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palaces on the banks of the Brenta. He was in person about the middle height, rather above it than below, and at this period was not more than twenty-three years of age. His forehead was broad and fine, with short dark hair curling around it; his features were small, excepting the eye and brow, the former of which was large and full

, and the latter strongly marked. The mouth was very handsome, showing, when half open in speaking, the brilliant white teeth, and giving to the whole countenance a look of playful gaiety; but, when shut, there was an expression of much thoughtfulness, approaching perhaps to sternness, about it, which the rounded and somewhat prominent chin confirmed. The upper lip was very short; but on either side, divided in the middle, was a short black mustache, not overhanging the mouth, but raised above it; and the beard, which was short and black, like the hair, was only suffered to grow in such a manner as to ornament, but not to encuinber the chin.

In form the cavalier was muscular, and powerfully made; his breadth of chest and shoulders giving the appearance of a more advanced period of life than that to which he had yet arrived. *-Corse De Leon, by G. P. R. James.

and hands rather small; complexion mostly dark; hair abundant, dark and strong; and the whole figure precise, striking, and brilliant.

No. 3. Oval face; high, pale, intellectual forehead; eye, expressive and full of sensibility, also indicating modesty and dignity; movements charac terized by grace and elegance.

* In a note on page 172 is presented, in a quotation from a late physio logical writer, the description of a beautiful woman. The same author thus describes a specimen of masculine beauty:

A fine looking man, (the word handsome detracts from the idea of beauty in the male sex), is above the medium height, but considerably under the colossal; (about five feet ten inches is the perfection of altitude); his forehead is high and rather square; his back head is well rounded, but not too full; his eyes are dark, bright, and fairly set in their sockets neither tending to recede nor to protrude ; his hair inclines to a curl; his eyebrows are rather square than bushy, and leave a space of about three quarters of an inch between their inward' extremities; his nose is a medium between Roman and aquiline; his cheek bones are not prominent, but still well defined ; his cheeks neither lank nor so rounded as to indicate fatness or inflation ; his mouth moderately small; his lips firm, compact, but not thin ; his whiskers are well back on his cheek; his complexion is uniform, between brown and fair, with a slight tendency to a blush, but not suffi cient to warrant him in being called rosy cheeked; and the whole countenance, well or even strongly marked; for a smooth, round face, where the features are all regular, and without any characteristic for a limner to fasten on, is incompatible with manly beauty. Then his neck is of moder ate length and inclines to thickness ; his throat is free from all protuber ance commonly called 'the apple of Eve;' his breast is fairly full; his shoulders square, but not abruptly so, and sufficiently broad to just overhang his hips; his arms are of a length to leave about eight inches between the tips of his middle fingers and his knees; there is a gradual decrease in wards from the hips and shoulder to the waist; his back is free from the least tendency to roundness, but is not thrown very much to the rear; his libs are full, but not clumsy; his joints small; the calves of the legs so that they just touch, without pressing against each other; his shin rather slen der, his ankle small; his instep high ; and his foot slightly hollowed, and of a size corresponding w'th his height; for, too small a foot interferes with E.cample 3d.


The elephanu, a native of Asia and Africa, is the largest, the strongest, the most sagacious, and the most docile of all wild beasts. The usual height of this unsightly creature is from eight to twelve or fourteen feet. The color is nearly black; the eyes, which are very small, are lively, bright, and expressive; the ears are broad, and much longer, in proportion to the body, than those of the ass.

It has two long ivory tusks, thicker toward the head than a stout man's arm, and a trunk which it can contract or lengthen, as need requires. The latter is as useful to the animal as our hands are to us. With this singular organ it can take up the smallest object; it serves tself with it; and, in case of an attack, fights with it. It can also untie knots of ropes, and open and shut gates.

The legs of this stupendous quadruped are like columns of from twelve to eighteen inches in diameter, and from four to six feet high. The feet are short, and divided into five toes each, and are armed with nails of a horny substance, but which are so covered with skin, that they are scarcely visible.

The elephant, in a state of nature, is neither fierce nor mischievous. It is peaceable, mild, and brave; and exerts its powers only in its own defence, or in defence of those of its own kind, with which it is social and friendly.

Example 4th.


Long projecting reefs of rocks, extending under water, and only evinc Ing their existence by here and there a peak entirely bare, or by the breakers which foamed over those that were partially covered, rendered Knockwinnock bay dreaded by pilots and ship-masters. The crags which rose between the beach and the main land to the height of two or thred hundred feet, afforded in their crevices shelter for unnumbered sea fowl, in situations seemingly secured by their dizzy height from the rapacity of

that elasticity of step, and firmness of carriage, so essential in making up the perfect tout ensemble' of a well-proportioned man.”

In descriptions of persons the student will do well to refer to what is said on the subject of epithets in another page of this volume. Thus, for example, the manners of an individual may be insinuating, sprightly, dignified, or reserved, &c.; speech, elegant, eloquent, &c.; person, thin or spare, fleshy or corpulent; temper, warm and affectionate; nature, frank and indisposed to suspicion, &c. Notice may also be taken, as occasion requires, of buch particulars as the following: resolution, courage, effects of air and exercise, or confinement and exclusion from the air, on personal appearance, -- series of sorrows as causing imprudence, constant success as producing temerity, misfortunes in degree and duration exceeding the com mon measure of human calamity, rendering the distresses of fiction faint, kec., &c., &c.

man. Many of these wild tribes, with the instinct which sends them to seek the land before a storm arises, were now winging towards their nests with the shrill and dissonant clang which announces fear and disquietude.

The disk of the sun became almost totally obscured ere he had altogether sunk below the horizon, and an early and lurid shade of darkness blotted the serene twilight of a summer evening. The wind began next to arise, but its wild and moaning sound was heard for some time, and its effects became more visible on the bosom of the sea, before the gale was felt on the shore. The mass of waters, now dark and threatening, began to lift itself in larger ridges, and sink in deeper furrows, forming wavos that rose high in foam upon the breakers, or burst upon the beach with a sound resembling distant thunder.—Antiquary, Vol. 1. p. 72.

Example 5th.


Sities and villages were scattered over hill and valley, with cultivateu environs blooming around them, all giving token of a dense and industrious poj ulation. In the centre of this brilliant circumference stood the Indian metropolis, with its gorgeous tiara of pyramids and temples, attracting the eye of the soldier from every other object, as he wound round the borders of the lake. Every inch of ground which the soldiers trod was familiar to them; familiar as the scenes of childhood, though with very different associations, for it had been written on their memories in characters of blood. On the right rose the hill of Montezuma, crowned by the teocalli, under the roof of which the shattered relics of the army had been gathered on the day following the flight from the capitol. In front lay the city of Tacuba, through whose inhospitable streets they had hurried in fear and consternation; and away to the east of it stretched the melancholy causeway.-Prescott's Conquest of Mexico, Vol. TII. p. 31.

Example 6th.


They moved cautiously forward, straining their vision to pierce the think gloom of the forests, where their wily foe might be lurking. But they saw no living thing, except only the wild inhabitants of the woods and flocks of the zopolite, the voracious vulture of the country, which, in anticipation of a bloody banquet, hung like a troop of evil spirits, on the inarch of the army.

As they descended, the Spaniards felt a sensible and most welcome change in the atmosphere. The character of the vegetation changed with it; and the funereal pine, their only companion of late, gave way to the sturdy oak, to the sycamore, and lower down, to the graceful pepper tree, mingling its red berries with the dark foliage of the forest; while in still lower depths, the gaudy-colored creepers might be seen flinging their gay blossoms over the branches, and telling of a softer and more luxurious climate.

At length, the army emerged on an open level, where the eye, unoh

structed by intervening wood or hill-top, could range, far and wide, over the Valley of Mexico. There it lay, bathed in the golden sunshine, stretched out, as it were, in slumber, in the arms of the giant of hills, which clustered, like a phalanx of guardian genii, around it. *- - Conquest of Merico, Vol. II, p. 463.

From the same source from which the preceding extract was taken, the following personal description has been borrowed


Hernando “ Cortés at this time was thirty-three, or perhaps thirty-four years of age. In stature he was rather above the middle size. His complexion was pale, and his large dark eye gave an expression of gravity to his-countenance, not to be expected in one of his cheerful temperament, His figure was slender, at least until later life; but his chest was deep, his shoulders broad, his frame muscular and well proportioned. It presented the union of agility and vigor, which qualified him to excel in fencing. horseinanship, and the other generous exercises of chivalry. In his diet he was temperate, careless of what he ate, and drinking little; while, to toil and privation he seemed perfectly indifferent. His dress, for he did not disdain the impression produced by such adventitious aids, was such as to set off his handsome person to advantage; neither gaudy nor striking, but rich. He wore few ornaments, and usually the same; but these were of great price. His manners frank and soldierlike, concealed a most cool and calculating spirit. With his gayest humor there mingled a settled air of resolution, which made those who approached him feel they must obey; and which infused something like awe into the attachment of his most devoted followers. Such a combination, in whích love was tempered by authority, was the one probably best calculated to inspire devotion in the rough and turbulent spirits among whom his lot was to be cast.”.

* The introduction of figurative language in descriptive writing, if not too luxuriantly indulged, adds much to the beauty and animation of the style. The student will not fail to admire the beautiful figure here introduced from one of the most elegant historical writers of any age or country. Mr. Prescott, in the work from which the extract above was taken, has conferred a favor on the republic of letters, which will hand him down to posterity as the modern“ Dulcis et candidus et fusus Herodotus." The same remark that has been made in relation to the Father of History, may be applied with equal truth and justice to the author of “ The Conquest of Mexico." His style abounds with elegance, ease, and sweetness; and if there is any of the fabulous or incredible, the author candidly informs the reader that t is introduced on the authority of others.” They who are not attracted by the thrilling nature of the incidents which he relates, will be captivated by the glowing colors in which they are described, the purity and animation of his style the witchery he has woven around his subject, and the won. derful skill with which he has thrown into a connected narrative a mass of details, which with indefatigable industry he has tithed from a great variety of authors, often at variance with one another, and not unfrequently at issue with themselves. The pride with which an American peruses his works, naturally breaks forth into the apostrophe, “Perge modo, et qua te via duci: dirige gressum.”

The character of Cortés seems to have undergone some change with change of circumstances; or, to speak more correctly, the new scenes in which he was placed called forth qualities which before were dormant in his bosom. There are some hardy natures that require the heats of excited action to unfold their energies ; like the plants, which, closed to the mild influence of a temperate latitude, come to their full growth, and give forth their fruits only in the burning atmosphere of the tropics. Such is the portrait left to us by his contemporaries of this remarkable man.

The examples which have now been introduced are deemed sufficient, both in variety and extent, to introduce the student to descriptive writing. The attentive perusal of the examples given, with careful attention to the preliminary hints and observations, it is thought will furnish considerable aid in this department of composition.



That the student may perceive how much is added to the beauty and the interest of a narration by the union of description with the narrative, the following model is presented, which is founded on the simple circumstance, that a young man in a feeble state of health is called home, after a long absence, to be present at the death-bed of his mother. The student will observe how beautifully many of the particulars presented in the list in the preceding exercises are interwoven with the narrative, and how much the union of description with the narration has added to the beauty of the story.


In looking over some papers of a deceased acquaintance, I found the following fragment. He had frequently spoken to me of the person whom it concerned, and who had been his school-fellow. I remember well his one day telling me that, thinking the character of his friend, and some circum stances in his life, were of such a kind that an interesting moral little story might be made from them, he had undertaken it; but, considering as he

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