« PreviousContinue »
terrible eyes; you are raised beyond the vanity of tears in her tremendous presence. No, you cannot weep; “ but yet the pity of it, lago ! O lago, the pity of it, Iago !”
There is a certain statuesque force in these old scenes. Would any one put a scroll of written agony in Laocoön's mouth? Shall Niobe cry aloud,“ Me miseram ?” The figures are enough ; voices, sobs, shrieks are not wanted.
What can be more effective than that simple contrast which the last stanzas give between the two pictures already so vividly drawn ?between the repose and the tossing, the stillness of the chapel and the wild sea-murmurs—the priestly services and the tumultuous ritual of Nature ? With these lines the tenth canto of Tennyson's In Memoriaın might be well compared or contrasted. Still more readily do they bring to one's mind the following exquisite lines, which harp on the same fancy, in a much different mood, and amidst different circumstances :
“The dismal yew and cypress tall
Weigh o'er the churchyard lone,
Beneath the funeral stone.
O early lost, o'er thee
Mocherna lorn am I !
(x.) I have only further to suggest, that before passing on from one poem to another a rapid recapitulation of what has been said or done might be advisable. A careful paraphrase might now be asked for ; the pupil would find it good to note the difference between this his riper and better instructed work and his own unassisted effort : that is, the abstract which was recommended to be done by way of preparation. Once more the poem might be recited ; and, if elocution does ir:deed depend upon intelligence and comprehension, then in this matter too there ought to be seen a great improvement in the style in which the recital is executed.
Of course every piece studied cannot be explored in this minute manner; but certainly occasional pieces might be so. As a rule, any one of the lines of study that have been suggested might be pursued singly, or at all events principally, and the others subordinated to it.
Of course much more may be added to what has been said. In the above essay many points of interest have been left untouched. The aim of these remarks has been to be suggestive, not exhaustive. But perhaps enough has been said to show to what educational account a not extraordinary piece of English writing may be turned. To the humble-minded and thoughtful teacher a common English song may prove as mind-stirring as “the meanest flower that blows” to the true poet; and no teacher is likely to succeed in his great work, when his own mind is not stirred and excited by whatever is the subject of his instruction. After some such lesson as that just attempted, proper curtailments and expansions having been made, will not the intelligence of the pupil have been thoroughly exercised ?- will not his previously acquired knowledge have been called into use and arranged better?-will he not have added something to that better ordered store ?_will he not, while awaking to a pleasant consciousness of what the power of his mind is, and what apparent entanglements it can unravel if properly trained and directed, learn also how much there is that is beyond his reach, and how, of what lies within his reach, the better part may not be won“ without dust and heat :”– learn the great lesson which concerns not only his schoolboy days, but all the days of his life, that there is nothing worthy to be achieved without sincere, ul.daunted, never-wearying industry?