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DEATH OF THE PRINCESS CHARLOTTE OF ENGLAND. .
[The predominating characteristics of this extract, are solemnity, sublim
ity, and pathos. The union of these qualities requires “ orotund” utterance, with perfectly “pure tone” and “median stress,” — the latter strongly marked, in exclamatory and strong expressions. The prevailing note of the voice is low;— the force varies with the emotion, as sublime and forcible, or soft, solemn, and pathetic ; the “movement,” throughout, is slow, — sometimes very slow; and the pauses are, in the latter case, unusually long.]
Born to inherit the most illustrious monarchy in the world, and united at an early period to the object of her choice, whose virtues amply justified her preference, the princess enjoyed the highest connubial felicity, and had the prospect of combining all the tranquil enjoyments of private life, with the splendour of a royal station. Placed on the summit of society, to her every eye was turned; in her every hope was centred; and nothing was wanting to complete her felicity, - except perpetuity.
To a grandeur of mind suited to her illustrious birth, ard lofty destination, she joined an exquisite taste for the beauties of nature, and the charms of retirement; where, far from the gaze of the multitude, and the frivolous agitations of fashionable life, she employed her hours in visiting, with her illustrious consort, the cottages of the poor, in improving her virtues, in perfecting her reason, and acquiring the knowledge best adapted to qualify her for the possession of power, and the cares of empire.
It is no reflection on this amiable princess to suppose, that in her early dawn of life, with the “dew of her youth" so fresh upon her, she anticipated a long series of years, and expected to be led through successive scenes of enchantment, rising above each other in fascination and beauty. It is natural to suppose that she identified herself with this great nation, which she was born to govern; and that, while she contem
lated its preëminent lustre in arts and in arms, its commerce encircling the globe, its colonies diffused through both hemispheres, and the beneficial effects of its institutions, extend
ing to the whole earth; she considered them as so many component parts of her own grandeur.
Her heart, we may well conceive, would often be ruffled with emo ions of trembling ecstasy, when she reflected, that it was her province to live entirely for others; to compose the felicity of a great people; to move in a sphere which would afford scope for the exercise of philanthropy, the most enlarged, -- of wisdom, the most enlightened; and that, while others are doomed to pass thro’igh the world in obscurity, she was to supply the materials of history, and to impart that impulse to society, which was to decide the destiny of future generations. Fired with the ambition of equalling, or sur. passing, the most distinguished of her predecessors, she probably did not despair of reviving the remembrance of the brightest parts of their story, and of once more attaching the epoch of British glory to the annals of a female reign.
It is needless to add that the nation went with her, and probably outstripped her in these delightful anticipations. We fondly hoped that a life so inestimable, would be protracted to a distant period, and that, after diffusing the blessings of a just and enlightened administration, and being surrounded by a numerous progeny, she would gradually, in a good old age, sink under the horizon, amidst the embraces of her family, and the benedictions of her country.
But, alas! these delightful visions are fled; and what do we behold in their room, but the funeral pall and shreud, a palace in mourning, a nation in tears, and the shadow of death settled over both like a cloud? Oh! the unspeakable vanity of human hopes ! the incurable blindness of man to futurity!
- ever doomed to grasp at shadows, to seize with avidity what turns to dust and ashes in his hand,“ to sow the wind, and reap the whirlwind ! ”
Without the slightest warning, without the opportunity of a moment's immediate preparation, - in the midst of the deep est tranquillity, — at midnight, a voice was heard in the palace, - not of singing men, and singing women, not of revelry and mirth, — but the cry, “Behold, the Bridegroom cometh!”
- The mother in the bloom of youth, spared just long enough to hear the tidings of her infant's death, almost immediately, - as if summoned by his spirit, - follows him into eternity!
“ It is a night much to be remembered.” Who foretold this event ? — who conjectured it ?- who detected, at a distance, the faintest presage of its approach, which, when it arrived, mocked the efforts of human skill, as much by their incapacity to prevent, as their inability to foresee it? Unmoved by the tears of conjugal affection, unawed by the presence of grandeur, and the prerogatives of power, inexorable death hastened to execute his stern commission, leaving nothing to royalty itself, but to retire and weep. Who can fail to discern, on this awful occasion, the hand of Him who “ bringeth princes to nothing, who maketh the judges of the earth as vanity ; who says they shall not be planted; yea, they shall not be sown; yea, their stock shall not take root in the earth; and He shall blow upon them, and they shall wither; and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble.”
But is it now any subject of regret, think you, to this amiable young princess, so suddenly removed, “ that her sun went down while it was yet day," or that, prematurely snatched from prospects the most brilliant and enchanting, she was compelled to close her eyes so soon on a world, of whose grandeur she formed so conspicuous a part ? — No! in the full fruition of eternal joys, for which we humbly hope religion prepared her, she is far from looking back with lingering regret on what she has quitted; and, so far as memory may be supposed to contribute to her happiness, by associating the present with the past, it is not by the recollection of her illustrious birth and elevated prospects, — but that she visited the abodes of the poor, and learned to weep with those who weep; — that, surrounded with the fascinations of pleasure, she was not inebriated by its charms; — that she resisted the strongest temptations to pride, preserved her ears open to truth, was impatient of the voice of flattery; — in a word, that she sought and cherished the inspirations of piety, and walked humbly with her God.
Oh! how it tends to quiet the agitations of every earthly interest and earthly passion, when Death steps forward, and demonstrates the littleness of them all, - when he stamps a character of such affecting insignificance on all that we are contending for, - when, as if to make known the greatness of his power, in the sight of a whole country, he stalks in
ghastly triumph over the might and the grandeur of its most august family, and singling out that member of it on whom the dearest hopes and the gayest visions of the people were suspended, he, by one fatal and resistless blow, sends abroad the fame of his victory and his strength, throughout the wide extent of an afflicted nation! He has indeed put a cruel and impressive mockery on all the glories of mortality.
A few days ago, all looked so full of life, and promise, and security, — when we were told that the expectant metropolis of our empire, on tiptve for the announcement of her future monarch, had her winged couriers of despatch to speed the welcome message to the ears of her citizens, and that from her an embassy of gladness was to travel over all the proyinces of the land ; and the country, forgetful of all that she had suffered, was at length to offer the spectacle of one wide and rejoicing jubilee.
O Death! thou hast indeed chosen the time and the victim, for demonstrating the grim ascendency of thy power over all the hopes and fortunes of our species ! — Our blooming princess, — whom fancy had decked with the crown of these realms, and under whose sway all bade so fair for the good and the peace of the nation, — has he placed upon her bier ! And, - as if to fill up the measure of his triumph, — has he laid by her side, that babe, who, but for him, might have been the monarch of a future generation; and he has done that, which by no single achievement he could otherwise have accomplished; — he has sent forth over the whole of our land, the gloom of such a bereavement as cannot be replaced by any living descendant of royalty; - he has broken the direct succession of the monarchy of England; — by one and the sanie disaster, has he awakened the public anxieties of the country, and sent a pang, as acute as that of the most woful visitation, into the heart of each of its families.
The sons and the daughters of royalty, appear to the public eye as stalking on a platform so highly elevated above the general level of society, that it removes them, as it were, from all the ordinary sympathies of our nature. And though we read at times of their galas, and their birthdays, and their drawing-rooms, there is nothing in all this to attach us to their interests and their feelings, as the inhabitants of a familiar home,- as the members of an affectionate family. Surrounded as they are with the glare of a splendid notoriety, we scarcely recognize them as men and as women, who can rejoice, and weep, and pine with disease, and taste the sufferings of mortality, and be oppressed with anguish, and love with tenderness, and experience in their bosoms the same movements of grief or of affection that we do ourselves.
But, if, through an accidental opening, the public should be favoured with a domestic exhibition, — if, by some overpowering visitation of Providence upon an illustrious family, the members of it should come to be recognized as the partakers of one common humanity with ourselves, — if, instead of beholding them in their gorgeousness as princes, we look to them in the natural evolution of their sensibilities as men, - if the stately palace should be turned into a house of mourning; — in one word, if Death should do what he has already done; — he has met the princess of England in the prime and promise of her days, and, as she was moving onward on her march to an hereditary throne, he has laid her at his feet :ah! when the imagination dwells on that bed where the remains of departed youth and departed infancy are lying,– when, instead of contemplating crowns and canopies of grandeur, it looks to the forlorn husband, and the weeping father, and the human feelings which agitate their bosoms, and the human tears which flow down their cheeks, — what is the feeling of the whole country, at so sad an exhibition ? — All is soft and tender as womanhood. Nor is there a peasant in our land, who is not touched to the very heart, when he thinks of the unhappy stranger, who is now spending his days in grief, and his nights in sleeplessness, -as he mourns alone in his darkened chamber, and refuses to be comforted.
[1'he following piece is an example of exquisite poetic beauty, in sub
ject and style. It requires the earnest tone of ardent admiration, softened by tenderness and pathos into the gentlest expression, arising from the most delicate and “subdued” forms of "pure tone” and 6 median stress.” In this and all other poetry of a light, dreumy, and ethereal cast, the pitch inclines high ; — the force is “subdued,”
- corresponding to “piano” and “pianissimo,” in music;— the “ movement” is “slow." The rhythm of the metre should, in all such cases, be distinctly but delicately preserved to the ear.]