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 observer!"
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 man.
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 general pitch..
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 thank you.
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 forgot'.
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', with illuminations'.
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 —now-I'll-go-to-sleep."
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 above.
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 features:
"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 industry.
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, the hearer.
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, etc.
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 body.
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- bi tion.
D. e. AWAY* with an idea so absurd!
H. e. The* breeze* of* morning* wafted IN cense on the air.
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 parallel 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 thee.
H. f. Now* all* the* blessings* of* a* glad* father* LIGHT on thee!
A. f. Blessed* be* Thy* NAME, O Lord Most High.
D. o. We* are* in* Thy* sight* but as the worms of the DUST!
H. o. May* the* grace* of* God* abide with you for EVER.
A. o. And* let* the* triple* rainbow* rest* o'er all the mountain TOPS.
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 character.
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 strings.
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 childhood.
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 me.
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 in public.
"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 moment."
"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 song?
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 from heaven."
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 the day.
All honour to those great hearts who, from their high stations, send down bounty to the widow and to the fatherless child.
* * * * *
THE KISS. 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.
But, after all, I'm not to blame He took the kiss; I do think men Are born without a sense of shame I wonder when he'll come again!
* * * * *
ADVICE TO A YOUNG LAWYER.
Whene'er you speak, remember every cause Stands not on eloquence, but stands on laws— Pregnant in matter, in expression brief, Let every sentence stand with bold relief; On trifling points nor time nor talents waste, A sad offence to learning and to taste; Nor deal with pompous phrase, nor e'er suppose Poetic flights belong to reasoning prose.
Loose declamation may deceive the crowd, And seem more striking as it grows more loud; But sober sense rejects it with disdain, As nought but empty noise, and weak as vain.
The froth of words, the schoolboy's vain parade, Of books and cases—all his stock in trade— The pert conceits, the cunning tricks and play Of low attorneys, strung in long array, The unseemly jest, the petulant reply, That chatters on, and cares not how, or why, Strictly avoid—unworthy themes to scan, They sink the speaker and disgrace the man, Like the false lights, by flying shadows cast, Scarce seen when present and forgot when past.
Begin with dignity; expound with grace Each ground of reasoning in its time and place; Let order reign throughout—each topic touch, Nor urge its power too little, nor too much; Give each strong thought its most attractive view, In diction clear and yet severely true, And as the arguments in splendour grow, Let each reflect its light on all below; When to the close arrived, make no delays By petty flourishes, or verbal plays, But sum the whole in one deep solemn strain, Like a strong current hastening to the main.
* * * * *
THE FOOLISH VIRGINS.
Late, late, so late! and dark the night, and chill! Late, late, so late! but we can enter still.— Too late, too late! ye cannot enter now!
No light had we—for that do we repent; And learning this, the Bridegroom will relent.— Too late, too late! ye cannot enter now!
No light! so late! and dark and chill the night! Oh, let us in, that we may find the light!— Too late, too late! ye cannot enter now!
Have we not heard the Bridegroom is so sweet? Oh, let us in, though late, to kiss His feet!— No, no, too late! ye cannot enter now!
* * * * *
The woman was old, and ragged, and grey, And bent with the chill of the winter's day;
The street was wet with a recent snow, And the woman's feet were aged and slow.
She stood at the crossing and waited long Alone, uncared for, amid the throng
Of human beings who passed her by, Nor heeded the glance of her anxious eye.
Down the street, with laughter and shout, Glad in the freedom of school let out,
Came the boys, like a flock of sheep, Hailing the snow piled white and deep,
Past the woman so old and grey, Hastened the children on their way,
Nor offered a helping hand to her, So meek, so timid, afraid to stir,
Lest the carriage wheels or the horses' feet Should crowd her down in the slippery street.
At last came one of the merry troop— The gayest laddie of all the group;
He paused beside her, and whispered low, "I'll help you across if you wish to go."
Her aged hand on his strong, young arm She placed, and so, without hurt or harm,
He guided her trembling feet along, Proud that his own were firm and strong.
Then back again to his friends he went, His young heart happy and well content.
"She's somebody's mother, boys, you know, For all she's old, and poor, and slow;
"And I hope some fellow will lend a hand To help my mother, you understand,
"If ever so poor, and old, and grey, When her own dear boy is far away."
And "somebody's mother" bowed low her head In her home that night, and the prayer she said
Was—"God be kind to the noble boy, Who is somebody's son, and pride, and joy!"
* * * * *
O the long and dreary Winter! O the cold and cruel Winter! Ever thicker, thicker, thicker, Froze the ice on lake and river; Ever deeper, deeper, deeper, Fell the snow o'er all the landscape, Fell the covering snow, and drifted Through the forest, round the village. Hardly from his buried wigwam Could the hunter force a passage; With his mittens and his snow-shoes Vainly walk'd he through the forest, Sought for bird or beast and found none; Saw no track of deer or rabbit, In the snow beheld no footprints, In the ghastly, gleaming forest Fell, and could not rise from weakness, Perish'd there from cold and hunger.
O the famine and the fever! O the wasting of the famine! O the blasting of the fever! O the wailing of the children! O the anguish of the women! All the earth was sick and famished; Hungry was the air around them, Hungry was the sky above them, And the hungry stars in heaven, Like the eyes of wolves glared at them!
Into Hiawatha's wigwam Came two other guests, as silent As the ghosts were, and as gloomy, Waited not to be invited, Did not parley at the doorway, Sat there without word of welcome In the seat of Laughing Water; Looked with haggard eyes and hollow At the face of Laughing Water. And the foremost said: "Behold me! I am Famine, Bukadawin!" And the other said: "Behold me! I am Fever, Ahkosewin!" And the lovely Minnehaha Shudder'd as they look'd upon her, Shudder'd at the words they uttered, Lay down on her bed in silence, Hid her face, but made no answer; Lay there trembling, freezing, burning At the looks they cast upon her, At the fearful words they utter'd.
Forth into the empty forest Rush'd the madden'd Hiawatha; In his heart was deadly sorrow, In his face a stony firmness, On his brow the sweat of anguish Started, but it froze and fell not. Wrapp'd in furs and arm'd for hunting, With his mighty bow of ash-tree, With his quiver full of arrows, With his mittens, Minjekahwun, Into the vast and vacant forest, On his snow-shoes strode he forward.
"Gitche Manito, the Mighty!" Cried he, with his face uplifted In that bitter hour of anguish, "Give your children food, O Father! Give us food, or we must perish! Give me food for Minnehaha, For my dying Minnehaha!"
Through the far-resounding forest, Through the forest vast and vacant, Rang that cry of desolation; But there came no other answer Than the echo of his crying, Than the echo of the woodlands, "MINNEHAHA! MINNEHAHA!"
All day long roved Hiawatha In that melancholy forest, Through the shadow of whose thickets, In the pleasant days of summer, Of that ne'er forgotten summer, He had brought his young wife homeward From the land of the Dakotahs; When the birds sang in the thickets, And the streamlets laugh'd and glisten'd, And the air was full of fragrance, And the lovely Laughing Water Said with voice that did not tremble, "I will follow you, my husband!"
In the wigwam with Nokomis, With those gloomy guests that watch'd her, With the Famine and the Fever, She was lying, the beloved, She the dying Minnehaha. "Hark!" she said, "I hear a rushing, Hear a roaring and a rushing, Hear the Falls of Minnehaha Calling to me from a distance!" "No, my child!" said old Nokomis, "'Tis the night-wind in the pine-trees!" "Look!" she said; "I see my father Standing lonely in his doorway, Beckoning to me from his wigwam In the land of the Dakotahs!" "No, my child!" said old Nokomis, "'Tis the smoke that waves and beckons!"
"Ah!" she said, "the eyes of Pauguk Glare upon me in the darkness, I can feel his icy fingers Clasping mine amid the darkness! Hiawatha! Hiawatha!" And the desolate Hiawatha, Far away amid the forest, Miles away among the mountains, Heard that sudden cry of anguish, Heard the voice of Minnehaha Calling to him in the darkness, "HIAWATHA! HIAWATHA!"
Over snow-fields waste and pathless, Under snow-encumber'd branches, Homeward hurried Hiawatha, Empty-handed, heavy-hearted, Heard Nokomis moaning, wailing; "Wahonowin! Wahonowin! Would that I had perish'd for you, Would that I were dead as you are! Wahonowin! Wahonowin!" And he rush'd into the wigwam, Saw the old Nokomis slowly Rocking to and fro and moaning, Saw his lovely Minnehaha Lying dead and cold before him, And his bursting heart within him Utter'd such a cry of anguish That the forest moan'd and shudder'd, That the very stars in heaven Shook and trembled with his anguish.
Then he sat down still and speechless, On the bed of Minnehaha, At the feet of Laughing Water, At those willing feet, that never More would lightly run to meet him, Never more would lightly follow. With both hands his face he cover'd, Seven long days and nights he sat there, As if in a swoon he sat there, Speechless, motionless, unconscious Of the daylight or the darkness. Then they buried Minnehaha; In the snow a grave they made her, In the forest deep and darksome, Underneath the moaning hemlocks; Cloth'd her in her richest garments: Wrapp'd her in her robes of ermine, Cover'd her with snow like ermine: Thus they buried Minnehaha. And at night a fire was lighted, On her grave four times was kindled. For her soul upon its journey To the Islands of the Blessed. From his doorway Hiawatha Saw it burning in the forest, Lighting up the gloomy hemlocks; From his sleepless bed uprising, From the bed of Minnehaha, Stood and watch'd it at the doorway, That it might not be extinguish'd, Might not leave her in the darkness.
"Farewell!" said he, "Minnehaha! Farewell, O my Laughing Water! All my heart is buried with you, All my thoughts go onward with you! Come not back again to labour, Come not back again to suffer, Where the Famine and the Fever Wear the heart and waste the body. Soon my task will be completed, Soon your footsteps I shall follow To the Islands of the Blessed, To the Kingdom of Ponemah, To the Land of the Hereafter!"
H. W. Longfellow.
* * * * *
A SLIP OF THE TONGUE.
It chanced one day, so I've been told (The story is not very old), As Will and Tom, two servants able, Were waiting at their master's table, Tom brought a fine fat turkey in, The sumptuous dinner to begin: Then Will appeared—superbly cooked, A tongue upon the platter smoked; When, oh! sad fate! he struck the door, And tumbled flat upon the floor; The servants stared, the guests looked down, When quick uprising with a frown, The master cried, "Sirra! I say Begone, nor wait a single day, You stupid cur! you've spoiled the feast, How can another tongue be dressed!" While thus the master stormed and roared, Will, who with wit was somewhat stored (For he by no means was a fool Some Latin, too, he'd learned at school), Said (thinking he might change disgrace For laughter, and thus save his place), "Oh! call me not a stupid cur, 'Twas but a lapsus linguae, sir." "A lapsus linguae?" one guest cries, "A pun!" another straight replies. The joke was caught—the laugh went round; Nor could a serious face be found. The master, when the uproar ceased, Finding his guests were all well pleased, Forgave the servant's slippery feet, And quick revoked his former threat. Now Tom had all this time stood still; And heard the applause bestowed on Will; Delighted he had seen the fun Of what his comrade late had done, And thought, should he but do the same, An equal share of praise he'd claim. As soon as told the meat to fetch in, Bolted like lightning to the kitchen, And seizing there a leg of lamb (I am not certain, perhaps 'twas ham, No matter which), without delay Off to the parlour marched away, And stumbling as he turned him round, Twirled joint and dish upon the ground. For this my lord was ill-prepared; Again the astonished servants stared. Tom grinned—but seeing no one stir, "Another lapsus linguae, sir!" Loud he exclaimed. No laugh was raised. No "clever fellow's" wit was praised. Confounded, yet not knowing why His wit could not one laugh supply, And fearing lest he had mistook The words, again thus loudly spoke (Thinking again it might be tried): "'Twas but a lapsus linguae," cried. My lord, who long had quiet sat, Now clearly saw what he was at. In wrath this warning now he gave— "When next thou triest, unlettered knave, To give, as thine, another's wit, Mind well thou knowest what's meant by it; Nor let a lapsus linguae slip From out thy pert assuming lip, Till well thou knowest thy stolen song, Nor think a leg of lamb a tongue," He said—and quickly from the floor Straight kicked him through the unlucky door.
Let each pert coxcomb learn from this True wit will never come amiss! But should a borrowed phrase appear, Derision's always in the rear.
* * * * *
THE MODERN CAIN.
"Am I my brother's keeper?" Long ago, When first the human heart-strings felt the touch Of Death's cold fingers—when upon the earth Shroudless and coffinless Death's first-born lay, Slain by the hand of violence, the wail Of human grief arose:—"My son, my son! Awake thee from this strange and awful sleep; A mother mourns thee, and her tears of grief Are falling on thy pale, unconscious brow; Awake and bless her with thy wonted smile."
In vain, in vain! that sleeper never woke. His murderer fled, but on his brow was fixed A stain which baffled wear and washing. As he fled A voice pursued him to the wilderness: "Where is thy brother, Cain?"
"Am I my brother's keeper?"
O black impiety! that seeks to shun The dire responsibility of sin— That cries with the ever-warning voice: "Be still—away, the crime is not my own— My brother lived—is dead, when, where, Or how, it matters not, but he is dead. Why judge the living for the dead one's fall?"
"Am I my brother's keeper?"
Cain, Cain, Thou art thy brother's keeper, and his blood Cries up to Heaven against thee; every stone Will find a tongue to curse thee; and the winds Will ever wail this question in thy ear: "Where is thy brother?" Every sight and sound Will mind thee of the lost.
I saw a man Deal death unto his brother. Drop by drop The poison was distilled for cursed gold; And in the wine cup's ruddy glow sat Death, Invisible to that poor trembling slave. He seized the cup, he drank the poison down, Rushed forth into the streets—home had he none— Staggered and fell and miserably died. They buried him—ah! little recks it where His bloated form was given to the worms. No stone marked that neglected, lonely spot; No mourner sorrowing at evening came, To pray by that unhallowed mound; no hand Planted sweet flowers above his place of rest. Years passed, and weeds and tangled briers grew Above that sunken grave, and men forgot Who slept there.
Once had he friends, A happy home was his, and love was his. His Mary loved him, and around him played His smiling children. Oh, a dream of joy Were those unclouded years, and, more than all, He had an interest in the world above. The big "Old Bible" lay upon the stand, And he was wont to read its sacred page And then to pray: "Our Father, bless the poor And save the tempted from the tempter's art, Save us from sin, and let us ever be United in Thy love, and may we meet, When life's last scenes are o'er, around the throne." Thus prayed he—thus lived he—years passed, And o'er the sunshine of that happy home, A cloud came from the pit; the fatal bolt Fell from that cloud. The towering tree Was shivered by the lightning's vengeful stroke, And laid its coronal of glory low. A happy home was ruined; want and woe Played with his children, and the joy of youth Left their sweet faces no more to return. His Mary's face grew pale and paler still, Her eyes were dimmed with weeping, and her soul Went out through those blue portals. Mary died, And yet he wept not. At the demon's call He drowned his sorrow in the maddening bowl, And when they buried her from sight, he sank In drunken stupor by her new-made grave! His friend was gone—he never had another, And the world shrank from him, all save one, And he still plied the bowl with deadly drugs And bade him drink, forget his God, and die.
He died. Cain! Cain! where is thy brother now? Lives he still—if dead, still where is he? Where? In Heaven? Go read the sacred page: "No drunkard ever shall inherit there." Who sent him to the pit? Who dragged him down? Who bound him hand and foot? Who smiled and smiled While yet the hellish work went on? Who grasped His gold—his health—his life—his hope—his all? Who saw his Mary fade and die? Who saw His beggared children wandering in the streets? Speak—Coward—if thou hast a tongue, Tell why with hellish art you slew A MAN.
"Where is my brother?" "Am I my brother's keeper?"
Ah, man! A deeper mark is on your brow Than that of Cain. Accursed was the name Of him who slew a righteous man, whose soul Was ripe for Heaven; thrice accursed he Whose art malignant sinks a soul to hell.
E. Evans Edwards.
* * * * *
My window overlooks thee,—and thy sheen of silver glory, In musical monotony advances and recedes; Till I dimly see the "shining ones" of ancient song and story, With aureoles of ocean-haze invite to distant meads,
Where summer song and sunshine on placid waters play;— Drifting dreamily, insensibly, on fragrance-laden breeze— Floating onward on the wavelets, without hurry or delay, I reach some blissful haven in the bright Hesperides.
How wearily and drearily the mist hangs over all! And dismally the fog-horn shrieks its warning o'er the wave! How sullenly the billows heave, beneath the funeral pall! An impenetrable solitude!—a universal grave!
O! measureless and merciless! vindictive, wild, and stern! Fire, Pestilence and Whirlwind all yield the palm to thee! Roar on in bad pre-eminence—a worse thou canst not earn, Than clings in famine, wreck, and death, to thee, O cruel Sea!
I have seen thee in thy gladness, thy sullenness and wrath— What lesson has thou taught, O Sea! to guide my daily path? I hear thy massive monotone, to me it seems to say, "When summer skies are over thee, dream not thy life away.
"In days of dark despondency, when either good or ill "Seems scarcely worth the caring for, then wait and trust Him still; "Though mist and cloud surround thee, thou art safe by sea or land, "For thy Father holds the waters in the hollow of His hand.
"Perchance a storm in future life thy fragile bark may toss, "And every struggle, cry, or prayer, bring nought but harm and loss, "O tempest-tossed and stricken one! He comes His own to save, "For not on Galilee alone, did Jesus walk the wave."
* * * * *
THE LITTLE HATCHET STORY.
And so, smiling, we went on.
"Well, one day, George's father—"
"George who?" asked Clarence.
"George Washington. He was a little boy, then, just like you. One day his father—"
"Who's father?" demanded Clarence, with an encouraging expression of interest.
"George Washington's; this great man we are telling you of. One day George Washington's father gave him a little hatchet for a—"
"Gave who a little hatchet?" the dear child interrupted, with a gleam of bewitching intelligence. Most men would have got mad, or betrayed signs of impatience, but we didn't. We know how to talk to children. So we went on:
"George Washington. His—"
"Who gave him the little hatchet?"
"His father. And his father—"
"Yes, George Washington. And his father told him—"
"Oh, yes, George."
And we went on, just as patient and as pleasant as you could imagine. We took up the story right where the boy interrupted, for we could see he was just crazy to hear the end of it. We said:
"And he was told—"
"George told him?" queried Clarence.
"No, his father told George—"
"Yes, told him he must be careful with the hatchet—"
"Who must be careful?"
"Yes, must be careful with his hatchet—"
"With the hatchet, and not cut himself with it, or drop it in the cistern, or leave it out in the grass all night. So George went round cutting everything he could reach with his hatchet. And at last he came to a splendid apple-tree, his father's favourite, and cut it down, and—"
"Who cut it down?"
"But his father came home and saw it the first thing, and—"
"Saw the hatchet?"
"No, saw the apple-tree. And he said, 'Who has cut down my favourite apple- tree?'"
"George's father's. And everybody said they didn't know anything about it, and—"
"Anything about what?"
"And George came up and heard them talking about it—"
"Heard who taking about it?"
"Heard his father and the men"
"What were they talking about?"
"About this apple-tree."
"The favourite tree that George cut down."
"So George came up and heard them talking about it, and he—"
"What did he cut it down for?"
"Just to try his little hatchet."
"Whose little hatchet?"
"Why, his own, the one his father gave him."
"Why, George Washington."
"So, George came up, and he said, 'Father, I cannot tell a lie, I—'"
"Who couldn't tell a lie?"
"Why, George Washington. He said, 'Father, I cannot tell a lie. It was—'"
"His father couldn't?"
"Why, no; George couldn't?"
"Oh! George? oh, yes!"
"'It was I cut down your apple tree; I did—'"
"His father did?"
"No, no; it was George said this."
"Said he cut his father?"
"No, no, no; said he cut down his apple-tree."
"No, no; his father's."
"His father said?"
"No, no, no; George said, 'Father, I cannot tell a lie, I did it with my little hatchet.' And his father said, 'Noble boy, I would rather lose a thousand trees than have you tell a lie.'"
"No, his father said that."
"Said he'd rather have a thousand apple-trees?"
"No, no, no; said he'd rather lose a thousand apple-trees than—"
"Said he'd rather George would?"
"No, said he'd rather he would than have him lie."
"Oh! George would rather have his father lie?"
We are patient and we love children, but if Mrs. Caruthers hadn't come and got her prodigy at that critical juncture, we don't believe all Burlington could have pulled us out of the snarl. And as Clarence Alencon de Marchemont Caruthers pattered down the stairs, we heard him telling his ma about a boy who had a father named George, and he told him to cut down an apple-tree, and he said he'd rather tell a thousand lies than cut down one apple-tree.
R. N. Burdette.
* * * * *
I do not ask that God will always make My pathway light; I only pray that He will hold my hand Throughout the night. I do not hope to have the thorns removed That pierce my feet, I only ask to find His blessed arms My safe retreat.
If He afflict me, then in my distress Withholds His hand; If all His wisdom I cannot conceive Or understand. I do not think to always know His why Or wherefore, here; But sometime He will take my hand and make His meaning clear.
If in His furnace He refine my heart To make it pure, I only ask for grace to trust His love— Strength to endure; And if fierce storms beat round me, And the heavens be overcast, I know that He will give His weary one Sweet peace at last.
* * * * *
THE LAST HYMN.
The Sabbath day was ending in a village by the sea, The uttered benediction touched the people tenderly, And they rose to face the sunset in the glowing lighted West And then hasten to their dwellings for God's blessed boon of rest. But they looked across the waters and a storm was raging there. A fierce spirit moved above them—the wild spirit of the air, And it lashed, and shook, and tore them till they thundered, groaned, and boomed, But alas! for any vessel in their yawning gulfs entombed. Very anxious were the people on that rocky coast of Wales, Lest the dawns of coming morrows should be telling awful tales, When the sea had spent its passion, and should cast upon the shore Bits of wreck, and swollen victims, as it had done heretofore. With the rough winds blowing round her a brave woman strained her eyes, And she saw along the billows a large vessel fall and rise. Oh! it did not need a prophet to tell what the end must be, For no ship could ride in safety near that shore on such a sea. Then the pitying people hurried from their homes and thronged the beach. Oh, for power to cross the waters, and the perishing to reach. Helpless hands were wrung in terror, tender hearts grew cold with dread, As the ship urged by the tempest to the fatal rock-shore sped. She has parted in the middle! Oh, the half of her goes down! God have mercy! Is His heaven far to seek for those who drown? So when next the white shocked faces looked with terror on the sea, Only one last clinging figure on a spar was seen to be. Nearer the trembling watchers came the wreck tossed by the wave, And the man still clung and floated, though no power on earth could save. "Could we send him a short message! Here's a trumpet, shout away!" 'Twas the preacher's hand that took it, and he wondered what to say. Any memory of his sermon? Firstly? Secondly? Ah, no. There was but one thing to utter in that awful hour of woe. So he shouted through the trumpet, "Look to Jesus! Can you hear?" And "Aye, aye, sir!" rang the answer o'er the waters loud and clear, Then they listened, "He is singing, 'Jesus, lover of my soul,'" And the winds brought back the echo, "While the nearer waters roll." Strange indeed it was to hear him, "Till the storm of life is past." Singing bravely o'er the waters, "Oh, receive my soul at last." He could have no other refuge, "Hangs my helpless soul on thee;", "Leave, oh, leave me not!"—the singer dropped at last into the sea. And the watchers looking homeward, through their eyes, by tears made dim, Said, "He passed to be with Jesus in the singing of that hymn."
* * * * *
I REMEMBER, I REMEMBER.
I remember, I remember The house where I was born— The little window where the sun Came peeping in at morn; He never came a wink too soon, Nor brought too long a day, But now I often wish the night Had borne my breath away!
I remember, I remember The roses red and white, The violets and the lily-cups, Those flowers made of light; The lilacs where the robin built, And where my brother set The laburnum on his birthday— The tree is living yet!
I remember, I remember Where I was used to swing, And thought the air must rush as fresh; To swallows on the wing; My spirit flew in feathers then, That is so heavy now, And summer pools could hardly cool The fever on my brow.
I remember, I remember The fir trees dark and high; I used to think their slender tops Were close against the sky; It was a childish ignorance, But now 'tis little joy To know I'm further off from heaven Than when I was a boy.
* * * * *
NEVER GIVE UP.
Never give up! it is wiser and better Always to hope than once to despair: Fling off the load of Doubt's cankering fetter, And break the dark spell of tyrannical care; Never give up! or the burden may sink you— Providence kindly has mingled the cup; And, in all trials or trouble, bethink you The watchword of life must be—Never give up!