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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 36 of 38)
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erally supposed. It is true, it enables a superficial person
to pass off the opinions of others as his own ; but educated
men can generally remember enough for their own purposes,
and can command data sufficient for the operations of their

35 judgment. What we most want ready and available is the
power and the science, not the tools. A mathematician is
such still, without his formulae and diagrams. The oldest
judge remembers the rules of law, though he forgets the
case in point, and the ablest counsel are allowed refreshers.

40 Surely it is enough that our minds, like our guns, carry
true to the mark, without being always loaded.

Fourthly. Memory is assisted by whatever tends to
connexion or association of ideas. — When I asked the
friend above mentioned the particular means he took to
remember his lectures previous to examination, he said,



408 Parker's exercises in [ex. ex.

that besides looking everything " more fully in the face "
than he had ever done before, he tried " to match, sort, and
put along-side of something similar," each event in its
5 turn, and also to say to himself, — " Here are four or five
causes, circumstances, or characters, relating to the same
thing ; by such a peculiarity in the first I shall remember
the second, while something else in the second will remind
me of the third and fourth."

10 During this process, he said he became so familiar with
many facts, that he could remember without any associa-
tion at all. Again ; in all the works and phenomena of
nature, moral or physical, men of comprehensive minds
discern a marked family likeness ; certain facts indicate the

15 existence of others ; so that memory is assisted by a cer-
tain key which classification suggests ; and thus one eflfort
of memory serves for all. — Pycroffs Course of Reading.



EXERCISE ex.

Happiness equally distributed.

As some lone miser, visiting his store,
Bends at his treasure, counts, recounts it o'er,

20 Hoards after hoards his rising raptures fill.

Yet still he sighs, for hoards are wanting still :
Thus to my breast alternate passions rise,
Pleased with each good that Heaven to man supplies ;
Yet oft a sigh prevails, and sorrows fall,

25 To see the hoard of human bliss so small ;
And oft I wish amid the scene to find
Some spot to real happiness consigned,
Where my worn soul, each wandering hope at rest,
May gather bliss to see my fellows blessed.

30 But where to find that happiest spot below,
Who can direct, when all pretend to know ?
The shuddering tenant of the frigid zone
Boldly proclaims that happiest spot his own ;
Extols the treasures of his stormy seas,

35 And his long nights of revelry and ease.
The naked negro, panting at the line,
Boasts of his golden sands and palmy wine,
Basks in the glare, or stems the tepid wave,
And thanks his gods for all the good they gave.



EX. CXI.] RHETORICAL READING. 409

Such is the patriot's boast where'er we roam ;
His first, best country, ever is at home.
And yet, perhaps, if countries we compare,
And estimate the blessings which they share,
5 Though patriots flatter, still shall wisdom find
An equal portion dealt to all mankind :
As different good, by art or nature given
To different nations, makes their blessings even.
Nature, a mother kind alike to all,
10 Still grants her bliss at labor's earnest call ;
With food as well the peasant is supplied
On Idra's cliffs as Arno's shelvy side ;
And though the rocky-crested summits frown,
These rocks, by custom, turn to beds of down.

15 Thus every good his native wilds impart
Imprints the patriot passion on his heart ;
And even those hills that round his mansion rise
Enhance the bliss his scanty fund supplies.
Dear is that shed to which his soul conforms,

20 And dear that hill which lifts him to the storms;
And as a child, when scaring sounds molest,
Clings close and closer to the mother's breast.
So the loud torrent and the whirlwind's roar,
But bind him to his native mountains more.

Goldsmith.



LESSON CXI.
Francisco Pizarro.

25 Francisco Pizarro was tall in stature, well propor-
tioned, and with a countenance not unpleasing. Bred in
camps, with nothing of the polish of a court, he had a
soldier-like bearing, and the air of one accustomed to com-
mand.

30 But though not polished, there was no embarrassment
or rusticity in his address, which, where it served his pur-
pose, could be plausible, and even insinuating. The proof
of it is the favorable impression made by him, on present-
ing himself, after his second expedition — stranger as he

35 was to all its forms and usages — at the punctilious court
of Castile.

Unlike many of his countrymen, he had no passion fo
35



410 Parker's exercises in [ex. cxi.

ostentatious dress, which he regarded as an encumbrance.
The costume which he most affected on public occasions
was a black cloak, with a white hat, and shoes of the
same color ; the last, it is said, being in imitation of the
5 Great Captain, whose character he had early learned to
admire in Italy, but to which his own, certainly, bore very
faint resemblance.

He was temperate in eating, drank sparingly, and
usually rose an hour before dawn. He was punctual in

10 attendance to business, and shrunk from no toil. He had,
indeed, great powers of patient endurance. Like most of
his nation, he was fond of play, and cared little for the
quality of those with whom he played ; though, when his
antagonist could not afford to lose, he would allow him-

15 self, it is said, to be the loser ; a mode of conferring an
obligation much commended by a Castilian writer, for its
delicacy.

Though avaricious, it was in order to spend, and not to
hoard. His ample treasures, more ample than those, prob-

20 ably, that ever before fell to the lot of an adventurer, were
mostly dissipated in his enterprises, his architectural works,
and schemes of public improvement, which, in a country
where gold and silver might be said to have lost their
value from their abundance, absorbed an incredible amount

25 of money.

While he regarded the whole country, in a manner, as
his own, and distributed it freely among his captains, it is
certain that the princely grant of a territory with twenty
thousand vassals, made to him by the crown, was never

30 carried into effect ; nor did his heirs ever reap the benefit
of it.

To a man possessed of the active energies of Pizarro,
sloth was the greatest evil. The excitement of play
was in a manner necessary to a spirit accustomed to the

35 habitual stimulants of war and adventure. His unedu-
cated mind had no relish for more refined, intellectual
recreation. The deserted foundling had neither been
taught to read nor write. This has been disputed by some,
but it is so attested by unexceptionable authorities.

40 Montesinos says, indeed, that Pizarro, on his first voy-
age, tried to learn to read; but the impatience of his
temper prevented it, and he contented himself with learn-
ing to sign his name. But Montesinos was not a contem-
porary historian. Pedro Pizarro, his companion in arms,



EX. CXI.] RHETORICAL READING. 411

expressly tells us he could neither read nor write ; and
Zarate, another contemporary, well acquainted with the
conqueror, confirms this statement; and adds, that Pizarro
could not so much as sign his name. This was done by

5 his secretary — Picado in his latter years — while the
governor merely made the customary rvbrica, or flourish
at the sides of his name.

This is the case with the instruments I have examined,
in which his signature, written probably by his secretary,

10 or his title of Marques, in later life substituted for his
name, is garnished with a flourish at the ends, executed
in as bungling a manner as if done by the hand of a
ploughman. Yet we must not estimate this deficiency as
we should in this period of general illumination, — gen-

15 eral, at least, in our own fortunate country.

Reading and writing, so universal now, in the beginning
of the sixteenth century might be regarded in the light
of accomplishments ; and all who have occasion to consult
the autograph memorials of that time will find the execution

20 of them, even by persons of the highest rank, too often such

as would do little credit to a school-boy of the present day.

Though bold in action, and not easily turned from his

purpose, Pizarro was slow in arriving at a decision. This

gave him an appearance of irresolution foreign to his

25 character. Perhaps the consciousness of this led him to
adopt the custom of saying " No," at first, to applicants for
favor ; and afterwards, at leisure, to revise his judgment,
and grant what seemed to him expedient.

He took the opposite course from his comrade, Almagro,

30 who, it was observed, generally said " Yes," but too often
failed to keep his promise. This was characteristic of the
careless and easy nature of the latter, governed by impulse
rather than principle.

It is hardly necessary to speak of the courage of a man

35 pledged to such a career as that of Pizarro. Courage,
indeed, was a cheap quality among the Spanish adven-
turers, for danger was their element. But he possessed
something higher than mere animal courage, in that con-
stancy of purpose which was rooted too deeply in his na-

40 ture to be shaken by the wildest storms of fortune.

It was this inflexible constancy which formed the key
to his character, and constituted the secret of his succei.:.
A remarkable evidence of it was given in his first expedi-
tion, among the mangroves and dreary marshes of Choco,



412 Parker's exercises in [ex. cxi.

He saw his followers pining around him under the blight-
ing malaria, wasting before an invisible enemy, and unable
to strike a stroke in their own defence. Yet his spirit did
not yield, nor did he falter in his enterprise.
5 There is something oppressive to the imagination in
this war against nature. In the struggle of man against
man, the spirits are raised by a contest conducted on equal
terms ; but in a war with the elements, we feel that, how-
ever bravely we may contend, we can have no power to

10 control. Nor are we cheered on by the prospect of glory
in such a contest ; for, in the capricious estimate of human
glory, the silent endurance of privations, however painful,
is little, in comparison with the ostentatious trophies of
victory. The laurel of the hero — alas for humanity that

15 it should be so ! — grows best on the battle-field.

This inflexible spirit of Pizarro was shown still more
strongly, when, in the little island of Gallo, he drew
the line on the sand which was to separate him and
his handful of followers from their country and from civ

20 ilized man. He trusted that his own constancy would
give strength to the feeble, and rally brave hearts around
him for the prosecution of his enterprise. He looked with
confidence to the future, and he did not miscalculate.
This was heroic, and wanted only a nobler motive for its

25 object to constitute the true moral sublime.

Yet the same feature in his character was displayed in
a manner scarcely less remarkable, when, landing on the
coast and ascertaining the real strength and civilization of
the Incas, he persisted in marching into the interior at the

30 head of a force of less than two hundred men. In this he
undoubtedly proposed to himself the example of Cortez, so
contagious to the adventurous spirits of that day, and
especially to Pizarro, engaged, as he was, in a similar
enterprise.

85 Yet, the hazard assumed by Pizarro was far greater
than that of the conqueror of Mexico, whose force was
nearly three times as large, while the terrors of the Inca
name — however justified by the result — were as widely
spread as those of the Aztecs.

40 It was doubtless in imitation of the same captivating
model that Pizarro planned the seizure of Atahuallpa.
But the situations of the two Spanish captains were as
dissimilar as the manner in which their acts of violence
were conducted. The wanton massacre of the Peruvians



EX. CXI.] RHETORICAL READING. 413

resembled that perpetrated by Alvarado in Mexico, and
might have been attended with consequences as disastrous,
if the Peruvian character had been as fierce as that of the
Aztecs. But the blow which roused the latter to madness
5 broke the tamer spirits of the Peruvians. It was a bold
stroke, which left so much to chance that it scarcely merits
the name of policy.

When Pizarro landed in the country he found it dis-
tracted by a contest for the crown. It would seem to have

10 been for his interest to play oflT one party against the other,
throwing his own weight into the scale that suited him.
Instead of this, he resorted to an act of audacious violence
which crushed them both at a blow.

His subsequent cafeer afforded no scope for the profound

15 policy displayed by Cortez, when he gathered conflicting
nations under his banner, and directed them against a
common foe. Still less did he have the opportunity of
displaying the tactics and admirable strategy of his rival.
Cortez conducted his military operations on the scientific

20 principles of a great captain at the head of a powerful host.
Pizarro appears only as an adventurer, — a fortunate
knight-errant.

By one bold stroke he broke the spell which had so long
held the land under the dominion of the Incas. The spell

25 was broken, and the airy fabric of their empire, built on
the superstition of ages, vanished at a touch. This was
good fortune, rather than the result of policy.

Pizarro was eminently perfidious. Yet nothing is more
opposed to sound policy. One act of perfidy, fully estab-

30 lished, becomes the ruin of its author. The man who re-
linquishes confidence in his good faith gives up the best
basis for future operations. W^o will knowingly build on
a quicksand? By his perfidious treatment of Almagro,
Pizarro alienated the minds of the Spaniards. By his

35 perfidious treatment of Atahuallpa, and subsequently of
the Inca Manco, he disgusted the Peruvians.

The name of Pizarro became a by-word for perfidy.
Almagro took his revenge in a civil war; Manco, in an in-
surrection which nearly cost Pizarro his dominion. The

40 civil war terminated in a conspiracy which cost him his
life. Such were the fruits of his policy. Pizarro may be
regarded as a cunning man ; but not, as he has been often
eulogized by his countrymen, as a politic one.

When Pizarro obtained possession of Cuzco, he found a
35*=



414 rAFvKER's EXERCISES IN [EX. CXI.

country well advanced in the arts of civilization ; institu-
tions under which the people lived in tranquillity and per-
sonal safety ; the mountains and the uplands whitened
with flocks ; the valleys teeming with the fruits of a sci-
5 entific husbandry ; the granaries and warehouses filled to
overflowing ; the whole land rejoicing in its abundance ;
and the character of the nation, softened under the influ-
ence of the mildest and most innocent form of superstition,
well prepared for the reception of a higher and a Christian

10 civilization.

But far from introducing this, Pizarro delivered up the
conquered races to his brutal soldiery ; the sacred cloisters
were abandoned to their lust ; the towns and villages were
given up to pillage ; the wretch&d natives were parcelled

15 out like slaves, to toil for their conquerors in the mines ;
the flocks were scattered, and wantonly destroyed ; the
granaries were dissipated; the beautiful contrivances for
the more perfect culture of the soil were suffered to fall
into decay ; the paradise was converted into a desert.

20 Instead of profiting by the ancient forms of civilization,
Pizarro preferred to efface every vestige of them from the
land, and on their ruin to erect the institutions of his own
country. Yet these institutions did little for the poor
Indian, held in iron bondage. It was little to him that the

25 shores of the Pacific were studded with rising communities
and cities, the marts of a flourishing commerce. He had
no share in the goodly heritage. He was an alien in the
land of his fathers.

The religion of the Peruvian, which directed him to

30 the worship of that glorious luminary which is the best
representative of the might and beneficence of the Creator,
is perhaps the purest form of superstition that has existed
among men. Yet it was much, that, under the new order
of things, and through the benevolent zeal of the mission-

35 aries, some glimmerings of a nobler faith were permitted
to dawn on his darkened soul.

Pizarro himself cannot be charged with manifesting any
overweening solicitude for the propagation of the Faith.
He was no bigot, like Cortez. Bigotry is the perversion

40 of the religious principle; but the principle itself was
wanting in Pizarro. The conversion of the heathen was a
predominant motive with Cortez in his expedition. It was
not a vain boast. He would have sacrificed his life for it
at any time ; and more than once, by his indiscreet zeal,



EX. CXI.] RHETORICAL READING. 415

he actually did place his life and the success of his enter-
prise in jeopardy.

It was his great purpose to purify the land from the
brutish abominations of the Aztecs, by substituting the reli-
5 gion of Jesus. This gave to his expedition the character
of a crusade. It furnished the best apology for the con-
quest, and does more than all other considerations towards
enlisting our sympathies on the side of the conquerors.
But Pizarro's ruling motives, so far as they can be

10 scanned by human judgment, were avarice and ambition.
The good missionaries, indeed, followed in his train to
scatter the seeds of spiritual truth, and the Spanish gov-
ernment, as usual, directed its beneficent legislation to the
conversion of their natives.

15 But the moving power with Pizarro and his followers
was the lust of gold. This was the real stimulus to their
toil, — the price of perfidy, — the true guerdon of their
victories. This gave a base and mercenary character to
their enterprise ; and when we contrast the ferocious

20 cupidity of the conquerors with the mild and inoffensive
manners of the conquered, our sympathies, the sympathies
even of the Spaniard, are necessarily thrown into the
scale of the Indian.

But as no picture is without its lights, we must not, in

25 justice to Pizarro, dwell exclusively on the darker features
of his portrait. There was no one of her sons to whom
Spain was under larger obligations for extent of empire ;
for his hand won for her the richest of the Indian jewels
that once sparkled in her imperial diadem.

30 When we contemplate the perils he braved, the suffer-
ings he patiently endured, the incredible obstacles he over-
came, the magnificent results he effected with his single
arm, as it were, unaided by the government, — though
neither a good nor a great man, in the highest sense of

35 the term, — it is impossible not to regard him as a very
extraordinary one.

Nor can we fairly omit to notice, in extenuation of his
errors, the circumstances of his early life ; for, like Alma-
gro, he was the son of sin and sorrow, early cast upon the

40 world to seek his fortunes as he might. In his young and
tender age he was to take the impression of those into
whose society he was thrown. And when was it the lot
of the needy outcast to fall into that of the wise and the
virtuous ? His lot was cast among the licentious inmates



416 Parker's exercises in [ex. cm.

of a camp, the school of rapine, whose only law was the
sword, and who looked on the wretched Indian and his
heritage as their rightful spoil.

Who does not shudder at the thought of what his own
5 fate might have been, trained in such a school? The
amount of crime does not necessarily show the criminality
of the agent. History, indeed, is concerned with the
former, that it may be recorded as a warning to man-
kind ; but it is He alone who knoweth the heart, the
10 strength of the temptation, and the means of resisting it,
that can determine the measure of the guilt.

W. H. Prescott.



EXERCISE CXn.
Virtuous Love.

But happy they — the happiest of their kind —
Whom gentler stars unite, and in one fate
Their hearts, their fortunes, and their beings blend '
'T is not the coarser tie of human laws, .
Unnatural oft, and foreign to the mind,
That binds their peace, but harmony itself,
Attuning all their passions into love ;
Where friendship full exerts her softest power,
Perfect esteem enlivened by desire
Ineffable, and sympathy of soul ;
Thought meeting thought, and will preventing will,
With boundless confidence : for nought but love
Can answer love, and render bliss secure.

Let him, ungenerous, who, alone intent
To bless himself, from sordid parents buys
The loathing virgin, in eternal care.
Well merited, consume his nights and days :
Let barbarous nations, whose inhuman love
Is wild desire, fierce as the suns they feel ;
Let eastern tyrants from the light of heaven
Seclude their bosom-slaves, meanly possessed
Of a mere lifeless, violated form ;
While those whom love cements in holy faith,
And equal transport, free as Nature live,
Disdaining fear.

What is the world to them,
Its pomp, its pleasure, and its nonsense all,



EX. CXII.] RHETORICAL READING. 417

Who in each other clasp whatever fair
High fancy forms, and lavish hearts can wish ?
Something than beauty dearer, should they look
Or on the mind or mind-illumined face ;
5 Truth, goodness, honor, harmony, and love,
The richest bounty of indulgent Heaven.

Meantime a smiling offspring rises round,
And mingles both their graces. By degrees,
The human blossom blows ; and every day,

10 Soft as it rolls along, shows some new charm,
The father's lustre, and the mother's bloom.
Then infant reason grows apace, and calls
For the kind hand of an assiduous care.

Delightful task ! to rear the tender thought,

16 To teach the young idea how to shoot.

To pour the fresh instruction o'er the mind,
To breathe the enlivening spirit, and to fix
The generous purpose in the glowing breast !
O, speak the joy ! ye whom the sudden tear

20 Surprises often, while you look around.

And nothing strikes your eye but sights of bliss,
All various Nature pressing on the heart :
An elegant sufficiency, content,
Retirement, rural quiet, friendship, books,

25 Ease and alternate labor, useful life,

Progressive virtue, and approving Heaven !

These are the matchless joys of virtuous love,
And thus their moments fly. The seasons thus,
As ceaseless round a jarring world they roll,

30 Still find them happy ; and consenting Spring
Sheds her own rosy garland on their heads :
Till evening comes at last, serene and mild ;
When, after the long vernal day of life.
Enamored more, as more remembrance swells

35 With many a proof of recollected love,
Together down they sink in social sleep,
Together freed, their gentle spirits fly
To scenes where love and bliss immortal reign.

Thomson,



418 Parker's exercises in [ex. cxm.

EXERCISE CXIII.

Extract from the Preface of a Work entitled " The Wis-
dom and Genius of Shakspeare.''^

The lucid pages of Shakspeare have been justly charac-
terized " the richest, the purest, the fairest, which genius
uninspired ever laid open." His morals are numerous and
of an exalted character ; and more moral knowledge is

5 contained in a few lines, or a sentence of our author, than
is to be found in a whole chapter of those works which
treat expressly of moral science. There is one thing
worthy of special observation in his morals, which presents
his character in a very interesting light ; I refer to the

10 strong tincture which they have of divine truth, affording
evidence of his mind having been deeply imbued with the
pure morality of the Gospel.

This highly interesting feature of his morals I have
pointed out in many instances, by references to particular

15 passages of scripture. Although the first part of the
work is designated Moral Philosophy, the reader must not
infer from thence that there are no morals in the other
sections : the truth is, morals pervade the whole work, but
many of them are so interwoven with the characters, nature,

20 and the passions, &c., as not to admit of being separated.

Our author's paintings of the passions are not less

deserving of our admiration than his moral wisdom and

delineations of character. He is the great master of the

human heart, and depicts in an inimitable manner all the

25 feelings of humanity, from the almost imperceptible emo-
tions to the most tempestuous passions that agitate the



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 36 of 38)