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Of this new world; at whose sight all the stars
66 Athos, thou proud and aspiring mountain, that liftest thy head unto the heavens, be not so audacious as to put obstacles in my way, if thou doest, I will cut thee level with the plain, and hurt thee headlong into the sea.”
ABSURD BOAST OF XERXES.
" And I have loved thee, Ocean! and my joy
"Silence, ye troubled waves; and thou deer, peace,
MILTON'S PARADISE LOST.
With what spirit, and how much to the admiration of the physicians, did he bear throughout eight months his lingering in distress! With what tender attention did he study, even in the last extremity, to comfort me! And when no longer himself, how affecting was it to behold the disordered efforts of his wandering mind, wholly employed on subjects of literature! Ah! my frustrated and fallen hopes! Have I then beheld your closing 'eyes, and heard the last groan issue from your lips? After having embraced your cold and breathless body, how was it in my power to draw the vital air, or continue to drag a miserable life? When I had just beheld you raised by consular adoption to the prospect of all your father's honors, destined to be son-in-law to your uncle, the Prætor, pointed out by general expectation as the successful candidate for the prize of attic eloquence, in this moment of your opening honors must I lose you forever, and remain an unhappy parent, surviving only to suffer woe?
"With you, Agricola, we may now congratulate: you are blessed, not only because your life was a career of glory, but because you were released, when it was happiness to die. From those who attended your last moments, it is well known that you met your fate with calm serenity; willing, as far as it depended on the last act of your life, that the prince should appear to be innocent. To your daughter and myself you left a load of affliction. We have lost a parent, and, in our distress, it is now an addition to our heartfelt sorrows, that we had it not in our power to watch the bed of sickness, to sooth the langour of declining nature, to gaze upon you with earnest affection, to see the expiring glance, and receive your last embrace. Your dying words would have been ever dear to us; your commands we should have treasured up, and graved them on our hearts. This sad comfort we have lost, and the wound, for that reason, pierces deeper. Divided from you by a long absence, we had lost you four years before. Every tender office, we are well convinced, thou best of parents! was duly performed by a most affectionate wife; but fewer tears be. dewed your cold remains; and, in the parting moment, your eyes looked up for other objects, but they looked in vain, and closed forever. "If in another world there be a pious mansion for the blessed; if, as the wisest men have thought, the soul be not extinguished with the body; may you enjoy a state of eternal felicity! From that station behold your disconsolate family; exalt our minds from fond regret and unavailing grief, to the contemplation of your virtues. Those we must not lament; it were impiety to sully them with a tear. To cherish their memory, to embalm them with our praises, and, if our frail condition will permit, to emulate your bright example, will be the truest mark of our respect, the best tribute your family can offer. Your wife will thus preserve the memory of the best of husbands, and thus your daughter will prove her filial piety. By dwelling constantly on your words and actions, they will have an illustrious character before their eyes, and, not content with the bare image of your mortal frame, they will have what is more valuable, the form and features of your mind. I do not mean by this to censure the custom of preserving in brass or marble the shape and stature of eminent men; but busts and statues, like their originals, are frail and perishable. The soul is formed of finer elements, and its inward form is not to be expressed by the hand of an artist with unconscious matter; our manners and our morals may in some degree trace the resemblance. All of Agricola, that gained our love, and raised our admiration, still subsists, and will ever subsist, preserved in the minds of men, the register of ages, and the records of fame. Others who fig. ured on the stage of life, and were the worthies of a former day, will sink for want of a faithful historian, into the common lot of oblivion, inglorious and unremembered; whereas Agricola deli. ncated with truth, ana fairly consigned to posterity, will survive bimself, and triumph over the injuries of time." TACITUS.
XXIII. VISION. This figure represents objects which have passed, or by anticipation may pass,or asabsolutely passing before our eyes. It should never be resorted to but when the author's vivid imagination inspires and carries him beyond himself; then his readers, by catching the cor. ruscation from, and sympathizing with, will feel rapt and imbued with his illusion. Vision admits of as great a variety of delivery as the subjects which may be read or recited. The best method of giving such passages, is to thoroughly understand, feel, and enter into the spirit of them ; so understanding and feeling, the reader cannot fail to produce the desired effect.
Examples. The first speech of the Wizard in Lochiel's Warning; the Last Man; also, Time, by Seleck Osborne.
XXIV. ACTION. Upon this subject, which at first sight may here ap pear irrelative, although in reality it is very material, The writer differs from those who have gone before him, and by whom systems have been laid down for the movement of every feature of the human face, and limb of the human form. Those systems are fallacious; for while the mind of the Tyro is busied in the consideration of how, or when, he shall point the loe, extend the arm, or knit the brow, the main spring, that very mind which should give all-life, motion and effect, is employed in a worse than secondary, while the primary cause is totally neglected. After a young man of edu. cation has been well instructed in those exercises which form a part of the external accomplishments of a gentleman, fencing and dancing, for instance, but particularly the former, to acquire a just expression, action and deportment, it will be necessary that he should leave both face and figure untrammeled, and thoroughly understand and feel his author; then the proper ex., pression of face, and truth of deportment in action, will,
necessarily, spring out of the subject. By this procedure he is sure to be right, for nature is never wrong. Then the monotonous habit of sawing the air, and in. deed all other bad habits in action, will be avoided. If we look into real life, we shall find gesture rather unfrequent than redundant.
A history of language from its barbarous origin to its present perfection, and the various laborious efforts by which it has advanced, is not the object of this Essay; but, now that the materials are abundantly supplied, the author trusts that he has shown how those materials may be used for the advantuge of our youth, in the display of one of the most noble structures that the genius of man can produce, or the perception of man can enjoy. The component parts of Eloquence are, sound judgment, well arranged method, a vivid imagination, retention of memory, a progressively rising elocution, and an excellent and varied diction, uniting the perfection of language with the sublimity of thought.
The author will close this essay by observing, that the student may, with a perfect knowledge of, and a strict adherence to, the rules here laid down, acquire all the theory of elocution necessary for correct reading and speaking, all that is aimed at in this publication, but, although the theory be indispensably requisite to aid in the formation of an accomplished speaker, yet without practice, and that practice under a judicious master, whose taste is refined, and whose pronunciation is unvitiated by any provincial dialect, he can never attain this very desirable accomplishment.
END OF THE ESSAY.
READING PROSE, VERSE, AND BLANK VERSE.
The art of reading, so very essential in all ranks of society, and in all pursuits of life, is so imperfectly understood, that not one out of ten thousand, even of those who are called educated, can properly be termed a good reader. When most persons take up a book, they imagine that nature and her inflections are to be lost sight of, and they proceed in a canting sing-song monotonous tone from the beginning to the end. This is owing to those persons not considering that reading and speaking are precisely the same thing, save that in reciting we have a greater intimacy with the subject, and are enabled to give a little more energy and action. The tones, emphasis, accent, and sense, are the same, whether we speak or read, for what is speaking but giving utterance to our own thoughts, and what is reading but giving utterance to the thoughts of others placed before our eyes? Do we not sometimes write our own thoughts for the purpose of reading them in public? Where then can be the difference between reading and speaking, except that when uttering our own thoughts, we are possessed of our own meaning, but when reading the thoughts of others, we have to seek for their sense, which is not always observable at first sight. It will be necessary, for those who wish to read correctly, either to a public assembly,