« AnteriorContinuar »
gloomy, and peculiar, he sat upon the throne a sceptered hermit, wrapt in the solitude of his own originality. A mind, bold, independent, and decisive; a will, despotic in its dictates; an energy that distanced expedition, and a conscience pliable to every touch of interest', marked the outline of this +extraordinary character'; the most extraordinary, perhaps, that in the annals of this world, ever rose, or reigned, or fell. Flung into life, in the midst of á revolution that quickened every energy of a people who acknowledge no superior, he commenced his course, a stranger by birth, and a scholar by charity. With no friend but his sword, and no fortune but his talents, he rushed in the list where rank, and wealth, and genius had arrayed themselves, and competition filed from him as from the glance of destiny.
2 He knew no motive' but interest'; acknowledged no criterion' but success'; he worshiped no God but ambition, and with an eastern devotion he knelt at the shrine of his idolatry. Subsidiary to
this, there was no creed that he did not profess, there was no opinion that he did not + promulgate; in the hope of a dynasty', he upheld the crescent'; for the sake of a divorce, he bowed before the cross; the orphan of St. Louis, he became the adopted child of the republic; and with a parricidal ingratitude, on the ruins both of the throne and tribune, he reared the throne of his despotism. A professed catholic', he imprisoned the pope'; a pretended patriot, he impoverished the country; and, in the name of Brutus, he grasped without remorse, and wore without shame, the diadem of the Cæsars !
3. Through this pantomime of policy, fortune played the clown to his + caprices. At his touch, crowns' crumbled', beggars' reigned', systems vanished, the wildest theories took the color of his whim, and all that was venerable, and all that was novel, changed places with thé rapidity of a' +drama. Even apparent defeat assumed the appearance of victory; his flight from Egypt confirmed his destiny; ruin itself only elevated him to empire. But if his fortune was great, his genius was transcendent; decision flashed upon his councils; and it was the same to decide and to perform. To inferior intellects his combinations appeared perfectly impossible', his plans perfectly impracticable; but, in his hands, simplicity marked their development', and success + vindicated their adoption'. His person partook the character of his mind; if the one' never yielded in the cabinet', the other' never bent in the field'. Nature had no obstacle that he did not surmount; space no opposition he did not spurn; and whether amid Alpine rocks, Arabian sands, or Polar snows, he seemed proof against peril, and empowered with ubiquity.
4. The whole continent trembled at beholding the + audacity of his designs, and the miracle of their execution. Skepticism bowed
to the prodigies of his performance; romance assumed the air of history, nor was there aught too incredible for belief, or too fanciful for expectation, when the world saw a subaltern of Corsica waving bis imperial ilag over her most ancient capitals. All the visions of antiquity became commonplaces in his contemplation': kings were his people'; nations were his outposts'; and he disposed of courts', and crowns', and camps', and churches', and cabinets', as if they were titular dignitaries of the chessboard. Amid all these changes he stood immutable as adamant.
5. It mattered little whether in the field' or in the drawingroom'; with the mob' or the levee'; wearing the jacobin bonnet' or the iron crown'; banishing a Braganza, or +espousing a Hapsburg; dictating peace on a raft to the Czar of Russia, or contemplating defeat at the gallows of Leipsig; he was still the same military despot.
6. In this wonderful combination, his affectations of literature must not be omitted. The jailer of the press', he affected the patronage of letters'; the proscriber of books, he encouraged philosophy; the + persecutor of authors and the murderer of printers, he yet pretended to the protection of learning; the assassin of Palm, the silencer of de Stäel, and the + denouncer of Kotzebue, he was the friend of David, the benefactor of De Lille, and sent his academic prize to the philosopher of England.
7. Such a medley of contradictions, and at the same time such an individual consistency, were never united in the same character. A royalist'; a republican' and an emperor'; a Mohammedan'; a catholic' and a patron of the synagogue'; a subaltern' and a sovereign'; a traitor and a tyrant'; a Christain' and an infidel'; he was, through all his vicissitudes, the same stern, impatient, +inflexible original; the same mysterious, * incomprehensible self; the man without a model, and without a shadow.
.-In what capacity did Bonaparte commence his career ? Over what nation did he desire to found a dynasty or race of kings ? At what battle did his career of power close? What is meant by his banishing a Braganza, and espousing a Hapsburg ? What was his ruling passion ?
Explain the inflections in paragraphs 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7. (Chiefly antithesis and series. Rules VI, II, 38.)
REMARK.— The tones of the voice and the manner of reading should correspond with the nature of the subject.
[The following is a very difficult sketch to read expressively. The old man dying under torture, and the painter striving to catch the expression of his countenance, and to transfer it to the canvas, are the two objects before the mind. The painter is sometimes talking to himself, sometimes directing his servant, and sometimes replying to the groans and entreaties of the dying man, and, in each of these characters, his supposed manner of expression is to be imitated.] PRONOUNCE correctly. - Pro-me-the-us, not Pro
me-thuse: Cau'ca-sus, not Cau-ca'-sus: vic-tim, not vic-tum : curl, not cull: death-less, not death-liss: ap-pall, not ap-pål. (For the sounds indicated by the figures in words like this, see McGuffey's newly revised Eclectic Spelling Book, p. 12.)
1. Fes'-ter-ing, p. rankling, causing 7. In-sa'-tiate, a. not to be satisfied. corruption.
Yearn'-ing, n, strong emotion of Rapt, a. transported in ecstasy. tenderness or pity. 2. Air’-i-ly, adv. gayly, merrily.
Taunt, v. to upbraid, to revile. 3. A-gape', adv. (pro. a-gahp) gaping, 9. E-clipse', v. to obscure, to darken. having the mouth open.
Here it means to surpass, to go be4. Sti'-fies, v. suppresses, stops.
[ing. 6. Smoth'-er-ing, a. suffocating by Con-cep'-tion, n. the power of think. covering up closely.
11. Pomp, n. splendor, parade.
“Parrhasius, a painter of Athens, bought one of those Olynthian captives which Philip of Macedon brought home to sell; and, when he had him at his house, put him to death with extreme torture and torment, the better by his example, to express the pains and passions of his Prometheus, which he was then about to paint."
In the fables of the ancients, Prometheus is represented as being, by the command of the gods, chained to the rocks of Mount Caucasus, and surrounded by vultures, which are constantly devouring his liver. This, however, grows again as fast as it is eaten, so that he is thus continually enduring the agonies of death, but never dies. It was this Prometheus, thus chained and tortured, that Parrhasius was attempting to paint, and the old man, his captive, was tortured to death, that the painter might copy the expression given by extreme pain to the countenance.
Upon his +
1 PARRHASIUS stood, gazing forgetfully
canvas. There Promethus lay,
Were like the winged god'sť breathing from his flight. 2. “ Bring me the captive now !
My hand feels skillful, and the shadows lift
And I could paint the bow
Colors of such + divinity today.
Look'! as Prometheus in my picture here!!
Now', bend him to the rack'!
And tear agape that healing wound afresh'! 4. “So'! let him writhe'! How long
Will he live thus'? Quick', my good pencil', now!
Ha! gray-haired, and so strong'!
Gods'! if I could paint a dying groan'! 5.
“Pity' thee? So I do';
I'd rack thee', though I knew'
What were ten thousand to a fame like mine? 6. "Ah! there's a deathless name!
A spirit that the smothering vault shall spurn,
And though its crown of flame
* Vulcan, who was the fabled blacksmith of the gods, and who was lame.
“Ay), though it bid me +rifle
Though it should bid me stifle
“ All'! I would do it all",
Oh heavens'! but I appall
9. “Vain — vain-give o'er. His eye
He does not feel you now.
Gods! if he do not die
Conception with the scorn of those calm lips ! 10. “Shivering! Hark! he mutters
Brokenly now; that was a difficult breath;
Look'! how his temple +futters'!
He shudders-gasps' - Jove help him--so', he's dead'!” 11. How like a mountain devil in the heart
Rules this + vareined ambition! Let it once
QUESTIONS.— Who was Parrhasius? Where is Athens ? What was Parrhasius painting ? Relate the fable of Prometheus. Why did the painter torture the old man ? Is such ambition justifiable? What caused the fallen angels to rebel ?
Explain the inflections.
Parse the first “all” in the 8th paragraph. Parse “vain” in the 9th The second “one" in the same. “Devil” in the 11th.