Imágenes de páginas

“ Ab, yes


" Floy! this is a kind-good face- I am glad to see it again

-Don't go away-old nurse -Stay here—Good-bye!” "GOOD-BYE—my child—cried Mrs. Pipchin-hurrying to the bed's head -“Not good-bye!”

-good-bye! Where's papa?He FELT his father's breath upon his cheek before the words had parted from his lipsThe feeble hand-waved—in the air

-as if it cried—"good-bye”—again. “Now lay me down- and—Floy-come close to meand let me see you!” SISTER and BROTHER wound their arms around each other -and the golden light came streaming in

and fell upon them-locked together.

“How fast the river runs—between its green banks and the rushes—Floy! -But it's very near the sea- -I hear the WAVES! - They always said so !”.

Presently he told her that the motion of the boat upon the stream was lulling him to REST- -How green the banks were

-how bright the flowers growing on them- -how tall the rushes! -Now-the boat was out at sea- -but gliding smoothly on

And NOW there was a shore before him -who stood on the BANK ? He put his hands TOGETHER- -as he had been used to do, at his PRAYERS -He did not remove his arms to do it but they saw him fold them so—- -behind his sister's NECK. “ Mama is like you

-Floy-I know her by the faceBut-tell them that- -the picture—on the stairsat schoolis not DIVINE enough- -The light about the head is shining on me as I go!"

Here a long pause with hushed breath. Then in a deeper and more solemn tone, and very slowly.

The golden ripple on the wall came back again, and nothing ELSE stirred in the room -The OLD_OLD FASHION the fashionthat came in with our first garments and will last unchanged until our race has run its course- and the wide firmament is rolled up like a scroll The OLD_OLD_FASHION

Then change the tone and expression to those of

glowing exultation, raising the voice and swelling the chest, and closing with the imploring accents of prayer,

Oh! THANK GOD-all who see it for that OLDER fashion yet of—-IMMORTALITY- -And look upon us

-ANGELS of young children -with regards not quite estranged—when the swift rirer bears us to the OCEAN!

Remark that the words spoken by little Dombey are to be uttered in a low voice, scarcely rising above a whisper, and in broken tones, with frequent pauses-for he is dying.

I next proceed to give some suggestions for the reading of certain classes of composition—as poetrydialogue—oratory, &c.



SOME murder poetry by singing it, and some by setting aside the rhythm, the metre, and the rhyme, and reading it as they would read an advertisement in a newspaper. Of these two besetting faults, I prefer the former, however nasal the twang. There is at least the consciousness of the presence of poetry-evidence of an ear, if not of a taste, for it. But the prosaic reader revolts you by the unequivocal proof he gives, with every word he utters, that he has neither taste nor ear, and that poetry to him is nothing more than dislocated prose.

The singing of poetry is the reader's most frequent fault. Usually it is a habit acquired in very early childhood, the consequence of bad training by the first teacher of the nursery rhymes that usually constitute a child's first exercise of the memory, and afterwards cultivated by the succe

ccessive tutors who undertake the task of teaching to read. Metre and rhyme are sore temptations to an uncultivated voice. Probably the natural impulse is to convert them into music. And it must be admitted that music and poetry are very nearly allied. Poetry (I am speaking now of the mechanical part of it) is modified music—perhaps it might be termed imperfect music. Analyse them. Music is an array of inarticulate lengthened sounds, divided into even periods of time. Poetry is an array of articulate sounds or words, divided into even accentuations instead of even periods of time. These characteristics of song and music run so nearly together, that there is in most of us a decided tendency to pass from one to the other, or to substitute the one for the other, and thus accentuations come to be exchanged for time, and the articulate word lapses into the musical note. This explains the process by which the reading of poetry is so often converted into the singing of it; and indeed it can be prevented only by the exercise of most vigilant care by the first instructors of childhood. The lisping boy chants the nursery rhyme without correction, and thus lays the foundation of a habit which subsequent teachers will but too probably strengthen, and which it will be the arduous work of his maturity to unlearn.

Therefore, before you begin to learn to read poetry, ascertain if you are infected by the evil habit of singing it, for until that is entirely subdued, progress is hopeless. Your own ear will not help you in this investigation. It has been perverted also, and has ceased to inform the mind of the fact. You cannot so hear yourself as to sit in judgment on yourself—at least until another has listened and pointed out your defects to you, and you. learn from his instructions where you err. Call in, then, the aid of a judicious friend; ask him to listen while you read a few short passages from poetry in various metres, and instruct him that, with most resolute disregard to wounding your self-love, he shall stop


you in the way, and tell you of every lapse into song, sing-song, or chant. He must be inflexible in his criticism, or you will not mend. Score with pencil in the book the words of which he complains. If he is apt at imitation, ask him to show you by his voice the manner of your reading. Afterwards, when alone, read the same passages again from the scored page, carefully avoiding the faults he had told you of as attaching to the words marked by the pencil, and repeat them several times. A few lessons, thus learned, submitting the same passages to the judgment of your listener, will enable you to avoid the most offensive features of the evil habit. But be not impatient. As the mischief was early implanted, has been long cherished and grown with your growth, it will not be cured without much care and perseverance; and, however tedious the delay, do not abandon the task until it is thoroughly achieved. It will not be time lost altogether. Having once unlearned, the task of learning will be comparatively easy.

Having thus learned how poetry ought not to be read, you will now proceed to learn how it ought to be read. You must not sing it; you must not chant it; you must not drawl it; you must not ignore the metre and the rhyme ; you must not make prose of it. What then are you to do with it ?

Read it so that metre, rhythm and rhyme may be made sensible to the listener's ear, but without giving prominence to either. The difference between the reading of poetry and prose lies in this, that you mark by your voice the peculiar characteristics of poetry. You must observe the metre, not altogether by intoning it, but by the very gentlest inflexion of the voice ; you must indicate the rhythm by a more melodious utter


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