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This rule holds good even where the first line forms perfect sense by itself, and is followed by another forming perfect sense likewise, provided the first line does not end with an emphatic word which requires the falling slide.
But if the first line ends with an emphatical word requir ing the falling slide, this slide must be given to it, but in a higher tone of voice than the same slide in the last line of the couplet.
When the first line of a couplet does not form sense, and the second line, either from its not forming sense, or from its being a question, requires the rising slide; in this case, the first line must end with such a pause as the sense requires, but without any alteration in the tone of the voice.
In the same manner, if a question requires the second line of the couplet to adopt the rising slide, the first ought to have a pause at the end; but the voice, without any alteration, ought to carry on the same tone to the second line, and to continue this tone almost to the end.
The same principles of harmony and variety induce us to read a triplet with a sameness of voice, or a monotone, on the end of the first line, the rising slide on the end of the second, and the falling on the last.
This rule, however, from the various sense of the triplet, is liable to many exceptions.-But, with very few exceptions, it may be laid down as a rule, that a quatrain or stanza of four lines of alternate verse, may be read with the monotone ending the first line, the rising slide ending the second and third, and the falling the last.
The plaintive tone, so essential to the delivery of elegiac composition, greatly diminishes the slides, and reduces them almost to monotones; nay, a perfect monotone, without any inflection at all, is sometimes very judiciously introduced in reading verse.
A certain number of syllables connected form a foot. They are called feet, because it is by their aid that the voice, as it were, steps along through the verse, in a measured pace.
All feet used in poetry consist either of two or of three syllables, and are reducible to eight kinds; four of two syllables, and four of three, as follow:
1.--RELIGION NEVER TO BE TREATED WITH LEVITY.
IMPRESS your minds with reverence' for all that is sacred'. et no wantonness of youthful spirits', no compliance with the intemperate mirth of others', ever betray you into profane sallies. Besides the guilt' which is thereby incurred, nothing gives a more odious appearance of petulance` and presumption' to youth, than the affectation of treating religion with levity'. Instead of being an evidence of superior' understanding, it discovers a pert and shallow` mind; which, vain of the first smatterings' of knowledge, presumes to make light' of what the rest of mankind revere`. At the same time, you are not to imagine, that, when exhorted to be religious, you are called upon to become more formal and solemn in your manners than others of the same' years; or to erect yourselves into supercilious reprovers' of those around you. The spirit of true religion breathes gentleness' and affability. It gives a native' unaffected ease to the behaviour. It is social', kind', and cheerful; far removed from that gloomy and illiberal' superstition which clouds the brow', sharpens the temper, dejects the spirit', and teaches men to fit themselves for another' world, by neglecting the concerns of this. Let your' religion, on the contrary, connect preparation for heaven' with an honourable discharge of the duties of active tife'. Of such religion, discover, on every proper' occasion, that you are not ashamed'; but avoid making any unnecessary' ostentation of it before the world'.
WHEN I am in a serious' humour, I very often walk by myself in Westminster Abbey', where the gloominess of the place, and the use' to which it is applied, with the solemnity of the building, and the condition of the people' who lie in it, are apt to fill the mind with a kind of melancholy, or rather thoughtfulness', that is not disagreeable'. I yesterday passed the whole afternoon in the church'yard, the cloisters', and the church', amusing myself with the tomb-stones and inscriptions' that I met with in those several regions of the dead'. Most of them recorded nothing else' of the buried person, but that he was born' upon one' day, and died' upon another; the whole history of his life being comprehended in those two circumstances', that are common to all mankind. I could not but look upon these registers of existence, whether of brass or marble', as a kind of satire upon the departed persons, who had left no other' memorial of them, but that they were born', and that they died`.
Upon my going into the church', I entertained myself with the digging of a grave', and saw in every shovel'-ful of it that was thrown up, the fragment of a bone' or skull', intermixed with a kind of fresh mouldering earth', that some' time or other had a place in the composition of a human body. Upon this I began to consider with myself what innumerable multitudes of people lay confused' together under the pavement of that ancient cathedral'; how men' and women', friends' and enemies', priests' and soldiers', monks and prebendaries', were crumbled among one another', and blended together in the same common mass; how beauty', strength', and youth', with old age', weakness', and deformity', lay undistinguished' in the same promiscuous heap of matter."
After having thus surveyed this great magazine of mortality, as it were in the lump', I examined it more particularly, by the accounts which I found on several of the monuments' which are raised in every quarter of that ancient fabric'. Some of them were covered with such extravagant' epitaphs, that if it were possible for the dead person to be acquainted' with them, he would blush' at the praises which his friends have bestowed upon him. There
are others so excessively modest', that they deliver the cha racter of the person departed in Greek' or Hebrew, and by that' means are not understood once in a twelvemonth'. In the poetical' quarter I found there were poets' who had no monuments', and monuments' which had no poets`. I observed indeed that the present war had filled the church with many of these uninhabited monuments, which had been erected to the memory of persons' whose bodies were perhaps buried in the plains of Blenheim', or in the bosom of the ocean'.
I know that entertainments of this' nature are apt to raise dark and dismal' thoughts in timorous' minds, and gloomy' imaginations; but, for my own' part, though I am always serious', I do not know what it is to be melancholy`; and can therefore take a view of Nature in her deep' and solemn' scenes, with the same pleasure as in her most gay' and delightful' ones. By this means I can improve' myself with those objects which others' consider with terror'. When I look upon the tombs of the great', every emotion of envy` dies in me; when I read the epitaphs of the beautiful', every inordinate desire goes out'; when I meet with the grief of parents' upon a tombstone, my heart melts with compassion'; when I see the tomb of the parents themselves', I consider the vanity of grieving for those' whom we must quickly follow: when I see kings lying by those who deposed them; when I consider rival wits placed side by side', or the holy men that divided the world with their contests and disputes', I reflect, with sorrow and astonishment', on the little competitions', factions', and debates' of mankind. When I read the several dates' of the tombs, of some that died yesterday`, and some six hundred years' ago, I consider that great day when we shall all of us be contemporaries', and make our appearance together'. SPECTATOR.
3.-THE FOLLY OF MISPENDING TIME.
An ancient poet, unreasonably discontented at the pre sent state of things, which his system of opinions obliged him to represent in its worst' form, has observed of the earth', "That its greatest' part is covered by the uninhabit