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MANNER OF READING VERSE.
WHEN we are reading verse, there is a peculiar difficulty in making the pauses justly. The difficulty arises from the melody" of verse, which dictates to the ear pauses or rests of its own: and to adjust" and compound these properly with the pauses of the sense, so as neither to hurt the ear, nor offend the understanding, is so very nice a matter, that it is no wonder we so seldom meet with good readers of poetry. There are two kinds of pauses that belong to the melody of verse: one is, the pause at the end of the line; and the other, the casural" pause in or near the middle of it. With regard to the pause at the end of the line, which marks that strain or verse to be finished, rhyme renders this always sensible; and in some measure compels us to observe it in our pronunciation. In respect to blank verse, we ought also to read it so as to make every line sensible to the ear: for, what is the use of melody, or for what end has the poet composed in verse, if, in reading his lines, we suppress his numbers, by omitting the final pause; and degraded them, by our pronunciation, into mere prose? At the same time that we attend to this pause, every appearance of sing-song and tone, must be carefully guarded against. The close of the line where it makes no pause in the meaning, ought not to be marked by such a tone as is used in finishing a sentence; but, without either fall or elevation of the voice, it should be denoted only by so slight a suspension of sound, as may distinguish the passage from one line to another, without injuring the mean
g. The other kind of melodious pause, is that which falls somewhere about the middle of the verse, and divides it into two hemistichs"; a pause, not so great as that which belongs to the close of the line, but still sensible to an ordinary ear. This, which is called the casural pause, may fall, in English heroics verse, after the 4th, 5th, 6th, or 7th syllable in the line. Where the verse is so constructed, that this caesural pause coincides with the slightest pause or division in the sense, the line can be read easily; as in the two first verses of Pope's Messiah:
“Ye nymphs of Solyma"! begin the song; “To heav'nly themes",5 sublimer strains belong.” But if it should happen that words which have so strict and intimate a connexion, as not to bear even a momentary reparation, are divided from one another by this casural pause, we then feel a sort of struggle between the sense and the sound, which rénders it difficult to read such lines harmoniously. The rule of proper pronunciation in such cases, is to regard only the pause which the sense forms: and to read the line accordingly. The neglect othe casural pause may make the line sound somewhat unharmoni ously; but the effect would be much worse, if the sense were sacrificed" to the sound. For instance, in the following lines of Milton, “What in me is dark, “Illumine; what is low, raise and support.” the sense clearly dictates the pause after illumine, at the end of the third syllable, which, in reading, ought to be made accordingly; though, if the melody only were to be regarded, illumine should be connected with what follows, and the pause not made till the fourth or sixth syllable. So in the following line of Pope's Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot;" “I sit, with sad civility I read.” the ear plainly points out the caesural pause as falling after sad, the fourth syllable. But it would be very bad reading to make any pause there, so as to separate sad and civility. The sense admits of no other pause than after the second syllable sit, which therefore must be the only pause made in reading this part of the Sentence. There is another mode of dividing some verses, by introducing what may be called demi-casuras, which require very slight pauses; and which the reader should manage with judgment, or he will be apt to fall into an affected sing-song mode of pronouncing verses of this kind. The following lines exemplify the demi-casura. “Warms' in the sun”, refreshes' in the breeze, “Glows' in the stars", and blossoms' in the trees; “Lives' through all life"; extends' through all extent, “Spreads' undivided", operates' unspent.” " Before the conclusion of this introduction, the Compiler" takes the liberty to recommend to teachers, to exercise their pupils" in discovering and explaining the emphatic words, and the proper tones and pauses, of every portion assigned them to read, previously to their being called out to the performance. These preparatory" lessons, in which they should be regularly examined, will improve their judgment and taste; prevent the practice or reading without attention to the subject; and establish a habit of readily discovering the meaning, force, and beauty, of every senterce they peruse.p
any thing. g Pu-ri-sy, pú'-rè-fi, to make or grow pure. DILIGENCE," industry,” and proper improvement of time, are material" duties of the young. The acquisition" of knowledge is one of the most honourable occupations of youth. w Whatever useful or engaging endowments" we possess, joi. requisite, in order to their shining with proper ustre.
culty by which we judge of ourselves.
NotE.-In the first chapter the compiler has exhibited sentences in a great variety of construction, and in all the diversity of punctuation. If well practised upon, he presumes they will fully prepare the young reader for the various pauses, inflections, and modulations of voice, which the succeeding pieces require. The Author’s “English Exercises,” under the head of Punctuation, will afford the learner additional scope for improving himself in reading sentences and paragraphs variously con
Virtuous youth gradually brings forward accomplished and flourishing manhood. - - ** Sincerity and truth, form the basis of every virtue. Disappointments and distress are often blessings in disulse. - ". g Change and alteration form the very essence of the world. True happiness is of a retired nature, and an enemy to pomp and noise. In order to acquire a capacity for happiness, it must be our first study to rectify inward disorders. Whatever purifies, fortifies also the heart. From our eagerness to grasp, we strangle and destroy pleasure. - A temperate spirit, and moderate expectations, are excellent safeguards of the mind, in this uncertain and changing state. There is nothing except simplicity of intention, and purity of principle, that can stand the test of near approach and strict examination. The value of any possession is to be chiefly estimated, by the relief which it can bring us in the time of our greatest need. No person who has once yielded up the government of his mind, and given loose rein to his desires and passions, can tell how far they may carry him. Tranquillity" of mind is always most likely to be attained, when the business of the world is tempered with thoughtful, and serious retreat." - - He who would act like a wise man, and build his house on the rock, and not on the sand, should contemplate human life, not only in the sunshine, but in the shade. Let usefulness and beneficence," not ostentation' and , vanity, direct the train of your pursuits. To maintain a steady and unbroken mind, amidst all the shocks of the world, marks a great and noble spirit. . Patience, by preserving composure within, resists the io. which trouble makes from without. ompassionate" affections, even when they draw tears o our eyes for human misery, convey satisfaction to the eart. They who have nothing to give, can afford relief to others, by imparting what they feel. w Our ignorance of what is to come, and of what is really good or evil, should correct anxiety about worldly success