Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

heroic men and women should not look down on a dwindled posterity. That broad foundation, sunk below frost or earthquake, should bear up something more permanent than an encampment of tents, pitched at random, and struck when the trumpet of march sounds at next daybreak. It should bear up, as by a natural growth, a structure in which generations may come, one after another, to the great gift of the Social Life.

EXERCISE LVI.-ADDRESS TO THE SWEDES.-Gustavus Vasa. [Declamation, in the form of blank verse,

, -as in the following instance,-acquires all the additional advantage of sonorous rhythm, and expansive energy of tone. The object in view, in practice, should be to give the utterance full scope, but to avoid mouthing and rant. The attitude and action are, here, of the boldest character.]

Ye men of Sweden, wherefore are ye come ?
See ye not yonder, how the locusts swarm,
To drink the fountains of your honour up,
And leave your hills a desert ? Wretched men!
Why came ye forth? Is this a time for sport ?
Or are ye met with song and jovial feast,
To welcome your new guests, your Danish visitants ?
To stretch your supple necks beneath their feet,
And fawning lick the dust ?-Go, go, my countrymen,
Each to your several mansions, trim them out,
Cull all the tedious earnings of your toil,
To purchase bondage.—0, Swedes! Swedes!
Heavens! are ye men, and will ye suffer this ?-
There was a time, my friends, a glorious time!
When, had a single man of your forefathers
Upon the frontier met a host in arms,
His courage scarce had turned, himself had stood,
Alone had stood, the bulwark of his country.
Come, come ye on then !—Here I take

my

stand!
Here on the brink, the very verge of liberty ;
Although contention rise upon the clouds,
Mix heaven with earth, and roll the ruin onward,
Here will I fix, and breast me to the shock,
Till I or Denmark fall.
Approach my fellow-soldiers, your Gustavus
Claims no precedence here.
Haste, brave men !
Collect your friends, to join us on the instant ;

Summon our brethren to their share of conquest ;-
And let loud echo, from her circling hills,
Sound Freedom ! till the undulation shake
The bounds of utmost Sweden.

EXERCISE LVII.-THE POINT OF HONOUR.— Shakspeare. Scene from As you like it.'--Speakers,-the Duke (attended,)

Jaques, and Touchstone. --Scene,--the Forest. [The remarks introductory to former examples of humorous dialogue, apply here,-particularly to the part of Touchstone.]

Touch. [Entering, to the Duke, f-c.] Salutation and greeting to you all!

Jaq. Good my lord, bid him welcome. This is the motley-minded gentleman that I have so often met in the forest : he hath been a courtier, he swears.

Touch. If any man doubt that, let him put me to my purgation. I have trod a measure; I have flattered a lady; I have been politic, have undone three tailors; I had four quarrels, and like to have fought one.

Jaq. And how was that ta'en up?

Touch. Faith, we met, and found the quarrel was upon the seventh cause.

Jaq. How seventh cause ?-Good my lord, like this fellow. Duke. I like him

very

well. Touch. God 'ild you, sir : desire you of the like. I press in here, sir, among the rest, to swear and to forswear, with a poor damsel, sir, an ill-favoured one,

,--a poor

humour of mine, sir, to take that no man else will. But rich honesty dwells like a miser, sir, in a poor house,

as your pearl in a foul oyster.

Duke. By my faith, he is very swift and sententious.

Jaq. But, for the seventh cause:-how did you find the quarrel upon the seventh cause?

Toych. Upon a lie seven times removed :-as thus, sír, I did dislike the cut of a certain courtier's beard : he sent me word, if I said his beard. was not cut well, he was in the mind it was :—this is called the Retort courteous.

If I sent him word again, it was not well cut, he would send me word, he cut it to please himself :--this is called the Quip modest. If again, it was not well cut, he disabled my judgment:—this is called the Reply churlish. If again, it was not well cut, he would answer, I spake not true:--this is

called the Reproof valiant. If again, it was not well cut, he would say, I lie :--this is called the Countercheck quarrelsome ;-and so to the Lie circumstantial, and the Lie direct.

Jaq. And how oft did you say his beard was not well cut ?

Touch. I durst go no farther than the Lie circumstantial, nor he durst not give me the Lie direct ; and so we measured swords, and parted.

Jaq. Can you nominate, in order, now, the degrees of the lie?

Touch. Oh! sir, we quarrel in print, by the book; as you have books for good manners. I will name you the degrees. The first, the Retort courteous; the second, the Quip modest; the third, the Reply churlish; the fourth, the Reproof valiant; the fifth, the Countercheck quarrelsome; the sixth, the Lie with circumstance; the seventh, the Lie direct. All these you may avoid, but the Lie direct; and you may avoid that, too, with an If:— I knew when seven justices could not make 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 ;' and they shook hands, and swore brothers. Your If is the only peacemaker: much virtue in an If.

Jaq. Is not this a rare fellow, my lord ? he's as good at anything, and yet a fool.

Duke. He uses his folly like a stalking-horse; and under the presentation of that he shoots his wit.

EXERCISE LVIII.—THE LIBERTY OF AMERICANS IN THEIR OWN

KEEPING, Hillard.

[The remarks introductory to other examples of noble and grave declamation, are all applicable to the following beautiful passage.]

Let no one accuse me of seeing wild visions, and dreaming impossible dreams. I am only stating what may be done, not what will be done. We may most shamefully betray the trust reposed in us,-we may most miserably defeat the fond hopes entertained of us. We may become the scorn of tyrants and the jest of slaves. From our fate, oppression may assume a bolder front of insolence, and its victims sink into a darker despair.

In that event, how unspeakable will be our disgrace, with what weight of mountains will the infamy lie upon our

souls ! The gulf of our ruin will be as deep as the elevation we might have attained is high.—How wilt thou fall from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! Our beloved country with ashes for beauty, the golden cord of our union broken, its scattered fragments presenting every form of misrule, from the wildest anarchy to the most ruthless despotism, our soil drenched with fraternal blood,' the life of man stripped of its grace and dignity, the prizes of honour gone, and virtue divorced from half its encouragements and supports :—these are gloomy pictures, which I would not invite your imaginations to dwell upon, but only to glance at, for the sake of the warning lessons we may draw from them.

Remember that we can have none of those consolations which sustain the patriot, who mourns over the misfortunes of his country. Our Rome cannot fall, and we be innocent. No conqueror will chain us to the car of his "triumphs ;-no countless swarms of Huns and Goths will bury the memorials and trophies of civilized life beneath a living tide of barbarism.-Our own selfishness, our own neglect, our own passions, and our own vices, will furnish the elements of our destruction.

With our own hands we shall tear down the stately edifice of our glory.--We shall die by self-inflicted wounds.But we will not talk of things like these. We will not think of failure, dishonour, and despair. On this day we will not admit the possibility of being untrue to our fathers and ourselves. We will elevate our minds to the contem, plation of our high duties and the great trust committed to

We will resolve to lay the foundation of our prosperity on that rock of private virtue, which cannot be shaken, until the laws of the moral world are reversed. From our own breasts shall flow the salient springs of national increase.Then our success, our happiness, our glory, will be as inev, itable as the inferences of mathematics. We may calmly smile at all the croakings of the ravens, whether of native or foreign breed. The whole will not grow weak by the increase of its parts. Our growth will be like that of the mountain oak; which strikes its roots more deeply into the soil, and clings to it, with a closer grasp, as its lofty head is exalted, and its broad arms stretched out.

The loud burst of joy and gratitude, which is on this day breaking from the full hearts of a mighty people, will never cease to be heard. No chasm of sullen silence will interrupt its course ;—no discordant notes of sectional

us.

madness, will mar the general harmony.-Year after year will increase it, by tributes from now unpeopled solitudes. The farthest West shall hear it, and rejoice. The Oregon shall swell with the voice of its waters :—the Rocky mountains shall fling back the glad sound from their snowy crests.

EXERCISE LIX.-DEATH OF LAFAYETTE.—Edward Everett. From the Eulogy, pronounced at Faneuil Hall, before the Young

Men of Boston. [Funeral oralions and eulogies like the following, soften the tone of declamation, lower the pitch of the voice, and render the movement slow. Pathos pervades the utterance; the gesture is subdued.)

On the arrival of Lafayette among you, ten years ago, when your civil fathers, your military, your children, your whole population, poured itself out, as one throng, to salute him,—when your cannon proclaimed his advent, with joyous salvos,--and your acclamations were responded from steeple to steeple, by the voice of festal bells,—with what delight did you not listen to his cordial and affectionate words—'I beg of you all, beloved citizens of Boston, to accept the respectful and warm thanks of a heart, which has, for nearly half a century, been devoted to your illustrious city!'

That noble heart-to which, if any object on earth was dear, that object was the country of his early choice,—of his adoption, and his more than regal triumph,—that noble heart will beat no more for your welfare. Cold and motionless, it is already mingling with the dust.-—While he lived, you thronged with delight to his presence,you gazed, with admiration, on his placid features and venerable form, nat wholly unshaken by the rude storms of his career; and now that he is departed, you have assembled in this cradle of the liberties for which, with your fathers, he risked his life, to pay the last honours to his memory.

You have thrown open these consecrated portals, to admit the lengthened train, which has come to discharge the last public offices of respect to his name. You have hung these venerable arches, for the second time since their erection, with the sable badges of sorrow,

You have thus associated the memory of Lafayette in those distinguished honours, which, but a few years since, you paid to your Adams and Jeffersod; and could your wishes and mine have prevailed,

« AnteriorContinuar »