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is submitted to you as a lesson in those graces of reading that are common to compositions of all kinds. The subject of this poem demands a serious and somewhat solemn mood of the reader's mind, and as the mind is so will be the tones of the voice, without an effort of your own.
There is much use of emphasis and pause throughout, but little or no variation of manner. Great feeling should be thrown into it, and, when well read, there are few passages in English literature more effective. It never fails to touch, and therefore to please, an audience, however miscellaneous :
Not a drum was heard not a funeral note
As his corpse to the ramparts we hurried-
O'er the grave where our HERO we buried.-
The sods with our BAYONETS turning-
And the lantern—dimly burning-
Nor in sheet—nor in shroud—we wound him-
With his martial cloak around him.
And we spoke not a word of sorrow-
And bitterly thought of the morrow. -
And smooth'd down his lonely pillow
And we-FAR away on the billow !
And o'er his cold ashes upbraid him-
In the grave—where a BRITON has laid him.
But half of our heavy task was done
When the clock told the hour for retiring-
That the foe was sullenly firing.
From the field of his fame fresh and gory!
But we left him ALONE-in his GLORY. The last two lines must be read with increased emphasis-very slowly-in a voice slightly elevated, and with a tone changed from sadness to triumph. Repeat them many times until you are enabled to give to this fine verse its full expression. I can but faintly convey it to you by types and dashes.
I ASK you now to study one of the most difficult readings in our language, and therefore excellent practice. It was indeed never read to perfect satisfaction save by one actor and reader-CHARLES KEMBLE. To estimate its difficulties, you should first read it right on, as if it were an ordinary narrative, and regardless of effect. Then read it with care, designing to give to every word its right expression, and you will be surprised to find how dissatisfied you will be with your own performance,
Observe, that it is an exquisite piece of pleasantry, by a professed wit. It is not humorous, nor farcical, but admirably fanciful and witty. Therefore it is not to be blurted out like a bit of fun, nor cracked like a joke, but uttered in the light, but still musical and graceful, strain of pleasantry, in the manner of a polished gentleman. A smile should just hover upon the lips, but without breaking into a laugh. Nor is it a soliloquy, but a story told to companions as cheerful and light-hearted as the teller. This manner of reading it I cannot illustrate ; I
can only suggest it to you—the pauses and the emphasis I exhibit as before.
Oh-then I see - Queen Mal hath been with you-
and she comes In shape
-no bigger than an agate stone
-the LASH of film-Her WAGGONER
an empty hazel nut
And bakes the elf-locks in foul sluttish lairs
This exquisite passage of wit is to be pronounced “ trippingly on the tongue,” and not to be mouthed. It should be spoken as lightly as such a light-hearted fellow as Mercutio would utter a piece of pleasantry. A smile should hover upon the lips, but never break into a laugh. As he is addressing three or four of his gay companions, and he turns from one to the other, as he points the illustration to them individually, it is not spoken right on, like a speech, but with frequent and long pauses, and with such slight hesitancies as serve to show that it is an invention of the moment and not a composition committed to the memory. The difficulty of the passage is very great and it grows with acquaint
After twenty readings you will be less satisfied with your rendering of it than at the first. But, per
It is because of its difficulty that I have selected it for an exercise. When you are able to read this well, you will have made great progress in the art. Do not leave it until you have mastered it. I do not desire that you should read this, or any other of these illustrations, twenty times in one day; you would not improve by such rapid repetitions ; but read them three or four times at a sitting, and repeat them day by day for weeks, until you or your friendly counsellor shall be completely satisfied with the performance.
I will now take you to another passage-short, but demanding extraordinary expression to give full effect to it.
This, too, was deemed by Mr. Thelwall to be a testpassage, and he read it with wonderful power. Rightly to measure it, begin by reading it without any emphasis, simply uttering the words with the proper pauses. Then