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Our fathers freed from dire oppression's hand,
Found an asylum on this heavenly land.
The savage Canaanites have left our soil,
We the true I-rael taste the wine and oil;
With milk and honey our fair country flows,
Deserts rejoice and blossom as the rose.
Thanks to the mercy of Almighty Heaven,
For WASHINGTON to fair Columbia given!
Our Laws, of Freedom's chosen sons the choice,
Shall live, while truth or reason has a voice.
Nature convuls'd our Continent may shake,
And earth and skies in consternation quake;
Yet still our laws and liberty secure,
Tho' time and nature die, shall Arm endure.
In Heaven the work shall stand like noontide Sun,
Spotless as virtue, pure as WASHINGTON.
EXTRACT FROM MILTON'S PARADISE LOST.
The reading of Milton with propriety requires a method peculiar to itself. In his style there is a pomp of sound and energy of expression, which, if rightly done, demands from him who attempts to read it, a full, deep, level tone of voice, added to a kind of grandeur of utterance, look and manner. An uncommon elevation and sublimity of diction is one of the chief characteristics of Paradise Lost, although in many places where the sentiment require it, Milton softens into tenderness, and melts into the most heart-rending pathetic.
Begin with boldness in your look and manner.
"WHENCE, and what art thou, execrable shape,
That dar'st, tho' grim and terrible advance
Thy miscreated front athwart my way
*To yonder gates? Thro' them I mean to pass,
"That be assured, without leave ask'd of thee.
"Retire, or taste thy tolly; and learn by proof,
"Not to contend with spirits of high Heaven."
(1) To whom the Goblin, full of wrath, replied;
"Art thou that traitor-angel, art thou be,
"Who first broke peace in Heaven, and faith till then
"Unbroken; and in proud rebellious arms
"Drew after him the third part of Heaven's sons,
Conjur'd against the highest; for which both thou
"And they, outcast from God, are here condemn'd
"To waste eternal days in woe and pain?
"And reckon st thou thyself with spirits of Heaven,
"Hell doom d, and breath'st defiance here, and scorn
(1) Speak this line in a lower tone of voice, then assume the boldness in your look and manner, recommended before
"Where I reign king, and, to enrage thee more,
Thy king and lord? Back to thy punishment,
"False fugitive, and to thy speed add wings;
"Lest with a whip of scorpions I pursue
'Thy iing`ring, or, with one stroke of this dart,
Strange horror seize thee, and pangs unfelt before."
SATAN'S ADDRESS TO THE SUN.
Let your tone of voice be ful', and solemn.
O THOU that, with surpassing glory crown
Look'st from thy sole dom nion like the Ged
Of this new world; at whose sight all the stars
Hide their diminish'd heads; to thee I call,
But with no friendly voice, and add thy name,
O Sun, to tell thee how I hate thy beams,
That bring to my remerabrance from what state
I fell, how glorious once above thy sphere;
Till pride and worse ambition threw me down,
Warring in Heaven against Heaven s matchless king.
Ah! wherefore! he deserv'd no such return
From me, whom he created what I was,
In that bright eminence, and with his good
Upbraided none; nor was his service hard.
What could be less than to afford him praise,
The easiest recompence, and pay him thanks,
How due; Yet all his good prov'd ill in me,
And wrought but malice; lifted up so high,
I disdain d subjection, and thought one step highes
Would set me highest, and in a moment quit
The debt of endless gratitude,
So burthensome, still paying, stil! to owe,
Forgetful what from him I still receiv d;
And understood not that a grateful mind
By owing owes not, but still pays, at once,
Indebted and discharg d; what bu then then?
Oh had his powerful destiny ordain d
Me some inferior angel, I had stood
Then happy; no unbounded hope had rais'd
Ambition. Yet why not? Some other power
As great might have inspir d, and me tho' mean
Drawn to his part ; but other powers as great
Fall not, but stand unshaken, from within
Or from without, to all temptations arm'd.
Read the following most affectingly, but with a kind of manly pathetic.
ME miserable! which way shall I fly
Infinite wrath, and infinite despair?
Oh then at last relent; is there no place
Left for repentance, none for pardon left?
None left but by submission; and that word
Disdain forbids me, and my dread of shame
Among the spirits beneath, whom I seduc'd
With other promises and other vaunts
Than to submit, boasting I could subdue
Th' Omnipotent. Ah me, they little know
How dearly I abide the boast so vain,
Under what torments inwardly I grean,
While they adore me on the throne of hell
With diadem and sceptre high advanc'd,
The lower still I fall, only supreme
In misery; such joy ambition finds.
But say I could repent, and could obtain
By act of grace my former state; how soon
Would height recal high thoughts, how soon unsay
What feign'd submission swore! Ease would recant
Vows made in pain, as violent and void.
For never can true reconcilement grow
Where wounds of deadly hate have pierc'd so deep!
Which would but lead me to a worse relapse,
And heavier fall; so should I purchase dear
Short intermission bought with double smart.
This knows my punisher! therefcere as far
From granting he, as I from begging peace,
All hope excluded thus, behold instead
Of us outcast, exil'd, his new delight,
Mankind created, and for him this world.
So farewell hope, and with hope farewell fear
Farewell remorse; all good to me is lost;
Evil be thou my good; by thee at least,
Divided empire with Heaven's King I hold,
By thee, and more than half perhaps will reign
As man ere long, and this new world, shall know.
Let the following be read with the same glow and tenderness of expres sion as before recommended.
WITH thee conversing, I forget all time;
All seasons and their change, all please alike;
Sweet is the breath of morn, her rising sweet
With charm of earliest birds; pleasant the sun
When first on this delightful land he spreads
His orient beams, on herb, tree, fruit, and flower,
Glitt ring with dew; fragrant the fertile earth
After soft showers; and sweet the coming on
Of grateful evening mild; then silent night
With this her solemn bird, and this fair moon,
And these the gems of Heaven: her starry train;
But neither breath of morn, when she ascends
With charm of earliest birds; nor rising sun
On this delightful land; nor herb, fruit, flow'r,
Glitt ring with dew; nor fragrance after showers,
Nor grateful evening mild; nor silent night
With this her solemn bird; nor walk by moon,
Or glittering star light, without thee is sweet.
The foregoing extracts from Milton are sufficient examples to the scholar of that grandeur and sublimity of expression which requires in the reading a suitable grandeur of utterance. The following extracts from the aine incomparable poem possess a peculiar case, and affecting simplicity of diction, and require an easy, unaffected mode of delivery, mixing, occasionally, that dignity so obviously the characteristic of epic poetry.
The tenderness which breathes through the following ought to be read with a glow and softness of delivery.
HIS wonder was to find unwaken'd Eve
With tresses discompos d, and glowing cheek,
As through unquiet rest; he on his side
Leaning half-rais', with looks of cordial love
Hung over her enamor'd, and beheld
Beauty, which, whether waking or asleep,
Shot forth peculiar graces; then with voice
Mild as when Zephyrus on Flora breathes,
Her hand soft touching, whisper'd thus;
My fairest, my espous d, ry latest found,
Heaven's last best gift, my ever new delight,
Awake; the morning shines, and the fresh field
Calls us; we lose the prime, to mark how spring
Our tender plants, how blows the citron grove,
What drops the myrrh, and what the balmy reed,
How nature pain: s her colours, how the bee
Sits on the bloom, extracting liquid sweet."
Such whispering wak'd her, but with startled eye,
On Adam, whom embracing, thus she spake;
"O sole, in whom my thoughts find all repose,
My glory, my perfection, glad I see
Thy face, and morn return'd."
ADAM'S ACCOUNT OF THE MANNER IN WHICH HE FOUND HIMSELF
UPON HIS CREATION.
The following is simply beautiful. Let it be read in a manner entirely
"AS new wak'd from soundest sleep,
Soft on the flowery herb I found me laid
I balmy sweat, which with his beams the sun
Soon dried, and on the reeking moisture fed.
Straight towards Heaven my wand ring eyes I turn'd
And gaz d awhile the ample sky; till rais'd
By quick instinctive motion, up I sprung,
As thitherward endeavouring, and upright
Stood on my feet; about me round I saw
Hill, dale, and shady words, and surny plains,
And liquid lapse of murmuring streams; by these
Creatures that liv'd, and mov'd, and walk d or flew,
Birds on the branches warbling; all things smil'd;
With fragrance and with joy my heart o'erflow'd.
Thou sun, said I, fair light,
And thou enlighten'd earth so fresh, and gay,
Ye hills and dales, ye rivers, woods, and plains;
And ye that live, and move, fair creatures tell,
Tell, if ye saw, how came I thus, how here?"
Adam's upbraiding Eve as being the cause of all their misfortunes is a most affecting appeal to the heart, and must be read in an exquisitely pathetic manner.
HE added not and from her turn'd; but Eve
Not so repuls d, with tears that ceas'd not flowing,
And tresses all disorder d, at his feet
Fell humble, and embracing them, besought
His peace, and thus proceeded in her plaint;
Forsake me not thus, Adam! Witness, heaven,
What love sincere and reverence in my heart
I bear thee and unwitting have offended,
Unhappily deceived! Thy suppliant,
I beg and clasp thy knees; bereave me not
(Whereon I live! thy gentle looks, thy aid,
Thy counsel in this uttermost distress,
My only strength and stay Forlorn of thee,
Whither shall I betake me, where subsist?
While yet we live (scarce one short hour perhaps)
Between us two let there be peace."