Richard Green Parker.

Exercises in rhetorical reading : with a series of introductory lessons, particularly designed to familiarize readers with the pauses and other marks in general use, and lead them to the practice of modulation and inflection of the voice online

. (page 18 of 38)
Online LibraryRichard Green ParkerExercises in rhetorical reading : with a series of introductory lessons, particularly designed to familiarize readers with the pauses and other marks in general use, and lead them to the practice of modulation and inflection of the voice → online text (page 18 of 38)
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Bewildered in pursuit of game,
5 All seemed as peaceful, and as still,

As the mist slumbering on yon hill ;

Thy dangerous chief was then afar,

Nor soon expected back from war ;

Thus said, at least, my mountain guide,
10 Though deep, perchance, the villain lied." —
" Yet why a second venture try?" —

" A warrior thou, and ask me why ! —

Moves our free course by such fixed cause

As gives the poor mechanic laws ?
15 Enough I sought to drive away

The lazy hours of peaceful day ;

Slight cause will then suffice to guide

A knight's free footsteps far and wide ;

A falcon flown, a grayhound strayed,
20 The merry glance of mountain maid :

Or, if a path be dangerous known,

The danger's self is lure alone." —
" Thy secret keep ; I urge thee not ;

Yet, ere again ye sought this spot,
25 Say, heard ye nought of lowland war.

Against Clan-Alpin raised by Mar?" —
"No, by my word ; — of bands prepared

To guard King James's sports I heard ;

Nor doubt I aught, but when they hear
30 This muster of the mountaineer.

Their pennons will abroad be flung.

Which else in Doune had peaceful hung." —
" Free be they flung ! — for we were loth

Their silken folds should feast the moth.
35 Free be they flung ! — as free shall wave

Clan-Alpin's pine in banner brave.

But, stranger, peaceful since you came.

Bewildered in the mountain game.

Whence the bold boast by which you show
40 Vich-Alpin's vowed and mortal foe ?" —
" Warrior, but yester-morn, I knew

Nought of thy chieftain, Roderick Dhu,

Save as an exiled, desperate man.

The chief of a rebellious clan.



Who, in the regent's court and^jjj^ht,

With ruffian dagger stabbed a knight.

Yet this alone might from his part

Sever each true and loyal heart."
5 Wrathful at such arraignment foul,

Dark lowered the clansman's sable scowl :

A space he paused, then sternly said, —

" And heardst thou why he drew his blade ?

Heardst thou that shameful word and blow
10 Brought Roderick's vengeance on his foe ?

What recked the chieftain, if he stood

On highland heath, or Holy-Rood ?

He writes such wrong where it is given,

If it were in the court of heaven ! " —
15 " Still was it outrage ; — yet, 't is true,

Not then claimed sovereignty his due ;

While Albany, with feeble hand.

Held borrowed truncheon of command.

The young king, mewed in Stirling tower,
20 Was stranger to respect and power.

But then thy chieftain's robber life —

Winning mean prey by causeless strife.

Wrenching from ruined lowland swain

His herds and harvest reared in vain —
25 Methinks a soul like thine should scorn

The spoils from such foul foray borne ! "
The Gael beheld him grim the while,

And answered with disdainful smile, —

" Saxon, from yonder mountain high,
30 I marked thee send delighted eye

Far to the south and east, where lay,

Extended in succession gay,

Deep waving fields and pastures green.

With gentle slopes and groves between.
35 These fertile plains, that softened vale.

Were once the birthright of the Gael ;

The stranger came with iron hand.

And from our fathers reft the land.

Where dwell we now ? See rudely swell
40 Crag over crag, and fell o'er fell.

Ask we this savage hill we tread

For fattened steer or household bread ;

Ask we for flocks these shingles dry,

And well the mountain might reply, — r

204 Parker's exercises in [ex. xvut.

To you, as to your sires of yore,

Belong the target and claymore !

I give you shelter in my breast,

Your own good blades must win the rest.*
6 Pent in this fortress of the North,

Think'st thou we will not sally forth,

To spoil the spoiler as we may.

And from the robber rend the prey ?

Ay, by my soul ! — While on yon plain
10 The Saxon rears one shock of grain ;

While, of ten thousand herds, there strays

But one along yon river's maze, —

The Gael, of plain and river heir.

Shall with strong hand redeem his share.
15 Where live the mountain chiefs who hold

That plundering lowland field and fold

Is aught but retribution due ?

Seek other cause 'gainst Roderick Dhu."
Answered Fitz-James, — " And, if I sought
20 Think'st thou no other could be brought?

What deem ye of my path waylaid.

My life given o'er to ambuscade ? " —
" As of a meed to rashness due :

Hadst thou sent warning fair and true, —
25 I seek my hound, or falcon strayed,

I seek, good faith, a highland maid, —

Free hadst thou been to come and go ;

But secret path marks secret foe.
Nor yet for this, e'en as a spy,
30 Hadst thou unheard been doomed to die,

Save to fulfil an augury." —

" Well, let it pass ; nor will I now

Fresh cause of enmity avow.

To chafe thy mood and cloud thy brow.
35 Enough, I am by promise tied

To match me with this man of pride :

Twice have I sought Clan-Alpin's glen

In peace ; but, when I come again,

I come with banner, brand, and bow,
40 As leader seeks his mortal foe ;

For lovelorn swain, in lady's bower.

Ne'er panted for the appointed hour,

As I, until before me stand

This rebel chieftain and his band."


" Have then thy wish ! " H^vhistled shrill,

And he was answered from the hill ;

Wild as the scream of the curlew,

From crag to crag the signal flew ;
5 Instant, through copse and heath, arose

Bonnets and spears and bended bows ;

On right, on left, above, below,

Sprung up at once the lurking foe ;
Ffom shingles gray their lances start,
10 The bracken-bush sends forth the dart,

The rushes and the willow-wand

Are bristling into axe and brand,

And every tuft of broom gives life
V To plaided warrior armed for strife.

15 That whistle garrisoned the glen

At once with full five hundred men,

As if the yawning hill to heaven

A subterranean host had given ;

Watching their leader's beck and will,
20 All silent there they stood, and still.

Like the loose crags, whose threatening mass

Lay tottering o'er the hollow pass.

As if an infant's touch could urge

Their headlong passage down the verge,
25 With step and weapon forward flung,

Upon the mountain side they hung.
The mountaineer cast glance of pride

Along Benledi's hving side,

Then fixed his eye and sable brow
30 Full on Fitz- James, — " How say'st thou now ?

These are Clan-Alpin's warriors true :

And, Saxon, — I am Roderick Dhu ! "

Fitz- James was brave : — though to his heart

The life-blood thrilled with sudden start,
35 He manned himself with dauntless air,

Returned the chief his haughty stare,

His back against a rock he bore,

And firmly placed his foot before :

" Come one, come all ! this rock shall fly
40 From its firm base as soon as I."

Sir Roderick marked — and in his eyes

Respect was mingled with surprise,

And the stern joy which warriors feel

In foenien worthy of their steel.

206 Parker's exercises in [ex. xvm.

Short space he stood — then waved his hand;

Down sunk the disappearing band ;

Each warrior vanished where he stood,

In broom or bracken, heath or wood ;
5 Sunk brand and spear and bended bow

In osiers pale and copses low ;

It seemed as if their mother earth

Had swallowed up her warlike birth.
The wind's last breath had tossed in air
10 Pennon, and plaid, and plumage fair, —

The next but swept a lone hill-side,

Where heath and fern were waving wide ;

The sun's last glance was glinted back

From lance and glaive, from targe and jack, —
15 The next, all unreflected, shone

On bracken green, and cold gray stone.

Fitz- James looked round — yet scarce believed

The witness that his sight received ;

Such apparition well might seem
20 Delusion of a dreadful dream.

Sir Roderick in suspense he eyed.

And to his look the chief replied,

" Fear nought — nay, that I need not say —

But — doubt not aught from mine array.
25 Thou art my guest ; I pledged my word

As far as Coilantogle ford :

Nor would I call a clansman's brand

For aid against one valiant hand,

Though on our strife lay every vale
30 Rent by the Saxon from the Gael.
So move we on ; I only meant^

To show the reed on which you leant,

Deeming this path you might pursue

Without a pass from Roderick Dhu."
35 They moved — I said Fitz- James was brave

As ever knight that belted glaive ;

Yet dare not say that now his blood

Kept on its wont and tempered flood.

As, following Roderick's strides, he drew
40 That seeming lonesome pathway through,

Which yet, by fearful proof, was rife

With lances, that to take his life

Waited but signal from a guide

So late dishonored and defied.


Ever, by stealth, his eye sougM^ound

The vanished guardians of the ground,

And still from copse and heather deep

Fancy saw spear and broadsword peep,
5 And in the plover's shrilly strain

The signal whistle heard again.
Nor breathed he free till far behind

The pass was left ; for then they wind

Along a wide and level green,
10 Where neither tree nor tuft was seen,

Nor rush nor bush of broom was near,

To hide a bonnet or a spear.

The chief in silence strode before.

And reached the torrent's sounding shore.
15 ^ # ^ ^ # *

And here his course the chieftain staid,

Threw down his target and his plaid,

And to the lowland warrior said : —

" Bold Saxon ! to his promise just,

20 Vich-Alpin has discharged his trust ;

This murderous chief, this ruthless man.

This head of a rebellious clan,

Hath led thee safe, through watch and ward,

Far past Clan-Alpin's outmost guard.
25 Now, man to man, and steel to steel,

A chieftain's vengeance thou shalt feel.

See, here all vantageless I stand,

Armed, like thyself, with single brand ;

For this is Coilantogle ford,
30 And thou must keep thee with thy sword."
The Saxon paused: — **I ne'er delayed,

When foeman bade me draw my blade ;

Nay more, brave chief, I vowed thy death :

Yet sure thy fair and generous faith,
35 And my deep debt for life preserved,

A better meed have well deserved :
Can nought but blood our feud atone ?

Are there no means ? " — " No, stranger, none !

And here, — to fire thy flagging zeal, —
40 The Saxon cause rests on thy steel ;

For thus spoke Fate, by prophet bred

Between the living and the dead :

* Who spills the foremost foeman's life,

His party conquers in the strife.* " —

208 Parker's exercises in [ex. xvm.

" Then, by my word," the Saxon said,

" The riddle is already read ;

See yonder brake beneath the cliff, —

There lies Red Murdoch, stark and stiff.
5 Thus Fate hath solved her prophecy,

Then yield to Fate, and not to me ;
To James, at Stirling, let us go,

When, if thou wilt, be still his foe ;

Or, if the king shall not agree
10 To grant thee grace and favor free,

I plight mine honor, oath and word,

That, to thy native strength restored.

With each advantage shalt thou stand

That aids thee now to guard thy land."
15 Dark lightning flashed from Roderick's eye —

" Soars thy presumption, then, so high,

Because a wretched kern ye slew,

Homage to name to Roderick Dhu ?

He yields not, he, to man nor Fate !
20 Thou add'st but fuel to my hate. —

My clansman's blood demands revenge ! —
Not yet prepared ? — By heaven, I change

My thought, and hold thy valor light,

As that of some vain carpet knight,
25 Who ill deserved my courteous care,

And whose best boast is but to wear

A braid of his fair lady's hair!" —

" I thank thee, Roderick, for the word !

It nerves my heart, it steels my sword ;
30 For I have sworn this braid to stain

In the best blood that warms thy vein.

Now, truce, farewell ! and ruth, begone ! —

Yet think not that by thee alone.

Proud chief ! can courtesy be shown.
35 Though not from copse, or heath, or cairn,

Start at my whistle clansmen stern.

Of this small horn one feeble blast

Would fearful odds against thee cast ;

But fear not — doubt not — which thou wilt,
40 We try this quarrel hilt to hilt."

Then each at once his falchion drew.

Each on the ground his scabbard threw.

Each looked to sun, and stream, and plain,

As what they ne'er might see again ;


Then, foot, and point, and eye opposed,

In dubious strife they darkly closed.
Ill fared it then with Roderick Dhu,

That on the field his targe he threw,
6 Whose brazen studs and tough bull-hide

Had death so often dashed aside ;

For, trained abroad his arms to wield,

Fitz- James's blade was sword and shield.
He practised every pass and ward,
10 To thrust, to strike, to feint, to guard ;

While less expert, though stronger far,

The Gael maintained unequal war.
^ Three times in closing strife they stood,

And thrice the Saxon sword drank blood ;
15 No stinted draught, no scanty tide,

The gushing flood the tartans dyed.
Fierce Roderick felt the fatal drain,

And showered his blows like wintry rain ;

And, as firm rock, or castle roof,
20 Against the winter shower is proof,

The foe, invulnerable still,

Foiled his wild rage by steady skill ;

Till, at advantage ta'en, his brand

Forced Roderick's weapon from his hand,
25 And, backwards borne upon the lee.

Brought the proud chieftain to his knee.
" Now yield thee, or, by Him who made

The world, thy heart's blood dies my blade ! " —

" Thy threats, thy mercy, I defy !
30 Let recreant yield who fears to die."

Like adder darting from his coil.

Like wolf that dashes through the toil,

Like mountain-cat who guards her young,

Full at Fitz-James's throat he sprung,
35 Received, but recked not of a wound,

And locked his arms his foeman round. —
Now, gallant Saxon, hold thine own !

No maiden's hand is round thee thrown !

That desperate grasp thy frame might feel
40 Through bars of brass and triple steel !

They tug, they strain ; — down, down they go,

The Gael above, Fitz-James below.

The chieftain's gripe his throat compressed,

His knee was planted on his breast;

210 Parker's exercises in [ex. xix.

His dotted locks he backward threw,

Across his brow his hand he drew,

From blood and mist to clear his sight,

Then gleamed aloft his dagger bright !
5 But hate and fury ill supplied

The stream of life's exhausted tide,

And all too late the advantage came,

To turn the odds of deadly game ;

For, while the dagger gleamed on high,
10 Reeled soul and sense, reeled brain and eye ;

Down came the blow ! but in the heath

The erring blade found bloodless sheath.
The struggling foe may now unclasp

The fainting chief's relaxing grasp ;
15 Unwounded from the dreadful close,

But breathless all, Fitz-James arose.
He faltered thanks to Heaven for life

Redeemed, unhoped, from desperate strife ;

Next on his foe his look he cast,
20 Whose every gasp appeared his last ;

In Roderick's gore he dipped the braid. —

" Poor Blanche ! thy wrongs are dearly paid ,

Yet with thy foe must die or live

The praise that Faith and Valor give." W. Scott


Schemes of Life often Illusory.

25 Omar, the son of Hassan, had passed seventy-five years
in honor and prosperity. The favor of three successive
califs had filled his house with gold and silver ; and when-
ever he appeared, the benedictions of the people proclaimed
his passage.

30 Terrestrial happiness is of short continuance. The
brightness of the flame is wasting its fuel ; the fragrant
flower is passing away in its own odors. The vigor of
Omar began to fail; the curls of beauty fell from his.
head ; strength departed from his hands, and agility from

35 his feet. He gave back to the calif the keys of trust, and
the seals of secrecy; and sought no other pleasure for the
remains of life than the converse of the wise and the
gratitude of the good.


The powers of his mind were yet unimpaired. His
chamber was filled by visitants, eager to catch the dictates
of experience, and officious to pay the tribute of admira-
tion. Caled, the son of the viceroy of Egfypt, entered

5 every day early, and retired late. He was beautiful and
eloquent: Omar admired his wit, and loved his docility.
" Tell me," said Caled, " thou to whose voice nations
have listened, and whose wisdom is known to the extremi-
ties of Asia, tell me how I may resemble Omar the prudent.

10 The arts by which thou hast gained power and preserved
it are to thee no longer necessary or useful ; impart to
me the secret of thy conduct, and teach me the plan upon
which thy wisdom has built thy fortune."

"Young man," said Omar, "it is of little use to form

15 plans of life. When I took my first survey of the world,
in my twentieth year, having considered the various con-
ditions of mankind, in the hour of solitude I said thus to
myself, leaning against a cedar, which spread its branches
over my head : ' Seventy years are allowed to man ; I

20 have yet fifty remaining.

" ' Ten years I will allot to the attainment of knowl-
edge, and ten I will pass in foreign countries ; I shall be
learned, and therefore shall be honored ; every city will
shout at my arrival, and every student will solicit my

25 friendship. Twenty years thus passed will store my
mind with images, which I shall be busy, through the rest
of my life, in combining and comparing. I shall revel in
inexhaustible accumulations of intellectual riches ; I shall
find new pleasures for every moment, and shall never

30 more be weary of myself.

" ' I will not, however, deviate too far from the beaten
track of life ; but will try what can be found in female
delicacy. I will marry a wife beautiful as the Houries,
and wise as Zobeide ; with her I will live twenty years

35 within the suburbs of Bagdat, in every pleasure that
wealth can purchase, and fancy can invent.

"'I will then retire to a rural dwelling; pass my days
in obscurity and contemplation ; and lie silently down on
the bed of death. Through my life it shall be my settled

40 resolution, that I will never depend upon the smile of
princes ; that I will never stand exposed to the artifices of
courts ; I will never pant for public honors, nor disturb
my quiet with the aflTairs of state.' Such was my scheme
of life, which I impressed indelibly upon my memory.

212 Parker's exercises in [ex. xix.

" The first part of my ensuing time was to be spent in
search of knowledge, and I know not how I was diverted
from my design. I had no visible impediments without,
nor any ungovernable passions within. I regarded knowl-

5 edge as the highest honor, and the most engaging pleas-
ure; yet day stole upon day, and month glided after
month, till I found that seven years of the first ten had
vanished, and left nothing behind them.

" I now postponed my purpose of travelling ; for why

10 should I go abroad, while so much remained to be learned
at home ? I immured myself for four years, and studied
the laws of the empire. The fame of my skill reached
the judges : I was found able to speak upon doubtful ques-
tions, and was commanded to stand at the footstool of the

15 calif. I was heard with attention ; I was consulted with
confidence, and the love of praise fastened on my heart.

" I still wished to see distant countries ; listened with
rapture to the relations of travellers, and resolved some
time to ask my dismission, that I might feast my soul with

20 novelty ; but my presence was always necessary, and the
stream of business hurried me along. Sometimes^ I was
afraid lest I should be charged with ingratitude ; but I
still proposed to travel, and therefore would not confine
myself by marriage.

25 " In my fiftieth year I began to suspect that the time of
travelling was past ; and thought it best to lay hold on the
felicity yet in my power, and indulge myself in domestic
pleasures. But at fifty no man easily finds a woman
beautiful as the Houries, and wise as Zobeide. I inquired

30 and rejected, consulted and deliberated, till the sixty-sec-
ond year made me ashamed of wishing to marry. I had
now nothing left but retirement; and for retirement 1
never found a time, till disease forced me from public em-

35 " Such was my scheme, and such has been its conse-
quence. With an insatiable thirst for knowledge, I trifled
away the years of improvement; with a restless desire of
seeing different countries, I have always resided in the
same city ; with the highest expectation of connubial felic-

40 ity, I have lived unmarried ; and with unalterable resolu-
tions of contemplative retirement, I am going to die with-
in the walls of Bagdat." — Dr, Johnson.


A Dream.

1 HAD a dream — a strange, wild dream —

Said a dear voice at early light ;

And even yet its shadows seem

To linger in my waking sight.
5 Earth, green with spring, and fresh with dew,

And bright with mom, before me stood;

And airs, just wakened, softly blew

On the young blossoms of the wood.
Birds sang within the sprouting shade,
10 Bees hummed amid the whispering grass.

And children prattled as they played

Beside the rivulet's dimpling glass.

Fast climbed the sun : the flowers were flown,

There played no children in the glen ;
15 For some were gone, and some were grown

To blooming dames and bearded men.
'Twas noon, 'twas summer: I beheld

Woods darkening in the flush of day.

And that bright rivulet spread and swelled,
20 A mighty stream, with creek and bay.

And here was love, and there was strife,

And mirthful shouts, and wrathful cries,

And strong men, struggling as for life,

With knotted limbs and angry eyes.
25 Now stooped the su» — the shades grew thin ;

The rustling paths were piled with leaves ;

And sun-burnt groups were gathering in,

From the shorn field, its fruits and sheaves.
The river heaved with sullen sounds ;
30 The chilly winds were sad with moans ;

Black hearses passed, and burial-grounds

Grew thick with monumental stones.

Still waned the day ; the wind that chased

The jagged clouds blew chillier yet;
35 The woods were stripped, the fields were waste.

The wintry sun was near its set.

And of the young, and strong, and fair,

A lonely remnant, gray and weak,

Lingered and shivered to the air
40 Of that bleak shore and water bleak.

214 Parker's exercises in [ex. xxl

Ah ! age is drear, and death is cold !
I turned to thee, for thou wert near,
And saw thee withered, bowed and old, ^
And woke all faint with sudden fear.
5 'T was thus I heard the dreamer say,

And bade her clear her clouded brow :
" For thou and I, since childhood's day.
Have walked in such a dream till now.
" Watch we in calmness, as they rise,
10 The changes of that rapid dream,

And note its lessons, till our eyes
Shall open in the morning beam." Bryant,

Ortognd ; or, the Va?iity of Riches.

As Ortogrul, of Basra, was one day wandering along
the streets of Bagdat, musing on the varieties of merchan-

15 dise which the shops opened to his view, and observing
the different occupations which busied the multitude on
every side, he was awakened from the tranquillity of med-
itation by a crowd that obstructed his passage. He raised
his eyes, and saw the chief vizier, who, having returned

20 from the divan, was entering his palace.

Ortogrul mingled with the attendants ; and being sup-
posed to have some petition for the vizier, was permitted
to enter. He surveyed the spaciousness of the apartments,
admired the walls hung with golden tapestry, and the

25 floors covered with silken carpets ; and despised the simple
neatness of his own little habitation.

" Surely," said he to himself, " this palace is the seat
of happiness ; where pleasure succeeds to pleasure, and
discontent and sorrow can have no admission. Whatever

30 nature has provided for the delight of sense is here spread
forth to be enjoyed. What can mortals hope or imagine
which the master of this palace has not obtained ?

" The dishes of luxury cover his table ; the voice of har-
mony lulls him in his bowers ; he breathes the fragrance

35 of the groves of Java, and sleeps upon the down of the
cygnets of Ganges. He speaks, and his mandate is
obeyed ; he wishes, and his wish is gratified ; all whom
he sees obey him, and all whom he hears flatter him.


" How different, oh Ortogrul ! is thy condition, who art
doomed to the perpetual torments of unsatisfied desire ;
and who hast no amusement in thy power that can with-
hold thee from thy own reflections I They tell thee that
5 thou art wise ; but what does wisdom avail with poverty ?
None will flatter the poor ; and the wise have very little

Online LibraryRichard Green ParkerExercises in rhetorical reading : with a series of introductory lessons, particularly designed to familiarize readers with the pauses and other marks in general use, and lead them to the practice of modulation and inflection of the voice → online text (page 18 of 38)