the sympathy could not share with him his suffering. He trod the winepress alone. With unfaltering front he faced death. With unfailing tenderness he took leave of life. Above the demoniac hiss of the assassin's bullet he heard the voice of God. With supple resignation he bowed to the Divine Decree.



[Some sentiments, to be effectively expressed, require time for the gathering of the emotion. The following requires an increased pause preceding “before”' to enable the speaker to gather the awe, destiny and inspiration that must be exhibited in every word: “Sir, before God I believe the hour is come.” Sometimes there is a tendency for an emotion to master the speaker and overwhelm his utterance, as in the lines “I said all well,'' and, “Ah, Hal, I'll try,” in the selection under this head. In such cases increased pause is required in which to control the feeling. ]

ܕ ܕ

Our Folks.


"Hi! Harry Holly! Halt,--and tell

A fellow just a thing or two;
You've had a furlough, been to see

How all the folks in Jersey do.
It's months ago since I was there,-

I, and a bullet from Fair Oaks.
When you were home,—old comrade, say,

you see any of our folks ?

[ocr errors]

You did ? Shake hands,—Oh, ain't I glad;

For if I do look grim and rough,
I've got some feelin'—People think

A soldier's heart is mighty tough;
But, Harry, when the bullets fly,

And hot saltpetre flames and smokes, While whole battalions lie afield,

One’s apt to think about his folks.

And so you saw them—when ? and where?

The old man is he hearty yet?
And mother—does she fade at all?

Or does she seem to pine and fret
For me? And Sis ?-has she grown tall?
And did you see her friend—you know

That Annie Moss-(How this pipe chokes!) Where did you see her?—tell me, Hal,

A lot of news about our folks.

You saw them in the church, you say;

It's likely, for they're always there. Not Sunday? no? A funeral ? Who?

Who, Harry? how you shake and stare ! All well, you say, and all were out.

What ails you, Hal? Is this a hoax? Why don't you tell me like a man

What is the matter with our folks ?”

"I said all well, old comrade, true;

I say all well, for He knows best
Who takes the young ones in His arms

Before the sun goes to the west.
The axe-man Death deals right and left,

And flowers fall as well as oaks ;
And so—.fair Annie blooms no more!

And that's the matter with your folks.

[ocr errors]

See, this long curl was kept for you;

And this white blossom from her breast,

And here—your sister Bessie wrote

A letter, telling all the rest.
Bear up, old friend.” Nobody speaks ;

Only the old camp-raven croaks,
And soldiers whisper : "Boys, be still;

There's some bad news from Grainger's folks."

He turns his back—the only foe

That ever saw it- on this grief, And, as men will, keeps down the

tears Kind Nature sends to Woe's relief. Then answers he, “Ah! Hal, I'll try,

But in my throat there's something chokes, Because, you see, I've thought so long

To count her in among our folks.

I s'pose she must be happy now,

But still I will keep thinking too, I could have kept all trouble off

By being tender, kind, and true. But maybe not. She's safe up there,

And when His hand deals other strokes, She'll stand by heaven's gate, I know,

And wait to welcome in our folks."

Break! Break! Break!


Break, break, break,

On thy cold gray stones, O Sea!
And I would that my tongue could utter

The thoughts that arise in me.

Oh, well for the fisherman's boy,

That he shouts with his sister at play!

Oh, well for the sailor lad,

That he sings in his boat on the bay !

And the stately ships go on

To their haven under the hill;
But 0 for the touch of a vanished hand,

And the sound of a voice that is still.

Break, break, break,

At the foot of thy crags, O Sea !
But the tender grace of a day that is dead

Will never come back to me.


PAUSE AND THE SUBSIDENCE OF EMOTION. [The subsidence of emotion manifests itself by increased pause. In the following, increased pause after “dwelling” is demanded to give time for the subsidence of the deeply stirred feelings of Spartacus: "That very night the Romans landed on our coast. I saw the breast that had nourished me trampled by the hoof of the war horse; the bleeding body of my father flung amid the blazing rafters of our dwelling.”']

Spartacus to the Gladiators.


Today I killed a man in the arena; and, when I broke his helmet clasps, behold! he was my friend. He knew me, smiled faintly, gasped, and died; the same sweet smile upon his lips that I had marked, when, in adventurous boyhood, we scaled the lofty cliff to pluck the first ripe grapes, and bear them home in childish triumph! I told the prætor that the dead man had been my friend, generous and brave, and I begged that I might bear away the body, to burn it on a funeral pile, and mourn over its ashes. Ay, upon my knees, amid the dust and blood of the arena, I begged that poor boon, while all the assembled maids and matrons, and the holy virgins they call Vestals, and the rabble, shouted in derision, deeming it rare sport, forsooth, to see Rome's fiercest gladiator turn pale and tremble at sight of that piece of bleeding clay. And the prætor drew back, as if I were pollution, and sternly said, "Let the carrion rot; there are no noble men but Romans.” And so, fellow-gladiators, must you, and so must I, die like dogs. O Rome, Rome, thou hast been a tender nurse to me. Ay, thou hast given to that poor, gentle, timid shepherd lad, who never knew a harsher tone than a flute-note, muscles of iron and a heart of flint; taught him to drive the sword through plaited mail and links of rugged brass, and warm it in the marrow of his foe;—to gaze into the glaring eye-balls of the fierce Numidian lion, even as a boy upon a laughing girl. And he shall pay thee back, until the yellow Tiber is red as frothing wine, and in its deepest ooze thy lifeblood lies curdled.

Ye stand here now like giants, as ye are. The strength of brass is in your toughened sinews; but tomorrow some Roman Adonis, breathing sweet perfume from his curly locks, shall with his lily fingers pat your red brawn, and bet his sesterces upon your blood! Hark! hear ye yon lion roaring in his den? 'Tis three days since he tasted flesh, but tomorrow he shall break his fast upon yours,--and a dainty meal for him ye will be! If ye are beasts, then stand here like fat oxen, waiting for the butcher's knife. If ye are men, -follow me! Strike down yon guard, gain the mountain

. passes, and there do bloody work, as did your sires at old Thermopylæ. Is Sparta dead? Is the old Grecian spirit frozen in your veins, that you do crouch and cower like a belabored hound beneath his master's lash ? 0 comrades, warriors, Thracians,--if we must fight, let us fight for ourselves! If we must slaughter, let us slaughter our oppressors ! If we must die, let it be under the clear sky, by the bright waters, in noble, honorable battle!

« VorigeDoorgaan »