(See Tone Drill No. 135.) [The tone of Meditation is always linked with some other (usually Argument) and indicates to the listener self-communion. The speaker is subjective. He is thinking aloud.]

Cato's Soliloquy.


It must be so-Plato, thou reasonest well!
Else whence this pleasing hope, this fond desire,
This longing after immortality?
Or whence this secret dread, and inward horror
Of falling into naught? Why shrinks the soul
Back on herself, and startles at destruction ?-
'Tis the Divinity that stirs within us;
'Tis Heaven itself that points out a hereafter,
And intimates Eternity to man.
Here will I hold. If there's a Power above us
(And that there is, all Nature cries aloud
Through all her works), He must delight in virtue:
And that which He delights in, must be happy.
Eternity !—thou pleasing, dreadful thought!
Through what variety of untried being,
Through what new scenes and changes must we pass ?
The wide, the unbounded prospect lies before me;
But shadows, clouds, and darkness, rest upon it.

[ocr errors]

Hamlet's Soliloquy on Life and Death.


To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,

And by opposing end them. To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die;—to sleep ;-
To sleep! perchance to dream! ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised 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,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment,
With this regard their currents turn awry
And lose the name of action.

-Hamlet iii., 1. TONE OF CONVICTION.

(See Tone Drill No. 55.) [The tone of Conviction aims not so much to prove as to proclaim what the speaker feels to be inevitable or absolutz. In it, often, is the note of the seer. Assertion asserts aggressively, Conviction asserts calmly.]

The Human Race Progresses.


The irresistible tendency of the human race is to advancement, for absolute power has never succeeded and can never succeed in suppressing a single truth. An idea once revealed may find its admission into every living breast and live there. Like God, it becomes immortal and omnipresent. The movement of the species is upward, irresistibly upward. The individual is often lost; Providence never disowns the race. No principle once promulgated has ever been forgotten. No “timely tramp” of a despot's foot ever trod out one idea. The world cannot retrograde; the dark ages cannot return. Dynasties perish, states are buried, nations have been victims of error, martyrs for right; humanity has always been on the advance, gaining maturity, universality and power.

Yes, Truth is immortal; it cannot be destroyed; it is invincible; it cannot long be resisted. Not every great principle has yet been generated, but when once proclaimed and diffused, it lives without end in the safe custody of the race. States may pass away, every just principle of legislation which has been once established will endure. Philosophy has sometimes forgotten God, a great people never did. The skepticism of the last century could not uproot Christianity because it lived in the hearts of the millions. Do you think that infidelity is spreading ? Christianity never lived in the hearts of so many millions as at this moment. The forms under which it is professed may decay, for they, like all that is the work of man's hands, are subject to changes and chances of mortal being, but the spirit of truth is incorruptible; it may be developed, illustrated and applied; it never can die, never can decline.

No truth can perish, no truth can pass away; the flame is undying, though generations disappear. Wherever moral truth has struck into being, humanity claims and guards the greatest bequest. Each generation gathers together imperishable children of the past, and increases them by new sons of light alike radiant with immortality.

The Right.


Ah! Whether you will or no the past is passed Your law is null, void and dead, even before its birth; because it is not just; because it is not true; because, while it goes furtively to plunder the poor man and the weak of his right of suffrage, it encounters the withering glance of a Nation's probity and sense of right, before which your work of darkness shall vanish; because in the depths of the conscience of every citizen,—of the humblest as well as the highest-there is a sentiment sublime, sacred, indestructible, incorruptible, eternal,—the Right.

This sentiment, which is the very element of reason in man, the granite of the human conscience,—this Right, is the rock upon which shall split and go to pieces the iniquities, the hypocrisies, the bad laws and bad governments, of the world. There is the obstacle, concealed, invisible,–lost to view in the soul's profoundest deep, but eternally present and abiding,-against which you shall always strike, and which

you shall never wear away, do what you will! I repeat it, your efforts are in vain. You cannot deracinate, you cannot shake it. You might sooner tear up the eternal Rock from the bottom of the sea, than the Right from the heart of the people.

Richard's Trust in Heaven.


Discomfortable cousin ! know'st thou not That when the searching eye of heaven is hid Behind the globe, that lights the lower world, Then thieves and robbers range abroad unseen In murders and in outrage, boldly here; But when from under this terrestrial ball He fires the proud tops of the eastern pines And darts his light through every guilty hole, Then murders, treasons and detested sins, The cloak of night being pluck'd from off their backs, Stand bare and naked, trembling at themselves ? So when this thief, this traitor, Bolingbroke, Who all this while hath revell’d in the night, Whilst we were wandering with the antipodes, Shall see us rising in our throne, the east, His treasons will sit blushing in his face, Not able to endure the sight of day, But self-affrighted tremble at his sin. Not all the water in the rough rude sea Can wash the balm off from an anointed king; The breath of worldly men cannot depose The deputy elected by the Lord : For every man that Bolingbroke hath press'd To lift shrewd steel against our golden crown, God for his Richard hath in heavenly pay A glorious angel; then, if angels fight, Weak men must fall, for heaven still guards the right.

- Richard II, iii., 2.

[ocr errors]
« VorigeDoorgaan »