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voice of the wood-lark. It delights to fix its residence near little groves and copses, or quiet pastures, and is a very unobtrusive bird, not uniting in companies, but associating in its own little family parties only, feeding in the woodlands on seeds and insects. Upon the approach of man, it crouches close to the ground, then suddenly darts away, as if for a distant flight, but settles again almost immediately.
The sky-lark will often continue its song, circle in the air, a scarcely visible speck, by the hour together; and the vast distance from which its voice reaches us in a calm day, is almost incredible. In the scale of comparison, it stands immediately below the nightingale in melody and plaintiveness; but greater compass of voice is given to the linnet, a bird of very inferior powers."
The strength of the larynx, and of the muscles of the throat, in birds, is infinitely greater than in the human race. The loudest shout of the peasant, is but a feeble cry, compared with that of the golden-eyed duck, the wild goose, or even this lark. The sweet song of this poor little bird, with a fate like that of the nightingale, — renders it an object of capture and confinement, which few of them comparatively survive.
[An example of serious and grave style, mingling with pathos. The mode of voice in the reading, is that of a pure tone," 5 subdued” and “ moderate " force, — “ pitch” inclining to lou, — " movement,” slow, with gentle 6 median stress,” and prevailing " semitone." A tender but earnest and vivid expression of feeling, should character. ize the whole reading.]
I've felt it oft in childhood's hour, —
The magic of a mother's sigh:
With heart subdued, and drooping eye.
When full of glee, – a wayward child, —
I've stolen from my task away,
That sound, amid the frolic wild,
I've read, with rapt and earnest look,
O’er pages filled with wild romance,-
And broke, at once, the idle trance.
If passion flushed my youthful cheek,
And pride and gloom were on my brow,
Her sigh could bid my spirit bow.
If, checked in folly's wayward whim,
I've turned away with laughing eyes, –
And tears, repentant tears, would rise. ~
My dream has fled; — and wearying care
Has silenced folly's childish strain :
May never, never come again!
But still I feel that holy power;
It thrills my heart, and fills my eye
I yielded to my mother's sigh!
(An example of “gay and humorous” style, requiring moderate loudness,
high pitch, and brisk " movement ;” the whole effect resembling that of the liveliest conversation, in the mood of raillery and burlesque. The common faults in the reading of such pieces, are dulness and monotony.]
How is it that masters, and science, and art,
A youth may have studied, and travelled abroad,
That drapery wrought by the leisurely fair,
There, glows a bright pattern, (a sprig, or a spot,)
But when all is finished, this labour of years,
'Tis thus Education, (so called in our schools,)
See French and Italian spread out on her lap;
And then, for completing her fanciful robes,
Thus Science, distorted, and torn into bits,
THE CLERGYMAN'S DAUGHTER.
(An example of serious conversational manner, requiring attention
chiefly to distinct and spirited utterance.]
AGNES was the eldest of five children, as the two children who succeeded her were both taken off by diseases incident to infancy. This circumstance was an advantage to her; as by rendering her, for some time, the object of her father's attention, it secured for her all the instruction such a companion could bestow; so that before she was called to participate her mother's duties in the household department, she had gained as much knowledge of the rudiments of education, as was necessary to give her a taste for improvement, — a taste which never fails to lead youth into such a disposition of their time, as to enable them to seize every precious moment circumstances allow, for mental cultivation. The little thus acquired, is too dear, too valuable, to be wasted and misapplied.
Thus, amidst incessant occupation, and various petty cares, Agnes became mistress of much estimable knowledge, notwithstanding the obscurity in which she lived, and the necessity of attending to all the common cares of life inseparable from narrow circumstances. — She was well read in the Bible. She thoroughly understood the prayers and the doctrines of her own church, and had a sufficient knowledge of the various modes in which others professed the Christian faith, to feel charity for all, and respect for many. She had likewise read the history of the Jews, that of her own country, and as much of the Greek and Roman, as enabled her to converse with her father, on the subjects to which he occasionally referred, relative to the power and influence of those remarkable nations. She was likewise conversant in Thomson's Seasons, Goldsmith's Deserted Village, and Gray's Poems; had read three volumes of the Spectator, one of the Rambler, and all Tillotson's Sermons.
This stock of erudition, - however humble it may appear to those more highly favoured, - had left a mind of native strength and energy by no means poorly endowed She added to it a knowledge of her needle, above the com
mon standard; she had an excellent ear, and sang, and read, with singular sweetness and fluency; she wrote a neat hand, and understood her own language, and was not ignorant of Latin; to which it may be added that she understood mineralogy, botany, and natural philosophy, sufficiently to render her entertaining to her father, and useful to her mother. But as these were endowments received in the way of chitchat, it never entered the mind of Agnes to class them amongst her attainments. Within the limits of her own parish, there were a few young women similarly instructed by her father, or other friends ; so that her mind was neither left to the dangerous contemplation of its own superiority, which is often the case in secluded situations; nor, as she saw no one superior to her, was she led to repine at their advantages, or sink under the consciousness of humiliating inferiority. Hence arose a proper estimation of herself, a solidity of character, a temperance, propriety, and self-possession, which, combined with deep and fervent piety, unaffected sensibility, and true modesty, rendered her not less estimable than engaging, and promised that the virtuous woman would succeed to the duteous and tender daughter.
TO A DEPARTED FRIEND.
0. W. B. Peabody.
[Deep but gentle pathos, as exemplified in the “ subdued” form of
“pure tone,” is the predominating form of utterance, in the reading of this piece. Sloroness, long pauses, and full feeling, should char acterize the whole.]
Too lovely and too early lost !
My memory clings to thee;
Amid the treacherous sea ; —
The wave too dark before,
Along the midnight shore.