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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 35 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 35 of 38)
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shallow, cowardly hind, and you lie !

What a lackbrain is this ! Our plot is a good plot as
5 ever was laid ; our friends true and constant ; — a good
plot, good friends, and full of expectation ; — an excellent
plot, very good friends. What a frosty-spirited rogue is
this ! Why, my Lord of York commends the plot, and the
general course of the action. By this hand, if I were now

10 by this rascal, I could brain him with his lady's fan. Is
there not my father, my uncle, and myself ? Lord Edmund
Mortimer, my Lord of York, and Owen Glendower ? Is
there not, besides, the Douglases ? Have I not all their
letters, to meet me in arms by the ninth of the next

15 month ? and are there not some of them set forward
already ?

What a pagan rascal is this! — an infidel! Ha! you
shall see now, in very sincerity of fear and cold heart, will
he to the king, and lay open all our proceedings. Oh ! I*

20 could divide myself and go to buflfets, for moving such a
dish of skimmed milk with so honorable an action ! Hang
him ! let him tell the king. We are prepared. I will set
forward to-night. — Shakspeare.



EXERCISE CVI.
The Cataract of Lodore.

[This piece should be read with tones in which "the sound is an echo of the sense.'

" How does the water come down at Lodore ? "
25 " Here it comes sparkling.

And there it lies darkling ;

Here smoking and frothing.

Its tumult and wrath in,

It hastens along, conflicting and strong, —
30 Now striking and raging.

As if a war waging,

Its caverns and rocks among.
" Rising and leaping,

Sinking and creeping,
35 Swelling and flinging.

Showering and springing,

Eddying and whisking,



BI. CVI.] RHETORICAL READING. 397

Spouting and frisking,
Turning and twisting

Around and around ;
Collecting, disjecting,
6 With endless rebound :

Smiting and fighting, —
A sight to delight in, —
Confounding, astounding.
Dinning and deafening the ear with its sound.
10 " Receding and speeding,

And shocking and rocking.
And darting and parting.
And threading and spreading,
And whizzing and hissing, ^

15 And dripping and skipping.

And whitening and brightening,
And quivering and shivering,
And hitting and splitting.
And shining and twining,
20 And rattling and battling,

And shaking and quaking.
And pouring and roaring.
And waving and raving,
And tossing and crossing,
25 And flowing and glowing.

And running and stunning.
And hurrying and skurrying.
And glittering and frittering.
And gathering and feathering,
30 And dinning and spinning.

And foaming and roaming,
And dropping and hopping,
And working and jerking.
And guggling and struggling,
35 And heaving and cleaving,

And thundering and floundering.
And faUing and brawling and sprawling.
And driving and riving and striving.
And sprinkling and twinkling and wrinkling,
40 And sounding and bounding and rounding.
And bubbling and troubling and doubling.
Dividing and gliding and sliding,
And grumbling and rumbling and tumbling,
And clattering and battering and shattering,
34



398 Parker's exercises in [ex. cvii.

And gleaming and streaming and steaming and beaming,
And rushing and flushing and brushing and gushing,
And curling and whirling and purling and twirling,
Retreating and meeting and beating and sheeting,
5 Delaying and straying and playing and spraying.
Advancing and prancing and glancing and dancing,
Recoiling, turmoiling and toiling and boiling,
And thumping and flumping and bumping and jumping,
And dashing and flashing and splashing and clashing ;
10 And so never ending but always descending.

Sounds and motion forever and ever are blending.
All at once and all o'er, with a mighty uproar ; —
And this way the water comes down at Lodore."

Southey.



EXERCISE CVn.

On th£ Poiver of Custom, and the Uses to which it may he
applied.

There is not a common saying which has a better turn

15 of sense in it than what we often hear in the mouths of
the vulgar, that " Custom is a second nature." It is, in-
deed, able to form the man anew, and give him inclinations
and capacities altogether different from those he was bom
with.

20 A person who is addicted to play or gaming, though he
took but little delight in it at first, by degrees contracts so
strong an inclination towards it, and gives himself up so
entirely to it, that it seems the only end of his being.
The love of a retired or busy life will grow upon a man

25 insensibly, as he is conversant in the one or the other, till
he is utterly unqualified for relishing that to which he has
been for some time disused.

Nay, a man may smoke, or drink, or take snufF, till he
is unable to pass away his time without it, not to mention

30 how our delight in any particular study, art, or science,
rises and improves in proportion to the application which
we bestow upon it. Thus, what was at first an exercise
becomes at length an entertainment. Our employments
are changed into diversions. The mind grows fond of

35 those actions it is accustomed to; and is drawTi with re-
luctancy from those paths in which it has been used to
walk.



EX. CVII.] RHETORICAL READING. 399

If we attentively consider this property of human na-
ture, it may instruct us in very fine moralities. In the
first place, I would have no man discouraged with that
kind of life, or series of action, in which the choice of
5 others, or his own necessities, may have engaged him. It
may perhaps be very disagreeable to him, at first; but use
and application will certainly render it not only less pain-
ful, but pleasing and satisfactory.

In the second place, I would recommend to every one

10 the admirable precept which Pythagoras is said to have
given to his disciples, and which that philosopher must
have drawn from the observation I have enlarged upon :
" Pitch upon that course of life which is the most excel-
lent, and custom will render it the most delightful."

15 Men whose circumstances will permit them to choose
their own way of life are inexcusable if they do not pur-
sue that which their judgment tells them is the most laud-
able. The voice of reason is more to be regarded than
the bent of any present inclination ; since, by the rule

20 above mentioned, inclination will at length come over to
reason, though we can never force reason to comply with
inclination.

In the third place, this observation may teach the most
sensual and irreligious man to overlook those hardships

25 and difficulties which are apt to discourage him from the
prosecution of a virtuous life. " The gods," said Hesiod,
" have placed labor before virtue ; the way to her is at
first rough and difficult, but grows more smooth and easy
the further we advance in it." The man who proceeds

30 in it with steadiness and resolution will, in a little time,
find that " her ways are ways of pleasantness, and that
all her paths are peace."

To enforce this consideration, we may further observe,
that the practice of religion will not only be attended with

35 that pleasure which naturally accompanies those actions
to which we are habituated, but with those supernumerary
joys of heart that rise from the consciousness of such a
pleasure ; from the satisfaction of acting up to the dic-
tates of reason, and from the prospect of a happy immor-

40 tality.

In the fourth place, we may learn from this observation
which we have made on the mind of man to take partic-
ular care, when we are once settled in a regular course of
life, how we too frequently indulge ourselves in even the



400 Parker's exercises in [ex. cviii.

most innocent diversions and entertainments ; since the
mind may insensibly fall off from the relish of virtuous
actions, and by degrees exchange that pleasure which it
takes in the performance of its duty for delights of a
5 much inferior and an unprofitable nature.

The last use which I shall make of this remarkable
property in human nature, of being delighted with those
actions to which it is accustomed, is, to show how abso-
lutely necessary it is for us to gain habits of virtue in this

10 life, if we would enjoy the pleasures of the next. The
state of bliss we call heaven will not be capable of affect-
ing those minds which are not thus qualified for it ; we
must, in this world, gain a relish for truth and virtue, if
we would be able to taste that knowledge and perfection

15 which are to make us happy in the next.

The seeds of those spiritual joys and raptures which
are to rise up and flourish in the soul to all eternity must
be planted in it during this its present state of probation.
In short, heaven is not to be looked upon only as the T9

20 ward, but as the natural effect, of a religious life.

Addison.



EXERCISE CVIII.

The Contrast.

As rueful stood his other half, as wan
Of cheek : small her ambition was — but strange.
The distaff, needle, all domestic cares,
Religion, children, husband, home, were things

25 She could not bear the thought of; bitter drugs

That sickened her soul. The house of wanton mirth
And revelry, the mask, the dance, she loved.
And in their service soul and body spent
Most cheerfully ; a little admiration,

30 Or true, or false, no matter which, pleased her.
And o'er the wreck of fortune lost, and health,
And peace, and an eternity of bliss
Lost, made her sweetly smile. She was convinced
That God had made her greatly out of taste,

35 And took much pains to make herself anew.
Bedaubed with paint, and hung with ornaments
Of curious selection — gaudy toy !
A show unpaid for, paying to be seen '



EX. CVm.] RHETORICAL READING. 401

As beggar by the way, most humbly asking

The ahns of public gaze, she went abroad :

Folly admired, and indication gave

Of envy ; cold civility made bows,
5 And smoothly flattered ; wisdom shook his head;

And laughter shaped his lip into a smile ;

Sobriety did stare ; forethought grew pale ;

And modesty hung down the head and blushed ;

And pity wept, as, on the frothy surge
10 Of fashion tossed, she passed them by, like sail

Before some devilish blast, and got no time

To think, and never thought, till on the rock

She dashed of ruin, anguish, and despair.

O how unlike this giddy thing in time, ''

15 And at the day of judgment how unlike,

The modest, meek, retiring dame ! Her house

Was ordered well ; her children taught the way

Of life — who, rising up in honor, called

Her blest. Best pleased to be admired at home,
20 And hear reflected from her husband's praise

Her own, she sought no gaze of foreign eye.

His praise alone, and faithful love and trust

Reposed, was happiness enough for her.

Yet who that saw her pass, and heard the poor
25 With earnest benedictions on her steps

Attend, could from obeisance keep his eye,

Or tongue from due applause. In virtue fair,

Adorned with modesty, and matron grace

Unspeakable, and love — her face was like
30 The light, most welcome to the eye of man ;

He freshing most, most honored, most desired,

Of all he saw in the dim world below.

As morning when she shed her golden locks.

And on the dewy top of Hermon walked,
35 Or Zion hill — so glorious was her path :

Old men beheld and did her reverence,

And bade their daughters look, and take from her

Example of their future life : the young

Admired, and new resolve of virtue made.
40 And none who was her husband asked : his air

Serene, and countenance of joy, the sign

Of inward satisfaction, as he passed

The crowd, or sat among the elders, told.

In holiness complete, and in the robes
34=^



402 Parker's exercises in [ex. cviii.

Of saving righteousness, arrayed for heaven,

How fair, that day, among the fair, she stood !

How lovely on the eternal hills her steps !
Restored to reason, on that morn appeared
5 The lunatic — who raved in chains, and asked

No mercy, when he died. Of lunacy

Innumerous were the causes : humbled pride,

Ambition disappointed, riches lost.

And bodily disease, and sorrow, oft
10 By man inflicted on his brother man ;

Sorrow, that made the reason drunk, and yet
-r Left much untasted — so the cup was filled :

Sorrow, that like an ocean, dark, deep, rough.

And shoreless, rolled its billows o'er the soul
15 Perpetually, and without hope of end.

Take one example, one of female woe.

Loved by a father and a mother's love,

In rural peace she lived, so fair, so light

Of heart, so good, and young, that reason scarce
20 The eye could credit, but would doubt, as she

Did stoop to pull the lily or the rose

From morning's dew, if it reality

Of flesh and blood, or holy vision, saw,

In imagery of perfect womanhood.
25 But short her bloom — her happiness was short.

One saw her loveliness, and with desire

Unhallowed burning, to her ear addressed

Dishonest words : " Her favor was his life.

His heaven ; her frown his woe, his night, his death."
30 With turgid phrase thus wove in flattery's loom,

He on her womanish nature won, and age

Suspicionless, and ruined, and forsook :

For he a chosen villain was at heart,

And capable of deeds that durst not seek
35 Repentance. Soon her father saw her shame ;

His heart grew stone ; he drove her forth to want

And wintry winds, and with a horrid curse

Pursued her ear, forbidding all return.
Upon a hoary cliff that watched the sea
40 Her babe was found — dead : on its little cheek

The tear, that nature bade it weep, had turned

An ice-drop, sparkling in the morning beam ;

And to the turf its helpless hands were frozen;

For she, the woful mother, had gone mad,



EX. CIX.] RHETORICAL READING. 403

And laid it down, regardless of its fate
And of her own. Yet had she many days
Of sorrow in the world, but never wept.
She lived on alms ; and carried in her hand
5 Some withered stalks she gathered in the spring :
When any asked the cause, she smiled, and said
They were her sisters, and would come and watch
Her grave when she was dead. She never spoke
Of her deceiver, father, mother, home,

10 Or child, or heaven, or hell, or God ; but still
In lonely places walked, and ever gazed
Upon the withered stalks, and talked to them ;
Till wasted to the shadow of her youth,
With woe too wide to see beyond — she died :

15 Not unatoned for by imputed blood.

Nor by the Spirit that mysterious works
Unsanctified. Aloud her father cursed
That day his guilty pride, which would not own
A daughter whom the God of heaven and earth

20 Was not ashamed to call his own ; and he
Who ruined her read from her holy look,
That pierced him with perdition manifold,
His sentence, burning with vindictive fire.

Pollock's Course of Time,



EXERCISE CIX.

How to Remember what we Read.

Most readers, 1 presume, will open this chapter with no

25 little curiosity, and a feeling which would be expressed by

these words : " My memory is bad enough — would it

were as good as that of such a one of my friends ! Let me

see if there be any rules to suit so bad a case as mine."

Now, before you decide that you have a worse memory

30 than your friend, let me ask, — is there no one subject on

which you can equal him ? You have no doubt observed

that a large class of men who are devoted exclusively and

literally to animal pursuits — sportsmen, to wit — have the

greatest difficulty in remembering matters of history or

35 general literature, but yet are so ready with the names of

all the winners of the Derby, Oaks, or St. Leger, and the

progeny and pedigree of each, that a scholar would be as



404 Parker's exercises in [ex. cix.

much surprised at their memory of horses and mares, as
they could be at the scholar's memory of kings and queens.
Probably you will now say, "All this we grant; it is
true we have memory for some things but not for litera-
5 ture." Your meaning is, that you have memory where
you have attention. The sportsman cannot attend to books,
nor the scholar to horses. The art of memory is the art
of attention. A memory for literature will increase with
that interest in literature by which attention is increased.

10 The sportsman could remember pages of history relating
to forest laws, or encouragement of the breed of horses,
but not the adjoining pages on the law of succession ; and
only because he felt an interest, and consequently paid at-
tention, in reading the one, but not the other.

15 Again, memory depends on association, or the tendency
of some things to suggest or make us think of others.
The geologist remembers fossils, but not flowers ; and the
botanist flowers, but not fossils. Each has in his mind a
" cell " for the one specimen, but not for the other ; and

20 the observations which fall in with the ideas of the geolo-
gist, and link to many a subtle chain of thought, remain
alone and unassociated in the mind of the botanist. Asso-
ciation certainly is, in some respects, an aid to attention ;
they are usually considered as distinct, and the basis of

25 memory; therefore every rule I can give for promoting
either attention or association will be virtually rules for
memory.

Memory is assisted by whatever tends to a full view and
clear apprehension of a subject. Therefore, in reading

30 history, occasionally lay the book aside and try if you can
give a connected narrative of events. " What thou dost
not know, thou canst not tell," but clear ideas never want
plain words. Do not be satisfied with feeling that the
subject is too familiar for repetition to be necessary. The

35 better a story is known, the less time it will take to repeat.
Put your "thoughts in express words." — This is an
invaluable exercise ; for, first of all, you will greatly im-
prove your power of expression, and gain that command
of language on which one of my friends heard Fox com-

40 pliment Pitt, as having not only a word, but the word, the
very word, to express his meaning.

Secondly, the practice of putting your thoughts into
words will improve your power of conception. When you
see a speaker, in a long argument, contract and fix his eye



EX. CIX.] RHETORICAL READING. 405

as if on some aerial form, he is trying to body forth his
ideas and hold them up as a picture, from which he may
select, read off, and lay before his hearers, such portions as
he thinks will convey the desired impression.
5 Conception is the quality for which we call a man "clear-
headed ; " for this enables him to grasp at one view the
beginning, middle, and end of what he means to say, and
have the order of his ideas at the direction of a cool judg-
ment, instead of depending upon chance. To repeat a
10 narrative to another is better still than repeating it to your-
self; you are more excited to accuracy, and your memory
is assisted by the degree of attention and association which
casual remarks and questions may promote.

With a view to distinct conception, writing is usually

15 recommended to aid memory. As to mere transcribing,
though much has been advanced in its favor, I believe it is
by no means to be adopted. Much experience has shown
me that it not only wastes time, but deceives us as to the
extent of our knowledge. We are flattered at the sight

20 of the paper we fill, while in reality we are exercising not
our wits but our fingers.

Every university student knows how common it is to
find men of misguided industry, with desks full and heads
empty. Writing never aids memory but when it tends

25 to clear conception. Most persons find it more pleasant
to draw a sketch of a subject on a sheet of paper than on
the tablets of the mind, but let them not suppose it is more
improving.

When you want relief or variety, you may try to write,

30 instead of repeating, the subject of your morning's reading;
but you will soon admit that the viva voce exercise is the
better of the two. In speaking of conception, Abercrombie
relates the case of a distinguished actor, who created great
surprise by learning a long part with very short notice.

35 " When questioned respecting the mental process which he
employed, he said that he lost sight entirely of the audi-
ence, and seemed to have nothing before him but the pages
of the book from which he had learned ; arid that if any-
thing had occurred to interrupt that illusion, he should have

40 stopped instantly."

Secondly. Memory is assisted by whatever adds to our
interest or entertainment. — Therefore, all the remarks I
have made relative to being guided by curiosity and incli-



406 Parker's exercises in [ex. cix.

nation are hints for memory. A man rarely forgets a fact
which he hears in answer to a question he has himself
originated ; and the art of reading is to gain facts in such
order that each shall be a nucleus or basis, as Abercrombie
5 says, of more ; in other words, that every fact may be an
answer to some question already in our minds, and suggest
in its turn a new question in an endless series.

Thirdly. Memory depends much on a thorough deter-
mination to remember. — Most persons have memory

10 enough for the purposes of their own business. Ask the
guard of the mail how he remembers the places at which
he has to drop his many parcels, and he will tell you, " be-
cause he must." And if you put the same question to
any number of different persons whose fortune depends on

15 the constant exercise of memory, you will invariably receive
similar answers, which is a proof from experience that our
memory depends very much on our own will and determin-
ation. If, by the force of resolution, a person can wake at
any hour in the morning, it is easy to believe that, by the

20 same means, he may also have a powerful command over
his memory.

While at the university, I had a very remarkable proof
of this. I was assisting in his studies, previous to exam-
ination, a friend, who assured me he could not remember

25 what he read ; that such had been the case during fourteen
university terms. But I said, — " Now you must remem-
ber, — I know you can, — and I will have no more to do
with you if you do not answer me correctly to-morrow on
what we read to-day." Having rallied him in this way, I

30 heard no more of the complaint. After his examination,
he assured me that he was perfectly surprised at the extent
to which his memory had served him, and fairly acknowl-
edged that for years he had given way to a state of mental
inactivity, never stopping to try his memory, but thinking

35 of the Castalian stream rather after the manner of Baron
Munchausen's horse when he had lost his hinder quarters
with the portcullis.

A man can remember, to a great extent, just as Johnson
said a man might at any time compose, mastering his hu-

40 mor, if he will only set to work with a dogged determina-
tion. " That they can conquer who believe they can,"
is very generally true where the mind is concerned. A
very common reason that men do not remember is, that
they do not try ; a hearty and ever-present desire to pre-
vail is the chief element of all success.



EX. CIX.] RIIETOKICAL READING, 407

Nothing but the fairy's wand can realize tlie capricious
desire of the moment ; but as to the objects of laudable
wishes, deeply breathed, and for many a night and day
ever present to the mind, — these are placed by Providence
5 more within our reach than is commonly believed. When
a person says, "If I could only have my wish, I would
excel in such an art or science," we may generally answer,
" The truth is, you have no such wish ; all you covet is
the empty applause, not the substantial accomplishment."

10 The fault is " in ourselves, and not our stars," if we are
slaves, and blindly yield to the pretensions of the many
whose tongues would exhaust wiser heads than their own
in half an hour.

Before we complain of want of power and mental

15 weapons, let us be sure that we make full use of what we
have. When we see one man write without hands, and
another qualify himself (as in an instance within my own
remembrance) for high university honors without eyes, a
complaint of our memory, or other faculties, justifies the

20 same conclusion as when workmen complain of their tools.

These, or at least other instances equally surprising, are

founded on good authority. Still, Abercrombie justly says,

that though the power of remembering unconnected facts

and lists of words makes a great show, and is the kind of

25 memory most generally admired, still it is often combined
with very little judgment, and is not so important a feature
in a cultivated mind as that memory founded on the rela-
tions, analogies, and natural connections of diflferent sub-
jects, which is more in our power.

30 Indeed, mere parrot memory is of less use than is gen-



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 35 of 38)