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thing more than a woman, — and said to her, 'What a pretty child you have there!'-'Take it,' - replied the mother, who, degraded as she was, understood every thing with a word, - a look, — You can give it back to me at the bottom of the steps.
“Maternal electricity had acted on the two hearts:— the crowd felt it. My mother took the child, embraced it, and made use of it as an ægis against the enraged crowd.
“The man of nature resumed his rights over the man brutalized by the effects of social disease :— the barbarians calling themselves civilized, were conquered by two mothers. Mine, rescued, descends into the court of the Palace of Justice, - crosses it, - goes towards the square, without receiving a blow, or the least injury. She reached the grating, and gave back the child to the person who had lent it to her; and, in the same moment, they separated without speaking a single word. The place was not favourable for thanks or explanations. They said nothing to each other of their secret. They never saw each other again ! — The souls of these two mothers will meet somewhere else.”
[Feeling being the great element of sentiment, and poetry always
giving more scope to feeling than prose, the following exercise demands attention, in the first place, to the tone of full and deep though gentle emotion, and, next, to the comparatively long pauses which feeling always produces.]
Hast thou sounded the depth of yonder sea,
Hast thou talked with the blessed, of leading on
Evening and morn hast thou watched the bee
Hast thou gone with the traveller thought afar ?
There is not a grand, inspiring thought,
And ever since earth began, that look
There are teachings on earth, and sky, and air;
(Poetic description, in prose, requires the same fulness of feeling, as when the composition is in the form of verse. Pathos, solemnity, and beauty, are the predominating modes of expression, in the following piece. The voice should be gentle and low, throughout the reading; the “movement” slow; the articulation, delicate but distinct.]
The music of church bells has become a matter of poetry. I remember, though somewhat imperfectly, a touching story connected with the church bells of a town in Italy, which had become famous, all over Europe, for their peculiar sulemnity and sweetness. They were made by a young Italian artisan, and were his heart's pride. During the war, the
place was sacked, and the bells carried off, no one knew whither. After the tumult was over, the poor fellow returned to his work; but it had been the solace of his life to wander about at evening, and listen to the chime of his bells; and he grew dispirited and sick, and pined for them till he could no longer bear it, and left his home, determined to wander over the world, and hear them once again before he died. He went from land to land, stopping in every village, till the hope that alone sustained him began to falter ; and he knew, at last, that he was dying.
He lay, one evening, in a boat that was slowly floating down the Rhine, almost insensible, and scarce expecting to see the sun rise again, that was now setting gloriously over the vine-covered hills of Germany.* Presently, the vesper bells of a distant village began to ring; and, as the chimes stole faintly over the river, with the evening breeze, he started from his lethargy. — He was not mistaken. It was the deep, solemn, heavenly music of his own bells; and the sounds that he had thirsted for years to hear, were melting over the water.
He leaned from the boat, with his ear close to the calm surface of the river, and listened. They rung out their hymn, and ceased; — and he still lay motionless in his painful posture. His companions spoke to him; but he gave no answer : - his spirit had followed the last sound of the vesper chime.
There is something exceedingly impressive in the breaking in of church bells on the stillness of the Sabbath. I doubt whether it is not more so in the heart of a populous city, than anywhere else. The presence of any single, strong feeling, in the midst of a great people, has something of awfulness in it, which exceeds even the impressiveness of nature's breathless Sabbath.
I know few things more imposing than to walk the streets of a city, when the peal of the early bells is just beginning. The deserted pavements, the closed windows of the places of business, the decent gravity of the solitary passenger, and, over all, the feeling, in your own bosom, that the fear of God is brooding, like a great shadow, over the thousand human beings who are sitting still in their dwellings around you, were enough, if there were no other circumstance, to hush the heart into a religious fear. But when the bells peal out suddenly with a summons to the temple of God, and their
* There is a similar tradition regarding the bells of St. Mary's Church, in Limerick, Ireland.,
echoes roll on through the desolate streets, and are unanswered by the sound of any human voice, or the din of any human occupation, the effect has sometimes seemed to me more solemn than the near thunder.
Far more beautiful, and, perhaps, quite as salutary as a religious influence, is the sound of a distant Sabbath bell in the country. It comes floating over the hills, like the going abroad of a spirit; and as the leaves stir with its vibrations, and the drops of dew tremble in the cups of the flowers, you could almost believe that there was a Sabbath in nature, and that the dumb works of God rendered visible worship for His goodness. The effect of nature alone is purifying; and its thousand evidences of wisdom are too eloquent of their Maker, not to act as a continual lesson; but combined with the instilled piety of childhood, and the knowledge of the inviolable holiness of the time, the mellow cadences of a church bell give to the hush of the country Sabbath, a holiness to which only a desperate heart could be insensible,
MY MARY. Cowper.
[An example of pathos, which produces a pure tone,” in the form of "subdued” force. A softened utterance, gentle “median stress," prolonged “ quantity,” and prevailing semitone, a high pitch, and slow “ movement,” are the chief characteristics of the style of reading required in this piece.]
The twentieth year is well nigh past,
. My Mary!
For though thou gladly would'st fulfil
My Mary! Thy indistinct expressions seem Like language uttered in a dream; Yet me they charm, whate'er the theme,
My Mary! Thy silver locks, once auburn bright, Are still more lovely in my sight Than golden beams of orient light,
My, Mary! For could I view nor them nor thee, What sight worth seeing could I see? The sun would rise in vain for me,
My Mary! Partakers of thy sad decline, Thy hands their little force resign; Yet, gently pressed, press gently mine,
My Mary! Such feebleness of limbs thou prov'st, That now, at every step, thou mov'st Upheld by two, — yet still thou lov'st,
My Mary! And still to love, though pressed with ill, In wintry age to feel no chill, With me is to be lovely still,
My Mary! But ah! by constant heed I know, How oft the sadness that I show, Transforms thy smiles to looks of woe,
My' Mary! And should my future lot be cast With much resemblance of the past, Thy worn-out heart will break at last,
My Mary! * Pronounced, huzzwifs.