Page images
PDF
EPUB

124. “If they rule, it shall be over our ashes and graves;

But we've smote them already with fire on the waves,
And new triumphs on land are before us.
To the charge! Heaven's banner is o'er us."

125. " The combat deepens. On, ye brave,

Who rush to glory, or the grave!
Wave, Munich, all thy banners wave,

And charge with all thy chivalry!”

126. The expressions, “On, ye brave,” — “Wave Munich,” — “And charge," — denote feelings of triumphant exultation; and the utterance of these feelings requires a due degree of loudness, an elevated pitch, extended quantity, median stress, and a well-regulated,'tremulous movement. The tremulous movement should be applied mainly to the words “on” and “charge.” This will enable the reader to impress the sentiment much more vividly than he could by omitting the tremulous movement.

127. Many sentiments depend entirely on loudness for their character ; such as anger, danger, ferocity, and revenge ;- and others again depend chiefly upon it as they assume its character; such as joy, laughter, and astonish ment, as in the following extracts :

128. “ And longer had she sung - but, with a frown,

Revenge impatient rose.
He threw his blood-stained sword in thunder down,
And, with a withering look,
The war-denouncing trumpet took,
And blew a blast so loud and dread,
Were ne'er prophetic sounds so full of woe.

129. " Tubal. Yes, other men have ill luck too. Antonio, as I heard in Genoa, —

Shylock. What, what, what? Ill luck? ill luck ?
Tuð. — hath an argosy cast away, coming from Tripolis.
Shy. ............ Is it true? is it true?
Tub. I spoke with some of the sailors that escaped the wreck

Shy. I thank thee, good Tubak. Good new good news! Ha, ha, ha! . Where? In Genoa ?”

130. " But hark! - That heavy sound breaks in once more,

As if the clouds its echo would repeat;
And nearer, clearer, deadlier than before !

Arm! arm! It is - it is the cannons' opening roar."

FEEBLENESS OF VOICE,

131. Feebleness of voice is an element the reverse of the last. There are some states of the mind that are properly portrayed by feebleness of voice; and there are other conditions of the mind, akin to these, which are always manifested by feebleness or softness of voice. Of this class are modesty, caution, doubt, irresolution, resignation, and despondency, as may be seen in the following extracts :

132. “Wolsey. Why, how now, Cromwell !

Cromwell. I have no power to speak, sir.

Wol. What! amazed
At my misfortunes? Can thy spirit wonder
A great man should decline ? Nay, ar.' you weep,
I am fallen indeed.

Crom. How does your grace ?

Wol. Why, well;
Never so truly happy, my good Cromwell.
I know myself now; and I feel within me
A peace above all earthly dignities, -
A still and quiet conscience. The king has cured me,
I humbly thank his grace; and from these shoulders,
These ruined pillars, out of pity, taken
A load would sink a navy -- too much honor:
O, 'tis a burden, Cromwell, 'tis a burden,
Too heavy for a man that hopes for heaven.

Crom. I am glad your grace has made that right use of it.

Wol. I hope I have. I am able now, methinks,
Out of a fortitude of soul I feel,
To endure more miseries, and greater far,
Than myeweak hearted enemies dare offer.

133. “Cromwell, I did not think to shed a tear

In all my miseries; but thou hast forced me,
Out of thy honest truth, to play the woman.
Let's dry our eyes; and thus far hear me, Cromwell,
And — when I am forgotten, as I shall be,
And sleep in dull cold marble, where no mention
Of me more must be heard of — say, I taught thee;
Say, Wolsey - that once trod the ways of glory,
And sounded all the depths and shoals of honor -
Found thee a way, out of his wreck, to rise in;
A sure and safe one, though thy master missed it.
Mark but my fall, and that that ruined me.
Cromwell, I charge thee, fling away ambition :
By that sin fell the angels: how can man, then,
The image of his Maker, hope to win by't?
Love thyself last. Cherish those hearts that hate the
Still in thy right hand carry gentle peace,
To silence envious tongues. Be just and fear not
Let all the ends thou aim'st at be thy country's,
Thy God's, and truth's. Then, if thou fall’st, O Cromwell,
Thou fall'st a blessed martyr ! — Serve the king;
And - Pr'ythee, lead me in
There take an inventory of all I have, *
To the last penny. 'tis the king's. My robe,
And my integrity to Heaven, is all
I dare now call mine own. O Cromwell, Cromwell,
Had I but served my God with half the zeal
I served my king, he would not in mine age
Have left me naked to mine enemies."

134. “ Would I had never trod this English earth,

Or felt the flatteries that grow upon it!
I am the most unhappy woman living: -
Shipwrecked upon a kingdom, where no pity,
No friends, no hope; no kindred weep for me,
Almost no grave allowed me. Like the lily,
That once was mistress of the field, and flourished,
I'll hang my head and perish.”

135. “She looked down to blush, and she looked up to sign,

With a smile on her lip, and a tear in her eye;
And the bride-maidens whispered, 'Twere better by far
To have matched our fair cousin with young Lochinvar

SUPPRESSED FORCE.

136. There are some conditions of the mind demanding a highly intensive degree of force; and there are some emotions occasioned by alarm, terror, or fearful apprehensions, which at once excite the voice, and suppress the loudness of utterance

137. When the force of feeling is such as to get the entire control of the speaker; when he would imbody and unbosom that which is most within him; when he would "wreak his thoughts upon expression," and throw his whole soul, heart, mind, passions, — all that he seeks, knows, bears, and feels, — into a few words; when his mind is in a state of perturbation, confusion, and perplexity, arising from the sudden conflict of violent passions; when his soul is overwhelmed in violent, tumultuous, and conflicting emotions; — then his language will necessarily partake of the perturbation of his mind, and incoherent hints, precipitate sallies, vehement exclamations, bold figures, laconic, abrupt, desultory expressions, will then be thrown out with such explosive energy, that the degree of aspiration must necessarily destroy that pure vocality, and partially suppress that intonation, which are the accompaniments of ordinary degrees of force, and the usual constituents of loudness. This may be fully exempli fied in the reading of the following extracts.

132. “Banished from Rome! What's banished, but set free

From daily contact of the things I loathe?
• Tried and convicted traitor!'- Who says this?
Who'll prove it, at his peril, on my head?
Banished !- I thank you for’t. It breaks my chain
I held some slack allegiance till this hour; -
But now my sword 's my own. Smile on, my lords.
I scorn to count what feelings, withered hopes,
Strong provocations, bitter, burning wrongs,
I have within my heart's hot cells shut up,
To leave you in your lazy dignities.
But here I stand and scoff you ; - here I fling
Hatred and full defiance in your face

Your consul's merciful. For this all thanks,
He dares not touch a hair of Catiline.
• Traitor!'I go- but I return. This — trial !
Here I devote your senate! I've had wrongs
To stir a fever in the blood of age,
Or make the infant's sinews strong as steel."

139. Every one must perceive that there is but one prevailing sentiment which runs through the whole of the above extract. The drift of the voice must accommodate itself to this reigning sentiment, and be identical during its preva lence. Almost every word is shaded, in a greater or less degree, by suppressed force; but there are some phrases which require an intensive application of this element; such as the following ; -“Banished from Rome!”—“Tried and convicted traitor !” But what movement, drift, or force of the voice, will best express the sentiments in the line“ • Traitor! I go- but I return. This — trial!” presents a question which perhaps cannot be satisfactorily decided, even at the tribunal where criticism, judgment, and good taste preside. It may not, however, be amiss to observe, in regard to the words and phrases in this line, that such abrupt exclamations, such incoherent hints, such vehement sallies, are the natural expressions of a mind in a state of violent perturbation, and overwhelmed with conflicting emotions; emotions struggling for utterance at the same moment; it being a principle founded in nature, that whatever most strongly operates on the passions will first seek utterance by the lips. In conformity to this state of things, the writer has so arranged the words as to occasion some obscurity, or a species of darkness. But it may be said with truth, that this darkness was necessary to paint the character as it was; and to one skilled in reading nature, there will arise a light out of this darkness, which will enable him to penetrate much farther into the condition of a mind thus agitated than he could possibly do by the most just, perspicuous, and elaborate description.

140. “ Avaunt! and quit my sight! Let the earth hide thee!

Thy bones are marrowless, thy blood is cold;

« PreviousContinue »