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Thus in thy country's triumphs shalt rejoice,
EXERCISE XLIII.--NATIONAL GREATNESS.—Channing. [Grave and earnest declamation,
-as in the following impressive example,-preserves a low pitch, a firm and forcible tone, a deliberate slowness, with dignity of expression, in voice and action.]
I feel, as I doubt not many feel, that the great distinction of a nation,--the only one worth possessing, and which brings after it all other blessings,—is the prevalence of pure principle among the citizens. I wish to belong to a state, in the character and institutions of which, I may find a spring of improvement, which I can speak of with an honest pride ; in whose records I may meet great and honoured names, and which is fast making the world its debtor by its discoveries of truth, and by an example of virtuous freedom.
Oh! save me from a country which worships wealth, and cares not for true glory; in which intrigue bears rule; in which patriotism borrows its zeal from the prospect of office; in which hungry sycophants throng with supplication all the departments of state; in which public men bear the brand of private vice, and the seat of government is a noisome sink of private licentiousness and public corruption.
Tell me not of the honour of belonging to a free country. I ask, does our liberty bear generous fruits? Does it exalt us in manly spirit, in public virtue, above countries trodden under foot by despotism?_Tell me not of the extent of our country. I care not how large it is, if it multiply degenerate Speak not of our prosperity.
Better be one of a poor people, plain in manners, reverencing God, and respecting themselves, than belong to a rich country, which knows no higher good than riches.
Earnestly do I desire for this country, that, instead of copying Europe, with an undiscerning servility, it may have a character of its own, corresponding to the freedom and equality of our institutions. One Europe is enough. One
One Paris is enough. How much to be desired is it, that separated, as we are, from the eastern continent, by an ocean, we should be still more widely separated by simplicity of manners, by domestic purity, by inward piety, by reverence for human nature, by moral independence, by withstanding the subjection to fashion, and that
debilitating sensuality which characterize the most civilized portions of the old world.–Of this country, I may say with peculiar emphasis, that its happiness is bound up in its virtue.
EXERCISE XLIV.—MANUFACTURES AND COMMERCE, CONTRASTED
WITH CHIVALRY.-St. Leger. (An example of narrative interspersed with sentiment. The change of tone, in passing from the former to the latter, is the chief object in view, in the following extract, as furnishing scope for well marked modulation. The narrative tone is higher, lighter, and livelier,—the didactic, grave, firm, and deliberate.]
In the middle ages, the Levant and the Netherlands were indisputably the two great marts of natural and created riches; and whether the spices came from Bruges, or the cloths from Damascus, was a matter of sovereign indifference to the baron of those times, provided always that they passed within reachable distance for him either to seize or ransom. I have often wondered how commerce could continue to exist while so little security was afforded to the merchant. But it would seem that there was a general feeling, even in those rude times, that it would not do to annihilate traffic altogether; from which sprang, I doubt not, that system of ransom which the trader placed to his general account, if not of outlay, at least of risk, and advanced the price of his goods accordingly.
The Flemish towns of the middle ages gave rise and dignity, among the Transalpines, to the commercial spirit. The northern parts of Europe owe to them, even surrounded as they were by all the rapine and ignorance of the feudal barons, the existence of the useful arts, and the cultivation of a free spirit. Bruges, and Ghent, and Brussels, and other towns of the Low Countries, were the most advanced of any portion of Europe north of the Alps.
While England and France were spreading and enjoying the advantages of those monstrous mummeries of the middle ages,' chivalry, and the feudal system, the trading towns of the Low Countries and of Italy, were advancing in all the arts of cultivated life,—of intellectual superiority,--of physical comfort. Had it not been for them, we might still have been wrapped in our own untanned skins, with rushes and filth struggling for predominance on our floors, and the diseases incident upon dirt and rude living paying us a visit almost every year. Let it never be forgotten that to the
burghers of these towns we owe the art of printing,—the revival of painting,—the discovery of the mariner's compass, with all its attendant train of benefits,-a New World, and the passage, by sea, to the East. These we owe to the traders of Flanders, and of the Italian cities.
For what are we to thank the feudal barons of France and England ? Ignorance, craft, cruelty, and superstition, were all the seed they sowed; and the crop was proportionably barren. They produced, however, a great number of very respectable · robbers and pyllers,' fellows whose merit consisted in the bullying bravery of highwaymen, combined with something less than the honesty of a modern pickpocket. Ignorant and barbarous themselves, they seized routes of mules,' laden with the produce of other people's skill and industry; and these are the sort of men whom we are told to admire, duly despising the race who did no more for humanity than to confer on it all that we at this day consider as giving to it value, and refinement, and beauty. It is not too much to say that we owe all these to the merchants of Bruges and Ven. ice, of Ghent and of Genoa, of Brussels and of Florence. As for the knights and barons, they could neither read nor write; they could only give and receive dry blows, and foul language.
EXERCISE XLV.-ANIMAL HAPPINESS.—Cowper. [Description, interspersed with reflection, requires—as in the following example,-attention to change of tone, as the reader passes from the one to the other; the former marked by the moderate force, middle pitch, and lively rate, the latter, by, softer, but graver, and slower utterance.]
Here,* unmolested,—through whatever sign
* Referring to a shady walk, a favourite resort of the poet.
Scarce shuns me; and the stockdove, unalarm'd,
The heart is hard in nature, and unfit
EXERCISE XLVI.-DIALOGUE FROM THE
TRIUMPH OF LUCCA.'
Scene,-the Senate-house : Speakers - Gonsalvi, Castruccio, * Nobles, Attendants ;-the Senators in session : to them enters Gonsalvi.
[See remarks introductory to EXERCISE Xxx.] Gon. Henceforward Florence claims your fealty;t
She will secure you in all ancient rights,
Of twenty thousand florins.
And so is ours,
The penalty of their rebellious spirit.
I leave you till to-morrow, when I bring
And will receive your homage and your oaths. [Exit.) Noble. Homage and tribute these are bitter words,
Less bitter than the Castrucani'st sway!
To day must fix his fate. What is his doom?
Delay is fatal:-let Castruccio die? [While yet speaking, Castruccio enters armed and attended,
having been rescued by the people.]
* Pronounced Castroocho :-ch as in church.
+ The Senate of Lucca, actuated by envy of the patriot.chief Castruccio, had imprisoned him, and proposed submission to the sway of the Florentines, their enemies. * Pronounced Castroocanee's.