Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

[ocr errors]

SECTION I.
Hamlet's reflections on Yorick's skull.-SHAKSPEARE.

ALAS', poor Yorick'!-I knew him', well', Horatio': a fellow of infinite jest', of most excellent fancy'. He hath borne me on his back a thousand times'; and now', how abhorred in my imagination is this skull!! My gorge rises at it': Here hung those lips that I have kissed', I know not how oft'. Where are your gibes',* now? your gambols'? your songs'? your flashes of merriment that were wont to set the table on a roar'? Not one', now', to mock your own grinning'? quite chap-fallen'? Now get you to my lady's chamber', and tell her', if she paint an inch thick', yet to this favourt she must come.'

Note. In order to promote the attainment of good reading, the author begs leave once more to insist on the importance of teachers' requiring their pupils to read each section many times over, even until they can enunciate it both accurately and eloquently, before they are allowed to proceed to an. other section. It should be borne in mind, that the higher degrees of excel. lence in Elocution, are to be gained, not by reading much, but by pronouncing what is read with a strict regard to the nature of the subject, the structure of the sentences, the turn of the sentiment, and a correct and judicious application of the rules of the science.

SECTION II. Reflections on the Tomb of Shakspeare.—IRVING. As I crossed the bridge over the Avon on my return', I paused to contemplate the distant church in which Shakspeare lies buried', and could not but exult in the maledictionf which has kept his ashes undisturbed in its quiet and hallowed vaults'.

† Aspect. Epitaph on Shakspeare's Tomb.

* Taunts, sarcasms.

Good friend, for Jesus' sake, forbear
To dig the dust enclosed here.
Blest be the man that spares these stones:

And cursed be be that moves my bones."

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 lone. liness 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 feel. ings'. He who has sought renown about the world', and has reaped a full harvest of worldly favour', will find', after all', that 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 infanto to its mother's arms', to sink to sleep in the bosomd of the scene 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 cov. ered 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 in tearful contemplation', would one day become the beacon', towering amidst the gentle landscape', to guide the literary pilgrim of every nation to his tomb'!

SECTION III.

On Studies.—LORD Bacon. (Those words put in Italicks, are emphatical. Two dots (..) denote the shortest

rhetorical pause; three dots, (...) a longer pause, and so on.). STUDIES' .. serve for delight', for ornament', and for ability', Their chief use for delight', is'.. in retired privacy'; for orna. ment', in discourse'; and for ability', in the arrangement and disposition of business': for expert men can execute', and', per

a Es-kůtsh'ins. Måw-só-le'ům. cIn'fånt-not, in'funt. dBồo'zůmnot, buz'um. Lånd'skåpe—not, land'skip.

haps', judge of particulars', one by one'; but general councils', and the plots and marshaling of affairs', come best from the learned'. To spend too much time in studies', is sloth';b to

[ocr errors][merged small]

judgment wholly by their rules', is the humourd of a scholar'. They perfect nature', and are perfected by experience': for natural abilities' .. are like natural plants', and need pruning by study'; and studies themselves give forth directions too much at large', unless they are hedged in by experience'.

Crafty men'.. contemn studies'; simple men' .. admire', and wise men'.. use', them'; for they teach not their own use', but that is a wisdom without them and above them', won by obser. dation'. Read not to contradict and confute'; nor to believe or take for granted'; nor to find matter merely for conversation'; but to weigh and consider'. Some books are to be tasted'; others', to be swallowed'; and some few', to be chewed and digested'; that is', some books are to be only glanced at'; others' .. are to be read', but not critically'; and some few'.. are to be read wholly', and with diligence and attention'. Some books', also', may be read by deputy', and extracts received from them which are made by others'; but they should be only the meaner sort of books', and the less important argu. ments of those which are better': otherwise', distilled books' .. are', like common', distilled waters', flashy things'.

Reading' .. makes a full man'; conversation', a ready man'; and writing', an exact man'. Therefore', if a man write little', he needs a great memory'; if he converse little', he wants a present wit'; and, if he read little', he ought to have much cun. ning', that he may seem to know what he does not'. History'.. makes men wise'; poetry'.. makes them witty'; mathematicks', subtle'; natural philosophy', deep'; moral philosophy', grave'; logick and rhetorick', able to contend': nay', there is no obstruction to the human faculties but what may be overcome by proper studies'. Obstacles to learning', like the diseases of the body', are removed by appropriate exercises'. Thus', bowl. inge is good for a weakness in the back'; gunning', for the lungs and breast'; walking', for the stomach'; riding', for the head', and the like'; so', if one's thoughts are wandering', let him study mathematicks'; for',' in demonstrating',s if his attention be called away ever so little', he must begin again'; if his faculties be not disciplined to distinguish and discrimi. nate', let him study the schoolmen'; for' they are (cymini sec.

Lêrn'éd. Sloth. Or'na-mènt-not, or'na munt. Yu'můr. Bóle'. Ing. (For not, fur, nor, f'r. De mõn'strå 'ting,

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

tores') the cutters of cummin'; if he is not accustomed to con over matters', and call up one fact with which to prove and illustrate another', let him study the lawyers' cases'. Hence', every defect of the mind may have its special receipt'.

There are three chief vanities in studies', by which learning has been most traduced'; for we deem those things vain which are either false or frivolous'—which have no truth', or are of no use'; and those persons are considered vain', who are either credulous or curious'. Judging', then', either from reason or experience', there prove to be three distempers of learning': the first' .. is fantastical learning', the second', contentious learn. ing', and the last', affected learning -vain imaginations', vain altercations', and vain affections'.

SECTION IV.

Liberty and Slavery.-STERNE. DISGUISE thyself as thou wilt', still', Slavery', still thou art a bitter draught'; and', though thousands in all ages have been made to drink of thee', thou art no less bitter on that account'. - It is thou', thrice sweet and gracious goddess', Liberty', whom all in publick or in private worship', whose taste is grate. ful', and ever will be so', till Nature herself shall change. No tint of words can spot thy snowy mantle', or chymick power turn thy sceptre into iron'. With thee', to smile upon him as he eats his crust', the swain is happier than his monarch', from whose court thou art exiled'.-Gracious Heaven'! grant me but health', thou great Bestower of it', and give me but this fair goddess as myd companion', and shower down thy mitres', if it seem good unto thy divine Providence', upon those heads which are aching for them'.

I sat down close by my table', and', leaning myd head upon myd hand', began to figure to myself the miseries of confinement'. I was in a right frame for it'; and so I gave full scope to myd imagination'.

I was going to begin with the millions of myd fellow-creatures', born to no inheritance but slavery'; but finding', how. ever affecting the picture was', that I could not bring it near me', and that the multitude of sad groups in it did but distract me', I took a single captive', and', having first shut him up in

*For-not, fur, nor f'r. Up-On' him-not, 'pun im. Frôm-not, frum, nor, fi'm. Me--but, when emphạtick, mi.

his dungeon', I then looked through the twilight of his grated ů door to take his picture'.

I beheld his body half wasted away with long expectation and confinement', and felt what kind of sickness of the heart it

is which arises from hope deferred'. Upon looking nearer', I - saw him pale and feverish'. In thirty years the western breeze

had not once fanned his blood'. He had seen no sun', no moon', in all that time'; nor had the voice of friend or kinsmana breathed through his lattice'. His children'

But here my heart began to bleed'—and I was forced to go on with another part of the portrait'.

He was sitting on the ground upon a little straw', in the farthest corner of his dungeon', which was alternatelye his chair and bed'. A little calender of small sticks was laid at the head', notched all over with the dismal days and nights he had passed there'. He had one of these little sticks in his hand',a and', with a rusty nail', was etching another day of misery to add to the heap'. As I darkened the little light he had', he lifted up a hopeless eye towards the door', then cast it down', shook his head', and went on with his work of affliction'. I heard his chains upon his legs' as he turned his body', to lay his little stick upon the bundle'.He gave a deep sigh'. I saw the iron enter his soul'. I burst into tears'. I could not sustain the picture of confinement which my fancy had drawn'.

SECTION V.

On the Starry Heavens.-FLINT. .

(Words Italicised, are emphatick, in various degrees; but it is only those words

most prominently emphatick, that are thus designated.) I go forth in the silent and meditative hour of evening', under the cerulean', star-spangled dome of the firmament'. These numberless stars', this multitude of movements', these radiant orbs', this earth of our habitation carried round in space', like a frail vessel borne upon the ocean', penetrate my mind with profound astonishment'.' I attempt to scan the grandeur and the power of Him who has placed us in presence of such mag. nificent spectacles'. I contemplate the motion of worlds', com. pared with that of the humblests insect'; the planets', which

Kinz' mån. bMe_but, when emphatick, ml. cal-tér'nate'le-not, awol ter'nate le. Distinctly, “ in his hand”-not, eh ne zand. Fér: mà'ment-not, firmn munt Ag-tonish'mẽnt. Umoblest.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »