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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 31 of 38)
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counterbalances this unlooked-for speed. Soon after,
however, a pilot is fallen in with, who engages to conduct

45 them to the Persian Gulf.



352 Parker's exercises in [ex. lxxxv.

Under his auspices, they venture for the first time to
sail by night, when they can have the benefit of the land
breeze, and when the rowers, relieved from the heat of the
sun, can exert themselves to better advantage. And now
5 they are making almost twice as many miles in the twenty-
four hours as before, when lo ! a new trouble arrests their
course. Huge columns of water are seen thrown up into
the air before them. The explanation of the pilot, that
they are but the sportful spoutings of a huge fish, only adds

10 to their alarm. If such be his sport, what must his wrath
be ? All hands drop their oars in a panic !

The admiral, however, exhorts them to dismiss their
fears, and directs them, when a whale advances towards
them, to bear down upon it bravely, and scare it from their

15 path with shouts, and dashing of oars, and sounding of
trumpets ! The entrance of the Persian Gulf, a distance
of about six hundred miles, is at length reached ; the first
and most difficult stage of the enterprise is accomplished ;
and the admiral, having hauled all his vessels ashore, and

20 fortified them by a double intrenchment, proceeds to give
the joyful tidings to his imperial master, who has kept
along at no great distance from him on the coast, and they
unite in ofiering the sacrifices of thanksgiving to Jupiter,
Apollo, Hercules, Neptune, and I know not how many other

25 deities of land, air, and ocean !

Such is a summary sketch of this first event of general
importance to mankind in the history of navigation ; an
event which, though its details may excite the laughter of
a Nantucket or New Bedford whaleman, or even of a

.-JO Marblehead or a Barnstable sailor boy, was counted among
the gravest and grandest exploits of that unrivalled hero
of antiquity, who took Achilles for his model, and could
not sleep without Aristotle's copy of the Iliad under his
pillow.

35 If any commercial views are justly ascribed to the pro-
jector of such an expedition, it furnishes an early and
striking illustration of the idea, which the general current
of history has since confirmed, that the mercantile and
martial spirits were never to be the subjects of reconcilia-

40 tion and compromise, nor commerce destined to be seen
yoked to the car, and decorating the triumph, of military
ambition.

At all events, it supplies an amusing picture of the nav-
igation of those early days, and shows how poorly provided



EX. LXXXV.] RHETORICAL READING. 353

and appointed was the mercantile spirit of antiquity for its
great mission of civilization and peace. Transports and
triaconters, skimming along the coast without a compass,
and propelled by oarsmen who were panic-stricken at the
5 spouting of a whale, were not the enginery by which com-
merce was to achieve its world-wide triumphs.

And it was another admiral than Nearchus, not yielding
himself reluctantly to the call of an imperious sovereign,
but prompted by the heroic impulses of his own breast,

10 and offering up his prayers and oblations at another shrine
than that of Jupiter or Neptune, who, in a still far distant
age, was to open the world to the nations, give the com-
mercial spirit sea-room, and lend the original impulse to
those great movements of navigation and trade by which

15 the whole face of society has been transformed.

Well might the mail-clad monarchs of the earth refuse
their countenance to Columbus, and reward his matchless
exploit with beggary and chains. He projected, he accom-
plished that, which, in its ultimate and inevitable conse-

20 quences, was to wrest from their hands the implements of
their ferocious sport — to break their bow and snap their
spear in sunder, and all but to extinguish the source of
their proudest and most absolute prerogative.

" No kingly conqueror, since time began
S6 The long career of ages, hath to man

A scope so ample given for Trade's bold range.

Or caused on earth's wide stage such rapid, mighty change."

From the discovery of the new world, the mercantile
spirit has been rapidly gaining upon its old antagonist;

30 and the establishment upon these shores of our own repub-
lic — whose Union was the immediate result of commercial
necessities, whose independence found its original impulse
in commercial oppressions, and of whose constitution the
regulation of commerce was the first leading idea — may

35 be regarded as the epoch at which the martial spirit finally
lost a supremacy which, it is believed and trusted, it can
never re-acquire.

Yes, it is commerce which is fast exorcising the fell
spirit of war from nations which it has so long been tearing

40 and rending. The merchant may, indeed, almost be seen
at this moment summoning the rulers of the earth to his
counting-desk, and putting them under bonds to keep the
peace.

30*



354



PAKKER S EXERCISES IN.



Upon what do we ourselves rely, to counteract the influ-
ence of the close approximation of yonder flaming planet
to our sphere ? Let me rather say, (for it is not in our
stars, but in ourselves, that we are to look for the causes
5 which have brought the apprehensions of war once more
home to our hearts,) upon what do we rely, to save us from
the bloody arbitrament of questions of mere territory and
boundary, into which our own arbitrary and ambitious
views would plunge us ?

10 To what do we look to prevent a protracted strife with
Mexico, if not to arrest even the outbreak of hostilities —
but to the unwillingness of the great commercial powers
that the trade of the West Indies and of the Gulf should
be interrupted ? Why is it so confidently pronounced that

15 Great Britain will never go to war with the United States
for Oregon ? Why, but that trade has created such a Si-
amese ligament between the two countries that every blow
upon us would be but as a blow of the right arm upon the
left? Why, but that in the smoke-pipe of every steamer

20 which brings her merchandise to our ports, we see a calu-
met of peace, which her war-chiefs dare not extinguish?

Commerce has, indeed, almost realized ideas which the
poet, in his wildest fancies, assumed as the very standard
of impossibility. We may not " charm ache with air, or

25 agony with words ; " but may we not " fetter strong mad-
ness with a cotton thread ? " Yes, that little fibre, which
was not known as a product of the North American soil
when our old colonial union with Great Britain was dis-
solved, has already been spun, by the ocean-moved power-

30 loom of international commerce, into a thread which may
fetter forever the strong madness of war !

Hon. R. C. Winthrop.



EXERCISE LXXXVI.

Soliloquy of Claudius {Hamlefs Uncle) on the Murder of
his Brother.

Oh ! my offence is rank : it smells to heaven !
It hath the primal, eldest curse upon 't ! —
A brother's murder I — Pray I cannot,
35 Though inclination be as sharp as 't will ;
My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent ;



EX. LXXXVII.] RHETORICAL REAOIKG. 355

And, like a man to double business bound,

I stand in pause where I shall first begin,

And both neglect.

What if this cursed hand
5 Were thicker than itself with brother's blood !

Is there not rain enough in the sweet heavens

To wash it white as snow ? Whereto serves mercy,

But to confront the visage of offence ?

And what 's in prayer, but this two-fold force ; —
10 To be forestalled, ere we come to fall,

Or pardoned, being down? — Then I'll look up.
My fault is past. But, oh ! what form of prayer

Can serve my turn ? Forgive me my foul murder ?

That cannot be, since I am still possessed
15 Of those effects for which I did the murder —

My crown, my own ambition and my queen.

May one be pardoned and retain the offence ?

In the corrupted currents of this world,

Offence's gilded hand may shove by justice ;
20 And oft 't is seen, the wicked prize itself

Buys out the laws. But 't is not so above.

There is no shuffling : there the action lies

In its true nature, and we ourselves compelled,

Even to the teeth and forehead of our faults,
25 To give in evidence.

What then? what rests? —

Try what repentance can — what can it not ? —

Yet what can it, when one cannot repent ? —

Oh wretched state ! Oh bosom black as death ! —
30 Oh limed soul, that, struggling to be free.

Art more engaged ! — Help, angels ! — Make assay !

Bow, stubborn knees ! and heart, with strings of steel.

Be soft as sinews of a new-born babe !

All may be well. Skakspeare.



EXERCISE LXXXVn.

Charity.

[I3th Chapter of 1st Corinthians.]

35 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels,
and have not charily, I am become as sounding brass, or a
tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy,



356 Parker's exercises in [ex. Lxxxvni.

and understand all mysteries and all knowledge; and
though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains,
and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow
all my goods tg feed the poor, and though I give my body
5 to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

Charity suffereth long, and is kind ; charity envieth not ;
charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not be-
have itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily
provoked, thinketh no evil ; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but
10 rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all
things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Charity never faileth ; but whether there be prophecies,
they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall
cease ; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
15 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when
that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part
shall be done away.

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as

a child, I thought as a child : but when I became a man,

20 I put away childish things. For now we see through a

glass, darkly ; but then face to face : now I know in part ;

but then shall 1 know even as also I am known.

And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three ; but
the greatest of these is charity.



EXERCISE LXXXVm.
Farewell.

25 Farewell ! but whenever you welcome the hour,
Which awakens the night song of mirth in your bower,
Then think of the friend who once welcomed it too,
And forgot his own griefs to be happy with you.
His griefs may return ; not a hope may remain,

30 Of the few^ that have brightened his pathway of pain,
But he ne'er will forget the short vision that threw
Its enchantments around him, while lingering with you.

And still on that evening, when pleasure fills up
To the highest top sparkle each heart and each cup,

35 Where'er my path lies, be it gloomy or bright.

My soul, happy friends ! shall be with you that night ; ^
Shall join in your revels, your sports and your wiles,
And return to me, beaming all o'er with your smiles ! —



EX. LXXXIX.] RHETORICAL READING. 357

Too blest, if it tells me, that, 'mid the gay cheer,

Some kind voice had murmured, " I wish he were here ! "

Let fate do her worst ; there are relics of joy.
Bright dreams of the past, which she cannot destroy ;
5 And which come, in the night-time of sorrow and care,
To bring back the features that joy used to wear.
Long, long be my heart with such memories filled ! —
Like the vase in which roses have once been distilled —
You may break, you may ruin, the vase if you will,
10 But the scent of the roses will hang round it still.

T. Moore.



EXERCISE LXXXIX.

English Travellers.

In the present age of high literary activity, travellers
make not the least important demands on public attention,
and their lucubrations, under whatever name — Rambles,
Notices, Incidents, Pencillings — are nearly as important

15 a staple for the " trade " as novels and romances. A book
of travels, formerly, was a very serious affair. The trav-
eller set out on his distant journey with many a solemn
preparation, made his will, and bade adieu to his friends
like one who might not again return. If he did return,

20 the results were imbodied in a respectable folio, or at least
quarto, well garnished with cuts, and done up in a solid
form, which argued that it was no fugitive publication, but
destined for posterity.

All this is changed. The voyager nowadays leaves

25 home with as little ceremony and leave-taking as if it
were for a morning's drive. He steps into the bark that
is to carry him across thousands of miles of ocean, with
the moral certainty of returning in a fixed week, almost
at a particular day. Parties of gentlemen and ladies go

30 whizzing along in their steamships over the track which
cost so many weary days to the Argonauts of old, and run
over the choicest scenes of classic antiquity, scattered
through Europe, Asia, and Africa, in less time than it
formerly took to go from one end of the British isles to

35 the other.

The Cape of Good Hope, so long the great stumbling-
block to the navigators of Europe, is doubled, or the Red
Sea coasted, in the same way, by the fashionable tourist,



358 Parker's exercises in [ex. lxxxix.

— who glides along the shores of Arabia, Persia, Afghan-
istan, Bombay, and Hindostan, further than the furthest
limits of Alexander's conquests — before the last leaves of
the last new novel which he has taken by the way are
5 fairly cut. The facilities of communication have, in fact,
so abridged distances, that geography, as we have hitherto
studied it, may be said to be entirely reformed. Instead
of leagues, we now compute by hours, and we find our-
selves next-door neighbors to those whom we had looked

10 upon as at the antipodes.

The consequence of these improvements in the means
of intercourse is, that all the world goes abroad, or, at
least, one half is turned upon the other. Nations are so
mixed up by this process that they are in some danger of

15 losing their idiosyncrasy ; and the Egyptian and the
Turk, though they still cling to their religion, are becom-
ing European in their notions and habits more and moro
every day.

The taste for pilgrimage, however, it must be owned,

20 does not stop with the countries where it can be carried
on with such increased facility. It has begotten a nobler
spirit of adventure, something akin to what existed in the
fifteenth century, when the world was new, or newly dis-
covering, and a navigator who did not take in sail, like

25 the cautious seamen of Knickerbocker, might run down
some strange continent in the dark ; for in these times of
dandy tourists and travel-mongers, the boldest achieve-
ments, that have hitherto defied the most adventurous
spirits, have been performed : the Himmaleh Mountains

30 have been scaled, the Niger ascended, the burning heart
of Africa penetrated, the icy Arctic and Antarctic explored,
and the mysterious monuments of the semi-civilized races
of Central America have been thrown open to the public
gaze. It is certain that this is a high-pressure age, and

35 every department of science and letters, physical and men-
tal, feels its stimulating influence.

No nation, on the whole, has contributed so largely to
these itinerant exhibitions as the English. Uneasy, it
would seem, at being cooped up in their little isle, they

40 sally forth in all directions, swarming over the cultivated
and luxurious countries of the neighboring continent, or
sending out stragglers on other more distant and formida-
ble missions. Whether it be that their soaring spirits are
impatient of the narrow quarters which nature has as-



EX. LXXXIX.J RHETORICAL HEADING. 359

Signed them, or that there exists a supernumerary class of
idlers, who, wearied with the monotony of home, and the
same dull round of dissipation, seek excitement in strange
scenes and adventures ; or whether they go abroad for the
5 sunshine, of which they have heard so much but seen so
little — whatever be the cause, they furnish a far greater
number of tourists than all the world besides. We Amer-
icans, indeed, may compete with them in mere locomotion,
for our familiarity with magnificent distances at home

10 makes us still more indifferent to them abroad ; but this
locomotion is generally in the way of business, and the
result is rarely shown in a book, unless, indeed, it be the
ledger.

Yet John Bull is, on many accounts, less fitted than

15 most of his neighbors for the duties of a traveller. How-
ever warm and hospitable in his own home, he has a cold
reserve in his exterior, a certain chilling atmosphere, which
he carries along with him, that freezes up the sympathies
of strangers, and which is only to be completely thawed

20 by long and intimate acquaintance. But the traveller has
no time for intimate acquaintances. He must go forw^ard,
and trust to his first impressions, for they will also be his
last.

Unluckily, it rarely falls out that the first impressions

25 of honest John are very favorable. There is too much
pride, not to say hauteur, in his composition, which, with
the best intentions in the world, will show itself in a way
not particularly flattering to those who come in contact
with him. He goes through a strange nation, treading on

30 all their little irritable prejudices, shocking their self-love
and harmless vanities — in short, going against the grain,
and roughing up everything by taking it the wrong way.
Thus he draws out the bad humors of the people among
whom he moves, sees them in their most unamiable and

35 by no means natural aspect — in short, looks on the wrong
side of the tapestry. What wonder if his notions are
somewhat awry as to what he sees ! There are, it is true,
distinguished exceptions to all this : English travellers,
who cover the warm heart — as warm as it is generally

40 true and manly — under a kind and sometimes cordial
manner ; but they are the exceptions. The Englishman
undoubtedly appears best on his own soil, where his na-
tional predilections and prejudices, or, at least, the intima-
tion of them, are somewhat mitigated in deference to his

45 guest.



360 Parker's exercises in [ex. lxxxix.

Another source of the disqualification of John Bull as
a calm and philosophic traveller is the manner in which
he has been educated at home ; the soft luxuries by which
he has been surrounded from his cradle have made luxu-
5 ries necessaries, and, accustomed to perceive all the ma-
chinery of life glide along as noiselessly and as swiftly as
the foot of Time itself, he becomes morbidly sensitive to
every temporary jar or derangement in the working of it.
In no country, since the world was made, have all the

10 appliances for mere physical, and, we may add, intellectu-
al indulgence, been carried to such perfection as in this
little island nucleus of civilization. Nowhere can a man
get such returns for his outlay. The whole organization
of society is arranged so as to minister to the comforts of

15 the wealthy ; and an Englishman, with the golden talis-
man in his pocket, can bring about him genii to do his
bidding, and transport himself over distances with a
thought, almost as easy as if he were the possessor of
Aladdin's magic lamp, and the fairy carpet of the Arabian

20 Tales.

When he journeys over his little island, his comforts
and luxuries cling as close to him as round his own fire-
side. He rolls over roads as smooth and well-beaten as
those in his own park ; is swept onward by sleek and well-

25 groomed horses, in a carriage as soft and elastic, and quite
as showy, as his own equipage ; puts up at inns that may
vie with his own castle in their comforts and accommoda-
tions, and is received by crowds of obsequious servants,
more solicitous, probably, even than his own, to win his

30 golden smiles. In short, wherever he goes, he may be
said to carry with him his castle, park, equipage, estab-
lishment. The whole are in movement together. He
changes place, indeed, but changes nothing else. For
travelling, as it occurs in other lands — hard roads, harder

35 beds, and hardest fare — he knows no more of it than if
he had been passing from one wing of his castle to the
other.

All this, it must be admitted, is rather an indiflferent
preparation for a tour on the continent. Of what avail

40 is it that Paris is the most elegant capital, France the
most enlightened country, on the European terra jirma,
if one cannot walk in the streets without the risk of being
run over for want of a trottoir, nor move on the roads
without being half smothered in a lumbering vehicle,



EX. LXXXIX.J RHETORICAL READING. 861

dragged by ropes, at the rate of five miles an hour ? Of
what account are the fine music and paintings, the archi-
tecture and art, of Italy, when one must shiver by day for
want of carpets and sea-coal fires, and be thrown into a
5 fever at night by the active vexations of a still more tor-
menting kind ? The galled equestrian might as well be
expected to feel nothing but raptures and ravishment at
the fine scenery through which he is riding. It is prob-
able he will think much more of his own petty hurts than

10 of the beauties of nature. A travelling John Bull, if his
skin is not otf, is at least so thin-skinned that it is next
door to being so.

If the European neighborhood affords so many means
of annoyance to the British traveller, they are incalculably

15 multiplied on this side of the water, and that, too, under
circumstances which dispose him still less to charity in his
criticisms and constructions. On the continent he feels he
is among strange races, born and bred under different reli-
gious and political institutions, and, above all, speaking

20 different languages. He does not necessarily, therefore,
measure them by his peculiar standard, but allows them
one of their own. The dissimilarity is so great in all the
main features of national polity and society, that it is hard
to institute a comparison.

25 Whatever be his contempt for the want of progress and
perfection in the science of living, he comes to regard
them as a distinct race, amenable to different laws, and
therefore licensed to indulge in different usages, to a cer-
tain extent, from his own. If a man travels in China, he

30 makes up his mind to chop-sticks. If he should go to the
moon, he would not be scandalized by seeing people walk
with their heads under their arms. He has embarked on
a different planet. It is only in things which run parallel
to those in his own country that a comparison can be insti-

35 tuted, and charity too often fails where criticism begins.
Unhappily, in America, the Englishman finds these
points of comparison forced on him at every step. He
lands among a people speaking the same language, pro-
fessing the same religion, drinking at the same fountains

40 of literature, trained in the same occupations of active life.
The towns are built on much the same model with those
in his own land. The brick houses, the streets, the *' side-
walks," the in-door arrangements, all, in short, are near
enough on the same pattern to provoke a comparison. Ala«
ol



362 Parker's exercises in [ex. lxxxix.

for the comparison ! The cities sink at once into mere
provincial towns ; the language degenerates into a Tpro-
vincial patois ; the manners, the fashions, down to the cut
of the clothes, and the equipages, all are provincial. The

5 people, the whole nation — as independent as any, cer-
tainly, if not, as our orators fondly descant, the best and
most enlightened upon earth — dwindle into a mere British
colony.

The traveller does not seem to understand that he is

10 treading the soil of the new world, where everything is
new, where antiquity dates, but from yesterday, where the
present and the future are all and the past nothing, where
hope is the watchword and " Go ahead ! " the principle
of action. He does not comprehend that when he sets

15 foot on such a land he is no longer to look for old hered-
itary landmarks, old time-honored monuments and institu-
tions, old families that have vegetated on the same soil
since the Conquest. He must be content to part with the
order, and something of the decorum, incident to an old

20 community, where the ranks are all precisely and punctil-

) iously defined, where the power is deposited by prescrip-
tive right in certain privileged hands, and where the great
mass have the careful obsequiousness of dependents, look-
ing for the crumbs that fall.

25 He is now among a new people, where everything is in



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 31 of 38)