Изображения страниц

When the radical pitch of a syllable is a tone above that of & preceding syllable, the phrase may be termed the “ Rising Ditone; if below the preceding syllable, the Falling Ditone."

When the radicals of three syllables successively ascend a tone, the phrase is called the “ Rising Tritone; when they successively descend a tone, the Falling Tritone."

The Monotone may be defined as that inflexible movement of the voice which is heard when fear, vastness of thought, force, majesty, power, or intensity of feeling is such as partially to obstruct the powers of utterance.

“This movement of the voice may be accounted for by the fact, that, when the excitement is so powerful, and the kind and degree of feeling are such as to agitate the whole frame, the vocal organs will be so affected, and their natural functions so controlled, that they can give utterance to the thought or sentiment in only one note, iterated on the same unvarying line of pitch.

“Grandeur of thought and sublimity of feeling are always expressed by this movement. The effect produced by it is deep and impressive. When its use is known, and the rule for its application is clearly understood, the reading will be characterized by a solemnity of manner, a grandeur of refinement, and a beauty of execution, which all will acknowledge to be in exact accordance with the dictates of Nature, and strictly within the pale of her laws.” - Tower.

Illustrations of the Monotone.
“My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains

My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains

One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:
'T is not through envy of thy happy lot,
But being too happy in thy happiness, –
That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees,

In some melodious plot
Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,
Singest of summer in full-throated ease.


“ The lady sprang up suddenly,

The lovely lady, Christabel!
It moaned as near, as near can be,
But what it is she cannot tell. -
On the other side it seems to be,

Of the huge, broad-breasted, old oak-tree.
“The night is chill; the forest bare;

Is it the wind that moaneth bleak ?

There is not wind enough in air
To move away the ringlet curl
From the lovely lady's cheek;
There is not wind enough to twirl
The one red leaf, the last of its clan,
That dances as often as dance it can,
Hanging so light, and hanging so high,

On the topmost twig that looks up at the sky.
“Hush, beating heart of Christabel !
Jesu, Maria, shield her well!
She folded her arms beneath her cloak,
And stole to the other side of the oak:

What sees she there?— CHRISTABEL. Coleridge

[ocr errors]


“0, I have pass'd a miserable night,
So full of fearful dreams, of ugly sights,
That, as I am a Christian faithful man,
I would not spend another such a night,
Though 't were to buy a world of happy days;
So full of dismal terror was the time.”

Clarence, in RICHARD III.

Then my heart it grew ashen and sober

As the leaves that were crisped and sere —

As the leaves that were withering and sere,
And I cried, — “It was surely October,

On this very night of last year,
That I journeyed — I journeyed down here -
That I brought a dread burden down here,
On this night of all nights in the year,

Ah, what demon has tempted me here?
Well I know now this dim lake of Auber –

This misty mid region of Weir,
Well I know now this dark tarn of Auber,
This ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.'”

ULALUME. Edgar A. Poe

"I am not come
To stay: to bid farewell, farewell forever,
For this I come! Tis over! I must leave thee!
Thekla, I must — must leave thee! Yet thy hatred
Let me not take with me. I pray thee, grant me
One look of sympathy, only one look.

Say that thou dost not hate me. Say it to me, Thekla !
O God! I cannot leave this spot - I cannot !
Cannot let go this hand. O tell me, Thekla !
That thou dost suffer with me, art convinced
That I cannot act otherwise.”

Max to Thekla. – THE DEATH OF WALLENSTEIN. - Schiller.

" Grief should be
Like joy, majestic, equable, sedate,
Confirming, cleansing, raising, making free,
Strong to consume small troubles, to commend
Great thoughts, grave thoughts, thoughts lasting to the end.”

SORROW.- Aubrey De Vere.
"I am old and blind!
Men point at me as smitten by God's frown:
Afficted and deserted of my kind,

Yet am I not cast down.

I am weak, yet strong:
I murmur not, that I no longer see;
Poor, old, and helpless, I the more belong

Father, Supreme! to Thee.

0, merciful One!
When men are farthest, then art Thou most near;
When friends pass by, my weaknesses to shun,

Thy chariot I hear.

Thy glorious face
Is leaning toward me, and its holy light
Shines in upon my lonely dwelling place-

And there is no more night.”

Hush, the Dead March wails in the people's ears :
The dark crowd moves, and there are sobs and tears:
The blank earth yawns: the mortal disappears ;
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust;
He is gone who seem'd so great.
Gone; but nothing can bereave him
Of the force he made his own
Being here, and we believe him
Something far advanced in State,
And that he wears a truer crown
Than any wreath that man can weave him.

But speak no more of his renown,
Lay your earthly fancies down,
And in the vast cathedral leave him ;
God accept him, Christ receive him."





Mrs. Browning. But it is in Chaucer we touch the true height, and look abroad into the kingdoms and glories of our poetical literature,—it is with Chaucer that we begin our “ Books of the Poets,” our collections and selections, our pride of place and name. And the genius of the poet shares the character of his position : he was made for an early poet, and the metaphors of dawn and spring doubly become him. A morning star, a lark's exaltation, cannot usher in a glory better. The “cheerful morning face,” “the breezy call of incense breathing morn,” you recognize in his countenance and voice; it is a voice full of promise and prophecy. He is the good omen of our poetry, the “good-bird,” according to the Romans, “the best good angel of the spring,” the nightingale, according to his own creed of good luck, heard before the cuckoo.

Up rose the sunne, and up rose Emilie, and up rose her poet, the first of a line of kings, conscious of futurity in his smile. He is a king and inherits the earth, and expands his great soul smilingly to embrace his great heritage. Nothing is too high for him to touch with a thought, nothing too low to dower with an affection. As a complete creature cognate of life and death, he cries upon God, — as a sympathetic creature he singles out a daisy from the universe (“si douce est la marguerite”), to lie down by half a summer's day and bless it for fellowship. His senses are open and delicate, like a young child's - his sensibilities capacious of supersensual relations, like an experienced thinker's. Child-like, too, his tears and smiles lie at the edge of his eyes, and he is one proof more among the many, that the deepest pathos and the quickest gayeties hide together in the same nature. He is too wakeful and curious to lose the stirring of a leaf, yet not two wide awake to see visions of green and white ladies between the branches; and a fair house of fame and a noble court of love are built and hidden in the winking of his eyelash. And because his imagination is


[ocr errors]

neither too " high fantastical” to refuse proudly the gravitation of the earth, nor too “light of love” to lose it carelessly, he can create as well as dream, and work with clay as well as cloud; and when his men and women stand close by the actual ones, your stop-watch shall reckon no di in the beating of their hearts. He knew the secret of nature and art, – that truth is beauty, - and saying, “ I will make · A Wife of Bath' as well as Emilie, and you shall remember her as long,” we do remember her as long. And he sent us a train of pilgrims, each with a distinct individuality apart from the pilgrimage, all the way from Southwark and the Tabard Inn, to Canterbury and Becket's shrine; and their laughter comes never to an end, and their talk goes on with the stars, and all the railroads which may intersect the spoilt earth forever, cannot hush the tramp, tramp” of their horses' feet.

THREE DESCRIPTIONS. Not long ago I was slowly descending the carriage-road after you leave Albano. It had been wild weather when I left Rome, and all across the Campagna the clouds were sweeping in sulphurous blue, with a clap of thunder or two, and breaking gleams of sun along the Claudian aqueduct, lighting up its arches like the bridge of chaos. But as I climbed the long slope of the Alban mount, the storm swept finally to the north, and the noble outline of the domes of Albano and the graceful darkness of its ilex grove rose against pure streaks of alternate blue and amber, the upper sky gradually flushing through the last fragments of a rain-cloud in deep palpitating azure, half ether and half dew. The noon-day sun came slanting down the rocky slopes of La Riccia, and its masses of entangled and tall foliage, whose autumnal tints were mixed with the wet verdure of a thousand evergreens, were penetrated with it as with rain. I cannot call it color, it was conflagration. Purple, and crimson and scarlet, like the curtains of God's tabernacle, the rejoicing trees sank into the valley in showers of light, every separate leaf quivering with buoyant and burning life; each, as it turned to reflect or to transmit the sunbeam, first a torch and then an emerald. Far up into the recesses of the valley, the green vistas, arched like the hollows of mighty waves of some crystalline sea, with the arbutus flowers, dashed along their flanks for foam, and silver flakes of orange spray tossed into the air around them, breaking over the gray walls of rock into a thousand separate stars, fading and kindling alternately as the weak wind lifted and let them fall. Every blade of grass burned like the golden floor of

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »