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pathos when it is sad. Abandon yourself to the spirit of the poet, and let your utterance be the faithful echo of his, even when he rises to rapture. Do not fear to overact; there is no fear of this fault in the reading of poetry. Mould your style to his. This you cannot do, of course, without thoroughly understanding him, and for that purpose it will not suffice to trust to the apprehension of the moment, or even to a hasty previous reading ; you must study him, line by line and word by word, until you have mastered his full meaning, and then

you will be able to give effect to it when you convey it to an audience.

Observe, too, that as a rule you should raise your voice at a pause, instead of dropping it, as is the frequent habit, and especially if that pause falls at the end of a line. I have already remarked upon the importance of this practice, as giving life and spirit to reading of all kinds ; but it is particularly requisite with poetry, because of the natural tendency of metre to monotony.

In unlearning your probable bad habits in the reading of poetry, as in learning how to read it rightly, you should adopt a scheme of lessons, so as to accustom yourself to the change by steps. Begin with poetry which has no rhyme, and in which the metre is not very decidedly marked.

o Paradise Lost” will be an excellent lesson to start with. I do not mean that you should read the whole, but select portions of it. On careful reading you will observe that the pauses are not measured ; they do not fall at the end of the lines, but are scattered all over them ; and if you strictly keep to these, you must avoid both sing-song and chant. For instance, take the “Invocation to Light,” noted as before described.

Hail,—holy LIGHT !- -offspring of heav'n first born-.
Or of thEternal, co-eternal beam-
May I express thee unblam'd- -since GOD is LIGHT-
And never but in unapproached LIGHT
Dwelt from eternity-

dwelt then in THEE-
Bright effluence of bright essence increate !-
Or hear'st THOU rather- -pure-ethereal stream-
Whose fountain who shall tell- -Before the sun
Before the heav'ns- -THOU Wert and at the voice
Of GOD -as with a mantle -didst invest
The rising world of watersdark and deep-
Won from the void and formless INFINITE-
Thee I revisit now with bolder wing-
Escaped the Stygian pool--though long detained
In that obscure sojourn--while in my flight
Through utter and through middle darkness borne-
With other notes than to the Orphean lyre
I sung of Chaos and eternal NIGHT-
Taught by the heavenly Muse to venture down
The dark descent- -and up to reascend
Though hard and rare- -THEE I revisit safe
And feel thy sovereign-vital-lamp-but thou
Revisit'st not these EYES- -that roll in vain
To find thy piercing ray-

-and find no dawn-
So thick a drop serene hath QUENCH'd their orbs-
Or dim suffusion veiled -Yet not the more
Cease I'to wander where the Muses haunt-
Clear springor shady grove

-or sunny hill-
Smit with the love of sacred song, -but chief
Thee- -SION- -and the flowing brooks beneath
That wash thy hallow'd feet and warbling flow
Nightly I visit- -nor sometimes forget
Those other two equall'd with me in FATE-
So were I equall'd with them in renown-
Blind Thamyris and blind Mæonides-
And Tiresias—and Phineus-prophets old-
Then feed on thoughts that voluntary move
Harmonious numbers- -as the wakeful bird
Sings darkling and in shadiest covert hid
Tunes her nocturnal throat,

Here, you will observe, the pauses fall at every part of the verse.

This practice will make the first breach in your bad habit of measuring every line. Then betake yourself to some poetry having rhymes, but irregular verse ;

then to such whose metres are still more unusual, until, at length, you may venture upon the metres that most tempt to sing-song, such as that of “ The Exile of Erin.” And I would especially commend to you, as one of the best exercises for the purpose of unlearning singsong, the frequent rendering of “ Julia's Letter” in Byron's “ Don Juan.” Whenever you feel yourself relapsing into the old habit, read this passage halfa-dozen times, with careful observance of the singularly varied pauses, and it will revive your lessons in the art.

I append it. Observe, that it is made up of a series of short sentences, and must be so read. With great delicacy in the management of your voice, you may contrive to strike the very slightest chord of the rhyme upon the listener's ear; but you must be careful, in attempting this, not to destroy the fine effect of the severed sentences—which may be described as sobs of wordsand should be almost uttered as such. They tell me 'tis DECIDED.

-you depart
'Tis wise -'tis well- -but not the less a pain
I have no further claim on your young heart.

Mine is the victim and would be AGAIN-
To love too much has been the ONLY art
I used-

I write in haste- -and if a stain
Be on this sheet-

-'tis not what it appears My eyeballs burn :-- and throb - but have no TEARS I loved ------I LOVE you

for this LOVE have lost State-station HEAVEN -Mankind's

esteem And yet cannot regret what it hath cost

So dear is still the memory of that dream

MY OWN

Yet -if I name my guilt 'tis not to boast

None can deem harsher of me than I deem
I trace this scrawl- -because I cannot rest
I've nothing to reproach - or to request
Man's love is of man's life a thing apart-
'Tis WOMAN'S WHOLE EXISTENCE

-Man may range
The court-camp-

church the vessel and the martSword

gown- -gain -glory-offer in exchange Pride-fame- AMBITION -to fill up his heart

And few there are whom these cannot estrange-
Men have all these resources—WE

but ONE
To love AGAIN and be againUNDONE.
You will proceed in pleasure and in pride
Beloved and loving many-

-all is o'er
For ME—on earth- -except some years to hide

My shameand sorrow -DEEP in my HEART's coreThese I could bear- -but cannot cast aside

The passion which still RAGES as before And so

FAREWELL - forgive me—LOVE me--no-That word is idle now—but let it go. My breast has been all weakness- --- IS 80-yet

But still-I think I can collect my mindMy blood still rushes where my spirit's SET —

As roll the waves before the settled wind.
My heart is feminine- -nor can forget

To allexcept ONE image-madly blind-
So shakes the needle--and so stands the pole-
As vibrates my fond heart to my fixed soul.
I have no more to say- -but linger--still-

And dare not set my seal upon this sheet-
And yetI may as well the task fulfil—-

My misery can scarce.be more complete-
I had not lived till now—- -could sorrow KILL --

Death shuns the wretch who fain the blow would MEET-
And I must e'en survive this last adieu--
And bear with life-to LOVE and PRAY for you.

152

LETTER XXIII.

READING OF NARRATIVE, ARGUMENT AND

SENTIMENT.

Few special instructions are needed for the reading of narrative. Your chiefest care will be to avoid monotony. For the most part, there is an even flow of ideas, and a smooth stream of words, tending unconsciously to produce in you an uniformity of expression and tone that is apt to lull the listener to sleep. A continual effort will consequently be required on your part to counteract that tendency, by throwing into your reading as much liveliness of manner and variety of expression as the matter will permit; and it is better to hazard the charge of over-acting, than to find your hearers nodding, starting, and staring, with that extravagant endeavour not to look sleepy by which drowsiness always betrays itself.

First, think what a narrative is. You are telling a story from a book instead of from memory—that is all. But when you tell a story, you do not drawl it, or gabble it, or sing it, or run right through it without a pause, or in the same tone, or without a change of expression. On the contrary, you vary your voice with every varia

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