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CUEFEW MUST NOT RING TO-NIGHT.
England's sun was slowly rietting o'er the hills so far away, Filling all the land with beauty at the close of one sad day; And the last rays kiss'd the forehead of a man and maiden fair, He with step so slow and weakened, she with sunny, floating hair;
He with sad bowed head, and thoughtful, she with lips so
cold and white, Struggling to keep back the murmur, "Curfew must not ring
"Sexton,"Bessie's white lips faltered,pointing to the prison old,
With its walls so dark and gloomy,—walls so dark, and damp, and cold,—
"I've a lover in that prison, doomed this very night to die,
At the ringing of the Curfew, and no earthly help is nigh.
Cromwell will not come till sunset," and her face grew strangely white,
As she spoke in husky whispers, "Curfew must not ring tonight."
"Bessie," calmly spoke the sexton—every word pierced her young heart
Like a thousand gleaming arrows—like a deadly poisoned dart;
"Long, long years I've rung the Curfew from that gloomy shadowed tower;
Every evening, just at sunset, it has told the twilight hour;
I have done my duty ever, tried to do it just and right,
Now I'm old, I will not miss it; girl, the Curfew rings tonight!"
Wild her eyes and pale her features, stern and white her
thoughtful brow, And withm her heart's deep centre, Bessie made a solemn vow; She had listened while the judges read, without a tear or
"At the ringing of the Curfew—Basil Underwood must die. And her breath came fast and faster, and her eyes grew large and bright—
One low murmur, scarcely spoken—" Curfew must not ring to-night!"
She with light step bounded forward, sprang within the old church door,
Left the old man coming slowly, paths he'd trod so oft before;
Not one moment paused the maiden, but with cheek and brow aglow,
Staggered up the gloomy tower, where the bell swur.g to and fro:
Then she climbed the slimy ladder, dark, without one ray of light,
Upward still, her pale lips saying: "Curfew shall not ring to-night."
She has reached the topmost ladder, o'er her hangs the great dark bell,
And the awful gloom beneath her, like the pathway down to hell;
See, the ponderous tongue is swinging, 'tis the hour of Curfew now—
And the sight has chilled her bosom, stopped her breath
and paled her brow. Shall she let it ring? No, never! her eyes flash with sudden
As she springs and grasps it firmly—" Curfew shall not ring to-mght!"
Out she swung, far out, the city seemed a tiny speck below; There,'twixt heaven and earth suspended, as the bell swung to and fro;
And the half-deaf Sexton ringing (years he had not heard the bell,)
And he thought the twilight Curfew rang young Basil's funeral knell;
Still the maiden clinging firmly, cheek and brow so pale and white,
Stilled her frightened heart's wild beating— " Curfew shall riot ring to-nigtU."
It was o'er—the bell ceased swaying, and the mniden stepped once more
Firmly on the damp old ladder, where for hundred years before
Human foot had not been planted; and what she this night had done,
Should be told in long years after—as the rays of setting sun Light the sky with mellow beauty, aged sires with heads of white,
Tell their children why the Curfew did not ring that one sad night.
O'er the distant hills came Cromwell; Bessie saw him, and hef brow,
Lately white with sickening terror, glows with sudden beaaty now;
At his feet she told her story, showed her hands all bruised and torn;
And her sweet young face so haggard, with a look so sad and worn,
Touched his heart with sudden pity—lit his eyes with misty light;
"Go, your lover lives!" cried Cromwell; "Curfew shall not ring to-night."
ELOCUTION.—N. H. Gillespie.
A great deal has been said and written on the subject of Elocution. Authors and teachers have furnished excailent rules for pronunciation and the correct modulation of the voice; they have explained the nature and use of stress, volume, pitch, slides, inflections, and all the other elements which enter into correct reading and speaking.
This drill, however, though very useful and even necessary to a successful cultivation of the art of speaking, will never make an elocutionist. It may render a man a good mimic or imitator, but that is all.
To become an elocutionist in the true sense of the word, one must learn to do what Dr. Johnson declared was done by Garrick, the celebrated actor. When asked his opinion of the reputation attained by that wonderful interpreter of Shakspeare, he replied; "Oh, sir, he deserves everything he has acquired, for having seized the soul of Shakspeare, for having embodied it in himself, and for having expanded its glory over the world!" Yes, herein lies the secret of elocution; one must seize the soul of the author whose thoughts he would reproduce; he must embody that soul in himse.f, making it a part of his own being, and then he will speak with that forcible eloquence which alone deserves the name of elocution.
It is quite evident that if a man does not fully comprehend the meaning of the author whom he wishes to reproduce, he cannot, with any degree of precision, present the thoughts of that author to his hearers. Hence, the first step toward good speaking consists in mastering the thoughts,— the meaning—involved in the piece to be rendered. This in <«ccomplished by a careful analysis of the author's work, noting the logical connection of ideas, and determining the object which the author had in view when he wrote the piece in question. This is the first step, but by no means the most important.
Having ascertained the meaning of the author, the next and most important step is, as Dr. Johnson has it, to seize and embody in one's self the soul of the author. This is accomplished by studying carefully the character of the man, ascertaining his peculiarities, his habits of thought, his natural disposition and temper—in a word, the tone of his mind.
Then comes the last step, which consists in putting one's self in that man's place, creating in one's self, for the time at [east, a tone and habit of thought similar to his, and striving to feel as he most likely felt while writing, or as he would probably feel were he to deliver orally what he had written.
Thus prepared, and " worked up" into the spirit of the author, the speaker may fearlessly come forward, and feel perfectly confident that with ordinary speaking ability he will express forcibly the thoughts of the author. And thia is true elocution.
The naturalists say that these singular creatures
They are ramblers and wanderers, never at home,
These creatures, 'tis said, are not valued at all,
Except when the herd give a Bachelor's ball;
Then dress'd in their best, in their gold-broidered vest,
Tis allowed, as a fact, that they act with much tact,
And they lisp out, " How do?" and they coo and they sue,
And they smile for awhile, their guests to beguile,
Condescending and bending, for fear of offending:
Though inert, they expect to be pert, and to flirt,
And they turn and they twist, and are great hands at whist;
And they whirl and they twirl—they whisk and are brisk,
And they whiz and they quiz, and they spy with their eye,
And they sigh as they fly,
For they meet to be sweet, and are fleet on their feet,
They like dashing and flashing, lashing and splashing,
Racmg and pacing, chasing and lacing;
They are flittering and glittering, gallant and gay,
Yawning all morning, and lounging all day;
Love living in London, life loitering away
At their clubs in the dubs, or with beaux in the rows,
Or, what's propera, at the opera,
Reaching home in the morning—fie! fie! sirs, for shame—
But when the bachelor-boy grows old,
WKen he, at length, is an odd old man,