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bedded in velvet within, but without protected by porcupines of husks? With what delight did the young good-for-nothings pelt down those yellow husks to be crushed open by indefatigable heels! Ah! the aurora of life—how bright, how merry it is!
13. Forever linked in the minds of these truants with the chestnut is the walnut. How the green, smooth globes that insphere the fruit make the eyes of the young vagabonds dance, and how eagerly they mount to shake down those globes, each fracturing at the fall, and letting out the round ivories that in turn imprison the dark gold meats !
ANALYSIS OF A PART OF SELECTION I. Is this prose or poetry? Why? Is it a humorous piece ? Is it imaginative ? (See the dictionary, for the meaning of these words.) What is the author aiming to do in it? What must the author have done in order to write it? Could he have prepared himself by merely thinking ? What must you do in order to read the piece well? Have you in your mind a picture of the objects described here? [The pupil should be induced to form such a picture, making it complete, and supplying whatever is omitted in the description.] Are the objects here described beautiful? What good comes of studying beautiful things, or the descriptions of them? Ought this to be read very loud ? very softly? with a high or a low pitch ? slowly or rapidly? Tell how it should be read in all respects. [See Principles and General Directions, p. 41).
First Paragraph. What is the first sentence about? What is said about them? What are spoken of as “ pluming the mountain"? Why is the word "pluming” used, and what does it mean? Tell the same about "edging," "eye-lashing," “ roofing," “sprinkling,” “burying," "darkening.” What is the meaning of “haunted"? What is it to “summon”? Could the author make the trees come before him, as a judge calls a witness ? Meaning of “favorites”? “prime”?
Give the etymology and meaning of mountain, waterfall,
received the show that the actual
homestead, valley, passion, prime. [In giving etymologies, several steps are to be taken. First, separate the word into its parts; next, give the radical meaning of each part; next, the radical meaning of the whole ; next, the actual or received meaning of the word ; next, show how the radical meaning gave place to the received meaning. For an example, take the word successor. By consulting the dictionary, it will be seen that its parts are suc, cess, or; suc, sub, means under or after; cess, ceed, means go; and or means one who. The radical meaning of the whole word, then, is one who goes after. It is easy to show how the received meaning, one who follows another in office, comes from this radical meaning. All these steps must be taken, or the exercise is of little value. The last step is usually the most difficult, and often requires much thought.]
Tell how this paragraph ought to be read. First, show what words are important, and therefore to be read with more force and a more prolonged utterance than ordinary words. Such words are said to be emphatic. Also show at what pauses the voice is to slide upwards, and where downwards, and where it is to vanish without inclining either way. This turning of the voice is called inflection.
Second Paragraph. Give a description of the aspen. What kind of bark is a “mottled” bark? What is the shape of this tree? Why do the leaves of the aspen tremble more readily than other leaves ? How do the leaves of the aspen differ in form from those of the maple? What is meant by the ear's “drinking the music”? What “tumultuous dancing” is meant? Why is it called dancing ? Why is it said to be tumultuous ?
Give the etymology and meaning of tint, delicate, sensitive, motionless, atmosphere, tumultuous, instantly. Show how to read this paragraph.
Third Paragraph. What is meant by the “ lift” of the branches ? What is the shape of the “Greek vase"? What looks “as if a rich vine were wreathed around it"? What gives it this appearance ? Explain the next sentence. What is “chiar'-oscuro" ? Why is the brook the “native place” of the elm? What is meant by “turning the water into ebony”? What is “ scattered over the meadow”?
Give the etymology and meaning of noble, graceful, foliage, landscape, affluence.
Study carefully the important words,—the words that ought to be made emphatic. Also observe the inflections, or the direction in which the voice should turn at the different pauses.
Fourth Paragraph. What is there about the maple that is like a “cupola”? Of what kind of maple is this true? What is meant by a “complete canopy from the summer shower "? What part of the maple tree “reddens"? Is the word “brilliantly" an expressive one here? Why? What are “fringes "? What is it to “gleam”? How does the “ blue-bird tell us spring has come "? What is meant by its “crimson” being “ so rich ” ?
Give the etymology and meaning of splendid, cupola, complete, brilliantly, autumn, crimson. Think carefully of the best way of reading this paragraph.
Fifth Paragraph. Why is the trunk of the beech said to be “snow-spotted”? Point out the difference in form between the leaves of the maple and beech. What is it to be "regularly-scalloped”? What are the “sprays "? What is it to “feather out”? What is “cream-satin ”? Why does the young leaf look like a speck of emerald”? [The pupil needs to examine the beech-tree, and to see it as here described. The same should be done in respect to each of the other trees.] What is the “Indian summer”?
Give the etymology and meaning of delicate, emerald, clusters, constant, continuous.
[Let the teacher continue this analysis through the remainder of this selection, and through the succeeding one. Let questions be prepared by teacher and pupils : it will be an excellent exercise for both.]
II.—THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED. 1. And now the oak, “the brave old oak,” and so forth. Suppose yourself in a wood ! Do you see that little brown vegetable cup with a braided cover--there by the dead maple leaf and tuft of crimson-headed moss? Yon robin just planted his foot upon and covered it. And then do you see that towering tree whose head seems nearly to touch the white cloud above it? Look! upon its very apex there is a bird, seemingly the size of this wild pigeon on the beech-tree, but in reality an eagle. A great many years have intervened between the two objects, it is true, but you think twice ere realizing that yon seamed, stern, sturdy oak once nestled in this acorn. So of all trees, you say, from the seed. True again, but none strikes you so forcibly in this contrast as the oak.
2. And what a tree it is! First piercing the mold, a tiny needle that the ground-squirrel would destroy with a nibble, and then rearing grandly toward the sun a wreath of green to endure for ages. Does the wild wind dash upon it? It shakes its proud head, but no more bends its whole shape than yon crag. Doth the arrowy sleet strike it? Its leaves only make clicking music ; and as for the early snow, it bears it up easily as a deer would fragments of kalmia-blossoms on his antlers. How finely its dark green stands out from the lighter hues of the beeches, birches, and maples ! And then how it keeps old Time at a distance! Why, decades are nothing to it.
3. The child gathers the violet at its foot; as a boy, he pockets its dropped acorns; a man, he looks at its height, towering up, towering up, and makes it the emblem of his ambition. Years after, with white hairs and palsied limbs, he totters at noontide to lie within its shade and slumber, “perchance to dream” of that last sleep which can not be distant, and which “knows no waking.” But has the oak changed ? Mocker of the storm, stern darer of the lightning, there he stands, the same, and seemingly forever. Challenger of Time, defier of earth's changes, there he stands, the pride
orth its be leaves of When the 'and, slow
of the forest, satirizing, in his mute language, alike the variations of fortune and evanescence of man.
4. And he does all things in a grand, slow way, unlike other trees. In spring-time, when the aspen has showed for a month its young leaves of silver gray, when the beech has thrust forth its beautiful feathers, when the maple has made a red rain of its glowing blossoms upon the forest floor, the oak still looks as he did when January was frowning upon his branches. When the aspen has elaborated its small leaves into thick foliage, when the beech has spangled itself over with emerald, when the maple has hung upon its slender stems its broad pearl-lined verdure, no tint of green upon the oak! He stands yet in dark disdain, as if mourning the perished winter.
5. But at last, when the woodland is smiling in its fullydeveloped glory, when the tardy blossoms of the locust and tulip-tree are drenching the air with delicious sweetness, then stirs the oak. Little brown things are scattered over his great boughs, which in due time become long, deep-veined leaves ; and lo! the regal oak has donned his splendid robe. The summer passes, and the autumn comes. What stands at the corner of yon wood, swathed in a mantle of the true imperial ? Crimsons, and yellows, and golden-browns are flashing all around him, as though there were a carnival among the trees ; but no hue is brighter than that of the brave old oak in his robe of royal purple. And he is in no more haste to let that robe of his go than in putting it on.
6. When the shrieking blasts have torn its mantle from every other tree, the oak still clings to his, as if he said to those shrieking blasts, “I defy your fury !” When the snowbird comes twittering among the woods to tell them the snow will shortly be showering loose pearl all through their gaunt domains, the oak yet holds to his mantle, blanched and tattered though it be. High amid the snow-drifts, firm amid the blasts, the pale crackling leaves still cling, with nothing in the wide, bleak forests to keep them company, save here and there a shivering lingerer upon the beech-tree. Often it is only when their successors come “to push them from their stools,” that the old leaves quit the gallant oak and lie down to perish. So, a health to the oak !