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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

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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 30 of 38)
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selves to the full of their new and ample advantages.
The long winter of New England isolation is broken, —
she warms and flourishes in friendly and thrifty inter-

30 course with the luxuriant West; and it is not too much to
anticipate that the day will come, when there will be no
greater or more prosperous city upon the American conti-
nent than the City of the Pilgrims.

This view of the prospects of Boston leads me to speak

35 of our schools, — education being the true basis of our
institutions, and the real secret of New England progress
and power. Our schools are believed never to have been
more deserving of confidence and support than at the
present time.

40 There are now in the city, sustained at the public
charge, one hundred and eighty-eight schools, with nine-
teen thousand and sixty-four pupils in attendance. There
has been expended from the treasury for these schools,
within the past year, three hundred and forty-six thou-



BX. LXXIX.] RHETORICAL READING. 341

sand five hundred and seventy-two dollars, including the
amount paid on account of new edifices. There is no
expense which the people of Boston more willingly incur
than that which is necessary for the support of the pub-
5 lie schools ; but it cannot be their intention to authorize
unnecessary outlays for this, or any other object what-
ever.

With this conviction, I cannot but regret what appears
to me to have been the extraordinary cost of erecting
10 some of the newer school-houses. The splendor of the
edifice is no guarantee for the education of the pupil ; who
is as efficiently fitted for the great duties of life in the
older and less pretending seminaries of the city as in the
magnificent structures of the present period.

Jq * -Jr tF t?^ ■7«~ ■?(•

The erring and abandoned should be treated as children
of our common Father ; but society should not be expected
to furnish costly accommodations for those who set its
authority at naught. A prison should never be built with

20 reference to show. It were better that it should be screened
from observation, rather than elicit encomiums upon its
architecture. In appearance, it can never be other than
a melancholy monument of the infirmities of our race;
and it is not wise to whiten or garnish the sepulchre of

25 shame.

# * ^ :J«: ^ #

During the year whose advent we gratefully salute this
morning, we are charged with duties of no ordinary re-
sponsibility. The action neither of the state nor national

30 governments bears with such immediate and sensible effects
upon the happiness of the great family whom we represent
as the conduct of their civic fathers. For our stewardship,
brief though it be, we shall surely be held to account here
and hereafter. Let us seek light and wisdom from on

35 high. Let our supplication be, like that inscribed upon
the escutcheon of Boston, in the classic characters of a
distant age, — As God was to our fathers, so may he be
unto us. — Hon. John P. Bigelow.
29*



342 Parker's exercises in [ex. lxxxi.

EXERCISE LXXX.
Adam^s Description of his First State of Consciousness

As new waked from soundest sleep,

Soft on the flowery herb I found me laid,

In balmy sweat ; which with his beams the sun

Soon dried, and on the reeking moisture fed.
5 Straight toward heaven my wondering eyes I turned,

And gazed a while the ample sky ; till, raised

By quick instinctive motion, up I sprung.

As thitherward endeavoring, and upright

Stood on my feet.
10 About me round I saw

Hill, dale, and shady woods, and sunny plains,

And liquid lapse of murmuring streams ; by these,

Creatures that lived and moved, and walked or flew;

Birds on the branches warbling ; all things smiled
15 With fragrance, and with joy my heart o'erflowed.
Myself I then perused, and limb by limb

Surveyed, and sometimes went, and sometimes ran

With supple joints, as lively vigor led :

But who 1 was, or where, or from what cause,
20 Knew not. To speak I tried, and forthwith spake ,

My tongue obeyed, and readily could name

Whate'er I saw.

" Thou sun," said I, " fair light !

And thou enlightened earth, so fresh and gay !
25 Ye hills and dales, ye rivers, woods and plains.

And ye that live and move, fair creatures, tell.

Tell, if ye saw, how came I thus, how here !" Milton,



EXERCISE LXXXI.

Halifax,

Among the statesmen of the age of Charles II., Halifax

was, in genius, the first. His intellect was fertile, subtle,

30 and capacious. His polished, luminous, and animated

eloquence, set off by the silver tones of his voice, was the

delight of the House of Lords.

His conversation overflowed with thought, fancy, and

wit. His political tracts well deserve to be studied for

35 their literary merit, and fully entitle him to a place among



EX. LXXXI.] RHETOKICAL READING. 343

English classics. To the weight derived from talents so
great and various, he united all the influence which belongs
to rank and ample possessions.

Yet he was less successful in politics than many who
5 enjoyed smaller advantages. Indeed, those intellectual
peculiarities which make his writings valuable frequently
impeded him in the contests of active life. For he always
saw passing events, not in the point of view in which they
commonly appear to one who bears a part in them, but in

10 the point of view in which, after the lapse of many years,
they appear to the philosophic historian.

With such a turn of mind, he could not long continue
to act cordially with any body of men. All the prejudices,
all the exaggerations, of both the great parties in the state,

15 moved his scorn. He despised the mean arts and unrea-
sonable clamors of demagogues. He despised still more
the Tory doctrines of divine right and passive obedience.
He sneered impartially at the bigotry of the Churchman
and the bigotry of the Puritan. He was equally unable to

20 comprehend how any man should object to saints' days and
surplices, and how any man should persecute any other
man for objecting to them.

In temper he was what, in our time, is called a conserv-
ative. In theory he was a republican. Even when his

25 dread of anarchy and his disdain for vulgar delusions led
him to side for a time with the defenders of arbitrary
power, his intellect was always with Locke and Milton.
Indeed, his jests upon hereditary monarchy were sometimes
such as would have better become a member of the Calf's

30 Head Club than a privy councillor of the Stuarts.

In religion he was so far from being a zealot, that he was
called by the uncharitable an atheist : but this imputation
he vehemently repelled ; and in truth, though he some-
times gave scandal by the way in which he exerted his

35 rare powers both of argumentation and of ridicule on seri-
ous subjects, he seems to have been by no means unsus-
ceptible of religious impressions.

He was the chief of those politicians whom the two
great parties contemptuously called Trimmers. Instead

40 of quarrelling with this nickname, he assumed it as a title
of honor, and vindicated, with great vivacity, the dignity
of the appellation.

Everj'thing good, he said, trims between extremes. The
temperate zone trims between the climate in which men



344 Parker's exercises in [ex. lxxxi.

are roasted and the climate in which they are frozen. The
English Church trims between the Anabaptist madness
and the Papist lethargy. The English constitution trims
between Turkish despotism and Polish anarchy. Virtue
5 is nothing but a just temper between propensities, any one
of which, if indulged to excess, becomes vice. Nay, the
perfection of the Supreme Being himself consists in the
exact equilibrium of attributes, none of which could pre-
ponderate without disturbing the whole moral and physical

10 order of the world.

Thus Halifax was a trimmer on principle. He was also
a trimmer by the constitution both of his head and of his
heart. His understanding was keen, sceptical, inexhausti-
bly fertile in distinctions and objections ; his taste refined ;

15 his sense of the ludicrous exquisite ; his temper placid and
forgiving, but fastidious, and by no means prone either to
malevolence or to enthusiastic admiration.

Such a man could not long be constant to any band of
political allies. He must not, however, be confounded with

20 the vulgar crowd of renegades.* For though, like them, he
passed from side to side, his transition was always in the
direction opposite to theirs. He had nothing in common
with those who fly from extreme to extreme, and who
regard the party which they have deserted with an animos-

25 ity far exceeding that of consistent enemies.

His place was between the hostile divisions of the com-
munity, and he never wandered far beyond the frontier of
either. The party to which he at any moment belonged
was the party which, at that moment, he liked least, be-

30 cause it was the party of which, at that moment, he had
the nearest view. He was therefore always severe upon
his violent associates, and was always in friendly relations
with his moderate opponents.

Every faction, in the day of its insolent and vindictive

35 triumph, incurred his censure, and every faction, when
vanquished and persecuted, found in him a protector. To
his lasting honor it must be mentioned, that he attempted
to save those victims whose fate has left the deepest stain
both on the Whig and on the Tory name.

40 He had greatly distinguished himself in opposition, and
had thus drawn on himself the royal displeasure, which
was indeed so strong that he was not admitted into the
council of thirty without much difficulty and long alterca-
tion. As soon, however, as he had obtained a footing at



EX. LXXXn.] RHETORICAL READING. 345

court, the charms of his manner and of his conversation
made him a favorite.

He was seriously alarmed by the violence of the public
discontent. He thought that liberty was for the present
5 safe, and that order and legitimate authority were in dan-
ger. He therefore, as was his fashion, joined himself to
the weaker side. Perhaps his conversion was not wholly
disinterested. For study and reflection, though they had
emancipated him from many vulgar prejudices, had left

10 him a slave to vulgar desires.

Money he did not want ; and there is no evidence that
he ever obtained it by any means which, in that age, even
severe censors considered as dishonorable ; but rank and
power had strong attractions for him. He pretended, in-

15 deed, that he considered titles and great offices as baits
which could allure none but fools, that he hated business,
pomp and pageantry, and that his dearest wish was to
escape from the bustle and glitter of Whitehall to the
quiet woods which surrounded his ancient hall at Rufford ;

20 but his conduct was not a little at variance with his profes-
sions. In truth, he wished to command the respect at once
of courtiers and of philosophers; to be admired for attaining
high dignities, and to be at the same time admired for
despising them. — Macaulay.



EXERCISE LXXXn.
Description of Eve's first finding herself on Earth.

25 That day I oft remember, when from sleep
f first awaked, and found myself reposed.
Under a shade, on flowers, much wondering where
And what I was, whence thither brought, and how.
Not distant far from thence a murmuring sound

30 Of waters issued from a cave, and spread
Into a liquid plain, then stood unmoved,
Pure as the expanse of heaven ; I thither went
With unexperienced thought, and laid me down
On the green bank, to look into the clear

35 Smooth lake, that to me seemed another sky.
As 1 bent down to look, just opposite
A shape within the watery gleam appeared,
Bending to look on me : I started back.



346 Parker's exercises in [ex. T^TrnniT

It started back : but pleased I soon returned,
Pleased it returned as soon, with ansAvering looks
Of sympathy and love : there I had fixed
Mine eyes till now, and pined with vain desire,
5 Had not a voice thus warned me : —

What thou seest,
What there thou seest, fair creature, is thyself;
With thee it came and goes ; but follow me,
And I will bring thee where no shadow stays

10 Thy coming, and thy soft embraces, he

Whose image thou art ; him thou shalt enjoy
Inseparably thine, to him shalt bear
Multitudes like thyself, and thence be called
Mother of human race.

15 What could I do,

But follow straight, invisibly thus led ?
Till I espied thee, fair indeed, and tall,
Under a plantain, yet methought less fair,
Less winning soft, less amiably mild,

20 Than that smooth, watery image : back I turned ;
Thou following, criedst aloud. Return, fair Eve;
Whom fliest thou ? whom thou fliest, of him thou art,
His flesh, his bone ; to give thee being I lent
Out of my side to thee, nearest my heart,

25 Substantial life, to have thee by my side
Henceforth an individual solace dear ;
Part of my soul, I seek thee, and thee claim,
My other half. With that thy gentle hand
Seized mine ^ I yielded : and from that time see

30 How beauty is excelled by manly grace,

And wisdom, which alone is truly fair. Milton.



EXERCISE LXXXIII.

The Cant of Criticism.

And how did Garrick speak the soliloquy last night ?
O, against all rule, my lord ; most ungrammatically !
Betwixt the substantive and adjective (which should agree
35 together, in number, case, and gender) he made a breach
thus — stopping as if the point wanted settling. And after
the nominative case (which your lordship knows should
govern the verb) he suspended his voice in the epilogue, a



EX. LXXXIV.] RHETORICAL READING. 347

dozen times, three seconds and three-fifths, by a stop-
watch, my lord, each time —

Admirable grammarian ! — But, in suspending his voice
was the sense suspended likewise ? Did no expression of
5 attitude or countenance fill up the chasm ? Was the eye
silent ? Did you narrowly look ?

I looked only at the stop-watch, my lord.

Excellent observer ! And what of this new book the
whole world makes such a rout about ?
10 Oh ! 't is out of all plumb, my lord, — quite an irregular
thing ! not one of the angles at the four comers was a
right angle. I had my rule and compasses, my lord, in
my pocket.

Excellent critic !
15 And, for the epic poem your lordship bid me look at, —
upon taking the length, breadth, height, and depth of it,
and trying them at home upon an exact scale of Bossu's

— 'tis out, my lord, in every one of its dimensions.
Admirable connoisseur! And did you step in to take a

20 look at the grand picture in your way back ?

'T is a melancholy daub, my lord ; not one principle
of the pyramid in any one group ! — And what a price !

— for there is nothing of the coloring of Titian — the ex-
pression of Rubens — the grace of Raphael — the purity

25 of Dominichino — the corregiescity of Correggio — the
learning of Poussin — the airs of Guido — the taste of the
Carrichis — or the grand contour of Angelo !

Grant me patience ! — Of all the cants which are canted
in this canting world — though the cant of hypocrisy may

30 be the worst — the cant of criticism is the most torment-
ing ! 1 would go fifty miles on foot, to kiss the hand of

that man whose generous heart will give up the reins of
his imagination into his author's hands — be pleased, he
knows not why and cares not wherefore.



EXERCISE LXXXIV.

Hotspur^s Account of the Fop.

35 My liege, I did deny no prisoners.

But I remember, when the fight was done,
When I was dry with rage and extreme toil,
Breathless and faint, leaning upon my sword,



348 Parker's exercises in [ex. lxxxv.

Came there a certain lord ; neat, trimly dressed ;

Fresh as a bridegroom ; and his chin, new reaped,

Showed like a stubble land at harvest home.
He was perfumed like a milliner ;
5 And 'twixt his finger and his thumb he held

A pouncet-box, which, ever and anon.

He gave his nose

And still he smiled and talked :

And, as the soldiers bare dead bodies by,
10 He called them " untaught knaves, unmannerly,

To bring a slovenly unhandsome corse

Betwixt the wind and his nobility."
With many holiday and lady terms

He questioned me ; amongst the rest, demanded
15 My prisoners in your majesty's behalf.

I then, all smarting with my wounds, being galled

To be so pestered with a popinjay.

Out of my grief and my impatience,

Answered neglectingly — I know not what —
20 He should or should not ; for he made me mad,

To see him shine so brisk and smell so sweet,

And talk so like a waiting gentlewoman,

Of guns, and drums, and wounds, (heaven save the mark !)

And telling me, the sovereign'st thing on earth
25 Was parmacity for an inward bruise ;

And that it was great pity (so it was)

This villanous saltpetre should be digged

Out of the bowels of the harmless earth.

Which many a good tall fellow had destroyed
30 So cowardly ; and but for these vile guns —

He would himself have been a soldier.
This bald, unjointed chat of his, my lord,

I answered indirectly, as I said ;

And I beseech you, let not his report
35 Come current for an accusation

Betwixt my love and your high majesty. Shakspeare.



LESSON LXXXV.

Extract from an Address delivered before the Boston Mer-
cantile Lihrary Association, Oct., 1845.

Commerce has, in all ages, been the most formidable
antagonist of war. That great struggle for the mastery.



EX. LXXXV.] RHETORICAL READING. 349

which has been going on, almost from the earliest syllable
of recorded time, upon the theatre of Human life, and
which has been variously described and denominated,
according to the aspect in which it has been regarded, or
5 the object with which it was discussed — now as a strug-
gle between aristocracy and democracy, and now as be-
tween the few and the many — has been little more than
a struggle between the mercantile and the martial spirit.
For centuries, and cycles of centuries, the martjal spirit

10 has prevailed. The written history of the world is one
long bloody record of its triumph. And it cannot have
escaped any one, how, during the periods of its sternest
struggles, it has singled out the commercial spirit as its
most formidable foe.

15 Look at ancient Sparta, for example ; the state which,
more than any other, was organized upon a purely war
principle ; though, to the credit of its founder be it spoken,
with the view of defending its own territories, and not of
encroaching upon the dominions of others. What was the

20 first great stroke of policy adopted by the Lacedaemonian
lawgiver to secure the supremacy of the martial spirit ?
What did he primarily aim to accomplish by his extraor-
dinary enactments in relation to food, currency, education,
honesty and labor, of all sorts ?

25 A Lacedaemonian, happening to be at Athens when the
court was sitting, was informed of a man who had just
been fined for idleness. " Let me see the person," ex-
claimed he, " who has been condemned for keeping up his
dignity ! " What was the philosophy of the black broth, the

30 iron money, the consummate virtue of successful theft, the
sublime dignity of idleness? It was the war system,
intrenching itself, where alone it could be safe, on the
ruins of commerce ! The annihilation of trade, and all
its inducements, and all its incidents — the extermination

35 of the mercantile spirit, root and branch — this was the
only mode which the sagacious Lycurgus could devise for
maintaining the martial character of Sparta.

Plato, who knew something of the practical value of
commerce, if it be true that it was by selling oil in Egypt

40 that he was enabled to defray the expenses of those travels
and studies by which he prepared himself to be one of the
great lights of the world, bore witness to the wise adapta-
tion of this policy to the end to be accomplished, when he
declared that in a well regulated commonwealth the
30



850 Parker's exercises in [ex. lxxxv.

citizens should not engage in commerce, because they
would be accustomed to find pretexts for justifying conduct
so inconsistent with what was manly and becoming, as
would relax the strictness of the military spirit ; adding,
5 that it had been better for the Athenians to have continued
to send annually the sons of seven of their principal
citizens to be devoured by the Minotaur, than to have
changed their ancient manners, and become a maritime
power.

10 It is this irreconcilable hostility between the mercantile
and the martial spirit which has led heroes, in all ages, to
despise and deride the pursuits of trade — from the heroes
of the Homeric age of ancient Greece, with whom a pirate
is said to have been a more respected character than a

15 merchant, to him of modern France, who could find no
severer sarcasm for his most hated foes than to call them
" a nation of shopkeepers."

The madman of Macedonia, as he is sometimes called,
but to whom, by one having occasion for military talents,

20 might well have been applied the remark of George the
Second, in reference to General Wolfe, that he wished, if
Wolfe were mad, he could have bitten some of the rest
of his generals — after he had overrun almost the whole
habitable earth, did, indeed, in despair of finding any more

25 dominions on the land to conquer, turn to the sea, to obtain
fresh opportunity for gratifying his insatiate ambition.

He projected a voyage for his fleet, from the Indus to
the mouth of the Euphrates. Commercial views are
sometimes regarded as having mingled with the ambition

30 which prompted this undertaking. It has been called the
first event of general importance to mankind in the his-
tory of commerce and navigation, and has been thought
worthy of being commemorated, on the page of its learned
historian, by a medallion, on which the head of its heroic

35 projector is illuminated by the proud inscription, " aperiavi
terras gentibus.^^

Let us transport ourselves, gentlemen, for an instant,
to a region recently rendered familiar by the events of
Afghanistan and Scinde ; and, turning back the page of

40 history for a little more than two thousand years, catch a
glimpse of the character and circumstances of this memora-
ble voyage.

Alexander, it seems, is at first sorely puzzled to find
any one willing to assume the hazardous dignity of leading



EX. LXXXV.] HHETORICAL READING. 351

such an expedition. At length, Nearchus, a Cretan, is
pressed into the service, and is duly installed as admiral
of the fleet. Two thousand transports and eighty galleys,
of thirty oars each, are laboriously fitted out, and the hero
5 accompanies them in person, in a perilous passage, down
the Indus to the ocean.

He approaches the mighty element, not in that mood
of antic and insolent presumption which other madmen
before and since have displayed on similar occasions. He

10 throws no chains upon it, as Xerxes is narrated to have
done, a century and a half earlier. He orders no host of
spearmen to charge upon it, as Caligula did, three or four
centuries afterwards.

He does not even venture to try the eflTect of his impe-

15 rial voice, in hushing its stormy billows, and bidding its
proud waves to stay themselves at his feet, as Canute did,
still a thousand years later. On the contrary, he humbles
himself before its sublime presence — he offers splendid
sacrifices, and pours out rich libations to its divinities,

20 and puts up fervent prayers for the success and safety of
his fleet.

Nearchus is then directed to wait two months for a
favorable monsoon. But a revolt of certain savage tribes
in the neighborhood compels him to anticipate its arrival,

25 and he embarks and enters upon his voyage. At the end
of six days, — two of which, however, were passed at anchor,
— the fleet had advanced rather more than nine miles !
After digging away a bar at the mouth of the Indus, a
little more progress is made, and a sandy island reached,

30 on which all hands are indulged with a day's rest.

Again the anchors are weighed, but soon again the
violence of the winds suspends all operations ; the whole
host are a second time landed, and remain upon shore for
four-and-twenty days. Once more the voyage is renewed ;

35 but once more the winds rage furiously ; two of the gal-
leys and a transport are sunk in a gale, and their crews
are seen swimming for their lives.

A third time all hands disembark and fortify a camp.
The long-expected monsoon at length sets in, and they

40 start afresh, and with such accelerated speed as to accom-
plish thirty-one miles in the first twenty-four hours. But
then, a four days' battle with the natives far more than



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 30 of 38)