Part 2 out of 8
These, as they change, Almighty Father! these
Are but the varied God. The rolling year
Is full of Thee.--
And oft Thy voice in dreadful thunder speaks;
And oft at dawn, deep noon, or falling eve,
By brooks and groves, in hollow-whispering gales.
In Winter, awful Thou! with clouds and storms
Around Thee thrown, tempest o'er tempest rolled--
Majestic darkness! On the whirlwind's wing,
Riding sublime, Thou bidd'st the world adore,
And humblest Nature, with Thy northern blast.
Now o'er the one-half world
Nature seems dead; and wicked dreams abuse
The curtain'd sleep; now witchcraft celebrates
Pale Hecate's off'rings; and wither'd murder,
Alarum'd by his sentinel, the wolf,
Whose howl's his watch,--thus with his stealthy pace,
With Tarquin's ravishing strides, towards his design
Moves like a ghost.--Thou sure and firm-set earth!
Hear not my, steps, which way they walk; for fear
The very stones prate of my whereabout,
And take the present horror for the time
Which now suits with it.
The varieties of movement in utterance are expressed by Time, which is the
measure of the duration of the sounds heard in speech, and it is divided
into three general divisions; viz.--Moderate, Quick and Slow time, these
being sub-divided by the reader, according to the predominate feeling which
the subject seems to require.
Time and Stress, properly combined and marked, possesses two essential
elementary conditions of agreeable discourse, upon which other excellences
may be engrafted. If either be feebly marked, other beauties will not
redeem it. A well-marked stress, and a graceful extension of time, are
essential to agreeable speech, and give brilliancy and smoothness to it.
1. Moderate is the rate used in narrative or conversational style.
O bright, beautiful, health-inspiring, heart-gladdening water! Every where
around us dwelleth thy meek presence--twin-angel sister of all that is good
and precious here; in the wild forest, on the grassy plain, slumbering in
the bosom of the lonely mountain, sailing with viewless wings through the
humid air, floating over us in curtains of more than regal splendour--home
of the healing angel, when his wings bend to the woes of this fallen world.
But thou, O Hope! with eyes so fair!
What was thy delighted measure?
Still it whispered promised pleasure,
And bade the lovely scenes at distance hail.
Still would her touch the strain prolong;
And, from the rocks, the woods, the vale,
She called on Echo still through all her song;
And, where her sweetest theme she chose,
A soft, responsive voice, was heard at every close;
And Hope enchanted smiled, and waved her golden hair.
Tell him, for years I never nursed a thought
That was not his; that on his wandering way,
Daily and nightly, poured a mourner's prayers.
Tell him ev'n now that I would rather share
His lowliest lot,--walk by his side, an outcast,--
Work for him, beg with him,--live upon the light
Of one kind smile from him, than wear the crown
The Bourbon lost.
_Sir E. Bulwer Lytton._
Quick Time is used in haste, joy, humour, also in anger, and in exciting
scenes of any kind.
Look up! look up, Pauline! for I can bear
Thine eyes! the stain is blotted from my name,
I have redeemed mine honour. I can call
On France to sanction thy divine forgiveness.
Oh, joy! oh rapture! by the midnight watchfires
Thus have I seen thee! thus foretold this hour!
And 'midst the roar of battle, thus have heard
The beating of thy heart against my own!
_Sir E. Bulwer Lytton._
Lord Marmion turned,--well was his need!--
And dashed the rowels in his steed,
Like arrow through the archway sprung;
The ponderous gate behind him rung:
To pass there was such scanty room,
The bars, descending, razed his plume.
The steed along the drawbridge flies,
Just as it trembled on the rise;
Not lighter does the swallow skim
Along the smooth lake's level brim;
And when Lord Marmion reached his band,
He halts, and turns with clenched hand,
And shout of loud defiance pours,
And shook his gauntlet at the towers.
_Sir Walter Scott._
They bound me on, that menial throng,
Upon his back with many a thong;
Then loosed him with a sudden lash--
Away!--away!--and on we dash!
Torrents less rapid and less rash.
Away!--away!--my breath was gone,
I saw not where he hurried on:
'Twas scarcely yet the break of day,
And on he foamed--away!--away!
The last of human sounds which rose,
As I was darted from my foes,
Was the wild shout of savage laughter,
Which on the wind came roaring after
A moment from that rabble rout:
Slow Time is used in all subjects of a serious, deliberate, and dignified
character, in solemnity, and grandeur, reverential awe, earnest prayer,
denunciation, and in all the deeper emotions of the soul.
Is this a dagger which I see before me,
The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee:--
I have thee not!--and yet I see thee still!
Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible
To feeling, as to sight? or art thou but
A dagger of the mind--a false creation,
Proceeding from a heat-oppressed brain?
I see thee yet, in form as palpable
As this which now I draw!
Thou marshll'st me the way that I was going!
And such an instrument I was to use.
Mine eyes are made the fools o' the other senses,
Or else worth all the rest. I see thee still!
And on thy blade and dudgeon, gouts of blood!
_Alon._ (c.) For the last time, I have beheld the shadowed ocean close
upon the light. For the last time, through my cleft dungeon's roof, I now
behold the quivering lustre of the stars. For the last time, O Sun! (and
soon the hour) I shall behold thy rising, and thy level beams melting the
pale mists of morn to glittering dew-drops. Then comes my death, and in the
morning of my day, I fall, which--No, Alonzo, date not the life which thou
hast run by the mean reck'ning of the hours and days, which thou hast
breathed: a life spent worthily should be measured by a nobler line; by
deeds, not years. Then would'st thou murmur not, but bless the Providence,
which in so short a span, made thee the instrument of wide and spreading
blessings, to the helpless and oppressed! Though sinking in decrepit age,
he prematurely falls, whose memory records no benefit conferred by him on
man. They only have lived long, who have lived virtuously.
O thou that rollest above, round as the shield of my fathers! whence are
thy beams, O sun! thy everlasting light? Thou comest forth in thy awful
beauty: the stars hide themselves in the sky; the moon, cold and pale,
sinks in the western wave. But thou thyself movest alone: who can be a
companion of thy course? The oaks of the mountains fall; the mountains
themselves decay with years; the ocean shrinks and grows again; the moon
herself is lost in the heavens; but thou art forever the same, rejoicing in
the brightness of thy course. When the world is dark with tempests, when
thunders roll and lightnings fly, thou lookest in thy beauty from the
clouds, and laughest at the storm. But to Ossian thou lookest in vain; for
he beholds thy beams no more; whether thy yellow hair floats on the eastern
clouds or thou tremblest at the gates of the west. But thou art, perhaps,
like me,--for a season; thy years will have an end. Thou wilt sleep in thy
clouds, careless of the voice of the morning.
Pitch is the degree of elevation or depression of sound. On the proper
pitching of the voice depends much of the ease of the speaker, and upon the
modulation of the voice depends that variety which is so pleasing and so
necessary to relieve the ear, but no definite rules can be given for the
regulation of the pitch,--the nature of the sentiment and discriminating
taste must determine the proper key note of delivery. He who shouts at the
top of his voice is almost sure to break it, and there is no sublimity in
shouting, while he who mutters below the proper key note soon wearies
himself, becomes inaudible, and oppresses his hearers. Pitch is
distinguished as Middle, High, and Low.
The Middle Pitch is used in conversational language, and is the note that
predominates in good reading and speaking.
A free, wild spirit unto thee is given,
Bright minstrel of the blue celestial dome!
For thou wilt wander to yon upper heaven,
And bathe thy plumage in the sunbeam's home;
And, soaring upward, from thy dizzy height,
On free and fearless wing, be lost to human sight.
Eternal blessings crown my earliest friend,
And round his dwelling guardian saints attend!
Blest be that spot, where cheerful guests retire
To pause from toil, and trim their evening fire:
Blest that abode, where want and pain repair,
And every stranger finds a ready chair:
Blest be those feasts with simple plenty crowned,
Where all the ruddy family around
Laugh at the jests or pranks that never fail,
Or sigh with pity at some mournful tale;
Or press the bashful stranger to his food,
And learn the luxury of doing good.
High Pitch indicates command, joy, grief, astonishment, etc. To obtain a
good control of the voice in a high pitch, practice frequently and
energetically with the greatest force and in the highest key you can
command. Do not forget to drop the jaw, so as to keep the mouth and throat
well open, and be sure to thoroughly inflate the lungs at every sentence,
and if the force requires it even on words. Do not allow the voice to break
into an impure tone of any kind, but stop at once, rest for a short time
and then begin again. The following examples are excellent for increasing
the compass and flexibility of the voice, and the pupil must practice them
frequently and with sustained force.
"The game's afoot,
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry 'God for Harry, England and Saint George!'"
Ring! Ring!! Ring!!!
MELNOTTE. Look you our bond is over. Proud conquerors that we are, we have
won the victory over a simple girl--compromised her honour--embittered her
life--blasted in their very blossoms, all the flowers of her youth. This is
your triumph,--it is my shame! Enjoy that triumph, but not in my sight. I
_was_ her betrayer--I _am_, her protector! Cross but her path--
one word of scorn, one look of insult--nay, but one quiver of that mocking
lip, and I will teach thee that bitter word thou hast graven eternally in
BEAUSEANT. His Highness is most grandiloquent.
MELNOTTE. Highness me no more! Beware! Remorse has made me a new being.
Away with you! There is danger in me. Away!
_Sir E. Bulwer Lytton._
Up, comrades, up!--in Rokeby's halls,
Ne'er be it said our courage falls!
_Sir Walter Scott._
To arms! To arms!! a thousand voices cried.
The combat _deepens!_ On ye _brave!_
Who rush to _glory_ or the _grave_.
Charcoal! Charcoal! Charcoal!
Hurrah! Hurrah!! Hurrah!!!
Low Pitch is used to express grave, grand, solemn, and reverential
feelings, and is very effective in reading.
To obtain a good control of the voice in Low Pitch, first practice the
examples given under the High Pitch, until you are fatigued, then after
resting the lungs and vocal organs, practice the lowest and deepest tone
you can command, giving, however, a full clear and resonant sound.
Seems, Madam! Nay, it is; I know not 'seems,'
'Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother,
Nor customary suits of solemn black,
Nor windy suspiration of forced breath;
No, nor the fruitful river in the eye,
Nor the dejected 'haviour of the visage,
Together with all forms, moods, shapes of grief,
That can denote me truly: these indeed, seem,
For they are actions that a man might play;
But I have that within that passes show;
These but the trappings and the suits of woe.
Then the earth shook and trembled: the foundations of Heaven moved and
shook, because he was wroth. There went up a smoke out of his nostrils; and
fire out his mouth devoured; coals were kindled by it. He bowed the
heavens, also, and came down; and darkness was under his feet; and he rode
upon a cherub, and did fly; and he was seen upon the wings of the wind; and
he made darkness pavilions round about him, dark waters, and thick clouds
of the skies. The Lord thundered from heaven, and the Most High uttered his
voice; and he sent out arrows and scattered them; lightning and discomfited
them. And the channels of the sea appeared; the foundations of the world
were discovered at the rebuking of the Lord, at the blast of the breath of
I am thy father's spirit;
Doomed for a certain term to walk the night,
And for the day confined to fast in fires,
Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature,
Are burned and purged away.
Unchanged through time's all-devastating flight;
Thou only God! There is no God beside!
Being above all beings! Three-in-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!
Transition signifies a sudden change in the force, quality, movement, or
pitch of the voice, as from a subdued to a very high tone, from a slow to a
rapid rate of utterance, and also the reverse of these movements. It also
refers to changes in the style of delivery, as from a persuasive to the
declamatory, etc., and to the expression of passion or emotion, as from
grief to joy, from fear to courage, etc.
Transition thus forms a very important part in vocal culture, and public
speakers often ask the question: "How can I modulate my voice?" for they
are well aware that nothing relieves the ear more agreeably than a well
regulated transition, for who has not been bored by listening to a speaker
whose voice throughout has been pitched in one monotonous tone, either too
high or too low? A change of delivery is also necessary when a new train of
thought is introduced, for pitch, tone, quality, time, and force should all
be changed in conformity with the changes of sentiment. No definite rules
can be laid down in relation to the proper management of the voice in
transition which would be intelligible without the living teacher to
exemplify them. Constant practice must be persevered in to enable the pupil
to make the necessary transitions with skill and ease.
[This selection demands the entire range of the speaking voice, in pitch--
all qualities, and varied force.]
Hark! the alarm bell, 'mid the wintry storm!
Hear the loud shout! the rattling engines swarm.
Hear that distracted mother's cry to save
Her darling infant from a threatened grave!
That babe who lies in sleep's light pinions bound,
And dreams of heaven, while hell is raging round!
Forth springs the Fireman--stay! nor tempt thy fate!--
He hears not--heeds not,--nay, it is too late!
See how the timbers crash beneath his feet!
O, which way now is left for his retreat?
The roaring flames already bar his way,
Like ravenous demons raging for their prey!
He laughs at danger,--pauses not for rest,
Till the sweet charge is folded to his breast.
Now, quick, brave youth, retrace your path;--but lo!
A fiery gulf yawns fearfully below!
One desperate leap!--lost! lost!--the flames arise
And paint their triumph on the o'erarching skies!
Not lost! again his tottering form appears!
The applauding shouts of rapturous friends he hears!
The big drops from his manly forehead roll,
And deep emotions thrill his generous soul.
But struggling nature now reluctant yields;
Down drops the arm the infant's face that shields,
To bear the precious burthen all too weak;
When, hark!--the mother's agonising shriek!
Once more he's roused,--his eye no longer swims,
And tenfold strength reanimates his limbs;
He nerves his faltering frame for one last bound,--
"Your child!" he cries, and sinks upon the ground!
And his reward you ask;--reward he spurns;
For him the father's generous bosom burns,--
For him on high the widow's prayer shall go,--
For him the orphan's pearly tear-drop flow.
His boon,--the richest e'er to mortals given,--
Approving conscience, and the smile of Heaven!
"A pause is often more eloquent than words." The common pauses necessary to
be made, according to the rules of punctuation, are too well known to
require any particular notice here, they serve principally for grammatical
distinctions, but in public reading or speaking other and somewhat
different pauses are required.
The length of the pause in reading must be regulated by the mood and
expression and consequently on the movement of the voice, as fast or slow;
slow movements being accompanied by long pauses, and livelier movements by
shorter ones, the pause often occurring where no points are found--the
sense and sentiments of the passage being the best guides.
"How did Garrick speak the soliloquy, last night?"--"Oh! against all rule,
my lord, most ungrammatically! Betwixt the substantive and the adjective,
which should agree together in number, case, and gender, he made a breach
thus----stopping, as if the point wanted settling; and betwixt the
nominative case, which, your lordship knows, should govern the verb, he
suspended his voice in the epilogue a dozen times, three seconds and three-
fifths by a stop-watch, my lord, each time." "Admirable grammarian!--But,
in suspending his voice,--was the sense suspended?--Did no expression of
attitude or countenance fill up the chasm?--Was the eye silent? Did you
narrowly look?"--"I looked only at the stopwatch, my lord!"--"Excellent
A Rhetorical Pause--is one not dependent on the grammatical construction of
a sentence, but is a pause made to enable the speaker to direct attention
to some particular word or phrase, and is made by suspending the voice
either directly before or after the utterance of the important phrase. In
humorous speaking the pause is generally before the phrase, as it awakens
curiosity and excites expectation; while in serious sentiments it occurs
after and carries the mind back to what has already been said.
A pause of greater or less duration is always required whenever an
interruption occurs in the progress of a thought, or the uniform
construction of a sentence, as in the case of the dash, the exclamation,
the parenthesis, etc. In these cases the mind is supposed to be arrested by
the sudden change of sentiment or passion. It is necessary in most cases to
make a short pause just before the parenthesis, which read more rapidly,
and in a more subdued tone; when the parenthesis is concluded, resume your
former pitch and tone of voice.
EXAMPLES OF RHETORICAL PAUSES.
(1.) After the subject of a sentence:
Wine | is a mocker.
(2.) After the subject-phrase:
The fame of Milton | will live forever.
(3.) When the subject is inverted:
The best of books | is the Bible.
(4.) Before the prepositional phrase:
The boat is sailing | across the river.
(5.) After every emphatic word:
_William_ | is an honest boy.
William _is_ | an honest boy.
William is an _honest_ | boy.
(6.) Whenever an ellipsis occurs:
This | friend, that | brother,
Friends and brothers all.
(7.) In order to arrest the attention:
The cry was | peace, peace!
Emphasis generally may be divided into two classes--Emphasis of sense and
Emphasis of feeling. Emphasis relates to the mode of giving expression;
properly defined it includes whatever modulation of the voice or expedient
the speaker may use, to render what he says significant or expressive of
the meaning he desires to convey, for we may, by this means, give very
different meanings to our sentences, according to the application of
emphasis. For instance, take the sentence--"Thou art a man." When delivered
in a cool and deliberate manner, it is a very plain sentence, conveying no
emotion, nor emphasis, nor interrogation. But when one of the words is
emphasized, the sentence will be very different from what it was in the
first instance; and very different, again, when another word is made
emphatic; and so, again, whenever the emphasis is changed, the meaning is
also changed: as, "THOU art a man." That is _thou_ in opposition to
another, or because _thou_ hast proved thyself to be one. "Thou art a
MAN." That is a _gentleman_. "Thou ART a man." That is, in opposition
to "thou _hast been_ a man," or "thou _wilt be_ one." "Thou art
A man." That is, in opposition to _the_ man, or a _particular_
Then, again, the sentence may be pronounced in a very _low_ tone of
voice, and with force or without force. It may be raised uniting a good
deal of stress, or without stress; and then, again, it may be heard with
the greatest force, or with moderate force. Each of these latter modes of
intonation will make a very different impression on an audience, according
to the employment of the other elements of expression, with that of the
In addition to these, the sentence may be pronounced in a very _low and
soft_ tone, implying kindness of feeling. Then, in a _whisper_,
intimating secrecy or mystery. It may be heard on the SEMITONE, high or
low, to communicate different degrees of pathos. And then, again, the
TREMOR nay be heard on one or all of the words, to give greater intensity
to other elements of expression which may be employed. As, also, a GUTTURAL
emphasis may be applied to express anger, scorn, or loathing. These are
some of the different meanings which may be given to this sentence of four
words by the voice. A good reader, or speaker, then, ought not only to be
able to sound every word _correctly_; he ought to know, always, the
EXACT _meaning_ of what he reads, and _feel_ the sentiment he
utters, and also to know HOW to give the _intended_ meaning and
emotion, when he _knows_ them.
By _practice_ upon the different exercises herein, the student will
not fail to recognize the emotion from the sentiment, _and will be able
to give it_.
Emphasis of feeling is suggested and governed entirely by emotion, and is
not strictly necessary to the sense, but is in the highest degree
expressive of sentiment.
1. _On_! ON! you noble English.
2. _Slaves_! TRAITORS! have ye flown?
3. To _arms_! to ARMS! ye braves?
4 Be _assured_, be ASSURED, that this declaration will stand.
5. _Rise_, RISE, ye wild tempests, and cover his flight!
6. To _arms_! to ARMS! to ARMS! they cry.
7. _Hurrah_ for bright water! HURRAH! HURRAH!
8. I _met_ him, FACED him, SCORNED him.
9. _Horse_! HORSE! and CHASE!
10. The charge is _utterly_, TOTALLY, MEANLY, false.
11. Ay, cluster there! Cling to your master, _judges_, ROMANS, SLAVES.
12. I defy the honourable _gentleman_; I defy the GOVERNMENT; I defy
the WHOLE PHALANX.
13. He has allowed us to meet you here, and in the name of the present
_generation_, in the name of your COUNTRY, in the name of LIBERTY, to
14 They shouted _France_! SPAIN! ALBION! VICTORY!
Climax, or cumulative emphasis, consists of a series of particulars or
emphatic words or sentences, in which each successive particular, word, or
sentence rises in force and importance to the last.
The inflections of the voice, consist of those peculiar slides which it
takes in pronouncing syllables, words, or sentences.
There are two of these slides, the upward and the downward. The upward is
called the rising inflection, and the downward the falling inflection, and
when these are combined it is known as the circumflex.
The rising inflection is used in cases of doubt and uncertainty, or when
the sense is incomplete or dependent on something following. The falling
inflection is used when the sense is finished and completed, or is
independent of anything that follows.
Indirect questions usually require the falling inflection.
Falling inflections give power and emphasis to words. Rising inflections
give beauty and variety. Rising inflections may also be emphatic, but their
effect is not so great as that of falling inflections.
Life is _short_`.
Eternity is _long_`.
If they _return_`.
Forgive us our _sins_`.
What' though the field be lost`?
All` is not` lost`: the unconquerable will`,
And stud`y of revenge`, immor`tal hate`,
And cour`age nev`er to submit` or yield`.
And be thou instruc`ted, oh, Jeru`salem', lest my soul depart` from thee;
lest I make thee' des`olate, a land not' inhab`ited.
If the members of a concluding series are not emphatic, they all take the
rising inflection except the _last_, which takes the falling
inflection; but if emphatic, they all take the falling inflection except
the _last_ but _one_, which takes the rising inflection.
The dew is dried up', the star is shot', the flight is past', the man
He tried each art', reproved each dull delay', allured to brighter worlds'
and led the way`.
They will celebrate it with thanksgiving', with festivity' with bonfires',
He was so young', so intelligent', so generous', so brave so everything',
that we are apt to like in a young man`.
My doctrine shall drop as the rain', my speech shall distill as the dew',
as the small rain upon the tender herb' and as the showers upon the grass`.
THE CIRCUMFLEX OR WAVE.
The Circumflex is a union of the two inflections, and is of two kinds;
viz., the Rising and the Falling Circumflex. The rising circumflex begins
with the falling, and ends with the rising inflection; the falling
circumflex begins with the rising, and ends with the falling inflection.
Positive assertions of irony, raillery, etc., have the falling circumflex,
and all negative assertions of doubled meaning will have the rising. Doubt,
pity, contrast, grief, supposition, comparison, irony, implication,
sneering, raillery, scorn, reproach, and contempt, are all expressed by the
use of the wave of the circumflex. Be sure and get the right feeling and
thought, and you will find no difficulty in expressing them properly, if
you have mastered the voice. Both these circumflex inflections may be
exemplified in the word "so," in a speech of the clown, in Shakespeare's
"As You Like It:"
"I knew when seven justices could not take up a quarrel; but when the
parties were met themselves, one of them thought but of an If; as if you
said so, then I said so. Oh, ho! did you say so*? So they shook hands, and
were sworn friends."
The Queen of Denmark, in reproving her son, Hamlet, on account of his
conduct towards his step-father, whom she married shortly after the murder
of the king, her husband, says to him, "_Hamlet_, you have your father
_much_ offended." To which he replies, with a circumflex on
_you_, "Madam, yo*u have my father much offended." _He_ meant his
_own_ father; _she_ his _step_-father. He would _also_
intimate that she was _accessory_ to his father's _murder_; and
his peculiar reply was like _daggers_ in her _soul_.
In the following reply of Death to Satan, there is a frequent occurrence of
circumflexes, mingled with _contempt_: "And reckon's _thou
thyself_ with _spirits_ of heaven, hell-doomed, and breath'st
_defiance here_, and _scorn_ where _I_ reign king*?--and, to
enrage thee _more, th*y_ king and _lord!_" The voice is
circumflexed on _heaven_, _hell-doomed_, _king_, and
_thy_, nearly an octave.
Personation is the representation, by a single reader or speaker, of the
words, manners, and actions of one or several persons. The change of voice
in personation in public reading is of great importance, but is generally
overlooked, or but little practiced.
The student must practice assiduously upon such pieces as require
Personation in connection with narrative and descriptive sentences, and he
must use the Time, Pitch, Force, and Gesture, which are appropriate to the
expression of the required thought. For example, if it be the words uttered
by a dying child, the Pitch will be low, Pure Voice, slightly Tremor, Time
slow, with a pause between the narrative and the quoted words of the child,
these last being given very softly and hesitatingly.
"Tell father, when he comes from work, I said goodnight to him; and mother
The last words very soft, and hesitating utterance.
Before this example, is another in the same selection, not quite so marked,
which we give from the third verse. She gets her answer from the child;
softly fall the words from him--
"Mother, the angels do so smile, and beckon little Jim! I have no pain,
dear mother, now,--but oh, I am so dry! Just moisten poor Jim's lips again
--and, mother, don't you cry." With gentle, trembling haste, she held the
liquid to his lips,----
That which is quoted is supposed to be uttered by the dying child, and can
not be given effectively without the changes in voice, etc., referred to
If, however, the climax of the narrative is a battle scene, and the
Personation represents an officer giving a command, then a most marked
change must be made in the voice between the narrative and the personation,
which demands Full Force, Quick Time, High Pitch, and Orotund Quality, and
the narrative portion will commence with Moderate Pitch and Time
(increasing), and Medium Force.
"Forward, the Light Brigade!
'Charge for the guns!' he said,
Into the valley of death
Rode the Six Hundred."
(_desc_.) And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people:
(_per_.) "Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so
earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness, we had made this
man to walk?" etc.
To read the Bible acceptably in public, requires the application of every
principle in elocution; for nowhere is Expression so richly rewarded, as in
the pronunciation of the sacred text. The Descriptive and Personation
should be so distinctly marked, that the attention will be at once
attracted to the different styles, and the meaning understood.
The study of Expression is one of the most important parts of elocution, as
it is the application of all the principles that form the science of
utterance. It is the ART of elocution. Expression then should be the chief
characteristic of all public reading and speaking. The student must forget
self, and throw himself entirely into the spirit of what he reads, for the
art of feeling is the true art which leads to a just expression of the
"To this one standard make you just appeal,
Here lies the golden secret, learn to _feel_."
The voice under the influence of feeling, gives the beautiful colouring,
and breathes life and reality to the mental picture. Every turn in the
current of feeling should be carefully observed and fully expressed. Not
only the varied changes of the voice, however, but the indications by all
the features of the countenance, contribute a share to give a good
expression, and by far the greatest is derived from the eyes. The
management of the eyes is, therefore, the most important of all--
"A single look more marks the eternal woe,
Than all the windings of the lengthened, oh!
Up to the face the quick sensation flies,
And darts its meaning from the speaking eyes;
Love, transport, madness, anger, scorn, despair,
And all the passions, all the soul is there."
The eye of the orator, and the expressive movements of the muscles of his
face, often _tell_ more than his words, his body or his hands, and
when the eye is lighted up and glowing with meaning and intelligence, and
frequently and properly directed to the person or persons addressed, it
tends greatly to rivet the attention, and deepen the interest of the
hearer, as well as to heighten the effect, and enforce the importance of
the sentiments delivered. To the eyes belong the effusion of tears, and to
give way to this proof of feeling should not be called a mark of weakness,
but rather a proof of sensibility, which is the test of sincerity.
Next to the eyes, the mouth is the most expressive part of the countenance.
"The Mouth," says Cresallius, "is the vestibule of the soul, the door of
eloquence, and the place in which the thoughts hold their highest debates."
It is the seat of grace and sweetness; smiles and good temper play around
it; composure calms it; and discretion keeps the door of its lips. Every
bad habit defaces the soft beauty of the mouth, and leaves indelible traces
of its injury, they should, therefore, be carefully avoided. The motion of
the lips should be moderate, to moisten them by thrusting the tongue
between them is very disagreeable, and biting the lips is equally
unbecoming. We should speak with the mouth, more than with the lips.
Unless the pupil is very careful, he will find some difficulty in keeping
the mouth sufficiently wide open, he will gradually close the mouth until
the teeth are brought nearly together, before the sound is finished, the
inevitable consequence of which is a smothered, imperfect and lifeless
utterance of the syllable or word. A good opening of the mouth is
absolutely indispensable in giving the voice the full effect of round,
smooth and agreeable tone.
* * * * *
As more or less action must necessarily accompany the words of every
speaker who delivers his sentiments in earnest, as they ought to be to move
and persuade, it is of the utmost importance to him that that action be
appropriate and natural--never forced and awkward, but easy and graceful,
except where the nature of the subject requires it to be bold and vehement.
If argument were necessary to enforce the importance of cultivation in
gesticulation, one sufficiently cogent might be drawn from the graceful
skill and power displayed in this art by the best actors on the stage. No
truth is clearer than that their excellence in this is due to their own
But, in applying art to the aid of Oratory, and especially in copying the
gesture of those who excel in it, great caution is to be observed. No true
orator can be formed after any model. He that copies or borrows from any
one, should be careful in the first place, not to copy his peculiarities or
defects: and whatever is copied, should be so completely brought under
command, by long practice, as to appear perfectly natural. Art should never
be allowed to put any restraint upon nature; but should be so completely
refined and subdued as to appear to be the work of nature herself; for
whenever art is allowed to supersede nature, it is immediately detected,
shows affectation, and is sure to disgust, rather than please and impress,
In general terms, force and grace may be considered the leading qualities
of good action. In pleasing emotions the eye of the speaker follows the
gesture, but in negative expressions the head is averted. The stroke of the
hand terminates on the emphatic word. Be careful not to "saw the air" with
the hands, but to move them in graceful curved lines. They should move
steadily, and rest on the emphatic word, returning to the side after the
emotion is expressed that called them into action.
The following positions and directions are as good as any, that can be
expressed in a small compass, and they are given here for practice. One
caution must be noted, which is, that excess of action is nearly as
detrimental in oratory as no action. It becomes the speaker, therefore, in
this, as well as in everything else, that pertains to elocution and
oratory, to _avoid extremes_.
I. POSITION OF THE HAND.
1. Supine; open hand, fingers relaxed, palm upward; used in appeal,
entreaty, in expressing light, joyous emotions, etc.
2. Prone; open hand, palm downward; used in negative expressions, etc.
3. Vertical; open hand, palm outward; for repelling, warding off, etc.
4. Clenched; hand tightly closed; used in defiance, courage, threatening,
5 Pointing; prone hand, loosely closed, with index finger extended; used in
pointing out, designating, etc.
1. Front; the hand descending below the hip, extending horizontally, or
ascending to a level or above the head, at right angles with the speaker's
2. Oblique; at an angle of forty-five degrees from the speaker's body.
3. Extended; direct from the speaker's side.
4. Backward; reversely corresponding to the oblique.
R. H. S. Right Hand Supine.
R. H. P. Right Hand Prone.
R. H. V. Right Hand Vertical.
B. H. S. Both Hands Supine.
B. H. P. Both Hands Prone.
B. H. V. Both Hands Vertical.
D. f. Descending Front.
H. f. Horizontal Front.
A. f. Ascending Front.
D. o. Descending Oblique.
H. o. Horizontal Oblique.
A. o. Ascending Oblique.
D. e. Descending Extended.
H. e. Horizontal Extended.
A. e. Ascending Extended.
D. b. Descending Backward.
H. b. Horizontal Backward.
A. b. Ascending Backward.
The dotted words indicate where the hand is to be raised in preparation.
The gesture is made upon the words in capitals.
The hand drops upon the italicized word or syllable following the word in
capitals. If italicized words precede the word in capitals, it indicates
that the hand is to follow the line of gesture.
The following examples have appeared in several works on Elocution--"The
New York Speaker," "Reading and Elocution," etc.
R. H. S.
_D.f._ This sentiment I* will* maintain* | with the last
breath of LIFE.
_H.f._ I* appeal* | to YOU, sir, for your de _cis_ ion.
_A.f._ I* appeal* | to the great Searcher of HEARTS for
the truth of what I _ut_ ter.
_D. o._ Of* all* mistakes* | NONE are so _fa_ tal as those
which we incur through prejudice.
_H. o._ Truth*, honour*, | JUS tice were his _mo_ tives.
_A. o._ Fix* your* eye* | on the prize of a truly NO ble am-
_D. e._ AWAY* | with an idea so absurd!
_H. e._ The* breeze* of* morning* | wafted IN cense on the
_A. e._ In dreams thro'* camp* and* court* he* bore* | the
trophies of a CON queror.
_D. b._ AWAY* | with an idea so abhorrent to humanity!
_H. b._ Search* the* records* of* the* remotest* an TI quity for
a _par_allel to this.
_A. b._ Then* rang* their proud HURRAH!
R. H. P.
_D. f._ Put* DOWN | the unworthy feeling!
_H. f._ Re* STRAIN the unhallowed pro _pen_ sity.
_D. o._ Let every one who* would* merit* the* Christian* name*
| re PRESS | such a feeling.
_H. o._ I* charge* you* as* men* and* as* Christians* | to lay a
re STRAINT on all such dispo _si_ tions!
_A. o._ Ye* gods* | with HOLD your _ven_ geance!
_D. e._ The* hand* of* affection* | shall _smooth the_ TURF for
your last _pil_ low!
_H. e._ The* cloud* of* adver* | sity threw its gloom _over all
his_ PROS pects.
_A. e._ So* darkly* glooms* yon* thunder* cloud* that* swathes*
| as with a purple SHROUD Benledi's distant _hill_.
R. H. V.
_H. f._ Arise!* meet* | and re PEL your _foe!_
_A. f._ For* BID it, Almighty _God!_
_H. o._ He generously extended* the* arm* of* power* | to
ward OFF the _blow_.
_A. o._ May* Heaven* a VERT the cal _am_ ity!
_H. e._ Out* of* my* SIGHT, | thou serpent!
_H. b._ Thou* tempting* fiend,* a VAUNT!
B. H. S.
_D. f._ All personal feeling he* de* POS ited on the _al_ tar
of his country's good.
_H. f._ Listen,* I* im PLORE you, to the voice of _rea_ son!
_A. f._ HAIL, universal _Lord_!
_D. o._ Every* personal* advantage* | he sur REN dered to
the common _good_.
_H. o._ WELCOME!* once more to your early _home_!
_A. o._ HAIL! holy _Light_!
_D. e._ I* utterly* re NOUNCE | all the supposed advantages
of such a station.
_H. e._ They* yet* slept* | in the wide a BYSS of possi _bil_ ity.
_A. e._ Joy,* joy* | for EVER.
B. H. P.
_D. f._ Lie* LIGHT ly on him, _earth_--his step was light on
_H. f._ Now* all* the* blessings* of* a* glad* father* LIGHT on
_A. f._ Blessed* be* Thy* NAME, O Lord Most _High_.
_D. o._ We* are* in* Thy* sight* | but as the _worms_ of the
_H. o._ May* the* grace* of* God* | _abide with you for_ EVER.
_A. o._ And* let* the* triple* rainbow* rest* | _o'er all the
_D. e._ Here* let* the* tumults* of* passion* | _forever_ CEASE!
_H. e._ Spread* _wide_ a ROUND the heaven-breathing _calm_!
_A. e._ Heaven* | _opened_ WIDE her ever-during _gates_.
B. H. V.
_H. f._ HENCE*, hideous _spectre_!
_A. f._ AVERT*, O _God_, the frown of Thy indignation!
_H. o._ Far* from* OUR _hearts_ be so inhuman a feeling.
_A. o._ Let* me* not* | NAME it to _you_, ye chaste stars!
_H. e._ And* if* the* night* have* gathered* aught* of* evil* or*
concealed*, dis PERSE it.
_A. e._ Melt* and* dis* PEL, ye spectre _doubts_!
* * * * *
INTRODUCTION TO AN AUDIENCE.
The speaker should present himself to the audience with modesty, and
without any show of self-consequence, and should avoid everything opposed
to true dignity and self respect; he should feel the importance of his
subject and the occasion. He should be deliberate and calm, and should take
his position with his face directed to the audience.
A bow, being the most marked and appropriate symbol of respect, should be
made on the last step going to his place on the platform. In making a
graceful bow, there should be a gentle bend of the whole body, the eyes
should not be permitted to fall below the person addressed, and the arms
should lightly move forward, and a little inward. On raising himself into
an erect position from the introductory bow, the speaker should fall back
into the first position of the advanced foot. In this position he commences
to speak. In his discourse let him appear graceful, easy, and natural, and
when warmed and animated by the importance of his subject, his dignity and
mien should become still more elevated and commanding, and he should assume
a somewhat lofty and noble bearing.
ADVICE TO STUDENTS.
The student must ever bear in mind that there is no royal road of attaining
excellence in Elocutionary art without labour. No matter under what
favourable circumstances he may have been placed for observing good
methods, or how much aid he may receive from good teachers, he never can
make any _real_ improvement, unless he does the work for himself, and
by diligence and perseverance he may achieve a great measure of success,
and free himself from many blemishes and defects.
As the highest attainment of art, is the best imitation of nature, to
attain to excellence in art the student must study nature as it exists in
the manner of the age,--
"And catch the manners, living as they rise."
The rules of every science, as far as they are just and useful, are founded
in nature, or in good usage; hence their adoption and application tend to
free us from our artificial defects, all of which may be regarded as
departures from the simplicity of nature. Let the student, therefore, ever
bear in mind that whatever is artificial is unnatural, and that whatever is
unnatural is opposed to genuine eloquence.
Good reading is exactly like good talking--one, therefore, who would read
well or who would speak well, who would interest, rivet the attention,
convince the understanding, and excite the feelings of his hearers--need
not expect to do it by any extraordinary exertion or desperate effort; for
genuine eloquence is not to be wooed and won by any such boisterous course
of courtship, but by more gentle means. But, the pupil must not be tied
down to a too slavish attention to rules, for one flash of genuine emotion,
one touch of real nature, will produce a greater effect than the
application of all the studied rules of rhetorical art.
"He who in earnest studies o'er his part,
Will find true nature cling around his heart,
The modes of grief are not included all
In the white handkerchief and mournful drawl."
Before attempting to give a piece in public the pupil must practice it well
in private, until the words and ideas are perfectly familiar, and it must
be repeated o'er and o'er again, with perfect distinctness and clear
articulation,--for more declaimers break down in consequence of forgetting
the words of their piece, than from any other cause, and the pupil must
practice assiduously until there is no danger of failure from this source.
Do not be discouraged if your early attempts are not very successful ones,
but persevere; the most renowned actors and orators were not at all
remarkable in the commencement of their career, they all, with scarcely an
exception, attained to eminence by untiring perseverance.
Never rest satisfied with having done as you think--"well"--but be
constantly trying to improve and to do better, and do not let the flattery
of injudicious friends lead you to imagine you have a remarkable genius for
oratory or for reading--such a foolish notion will be productive of great
harm and effectually stop your further improvement, and those who are led
to believe they are great geniuses and above the necessity of being guided
by the rules suited for more commonplace mortals, rarely, if ever, attain
to eminence, or become useful members of society.
Do not rely too much on others for instruction or advice as to the way of
reading or speaking a passage, think for yourself, read it over carefully
until you have formed a definite opinion as to how it ought to be
delivered, then declaim it according to your own idea of its meaning and
Avoid everything like affectation; think of your subject and its
requirements, not of yourself, and do not try to make a great display. Let
your tone, look and gestures be all in harmony--be deliberate, yet earnest
and natural; let nature be the mistress with art for her handmaiden.
Do not be such a slavish imitator of others, that it can be said of you, as
it is of many--"Oh! I know who taught him Elocution. Every gesture and
every movement is in accordance with some specific rule, and a slavish
mannerism that never breaks into the slightest originality, marks his whole
delivery, and all of ----'s pupils do exactly the same way."
Remember always that the GOLDEN RULE of Elocution is:--
BE NATURAL AND BE IN EARNEST.
GENERAL EXAMPLES FOR PRACTICE.
QUICK TIME--INCREASE--HIGH PITCH--OROTUND.
Still sprung from those swift hoofs, thundering South,
The dust like the smoke from the cannon's mouth,
Or the trail of a comet, sweeping faster and faster,
Foreboding to traitors the doom of disaster.
The heart of the steed and the heart of the master
Were beating like prisoners assaulting their walls,
Impatient to be where the battle-field calls;
Every nerve of the charger was strained to full play,
With Sheridan only ten miles away!
Under his spurning feet, the road
Like an arrowy Alpine river flowed;
And the landscape sped away behind,
Like an ocean flying before the wind;
And the steed, like a barque fed with furnace ire,
Swept on, with his wild eyes full of fire;--
But, lo! he is nearing his heart's desire!
He is snuffing the smoke of the roaring fray,
With Sheridan only five miles away!
How peaceful the grave--its quiet, how deep! Its zephyrs breathe calmly,
and soft is its sleep, and flowerets perfume it with ether!
How ill this taper burns!
Ha! who comes here?
I think it is the weakness of mine eyes
That shapes this monstrous apparition.
It comes upon me! Art thou any thing?
Art thou some god, some angel, or some devil,
That makest my blood cold, and my hair to stare?
Speak to me what thou art.
OROTUND--HIGH AND VARIED PITCH.
Confusion reigned below, and crowds on deck
With ashen faces and wild questionings
Rushed to her fated side; another crash
Succeeded, then a pause, an awful pause
Of terror and dismay. They see it all!
There floats the direful cause 'longside them now!
"Ahoy!" the seamen cry; "Ahoy! ahoy!
Four hundred souls aboard! Ahoy! ahoy!"
"All will be well!" "No, no, she heeds us not!"
And shrieks of awful frenzy fill the air--
"We sink! we sink!" but lo! the aid so near
Slinks like a recreant coward out of sight.
No sign of succour--none! Now wild despair
And cowardice, thy reign has come; the strong
Are weak, the weak are strong.
The captain cries aloud--"Launch yonder boat!"
The maddened crowd press toward it, but he shouts:
"Stand back, and save the women!" They but laugh
With curses their response. Behold the waves
Are gaping to receive them! still he cries
"Back, back, or I will fire!"--their reply
Comes in a roar of wild defiant groans.
_Pauline_. Thrice have I sought to speak: my courage fails me.
Sir, is it true that you have known--nay, are you
The friend of--Melnotte?
_Melnotte_. Lady, yes!--Myself
And Misery know the man!
_Pauline_. And you will see him,
And you will bear to him--ay--word for word,
All that this heart, which breaks in parting from him
Would send, ere still for ever.
_Melnotte_. He hath told me
You have the right to choose from out the world
A worthier bridegroom;--he foregoes all claim
Even to murmur at his doom. Speak on!
_Pauline_. Tell him, for years I never nursed a thought
That was not his; that on his wandering way
Daily and nightly poured a mourner's prayers.
Tell him ev'n now that I would rather share
His lowliest lot,--walk by his side, an outcast,--
Work for him, beg with him,--live upon the light
Of one kind smile from him, than wear the crown
The Bourbon lost!
_Melnotte (aside)_. Am I already mad?
And does delirium utter such sweet words
Into a dreamer's ear? (_aloud_.) You love him thus
And yet desert him?
_Pauline_. Say, that, if his eye
Could read this heart,--its struggles, its temptations--
His love itself would pardon that desertion!
Look on that poor old man--he is my father;
He stands upon the verge of an abyss;
He calls his child to save him! Shall I shrink
From him who gave me birth? Withhold my hand
And see a parent perish? Tell him this,
And say--that we shall meet again in Heaven!
The stars--shall fade away,--the sun--himself--
Grow dim--with age,--and Nature--sink--in years;
But thou--shalt flourish--in immortal youth,--
Unhurt--amidst the war of elements,--
The wreck of matter,--and the crash of worlds.
At church, with meek and unaffected grace,
His looks adorned the venerable place;
Truth from his lips prevailed with double sway,
And fools, who came to scoff, remained to pray.
The service past, around the pious man,
With ready zeal, each honest rustic ran;
E'en children followed, with endearing wile,
And plucked his gown, to share the good man's smile:
His ready smile a parent's warmth expressed,
Their welfare pleased him, and their cares distressed;
To them his heart, his love, his griefs were given,
But all his serious thoughts had rest in heaven.
As some tall cliff that lifts its awful form,
Swells from the vale, and midway leaves the storm.
Though round its breast the rolling clouds are spread,
Eternal sunshine settles on its head.
ASTONISHMENT AND SURPRISE.
Whence and what art thou, execrable shape!
That dar'st, though grim and terrible, advance
Thy miscreated front athwart my way
To yonder gates? Through them, I mean to pass--
That be assured--without leave asked of thee!
Retire, or taste thy folly; and learn by proof,
Hell-born! not to contend with spirits of heaven!
Next Anger rushed, his eyes on fire; in lightnings owned his secret stings;
with one rude clash he struck the lyre, and swept with hurried hand, the
The Duchess marked his weary pace, his timid mien, and reverend face; and
bade her page the menials tell, that they should tend the old man well; for
she had known adversity, though born in such a high degree; in pride of
power, in beauty's bloom, had wept o'er Monmouth's bloody tomb.
And longer had she sung--but, with a frown, Revenge impatient rose; he
threw his blood-stained sword in thunder down; and, with a withering look,
the war-denouncing trumpet took, and blew a blast--so loud and dread, were
ne'er prophetic sounds so full of woe.
"Fight on!" quoth he, undaunted, but our war-ships steered away;
"She will burst," they said, "and sink us, one and all, beneath the bay;"
But our captain knew his duty, and we cheered him as he cried,
"To the rescue! We are brothers--let us perish side by side!"
Avaunt! and quit my sight! Let the earth hide thee!
Thy bones are marrowless, thy blood is cold:
Thou hast no speculation in those eyes
Which thou dost glare with! Hence, horrible shadow,
Unreal mockery, hence!
All's for the best! set this on your standard,
Soldier of sadness, or pilgrim of love,
Who to the shores of Despair may have wandered,
A way-wearied swallow, or heart-stricken dove;
All's for the best!--be a man but confiding,
Providence tenderly governs the rest,
And the frail barque of his creature is guiding
Wisely and wanly, all for the best.
The quality of mercy is not strain'd;
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath; it is twice blessed;
It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes:
'Tis mightiest--in the mightiest; it becomes
The throned monarch--better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe--and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy--is above this sceptered sway,
It is enthroned--in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute--to God himself:
And earthly power--doth then show likest God's,
When mercy--seasons justice.
In peace, Love tunes the shepherd's reed;
In war, he mounts the warrior's steed;
In halls, in gay attire is seen;
In hamlets, dances on the green.
Love rules the court, the camp, the grove,
And men below, and saints above;
For love is heaven, and heaven is love.
AWE, EXTENDING TO FEAR.
It thunders! Sons of dust, in reverence bow!
Ancient of Days! thou speakest from above!
Thy right hand wields the bolt of terror now--
That hand which scatters peace and joy and love.
Almighty! trembling, like a timid child,
I hear Thy awful voice!--alarmed, afraid,
I see the flashes of Thy lightning wild,
And in the very grave would hide my head!
O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Thy name in all the earth! who hast set
Thy glory above the heavens. When I consider the heavens, the work of Thy
fingers; the moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained; what is man that
Thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that Thou visitest him?
For Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him
with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of
Thy hands: Thou hast put all things under his feet. O Lord, our Lord, how
excellent is Thy name in all the earth!
* * * * *
DOMESTIC LOVE AND HAPPINESS.
O happy they! the happiest of their kind!
Whom gentler stars unite, and in one fate
Their hearts, their fortunes, and their beings blend.
'Tis not the coarser tie of human laws,
Unnatural oft, and foreign to the mind,
That binds their peace, but harmony itself,
Attuning all their passions into love;
Where friendship full exerts her softest power,
Perfect esteem, enliven'd by desire
Ineffable, and sympathy of soul;
Thought meeting thought, and will preventing will,
With boundless confidence; for nought but love
Can answer love, and render bliss secure.
Let him, ungenerous, who, alone intent
To bless himself, from sordid parents buys
The loathing virgin, in eternal care,
Well-merited, consume his nights and days:
Let barbarous nations, whose inhuman love
Is wild desire, fierce as the sun they feel;
Let eastern tyrants from the light of Heaven
Seclude their bosom-slaves, meanly possess'd
Of a mere lifeless, violated form:
While those whom love cements in holy faith,
And equal transport, free as nature live,
Disdaining fear. What is the world to them,
Its pomp, its pleasure, and its nonsense all?
Who in each other clasp whatever fair
High fancy forms, and lavish hearts can wish,
Something than beauty dearer, should they look
Or on the mind, or mind-illumin'd face;
Truth, goodness, honour, harmony and love,
The richest bounty of indulgent Heaven.
Meantime a smiling offspring rises round,
And mingles both their graces. By degrees
The human blossom blows; and every day,
Soft as it rolls along, shows some new charm,
The father's lustre, and the mother's bloom.
Then infant reason grows apace, and calls
For the kind hand of an assiduous care.
Delightful task! to rear the tender thought,
To teach the young idea how to shoot,
To pour the fresh instruction o'er the mind,
To breathe th' enlivening spirit, and to fix
The generous purpose in the glowing breast.
Oh, speak the joy! ye, whom the sudden tear
Surprises often, while you look around,
And nothing strikes your eye but sights of bliss,
All various nature pressing on the heart:
An elegant sufficiency, content,
Retirement, rural quiet, friendship, books,
Ease and alternate labour, useful life,
Progressive virtue, and approving Heaven.
These are the matchless joys of virtuous love:
And thus their moments fly. The seasons thus,
As ceaseless round a jarring world they roll,
Still find them happy; and consenting spring
Sheds her own rosy garland on their heads:
Till evening comes at last, serene and mild;
When, after the long vernal day of life,
Enamour'd more, as more remembrance swells
With many a proof of recollected love,
Together down they sink in social sleep;
Together freed, their gentle spirits fly
To scenes where love and bliss immortal reign.
* * * * *
These, as they change, ALMIGHTY FATHER, these
Are but the varied GOD. The rolling year
Is full of THEE. Forth in the pleasing Spring
THY beauty walks, THY tenderness and love
Wide flush the fields; the softening air is balm,
Echo the mountains round; the forest smiles;
And every sense, and every heart is joy.
Then comes THY glory in the Summer months,
With light and heat refulgent. Then THY sun
Shoots full perfection through the swelling year,
And oft THY voice in dreadful thunder speaks;
And oft at dawn, deep noon, or falling eve,
By brooks, and groves, in hollow-whispering gales
THY bounty shines in Autumn unconfin'd,
And spreads a common feast for all that lives.
In Winter, awful THOU! with clouds and storms
Around THEE thrown, tempest o'er tempest roll'd.
Majestic darkness! on the whirlwind's wing,
Riding sublime, THOU bids't the world adore,
And humblest Nature with THY northern blast.
* * * * *
ON HIS BLINDNESS.
When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide--
"Doth God exact day-labor, light denied?"
I fondly ask; but Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies: "God doth not need
Either man's work, or his own gifts; who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best; his state
Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed,
And post o'er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait."
* * * * *
THE PATRIOT'S ELYSIUM.
There is a land, of every land the pride,
Beloved by heaven o'er all the world beside;
Where brighter suns dispense serener light,
And milder moons imparadise the night:
A land of beauty, virtue, valour, truth,
Time-tutored age, and love-exalted youth.
The wandering mariner, whose eye explores
The wealthiest isles, the most enchanting shores;
Views not a realm so bountiful and fair,
Nor breathes the spirit of a purer air!
In every clime, the magnet of his soul,
Touched by remembrance, trembles to that pole;
For in this land of heaven's peculiar grace,
The heritage of nature's noblest race,
There is a spot of earth supremely blest,
A dearer, sweeter spot than all the rest,
Where man, creation's tyrant, casts aside
His sword and sceptre, pageantry and pride;
While, in his softened looks, benignly blend
The sire, the son, the husband, father, friend.
Here woman reigns; the mother, daughter, wife,
Strews with fresh flowers the narrow way of life.
In the clear heaven of her delightful eye,
An angel guard of loves and graces lie;
Around her knees domestic duties meet,
And fireside pleasures gambol at her feet.
Where shall that land, that spot of earth be found?
Art thou a man?--a patriot?--look around!
Oh! thou shalt find, howe'er thy footsteps roam,
That land thy COUNTRY, and that spot thy HOME.
* * * * *
THE APPROACH TO PARADISE.
So on he fares; and to the border comes
Of Eden, where delicious Paradise,
Now nearer, crowns, with her enclosure green,
As with a rural mound, the champaign head
Of a steep wilderness, whose hairy sides,
With thicket overgrown, grotesque and wild,
Access denied; and overhead up grew
Insuperable height of loftiest shade,
Cedar, and pine, and fir, and branching palm,--
A sylvan scene; and, as the ranks ascend,
Shade above shade, a woody theatre
Of stateliest view. Yet higher than their tops
The verd'rous wall of Paradise up sprung;
Which to our general sire gave prospect large
Into his nether empire neighbouring round:
And, higher than that wall, a circling row
Of goodliest trees, laden with fairest fruit,
Blossoms and fruits, at once, of golden hue,
Appeared, with gay enamelled colours mixed;
On which the Sun more glad impressed his beams
Than in fair evening cloud, or humid bow,
When God hath showered the earth; so lovely seemed
That landscape: and of pure, now purer air
Meets his approach, and to the heart inspires
Vernal delight and joy, able to drive
All sadness but despair: now gentle gales,
Fanning their odoriferous wings, dispense
Native perfumes, and whisper whence they stole
Those balmy spoils;--as when, to them who sail
Beyond the Cape of Hope, and now are past
Mozambique, off at sea north-east winds blow
Sabean odours from the spicy shore
Of Araby the blest; with such delay
Well pleased they slack their course; and, many a league,
Cheered with the grateful smell, old Ocean smiles.
* * * * *
LOVE IN IDLENESS.
OBE. Well, go thy way; thou shalt not from this grove,
Till I torment thee for this injury.
My gentle Puck, come hither: Thou remember'st
Since once I sat upon a promontory,
And heard a mermaid, on a dolphin's back,
Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath,
That the rude sea grew civil at her song;
And certain stars shot madly from their spheres,
To hear the sea-maid's music.
PUCK. I remember.
OBE. That very time I saw (but thou could'st not),
Flying between the cold moon and the earth,
Cupid, all armed: a certain aim he took
At a fair vestal, throned by the west;
And loos'd his love-shaft smartly from his bow,
As it should pierce a hundred thousand hearts;
But I might see young Cupid's fiery shaft
Quench'd in the chaste beams of the watery moon;
And the imperial votaress passed on,
In maiden meditation, fancy-free.
Yet mark'd I where the bolt of Cupid fell:
It fell upon a little western flower,--
Before, milk-white, now purple with love's wound,--
And maidens call it love-in-idleness.
Fetch me that flower; the herb I show'd thee once;
The juice of it on sleeping eyelids laid,
Will make or man or woman madly dote
Upon the next live creature that it sees.
Fetch me this herb: and be thou here again,
Ere the leviathan can swim a league.
PUCK. I'll put a girdle round about the earth
In forty minutes.
* * * * *
REFLECTIONS ON THE TOMB OF SHAKESPEARE.
As I crossed the bridge over the Avon on my return, I paused to contemplate
the distant church in which Shakespeare lies buried, and could not but
exult in the malediction,
"Good friend, for Jesus' sake forbear,
To dig the dust enclosed here.
Blest be the man that spares these stones;
And cursed be he who moves my bones,"
which has kept his ashes undisturbed in its quiet and hallowed vaults. What
honour could his name have derived from being mingled in dusty
companionship, with the epitaphs, and escutcheons, and venal eulogiums of a
titled multitude? What would a crowded corner in Westminster Abbey have
been, compared with this reverend pile, which seems to stand in beautiful
loneliness as his sole mausoleum! The solicitude about the grave, may be
but the offspring of an overwrought sensibility; but human nature is made
up of foibles and prejudices; and its best and tenderest affections are
mingled with these factitious feelings. He who has sought renown about the
world, and has reaped a full harvest of worldly favour, will find, after
all, there is no love, no admiration, no applause, so sweet to the soul as
that which springs up in his native place. It is there that he seeks to be
gathered in peace and honour, among his kindred and his early friends. And
when the weary heart and the failing head begin to warn him that the
evening of life is drawing on, he turns as fondly as does the infant to its
mother's arms, to sink to sleep in the bosom of the scenes of his
How would it have cheered the spirit of the youthful bard, when, wandering
forth in disgrace upon a doubtful world, he cast back a heavy look upon his
paternal home, could he have foreseen, that, before many years, he should
return to it covered with renown; that his name would become the boast and
the glory of his native place; that his ashes would be religiously guarded
as its most precious treasure; and that its lessening spire, on which his
eyes were fixed with tearful contemplation, would one day become the
beacon, towering amidst the gentle landscape, to guide the literary pilgrim
of every nation to his tomb!
* * * * *
ON THE MISERIES OF HUMAN LIFE.
Ah! little think the gay licentious proud,
Whom pleasure, power, and affluence surround;
They, who their thoughtless hours in giddy mirth,
And wanton, often cruel, riot waste;
Ah! little think they, while they dance along,
How many feel, this very moment, death
And all the sad variety of pain.
How many sink in the devouring flood,
Or more devouring flame; how many bleed,
By shameful variance betwixt man and man.
How many pine in want, and dungeon glooms,
Shut from the common air and common use
Of their own limbs; how many drink the cup
Of baleful grief, or eat the bitter bread
Of misery. Sore pierc'd by wintry winds,
How many shrink into the sordid hut
Of cheerless poverty; how many shake
With all the fiercer tortures of the mind,
Unbounded passion, madness, guilt, remorse;
Whence tumbling headlong from the height of life,
They furnish matter for the tragic Muse.
Even in the vale, where Wisdom loves to dwell,
With friendship, peace, and contemplation join'd,
How many rack'd, with honest passions droop
In deep retir'd distress; how many stand
Around the death-bed of their dearest friends
And point the parting anguish.--Thought fond Man
Of these, and all the thousand nameless ills,
That one incessant struggle render life
One scene of toil, of suffering, and of fate,
Vice in his high career would stand appall'd,
And heedless rambling Impulse learn to think,
The conscious heart of Charity would warm,
And her wide wish Benevolence dilate;
The social tear would rise, the social sigh
And into clear perfection, gradual bliss,
Refining still, the social passions, work.
* * * * *
PAUL'S DEFENCE BEFORE AGRIPPA.
Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Thou art permitted to speak for thyself. Then
Paul stretched forth his hand, and answered for himself: I think myself
happy, King Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee
touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews: especially
because I know thee to be expert in all customs and questions which are
among the Jews wherefore I beseech thee to hear me patiently.
My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own
nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews; which knew me from the beginning,
if they would testify, that after the most straightest sect of our religion
I lived a Pharisee. And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the
promise made of God unto our fathers unto which promise our twelve tribes,
instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope's sake,
King Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews.
Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise
the dead? I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things
contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Which thing I also did in
Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received
authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave
my voice against them. And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and
compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I
persecuted them even unto strange cities.
Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the
chief priests, at mid-day, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven,
above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which
journeyed with me. And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a
voice speaking to me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why
persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And I
said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.
But rise, and stand upon thy feet; for I have appeared unto thee for this
purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which
thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;
delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I
send thee, to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and
from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of
sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in
Whereupon, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision;
but shewed first unto them of Damascus, and of Jerusalem, and throughout
all the coasts of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent
and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance. For these causes the
Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me. Having therefore
obtained help of God, I continue unto this day witnessing both to small and
great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did
say should come; that Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first
that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people and
to the Gentiles.
And as he thus spake for himself. Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou
art beside thyself, much learning doth make thee mad.
But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of
truth and soberness. For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also
I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden
from him; for this thing was not done in a corner King Agrippa, believest
thou the prophets? I know that thou believest. Then Agrippa said unto Paul,
Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. And Paul said I would to God,
that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost,
and altogether such as I am, except these bonds.
And when he had thus spoken, the king rose up, and the governor, and
Bernice, and they that sat with them and when they were gone aside, they
talked between themselves, saying, This man doeth nothing worthy of death
or of bonds. Then said Agrippa unto Festus, This man might have been set at
liberty, if he had not appealed unto Caesar.
* * * * *
MALIBRAN AND THE YOUNG MUSICIAN.
In a humble room, in one of the poorest streets of London, Pierre, a
fatherless French boy, sat humming by the bed-side of his sick mother.
There was no bread in the closet, and for the whole day he had not tasted
food. Yet he sat humming, to keep up his spirits. Still, at times, he
thought of his loneliness and hunger, and he could scarcely keep the tears
from his eyes; for he knew nothing would be so grateful to his poor invalid
mother as a good sweet orange, and yet he had not a penny in the world.
The little song he was singing was his own--one he had composed with air
and words; for the child was a genius.
He went to the window, and looking out saw a man putting up a great bill
with yellow letters, announcing that Madame Malibran would sing that night
"Oh, if I could only go!" thought little Pierre; and then, pausing a
moment, he clasped his hands; his eyes lighted with a new hope. Running to
the little stand, he smoothed down his yellow curls, and taking from a
little box some old stained paper, gave one eager glance at his mother, who
slept, and ran speedily from the house.
* * * * *
"Who did you say is waiting for me?" said the lady to her servant. "I am
already worn out with company."
"It is only a very pretty little boy, with yellow curls, who says if he can
just see you, he is sure you will not be sorry, and he will not keep you a
"Oh! well, let him come," said the beautiful singer, with a smile; "I can
never refuse children."
Little Pierre came in, his hat under his arm, and in his hand a little roll
of paper. With manliness unusual for a child, he walked straight to the
lady, and bowing said, "I came to see you because my mother is very sick,
and we are too poor to get food and medicine. I thought that, perhaps, if
you would only sing my little song at some of your grand concerts, may be
some publisher would buy it for a small sum, and so I could get food and
medicine for my mother."
The beautiful woman rose from her seat; very tall and stately she was; she
took the little roll from his hand, and lightly hummed the air.
"Did you compose it?" she asked,--"you, a child! And the words? Would you
like to come to my concert?" she asked, after a few moments of thought.
"Oh, yes!" and the boy's eyes grew bright with happiness; "but I couldn't
leave my mother."
"I will send somebody to take care of your mother for the evening; and here
is a crown, with which you may go and get food and medicine. Here is also
one of my tickets; come to-night; that will admit you to a seat near me."
Almost beside himself with joy, Pierre bought some oranges, and many a
little luxury besides, and carried them home to the poor invalid, telling
her, not without tears, of his good fortune.
* * * * *
When evening came, and Pierre was admitted to the concert-hall, he felt
that never in his life had he been in so grand a place. The music, the
myriad lights, the beauty, the flashing of diamonds and rustling of silk,
bewildered his eyes and brain.
At last she came, and the child sat with his glance riveted upon her
glorious face. Could he believe that the grand lady, all blazing with
jewels, and whom everybody seemed to worship, would really sing his little
Breathless he waited,--the band, the whole band, struck up a little
plaintive melody; he knew it, and clapped his hands for joy. And oh, how
she sang it! It was so simple, so mournful, so soul-subduing;--many a
bright eye dimmed with tears, and naught could be heard but the touching
words of that little song,--oh, so touching!
Pierre walked home as if he were moving on the air. What cared he for money
now? The greatest singer in all Europe had sung his little song, and
thousands had wept at his grief.
The next day he was frightened at a visit from Madame Malibran. She laid
her hand on his yellow curls, and turning to the sick woman said, "Your
little boy, madam, has brought you a fortune. I was offered, this morning,
by the best publisher in London, three hundred pounds for his little song:
and after he has realized a certain amount from the sale, little Pierre,
here, is to share the profits. Madam, thank God that your son has a gift
The noble-hearted singer and the poor woman wept together. As to Pierre,
always mindful of Him who watches over the tried and tempted, he knelt down
by his mother's bedside, and uttered a simple but eloquent prayer, asking
God's blessing on the kind lady who had deigned to notice their affliction.
The memory of that prayer made the singer even more tender-hearted, and she
who was the idol of England's nobility went about doing good. And in her
early, happy death he who stood by her bed, and smoothed her pillow, and
lightened her last moments by his undying affection, was the little Pierre
of former days--now rich, accomplished, and the most talented composer of
All honour to those great hearts who, from their high stations, send down
bounty to the widow and to the fatherless child.
* * * * *
He kissed me--and I knew 'twas wrong,
For he was neither kith nor kin;
Need one do penance very long
For such a tiny little sin?
He pressed my hand--that was not right;
Why will men have such wicked ways?
It was not for a moment quite,
But in it there were days and days!
There's mischief in the moon, I know;
I'm positive I saw her wink
When I requested him to go;
I meant it, too--I think.