Page images
PDF
EPUB

had a distant view of the cloisters,* with the figure of an old verger,* in his black gown, moving along their shadowy vaults, and seeming like a spectre * from one of the neighboring tombs. ss The approach to the abbey through these gloomy monastic remains prepares the mind for its solemn contemplation. The cloisters still retain something of the quiet and seclusion of former days. The gray walls are discolored by damps and crumbling with age; a coat of hoary moss has gathered over 20 the inscriptions of the mural * monuments, and obscured the death's-heads and other funereal emblems. The sharp touches of the chisel are gone from the rich tracery of the arches; the roses which adorned the keystones have lost their leafy beauty ; everything bears marks of the gradual dilapidations * of time, 25 which yet has something touching and pleasing in its very decay.

3. The sun was pouring down a yellow autumnal ray into the square of the cloisters, beaming upon a scanty plot of grass in the centre, and lighting up an angle of the vaulted passage with 30 a kind of dusky splendor. From between the arcades the eye glanced up to a bit of blue sky or a passing cloud, and beheld the sun-gilt pinnacles * of the abbey towering into the azure heaven.

13. eloisters. A cloister is a covered / 14. verger, beadle, or attendant.

arcade forming part of a mo- 19, damps, moisture.
nastic or collegiate establish- 24. keystones. A keystone is the stone
ment, surrounding thc inner on the top or middle of an
quadrangular area of the build-

arch or vault which binds the ings, with numerous large win

work. dows looking into the quadran- | 29. square of the cloisters, the inner gle.

quadrangular area. See note 13.

LITERARY ANALYSIS.-13. cloisters. Etymology?

22. funereal. Distinguish between the adjectives funereal and funeral. (Glossary.)

22–27. A vigorous mode of statement is first to specify and then to generale ise. Show how the principle is exemplified in this sentence.

25. dilapidations. What is the primary signification of dilapidation? Is there a peculiar felicity in its use here?

4. As I paced the cloisters, sometimes contemplating this min- 35 gled picture of glory and decay, and sometimes endeavoring to decipher the inscriptions on the tombstones which formed the pavement beneath my feet, my eye was attracted to three figures, rudely carved in relief, but nearly worn away by the footsteps of many generations. They were the effigies * of three of the early ** abbots; the epitaphs * were entirely effaced ; the names alone remained, having no doubt been renewed in later times (Vitalis . Abbas . 1082, and Gislebertus . Crispinus . Abbas . 1114, and Laurentius . Abbas . 1176). I remained some little while musing over these casual relics of antiquity, thus left like wrecks 45 upon this distant shore of time, telling no tale but that such beings had been and had perished ; teaching no moral but the futility of that pride which hopes still to exact homage * in its ashes. and to live in an inscription. A little longer, and even these faint records will be obliterated, and the monument will cease to 55 be a memorial.

5. While I was yet looking down upon these gravestones, I was roused by the sound of the abbey clock, reverberating from buttress * to buttress, and echoing among the cloisters. It is al

39. in relief. A figure in relief is one or representation of a person,

that projects above or beyond whether a full figure or a picture
the ground or plane on which of the whole or a part, in sculpt.
it is formed. Relief is of three ure, bass-relief, etc.
kinds—high, demi, and low re. 41. abbots, superiors or governors of
lief. The last, low relief (basso. abbeys.
rilievo), is where the figure pro. 43. Abbas abbot.
jects but little ; and in this kind 54. buttress, a projecting support to
of relief are the figures spoken the exterior of a wall, most
of above.

commonly applied to churches 40. efligies. An effigy is a likeness

in the Gothic style.

LITERARY ANALYSIS.—35-40. As I passed ... generations. What kind of sentence rhetorically? Change into the direct order.

35, 36. mingled picture of glory and decay. What were the points of glory in the “mingled picture?” What the features of " decay ?”

45. casual relics of antiquity. Explain. — left like wrecks, etc. What is the figure?- What fact in the inscription authorizes the phrase " distant shore of time?”

48. pride which hopes, etc. What is the figure? (See Def. 29.)

51. memorial. What is a memorial? Why will the monument " cease to be a memorial ?"

most startling to hear this warning of departed time sounding 55 among the tombs, and telling the lapse of the hour, which, like a billow, has rolled us onward towards the grave. I pursued my walk to an arched door opening to the interior of the abbey. On entering here, the magnitude of the building breaks fully upon the mind, contrasted with the vaults * of the cloisters. 60 The eyes gaze with wonder at clustered columns of gigantic dimensions, with arches springing from them to such an amazing height; and man wandering about their bases shrunk into insignificance in comparison with his own handiwork. The spaciousness and gloom of this vast edifice produce a profound and 65 mysterious awe.* We step cautiously and softly about, as if fearful of disturbing the hallowed silence of the tomb ; while every footfall whispers along the walls, and chatters among the sepulchres, making us more sensible * of the quiet we have interrupted.* It seems as if the awful nature of the place presses 70 down upon the soul, and hushes the beholder into noiseless reverence. We feel that we are surrounded by the congregated bones of the great men of past times, who have filled history with their deeds, and the earth with their renown.

6. And yet it almost provokes a smile at the vanity of human 75 ambition to see how they are crowded together and jostled in the dust : what parsimony is observed in doling * out a scanty nook, a gloomy corner, a little portion of earth, to those whom,

LITERARY ANALYSIS.—57. has rolled. Is this expression literal or meta. phorical? Does a billow roll anything? Is “rolled” the best word then? Substitute a better.

63. and man. Supply the ellipsis.

66. awe. Discriminate between “awe” and dread and reverence (Glossary, "awe"), and show that “awe” is the fitting word here. To the thought raised by the word "awe,” show what is added by the epithets “profound” and “mysterious."

70. as if. Query as to the use of “if.”

75. it almost provokes, etc. “It” is the anticipative subject to provokes : what is the full logical subject ? (This instance well illustrates the convenience of this idiom.)

77. parsimony. Etymology?-doling. Etymology?

77, 78. How many expressions does Irving employ to denote the small space given to each of the dead great ones? Is this combination chargeable with tautology? Give reasons pro or con.

when alive, kingdoms could not satisfy ; and how many shapes and forms and artifices are devised to catch the casual notice of so the passenger, and save from forgetfulness, for a few short years, a name which once aspired to occupy ages of the world's thought and admiration.

7. I passed some time in Poets' Corner, which occupies an end of one of the transepts or cross aisles of the abbey. The ss monuments are generally simple, for the lives of literary men afford no striking themes for the sculptor.* Shakespeare and Addison have statues erected to their memories ; but the greater part have busts, medallions,* and sometimes mere inscriptions. Notwithstanding the simplicity of these memorials, I have always 90 observed that the visitors to the abbey remained longest about them. A kinder and fonder feeling takes the place of that cold curiosity or vague admiration with which they gaze on the splendid monuments of the great and the heroic. They linger about these as about the tombs of friends and companions ;* 95 for indeed there is something of companionship between the

84. Poets' Corner. Poets' Corner oc

speare stands like a sentimentcupies nearly a half of the south al dandy.”

CUNNINGHAM: transept. It is so called from Hand - book of London. The the tombs and honorary monu body of Shakespeare lies in the ments of Chaucer (died 1400), church at Stratford-on-Avon. Spenser, Shakespeare, and many The statue of Addison (by others of the greatest English Westmacott) was erected 1809; poets.

his body lies in another part of 87,88. Shakespeare and Addison

the abbey (Henry VII.'s Chapstatues. The monument to

el). Shakespeare was erected in the 89. medallions, circular tablets reign of George II. “Shake which figures are embossed.

on

LITERARY ANALYSIS.—84-110. To what is this paragraph devoted ?-State briefly, in your own language, the different feelings with which visitors (of sensibility) regard the memorials of illustrious authors and those of the mere. ly worldly great.-Explain what is meant by the remark that the intercourse between the author and his fellow-men is “ever new," etc.

88. have. What is the grammatical construction ?
89-92. Notwithstanding ... them. Analyze this sentence.
95. these.

What noun does "these ” represent? Is there any ambiguity in the reference ?

author and the reader. Other men are known to posterity only through the medium of history, which is continually growing faint and obscure ; but the intercourse between the author and his fellow-men is ever new, active, and immediate. He has 100 lived for them more than for himself; he has sacrificed surrounding enjoyments, and shut himself up from the delights of social life, that he might the more intimately commune * with distant minds and distant ages. Well may the world cherish his renown; for it has been purchased, not by deeds of violence 105 and blood, but by the diligent dispensation of pleasure. Well may posterity be grateful to his memory; for he has left it an inheritance, not of empty names and sounding actions, but whole treasures of wisdom, bright gems of thought, and golden veins of language.

IIO

8. From Poets' Corner I continued my stroll towards that part of the abbey which contains the sepulchres of the kings. I wandered among what once were chapels,* but which are now occupied by the tombs and monuments of the great. At every turn I met with some illustrious name, or the cognizance * of some 115 powerful house renowned in history. As the eye darts into these dusky chambers of death, it catches glimpses of quaint effigies ; some kneeling in niches, as if in devotion ; others stretched upon the tombs, with hands piously pressed together ;

101, 102. sacrificed surrounding enjoy. | other illustrious literary men

ments. Spenser, who is buried who lie in this splendid mauso-
in the abbey, died in West leum.
minster “from lack of bread," 115. cognizance, a badge or other em-
as is recorded. The same can blem of a noble “house" or
be said of not a few of the family.

LITERARY ANALYSIS. -97 - 100. Other men immediate. What is the figure? (See Def. 18.)

104. Well may the world, etc. How is "well” here made emphatic?

105. for it has been purchased, etc. Effectiveness is obtained in this sentence by a negative form of statement first, and then the positive.

106-110. Well may... language. Remark on the mode of statement with reference to the point in the last note.

112. which contains, etc. Change from an adjective clause to an adjective phrase.

With what noun is “some" in apposition ?

118. som

« PreviousContinue »