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ÆSTHETIC QUALITIES. DIRECTION. — Point out the æsthetic qualities. State to what each is due and remark on the rhetorical gain.
1. Look not mournfully into the past. It comes not back. Wisely improve the present. It is thine. Go forth to meet the shadowy future, without fear and with a manly heart.
2. She is dead. No sleep so beautiful and calm, so free from trace of pain, so fair to look upon. She seemed a creature fresh from the hand of God, and waiting for the breath of life, not one who had lived and suffered death.
3. The wood I walk in on this mild May day, with the young yellow-brown foliage of the oaks between me and the blue sky, the white star-flowers, and the blue-eyed speedwell, and the ground ivy at my feet, — what grove of tropic palms, what strange ferns, or splendid broad-petaled blossoms could ever thrill such deep and delicate fibres within me as the home scene?
4. As he had sometimes felt, gazing up from the deck at midnight into the boundless starlit depths overhead, in a rapture of devout wonder at that endless brightness and beauty, - in some such a way now, the depth of this pure devotion quite smote upon him, and filled his heart with thanksgiving.
5. April advanced to May; a bright serene May it was; days of blue sky, placid sunshine, and soft western or southern gales Alled
its duration. Lo ! wood shook loose its tresses; it became all green, all flowery; woodland plants sprang up profusely in its recesses, unnumbered varieties of moss filled its hollows, making a strange ground-sunshine out of the wealth of its wild primrose plants.
6. There was nothing to mar her delight in the whispers and the dreamy silences, when she listened to the light dipping sounds of the rising fish and the gentle rustling, as if the willows and the reeds and the water had their happy whisperings also.
7. The slanting light of the setting sun quivers on the sea-like expanse of the river.
The shivery canes and the tall dark cypress, hung with wreaths of dark funereal moss, glow in the golden ray, as the heavily laden steamboat marches onward.
8. These home scenes are the mother-tongue of our imagination, the language that is laden with all the subtle inextricable associations the fleeting hours of our childhood left behind them. Our delight in the sunshine on the deep-bladed grass to-day might be no more than the faint perception of wearied souls, if it were not for the sunshine and grass of far-off years, which still live in us, and transform our perception into love. (Are the diction and rhythm beyond the limits of prose? Give reasons for your answer.)
9. “Willingly,” saidst thou? Ay, as willingly as when in the Gulf of Lyons, I flung over my merchandise to lighten the ship, while she labored in the tempest — robed the seething billows in my choice silks, perfumed their briny foam with myrrh and aloes, enriched their caverns with gold and silver work. (Are the figures too abundant?)
10. When I married him, the bald spot on his head was not much bigger than a silver dollar. Now the top of his head is as smooth and clean as one of our China dinner-plates; and if a norse-jockey was to try to judge of his age by looking at his teeth, he would be baffled, not because he has none, but because they are like hen's teeth, few and far between. But still pure love triumphs over lost teeth and vanished sandy hair. There is not a man on earth who looks so good to me. (Give reasons why the figures do, or do not, meet your views of the requirements of taste.)
II. The winding river gleamed like silver far below, the shadows gathered over mountain and valley, and a solemn awe filled the soul. Down, down as far as the eye could reach, the mighty torrent rushed and tumbled in great jumps over gigantic rocks that have broken away from above, and settled in the narrow bed. (Point out the cause of the melody in the first sentence, an ulte the harmony in the second.)
12. The Duke of Bedford is the leviathan among all the crea tures of the crown. He tumbles about his unwieldy bulk; he plays and frolics in the ocean of the royal bounty. Huge as he is, and while he lies, “floating many a rood,” he is still a creature. His ribs, his fins, his whalebone, his blubber, the very spiracles through which he spouts a torrent of brine against his origin, and covers me all over with the spray, — everything of him and about him is from the throne. (Inquire whether the vituperation goes beyond the bounds of good taste.)
13. These, our actors, as I foretold you, were all spirits, and are melted into air, into thin air. And like the baseless fabric of this vision, the cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, the solemn temples, the great globe itself, yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, and, like this unsubstantial pageant faded, leave not a rock behind. (Do the words harmonize with the thought?)
14. “Methinks I see in my mind a noble and puissant nation, rousing herself like a strong man after sleep, and shaking her invincible locks; methinks I see her as an eagle mewing her mighty youth, and kindling her undazzled eyes at the full midday beam; purging and unscaling her long-abused sight at the fountain itself of the heavenly radiance; while the whole noise of timorous and flocking birds, with those also that love the twilight, flutter about, amazed at what she means, and in their envious gabble would prognosticate a year of sects and schisms." (Show that the language harmonizes with the thought.)
A Letter is a written communication sent by one person to another.
Importance. - To people in general there is no part of composition so important as letter-writing. Almost every person needs to make use of it at some time in his life. In fact, it is the only kind of composition that most people ever write. It should, therefore, receive a due share of attention in any course of instruction intended to fit young people for the practical duties of life.
Kinds. Letters are generally classed under two heads, – Familiar Letters and Business Letters.
Form. — In the form of a letter the following points require attention: the Heading, the Address, the Body of the Letter, the Conclusion, and the Superscription.
1. The Heading consists of two parts, (1) the place, (2) the date.
a. In letters written from a small town, village, or country place, the name of the post-office and of the state is sufficient; but in writing from a city, the street and the door-number should be given, as well as the name of the city and of the state. Sometimes the name of a hotel or public institution is used instead of the street and door-number.
b. The date consists of the month, the day of the month, and the year. Abbreviations are commonly used; as Dec. roth, 1889, or roth Dec., 1889.
c. The heading stands at such a distance from the top of the page, and from the right edge, as good taste may dictate. It may consist of one, two, or three lines. When there are more than one, the date occupies one line, and the lines slope to the right (See specimens.)
2. The Address has four parts: (1) the name; (2) the title ; (3) the place of business, or the residence; (4) the salutation.
a. The address stands on the left, beginning on the next line below the heading.
b. The first two parts are written on the first line, the third part on the second line, and the fourth on the succeeding line. These lines may all slope to the right, or the first two may slope and the third begin under the first.
c. The title should be appropriate to the person addressed. Those commonly used are: To the name of a young lady, Miss is prefixed; of a married lady or widow, Mrs.; of a lad, Master; of a man without special title, Mr. (with its plural Messrs. for more than one man). Instead of Mr., Esq. after the name is frequently used, and is considered preferable in addressing men in liberal professions. To the name of a clergyman is prefixed Rev. or Rev. Mr.; if he is a Doctor of Divinity or of Medicine, Rev. Dr. or Rev. may be written before the name and D.D. or M.D. after it. When a person has a professional title, as Dr., Pres., Capt., Col., Prof., it should be used. Hon. stands before the name of a cabinet officer, a member of Congress, or of the state legislature, a judge, or a mayor. His Excellency precedes the name of the President, a governor, or an ambassador. The President of the United States is addressed simply Mr. President.
d. The salutation should be in keeping with the title as well as with the writer's relation to the one addressed. It may be Sir, Dear Sir, My dear Sir, Madam, Dear Madam, My dear Madam, Rev. Sir, Dear Mr. Moberly, My dear Mr. Moberly, Dear Mary, etc.
e. In business letters the whole address is generally written as indicated in (a), but in familiar and official letters the salutation usually stands alone at the beginning, and the remainder of the address is placed below the conclusion on the left side.
3. The Body of the Letter follows at the end of the salutation, and on the same line, if the address occupies three or four lines; otherwise, on the line below it.