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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

. (page 34 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 34 of 38)
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not only distinguishes sour from sweet and bitter, but sep-
arates them from the qualities that are made known to the
mind by the sense of touch, as heat and cold, asperity and

20 softness, &c.

Thus it is that likeness, or sameness of quality, in things
otherwise unlike, leads the mind to form abstract notions,
and to use abstract words. But having acquired this habit,
it employs the power of separation in many other instances

25 than those that belong to the five senses. For example : —
If a man restores freely the property of another, which he
could not have been compelled to relinquish ; or if he
speaks the exact truth when it might have been advan-
tageous to him to utter a falsehood ; or if in any way he

30 regards the welfare of other men, when he is tempted to
secure his own benefit, — we form a notion which we sep-
arate from the particular circumstances that may have
belonged to the man's conduct : we feel that there is a
peculiar quality that belongs to his conduct on all these

35 several occasions, and we call it integrity ; and the so act-
ing is justice.

Justice is not the name of one action, or of one kind of
an action ; but of the abstract notion which belongs to any
action wherein a man pays strict regard to the rights and

40 property of others. Or if, in his actions, he goes beyond
what might have been demanded of him ; if he prefers the
welfare of his neighbor to his own ; then we form the no-
tion of another sort of quality, and call it generosity or
kindness. And in any new instance, even if all the cir-
33



3S6 Parker's exercises in [ex. ci.

cumstances are different, yet if a friend or stranger confers
upon us a benefit which he might properly have withheld,
we are reminded of the notion we had before formed, and
call the action or the person generous.

5 Some abstract notions are simple ; that is to say, they
cannot be described or made known otherwise than by
single words, or by pointing to the objects in which they
are to be seen or felt. Such are redness, whiteness, heat,
cold, sweetness, pleasure, pain, and many others. If. the

10 person to whom we would convey our meaning has never
himself perceived the quality we are speaking of, we can-
not impart to him our idea by words ; or, if he does not
understand the word we first use, we must find some other
of the same meaning — if he does not know what the

15 word pain means, we must try the word dolor, or some
other; but if he have never felt pain, the most ingenious
description of it would be utterly useless.

But there are abstract notions that are complex, or made
up of two or more ideas, and may therefore be described

20 by mentioning those constituent ideas. Thus, in the in-
stances already mentioned, justice may be described as the
paying a strict regard to the rights and interests of others ;
or, the not preferring our own welfare to that of others.
Generosity is the conferring of benefits upon others be-

25 yond what they would claim. Form or figure is the rela-
tion to each other of the several surfaces of a solid body.
Distance is extension between two points, divided into
parts, and numbered. Place is the relation between one
point and some other points on a surface. Perfection is

30 the existence, together, of all the parts or properties that
are assigned to some complex body or being.

Design is the relation of all the parts of a complex body
to the last effect which it is intended to produce. Truth
is the relation of sameness between things and our notions

35 of them ; or between our notions or thoughts and our
affirmations. Liberty is the absence of restraint upon
choice or action. Necessity is the certain connexion be-
tween cause and effect. In all such instances there is a
notion conveyed by the word we employ which admits of

40 being resolved into two or more ideas.

Now it is peculiarly important to understand the differ-
ence between simple and complex abstract notions ; because,
on the one hand, much time is often wasted in the vain
attempt to describe or analyze what is simple ; and, on the



EX. CI.] KIIETORICAL RK.\UING. 387

Other hand, mucli confusion often arises from neglecting to
analyze notions that are complex : hence it is that so many
words are used in argument to which the disputants attach
different ideas, and therefore are never able to come to an
5 agreement, even when they are really of the same opinion.
It is a good exercise to define or analyze complex abstract
notions.

The faculty of abstraction, conjoined with the use of
language, is that chiefly which distinguishes human nature,

10 and raises man far above all other animals.

After having thought of certain qualities apart from the
things in which they are found, the human mind takes
another step, and proceeds to bring together such qualities
and compose them in new forms: — this is invention.

15 The same faculty enables man to think of the quality, or
goodness or badness of actions, and is therefore essential
to accountableness, and forms the basis of our moral
nature.

Those differences of intellectual character and taste

20 which distinguish mankind individually depend very much
upon the faculty of abstraction. One man possesses
eminently the power of separating color from form ; and
he becomes a painter : another, in connection with sensi-
bility and delicacy of taste, readily separates or draws off

25 those qualities of things which excite the imagination ; and
he becomes a poet: another discerns and separates the
mechanical properties of matter; and he is an inventor of
machines : another discriminates mathematical properties;
and he addicts himself to abstract science.

30 Each department of science, and each walk of active
life, has its peculiar kind of abstraction ; nor can a man be
very successful in any line, if nature has denied him the
special faculty which is demanded in that line.

What is called a natural taste for particular pursuits is

35 most commonly a peculiar power of considering some one
class of qualities apart from all other qualities or circum-
stances. It is well when the choice of a profession is
made in conformity with the original conformation of the
mind. — Taylar^s Elements of Thought.



388 Parker's exercises in [ex. cm.

EXERCISE CII.

The Light-House.

The scene was more beautiful far to my eye

Than if day in its pride had arrayed it ;

The land-breeze blew mild, and the azure-arched sky

Looked pure as the Spirit that made it ;
5 The murmur rose soft as I silently gazed

In the shadowy waves' playful motion,

From the dim distant hill, 'till the light-house fire blazed

Like a star in the midst of the ocean.

No longer the joy of the sailor-boy's breast
10 Was heard in his wildly-breathed numbers ;

The sea-bird had flown to her wave-girdled nest,

The fisherman sunk to his slumbers :

One moment I looked from the hill's gentle slope,

All hushed was the billows' commotion,
15 And thought that the light-house looked lovely as hope

That star of life's tremulous ocean.

The time is long past, and the scene is afar,

Yet when my head rests on its pillow,

Will memory sometimes rekindle the star
20 That blazed on the breast of the billow :

In life's closing hour, when the trembling soul flies.

And death stills the heart's last emotion ;

O ! then may the seraph of mercy arise,

Like a star on eternity's ocean. T. Moore.



EXERCISE cm.
Aqueous Agencies.

25 Aqueous agents, or those arising from the power and
force of water, are perhaps not so universal nor so complex
in their operations as atmospheric; but they are more
powerful, and consequently exert a more obvious influence
in modifying the crust of the globe. Their mode of action

30 is either mechanical or chemical; — mechanical, as when a

river wears away its banks, and carries the material to

the sea ; and chemical, when from gaseous admixture

water is enabled to dissolve certain rocks and metals.

The action of water is sometimes slow and gradual, as

35 in the wearing down of rocks by rain ; or rapid and violent,



EX. cm.] RHETORICAL READING. 389

as in the case of river-floods and sea-storms. The effects
of rain upon a cliff may not amount to one inch in a hun-
dred years, while hundreds of acres of alluvial land may
be swept to the ocean by one river-flood.
5 Water operates variously : — sometimes by itself, as in
rivers ; sometimes in union with the atmosphere, as during
land and sea storms. Its power as a geological agent is most
obvious in the case of rains, springs, rivers, lakes, waves,
currents and tides ; and the results of these agents are dis-

10 tinguished as meteoric, fluviatile, lacustrine, or oceanic.

Rain, hail, snow, and all atmospheric vapors, exercise a

degrading influence on the earth's surface. By entering

the pores and fissures of rocks, they soften and gradually

dissolve their surface, and thus materially assist the opera-

15 tions of frosts, winds, &c. Rain, accompanied by high
winds, acts with greater force ; snow, from accumulating
during frost, and suddenly dissolving during fresh weather,
sometimes occasions violent floods and inundations. Floods
arising from the melting of snow are generally very de-

20 structive, for, during the season when they occur, the sur-
face is soft and loose, and much more liable to be carried
away.

Rain and other vapors are indispensable to the growth
of vegetables, and, when accompanied with sufficient

25 warmth, a luxuriant and gigantic vegetation, like that of
the tropics, is the result. The amount of rain which falls
on the earth's surface is exceedingly varied, ranging from
twenty or thirty inches to several feet per annum. In
tropical regions, rains are periodical ; that is, fall for weeks

30 together at certain seasons. This gives rise to inunda-
tions ; hence the peculiar phenomena attending the flood-
ings of such rivers as the Nile, Ganges, &c.

Of the quantity of rain which fell during past periods
of the world we have no positive knowledge ; but if we are

35 able to discover evidence of a higher temperature, we are
warranted in concluding that the quantity of rain was
much greater.

A greater fall of rain would produce larger rivers, and
larger rivers would carry down a greater quantity of silt

40 and debris ; this would form more extensive plains and
deltas ; and these, again, would sustain a more gigantic
race of plants and animals. From this example, the stu-
dent will readily perceive the connexion and influence of
these allied causes. Rain-water generally contains car-
33=^



390 Parker's exercises in [ex. cm.

bonic acid, ammonia, and other substances ; and conse-
quently acts chemically as well as mechanically.

Springs are discharges of water from the crust of the
earth, either by rents, fissures, or other openings in the
5 surface. The water which falls in rain, snow, &c., partly
runs off, and partly sinks into the crust, where it collects
in vast quantities, and ultimately finds its way again to
the surface by springs.

Springs issuing from strata at great depths are said to

10 be deep-seated; those from clay or gravel are shallow.
Some only flow during, or shortly after, rains, and are said
to be temporary ; some flow always, and are perennial ;
while others flow and ebb, and are said to be intermit-
tent.

15 The characters in which geologists have principally to
consider springs are cold, thermal, and mineral. Cold
springs have a mechanical action when they cut out chan-
nels for themselves ; and they act chemically when, for
example, they contain carbonic acid, and dissolve portions

20 of the rocks through which they pass.

All petrifying springs — that is, such as convert wood
and bones into stony matter — act chemically. Thermal
or hot springs occur in numerous parts of the world, (Eng-
land, Iceland, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Hindostan,

25 &;c.,) and also act mechanically and chemically, but with
much greater chemical force than cold springs. Mineral
springs may be either cold or hot, and take their name
from the circumstance of their waters holding some mineral
or earthy substance in solution.

30 Mineral springs, geologically speaking, are by far the
most important, as, from their composition, they indicate
the kind of rocks through which they pass, while they
more or less influence all deposits or waters into which
they flow. Thus, some contain iron, and are said to be

35 ferruginous, or chalybeate; some copper, (cupriferous,)
some lime, (calcareous,) some salt, (saline,) while others
give off* sulphureous vapors ; and so on with almost every
known mineral.

Those issuing from strata containing iron or lime are

40 more or less impregnated with these substances ; and when
they arrive at the surface of the earth, and their waters
become exposed to the air, the ferruginous or limy matter
is deposited along their courses, or is carried down to the
nearest river or lake.



EX. cm.] RHETORICAL READING. 391

If layers of mud, sand or gravel, be forming in such a
lake, these layers will be impregnated with the matter of
the springs ; hence geologists speak of ferruginous, calca-
reous, or saliferous strata. Mineral springs may therefore
5 be said to exert a two-fold influence : — first, by dissolving
and carrying away matter from the strata beneath ; and,
second, by adding that matter to the strata which are now
being formed on the surface.

The student will thus perceive the manner in which

10 springs act in modifying the crust of the earth ; and in
proportion to their size, the softness of the strata through
which they passed, and the degree of heat they had
acquired, so must the extent of their influence have been
at any former period.

15 Rivers are the most important aqueous agents employed
in modifying the surface of the globe. Springs, as they
issue into open day, naturally seek a lower level; and
numbers of them, meeting in one channel, form streams,
which 'again join in some still lower valley, where their

20 union produces rivers of various sizes. Rivers may be
said to be a species of natural drainings, by which the
superabundant moisture which falls on the land is again
returned to the sea. They are of all dimensions : — in
breadth from a few feet to several miles ; so shallow that a

25 boy might wade them, or so deep as to float the largest
ships ; and ranging in length of course from fifty or sixty
miles to as many hundreds.

The geological action of rivers is two-fold: — first, by
wearing down the land through which they pass, and then

30 by carrying down the material to lakes and seas. Both
their degrading and transporting force depends upon their
velocity. For example, it has been calculated that a force of
three inches per second will tear up fine clay, six inches will
lift fine sand, eight inches sand as coarse as linseed, and

35 twelve fine gravel ; while it requires a velocity of twenty-
four inches per second to roll along rounded pebbles an
inch in diameter, and thirty-six inches per second to sweep
angular stones of the size of a hen's egg.

Rivers, during floods, often acquire a much greater

40 velocity than this, and stones of considerable weight are
borne -down by their currents. The degrading power of
running water depends also upon the kind of material
through which it flows ; loose soil, clay, and sandstone
being easily worn down, while granite or basalt will suffer

45 little loss for centuries.



392 Parker's exercises in [ex. cm.

The mere flowing of pure water would exert little influ-
ence on hard rocks ; but all rivers carry down sand and
gravel; and these, by rubbing and striking against the
sides and bottoms of the channel, assist in scooping out
5 those channels which everywhere present themselves.
The Nerbuddah, a river of India, has scooped out a chan-
nel in basaltic rock one hundred feet deep.

Messrs. Sedgwick and Murchison give an account of
gorges scooped out in beds of the rock called conglomerate,

10 in the valleys of the Eastern Alps, six or seven hundred
feet deep. A stream of lava, which was vomited from
-^tna in 1603, happened to flow across the channel of
the river Simeto. Since that time the stream has cut a
passage through the compact rock to the depth of between

15 forty and fifty feet, and to the breadth of between fifty and
several hundred feet.

The cataract of Niagara, in North America, has receded
nearly fifty yards during the last forty years. Below the
falls, the river flows in a channel upwards of one hundred

20 and fifty feet deep and one hundred and sixty yards wide,
for a distance of seven miles ; and this channel has evi-
dently been produced by the action of the river. Such
effects as the above are produced by the general or ordinary
action of water ; but when rivers are swollen by heavy

25 rains, by the sudden melting of snow, and the like, then
they act with extraordinary violence.

In these cases they overflow their banks, rush with a
velocity of twenty or thirty feet per second, tear up the soil,
and sweep before them trees, animals, houses, and bridges.

30 The water of all rivers which exert a degrading influence
is more or less turbid, and an idea of their power may be
formed by observing this fact.

The matter which rivers carry down is either deposited
along their banks, in lakes, or in th«? ocean. If they flow

35 sluggishly along a flat valley, the mud and sand which
their waters contain gradually falls to the bottom, and there
rest as sediment. This sedimentary naatter forms what is
called alluvial land, and most of the flat an/? fertile valleys
in the world have been so produced.

40 Again, when a lake occurs in the course cf rivers, the
sediment is there collected, and the water issuss ^rom the
lake as if it had been filtered. In progress of time, lakes
are filled or sifted up with this sediment, and their basins
appear first as marshes, and latterly as alluvial land.



EX. cm.] RHETORICAL READING. 393

But whatever quantity of matter may be deposited in
valleys or lakes, the greatest amount will always be carried
down to the ocean, and deposited at the mouth of the river,
or along the shores. The heaviest material, such as
5 gravel, will fall down first, then the lighter sand, and ulti-
mately the finest mud. The mud of the Ganges discolors
the Bay of Bengal to a distance of sixty miles from its
mouth; and, according to Captain Sabine, the muddy
waters of the Amazon may be distinguished three hundred

10 miles from the shore.

The consequence of this continual seaward carriage of
sedimentary matter is, that at the mouths of most rivers
there are alluvial formations known by the name of deltas ;
such as those of the Nile, the Ganges, tltfe Niger, &c.

15 They take their name from their resemblance in shape to
the Greek letter A (delta;) and frequently extend over
vast surfaces — that of the Ganges being about two hun-
dred miles in one direction, by two hundred and twenty
in another. They consist of alternate layers of sand,

20 gravel, or mud, according to the kind of material the river
carries down.

The geological results effected by the agency of running
water are ceaseless and universal. Rivers are gradually
wearing down the hills and higher lands, and as gradually

25 silting up lakes and low tracks of valley land. They lay
down beds of gravel, sand, or mud ; and these beds, again,
enclose trees, plants, and the bones and shells of animals,
in greater or less abundance.

As rivers now act, so must they have always acted, and

30 to this kind of agency must we ascribe the formation of
many of the rocks (with their fossils) which now form the
crust of the earth, both at great depths and at distances
now far removed from the sea. We have no actual
knowledge of the rivers of the ancient world ; but judging

35 from the extent of sedimentary rocks, they must have been
much more gigantic than most of those now existing.

Waves, currents, and tides are also powerful geological
agents. Waves are continually in action ; and according
to their violence, and the materials composing the sea-coast,

40 so is the amount of change produced. Clifls of sandstone,
chalk, clay, or other soft rock, are, year after year, under-
mined by their force; masses fall down, are soon ground
to pieces, and swept off by every tide ; new underminings
take place ; new masses fall down, and thus thousands of

45 acres of land have been reduced to a level with the sea



394 Parker's exercises in [ex. civ.

What the waves batter down, the tides and currents

transport to sheltered bays and creeks along the shore ; so

that, while in one quarter the sea is making encroachments

on the land, in another it is accurriulating sand and gravel

5 to form new land.

The power of waves and currents is much increased by
the fact that rocks are more easily moved in water, and
thus gravel beaches are piled up or swept away with appa-
rent facility. The ordinary action is small, however, com-

10 pared with what is sometimes accomplished during storms
and high inundations ; and those who have witnessed the
effects of a few successive tides at such periods will readily
form an estimate of what may be accomplished during the
lapse of ages.

15 The action of waves, currents and tides, is varied and
complicated ; but it may be stated generally, that waves
batter down the sea-cliffs, or raise up loose matter from the
bottom ; that tidal currents convey the disintegrated matter
to more sheltered bays and creeks- ; and that oceanic cur-

20 rents convey floating material, such as drift-wood, plants,
and dead animals, from one part of the ocean to another.
Tides rise and ebb from four to forty feet ; they enter into
certain rivers for many miles, and thus a mingling of fresh
water and marine deposits takes place. As at present, so

25 in ages past ; and by diligently studying the effects pro-
duced by waves and tides, the student will be enabled to
account for many apppearances which the sedimentary
rocks present. — David Page,



EXERCISE CIV.

Soliloquy of Hamlet on Death.

To be, or not to be ; — that is the question.
30 Whether 't is nobler in the mind to suffer

The stings and arrows of outrageous fortune ;

Or, to take arms against a sea of trouble,

And, by opposing, end them.

To die — to sleep —
35 No more ? — and, by a sleep, to say we end

The heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks

That flesh is heir to — 't is a consummation

Devoutly to be wished.



EX. CV.] RHETORICAL READING. 305

To die — to sleep ;
To sleep — perchance to dream ; ay, there 's the rub —
For, in that sleep of death, what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
5 Must g^ve us pause. — There 's the respect,
That makes calamity of so long life.

For, who would bear the whips and scorns of time.
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,

10 The insolence of office, and the spurns

That patient merit of the unworthy takes —
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin ?

Who would fardels b^ar

15 To groan and sweat under a weary life,

But that the dread of something after death
(That undiscovered country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns) puzzles the will.
And makes us rather bear those ills we have,

20 Than fly to others that we know not of ?

Thus conscience does make cowards of us all :
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought ;
And enterprises of great pith and moment,

25 With this regard, their currents turn away.

And lose the name of action. Skakspeare.



EXERCISE CV.

Hotspur'' s Soliloquy on the Contents of a Letter.

" But, for mine own part, my lord, I could be well con-
tented to be there, in respect of the love I bear your
house." — He could be contented to be there! Why is

30 he not, then ? — In respect of the love he bears our house !
He shows in this he loves his own bam better than he
loves our house. Let me see some more.

" The purpose you undertake is dangerous." — Why,
that 's certain ; — 't is dangerous to take a cold, to sleep,

35 to drink : but I tell you, my Lord Fool, out of this nettle
danger we pluck this flower safety. " The purpose you
undertake is dangerous ; the friends you have named, un-
certain ; the time itself, unsorted ; and your whole plot too



396 Parker's exercises in [ex. cvi.

light for the counterpoise of so great an opposition." — Say
you so ? — say you so ? I say unto you again, you are a



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 34 of 38)