Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Youth.

St. P. N.

Youth.

St. P. N.
Youth.

Why then, for aught I know, I may be made a bishop.
Be it so-what then?

Why, cardinal's a high degree,

And yet my lot it possibly may be..
Suppose it was-what then?

Why who can say
But I've a chance

of being pope one day?
St. P. N. Well, having worn the mitres and red hat,9
And triple crown,10 what follows after that?
Nay, there is nothing" further, to be sure,
Upon this earth that wishing can procure:
When I've enjoyed a dignity11 so high
As long as God shall please, then-Ï must die.

Youth.

St. P. N. What ? must you die! fond12 youth, and at the best
But wish, and hope, and may-be, all the rest ?
Take my advice-whatever may betide,13
For that which must be, first of all provide,
Then think of that which may be: and indeed,
When well prepared, who knows what may succeed ?
But you may be, as you are pleased to hope,
Priest, canon, bishop, cardinal, and pope.

BYROM.

CAUTIONS: a. Avoid the verse-accent on as, and hurry on to old-writers. b. Avoid the verse-accent on into. c. Read this line as prose. d. The emphasis is on are. e. Hasten on to priest. f. The important word in this line is canon; and the rest ought to be read rapidly. g. Hasten on to chance. h. Nothing is the emphatic word. i. Emphasis on this. j. Hasten on to advice. k. Emphasis on

may.

MEANINGS: 1. St. Philip Neri, a famous priest who lived at Rome. 2. Sober, serious. 3. Fell into discourse, began to talk to him. 4. Dialogue, conversation between two or more persons. 5. Suppose it so, suppose that you are a priest. 6. Canon, a priest in a cathedral. 7. Cardinal, the highest rank in the Church of Rome next to the pope. 8. Mitre, cap of a bishop. 9. Red hat, cardinals wear a red hat with long strings, red stockings, and purple cloak. 10. Triple crown, three crowns on the mitre worn by the pope. 11. Dignity, rank. 12. Fond, silly. 13. Betide, happen.

[ocr errors]

A DAY IN JUNE.

This poem was written by Mr. J. RUSSELL LOWELL, a Professor in Harvard College, Massachusetts, U.S. He is perhaps the most original poet in America, though he is not so well known as Mr. Longfellow. He was born in 1819.

OH! what is so rare as a day in June ?
come perfect days;

Then, if ever,

Then Heaven tries the earth if it be in tune,
And over it softly her warm car lays :-

A DAY IN JUNE.

Whether we look, or whether we listen,
We hear life murmur, or see it glisten;
Every clod feels a stir of might,

An instinct within it that reaches and towers,1
And, grasping blindly above it for light,
Climbs to a soul in grass and flowers;
The flush of life may well be seen

Thrilling back over hills and valleys;
The cowslip startles in meadows green,

The buttercup catches the sun in its chalice,2 And there's never a leaf or blade too mean

To be some happy creature's palace.

The little bird sits at his door in the sun,

Atilt3 like a blossom among the leaves
And lets his illumined being o'errun

With the deluge of summer it receives;
His mate feels the egg beneath her wings,
And the heart in her dumb breast flutters and sings;
He sings to the wide world, and she to her nest-
In the nice ear of Nature which song is the best?
Now is the high-tide of the year,

And whatever of life hath ebbed away
Comes flooding back, with a ripply cheer,

Into every bare inlet and creek and bay;
Now the heart is so full that a drop overfills it,
We are happy now because God so wills it;
No matter how barren the past may have been,
'Tis enough for us now
that the leaves are green;
We sit in the warm shade and feel right well
How the sap creeps up and the blossoms swell.

We may shut our eyes,
but we cannot help knowing
That skies are clear and grass is growing;
That the breeze comes whispering in our ear,
That dandelions are blossoming near,

That corn has sprouted, that streams are flowing,

That the river is bluer than the sky,

That the robin is plastering his house hard by.
And if the breeze kept the good news back,
For other couriers we should not lack;

We could guess it all by yon heifer's lowing-
And hark! how clear bold chanticleer,
Warmed with the new wine of the year,

Tells all in his lusty crowing!

Joy comes, grief goes,
Everything is happy now,
Everything is upward striving;

we know not how:

157

'Tis as easy now for the heart to be true
As for grass to be green or skies to be blue-
'Tis the natural way of living:
Who knows whither the clouds have fled ?

In the unscarred heaven they leave no wake;
And the eyes forget the tears they have shed,
The heart forgets its sorrow and ache.

CAUTIONS: a. The chief quality in this poem to be attended to, is the great variety of the rhythms. Sometimes they are gay and rapid; sometimes slow and solemn; but throughout it is full of life and animal spirits. b. There are six sentences in the long "complex sentence" which constitutes this verse; but the voice must be sustained to the end.

MEANINGS: 1. Towers, rises up as high as it can. 2. Chalice, cup. 3. Atilt, standing on tip-toe. 4. Courier, running messenger, from the French courir, to run. 5. Chanticleer, from the French chanter, to sing, and clair, clear; therefore="sing-clear."

THE COMING OF SPRING.

The variety of the verse is supposed to express the variety of the feelings produced by Spring.

LAUD1 the first spring daisies;
Chaunt aloud their praises;
Send the children up

To the high hill's top;

Tax not the strength of their young hands
To increase your lands.
Gather the primroses,
Make handfuls into posies;

Take them to the little girls who are at work in mills.

Pluck the violets blue,-
Ah, pluck not a few!

Knowest thou what good thoughts from heaven the violet instils ?

See, the birds together,
In this splendid weather,

Worship God (for He is God of birds as well as men). -
And each feathered neighbour
Enters on his labour,-

Sparrow, robin, redpole, finch, the linnet, and the wren.
As the year advances,
Trees their naked branches
Clothe, and seek your pleasure in their green apparel.
Insect and wild beast

Keep no lent, but feast;

Spring breathes upon the earth, and their joy's increased,
And the rejoicing birds break forth in one loud carol.

MEANINGS: 1. Laud, praise. 2. Instils, pours into us.

THE LIGHTHOUSE.

THE LIGHTHOUSE.

In this poem the lighthouse is regarded as a benefactor and a teacher. It is the friend and guide of sailors going and returning. It is the new Prometheus ;* it uses the light which it has received from heaven, to help on the progress and the best interests of man.

into the sea,

THE rocky ledge runs far
And on its outer point, some miles away,
The lighthouse lifts its massive masonry,
A pillar of fire by night, of cloud by day.

Even at this distance I can see the tides
Upheaving, break unheard along its base:
A speechless wrath, that rises and subsides1
In the white lip and tremor of the face.
And as the evening darkens, lo! how bright-
Through the deep purple of the twilight air—
Beams forth the sudden radiance of its light,

With strange unearthly splendour in its glare.

And the great ships sail outward and return,Þ
Bending and bowing o'er the billowy swells,
And ever joyful, as they see it burn,

They wave their silent welcomes and farewells.

They come forth from the darkness, and their sails
Gleam for a moment only in the blaze,
And eager faces, as the light unveils,3

Gaze at the tower, and vanish while they gaze.

The mariner remembers, when a child,

On his first voyage,
he saw it fade and sink;"
And when, returning from adventures wild,
He saw it rise again o'er ocean's brink.

Steadfast,

serene, immovable,

the same
Year after year, through all the silent night
Burns on for evermore that quenchless flame,
Shines on that inextinguishable light !*

159

The startled waves leap over it; the storm

Smites it with all the scourges of the rain;
And steadily against its solid form

Press the great shoulders of the hurricane.

* Prometheus, in the old Greek story, was said to have stolen fire from heaven; the human race had before him known nothing of it or its use. For this he was chained to a rock by Jove (or Jupiter), and a vulture was set to feed on his liver, which always grew and renewed itself miraculously.

The sea-bird wheeling round it, with the din
Of wings and winds and solitary cries.
Blinded and maddened by the light within;
Dashes himself against the glare, and dies.
"Sail on !" it says,
"sail on,
And with your floating bridge
Be mine to guard this light
Be yours to bring man

ye stately ships! the ocean span; from all eclipse,

nearer unto man!"

LONGFELLOW.

CAUTIONS: a. Avoid the danger of placing the verse-accent upon at. The sense-accent, or emphasis, falls on this. b. Slur over and the. c. The pause after forth will enable the reader to escape the verse-accent on from. d. The sense-accent is on first: avoid the his. e. This is a noble verse, and should be read with great fulness and clearness.

MEANINGS: 1. Subsides, sinks down. 2. Radiance, brilliance. 3. Unveils, is unveiled. 4. Scourges, the rain is thought of as composed of whips, lashing against the lighthouse: while the hurricane is a giant who tries to shoulder it out of existence.

ODE ON THOSE WHO HAVE FALLEN IN BATTLE.

This short and almost perfect ode was written by an eminent poet of the last century, WILLIAM COLLINS (1720-1756), who died insane at the early age of thirtyfive. It is written in a tranquil and contemplative style; and the rhythms are sweet and touching. It requires great care to read well.

How sleep' the brave

who sink to rest,
By all their country's wishes blest!
When Spring, with dewy fingers cold,
Returns to deck their hallowed mould,2
She there shall dress a sweeter sod
Than Fancy's feet have ever trod.
By fairy hands

b

4

their knell is rung;
By forms unseen
their dirge3 is sung;
There Honour comes, a pilgrim grey,"
To bless the turf that wraps their clay;
And Freedom shall awhile repair,5
To dwell a weeping hermit there.

CAUTIONS: a. Great care must be taken, in this line especially, and also throughout the poem, not to read the poem as one would scan it. It would be intolerable to listen to

How sleep the bráve | who sínk | to rést.

b. There is a mild emphasis on there.

2.

MEANINGS: 1. How sleep! That is, How quietly and sweetly sleep! Hallowed mould, sacred clay. 3. Dirge, funeral hymn. 4. Grey, dressed in the grey dress of a pilgrim. 5. Repair, visit that spot.

« AnteriorContinuar »