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A SIMILE* or COMPARISON, in poetry should be slurred it that is, it should be read in a lower tone of voice, with less force, and more rapidly.
In the following lines the simile is contained in Italic letters.
Dear is that shed to which his soul conforms;
* See“ Exercises in English Composition,” Lesson XXX. p. 52, for an explanation of Simile, or Comparison.
+ See Lesson XXXIV. p. 80, of this volume, for an explanation of the Slur.
Thou go not, like the quarry slave at night,
The word verse properly means a turning, and for this reason each line in poetry is a verse. The divisions of a poem, whether they consist of four, six, or any other number of verses or lines, are called stanzas. The pupil must be careful not to pause at the end of a stanza, unless the sense is completed. The following are instances in which, as the sense is not completed, the voice must not be suspended at the end of the stanza.
The threats of pain and ruin to despise, To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land,
And read their history in a nation's eyes,
Their lot forbåde: nor circumscribed alone
Their growing virtues, but their crimes confined ;Forbåde to wade through slaughter to a throne,
And shut the gates of mercy on mankind !
In the previous parts of this book the pupil has been made acquainted with those modifications of the voice called the rising inflection, the falling inflection, and the circumflex.* There is another modulation of the voice, which from its intimate connexion with the reading of poetry of a solemn kind, has been reserved for explanation in this place. It is called the MONOTONE, and consists of a degree of sameness of sound, or tone, in a number of successive words or syllables.
It is very seldom the case that there is a perfect sameness to be observed in reading any sentence or part of a sentence. But very little variety of tone, or, in other words, a degree of the MONOTONE, is to be used in reading either prose or verse, which contains elevated descriptions or emotions of solemnity, sublimity, or reverence. This monotone should generally be a low tone of the voice. Thus, in addressing the Deity, in the following lines, a degree of the monotone is to be used.
* See Lessons 1st, 2d, and 22d.
Oh! deep-enchanting prelude to repose,
741. And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven; and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.
O when he comes,
The monotone may with good effect be introduced in many of the sentences contained in the previous pages of this book, especially in numbers 581 and 582, pages 68 and 69. As it is the design of the author, in these pages, to furnish lessons,* rather than exercises in reading, the extracts already introduced will be sufficient to impress the principle contained in this lesson.
The word ANALYSIst means the separation of the parts of which a thing is composed.
Every sentence, whether it be a long or short one, contains one prominent idea, which by a proper management of the voice, must be brought out into clear and distinct notice. It sometimes happens, especially in very long sentences, that the prominent idea is interrupted, or obscured by parentheses, descriptions, explanatory remarks or other expressions, which render it difficult for the reader to distinguish the most important part, and give it that prominence which it deserves. Herein lies the greatest difficulty in the art of reading. No rule can be given to aid the pupil in the discovery of the prominent ideas in his reading lessons. He must here be left to study and reflection. The information, however, that there are such prominent ideas in complex sentences, will lead him to endeavour to discover them; and the practice which he has had in the use of emphasis, slur, expression, and other principles contained in the preceding Lessons, will enable him to apply himself to the study of such sentences, with the hope of distin• guishing the parts which should be brought into strong light, from those which require to be thrown into the shade.
To aid him in the study, a few examples are here introduced.
* See Preface. + See “ Exercises in English Composition,” Lesson XI. page 19.