— History of the Conflict Between Religion and Science • John William Draper

... hall, the serf and vassal Held, that night, their Christmas wassail; Many a carol, old and saintly, Sang the ...
— Christmas: Its Origin and Associations - Together with Its Historical Events and Festive Celebrations During Nineteen Centuries • William Francis Dawson

... from the other side of the river, who had asserted that all men were born equal and had equal rights. This sentiment had been loudly applauded, but he himself had sense enough to see that it was contrary to fact, and that men were not born equal. One was the son of a noble, the other of a serf. One child was a cripple and a weakling from its birth, another strong and lusty. One was well-nigh a fool, and another clear-headed. It seemed to him that there were and must ...
— A March on London • G. A. Henty

... were disposed to resent his claim to be his father's son, as if it were an injustice done to their rights; such commentators on men and things uniformly bringing every thing down to the standard of serf. Then the approaching marriages at the Wigwam had to run the gauntlet, not only of village and county criticisms, but that of the mighty Emporium itself, as it is the fashion to call the confused and tasteless collection of flaring red brick houses, marten-box ...
— Home as Found • James Fenimore Cooper

... Scottish chronicler; lived at the end of the 14th and beginning of the 15th centuries; was canon regular of St. Andrews and prior of St. Serf, Lochleven; the subject of his "Original Chronicle," as he calls it, was Scottish history, introduced by foreign from the creation downwards, and it was written in verse that can hardly be called poetry; it is of value historically and interesting philologically, and consists of ...
— The Nuttall Encyclopaedia - Being a Concise and Comprehensive Dictionary of General Knowledge • Edited by Rev. James Wood

... the gentry or big tippers. He is much more sociable, much noisier, relatively shameless, more intelligent, more capable, less restrained. He is rising against his tradition, and almost against his will. The serf still bulks large in him. The whole trend of circumstance is to substitute science for mere rote skill in him, to demand initiative and an intelligent self-adaptation to new discoveries and new methods, to make him a professional man and a ...
— Mankind in the Making • H. G. Wells

... from me." Hogarth discredits this story, on the ground that "none but a plodding drudge without a spark of genius could have submitted to a process which would have been too much for the patient endurance even of a Russian serf; or if a single spark had existed at first, it must have been extinguished by so barbarous a treatment." Caffarelli did not rise to the height of his fame rapidly, and, when he went to London to supply the place of Farinelli in 1738, he entirely failed to please the English public, who had ...
— Great Singers, First Series - Faustina Bordoni To Henrietta Sontag • George T. Ferris

... who had 'tyrant' written in every line of his bad, blase little face and figure. French polish could not hide the brute, nor any quantity of flowers conceal the chain by which he was leading his new serf away ...
— Shawl-Straps - A Second Series of Aunt Jo's Scrap-Bag • Louisa M. Alcott

... religious point of view and, only too frequently, deadly enemies from the political point of view. The discord was made worse by the feudal system which was adopted. Even within the same race there was no brotherhood. In effect the clergy as a body did not insist that the noble was a brother of the serf, and did not exact fraternal treatment of the serf. Thus the phrase, "the brotherhood of man," which had been a most prominent and active principle of early Christianity, became little more than a ...
— The War and the Churches • Joseph McCabe

... children in rags and his house in dirt, may be a loose liver with a frantically foolish religious creed; but all this does not justify me in taking possession of his house, and either poking him out or making him a serf on his own hearthstone. If there be such a thing as universal justice, then all men have their rights under it—even verminous persons. We are obliged to put constraint upon them when their habits afflict us beyond a certain point. And civilised nations are obliged to put ...
— From a Cornish Window - A New Edition • Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

... dispossessed of her autonomy and subjected to prefects. Outside of the cities the monarch, whose private fortune was identical with the state finances, possessed immense domains managed by intendants and supporting a population of serf-colonists. The army was composed largely of foreign mercenaries, professional soldiers whose pay or bounty consisted of lands on which they settled. All these features and many others caused the Roman empire to assume the ...
— The Oriental Religions in Roman Paganism • Franz Cumont

... Here's to the glamour and grace, Laughing on all, in hovel and hall, Ever from Erin's young face! The shamrock, the rose, and the thistle, The shamrock, the rose, and the leek, One in the face of a missile, One when the batteries speak. Each of himself is delighted To succour the serf or the slave, And who can deny ...
— Successful Recitations • Various

... shadows about his father's estate in the country. There he had learnt not to treat them brutally, after the fashion of most landowners, but it was not till he was exposed to the rough life of the bastion with Alexis, a serf presented to him when he went to the University, that Tolstoy acquired that peculiar affection for the People which was not then ...
— Heroes of Modern Europe • Alice Birkhead

... says he, "I mark the date; here I sit alone on a rude couch of rushes, sheltered by the thatch of a herdsman's hut; I, whose inheritance was a kingdom, owe my night's harbourage to a poor serf; my throne is usurped, my crown presses the brow of an invader; I have no friends; my troops wander broken in the hills of Wales; reckless robbers spoil my country; my subjects lie prostrate, their breasts crushed by the heel of the brutal Dane. Fate! thou ...
— The Professor • (AKA Charlotte Bronte) Currer Bell

... when the shrewd brute and cunning brigand has his superior at a disadvantage. Let the South prolong this contest till its military social system acquires sufficient strength, and it will drag us down to its own wretched lord-and-serf level. 'To its level!' rather let us say beneath it; yes, beneath its iron heel, to endless ...
— The Continental Monthly, Vol. 2 No 4, October, 1862 - Devoted To Literature And National Policy • Various

... anything short of a cataclysm such as it would be blasphemy to predict could change the divinely established order whereby the territorial lord took tithes from his peasantry and pastured his game on their crops. The hierarchy which rested on the bowed back of the toiling serf and culminated in the figure of the heaven-sent King seemed to him as immutable as the everlasting hills. The men of his generation had not learned that it was built on a human foundation and that a sudden movement of the underlying mass might shake the structure ...
— The Valley of Decision • Edith Wharton

... when a child, and old habits have a strong power over her. The tawny and lionlike bulk of Tartar is ever stretched beside her, his negro muzzle laid on his fore paws—straight, strong, and shapely as the limbs of an Alpine wolf. One hand of the mistress generally reposes on the loving serf's rude head, because if she takes it away he groans and is discontented. Shirley's mind is given to her book. She lifts not her eyes; she neither stirs nor speaks—unless, indeed, it be to return a brief respectful answer to Mrs. Pryor, who addresses deprecatory phrases to ...
— Shirley • Charlotte Bronte

... who, as regards five-sixths of their number, contribute neither to the spiritual nor temporal felicity of the Island? They are the despotic managers of all primary schools, and can exact what homage they please from the poor serf-teachers, whom they dominate and whom they keep eternally under their thumb. They absolutely own and control all the secondary schools, with all their private profits and all their Government grants. In the University what they do not dominate they mutilate. Every appointment, from ...
— Against Home Rule (1912) - The Case for the Union • Various

... the grave of Waldemar Daa. No schoolboys sang when the former lord of Borreby Castle was laid in his grave. Well, everything must have an end, even misery! Sister Ida became the wife of a peasant, and this was her father's sorest trial. His daughter's husband a miserable serf, who might at any moment be ordered the punishment of the wooden horse by his lord. It is well that the sod covers him now, and you too, Ida! Ah yes! ah yes! Poor me! poor me! I still linger on. In Thy mercy release me, ...
— Stories from Hans Andersen • Hans Christian Andersen

... of the period was of three kinds: the leibeigener or serf, who was little better than a slave, who cultivated his lord's domain, upon whom unlimited burdens might be fixed, and who was in all respects amenable to the will of his lord; the hoeriger or villein, whose services were limited alike in kind and amount; and the freier or free ...
— German Culture Past and Present • Ernest Belfort Bax

... took possession of England, they continued slavery. They made slaves of the Saxons themselves whom they decreed villeins and bondsmen. Domesday Book shows that the toll of the market at Lewes in Sussex was a penny for a cow, and fourpence for a slave—not a serf (adscriptus glebae), but an unconditional bondsman. From that time slavery continued in various forms. It is recorded of "the good old times," that it was not till the reign of Henry IV. (1320—1413) that villeins, farmers, and mechanics ...
— Thrift • Samuel Smiles

... creature, a sort of elephantine Helot, adapted to further, in a degree scarcely to be imagined, the universal conveniences and glories of humanity; supplying nothing less than a supplement to the Six Days' Work; stocking the earth with a new serf, more useful than the ox, swifter than the dolphin, stronger than the lion, more cunning than the ape, for industry an ant, more fiery than serpents, and yet, in patience, another ass. All excellences of all God-made creatures, which served man, were here to receive advancement, and then ...
— The Piazza Tales • Herman Melville

... turrets tall, The Summer's long siege at last is o'er; When the first poor outcast went in at the door, She entered with him in disguise, And mastered the fortress by surprise; There is no spot she loves so well on ground, She lingers and smiles there the whole year round; The meanest serf on Sir Launfal's land Has hall and bower at his command; And there's no poor man in the North Countree But is lord of the earldom as ...
— Elson Grammer School Literature, Book Four. • William H. Elson and Christine Keck

... done away. But the question is, shall human beings, who (as all of us) are imperfect, be controlled by public law, or by individual caprice? Was not my reviewer intending to advocate some form of serfdom which is compatible with legal rights, and recognizes the serf as a man; not slavery which pronounces him a chattel? Serfdom and apprenticeship we may perhaps leave to be reasoned down by economists and administrators; slavery proper is what ...
— Phases of Faith - Passages from the History of My Creed • Francis William Newman

... an old-fashioned house, built under the serf regime, that house is repaired and embellished; if there is none, then a new one is erected, of two or three stories. The rooms, of which there are from twelve to twenty, and even more, are all six arshins in height. {161a} ...
— What To Do? - thoughts evoked by the census of Moscow • Count Lyof N. Tolstoi

... but make our preparations without delay; but if we commit any imprudence, we are lost without escape. In this city there is an artisan who cuts and carves wonderful images: there is no land where he is not known for the figures which he has shapen and carved and made. John is his name, and he is a serf of mine. No one could cope with John's best efforts in any art, however varied it might be. For, compared with him, they are all novices, and like a child with nurse. By imitating his handiwork the artisans of Antioch and Rome have learned all they know how to do—and ...
— Four Arthurian Romances - "Erec et Enide", "Cliges", "Yvain", and "Lancelot" • Chretien de Troyes

... of the seventeenth, the villein, who in the Middle Ages had formed the bulk of the population, had disappeared.[239] It is probable that even at the beginning of the Tudor period the great majority of the bondmen had become free, and that the serf then only formed one per cent. of the population, and many of those had left the country and become artizans in the towns, for personal serfdom had outlasted demesne farming; though even there the heavy hand of the lord was upon them ...
— A Short History of English Agriculture • W. H. R. Curtler

... land The language of her race; When Justice meekly sheathes her sword, And Freemen ne'er make laws; When Tyrants rule by force and fraud And dead is Freedom's cause; When Liberty shall see her home Low levelled with the turf, And watch each son in turn become A tyrant-driven serf; When Freedom's sacred name's forgot Within the hearts of men— They'll crush us to the earth, but not— By Heav'n!—but ...
— The History of "Punch" • M. H. Spielmann

... and perilous to serve, Exacts devotion that is absolute, Ere she reveal the heaven of her smile; And gnaws with misery the traitor slave Who having known her countenance and moved At her behest relapses into sloth, Or drudges serf to his own base desires:— Sworn knight, and armed with mail and sword of proof, But coaxing brutish ignorance with praise, And with the wasted hearts of honest men Gorging the monster he went forth to slay. But whoso ...
— My Beautiful Lady. Nelly Dale • Thomas Woolner

... character of slavery, however, does not arise out of the idea of the slave as a chattel or thing, a mere matter of property, it depends on the organization of society. In England one man is born a peer, another a commoner; in Russia one man is born a noble, another a serf; here, one is born a free citizen, another a disfranchised outcast (the free colored man), and a third a slave. These forms of society, as before remarked, are not necessarily, or in themselves, either ...
— Cotton is King and The Pro-Slavery Arguments • Various

... likes and dislikes are at the beck and call of bullies that stand between him and his own soul; such a creature gives up the most sacred of all his rights for something more unsubstantial than a mess of pottage—a mental serf too abject even to know that he is being wronged. Wretched emasculator of his own reason, whose jejune timidity and want of vitality are thus omnipresent in the most secret ...
— The Fair Haven • Samuel Butler

... high estate." She paused and looked round at Olaf, who stood apart with his hand caressing the head of a great dog that had risen from before the fire. "And yet," added the queen thoughtfully, "I would say that this boy Ole, as you call him, has no serf's blood in him. His fairness is that of a kingly race. What is his parentage, Hersir Sigurd? You who have shown him so much favour, who have dressed him in such fine clothes, and who even go so far as to teach him the reading of runes, surely ...
— Olaf the Glorious - A Story of the Viking Age • Robert Leighton

... new life began for the boy, and a hard one. Lodged in a corner of the garret, clad in the meanest garments, fed on the coarsest fare, his lot was little better than that of the actual serf, and in some respects inferior to it, for it was good policy to treat the slave with some decency and so secure a full life's work from the human machine. Constans, on the other hand, was bound for four years only, and it was policy to drive him ...
— The Doomsman • Van Tassel Sutphen

... taken that woman would lose her dignity if marriages were dissoluble. Is it necessary to lose your freedom in order to retain your character, in order to be womanly or manly? Must a woman in order to retain her womanhood become a slave, a serf, with a wild beast for a master, or with society for a master, or with a phantom for a master? Has not the married woman the right of self-defence? Is it not the duty of society to protect her from her husband? If she owes no duty to her ...
— The Works of Robert G. Ingersoll, Volume VIII. - Interviews • Robert Green Ingersoll

... Benjamin R. C. Low To Arcady Charles Buxton Going Wild Wishes Ethel M. Hewitt "Because of You" Sophia Almon Hensley Then Rose Terry Cooke The Missive Edmund Gosse Plymouth Harbor Mrs. Ernest Radford The Serf's Secret William Vaughn Moody "O, Inexpressible as Sweet" George Edward Woodberry The Cyclamen Arlo Bates The West-Country Lover Alice Brown "Be Ye in Love with April-Tide" Clinton Scollard Unity Alfred Noyes The Queen William Winter A Lover's Envy Henry Van Dyke Star Song Robert ...
— The Home Book of Verse, Vol. 2 (of 4) • Various

... of our author deals with the conditions of man, passing in review youth and age, male and female, serf and lord. Our extracts from it fall into three groups. The first deals in great measure with the relations of family life. We have an account of the boy and the girl (as they appeared to a friar "of orders grey"), the infant ...
— Mediaeval Lore from Bartholomew Anglicus • Robert Steele

... gift. 'Get thee gone,' he said, as if he had been ordering off a horse or dog. Well-a-day! it was hard to brook the sight, and Hal's blood was up. He flatly refused to go, saying he was the Cardinal's servant, but no villain nor serf to be thus made over ...
— The Armourer's Prentices • Charlotte Mary Yonge

... once more be a HUMAN BEING, a man for whom existence would be possible, an artist who would never again in his life ask for a shilling, and would only do his work bravely and gladly. Dear Liszt, with this money you will buy me out of slavery! Do you think I am worth that sum as a serf? Let that be ...
— Correspondence of Wagner and Liszt, Volume 1 • Francis Hueffer (translator)

... and began to exert itself; the clergy opened its ranks to all classes, to the poor and the rich, the villain and the lord; equality penetrated into the government through the church, and the being who, as a serf, must have vegetated in perpetual bondage, took his place as a priest in the midst of nobles, and not unfrequently above the ...
— American Institutions and Their Influence • Alexis de Tocqueville et al

... He had not yet fathomed the ancient, cruel and mighty power of these exhalations of the soil. Nor did he see that Hazel was enchained by earth, prisoner to it only a little less than the beech and the hyacinth—bond-serf of the sod. ...
— Gone to Earth • Mary Webb

... mere and naked material of Nature, we eye with indifference or trample on with disdain. Poor child of toil, from the grey dawn to the setting sun, one long task!—no idea elicited—no thought awakened beyond those that suffice to make him the machine of others—the serf of the hard soil! And then too, mark how we scowl upon his scanty holidays, how we hedge in his mirth with laws, and turn his hilarity into crime! We make the whole of the gay world, wherein we walk and take our pleasure, to him a place of snares ...
— Eugene Aram, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... a rap, and therefore a dress coat sits less easily on their figures than is the case with figures of leaner individuals. Yet invariably fat men amass the greater wealth. In three years' time a thin man will not have a single serf whom he has left unpledged; whereas—well, pray look at a fat man's fortunes, and what will you see? First of all a suburban villa, and then a larger suburban villa, and then a villa close to a town, ...
— Dead Souls • Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol

... wound up with this sublime comparison, Methinks we may proceed upon our narrative, And, as my friend Scott says, "I sound my warison;"[752] Scott, the superlative of my comparative— Scott, who can paint your Christian knight or Saracen, Serf—Lord—Man, with such skill as none would share it, if There had not been one Shakespeare and Voltaire, Of one or both of ...
— The Works of Lord Byron, Volume 6 • Lord Byron

... yet shrewd and cunning, greedy of gold, malicious, and looked upon by the common people as an imp of darkness. It was this old villain who told Thancmar that the provost of Bruges was the son of a serf on Thancmar's estates.—S. Knowles, The ...
— Character Sketches of Romance, Fiction and the Drama - A Revised American Edition of the Reader's Handbook, Vol. 3 • E. Cobham Brewer

... and that no doubt was the trade of the particular ancestor of the old valet who passed from a state of serfdom to one of burgher dignity, until some unknown misfortune had again reduced his present descendant to the condition of a serf, with the addition of wages. The whole history of Flanders and its linen-trade was epitomized in this old man, often called, by way of euphony, Mulquinier. He was not without originality, either of character or appearance. His face was triangular ...
— The Alkahest • Honore de Balzac

... probably tilled the soil by the aid of Welsh slaves; indeed, in Anglo-Saxon, the word serf and Welshman are used almost interchangeably as equivalent synonyms. But though many Welshmen were doubtless spared from the very first, nothing is more certain than the fact that they became thoroughly ...
— Early Britain - Anglo-Saxon Britain • Grant Allen

... fanatics that there was a tie between their part of our country and Russia arising from the fact that while the American Republic was blessed with slavery, the Russian Empire was enjoying the advantages of the serf system. This feeling might have been very different had these sympathizers with Russia been aware that at this very moment Alexander II was planning to abolish the serf system throughout his whole empire; but as it was, their admiration for Russia knew no bounds, and they even ...
— Volume I • Andrew Dickson White

... emergence of an Equilateral from the ranks of his serf-born ancestors is welcomed, not only by the poor serfs themselves, as a gleam of light and hope shed upon the monotonous squalor of their existence, but also by the Aristocracy at large; for all the higher classes are well aware that these ...
— Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions (Illustrated) • Edwin A. Abbott



Words linked to "Serf" :   cotter, villein, helot, Dark Ages, Middle Ages, Europe, cottier, thrall



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