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It is the knell of my departed hours.
Where are they? With the years beyond the flood.
It is the signal
B phf x
How much is to be done! My hopes, and fears
up alarmed, and o'er life's narrow verge
Look down-on what?
B vef p
A dread eternity! how surely mine vef
And can eternity belong to me,
Poor pensioner on the bounties of an hour?
How poor, how rich,
nef c- F shf st- A
B nef sp
A fathomless abyss,
F B veq w
how abject, how august,
How complicate, how wonderful is man!
B vef sp
How passing wonder he who made him such!
B nhx sp
B tc br
Who center'd in our make such strange extremes!
From different natures, marvellously mix'd,
B nef rt
Connexion exquisite of distant worlds!
- nef sp
Distinguish'd link in being's endless chain!
Midway from nothing to the Deity!
A beam etherial, sullied, and absorpt!
Though sullied, and dishonour'd, still divine!
Dim miniature of greatness absolute!
B sdf n
An heir of glory! a frail child of dust!
U B veq sp
idf n- U vef sp A worm! a
Didf U veq w
B shf sh
I tremble at myself,
At home, a stranger,
And in myself am lost.
Thought wanders up and
B vhf sh
And wond'ring at her
vef c phf nO what a miracle to man
V vef sp
.. thr sp
down, surpris'd, aghast,
B shf p
Alternately transported, and
What can preserve my
How reason reels!
Triumphantly distress'd! what joy! what dread!
B vhf rt
life? or what destroy?
snatch me from
An angel's arm can't
B ved to
Legions of angels can't confine me
B sdf st
REMARKS ON THE EXTRACT FROM YOUNG'S NIGHT-THOUGHTS.
The peculiarities of Young's style, especially in his NightThoughts, render his poetry particularly_difficult for recitation. His use of epithets is faulty to excess. He heaps them profusely, and in every manner, on the principal idea. Man is here his subject, which he colours with every variety of tint, exhibits in every light, and touches and re-touches almost to disgust. And yet he has here produced many sublime images; and his very faults, his labour, his antitheses and his catachreses,* are the source of his beauties. This passage is particularly difficult to recite. The dif
* Cătachrēsis, a figure of speech by which one word is abusively put for another.
ficulty arises chiefly from the multiplicity of the images, and the brevity of the expression; consequently, if the speaker is not careful to pronounce every line with due deliberation, his gesture makes confusion only, and gives an air of mummery to his recitation. This condensation of images occurs in almost every line; but the twenty-sixth line, which consists of only four words, is remarkable. "Helpless immortal! insect infinite!"
To give force and variety, and, at the same time, simplicity and gracefulness to gestures so heaped on each other, is attended with no inconsiderable difficulty. But even should the speaker's manner, in the recitation of these lines, prove unexceptionable in this respect, the difficulty is but half conquered. They do not, indeed, require any considerable variety of voice; but the eye and the countenance of the speaker must be full of expression and intelligence: he must appear to be rapt in meditation, which rises into sublimity as it proceeds, and inflames, as it catches the rapid succession of thought. On these accounts, this passage is seldom recited successfully.
After what has been said in the analysis of the other pieces, a few observations will suffice for this.
Line 4, "aright," continuous gesture to the end of the 5th line, where the hand falls to rest with some degree of force, noted R st, rest, striking. The hand, generally, in falling to rest, drops quietly and imperceptibly by its own gravity, and it is then noted with a simple R; but sometimes the hand is struck down forcibly, and then it is noted, as above, R st.
Line 8. "How much," the x, in the fourth place, means that the arms are to be extended forwards eagerly.
Line 14, 15, 16, six epithets, antithesis, and a climax: the voice and gesture must increase in energy, and on "he," in the 16th line, complete the climax. The first, in each pair of gestures, is preparatory to the subsequent, in the antithesis.
Line 23 to 25. Antitheses and catachreses heaped on each other, each requiring a separate gesture, strongly contrasted with that to which it is opposed.
Line 29. F st, the hand striking the forehead.
In order to render every circumstance perfectly intelligible, I have marked with the notation letters the gestures in the preceding examples more minutely than is necessary for general use. For general use, it is sufficient to note the most important circumstancos, leaving the filling up to the judgment of the speaker.
In the recitation of descriptions of any kind, the speaker must, in imagination, have the picture before his eyes, and each object must be disposed in the same order as if actually painted. If this imaginary picture be faulty in the composition, confused, or ill-grouped, the gesture will perplex, rather than enlighten; but, if well conceived, and well disposed in its parts, the speaker will seem to give it the interest of life by his skilful gesture and recitation; and the auditor will almost imagine that he actually contemplates all that the speaker describes.
Impassioned compositions, delivered with proper feeling and expression, open, in like manner, to the view of the hearer, the internal operations of the speaker's mind,- a contemplation still more interesting than any scenes of external nature which can be presented in description.
As, in writing, even an appropriate term must not be used too frequently, so in this art, the same gesture, however expressive, must not be too often repeated. Variety is graceful, and requires that similar gestures, as well as similar words, should be separated by those which are diverse.
In oratorical action, it is a general rule that each new idea requires a new gesture. But important ideas, only, require distinguished gesture. For these last, therefore, should be reserved the species of gestures named emphatic; for the former (which are the most numerous), the discriminating will be sufficient. As to frequency, the propriety of gesture will be found to depend on the deliberation and expression of the speaker. If the feelings are not alive, and if the lines are not pronounced with due deliberation, the gestures will appear to be too numerous. In the preceding examples they may seem to have this fault, from the circumstance that it is my object to exhibit at large the greater part of their minute connexions and transitions. A little attention, however, will show, that much, still, has been left to be supplied by the judgment of the reader.
The notation, and the analytical observations on the foregoing pieces, will, it is conceived, afford sufficient information to such as may desire to assist their rhetorical studies by this system. I would not recommend that the young speaker, in using this notation, should mark every possible passage in his discourse, in the manner of these examples; for such minuteness would lead to embarrassment, unless preceded by much labour. The utmost advisable notation should not exceed a few marks on particular passages, and those separated from each other; the filling up of which should be trusted to the feelings of the moment. But the best method, in all respects, for acquiring a finished rhetorical delivery, is the private practice of declamation, which is supported on the authority of the great masters and models of oratory, Demosthenes and Cicero. The aspiring rhetorical student should select one or more celebrated orations, couched in the style that he wishes to adopt; these he
should carefully subject to all the rules of notation; he should study them, and commit them to memory; he will exercise on them all the powers of his voice, his countenance and gesture; and, like Demosthenes, consult his mirror, and obtain the opinion of a judicious friend on his performances. The knowledge and facility, which, by repeated exercises of this kind, he will acquire in rhetorical delivery, may be transferred, with advantage, to his own compositions which are to be delivered in public; and, without hazarding the inconveniences of particular notation, he will find himself possessed of such a store of various, forcible, and expressive action, that, whatever his feelings shall suggest at the moment, he will be able to execute in a satisfactory manner.