Page images
PDF
EPUB

For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despis'd love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin ? Who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life?
But that the dread of something after death, —
That undiscover'd country, from whose bourne
No traveller returns,-puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we haves
Than fly to others that we know not of ?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all.— Hamlet.

“ In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth on men, fear came upon me, and trembling which made all my bones to shake. Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up. It stood still, but I could not discern the form thereof: an image was before my eyes, there was silence, and I heard a voice, saying, “Shall mortal man be more just than God? Shall a man be more pure than his Maker?'”

And now the grave for its cold breast has won thee,
And thy white delicate limbs the earth will press ;

And, oh! my last caress
Must feel thee cold, for a chill hand is on thee;
How can I leave my boy so pillowed there

Upon his clustering hair!- Willis.

And the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; and the stars of heaven fell upon the earth, even as a fig-tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken by a mighty wind. And the heavens departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.—Bible.

“ Toll, toll, toll,
Thou bell by billows swung!"

“Night, sable goddess, from her ebon throne,

In rayless majesty now stretches forth
Her leaden sceptre o'er the slumbering world.
Silence how dead! and darkness how profound !'

66 When for me the silent oar

Parts the Silent River,
And I stand upon the shore

Of the strange Forever,
Shall I miss the loved and known?
Shall I vainly seek mine own?”

EMPHASIS.

Emphasis produces a primary beauty of oratory ; it gives

the nice distinctions of meaning, the refined conceptions which language is capable of expressing, and imparts a a force and harmony to composition which its absence would render lifeless, and frequently unintelligible. The best rule for emphasizing justly is to study the true meaning of the author, and lay the stress upon such words as you would make impressive were you conversing upon the same subject.

Examples.

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 dost, I will cut thee level with the plain, and hurl the headlong into the sea.—Absurd boast of Xerxes.

And David's anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, “ As the Lord liveth, the man that has done this thing shall surely die ;

“ And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.”

And Nathan said to David, “ Thou art the man.”Bible.

The raven himself is hoarse,
That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan
Under my battlements.

-Macbeth.

“I tell you, though you, though all the world, though an angel from heaven, should declare the truth of it, I would not believe it."

O

proper stuff!
This is the proper painting of your fear;
This is the air-drawn dagger, which, you said,
Led you to Duncan. Oh! these flaws, and starts,
(Impostors to true fear) would well become
A woman's story at a winter's fire,
Authoriz’d by her grandam. Shame itself !
Why do you make such faces ? When all 's done,
You look but on a stool.

-Macbeth, Act III, Scene 4.

“A Daniel come to judgment! yea, a Daniel! O wise young judge, how I do honor thee!”

Speak clearly, if you speak at all; Carve every word before

you

let it fall;
Do n’t, like a lecturer or dramatic star,
Try overhard to roll the British R;
Do put your accents in the proper spot;
Do n't-let me beg you—do n't say “How?” for “What?”
And when

you

stick on conversation's burs, Do n't strew the pathway with those dreadful urs.

-0. W. Holmes.

A thousand hearts are great within my bosom.
Advance our standards! set upon our foes !
Our ancient word of courage, fair Saint George,
Inspire us with the spleen of fiery dragons !
Upon them! Victory sits on our helms !

-Richard III.

Born for your use, I live but to obey you ;
Know then—'t was I !

- Tragedy of the Revenge, Act 5.

CLIMAX.

A Climax is a figure in rhetoric, which rises in force and

dignity of expression with the sense, and is productive of much grandeur and effect. The rule for reading or speaking a climax, is to raise the voice progressively with the subject.

Examples.

“And from the sacrifice, by priestly hands,
Sweet, spicy incense, like a voiceless prayer,
Floats up on perfumed wings to Mercy's throne."

“ llear the loud alarum bells,

Brazen bells;
What a tale of terror now their turbulency tells !
In the startled ear of night, how they ring out their affright
In a clamorous appealing to the mercy of the fire,
In a mad expostulation with the deaf and frantic fire,

Leaping higher, higher, higher,
With a desperate desire,
And a resolute endeavor
Now, now to sit, or never,
By the side of the pale-faced moon.

" Yet this is Rome,
That sat on her seven hills, and from her throne
Of beauty ruled the world ! Yet, we are Romans.
Why, in that elder day, to be a Roman
Was greater than a king !—And once again,-
Hear me, ye walls that echoed to the tread
Of either Brutus !-once again, I swear,
The Eternal City shall be free! her sons
Shall walk with princes !”

“But see! he has stepped on the railing, he climbs with his feet and

hands, And firm on a narrow projection, with the belfry beneath him, he

stands. Slow, steadily mounting, unheeding aught save the goal of the fire, Still higher and higher, an atom, he moves on the face of the spire."

Not wholly lost, O Father! is this evil world of ours;
Upward, through its blood and ashes, spring afresh the Eden flowers,
From its smoking hill of battle, Love and Pity send their prayer,
And still thy white-winged angels hover dimly in our air.

-John G. Whittier.

“Hark !—the bell, the bell !
The knell of tyranny,—the mighty voice
That to the city and the plain, to earth
And listening heaven, proclaims the glorious tale
Of Rome re-born, and freedom !”

“ Let old Timotheus yield the prize,

Or both divide the crown :
He raised a mortal to the skies;

She drew an angel down.”

“Strike-till the last armed foe expires;
Strike-for

your
altars and

your

fires; Strike-for the green graves of your sires,

God, and your native land.”

ANTI-CLIMAX.

This figure, the reverse of the Climax, imparts force,

beauty, and pathos to language. Begin the passage in the middle tone, letting the voice fall to the lowest tone.

Examples.

“ Were I an American, as I am an Englishman, while a foreign troop was landed in my country I never would lay down my arms ! -never! never! never !"

« PreviousContinue »