« PreviousContinue »
RULE VIII. At the end of every line in poetry must be a pause proportioned to the intimate or remote connexion subsisting between the two lines.
A simile in poetry ought always to be read in a lower tone of voice than that part of the passage which precedes it.
Sublime, grand, and magnificent description in poetry, frequently requires a lower tone of voice, and a sareness nearly approaching to a monotone.
In contradistinction to the recorded opinion of a clever Elocutionist on the subject of Rhetorical Punctuation, the Editor of the “Rhetorical Reader” ventures to say, that one of the great secrets, as well as charms, in the art of reading and speaking (as in Singing) is to know “ when, and where, and how” to breathe ; and that judicious rhetorical pausing constitutes an important, indispensable portion of the science. The remaining pauses-neither few in number, nor minor in importance-will appear in the course of the work as foot-notes.
THE DEAD ASS.
AND thi's, said he', (putting the remains of a cru'st/ into his wallet)—and thi's should have been thy portion (said he'), ha'dst thou been ali've/ to have shar'ed it with me. I thought, by the accent, it had been an apostrophe to his child'; but it was to his A^ss ;* and to the very ass/ we had seen dead in the road', which had occasioned La Fleur's misadven'ture. The man/ seemed to laʼment it much'; and, it instantly brought into my min'd/ Sâncho's-lamentation for hi's ; but he did it/ with more true touc'hes of na'ture.
The m'ourner/ was sitting upon a stone bench'/ at the door', with the ass's pan'nel and its bri'dle/ on one side', which he took u'p/ from time to time—then', laid them down —look'ed at them, and sh'ook his head'. He then took his crust of bread out of his wal'let again', as if to eat' it; held it some ti'me/ in his ha'nd—the’n/ laid it upon the biť of his ass's bri'dlelooked wist'fully/ at the little arra'ngement/ he had ma'de—and then', gave a sigh.
The simpli city of his grie'f/ drew numbers abo'ut him, and La Fleurs among the rest, while the horses were getting ready': as I continued sitting in the postchaise', I could see and hear'/ over their heads'.
He s'aid/ he had come last from Spain', where he had been from the farthest borders of Franco'nia; and had got so far' on his return home', when the ass died'. Every one) seemed desi'rous to know', what business could have taken so old and poor a man', so far a jou’rney/ from his own home'.
*“ Ass” requires the falling circumflex. See foot note, p. 5, "Introductory Outline.”
It had pleased Hea'ven, he said', to bless him with three sons', the finest la'ds/ in all Ge'rmany; but, having in one week lost two of them by the small' pox, and the young‘est/ falling ill of the same distem'per, he was afraid of being bereft of them a’ll, and made a vow, if Heaven would not take him from him also, he would goʻl in gra'titude/ to St. Ia'go/ in Spa'in.
When the mourner got thus far in his stoʻry, he stop'ped, to pay nature her tribute—and wept bitterly.
He said/ Heaven had ac'cepted the conditions ; and that he had set out from his cottage/ with this poor crea'ture, who had been a patient partner of his joʻurney—that it had eaten the same bread with him all the way', and was unto him', as a friend
Every body/_who stood about heard the poor* fellow with concern La Fleur' offered him money — The mourner said/ he did not wan't it—it was not the value of the ass—but the losst of him—The ass, he said', he was assur'ed lov'ed him-and, upon this', told them a long story of a mischance' upon their pas'sage, over the Pyrenean moun tains, which had separated them from each oʻther three days ; during which tim'e the ass had sought him/ as much as he had sought the a'ss, and that neither had scarce eaten / nort dru'nk/ till they
Thou hast Ône comfort, friend, said I, at least', in the loss of thy poor beast' ; I am sure thou hast been a merciful mas’ter to him.— Al'as ! (said the mo'urner,) I thought so, when he was alive'], but no'w he is de'ad/ I think' other'wisem I fear the wei'ght of myself and my afflic'tions toge'ther, have been too much for him—they have shortened the poor creature's days', and I fe'ar! I have them to an'swer for. Shame on the world! said I to my'self)—Did we but love e'ach other, as this poor soul/ loved his ass'—'twould be something
* It may be laid down as a general rule respecting the pronunciation of adjectives, that they ought never to receive a more than ordinary stress of voice_never superior to the substantive, unless they are obviously antithetic.
+ “ Loss,” and “ one,” are both marked with the falling circumflex,
$ The legitimate correspondent of neither is nor.- -IRVING.
—They were the swee'test notes'/ I ever heard'; and I instantly let down the forse-glass/ to hear them mor'e distinctly
'Tis Mari'a, said the postil'lion, (observing I was list'ening) -Poor Maria', continued he', (leaning his body on one side to let me se'e her, for/ he was in a line between us) is sitting upon a bank/ playing her vespers upon her pipe', with her little go’at/ besi de her.
The young fellow/ uttered thi's/ with an ac'cent and a look/ so perfectly in tune/'to a feeling heart', that I instantly made a vow, I would give him a four-and-twenty sous pie'ce/ when I got to Moulines'.
–And who' is poor Maria ? said I.
The love and pity of all the villages aro'und us, said the postillion : it is but three years ag'o, that the sun did not shine upon so fair', so quick-witted, and aʼmiable-a-maid,* and better fate! did Maria dese'rve, than to have her ban'ns forbi d/ by the intrigues of the curate of the pa'rish/ who pu'blished them
He was going o'n, when Mari'a (who had made a short pause') put the pipe to her mouth', and began the air again they were the same n'otes-yet were ten times sweeter. It is the evening service to the Vir'gin, said the young man — buť| who has taught her to play it-or, ho'w she came by her pipe', no one knows': we think that Heâven has assisted her in both'; for'/ e'ver since she has been unsettled in her mind', it seems her only consola'tion—she has never once had the pipe out of her hand', but plays that ser'vice upon it, a'lmost night and day.
The postillion delivered this with so much discre'tion and natural e loquence, that I could not help deciphering something in his face'l aboʻve his condition, and should have sifted out his his'tory, had not poor Mar'ia/ taken such full posses'sion of me.
* “ Amiable-a-maid" may be regarded as one rhetorical word.
We had gʻot/ by this tim'e/ almost to the baʼnk/ where Maria was sitting : she was in a thin/* white jac'ket, with her hai'r (all but two tres'ses) drawn up in a silken ne't, with a few olive leaves' (twisted a little fantas'tically) on one side—she was beau'tiful ; a’nd, if e'ver I felt the full force of an honest heart'-ache, it was the moment I sa'w her
God he'lp-her !-poor-dam'sel ! above a hundred m'asses (said the postillion) have been said in the several parish church'es and con'vents ar’ound-for-her-b’ut, without effe'ct: we have still hospes (as she is sensible for short in'tervals), that the Virʻgins at last/ will restore her to herself ; but, her pa’rents (who kno'w her best') are hopeless upon that score', and think/ her sen’ses/ are lost' for ever.
As the postillion spoke this', Maria made a cadence so melancholy, so ten der, and que'rulous, that I sprang out of the cha'ises to help her, and found myself si’tting/ betwixt her! and her goať, before I relap'sed/ from my enthusiasm.
Maria looked wis'tfully/ for some time at me', and th'en/ at her goat',—and then at me'—and then at her goat' agʻain, and so' on' alternately.
-Well',-Maria,-(said-I-so'ftly) - What resemblance do you
find ? I do entreat the candid reader to believ'e me, that it was from the hum'blest conviction of what a beast man is', that I asked the ques'tion ; and that I would not have let fallen an unseasonable plea'santry, in the venerable presence of Mi'sery, to be entitled to all the wit' that ever Rabelais scattered.
Adieu', Maria' !- adieu', poor', hap'less dam'sel ! time (but not now) I may hear thy sorrows from thy own lips'—but, I was deceiv'ed; fo'r/ that mo'ment she took her pi'pe, and told me such a tale of woe/ wi'th it, that I rose up', a'nd/+ with bro'ken and irre'gular steps', walked softly to my chaise'.
When we had got within half a league of Moulines', at a little opening in the road/ leading to a thick'et, I discovered
* When two or more adjectives come together, it is necessary to pause between them ;-care being taken to give the last the most accentual force.
† Our duty at "and” and “but,"' in nine cases out of ten, is to take a breath, and keep the voice up.