Page images
PDF
EPUB

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.

727.
Tired nature's sweet restorer, balmy sleep!
He, like the world, his ready visit pays
Where fortune smiles; the wretched he forsakes ;
Swift on his downy pinions, flies from grief,
And lights on lids unsullied with a tear.

728.

Dear is that shed to which his soul conforms;
And dear that hill which lifts him from the storms;
And, as a child whom scaring sounds molest,
Clings close and closer to his mother's breast ;
So the loud torrent, and the whirlwind's roar,
But bind him to his native mountains more.

729.
The skies, like a banner in sunset unrolled.
O’er the west threw their splendour of azure and gold;
But one cloud at a distance rose dense, and increased
Till its margin of black touched the zenith and east.

730.
Like a spirit, it came in the van of a storm!
And the eye, and the heart, hailed its beautiful form,
For it looked not severe, like an angel of wrath,
But its garment of brightness illumed its dark path.

731.
So live, that when thy summons comes to join
The innumerable caravan, that moves
To the pale realms of shade, where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death.

* 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,
Scourged to his dungeon ; but sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave,
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.

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.

732.
Oh what is human glory, human pride!
What are man's triumphs when they brightest seem?
What art thou, mighty one! though deified ?
Methuselah's long pilgrimage, a dream;
Our age is but a shade, our life a tale,
A vacant fancy, or a passing gale,
Or nothing ! 'Tis a heavy, hollow ball,
Suspended on a slender, subtile hair,
And filled with storm winds, thunders, passions, all
Struggling within in furious tumult there.
Strange mystery! man's gentlest breath can shake it,
And the light zephyrs are enough to break it.

733.
Beneath the aged oak he sleeps ;-
The angel of his childhood there
No watch around his tomb-stone keeps;
But when the evening stars appear,
The woodman, to his cottage bound,
Close to that grave is wont to tread :
But his rude footsteps echoed round,
Break not the silence of the dead.

734.
The applause of listening senates to command,

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 !

LESSON XXXVII.

MONOTONE.

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.

735.
O Thou Eternal One! whose presence bright
All space doth occupy, all motion guide;
Unchanged through time's all-devastating flight;
Thou only God! there is no God beside!
Being above all beings! Mighty One!
Whom none can comprehend and none explore;
Who fill'st existence with Thyself alone;
Embracing all, -supporting, -ruling o'er-
Being whom we call God-and know no more.
[The monotone is also to be used in the following extracts.]

736.
High on a throne of royal state, which far
Outshone the wealth of Ormus or of Ind;
Or where the gorgeous East, with richest hand,
Showers, on her kings barbaric, pearl and gold,
Satan exalted sat.

* See Lessons 1st, 2d, and 22d.

737.
My mother! when I learn'd that thou wast dead,
Say, wast thou conscious of the tears I shed ?
Hover'd thy spirit o'er thy sorrowing son,
Wretch even then, life's journey just begun?
I heard the bell toll’d on thy burial day,
I saw the hearse, that bore thee slow away,
And, turning from my nurs'ry window, drew
A long, long sigh, and wept a last adieu.

738.
These are thy glorious works, Parent of good ;
Almighty! Thine this universal frame,
Thus wondrous fair : Thyself how wondrous then,
Unspeakable! who sitt'st above these heavens
To us invisible, or dimly seen
In these thy lowest works; yet these declare
Thy goodness beyond thought, and power divine.

739.

Oh! deep-enchanting prelude to repose,
The dawn of bliss, the twilight of our woes !
Yet half I hear the panting spirit sigh,
It is a dread and awful thing to die !
Mysterious worlds! untravelled by the sun,
Where Time's far-wandering tide has never run,
From your unfathom'd shades, and viewless spheres,
A warning comes, unheard by other ears-
'Tis heaven's commanding trumpet, long and loud,
Like Sinai's thunder, pealing from the cloud !

740.
O unexpected stroke, worse than of Death!
Must I thus leave thee, Paradise ? thus leave
Thee, native soil, these happy walks and shades,
Fit haunt of gods ? where I had hope to spend,
Quiet though sad, the respite of that day
That must be mortal to us both.

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.

742.

O when he comes,
Roused by the cry of wickedness extreme
To heaven ascending from some guilty land,
Now ripe for vengeance; when he comes, array'd
In all the terrors of Almighty wrath,
Forth from his bosom plucks his lingering arm,
And on the miscreants pours destruction down,
Who can abide his coming ? Who can bear
His whole displeasure !

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.

LESSON XXXVIII.

ANALYSIS.

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.

« PreviousContinue »