To beard the lion in his den,
The Douglas in his hall ?
And hop'st thou hence unscathed to go ?
No! by Saint Bride of Bothwell, no !
Up drawbridge, groom! What, warder, hol
Let the portcullis fall!'”

[ocr errors]

MIXED EMOTIONS. When the elements of expression for each separate kind' are clearly understood and readily employed in practice, it will be comparatively easy to teach the natural expression of mixed sentiments.

When two different emotions are mixed, the most characteristic elements in the expression of each must be, as far as possible, preserved in the reading of the compound. If these elements are opposed to each other, as “loud' and 'soft' • force,' or .fast' and slow' time, there must be a compromise, to suit the mixture of ideas.

Examples. "O God, thou hast blessed me, I ask for no more. In this line we have the grave sentiment of reverence blended with the lively feeling of joy. Reverence alone demands • low pitch' and slow time,' --joy alone demands high pitch' and · fast time. The reverential joy, therefore, of the line quoted must be expressed by a natural compromise. The mixed emotions will be somewhat lower in pitch' and slower in time' than mere joy, and somewhat · higher' and · faster' than mere reverence. The degree in which either simple feeling must give way to the other, depends, of course, on the relative prominence of each.

In Rienzi's speech we find the opposite feelings of sorrow and joy blended in the lines which recall the beauty of his slain brother:

“He left

my side, A summer bloom on his fair cheeks,

Parting his innocent lips." The most characteristic element in the expression of pathos, is the short' or minor slide.' This must be retained, then, in reading this “sad-joy.” The most characteristic element in the expression of joy, is the lively, springing ‘median stress;' this must in a great measure be retained therefore.

a smile

The time' and · force' are opposite, and must be compromised, - that is, a mean between the two opposites must be given. The proper reading will not be so loud or fast as mere joy, nor so slow and soft as mere sadness. In manly pathos, we have often what is bold or noble in feeling blended with tenderness and pathos. Sufficient loudness of force, and length of slide, and fulness of volume must he preserved in reading the compound, to express the manly or noble part, while the force is softened enough, and the slide shortened by a semitone, to express also the pathetic part. “O my son Absalom! my son, my son Absalom! Would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my


[blocks in formation]

1. “I profess, sir, in my career hitherto, to have kept steadily in view the prosperity and honor of the whole country, and the preservation of our Federal Union.

· Bold' and animated.'

“ It is to that Union we owe our safety at home and our consideration and dignity abroad. It is to that Union we are chiefly indebted for whatever makes us most proud of our country. Every year of its duration has teemed with fresh proofs of its utility and its blessings. It has been to us all a copious fountain of national, social, personal happiness.

Joyous.' " While the Union lasts, we have high, exciting, gratifying prospects spread out before us, for us and for our children.

· Grave.' Beyond that I seek not to penetrate the veil. God grant that, in my day, at least, that curtain may not rise! God grant that on my vision never may be opened what lies behind !

Grave and bold.' The ideas are also · harsh' and 'negative,' demanding abrupt stress' and rising slides.'

“When my eyes shall be turned to behold for the last time the Sun in Heaven, may I not see him shining on the broken and dishonored fragments of a once glorious Union; on States dissevered, discordant, belligerent; on a land rent with civil feuds, or drenched, it may be, in fraternal blood !

Noble,' positive. “Let their last feeble and lingering glance, rather, behold the gorgeous Ensign of the Republic, (now known and honored throughout the earth,) still full high advanced, its arms and trophies streaming in their original lustre, not a stripe erased or polluted, nor a single star obscured,


· Bold,' negative,' and harsh,' “ bearing, for its motto, no such miserable interrogatory as • What is all this worth ?' nor those other words of delusion and folly, Liberty first, and Union afterwards,'

Bold' and noble,' positive' and good,' demanding loud and smooth« force,' . full volume,' long falling slides,' and pure quality, “but everywhere, spread all over,in characters of living light, blazing on all its ample folds, as they float over the sea and over the land, and in every wind under the whole heavens, that other sentiment, dear to every true American heart, Liberty AND Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!”

Unemotional and grave.' 2.

“ Friends,
I come not here to talk. Ye know too well
The story of our thraldom. We are slaves !
The bright sun rises to his course, and lights
A race of slaves ! He sets, and his last beam
Falls on a slave.”


Bold' and noble,' negative.'

“Not such as swept along By the full tide of power, the conqueror leads To crimson glory and undying fame.”

Sarcastic,' (contempt, scorn, and irony.) These mixed ideas, being. harsh' and impure,' demand abrupt stress' and aspirated quality,' with the circumflex slides.' “But base, ignoble slaves, slaves to a horde

Of petty tyrants, feudal despots; lords,
Rich in some dozen paltry villages, -
Strong in some hundred spearmen, - only great
In that strange spell,

Each hour, dark fraud,
Or open rapine, or protected murder,
Cries out against them. But this very day,
An honest man, my neighbor, — there he stands, -
Was struck, struck like a dog, by one who wore
The badge of Ursini ; because, forsooth,
He tossed not high his ready cap in air,
Nor lifted up his voice in servile shouts,
At sight of that great ruffian.

Impassioned,' ("negative.')

a name.

66 Be we men,

And suffer such dishonor? Men, and wash not
The stain away in blood ? Such shames are common."

Subdued' pathos and joy blended.
“I have known deeper wrongs. I, that speak to ye,
I had a brother once, a gracious boy,.
Full of all gentleness, of calmest hope, -
Of sweet and quiet joy, – there was the look
Of heaven upon his face, which limners give
To the beloved disciple.' How I loved
That gracious boy! Younger by fifteen years,


Brother, at once, and son ! • He left


A summer bloom on his fair cheeks,
Parting his innocent lips.”

a smile

Pathetic' and · bold,' with · abruptand tremulous 'force.

“ In one short hour
The pretty, harmless boy was slain! I saw
The corse, the mangled corse, and then I cried
For vengeance!

Impassioned' and sarcastic.'

“Rouse, ye Romans! Rouse, ye slaves!
Have ye brave sons ? Look in the next fierce brawl
To see them die. Have ye fair daughters ? Look
To see them live, torn from your arms, distained,
Dishonored ; and, if ye dare call for justice,
Be answered by the lash.”

[ocr errors][merged small]

“ 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 !


Good reading of Poetry demands, in addition to the elements of elocution which belong to all emotional expression, as such, that just enough special attention be given to quantity and accent to fill out the time equably in each “bar” of the poetical “ measure,” and mark its rhythm perceptibly. In good

« VorigeDoorgaan »