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At the end of every line in poetry must be a pause proportioned to the intimate or remote connexion subsisting between the two lines.
A simile in poetry ought always to be read in a lower tone of voice than that part of the passage which precedes it.
Sublime, grand, and magnificent description in poetry, frequently requires a lower tone of voice, and a sameness nearly approaching to a monotone.
In contradistinction to the recorded opinion of a clever Elocutionist on the subject of Rhetorical Punctuation, the Editor of the "Rhetorical Reader" ventures to say, that one of the great secrets, as well as charms, in the art of reading and speaking (as in SINGING) is to know" when, and where, and how" to breathe; and that judicious rhetorical pausing constitutes an important, indispensable portion of the science. The remaining pauses-neither few in number, nor minor in importance-will appear in the course of the work as foot-notes.
THE DEAD ASS.
AND thi's, said he', (putting the remains of a cru'st/ into his wallet)—and thi's/ should have been thy portion (said he'), ha'dst thou been ali've/ to have shar`ed it with me. I thought, by the accent, it had been an apostrophe to his child'; but it was to his A^ss ;* and to the very ass we had seen dead in the road', which had occasioned La Fleur's misadven'ture. The man/ seemed to la'ment it much'; and, it instantly brought into my min`d/ Sáncho's-lamentation for his; but he did it/ with more true touc'hes of na'ture.
The m'ourner/ was sitting upon a stone bench/ at the door', with the ass's pan'nel and its bri'dle/ on one side', which he took u'p/ from time to time-then', laid them down'-look ́ed at them, and sh'ook his head'. He then took his crust of bread out of his wallet again', as if to eat it; held it some time/ in his ha'nd—the'n/ laid it upon the bit of his ass's bri'dlelooked wist fully at the little arrangement/ he had ma ́de—and then', gave a sigh'.
The simplicity of his grie'f/ drew numbers about him, and La Fleur among the rest', while the horses were getting ready' as I continued sitting in the postchaise', I could see' and hear/ over their heads'.
He s'aid/ he had come last from Spain', where he had been from the farthest borders of Franco'nia; and had got so far on his return home, when the ass died'. Every one/ seemed desi'rous to know', what business could have taken so old and poor a man', so far a journey/ from his own home'.
"Ass" requires the falling circumflex. See foot note, p. 5, "Introductory Outline."
It had pleased Hea'ven, he said', to bless him with three sons', the finest la'ds/ in all Germany; but, having in one week lost two of them by the small' pox, and the youngest/ falling ill of the same distemper, he was afraid of being bereft of them a'll, and made a vow', if Heaven would not take him from him al'so, he would go in gratitude/ to St. Ia'go/ in Spa'in.
When the mourner got thus far in his story, he stopped, to pay nature her tribute—and wept bitterly.
He said/ Heaven had accepted the conditions; and that he had set out from his cot'tage/ with this poor creature, who had been a patient partner of his journey-that it had eaten the same bre'ad with him all the way', and was unto him', as a friend.
Every body who stood about heard the poor* fellow with concern-La Fleur offered him money'-The mourner said/ he did not wan't it—it was not the value of the ass-but the loss of him-The ass, he said', he was assured loved him—and, upon this', told them a long story of a mischance' upon their pas'sage, over the Pyrenean moun'tains, which had separated them from each other three days; during which tim'e the ass had sought him/ as much as he had sought the a ́ss, and that neither/ had scarce eaten / nor‡ dru'nk/ till they
Thou hast one comfort, friend, said I, at least', in the loss of thy poor beast'; I am sure thou hast been a merciful mas'ter to him.-Al'as! (said the mo'urner,) I thought so, when he was alive'/, but no'w he is dead/ I think' other wiseI fear the weight of myself and my afflictions together, have been too much for him-they have shortened the poor creature's days', and I fear I have them to an'swer for. Shame on the world'! (said I to my'self)-Did we but love each other/ as this poor soul/ loved his ass'-'twould be some thing.
*It may be laid down as a general rule respecting the pronunciation of adjectives, that they ought never to receive a more than ordinary stress of voice-never superior to the substantive, unless they are obviously antithetic.
"Loss," and "one," are both marked with the falling circumflex,
The legitimate correspondent of neither is nor.—IRVING.
-THEY were the sweetest notes'/ I ever heard'; and I instantly let down the for e-glass/ to hear them more distinctly 'Tis Mari'a, said the postil'lion, (observing I was listening) -Poor Maria', continued he', (leaning his body on one side to let me see her, for/ he was in a line between us') is sitting upon a bank/ playing her vespers upon her pipe', with her little go'at/ besi'de her.
The young fellow/ uttered thi's/ with an ac'cent and a look/ so perfectly in tune/ to a feeling heart, that I instantly made a vow, I would give him a four-and-twenty sous pie'ce/ when I got to Moulines'.
—And who' is poor Maria? said I.
The love and pity of all the villages around us, said the postillion: it is but three years ago, that the sun did not shine upon so fair, so quick-witted, and a'miable-a-maid,* and better fat'e did Maria dese'rve, than to have her ban'ns forbi'd/ by the intrigues of the curate of the pa'rish/ who published them
He was going on, when Mari'a (who had made a short pause') put the pipe to her mouth', and began the air again— they were the same n'otes-yet were ten times sweet er. It is the evening service to the Virgin, said the young man'but/ who has taught her to pla'y it—or, how she came by her pipe', no one knows': we think that Heâven has assisted her in both'; for/ e`ver since she has been unsettled in her mind', it seems her only consola'tion-she has never once had the pipe out of her hand', but plays that service upon it, a'lmost night and day.
The postillion delivered this with so much discretion and natural eloquence, that I could not help deciphering something in his face/ abo've his condi'tion, and should have sifted out his history, had not poor Mar'ia/ taken such full posses'sion of me.
*“Amiable-a-maid" may be regarded as one rhetorical word.
We had got by this time/ almost to the bank/ where Maria was sitting: she was in a thin/* white jacket, with her hai'r (all but two tres'ses) drawn up in a silken ne't, with a few olive leaves' (twisted a little fantastically) on one si`de—she was beautiful; a'nd, if e`ver I felt the full force of an honest heart'-ache, it was the moment I sa'w her
God help-her!-poor-dam'sel! above a hundred m'asses (said the postillion) have been said in the several parish church'es and con'vents ar'ound-for-her-b'ut, without effect: we have still hopes (as she is sensible for short in'tervals), that the Virgin/ at last will restore her to herself; but, her parents (who know her best') are hopeless upon that score', and think/ her sen'ses/ are lost for ever.
As the postillion spoke this', Maria made a cadence so melancholy, so tender, and querulous, that I sprang out of the cha'ise/ to help her, and found myself si'tting/ betwixt her` and her goat', before I relap'sed/ from my enthu'siasm.
Maria looked wis'tfully/ for some time at me, and then/ at her goat, and then at me—and then at her goat agʻain, and so' on' alternately.
-Well',-Maria,-(said-I-so'ftly)- What resemblance do
I do entreat the candid reader to believe me, that it was from the humblest conviction of what a bêast man is',—that I asked the question; and that I would not have let fallen an unseasonable plea'santry, in the venerable presence of Mi'sery, to be entitled to all the wit'/ that ever Rabelais scattered.
Adieu', Maria!-adieu', poor', hap'less dam'sel! some time (but not now') I may hear thy sorrows from thy own lips-but, I was deceiv'ed; fo'r/ that moment she took her pipe, and told me such a tale of w`oe/ wi'th it, that I rose up', and/† with broken and irregular steps', walked softly to my chaise'.
When we had got within half a league of Moulines', at a little opening in the road/ leading to a thick'et, I discovered
* When two or more adjectives come together, it is necessary to pause between them ;-care being taken to give the last the most accentual force.
† Our duty at "and" and "but," in nine cases out of ten, is to take a breath, and keep the voice up.