Imatges de pÓgina






AFTER the pupil has been made to analyse the more difficult constructions in a poetical passage, and to understand the less obvious grammatical relations, he will find it a profitable exercise to attempt a paraphrastic translation of the passage into the prosaic form.

The best paraphrase, it is true, will generally injure the beauty and weaken the force of good poetry. On this subject Dr. Campbell says, "By a multiplicity of words the sentiment is not set off and accommodated, but, like David equipped in Saul's armour, it is encumbered and oppressed." — "We are told," he adds, "of the torpedo, that it has the wonderful quality of numbing every thing it touches. A paraphrase is a torpedo. By its influence the most vivid sentiments become lifeless, the most sublime are flattened, the most fervid chilled, the most vigorous enervated."* But although these effects may, in some degree at least, result from the most skilful attempt to paraphrase certain kinds of poetry, the intellectual benefit derivable from the essay, and the evidence which it furnishes of the reader's judgment and taste, are considerations which amply vindicate the paraphrase as a useful species of exercise in composition.

Young children should occasionally be required to paraphrase

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the poetical lessons of their initiatory reading books.* Such books generally supply exercises suitably enough arranged for the earlier stages of proficiency. But for the upper classes in elementary schools, it is hoped that the passages which form the conclusion of the present little work, will be found an expedient selection, as exercises both in parsing and in paraphrasing. Before the pupil is required to write a paraphrase of any portion of these, he should be directed by the teacher

(a) To parse, syntactically, the words whose relations to other words are least obvious, or are liable to misapprehension.

(b) To read, or write, the passage in the simplest order of construction, using the author's own words, and supplying any ellipses occasioned by poetic brevity.

(c) To ascertain the propriety or the force of the principal words, phrases, figures, allusions, &c. which the poet has employed.

We shall introduce the exercises by two examples.


O for that warning voice, which he who saw
The Apocalypse heard cry in heaven aloud-
Then when the Dragon, put to second rout,
Came furious down to be revenged on men
'Woe to the inhabitants on earth!' that now,
While time was, our first parents had been warned

* In an article in the English Journal of Education, for October, 1848, I recommended the occasional employment of paraphrasing in Bible Lessons, as a means of bringing out and illustrating the sense of Scripture, - the direction being, that the children should be first taught the meaning of the more difficult expressions occurring in the Lesson, and that the master should then read the passage in brief consecutive portions, and require for each portion a translation or paraphrase from the children individually. This procedure, after a little practice, will become more manageable and interesting than a first trial may appear to argue.

The coming of their secret foe, and 'scaped
Haply so 'scaped his mortal snare! For now
Satan, now first inflamed with rage, came down
The tempter, ere the accuser, of mankind
To wreck on innocent frail man his loss
Of that first battle, and his flight to hell.

Milton, P. L. bk. iv. 1.

(a) Parse, syntactically, the words for, which, cry, aloud, then, put, woe, that, now, coming, escaped, so, for, now, now', inflamed, tempter, ere, to wreck, loss, flight.

(b) O how fervent is imagination's desire for that warning voice, which he who saw the Apocalypse heard cry aloud in heaven "Woe to the inhabitants on earth!"-then when the Dragon, having been put to second rout, came down furious to be revenged on men;· in order that now, while there was time, our first parents had been warned of the coming of their secret foe, and had escaped-haply so escaped his mortal snare! For Satan, being now first inflamed with rage, now came down, as the tempter, ere he should be the accuser, of mankind, to wreck his loss of that first battle, and his flight to hell, on innocent frail man.

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(c) "That warning voice which he heard," refers to a yet future time foreseen by St. John; Rev. xii. 10. 12."The Apocalypse," the revelation of the coming destinies of the Christian Church.-"Heard," foreheard. "The Dragon," Rev. xii. 9. Put to second rout," Rev. xii. 7, 8, 9; the first overthrow of Satan having been before man's creation. - "To be revenged on men," because they were favourites of heaven, destined to supply the place of the fallen angels; Rev. xii. 12. "While time was," while Satan was on mount Niphates in Armenia, pondering his wicked purpose, and therefore affording time for the interposition of a warning voice for man; see Par. Lost, B. 3. L. 733 to 742. "Secret foe," who should conceal his enmity under the semblance of friendship.—“ Haply so," if possible by such means. Mortal," designed to cause death. "Now first inflamed with rage," having been for the first time provoked by defeat.- "Came down," from the sun's



orb, where he had obtained information from Uriel, the spirit of the sun, respecting the situation of Paradise. —"The accuser," Rev. xii. 10.-"To wreck," to wreak, to revenge.- "That first battle," &c. Par. Lost, B. 1. L. 44.

(Paraphrase.) O that the first human pair had been addressed by that voice, which, from the remote future, reached the ear of him who beheld, through Divine revelation, the coming destinies of the Christian church,— that warning voice which St. John, foreseeing the second overthrow of the great Dragon, the Devil, and his wrathful descent to take vengeance on the human race, heard cry aloud in heaven, "Woe to the inhabiters of the earth!" in order that now, while there was opportunity to give warning, our first parents had been thus made aware of the approach of that disguised adversary, and had thereby ensured, if it might be, their escape from his deathdesigning snare. For at this period Satan, now for the first time excited by rage, came down as the tempter, in order that he might afterwards be the accuser, of man. kind, to wreak his vengeance on our innocent but fallible nature, for his first overthrow by the Almighty, and his expulsion to the region of outer darkness.


Leave to the nightingale her shady wood!
A privacy of glorious light is thine;
Whence thou dost pour upon the world a flood
Of harmony, with rapture more divine;
Type of the wise, who soar, but never roam,
True to the kindred points of Heaven and Home.

(a) Parse, syntactically, the words leave, thine, whence, with, divine, type, roam, true.

(b) Leave thou to the nightingale her shady wood! a privacy

of glorious light is thine; whence thou, with more divine rapture than hers, dost pour upon the world a flood of harmony; thou being a type of the wise, who soar, but who never roam, true, like them, to the kindred points of Heaven and Home.

(c) "Her shady wood," the obscure retirement which the nightingale seeks.- "A privacy of glorious light," an instance of the contrasting figure called antithesis, privacy being more generally related to darkness than to light; but concealment may be occasioned by the glare of light as well as by darkness ; hence the poet Young speaks of the Almighty as being hidden by excessive splendour. Night Thoughts, N. 4. See also Milton's Par. Lost, (Dr. Major's Edition,) B. 3. L. 374–382., and the note on that "Whence thou dost pour upon passage. the world a flood of harmony," the nightingale's song is restricted to the place of its seclusion, but the song of the soaring lark is heard far and wide, and is very fitly called a flood of harmony, from its full, continuous tones descending upon the landscape. Harmony is here used in the sense of melody. — "With rapture more divine," indicated by the lark's soaring toward heaven.-"Type of the wise," a figurative resemblance of the wise.. "Who soar but never roam," in allusion to the direct soaring of the lark. The wise elevate their affections to heaven, and their hearts do not deviate from that direction in quest of happiness. True to the kindred points of Heaven and Home," a metaphoric allusion to the compass needle, which points true to the poles. Heaven and Home are called kindred points, because Heaven is the only permanent home for man, and an earthly home derives its true comforts from heavenlymindedness.


(Paraphrase.) Leave thou, without envy or regret, to the nightingale her obscure retirement in the darksome wood! Thou art equally remote from disturbance; but thy seclusion is in the glorious light of heaven, toward which thou soarest, as if inspired with a temper of more heavenly ecstacy and gratitude; and from on high thy melodious tones descend continuously as a flood, to enliven the wide landscape. A beautiful type thou art of those

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