« ПредишнаНапред »
117. Ah! who can tell how hard it is to climb
In life's low vale remote has pin'd alone,
Then dropp'd into the grave, unpitied and unknown. 118. 'Tis not in man
To look unmoved upon that heaving waste,
As wide, as terrible, and yet sometimes
LITERARY CLASS BOOK.
THIS part of our Compilation consists principally of Lessons selected from "Sheridan's Art of Speaking," "Walker's Academic Speaker," "Enfield's Speaker," and "Scott's Lessons."
I. THE OLD MAN AND HIS ASS.
An old man and his son were driving their ass to the market, in order to sell him.
"What a fool is this fellow," says a man upon the road, "to be trudging on foot with his son, that the ass may go light!" The old man, hearing this, set his son upon the ass, and went whistling by his side.
1 The Art of Speaking.-See page 81, and also Note, page 82.
2 Those old and excellent Class Books were formerly in high estimation in our schools-and deservedly so; for, compiled as they were from the works of our best and most approved writers, they served not only as books from which Reading could be taught with advantage, but also as excellent Introductions to the Literature of the English Language. In fact, (as all we of the "Old School" still hold in grateful remembrance,) the choicest and most beautiful specimens of our best writers are to be found in their pages.
3 Narrative Pieces.-Though those Pieces have been arranged under the same head, it by no means follows that they are all to be read in the same way. The heading merely implies that they belong to that species of composition called Narrative; and that, generally speaking, the narrative style should be used. It is obvious, however, that in every case, the tone, manner, and expression should be regulated by the subjectmatter and the occasion. In some cases the tone should be familiar or conversational; in others, grave or serious; and in some cases, deep feeling should be evinced. In fact, the great rule for GOOD READING with which we set out, will guide us in every case, namely,-To understand what we read, and to read it as if we understood it.
"Why, sirrah!" cries a second man to the boy, "is it fit for you to be riding, while your poor old father is walking ?" The father, upon this rebuke, made his son dismount, and got up himself.
"Do you see," says a third, "how the lazy old knave rides along upon his beast, while his poor little boy is almost lame with walking?" The old man no sooner heard this, than he took up his son behind him.
Pray, honest friend," says a fourth, "is that ass your own ?" Yes," says the man. "One would not have thought so," replied the other, "by your loading him so unmercifully: you and your son are better able to carry the poor beast than he you." Any thing to please," says the owner; and, alighting with his son, they tied the legs of the ass together, and, by the help of a pole, endeavoured to carry him upon their shoulders over the bridge that led to the town. This was so entertaining a sight, that the people ran in crowds to laugh at it, till the ass, conceiving a dislike to the over-complaisance of his master, burst asunder the cords that tied him, slipt from the pole, and tumbled into the river. The poor old man made the best of his way home; ashamed and vexed, that by endeavouring to please every body, he had pleased nobody, and lost his ass into the bargain. "There cannot be a piece of greater folly, than to endeavour to please all mankind."
II. TURNING THE GRINDSTONE.
WHEN I was a little boy, I remember one cold winter's morning I was accosted by a smiling man with an axe on his shoulder. "My pretty boy," said he, has your father a grindstone ?"-" Yes, sir," said I. "You are a fine little fellow," said he; "will you let me grind my axe on it?" Pleased with his compliment of "fine little fellow," Oh, yes, sir," I answered, "it is down in the shop." 'And will you, my man," said he, patting me on the head, "get a little hot
water?" How could I refuse? I ran and soon brought a kettleful. How old are you, and what's your name?" continued he, without waiting for a reply. "I am sure you are one of the finest lads that I have ever seen. Will you
just turn a few minutes for me?" Tickled with the flattery, like a fool I went to work, and bitterly did I rue the day. It was a new axe, and I toiled and tugged till I was almost tired to death. The school-bell rang, and I could not get away; my hands were blistered, and it was not half ground. At length, however, the axe was sharpened, and the man turned to me with, "Now, you little rascal, you've played the truant; scud to school or you'll rue it." Alas! thought I, it was hard enough to turn a grindstone this cold day, but now to be called a little rascal was too much. It sank deep in my mind, and often have I thought of it since. When I see a merchant over polite to his customers-begging them to take a little brandy, and throwing his goods on the counter-thinks I, that man has an axe to grind. When I see a man flattering the people, making great professions of attachment to liberty, who is in private life a tyrant methinks, look out, good people; that fellow would set you turning grindstones. When I see a man hoisted into office by party spirit-without a single qualification to render him either respectable or useful-alas! methinks, deluded people, you are doomed for a season to turn the grindstone for a booby,
III. RESPECT DUE TO OLD AGE.
Ir happened at Athens, during a public representation of some play exhibited in honour of the commonwealth, that an old gentleman came too late for a place suitable to his age and quality. Many of the young gentlemen, who observed the difficulty and confusion he was in, made signs to him that they would accommodate him if he came where they sat. The good man bustled through the crowd accord
ingly; but when he came to the seat to which he was invited, the jest was, to sit close and expose him, as he stood out of countenance, to the whole audience. The frolic went round all the Athenian benches. But on those occasions there were also particular places assigned for foreigners. When the good man skulked towards the boxes appointed for the Lacedemonians, that honest people, more virtuous than polite, rose up all to a man, and with the greatest respect received him among them. The Athenians, being suddenly touched with a sense of the Spartan virtue and their own degeneracy, gave a thunder of applause, and the old man cried out, "The Athenians understand what is good, but the Lacedemonians practise it."
IV. THE DERVIS.
A DERVIS, travelling through Tartary, being arrived at the town of Balk, went into the king's palace by mistake, as thinking it to be a public inn or caravansary. Having looked about him for some time, he entered into a long gallery, where he laid down his wallet, and spread his carpet, in order to repose himself upon it, after the manner of the eastern nations. He had not been long in this posture before he was discovered by some of the guards, who asked him what was his business in that place? The dervis told them he intended to take up his night's lodging in that caravansary. The guards told him, in a very angry manner, that the house he was in was not a caravansary, but the king's palace. It happened that the king himself passed through the gallery during this debate, and, smiling at the mistake of the dervis, asked him how he could possibly be so dull as not to distinguish a palace from a caravansary?
Sir," says the dervis, "give me leave to ask your majesty a question or two. Who were the persons that lodged in this house when it was first built?" The king replied, his ancestors. "And who," said the dervis,
was the last