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LESSON XL.

Mont Blanc Before Sunrise.

[Study for reverential feeling. Do not try to describe these pictures. Simply express the emotions the poem awakens in you, and your audience will feel them also.]

Hast thou a charm to stay the morning star

In his steep course? So long he seems to pause
On thy bald, awful head, O sovereign Blanc!
The Arvé and Arveiron at thy base
Rave ceaselessly; but thou, most awful form,
Risest from forth thy silent sea of pines,
How silently! Around thee, and above,
Deep is the air and dark, substantial, black,
An ebon mass: methinks thou piercest it
As with a wedge. But when I look again
It is thine own calm home, thy crystal shrine,
Thy habitation from eternity.

O dread and silent mount! I gazed upon thee

Till thou, still present to the bodily sense,

Didst vanish from my thought: entranced in prayer
I worshipped the Invisible alone.

Yet, like some sweet beguiling melody,

So sweet we know not we are listening to it,

Thou, the meanwhile, wast blending with my thought,

Yea, with my life, and life's own secret joy;

Till the dilating soul, enrapt, transfused,

Into the mighty vision passing-there,

As in her natural form, swelled vast to heaven.

Awake, my soul! not only passive praise
Thou owest! not alone these swelling tears,
Mute thanks, and secret ecstasy! Awake,
Voice of sweet song! Awake, my heart, awake!
Green vales and icy cliffs! all join my hymn!

Thou first and chief, sole sovereign of the vale!
Oh, struggling with the darkness all the night,
And visited all night by troops of stars,

Or when they climb the sky, or when they sink,-
Companion of the morning star at dawn,
Thyself earth's rosy star, and of the dawn
Co-herald-wake! O wake! and utter praise!
Who sank thy sunless pillars deep in earth?
Who filled thy countenance with rosy light?
Who made thee parent of perpetual streams?

And you, ye five wild torrents fiercely glad!
Who called you forth from night and utter death,
From dark and icy caverns called you forth,
Down those precipitous, black, jagged rocks,
Forever shattered, and the same forever?
Who gave you your invulnerable life,

Your strength, your speed, your fury and your joy,
Unceasing thunder, and eternal foam?

And who commanded-and the silence came-
"Here let the billows stiffen and have rest?"

Ye ice-falls! ye that from the mountain's brow
Adown enormous ravines slope amain,—
Torrents, methinks, that heard a mighty voice,
And stopped at once amid their maddest plunge!
Motionless torrents; silent cataracts!

Who made you glorious as the gates of heaven
Beneath the keen full moon? Who bade the sun
Clothe you with rainbows? Who, with living flowers
Of loveliest blue, spread garlands at your feet?

"God!" let the torrents, like a shout of nations, Answer! and let the ice-plain echo, "God!" "God!" sing, ye meadow streams, with gladsome voice Ye pine groves, with your soft and soul-like sounds! And they, too, have a voice, yon piles of snow, And in their perilous fall shall thunder, "God!"

Ye living flowers that skirt the eternal frost!
Ye wild goats sporting round the eagle's nest!
Ye eagles, playmates of the mountain storm!
Ye lightnings, the dread arrows of the clouds!
Ye signs and wonders of the elements!

Utter forth "God!" and fill the hills with praise!

Thou, too, hoar mount! with thy sky-pointing peaks,
Oft from whose feet the avalanche, unheard
Shoots downward, glittering through the pure serene
Into the depth of clouds that veil thy breast,—
Thou, too, again, stupendous mountain! thou
That, as I raise my head, awhile bowed low

In adoration, upward from thy base

Slow travelling, with dim eyes suffused with tears.
Solemnly seemest, like a vapory cloud,

To rise before me,-rise, oh, ever rise!

Rise, like a cloud of incense, from the earth!
Thou kingly spirit, throned among the hills,
Thou dread ambassador from earth to heaven,
Great Hierarch! tell thou the silent sky,
And tell the stars, and tell yon rising sun,
Earth, with her thousand voices, praises God.

-S. T. Coleridge.

Note to Lesson XXIII., page 204, and to Lesson XXXVI., Page 232.

The accompanying diagram explains the usual stage directions that are found in acting editions of plays and dialogues.

[blocks in formation]

Side entrances.-Right or Left, 1st, 2d, 3rd, and upper entrance.
Doors at back.-Right centre, centre and left centre.

Principal characters come to or near the centre, subordinate characters and principals also, when for the time they give place to others, belong "up stage.

The actor should stand so that his face is easily seen by the audience, unless there is an especial reason for turning his back upon them; for this reason, the foot nearest the person whom he is addressing on the stage should be the foot furthest "up stage," and in pacing to and fro the last step at either side of the stage should always be upon this foot, so that the transition to the other direction can be made without turning the back on the audience. In grouping a number of characters on the stage the chief thing to be borne in mind is that everyone should be so placed that he can be easily seen from the front. The simplest form is the arc of a circle, but if the arc is broken into a number of little groups the effect is more artistic. Often the principals are grouped in the front with subordinates up the stage. One of the most difficult accomplishments of the actor is the exit or departure from the stage. It should always be made expressive in the highest degree. After an impassioned speech amateurs often walk tamely off with an air as if all were finished; on the contrary, the exit should emphasize the prevailing mood, whether of love, hate, joy or sorrow. Entrances, exits and all other changes of position should be accomplished gracefully, avoiding angularity.

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