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Full text of "Interpretation of the printed page for those who would learn to interpret literature silently or through the medium of the voice"

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I I 



WALT WHITMAN 

Books are to be called for, and supplied, on the assump- 
tion that the process of reading is not a half sleep, but, in 
highest sense, an exercise, a gymnast's struggle; that the 
reader is to do something for himself, must be on the alert, 
must himself or herself construct indeed the poem, argument, 
history, metaphysical essay — the text furnishing the hints, 
the clue, the start or framework. Not the bodk needs so 
much to be the complete thing, but the reader of the book 
does. That were to make a nation of siq>ple and athletic 
mmds, well-trained, intuitive, used to depend on themselves, 
and not on a few coteries of writers. 







JOHN RUSKIN 

The foundational importance of beautiful speaking has 
been disgraced by the confusion of it with diplomatic oratory, 
and evaded by the vicious notion that it can be taught by a 
master learned in it as a separate art. The management of 
the lips, tongue, and throat may, and perhaps should, be so 
taught; but this is properly the first function of the singings 
master. Elocution is a moral faculty^: and no one is fit to 
be the head of a children's school who is not both by nature 
and attention a beautiful speaker. 

By attention, I say, for fine elocution means first an ex- 
quisitel}^ close attention to, and intelligence of, the meaning 
of words, and perfect sp/npatfip with what feeling ihejf Je- 
scrihe; hut indicated alway^s with reserve. In this reserve, 
fine reading and speaking (virtually one art) differ from 
"recitation," which gives the statement or sentiment with the 
explanatory accent and gesture of an actor. In perfectly 
pure elocution, on the contrary, the accent ought, as a rule, 
to be much lighter and gentler than the natural or dramatic 
one, and the force of it wholly independent of gesture or 
expression of feature. A fine reader should read, a great 
speaker speak, as a judge delivers his charge ; and the test of 
his power should be to read or speak unseen. 



\ 



Interpretation of the 
Printed Page 

FOR THOSE WHO WOULD LEARN TO INTERPRET 

LITERATURE SILENTLY OR THROUGH 

THE MEDIUM OF THE VOICE 



.f 



,\y 




S?^'Hr CLARK 



Associate Profsssor of Public Speaking 
The University of Chicago 

Author of "Ho^ to Teach Reading in the Public Schools.** 
"Principles of Vocal Expression and Literary Inter- 
pretation'* (Chamberlain and Clark), "Hand- 
book of Best Readings,** etc- 




CHICAGO - - - NEW YORK 

ROW, PETERSON AND COMPANY 



Copyright, 1915 
By S. H. CLARK 



I 

\ S-.cj 1 ^ L l> 



PREFACE 



This book is planned for use in High Schools, 
Normal Schools, and as a foundation for advanced 
classes in Colleges; but particularly have I had in 
mind the iig eds of the teacher o f English w ho has 
had no special training or preparation in vocal ex- 
pression, locution, problems of voice culture, ges- 
ture, and articulation are not touched on, because 
there are a number of excellent treatises available for 
the professional teacher; and the noii-professional 
teacher is more likely to be harmed than helped by 
them. Training in voice and gesture cannot be got 
out of books, nor from correspondence courses. 

The teacher of English can use this book in class 
with no other training than that derived from the 
study of literature — ^which study must always be an 
inseparable part of the training in vocal expression; 
and with no other purpose (what higher can there 
be?) than to give the students such an insight into 
the meaning and beauty of literature that the vocal 
interpretation of it will be a simple, unaffected, intel- 
ligent, pleasurable illumination of the text. 

The teacher of elocution will, I hope, find in these 
pages a sound and rational text-book whose lessons 
can be supplemented by such other instruction as con- 
ditions demand. The principles herein presented are 
basic, I believe, to any method. 

The method here presented is the first in the realm 



^ 



8 PBEFAGE 

of pedagogy that recognizes practically as well as 
theoretically — ^what no one of course denies — that 
i^' thought getting must be the basis of vocal interpre- 
tation. I am certain that what explains the poor, 
inadequate vocal expression in our schools is not lack 
of technical exercises, but lack of ability to interpret 
^ the printed page; and I am almost as certain that the 
absence of interest in literature, and the mediocrity 
of results in political economy, history, etc., are very 
largely due to lack of interest in, growing out of 
inability to grapple with, the printed page. I have 
therefore had constantly in mind in preparing this 
book not only those who want to read aloud, but every 
person who wishes to get more knowledge and more 
enjoyment from the printed page. There are hun- 
dreds who are interested in increasing their ability to 
interpret the printed page to tens who want to learn 
to read aloud ; and the method here presented will help 
the hundreds as well as the tens. 

I am under great obligation to Miss Jessie L. 
Newlin, of University College, of the University of 
Chicago, for numerous suggestions in connection with 
the general plan of the book, and particularly for 
valuable assistance rendered in gathering and selecting 
the illustrative material. 



CONTENTS 

Chapter page 

Introduction 11 

^ I. Grouping 21 

> II. Group Sequence 49 

;> III. Group Values , 78 

IV. Group Sequence with Subordination 90 

V. Inversion 98 

>VI. Denotation 108 

> VII. An Exercise in Analysis 133 

^m. Group Motive 189 

IX. Central Idea 164 

>X. Group Motive and Central Idea. . . 169 

XI., Punctuation 178 

XII. Punctuation (Continued) . 200 

XIII. Review Exercises in Punctuation . . 227 

> XrV. Connotation 241 

^ XV. Emotion 254 

XVI. Suggestions to Teachers 809 



INTRODUCTION 

JIhe great majority of graduates from public, high, 
and normal schools are sadl y deficient in ability to 
in terpret t he printeipage. ^Thirty yeatsl ^experience 
in teaching forces on me that conclusion. In the fol- 
lowing pages will be found what I think is ample 
proof of my charge, sweeping and startling as it is; 
but in this place I can say only that my statement, 
often made in public, is all too frequently challenged 
by those who, relying easily and nonchalantly on their 
ability to take in at a glance words, phrases, nay, 
whole pages, never have learned how much of the 
meaning they miss, and how often they misinterpret it. 
No system of popular education can be considered^^ 
adequate from which the graduates have not derived 
a serious interest in worth-while things and an ability 
to grasp the content of books or journals in which 
things worth while are discussed. And_I_belieye, there- 
fore, that our school system must lay "greater stress 
than it has laid on silent reading — ^the importance of 
which seems to be underestimated. It is the only 
avenue of approach to the larger world for the boy 
and girl, or the man and woman whose school days 
are ended. Whether as a citizen who should for 
patriotic reasons have a lively interest in history, 
politics, sociology; as an artisan who seeks for help 
and advice in his life-work ; as a lover of the beautiful 
seeking to come into contact with the best that has 

11 




/ 



12 INTBBPBETATION OP THE PBINTED PAGE 

been thought and felt by the human race ; or as a mere, 
plain, matter-of-fact everyday man or woman of 
affairs who wants to know what is going on, it is the 
printed page more than anything else that can help. 

There is a loud cry for better reading in our 
schools, and as the demand grows louder and more 
insistent, we are striving to meet it by classes in elocu- 
tion, elocution contests, voice classes, courses in 
articulation, and of late, by the giving of plays. In- 
deed all of these ways of answering the demand are 
helpful (with a little less emphasis on the **all** when 
it comes to elocution contests as usually conducted) ; 
but while they develop ease and facility in expression, 
they do not go to the root of the matter unless they 
insist that the only basis for vocal expression must lie 
in a thorough apprehension of the meaning. 

All this is veriest platitude ; and yet I cannot escape 
the conclusion that in spite of all our training in silent 
and oral reading (I had almost added ^^and in Eng- 
lish"), in spite of accepted theories about "getting 
the thought," the average product of our schools, 
from grammar grade to college. Cannot be altogether 
trusted to interpret a page of reasonably difficult 
English. 

And the times, too, are none too favorable for such 
intensive study as I am pleading for. All is rush and 
hurry, and what does not come to us easily as we read, 
what is only a short distance removed from the sim- 
plicity of thought and language of our everyday life, 
is dismissed as being* hard, and hence beyond our 
grasp. It is an age when the concrete and tangible 



INTRODUCTION 18 

are the only things that seem to count with young 
people. It is so easy to skim over a text that has to 
deal with abstractions as dose to life as ^^virtue" and 
"honesty. '* Typewriting, shop, mechanical drawing; 
nay, even chemistry, botany, physics, as the pupil 
comes into contact with them in the laboratory, are 
"easier," far easier, than one page of solid type. 

No one is foolish enough to deny the importance of 
the vocational and scientific studies. But I would 
draw attention to the fact that in those subjects the 
material is tangible, easy to get at and to handle; 
and above all they aflTord little training in the atten- 
tion and concentration necessary to the mastery of the 
content of books. The data of science are concrete, 
and so novel, so inherently interesting, that students 
delight to spend hours in the laboratory learning how 
the wheels of the universe go 'round. Yet the very 
tangibility of the data is likely to create an impa- 
tience in the student for the serious study of books. 

It is not that I plead for less of the methods of 
science, but for more: I urge that the vocational 
student and the young student of science include in 
their curricula more of the intangible material of the 
printed page.; and that the student of literature in- 
clude more of the rigid method of science in pursuing 
his courses. 

But even in connection with subjects in which books 
are frequently used, we accept too easily careless, slip- 
shod recitations. How strange it is that in so much 
of our teaching of reading from primary up so little 
help is given to the pupil to enable him to get the 




14 INTEBPBETATION OP THE PRINTED PAGE 

full content of the printed page ! In the earlier yean, 
the stress is naturally laid on learning letters and 
words, but after the child can "read,'* we leave all 
the rest to chance. In a few schools some stress is 
laid on vocal expression; but alas! too often *^ex- 
pression" is synonymous with gush and show and 
affectation. 

To conclude then : expression is good, valuable, but 
it must be the natural, spontaneous response to an 
impression. Elocution, or expression, or vocal inter- 
pretation, whatever it may be called,^ not the goal 
of the reading lesson^ Our schools have made, and 
many still make, the fatal mistake of taking it for 
granted that because vocal expression may be of con- 
siderable importance as the outcome of the reading 
lesson, it is of the first importance. It is not. Beau- 
tiful as is the adequate vocal interpretation of litera- 
ture, it is of infinitesimally less worth in a system of 
education than the ability to interpret silently. For 
the great majority of men and women, the need for 

rrect impression is the most crying of all. 

The method here presented consists of a series of 
simple progressive steps to master which means the 
/ development of ability to get more and more from the 
printed page, a greater pleasure in literature through 
a clearer grasp of its content, and finally, the growth 
\ of a power to express vocally, in a simple, natural, 
and effective way, the content of the printed page. 

It is not to be supposed for a moment that I would 
insist on the making of a clear picture of what every 
word and sentence stands for. It would not only be 



INTEODUCTION 15 

sheer nonsense to expect that; it would cause incal- 
culable harm to develop the habit of reading only in 
pictures. (However, to be fair to those who insist on 
"getting pictures," I believe they use the phrase in the 
very general sense of getting the thought.) In fact, 
we seldom or never see pictures in our daily inter- 
course. If I am told, "Your lesson in history for to- 
morrow will be chapter five of Green's History of the 
English People/* I certainly do not stop to make a 
picture of "lesson" and "tomorrow," etc. It would 
positively stand in my way if I had to get ideas and 
information in such a fashion. And so it is with all 
the ordinary conversation and reading of everyday 
life. The larger our experience with books and the 
world the easier it is to read mthoiit the aid of pictures. 
But now comes a danger. Young students become 
so used to understanding people without effort and to 
reading rapidly that they skim lightly over the page, 
and many come to the point where that which does not 
come easily is passed by as being too hard, or not 
worth puzzling over. It is only those who are well 
acquainted with the subject-matter who can read rap- 
idly and still understand. I do not mean that it is 
necessary to read every page of every book so care- 
fully that nothing can escape us. It is quite pos- 
sible we want to read just to get a general idea of 
what the author has to say. Some passages are 
under some^ conditions to be passed over lightly, and 
under others to be studied in minutest detail. For 
instance, we cannot be expected to study closely every 
word of the baseball news, nor of a railroad accident. 



16 INTESPBETATION OF THE PBINTED PAGE 

But when we come to good literature there is no choice. 
It was never written for the tired brain, nor for mere 
entertainment. Eyery word and phrase has a mean- 
ing and a purpose. 

In this book I am insisting strongly with Ruskin 
thai one must interpret not only sentences, but words, 
nay, "letter by letter,'* for with virtually no reserva- 
tion the greater part of our educational system is 
guilty of total disregard of this fundamental need. 
The only way we can test the value of a method of 
'teaching literature" is in its results with the students, 
and I — ^with the highest appreciation of that small de- 
voted body of teachers of English that insists not on 
"teaching literature," but on presenting it so that 
students may learn what it is — I unhesitatingly de- 
clare that, measured by the standard of adequate 
results, it is a miserable failure: it has not developed 
an interest in literature worth while, let alone a love 
for it. I concede the world is too much with us ; that 
the cry for practical results drowns out the gentle 
voice of poesie ; that the environment of our students 
may not be conducive to the study of literature; I 
grant everything except that all these are no excuse. 
We must find time and means to present literature for 
what it is, not as history, not as biography, not as 
\ composition, nor philology, nor histology, nor — ^nor 
— ^nor anything but the beautiful. ^It can never be 
easy to read good literature, thank the gods for that ! 
but it must be made so interesting, so appealing to 
what is best in the students that they will gladly work 
over the text in order to enjoy it. There is no 



INTRODUCTION 






\ 



\ - 



V'^ 






time to hurry the study of a poem; it is the ter-\ 
lest art of pedagogy to dwell on it and have the \ \j 
class dwell on it lovingly, longingly, and loath to let \ ' t^ 

it go; hanging on every word, every group and sen- 
tence ; rolling rhyme and rhythm on the tongue as it 
were — not trippingly, no, Hamlet, not trippingly — 
until we know it as we know the mother's voice, singing 
it to ourselves, dwelling on every cadence, flighting yv' 

to the blue with Shelley's Skylark, going down with * 

majestic steps to Milton's deep within the deep. 

There is little love of good literature in America. 
We don't read it because we don't care for it ; we don't 
care for it because it does not appeal to us; it does 
not appeal to us because we don't understand it; we 
don't understand because we don't know how to go 
about understanding — and our schools seldom show 
us how. ^ 

There is. some tendency nowadays to hold that we 
must learn to skim the printed page. It can't be 
skimmed unless we want but a bird's-eye view. True, 
there are some books written to be skimmed (most of 
which, by the way, might better be left alone entirely) ; 
others whose subject-matter is so familiar to a certain 
reader that he need not dwell on its every detail, be- 
cause in the past, through patient study, he had mas- 
tered the fundamentals of the subject. But this is 
never true of good literature. Never! Never!! 
Never!!! The wretched habit of skimming explains 
not only our lack of interest in and love of good liter- 
ature, but the inability of the average man and woman 
to grapple with any book or treatise of weight and 



18 INTEEPEETATION OP THE FEINTED PAGE 

merit, anything outside of the popular treatment of" 
the commonest occurrences of eyeryday life. Nay, 
even there, it is appalling how much can be read with- 
out understanding, frequently with a perverted under- 
standing. For most people the ability to read (!) is 
a fatal facility for recognizing words. Their ability 
leads them to believe that they know and understand, 
when the truth is their skimming, skipping method 
destroys their power of concentration, of prolonged 
attention, their interest in the serious treatment of any 
subject, including even those most nearly touching 
their lives. Is it not true that we cannot trust the 
average graduate of the average high school to give 
us the gist of a leading article or editorial? And only 
one child out of nineteen who enter the public school 
ever gets as far as high-school graduation. What 
can we expect then of those who drop out at twelve 
and thirteen and fourteen? Well, at any rate, vaude- 
ville prospers, the "movie'* houses are packed, and 
the popular monthly magazines sell by the million. 
Shakespeare? Oh, yes, "John received a beautiful 
set for graduation ; it's on the upper shelf, left-hand 
side." In the name of all that is sound in literary 
culture, what arraignment more terrible could be made 
of our methods than that virtually nobody reads good 
literature? Let us at least be honest and not keep 
talking about our priceless heritage in Shakespeare 
and Milton and Wordsworth and Shelley and Keats 
and George Eliot and Emerson, and frankly say they 
are not for the busy twentieth century. 

How then can there be any adequate vocal expres-^ 



INTRODUCTION 19 

sion when there is so little appreciation? Is it any 
wonder that elocution — ^a noble art — ^has fallen into 
disrepute ; that it is a synonym of banality, incapacity, 
Fant, and affectation ? How can there be good elocu- 
tion when the material with which it should deal is 
outside of the experience of the elocutionist? 

^I believe that the value of reading as reading has 
not been fully realized as a truly educative study. 
First , it is necessary to have a working vocabulary, 
which is analogous to paradigms, declensions, for- 
mulae, theorems, etc. Secondly ^ the necessity of care- 
ful attention^ tq_ all the facts is not dissimilar from 
what is required in the laboratory or in the translation 
of foreign languages. (I dare to suggest that be- 
cause of the elusiveness and complexity of language 
the student's powers are more taxed in careful obser- 
vation of the printed page than in many an experi- 
ment in the laboratory.) And thirdly, the training 
in concentration, in sequential thinking, in logic, in 
drawing conclusions from observed facts, in detecting 
errors in statements and in conclusions — all this is, in 
the highest and best sense of the word, educativ e. 

It is my sincere, earnest, humble hope that the 
method herein presented may heighten the student's 
appreciation of what is best in literature, not through 
accepting my views, or anyone's views, as to what is 
beautiful in prose and poetry, but through that care- 
ful (not necessarily dry), patient study of the text 
that alone can reveal its innermost meaning. 

Thb University op Chicago 
June, 1915 




Interpretation of the Printed Page 



CHAPTER I 

GROUPING 

Read aloud these lines with no other object than 
just to utter the words : 

This I beheld, or dreamed it in a dream : — 
There spread a cloud of dust along a plain ; 
And underneath the cloud, or in it, raged 
A furious battle, and men yelled, and swords 
Shocked upon swords and shields. A prince's banner 
Wavered, then staggered backward, hemmed hy foes. 
A craven hung along the battle's edge. 
And thought, "Had I a sword of keener steel — 
That blue blade that the king's son bears, — but this 
Blunt thing — !" he snapt and flung it from his 

hand, 
And lowering crept away and left the field. 
Then came the king's son, wounded, sore bestead. 
And weaponless, and saw the broken sword, 
El^ilt-buried in the dry and trodden sand. 
And ran and snatched it, and with battle-shout 
Lifted afresh he hewed his enemy down. 
And saved a great cause that heroic day. 

— Sill : Opportuniiff. 
21 



22 INTEBPBETATION OP THE PBINTED PAGE 

Now read the first six lines silently, trying to get 
the author's meaning : 

This I beheld^ or dreamed it in a dream: — 
There spread a cloud of dust along a plain ; 
And underneath the cloudy or in it, raged 
A furious battle, and men yelled, and swords 
Shocked upon swords and shields. A prince's banner 
Wavered, then staggered backward, hemmed by foes. 

Have you not noticed in this careful reading a 

tendency to break up the lines into groups of words? 

Read the poem again to yourself, very carefully, and 

note that the more determined you are to get the 

meaning the slower will you read and the more groups 

will you make. We might rearrange it something 

like this : 

This I beheld, 
or dreamed it in a dream : — 
There spread a cloud of dust 
along a plain ; 
And underneath the cloud, 
or in it, 

raged A furious battle, 
and men yelled, 

and swords Shocked upon swords and shields. 
A prince's banner Wavered, 
then staggered backward, 
hemmed by foes. 

A craven hung along the battle's edge. 
And thought, 

"Had I a sword of keener steel — 
That blue blade that the king's son bears, — 
but this Blunt thing— !" 
. he snapt 
and flung it from his hand. 



GBOUPING 28 

And lowering 

crept away 

and left the field. 

Then came the king's son^ 

wounded, 

sore bestead, 

And weaponless, 

and saw the broken sword, 

Hilt-buried in the dry and trodden sand. 

And ran and snatched it, 

and with battle-shout Lifted afresh 

he hewed his enemy down, 

And saved a great cause 

that heroic day. 

This deliberate study of the grouping has com- 
pelled you to read slowly and carefully; and that is 
the* sole purpose of the lesson. It is easy to recog^ 
nize words and then to pronounce them, but if onci 
is to £cet the meanins: he must do hard thinkinfic. The' 
author of lliia puiiii s a ^i an entire picture, -sam a good 



deal of it in one glance — ^just as you can close your 
eyes and recall some picture of home, or sea, or land- 
scape, or farm — ^but when he wantpd'^us to see what 
he ha/i seen he ha^ to describe it group by group. 
We must then get these groups one by one and build 
them up again into complete pictures. / For instance, 
in the lines : 

There spread a cloud of dust along a plain ; 
And underneath the cloud, or in it, raged 
A furious battle, and men yelled, and swords 
Shocked upon swords and shields, 

we see a cloud of dust spreading along a plain, and in 
"the midst of the cloud a battle raging wherein swords 



24 INTERPBETATION OP THE PRINTED PAGE 

and shields shock, and men yell and scream. If we 
were looking at a battlefield we should take in at a 
glance all that the author here describes ; but when we 
read the words, so acciLstomed are we to read care- 
lessly and without conscious determination to get the 
meanings most of us get but a small fraction of 
the story. 

In this first example I have purposely chosen a 
simple poem. There are no hard words, and the con- 
struction is easy. If there were many strange words, 
and sentences long and involved, there would be sev- 
eral kinds of difficulties to overcome besides that of 
grouping. But we are taking one step at a time. 

Some of the grouping difficulties in Opportvmty 
are clearly due to the poetic form; but in prose, 
because it looks easier than verse, there is more 
temptation than in poetry to run words together 
without regard for the meaning. Read silently and 
hurriedly this passage from Silas Mamer: 

The disposition to hoard had been utterly crushed at 
the very first by the loss of his long-stored gold: the 
coins he earned afterwards seemed as irrelevant as 
stones brought to complete a house suddenly buried by 
an earthquake; the sense of bereavement was too heavy 
upon him for the old thrill of satisfaction to rise again 
at the touch of the newly-earned coin. And now some- 
thing had come to replace his hoard which gave a 
growing purpose to the earnings^ drawing his hope and 
joy continually onward beyond the money. 

Now in order that no part of the picture may pos- 
sibly escape us let us group the lines as follows: 



6B0UPING 25 

The disposition to hoard 

had been utterly crushed 

at the very first 

by the loss of his long^stored gold: 

the coins he earned afterwards 

seemed as irrelevant 

as stones brought to complete a house 

suddenly buried by an earthquake; 

the sense of bereavement 

was too heavy upon him 

for the old thrill of satisfaction 

to rise again 

at the touch of the newly-earned coin. 

And now 

something had come 

to replace his hoard 

which gave a growing purpose 

to the earnings^ 

drawing his hope and joy 

continually onward 

beyond the money. 

Of course, the grouping is overdone, but nevertheless 
it serves to illustrate the principle we are studying. A 
slow reader might be justified in such detailed study, 
but after he becomes familiar with the text I think he 
will find that a grouping about like the following will 
give the best interpretation : 

The disposition to hoard had been utterly crushed 
at the very first by the loss of his long-stored gold ; 
the coins he earned afterwards seemed as irrel- 
evant as stones brought to complete a house sud- 
denly buried by an earthquake; the sense of 
bereavement was too heavy upon him for the old 

thrill of satisfaction to rise again at the touch of the 



26 INTEBPEETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

newly-earned coin. And now something had come to 
replace his hoard which gave a growing purpose to 
the earnings^ drawing his hope and joy continually 
onward beyond the money. 

(The spaces do not indicate a long pause, but a 
separation of groups to prevent blurring.) 

EXEECISES 

The student will prepare to read aloud in class the 
following selections to illustrate the principle of 
grouping. Do not be misled by the seeming simplic- 
ity of these passages. While most of the groups are 
easily apprehended there are several places where the 
idea will escape you if you are not careful. 

Not what we have, but what we use; 
Not what we see, but what we choose — 
These are the things that mar or bless 
The sum of human happiness. 

Not as we take, but as we give; 
Not as we pray, but as we live — 
These are the things that make for peace. 
Both now and after time shall cease. 

He rose, and clad himself,' and girt his sword. 
And took his horseman's cloak, and left his tent. 

And went abroad into the cold wet fog. 

Through the dim camp to Peran-Wisa's tent. 

The things which I have seen I now can see no more. 

I could not love thee, dear, so much 
Loved I not honor more. 



QEOUPING 27 

The dead are niany^ and the living few. 
How near to good is what is fair! 

A ride of two hundred and odd miles in severe weather 
is one of the best softeners of a hard bed that ingenuity 
can devise. 

The sea ! the sea ! the open sea ! 

The blue, the fresh, the ever free! 

Without a mark, without a bound, 

It runneth the earth's wide regions round; 

It plays with the clouds, it mocks the skies. 

Or like a cradled creature lies. 

I'm on the sea, I'm on the sea, 

I am where I would ever be. 

With the blue above and the blue below. 

And silence wheresoe'er I go. 

If a storm should come and awake the deep. 

What matter? I shall ride and sleep. 

I love, oh ! how I love to ride 
On the fierce, foaming, bursting tide, 
Where every mad wave drowns the moon. 
And whistles aloft its tempest tune. 
And tells how goeth the world below. 
And why the southwest wind doth blow ! 

I never was on the dull, tame shore 
But I loved the great sea more and more. 
And backward flew to her billowy breast. 
Like a bird that seeketh her mother's nest, — 
And a mother she was and is to me, 
^ For I was born on the open sea. 

The waves were white, and red the mom. 

In the noisy hour when I was born; 

The whale it whistled, the porpoise rolled. 



88 INTEBPRETATION OP THE PRINTED PAGE 

And the dolphins bared their backs of gold; 
And never was heard such an outcry wild. 
As welcomed to life the ocean child. 

I have lived since then, in calm and strife. 
Full fifty summers a rover's life, 
With wealth to spend, and a power to range. 
But never have sought or sighed for change: 
And death, whenever he comes to me. 
Shall come on the wide, unbounded sea! 

— Cornwall: The Sea. 

An hour before sunset, on the evening of a day in 
the beginning of October, 1815, a man travelling afoot 
e nt er ed the little town of D — . It would have beeq 
hard to find a passer-by more wretched in appearance. 
A slouched leather cap half hid his face, bronzed by 
the sun and wind, and dripping with sweat. He wore 
a cravat twisted like a rope; coarse blue trousers, worn 
and shabby, white on one knee and with holes in the 
other; an old, ragged, gray blouse patched on oiie side 
with a piece of green cloth sewed with twine; upon his 
back was a well-filled knapsack; in his hand he carried 
an enormous knotted stick; his stockingless feet were 
in hobnailed shoes; his hair was cropped and his beard 
long. — Hugo: Les Miserables. 

Near yonder copse, where once the garden smiled. 

And still where many a garden flower grows wild; 

There, where a few torn shrubs the place disclose, 

The village preacher's modest mansion rose. 

A man he was to all the country dear. 

And passing rich with forty pounds a year; 

Remote from towns he ran his goodly race. 

Nor e'er had changed, nor wished to change, his place: 

Unpracticed he to fawn, or seek for power. 

By doctrines fashioned to the varying hour; 

Far other aims his heart had learned to prize, 



GBOUPING 29 

More bent to raise the wretched than to rise. 
His house was known to all the vagrant train; 
He chid their wand'rings^ bat relieved their pain; 
The long-remembered beggar was his guest^ 
Whose beard descending swept his aged breast; 
The ruined spendthrift^ now no longer proud^ 
Claimed kindred there^ and had his claim allowed; 
The broken soldier, kindly bade to stay. 
Sat by his fire, and talked the night away ; 
Wept o'er his wounds, or, tales of sorrow done. 
Shouldered his crutch and showed how fields were won. 
Pleased with his guests, the good man learned to glow, 
And quite forgot their vices in their woe; 
Careless their merits or their faults to scan. 
His pity gave ere charity began. 

— Goldsmith: The Deserted Village. 

Bruce caused his men to lie down to take some sleep, 
at a place about half a mile distant from the river, 
while he himself, with two attendants, went down to 
watch .the ford, through which the enemy must needs 
pass before they could come to the place where King 
Robert's men were lying. He stood for some time look- 
ing at the ford, and thinking how easily the enemy might 
be kept from passing there, provided it was bravely 
defended, when he heard at a distance the baying of 
a hound, which was always coming nearer and nearer. 
This was the bloodhound which was tracing the King's 
steps to the ford where he had crossed, and the two 
hundred Galloway men were along with the animal, and 
guided by it. Bruce at first thought of going back to 
awaken his men; but then he reflected that it might be 
only some shepherd's dog. "My men," said he, "are 
sorely tired; I will not disturb their sleep for the yelp- 
ing of a cur, till I know something more of the 
matter." So he stood and listened; and by and by, as 
the cry of the hound came nearer, he began to hear a 



30 INTEBPBETATION OF THE PMNTED PAGE 

trampling of horses^ and the voices of men^ and the 
ringing and clattering ctf armor, and then he was sure 
the enemy were coming to the river side. Then the 
King thought, "If I go back to give my men the alarm, 
these Galloway men will get through the ford without 
opposition; and that would be a pity, since it is a place 
so advantageous to make defence against them." So he 
looked again at the steep path, and the deep river, and 
he thought that they gave him so much advantage, that 
he himself could defend the passage with his own hand, 
until his men came to assist him. His armor was so 
good and strong, that he had no fear of arrows, and 
therefore the combat was not so very unequal as it must 
"have otherwise been. He therefore sent his followers 
to waken his men, and remained alone by the bank of 
the river. — Scott: Tales of a Grandfather. 

A group may contain a single word only, as : 

Charge, Chester, charge! On, Stanley, on! 
Were the last words of Marmion. 

Hence ! home, you idle creatures, get you home. 

One, two, three, fire ! 

Away, slight man ! 

King, duke, earl. 
Count, baron — whom he smote, he overthrew. 

In all reading there is danger of two kinds of mis- 
takes: first, where we get no meaning, or only a 
partial one; and secondly, where we get the wrong 
meaning. We come across examples of both forms 
in this first chapter. Students, then, should con- 



GEOUPING 81 

stantly ask themselves, Do I get any meaning? or, 
Is that the right meaning? To be sure, all troubles 
do not vanish when you have grouped correctly, but 
this is certain : Grouping helps to locate the difficulty^ 
and that goes a long way towards remedying it. Let 
the following illustrations serve as models. The first 
shows how impossible it is to get the idea unless we 
proceed group by group. There is little trouble in 
the words, thought, or style, but the sentence is long 
and contains so many ideas that we get no meaning 
unless we group carefully. 

When^ in the course of human events^ it becomes nec- 
essary for one people to dissolve the political bands 
which have connected them with another^ and to assume^ 
among the powers of the earthy the separate and equal 
station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God 
entitle them^ a decent respect to the opinions of man- 
kind requires that they should declare the causes which 
impel them to the separation. 

In the following passages you may get a wrong 
meaning unless you are particularly careful in your 
grouping. 

And the Lord God said^ It is not good that the man 
should.be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. 
(Parse "him" after "make.") 

With farmer Allan at the farm abode 
William and Dora. 

The fox was seen three nights running in the barn- 
yard. 



82 INTERPBETATIOy uF THE PRINTED PAGE 

We can hardly jeiie^e there are such villains in the 
world; but the fact that there are such shows that we 
must always be on our guard. 

No stir in the air, no stir in the sea. 
The ship was as still as she could be; 
Her sails from heaven received no motion. 
Her keel was steady in the ocean. 

O Jimmy, and Johnny, and Willy, friends of my 
youth ! O noble and dear old Elias ! how should he who 
knows you not respect you and your calling. 

Moses was the daughter of Pharaoh's son. 

Everything depended upon the weather, and although 
the rough autumn was not 'come yet the prime of the 
youthful year was past. 

Length of Group in Sii;ent and Osal Reading 

No absolute rule can he laid down for the length 
of groups. When you read you probably find that 
your eye takes in clauses and whole sentences at one 
sweep. The more familiar the words and ideas and 
the simpler the text the longer will be your groups ; 
but no matter how easy the text, the group seldom 
exceeds ten to fifteen or twenty words. And ron- 
trariwise, the more difficult the text the shorter your 
groups. You keep saying to yourself, What does 
this mean? and find yourself breaking the difficult 
sentences up into small and smaller groups. Of 
course, after the difficulties are removed— of words, 
style, ideas, and the like — ^the hard passages become 
comparatively easy, and as a consequence you can 



GBOUPING 38 

take in larger and larger units of thought. In 
Lowell's beautiful address on Owr Literature he says : 

That nation is a mere horde supplying figures to the 
census which does not acknowledge a truer prosperity 
and a richer contentment in the things of the mind. 
Railways and telegraphs reckoned by the thousand 
miles are excellent things in their way^ but I doubt 
whether it be of their poles and sleepers that the rounds 
are made of that ladder by which men or nations scale 
the cliffs whose inspiring obstacle interposes itself be- 
tween them and the fulfilment of their highest purpose 
and function. 

There are some hard words in this passage, but 
even after you get their meaning you still find your- 
self making many groups in order to get the sense. 

And when it comes to reading aloud (which is only 
a half or a third as rapid as silent reading), -again 
there is no absolute rule for the length of groups. 
All that can be said is that in reading aloud the 
groups become shorter; just how short can be deter- 
mined only by the difficulty of the text and the nature 
of the audience. When you read silently you scarcely 
recognize that you are making groups; but in oral 
reading the groups are clearly separated by pauses of 
varying lengths. Such a sentence as the following 
is so simple that, reading it silently, our groups would 
be rather long ; but if we were reading it aloud there 
would probably be twice as many groups, marked off 
by pauses. 

One night when he was climbing the stairs of his 
lodging, thinking what he would do the next day^ he 



34 INTEBPBETATION OF THE PBINTED PAGE 

heard the angry voices of two men in the room he was 
about to enter^ and he recognized one as that of an old 
man from Paris who shared the room with him and 
George. 

"Yes/' the man from Paris was saying angrily^ "I am 
sure that somebody has broken open my trunk and stolen 
the three francs which I had hidden in a little box; and 
the man who did the trick can only be one of the two 
companions who sleep here^ unless it is Maria^ the serv- 
ant. This is your business as much as mine^ since you 
are master of the house; and I will hale you to court 
if you do not let me at once go through the valises." 

Read first silently and then aloud the following 
to be sure you understand the principle we are dis- 
cussing. You will see that because the excerpt is 
hard you make many groups in your silent reading, 
and that, in your oral reading, you make still more. 

But if our relations with the East are in the future 
characterized by sympathy^ tact and fair dealings if we 
are not stampeded or unduly agitated by special plead- 
ing on either side^ we may be able practically to dem- 
onstrate our good-will both for China and for Japan, 
and our steadiness to cooperate with other Powers inter- 
ested in the maintenance of peace in Eastern Asia. — 
The New Republic, 

To put the matter briefly: In silent reading we 
naturally make more and shorter groups where the 
text is difficult than when it is simple; and, whether 
the style is easy or hard, we make more groups in oral 
reading than in silent. 

There are two reasons why there are more groups 
in vocal expression than in silent reading. The first 



GEOUPING 35 

is that we stop for breath. This does not mean that 
we do this consciously; but since we cannot read on 
and on without pausing for breath, we form the habit 
of breaking up sentences into groups shorter than we 
should make in silent reading. And this is true^ of 
course, whether we read aloud for ourselves or to 
others. 

And secondly, as we read aloud to an auditor we 
come to see that, since he has no text before him, he 
cannot grasp the meaning as rapidly as he does in 
silent reading, and we therefore more or less uncon- 
sciously use the shorter group. It is essential to bear 
in miind that as the reader becomes familiar with the 
text there is danger that he may forget that 
the audience is not familiar with it. This he must 
never do. He should decide where is approximately 
the best place to pause and then not forget it. Here 
is a humorous illustration of the need of much more 
frequent pausing when reading to another than when 
reading silently : 

Esau Wood sawed wood. Esaa Wood would saw 
wood. All the wood Esau Wood saw Esau Wood would 
saw. In other words^ all the wood Esau saw to saw 
Esau sought to saw. Oh, the wood Wood would saw! 
And oh! the wood-saw with which Wood would saw 
wood! But one day Wood's wood-saw would saw no 
wood, and thus the wood Wood sawed was not the wood 
Wood would saw if Wood's wood-saw would saw wood. 
Now, Wood would saw wood with a wood-saw "that 
would saw wood, so Esau sought a saw that would saw 
wood. One day Esau saw a saw saw wood as no other 
wood-saw Wood saw would saw wood. In fact, of all 



36 INTEBPRETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

the wood-saws Wood ever saw saw wood Wood never 
saw a wood-saw that would saw wood as the wood-saw 
Wood saw saw wood would saw wood^ and I never saw 
a wood-saw that would saw as the wood-saw Wood saw 
would saw until I saw Esau Wood saw wood with the 
wood-saw Wood saw saw wood. Now Wood saws wood 
with the wood-saw Wood saw saw wood. 

Now while it is true that one can lay down no hard- 
and-fast rule for determining the length of the groups 
in vocal expression, one can be pretty sure as to their 
shortness. For instance, one might group 

There spread a cloud of dust 
along a pltiin. 
or, 

There spread a cloud of dust along a plain; 

but no one would read 

There spread a 
cloud of 
dust along 
a plain. 

\ And so we conclude that a group is made up of an 
I idea, or picture, or a fairly complete part of an idea 
I or picture, and that is about as far as we can go at 
] present by way of definition. Fortunately, however, 
' conunon sense is all we need to guide us. 

As for the length of the group in vocal expression, 

\ a good general principle to observe is, The longer the 

(group the better y all things being equal. Too many 

groups tend to becloud the picture, but don't forget 

oB things being eqtial, Make all the groups you 



GROUPING 37 

think necessary in order to have your listener get a 
maximum of your meaning with the minimum of 
effort on his part; but after that make as few pauses 
as possible^ 

A very Interesting example of what we have been 
discussing is found in the next quotation in the clause, 
beginning ^^bending and straightening," where the- 
picture is that of one continuous action of a man 
bending in order to take the stones from the man 
below, and then straightening his back in order to 
hand the stones to the workman who is evidently 
standing above him. The last eleven words of the 
paragraph are better handled as one group : 

After a long day passed on the ladder^ in the full 
sun^ in the dust^ bending and straightening his back to 
take the stones from the hands of the man below him 
and to pass them to the man above him^ he came home 
to get a meal at the cheap eating house^ dead tired^ his 
legs heavy^ his hands burning, and his eyelashes stuck 
together by the plaster, but satisfied with himself, and 
carrying his well-earned money in the knot of his 
handkerchief. — Coppee: The Substitute, 

A slight pause after "below him" could be de- 
fended, but, on the whole, the clause is better read 
without it. 

Here are some further examples where longer rather 
than shorter groupings seem to be preferable: 

Without looking to the right or left to notice the 
scene of rural wealth, on which he had so often gloated, 
he went straight to the stable, and with several hearty 
cuffs and kicks, roused his steed most u/icourteously from 
the comfortable quarters in which he was soundly sleep- 



38 INTEBPRETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

ing, diieaming of mountains of com and oats^ and whole 
valleys of timothy and clover. — ^Washington Irving: 
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. 

It is reported in the Bohemian story that Saint 
Wenceslaus^ their king^ g^ing one winter night to his 
devotions in a remote charch^ barefooted in the snow 
and sharpness of miequal and pointed ice^ his servant 
Podavivus, who waited upon his master's piety and 
endeavored to imitate his affections^ began to faint 
through the violence of the snow and cold till the king 
commanded him to follow him and set his feet in the 
same footsteps which his feet should mark for him. — 
Jeremy Taylor. 

Stand farther from me^ lest I should lay hands on 
you^ and I'll tell you what I mean. I mean, taking 
advantage of a young girl's foolishness and ignorance 
to get her to have secret meetings with you. I mean^ 
daring to trifle with the respectability of a family that 
has a good and honest name to support. . . . Do 
you mean to pretend that you didn't know it would be 
injurious to her to meet you here week after week? 
Do you pretend you have any right to make profes- 
sions of love to her when neither her father nor your 
father would ever consent to a marriage between you? 
— Eliot: The Mill on the Floss. 



Grouping and Punctuation 

• 

Many people believe that grouping depends solely 
on punctuation. In a later chapter we shall study in 
detail the relation of punctuation to interpretation, 
but at this point it is enough to say that punctuation 
in itself does not determine the grouping and paus- 
ing. The punctuation helps us to get the sense ^ and 



GROUPING 39 

ihe sensey and the sense alone^ determines the group* 
Have we not found in the first place many illustra- 
tions of the groups ending where there was no period, 
comma, or any other mark? as: 

4 

Toe things which I have seen I now can see no more. 

Secondly, in making groups in easy reading we 
often run over marks of punctuation. When you 
say, "No, father," strictly speaking you have two 
groups; for you do not mean "No father," and the 
comma is inserted to show that you do not mean this ; 
not to have you pause after "No." Again, "Stop, 
Johnnie" needs the comma to make the sense clear; 
but one does not pause after "Stop." Should some- 
one ask you, "What are the days of the week?" you 
answer virtually without pause between the words, 
**Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday," etc. But 
if your answer were printed, there would be commas 
separating the days. So usually in naming the colors 
in our flag we say, "They are red white and blue." 
But printed, the sentence reads, "They are red, white, 
and blue." Remember, it is not claimed that we always 
run such small groups together; but that we fre- 
quently and rightly do so when there is no special 
emphasis required. (You see, of course, that if we 
wanted to impress these colors on one who knew noth- 
ing about our flag we should not run the groups to- 
gether.) Here then we come to see how punctuation 
is used to make the meaning clear. Whether we make 
three groups or only one, the sense is the same, and the 
commas are necessarv to that sense; but how we ex- 



40 INTEEPBETATION OP THE FEINTED PAGE 

press ourselves depends on the context or setting. 
These illustrations and many similar ones show us 
that marks of punctuation do not always indicate a 
place to pause. This need never confuse the student 
if he will but remember to read as he would speak. 

You need not be reminded of the third classifica- 
tion, that which includes those groups wherein the 
pause and punctuation coincide. Illustrations abound 
on every page. 

We have now seen that punctuation does not neces- 
sarily determine our pauses. It is interesting to know 
in this connection that the early Hebrews, snd Greeks, 
and Romans had no punctuation at all in their manu- 
scripts, and yet these were read and understood. Here 
is something in our own language as it might have 
been printed if there were no such thing as punctua- 
tion, and from it you will see that the sense alone 
determines the grouping. 

And he said A certain man had two sons and the 
younger of them said to his father Father give me the 
portion of thy substance that falleth to me And he 
divided unto them his living And not many days after 
the younger son gathered all together and took his 
journey into a far country and there he wasted his 
substance with riotous living And when he had spent 
all there arose a mighty famine in that country and he 
began to be in want And he went and joined himself 
to one of the citizens of that country and he sent him 
into his fields to feed the swine And he would fain 
have been filled with the husks that the swine did eat 
and no man gave unto him But when he came to him- 
self he said How many hired servants of my father's 
have bread enough and to spare and I perish with 



GROUPING 41 

hunger I will arise and go to my father and will say 
unto him Father I have sinned against heaven and in 
thy sight I am no more worthy to be called thy son 
make me as one of thy hired servants And he arose and 
came to his father 

Even today an author writes on with no thought of 
punctuation until he comes to a place where he sees 
that to make his meaning clear, or easier to get, or 
to prevent obscurity, some mark of punctuation is 
necessary or helpful. Here is an illustration where 
the writer must be very careful with his punctuation 
because the words may be made to convey two entirely 
different meanings: 

I don't want your gold; but^ if you will^ stay with us 
and be our guest: you are welcome. 

I don't want your gold; but if you will stay with us 
and be our guest^ you are welcome. 

So far as grouping is concerned here, everything de- 
pends on the marks after "but** and "will." But 
when you have the sense in either case you are 
independent of punctuation marks, and do not need 
them, let me repeat, to guide your pausing. 

The mark, then, is an aid to getting the sense, and 
the sense and not the mark determines the group. 

Review Exeecises 

Sir Walter Vivian all a summer's day 
Gave his broad lawns until the set of sun 
Up to the people. 

-—Tennyson: The Princess. 



42 INTEBPBETATION OF THE FEINTED PAGE 

The good old rule 
Sufficeth them^ the simple plan^ 
That they should take who have the power 
And they should keep who can. 

— ^Wordsworth. 

His words are bonds^ his oaths are oracles^ 
His love sincere^ his thoughts immaculate^ 
His tears pure messengers sent from his hearty 
His heart as far from fraud as heaven from earth. 
— The Two Gentlemen of Verona, II, vii. 

True hope is swift, and flies with swallows' wings; 
Kings it makes gods, and meaner creatures kings. 

One who never turned his back but marched breast 

forward, 
Never doubted clouds would break. 
Never dreamed, though right were worsted, wrong would 

triumph, 
Held we fall to rise, are baffled to fight better, sleep to 

wake. 

— Robert Browning: Asolando. 

Be calm in arguing, for fierceness makes error a fault 
and truth discourtesy. 

From the west there sounded the harsh gong of a 
fire engine which was pounding rapidly down the car 
tracks. It came, rocking in a whirlwind of galloping 
horses and swaying men. The crowd on the street 
broke into a run, streaming along the sidewalk in the 
wake of the engine. The architect woke from his dead 
thoughts and ran with the crowd. Two, three, four 
blocks, they sped toward the lake, which curves east- 
ward at this point, and as he ran the street became 
strangely familiar to him. • The crowd turned south 



QBOUPING 43 

along a broad avenue that led to the park. Some one 
cried: "There it is ! It's the hotel !" — Robert Herrick: 
The Common Lot. 

(How many groups in the second sentence?) 

How the guineas shone as they came pouring out! 
He spread them out in heaps and bathed his hands in 
them; then he counted them and set them up in regular 
piles; and felt their rounded outline between his thumb 
and fingers^ and thought fondly of the guineas that 
were only half-earned by the work in his loom^ as if 
they had been imborn childiven — thought of the guineas 
that were coming slowly^ through the coming years, 
through all his life^ which spread far away before him, 
the end quite hidden by countless days of weaving. No 
wonder his thoughts were still with his loom and his 
money when he made his journeys through the fields 
and the lanes to fetch and carry home his work, so that 
his steps never wandered to the hedge-banks and the 
lane-side in search of the once familiar herbs: these 
too belonged to the past, from which his life had shrunk 
away, like a rivulet that has sunk far down from the 
grassy fringe of its old breadth into a little shivering 
thread, that cuts a groove for itself in the barren sand. 
— ^Eliot: Silas Marner, 

The weaver had possibly got a lantern, and Dunstan 
"was tired of feeling his way. He was still nearly three- 
quarters of a mile from home, and the lane was becom- 
ing impleasantly slippery, for the mist was passing into 
rain. He turned up the bank, not without some fear 
lest he might miss the right way, since he was not cer- 
tain whether the light were in front or on the side of 
the cottage. But he felt the ground before him cau- 
tiously with his whip-handle, and at last arrived safely 
at the door. He knocked loudly, rather enjoying the 
idea that the old fellow would be frightened at the 



44 INTEBPBETATION OF THE PBINTED PAGE 

sudden noise. He heard no movement in reply: all was 
silence in the cottage. Was the weaver gone to bed^ 
then? If so^ why had he left a light? That was a 
strange forgetfulness in a miser. Dunstan knocked still 
more loudly^ and^ without pausing for a reply^ pushed 
his fingers through the latch-hole, intending to shake 
the door and pull the latch-string up and down, not 
doubting that the door was fastened. But, to his sur- 
prise, at this double motion the door opened, aiid he 
found himself in front of a bright fire, which lit up 
every comer of the cottage — the bed, the loom, the three 
chairs, and the table — and showed him that Mamer was 
not there. — Ibid. 

Salanio, Believe me, sir, had I such venture forth. 
The better part of my affections would 
Be with my hopes abroad. I should be still 
Plucking the grass, to know where sits the wind. 
Peering in maps for ports and piers and roads ; 
And every object that might make me fear 
MisfoEtune to my ventures, out of doubt 
Would make me sad. 

— The Merchant of Venice, I, i. 

Boisanio, 'Tis not unknown to you, Antonio, 
How much I have disabled mine estate. 
By something showing a more swelling port 
Than my faint means would grant continuance: 
Nor do I now make moan to be abridged 
From such a noble rate; but my chief care 
Is to come fairly off from the great debts 
Wherein my time something too prodigal 
Hath left me gaged. To you, Antonio, 
I owe the most, in money and in love. 
And from your love I have a warranty 
To unburden all my plots and purposes 
How to get clear of all the debts I owe. 

—Ibid., I, i. 



GROUPING 45 

BoMsanio, In my school-days, when I had lost one shaft, 

I shot his fellow of the self-same flight 

The self-same way with more advised watch. 

To find the other forth, and by adventuring both 

I oft fomid both: I urge this childhood proof. 

Because what follows is pure innocence. 

I owe you much, and, like a wilful youth. 

That which I owe is lost; but if you please 

To shoot another arrow that self way 

Which you did shoot the first, I do not doubt. 

As I will watch the aim, or to find both 

Or bring your latter hazard back again 

And thankfully rest debtor for the first. 

— Ibid., I, i. 

Portia. If to do were as easy as to know what were 
good to do, chapels had been churches and poor men's 
cottages princes' palaces. It is a good divine that fol- 
lows his own instructions: I can easier teach twentv 

» 

what were good to be done, than be one of the twenty 
to follow mine own teaching. The brain may devise laws 
for the blood, but a hot temper leaps o'er a cold decree: 
such a hare is madness the youth, to skip o'er the meshes 
of good coimsel the cripple. But this reasoning is not 
in the fashion to choose me a husband. O me, the word 
"choose"! I may neither choose whom I would nor 
refuse whom I dislike ; so is the will of a living daughter 
curbed by the will of a dead father. Is it not hard, 
Nerissa, that I cannot choose one nor refuse none? — 
Ibid,, I, ii. 

Portia, for my own part, 

I have toward heaven breathed a secret vow 

To live in prayer and contemplation. 

Only attended by Nerissa here, 

Until her husband and my lord's return. 

— Ibid,, III, iv. 



46 INTEBPBETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE . 

Portia, The crow doth sing as sweetly as the lark 
When neither is attended^ and I think 
The nightingale^ if she should sing by day^ 
When every goose is cackling^ would be thought 
No better a musician than the wren. 
How many things by season season'd are 
To their right praise and true perfection! 

—Ibid., V, i. 

Marullus. Wherefore rejoice? What conquest brings 

he home? 
What tributaries follow him to Rome^ 
To grace in captive bonds his chariot wheels? 
You blocks^ you stones^ you worse than senseless things ! 
O you hard hearts^ you cruel men of Rome^ 
Knew you not Pompey? Many a time and oft 
Have you climb'd up to walls and battlements^ 
To towers and windows^ yea> to chimney-tops. 
Your infants in your arms, and there have sat 
The livelong day, with patient expectation, 
To see great Pompey pass the streets of Rome: 
And when you saw his chariot but appear. 
Have you not made an universal shout. 
That Tiber trembled underneath her banks. 
To hear the replication of your sounds- 
Made in her concave shores ? 
And do you now put on your best attire? 
And do you now cull out a holiday? 
And do you now strew flowers in his way 
That comes in triumph over Pompey 's blood ? 
Begone ! 

Run to your houses, fall upon your knees. 
Pray to the gods to intermit the plague 
That needs must light on this ingratitude. 

— Julius Caesar, I, i. 



GROUPING 47 

Coitius. I know that virtue to be in you^ Brutus^ > 

As well as I do know your outward favor. 

Well, honor is the subject of my story. 

I cannot tell what you and other men 

Think of this life; but, for my single self, 

I had as lief not be as live to be 

In awe of such a thing as I myself. 

— Ibid,, I, ii, 

Coisius. I know where I will wear this dagger then; 
Cassius from bondage will deliver Cassius. 

— Ibid,, I, iii. 

Caesar. What say the augurers? 

Servant, They would not have you to stir forth today. 

Plucking the entrails of an offering forth, 

They could not find a heart within the beast. 

Caesar. The gods do this in shame of cowardice; 

Caesar would be a beast without a heart. 

If he should stay at home today for fear. 

No, Caesar shall not: danger knows full well 

That Caesar is more dangerous than he: 

We are two lions litter'd in one day. 

And I the elder and more terrible : 

And Caesar shall go forth. 

— Ibid., II, ii. 

Ligarius, What's to do? 

Brutus, A piece of work that will make sick men whole. 
Ligarius, But are not some whole that we must make 
sick? — Ibid,, II, ii. 

Brutus, Our hearts you see not; they are pitiful; 
And pity to the general wrong of Rome — 
As fire drives out fire, so pity pity — 
Hath done this deed on Caesar. 

—Ibid., Ill, i. 



48 INTEBPBETATION OF THE PBINTED PAGE 

• 

We have taken our first step in reading. What 

have you learned? What have you gained? Do you 

fiiink you can ever go back to those loose, careless 

habits that marked your reading in the past? And, 

more interesting than anything else, fiie process we 

have discovered is after all not artificial but merely a 

natural process that we have been neglecting. 

But why, then, if grouping is natural and not me- 
chanical, is there need to call the student's attention 
to it? Because most of us have become so familiar 
with type, and so careless in our reading, that we rush 
on, getting from the text sometimes no meaning, 
sometimes but part of it, and frequently the wrong 
meaning. Nothing will do more to correct bad habits 
of reading than careful grouping. Even though this 
process seems at first to be mechanical, we soon find 
that it is not so : it merely emphasizes very strikingly 
a habit to which we have become so accustomed in our 
careful reading that we are unconscious of it. 

At the beginning the grouping process seems to be 
unnecessarily slow. It is so easy to read a page a 
minute that it looks like a great waste of time to go 
slowly, group by group; but there is no other way 
to master the content of the printed page. An author 
can give you his thought or picture only through 
groups, and these groups, long or short, must be 
gathered together and built up again into the ideas 
and pictures he had in mind. 

And in time, so expert does the careful grouper 
become, that he reads more and more rapidly and gets 
more from the printed page at a first reading than 
many untrained readers get in a great many. 



CHAPTER II 

GROUP SEQUENCE 
Read aloud the following sentences : 

1. They were talking very merrily about the Gen- 
eral and Hugh and their friend Mills. 

2. They were talking very merrily about the General 
and Hugh and their friend Mills^ and were discussing 
some romantic plan for the recapture of their horses. 

8. They were talking very merrily about the General 
and Hugh and their friend Mills^ and were discussing 
some romantic plan for the recapture of their horses 
from the enemy. 

4. They were talking very merrily about the General 
and Hugh and their friend Mills> and were discussing 
some romantic plan for the recapture of their horses 
from the enemy^ when they came out of the path into a 
road. 

5. They were talking very merrily about the General 
and Hugh and their friend Mills^ and were discussing 
some romantic plan for the recapture of their horses 
from the enemy, when they came out of the path into a 
road, and found themselves within twenty yards of a 
group of Federal soldiers. 

6. They were talking very merrily about the. General 
and Hugh and their friend Mills, and were discussing 
some romantic plan for the recapture of their horses 
from the enemy, when they came out of the path into a 
road^ and found themselves within twenty yards of a 
group of Federal soldiers, quietly sitting on their horses. 

49 



50 INTEBPBETATION OP THE PRINTED PAQE 

7. They were talking very merrily about the General 
and Hugh and their friend Mills^ and were discussing 
some romantic plan for the recapture of their horses 
from the enemy, when they came out of the path into a 
road, and found themselves within twenty yards of a 
group of Federal soldiers, quietly sitting on their horses, 
evidently guarding the road. 

You observe, sentence 1 presents a complete idea, 
but in every succeeding sentence something is added, 
something of great importance, without which we 
should not get the full meaning. Each sentence stand- 
ing alone makes complete sense, and yet sentence 1 
when repeated in 2 is not complete without the added 
idea of 2. The same principle applies in 3, where two 
ideas are added to the first sentence, and one to the 
second ; and so on to the end. Hence, in reading the 
last sentence the mind keeps looking on from group to 
group, until the entire story is finished. In other 
] words, our minds continually reach forward for the 
complete thought — for what the author wanted us to 
see. Briefly, he saw some people who, while talking 
and discussing a plan, came to a road and found them- 
selves near soldiers, sitting on their horses, guarding 
the road. 

You have not found this illustration difficult to 
understand; but you have learned from it an impor- 
tant principle : Group Sequence. 

Long years of careless reading have resulted in 
what we may call mental laziness. We read along (we 
are speaking now of silent reading), getting an idea 
here and an idea there, but making no conscious effort 



GROUP SEQUENCE 51 

to get the complete idea. And this explains why in 
reading aloud we so frequently chop up our sentences 
regardless of sense, just as the young child learning 
to read reads every group as if it were his last. He 
says : 

I saw a and a on the f 

c d s i 

a o t . g. 

t g r h 

e t 

e i 

t n 

g; 

but when he gets the whole thought he reads : 

f 
t i 

e g 

e h 

t g r t 

a o t i 

c d 8 n 

I saw a and a on the g. 

Now with this principle in mind, read aloud sentence 
7 in such a way that the listener will be virtually com- 
pelled to keep looking forward to the end. 

Again we have used a very simple example to illus- 
trate an important principle; now we will study a 
more difficult selection : 

The mother hen's cluck^ when the chicken happened 
to be hidden in the long grass or mider the squash- 
leaves; her gentle croak of satisfaction^ while sure of it 
beneath her wing; her note of ill-concealed fear and 



62 INTEBPBBTATION OP THE PRINTED PAGE 

obstreperous defiance^ when she saw her arch-enemy^ a 
neighbor's cat^ on top of the high fence; — one or other 
of these sounds was to be heard at almost every moment 
of the day. — Hawthorne: The Home of the Seven 
Gables, 

As you read this silently you find yourself constantly 
looking forward for the assertion — for the word that 
describes the action — for the verb. When you read 
aloud carefully you will keep the listener looking for- 
ward, waiting for the complete assertion or picture^ 
; just as you did when reading to yourself; so that his 
mindy following you closely, sums it up about like 
this : The mother hen's cluck, etc. ; her gentle croak» 
etc.; her note of fear, etc., was to be heard every 
moment of the day. 

In poetry Group Sequence is even more interesting 
than in prose. For instance, in the opening lines of 
Longfellow's Patil Revere^s Ride we have: 

Listen^ my children^ and you shall hear 
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere^ 
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five. 

Here is a temptation to close the thought after **Re- 
vere" because the lines make a complete statement; 
but on reading the next line you find that it expresses 
an idea which must be included with the statement in 
the first two, so it is positively wrong to close the 
sense at "Revere." Test it for yourself by reading it 
both ways: 

Listen, my children, and you shall hear 

Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere, 

On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five ; 



OBOUP 8EQUEN0E 53 

Apply this principle in the next stanza from the same 
poem: 

He said to his friend, "If the British march 
By land or sea from the town tonight. 
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch 
Of the North Church tower as a signal light, — 
One, if by land, and two, if by sea; 
And I on the opposite shore will be, 
Ready to ride and spread the alarm 
Through every Middlesex village and farm. 
For the country-folk to be up and to arm." 

Read aloud the passages, closing the sense whenever 
there is a temptation to do so; and then read them 
correctly, noting the difference in the two readings. 
There are many catches in this excerpt. The care- 
less reader, ignoring the fact that there is no punc- 
tuation after **arch** closes his statement at that 
point; but as he reads on he discovers that he needs 
the entire following line for its completion. Then he 
continues at the sixth line and closes the statement 
at ^^be," until, on reading the next line, he finds that 
it is closely connected with the preceding; and if he 
is not very careful he will find himself slipping in a 
similar way at "alarm," and "farm." 

We have a very instructive example in these lines 
from Tennyson's Lancelot and Elaine. The fair 
£laine is dead, and is being borne on her bier by two 
brothers to the barge that is to carry her body to 
Camelot. How beautiful is the effect of the sus- | 
pended sense ! Even in "Sister, farewell for ever" ' 
and **Farewell, sweet sister" (where there is great 



54 INTBBPBETATION OP THE PBINTED PAGE 

temptation to read the lines as the brothers would have 
said them — ^as finished speeches), Tennyson's purpose 
is not to emphasize them (the very structure shows 
that) but to include them merely as a detail among 
many others. 

So those two brethren from the chariot took 
And on the black decks laid her in her bed^ 
Set in her hand a lily^ o'er her hmig 
The silken case with braided blazonings^ 
And kiss'd her quiet brows, and saying to her 
"Sister, farewell for ever/' and again 
"Farewell, sweet sister," parted all in tears. 

From this study we should learn to be on our guard 
against closing the sense at the end of a line, particu- 
larly in poetry. While we do not look to the punc- 
tuation mark to indicate the complete sense, neverthe- 
less the absence of a mark of punctuation should m- 
stantly stimulate us to throw the eye and mmd for- 
ward, for surely the sense cannot be complete when 
there is no punctuation mark. But whether there is a 
punctuation mark (comma and semicolon particu- 
larly) or not, we must train the mind to look fon(vard 
at the end of a line, in order to be certain that we do 
not miss the meaning. 

Here are some good examples of poetic lines at the 
end of which the sense seems to he complete, but where 
(as in some of the lines we studied in Paul Revere) 
the absence of marks of punctuation should suggest 
at once to the student that he must go on to the next 
line for the complete idea. 



GEOUP SEQUENCE 56 



"Hush, child! Your brother Johnny 

Meant to give you a fright." 
"Mother, he'll go, — I tell you I know 

He's listed into the fight." 

— Alice Gary: The Young Soldier. 

Here's a hand to the boy who has courage 

To do what he knows to be right; 
When he falls in the way of temptation 

He has a hard, battle to fight. 

— Phoebe Gary : Our Heroet. 

And soon that toil shall end; 

Soon shalt thou find a home^ and rest 

And scream among thy fellows. 

— Bryant: To a Waterfowl. 

(Here a careless reader will, on a first reading, make 
**rest" a noun.) 

The castle alone in the landscape lay 
Like an outpost of winter. 

— Lowell: The Vision of Sir LaunfaL 

And here are some passages where the sense seems 
complete at a comma, and yet, as in the other excerpts, 
we don't get the picture until we read on. 

Sometimes a troop of damsels glad. 
An abbot on an ambling pad. 
Sometimes a curly shepherd-lad. 
Or long-hair'd page in crimson clad. 
Goes by to tower'd Gamelet. 

— Tennyson : The Lady of ShalotU 

'Mid shouts that hailed her from the shore 
And bade her speed, the bark is gone. 
The dreary ocean to explore 
Whose waters sweep the frigid zone; — 



56 INTEBPBETATION OP THE PBINTED PAGE 

And bounding on before the gale 
To bright eyes shining through their tears 
'Twixt sea and sky, her snowy sail 
A lessening spark appears. 

— ^JoHN Malcolm: The Northwetter. 

Long ago. 

In the deer-haunted forests of Maine, 
When upon mountain and plain 
Lay the snow. 

They fell, — those lordly pines! 
Those grand, majestic pines! 
'Mid shouts and cheers 
The jaded steers. 
Panting beneath the goad. 
Dragged down the weary, winding road 
Those captive Kings so straight and tall. 
To be shorn of their streaming hair. 
And, naked and bare, 
To feel the stress and the strain 
Of the wind and the reeling main, 
Whose roar 

Would remind them for evermore 
Of their native forests they should not see again. 
— Longfellow: The Building^ of the Ship, 

Since semicolons, colons, and exclamation points 
frequently indicate more or less complete sense (which 
manifests itself in a falling inflection), the following 
passages are inserted to show the student that he can- 
not rely mechanically on the punctuation marks as a 
guide to vocal expression. 

As, when the air is serene in the sultry solstice of 

summer. 
Suddenly gathers a storm, and the deadly sling of the 

hailstones 



GBOUP SEQUENCE 57 

Beats down the farmer's corn in the field and shatters 
his windows^ 

Hiding the sun^ and strewing the ground with thatch 
from the house roofs^ 

Bellowing fly the herds^ and seek to break their en- 
closures ; 

So on the hearts of the people descended the words of 
the speaker. 

— Longfellow : Evangeline, 

From doubt^ where all is double: 

Where wise men are not strong: 

Where comfort turns to trouble: 

Where just men suffer wrong: 

Where sorrow treads on joy: 

Where sweet things soonest cloy: 

Where faiths are built on dust: 

Where love is half mistrust^ 

Hungry^ and barren^ and sharp as the sea: 

Oh^ set us free. 

Green little vaulter in the sunny grass^ 

Catching your heart up at the feel of June^ 

Sole voice that's heard amidst the lazy noon^ 

When even the bees lag at the summoning brass; 

And you^ warm little housekeeper^ who class 

With those who think the candles come too soon^ 

Loving the fire^ and with your tricksome tune 

Nick the glad^ silent moments as they pass ; 

O sweet and tiny cousins^ that belong 

One to the fields^ the other to the hearth^ 

Both have your sunshine ; both^ though small^ are strong 

At your clear hearts; and both seem given to earth 

To ring in thoughtful ears this natural song — 

In doors and out^ summer and winter^ Mirth. 

— Hunt: To the Grasshopper and the Cricket. 



58 INTEBPBETATION OF THE PBINTED PAGE 

Ye Stars, which, thoagh unseen, yet with me gase 
Upon this loveliest fragment of the earth! 
Thou Sun, that kindlest all thy gentlest rays 
Above it, as to light a favorite hearth ! 
Ye Clouds, that in your temples in the west 
See nothing brighter than its humblest flowers! 
And you, ye Winds, that on the ocean's breast 
Are kissed to coolness ere ye reach its bowers ! 
Bear witness with me in my song of praise, 
And tell the world that, since the world began. 
No fairer land hath fired a poet's lays, 
Or given a home to man! 

— Timrod: The Cotton Boll. 

(Here the exclamation points suggest emotion, but do 
not indicate that the sense Is complete.) 

In similes we find large opportunity to apply our 
knowledge of Sequence. Crenerally similes begin with 
an "as** clause, and end with a "so** clause. When 
they are long It Is helpful to bear this fact in mind, 
otherwise one Is likely to become confused. You must 
never forget, then, that a simile has two parts and is 
never complete until you get both. 

And as a hungry lion who has made 

A prey of some large beast — a horned stag 

Or mountain goat — rejoices, and with speed 

Devours it, though swift hounds and sturdy youths 

Press on his flank, so Menelaus felt 

Great joy when Paris, of the godlike form. 

Appeared in sight, for now he thought to wreak 

His vengeance on the guilty one, and straight 

Sprang from his car to earth with all his arms. 

— The Iliad (Bryant's translation). 



GBOUP SEQUENCE 59 

As on a herd of beeves a lion springs 

While midst the shrubs they browse^ and breaks their 

necks^ — 
Heifer or ox^ — ^so sprang he on the twain 
And struck them^ vainly struggling^ from their car^ 
And spoiled them of their arms^ and took their steeds. 
And bade his comrades lead them to the fleet. 

—Ibid. 
As a lion who has leaped 
Into a fold — and he who guards the flock 
Has wounded but not slain him — feels his rage 
Waked by the blow; — ^the affrighted shepherd then 
Ventures not near, but hides within the stalls. 
And the forsaken sheep are put to flight. 
And, huddling, slain in heaps, till o'er the fence 
The savage bounds into the fields again; — 
Such was Tydides midst the sons of Troy. 

—Ibid. 

(Considerable care will be necessary in reading the 
last extract aloud. You must make the listener 
understand, beyond any possibility of missing it, 
that it is the lion that feels; that after "blow" the 
mind supplies "and"; and before "slain," "are.") 

And as when some courser, fed 
With barley in the stall, and wont to bathe 
In some smooth-flowing river, having snapped 
His halter, gayly scampers o'er the plain. 
And in the pride of beauty bears aloft 
His head, and gives his tossing mane to stream 
Upon his shoulders, while his flying feet 
Bear him to where the mares are wont to graze, — 
So came the son of Priam — Paris — down 
From lofty Pergamus in glittering arms, 
And, glorious as the sun, held on his way 
Exulting and with rapid feet. — Ibid. 



60 INTEEPBETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

But as a troop of peddlers from Cabool, 
Cross underneath the Indian Caucasus^ 
The vast sky-neighhoring mountain of milk snow; 
Crossing so high^ that^ as they mounts they pass 
Long flocks of traveling birds dead on the snow^ 
Chok'd by the air^ and scarce can they themselves 
Slake their parch'd throats with sugar'd mulber- 
ries — 
In single file they move and stop their breath. 
For fear they should dislodge the o'erhanging 

snows — 
So the pale Persians held their breath with fear. 

— ^Arnold: Sohrab and Ruttum, 

And dear as the wet diver to the eyes 
Of his pale wife who waits and weeps on shore. 
By sandy Bahrein, in the Persian Gulf, 
Plunging all day in the blue waves, at night. 
Having made up his tale of precious pearls. 
Rejoins her in their hut upon the sands — 
So dear to the pale Persians Rustum came. 

—Ibid. 
And as afield the reapers cut a swath 
Down through the middle of a rich man's com. 
And on each side are squares of standing corn. 
And in the midst a stubble, short and bare — 
So on each side were squares of men, with spears 
Bristling, and in .the midst, the open sand. 
And Rustum came upon the sand, and cast 
His eyes toward the Tartar tents, and saw 
Sohrab come forth, and eyed him as he came. 

As some rich woman, on a winter's morn. 
Eyes through her silken curtains the poor drudge 
Who with numb blacken'd fingers makes her fire — 
At cock-crow, on a starlit winter's morn. 
When the frost flowers the whiten'd windowpanes — 
And wonders how she lives, and what the thoughts 



GBOUP SEQUENCE 6X 

Of that poor drudge may be; so Rustum eyed 
The unknown adventurous youth^ who from afar 
Came seeking Rustum^ and defying forth 
All the most valiant chiefs. 

—Ibid. 

And he saw that youth^ 
Of age and looks to be his own dear son^ 
Piteous and lovely^ lying on the sand^ 
Like some rich hyacinth which by the scythe 
Of an unskillful gardener has been cut^ 
Mowing the garden grassplots near its bed. 
And lies, a fragrant tower of purple bloom, 
On the mown, dying grass — so Sohrab lay. 
Lovely in death, upon the common sand. 

—Tbid. 

Easj 4o>-undec&tand a» i» the principle of Group! 
Sequencg^^ has taught us a most important lesson:* 
and that is that groups combine in large and larger j 
groups and series until thought or picture is complete. ! 
The inattentive student reads more or less choppily, as 
was pointed out at the beginning of this chapter^ and 
if the sentence is of considerable length he forgets the 
beginning of it before he gets to the end; and when 
he reads aloud, this choppiness manifests itself in fall- 
ing inflections at the end of almost every group. 
And the worst of it is not merely that the vocal 
expression is faulty and the listener confused, but 
that the poor reading is a sure sign of the reader's 
failure to grasp the meaning. - 

At this point, however, the student must be warned 
that while the thought is often incomplete at a comma, 
a semicolon, or even at a colon, it does not follow that 



02 INTEBPBETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

it may not be complete at such points. Each case 
must be decided for itself and, fortunately, the deci- 
sion is not hard to make. We found that punctuation 
does not necessarily determine grouping, and here, 
again, we learn that it does not necessarily determine 
continuity, or Group Sequence. Let me illustrate. A 
parent gives his child a lot of presents on Christmas 
Day, and speaking of them says: **I gave my child 
picture books, candies, a hobby horse, a drum, and a 
gun'' ; while the child, with great interest in each one 
of the separate gifts, thinks of them one at a time. 
Now what will be the difference (apart from the feel- 
ing) in the way the father and the child enumerate 
the gifts? Does not the father regard all gifts as 
one gift: and does not the child regard each gift by 
itself? Read the list of presents as the father would, 
and then as the child (the child beginning his 
enumeration with "I got"), and note the difference. 
And yet, so far as the punctuation is concerned, the 
speeches would be printed exactly alike. 

This same principle is beautifully exemplified in a 
little poem. Two young women have returned from 
a holiday in the country, and they are asked what they 
have seen. 

The one with yawning made reply: 
"What have we seen ? — Not much have I ! 
Trees^ meadows^ mountains^ groves, and streams. 
Blue sky and clouds, and sunny gleams." 
The other, smiling, said the same; 
But with face transfigured and eye of fiame: 
"Trees, meadows, mountains, groves, and streams! 
Blue sky and clouds, and sunny gleams." 



GBOUP SEQUENCE 63 

The first girl saw several things, no one^ of which held 
her attention, so that in her reply she threw them all 
together; while to the other girl each aspect of the 
picture was so important that for the moment it held 
her attention to the exclusion of everything else. It 
was as if she were saying **I saw grand old trees. I 
saw beautiful meadows. I saw majestic mountains,'' 
etc. So again you see that the commas are used for 
grammatical purposes only. When you get the mean- 
ing (again, just as in Grouping) you pay no further 
attention to the punctuation. 

EXESCISES 

He had completely lost his voice the following win- 
ter^ and had ever since been little better than a cracked 
fiddle^ which is good for nothing but firewood. — ^Eliot: 
Mr. Gilfil's Love-Story, 

Then^ just after their third child was bom^ fever 
came^ swept away the sickly mother and the two eldest 
children^ and attacked Sarti himself^ who rose from 
his sick-bed with enfeebled brain and muscle^ and a 
tiny baby on his hands^ scarcely four months old. — Ihid. 

Even Mrs. Sharp had been so smitten with pity by 
the scene she had witnessed^ as to shed a small tear^ 
though she was not at all subject to that weakness; 
indeed^ she abstained from it on principle^ because^ as 
she often said^ it was known to be the worst thing in 
the world for the eyes. — Ihid. 

He had only a hundred seamen to work the ship and 

to figbt^ 
And he sailed away from Flores till the Spaniard came 

in sight; 



64 INTEBPBETATION OF THE PBINTED PAGE 

With his huge sea-castles heaving upon the weather bow. 

"Shall we fight or shall we fly? 

Good Sir Richard^ tell us now^ 

For to fight is but to die ! 

There'll be little of us left by the time this sun be set/* 

And Sir Richard said again: "We be all good English 

men. 
Let us bang these dogs of Seville^ the children of the 

devil. 
For I never tum'd my back upon Don or devil yet." 

— Tennyson: The Revenge. 

Sir Richard spoke and he laugh'd, and we roar'd a hur- 
rah, and so 
The little Revenge ran on sheer into the heart of the foe. 
With her hundred fighters on deck, and her ninety sick 
below. 

—Ibid. 

And the rest they came aboard us, and they fought us 

hand to hand. 
For a dozen times they came with their pikes and mus- 

queteers. 
And a dozen times we shook 'em off as a dog that 

shakes his ears 
When he leaps from the water to the land. 

—Ibid. 

The next illustration is from The Merchant of 
Venice, where Shylock gives his reasons for hating 
Antonio : 

Salarino. Why, I am sure, if he forfeit, thou wilt 
not take his flesh : what's that good for ? 

Shylock. To bait fish withal: if it will feed nothing 
else, it will feed my revenge. He hath disgraced me, 
and hindered me half a million; laughed at my losses. 



(9B0UP SEQUENCE g5 

mocked at my g^ains^ scorned my nation^ thwarted my 
bargains^ cooled my friends^ heated mine enemies; and 
what's his reason? I am a Jew. 

Now, if you were running over these reasons rapidly, 
you would say that Shylock hated Antonio because 
Antonio had laughed at his losses, mocked at his gains, 
scorned his nation, thwarted his bargains, cooled liis 
friends, heated his enemies — merely enumerating the 
causes. But to Shylock each offense in itself was 
enough to justify revenge. It makes no difference 
how rapidly his passion would hurry him along ; each 
point in his charge against Antonio is complete in 
itself. Perhaps Shy lock's mental attitude will be 
made clearer by printing his speech thus : 

I hate him because he laughed at my losses. I bate 
him because he mocked at my gains. I hate him be- 
cause he scorned my nation. I hate him because he 
thwarted my bargains. I hate him because he cooled 
my friends. I hate him because he heated mine enemies. 

It is possible to conceive of this sentence being made 
up of a series of contrasts equivalent to 

He laughed at my losses and mocked at my gains; 
scorned my nation and thwarted my bargains; cooled 
my friends and heated mine enemies;' 

but I don't think that this is as good an interpretation 
as the former. In any case there is closure at 
**gains" and at "bargains" ; and if you see that, you 
have learned tlie lesson I n^anted to teach you. 

I take a final example from Shakespeare's Henry V. 
The King is urging his soldiers on to a final assault 



66 INTEBPBETATION OP THE PBINTBD PAGE 

against the walls of Harfleur, which have been offer- 
ing stout resistance. He says: 

imitate the action of the tig^r; 
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood. 
Disguise fair nature with hard- favored rage; 
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect; 
Let it pry through the portage of the head 
Like the brass cannon. 

Each sentence is a complete assertion, and even the sec- 
ond line contains two distinct and independent com- 
mands. If, however, you were telling someone in an 
offhand way what commands Henry gave to his sol- 
diers you would be more than likely not to consider 
each group as a finished command but as a part of one 
idea, and would say, ''he told them to imitate the action 
of the tiger, to stiffen the sinews, to summon up the 
blood,'' etc. 

To summarize: We cannot lay down any absolute 
rule, but the principle is not difficult to understand. 
In our silent reading we go on and on until the sense 

!is finished, and the voice, as we read aloud, instinc- 
tively responds to the action of the mind; but on the 
other hand, the thought may be complete at any part 
of the sentence, regardless of the punctuation. 



Review Exercises 

Turn back to the poem The Sea and you will find 
it offers many opportunities to test your knowledge 
of Group Sequence. In every stanza there are deci- 



GBOUP SEQUENCE 67 

sions to be made; a few of the most important are 
found in the third and fourth stanzas. 

No mate^ no comrade Lucy knew; 
She dwelt on a wide moor^ 
— The sweetest thing that ever grew 
Beside a human door ! 

— Wordsworth: Lucy Gray^ 

I know it is a sin 
For me to sit and grin 

At him here; 
But the old three-cornered hat^ 
And the breeches^ and all that^ 

Are so queer! 

— Holmes: The Last Leaf^ 

Oh may I join the choir invisible 

Of those immortal dead who live again 

In minds made better by their presence. 

— Eliot: The Choir Invisible^ 

Old Tubal Cain was a man of might 

In the days when earth was young; 

By the fierce red light of his furnace bright 

The stroke of his hammer rung; 

And he lifted high his brawny hand 

On the iron glowing clear^ 

Till the sparks rushed out in scarlet showers 

As he fashioned the sword and spear. 

And he sang^ — "Hurrah for my handiwork! 

Hurrah for the Spear and Sword! 

Hurrah for the hand that shall wield them well^ 

For he shall be king and lord \" 

— Mackay: Tubal Cain^ 



68 INTEBPEETATION OF THE FEINTED PAGE 

Aeneas, with his shield 
And his long spear, leaped down to gnard the slain. 
That the Achaians might not drag him thence. 
There, lion-like, confiding in his strength, 
He stalked aromid the corpse, and over it 
Held his round shield and lance, prepared to slay 
Whoever came, and shouting terribly. 

—The Iliad (Bryant's translation). 

When thoughts 
Of the last bitter hour come like a blight 
Over thy spirit, and sad images 
Of the stern agony, and shroud, and pall. 
And breathless darkness, and the narrow house. 
Make thee to shudder and grow sick at heart, — 
Go forth under the open sky, and list 
To Nature's teachings. 

— Bryant : Thanatopsit. 

Noiselessly as the daylight comes, when the night is 
done. 

And the crimson streak on ocean's cheek grows into the 
great sun, — 

Noiselessly as the springtime her crown of verdure 
weaves. 

And all the trees on all the hills open their thousand 
leaves, — 

So, without sound of music or voice of them that wept. 

Silently down from the mountain crown the great pro- 
cession swept. 
— Mrs. C. F. Alexander: The Burial of Moses. 

For a long while he used to console himself, when 
driven from home, by frequenting a kind of perpetual 
club of the sages, philosophers, and other idle person- 
ages of the village, which held its sessions on a bench 
before a small inn, designated by a rubicund portrait of 



GBOUP SEQUENCE 69 

his majesty George the Third. — Iryino: Rip Fdn 
Winkle. 

Rip was equally at a loss to comprehend the ques- 
tion; when a knowings self-important old gentleman^ 
in a sharp cocked hat^ made his way through the crowds 
putting them to the right and left with his elbows as he 
passed^ and planting himself before Van Winkle^ with 
one arm akimbo^ the other resting on his cane^ his keen 
eyes and sharp hat penetrating^ as it were^ into his very, 
soul^ demanded^ in an austere tone^ "what brought him 
to the election with a gun on his shoulder^ and a mob at 
his heels^ and whether he meant to breed riot in the 
viUage?"— /6iU 

He listened greedily to the thousand details of a 
farmer's labors^ the autumn sowings the winter work^ 
the splendid feasts of harvest home and vintage, the 
flails beating the floor, the sound of the mills by the 
edge of the water, the tired horses led to the trough, 
the morning hunting in the mists, and above all, the 
long evenings around the fire, shortened by tales of 
marvel. — Coppee: The Substitute, 

(Note the closure at "labors.") 

When Mrs. Durgan, widow of the late Sir John Dur- 
gan, arrived in their station, and after a short time had 
been proposed to by every single man at mess, she put 
the public sentiment very neatly when she explained 
that they were all so nice that unless she could marry 
them all, including the colonel and some majors who 
were already married, she was not going to content her- 
self with one of them. — Kipling: The Man Who Was, 

Silas' hand satisfied itself with throwing the shuttle, 
and his eye with seeing the little squares in the cloth 
complete themselves under his effort. Then there were 
the calls of hunger: and Silas, in his solitude, had to 



70 INTEBPBETATION OF THE PBINTED PAGE 

provide his own breakfast, dinner, and supper; and all 
these immediate promptings helped, along with the 
weaving, to reduce his life to the unquestioning activity 
of a spinning insect. He hated the thought of the past; 
there was nothing that called out his love and fellow- 
ship towards the strangers he had come amongst; and 
the future was all dark, for there was no unseen Love 
that cared for him. — George Eliot: Silas Mamer, 

(a. It seems best to regard the thought as incomplete 
at "past" and "amongst." Why? '6. How will you 
group "breakfast, dinner, and supper"?) 

They fought the dogs and killed the cats. 

And bit the babies in the cradles. 

And ate the cheese out of the vats. 

And licked the soup from the cooks' own ladles. 

Split open the kegs of salted sprats. 

Made nests inside men's Sunday hats. 

And even spoiled the women's chats 

By drowning their speaking 

With shrieking and squeaking 

In fifty different sharps and' flats. 

And the muttering grew to a grumbling; 
And the gprumbling grew to a mighty rumbling ; 
And out of the houses the rats came tumbling — 
Great rats, small rats, lean rats, brawny rats. 
Brown rats, black rats, gray rats, tawny rats. 
Brothers, sisters, husbands, wives 
Followed the Piper for their lives. 

Out came the children running: 

All the little boys and girls. 

With rosy cheeks and flaxen curls. 

And sparkling eyes and teeth like pearls. 

Tripping and skipping, ran merrily after 

The wonderful music with shouting and laughter. 



GBOUP SEQUENCE 71 

The Mayor was dninb, and the Council stood 
As if they were changed into blocks of wood. 
Unable to move a step or cry 
To the children merrily skipping by — 
And could only follow with the eye 
That joyous crowd at the Piper's back. 
The Mayor sent east, west, north, and south 
To offer the Piper by word of mouth. 
Wherever it was man's lot to find him. 
Silver and gold to his heart's content. 
If he'd only return the way he went. 
And bring the children behind him. 

— Browning : The Pied Piper of Hamelin, 

(Nothing in the text of the first paragraph demands 
a rise or a fall of the voice at the end of each of the 
first six lines. So long as you have a reason you can 
use either ; but after the sixth line there is no choice. 

I prefer — though I dop't insist that you should — 
to keep the sense open at the end of lines 11 and IS, 
but I think it is almost imperative to close it at 
**tumbling." But what will you do with all the "rats" 
and, particularly, why? And suppose you decide to 
close on the "rats,** be careful of "wives." Further, 
there are interesting catches in many other lines, where 
you will have opportunity to test your knowledge of 
closure at commas ; for instance, line 24, at "dumb*' ; 
line 26, at "wood." 

But remember, finally, that while it is all a question 
of interpretation, there must be a reason for all 
you do.) 



CHAPTER III 

GROUP VALUES 

Subordination 

Here on this beach a hundred years ago. 
Three children of three houses, Annie Lee, 
The prettiest little damsel in the port. 
And Phillip Ray, the miller's only son, 
And Enoch Arden, a rough sailor's lad, 
Made orphan by a winter shipwreck, play'd 
Among the waste and lumber of the shore. 

— Tennyson : Enoch Ar4en, 

If we omit from the above lines all but the main 
idea, the sentence reads : 

Here on this beach a hundred years ago. 
Three children of three houses . 

play'd 

Among the waste and lumber of the shore. 

In other words, the most important features of the 
picture are the three children playing on the shore. 
Let us how insert their names, and we have : 

Here on this beach a hundred years ago. 
Three children of three houses, Annie Lee, 

And Phillip Ray, 

And Enoch Arden, ...... 

play'd 

Among the waste and lumber of the shore. 

72 



GEOUP VALUES: SUBOBDINATION 78 

You observe that the names "Annie Lee," "Phillip 
Ray," and "Enoch Arden" are explanatory of the 
group "three children of three houses." They are, 
therefore, subordinate to the main idea ; they are for 
the moment of secondary value. The author, after 
giving us the names of each of the children, adds 
another subordinate group of explanation: Annie 
Lee is the prettiest little damsel in the port; Phillip 
Ray is the miller's only son ; and Enoch Arden is the 
rough saOor's lad, made orphan by a winter's ship- 
wreck. Here, then, are groups of three distinct 
values, or degrees of importance. The most impor- 
tant is the statement that a hundred years ago three 
children played on the shore; the next important 
group gives the name of each child; and the least 
important gives the description of each child. The 
entire sentence might be printed as on p. 74. 

If all sentences were printed as we have printed the 
one from Enoch Arden we should have little trouble 
with subordinate values ; but since they are not,\we ; 
must train ourselves to recognize different degrees of . 
thought values/ks they appear in the ordinary way in >* 
type. All type looks alike, one might say ; the most . 
important word or group has no greater prominence 
than the least necessary ; and for this reason we must 
be the more careful in studying the printed page. 

What adds to the difficulty is that the sentence be- 
comes longer as ^subordinate groups are added, and the 
strain of concentration becomes greater and greater 
as (1) the subordinate group gets longer; or as (2) 
there is more than one successive subordinate group; 



■8 

I 




32 



S 



<s 



•s 

§ 

9 



1 



I 



» ^"^ 

» 



•^4 




s 

QQ 

o 






GBOUP VALUES: SUBOBDINATION 75 

or as (8) there are groups which themselves are 
subordinate to other subordinate groups. 

In the passage from Enoch Arden were found illus- 
trations of all three phases of the problem. First, 
the subordinate main group, from "Annie Lee" to 
"sailor's lad," is very long; secondly, "Annie Lee," 
"Phillip Ray," and "Enoch Arden" are subordinate 
to "children" ; and, thirdly, each of these subordinate 
nouns is followed by another subordinate group. 

Now, when it comes to reading this sentence aloud 
you must keep in mind continually the main idea and 
strive to make the listener see it, and you may be cer- | 
tain the vocal expression will take care of itself. All I 
our lives we have been expressing subordinate ideas 
with little or no thought of what the voice was doing, 
and if you will get the thought, make it your very j 
own, and read it aloud as though it were your own, 
you may be confident the vocal expression will be 
adequate. Test this in these fairly simple passages : 

Mrs. Cratchit left the room alone — ^too nervous to 
bear witnesses — ^to take the pudding up^ and bring it 
in. — Dickens: A Christmas Carol. 

In half a minute Mrs. Cratchit entered — flushed but 
smiling proudly — with the pudding like a speckled 
cannon ball, so hard and so firm^ and bedight with 
Christmas holly stuck into the top. — Ihid. 

Alas ! (thought I^ and my heart beat loud) 

How fast she nears and nears ! 
Are those her sails that glance in the Sun, 

Like restless gossameres? 

— Coleridge: The Ancient Mariner, r 



.-"" 



76 INTERPRETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

But the deacon swore^ (as deacons do. 
With an "I dew vum," or an "I tell yeou/') 
He would build one shay to beat the taown. 

— Holmes: The One-Host Shay. 

That story which the bold Sir Bedivere, 
First made and latest left of all the knights. 
Told, when the man was no more than a voice 
In the white winter of his' age, to those 
With whom he dwelt, new faces, other minds. 

— Tennyson: The Passing of Arthur. 

Most noble lord, Si^ Lancelot of the Lake, 
I, sometime call'd the maid of Astolat, 
Come, for you left me taking no farewell. 
Hither, to take my last farewell of you. 

— Tennyson: Lancelot and Elaine. 

I would not enter on my list of friends 

(Though graced with polished manners and fine sense, 

Yet wanting sensibility) the man 

Who needlessly sets foot upon a worm. 

— ^William Cowper: Humanity. 

The smoke of censers, where heaped ambergris 
.And myrrh and sandal-wood and cinnamon 
Fragprantly smouldered, through the languid air crept 
upward. 

— ^Arlo Bates : The Sorrow of Rohab. 

Thus early had that one guest — ^the only guest who is 
certain, at one time or another, to find his way into 
every human dwelling — ^thus early had Death stepped 
across the threshold of the House of the Seven Gables ! — 
Hawthorne: The House of the Seven Gables. 

At the moment of execution — with the halter about 
his neck and while Col. Pyncheon sat on horseback 
grimly gazing at the scene — Maule had addressed him 



GROUP VALUES: SUBORDINATION 77 

from the scaffold^ and muttered a prophecy, of which 
history^ as well as fireside tradition, has preserved the 
yery words. "God/' said the dying man, pointing his 
finger, with a ghastly look, at the undismayed counte- 
nance of his enemy, "God will give him blood to 
drink"— /6«. 

And she laid the cloth, assisted by Belinda Cratchit, 
second of her daughters, also brave in ribbons, while 
Master Peter Cratchit plunged a fork into the saucepan 
of potatoes, and getting the corners of his monstrous 
shirt-collar, Bob's private property, conferred upon his 
son and heir in honor of the day, into his mouth, 
rejoiced to find himself so gallantly attired, and yearned 
to show his linen in the fashionable parks. — Dickens: 
A Christmas Carol, » 

The affice was closed in a twinkling, and the clerk, 
with the long ends of his white comforter dangling 
below his waist, for he boasted no great coat, went 
down a slide on Cornhill, at the end of a lane of boys, 
twenty times, in honor of its being Christmas Eve, and 
then ran home to Camden Town as hard as he could 
pelt, to play at Blindman's buff. — Ibid* 

He held the theory that "all teachers were servants 
of the state" ; and on this ground ordered her dismissal. 
This act caused a great commotion; and when it had 
died down, his theory that "all teachers" — and it made 
no difference how many years they had been in service — 
"were servants of the state" became the fixed policy of 
the board. 

He advanced to the council table : 

And, "Please your honors," said he, "I'm able 

By means of a secret charm, to draw 

All creatures living beneath the sun. 

That creep or swim or fly or run. 



78 INTEBPBETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

After me so as you never saw! 

And I chiefly use my charm 

On creatures that do people harm. 

The mole and toad and newt and yiper ; 

And people call me the Pied Piper." 

(And here they noticed round his neck 

A scarf of red and yellow stripe. 

To match with his coat of the selfsame check; 

And at the scarf's end hung a ]()ipe; 

And his fingers, they noticed, were ever straying 

As if impatient to be playing 

Upon this pipe, as low it dangled 

Over his vesture so old-fangled.) 

"And as for what your brain bewilders. 

If I can rid your town of rats. 

Will you give me a thousand gilders ?" 

— Browning: The Pied Piper of Hamelin, 

But as the main idea is Interrupted by two or three 
subordinate groups It becomes Increasingly difficult to 
follow the text. We get lost In a maze of words and 
get but a small part or even none of the meaning. If 
* then you will but keep on the lookout for the main Idea 
\ es expressed In the subject, the predicate verb, and the 
object, much If not all of the confusion will disappear. 

At Atri in Abruzzo, a small town 

Of ancient Roman date, but scant renown. 

One of those little places that have run 

Half up a hill, beneath a blazing sun. 

And then sat down to rest, as if to say, 

"I climb no further upward, come what may," 

The Re Giovanni, now unknown to fame. 

So many monarchs since have borne the name. 

Had a great bell hung in the market-place. 

— Longfellow: The Bell of Atri. 



GJBOUP VALUES: SUBOBDINATION 79 

In place of this clause the first edition has: "Her 
figure^ her air, her features, — all, in their very minutest 
development were those — were identically (I can use no 
other sufficient term), were identically those of Roderick 
Usher who sat beside me." — Comment by Prof, Mathews 
on a passage from Poe. 

The Longfellows from America, Professor Owen, 
Queen Emma of the Sandwich Islands, the son of the 
Abyssinian King Theodore, who lost life and kingdom 
in his war with the English, and Mr. Darwin — to whom 
Tennyson said, "Your theory of Evolution does not 
make against Christianity.'^" and Darwin answered, 
"No, certainly not" — may be mentioned to exemplify the 
variety of his visitors. — Lyall: Alfred Tennyson, 

All the public, the great mass of solid and well-dis- 
posed people who had got no deep insight into such 
matters, were very adverse to it, and the president of 
it, old Sir Francis Rous, who translated the Psalms — 
those that we sing every Sunday in the church yet — a 
very good man and a wise man — the Provost of Eton — 
he got the minority, or I don't know whether or not he 
did not persuade the majority — he, at any rate, got a 
great number of the Parliament to go to Oliver the 
Dictator. — Carlyle: Choice of Books, 

And grossly that man errs, who should suppose 

That the green valleys, and the streams and rocks 

Were things indifferent to the shepherd's thoughts. 

Fields, where with cheerful spirits he had breathed 

The common air; the hills, which he so oft 

Had climbed with vigorous steps ; which had impress'd 

So many incidents upon his mind 

Of hardship, skill, or courage, joy, or fear; 

Which like a book preserved the memory 

Of the dumb animals, whom he had saved. 

Had fed or shelter'd linking to such acts. 



80 INTEBPBETATION OP THE FEINTED PAGE 

So grateful in themselves, the certainty 

Of honorable gain ; these fields, these hills. 

Which were his living being, even more 

Than his own blood — what could they less ? had laid 

Strong hold on his affections, were to him 

A pleasurable feeling of blind love. 

The pleasure which there is in life itself. 

— ^Wordsworth : Michael. 

As a result of this study we may have noted in the 
reading of the subordinate groups a tendency to 
accelerate the speed and to lower the pitch of the 
voice. So general is this tendency that in many of 
the old text-books on reading (and to some extent 
even in our modem ones) is to be found a rule that 
subordinate groups must be read in a lower pitch and 
faster. But there is great danger in accepting this 
rule blindly: although it is of very general applica- 
tion it is often seriously misleading; for while a group 
may be grammatically subordinate, it may be emotion- 
aUy, or because of particular importance^ of the very 
greatest value, and will then certainly not be read 
"faster and lower.'* Again, it is to be emphasized 
that we do not have to think about the voice: this 
I takes care of itself; but the student's attention is 
i called to it in order that he may not be led astray by 
(mechanical rules. 

The cunning of Mr. Bucket's eye, and the masterly 
manner in which he contrived, without a look or word 
against which his watchful auditor could protest, to let 
us know that he stated the case according to previous 
agreement, and could say much more of Mr. Smallmeed 
if he thought advisable, deprived us of any merit in 
quite understanding him. — Dickens: Bleak House. 



GBOUP VALUES: SUBOEDINATION 81 

Once upon a time — of all the good days in the year, 
upon a Christmas eve — old Scrooge sat busy in his 
counting house. It was cold, bleak, biting, foggy 
weather; and the city clocks had only just gone three, 
but it was quite dark already — it had not been light all 
day — and candles were flaring in the windows of the 
neighboring offices, like ruddy smears upon the palpable 
brown air. — Dickens: A Christmas Carol, 

The gingham dog and calico cat 

Side by side on the table sat; 

'Twas half-past twelve and (what do you think !) 

Not one nor t'other had slept a wink. 

— Field : The Duel. 

Out of the focal and foremost fire, 
Out of the hospital walls as dire; 
Smitten of gprapeshot and gangprene, 
(Eighteenth battle, and he sixteen!) 
Specter! such as you seldom see. 
Little Giffen of Tennessee! 

— Ticknor: Little Giffen, 

This is the sword of Damascus I fought with in Fland- 
ers; this breastplate 

(Well I remember the day!) once saved my life in a 
skirmish. 

— Longfellow: Miles Standish, 

And straight the Sun was fleck'd with bars, 
(Heaven's Mother send us grace!) 

As if through a dungeon-grate he peer'd 
With broad and burning face. 

— Coleridge: The Ancient Mariner. 

I am that man upon whose head 
They fix the price, because I hate 
The Austrians over us: the State 



82 intebAetation of the feinted page 

Will give you gold — oh, gold so much ! — 
If you l)ctray me to their clutch. 

— Browning: The Italian in England. 

We of peaceful London City have never beheld — and 
please God shall never witness — such a scene of hurry 
and alarm as that which Brussels presented. All that 
day, from morning until past sunset, the cannon never 
ceased to roar. It was dark when the cannonading 
stopped. — Thackeray: Vanity Fair, 

Queen Kath, Sir, 

I am about to weep ; but, thinking that 
We are a queen, or long have dream'd so, certain. 
The daughter of a king, my drops of tears 
I'll turn to sparks of fire. 

—King Henry VIII, II, iv. 

He went about his work — such work as few 
Ever had laid on head and heart and hand — 
As one who knows, where there's a task to do, 
Man's honest will must Heaven's good grace 
command. 

— Taylor: Abraham Lincoln. 

But wasn't it grand. 
When they came down the hill over sloughing and sand ? 
But we stood — did we not.? — like immovable rock. 
Unheeding their balls and repelling their shock. 

— ^Watson: The Wounded Soldier. 

Little fairy snowflakes 
Dancing in the flue; 
Old Mr. Santa Claus, 
What is keeping you ? 
Twilight and firelight; 
Shadows come and go; 
Merry chime of sleigh-bells 



GBOUP VALUES: COOEDINATION 83 

Tinkling through the snow; 
Mother knitting stockings 
(Pussy's got the ball!) 
Don't you think that Winter's 
Pleasanter than all? 

— ^Aldbich: Marjorie't Almanac. 

Thou happy, happy elf! 
(But stop, — first let me kiss away that tear,) 

Thou tiny image of myself I 
(My love, he's poking peas into his ear!) 

Thou merry, laughing sprite! 
With spirits feather-light. 

Untouched by sorrow and unsoiled by sin; 
(My dear, the child is swallowing a pin !) 

Thou little tricksy Puck ! 
With antic toys so funnily bestuck. 

Light as the singing bird that wings the air — 
(The door! the door! he'll tumble down the stair!) 

Thou darling of thy sire ! 
(Why, Jane, he'll set his pinafore afire !) 

Thou imp of mirth and joy! 
In love's dear chain so strong and bright a link. 

Thou idol of thy parents; — (hang the boy! 
There goes my ink!) 

— Hood : Ode to an Infant Son. 

Coordination 

Just €is sometimes our reading is ineffective because 
we do not recognize that some groups are of lesser 
value than others, so there are careless readers who 
fail to express the meaning because they consciously 
or unconsciously subordinate groups that should be of 
first importance. Here is a test : 



84 INTEBPBETATION OF THE FEINTED PAGE 

Four things a man must learn to do 
If he would make his record true: 
To think without confusion^ clearly; 
To love his fellow-men sincerely; 
To act from honest motives purely ; 
To trust in God and Heaven securely. 

— ^Van Dyke: Four Things. 

Frequently the author wants to emphasize certain 
ideas, and to do this he uses the same construction in 
several successive phrases. In Enoch Arden Tenny- 
son is describing the awful monotony of the ship- 
wrecked sailor's life. Note how this is done, particu- 
larly in the fourth, fifth, and sixth lines, all having the 
same value. If we fail to appreciate this equivalence 
we lose something of ^ the meaning, and, naturally, 
shall fail to communicate it to our audience. If you 
strive to bring out the full force of these three lines 
you will notice that the vocal expression is virtually 
alike in every case. 

No sail from day to day^ but every day 
The sunrise broken into scarlet shafts 
Among the palms and ferns and precipices; 
The blaze upon the waters to the east; 
The blase upon his island overhead ; 
The blaze upon the waters to the west; 
Then the g^eat stars that globed themselves 

in Heaven^ 
The hoUower-bellowing ocean, and again 
The scarlet shafts of sunrise — but no sail. 

(Observe, too, that the two statements "Then the 
great stars that globed themselves in Heaven" and 



GEOUP VALUES: COORDINATION .85 

"The hoUower-bellowing ocean" are equivalent in 
thought value.) 

In the play of Julius Caesar Marcus Brutus believes 
himself to be the equal of any man, and Cassius 
knows that if Brutus can be made to feel that Caesar 
considers himself his superior, Brutus will join the 
conspiracy to overthrow Caesar. See, then, how Cas- 
sius, by using a number of sentences of equal value, 
drives home this one thought. All his arguments are 
of equal weight and set forth in the same structure. 
Therefore, to convey the meaning of Cassius we, too, 
must express them all in exactly the same way. We 
must not forget that Shakespeare probably gave no 
thought as he wrote to the details of vocal expression ; 
nor, of course, would Cassius (supposing these lines 
of his to be a stenographic record of what the real 
Cassius said to the real Brutus) be consciously careful 
to speak the sentences so as to bring out their coordi- 
nate value. The truth, however, is that his mind, 
working as it does, reveals itself in this series of equiv- 
alent sentences ; and when we perceive this equivalence 
the voice instinctively responds in equivalence of vocal 
expression. 

Cassius, Brutus and Caesar: what should be in that 

Caesar ? 
Why should that name be sounded more than yours ? 
Write them together^ yours is as fair a name ; 
Sound them^ it doth become the mouth as well ; 
Weigh them^ it is as heavy; conjure with 'em, 
"Brutus" will start a spirit as soon as "Caesar." 

— Julius Caesar, I, ii. 



86- INTEBPBETATION OF THE PBINTED PAGE 

Note the equivalence of value in the subordinate 
phrases in the next extract. Queen Guinevere enters 
a convent and lives there for many years as a simple 
nun: 

Then she^ for her good deeds and her pure life^ 
And for the power of ministration in her. 
And likewise for the high rank she had borne. 
Was chosen Abbess, there, an Abbess lived 
For three brief years, and there, an Abbess, past 
To where beyond these voices there is peace. 

— Tennyson : Guinevere, 

The three groups : 

for her good deeds and her pure life. 
And for the power of ministration in her. 
And likewise for the high rank she had borne, 

are clearly subordinate to the rest of the sentence, but 
all have exactly the same thought value. In reading 
this extract the student must not forget that the prin- 
cipal sentence is "Then she . . . was chosen Ab- 
bess," and that, let me repeat, the three phrases we 
have discussed are subordinate, but all equally so. 

Cassius. For Cassius is aweary of the world ; 
Hated by one he loves ; braved by his brother ; 
Check'd like a bondman; all his faults observed. 
Set in a note-book, learn 'd, and conn'd by rote. 
To cast into my teeth. 

— Julius Caesar, IV, iii. 

— Then old Fezziwig stood out to dance with Mrs. 
Fezziwig. Top couple, too; with a good stiff piece of 
work set out for them; three or four and twenty pair 
of partners; people who were not to be trifled with; 
people who would dance and had no notion of walking. 



GEOUP VALUES: COORDINATION 87 

But if there had been twice as many — ah! four 
times — old Fezziwig would have been enough for them 
all, and so would Mrs. Fezziwig. — Dickens: A Christ- 
mas Carol. 

Sometimes a troop of damsels glad^ 
An abbot on an ambling pad. 
Sometimes a curly shepherd-lad. 
Or long-hair'd page in crimson clad. 
Goes by to tower'd Camelot. 

— Tennyson : The Lady of ShalotU 

The swain responsive as the milk-maid sung. 
The sober herd that lowed to meet their young. 
The noisy geese that gabbled o'er the pool. 
The playful children just let loose from school. 
The watch-dog's voice that bayed the whispering 

wind. 
And the loud laugh that spoke the vacant mind ; — 
These all in sweet confusion sought the shade. 
And filled each pause the nightingale had made. 
— Goldsmith : The Deserted Village* 

The year's at the spring. 
And day's at the morn; 
Morning's at seven; 
The hillside's dew-pearled; 
The lark's on the wing; 
The snail's on the thorn: 
God's in his heaven — 
All's right with the world. 

— Browning: Pippa Passes, 

Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are 
honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things 
are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever 
things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if 
there be any praise, think on these things. — The Bible. 



88 INTEBPBETATION OF THE PBINTED PAGE 

God give us men ! A time like this demands 
Strong minds^ great hearts^ trne faitb^ and ready 

hands ; 
Men whom the lust of office does not kill ; 

Men whom the spoils of office cannot buy; 
Men who possess opinions and a will; 

Men who have honor, — men who will not lie; 
Men who can stand before a demagogue. 

And damn his treacherous flatteries without 
winking ! 
Tall men, sun-crowned, who live above the fog 

In public duty and in private thinking: 
For while the rabble, with their thumb-^wom creeds. 
Their large professions, and their little deeds, 
Mingle in selfish strife, lo ! Freedom weeps, , 
Wrong rules the land, and waiting Justice sleeps ! 

— Holland : Wanted — Men, 

First Voice 

Men of thought! be up and stirring, night and day: 
Sow the seed, — withdraw the curtain, — clear the way ! 

Second Voice 

Men of action, aid and cheer them, as ye may ! 

There's a fount about to stream. 

There's a light about to beam. 

There's a warmth about to glow. 

There's a flower about to blow; 
There's a midnight blackness changing into gray. 

First Voice 
Men of thought and men of action, clear the way ! 

Third Voice 

Once the welcome light has broken, who shall say 
What the unimagined glories of the day? 
What the evil that shall perish in its ray ? 



GEOUP VALUES: COORDINATION 89 

Fourth Voice 

Aid the dawning^ tongue and pen; 
Aid it^ hopes of honest men; 
Aid it^ paper; aid it^ type; 
Aid it^ for the hour is ripe^ 
And our earnest must not slacken into play. 

First Voice 
Men of thought and men of action^ clear the way I 

Second Voice 

Lo ! a cloud's about to vanish from the day ; 

And a brazen wrong to crumble into clay. 

Lo ! the right's about to conquer : clear the way ! 

Third Voice 

With the right shall many more 
Enter smiling at the door; 
With the giant wrong shall fall 
Many others^ great and small^ 
That for ages long have held us for their prey. 

All 

Men of thought and men of action, clear the way ! 

— Mackay: Clear the Way (arranged). . 



CHAPTER IV 

GROUP SEQUENCE WITH SUBORDINATION 

The problem of Sequence is often complicated by 
that of Subordination. It is worth while therefore 
to devote an entire chapter to studying some pas- 
sages especially chosen to test your ability in both 
problems. 

Where the subordinate groups are long, or where 
there are many in succession, there is likely to be con- 
fusion in the reader's mind, and to avoid this it is 
advisable to cut them out temporarily and lay stress 
on getting the principal idea or statement. When the 
student has that clearly in mind let him study care- 
fully the subordinate idea or ideas. Then in reading 
aloud, when he comes to the point in the sentence where 
the main idea is interrupted by the subordinate one, 
let him pause an instant and, keeping in mind the privr 
cipal sentence so far as it has gone, read the subordi- 
nate idea until he comes again to the main statement, 
and then finish that without regard to the interruption. 

Her fair head^ with all 

Its wealth of hair shining and richly brown 
Like melon seeds^ its eyes of topaz^ lips 
Like twin pomegranate blooms^ its cheeks as smooth 
As a flute's note^ and all that loveliness 

90 



GROUP SEQUENCE WITH SUBORDINATION 91 

Had caught the heart of Rohab as a snare 

Tangles the falcon in a coil of deaths 

Fell, changed to a thing of horror, drenched in blood. 

And beautiful no more. 



-Arlo Bates: The Sorrow of Rohab, 



As the long train 

Of ages glide away, the sons of men, — 

The youth, in life's green spring, and he who goes 
In the full strength of years, matron and maid. 
The speechless babe, and the gray-headed man, — 
Shall one by one be gathered to thy side. 



By those who in their turn shall follow them. 

— Bryant : Thanatopsis. 

In the above extracts the principal statements are 
intentionally underlined as indicating a simple plan for 
students to follow in their own analysis when there is 
only one degree of subordination. When the main 
idea is interrupted more than once by subordinate 
groups the marking is even more helpful. 

For artistic reasons Tennyson purposely draws out 
the simple statement concerning Sir Bedivere watching 
the departure of the barge which bore the body of the 
dead king. As you read it hurriedly it is anything 
but clear, and there are two places where there is much 
danger of getting the wrong meaning. Read it aloud 
at sight: 

Thereat once more he moved about, and domb 
£v'n to the highest he could climb, and saw. 
Straining his eye beneath an arch of hand. 
Or thought he saw, the speck that bare the King, 
Down that long water opening on the deep 



92 INTEBPBETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

Somewhere far off^ pass on and on^ and go 
From less to less and vanish into light. 

— Tennyson: The Passing of Arthur. 

Now see how the marking I have suggested helps jou 
to get the right meaning: 

Thereat once more he moved ahout^ and clomh 

Ev'n to the highest he could climh, and saw^ 

Straining his eye heneath an arch of hand, 

Or thought he saw, the speck that bare the King^ 

Down that long water opening on the deep 
Somewhere far off^ pass on and on^ and go 

From less to less and vanish into light. 

One of the most interesting examples I have ever 
come across is this from The Book of Esther. Here 
certainly, one might sa}^, is a passage so mixed up that 
nobody can be expected to make head or tail out of it. 
But study it in the manner I have indicated and all 
becomes clear. Perhaps the sentence would not have 
been written in that way in our day, but that is not the 
question: which is, Can we interpret it as it stands? 

Then the king said to the wise men (for so was the 
king's manner toward all that knew law and judgment; 
and the next unto him was Carshena^ Shethar, Admatha, 
Tarshish^ Meres^ Marsena^ and Memucan^ the seven 
princes of Persia and Media, which saw the king's face 
and sat first in the kingdom) : What shall we do unto 
queen Vashti? — Esther, I, IS. 

Work it out carefully and don't be afraid of those 
strange looking names of the seven princes. Just pass 
them over lightly for the present as though they were 



GEOUP SEQUENCE WITH SUBORDINATION 93 

English names, William, James, and the like. It may 
be helpful to diagram the sentence as you have done 
in your grammar lessons. Then read it al6ud — ^the 
entire class can do this in concert — as I mark it below : 

Then the king said to the wise men . • . 
What shall we do unto Queen Vpshti ? 

Then the king said to the wise men (for so 

was the king's manner toward all that knew law and 

judgment; . . .)= What shall we do unto Queen 
Vashti ? 

Then the king said to the wise men (for so 

was the king's manner toward all that knew law and 

judgment; and the next unto him was Carshena, Shethar, 
Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan, . • •): 

What shall we do unto Queen Vashti ? 

Then the king said to the wise men (for so 

was the king's manner toward all that knew law and 

judgment; and the next unto him was Carshena, Shethar, 
Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan, the seren 

princes of Persia and Media, . . .): What shall We do UUtO 

Queen Vashti ? 

Then the king said to the wise men (for so 

was the king's manner toward all that knew law and 

judgment; and the next unto him was Carshena, Shethar, 
Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan, the seven 

princes of Persia and Media, which mw the king's face and sat first in Jho kingdom) : 

What shall we do unto Queen Vashti ? 



94 INTERPBETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

Study the next excerpt as you did the preceding. 
The speaker is telling of his uncle who had at first 
laughed and then grown suddenly serious at a piece of 
news of how the speaker — ^then a boy — ^had pelted the 
Jews. 

No, boy, we must not (so began 

My uncle — He's with God long since — 
A-petting me^ the good old man !) 

W^e must npt (and he seemed to wince, 
And lost that laugh whereto had grown 

His chuckle at my piece of news. 
How cleverly I aimed my stone) 

I fear we must not pelt the Jews ! 

— Browning : Baldinucci. 

A final example will drive home the contention that 
many long sentences complicated with subordinate 
groups will give up their meaning with a little careful 
study, and furthermore that when we recognize the 
source of the difficulty the vocal expression becomes 
relatively easy. In Henry Yllly Cardinal Campeius is 
begging Queen Katherine to listen patiently to the 
plea of the Duke of York, which up to that time she 
had scorned to do ; and moreover had bitterly attacked 
him, saying he was her enemy. It is printed with and 
without the particular marking to emphasize the fact 
that what type does not do (except occasionally when 
an author italicizes) we must do for ourselves: learn 
to appreciate the diff^erent thought values: 

Most honoured madam, 
My Lord of York, out of his noble nature. 
Zeal and obedience he still bore your Grace, 



GBOUP SEQUENCE WITH SUBOEDINATION 95 

(Forgetting^ like a good man^ your late censure 
Both of his truth and him^ which was too far) 
Offers^ as I do^ in a sign of peace^ 
His service and his counsel. 

—Ill, i. 

Most honor'd madam^ 

My Lord of York, out of his noble nature. 
Zeal and obedience he still bore your Grace, 
(Forgetting, like a good man, your late censure 
Both of his truth and him, which was too far) 

OlierS, as I do, in a sign of peace, 

His service and his counsel. 

Review Exercises 

As adders held 
In a strong grasp writhe to be free and sting. 
The hostile tribes had writhed while Rohab's hand 
Held them in clutch of steel; but now at last. 
When Rohab left the spear to thirst, the sword 
To rust undrawn, and heard no sound more harsh 
Than the lute's pleading; now that Lutra's love 
To him was all in all, to which mere crown 
And throne and people counted naught, — ^there rose 
A hundred murmurs sinister — the stir 
And rustle of his foes who knew their time 
Had come. 

— Arlo Bates : The Sorrow of Rohab. 

At the termination of this sentence I started, and 
for a moment paused; for it appeared to me (although 
I at once concluded that my excited fancy had de- 
ceived me) — ^it appeared to me that, from some very re- 
mote portion of the mansion, there came, indistinctly, to 
my ears what might have been, in its exact similarity 



96 INTEEPBETATION OP THE FEINTED PAGE 

of character, the echo (but a stifled and dull one cer- 
tainly) of the very cracking and ripping sound which 
Sir Lancelot had so particularly described. — Poe: The 
Fall of the House of Usher. 

The second of Chanticleer's two wives, ever since 
Phoebe's arrival, had been in a state of heavy despond- 
ency, caused, as it afterwards appeared, by her in- 
ability to lay an egg. One day, however, by her self- 
important gait, the side- way turn of her head, and the 
cock of her eye, as she pried into one and another 
nook of the garden, — croaking to herself, all the while, 
with inexpressible complacency, — ^it was made evident 
that this identical hen, much as mankind undervalued 
her, carried something about her person, the worth of 
which was not to be estimated either in gold or precious 
stones. Shortly after, there was a prodigious cackling 
and gratulation of Chanticleer and all his family, in- 
cluding the wizened chicken, who appeared to under- 
stand the matter quite as well as did his sire, his mother, 
or his aunt. That afternoon Phoebe found a diminu- 
tive tgg — ^not in the regular nest — ^it was far too precious 
to be trusted there — ^but cunningly hidden under the 
currant-bushes on some dry stalks of last year's grass. 
— Hawthorne: The House of the Seven Gables. 

Through the general hum following the stage pause, 
with the change of positions, etc., came the muffled 
sound of a pistol shot, which not one-hundredth part 
of the audience heard at the time — and yet a moment's 
hush — somehow, surely a vague, startled thrill — and 
then, through the ornamented, draperied, starr'd and 
striped space-way of the President's box, a sudden 
figure, a man raises himself with hands and feet, and 
stands a moment on the railing, leaps below to the 
stage (a distance of perhaps fourteen or fifteen feet), 
falls out of position, catching his boot-heel in the copious 



GBOUP SEQUENCE WITH SUBOBDINATION 97 

drapery (the American flag)^ falls on one knee^ quickly 
recovers himself^ rises as if nothing had happen'd (he 
really sprains his ankle^ but unfelt then)^ — and so the 
figure^ Booths the murderer^ dress'd in plain black 
broadcloth^ bare-headed^ with a full head of glossy^ 
raven hair^ and his eyes like some mad animal's flash- 
ing with light and resolution^ yet with a certain strange 
calmness, holds aloft in one hand a larg^ knife — ^walks 
along not much back from the footlights — ^tums fully 
toward the audience his face of statuesque beauty, lit 
by those basilisk eyes, flashing with desperation, per- 
haps insanity — launches out in a firm and steady voice 
the words, Sic semper tyrannis — and then walks with 
neither slow nor very rapid pace diagonally across to 
the back of the stage, and disappears. — ^Whitman. 



CHAPTER V 

INVERSION 

We have seen that we must group carefully before 
we can hope to understand. But here is a sentence 
in which although the grouping is simple, there is a 
distinctly new problem: 

Meanwhile^ impatient to momit and ride^ . 
Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride 
On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere. 

— Longfellow: Paul Revere' s Ride, 

What is the difficulty? The groups are inverted, that 
is, not arranged in the order of everyday conversa- 
tion. It is rare that we find the subject of a sentence 
at the end, and hence in this illustration, we may miss 
the meaning unless we rethink it something as follows : 
Meanwhile, Paul Revere, impatient to mount and ride, 
booted and spurred, walked, with a heavy stride, on 
the opposite shore. 

Sometimes the inversion may be only a word or two, 
as in the following: 

Him the Almighty power 

Hurl'd headlong flaming from th' ethereal sky. 

— Milton: Paradise Lost 

Was Irving not good^ and, of his works^ was not his 
life the best part? — Thackeray: Nil Nisi Bonum. 

98 



INVEESION 99 

But even in such simple cases care must be taken to 
avoid blurring the picture. Here is another sentence 
that must be straightened out carefully before we can 
get the meaning : 

With sloping masts and dipping prow. 
As who pursued with yell and blow 
Still treads the shadow of his foe. 
And forward b/ends his head. 
The ship drove fast, loud roar'd the blast. 
And southward aye we fled. 
— Coleridge: The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, 

Rewrite the above in the natural order of subject, 
modifiers, and predicate. Note also how the difficulty 
is increased because of the subordinate clause: 

As who pursued with yell and blow 
Still treads the shadow of his foe, 
And forward bends his head. 

But we are greatly helped when we recognize that the 
sentence is inverted. We note that "With sloping 
masts," etc., is incomplete in its meaning, and hence 
we look forward for the group that completes the 
sense, which we find in "The ship drove fast," etc. 



Review Exercises 

So saying, a noble stroke he lifted high. 
Which hung not, but so swift with tempest fell 
On the proud crest of Satan, that no sight. 
Nor motion of swift thought, less could his shield. 
Such ruin intercept. 

— Milton: Paradise Lost, 



100 INTEBPBETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

High in front advanced. 
The brandished sword of God before them blazed 
Fierce as a comet. — Milton : Paradise LosL 

Him, MenelauSy loved of Mars, beheld 
Advancing with large strides before the rest. 

— The Iliad (Bryant's translation). 

Me master years a hundred since from my parents 

sunder'd, 
A little child, they caught me as the savage beast is 

caught, 
Then hither me across the sea the cruel slaver brought. 

— ^Whitman : Ethiopia Saluting the Colors. 

On the sea and at the Hogue, sixteen hundred ninety- 
two. 
Did the English fight the French, — woe to France ! 
And, the thirty-first of May, helter-skelter through the 

blue. 
Like a crowd of frightened porpoises a shoal of sharks 
pursue. 
Came crowding ship on ship to St. Malo on the Ranee, 
With the English fleet in view. 

— Browning: HervS RieL 

Whither, 'midst falling dew. 

While glow the heavens with the last steps of day. 
Far, through their rosy depths, dost thou pursue 

Thy solitary way? 

— Bryant: To a Waterfowl. 

Little thinks, in the field, yon red-cloaked clown. 
Of thee from the hill-top looking down. 

— Emerson : Each and All, 



INVERSION 101 

Thus while they look'd^ a flourish proud^ 
Where mingled trump, and clarion loud^ 
And flfe, and kettle-drum^ 
And sacbut deep, and psalter^. 
And war-pipe with discordant cry. 
And cymbal clattering to the sky. 
Making wild music bold and high. 
Did up the moimtain come ; 
The whilst the bells, with distant chime, 
. Merrily toU'd the hour of prime. 
And thus the Lindesay spoke. 

— Scott: Marmion, 

As night drew on, and, from the crest 
Of wooded knolls that ridged the west. 
The sun, a snow-blown traveler, sank 
From sight beneath the smothering bank. 
We piled with care our nightly stack 
Of wood against the chimney-back. 

— ^Whittier: Snow-Bound. 

It little profits that an idle king. 
By this still hearth, among these barren crags, 
Match'd with an aged wife, I mete and dole 
Unequal laws unto a savage race. 
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me. 

— Tennyson : Ulysses. 

How changed is here each spot man makes or fills ! 
In the two Hinkseys nothing keeps the same ; 

The village street its haunted mansion lacks. 
And from the sign is gone Sibylla's name. 

And from the roofs the twisted chimney-stacks — 

Are ye too changed, ye hills? 
See, 'tis no foot of unfamiliar men 

To-night from Oxford up your pathway strays 1 

Here came I often, often, in old days — 
Thyrsis and I ; we still had Thyrsis then. 

— Arnold : Thyrsis. 



102 INTEEPEETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

Others for language all their care express^ 

And value books, as women, men for dress. 

— Pope: An Essay on Criticism. 

% 
All night, the dreadless angel, unpursued. 

Through Heaven's wide champaign held his waj, till 

Morn, 

Waked by the circling Hours, with rosy hand 

Unbarred the gates of light. 

— Milton: Paradise Lost. 



CHAPTER VI 

DENOTATION 

While we have been studying the preceding chap- 
ters we have found ourselves learning to read with 
greater ease and thoroughness ; however, it is quite ^ 
possible to nndfr^t find thft pri n f i ip ir n a nd yat m i m thr 
m eaning. Merely to erroup corr pf*t1y dnpg r\n\ ppppR- 
sarily impIyreHding with understanding, , In the lines : 

No habitation can be seen; but they 

Who journey thither find themselves alone 

With a few sheep^ with rocks and stones^ and kites 

That overhead are sailing in the sky. 

It is in truth an utter solitude; 

— ^Wordsworth : Michael. 

there is a word whose meaning in this place is en- 
tirely different from its usual one. Can you find it? 
How could the place be without any habitation, one 
where those who journey thither find themselves alone 
with a few sheep, etc., and yet with "kites" sailing 
overhead in the sky ? Would not sailing kites presup- 
pose someone sailing them? Look up this word in 
the dictionary and note how that one word affects the 
picture. Another example: 

Do you know the pile-built village where the sago dealers 
trade .^ 

103 



104 INTEBPBETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

We see that "village" marks the end of the first 
group, and yet we may not know what "pile-built" 
means. Or again, we can read the second group 
and not grasp the meaning of "sago dealers." In 
factf a keen student could read the line with perfect 
expression and yet fail entirely to understand it. He 
would see clearly that the line spoke of some kind 
of village where some kind of dealers trade, and that is 
all. It is necessary, then, to find out what "pile-built" 
means. "Built- on piles," you might say. Yes, but do 
you really know what that means ? If you do not, the 
author might as well have written, "Do you see the 
little village?" or, "the ancient village?" or any other 
kind of village. But he wants to bring before your 
mind a picture you have seen before, or a new one 
which you may make up out of old material. If you 
have seen a pile-built village, you can easily picture it 
(you can really get the sense in such a case without 
recalling the picture) ; but if you haven't seen it, what 
materials have you out of which to make it? It is 
easy to say a "pile" means "a heavy timber forced 
into the earth to form- a foundation for a building, 
wharf, or the like"; and "pile-built" means built on 
piles ; and "pile-built village" means a village built on 
piles. The question is, do you get the meaning? If 
not, what is the nearest thing to it you have ever seen? 
Have you seen piles that have been driven into sand to 
support the foundation of a building? Have you 
seen piles that served as a breakwater against the 
beating waves? Have you seen a house or a hut 
standing on piles? Something like one of these you 



DENOTATION 105 

must have seen or you can't understand what Kipling 
saw in that village. You can substitute your word^A 
for the author* s^ hut don*t make the great mistake J 
that so many make, of believing that definitions are all j 
we need to enable u^ to get the author^s meaning. No, ! 
the only definition that can satisfy us is the idea, or» 
the sense, or the picture. If our experience isn't I 
enough, then we must get help from dictionary, or I 
encyclopedia, or teacher, or from someone who really . 
has seen the picture or something like it. If we can't j 
get that help, then, at least we know that we donH | 
knoWy and that is far better than deceiving ourselves j 
that we are reading because we can define the words. \ 

In the following scientific extract you will find very 
little difficulty, and of what the author has to tell you, 
you will get a general idea in one rapid reading. 

WHY THE CANVASBACK DUCK LEFT CHESAPEAKE BAY 

Chesapeake Bay is no longer the special feeding place 
of the canvasback duck^ although sixty years ago it was 
one of the most important wintering places for ducks in 
the United States^ usually spoken of as a winter resort^ 
though really there was a time during most winters when 
the ducks were forced by the ice farther south for a few 
days or weeks. 

Here was* the preferred winter home of the celebrated 
canvasback^ whence many hundred thousand dollars' 
worth of the birds have been shipped to the northern 
markets. Today a canvasback is almost a rarity in 
Chesapeake Bay^ and the few survivors spend the winter 
farther south, on the North Carolina coast. 

Chesapeake Bay was formerly the natural goal of a 
large proportion of the canvasbacks and redheads which 



106 INTEEPEETATION OF THE FEINTED PAGE 

nested in central Canada. They had a peculiar migra- 
tion route. Nesting in the lake region of Manitoba and 
Saskatchewan^ they found stretching thence southeast- 
ward an almost continuous chain of lakes supplying an 
abundance of food and especially favorable conditions to 
tempt a journey in that direction. This flight led^ nat- 
urally, to Chesapeake Bay, which used to provide an 
almost unlimited quantity of their greatest delicacy — 
wild celery — and otherwise was admirably adapted for a 
fall, winter, and spring sojourn, except during an occa- 
sional week or two of unusually cold weather. 

Persistent persecution by gunners from early fall to 
late spring has almost annihilated the myriads of fowls^ 
of the finest varieties that used to blacken the surface 
of the bay. 

Now read it again with particular care. If you 
were reading just for the pleasure of the story you 
would not care to stop for each detail, but is it not 
true that a second reading gives you many new and 
interesting details ? The first time you read it did you 
note that sixty years ago Chesapeake Bay was an im- 
portant place for ducks ? that occasionally the ice there 
would drive them farther south.? for a few days or 
weeks? Did you remember, after the first readings 
that the few surviving canvasbacks now winter on the 
Carolina coast.? 

This study, then, has shown us that even in para- 

'graphs no more difficult than those in our everyday 

I lessons, careful reading is necessary in order to insure 

j our not overlooking important statements. It drives 

us to see what stands in the way of our getting the 

sense : whether it be the meaning of a word, or lack of 

familiarity with the idea expressed by the group. In 



DENOTATION 107 

the following paragraph there is apparently nothing 
difficult to understand : 

Some birds are protected because of their diet^ as the 
wood-peckers and fly-catchers; others for their song — 
thrushes and mocking-birds ; others for esthetic reasons — 
gulls and terns ; while the protection of ducks and geese 
is purely utilitarian; they furnish a highly prized food^ 
and the sport of hunting them involves an outdoor life 
and exercise which is worth far more to the individual 
and the community than the dietary value of the game 
secured. 

The author says, "Some birds are protected because 
of their diet, as the wood-peckers and fly-catchers." 
You understand that "wood-peckers" and "fly-catch- 
ers" are birds, and you know what "protected" and 
"diet" are; but do you know that in this sentence 
"protected" means protected by laws which prohibit 
killing these birds? Again, you know that "diet" 
stands for that on which the birds feed ; but it is not 
until you know that this diet consists of insects that 
destroy our trees and flowers and crops that you get 
the complete force of the sentence. It is very easy to 
read such a sentence as "Some birds are protected 
because of their diet" ; but when you read it once or 
twice carefully you are compelled to ask yourself 
"why?" and thus you learn that the words have no 
value for you until they convey definite meaning. 
Grouping narrows down the problem : it shows us what 
is clear and what is obscure and then we reach the point 
where we recognize that certain words or groups have to 
be defined clearly before we can understand the text. 



108 INTERPBETATION OP THE PRINTED PAGE 

)It is perhaps our very familiarity with the appearance 
or sound of words that stands (whether we stop to 
think of it or not) in the way of our getting thought. 
"Protection" and "diet" and "kite" and "pile" and 
^^. "built" are not sufficiently strange in appearance to 

^' • ftrrest our attention ; so we read along content to get 
a little here and a little there, seldom recognizing how 
much has escaped us until we are closely questioned. 
:This matter is so important that too much emphasis 
cannot be laid on it. I wish it were in my power to 
persuade you to read over some lesson you had last 
week or some article you read in yesterday's news- 
paper, to prove that you had only half read it! I 
can only urge upon you then to follow carefully the 
rest of this chapter and test to the uttermost the sound- 
ness of the principles discussed in it. 
I In the foregoing illustrations we should probably 
have got at least a fair part of the thought in one 
reading. We have found, however, that a second and 
a third reading not only gave us more pictures and 
j ! ideas, but showed that there were some words that had 
I ; to be defined before we could get the idea, no matter 
' how carefully we grouped. In the next selection the 
. appearance of the words is repellent, and when we 
attempt to read in our usual hurried manner, we get 
very little from it, and then we are likely to give up 
trying^ thinking that the passage is too hard. And 
yet it is full of interesting information taken from a 
well-known work on psychology, by William James. 
The very word "psychology" sounds hard and dry, 
but what could be more interesting than to know how 



DENOTATION 109 

we think, and feel, and see, and taste, and why our 
muscles move! These things psychology teaches us. 
In the paragraphs that follow, the author is discussing 
taste. The first section, if read with a little care, 
will give up its meaning when we become acquainted 
with a few simple terms. But even here the analysis 
of the paragraph group by group will reveal not only 
what you know but what you don't, and in the latter 
case you will learn exactly what stands in the way of 
your getting the meaning. 

Taste has been ascribed to all portions of the mouth 
from the lips to the stomach, but is properly confined to 
those portions of the tongue and soft palate furnished 
with taste-buds. Experiments have been directed 
towards ascertaining whether certain tastes are confined 
or not to certain portions of the organ. The result is 
somewhat in doubt, but it is generally believed that bitter 
is best tasted on the soft palate and back of the tongue, 
and sweet and sour on the tip. 

If you have read that discussion carefully, you 
have got the gist of it. Now, in the next paragraph 
the difficulties are much greater, though the facts are 
no less interesting. 

The classification of tastes can be reduced to four: 
sweet, sour, bitter, and salt. Pungent tastes must be 
excluded: as must also alkaline, astringent, and metallic 
tastes, which seem to be combinations of touch, taste, and 
smell. Many so-called tastes, like that of onions, are 
properly odors. The specific taste that distinguishes 
one body from another, as an apple from an orange, is 
not taste proper, but a combination of various sensory 
properties. 



110 INTEBPBETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

I am sure many people would say that is too hard ; 
only for learned scholars; dry-as-dust; not worth 
studying out, anyhow. Let us see. The first sentence 
is easy, but when we read the first clause of the second 
sentence we stop because we do not know the meaning 
of "pungent tastes." What are "pungent tastes'*? 
If someone were to ask us what tastes must be ex- 
cluded in our classification we might answer correctly, 
"pungent tastes," but we should only be deceiving 
ourselves if we thought that the answer meant any- 
thing. It is only when someone tells us that a pungent 
taste is a sharp, or biting taste, like that of pepper or 
mustard, that we begin to understand what pungent 
tastes are. Then we ask ourselves why must pungent 
tastes be excluded, and it is possible we may not be 
able to tell. Let us leave it then, for a while, and take 
up the next clause, which divides itself into groups 
about as follows: "as must also alkaline, 

astringent, and metallic tastes, which seem 

to be combinations of touch, taste, and smell." 

What is an alkaline taste? an astringent taste? a 
metallic taste? The dictionary can help us only to a 
certain extent. It is not enough to know that to be 
astringent is, as the dictionary tells us, to have the 
power "to contract or draw together soft organic 
tissues"; we must have had some experience of an 
astringent taste. But when some one reminds us that 
we did have that experience when we tasted the skins 
of pecan nuts, or green persimmons, or, more com- 
monly still, tea that has been steeped too long, we 
see that an astringent taste is merely an unusual name 



DENOTATION HI 

for a very common experience. But why must an 
astringent taste be excluded? When we answer that 
question we answer also the question why pungent 
tastes must be excluded. And here the author's final 
group helps us out : because "they seem to be combina- 
tions of three senses.'* One really feels the burning 
sensation of pepper and mustard. One feels the pucker 
of the lips and tongue after drinking over-steeped tea. 
And again we have learned that many groups con- 
taining unfamiliar words may really be describing very 
familiar ideas and experiences. In the next sentence 
the author speaks of "so-called tastes." A moment's 
reflection will show us what he means ; but how inter- 
esting it is when we get (what he has not given us 
before) a clear illustration of a "so-called" taste. He 
tells us that what we call the taste of an onion is really 
its odor. 

The final sentence would be grouped about as fol- 
lows : "The specific taste that distinguishes one body 
from another (as an apple from an orange), 
is not taste proper, but a combination of various 

sensory properties." What is a specific taste? When 
you have answered the question you can test the cor- 
rectness of your answer by asking yourself, "Do I 
know what is the specific taste of an apple? or of an 
orange?" Now, we have always called this specific 
taste a "taste proper," that is, a real taste, yet the 
author says that we have been wrong : "It is," he says, 
**a combination of various sensory properties." Do 
we understand him? If not, why not? Because we 
do not know what "sensory properties" means? Then 



112 INTEEPBETATION OP THE PBINTED PAGE 

someone tells us "sensory" means pertaining to the 
senses, such as touch, smell, etc. Now the group's 
meaning is clear, and we understand the whole sen- 
tence, which means that what we call the taste of, let 
us say, an apple, is not a pure taste, but a combina- 
tion of a sweet or a sour taste with perhaps an agree- 
able odor, and a certain sense of hardness, or softness, 
or mealiness, or juiciness. 

The chief value of this exercise is that now the 
student knows what he knows. He sees where his diffi- 
culty has been, and if someone should challenge his 
interpretation he can defend it without fear of 
being caught off his guard. And if in the course of 
the discussion it should appear that his interpretation 
is open to doubt, he is in excellent position to listen to 
argument and accept correction if he is proved in the 
wrong. But I believe that more important than all is 
the fact that such a procedure as we have gone 
through shows the student exactly where he needs help, 
and he cannot then delude himself that Denotation 
doesn't matter, or that the author is obscure, or, in 
class work, that so long as the teacher doesn't ask any 
questions about that particular sentence, nothing else 
counts. 

If these paragraphs seem hard, compare them with 
numberless paragraphs in textbooks used in high 
schools and see how much less difficult they are. A 
passage illustrating some difficulty has been chosen on 
purpose to show you how to study , and to prove that 
a passage that looks very hard may prove to be fairly 
easy if you go at it in the right way. Many of the 



DENOTATION 113 

ideas described in the printed page are really not new 
to you, but since you never described them in the way 
the author does, since you may never have used the 
same words that he does, you frequently do not under- 
stand him until you become used to his language. It/ 
cannot be said too often that^after you have the mean-j 
ing of the words and of the group, or groups, youl 
may then be in possession only of the tools to workf 
with./ The test is whether you know the meaning of 
the Bcntcn egrr" Have you the thought, the idea, the 
picture? Call it what you will, do you understand? 
And if you don't, why not? Is it a word, or a phrase, 
or a comma, or the construction tHat stands between 
you and the author? Do you know why you don't 
know ? Your first experience with new words and new 
constructions is the crucial one. The dictionary or a 
friend will help you get the meaning, and after that 
the word or expression is part of your vocabulary and 
no longer bothers you in your reading. The danger 
is that you may not ask for help, and rest content with 
a vague uhderstanding, or with none. 

You may ask, "Must I be deprived of the pleasure 
of reading a poem or a story simply because I can't 
get every picture?" or, "Can't I get enjoyment from 
a speech or a play unless I know what every word in it 
means?" or, "Must I look up the meaning of every 
word in my history or literature lesson in order to 
master it?" Let me try to answer you. 

It is impossible in the course of our daily reading 
to look up the meaning of every word, and since we 
are seldom called to account for meanings, we are 




114 INTEEPEETATION OF THE FEINTED PAGE 

content to go on without them. If we happen to miss 
the drift of a whole paragraph through failure to get 
the denotation of a word, well, it doesn't happen 
often and better luck next time. Then if we come 
across a word often enough we somehow or other get 
a pretty clear conception of its meaning after a while ; 
and so again we are content to take chances in increas- 
ing our vocabulary, and sometimes we win and more 
often we lose. 

Now, as I said before, you are hardly expected to get 
the denotation of every word in every sentence, but 
where are we to draw the line? Surely when you 
write you expect to be understood, and if the reader 
happens not to know the meaning of a certain word, 
it is possible you may fail utterly in your purpose. 
If you say, **Our trip was spoiled because the car- 
buretor didn*t work," your friend may learn that your 
trip was spoiled because something or other didn't 
work, and that information may suffice; but he will 
never really know what the trouble was. And if you 
write that he can find a given line of The* Merchant 
of Venice in an unexpurgated edition, and he ignores 
the "unexpurgated," he will hunt forever through an 
expurgated text without finding the line. 

And so we go on content with a meagre vocabulary, 
until we leave school with no power to interpret the 
printed page, and what is worse, with no particular 
interest in it. Now what is one to do? The answer 
can't be absolute. The great need is, however, to read 
everything with some care and then decide what words 
or expressions it is absolutely necessary to understand 



DENOTATION 115 

• 

in order not to miss the vital points. It depends on the 
object we have in mind when we read. 

Is it entertainment ? Well, one doesn't need to know 
every word in order to enjoy Silas Marner or Ivanhoe 
or Julius Caesar, But how many words can be ig- 
nored? Can we enjoy a novel and know but three- 
quarters of the words? half the words? What is the 
.lowest limit? The danger of it all is that we get to 
believe that reading for entertainment is like going to 
the "movies," where we pay oilr dimes, sit down, let 
our brains go to sleep, and the pictures do the rest. 

But in serious reading — ^history, literature, science 
— one often carries over into it the loose habits ac- 
quired in reading for pleasure. Then the trouble be- 
gins, for it may be the most serious of matters if one 
fails to get the force of a certain word, or group, or 
sentence. What then? Of course in some cases one 
sees that he must get the meaning: the teacher tells 
him he will be examined on it; or there is something 
he must do which can't be done unless he understands 
a particular passage. And it all comes back at last 
to deciding whether one really understands die sen- 
tence, and if one does not, whether he thinks it is neces- 
sary for his enjoyment or information to find out what 
it means. Most articles in popular fiction and news- 
papers are written for busy, hurried people, and 
students must not forget that great literature, history, 
and science cannot be written in popular style. I am 
almost prepared to state that instead of the careful 
study of the page in school helping us to get more out 
of the newspaper, our careless slipshod reading of 



116 INTERPRETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

the newspaper is more likely to unfit us for reading 
literature and the textbooks of the schoolroom. 

It does not follow that because you know the mean- 
ing of the individual words in a sentence you neces- 
sarily understand the meaning of the whole sentence. 
Denotation in the sense in which we are using it stands 
for the meaning of the whole as well as of a single 
word: the term applies equally to the period and the 
poem. We know that in the intercourse of everyday 
life and in our ordinary reading it is easy to get the 
meaning. And yet unless we are on our guard the 
very simplicity of language may be a pitfall. I know 
a class of students who failed to see the humor in a 
misprinted passage in a well-known book, which read, 
"On the receipt of this sad news, his upper jaw fell." 
Professor Arlo Bates quotes this example of careless- 
ness in writing, which appeared in a popular mag- 
azine; but I think many a student might fail to see 
the nonsense of it even with the printed word before 
him: "As the old men walked toward the west 
in the still afternoon, one of them pointed first to the 
setting sun and then to the long shadows which moved 
on before them.'* 

Even Poe's Raven supplies an awful warning. I 
quote the closing stanza. You recall that above the 
poet's door. is a bust of Pallas, and on that perches the 
raven. Now says Poe : 

And the Raven^ never flitting^ still is sittings still is 

sitting 
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber 

door; 



DENOTATION 

1 
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's t] 

dreaming, 
And the lamplight o'er him streaming throws his sh 

on the floor; 
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on 
the floor 

Shall be lifted — nevermore ! 

How could the lamplight "stream over him." in such 
a way as to throw the raven's shadow on the iloor? 
Where would the lamp have to be to do that, and is it 
likely that Poe's lamp was there? 

In the second place there is scientific, or economic, 
or historical writing that needs aggressive attention 
and some hard thinking. We have had examples of 
this, and we need dwell no longer on this aspect. 

But the third category is by no means to be neg- 
lected. Here is Tennyson's The Eagle — only six lines 
("Fragment," the poet calls it) and no story, no 
moral in it, nothing but beautiful pictures, which you 
must see: 

He clasps the crag with crooked hands ; 
Close to the sun in lonely lands, 
Ring'd with the azure world, he stands. 

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls ; 
He watches from his mountain walls. 
And like a thunderbolt he falls. 

You must build up the scene, step by step. The 
title tells you who the "He" is. And you know 
enough about eagles to wnderstand what the first line 
is about. But that is not enough in this case. You 
must see. The second line is incomplete, and you 



N 

\ 



\ 



\ 



\ 



/ 

/■ 



/ 

f 

/ 



118 INTEBPEETATION OF THE PBINTED PAGE 

must wait for the end of the third line before you 

i can start to build up your next picture ; or at best you 

': can only be gathering material, so to speak, for the 

[picture. Now we must go back. What does "Ringed 

with the azure world'' mean? It isn't sufficient to 

answer, "Surrounded by the blue sky" ; you must see 

it. But even when you do there is one little word that 

you may have missed: "Close." How could he be 

: "close" to the sun? But I leave you now to the joy 

of finishing the poem, convinced, as I hope you are, 

that the poet intended you to see and enjoy, even as 

^e did. 

Let me suggest a test. Tennyson saw his picture 
clearly. To prove whether you see it with equal clear- 
ness, suppose yourself a painter putting this picture 
on canvas. What colors would you use? Where 
would you put the crag? the eagle? the sun? Of 
course you couldn't paint all the picture, but the still 
life you could put on canvas. 

Just when it is necessary to follow the text closely, 
to weigh each word and group, to see the complete 
picture, and when, on the other hand, only to "sense," 
as it were, its meaning, cannot be set down with cer- 
tainty ; but there is no doubt but that in a large part 
of great literature the author writes that we may see 
all that he saw and share with him the beauty he de- 
scribes. Let us close by giving examples of such 
writing : 

I linger'd there 
Till every daisy slept, and Love's white star 
Beam'd thro' the thicken'd cedar in the dusk. 

— Tennyson: The Gardener's Daughter. 



DENOTATION 119 

The next passage, from the same poem, is much 
more difficult, apparently so hard tliat most would pass 
it by. And yet how beautiful the picture ! One which 
you would stop long to look at were it hanging 
in an art gallery. There are few hard words and 
nothing particularly hard in the thought. It is the 
length and complexity of the sentence, and the need 
of building up the picture group by group that make 
the passage seem so difficult. 

For up the porch there grew an Eastern rose, 
That^ flowering high^ the last night's gale had caught. 
And blown across the walk. One arm aloft — 
Gown'd in pure white, that fitted to the shape — 
Holding the bush, to fix it back, she stood, 
A single stream of all her soft brown hair 
Pour'd on one side : the shadow of the flowers 
Stole all the golden gloss, and, wavering 
Lovingly lower, trembled on her waist — 
Ah, happy shade — and still went wavering down. 
But, ere it touch'd a foot, that might have danced 
The greensward into greener circles, dipt. 
And mix'd with shadows of the common ground ! 

Here follows matter that requires closest attention 
to follow. It deals with science, religion, psychology, 
law, and other subjects without a story in them, and 
not appealing very strongly, at any rate not at once, 
to our curiosity and desire for knowledge. Yet any 
man or woman with the slightest pretension to educa- 
tion should be able to read without too great a strain 
such matter as I refer to. An author is speaking of 
the difficulty of judging sometimes whether an act is 
right or wrong. The passage looks hard. It is 



120 INTEBPEETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

printed solid. There is no dialogue in it ; and yet it is 
packed full of interest. The title wouldn't be a good 
one for a popular magazine article, but many a time 
you have had experience with that very "intricacy." 
Have you not often been puzzled in trying to pass 
honest judgment on the act of some fellow student? 
Have you yourself not been wronged by student, 
teacher, and even parent, largely because they were 
judging you by one standard, while you felt you 
should be judged by another? Well, the moral judg- 
ment was not easy to pass because there were so many 
factors entering into your case. So you see again, 
"Intricacy of Moral Judgments" is only an educated 
man's title for a subject all of us have had much 
experience with. 

Intbicact of Moral Judgments 

If we attempt to reduce this discussion to its psycho- 
logical terms^ we may make some such statement as the 
following: No person is in a position to pass judgment 
upon the moral character of any act unless he under- 
stands thoroughly all of the conditions which surround 
the act. In order to understand historical relations 
fully one needs to have such a view of the historical 
situation as it is extremely difficult for a modern stu- 
dent to acquire. The modern student is^ in the first 
place, guided in all of his judgments by an established 
mode of thought which is peculiar to his own genera- 
tion. We have certain notions in this day about the 
treatment of colonies, for example, that are wholly dif- 
ferent from the notions that obtained at the time that 
England was in controversy with her American colonies. 
The notions that we now entertain are the results of long 



DENOTATION 121 

historical periods which have recorded themselves in the 
literature and language of our people. The youth of 
today is introduced directly to these political and ethical 
ideas without any special reference to the earlier con- 
troversies out of which the present notions have grown. 
When, therefore, he is suddenly carried hack in his his- 
torical studies to situations that differ altogether from 
the situations that now confront him^ he is likely to 
carry back, without being fully aware of the fallacy of 
his procedure, those standards of judgment and canons 
of ethical thought which constitute his present inherit- 
ance. He judges, in other words, by modem standards, 
situations which are in character wholly different from 
those of today. — Judd: Psychology 'of High-School Sulh- 
jects. 

(I purposely chose a paragraph that was not easy; 
that required careful attention ; that meant looking up 
new words, and making some careful grouping. But 
if you have mastered that paragraph, have you not 
done something splendidly worth while? as worth while, 
and under some conditions far more worth while, than 
finishing a task in the shop or laboratory?) 

Review Exercises 

Among the following exercises will be found ex- 
amples of two kinds of problems: those dealing with 
picture making ; and those dealing with the difficulty 
of the language, style, and ideas. 

The steer forgot to graze. 
And, where the hedge-row cuts the pathway, stood. 
Leaning his horns into the neighbor field, 
And lowing to his fellows. 

— Tennyson: The Gardener's Daughter. 



122 INTBEPBETATION OF THE FEINTED PAGE 

Short of stature^ large of limb^ 
Burly face and russet beard^ 
All the women stared at him^ 
When in Iceland he appeared. 

' "Look !" they said, 
With noddinir head, 
"There goes Thangbrand, Olafs Priest." 

— Longfellow : Thanghrand the Priest, 

And Sohrab came there, and went in, and stood 
Upon the thick piled carpets in the tent. 

— ^Arnold: Sohrab and Rustum, 

What picture do you get? Look up "pile" in the 
dictionary. 

The gray sea and the long black land ; 
And the yellow half-moon large and low ; 
And the startled little waves that leap 
In fiery ringlets from their sleep. 
As I gain the cove with pushing prow, 
And quench its speed i' the slushy sand. 

Then a mile of warm sea-scented beach; 
Three fields to cross till a farm appears ; 
A tap at the pane, the quick sharp scratch 
And blue spurt of a lighted match. 
And a voice less loud, thro' its joys and fears. 
Than the two hearts beating each to each! 

— Browning: Meeting at Night. 

Sweet are the uses of adversity. 

Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous. 

Wears yet a precious jewel in his head; 

And this our life exempt from public haunt 

Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks. 

Sermons in stones and good in every thing. 

— At You Like It, II, i. 



DENOTATION 123 

Jaques. All the world's a stage^ 

And all the men and women merely players: 
They have their exits and their entrances ; 
And one man in his time plays many parts^ 
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant^ 
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms. 
And then the whining school-boy^ with his satchel 
And shining morning face^ creeping like snail 
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover^ 
Sighing like furnace^ with a woeful ballad 
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier^ 
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard^ 
Jealous in honour^ sudden and quick in quarrel^ 
Seeking the bubble reputation 
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice^ 
In fair round belly with good capon lined^ 
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut. 
Full of wise saws and modern instances ; 
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts 
Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon, 
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side. 
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide 
For his shrunk shank ; and his big manly voice. 
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes 
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all. 
That ends this strange eventful history. 
Is second childishness and mere oblivion. 
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans every thing. 

— Ihid,, II, vii. 

Rosalind. Time travels in divers paces with divers 
persons. I'll tell you who Time ambles withal, who 
Time trots withal, who Time gallops withal and who he 
stands still withal. 

Orlando. I prithee, who doth he trot withal? 

Rosalind. Marry, he trots hard with a young maid 
between the contract of her matriage and the day it is 



124 INTEBPBETATION OF THE FEINTED PAGE 

solemnized: if the interim be but a se'nnight^ Time's 
pace is so hard that it seems the length of seven year. 

Orlando. Who ambles Time withal? 

Rosalind. With a priest that lacks Latin and a rich 
man that hath not the gout^ for the one sleeps easily 
because he cannot study and the other lives merrily 
because he feels no pain^ the one lacking the burden of 
lean and wasteful learnings the other knowing no burden 
of heavy tedious penury ; these Time ambles withal. 

Orlando. Who doth he gallop withal? 

Rosalind, With a thief to the gallows^ for though he 
go as softly as foot can fall^ he thinks himself too soon 
there. , 

Orlando. Who stays it still withal? 

Rosalind. With lawyers in the vacation; for they 
sleep between term and term and then they perceive not 
how Time moves. 

—Ihid., Ill, ii. 

Under an oak, whose boughs were moss'd with age 

And high top bald with dry antiquity, 

A wretched ragged man, o'ergrown with hair. 

Lay sleeping on his back : about his neck 

A green and gilded snake had wreathed itself. 

Who with her head nimble in threats approach'd 

The opening of his mouth ; but suddenly. 

Seeing Orlando, it unlink'd itself. 

And with indented glides did slip away 

Into a bush: under which bush's shade 

A lioness, with udders all drawn dry. 

Lay couching, head on ground, with catlike watch. 

When that the sleeping man should stir ; for 'tis 

The royal disposition of that beast 

To prey on nothing that doth seem as dead : 

This seen, Orlando did approach the man 

And found it was his brother, his elder brother. 

— Ibid., IV, iii. 



DENOTATION 125 

Then murmur'd Arthur, "Place me in the barge." 
So to the barge they came. There those three 

Queens 
Put forth their hands, and took the King, and wept. 
But she, that rose the tallest of them all 
And fairest, laid his head upon her lap. 
And loosed the shatter'd casque, and chafed his 

hands. 
And call'd him by his name, complaining loud. 
And dropping bitter tears against a brow 
Striped with dark blood : for all his face was white 
And colourless, and like the withered moon 
Smote by the fresh beam of the springing east ; 
And all his greaves and cuisses dash'd with drops 
Of onset ; and the light and lustrous curls — 
That made his forehead like a rising sun 
High from the dais-throne — were parch'd with dust ; 
Or clotted into points and hanging loose, 
Mix'd with the knightly growth that fringed his 

lips. 
So like a shatter'd column lay the King; 
Not like that Arthur who, with lance in rest. 
From spur to plume a star of tournament. 
Shot thro' the lists at Camelot, and charged 
Before the eyes of ladies and of kings. 

— TENNYSok: The Passing of Arthur. 

So said he, and the barge with oar and sail 

Moved from the brink, like some full-breasted sn'an 

That, fluting a wild carol ere her death. 

Ruffles her pure cold plume, and takes the flood 

With swarthy webs. Long stood Sir Bedivere 

Revolving many memories, till the hull 

Look'd one black dot against the verge of dawn. 

And on the mere the wailing died away. 



126 INTEBPEETATION OF THE PBINTED PAGE 

As when a boar 
Or lion mid the hounds and huntsmen stands^ 
Fearfully strongs and fierce of eye, and they 
In square array assault him, and their hands 
Fling many a javelin; — yet his noble heart 
Fears not, nor does he fly, although at last 
His courage cause his death ; and oft he turns, 
And tries their ranks ; and where he makes a rush 
The ranks give way ; — so Hector moved and turned 
Among the crowd, and bade his followers cross 
The trench. 

— The Iliad (Bryant's translation). 

How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank ! 
Here will we sit and let the sound of music 
Creep in our ears: soft stillness and the night 
Become the touches of sweet harmony. 
Sit, Jessica. Look how the floor of heaven 
Is thick inlaid with patines of bright gold : 
There's not the smallest orb which thou behold'st 
But in his motion like an angel sings. 
Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubims ; 
Such harmony is in immortal souls; 
But whilst this muddy vesture of decay 
Doth grossly close it in, we can not hear it. 

— Merchant of Venice, V, i. 

In person, Caesar was tall and slight. His features 
were more refined than was usual in Roman faces. The 
forehead was wide and high, the nose large and thin, the 
lips full, the eyes dark gray like an eagle's, the neck 
extremely thick and sinewy. His complexion was pale. 
His beard and mustache were kept carefully shaved. 
His hair was short and naturally scanty, falling off 
toward the end of his life and leaving him partially 
bald. His voice, especially when he spoke in public, 
was high and shrill. — Froude : Julius Caesar, 



DENOTATION 127 

In person^ the Prince of Orange was above the middle 
height^ perfectly well made and sinewy^ but rather 
spare than stout. His eyes^ hair^ beard^ and complexion 
were brown. His head was small, symmetrically shaped, 
combining the alertness and compactness characteristic 
of the soldier, with the capacious brow furrowed pre- 
maturely with the horizontal lines of thought, denoting 
the statesman and the sage. — Motley: Character of 
William of Orange. 

One mast was broken short off, six or eight feet from 
the deck, and lay over on the side, entangled in a maze 
of sail and rigging; and in that ruin, as the ship rolled 
and beat, — which she did with a violence quite incon- 
ceivable, — beat the side as if it would stave it in. Some 
efforts were being made to cut this portion of the wreck 
away; for as the ship, which was broadside on, turned 
toward us in her rolling, I plainly descried her people 
at work with axes — especially one active figure, with 
long curling hair. But a great cry, audible even above 
the wind and water, rose from the shore ; the sea, sweep- 
ing over the wreck, made a clean breach, and carried 
men, spars, casks, planks, bulwarks, — heaps of such 
toys, into the boiling surge. — Dickens: David Copper- 
field. 

The Moon arose : she shone upon the lake. 
Which lay one smooth expanse of silver light ; 
She shone upon the hills and rocks, and cast 
Upon their hollows and their hidden glens 
A blacker depth of shade. 

— Southey: Madoc. 

I will tell you. 
The barge she sat in, like a burnish'd throne, 
Burn'd on the water: the poop was beaten gold; 
Purple the sails, and so perfumed that 



128 INTEEPEETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

The winds were love-sick with them; the oars were 

silver. 
Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke^ and made 
The water which they beat to follow faster. 
As amorous of their strokes. For her own person. 
It beggar'd all description : she did lie 
In her pavilion — cloth-of-gold of tissue — 
O'er-picturing that Venus where we see 
The fancy outwork nature: on each side her 
Stood pretty dimpled boys, like smiling Cupids, 
With divers-color'd fans, whose wind did seem 
To glow the delicate cheeks which they did cool. 
And what they undid, did. 

— Antony and Cleopatra, II, ii. 

The numerous letters in the newspapers urging con- 
scription; the pointed demand by Unionist leaders that 
conscription be resorted to; the reports of correspond- 
ents on the apparent indifference of the masses to the 
great issue — all these indicate that voluntary enlistment 
has not brought the desired results. 

The next four paragraphs are inserted, first, be- 
cause they so strongly support the contention of this 
whole book, and secondly, because they are typical 
examples of literature that isn't "easy," but which 
is nevertheless f uU of interest and instruction for every 
student who is fairly serious-minded. 

Do you know, if you read this [book] , that you cannot 
read that; that what you lose to-day you cannot gain 
to-morrow? Will you go and gossip with your house- 
maid or your stable-boy, when you may talk with 
queens and kings; or flatter yourselves that it is with 
any worthy consciousness of your own claims to respect 
that you jostle with the hungry and common crowd for 



DENOTATION 129 

entree here, and audience there, when all the while this 
eternal court is open to you, with its society, wide as the 
world, multitudinous as its days, — the chosen and the 
mighty of every place and time? Into that you may 
enter always; in that you may take fellowship and 
rank accordingly to your wish; from that, once 
entered into it, you can never be an outcast but by your 
own fault; by your aristocracy of companionship there, 
your own inherent aristocracy will be assuredly tested, 
and the motives with which you strive to take high place 
in the society of the living, measured as to all the truth 
and sincerity that are in them, by the place you desire 
to take in this company of the dead. — Ruskin: Of 
Kings* Treasuries. 

And be sure also, if the author is worth anything, 
that you will not get at his meaning all at once, — nay, 
that at his whole meaning you will not for a long time 
arrive in anywise. Not that he does not say what he 
means, and in strong words too; but he cannot say it 
all, and what is more strange, will not, but in a hidden 
way and in parables, in order that he may be sure you 
want it. I cannot quite see the reason of this, nor 
analyze that cruel reticence in the breasts of wise men 
which makes them always hide their deeper thought. 
They do not give it you by way of h'elp, but of reward, 
and will make themselves sure that you deserve it before 
they allow you to reach it. But it is the same with the 
physical type of wisdom, gold. There seems, to you and 
me, no reason why the electric forces of the earth should 
not carry whatever there is of gold within it at once to 
the mountain-tops; so the kings and people might know 
that all the gold they could get was there, and without 
any trouble of digging, or anxiety, or chance, or waste 
of time, cut it away, and coin as much as they needed. 
But nature does not manage it so. She puts it in little 
fissures in the earth, nobody knows where. You may 



130 INTERPRETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

dig loBg and find none. You must dig painfully to find 
any. — Ibid, 

And it is just the same with men's best wisdom. 
When you come to a good book^ you must ask yourself^ 
"Am I inclined to work as an Australian miner would? 
Are my pickaxes and shovels in good order^ and am I in 
good trim^ myself^ my sleeves well up to the elbow, and 
my breath good, and my temper?" And keeping the 
figure a little longer, even at a cost of tiresomeness, for 
it is a thoroughly useful one, the metal you are in search 
of being the author's mind or meaning, his words are as 
the rock which you have to crush and smelt in order to 
get at it. And your pickaxes are your own care, wit, 
and learning; your smelting furnace is your own 
thoughtful soul. Do not hope to get at any good 
author's meaning without those tools and that fire; often 
you will need sharpest, finest chiselling and patientest 
fusing before you can gather one grain of the metal. — 
Ibid. 

And, therefore, first of all, I tell you earnestly and 
authoritatively (I know I am right in this) you must 
get into the habit of looking intensely at words, and 
assuring yourself of their meaning, syllable by syllable — 
nay, letter by lett^. For though it is only by reason of 
the opposition of letters in the function of signs to sounds 
in the function of signs, that the study of books is called 
"literature," and that a man versed in it is called, by 
the consent of nations, a man of letters instead of a man 
of books or of words, you may yet connect with that 
accidental nomenclature this real fact, — that you might 
read all the books in the British Museum (if you could 
live long enough) and remain an utterly "illiterate," 
uneducated person; but that if you read ten pages of a 
good book, letter by letter, — that is to say, with real 
accuracy, — you are forevermore in some measure an 



DENOTATION 131 

educated person. The entire difference between educa- 
tion and non-education (as regards the merely intellec- 
tual part of it) consists in this accuracy. A well- 
educated gentleman may not know many languages^ may 
not be able to speak any but his own^ may have read 
very few books. But whatever language he knows, he 
knows precisely; whatever word he pronounces, he pro- 
nounces rightly. Above all, he is learned in the peerage 
of words, knows the words of true descent and ancient 
blood, at a glance, from the words of modern canaille, 
remembers all their ancestry, their intermarriages, dis- 
tant relationships, and the extent to which they were 
admitted, and offices they held, among the national 
noblesse of words at any time and in any country. But 
an uneducated person may know, by memory, many lan- 
guages, and talk them all, and yet truly know not a word 
of any, — not a word even of his own. Ah ordinarily 
clever and sensible seaman will be able to make his way 
ashore at most ports, yet he has only to speak a sentence 
of any language to be known for an illiterate person; 
so also the accent, or turn of expression of a single sen- 
tence, will at once mark a scholar. And this is so 
strongly felt, so conclusively admitted, by educated per- 
sons, that a false accent or a mistaken syllable is enough 
in the parliament of any civilized nation to assign to a 
man a certain degree of inferior standing forever. — Ihid, 

As toilsome I wander'd Virginia's woods. 

To the music of rustling leaves kick'd by my feet (for 

'twas autumn), 
I mark'd at the foot of a tree the grave of a soldier ; 
Mortally wounded he and buried on the retreat (easily 

all could I understand). 
The halt of a mid-day hour, when up ! no time to lose — 

yet this sign left. 
On a tablet scrawl'd and nail'd on the tree by the grave. 
Bold, cautious-, true, and my loving comradr. 



132 INTERPRETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

Long^ long I muse^ then on my way go wandering, 
Many a changeful season to follow, and many a scene 

of life, 
Yet at times through changeful season and scene, abrupt, 

alone, or in the crowded street, 
Comes before me the unknown soldier's grave, comes the 

inscription rude in Virginia's woods. 
Bold, cautious, true, and my loving comrade. 
— ^Whitman: As Toilsome I Wander' d Virginia's Woods, 

In the books you use in connection with your litera- 
ture, history, civics, etc., will be found on every page 
opportunity for further study of this important aspect 
of interpretation. 

And the more you use the printed page in connec- 
tion with your literature, history, civics, etc., the more 
will you appreciate the fact that Denotation is for 
you at the present time the most vital factor in your 
studies. 



J 

? 



CHAPTER VII 

AN EXERCISE IN ANALYSIS 

So far we have been studying separately Grouping, 
Group Sequence, Group Values, Inversion, and Deno- 
tation. We will now study a piece of literature illus- 
trating all these principles except Subordination. 

The following is taken from Tennyson's Enoch 
Arden, Enoch Arden has been shipwrecked, and 
after the death of his companions, is left alone on an 
island close to the tropics. Read the extract, keeping 
in mind these conditions : 

The mountain wooded to the peak^ the lawns 

And winding glades high up like ways to heaven^ 

The slender coco's drooping crown of plumes^ 

Th^ lightning flash of insect and of bird^ 

The lustre of the long convolvuluses 

That coil'd around the stately stems, and ran 

Ev'n to the limit of the land, the glows 

And glories of the broad belt of the world, 

All these he saw ; but what he fain had seen 

He could not see, the kindly human face^ 

Nor ever hear a kindly voice, but heard 

The myriad shriek of wheeling ocean- fowl, 

The league-long roller thundering on the reef, 

The moving whisper of huge trees that branch'd 

And blossom'd in the zenith, or the sweep 

133 



134 INTERPEETATION OF THE PMNTBD PAGE 

Of some precipitous rivulet to the wave^ 

As down the shore he ranged^ or all day long 

Sat often in the seaward-gazing gorge^ 

A shipwrecked sailor^ waiting for a sail. 

Unless you have read very deliberately you have 
got very few details of the picture. You perhaps 
have a vague idea of a ]|nnfi1jLjnim .annifl great..fiC£nic 
hpanfy^ rtiH fl, ffiirly invid pirfnrp in fliA la st line of 

the shipwrecked sailor waiting for a sail. 

There is not much story in the extract and, there- 
fore, one is inclined to hurry on without taking time 
to see the picture. Let us now take up the lines in 
detail, beginning with the groups, referring constantly 
to the text during the entire discussion: 

The momitain wooded to the peak^ 

the lawns And winding glades high up like ways to 

heaven. 
The slender coco's drooping crown of plumes, 
The lightning flash of insect and of bird. 
The lustre of the long convolvuluses 
That coil'd around the stately stems, 
and ran Ev'n to the limit of the land, 
the glows And glories of the broad belt of the world, 
All these he saw; 

and so on. Already the picture is becoming clearer, 
and yet we find a number of words and phrases that 
have' no meaning for us. With a little effort we see 
the mountain wooded to the peak, but we must know 
that "lawns" as used here does not mean lawns like 
those in front of our homes, but "a glade or open 
space in the woods.'' Now, the dicfionafy tells us 



AN EXEECISE IN ANALYSIS 135 

further that a glade Is "a clearing or open space in a 
wood/' So the two words convey about the same 
meaning ; and we must picture the lawns and winding 
glades high up like ways to heaven. The next line 
is absolutely meaningless until we learn that "coco" is 
**the palm-tree that produces cocoanuts : cultivated in 
all tropical regions. It has a branchless stem sixty 
to ninety feet high, above which are feather-like leaves 
eighteen to twenty feet long.'' From this definition 
we can see also why the coco is called slender, and why 
the author refers to the "feather-like leaves" as 
**drooping crown of plumes." Why the poet speaks 
of the "lightning flash of insect and of bird," you can 
no doubt see for yourself ; but all you can gather from 
the next three lines is that something or other has a 
lustre and coils around stems and runs all over the 
land. When we discover that "convolvuluses" are 
creeping and twining herbs with extremely showy, 
brilliant, trumpet-shaped flowers, we understand why 
the poet speaks of "the lustre" and of "long convol- 
vuluses," and we get a picture of the long vines, some 
climbing around the trees and others running all over 

< 

the island even to the sea. 

What does "the broad belt of the world " mean? 
Is it the horizon, or is it that broad belt which encircles 
the world and is called the tropical zone ? Then, what 
picture do you get of the **glows and glories" of this 
belt? ^^ ' ^ 

With a little thought you can get the meaning of the 
next five lines, but in the line "Thejaoving 3£his£er," 
etc., must you not stop long enough to see the moving 



136 INTERPRETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

leaves and hear their whispering as it passes from tree 
to tree, and to ask yourself what is meant by trees 
"that branch'd and blossom'd in the zenith" ? We learn 
that the zenith is a term used in astronomy to denote the 
point in the heavens directly overhead : but how can we 
speak of trees that branch and blossom in the 
zenith? The explanation is that in the tropical coun- 
tries many trees, like the coco, rise straight and tall 
and do not begin to send out branches until they are 
high in the air. 

Why does the author speak of Enoch Arden as 
"ranging" instead of "walking"? Here, again, the 
picture becomes doubly interesting when we learn that 
to range means to walk to and fro as if in search of 
something. 

We have now prepared ourselves to study the pic- 
ture as a whole. We know the meaning of the words 
and phrases, and have determined the groups. We 
have the parts of the author's picture and these we 
must now put together, but unless we are careful we 
may lose sight of the picture in one group as we pass 
on to the next. In the line, "The mountain wooded to 
the peak," we get a picture, but there is no statement 
made concerning it; and if you will take the rest of 
the pictures down to "the glows And glories of the 
broad belt of the world," you will find that there is no 
predicate. Then come the words, ^*A11 these he saw," 
and we understand that "these" refers to "the moun- 
tain," "the lawns," "the glades," "the plumes," etc., 
and that we cannot get the sense until we come to "All 
these he saw." It is as if we were to write "His splen- 



AN EXERCISE IN ANALYSIS I37 

did work in history, his excellent work in Latin, his 
good work in mathematics, and his unusual excellence 
in manual training, — all these he received no credit 
for." 

Turning more particularly to Group Sequence, we 
see how the sense is suspended from line to line until 
the assertion ends the incomplete groups with "All 
these he saw." Now follows a simple statement, "but 
what he fain had seen he could not see," in which the 
thought is as completely finished as if the sentence 
were followed by a period. Then comes the phrase 
equivalent to the "what," complete in itself: "the 
kindly human face." After this is another entire 
statement : "Nor ever hear a kindly voice." But after 
that there is suspense in the groups ending with "ocean- 
fowl," "reef," "zenith," "wave," "ranged," "gorge," 
and "sailor." Are you following the text, page 133f 
As for Inversion, here we have an excellent illus- 
tration; and while, after noting the Sequence in 
the various groups, we do not need to spend much 
time on Inversion, yet it does help us somewhat 
in getting the meaning when we recognize that the 
opening groups are out of the order in which we 
should expect them; it is as if the object of a verb 
should begin a sentence. 

Your careful preparation enables you to enjoy the 
scene in a way that would have been impossible with- 
out the details, and there is no reason why such a 
study should deprive you of one jot of pleasure in 
the picture. There is beauty piled on beauty: the 
mountain, the lawns, the glades, the coco's crown of 



138 INTERPRETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

plumes, the flash of insect and of bird, and the glori- 
ous coloring of the tropics — ^all these that would have 
thrilled a lover of nature to Enoch are as nothing. 

Now note the change: "All these he saw," but 
never "the kindly human face.'* He never heard "a 
kindly voice," but instead, the ocean-fowl, the roller, 
the whisper of huge trees, and the sweep of the rivulet. 

As down the shore he ranged^ or all day long 
Sat often in the seaward-gazing gorge. 

From this apalysis we get two large pictures : what 
Enoch saw — ^but not the kindly face ; what he heard — 
but not the kindly voice. All the glories of form and 
color meant nothing to him; all the sounds of the 
tropical world could tell him nothing. His senses 
longed for human faces and human voices. The 
pathos of his loneliness is made the more terrible by 
the beauty of the nature that environs him. What 
his heart yearns for is a human face, a human voice ; 
but in vain he longs : 

A shipwreck'd sailor^ waiting for a sail. 

Has our study not brought us a rich reward? The 
paragraph which at first seemed so obscure and per- 
haps to most of us so dry, has become clear and in- 
teresting, full of life and beauty. We have learned, 
too, that interest does not necessarily lie in action and 
excitement, but, as in this case, often in the beauty of 
the picture described, or in sympathy aroused in us 
for the people in the story. Now reread the entire 
selection, first silently, then aloud. 



CHAPTER VIII 

GROUP MOTIVE 

In the chapter on Group Sequence we learned that 
fio long as the thought was incomplete the voice would 
rise at the end of the group — a, rising inflection, or 
glide upward; and further, that when the thought 
was compl ete, when we asserted stronglj^, when we 
demanded or commanded, the voice at once responded 
with a downward inflection at the end of the group, 
whether the group was long or consisted of only a 
single word. In this chapter we are to discuss the 
subject at length. 

When you ask such a question as "Are you going 
home?" you hear the rising tune most clearly marked 
on "h ome " ; and if you were asked where you were 
going and you answered, «I am going home," your 
melody would be decidedly downward, and the inflec- 
tion would again be particularly noticeable on 
**home." To make this more clear hum the two sen- 
tences. The tune is more easily recognized in hum- 
ming because it is not combined with the words. Very 
often in simple sentences one can understand another 
by his tune, although he is uttering no words at all. 
If someone makes a remark to you which you do not 
catch, you may say, "What did you say?" or "What?" 

139 



/i 



140 INTERPRETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

or just "Hm?" In every one of these cases the tune 
is the same (although in the first answer you used more 
words than in the others) and it asks for informa- 
tion. Or, let us take a tune that expresses a demand 
or an assertion, such as "I won't go home,'' or "I 
won't," or "No," or, what is quite common among us, 
just the strong murmur "M — ^m." In ^ these ca ses 
it is the tune that conveys the motive behind the 
words. And what a big difference in the tunes ! You 
probably never noticed before that there were tunes in 
speech and that so much depended on them in speak- 
ing and reading. Now what caused you to make this 
difference in tune? You did not try to make it: you 
were not even conscious that you were doing it: you 
did not have to learn how to do it. The motive, the 
purpose, in the two cases was different, and the melody 
changed with the motive. 

Now, what applies to these little sentences applies 
ito every phrase or sentence you utter: a s the moti ve 
[changes your melod y changes wi th it. We saw this in 
ithe examples under Group Sequence, but we noticed it 
. chiefly at the end of the groups ; now you see that the 
principle applies to every word and syllable of the 
I group. Speech tune or melody is just rising or faU- 
\ing of the voice jgrrietiines by jumps- sometvm fsf fe ?/ 
\ slides; and is determined soleljf hy the^moiiofi. If we 
j change the motive, the melody changes ; if the melody 
^changes, the audience gets a different conception with 
•every change. 



^ 



GROUP MOTIVE 141 

Notice the melody in "Are you going out?" How 
the voice seems to climb a ladder of notes like 

t 
u 
o 
going 

you 
Are 

Suppose now you asked the same question of one who 
refuses to answer. Then you ask a second time, and 
again no answer ; until finally you say 

A 

r 
e 

y 

o 

u 

g 

o 
1 
n 

g 

o 

u 

t 

p 

9 

Grammatically, this is a question ; but since under the 
circumstances it really becomes a demand, your melody 
runs down the ladder. You are no longer interested 
in the purpose of the person to whom you are speak- 
iiig^ you do not care, perhaps, whether he is going 



142 INTEEPEETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

out or not; but you are insisting on his saying some^ 
thing; your "Are you going out?*' becomes equivalent 
to "Give an answer to my question. I don't care 
whether it be yes or no, but an answer I insist upon.'* 
Hum the sentence first as a simple question, then as a 
demand, and you will see more clearly than before how 
much the tune tells of the speaker's motive. 

If a teacher asks William to rise, and John rises 
instead, and the teacher says, pointing first to William 
and then to John, "I mean you, not you," — ^what a 
strange twisting of the melody we hear on the two 
"yous.'* Hum this sentence, too. If you were asked 
to describe these melodies you would be unable to do it, 
and yet how naturally and easily and unconsciously 
you used them when you wanted another to get the 
meaning. That peculiar twist in the tune (called a 
circumflex inflection — although you don't have to 
bother about that) was really a sign of a double mean- 
ing, as the text shows. An example from Julius Caesar 
is similar to this. Marc Antony is speaking to the 
mob, who believe he is going to say something in 
favor of the dead Caesar, whose memory, for the mo- 
ment at any rate, they do not hold dear. In order to 
get their attention Antony says, "I come to bury 
Caesar, not to praise him." As you read that aloud 
do you notice how naturally the melody glides up and 
down on "bury" and "praise"? Again we have the 
double meaning. The mob thought he was going to 
praise Caesar, and Antony says. No, not "praise," but 
"bury." When, in The Merchant of Venice (Act I, 
sc. iii), Shylock says to Antonio: "Hath a dog 



GROUP MOTIVE 143 

money ?" he is not seeking information. Antonio, who 
hates the Jew, has frequently called him a dog, but 
now he comes to Shylock and asks for a loan of 
money, and Shylock answers : 

Hath a dog money? Is it possible 
A cur can lend three thousand ducats? 

The sarcasm, the double idea as it were, in both sen- 
tences is brought out by the peculiar tune used on 
"dog'' and "cur." 

The lesson we learn from these few illustrations 
is that we must be exceedingly careful to get the 
motive, the purpose, the intention, behind every 
phrase, and, having it, must hold it firmly in mind as^ 
we read, so that the listener cannot possibly miss it. 

Here are some examples of greater difficulty to 
show what difference tune makes in our vocal expres- 
sion. But never forget : our principal reason for dis- 
cussing this problem is to make you more careful, first 
in your silent reading, and then particularly in the 
reading aloud of poetry, drama, and novels. 

In Lancelot and Elaine^ after telling us that Elaine, 
the lily maid, has the shield of Lancelot, Tennyson 
goes on : 

How came the lily maid by that good shield 
Of Lancelot, she that knew not ev'n his name? 
He left it with her, etc. ' 

Is it the poet's purpose to ask the reader a question 
which he could not answer, and which the poet himself 
could answer? Certainly not. What is the meaning 
then? Supply "Do you ask me" before "How came," 



144 INTERPRETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

and you will get it. And it's all a matter of the 
motive behind the question. 

Here is a similar problem. Jean Valjean has left 
the city and the author asks : 

How long did he weep thus? What did he do after 
weeping? Where did he go? Nobody ever knew. 

Of course the author isn't asking these questions ; it is 
just as in the previous illustration. 

In The Merchant of Venice^ after Bassanio is sup- 
posed to have explained to Shylock that Antonio 
wishes to borrow three thousand ducats, for three 
months, Bassanio and Shylock enter as the latter says : 

Three thousand ducats; well 

I have purposely omitted a punctuation mark after 
"well." You put it in — now — and we will discuss 
your choice a little later on. Bassanio answers : 

Ay, sir, for three months. 
Shylock continues: 

For three months; well 
and again Bassanio retorts : 

For the which, as I told you, Antonio shall be bound. 

You have probably decided to put in a question mark 
after the "wells." Why.? Because you decided Shy- 
lock's motive or intention was to indicate that he 
understood so far and wanted Bassanio to continue — 
as much as to say, "I understand; go on. What 
next?" And the same principle applies to the second 



GROUP MOTIVE 145 

**welL" Now if I should say this is the way to punc- 
tuate the lines: 

Three thousand ducats ; well. 
For three months; well. 

how would you interpret them ? I shall leave it to you 
to work out, but no matter what your conclusion is, 
will it not be clear that it is all a matter of motive ? 

Brutus accuses Cassius of having "an itching 
palm," and Cassius angrily replies: 

I an itching palm.^ 
You know that you are Brutus that speak this, 
Or, by the gods, this speech were else your last. 

Without much doubt Cassius' first four words and 
their motive can be paraphrased, "Do you dare to say 
to me, Cassius, that I am so low, so debased, that I 
would stoop to take what was not mine ?^^ and there is 
a challenge in that upward sweep of the melody. But 
I have heard the words read with a strong downward 
sweep. Paraphrased, in this case the melody con- 
veyed the idea that Cassius meant "He has used these 
terrible words of accusation to me!" We are not to 
decide whether this is the true meaning of Cassius, 
but to see how the motive controls the melody, and 
how (and this I say again and again) careful we must 
be to get the motive. 

The reason why so much of our reading is dull and 
monotonous is largely because we do not get the 
motive; for, the moment we do get this the reading 




146 INTEBPEETATION OF THE PBINTED PAGE 

becomes full of varietyy vital, and interesting. See 
how this works out in a longer passage, from the 
opening lines of Julms Caesar. 

Caesar has just returned triumphant from the wars. 
The citizens are in a holiday mood, laughing and 
talking, when one of the rulers in the city, who hates 
Caesar, stops them, saying : 

Hence! home, you idle creatures, get you home; 
Is this a holiday? 

It is an interesting experiment to read this passage 
without any motive except to say the words. That is, 
to read it in almost a monotone. How flat and dull it 
is ! In fact, if you have any spirit in you at all, it is 
only with great difficulty you can keep the monotone. 
Now read it so as to make the citizens see just what 
the speaker has in mind. Note how animated the 
expression becomes ! How alive the words are ! How 
the voice jumps and glides up and down the scale! 
Read now the speeches of some of the citizens. The 
more you see that they are just poking fun at 
Flavins and MaruUus, the more will animation show 
Wtself through your tu/ne^ or melody, which you zoUl 
\not have to make up or study out in advance, but 
I which will come spontaneously, just as it comes when 
you are talking on the street, or on the playground, 
or in the house. 

[A scene in Rome, A street.] 
[Enter Flavius, Marullus, and certain Commoners.] 
Flav. Hence! home, you idle creatures, get you home: 

Is this a holiday? what! know you not, 

Being mechanical, you ought not walk 



GBOUP MOTIVE 147 

Upon a labouring day without the sign 

Of your profession ? Speak^ what trade art thou ? 

First Com. Why, sir, a carpenter. 

Mar. Where is thy leather apron and thy rule? 
What dost thou with thy best apparel on? 
You, sir, what, trade are you? 

Sec. Com, Truly, sir, in respect of a fine workman, 
I am but, as you would say, a cobbler. 

Mar. But what trade art thou? answer me directly. 

Sec. Com. A trade, sir, that, I hope, I may use with 
a safe conscience; which is, indeed, sir, a mender of 
bad soles. 

Mar. What trade, thou knave? thou naughty knave, 
what trade? 

Sec. Com. Nay, I beseech you, sir, be not out with 
me: yet, if you be out, sir, I can mend you. 

Mar. What meanest thou by that? mend me, thou 
flaucy fellow! 

Sec. Com. Why, sir, cobble you. 

Flav. Thou art a cobbler, art thou ? 

Sec. Com. Truly, sir, all that I live by is with the 
awl: I meddle with no tradesman's matters, nor women's 
matters, but with awl. I am, indeed, sir, a surgeon to 
old shoes; when they are in great danger, I recover 
them. As proper men as ever trod upon neat's leather 
have gone upon my handiwork. 

Flav. But wherefore art not in thy shop today? 
Why dost thou lead these men about the streets? 

Sec. Com. Truly, sir, to wear out their shoes, to get 
myself into more work. But, indeed, sir, we make 
holiday, to see Caesar and to rejoice in his triumph. 

An example of unusual interest is found in the third 
act of OthellOj where the villain lago is trying to 
make Othello jealous of his wife Desdemona. Othello 
married Desdemona secretly, no one except Michael 



148 INTERPRETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

Cassio knowing anything about it until it was pub- 
licly announced. With this in mind, you will be able 
to follow the dialogue. Particularly your attention 
is called to the "indeeds" and "honests.'* The excla- 
mation points sometimes indicate strong assertion and 
at others strong emotion without necessarily implying 
that the remark is not a question : 

lago. My noble lord, — 

Oih, What dost thou say, lago? 

lago. Did Michael Cassio, when you woo'd my lady. 
Know of your love? 

0th, He did, from first to last: why dost thou ask? 

lago. But for a satisfaction of my thought; 
No further harm. 

0th, Why of thy thought, lago? 

lago. I did not think he had been acquainted with her. 

0th. O, yes ; and went between us very oft. 

lago. Indeed ! 

0th. Indeed! ay, indeed: discern'st thou aught in 
that ? 
Is he not honest? 

lago. Honest, my lord? 

0th. Honest! ay, honest. 

lago. My lord, for aught I know. 

0th. What dost thou think? 

lago. Think, my lord ? 

0th. Think, my lord ! 

By heaven, he echoes me. 

As if there were some monster in his thought • 
Too hideous to be shown. Thou dost mean something: 
I heard thee say even now, thou likedst not that. 
When Cassio left my wife. What didst not like? 
And when I told thee he was of my counsel 
In my whole course of wooing, thou criedst "Indeed!" 
And didst contract and purse thy brow together. 



GEOUP MOTIVE 



149 



As if thou then hadst shut up in thy brain 
Some horrible conceit. If thou dost love me, 
Shew me thy thought. 

There are at least two ways to interpret the motive 
in the following question. Read it aloud : 

Beneath what? 

In a preceding paragraph I said t hat melo dies 
dealt with jnnp^ °^^ gli'Hpfi fff the voice. This is just 
as it is in singing. Take any melody you know and 
hum it quietly : "Home, Sweet Home," for instance. 
What makes that melody? — nothing but a series of 
jumps and glides. Keep this principle in mind as you 
hum the lines with their speech tunes. The difference 
between the speech melody and the song melody is 
very great and very marked. In what does it con- 
sist? Largely in the different jumps and glides. 
Song melodies are invented, spe ech m elo dies are in- 
stincti ¥C* natur al. No two persons wouldbe likely to 
invent the same tune for given words ; but there will 
be very little difference in the speech tunes of a given 
meaning in a thousand persons. 

Here is an illustration of the way the voice jumps. 
Say, "I will," not too emphatically, and the voice 
will jump upward between "I" and "will." Say the 
words now with greater determination, and the jump 
between "I" and "will" becomes longer. Now say 
them with the greatest possible determination, and note 
how the voice jumps a whole octave! The jump is 
between "I" and "will," and the glide is on "will" ; and 
the jump and the glide are all there is to melody. 



(X 




150 INTEEPEETATION OF THE PBINTBD PAttJU 

b(^ So you see that (1) interpretation of motive is 
/ll necessary; (2) if you have the motive in mind when 
you speaky the tune to express that motive comes 
I without any conscious effort on your part; (S) the 
f I audience without conscious effort get your motive 

^<J" I through the melody ; and (4?) if you get no. motive or 
I the wrong motive, the audience get no sense or the 
wrong sense. 

That writers lay considerable stress on motive is 
made clear from the following passages from well- 
known authors. If they didn't know that characters 
often revealed themselves through the tunes as much 
as, and often more than, by the mere words, why 
should they go to such pains to describe the melodies ? 
For, directly or indirectly, that is what they often do. 
And certainly we must interpret these melodies both 
for ourselves and, when we read aloud, for others. 

"Oh^ I know^" said Priscilla^ smiling sarcastically^ 
"I know the way o' wives; they set one on to abuse 
their husband^ and then they turn round on one and 
praise 'em as if they wanted to sell *em/' — Eliot: S'das 
Marner. 

"Well — stay — let me see," said Mr. Snell, like a 
docile clairvoyante, who would really not make a mis- 
take if she could help it. — Ibid, 

Mr. Macey has been advising Silas to get a suit of 
Sunday clothes, and continues : 

And as for the money for the suit o' clothes, why, 
you get a matter of a pound a week at your weaving. 
Master Marner, and you're a young man, eh, for all 



GBOUP MOTIVE 15X 

yon look so mushed. Why^ you couldn't ha' been five- 
and-twepty when you come into these parts^ eh? 

Then the author adds : 

Silas started a little at the change to a questioning 
tone. — Ibid, 

In some of the following illustrations the authors 
speak of the emotion as well as the Motive; but you 
should take care to discriminate between them. The 
emotion affects the quality of your voice while Motive 
affects the tune. Although the passage be emotional 
its motive might be differently interpreted were it not 
for the authors* comment. 

The next three excerpts are from Ruskin's King of 
the Golden River: 

"How did he get in ?" roared Schwartz. 
"My dear brother/* said Gluck, deprecatingly^ "he 
was so very wet !" 

"Who are you, sir?" demanded Schwartz, turning 
upon him. 

"Wouldn't it, sir?" said Gluck, very mildly and sub- 
missively indeed. 

"No," said the dwarf, conclusively. "No, it 
wouldn't." 

She disappears under the shed where the fat cattle 
have already hastened, and soon her voice is heard, as 
she caressingly talks with the cow buffalo. 

"Won't you stand still! — There, there, now! there, 
old lady!" — Tolstoi: The Cossacks. 

(If it were not for "caressingly ,'* how different 
would your melody be on "Won't you stand still!") 



152 INTERPRETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

"You are most kind, sir/* he said with mock polite- 
ness. "But madame, my wife, has not done wellto inter- 
est a stranger in this affair." — Davis: There Were 
Ninety and Nine, 

"It does the hoots and shoes" the Gryphon replied 
very solemnly. 

Alice was thoroughly puzzled. "Does the boots and 
shoes V* she repeated in a wondering tone. — Carroll : 
Alice in Wonderland, 

The following are from George Eliot's The Mill on 
the Floss: 

"It wasn't/' said Tom, loudly and peremptorily. "You 
give me the halfpenny: I've won it fair." 

"Well," said Mr. Riley, in an admonitory patronizing 
tone, as he patted Maggie on the head, "I advise you to 
put by the 'History of the Devil,' and read some prettier 
book. Have you no prettier books ?" 

"Oh, I say nothing," said Mrs. Glegg, sarcastically. 
"My advice has never been asked, and I don't give it." 

"Well, I don't know what fault you've got to find wi' 
me, Mr. Tulliver," said Mr. Moss, deprecatingly : "I 
know there isn't a day-laborer works harder." 

"My little lady, where are you going to?" the gypsy 
said, in a tone of coaxing deference. 

"I don't want to wear a bonnet," Maggie said; "I'd 
rather wear a red handkerchief like yours" (looking at 
her friend by her side). "My hair was quite long till 
yesterday, when I cut it off ; but I dare say it will grow 
again very soon," she added apologetically, thinking the 
gypsies had a strong prejudice in favor of long hair. 



<(- 



GROUP MOTIVE 153 

Mr. Glegg paused from his porridge and looked up — 
not with any new amazement^ but simply with that quiet, 
habitual wonder with which we regard constant mys- 
teries. 

'Why, Mrs. G., what have I done now ?" 
'Done now, Mr. Glegg? done now? .... I'm 
sorry for you." 

"Don't lower yourself with using coarse language to 
me, Mr. Glegg! It makes you look very small, though 
you can't see yourself," said Mrs. Glegg, in a tone of 
energetic compassion. "A man in your place should set 
an example, and talk more sensible." 

"Yes; but will you listen to sense .^" retorted Mr. 
Glegg, sharply. 

"Go, go !" said Mr. TuUiver, reprovingly, "you mustn't 
say so. You must learn what your master tells you. He 
knows what it's right for you to learn." 

"And you don't mind that?" said Tom, with strong 
curiosity. 

"No, no, Maggie," said Tom, in his most coaxing tone, 
"it's something you'll like ever so." 



CHAPTER IX 

CENTRAL IDEA 

We have learned that sp eech time depends on IVIp- 
tiv e ; but if we listen a little more closely to the melody 
we shall find there is a certain word or words in every 
group standing out prominently above all others. 
Observe this in one of the groups we have had: 

Hath a dog money? 

And this is true ill all groups : there is a center around 
which the thought revolves. When Shylock retorts, 
"Hath a dog money?" it is the "dog*' which is, as it 
were, in the center of his thoughts, but if he were dis- 
cussing the features of a dog he might say, "and a 
dog hath eyes, ears, and mouth, but hath a dog 
money?** In that case the centers would be "eyes," 
**ears," "mouth," and particularly "money." 

Motive and Central Idea have much in common. 
One can almost say that if we get the right Motive 
the Central Idea will take care of itself. But this is 
not by any means always true. Motive deals with 
p.nn tmni ty, ggg^iH-if^p^ qi iestion* doubt, etc., but one 
can assert or^qu pstin ^ concemin|y the wronff Central 
dea. For instance : the elder brother of the prodigal 
son is annoyed that his father should kill the fatted 

154 



CENTEAL IDEA 155 

calf in honor of the return of the prodigal, who has 
come home only after squandering all his money ; and 
the elder son, who has stayed at home and saved his 
money, says angrily to the father: 

Lo, these many years do I serve thee and I never 
transgressed a commandment of thine; and yet thou 
never gavest me a kid^ that I might make merry with 
my friends: but when this thy son came^ which hath 
devoured thy living with harlots^ thou killedst for him 
the fatted calf. 

Now as to the Motive there can be no doubt : note the 
assertiveness in almost every sentence of the elder son's 
remarks to the old father. But what of the Cen- 
tral Idea within that motive? (There are many 
words here that stand out prominently, but for our 
present purpose we confine ourselves to two.) How 
have you read the lines ? Let the class debate on these 
two interpretations : 

(1) and yet thou never gavest me a kid^ that I might 
make merry with my friends; 

(2) and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might 
make merry with my friends. 

« 

The Motive is the same in both cases, but what a great 
difi^erence in the Central Ideas ! 

Count slowly, mechanically, and assertively from 
one to ten : 

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, e, 7, 8, 9, 10. 

In saying these numbers you have no motive but asser- 
tion in counting from one to ten. If you were look- 
ing forward to the end after each numeral you would 



156 INTERPEETATION OF THE PRINTED PAai 

have used unconsciously an upward glide on every 
one but the last. Now let us suppose that I misun- 
derstood your counting and criticized you, saying, 

"You said, 1, 2, 8, three, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10," 

and you answered, 

"I didn't. I said, 1, 2, 3, four, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10." 

Here you had an entirely different Central Idea. You 
were not thinking of counting up to ton, but of telling 
me that you had not omitted the "four." In other 
words, your Central Idea was the "four." This same 
principle will be noted in the following: 

I am going to school tomorrow. 

If I say to you, **Who is going to school tomorrow?" 
you answer, 

I am going to school tomorrow. 

If I am trying to stop you from going, and say you 
shall not go, then you will answer, 

I am going to school tomorrow. 

Should I ask you where you are going, you would say, 

I am going to school tomorrow. 

And, finally, if there should be a doubt as to the day, 
you would clear it up by, 

I am going to school tomorrow. 

In every one of these cases your Central Idea changed, 
while the motive of assertion remained the same; you 



CENTEAL IDEA 157 

had a very definite and different Central Idea in mind 
every time : to correct a wrong impression, or to make 
very emphatic what you had to say. Since I doubted 
your determination to go, you replied strongly, "I am 
going." Or, again, since I thought you were going 
next week or next month, you set me right by saying, 
"I am going tomorrow.** That is, your Central Idea 
affected very decidedly your way of speaking and you 
didn't have to stop to consider how to bring out your 
Central Idea in the reading any more than you do in 
everyday conversation. 

Here is a discussion of work and worry. Many 
people claim that too much work is deadly. To these 
Henry Ward Beecher says: 

It is not work that kills men; it is worry. Work 
is healthy; you can hardly put more upon a man than 
he can bear. Worry is rust upon the blade. It is 
not the revolution that destroys machinery, but the 
friction. 

* 

To review: in the preceding paragraphs the term 
Central Idea was used several times. To be certain 
we know just what it means let us go back. When 
you said "1, 2, 3, four,** etc., the Central Idea was to 
get the person to see that you had said *^four** and not 
** three** You might have expressed your Central 
Idea by saying, "The numeral after Hhree' was 
*f our.' " And in the sentence "I am going to school 
tomorrow" you meant to express determination that 
in spite of opposition you were determined to go to 
schQol. And this was your Central Idea. When the 
man who had called Shylock a dog wished to borrow 



158 INTEEPBETATION OF THE FEINTED FAGE 

money from him, Shylock's Central Idea was to re- 
mind Antonio in a sarcastic way that a man who is 
only a dog is hardly the one to lend money. Para- 
phrased, his question might read ^^Can such a miserable 
creature as a dog help you?" And in the last illustra- 
tion Beecher's Central Idea is to contradict those who 
claim that work kills by showing them it is worry that 
does it. In his first sentence, therefore, the Central 
Idea consists of a contrast between "work" and 
"worry"; just as in the concluding sentence the an- 
tithesis between "revolution" and "friction" is the 
Central Idea. 

I have purposely chosen sentences in which by rea- 
son of contrast the Central Idea stands out vividly. 
But, after all, contrasts are the exception, not the 
rule. Every sentence, one might say every group, 
has its center, and to determine what that is is gener- 
ally not difficult, and especially it should not be for 
those who have been studying the preceding chapters. 
One can go further and say one need give but little at- 
tention consciously to the Central Idea ; it takes care of 
i itself in ninety-five cases in a hundred where the reader 
lunderstands the meaning of the words; but in the 
other five per cent there is need of greatest care, as 
the following illustrations will prove. The first ex- 
ample is from a speech of Patrick Henry, who is re- 
plying to a speaker who has been pleading for peace 
on the ground that the young colonies are too weak 
I to attack the mother country. Attention is drawn to 

* the Central Ideas by italics, .^but students must remem- 

• ber it is ideas that are to be brought out^ not words to 



CENTEAL IDEA 159 

be empha8%zed\ And I have purposely italicized only / 
those words which seem to convey the essentials. The 
others the student will discover for himself: 

Sip, we are not weak, if we make a proper use of those 
means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. 
Three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of 
liberty, and in a country such as that which we possess, 
are invincible by any force which our enemy can send 
against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles 
alone. There is a just God who presides over the des- 
tinies of nations, and who will raise, up friends to fight 
our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong 
alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, 
sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to 
desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. 
There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our 
chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the 
plains of Boston! The war is inevitable — and let it 
come! I repeat it, sir, let it come! 

It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen 
may cry. Peace, peace! — but there is no peace. The war 
is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the 
north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms ! 
Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we 
here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What 
would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as 
to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? 
Forbid it. Almighty God ! I know not what course others 
may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me 
death! — Patrick Henry. 

Or again ; Shylqck is about to claim his pound of flesh 
of Antonio, and a friend of Antonio says : 

Salarino, — ^Why, I am sure, if he forfeit, thou wilt 
not take his flesh:' what's that good for? 



160 INTERPRETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

Shyloch. — To bait fsh withal: if it will feed nothing 
else, it will feed my revenge. He hath disgraced me, 
and hindered me half a million; laughed at my losses, 
mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my 
bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies; and 
what's his reason^ I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? 
hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affec- 
tions, passions? fed with the same food, hurt with the 
same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by 
the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter 
and summer, as a Christian is? If you pricA: us, do we 
not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you 
poison us, do we not rfie? and if you wrong us, shall we 
not revenge? If we are like you in the re«<, we will re- 
semble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is 
his humility? Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, 
what should his sufferance be by Christian example? 
Why, revenge. The villany you teach me, I will execute, 
and it shall go /rar^f, but I will better the instruction. — 
TAe Merchant of Venice, III, i. 

I have indicated in the following passages what 
appear to be the Central Ideas. (Only the more im- 
portant parts of the most important of the groups are 
italicized.) Let the student study them carefully and 
give his reasons for accepting or rejecting the sug- 
gested interpretation. But it must not be taken for 
granted that because a word is italicized it necessarily 
means that it must be uttered with more than usual 
force. Sometimes, of course, the Central Idea is 
brought out by mere force; but my purpose in ital- 
icizing words is merely to suggest that they are that 
part of the sentence which expresses the^ Central Idea. 
Let the student get that, and the means of bringing 
it out need not concern him. 



CENTRAL IDEA 161 

Selections from Julius Caesar: 

I come to bury Caesar^ not to praise him. 

Let us be sacrificers, but not butchers. 

Marullus, — You blocks, you stones, you worse than 
senseless things! 

you hard hearts, you cruel men of Rome, 
Knew you not Pompey? Many a time and oft 
Have you climb'd up to walls and battlements. 
To towers and windows, yea, to chimney-tops. 
Your infants in your arms, and there have sat 
The live-long day, with patient expectation, 
To see great Pompey pass the streets of Rome ! 

— Julius Caesar, I, i. 

Casca. — 'Tis Caesar that you mean; is it not, Cassius? 
Cassius, — Let it be who it is: for Romans now 
Have thews and limbs like to their ancestors; 
But^ woe the while! our fathers' minds are dead. 
And we are govern'd with our mothers' spirits; 
Our yoke and sufferance show us womanish. 

— Ibid., I, iii. 

Decius. — Caesar^ all hail ! Good morrow, worthy Caesar ; 

1 come to fetch you to the senate-house. 
Caesar. — And you are come in very happy time 
To bear my greeting to the senators. 

And tell them that I will not come today. 
Cannot is false; and that I dare not, falser; 
I will not come today: tell them so, Decius. 

— Ibid., II, ii. 

Cassius. — Most noble brother, you have done me wrong. 
Brutus. — Judge me, you gods ! Wrong I mine enemies? 
And, if not so, how should I wrong a brother? 

— Jbid., IV, ii. 



162 INTEBPBETATION OF THE FEINTED PAGE 

Caaaiua. — You love me not. 
Brutua, — I do not like your faulta. 

Caaaiua. — ^A friendly eye could never aee such faults. 
Brutua, — ^A flatterer'a would not, though they do appear 
As huge as high Olympus. — Ibid,, IV, iii. 

Selections from The Merchant of Venice: 

Antonio. — In sooth, I know not why I am so sad: 
It weariea me; you say it wearies you; 
But how I caught it, found it, or came by it. 
What stuff 'tis made of, whereof it is born, 
I am to learn, 

(Would you prefer to read "it wearies me".'* 
Why?) 

Baaaanio, — Gratiano speaks an infinite deal of noth- 
ing, more than any man in all Venice. His reasons are 
as two graina of wheat hid in two buahela of chaff: you 
shall seek all day ere you find them ; and when you have 
them, they are not worth the aearch. 

Shyloch. — Three thousand ducats for three months 
and Antonio bound. 

Baaaanio. — Your answer to that. 

Shyloch. — Antonio is a good man. • 

Baaaanio. — Have you heard any imputation to the 
contrary? 

Shyloch. — Oh ! no, no, no, no : — my meaning in saying 
he is a good man is to have you understand me that he 
is aufficient: yet his means are in auppoaition: he hath 
an argosy bound to Tripolia, another to the Indiea; I 
understand, moreover, upon the Rialto, he hath a third 
at Mexico, a fourth for England, and other ventures he 
hath, aquandered abroad. But ahipa are but boarda, aail- 
ora but men: there be land-rata and water-rata, water- 
thievea and land-thievea, I mean piratea, and then there 



CENTRAL IDEA 163 

is the periL of waters^ winds and rocks. The man is, 
notwithstanding, sufficient. Three thousand ducats; 
I think I may take his bond. 

Bassanio. — Be assured you may. 

Shyloch. — I will be assured I may; and, that I may 
be assured, I will bethink me. 

T ••• 
1, 111. 

Gratiano. — Now, by my hood, a Gentile and no Jew. 
Lorenzo, — Beshrew me, but I love her heartily; 
For she is wise, if I can judge of her. 
And fair she is, if that mine eyes be true. 
And true she is, as she hath proved herself; 

—II, vi. 
Bassanio. — Sweet Portia, 

If you did know to whom I gave the ring, 
If you did know for whom I gave the ring. 
And would conceive for what I gave the ring. 
And how unwillingly I left the ring. 
When nought would be accepted but the ring. 
You would abate the strength of your displeasure. 

-v,i. 

Man, who art thou who dost deny my words? 
Truth sits upon the lips of dying men. 
And falsehood, while I lived, was far from mine. 

— ^Arnold: Sohrab and Rustum. 

Thou dost not slay me, proud and boastful man ! 
No! Rustum slays me, and this filial heart. 
For were I match'd with ten such men as thee. 
And I were that which till today I was. 
They should be lying here, I standing there. 

— Ibid. 
Neither a borrower nor a lender be. 

* Kings will be tyrants from policy when subjects are 
rebels from principle^ 



164 INTEBPBETATION OF THE PBINTED PAGE 

Study the following excerpts for the Central Idea. 
Then read aloud: 

A lie which is all a lie^ may he met and fought with 

outright^ 
But a lie which is part a truth is a harder matter to fight. 

— Tennyson: The Grandmother. 

None dared withstand him to his face^ 
But one sly maiden spake aside : 
"The little witch is evil-eyed. 
Her mother only killed a cow. 
Or witched a churn, or dairy-pan. 
But she, forsooth, must charm a man." 

Heard melodies are sweet, hut those unheard 
Arc sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on. 

— Keats: Ode on a Grecian Urn, 

To reign is worth ambition, though in hell ; 
Better to reign in hell, than serve in heaven ! 

— Milton: Paradise Lost. 

Sir Peter, Very well, ma'am, very well! So a hus- 
band is to have no influence — ^no authority ! 

Lady Teazle. Authority? No, to be sure! If you 
wanted authority over me, you should have adopted me, 
and not married me ; I am sure you were old enough ! 

— Sheridan : The School for Scandal. 

We live in deeds, not years ; in thought, not breath ; 
In feelings, not in figures on a dial ; 
We should count time by heart-throbs. He most lives. 
Who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best. 

— Bailey: Festus, 

Miss Kindly is aunt to everybody, and has been so 
long that none remember to the contrary. The little 
children love her; she helped their grandmothers to 
bridal ornaments three-score years ago. — Parker. 



CENTEAL IDEA 165 

And there shall be no night there; and they need no 
candle^ neither light of the sun ; for the Lord God giveth 
them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. — 
The Bible. 

We spend our years like a tale that is told. The days 
of our years are three score years and ten; and if by 
reason of strength they be four-score years, yet is their 
strength labor and sorrow ; for it is soon cut off, and we 
fly away. — The Bible. 

For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was 
thirsty, and ye gave me drink : I was a stranger, and ye 
took me in. 

Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited 
me : I was in prison, and ye came unto me. — The Bible. 

Crabbed age and youth cannot live together : 
Youth is full of pleasance, age is full of care ; 
' Youth like summer morn, age like winter weather ; 
Youth like summer brave, age like winter bare. 
Youth is full of sport, age's breath is short ; 

Youth is nimble, age is lame ; 

Youth is hot and bold, age is weak and cold ; 

Youth is wild, and age is tame. 

Age, I do abhor thee ; youth, I do adore thee ; 

O, my love, my love is young ! 

Age, I do defy thee : O, sweet shepherd, hie thee. 

For methinks thou stay'st too long. 

— Shakespeare : The Passionate Pilgrim. 

Touchstone. How old are you, friend ? 
William. Five and twenty, sir. 
Touchstone. A ripe age. Is thy name William? 
William. William, sir. 

Touchstone. A fair name. Wast bom i' the forest 
here? 

William. Ay, sir, I thank God. 



166 INTEBPBETATION OF THE PBINTED PAGE 

Touchstone. "Thank God"; a good answer. Art rich? 
William. Faith^ sir^ so so. 

Touchstone, "So so" is good^ very good^ — very excel- 
lent good: and yet it is not; it is but so so. 

—As You Like It, V, i. 

Othello. . . . she thank'd me^ 
And bade me^ if I had a friend that loved her^ 
I should but teach him how to tell my story^ 
And that would woo her. On this hint I spake: 
She loved me for the dangers I had passed^ 
And I loved her that she did pity them. 
This only is the witchcraft I have used. 

— Othello, I, iii. 

Salisbury. Therefore, to be possess'd with double 
pomp. 
To guard a title that was rich before, 
To gild refined gold, to paint the lily. 
To throw a perfume on the violet. 
To smooth the ice, or add another hue 
Unto the rainbow, or with taper-light 
To seek the beauteous eye of heaven to garnish. 
Is wasteful and ridiculous excess. 

— King John, IV, ii. 

Brutus. He hath the falling sickness. 
Cassius, No, Caesar hath it not; but yon and I, 
And honest Casca, we have the falling sickness. 

— Julius Caesar, I, iL 

Cassius. And this man 
Is now become a god, and Cassius is 
A wretched creature and must bend his body. 
If Caesar carelessly but nod on him. 
He had a fever when he was in Spain, 
And when the fit was on him, I did mark 



CENTEAL IDEA 167 

How he did shake : 'tis tnie^ this god did shake : 
His coward lips did from their color fly ; 
And that same eye whose bend doth awe the world 
Did lose his lustre. — Ibid, 

Brutus. That you do love me, I am nothing jealous; 
What you would work me to, I have some aim ; 
How I have thought of this and of these times, 
I shall recount hereafter; for this present, 
I would not, so with love I might entreat you. 
Be any further moved. What you have said 
I will consider; what you have to say 
I will with patience hear, and find a time 
Both meet to hear and answer such high things. 

-r-Ibid. 

Casca. I can as well be hanged as tell the manner 
of it: it was mere foolery; I did not mark it. I saw 
Mark Aptony offer him a crown ; — yet 'twas not a crown 
neither, 'twas one of these coronets; — and, as I told 
you, he put it by once ; but for all that, to my thinking, 
he would fain have had it. Then he offered it to him 
again ; then he put it by again ; but, to my thinking, he 
was very loath to lay his fingers off it. And then he 
offered it a third time; he put it the third time by: and 
still as he refused it, the rabblement hooted, and clapped 
their chapped hands, and threw up their sweaty night- 
caps, and uttered such a deal of stinking breath because 
Caesar refused the crown, that it had almost choked 
Caesar; for he s wounded and fell down at it. — Ibid, 

Messala. It is but change, Titinius; for Octavius 
Is overthrown by noble Brutus' power. 
As Cassius' legions are by Antony. 

Titinius, These tidings will well comfort Cassius. 

Messala. Is not that he that lies upon the ground? 

Titinius. He lies not like the living. Oh my heart ! 

Messala. Is not that he ? 



168 INTEBPEETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

Tiiinius. No^ this was he^ Messala, 

But Cassius is no more^ — O setting sun^ 
As in thy red rays thou dost sink to nighty 
So in his red blood Cassius' day is set ; 
The sun of Rome is set ! Our day is gone ; 
Clouds^ dews^ and dangers come ; our deeds are done ! 
Mistrust of my success hath done this deed. 

— Ibid,, V, iii. 



CHAPTER X 

GROUP MOTIVE AND CENTRAL IDEA 

The student cannot get too much practice in apply- 
ing the lessons he has learned in the two preceding 
chapters. Literature wastes no words; every word, 
every group, counts, and in no part of reading are 
attention and constant vigilance so necessary as in the 
study of Motive and of Central Idea. 

The Central Idea may be shifted without changing 
the Motive; and the Motive may change and leave 
the Central Idea the same. 

For instance: here is a case where the Motive is the 
same while the Central Idea changes : 

Are you going out today? 
Are you going out today? 

Both ask a question, but the point of view differs. 
Ijet us now keep the same point of view while changf- 
ing the Motive : 

Are you going out today? (Won't you please answer?) 
Are you going out today? (Stop your quibbling about 
other people: tell me whether you are going out.) 

Assert the speaker's Central Idea in the two following 
sentences : 

I am always right ! 
I am always right! 

169 



170 INTEBPBETATION OF THE PBINTED PAGE 

The Motive of assertion remains the same but the 
Central Idea changes in each sentence. Now change 
the Motive successively on the four words to one of 
contrast (which is suggested by the parenthetical re- 
mark ) . Keep the contrast in mind while reading aloud. 

I (not you) am always right ! 

I am (in spite of your denying it) always right ! 

I am always (not occasionally) right ! 

I am always right (not in doubt) ! 

You have noticed not merely a shift in the Central 
Idea, but a peculiar change in the tune in each reading. 
But (and it is highly important to know this) the 
student who studies carefully the Motive in each 
group will not be likely to miss the Central Idea. 

As we leave these subjects it should be emphasized 
that while every group has its Central Idea, all Central 
Ideas in a given sentence are not necessarily of equal 
importance. Or, to put it otherwise, there is likely ta 
be in every sentence one dominant idea, and it is to 
the discovery of that that all your attention should be 
directed. The student should study carefully all the 
passages in this chapter, laying great stress on de- 
termining the Motive and Central Idea in every 
sentence. 

The mountain and the squirrel 

Had a quarrel; 

And the former called the latter "Little Prig." 

Bun replied, 

"You are doubtless very big; 

But all sorts of things and weather 

Must be taken in together, 



GEOUP MOTIVE AND CENTEAL IDEA . 171 

To make up a year 

And a sphere. 

And I think it no disgrace 

To occupy my place. 

If I'm not so large as you, 

You are not so small as I, 

And not half so spry. 

I'll not deny you make 

A very pretty squirrel track ; 

Talents differ; all is well and wisely put; 

If I cannot carry forests on my back. 

Neither can you crack a nut." 

— Emerson : The Mountain and the Squirrel. 

And when the middle of the afternoon came, from 
being a poor poverty-stricken boy in the morning, Tom 
Sawyer was literally rolling in wealth. He had, beside 
the things before mentioned, twelve marbles, part of a 
jew's-harp, a piece of blue-bottle glass, to look through, 
a spool cannon, a key that wouldn't unlock anything, a 
fragment of chalk, a glass-stopper of a decanter, a tin 
soldier, a couple of tadpoles, six fire-crackers, a kitten 
with only one eye, a brass door-knob, a dog-collar — but 
no dog, the handle of a knife, four pieces of orange-peel. 
And a dilapidated old window-sash. — Mark Twain: 
Tom Sawyer. 

Oh, tell me, where did Katy live ? 

And what did Katy do ? 
And was she very fair and young. 

And yet so wicked, too? 
Did Katy love a naughty man. 

Or kiss more cheeks than one? 
I warrant Katy did no more 

Than many a Kate has done. 

— O. W. Holmes. 



172 INTERPRETATION OF tHE PRINTED PAGE 

External heat and cold had little influence on Scrooge. 
No warmth could warm, nor wintry weather chill him. 
No wind that blew was bitterer than he, no falling snow 
was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less 
open to entreaty. — Dickens : A Christmas Carol. 

Corin. ... I know the more one sickens the worse 
at ease he is; and that he that wants money, means 
and content is without three good friends; that the 
property of rain is to wet and nre to burn; that good 
pasture makes fat sheep, and that a great cause of the 
night is lack of the sim; that he that hath learned no 
wit by nature nor art may complain of good breeding or 
comes of a very dull kindred. — As You Like It, III, ii. 

I had begun to nurse a good deal of pride in pre- 
siding over a table whereon was the fruit of my own 
industry. I thought I had something to do with those 
vegetables. But when I saw Polly seated at her side 
of the table, presiding over the new and susceptible 
vegetables, flanked by the squash and the beans, and 
smiling upon the green corn and the new potatoes, as 
cool as the cucumbers which lay sliced in ice before her, 
and when she began to dispense the fresh dishes, I saw 
at once that the day of my destiny was over. You would 
have thought that she owned all the vegetables, and had 
raised them all from their earliest years. Such quiet, 
vegetable airs! Such gracious appropriation ! At length 
I said: 

"Polly, do you know who planted that squash, or those 
squashes ?" 

'James, I suppose." 

'Well, yes; perhaps James did plant them to a cer- 
tain extent. But who hoed them?" 

"We did." 

"We did !" I said in the most sarcastic manner. "And 
I suppose tve put on the sackcloth and ashes when the 






GROUP MOTIVE AND CENTRAL IDEA 173 

striped bug came at four o'clock a.m., and we watched 
the tender leaves, and watered night and morning the 
feeble plants. I tell you, Polly," said I, uncorking the 
vinegar, "there is not a pea here that does not represent 
a drop of moisture wrung from my brow, nor a beet that 
does not stand for a back-ache, nor a squash that has 
not caused me untold anxiety; and I did hope — but I 
will say no more." — ^Warner: My Summer in a 
Garden. 

Fair are the flowers and the children, but their subtle 
suggestion is fairer; 

Rare is the rose-burst of dawn, but the secret that clasps 
it is rarer; 

Sweet the exultance of song, but the strain that precedes 
it is sweeter; 

And never was poem yet writ, but the meaning out- 
mastered the meter. 

Never a daisy that grows, but a mystery guideth the 
growing ; 

Never a river that flows, but a majesty scepters the 
flowing ; 

Never a Shakespeare that soared, but a stronger than he 
did enfold him; 

Never a prophet foretells, but a mightier seer hath fore- 
told him. 

— Realf : Indirection, 

(It would appear that the preferable interpretation is 
to regard the clauses that begin the first three lines 
of the above as complete in themselves. Yet the poet 
might have taken for granted that everyone accepted 
the truth in those clauses, as if to say, "Although 
everyone agrees that," etc. The melody will sho\v» how 
you regard this.) 



174 INTEEPBETATION OP THE FEINTED PAGE 

« 

lago. Who steals my purse steals trash; 'tis some- 
things nothing; 
'Twas mine^ 'tis his^ and has been slave to thousands ; 
But he that filches from me my good name 
Robs me of that which not enriches him 
And makes me poor indeed. 

—Othello, III, iii. 

Hamlet. Indeed^ indeed, sirs, but this troubles me. 

Hold you the watch to-night? 

Marcellus] fxr -i i i 

Bernardo \ ^^ ****' ""^ ^"'^ 

Hamlet, Arm'd, say you? 

Marcellus\ ,^ , , 

T, « ( Arm a, my iord. 

Bernardo ) ^ 

Hamlet, From top to toe ? 

MarcellusX ^ j^^^^ ^^^^ ^^^^ ^^ ^^^ 

Bernardo ) 

Hamlet, Then saw you not his face? 

Horatio, O, yes, my lord ; he wore his beaver up. 

Hamlet, What, look'd he frowningly? 

Horatio, A countenance more in sorrow than in anger. 

Hamlet, Pale or red? 

Horatio. Nay, very pale. 

Hamlet. And fix'd his eyes upon you ? 

Horatio, Most constantly. 

Hamlet. I would I had been there. 

Horatio. It would have much amazed you. 

Hamlet, Very like, very like. Stay'd it long? 

Horatio. While one with moderate haste might tell a 
hundred. 

Marcellusl ^ ^ 

Bernardo ) 

Horatio. Not when I saw 't. 

Hamlet. His beard was grizzled,— no? 

Horatio. It was, as I have seen it in his life. 
A sable silver'd. 



GBOUP MOTIVE AND CENTBAL IDEA 175 

Hamlet. 1 will watch to-night; 

Perchance 'twill walk again. 

— Hamlet, I, ii. 

Portia. By my troth, Nerissa, my little body is 
aweary of this great world. 

Nerissa. You would be, sweet madam, if your miseries 
were in the same abundance as your good fortunes are: 
and yet, for aught I see, they are as sick that surfeit 
with too much as they that starve with nothing. It is no 
mean happiness, therefore, to be seated in the mean: 
superfluity comes sooner by white hairs, but competency 
lives longer. 

Portia. Good sentences and well pronounced. 

Nerissa. They would be better, if well followed. 

Portia. If to do were as easy as to know what were 
good to do, chapels had been churches and poor men's 
cottages princes' palaces. It is a good divine that fol- 
lows his own instructions: I can easier teach twenty 
what were good to be done, than be one of the twenty to 
follow mine own teaching. The brain may devise laws 
for the blood, but a hot temper leaps o'er a cold decree : 
such a hare is madness the youth, to skip o'er the meshes 
of good coimsel the cripple. But this reasoning is not 
in the fashion to choose me a husband. O me, the word 
"choose!" I may neither choose whom I would nor re- 
fuse whom I dislike; so is the will of a living daughter 
curbed by the will of a dead father. Is it not hard^ 
Nerissa, that I cannot choose one nor refuse none? — 
The Merchant of Venice, I, ii. 

Portia. Go dr^w aside the curtains and discover 
The several caskets to this noble prince. 
Now make your choice. 

Morocco. The first, of gold, who this inscription 
bears. 



176 INTEBPBETATION OF THE PBINTED PAGE 

"Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire"; 
The second, silver, which this promise carries, 
"Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves"; 
This third, dull lead, with warning all as blunt, 
"Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath." 
How shall I know if I do choose the right? 

Portia. The one of them contains my picture, prince: 
If you choose that, then I am yours withal. 

Morocco. Some god direct my judgment! Let me 
see; 
I will survey the inscriptions back again. 
What says this leaden casket? 

"Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath." 
Must give : for what ? for lead ? hazard for lead ? 
This casket threatens. Men that hazard all 
Do it in hope of fair advantages : 
A golden mind stoops not to show of dross ; 
1*11 then nor give nor hazard aught for lead. 
What says the silver with her virgin hue? 
"Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves.'* 
As much as he deserves ! Pause there, Morocco, 
And weigh thy value with an even hand : 
If thou be'st rated by thy estimation. 
Thou dost deserve enough; and yet enough 
May not extend so far as to the lady : 
And yet to be afeard of my deserving 
Were but a weak disabling of myself. 
As much as I deserve ! Why, that's the lady : 
I do in birth deserve her, and in fortunes. 
In graces and in qualities of breeding ; 
But more than these, in love I do deserve. 
What if I stray 'd no further, but chose here ? 

—Ibid. 



GEOUP MOTIVE AND CENTEAL IDEA 177 

Morocco. Let's see once more this saying graved in 
gold; 
"Who chooseth me shall gain what many inen desire." 
Why, that's the lady ; all the world desires her ; 
From the four corners of the earth thev come. 
To kiss this shrine, this mortal-breathing saint: 
The Hyrcanian deserts and the vasty wilds 
Of wide Arabia are as throughfares now 
For princes to come view fair Portia: 
The watery kingdom, whose ambitious head 
Spits in the face of heaven, is no bar 
To stop the foreign spirits, but they come. 
As o'er a brook, to see fair Portia. 
One of these three contains her heavenly picture. 
Is't like that lead contains her? 'Twere damnation 
To think so base a thought: it were too gross 
To rib her cerecloth in the obscure grave. 
Or shall I think in silver she's immured. 
Being ten times undervalued to tried gold ? 
O sinful thought ! Never so rich a gem 
Was set in worse than gold. They have in England 
A coin that bears the figure of an angel 
Stamped in gold, but that's insculp'd upon ; 
But here an angel in a golden bed 
Lies all within. Deliver me the key: 
Here do I choose, and thrive I as I may ! 

— Ibid,, II, vii. 




CHAPTER XI 

PUNCTUATION 

They tell a story in Germany of the principal of a 
high school who entered a classroom when the teacher 
of English was giving a lesson in punctuation, and 
particularly on the use of the comma. The principal 
did not believe in this kind of instruction and told the 
teacher so, who, after the principal had gone, wrote 
these words on the blackboard : 

The teacher says the principal is a fool. 

When the principal saw the teacher again he was very 
angry and said, "What do you mean by calling me a 
fool?" and the principal wrote the sentence on the 
blackboard. The teacher replied, "Oh, yes, that's 
what I wrote; but you said, Mr. Principal, that 
commas didn't make any difference, so I paid no atten- 
tion to them; but if you had not objected I should 
have written the sentence like this : 

The teacher, says the principal, is a fool !" 

From this little story one can learn how important 

even a comma may be. True, carelessness in the use 

of the comma will not always make as much difference 

las it did in the story, but if you are to interpret the 

printed page accurately you must bear in mind that 

178 



PUNCTUATION 179 

those who write use marks of punctuation with great [ 
care, and their object is to help us get the meaning 
with as little effort as possible — at least as far as 
punctuation can help. Note, too, what a great dif- I 
f erence the commas make in our vocal expression. It 
is not a question of pausing either, for whether you 
pause or not after "teacher'' and after "principal," 
unless you see that the commas indicate that the 
phrase "says the principal" is subordinate you will 
give the wrong impression to your listener. Now 
read aloud these two sentences : 

Playing children are happy. 
Playing, children are happy. 

Here again you see how great a difference in the 
meaning is made by the comma, and how naturally 
your vocal expression changes according to the pres- 
ence or absence of the comma. 

Another very interesting example is : 

I received another letter, from New York, yesterday. 

If you take out the commas, does it make any differ- 
ence? If you think it does, then read the sentence 
aloud, showing two interpretations. That sentence is 
taken from a long correspondence between two firms, 
which threatened at one time to lead to a serious busi- 
ness complication. It would take too long to explain 
the circumstances, but as an exercise invent conditions 
wherein the omission of the commas might make a 
great deal of trouble in certain business negotiations. 



180 INTERPEETATION OP THE FEINTED PAGE 

The exercise is far more worth while than the sim- 
plicity of the task seems to indicate. 

In the next passage how great a difference is made 
in the sense and the vocal expression because of the 
commas : 

On this shelf put books and magazines published in 
1910. 

On this shelf put books^ and magazines published in 
1910. 

f Pnnct iiatinn pojfl ^ g fl^*^* ^ assist the reader to un- 
derstand the writer's meaning. In studying composi- 
tion, student s^ eam something of punctuation, but 

\ experience forces me ta hplieve that most of them fall 
far short df^lhastering^even t he simplpst prinrip]p s. 
Consequently when "Tt comes to Interpreting the 
printed page, the punctuation is often ignored or 
entirely misunderstood. One ovei^ooks the fact that 
writers, and especially those whose work is called liter- 
ature, employ punctuation with g y^ft^es t care and dis- 
criminatiou. : to overlook it is often to f ail tp get the 
meaning. 

Interpeetation of the Comma 

In the introductory paragraphs I called your atten- 
tion to the important part a comma could play in a 
simple sentence. Now note how the comma helps 
you to get the meaning rather more quickly and with 
greater certainty than you could if it were omitted. 
^Punctuation points are frequently so used. To re- 
. peat : first jjthey preve nt misinterpr etation ; second] 
• they help us to get the interpretation more qu^^ klv. 



FUJNCTUATiON 181 

The father of William says Frank compelled him to 
keep at his studies. 

Can you understand that ? And again : 

"The father of William," says Frank, "compelled him 
to keep at his studies." 

Lieaving the quotation marks out of consideration, 
what a striking effect is produced by those little 
commas ! 

Does not the comma in the second of the next sen- 
tences spare you the necessity of a second reading .f^ 

Although genius commands admiration character most 
commands respect. 

Although genius commands admiration, character most 
commands respect. 

Note how commas help in the next passage: 

Ii? youth we lay the foundation, in mature years we 
build the structure, of a life. 

Recognizing that "of a life" modifies "foundation" 
as well as "structure" (which we are helped to do by 
the commas), see how our vocal expression brings out 
the meaning. 

What difference do you note in these two sentences? 
Read them aloud: 

The house of Gordon the baker was robbed. 
The house of Gordon, the baker, was robbed. 

In JuliiLS Caesar^ Brutus says to Cassius, with whom 
he has been engaged in a long conversation about 
Caesar : 



182 INTEBPBETATION OF THE PBINTED PAGE 

But^ look you, Cassius^ 
The angry spot doth glow on Caesar's brow. 

Change the punctuation thus and see the difFerence: 

But^ look^ you Cassius^ etc. 
But look^ you Cassius^ etc. 
But look you^ Cassius^ etc. 

(What does "but" mean in the second and third sen- 
tences?) 

In the same play Cassius is trying to find out 
whether Casca will join the conspiracy to kill Caesar, 
and pretends that it suddenly occurs to him that 
Casca may be a friend of Caesar's, and that, conse- 
quently, Casca may tell Caesar. Then Casca says: 

You speak to Casca^ and to such a man 

That is no fleering tell-tale. Hold, my hand. 

Twice have I seen actors thrust out their hand to 
Cassius and read the words thus : 

Hold my hand. 

Very good sense, but in this case, nonsense. 

There is a rule of punctuation which reads some- 
thing like this: "When two or more words in the 
same construction are connected by and, or, or nor, 
no comma must be placed between them"; and such 
an example as the following is given: 

He was told that his home and his farm and his store 
were to be taken from him. 



PUNCTUATION 183 

And for all practical purposes the rule suffices: the 
sense is quite clear without commas; but why do the 
writers of the following excerpts violate this principle? 

Who to the enraptured hearty and ear, and eye 
Teach beauty, virtue, truth, and love, and melody. 

Saying with a great voice. Worthy is the Lamb that 
hath been slain to receive the power, and the riches, and 
wisdom, and might, and honor, and glory, and blessing. 
And every created thing which is in the heaven, and on 
the earth, and under the ea<rth, and on the sea, and all 
things that are in them, heard I saying. Unto him that 
sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb, be the bless- 
ing, and the honor, and the glory, and the dominion, for 
ever and ever. — Revelation, V, 12, 13. 

The answer to our question is, that in order to empha- 
size the details (each one of which is a whole in itself, 
or of so great importance that it must be drawn toj 
the reader's attention) each is set off by commas. 

And in the second passage particularly what weight 
and importance are given to the details by the simple 
device of violating a rule! The comma then becomes a 
mark of emphasis to those who know the rule, and 
who, knowing, are struck with the unusual and unex- 
pected commas. 

There is nowhere more disagreement among writers 
than in the use of a comma before the last "and" 
where three or more words occur in the same con- 
struction, connected by "and." Some write : 

The lecture was beautifully, elegantly, and forcibly 
delivered. 



184 INTERPEETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

Others omit the comma before "and"; but the best 
usage favors the former method and with good reason ; 
for the eye not being arrested by the comma is likely 
to run the two groups together, with the result that 
the attention is distributed over the two ideas instead 
of being concentrated on one at a time. But in some 
authors we cannot tell what a passage means, because 
they do not use the comma in the way we are consid- 
ering. Hence, the absence of a comma in such illus- 
trations as follow is likely seriously to mislead. For 
instance, how many mines are spoken of in the first 
sentence? how many reigns in the second? 

They control the following mines: the Central, and 
Copper Falls, and Mohawk, and Calumet and Hecla. 

It wars part of the law of the land during the reign 
of Elizabeth, and James I, and Charles I, and William 
and Mary. 

Now "Calumet and Hecla" is the name of one mine, 
as "William and Mary" designates one reign. If, 
however, I am not certain how an author uses commas 
in such constructions, I have no means of knowing 
whether Calumet and H-ecla are two mines or one. In 
fact, I should, unless I had definite knowledge to the 
contrary, imagine they were two. So also with the 
reign of "William and Mary." 

Since, however, there is no uniformity among 
authors in the use of commas in this connection, the 
student is advised to guard against running groups 
together just because there happens to be no comma 
separating them; and on the other hand, and this is 



PUNCTUATION 185 

very important, when a careful author omits commas \ 
between groups connected by "and" there is always I 
a reason for it and that reason generally is that he 
wants the absence of the comma to suggest that all 
the groups go to form one idea. Bear in mind then 
in reading aloud, that the comma does not in itself 
indicate a pause, nor does the absence of the comma 
indicate there is no pause. Each case must be decided 
by itself. The following passages may sharpen your 
wits and help you to a finer discrimination in this 
problem : 

He could write^ and cipher too. 

In such a case he is entitled to take all the crops, and 
wood for fuel. 

Interest and ambition, honor and shame, gratitude 
and revenge, are the prime movers in public transactions. 

But whether clever or dull, learned or ignorant, clown- 
ish or polite, every man has as good a right to liberty 
as to life. 

From generation to generation, man, and beast, and 
house, and land have gone on in succession here, re- 
placing, following, renewing, repairing and being re- 
paired, demanding and getting more support. 

Come, pensive nun, devout and pure, 
Sober^ steadfast, and demure. 

Deaf to King Robert's threats and cries and prayers. 
They thrust him from the hall and down the stairs. 

— Longfellow: Robert of Sicily* 



I 



1,86 INTEBPBETATIOir OF THE FEINTED PAGF 

The foes of Rohab thrust the tongae in cheeky 
Smiled in their beards^ and muttered each to each; 
Fleet messengers went riding north and south 
And east and west among the tribes. 

— Bates : The Sorrow of Rohah. 

We have a voice, with which to pay the debt 
Of boundless love and reverence and regret. 

— Tennyson: Ode on the Death 
of the Duke of Wellington. 

And let the land whose hearths he saved from shame 
For many and many an age proclaim 
At civic revel and. pomp and game, etc. 

—Ihid. 

No sail from day to day, but every day 
The sunrise broken into scarlet shafts 
Among the palms and ferns and precipices. 

— Tennyson: Enoch Arden. 

In each of the last four passages there is a unity pro- 
duced by omitting the commas before the "ands," that 
would be destroyed by breaking the sentences into 
small groups. The vocal expression in the last lines 
of each selection clearly indicates how you interpret 
the absence of the commas. 

Frequently a comma takes the place of a verb or of 
a verb accompanied by other words. To understand 
this is to be able to interpret such sentences as these : 

Truth leads a man in the ways of honor; deception, 
in the ways of evil. 

The crimiual dreads the magistrate; the rich man, 
the thief. 



PUNCTUATION 187 

A wise man seeks to shine in himself; a fool^ in 
others. 

He rides on a flaming car^ and grasps in his left 
hand a quiver full of arrows; in his rights a fiery bow. 

Some mute^ inglorious Milton here may rest^ 
Some Cromwell^ guiltless of his country's blood. 

"Adjective clauses and contracted adjective clauses 
used parenthetically or coordinately are marked off by 
commas." This is a rule of utmost importance to 
readers, and one frequently overlooked. 

The constitution of Brazil^ which is based on that 
of the United States of America, is the only South 
American constitution which has not been amended. 

Here we have a coordinate clause, "which is based," 
etc., and a restrictive clause, "which has not," etc. 
Now how can we distinguish the two kinds of clauses ? 
The first can be turned into a complete independent 
statement equivalent to "and it is based," etc. ; but we 
cannot do that with the second clause, because it is 
necessary to the completion of the sense: it is in 
reality an adjective equivalent 'to "a-which-has-not- 
been-amended." Another way to regard the sentence 
is, "The constitation of Brazil (and I want to inform 
you it is based on that of the United States) is the 
only unamended South American constitution." The 
first clause could be omitted entirely and leave a com- 
plete sentence ; if, however, we omit the second clause, 
the sentence would be meaningless. 

Another sentence further illustrates the principle 
under discussion: 



/ 



188 INTEEPEETATION OF THE PBINTED PAGE 

The schools in Chicago which are badly built^ ought 
to be torn down. 

The schools in Chicago^ which are badly built^ ought 
to be torn down. 

Quite a difference! What is it? And when you 
have answered that question, read both sentences aloud 
and note the difference in the two readings. 

Explain the difference made by the comma in each 
of the following pairs of sentences : 

The ships bound for America were poorly manned. 
The ships^ bound for America^ were poorly manned. 

The employees, discharged for smoking, will not be 
re-engaged. 

The employees discharged for smoking will not be 
re-engaged. 

The slaves, who were on deck, came from Africa. 
The slaves who were on deck came from Africa. 

The children, playing their innocent games, were 
arrested. 

The children playing their innocent games were 
arrested. 

Shylock, in The Merchant of Venice, is speaking 
to Bassanio of Antonio's wealth: 

Yet his means are in supposition: he hath an argosy 
bound to Tripolis, another to the Indies; I understand, 
moreover, upon the Rialto, he hath a third at Mexico, 
a fourth for England, and other ventures he hath, 
squandered abroad. 



PUNCTUATION 189 

This is the punctuation of the Globe edition, but some 
other editions print: 

and other ventures he hath squandered abroad. 

Both pointings make good sense, but I greatly 
prefer that of the Globe edition. Do you agree, or 
differ? Why? Here is material for an interesting 
class discussion, and I think you will learn from it 
that the comma or the absence of it means more than 
just a question of punctuation; it is a matter of 
Shylock's character. 

In closing this discussion I cannot do better than 
quote the following from DeQuincey, cited by Pro- 
fessor Corson in his Introduction to the Study of 
Milton, I n America , particularly, t her e is a marked 
tend ency to reduce the use of punctuatio n marks to^ the 
lowjesLminimum.;^ _anj3 the tende ncy i s a, wise one. But 
there is a danger of going too far, as some of the I 
examples cited suggest. How effectively an artist 
may use commas Landor teaches us. De Quincey is 
speaking of Milton and Landor, and commenting on 
one of the striking passages in Milton's drama, 
Samson Agonistes. Samson, you remember, is ex- 
pected to free the Children of Israel from the yoke of 
the Philistines; he is the "great deliverer*'; but in a 
moment of weakness he tells the secret of his enor- 
mous strength — ^his long hair — ^to Delilah, who in his 
sleep shears his locks and then betrays him into the 
hands of his enemies, who put out his eyes, take him 
to Gaza, their capital city, and set him to work as a 
common slave. Now observe what De Quincey writes : 



190 INTEEPBETATION OF THE FEINTED PAGE 

'^Mr. Landor makes one correction' by a simple im- 
provement in the punctuation, which has a very fine 
effect. ... Samson says, • . • 

Ask for this great deliverer now^ and find him 
Eyeless in Gaza at the mill with slaves. 

Thus it is usually printed, that is, without a comma in 
the latter line ; *but,' says Landor, *there ought to be 
commas after eyeless^ after Gaza^ after vulL* And 
why? because thus, *the grief of Samson is aggravated 
at every member of the sentence.' " 

Ask for this great deliverer now^ and find him 
Eyeless^ in Gaza^ at the mill^ with slaves. 

What an illumination ! And how the voice with its 
marked falling inflection on "eyeless," and "Gaza," 
and "mill," sounds like the slowly tolled knell of all 
the hopes of "this great deliverer." 

Inteepeetation of the Semicolon 

Since we are not studying the rules for the use of 
the semicolon in order to apply them, but rather to 
help us interpret them as we find them in literature, 
our task is not very difficult. It is well to know how- 
ever that, simple as it is to understand the rules, there 
are many passages that need to be carefully studied. 
In certain compound sentences commas would not 
)e sufficiently significant, and there the semicolon is 
ised. 

The entrance of the word giveth light ; it giveth under- 
standing to the simple. 



PUNCTUATION 191 

Friends may desert him ; enemies may throng his way ; 
disaster may threaten him; bodily weakness may assail 
him; but still with heroic courage he keeps on his way. 

He was courteous^ not cringings to superiors; affable^ 
not familiar^ to equals; and kind^ but not condescending 
or supercilious^ to inferiors. 

The point to be noted in all these passages (which 
are not hard to understand) is, t hat_the semicolo n 
hel ps u8_ to ^^llftTY ^ ^f t ^^t x^j'jhich, on the one hand, 
wouldjb e confused if onl y cgnimas were^iyised ; a nd o n 
the other^jyould have a rather different meaninfi^ if 
period§_ jgere subs tituted. The semicolons act, as it 
were, li ke braces to keep certain large parts-Jif . the 
textJugether. For example: 

An hour passed on; the Turk awoke; 

That bright dream was his last; 

He woke to hear his sentries shriek^ 

"To arms ! They come— the Greek ! the Greek !" 

The student is not to conclude from what I have said 
that authors always make this brace effect by means of 
semicolons. For instance, one may see such passages 
as, "If I succeed in the venture, if I reach the goal of 
my ambition, I will never forget you." But at least 
we may be certain that when the semicolon is used it 
generally indicates the kind of bracing I referred to. 
Again, it is used to mark off particulars under 
such circumstances as we find in the next sentences. 
But note carefully that the last particular is followed 
by a comma when it precedes the main statement, as 
in the first example. 



192 INTEBPBETATION OF THE FEINTED PA(iJ!J 

If we think of glory in the field; of wisdom in the 
cabinet; of the purest patriotism; of morals without 
a stain^ the august figure of Washington presents itself 
as the personation of all these ideas. 

That Mr. Thackeray was bom in India^ in 1811 ; that 
he was educated at the Charter House and Cambridge; 
that he devoted himself^ at firsts to art^ all this has^ with- 
in a short time^ been told again and again. 

If I must make my defence before this body; if my 
life must be reviewed in your hearing; if my liberty 
and my life depend upon your verdict; then I must insist 
that you shall hear me patiently^ and to the end. 

He has combined with others to subject us to a juris- 
diction foreign to our constitution^ and unacknowledged 
by our laws ; giving his assent to their acts of pretended 
legislation: for quartering large bodies of armed troops 
among us; for protecting them^ by a mock trial^ from 
punishment for any murders which they should commit 
on the inhabitants of these States; for cutting off our 
trade with all parts of the world ; for imposing taxes on 
us without our consent; for depriving us^ in many cases^ 
of the benefits of trial by jury; for transporting us be- 
yond seas to be tried for pretended offences; for abol- 
ishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring 
province, establishing therein an arbitrary governijaent, 
and enlarging its boundaries, so as to render it at once 
an example and fit instrument for introducing the same 
absolute rule into these Colonies; for taking away our 
charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering 
fundamentally the forms of our governments; for sus- 
pending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves 
invested with power to legislate for us in all cases what- 
soever. — Declaration of Independence. 

In the final illustration are you not helped to analyze 
the thoughts, to see the various clauses in their true 



PUNCTUATION 193 

relation to the main idea, by the semicolons ? And you 
can further see how a recognition of the force of the 
semicolons affects the voice, particularly in such sen- 
tences as those that precede. 

The semicolon braces certain groups, but at the 
same time denotes that the series of braced groups 
unite to form the one dominant idea of the whole 
sentence. 

There is sweet music here that softer falls 
Than petals from blown roses on the grass^ 
Or night-dews on still waters between walls 
Of shadowy granite^ in a gleaming pass; 
Music that gentlier on the spirit lies^ 
Than tir'd eyelids upon tir'd eyes ; 
Music that brings sweet sleep down from the 
blissful skies. 

— Tennyson: The Lotus Eaters. 

< 

You must wake and call me early^ call me early^ mother 
dear ; 

To-morrow 'ill be the happiest time of all the glad New- 
year; 

Of all the glad New-year, mother^ the maddest merriest 
day; 

For I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen 

^' — Tennyson: The May Queen. 

No finer illustration can be found of the discriminat- 
ing use of semicolons than in the next passage, from 
Arnold's Sohrah and Rustum. Students who could 
make nothing of the passage, and who therefore failed 
utterly in trying to read it aloud, have improved 
their interpretation instantly when they came to see 
the force of the semicolons. 



194 INTEBPEETATION OF THE PBINTED PAGE 

As when some hunter in the spring hath found 
A breeding eagle sitting on her nest^ 
Upon the craggy isle of a hill lake^ 
And pierced her with an arrow as she rose^ 
And follow'd her to* find where she fell 
Far off; — anon her mate comes winging back 
From huntings and a great way off descries 
His huddling young left sole; at that^ he checks 
His pinion^ and with short uneasy sweeps 
Circles above his eyry, with loud screams 
Chiding his mate back to her nest ; but she 
Lies dying, with the arrow in her side. 
In some far stony gorge out of his ken, 
A heap of fluttering feathers — never more 
Shall the lake glass her, flying over it; 
Never the black and dripping precipices 
Echo her stormy scream as she sails by — 
As that poor bird flies home, nor knows his loss, 
So Rustum knew not his own loss, but stood 
Over his dying son, and knew him not. 

— Arnold: Sohrab and Rustum. 

Inteepeetation of the Colon 

It is not hard, as a rule, to interpret the colon, 
but there are times when carelessness will Ifead to seri- 
ous misinterpretation. In the Ode on the Death of 
the Duke of Wellington, Tennyson is describing the 
funeral procession of the dead duke : 

Lead out the pageant: sad and slow. 

As fits an universal woe. 

Let the long long procession go. 

Reading hurriedly, a student will pay no attention to 
the colon and read the line: 

Lead out the pageant sad and slow; 



PUNCTUATION I95 

and it is not until he reads further that he finds that 
the second line is parenthetical, and that "sad and 
slow,'' instead of modifying "lead," really modifies 
"let go." Or, to express it another way: the phrase 
"sad and slow" is separated on the one hand from 
"Lead out the pageant" by a colon, and by a conmia 
from the next statement. A moment's reflection, then, 
shows us that "sad and slow" is more closely joined 
with what follows than with what precedes it. The 
thought closes with "pageant" (the colon saying, so to 
speak, "in the following manner") and begins again 
with "sad and slow," continuing with the rest of the 
description of the pageant. 

Tennyson has another very eff^ective use of the 
colon, and just where the reader may overlook it: 

Nor rested thus content, but day by day. 
Leaving her household and good father, climb'd 
That eastern tower, and entering barr'd her door, 
Stript off the case, and read the naked shield. 
Now guess'd a hidden meaning in his arms. 
Now made a pretty history to herself 
Of every dint a sword had beaten in it. 
And every scratch a lance had made upon it. 
Conjecturing when and where: this cut is fresh; 
That ten years back; this dealt him at Caerlyle; 
That at Caerleon; this at Camelot: 
And ah God's mercy, what a stroke was there! 
And here a thrust that might have killed, but God 
Broke the strong lance, and roU'd his enemy down^ 
And saved him : so she lived in fantasy. 

— Tennyson: Lancelot and Elaine* 



196 INTEBPBETATION OF THE FEINTED PAGE 

Lancelot, the greatest warrior in King Arthur's court, 
has come to Astolat on the way to the tournament. 
Here he meets the Lord of Astolat and his beautiful 
young daughter Elaine, who faUs in love with him. 
On leaving the castle he takes a shield that is loaned 
to him by the Lord of Astolat, leaving his own behind 
with Elaine. ' His shield has many designs wrought all 
over it and many dents and marks upon it where it 
has been struck by spears and swords in the great 
battles and tournaments fought by King Arthur and 
his knights: fought at Camelot, Caerleon, and other 
parts of Arthur's realm. 

Elaine, who is a very expert needle-woman, makes a 
"case," or cover, for the shield and embroiders it. in 
designs and colors exactly like those on the shield 
itself, which she kept in a room of the eastern tower. 

As you read the passage the first time you note that 
Elaine is guessing where the different "cuts" on the 
shield were "beaten" into it. Now read it a second- 
time, noting ca*refully and counting each cut, and 
then answer the question : How many cuts were there? 
What difference does the conclusion you reach regard- 
ing the number of cuts make in your vocal expression? 
How does the colon affect your interpretation ? 

We have seen that com mas set o ff certa in kind s of 

small groups and thus help us to p^e t the thQi| prl | t. 

] Then we learne d that semicolon s performed a si milar 

function with large groups. Now we shall see that 

. co lons have, as one of their use s^^ sim^ar functio n. 

• The princ iple on wh ich this usage is based no doubt 

is the need to__conveyn^"^e~ reader that from the 



PUNCTUATION 197 

beginning to the end of the long sentence there is 
really but one Qiefne."' Here are some unusually good 
illustrations : 

All is over and done: 

Render thanks to the Giver, 

England^ for thy son. 

Let the bell be toU'd. 

Render thanks to the Giver, 

And render him to the mould. 

Under the cross of gold 

That shines over city and river. 

There he shall rest forever 

Among the wise and the bold. 

Let the bell be tolFd: 

And a reverent people behold 

The towering car, the sable steeds: 

Bright let it be with his blazon'd deeds. 

Dark in its funeral fold. 

Let the bell be toU'd : 

And a deeper knell in the heart be knoU'd ; 

And the sound of the sorrowing anthem roU'd 

Thro' the dome of the golden cross ; 

And the volleying cannon thunder his loss; 

He knew their voices of old. 

For many a time in many a clime 

His captain's ear has heard them boom. 

Bellowing victory, bellowing doom: 

When he with those deep voices wrought. 

Guarding realms and kings from shame; 

With those deep voices our dead captain taught 

The tyrant, and asserts his claim 

In that dread sound to the great name. 

Which he has worn so pure of blame. 

In praise and in dispraise the same, 

A man of well-attemper'd frame. 



\ 



198 INTEBPBETATION OF THE PBINTED PAGE 

O civic muse, to such a name^ 

To such a name for ages long^ 

To such a name^ 

Preserve a broad approach of fame^ 

And ever-echoing avenues of song. 

— Tennyson: Ode on the Death 
of the Duke of Wellington. 

We perceive that the dial shadow has moved, but 
we did not see it moving; we see that the grass has 
grown, but we did not see it growing: so our advances 
in knowledge consist of such minute steps that they are 
perceivable only by the distance. 

He sunk to repose where the red heaths are blended; 

One dream of his childhood his fancy passed o'er: 
But his battles are fought, and his march it is ended; 

The sound of the bagpipes shall wake him no more. 

A man can scarce allege his own merits with mod- 
esty, much less extol them; a man cannot sometimes 
brook to supplicate or beg, and a number of the like: 
but all these things are graceful in^ a friend's mouth, 
which are blushing in a man's own. 

A much more frequent use of the colon is in 
denoting enumeration : 

Many countries have a national flower: France the 
lily, England the rose, Scotland the thistle, etc. 

But for those who interpret literature (rather than 
for those who write it), the most important aspect to 
understand — and here students all too frequently fail 
utterly — is that the colon is very often used to sep- 
arate a clause which is grammatically complete from 
a second clause which illustrates its meaning, or ampli- 
fies it, as by way of inference or conclusion. 



/ PUNCTUATION 199 

Avoid affectation: it is a contemptible weakness. 

It is dreadful to live in suspense: it is the life of a 
spider. 

Nor was the religion of the Greek drama a mere form : 
it was full of truth, spirit, and power. 

There is no mortal truly wise and restless at the same 
time: wisdom is the repose of the mind. 

The present life is not wholly prosaic, precise, tame, 
and finite: to the gifted eye, it abounds in the poetic. 

New ribbons, however, make little difference on the 
whole: those who liked the cheap play before will like 
her none the worse for the change. 

On the other hand, nobody had ever heard of a Dod- 
son" who had ruined himself: it was not the way of 
that family. 

There was once a little lilac bush that grew by a 
child's window. It had been a very busy lilac bush all 
its life: drinking moisture from the earth and making 
it into sap; adding each year a tiny bit of wood to its 
slender trunk; filling out its leaf buds; making its leaves 
larger and larger; and then — oh, happy, happy time! 
hanging purple flowers here and there among its 
branches. 

It IS not expected that, from these studies and illus- 
tratians, you will become expert in the use of punctua- 
tion points : but it is hoped that you will be stimulated 
to greater care in their interpretation, since we have 
learned that authors use them not because the rules ' 
of rhetotic demand it, but to make it easier for readers 
to understand. And, most of all, we have learned 
that to recognize the force of a single mark of punc- 
tuation means often the diff^erence between true and 
false vocal interpretation. 



CHAPTER XII 

PUNCTUATION— Confrnwed 
Intekpretation op the Exclamation Point 

The interpreting of the exclamation point is tiot 
always easy, and is, moreover, frequently slighted. 
Its commonest use is in connection with interjections 
and exclamatory sentences: 

Oh! Alas! Bah! 

How beautiful she is ! 

What a piece of work is man ! 

This is apparently all very simple, but is it really so? 
Custom demands that interjections (except "O") be 
followed by exclamation marks, and no doubt the in- 
tention is to suggest emotion. But after a while we 
disregard this emotional suggestion altogether in . 
spite of the fact that there may be much feeling be- 
hind the interjection. To repeat: we^ having becom e 
used to seeing the mark of 'exclamation irLMLjn^'^y ' 
places where it doesjiot indicate any de pth of feelin g. 
come finall y to ig n ore it altogether. We shall see 
much more of this aspect of punctuation when we 
come to study Emotion, but even at this stage the 
pupil can be guided by this emotional sign post. 

200 



PUNCTUATION 201 

But she is in her grave, and, oh. 
The difference to me ! 

— Wordsworth: Lucy, 

Alas ! Nothing can save him now ! 

Oh ! my offence is rank, it smells to heaven. 

Quick ! Begone ! Out of my sight ! 

Heaven preserve us ! 

Would that better feelings moved them ! 

O Lord, be merciful unto me, a sinner! 

Alas ! all our hopes are blasted. 

The mark of exclamation is used after expressions 
of wonder, surprise, fear, horror, and the like; after 
command, and the expression of a wish ; and is particu- 
larly eff^ective in suggesting contempt and sarcasm. 

They did not fight, tens against thousands; they did 
not fight for wives and children, but for lands and plun- 
der : therefore they are heroes ! 

He has been laboring to prove that Shakespeare's 
plays were written by Bacon! 

Though all are thus satisfied with the dispensations of 
Nature, how few listen to her voice! how few follow 
her as a guide! 

What a mighty work he has brought to a successful 
end, with what perseverance, what energy, with what 
fruitfulness of resource! 

Alas, noble spirit, that this should be thy lot ! 

Oh that your minds were interested in this subject! ' 



202 INTEBPBETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

Welcome, noble defenders of your country! 

Venerable men! you have come dovm to us from a 
former generation. 

Father Almighty! hear our prayer. 

Hurrah ! the day is ours ! 

He asserted that the earth is square, because if round 
no one could stand up (!) on the opposite side. 

This college graduate ( !) could do no better than to 
spell "commendable" with one "m." 

"A mark of exclamation, and not a point of inte rro- 
gation, is ^ aced after what are na1|e jr hetorical ques - 
tions, or stateme nts made more_st rikin g by being put 
in the formji£j^[iuestions. They are not asked for the 
sake of receiving a direct_answer, andNare^ ^n_reality 
i exclamations. Still all rhetorical questions are not 
1 thus punctuated; the point ofjnterrogation is some- 
' times more effective." So say the rhetoricians ; but 
it is well not to attempt to set down any definite rule 
in this regard. I have found much help when in 
doubt concerning the interpretation by asking myself 
whether a certain sentence interrogative in construc- 
tion and highly emotional is assertive or interrogative. 
For instance, when the great prophet asks, 

Shall not the Judge of all the Earth do right? 

I know, first, he is not asking for information. Then 
I must decide which of two motives he had in mind. 
Did he mean "Is it possible anyone could doubt the 
Righteousness of the Judge?" Or, to put it another 



PUNCTUATION 203 

way : "The Judge of all the Earth cannot fail to do 
right." But he may have meant "Is it possible that 
anyone in all the world could have the slightest doubt 
but that the Judge of all the Earth shall do right?" 
I think the latter is the correct interpretation, for it 
signifies to me that the speaker is so certain of his 
judgment that it never occurs to him (it makes no 
difference whether he is conscious or not of his rea- 
soning) to assert dogmatically his profound convic- 
tion. 

When Tennyson writes, in describing the glorious 
fight that the English ship "The Revenge" made 
against fifty-three Spanish vessels: 

God of battles, was ever a battle like this in the world 
before ? 

he is essentially saying "God of battles, there never 
was battle like this in the world before !" Do you see 
the difference between this Motive and that in the other 
illustration ? 

Macaulay writes: 

Discipline of mind! say rather starvation^ confine- 
ment, torture, annihilation. 

Let us guess at the context. Let us suppose that 
someone has claimed that a certain study is a disci- 
pline of mind. Now, does the author mean to reply 
with the contemptuous assertion : 

Such stuff you call mind discipline ! I call it starva- 
tion, etc. 



204 INTEEPEETATION OF THE FEINTED FAGE 

But might it not be: 

Are you crazy or ignorant enough to call that stuff 
discipline ? 

lago (in Othello) tells Roderiga that D'esdemona, 
Othello's wife, is in love with Cassio. Then cries 
Roderigo : 

With him ! It is not possible. 

Here it is the astonishment overwhelming the speaker 
that gives to his exclamation the melody of a question, 
as if to say, Do you possibly mean she can love such 
a man as that? Without the exclamation point one 
might, for a moment at least, believe it was a simple 
desire for information that motivated Roderigo's 
melody. As it is, there can be no doubt. 

Julitis Caesar affords another test of our judgment. 
Titinius and Cassius are much beloved by Brutus. 
Cassius, defeated, has killed himself, and Titinius, 
coming upon the body of his friend, places a wreath 
upon his brow and falls on his own sword. As the two 
lie there in death Brutus enters and, seeing them, turns 
to Cato, saying: 

Are yet two Romans living such as these? 
The last of all the Romans^ fare thee well ! 

Two interpretations are possible. I care not which 
you make provided you can defend it. One expresses 
a motive like that we discussed in The Revenge^ which 
can be paraphrased thus: 

No one could conceive any other two Romans living 
such as these! 



PUNCTUATION 205 

And the other might mean : 

Am I not right, my dear friend Cato, in saying there 
are no two Romans living such as these? 

It is Gratiano who asks: 

who riseth from a feast 
With that keen appetite that he. sits down? 
Where is the horse that doth untread again 
His tedious measures with the unbated fire 
That he did pace them first? 

He expects no answer; but if one come it surely will 
be "no one." His state of mind is assertive. 

So it^all depends on interpretation , and it makes no 
great difference what inter pretation one ^ chooses pro- 
vided it is not guess work ; provided it has l ogic andi 
common sense behind it. 

In almost all of the preceding illustrations, the 
emotion was so forcefully expressed through the lan- 
guage that you might have recognized it even without 
a special mark of punctuation. In other words, it is 
used merely to make certam th at the read er does not 
miss the feeling. 

The mark is often placed after groups that in 
themselves do not appear to be particularly important. 
In fact, -authors frequently express an important . 
thought in language so simple that it apparently has 
no great weight at all, and then end the sentence with | 
an exclamation point to signify the importance of the ! 
thought, or to stimulate curiosity in a statement that \ 
seemis to be of slight value, or to indicate emotion far ." 
beyond the power of mere words to convey. 



206 INTEEPBETATION OF THE PBINTED PAGE 

A woman fearing that her lover may be assassinated 
if he should attack certain villains who want to rob 
him has a plan to save him, but knows she cannot 
carry it out unless she can prevent him from knowing 
it. The author says : 

She did not want to arouse his wonder^ which would 
lead him straight to suspicion. He must not suspect! — 
Conrad : Victory. 

Here is a similar example. Wordsworth's Michael 
begins with a description of a lonely spot in the 
mountains, and continues: 

Nor should I have made mention of this dell 
But for one object which you might pass by. 
Might see and notice not. Beside the brook 
There is a straggling heap of unhewn stones! 
And to that place a story appertains, 
Which, though it be ungarnish'd with events. 
Is not unfit, I deem, for the fireside, 
Or for the summer shade. 

There is no evidence of strong emotion in the sen- 
tence preceded by the exclamation point, and a care- 
less reader might overlook it entirely. Yes, even an 
observant reader would have to be particularly alert 
not to "see and notice not" this most unusual sign at 
the close of a sentence so simple. Furthermore, there 
is nothing in the lines before nor immediately after to 
suggest in the slightest way what we do not see until 
the poem is well advanced; but when we get to the 
critical point of the story we learn that all the pathos 
of this great poem gathers aboiit that heap of stones. 
The exclamation poinj^is,_t hen, a mark o f emphasis, 



PUNCTUATION 207 

intended to cente r vour attent ion upon that p ile of 
stones, and perhaps ar ouse yojur curio sity concern ing 
it] A reader who grasps the full significance of that 
exclamation point will not fail to express it in his 
voice. 

A rather rare use of the exclamation point is illus- 
trated by these two sentences : 

He a patriot I ! Then how we should admire Benedict 
Arnold ! ! 

That man virtuous ! ! You might as well preach to me 
of the virtue of Judas Iscariot ! ! 

And occasionally we find passages like this: 

To save him I would give all my wealth! all my 
hopes of the future!! Nay, my very life!!! 

""Help! Help!! Help!!! 

An author in this way conveys the growing intensity 
of the emotion, and leaves us no choice but to manifest 
that climax in our vocal interpretation. Of course, 
you must use your judgment as to the degree and 
quality of the emotion; but if you are on the alert 
for exclamation marks, you will often get a meaning 
from the text you otherwise might not see, and fur- 
thermore, having got it, you will put a meaning into 
your vocal expression that will give your listener an /' 
^ insight into the lines he would not otherwise get. .Th.e\ 
exclamfl.tioa pQint>.doesn^t tell you the^luflifif,?™otion 
n or the degree, bu t it arrests the attention^ and your 
imagination must do the rest. 



208 INTEEPEETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

Study the following passages and then express 
through the voice the feeling or mood suggested to 
you by the exclamation mark : 

Would that I had perished! 

Hark! hark! the Dauphin's drum^ a warning bell! 

O God ! that men should put an enemy in their mouths, 
to steal away their brains ! — Othello. 

Oh, how I suffer! 

Ho, trumpets, sound a war note! 
Ho, lictors, clear the way! 

How discriminating was the speaker on that occa- 
sion! how earnest! how eloquent! how profound! 

Hail, candle-light! without disparagement to sun or 
moon, the kindest luminary of the three! — Lamb, 

Oh for that ancient spirit 

Which curbed the Senate's will! — Macaulay, 

O that I had wings like a dove! 

O that this too, too solid flesh would melt, thaw, and 
resolve itself into a dew ! — Hamlet, 

He paid him the delicate ( !) compliment of calling 
him the most artistic liar he had ever listened to. 

Rouse, ye Romans ! rouse, ye slaves ! 

Great Glamis ! worthy Cawdor ! Greater than both by 
the all-hail hereafter! — Macbeth, 

My valor is certainly going ! it is sneaking off ! I feel 
it oozing out, as it were, at the palms of my hands. 



PUNCTUATION 209 

How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is 
To have a thankless child ! 

— King Lear. 
Long live the King! 

Heaven forbid! 

His subj ect was "The Wasness of the Isness" ! 

And the "professor/' who was advertising to teach 
"Oratory" by mail in twenty lessons, went on to say: 
"Nobody should leave this building without making up 
their ( !) mind to take this course." 

Sink me the ship. Master Gunner — sink her, split her 

in twain! 
Fall into the hands of God, not into the hands of Spain ! 

— Tennyson : The Revenge. 

Brutus. O Julius Caesar, thou art mighty yet ! 
Thy spirit walks abroad, and turns our swords 
In our own proper entrails. 

Cato, , Brave Titinius ! 

Look, whether he have not crown 'd dead Cassius ! 

— Julius Caesar, V, iii. 

King Richard. A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a 

horse ! 
Cateshy. Withdraw, my lord; I'll help you to a horse. 
King Richard. Slave, I have set my life upon a cast, 
And I will stand the hazard of the die: 
I think there be six Richmonds in the field ; 
Five have I slain to-day instead of him. 
A horse ! a horse ! my kingdom for a horse ! 

— King Richard III, V, iv. 

Turn back again to The Sea, under Grouping, and 
observe how much the exclamation mark suggests. 



210 INTEEPEETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

Particularly in the first line of the third stanza how 
it helps us to appreciate the love, the joy of the sailor! 
**I love," he says, and then as if that were not enough, 
he adds "Oh! how I love to ride," etc. But by the 
time most readers come towards the end of the stanza, 
they are likely to forget the enthusiasm with which it 
opened. Suddenly they note the author's exclamation 
point, which is his way of telling us that the emotion 
runs through the whole stanza. Then let them go 
back and read the poem from the beginning, bearing 
in mind the purpose of that final exclamation point, 
and it is more than likely their voices will convey to 
others the joy out of which the poem sprang. 

Interpretation of the Interrogation Point 

If there i s one p u nctuation mark we feel sure of in- 
terpreting it is the question mar k. But are we certain? 
Does the question mark always mean that the speaker 
j asks for information? Recall under Motive the ques- 
tion, "Are you going out?" and how, annoyed at 
receiving no answer, the speaker asserts his authority 
with an emphatic repetition of the words in the tone 
of command. Grammatically this is a question, but, 
as we learned when we studied Motive, it is not the 
grammar but the purpose which determines the vocal 
expression. Hence, in the sentence we are discussing, 
your melody will not be one that asks for information, 
but which demands an answer. Writers recognize this 
principle and often argue that the interrogation point 
in such a sentence as the last illustration is really mis- 
leading, for if it is used without following it with 



PUNCTUATION 211 

some such explanation as '^said I, in a sharp peremp- 
tory tone," or *'said I, in a tone demanding an an- 
swer," the reader would really be in doubt as to the 
meaning. When we took up the study of exclamation 
points we saw how it is sometimes possible to indi- 
cate when a group having the structure of a ques- 
tion is really not a questi on. But since there is no 
common agreement among writers and publishers on 
this subject it is necessary to be on one's guard against 
taking for granted that every sentence ending with a 
mark of interrogation asks for information. Here j 
are three examples, for which the context will be 
helpful. 

Bassanio. In law^ what plea so tainted and corrupt 
But^ being seasoned with a gracious voice^ 
Obscures the show of evil.^ In religion^ 
What damned error, but some sober brow 
Will bless it and approve it with a text. 
Hiding the grossness with fair ornament? 

— The Merchant of Venice, III, if. 

Cassius. When went there by an age, since the great 
flood, 
But it was famed with more than .with one man? 
When could they say till now, that talk'd of Rome, 
That her wide walls encompass'd but one man? 

— Julius Caesar, I, ii. 

Gloucester. Was ever woman in this humor woo'd? 
Was ever woman in this humor won? 

— Richard III, I, ii. 

These sentences really assert while retaining the form 
of a question; and as literature, as appeals to the 
imagination, are the assertions not more effective be- 



212 INTEBPEETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE , 

cause of their interrogative form? The student's 
attention is called to this fact not so much because he 
is likely to be in doubt concerning the Motive of such 
sentences as we have been discussing as to put him on 
his guard against that dangerous rule to "raise your 
voice at a question that can be answered by yes or no.'* 
You see, it all depends on whether such sentences 
really are questions. When he decides that, he need 
not worry about the inflection: it will take care of 
itself. 

In many cases an author tells us that his interroga- 
tive sentence is really an assertion by closing with an 
exclamation point instead of a question mark. As : 

How could he have been so foolish! 

Later on we shall see more of such illustrations; but 
suppose an author does not, through oversight or 
carelessness or ignorance, use the exclamation point. 
There is noth ing for the read e r to do but in terpret 
the sentence in t he li^ht of the contex^^ hpayjn^ fllyrayR 
in mind that me rely becaus e a sentence ends w ith a 
question mark i t does not f ollow t hat it is, st rictly 
considered, a question. 

One other use of the question mark is worth a 
moment's consideration : 

While you are revelling in the delights (?) of the 
London season, I am leading a hermit life, with no 
companions save my books. 

How that mark affects the meaning and your vocal 
expression ! Here, by a simple device the writer sug- 



PUNCTUATION 213 

gests more by one punctuation mark than could be 
said in a dozen words of description. And yet some 
students read aloud that sentence with no more regard 
for the special use of th6 question mark than if it had 
not been there. 

A not dissimilar use signifies that the writer may be 
in doubt : 

He gave his name as Roger De Quincey, lineal de- 
scendant of the great Thomas De Quincey (.^). 

This use of the question mark is very modem and not 
frequently found, but where it is, it is highly signifi- 
cant, as you have seen. 

Interpretation of Dashes, Hyphens, and 

Quotation Marks 

When I remember how we have worked together, and 
together borne misfortune; when I remember — but what 
avails it to remember? 

And all this story was about — what do you think? 

We cannot hope to succeed, unless — but we must 
succeed. 

The significant mark of punctuation in the preceding 
passages is the dash. What does it indicate ? If there 
were no dashes what would be necessary to make the 
meaning clear? One explanation will do for the three 
cases. After the word preceding the dash we should 
have to say, **At this point the speaker suddenly 
stopped for a moment, interrupting himself in the 
midst of his sentence, and then abruptly continued 
with," etc. In other words, these dashes mark an 



\ 



214 INTEBPEETATION OF THE PBINTED PAGE 

abrupt break. The author doesn't tell us the cause of 
the break, hiiti thp ^flfih flirV"^" ^"^ attention, shocks 
u s, as it were — or at least it shoul d — into a conscious- 
ness that something unusual has happened in the 
course of the speaker' s^ rema rks. Just what happens 
must be determined by the student, who must bear in 
mind that that which causes the break will often affect 
very perceptibly the interpretation, silent and vocal, 
of what follows the dash. This is very important to 
remember. The dasK stjmulates the reader sp ^^f\^ he 
is on the al ert for some change, and unless he no tices 
it his readm g will he seriouslv mar red. 

Now read aloud the three sentences we have been 
discussing and note the complete change in your de- 
livery of the words after the dash, compared with 
vour reading of those that precede it. 
I Sometimes we u se the dash merely to give a stro nger 
/emphasis tha n would be su ggeste d by the usual mark 
/ of pu nctua tion. You doliot need to know the context 
( in the next illustration to understand that the person 
who reported the speech from which the excerpt is 
taken wanted to indicate something in the speaker's 
delivery that commas would not have indicated, or 
at least would not have indicated so certainly or so 
immediately. 

Now where is the revenue which is to do all these 
mighty things? Five-sixths repealed — abandoned — ^siink 
— gone — lost forever. 

Here you see at once the force of the assertiveness, 
the positiveness of the speaker, and these qualities 



PUNCTUATION 215 

manifest themselves in our voices as we appreciate the 
meaning of the dashes and enter into the spirit of the 
speaker. 

Note a very similar effect in the next extract : 

He enter eth smiling and — embarrassed. He holdeth 
out his hand for you to shake^ and — draweth it back 
again. He casually looketh in about dinner time — 
when the table is full. He oflfereth to go away, seeing 
you have company — but is induced to stay. 

Here the dash does not signify a break in the 
grammatical structure or in the sequence, but a very 
decided change of mood. How much humor would be 
lost if one were to read this paragraph ignoring the 
dashes ! 

Sometimes the dash denotes a very long pause. 

To be or not to be — that is thg question. 

We find it used in dramatic literature to suggest/ 
effort, struggle, pain. 

I can't — say — oh! how I suflfer! — ^just — what — did 
happen. 

Since breaks in the continuity may result from 
many causes it seems better for the student to study 
and read aloud a large number of excerpts illustrating 
various uses of the dash rather than to try to master 
a great many rules. 

Do we — can we — send out educated boys and girls 
from the high school at eighteen.^ 

This may be said to be — but, never mind, we will pass 
over that. 



216 INTEEPEETATION OF THE FEINTED FAGE 

Then there came a time — let us say, for convenience, 
with Germany and France — when this method of train- 
mg children had to be stopped. 

If it be asked — and in saying this I put into one 
phrase my whole theory — why education is so far behind 
the times, etc. 

Here we are face to face with a difficult problem — 
difficult because it is a new one. 

These discoveries — ^gunpowder, printing-press, com- 
pass, and telescope — were the weapons before which 
the old science trembled. 

Amos, with the idea that Jehovah is an upright judge 
. . .; Hosea, whose Master hated injustice and false- 
hood . . .; Isaiah, whose Lord would have mercy only 
on those who relieved the widow and the fatherless — 
these were the spokesmen. , 

This — I say it with regret — was not done. 

I whipt him for robbing an orchard once when he was 

but a child — 
"The farmer dared me to do it," he said ; he was always 

so wild — 
And idle — and couldn't be idle — ^my Willy — he never 

could rest. 

— Tennyson. 

O it is difficult — ^lif e is very difficult ! It seems right to 
me sometimes that we should follow our strongest feel- 
ing; — but then, such feelings continually come across 
the ties that all our former life has made for us — ^the 
ties that have made others dependent on us — and would 
cut them in two. — Eliot. 



PUNCTUATION 217 

We shall march prospering, — not thro' his presence; 

Songs may inspirit us, — not from his lyre ; 
Deeds will be done, — while he boasts his quiescence. 

Still bidding crouch whom the rest bade aspire. 

— Browning: The Lost Leader. 

m 

Protestant visitors being then rare in Auvergne, and 
still more, reverent and gentle ones, she gave her pretty 
curiosity free sway; and enquired earnestly of us, what 
sort of creatures we were, — how far we believed in God, 
or tried to be good, or hoped to get to heaven ? — Ruskin. 

Let no sad tears be shed, when I die, over me. 
But bury me deep in the sea, — ^in the sea. 

You speak like a boy, — ^like a boy, who thinks the old, 
gpaarled oak can be twisted as easily as the young 
sapling. 

Nicholas Copernicus was instructed in that seminary, 
where it is always happy when one can be well taught, — 
the family circle. 

In 1813, Moore entered upon his noble, poetical, and 
patriotic task, — writing lyrics for the ancient music of 
his country. 

Kings and their subjects, masters and their slaves, 
find a common level in two places, — at the foot of the 
cross, and in the grave. 

He had no malice in his mind — no ruffles on his shirt. 

Some men are full of affection — affection for them- 
selves. 

Men will wrangle for religion, write for it, fight for it, 
anything but — live for it. 

If you will give me your attention, I will show you 
— ^but stop ! I do not know that you wish to see. 



218 INTERPBETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

Thou dost not mean — 

'So, no: thou wouldst not have me make 

A trial of my skill upon my child ! 

She fell down stairs and hroke her neck — lace! 

"I forgot my — " "Your portmanteau?" hastily inter* 
rupted Thomas. "The same." • 

Then they rode back^ but not — 
Not the Six Hundred. 

Wherefore awake them into life again .^ 
Let them sleep on untroubled — it is best. 

To pull down the false and to build up the true, and 
to uphold what there is of true in the old, — ^let this be 
our endeavor. 

The collision of mind with mind ; the tug and strain of 
intellectual wrestling; the tension of every mental fibre, 
as the student reaches forth to take hold of the topmost 
pinnacle of thought, — these make men. 

"Sir Smug," he cries (for lowest at the board, — 
Just made fifth chaplain of his patron lord. 
His shoulders witnessing, by many a shrug, 
How much his feelings suffered — sat Sir Smug) , 
"Your office is to winnow false from true: 
Come, prophet, drink ; and tell us what think you." 

And the ear — that gathers into its hidden chambers 
all music and gladness — would you give it for a king- 
dom.^ 

The noble indignation with which Emmet repelled 
the charge of treason against his country; the eloquent 
vindication of his name ; his pathetic appeal to posterity, 
in the hopeless hour of condemnation, — all these entered 



PUNCTUATION 219 

deeply into every generous bosom^ and even his enemies 
lamented the stern policy which dictated his execution. 

There comes a creeping as of centipedes running down 
the spine, — then a gasp and a great jump of the heart, — 
then a sudden flush and a beating in the vessels of the 
head, — then a long .sigh, and the poem is written ! 

yet the wife — 
When he was gone — the children — what to do? 
Then Enoch lay long-pondering on his plans ; 
To sell the' boat — and yet he loved her well — 
How many a rough sea had he weather'd in her ! 
' He knew her (as a horseman knows his horse) — 
And yet to sell her — then with what she brought 
Buy goods and stores — set Annie forth in trade 
With all that seamen needed or their wives — 
So might she keep the house while he was gone. 
Should he not trade himself out yonder ? go 
This voyage more than once ? yea twice or thrice — 
As oft as needed — last, returning rich. 
Become the master of a larger craft. 
With fuller profits lead an easier life. 
Have all his pretty young ones educated. 
And pass his days in peace among his own. 

— Tennyson: Enoch Arden, 

Do you get any difference of idea between the fol- 
lowing sentences.? 

The tray held tea, and bread, and butter. 
The tray held tea, and bread-and-butter. 

In order to bring out the difference in the pictures 
read aloud the two sentences. 

Do we not understand — at any rate they do in 



220 INTEBPBETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

England — ^that bread and butter are two ideas, while 
bread-and-butter is but one? How could the differ- 
ence better be expressed than by the hyphens ? 

The hyphen is often used to ffroup wor ds in order 
to express an ic[£aJEflr,whidLlher£ .appears to be no 
one single wor d. As examples we have: 

A give-and-take battle. 

A never-to-bei- forgotten meeting. 

A newspaper used the hyphen in a recent article 
very effectively when it printed : 

We need a law restricting the labor of mothers-of- 
young-children employed in factories. 

This may be newspaper English, and the writer 
might have said "restricting the employment in fac- 
tories of mothers of young children." But that isn't 
the question for us to decide : we must interpret first 
for ourselves and then vocally for others what we find 
on the page. Besides the sentence wouldn't have been 
awkward if it hadn't been that "children" is followed 
by "employed." 

A little gnat makes a buzzing sound. Keeping that 
fact in mind, study carefully the following passage 
from Tennyson: 

The tiny-tru.mpeting gnat can break our dream 
When sweetest. 

If there were no* hyphen after "tiny" what would 
the meaning he? Read the passage as it stands, and 
then as if there were no hyphen. 



PUNCTUATION 221 

Examine the marks of punctuation at the close of 
the following extract: 

Do you remember who it was that wrote 

"Whatever England's fields display, 
The fairest scenes are thine, Torbay!"? 

You observe at the close first an exclamation ; then 
quotation marks ; then a question mark. How do you 
interpret these? As you reread the sentence you see 
that the speaker is using the words of another begin- 
ning "Whatever.** Then we note the exclamation 
after "Torbay." Now, what does that mean ? From 
our study of the exclamation point we understand at 
once that here it is a sign of emotion, and since this 
appears within the quotation marks we conclude that 
the words quoted are emotional. That leaves the ques- 
tion mark to indicate that the person speaking is ask- 
ing a question which includes the quotation. ^{]oshow 
how much the vocal expression is affected even in such 
a simple illustration as the one we are discussing let 
us study it solely from this viewpoint. Disregard 
the quotation marks and the question. What remains 
is the original remark of admiration. Read it to ex- 
press the author's feeling : 

Whatever England's fields display, 
The fairest scenes are thine, Torbay ! 

But without any knowledge of the rest of the para- 
graph from which the three lines are chosen, it seems 
that the person asking for information is not at all 
moved by the emotion of the author. With only such 
evidence as we have at hand concerning the feeling of 



/ 



222 INTEEPBETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

the speaker, would it not appear a false interpretation 
to put any of the original feeling into the reading of 
the passage? 

Suppose the sentence were: 

Who wrote that abominable rubbish, 

"Whatever England's fields display. 
The fairest scenes are thine, Torbay !" ! ! 

Here surely is a radically different meaning from that 
in the mind of the first speaker. Inexperienced readers 
often take for granted that all quotations within 
quotations are to be read as they would be in the text 
from which they are selected. Let me illustrate. A 
beggar whines, "Would you please help a poor starv- 
ing man?" and I help him, and find out later he was 
an impostor. I am highly indignant and cry : 

That miserable vagabond with his "would you please 
help a poor starving man.'^" ought to go to jail. 

Cassius says to Brutus, speaking of Caesar : 

Ay, and that tongue of his, that bade the Romans 
Mark him and write his speeches in their books, 
Alas, it cried, "Give me some drink, Titinius," 
As a sick girl. 

How did Caesar speak these words? Would Cassius, 
carried away by the contempt, anger, excitement of 
the moment, stop (consciously or not, it makes no 
difference) literally to reproduce the tone and manner 
of Caesar? Read it as you think it should be done. 
In Eugene Field's Little Boy Blue^ a father- recalls 
the picture of his little boy, now dead, talking to his 



PUNCTUATION 223 

toys, for what turned out to be the last time. The 
father then adds — observe the quotation marks : 

. "Now don't you go till I come/' he said, 
"And don't you make any noise." 
So toddling off to his trimdle-bed 
He dreamt of the pretty toys. 

And I have heard elocutionists with so little sense of 
interpretation that they read the quoted words in 
literal imitation of the voice and manner of a young 
child ! 

The following excerpt presents a similar problem: 

What is the use of asking the question, "What would 
he have done in different circumstances ?" ! 

Here it is manifest that strong assertion is the dom- 
inant mood, and not the question. There is no asking 
for information but a distinct note of anger or annoy- 
ance. 

"What must I do to be saved?" is a question in form, 
but its speech melody is that of assertion, equivalent 
to "Tell me what I must do to be saved." Change this 
to the form of our illustration and we have a true 
question to be answered by yes or no : 

Can you tell me in what chapter I can find "What 
must I do to be saved .^" 

In this case note that the question mark at the end 
serves both for the quotation and the entire sentence. 
Read the following sentences aloud and bring 
out the meaning of each as indicated by ihe quotation 
marks : 



224 INTERPRETATION OP THE PRINTED PAGE 

Thereupon the mob bursts in and inquires^ "What are 
you doing for the people?" 

Thereupon the mob bursts in and inquires what are 
you doing for the people. 

In the next passage we see at a glance "jargon" and 
"fustian" are the words of the person spoken of ; but 
if "absurd" were not quoted there would be consid- 
erable doubt as to whether the present speaker agrees 
or not in calling these things "jargon" and "absurd." 

He frequently calls them "absurd," and applies to 
them such epithets as "jargon," "fustian," and the like. 

In the scene where Cassius is trying to induce Brutus 
to enter the conspiracy against Caesar he says : 

Brutus and Caesar: what should be in that Caesar? 
Why should that name be sounded more than yours? 
Write them together, yours is as fair a nam^ ; 
Sound them, it doth become the mouth as well ; 
Weigh them, it is as heavy; conjure with 'em. 
"Brutus" will start a spirit as soon as "Caesar." 
Now, in the names of all the gods at once, 
Upon what meat doth this our Caesar feed. 
That he is grown so great ? 

— JulivLs Caesar, I, ii. 

If we were to print the names of Brutus and Caesar 
with quotation marks it would be clear at once that 
Cassius is referring to the names, not the persons, and 
the vocal expression would be subtly modified by the 
quotation marks. I think most editions of Shake- 
speare do not use the quotation marks, but I believe 
the meaning *would be more surely grasped, certainly 
more quickly, if they were used. 



PUNCTUATION 225 

Again, in the line : 

"Brutus" will start a spirit as soon as "Caesar/* 

it would seem to be aibsolutely necessary to print the 
names with quotation marks (as Rolfe does*); for 
in this case it is surely not intended that the man 
Brutus will start a spirit as soon as Caesar; it is the 
power of the name "Brutus" that is contrasted with 
the name "Caesar.** 

An example even more illuminating is the following 
from the play of Ulysses. Ulysses, the hero of the 
drama, passing through Hades in order to get news 
of his. wife, is stopped by one of the ghosts who, in 
reply to Ulysses' question, says, "She lives." But 
when Ulysses asks whether she is still true to him, the 
ghost merely repeats "She lives" and disappears. 
Then Ulysses, in despair, cries out: 

"Lives" and no more, is worse to me than "dead." 

This passage read carelessly is flat and almost with- 
out meaning, but the quoted words interpreted as they 
should be are full of passion and despair. Para- 
phrased the line would read, "To tell me that she lives 
and to say no more than that is worse than if you 
had spoken che word the very opposite of ^lives' — 
the word *dead.'" 

Sometimes one may quote a speaker who is quoting 
some other speaker, or a passage from literature. The 
following is an example. To express the meaning 
vocally is a nice problem for the reader. 



226 INTEBPEETATION OF THE FEINTED FAGE 



«« 



Let me quote from Rossetti's Life of Keats," he said. 
Mr. Rossetti writes as follows: 

'To one otf these phrases a few words of comment 
may be given. That axiom which concludes the "Ode on 
a Grecian Urn" — 

".* "Beauty is truths truth beauty, — ^that is all 
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know," 
is perhaps the most important contribution to thought 
which the poetry of Keats contains: it pairs with and 
transcends 

" ' "A thing of beauty is a joy forever." * 
"And now I shall conclude my first point,*' he con- 
tinued, "by remarking that . . ." 

(Be certain that you understand just why the 
writer of that passage used each one of the quotation 
marks, bearing in mind that "quoted prose matter 
which is broken up into paragraphs should have the 
quotation marks repeated at the beginning of each 
paragraph." Then, reading aloud, make another 
understand as clearly as you do, yourself.) 



CHAPTER XIII 

REVIEW EXERCISES IN PUNCTUATION 

Every selection in this chapter illustrates one or 
more phases of the problem of the interpretation of 
punctuation. They are rich in suggestion and will 
amply repay carefuUest study. Every extract should 
be read aloud. 

The importance of correctlv interpreting the punc- 
tuation marks warrants us in stuj^jijag.a great many 
passages, but your interest is more likely to grow than 
to wane as you find in each illustratio n « Y}^^^^ grip- 
ping problem t hat taxes your powers of lo p pV an d 
int erpret ation. For you see that the punctuation 
affe cts Grouping, Sequence, Motive^ Cen tral Idea — 
all the elements entering into the study of the printed 
page. 

I tell thee now, — and I shall keep my word, — 

If e'er again I find thee railing on. 

As now thou dost, then let Ulysses wear 

Hi-s head no longer, let me not be called 

The father of Telemachus, if I 

Shall fail to seize thee, and to strip thee bare 

Of cloak and tmiic, and whatever else 

Covers thy carcass, and to send thee forth. 

Howling, to air swift barks upon the shore. 

Scourged from the council with a storm of blows. 

— Iliad (Bryant's translation). . 

227 



228 INTEBPBETATION OF THE FEINTED PAGE 

(The first time you read this speech of Ulysses you 
are likely to interpret it as meaning that if ever again 
he hears the person railing he, Ulysses, will wear his 
head no longer. Study the commas carefully, and 
you will see that the entire speech, beginning with the 
second line, points forward continually to the end.) 

Why^ don't you understand what war is? 

(The above is the opening line of a poem recently 
published. Note what a difference in the vocal ex- 
pression the absence of the comma would make.) 

Death is here, and death is there, • 
Death is busy everywhere. 
All around, within, beneath. 
Above, is death; and we are death. 

— Shellet. 

Cassio, Dost thou hear, my honest friend ? 
Clown, No, I hear not your honest friend. I heaF 
you. — Othello, III, ii. 

A woman will, or won't, depend on 't. 

And more nearly, dying thus, resemble thee. 

I have another engagement, in Detroit, the same day. 

When will you marry, John? 

Go, for they call you, shepherd, from the hill. 

Wc are not what we think we are; 
But what we think, we are. 

The turkey strutted about the yard; two hours after, 
his head was cut off. 



REVIEW EXERCISES IN PUNCTUATION 229 

And with him many of thy people^ and knights 
Once thine, whom thou hast loved, but grosser grown 
Than heathen^ spitting at their vows and thee. 

(It is Sir Bedivere who is telling Arthur that it is 
Modred who leads the revolt against him, and that 
many of his former knights have joined the revolt. 
Parse **spitting.") 

Then answer'd Mary, "This shall never be. 
That thou shouldst take my trouble on thyself: 
And, now I think, he shall not have the boy, 
For he will teach him hardness, and to slight 
His mother." 

— Tennyson : Dora. 

(Mary is the wife of William, who has mamed her 
against his father's wishes. After William dies Dora 
tries to reconcile William's father and Mary. But the 
father is angry, telling Dora that he will take the 
young child and bring him up but that he never wants 
to see Dora's face again. It is after Dora returns to 
Mary, having left the child with its grandfather, that 
Mary uses the words printed above. The interesting 
part of the extract is in the third line.) 

Desdemona. Do not doubt, Cassio, 

But I will have my lord and you again 
As friendly as you were. 

— Othello, III, iii. 

What do you think ! I will shave you for nothing and 
give you a drink. 

What ! do you think I will shave you for nothing and 
give you a drink? 



230 INTEBPBETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

(The first of the two preceding lines was painted on 
a sign outside a barber shop. But after customers 
had been shaved they were apologetically told that the 
sign in front had been wrongly punctuated; that it 
should have read as it is printed in the second 
sentence.) 

You stole the money^ and you have woven a plot to 
lay the sin at my door. But you may prosper, for all 
that: there is no just God^ that governs the earth 
righteously^ but a God of lies^ that bears witness against 
the innocent. — Eliot: Silas Marner. 

(George Eliot knew how to punctuate and you must 
not destroy her meaning by overlooking certain sig- 
nificant commas in the sentence you have just been 
reading. ) 

For we are all, like swimmers in the sea. 
Poised on the top of a huge wave of fate. 
Which hangs uncertain to which side to fall. 

— Arnold: Sohrab and Rustum. 

(Are we all like swimmers in the sea.?) 

But when the next sun brake from underground, 
Then, these two brethren slowly with bent brows 
Accompanying, the sad chariot-bier 
Past like a shadow thro' the field, that shone 
Full-summer, to that stream whereon the barge, 
Paird all its length in blackest samite, lay. 
There sat the lifelong creature of the house. 
Loyal, the dumb old servitor, on deck. 
Winking his eyes, and twisted all his face. 

— Tennyson: Lancelot and Elaine. 



REVIEW EXERCISES IN PUNCTUATION 231 

(There are several catches in the above extract. It 
is a splendid warning against hasty reading. Note 
commas after "then/* "accompanying," "field," 
"samite." ParSe "twisted.") 

Robert of Sicily, brother of Pope Urbane 
And Valmond, Emperor of Allemaine, 
Appareled in magnificent attire. 
With retinue of many a knight and squire. 
On St. John's eve, at vespers, proudly sat 
And heard the priests chant the "magnificat." 
And as he listened, o'er and o'er again 
Repeated, like a burden or refrain. 
He caught the words, "Deposuit potentes 
De sede et exaltavit humiles" ; 
And slowly lifting up his kingly head 
He to a learned clerk beside him said, 
"What means those words ?" The clerk made 

answer meet, 
"He has put down the mighty from their seat. 
And has exalted them of low degree." 

— Longfellow: King Robert of Sicily. 

(In the first two lines you find the difficult problem. 
It is almost impossible to get the meaning the first 
time; but the commas will help you. The commas 
after "listened," and "repeated" need careful atten- 
tion. ) 

When shall we three meet again 
In thunder, lightning, or in rain ? 

— Macbeth, I, i. 

(I have heard many, many actresses and occasion- 
ally a student read the above speech of the first 
witch as if it were printed'. 



232 INTEEPRETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

When shall we three meet again ? 
In thunder^ lightnings or in rain? 

Prove that such an interpretation is nonsense.) 

Whirling and hoiling and roaring like thunder^ the 
stream came down upon them. 

England^ or the nation of shopkeepers, would never 
be asked to join such an alliance. 

England or France might be asked to join the alliance. 

Ross. Ah^ good father^ 

Thou seest^ the heavens^ as troubled with man's act^ 
Threaten his bloody stage. 

I'll tell you how the leaves come down; 

The great Tree to his children said; 
"You're getting sleepy. Yellow and Brown, 

Yes, very sleepy. Little Red. 

It is quite time to go to bed." 
— CooLiDOE : How the Leaves Came Dorem, 

Last, the Prussian trumpet blew; 
Thro' the long-tormented air. 
Heaven flash'd a sudden jubilant ray. 
And down we swept and charged and overthrew. 
— Tennyson: Ode on the Death 

of the Duke of Wellington. 

Histories make men wise; poets, witty; the mathe- 
matics, subtle; natural philosophy, deep; moral, grave; 
logic and rhetoric, able to contend. — Bacon. 

"Shall I bend low and in a bondman's key. 
With bated breath and whispering humbleness. 
Say this : 

'Fair sir, you spit on me on Wednesday last; 
You spurn'd me such a day ; another time 
You call'd me dog; and for these courtesies 
I'll lend you thus much moneys*.'*" 

— The Merchant of Venice, I, ill. 



BEVIEW EXERCISES IN PUNCTUATION 233 

Lo! in the middle of the wood^ 
The folded leaf is woo'd from out the bud 
With winds upon the branch, and there 
Grows green and broad, and takes no care, 
Sun-steep'd at noon, and in the moon 
Nightly dew- fed; and turning yellow 
Falls, and floats adown the air. 

— Tennyson: The Lotus Eaters. 

Then, stand there and hear 

The bird's quiet singing, that tells us 

What life is, so clear. 

Why strikes he not, the foremost one. 
Where murder's sternest deeds are done? 

And he call'd "Left wheel into line!" and they wheel'd 
and obey'd. 

— Tennyson : The Heavy Brigade, 

Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all 
the Saints. — The Bible. 

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, 
deluding your own selves. — The Bible. 

A husband and father has done something that his 
wife and daughter do not like, and the mother defend- 
ing him says : 

He can't help it, because he doesn't look at things 
just the way we do. 

(Is the comma used cortrectly? Look closely. Does 
the mother mean, "It isn't his fault if he doesn't look 
at things just the way we do"; or does she mean, 
"He simply cannot help it ; and the reason is that he 
doesn't look at things just the way we do"? In other 



234 INTEEPEETATIOK OP THE PBINTED PAGE 

words, the comma seems to tell us that the second in- 
terpretation is correct, and that "it" refers to the act 
which the mother and daughter did not like. But I 
incline to believe that, in the light of the rest of the 
story, the author didn't mean that, and that the comma 
crept in through an oversight. A very small matter^ 
to be sure, but how much difference the comma makes 
in the reading aloud!) 

A darK^ bine sediment was in the bottle. 
A dark blue bottle contained the sediment. 

She wore a bright^ red dress. 
She wore a bright red dress. 

He took it^ looked at it^ and opened it. 
He took it^ looked at it and opened it. 

He received congratulatory letters from Clark, Under- 
wood, Bryan and Tillman of South Carolina. 

(Comment on the last group.) 

Only a few minutes after the smoke cleared away and 
I saw the mountain in the distance. 

(Punctuate and then read.) 

I watched while he searched the room. 
I watched, while he searched the room. 

(Two radically different meanings. Explain. Read 
aloud.) 

He left the room leisurely. 
He left the room, leisurely. 

United, we stand; divided, we fall. 



BEVIEW EXEBCISES IN PUNCTUATION 235 

The prince^ his father being dead^ succeeded. 

For the things which are seen are temporal^ but the 
things which are not seen are eternal. 

His stories^ which made everybody laugh^ were often 
made to order. 

They passed the cup to the stranger^ who drank 
heartily. 

Hail to ye heralds^ of Zeus and of men the messengers 

sacred ! 
Forward^ and fear not ! not you I blame^ but your king^ 

Agamemnon. 

They are reliable^ painstakings men we can depend 
upon. 

All things that are^ are with more spirit chased than 
enjoyed. 

Whatever is, is right. 

Punish^ guide^ instruct the boy. 

The vain are easily obliged^ and easily disobliged. 

Strong proof s^ not a loud voice^ produce conviction. 

Though black; yet comely; and though rash^ benign. 

Learning is the ally^ not the adversary^ of genius. 

Though deep; yet clear ; though gentle^ yet not dull ; 
Strongs without rage; without o'erflowing^ full. 

Sink or swim^ live or die, survive or perish, I give my 
hand and my heart to this vote. 

The Venetian Senate entered into an alliance with the 
Emperor, Charles V., and the Pope, Paul III. 

William was slain, leaving one child, Alice. 



236 INTERPRETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

Patience^ I say ; your mind perhaps may change. 

Under certain conditions commas would be adequate 
marks of separation in the sentence ; under other con- 
ditions, the semicolon; why semicolons and dashes? 

The highest rank; — a splendid fortune; — and a name^ 
glorious till it was yours, — were sufficient to have sup- 
ported you with meaner abilities than I think you 
possess. 

The highest rank, a splendid fortune, and a name, 
glorious till it was yours, were sufficient to have sup- 
ported you with meaner abilities than I think you 
possess. 

The highest rank; a splendid fortune; and a name 
glorious till it was yours, were sufficient to have sup- 
ported you with meaner abilities than I think yon 
possess. 

. . . lowliness is young ambition's ladder. 
Whereto the climber-upward turns his face. 

— Julius Caesar. 

(What difference would it make if the hyphen were 
omitted in the above sentence?) 

Well — I don't know — that is — no, I cannot accept it. 

What does this honorable person mean by "a tempest 
that outrides the wind" } 

Hast thou never cried, "What must I do to be saved" ? 

But I boldly cried out, "Woe unto this city !" 

Alas, how few of them can say, "I. have striven to the 
very utmost" ! 

How fearful was the cry : "Help, or we perish" ! 



BEVIEW EXEBCISES IN PUNCTUATION 237 

The I-believe-of-Eastern derivation monosyllable 
"Bosh." 

Peace-at-any-rate principles. 

The one-day seen Sir Launcelot. 

These nine-year-fought-for-diamonds. 

A fellow in a market-town^ 

Most musical^ cried "Razors !" up and down^ 

And offered twelve for eighteen pence ; 
Which certainly seemed wondrous cheap^ 
And for the money quite a heap^ 

As every man would buy^ with cash and sense. 

"It isn't that/' said Scrooge^ heated by the remark 
and speaking unconsciously like his former^ not his 
latter^ self: "It isn't that^ Spirit." 

Little need to speak 
Of Lancelot in his glory ! King^ duke^ earl^ 
County baron — whom he smote he overthrew. 

— Tennyson: The Passing of Arthur. 

The bugle sounded; cavalry charged^ sabers clashed^ 
cannon roared ; the battle was on ! 

The bugle sounded^ cavalry charged^ sabers clashed, 
camion roared, the battle was on. 

The bugle sounded; cavalry charged; sabers clashed; 
cannon roared ; the battle was on ! 

The Duke of Portland warmly approved of the work, 
but justly remarked that the king was not "so absolute a 
thing of straw" as he was represented in it. 

"What have you done?" said one of Balfour's brother 
officers. "My duty," said Balfour firmly. "Is it not 
written, *Thou shalt be zealous even to slaying' ?' 



» ^»* 



288 INTEEPBETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

Before long^ Beckey received not only "the best" for- 
eigners (as the phrase is in our noble and admirable 
society slang) ^ but some of "the best" English people 
too. 

And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn oveT 
her [Babylon]^ for no man buyeth their merchandise 
any more ; merchandise of gold^ and silver^ and precious 
stone^ and pearls^ and fine linen^ and purple^ and silk^ 
and scarlet; and all thyine wood^ and every vessel of 
ivory, and every vessel made of most precious wood, and 
of brass, and iron, and marble ; and cinnamon, and spice, 
and incense, and ointment, and frankincense, and wine, 
and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and cattle, and sheep; 
and merchandise of horses and chariots and slaves; and 
souls of men. — Revelation, XVIII, 11, 12, 13. 

And I saw an angel standing in the sun ; and he cried 
with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in mid 
heaven. Come and be gathered together unto the great 
supper of God; that ye may eat the flesh of kings, and 
the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and 
the flesh of horses and of them that sit thereon, and the 
flesh of all men, both free and bond, and small and 
great. — Ibid., XIX, 17, 18. 

And he gave some, apostles ; and some, prophets ; and 
some, evangelists ; and some, pastors and teachers. 

A Scotch mist became a shower; and a shower, a flood; 
and a flood, a storm; and a storm, a tempest, thunder, 
and lightning; and thunder and lighting, heaven-quake 
and earth-quake. 

Hector, and ye who lead the troops of Troy 
And our auxiliars ! rashly do we seek 
To urge our rapid steeds across the trench 
So hard to pass, beset with pointed stakes, — 



BEVIEWEXEBCISES IN PUNCTUATION 239 

And the Greek wall so near. The troops of horse 
Cannot descend nor combat there: the space 
Is narrow: they would all be slain. 

— Iliad (Bryant's translation). 

We know what master laid thy keel. 
What workman wrought thy ribs of steel. 
Who made each mast, and sail, and rope. 
What anvils rang, what hammers beat. 
In what a forge, and what a heat. 
Were shaped the anchors of thy hope ! 

— Longfellow : Ship of State, 

Neither blindness, nor gout, nor age, nor penury, nor 
domestic afflictions, nor political disappointments, nor 
abuse, nor proscription, nor neglect, had power to dis- 
turb his sedate and majestic patience. — Macaulay: 
Essay on Milton. 

The sun, the moon, the stars, the seas, the hills, and the 

plains, — 
Are not these, O Soul, the Vision of Him who reigns ? 

— Tennyson. 

Days, months, years, and ages, shall circle away. 
And still the vast waters above thee shall roll. 

— Diamond : The Sailor Boy's Dream. 

I know not, my daughter. 

The old man smiled, and, for a few moments, sat 
buried in thought. He then said to them: "I, too, have 
lived to see all the hopes of my youth turn into shadows, 
clouds, and darkness, and vanish into nothing." 

"Under the porch away down low," 

The cricket chirruped in rare delight, 

"Is the place, I know 

For us all to go ; 

There's not the tiniest ray of light !" 



240 INTEEPBETATION OF THE PMNTED PAQE 

It has not been my purpose to teach you how to 
punctuate nor to ask you to give reasons for every 
punctuation point you find on the.printed page. Only 
such uses of punctuation are discussed as are likely 
to be misunderstood or ignored by the student, with 
the result that he incorrectly interprets both for him- 
self and when he reads aloud for others. 

Unfortunately authors and publishers are not a 
unit in their use of punctuation ; but this much is sure: 
in standard editions of works of the great authors 
past and present there are well-defined principles of 
punctuation. There may be difi^erences in details 
among authors ; but if our study has not been in vain 
. the student will have become keen enough by this time 
I to understand that fundamentally there is agreement 
\ among them. Moreover we have learned to pay par- 
ticular attention to the punctuation, first, because it 
ihelps us to get the meaning, and secondly, because 
that meaning will vitally afi^ect the vocal expression. 



CHAPTER XIV 

CONNOTATION 

In the study of the mark of exclamation your atten- 
tion was called to two significant passages, which I 
repeat : 

He must* not snspecft! 

and 

But she is in her grave, and^ oh^ 
The difference to me ! 

What do they denote? Briefly, the first says that a 
certain woman did a certain thing that she might pre- 
vent a certain man from suspecting what she was 
planning to do to save his life. The second says 
that someone is in her grave and I exclaim that this 
fact makes quite a diff^erence to me. Another exam- 
ple : "Twice two are four ; twice three are six ; twice 
four are eight." Imagine these are the words of a 
father to a son who has been extravagant as though 
there were no end to money, and the father says, "My 
son, you can't go on like this, spending money with 
no thought of the future: remember, *twice two are 
four ; twice three are six ; twice four are eight' !" Is 
there any thought or suggestiveness in those words 
now that was not there before ? 

241 



242 INTRBPBFTATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

Recall the passage from Enoch Arden ending with : 

A shipwreck'd sailor waiting for a sail! 

And again : Shylock is asked whether, in case An- 
tonio fails to pay him the three thousand ducats, he 
will insist on a pound of Antonio's flesh ; and further, 
he is asked what is the good of a pound of flesh, 
whereupon he snaps back : 

To bait fish withal; and if it will feed nothing else, 
it will feed my revenge. 

Do Shylock's first words mean merely that Antonio's 
flesh will prove very good bait for fishing? 

In the play, The Blue Bird, are two children so poor 
that they have cakes but twice a year. When they 
are asked whether they ever have cakes, one answers : 

Oh, yes, on New Year's and the fourteenth of July. 

Nearly everyone who hears or reads that answer 
laughs at "the fourteenth of July," thinking it to 
be a slip on the little boy's part intended for "the 
fourth of July." But the laugh springs from our 
ignorance that this play is laid in France, and that to 
Frenchmen "the fourteenth of July" has exactly the 
same meaning as "the fourth of July" has for Amer- 
icans, — it is France's Independence Day. So you see 
the passage isn't funny, and the laugh is on us for 
laughing at it. 

There is no single sentence in all the parables more 
exquisitely beautiful and touching than : 

But while he was yet a great way off, his father saw 
him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, 
and kissed him. 



CONNOTATION 243 

Could anything be simpler in its denotation? The] 
most hurried reading will give us the bald facts, but 
where in allTiterature is there a more noble and uplift- 
ing connotation than in the words: "But while he 
was yet a great way off, his father saw him"? A 
great way off, — a great way off, the father saw him. 
To paraphrase that is to destroy its beauty. Say it 
again, over and over, while its marvelous connotation 
possesses you entirely. "And ran" — ^that in two words 
is all a father's heart: "and ran," "and fell on his 
neck, and kissed him." 

And lastly: there is not much to love in the char- 
acter of Shylock ; but Shakespeare's art in softening 
his character is wonderfully manifested in one brief 
passage, the full significance of which few people see. 
They not only fail to get Shakespeare's purpose; 
they get a meaning the very reverse of what he in- 
tended. They are moved through their ignorance to 
hearty laughter where the poet's evident intention is 
to arouse, for a moment at least, a touch of pity for 
old Shylock. 

Jessica, Shylock's only child, has eloped, taking 
with her much money and many "precious, precious" 
jewels belonging to her father. Tubal, Shylock's 
friend, goes to Genoa in search of her, but cannot find 
her. All he learns is that she is spending Shylock's 
money recklessly: in one night she throws away 
**fourscore ducats," and Shylock bemoans his loss 
with: 

Thou stick'st a dagger in me. I shall never see my 
gold again. 



244 INTERPRETATION OP THE PRINTED PAGE 

Tubal continues, after telling of his meeting with 
some of Antonio's creditors : 

One of them showed me a ring that he had of your 
daughter for a monkey. 

Shyloch, Oat npon her! Thou torturest me^ Tubal: 
it was my turquoise; I had it of Leah^ when I was a 
bachelor. I would not have given it for a wilderness 
of monkeys. 

Again the audience bursts into laughter, no doubt 
admiring the mighty poet for his cleverness. And yet 
here is a passage of tenderest feeling. Shylock, the 
money lender, the miser, he who screams and howls 
when he hears that Jessica spent in one night four- 
score ducats, is still a lover carrying in his heart the 
enshrined image of his beloved wife. One glimpse of 
what was best in him is permitted to us, and we, 
through sheer ignorance, miss it entirely. "Monkey** 
in Shakespeare's day represented a good sized sum of 
money — many, many ducats. The turquoise was a 
much more precious stone in Shakespeare's time than 
it is now, but even so the ring could scarcely have 
been worth beyond the sum Jessica sold it for. Again, 
Shylock has just told Tubal that among the jewels 
stolen by Jessica was a diamond worth alone two thou- 
sand ducats. Now let us bring all these facts to- 
gether. Here is a diamond gone that cost two thou- 
sand ducats; here is the news of Jessica's spending 
fourscore ducats at one sitting, and these losses are 
daggers stuck into Shylock's heart. But when he 
hears that his turquoise is gone all sense of money 



CONNOTATION 245 

value leaves him. This little turquoise ring brings 
back his early love, his beloved Leah, and perhaps the 
days when Christian persecution had not poisoned his 
soul. His heart softens at the tender memory and 
vents its agony in the piteous cry: "Oh, Tubal! 
Tubal ! thou breakest my heart ! My ring ! my Leah's 
ring! For a monkey? a monkey? Oh, I would not 
have parted with it for a wilderness of monkeys !" A 
pun, to be sure, but a grim, ghastly joke, springing 
from an aching heart. All that was best and highest 
and noblest and most human in poor Shylock finds 
expression in those four words. Hate, despair, money 
lust, revenge, are gone ; and, in their stead, only the 
memory of his early love, his Leah. 

Long before this you doubtless have discovered why 
we have been spending so much time on passages 
many of which were studied in previous chapters. Thej^ 
purpose was to demonstrate that words have twd y 
aspects: to define and to suggest; and that of the twoi " 
the latter is in literature by far the more significant. » . 

I am under great obligation to Professor Barrett 
Wendell for his treatment of Denotation and Conno- 
tation. I can therefore do no better than let him 
speak directly to you. I quote from his English Com- 
position. I am taking a few, a very few, liberties 
with the original text: 

Every word [every group of words in the sense in 
which "group" is used throughout this book] names 
something in such a way as to identify it; [and further] 
it suggests along with it a very subtle and yariable set 
of associated ideas and emotions. 



246 INTEBPEETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

Den otation and Connotation go hand in ha nd. We 
do not in our reading make any effort to keep them 
apart, but that they can be discussed separately Pro- 
fessor Wendell clearly demonstrates. We must know 
what a wo rd denotes or its connotation is lost upon u s» 
and nnf fn hp nCPt^f>A hy f,[jP connotatjye as pect of 
literature is toj niss literat agg. itself . ^A simple th ing 
! is Co nnotation^ bjit JLinclude s everything iiL life. It 
is the associations of .tlxahjOme^Jths class^usiness, our 
sports a nd pastimg Si ^^^^^t jn ake them pleasa nt or un- 
I pleasant, and it is association that determines whether 
I literature shall or shall not. appeal to us. 

Why do public speakers ring all the changes on 
"our beloved country," "the flag," "the Stars and 
Stripes," "George Washington," and "Abraham 
Lincoln"? Because they are magic words stirring us 
through their suggestiveness, their connotation, often- 
times to reckless, uncontrolled enthusiasm. 
I Of course, the connotation of a word is different 
j for different people, and even for the same individual 
^y j at different times ; but the greatest artists are those 
y I whose genius leads them to select those words that 
' arouse in the largest number of their readers the asso- 
\ ciated thoughts and emotions which "clusterl' about a 
: given idea. 

Think for a moment over some of the examples in 
the preceding pages of this chapter: "the fourteenth 
of July," "my turquoise," and "ran." Is it not mar- 
velous, the power of these commonplace words! 
\ But in order that we may get the fullest connota- 
jtion out of any passage, we must, granted we have the 



CONNOTATION 247 

denotation, go slowly, dwelling, lingering on a word 
or on a line — lazing over it, as it were. Wordsworth, 
in The Daffodils^ says, after describing a field of 
daffodils : 

I gazed — and gazed — but little thought 
What wealth the show to me had brought: 
For oft^ when on my couch I lie 

In vacant or in pensive mood^ 
They flash upon that inward eye 

Which is the bliss of solitude. 
And then my heart with pleasure fills. 
And dances with the daffodils. 

*fl gazed — and gazed." (How much connotation 
in the dashes; commas would have expressed the bare 
fact !) That's just what we won't do : we won't gaze 
long enough to permit the picture, the idea, to possess 
us wholly. True, sometime s our whole b eing is 
stirred inst antly by som e wnrd^ ^ gmq Jlgfg;^^^ - the 
connotation is pr esent alm ost as.,gflfliL^ the denota- 
tion ; but the fullest connotation cannot be realized by 
the hurried, careless reader. "The wealth" comes 
only to those who "gaze — and gaze." 

Hurry, hurry, is the greatest enemy of literary 
appreciation and enjoyment. Only things of little 
worth can be got in a hurry. You can take in at a 
glance the twenty-foot sign advertising Peekins' 
Ghebkins, but the landscape which the- bill board 
desecrates will give up its richest beauty only to those 
who look at it again and again. So it is with a line 
of literature. 

Since we are now in a mood to gaze and gaze, let 



248 INTlBRPRETATION OP THE FEINTED PAGE 

US take leave of the subject with the discussion of two 
sentences simple in denotation, most stirring in their 
connotation. 

The democratic patriot Brutus cannot endure the 
idea that Rome shall be under one man's rule. This 
makes it the esusier for Cassius to induce him to join 
the conspiracy. Cassius ends the first part of his 
speech of instigation with the word "alone." What 
connotation in that for noble Brutus ! 

Ye gods^ it doth amaze me 
A man of such a feeble temper should 
So get the start of the majestic world 
And bear the palm alone. 

At this moment the distant cheering of the mob 
comes to Brutus' ears, and he says: 

I do believe that these applauses are 

For some new honors that are heaped on Caesar; 

whereon Cassius retorts: 

Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world 
Like a Colossus, and we petty men 
Walk under his huge legs and peep about 
To find ourselves dishonorable graves. 

Often as you have read those lines, have you until 
now appreciated Shakespeare's art in using them? 
"Bestride," "Colossus" (think of the proud Brutus 
picturing himself a pigmy walking — ^so tall is this 
Colossus — ^under Caesar's huge legs), and "peeping" 
(the very sound of that word is alive with connotation, 






CONNOTATION 249 

especially in contrast with the sound in "huge") and 
"dishonorable graves." Ah, you must know the deno- 
tation of "bestride" and "Colossus," or lose the con- 
notation ; but granted the denotation in Brutus' case, 
how he must have been swept on, stoic though he was, 
by the connotative appeal in Cassius' impassioned 
words. 

At Linden was fought a battle of which the poet 
sings in his great war lyric, Hoherdinden. The open- 
ing words are : 

On Linden^ when the sun was low^ 
All bloodless lay th' imtrodden snow. 

Linger over the picture. See it, and catch the thrill 
of that moment when, through the magic of words, 
we feel ourselves in the presence of what is to be. 
"All bloodless" is the ominous suggestion of what the 
next day's sun will reveal. "Th* untrodden snow"! 
All snow as it falls is "untrodden." The denotation 
and connotation here unite to produce an effect that 
makes the heart beat high as we stand before the cur- 
tain which, when it rises, shall reveal the awful hor^ 
rors of war. 

A, sentence from Wendell would seem to apply to 
those words : "Yet the force of this [statement] lies 
not in what is actually said, but wholly in what is 
implied, suggested, connotated." 

Does not the sentence in the following paragraph 
from Professor Bates's Talks on Writing English 
explain why we are interested in and enjoy the vari- 
ous connotations discussed throughout this chapter? 



250 INTEEPEETATION OF THE FEINTED PAGE 

The thing which the writer has caused the reader to 
think — or even to suppose himself to think — ^is sure to 
interest him. The dullest of bores is absorbed in his 
own words^ and in effect that which the reader receives 
^7 suggestion is his own thought. What is denoted is 
the word of the writer ; what is connoted is for the time 
being the thought of the reader. 

And a second paragraph from Professor Bates : 

Since the secret of Force lies in connotation^ in the 
suggestiveness which leads the mind onward into the 
mood so that it seems to itself to originate the ideas 
which are really given to it directly or indirectly by the 
author^ it follows that in the use of figures is one of the 
most effectual means of securing this quality. Job says^ 
"My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle," and with 
the plain statement of the brevity of life come sugges- 
tions of the inevitableness of this brevity; we seem to 
see man' tossed by the hand of the unseen, as a shuttle 
is thrown by the hand of the weaver, flung to and fro 
without power to stay or to resist. The whole despair- 
ing mood of the afflicted patriarch is summed up in the 
single simile. To come nearer to our own times, take 
that simile which is perhaps the most beautiful in Eng- 
lish literature outside of Shakespeare: 

Fair as a star when only one 
Is shining in the sky. 

What is suggested is all the serenity of the eventide; 
the hush which comes between the daylight and the 
dark; the sense of peace; that feeling that a mystery is 
being wrought before our very eyes, when out of the 
faintly rose-purple haze of the sky throbs into radiance 
the first star. There is, too, that sense of restfulness 
that belongs to the twilight coolness, and, in some unde- 



CONNOTATION 



251 



finable way^ an idea of the purity and innocence too 
high and too subtle to be defined. 

It may be asked, then, why the reader needs to have 
his attention called to Connotation, since its app eal to 
the imagina tion is in stantane ous, and doesn^t h ftve to 
be worked out lik e a problem in geomet ry. True, it 
doesn't : but 1 wanted to impress upon you that 
authors use words deliberately to touch the imagina- 
tion; and, furthermore, I would convince you that 
while you can dig out the facts in books of informa- 
tion, the appeal that literature makes comes only to 
those who gaze and gaze. To catch the glory of one 
great line of poetry is forever to be poetic. It is 
experience we seek in literature, not knowledge ; it is 
the joy, the ecstasy, the delight of sharing with an 
artist his vision of what most mortals would not see 
without him. You can't be examined on what is best 
in literature, on the soul of things ; you can only like 
or dislike ; appreciate or ignore. 

But I have dwelt on Connotation so long to show 
you that, although it appeals to us di rectly, w ithout 
fitnd y , (when w^ kno^ thp denotation) , we mtist dwell, 
we must come with open mind, leisurely, for pleasure's 
sake; not frivolously, nor yet with the contracted 
brow of the philosopher ; but in a mood, shall I say ? 
pleasantly serious, or seriously playful. 

Revelatory as the discussion of Connotation has 
been, it has merely emphasized what we have always 
known : that words are suggestive, and that they stir 
us emotionally. But have we not learned the greatest 
of all lessons in connection with the study of litera- 



I 



252 INTEEPEETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

i ture? learned that it can't be taught: that it can 
only be presented to you for your acceptance or rejec- 
tion? You have come to see that it appeals not to the 
practical or scientific side of your nature, but to the 
imaginative; that its purpose is to give you "de- 
light," as Lowell says, through the arousal of the 
emotions ; and Connotation is the most important ele- 
ment in stirring the imagination and arousing the 
feelings. Your "delight" is in the pictures, ideas, 
thoughts, characters, music, of the verse and prose 
which is called literature. You have come to see now 
that without denotation the connotation may escape 
I you entirely; and, best of all, you see that all you 
I know of life, art, history, science, nature, the wider 
: will for you be the connotation of literature. 

There are no "Review Exercises" in this chapter. 
Every illustration in the book has exemplified Connota- 
tion, and much of the pleasure and advantage you 
have derived from your study has been connotative; 
but I purposely avoided calling your attention to it 
earlier because I wanted you to discover it for your- 
self, even though you never called it by that name. 
You were richly rewarded (were you not?) for the 
time you spent in studying Grouping and Punctuation 
and Central Idea, and the rest ; but you little thought 
what wealth to you that study had brought in 
Connotation. 

And it is the connotation that makes literature 
great. David did not sing, "The Lord is my shep- 
herd," and "As the hart panteth after the water 
brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God" ; Milton 



CONNOTATION 253 

did not sing, ^^Eyeless, in Gaza, at the mill, with 
slaves" ; nor did Shakespeare sing his thousand thou- 
sand melodies — to give us facts for class study ! They 
saw the beauty of the universe and sang it for us. 

It is the beauty about us in man and nature that 
stirs the artist's heart and is the impulse to create. It 
is what the ordinary man fails to see that moves the 
artist's soul and urges hihi to expression, whether he 
be painter or sculptor or poet. To arouse deep feel- 
ing — of joy or pity or indignation or love — that is 
art's mission. Everything in literature depends upon 
the connotation. And the connotation depends upon 
our experience, our temperament, our education. 
What moves me may not move others, and what stirs 
them may leave me cold. But the greatest artist is he 
whose appeal is most nearly universal, to all peoples 
and to all times. 



CHAPTER XV 

EMOTION 

In The Merchant of Venice Antonio, who hates 
Shylock, frequently calls him "a dog." • Later An- 
tonio asks Shylock to lend him money, and the latter 
says, "Hath a dog money?" It is not difficult to 
understand what Shylock means, but how he feels is 
quite another matter. He may be merely bitter; or 
again, he may be smiling his sarcasm ; or, he may be 
deeply angered. Read the passage according to the 
suggested markings: 

Hath a dog money? (as a simple^ unemotional ques- 
tion). 

Hath a dog money? (with a smile^ sarcastically). 

Hath a dog money? (angrily^ and with a sneer). 

In all cases the denotation is the same, but the C09- 
n ptation js ^radioajl y different every time you r ead it, 
the . diif erence ^depending on p)^y^nrlf^«=^ ^H^'^g ; and 
unless we understand that and, in fact, enter to some 
degree into it, we do not understand the passage in 
the true sense of the word. 

Astonishment and anger blend in the speech of 
Cassius to Brutus when he describes the weakness 
of this Caesar who now, according to Cassius, wishes 
to be king of Rome : 

254 



EMOTION 255 

He had a fever when he was in Spain^ 

And when the fit was on him I did mark 

How he did shake: 'tis true^ this god did shake; 

His coward lips did from their color ^y, 

And that same eye whose hend doth awe the world 

Did lose his lustre. I did hear him groan ; 

Ay^ and that tongue of his^ that bade the Romans 

Mark him and write his speeches in their books^ 

Alas^ it cried, "Give me some drink, Titinius," 

As a sick girl. Ye gods, it doth amaze me 

A man of such a feeble temper should 

So get the start of the majestic world 

And bear the palm alone. 

' — Julius Caesar, I, ii. 

How cold and meaningless, then, would be all such / 
passa ges TT^^ey" were r ead without e motio n ! And/ 
more than that, I repeat, it is extremely doubtful 
whether one can be said really and fully to grasp 
them unless he does eret the emotional val ue. A prob- 
lem in chemistry or a proposition in geometry would 
be ridiculous if read with emotion. These are essen- 
tially unemotional; but contrariwise, how spoiled 
would be Whitman's beautiful and touching poem on 
the death of Lincoln if the emotional element were 
lacking in the reading. Read it aloud : 

O Captain ! my Captain ! our fearful trip is done, 

The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought 

is won. 
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting, 
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and 

daring; 
But O heart ! heart ! heart ! 

O the bleeding drops of red. 



256 INTEEPEETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

Where on the deck my Captain lies^ 
Fallen cold and dead. 

O Captain ! my Captain ! rise np and hear the bells ; 
Rise up — for you the flag is flung — for you the bugle 

trills^ 
For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths — for you the 

shores a-crowding^ 
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces 
turning; 
Hear Captain! dear father! 
This arm beneath your head! 

It is some dream that on the deck, 
You've fallen cold and dead. 

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still. 
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will. 
The ship is anchored safe and sound, its voyage closed 

and done. 
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object 
won; 
Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells ! 
But I with mournful tread. 

Walk the deck my Captain lies. 
Fallen cold and dead. 
— Whitman: O Captain! My Captain! 

Many students seem to be ash amed to express em o- 
tion in their r eading; ot hers believe they canno t ex- 
press it vocally ; but both classes are mistaken. Ob- 
i serve them, at home, on the playground, and they 
overflow with feeling of one kind and another. Let 
these students once understand how much they lose of 
the pleasure of literature by ignoring the emotional 
element; let them once experience the joy of fullest 
expression, and they will soon find they can express 



EMOTION 257 

the feeling. Perhaps, too, there are some who have 
come to believe that it is a sign of weakness or child- 
ishness to express emotion ; but consider for a moment 
that the very essence of life is feeling; that all art, 
and particularly the art of literature, is in the last 
analysis not much but feeling, and the self -conscious- 
ness, which is the chief drawback to full expres- 
sion, is more than likely to disappear. 

To show .the importance of the emotional content 
let us examine some passages from great authors in 
which the emotion is described, in order that there 
may be no doubt in the reader's mind concerning it. 
Surely, if an author goes to the pains of describing 
the feeling with which certain words are uttered, we 
cannot read those words aloud and do justice to the 
author's intention unless we manifest the emotion in 
our own voices. Even if we do not read aloud, it is 
impossible for us to enter into the spirit of the text 
unless we experience to some degree the emotion as 
described by the author. 

Read the next scene, from Greorge Eliot's The Mill 
on the Floss: 

"Well, but, Tom, you know if mother let me give you 
two half crowns you could buy some more rabbits 
with it." 

"More rabbits ? I don't want any more." 

"Oh, but, Tom, they're all dead." 

"You forgot to feed 'em, then?" he said, his color 
heightening. "I don't love you, Maggie. You shan't go 
fishing with me tomorrow. I told you to go and see the 
rabbits every day." 

"Yes. But I forgot — and I couldn't help it, Tom 



258 INTEEPEETATION OF THE FEINTED FAGE 

I'm very sorry," said Maggie, while the tears rushed 
fast. 

"You're a naughty girl," said Tom, severely, "and 
I'm sorry I bought you the fish-line. I don't love you." 

"Oh, Tom," so.bbed Maggie, "I'd forgive yoi; if you 
forgot anything — I'd forgive you and love you." 

"Yes, you're a silly; but I never do forget things — I 
don't. You're a naughty girl, and you shan't go fishing 
with me tomorrow." 

With this terrible conclusion, Tom ran away from 
Maggie toward the mill. 

When you came to the words, "You forgot to feed 
'em, then?" you could not tell at once how Tom felt. 
The words themselves do not suggest the emotion ; it 
might have been merely a simple question on Tom's 
part. But as you read further the author adds, "he 
said, his color heightening." Under the circum- 
stances what does his heightening color connote.'* 
You may answer "anger" ; but heightening color does 
not always suggest anger. Then you read still fur- 
ther and see that he really is angry. Now that you 
have found how he feels, you can read the line with 
Tom's emotion. 

Take the next little paragraph, which contains 
Maggie's answer. Not until you come to the author's 
description of Maggie's tears do you understand 
how she felt. She really is weeping when she says 
the word "yes," but there is no way for the person 
who is reading at sight to know that. There are a 
hundred ways in which to utter the word "yes," but 
there is only one right way in this particular case. 

A few lines further, after Tom has told Maggie he 



EMOTION 259 

doesn't love her, she says, "Oh, Tom," but you cannot 
tell what her feeling is until you get to the descrip- 
tion "sobbed Maggie." If, then, you want your 
audience to get the true picture of Maggie you must 
get the sobbing mood before you speak the words 
"Oh, Tom," etc. This principle, that you must get] 
the mood before you can read the words with the righ1 
feeling, applies to every group you read aloud. Yoi 
must never forget that the author or character feeh 
before he expresses^ and that we, therefore, in repre- 
senting that author or character, must do likewise. 

Furthermore, you must not forget that the emotion 
may change many times within one paragraph or 
scene. In the following, from Dickens' A Christmas 
Carols there is a great deal of emotional variety : 

"A merry Christmas^ uncle! God save you!" cried a 
cheerful voice. It was the voice of Scrooge's nephew, 
who came upon him so quickly that this was the first 
intimation Scrooge had of his approach. 

"Bah !" said Scrooge ; "humbug I" 

"Christmas a humbugs uncle? You don't mean that^ 
I am sure." 

"I do," said Scrooge. "Merry Christmas ! What right 
have you to be merry? What reason have you to be 
merry ? You're poor enough." 

"Come, then," returned the nephew gayly. "What 
right have you to be dismal? You're rich enough." 

Scrooge. having no better answer ready, said "Bah!" 
again and followed it up with "Humbug !" 

"Don't be cross, uncle !" said the nephew. 

"What else can I be," returned the uncle, "when I 
live in such a world of fools as this? If I had my will, 
every idiot who goes about with 'Merry Christmas' on 



260 INTEEPRETATION OF THE FEINTED PAGE 

his lips should he hoiled with his own pudding and huried 
with a stake of holly through his heart. He should !" 

"Uncle !" 

"Nephew, keep Christmas in your own way, and let 
me keep it in mine." 

"Keep it ! But you don't keep it." 

"Let me leave it alone, then. Much good may it do 
you ! Much good it has ever done you !" 

• •.*••• 

"Unde, though it has never put a scrap of gold or 
silver in my pocket, I helieve that it has ditne me good, 
and will do me good ; and I say, God hless it !" 

Scrooge, a bitter, mean, sour old miser, is sitting 
in his office on Christmas Eve when his nephew bursts 
into the room. In the opening paragraph there are 
three distinct moods: first, the joy of the nephew; 
then, your rather bright comment on the nephew's 
voice; and third, the simple explanation of the visit. 
The reply of Scrooge shows all his contempt for 
Christmas. His mood is what we call familiarly 
"grouchy"; then note the surprise in the nephew's 
rejoinder, "Christmas a humbug, uncle.''" and so on, 
the mood changing in almost every group to the end. 
In the next example the moods are not so strongly 
contrasted as in the Dickens scene. Sometimes it is 
only a question of degree of the same mood, as in the 
opening lines. This speech is a continuation of the 
scene we have already studied in Julias Caesar. T\Tien 
one of the leaders of the mob has told Marullus, after 
much joking, that the citizens have been making a 
holiday to see Caesar and to rejoice in his triumph, 
Marullus, who dislikes Caesar, retorts : 



EMOTIOM 261 

Wherefore rejoice? What conquest brings he home? 

What tributaries follow him to Rome^ 

To grace in captive bonds his chariot wheels ? 

His anger grows with each group. This increasing 
emotion is suggested by the printing: 

Wherefore rejoice? . 

What conquest brings he home? 

What tributaries follow him to Rome, 

To grace in captive bonds his chariot wheels? 

By this method of marking I do not mean to say that 
Marullus shouts more loudly with each succeeding 
group, but that his passion increases. The anger 
grows still more intense as he sweeps on : 

YOU BLOCKS, YOU STONES, YOU WOBSE THAN 
SENSELESS THINGS I 

Then comes to him the memory of the love the citizens 
formerly bore to Pompey, whose sons Caesar has jus\ 
overthrown in battle, and his mood softens : he is not 
so angry as he is grieved over their ingratitude. He 
seems to chide rather tenderly (just as your teacher 
might say, when you had done something he felt to 
be unworthy of you, "It is too bad that a fellow like 
you should do a thing like that") when he says: 

O you hard hearts^ you cruel men of Rome; 

but at this point a new point of view occurs to him : 
Knew you not Pompey? 

He is not asking a question for information; he 



262 INTERPBBTATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

knows that they knew Pompey ; but he means "Is it 
possible, after all the love you bore to Pompey, that 
now, when his enemy, Caesar, appears, you forget 
your former friend?" There is overwhelming aston- 
ishment, perhaps blended with regret, that is ex- 
pressed in those four words. Read now the remain- 
der of the paragraph silently, studying it carefully 
for the various moods, and then read the entire speech 
aloud and convey to the listeners its emotion : 

Many a time and oft 
Have you climb'd up to walls and battlements. 
To towers and windows, yea, to chinmey tops. 
Your infants in your arms, and there have sat 
The livelong day, with patient expectation^ 
To see great Pompey pass the streets of Rome ; 
And when you saw his chariot but appear^ 
Have you not made an universal shout. 
That Tiber trembled underneath her banks. 
To hear the replication of your sounds 
Made in her concave shores? 
And do you now put on your best attire ? 
And do you now cull out a holiday ? 
And do you now strew flowers in his way. 
That comes in triumph over Pompey's blood? 
Begone ! 

Run to your houses, fall upon your knees. 
Pray to the gods to intermit the plague 
That needs must light on this ingratitude. 

The following bit of nonsense is a good exercise 
in vocal variety: 

One hot day, last summer, a young man, dressed in 
thin clothes, entered a Broadway car, and, seating him- 
self opposite a stout old gentleman, said, pleasantly: 



((1 



<<1 



tt^ 






EMOTION 263 

"Pretty warm, isn't it?" 

"What's pretty warm?" 
'Why, the weather." 
'What weather?" 
'Why, this weather." 

"Well, how's this different from any other weather?" 
'Well, it's warmer." 
'How do you know it is ?" 
1 suppose it is. 

"Isn't the weather the same everywhere?" 

"Why, n-o, — no; it's warmer in some places, and 
colder in others." 

"What makes it warmer in some places than it's colder 
in others?" 

"Why, the sun, — ^the effect of the sun's heat." 

"Makes it colder in some places than it's warmer in 
others ? Never heard of such a thing." 

"No, no, no, — I didn't mean that. The sun makes it 
warmer." 

"Then what makes it colder?" 

"I believe it's the ice." 

'What ice?" 

'Why, the ice — the i-c-e — the ice that was frozen 
by — by — by the frost." 

"Have you ever seen any ice that wasn't frozen?" 

"No. That is, I don't believe I have." 

"Then what are you talking about?" 

"I was just trying to talk about the weather." 

"And what do you know about it ? — what do you know 
about the weather?" 

"Well, I thought I knew something; but I see I don't, 
and that's a fact." 

"No, sir ; I should say you didn't ! Yet you come into 
this car, and force yourself on the attention of a stranger, 
and begin to talk about the weather, just as if you owned 
it; and I find you don't know a solitary thing about the 
matter." — The Weather Fiend. 



tty 



ii^ 



264 INTERPBETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

There is nothing new about this aspect of interpre- 
tation. We ny^/»r>Tif;Tinn|]y ffalinfT ftnd rTprming 

our feeling; why, then, are we so diffid ent in vocal 
expression? Xet us suppose that school is dismissed 
and that as you leave someone asks you where you 
are going, and that you answer carelessly : "Oh, Fm 
going home." Your manner indicates that you are 
simply stating a fact. Suppose, however, that in the 
midst of a highly interesting game of football your 
father insists upon your going home at once and that 
you reluctantly leave the game. On your way home 
someone asks: "Where are you going?" and you 
reply, "Oh, shucks, Pm going home." What a dif- 
ference in your voice ! Suppose you are very angry 
at leaving the game; express your feelings in the 
answer, "Oh, Fm going home !" But if you had been 
away to school for several months and had been long- 
ing to go home, what joy there would be in your 
answer if, as you were running to the train, someone 
asked where you were going and you called out, "Oh, 
I'm going home !" 

You see, the variations are the result of feelings 
caused by the idea of going home under different cir- 
cumstances. The words and meaning are in each case, 
the same, but the feelings in your answers are rad- 
ically different. The emotion affe cted vour m anne/ 
and the quality of your voice, and these, and n ot the 
words, i ndic ated your feeling. Of course, your face 
and body wiiraIso"^l)e aJTected by the emotioiTand "will 
express as much of ypurJielmg^ay duey your Voice. 
But the bodily and faciaLexpression may be safely 



EMOTION 265 

left to take care of themselves. It is^ th en, what yon J 
are experiencing emotionally — whether you are angry, 
or ^l adr7fT6"rry,~eFc.3 t haT^ferj^ the'exp ression 
of the feeling. This is what we mean by "emotional 
values7" In our daily lives we are constantly express- 
ing values: we express ourselves as being gay, or , 
sad, or dejected; but when it comes to reading aloud 
we frequently fail to express any emotion. 

I have heard a scene from the third chapter of 
Silas Mamer utterly spoiled through the failure of 
the student to observe the emotional values. You re- 
member that Grodfrey Cass has married Molly Farren 
without the knowledge of his father. Godfrey's 
brother, Doinsey, knows the secret, and compels his 
brother to give him money to remain silent. Godfrey, 
without his father's knowledge, has collected the rent 
from one of the tenants and handed it over to Dunsey. 
The father is impatient to have the rent (not knowing 
it has been paid), and is threatening to turn out the 
tenant unless he pays. In great distress Godfrey 
sends for his brother, who comes, and the following 
scene takes place. That the author wants the reader 
to undei^tand the emotion in the brothers' speeches is 
seen by the pains she takes to describe details. Dun- 
sey's first sentence is spoken in a "mocking tone," and 
Godfrey answers him "savagely"; Dunsey replies 
"sneeringly" ; and how markedly the elder brother's 
emotion is suggested by the sentence, "Godfrey bit his 
lip and clenched his fist"! This scene and the next 
must be read aloud with close attention to the author's 
suggestions regarding emotion : 



266 INTERPRETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

It was the once hopeful Godfrey who was standing 
with his hands in his side-pockets and his back to the 
fire one late November afternoon. 

The door opened^ and a thick-set, heavy-looking young 
man entered in the first stage of intoxication. It was 
Dunsey. 

"Well, Master Godfrey, what do you want with me?" 
said he, in a mocking tone. 

"Why, this is what I want — ^and just shake yourself 
sober and listen, will you?" said Godfrey, savagely. "I 
want to tell you, I must hand over that rent of Fowler's 
to the Squire, or tell him I gave it you." 

"Oh!" said Dunsey, sneeringly. "Suppose, now, you 
get the money yourself, and save me the trouble, eh? 
Since you was so kind as to hand it over to me, you'll 
not refuse me the kindness to pay it back for me; it 
was your brotherly love made you do it, you know." 

Godfrey bit his lip and clenched his fist. "Don't 
come near me with that look, else I'll knock you down." 

"Oh, no, you won't. Because I'm such a good-natured 
brother, you know. I might get you turned out of house 
and home, and cut off with a shilling any day. I might 
tell the Squire how his handsome son was married to 
that nice young woman, Molly Farren, and was very 
unhappy because he couldn't live with his drunken wife. 
But you see, I don't do it — I'm so easy and good-natured. 
You'll get the hundred pounds for me — I know you will." 

In a scene later (chapter vii) there is much stress 
laid on the emotion. When Silas discovers the loss of 
his gold he suspects one of the loose characters of the 
village, and goes to the inn to find him. 

For a few moments there was a dead silence, Marner's 
want of breath and agitation not allowing him to speak. 
The landlord ... at last took on himself the task of 
adjuring the ghost. 



EMOTION 267 






Master Marner," he said, in a conciliatory tone, 
what's lacking to you? What's your business here?" 
Robbed!" said Silas, gaspingly. "I've been robbed! 
I want the constable — and the justice — and Squire 
Cass — and Mr. Crackenthorp." 

"Lay hold on him, Jem Rodney," said the landlord, 
the idea of a ghost subsiding; "he's off his head, I doubt. 
He's wet through." 

"Come and lay hold on him yourself, Mr. Snell, if 
you've a mind," said Jem, rather sullenly. "He's been 
robbed, and murdered, too, for what I know," he added, 
in a muttering tone. 

"Jem Rodney!" said Silas, turning and fixing his 
strange eyes on the suspected man. 

"Ay, Master Marner, what do you want wi' me?" said 
Jem, trembling a little, and seizing his drinking-can 
as a defensive weapon. 

"If it was you stole my money," said Silas, clasping 
his hands entreatingly, and raising his voice to a cry, 
"give it me back, — and I won't meddle with you. I 
won't set the constable on you. Give it me back, and I'll 
let you — I'll let you have a guinea." 

"Me stole your money?" said Jem, angrily. "I'll 
pitch this can at your eye if you talk o' my stealing your 
money." 

"Come, come. Master Marner," said the landlord, now 
rising resolutely, and seizing Marner by the shoulder, 
"if you've got any information to lay, speak it out sen- 
sible, and show as you're in your right mind, if you 
expect anybody to listen to you. You're as wet as a 
drowned rat. Sit down and dry yourself, and speak 
straightforrard." 

"Ay, ay, make him sit down," said several voices at 
once, well pledsed that the reality of ghosts remained 
still an open question. 



268 INTERPRETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

Authors do not always describe so definitely as in 
the above scenes the feelings of the speakers, but in 
many cases the language, without any remark of the 
author, indicates the emotions. For instance, in the 
next example we recognize these at once, although the 
author does not state explicitly what they are. If 
you read the passage aloud you will find it difficult to 
keep out the emotion. In Horseshoe Robinson*8 Rtise, 
a story of the Revolutionary War, some English sol- 
diers have taken refuge in a hut from danger and 
attack, and have left their muskets out of reach at the 
farther end of the room. Suddenly an American ser- 
geant appears at the door, crying: 

"I demand the surrender of all here," as he planted 
himself between the party and their weapons. "I will 
shoot down the first man who moves a foot." 

"Leap to your arms!" cried the young officer who 
commanded the little party inside of the house. "Why 
do you stand?" 

"I don't want to do you or your men any harm^ young 
man," said Robinson, as he brought his rifie to a level; 
"but I will not leave one of you to be put upon a muster 
roll if you raise a hand at this moment!" 

Both parties now stood for a brief space eyeing each 
other, in a fearful suspense. "You see," continued the 
sergeant^ "it's not worth while fighting five to one; so 
take my advice, and surrender to the Continental Con- 
gress and this scrap of its army which I command." 

The English officer, believing his force to be outnum- 
bered, said: 

"Lower your rifle, sir. In the presence of a superior 
force, taken by surprise and without arms, it is my duty 
to save bloodshed. With the promise of fair usage and 



EMOTION 269 

• 

the rights of prisoners of war, I surrender this little 
foraging party under my command." 

"I'll make the terms agreeable; never doubt me, sir. 
Officer," said the sergeant, addressing one of his sub- 
ordinates, "advance and receive the arms of the pris- 
oners !" 

In the speech of both officers there is a good deal of 
emotion and characterization; but the author says 
nothing of these: the words and the situation are 
enough. 

A very simple but convincing illustration of the 
power of a few words to convey emotion in dramatic 
narrative is found in Tennyson's Passing of Arthur. 
Anyone who fails to picture the dying king growing 
weaker and weaker, rebuking Sir Bedivere for deceiv- 
ing him, who does not, at least to some extent, enter 
imaginatively into the king's moods, who does not 
conceive his very physical as well as mental and 
emotional conditions, will surely miss much of the 
poet's intention: certainly he cannot hope to read 
aloud effectively the exquisitely beautiful narrative. 
It is idle talk to say one understands such a scene but 
cannot give it emotional expression. It is not so; 
one can, if he will but strive to see the pictures vividly, 
live with them; and then, with no effort after elocu- 
tionary effect, simply express, trying only to make 
others see and feel what the poet has set before us. 

The noble King Arthur, deserted by many of his 
knights, while those who have been faithful to him 
have fallen in battle — all but one, the "bold Sir Bedi- 
vere" — lies wounded unto death, with only Sir Bedi- 



270 INTERPRETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

▼ere to comfort him. By his side lies his good sword 
Excalibur, which, when first he became king, rose from 
out the bosom of the very lake beside which he lies 
dying. This sword he bids Sir Bedivere take and 
fling into the lake from which it came, to "watch what 
he sees" and quickly return to his king. So over 
rugged rocks climbs the Knight, but when he is about 
to cast the sword away its marvellous beauty causes 
him to hesitate, and finally he hides it, and slowly re- 
turns to his king, who asks : 



"What is it thou hast seen? or what hast heard?" 

and answer comes : 

"I heard the ripple washing in the reeds. 
And the wild water lapping on the crag." 

Then the poem continues : 

To whom replied King Arthur, faint and pale: 
"Thou hast betray'd thy nature and thy name." 

And I have italicized the words denoting Arthur's con- 
dition, a condition which will appeal to your imagina- 
tion, and that will in turn vitally afi^ect your interpre- 
tation of Arthur's entire speech. Arthur continues : 

"This is a shameful thing for men to lie. 
Yet now, I charge thee, quickly go again,. 
As thou art lief and dear, and do the thing 
I bade thee, watch, and lightly bring me word." 

Of course Arthur's indignation is evident in every 
line, but the vocal expression of it is strongly modified 
by his physical weakness, faint and pale. 



EMOTION 271 

Then Sir Bedivere goes a second time, and again he 
fails, and again he hides the sword : 

Then spoke King Arthur, breathing heavily: 
"What is it thou hast seen? or what hast heard?" 

And answer made the bold Sir Bedivere: 
"I heard the water lapping on the crag. 

And the long ripple washing in the reeds." 

To whom replied King Arthur, much in wrath: 
"Ah, miserable and unkind, untrue, 

Unknightly, traitor-hearted!" 

The breathing heavily shows Arthur's increasing weak- 
ness, but yet he rouses himself to speak in wrath. For 
the third time he commands Sir Bedivere, ending with 
a threat that stirs all that is best in Sir Bedivere to 
action : 

"Yet, for a man may fail in duty twice. 
And the third time may prosper, get thee hence; 
But if thou spare to fling Excalibur 
I will arise and slay thee with my hands." 

The sword is thrown ; lightly comes the knight to tell 
his story to the king. But observe Arthur's condi- 
tion. 

Then spake King Arthur, draxving thicker breath: 
"Now see I by thine eyes that this is done. 
Speak out : what is it thou hast heard, or seen ?" 

And Sir Bedivere describes what happened after he 
had flung the sword. 

But Arthur's end is rapidly approaching: 

And answer made King Arthur, breathing hard: 
"My end draws nigh ; 'tis time that I were gone. 



272 INTERPRETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

Make broad thy shoulders to receive mj weight. 

And bear me to the margin ; jet I fear 

My womid hath taken cold, and I shall die." 

The brief phrases indicating Arthur's feelings and 
failing strength are apparently sp insignificant com- 
pared with the dramatic element of the scene that we 
are more than likely to disregard them. Imagine t hen 
you are playin g the part of the dying king, and you 
will re cognize f^^ nng^ hnw fau lty would your portra yal 
be if you did not follow the author's suggestions as to 
all the shades of Arthur's pny§lcat"and mental and 
emotional states. 

In drama the author gives no definite description 
'of the emo tion of the speakers. Occasionally one 
character speaks of the emotion of another (as when 
Cassius, reverting to the scene between Brutus and the 
poet, after the Quarrel Scene, says, "I did not think 
you could have been so angry"), but that is rare. 
The reader can judge of the emotion only by the 
I text, the situation, and the temperament of the char- 

' acters. 

t 

The opening scene of Julius Caesar brings before 
us. a large mob of Roman workmen making holiday 
because Caesar is returning triumphantly to Rome 
from the wars. Although we studied this scene in 
another connection, we have by no means exhausted 
its possibilities as an exercise in interpretation. A 
Roman tribune, who hates Caesar, is saying : 

Hence! home, you idle creatures, get you home: 
Is this a holiday.'* What! know you not. 



EMOTION 273 

Being mechanical^ you ought not walk 

Upon a laboring day without the sign 

Of your profession? Speak^ what trade art thou? 

You see from the words, "Hence ! home, you idle crea- 
tures," etc., what the mood of Flavius is. But the 
citizens do not take the tribune seriously, and persist 
in joking and punning: 

First Com. Why, sir, a carpenter. 

Mar. Where is thy leather apron and thy rule? 
What dost thou with thy best apparel on ? 
You, sir, what trade are you? 

Sec. Com. Truly, sir, in respect of a fine workman, 
I am but, as you would say, a cobbler. 

Mar. But what trade art thou? answer me directly. 

Sec. Com. A trade, sir, that, I hope. I may use with 
a safe conscience; which is, indeed, sir, a mender of 
bad soles. 

Mar. What trade, thou knave? thou naughty knave, 
what trade? 

Sec. Com. Nay, I beseech you, sir, be not out with 
me: yet, if you be out, sir, I can mend you. 

Mar. What meanest thou by that? mend me, thou 
saucy fellow! 

Sec. Com. Why, sir, cobble you. 

Flav. ' Thou art a cobbler, art thou ? 

Sec. Com. Truly, sir, all that I live by is with the 
awl : I meddle with no tradesman's matters, nor women's 
matters, but with awl. I am, indeed, sir, a surgeon to 
old shoes; when they are in great danger, I recover 
them. As proper men as ever trod upon neat's leatlier 
have gone upon my handiwork. 

Flav. But wherefore art not in thy shop today ? Why 
dost thou lead these men about the streets ? 



274 INTERPRETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

Sec, Com. Trulj^ sir^ to wear out their shoes, to get 
myself into more work. But^ indeed^ sir^ we make 
holiday, to see -Caesar and to rejoice in his triumph. 

Further illustrations of this type are not necessary: 
they are found in connection with your study of 
novels and of Shakespeare. 

I We come now to lyric selections in which the poet 
speaks in his own person, or, if it is not the poet, then 
some character not mentioned. There is little or no 
narrative in this class of poetry: it is generally the 
J intense musical expression of a single mood. In The 
Sea it is the author's joy that finds expression. When 
we read aloud we take the poet's place, and naturally 
must at least suggest the feelings which seem to be his. 
Here are a few passages of a sprightly lyrical 
nature : 

Up the airy mountain^ 

Down the rushy glen^ 
We daren't go a-hunting 
For fear of little men. 
Wee folk, good folk. 

Trooping all together; 
Green jacket, red cap. 
And white owl's feather! 

Down along the rocky shore 

Some make their home — 
They live on crispy pancakes 

Of yellow tide- foam; 
Some in the reeds 

Of the hlack-mountain lake. 
With frogs for their watch-dogs. 

All night awake. 

— Allinoham: The Fairies. 



I 



EMOTION 275 

It is fairy-like spirits that sing the next two lyrics : 

Where the hee sucks^ there suck I; - 

In a cowslip's hell I lie; 

There I couch, when owls do cry: 

On the bat's back I do fly 

After summer merrily. 

Merrily, merrily, shall I live now. 

Under the blossom that hangs on the bough ! 

—The Tempest, V, i. 

Over hill, over dale. 

Through bush, through brier. 
Over park, over pale. 

Through flood, through fire, 
I do wander everywhere. 
Swifter than the moon's sphere; 
And I serve the fairy queen. 
To dew her orbs upon the green. 
The cowslips tall her pensioners be. 
In their gold coats spots you see; 
Those be rubies, fairy favors. 
In those freckles live their savors. 
I must go seek some dewdrops here. 
And hang a pearl in eVery cowslip's ear. 

— A Midsummer-Night's Dream, II, i. 

At Columbus, Miss., on Memorial Day, 1867, flow- 
ers were strewn alike upon the graves of Northern and 
Southern soldiers. In the spirit that dictated that 
beautiful tribute let the student read these stanzas : 

By the flow of the inland river, 
• Whence the fleets of iron have fled. 
Where the blades of the grave-grass quiver, 
Asleep are the ranks of the dead; 



276 INTEBPBETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

Under the sod and the dew, 

Waiting the judgment day; 
Under the one, the Blue; 

Under the other, the Gray. 

• ••••• • 

From the silence of sorrowful hours 

The desolate mourners go, 
Lovingly laden with flowers 

Alike for the friend and the foe; 
Under the sod and the dew. 

Waiting the judgment day; 
Under the roses, the Blue; 
Under the lilies, the Gray. 

• .•••• • 

Sadly, but not with upbraiding. 
The generous deed was done; 
In the storm of the years that are fading 
No braver battle was won ; 
Under the sod and the dew. 

Waiting the judgment day; 
Under the blossoms, the Blue ; 
Under the garlands, the Gray. 

No more shall the war-cry sever. 

Or the winding rivers be red ; 
They banish our anger forever, 

When they laurel the graves of our dead. 
Under the sod and the dew. 

Waiting the judgment day; 
Love and tears for the Blue; 
Tears and love for the Gray. 

— Finch: The Blue and the Gray. 

Burly, dozing humble-bee. 
Where thou art is clime for me. 
Let them sail for Porto Rique, 
Far-off heats through seas to seek; 



EMOTION 277 

I will follow thee alone. 
Thou animated torrid-zone! 
Zigzag steerer, desert cheerer. 
Let me chase thy waving lines ; 
Keep me nearer, me thy hearer. 
Singing over shruhs and vines. 

— Emerson: The Humble-Bee, 

In both the lyric and dramatic forms we live | 
imaginatively the experience of a character whose emo- 
tions must be gathered solely from the text. The 
emotions you have thus far expressed are those of an 
author, as in lyrics, or the persons in a story or drama. 
In the following extracts the emotions to be expressed 
are yours: that is, it is the way you feel about the 
pictures, or the facts, or the incidents described — 
your connotation. You are describing something that 
moves you, excites you, and the emotion manifests 
itself in the voice. 

The need of appreciating the strongly dramatic 
scenes before giving them vocally is self-evident, and 
most students, when they once become interested, do \ 
not find much difficulty in the oral rendition. A I 
severer test of a reader (and one, by the way, the! 
very severity of which the average person doesn't 
appreciate) is in the expression of narration and 
description ; and it is in this realm that there is room 
for the greatest improvement. S ometimes nar ration 
and description a re full of impass ioned passages, and 
these must be treated with even more care than the 
scenes in dramas and novels. It is in the quieter 
moods that there is most need for the student to keep 



278 INTERPRETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 



t^ 



his reading interesting. Animated reading is not 
nece ssarily emotional, althou gh it may be, and w hen 
it is the voic ^ will expres s the emotion. In the non- 




dramatic passagesAhe reader should have in mind as 
he addresses his audience, "This is very interesting; 
I like it, you will like it; listen to it," and that will 
vitalize the expression./ 

Victor Hugo is describing the battle of Waterloo 
and has come to that moment when Napoleon orders 
General Ney and his cavalry to charge the English, 
who are holding a plateau in the middle of the battle- 
field. If you read this wonderful description care- 
fully and make some effort to see the pictures, your 
imagination cannot fail to react upon your voice, 
which is sure to express the excitement, the awe, and 
the tragic grandeur you feel in the depiction of this 
crucial moment in the last great battle of Napoleon. 

Napoleon was one of those geniuses who rule the 
thunder. He had found his thunderbolt. He ordered 
Milhaud's cuirassiers to carry the plateau of Mont 
Saint-Jean. They were three thousand, ^ye hundred. 
They formed a line of half a mile. They were gigantic 
men on colossal horses. They were twenty-six squad- 
rons, and they had behind them a strong support. Aide- 
de-camp Bernard brought them the Emperor's order. 
Ney drew his sword and placed himself at their head. 
The enormous squadrons began to move. Then was seen 
a fearful sight. All this cavalry, with sabers drawn, 
banners waving, and trumpets sounding, formed in col- 
umn by division, descended with even movement and as 
one man — with the precision of a bronze battering-ram 
opening a breach. 

Behind the crest of the plateau, under cover of the 



EMOTION 279 

masked battery^ the English infantry formed in thirteen 
squares^ with musket to the shoulder^ and eye upon 
sights^ waitings calm^ silent^ and immovable. They 
could not see the cuirassiers^ and the cuirassiers could 
not see them. They heard the increasing sound of three 
thousand horses^ the alternate and measured striking of 
their hoofs at full trot^ the rattling of the cuirasses^ the 
clinking of the sabers^ and a sort of fierce roar of the 
coming host. There was a moment of fearful silence; 
then^ suddenly^ a long line of raised arms brandishing 
sabers appeared above the crest, with casques, trumpets, 
and standards, and three thousand faces, with gray 
mustaches, crying, "Vive TEmpereur!" 

All at once, tragic to relate, at the left of the English, 
and on our right, the head of the column of cuirassiers 
reared with a frightful clamor. Arrived at the culmi- 
nating point of the crest, unmanageable, full of fury, 
and bent upon the extermination of the squares and 
cannons, the cuirassiers saw between them and the Eng- 
lish a ditch — a grave. It was the sunken road of Ohain. 
It was a frightful moment. There was the ravine, un- 
looked for, yawning at the very feet of the horses, two 
fathoms deep between its double slopes. The second 
rank pushed in the first, the third pushed in the second; 
the horses reared, threw themselves over, fell upon their 
backs, and struggled with their feet in the air, piling 
up and overturning their riders; no power to retreat. 
The whole column was nothing but a projectile. The 
force acquired to crush the English crushed the French. 

The inexorable ravine could not yield until it was 
filled; riders and horses rolled together pellmell, grind- 
ing each other, making common flesh in this dreadful 
gulf; and when the grave was full of living men, the 
rest rode over them and passed on. Almost a third of 
Dubois' brigade sank into this abyss. Here the loss of 
the battle began. — Hugo: Les Miserables. 



280 INTEBPRETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

He spoke, and Rnstum answer'd not, but hurl'd 
His spear; down from the shoulder, down it came^ 
As on some partridge in the corn a hawk, 
That long has tower'd in the airy clouds^ 
Drops like a plummet ; Sohrab saw it come^ 
And sprang aside^ quick as a flash ; the spear 
Hiss'd^ and went quivering down into the sand^ 
Which it sent flying wide; — ^then Sohrab threw 
In tum^ and full struck Rustum's shield; sharp rangj 
The iron plates rang sharp^ but tum'd the spear. 
And Rustum seized his club^ which none but he 
Could wield; ..... and struck 
One stroke ; but again Sohrab sprang aside^ 
Lithe as the glancing snake, and the club came 
Thundering to earth, and leapt from Rustum's hand. 
And Rustum foUow'd his own blow, and fell 
To his knees^ and with his fingers clutch'd the sand. 

— Arnold: Sohrab and Rustum. 

Away then they dashed, through thick and thin^ 
stones flying and sparks flashing at every bound. An 
opening in the trees now cheered him with the hopes 
that the church bridge was at hand. The wavering 
reflection of a silver star in the bosom of the brook told 
him that he was not mistaken. "If I can but reach that 
bridge/' thought Ichabod, "I am safe." Just then he 
heard the black steed panting and blowing close behind 
him; he even fancied that he felt his hot breath. An- 
other convulsive kick in the rilbs, and old Gunpowder 
sprang upon the bridge; he thundered over the re- 
sounding planks ; he gained the opposite side ; and now 
Ichabod cast a look behind to see if his pursuer should 
vanish^ according to rule, in a flash of fire and brim- 
stone. Just then he saw the goblin rising in his stirrups, 
and in the very act of hurling his head at him. Ichabod 
endeavored to dodge the horrible missile, but too late. 
It encountered his cranium with a tremendous crash. 



EMOTION 281 

He was tumbled headlong into the dust^ and Gunpowder, 
the black steed^ and the goblin rider passed by like a 
whirlwind. — Irving: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. 

In the bright October niorning Savoy's duke had left his 
bride. 

From the castle, past the drawbridge, flow'd the hunters' 
merry tide. 

Steeds are neighing, gallants glittering, gay her smiling 
lord to greet. 

From her mullion'd chamber-casement smiles the Duch- 
ess Marguerite. 

From Vienna, by the Danube, here she came, a bride, 
in spring. 

Now the autumn crisps the forest ; hunters gather, bugles 
ring. 

Hounds are pulling, prickers swearing, horses fret, and 
boar-spears glance. 

Off, — ^they sweep the marshy forests, westward on the 
side of France. 

Hark! the game's on foot; they scatter, — down the 
forest-ridings lone. 

Furious, single horsemen gallop. Hark! a shout, — ^a 
crash, — a groan. 

Pale and breathless came the hunters — on the turf dead 
lies the boar. 

Ah! the duke lies stretched beside him senseless, wel- 
tering in his gore. 

In the dull October evening, down the leaf-strewn forest- 
road. 

To the castle, past the drawbridge, came the hunters 
with their load. 

In the hall, with sconces blazing, ladies waiting round 
her seat. 

Clothed in smiles, beneath the dais sate the Duchess 
Marguerite. 



282 INTERPRETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

Hark! below the gates unbarring^ tramp of men^ and 
quick commands. 

"'Tis my lord come back from hunting," — and the 
duchess claps her hands. 

Slow and tired came the hunters ; stopp'd in darkness in 
the court. 

*'Ho ! this way^ ye laggard hunters. To the hall. What 
sport! what sport!" 

Slow they entered with their master; in the hall they 
laid him down. 

On his coat were leaves and blood-stains^ on his brow an 
angry frown. 

Dead her princely youthful husband lay before his youth- 
ful wife. 

Bloody 'neath the flaring sconces: and the sight froze 
all her life. 

In Vienna, by the Danube, kings hold revel^ gallants 
meet. 

Gay of old amid the gayest was the Duchess Mar- 
guerite. 

In Vienna, by the Danube, feast and dance her youth 
beguiled : 

Till that hour she never sorrow'd, but from then she 
never smiled. 

— ^Arnold: The Church of Brou. 

Review Exeecises 

There is need for less illustrative matter in this 
chapter than in most of the others. Virtually all of 
the passages in the book are in varying degrees emo- 
tional: the plays you are studying have much ma- 
terial, and finally, if further practice is needed, it can 
easily be got from the poems and novels in your 
course in literature. To serve, however, as models. 



EMOTION 283 

some review exercises are given illustrating a variety 
of emotions, and several extracts in which the author 
directly or indirectly suggests the emotion. 

It is not enough to know that literature is primarily 
an appeal to the emotions through the imagination; 
that the purpose of literature is to arouse emotion in 
the reader; that an author frequently describes with 
great exactitude and detail the feelings of his char- 
acters. One mu st himself y in kind at least, if not in 
fuuest degree, experie nce imagi natively the same 
emotions or fail in whole or in part to receive^ffom 
the author all that he has to give us. It is of no avail V jl 
to deny this, for only tEose'wKo can and do enter 
sympathetically into the mood of the author or the 
character can pass judgment m the matter. One 
never fully appreciates the greatness in character 
delineation of any author, his insight into the mind 
and feelings of his creations, until in some degree he 
lives imaginatively in those characters. Nor is it suffi^^ 
cient to acquiesce in the truth of this statement. If 
you would develop your appreciation of the dramatic, 
narrative, descriptive, and lyrical elements of litera- 
ture, make it a habit to read aloud daily such passages 
as we have been studying. AndAov those who have ; 
had and can get no vocal training, let it be an encour- ' 
agement to know that such reading as I have been.' ■" 
urging is of more value than a whole course oft/ 
mechanical drills. XThe illustrations that follow are asy 
good as any on which to begin. 

The first passage, taken from Ruskin's King of the 
Golden River, illustrates almost every phase of the 



284 INTERPBETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

emotional problem. I am sure, In the light of what we 
have learned, it will prove a valuable study, even if we 
have had this charming story in the grades. 



"Hollo !" said the little gentleman^ "that's not . the 
way to answer the door. I'm wet, let me in." 

To do the little gentleman justice, he was wet. From 
the ends of his mustaches the water was running into 
his waistcoat-pockets, and out again like a mill-stream. 

"I beg pardon, sir " said Gluck, "I'm very sorry, but 
I really can't." 

"Can't what?" said the old gentleman. 

"I can't let you in, sir, — I can't indeed; my brothers 
would beat me to death, sir, if I thought of such a thing. 
What do you want, sir?" 

"Want ?" said the old gentleman, petulantly. "I want 
fire and shelter. Let me in, I say ; I only want to warm 
myself." 

"He does look very wet," said little Gluck; "I'll just 
let him in for a quarter of an hour." 

Then the old genlieman walked into the kitchen, and 
sat himself down on the hob. 

"You'll soon dry there, sir," said Gluck, and sat down 
again to turn the mutton. But the old gentleman did not 
dry there, but went on drip, drip, dripping among the 
cinders, and the fire fizzed and sputtered, and began to 
look very black and uncomfortable; never was such a 
cloak; every fold in it ran like a gutter. 

"I beg pardon, sir," said Gluck; "mayn't I take your 
cloak?" 

"No, thank you," said the old gentleman. 

"Your cap, sir?" 

"I'm all right, thank you," said the old gentleman, 
gruffly. 

"But — sir — I'm very sorry," said Gluck, hesitatingly; 
"but — really, sir — you're putting the fire out." 



EMOTION 285 



«<T^*1 



Tt'll take longer to do the mutton then/' replied the 
visitor, dryly. "Can't you give me a little bit?" 

"Impossible, sir," said Gluck. 

"I'm very hungry; I've had nothing to eat yesterday, 
nor today." 

He spoke in so very melancholy a tone that it quite 
melted Gluck's heart. "They promised me one slice 
today, sir," said he ; "I can give you that, but not a bit 



more. 



»» 



That's a good boy," said the old gentleman again. 

Then Gluck sharpened a knife. "I don't care if I do 
get beaten for it," thought he. Just as he had cut a 
large slice out of the mutton, there came a tremendous 
rap at the door. Gluck ran to open it. 

"What did you keep us waiting in the rain for ?" said 
Schwartz, as he walked in, throwing his umbrella in 
Gluck's face. 

"Ay! what for, indeed, you little vagabond?" said 
Hans, administering an educational box on the ear, as 
he followed his brother into the kitchen. 

"Bless my soul!" said Schwartz, when he opened the 
door. 

"Amen," said the little gentleman, who had taken his 
cap off and was bowing with the utmost possible velocity. 

"Who's that?" said Schwartz, catching up a rolling- 
pin, and turning to Gluck with a fierce frown. 

"I don't know, indeed, brother," said Gluck, in great 
terror. 

"How did he get in?" roared Schwartz. 

"My dear brother," said Gluck, deprecatingly, "he 
was so very wet!" \ 

"Who are you, sir?" demanded Schwartz, turning 
upon the stranger. 

"What's your business?" snarled Hans. 

"I'm a poor old man, sir," the little gentleman began 



286 INTERPRETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

very modestly, "and I saw your fire through the window, 
and begged shelter for a quarter of an hour." 

"Have the goodness to walk out again, then," said 
Schwartz. "We've quite enough water in our kitchen, 
without making it a drying-house." 

"It is .a cold day to turn an old man out in, sir ; look 
at my gray hairs." 

"Ay!" said Hans, "there are enough of them to keep 
you warm. Walk!" 

"I'm very, very hungry, sir; couldn't you spare me 
a bit of bread before I go?" 

"Bread, indeed!" said Schwartz; "do you suppose 
we've nothing to do with our bread but to give it to such 
red-nosed fellows as you?" 

"Why don't you sell your feather?" said Hans^ sneer- 
ingly. "Out with you." 

"A little bit," said the old gentleman. 
"Be off !" said Schwartz. 
"Pray, gentlemen." 

"Off, and be hanged !" cried Hans, seizing him by the 
collar. — RusKiN ; The King of the Golden River. 

Of course the emotion can, in most of the cases we 
have had, be gathered from the words of the speak- 
ers ; but always remember that the author sometimes 
suggests emotion by describing the tone of voice 
(harsh, shrill, tender) ; sometimes by describing 
the facial expression, the attitude, or some significant 
gesture of the body ; and finally, there are many cases 
in which he combines several methods, as in the next 
excerpts. 

Longfellow's King Robert of Sicily has a number 
of passages which illuminate our theme. The l^ing is 



EMOTION 287 

very proud and boastful. He hears the monks at 
vespers chanting the Magnificat : 



"He has put down the mighty from their seat. 
And has exalted them of low degree" 
Thereat King Robert muttered scornfully, 
" 'Tis well that such seditious words are sung 
Only by priests and in the Latin tongue; 
For unto priests and people be it known^ 
There is no power can push me from my throne !" 
And leaning back^ he yawned and fell asleep^ 
Lulled by the chant monotonous and deep. 

When he awakes he finds himself alone at nighty 
locked within the church. The sexton comes, asking 
"Who is there?" 

Half choked with rage^ King Robert fiercely said^ 
"Open: 'tis I the King! Art thou afraid .>" 

Robert finally comes to his own palace and sees 
upon the throne an angel who in every way resembles 
himself. Robert, not knowing it is an angel, believes 
the stranger to be an impostor; and then the poem 
goes on: 

A moment speechless^ motionless^ amazed, 
The throneless monarch on the Angel gazed. 
Who met his look of anger and surprise 
With the divine compassion of his eyes; 
Then said, "Who art thou? and why com'st thou 

here.>" 
To which King Robert answered, with a sneer, 
"I am the King, and come to claim my own 
From an impostor, who usurps my throne!" 
And suddenly, at these audacious words. 



288 INTERPRETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

Up sprang the angry guests, and drew their swords; 
The Angel answered, with unruffled brow, 
"Nay, not the King, but the King's Jester; thou 
Henceforth shall wear the bells and scalloped cape. 
And for thy counselor shalt lead an ape; 
Thou shalt obey my servants when they call. 
And wait upon my henchmen in the hall !" 

We have had no passage quite like this before. Ob- 
serve "the divine compassion of his eyes" and enter 
imaginatively into the spirit of those words as you 
question Robert. A similar bit of suggestive descrip- 
tion is in the phrase "with unruflSed brow." You see 
our tendency would be to address Robert in tones of 
anger and scorn. But note how much more imagina- 
tion there is in Longfellow's conception of the AngePs 
attitude toward King Robert. 

The king is now a court jester, but his pride not in 
the least subdued. As you read the next excerpt do 
not overlook the suggestion in the last two lines : 

And when the Angel met him on his way. 
And half in earnest, half in jest, would say. 
Sternly, though tenderly, that he might feel 
The velvet scabbard held a sword of steel, 
"Art thou the King?" the passion of his woe 
Burst from him in resistless overflow. 
And, lifting high his forehead, he would fling 
The haughty answer back, "I am, I am the Bang!" 

At last, after three years in this ignominious posi- 
tion, Robert repents and a^ccepts his punishment as 
the just penalty of his sin. He is alone within his 
palace, and the Angel asks him again the question to 



EMOTION 289 

which up to this time Robert had invariably answered 
with stubborn pride : 

And when they were alone^ the Angel said, 
"Art thou the King?" Then, bowing down his head. 
King Robert crossed both hands upon his breast. 
And meekly answered him: "Thou knowest best! 
My sins as scarlet are; let me go hence. 
And in some cloister's school of penitence, 
Across those stones that pave the way to heaven. 
Walk barefoot till my guilty soul be shriven." 

In all there have not been more than fifteen or 
twenty words describing King Robert's and the 
Angel's feelings, and yet how much these few phrases 
have revealed! 

Tom followed Maggie up stairs into her mother's room, 
and saw her go at once to a drawer, from which she 
took out a large pair of scissors. 

"What are they for, Maggie?" said Tom, feeling his 
curiosity awakened. 

Maggie answered by seizing her front locks and cut- 
ting them straight across the middle of her forehead. 

"Oh, my buttons, Maggie, you'll catch it!" exclaimed 
Tom; "you'd better not cut any more off." 

Snip ! went the great scissors again. 

"Here, Tom, cut it behind for me," said Maggie, ex- 
cited by her own daring, and anxious to finish the deed. 

"You'll catch it, you know," said Tom, nodding his 
head in an admonitory manner, and hesitating a little 
as he took the scissors. 

**Never mind — make haste!" said Maggie, giving a 
little stamp with her foot. Her cheeks were quite flushed. 

One delicious grinding snip, and then another and an- 
other, and Maggie stood cropped in a jagged, uneven 



290 INTEEPBETATION OF THE PBINTED PAGE 

manner^ but with a sense of clearness and freedom^ as if 
she had emerged from a wood into the open plain. 

"Oh, Maggie/' said Tom, jumping around her, and 
slapping his knees as he laughed. "Oh, my buttons, 
what a queer thing you look! Look at yourself in the 
glass: you look like the idiot we throw our nutshells to 
at school." 



"Heyday! what little gell's this — why, I don't know 
her. Is it some little gell you've picked up in the road,. 
Kezia.J^" 

"Why, she's gone and cut her hair herself," said Mr. 
Tulliver in an undertone to Mr. Deane, laughing with 
much enjoyment. 

"Fie, for shame!" said Aunt Glegg, in her loudest, 
severest tone of reproof. "Little gells as cut their own 
hair should be whipped and fed on bread and water." 

"Ay, ay," said Uncle Glegg, meaning to give a play~ 
ful turn to this denunciation, "she must be sent to jail, I 
think." 

"She's more like a gipsy nor ever," said Aunt PuUet^ 
in a pitying tone; "it's very bad luck, sister, as the gell 
should be so brown. I doubt it'll stand in her way i*^ 
life to be so brown." 

"She's a naughty child, as'U break her mother's heart,'" 
said Mrs. Tulliver, with the tears in her eyes. — Eliot: 
The Mill on the Floss. 

It is Cardinal Wolsey, after his fall from power, 
who speaks in the following passage from Kinff 
Henry VIII: 

Farewell ! a long farewell, to all my greatness ! 
This is the state of man : to-day he puts forth 
The tender leaves of hope ; to-morrow blossoms. 
And bears his blushing honors thick upon him; 



EMOTION 291 

The third day comes a frosty a killing frosty 
And^ when he thinks^ good easy man^ full surely 
His greatness is a-ripening^ nips his root^ 
And then he falls^ as I do. I have ventured^ 
Like little wanton boys that swim on bladders^ 
This many summers in a sea of glory^ 
But far beyond my depth: my high-blown pride 
At length broke under me and now has left me^ 
Weary and old with service, to the mercy 
Of a rude stream, that must for ever hide me. 
Vain pomp and glory of this world, I hate ye: 
I feel my heart new open'd. O, how wretched 
Is that poor man that hangs on princes' favors! 
There is, betwixt that smile we would .aspire to. 
That sweet aspect of princes, and their ruin, 
More pangs and fears than wars or women have: 
And when he falls, he falls like Lucifer, 
Never to hope again. 

Many years after the scene we have already studied 
from The MUl on the Floss, Tom has a quarrel with 
Maggie's lover: 

"Do you call this acting the part of a man, sir?" 
Tom said, in a voice of harsh scorn. 

"What do you mean?" answered Philip, haughtily. 

"Mean? Stand farther from me, lest I should lay 
hands on you, and I'll tell you what I mean. I mean, 
taking advantage of a young girl's foolishness and igno- 
rance to get her to have secret meetings with you. I 
mean, daring to trifle with the respectability of a family 
that has a good and honest name to support." 

"I deny that," interrupted Philip, impetuously. "I 
could never trifle with anything that affected your sister's 
happiness. She is dearer to me than she is to you; I 
honor her more than you can ever honor her; I would 
give up my life to her." 



292 INTEEPBETATION OP THE PRINTED PAGE 

"Don't talk high-flown nonsense to me, sir! Do yon 
mean to pretend that you didn't know it would be in- 
jurious to her to meet you here week after week? Do 
you pretend you had any right to make professions of 
love to her^ even if you had been a fit husband for her^ 
when neither her father nor your father would ever con- 
sent to a marriage between you? And you — you to try 
and worm yourself into the affections of a handsome girl 
who is not eighteen, and has been shut out from the 
world by her father's misfortunes ! • That's your crooked 
notion of honor, is M I call it base treachery." 

"It is manly of you to talk in this way to me,'' said 
Philip, bitterly, his whole frame shaken by violent emo- 
tions. "You are incapable of even understanding what I 
feel for your sister." 

"I should be very sorry to understand your feelings. 
If you dare to come near her again, or to write to her, 
your puny, miserable body shall not protect you. I'll 
thrash you — I'll hold you up to public scorn. Who 
wouldn't laugh at the idea of your turning lover to a fine 
girl?" 

"Tom, I will not bear it," Maggie burst out, in a con- 
vulsed voice. "It was for my father's sake, Philip," 
continued Maggie, imploringly. "Tom threatens to tell 
my father — and he couldn't bear it now : I have promised 
that we will not have any intercourse without my 
brother's knowledge." 

"And I'll save her from throwing herself away on 
you. Come away, Maggie." And seizing Maggie's wrist 
they walked away in silence. 

We have seen old Scrooge annoyed by his cheery 
nephew who came to him on Christmas Bye; but he 
is converted through a dream that reveals him to hhn- 
self in all his miserable selfishness. Let your expres- 



EMOTION 293 

sion show the change in him as it manifests itself in 
the following lines : 

"I don't know what to do!" cried Scrooge, laughing 
and crying in the same hreath, and making a perfect 
Laocoon of himself with his stockings. "I am as light 
as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am as merry 
as a schoolboy, I am as giddy as a drunken man. A 
merry Christmas to everybody! A happy New Year 
to all the world! Hallo here! Whoop! Hallo!" 

"I don't know what day of the month 

it is. I don't know how long I have been among the 
Spirits. I don't know anything. I'm quite a baby. 
Never mind. I don't care. I'd rather be a baby. 
Hallo! Whoop! Hallo here!" 

Running to the window, he opened it, and put out his 
head. No fog, no mist; clear, bright, jovial, stirring, 
cold ; cold, piping for the blood to dance to ; golden sun- 
light ; heavenly sky ; sweet, fresh air ; merry bells. Oh, 
glorioiis, glorious! Glorious! — Dickens: A Christmas 
Carol. 

Macduff. O horror, horror, horror! Tongue nor 
heart 
Cannot conceive nor name thee ! 

Macbeth. What's the matter? 

Macduff. Confusion now hath made his masterpiece! 
Most sacrilegious murder hath broke ope 
The Lord's anointed temple, and stole thence 
The life o' the building! 

Macbeth. What is 't you say? the life? 

Lennox. Mean you his maj esty ? 

Macduff. Approach the chamber, and destroy your 
sight 
With a new Gorgon : do not bid me speak ; 
See, and then speak yourselves. 

[Exeunt Macbeth and Lennox. 



294 INTEBPBETATION OP THE PBINTED PAO£ 

Awake, awake! 
Ring the alarum-bell. Murder and treason ! 
Banquo and Donalbain ! Malcolm ! awake ! 
Shake off this downy sleep, death's counterfeit^ 
And look on death itself! up, up, and see 
The great doom's image ! Malcolm ! Banquo ! 
As from your graves rise up, and walk like sprites. 
To countenance this horror ! Ring the bell. 

— Macbeth, II, iii. 

The following poems will afford practice in the 
reading of verse in which the emotion and sentiment 
are well within the experience of the average student. 

A clever, bright, animated bit of fun is this inter- 
esting poem by an American writer : 

EARLY RISING 

JOHN G. SAXE 

''Now blessing light on him that first invented sleep! it 
covers a man all over, thoughts and all, like a cloak; it is 
meat for the hungry, drink for the thirsty, heat for the cold, 
and cold for the hot. ' ' — Cervantes : Don Quixote. 

"God bless the man who first invented sleep !" 
So Sancho Panza said, and so say I ; 

And bless him, also, that he didn't keep 
His great discovery to himself, nor try 

To make it — as the lucky fellow might — 

A close monopoly by patent-right! 

Yes — bless the man who first invented sleep 

(I really can't avoid the iteration); 
But blast the man with curses loud and deep, 

Whate'er the rascal's name, or agfe, or station^ 
Who first invented, and went round advising. 
That artificial cnt-off — Early Rising! 



EMOTION 295 

^*Rise with the lark^ and with the lark to bed," 
Observes some solemn, sentimental owl; 

Maxims like these are very cheaply said; 
But, ere you make yourself a fool or fowl. 

Pray, just inquire about his rise and fall. 

And whether larks have any beds at all! 

The time for honest folks to be abed 

Is in the morning, if I reason right; 
And he who cannot keep his precious head 

Upon his pillow till it's fairly light. 
And so enjoy his forty morning winks. 
Is up to knavery, or else — he drinks! 

Thomson, who sang about the "Seasons," said 
It was a glorious thing to rise in season; 

But then he said it — lying — in his bed. 
At 10 A.M. — the very reason 

He wrote so charmingly. The simple fact is. 

His preaching wasn't sanctioned by his practice. 

'Tis, doubtless, well to be sometimes awake — 
Awake to duty, and awake to truth — 

But when, alas ! a nice review we take 

Of our best deeds and days, we find, in sooth. 

The hours that leave the slightest cause to weep 

Are those we passed in childhood or asleep ! 

'Tis beautiful to leave the world awhile 
For the soft visions of the gentle night; 

And free, at last, from mortal care or guile. 
To live ds only in the angels' sight, 

In sleep's sweet realm so cosily shut in. 

Where, at the worst, we only dream of sin ! 

So let us sleep, and give the Maker praise. 

I like the lad who, when his father thought 
To clip his morning nap by hackneyed phrase 

Of vagrant worm by early songster caught, 
Cried, "Served him right! 'tis not at all surprising; 
The worm was punished, sir, for early rising." 



296 INTERPRETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 
ALEXANDER BREAKING BUCEPHALUS 

OEOBGE LANSING TAYLOB 

Philonicus^ the Thessalian^ brought to Philip's conrt a 

steed 
Tall and shapely^ powerful^ glorious^ of Larissa's noblest 

breed ; 
Flashing white from mane to fetlock^ neck of thunder^ 

eyes of flame 
In his brow^ the jet-black ox-head^ whence Bucephalus^ 

his name. 

But the mighty charger's spirit none could manage^ 

soothe^ subdue^ 
Groom Thessalian^ Macedonian^ right and left alike he 

threw ; 
Vain were curb-bits^ vain caresses, to assuage those 

tameless fires^ 
Blazing in arterial lava from a hundred Centaur sires. 

"Faugh! avaunt, the furious monster," Philip cried in 

vexed disgust, 
"What a brute to send a monarch! would they see me 

flung to dust? 
Nay! Begone with such a fury! there's no dragon 

market here !" 
At the word young Alexander heaved a sigh and dropped 

a tear. 

"What a matchless steed they're losing!" cried the boy 

in proud distress, 
"All for lack of nerve to back him, lack of boldness and 

address ! 
Lack of soul to show the master to the dumb but knowing 

thing ! 
Lack of kingliness to match the proud four-footed king !" 



EMOTION 297 

"What! rash youth! arraign thy elders? Durst thou 

mount the horse to-day? 
Shouldst thou fail^ what kingly forfeit for thy folly 

canst thou pay?" 
Stern spake Philip. Alexander: "Yea, I dare, give but 

the sign, 
I will ride; or thirteen talents pay thee, and the steed 

be mine." 

"Done !" cried Philip. "Mount !" The courtiers, laugh- 
ing, jeered the challenged boy; 
But, ablaze with inspiration, to the steed he sprang with 

joy; 

Boldly seized the foamsprent bridle, turned the fierce 

eye to the sun. 
Spake firm words of fearless kindness, till the fiery 

heart was won. 

To his back then lightly springing, on his neck he 

flung the rein. 
Gave him voice and spur, and sent him free and bounding 

o'er the plain. 
Like a thunderbolt in harness the great steed exultant 

flew. 
Glorying in his new-found master, with brute instinct 

swift and true. 

On gazed Philip, on gazed courtiers, on gazed Philla's 
anxious throng. 

Wondering at the princely hand that tamed a steed so 
fierce and strong. 

All unconscious of that strange instinct which could 
manliness explore. 

And a kingly lord accepting, spurned all others ever- 
more. 



298 INTEBPBETATION OF THE PBINTED PAGE 

On, around the royal stadium still the courser storms 
the ground, 

All his mighty thews rejoicing as his rhythmic hoof- 
beats sound! 

Firm, erect, the eager rider with joy of conquest 
thrills ; 

Horse and man, a new-born Centaur, one inspiring 
spirit fills. 

Down the home-stretch now careering, steed and rider 

greet the king. 
Jeers are changed to acclamation, shouts of rapture 

roll and ring. 
But with prescient tears the father hails the triumph 

won! 
"Macedonia cramps thy genius, seek a grander realm,. 

my son." 

Thus the matchless steed was mastered, born to bear 

through steel and fiame 
Earth's world-conquering hero, joined with him in 

victory and fame, 
Till beside the far Hydaspes, worn with years, the 

war-horse dies. 
And a city, his memorial, lifts its towers to India's: 

skies. 



EMOTION 299 

Our closing selections are chosen from some of the 
world's greatest speakers, and will afford the student 
excellent practice in the delivery of straightforward, 
impassioned oratory: 

A EEMINISCENCE OF LEXINGTON 

THEODORE PABKER 

One raw morning in spring — it will be eighty years 
the 19th day of this month — Hancock and Adams^ the 
Moses and Aaron of that Great Deliverance, were both 
at Lexington; they also had "obstructed an officer" with 
brave words. British soldiers, a thousand strong, came 
to seize them and carry them over sea for trial, and so 
nip .the bud of Freedom auspiciously opening in that early 
spring. The town militia came together before daylight, 
"for training." A great, tall man, with a large head and 
a high, wide brow, their captain — one who had "seen 
service" — marshalled them into line, numbering but sev- 
enty, and bade "every man load his piece with powder 
and ball. I will order the first man shot that runs away," 
said he, when some faltered. "Don't fire unless fired 
upon, but if they want to have a war, let it begin here." 

Gentlemen, you know what followed; those farmers 
and mechanics "fired the shot heard round the world." 
A little monument covers the bones of such as before had 
pledged their fortune and their sacred honor to the Free- 
dom of America, and that day gave it also their lives. I 
was born in that little town, and bred up amid the memo- 
ries of that day. When a boy, my mother lifted me up, 
one Sunday, in her religious, patriotic arms, and held 
me while I read the first monumental line I ever saw — 
"Sacred to Liberty and the Rights of Mankind." 

Since then I have studied the memorial marbles of 
Greece and Rome, in many an ancient town; nay, on 



300 INTEBPBETATION OP THE PBINTED PAGE 

Egyptian obelisks^ have read what was written before the 
Eternal roused up Moses to lead Israel out of Egypt^ 
but no chiseled stone has ever stirred me to such emotion 
as these rustic names of men who fell "In the Sacred 
Cause of God and their Country." 

Gentlemen^ the Spirit of Liberty, the Love of Justice, 
was early fanned into a flame in my boyish heart. That 
monument covers the bones of my own kinsfolk; it was 
their blood which reddened the long, green grass at Lex- 
ing^n. It was my own name which stands chiseled on 
that stone; the tall Captain who marshalled his fellow 
farmers and mechanics in stern array, and 'spoke such 
brave and dangerous words as opened the war of Ameri- 
can Independence — the last to leave the field — was my 
father's father. I learned to read out of his Bible, and 
with a musket he that day captured from the foe, I learned 
also another religious lesson, that "Rebellion to Tyrants 
is Obedience to God." I keep them both "Sacred to Lib- 
erty and the Rights of Mankind," to use them both "In 
the Sacred Cause of God and my Country." 



PLEA FOR THE OLD SOUTH CHURCH, BOSTON 

WENDELL PHILLIPS 

Boston, June 4, 1876 

A hundred years ago our fathers announced this sub- 
lime declaration, "God intended all men to be free and 
equal." Today, with a territory that joins ocean to ocean, 
with her millions of people, with two wars behind her, 
with the sublime achievement of having grappled with 
the fearful disease that threatened her life, and broken 
four millions of fetters, the great Republic launches into 
the second century of her existence. 

With how much pride, with what a thrill, with what 
tender and loyal reverence, may we not cherish the spot 



EMOTION 301 

where this marvelous enterprise began^ the roof under 
which its first councils were held^ where the air still trem- 
bles and bums with Otis and Sam Adams. Except the 
Holy City^ is there any more memorable or sacred place^ 
on the face of the earthy than the cradle of such a change ? 
Athens has her Acropolis^ but the Greek can point to no 
such results. London has her Palace^ and her Tower^ and 
her St. Stephen's Chapel^ but the human race owes her 
no such memories. France has spots marked by the sub- 
limest devotion^ but the Mecca of the man who believes 
and hopes for the human race is not to Paris^ it is to the 
seaboard cities of the great Republic. And when the flag 
was assailed^ and the regiments marched through the 
streets^ what walls did they salute as the regimental flags 
floated by to Gettysburg and Aptietam? These! Our 
boys carried down to the battle-fields the memory of State 
Street^ of Faneuil Hall^ of the old South Church. 

We had signal prominence in those early days. It was 
on the men of Boston that Lord North visited his revenge. 
It was our port that was to be shut and its commerce 
annihilated. • It was Sam Adams and John Hancock who 
enjoyed the everlasting reward of being the only names 
excepted from the royal proclamation *of forgiveness. 
Here^ Sam Adams^ the ablest and ripest statesman God 
gave to the epoch, forecast those measures which welded 
thirteen colonies into one thunderbolt, and launched it at 
George the Third. Here, Otis magnetized every boy into 
a desperate rebel. 

The saving of this landmark is the best monument you 
can erect to the men of the Revolution. You spend thou- 
sands of dollars to put up a statue of some old hero. 
You want your sons to gaze upon the nearest approach to 
the features of those "dead but sceptred sovereigns who 
still rule our spirits from their urns." But what is a 
statue of Cicero, compared to standing where your voice 
echoes from pillar and wall that actually heard his phil- 



302 INTEBPBETATION OF THE PBINTED PAOE 

ippics? Scholars have grown old and blind^ striving to 
put their hands on the very spot where bold men spoke 
or brave men died. Shall we tear in pieces the roof that 
actually trembled to the words that made us a nation? 
It is impossible not to believe that the spirits above 
us are permitted to know what passes in this terres- 
trial sphere^ that Adams^ and Warren^ and Otis are today 
bending over us asking that the scene of their immortal 
labors shall not be desecrated^ or blotted from the sight 
of men. 

Consecrate it again to the memory and worship of a 
grateful people! Napoleon turned aside his Simplon 
road to save a tree Caesar had once mentioned. Won't you 
turn a street^ or spare a quarter of an acre^ to remind boys 
what sort of men their fathers were ? Think twice before 
you touch these walls. We are the world's trustees. The 
Old South no more belongs to us^ than Luther's or Hamp- 
den's or Brutus' name does to Germany^ England^ or 
Rome. Each and all are held in trust as torchlight 
guides and inspiration for any man struggling for justice 
and ready to die for truth. The worship of great memo- 
ries^ noble deeds, sacred places, is one of the keenest 
ripeners of such* elements. Seize greedily on every chance 
to save and emphasize them. 



AGAINST CTTRTAILING THE RIGHT OF SUFFRAGE 

VICTOR HUGO 

Paris, May SO, 1850 

Gentlemen — I address the men who govern us and say 
to them : Go on, cut off three millions of voters ; cut off 
eight out of nine, and the result will be the same to you, 
if it be not more decisive. What you do not cut off is your 
own faults ; the absurdities of your policy of compression, 
your fatal incapacity, your ignorance of th^ present 



EMOTION 303 

«poch^ the antipathy you feel for it, and that it feels for 
you; what you will not cut off is the times which are 
advancing, the hour now striking, the ascending movement 
of ideas, the gulf opening hroader and deeper between 
yourself and the age, between the young generation and 
you, between the spirit of liberty and you, between the 
spirit of philosophy and you. 

What you will not cut off is this immense fact, that the 
nation goes to one side, while you go to the other; that 
what for you is the sunrise is for it the sun's setting ; that 
you turn your backs to the future, while this great people 
of France, its front all radiant with light from the rising 
dawn of a new humanity, turns its back to the past. 

Gentlemen, this law is invalid ; it is null ; it is dead even 
before it exists. And do you know what has killed it? 
It is that, when it meanly approaches to steal the vote 
from the pocket of the poor and feeble, it meets the keen, 
terrible eye of the national probity, a devouring light, in 
which the work of darkness disappears. 

Yes, men who govern us, at the bottom of every citi- 
zen's conscience, the most obscure as well as the greatest^ 
at the very depths of the soul (I use your own expres- 
sion) of the last beggar, the last vagabond, there is a 
sentiment, sublime, sacred, insurmountable, indestruc- 
tible, eternal — the sentiment of right! This sentiment, 
which is the verv essence of the human conscience, which 
the Scriptures call the corner-stone of justice, is the rock 
on which iniquities, hypocrisies, bad laws, evil designs, 
bad governments, fall, and are shipwrecked. This is the 
hidden, irresistible obstacle, veiled in the recesses of every 
mind, but ever present, ever active, on which you will 
always exhaust yourselves ; and which, whatevei* you do, 
you will never destroy. I warn you, your labor is lost; 
you will not extinguish it, you will not confuse it. Far 
easier to drag the rock from the bottom of the sea, than 
the sentiment of right from the heart of the people ! 



304 INTEBPBETATION OP THE PBINTED PAGE 

PAUL BEVEBE'S BIDE 

OIOBOX WILLIAM CURTIS 

Coneord, Mass., AprU 19, 1875 

The first imposing armed movement against the colo- 
nies^ on the 19th of Aprils 1775^ did not take the people 
by surprise. For ten years they had seen the possibility^ 
for five years the probability^ and for at least a year the 
certainty of the contest. They quietly organized^ watched 
and waited. As the spring advanced^ it was plain that 
some movement would be made. On Tuesday^ the 18th^ 
Gage> the British commander^ who had decided to send 
a force to Concord to destroy the stores^ picketed the 
roads from Boston into Middlesex to prevent any report 
of the intended march from spreading into the country. 
But the very air was electric. In the tension of the pop- 
ular mind every sight and sound was significant. 

It was part of Gage's plan to seize Hancock and 
Adams^ who were at Lexington ; and on the evening of the 
18th^ the Committee of Safety at Cambridge sent them 
word to beware^ for suspicious officers were abroad. In 
the afternoon one of the governor's grooms strolled into a 
stable where John Ballard was cleaning a horse. John 
Ballard was a Son of Liberty, and when the groom idly 
hinted at what might take place next morning, John's 
heart leaped and his hand shook; and, asking the groom 
to finish cleaning the horse, he ran to a friend, who carried 
the news straight to Paul Revere, who told him he had 
already heard it from two other persons. 

That evening, at ten o'clock, eight hundred British 
troops, under Lieutenant-Colonel Smith, took boat at the 
foot of the Common and crossed to the Cambridge shore. 
Gage thought his secret had been kept, but Lord Percy, 
who had heard the people say on the Common that the 
troops would miss their aim, undeceived. him. Gage in- 
stantly ordered that no one should leave the town. But 



EMOTION 3® 

as the troops crossed the river^ Ebenezer Dorr^ with a 
message to Hancock and Adams^ was riding over the Neck 
to Roxbury^ and Paul Revere was rowing over the river 
to Charlestown, having agreed with his friend^ Robert 
Newman^ to show lanterns from the belfry of the Old 
North Church — "One if by land^ and two if by sea" — 
as a signal of the march of the British. 

' Already the moon was risings and while the troops were 
stealthily landing at Lechmere Pointy their secret was 
flashing out into the April night ; and Paul Revere^ spring- 
ing into the saddle^ upon the Charlestown shore^ spurred 
away into Middlesex. "How far that little candle throws 
its beams !" The modest spire yet stands^ revered relic 
of the old town of Boston^ of those brave men and of their 
deeds. Startling the land that night with the warning 
of danger^ let it remind the land forever of the patriotism 
with which that danger was averted^ and for our children^ 
as for our fathers^ still stand secure^ the Pharos of Ameri- 
can liberty. 

It was a brilliant night. The winter had been unusu- 
ally mild, and the spring very forward. The hills were 
already green. The early grain waved in the fields, and 
the air was sweet with the blossoming orchards. Already 
the robins whistled, the bluebirds sang, and the benedic- 
tion of peace rested upon the landscape. Under the cloud- 
less moon the soldiers silently marched, and Paul Revere 
swiftly rode, galloping through Medford and West Cam- 
bridge, rousing every house as he went spurring for Lex- 
ington and Hancock and Adams, and evading the British 
patrols who had been sent out to stop the news. 

Stop the news! Already the village churches were 
beginning to ring the alarm, as the pulpits beneath them 
had been ringing for many a year. In the awakening 
houses lights flashed from window to window. Drums 
beat faintly far away and on every side. Signal-guns 
flashed and echoed. The watch-dogs barked, the cocks 



306 INTEBPBETATION OP THE PBINTED PAGE 

crew. Stop the news ! — Stop the sunrise ! The murmur- 
ing night trembled with the sunmions so earnestly ex- 
pected^ so dreaded^ so desired. And as long ago the voice 
rang out at midnight along the Syrian shore wailing that 
great Pan was dead^ but in the same moment the choiring 
angels whispered — "Glory to God in the highest^ for 
Christ is bom !" so^ if the stem alarm of that April night 
seemed to many a wistful and loyal heart to portend the 
passing glory of the British dominion and the tragical 
change of war, it whispered to them with prophetic inspi- 
ration — "Good will to men^ America is born !" 



SUGGESTIONS TO TEACHERS 



CHAPTER XVI 

SUGGESTIONS TO TEACHERS 

A oy means of gettinpr a s tudent to read the printed 
page intentively is sound pedagogy. Hence the 
numerous problems presented in this book. 



The text frequently calls upon the student to read 
or study a passage, or to decide a question. There 
is a very definite task thus set before him which the 
teacher must insist shall be performed. All illtistratioe 
material must be read aloud. 



It is not of so much moment that the student* s 
interpretation agree with mine or with the teacher^s, 
as that he have an interpretation which he can defend. 



Lessons should be carefully assigned, and the class 
held rigidly responsible for the working out of the 
particular problem in all illustrations. Students 
should be given to understand that all illustrations are 
to be read aloud in preparation for class, even though 
they be not called upon to read them all aloud. 



Slipshod interpretation must not be for a moment 
tolerated. Every recitation helps to form habits, good 
or bad. Drill, constant drill on interesting material, is 

309 



/ 

/ 



310 INTEKPBETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

indispensable for the formation of the habits necessary 
td proper interpretation and vocal expression. 



Assignments must not be too long, especially in the 
earlier parts of new chapters, but the work must be 
done accurately. Most students do not regard reading 
seriously, as they do, for instance, their mathematics. 
The reading, composition, and literature lessons are 
nearly always studied after preparation has been made 
in those subjects to which students know they can be 
held to strict accountability. Let the teacher, there- 
fore, once it is certain that the student understands a 
given principle, hold him as rigidly responsible for 
careful preparation as he is held in his other subjects. 
This is the only cure for slipshod reading. We fre- 
quently hear the excuse, "I had so much work to do in 
chemistry, or shop, or civics, that I hadn't time to 
prepare my reading or my literature." I suggest that 
when we once appreciate the value of sound training 
in reading, we may be able to reverse the student's 
excuse; for if there is one lesson more than another 
that cannot be skimped or hurried it is the reading. 



The results of the method are cumulative . Teachers 
must not permit their classes as they proceed from 
chapter to chapter to forget any principle that has 
gone before. 



It is not absolutely necessary that teacners take up 
the chapters seriatim, except in so far as one may be 



SUGGESTIONS TO TEACHERS 311 

dependent on the other. For instance, one must begin 
with chapter one, and two naturally follows: but one 
could with perfect propriety follow with Denotation 
or Punctuation. A little experience with the book will 
help the teacher to decide. Some work in the chapter 
on Punctuation should be given early in the course. 



Although emotion is not discussed until the close 
of the book, it does not follow that it should be ignored 
or repressed in the earlier stages. On the contrary, 
it should be, within reasonable limits, encouraged from 
the outset. 



Drill on the exercises under Group Motive will break 
up the almost universal habit of letting the voice fall 
at the end of every phrase; and, furthermore, it will 
stimulate the reader to a vital, varied melody, the very 
opposite of that deadly monotony that pervades the 
reading in most of our schools. Therefore, great 
stress should be laid on the vocal expression of the 
exercises dealing with all aspects of Motive. 



Most books on reading contain extended excerpts 
from literature far beyond the grasp of the average 
student (who is not enthusiastic over Milton or Keats 
or Shelley ) . I have, therefore, while selecting material 
from the best literature, avoided what I deemed beyond 
the experience of the majority of students, believing 
that to force them to study what does not interest them 
is sure to create a distaste for it; and, relying on 



312 INTEBPEETATION OP THE FEINTED PAGE 

years of experience, I believe further that if they come 
to enjoy what I have chosen they will eventually come 
to enjoy what now is far beyond them. 



In the great majority of cases absence of context 
will not stand in the student's way of using an excerpt 
in connection with the principle it is intended to ex- 
emplify. Where context is necessary, I have supplied 
it or given it in the form of a paraphrase. 



The lack of complete selections is explained by my 
wish to give a maximum of illustrative material for 
class use, and furthermore by the fact that the high- 
school course in English contains the best possible 
material for the expression lesson. 



To use the book in class even once a week will be 
very helpful ; but the best result will be obtained from 
more concentrated study — daily if possible. The more 
quickly the student understands and applies the prin- 
ciples herein set forth the sooner will he come to enjoy 
his work in literature and the greater wUl be his prog- 
ress in other subjects in which textbooks play a large 
part. 



To understand the principles of this method, nay, 
to be able to pass a hundred per cent examination in 
them, is not very difficult. Understanding of theory 
by a great way precedes the power to apply it. Hence, 
the teacher must not be discouraged if a student shows 



SUGGESTIONS TO TBACHEBS 313 

a fairly firm grasp of the principles without at once 
manifesting great improvement in vocal expression — 
at least the kind of expression that wins prizes and 
displays itself at school exercises. The first improve- 
ment will be seen in a heightened interest in the lesson ; 
then in a greater pleasure ; then in a keener apprecia- 
tion of meaning ; then in finer and more delicate shades 
of intellectual values in vocal expression; and finally 
(at least in the majority of cases), the rich ripe fruit 
of the harvest will appear in the vocal expression not 
only of all shades of meaning, but of feeling, emotion, 
passion. 



More space is devoted to the chapters on Grouping \ 
and Punctuation than to the others, because the \ 
former is the basis of all interpretation : The group 
is the unit; and the latter, experience shows, is the / 
most interesting aspect for students, and does more / 
to sharpen their wits and keep them on the alert / 
than any other phase of the subject. ^ 



While with enlarged knowledge and increased ex- 
perience with books less and less effort is required to 
read them, the time will never come when the reading 
of a good book will be easy in the sense that it be- 
comes a mere automatic process. In time conscious 
effort gives way to unconscious effort, but it is effort, 
concentrated effort. After considerable difficulty one 
learns to ride a bicycle and to control it automatically ; 
but one must keep pedaling for all the automatism. 
So it is with reading. Automatic as the process be- 



314 INTEBPBETATION OP THE FEINTED PAGE 

comes of recognizing words, let the attention deviate 
L^ \ for a single instant, and the result may be a total col- 
lapse. The worst of it is, however, that in many cases 
the mental collapse is not so evident as it would be in 
the case of a bicycle. But a series of mental mishaps 
cannot but eventuate in total ruin, and that phrase, I 
think, characterizes the state of mind of most people 
with regard to the printed page. 



'■A 
\ 






It may be objected that our method is too slow ; that 
if we were to read every page as slowly as I am advo- 
cating in some passages, we should never get on. The 
answer is (1) that while there are in books thousands 
of phrases that might be slighted without any serious 
loss to a particular student, it is quite possible that 
another student might by disregarding a single phrase 
lose one of the most vital statements in the whole 
book; (S) that patient analysis at the beginning is 
the only cure for the misreading that is the outcome 
of the wretched methods of the grammar grades; (3) 
that painstaking study eventuates in greater facility 
in sight reading; and (4) that reading is not only an 
end in itself, but can be made the means to develop 
the powers of concentration, observation, and 
discrimination. \ Iv V^ 

As a supplement to Denotation I should like the 
teacher to ponder carefully these words of Arlo Bates, 
in his Talks on Writing English: 

One of the things which often puzzles beginners is 
how to increase their vocabulary. Of course, reading 



'SXJGGESTIONS TO TEACHERS 315 

is one of the most effective means of enlarging one's 
knowledge of the language^ — ^but it is only careful read- 
ings reading in which are studied the force and the color 
terms as well as their literal meanii^g^ that is of any 
marked value in this direction. It is said that Thack- 
eray was in the habit of studying the dictionary with a 
frank purpose of adding to his knowledge of words. 
.... In general there is far too little stress laid upon 
the use of the dictionary. There should be in every 
preparatory school a regular exercise in the use of the 
dictionary, and in it all students should be required to 
join. The teacher should read an extract or a sentence, 
"or should give out words to the class, and have the 
meanings and derivations actually looked up at the 
moment. The differing values of synonyms should be 
examined; and if possible something of the history of 
the words given. The aim should be to encourage the 
student in the habit of having a lexicon at hand and of 
using it constantly. 



It is the failure on the part of many amateur 
and professional readers to apprehend the Connota- 
tion in literature that permits them to present medi- 
ocre literature (?) to their audiences. It makes no 
diff^erence what audiences ^"^p ^^*8 fnurtiV'^ "*° to 
supply what they need. In the name of a noble art 
I protest against bringing it into competition with 
vaudeville. Teachers of elocution and elocutionists 
themselves have paid the price of pleasing the "barren 
spectators" by losing altogether the sympathy and 
approval of "the judicious." There is only one way 
out for those who know what elocution really is — ^the 
handmaid of literature. 

How strange it is that the world acclaims the art 



316 INTEEPEETATION OF THE PRINTED PAGE 

of the musician — ^the violinist's, pianist's— and denies 
equal rank and esteem to the elocutionist, whose art, 
reproductive just as a musician's is, is fully €is difficult 
as that of the musical virtuoso and — have you 
thought of it? — infinitely more rare! There are a 
dozen great musical performers to one great elocu- 
tionist. The highest gifts in elocution are far rarer 
than in music; but because the great majority of 
people do not understand what good literature is, and 
care nothing about it, there is little encouragement 
for the vocal interpreter of great literature. Only by 
creating, through our schools, an appreciation of what 
is best in literature can we hope to have artistic read- 
ers, and, what is most necessary, an audience to listen 
to them. Teachers of literature and of elocution may 
be certain that the student who reads literature rich 
in connotation cannot fail to grow in understanding 
of and sympathy toward a higher and higher level of 
artistic appreciation, and this appreciation (in the 
sense of understanding and experiencing literature as 
literature) is the most potent factor in the develop- 
ment of the reader. 

In order that I may not be misunderstood, I would 
add that I do not claim that all who appreciate great 
literature are artistic readers. For one may be self- 
conscious, or awkward, or inea JL in voice^ or a cre ature 
of repressive habit. Frequently, too, one may have 
developed mannerisms which (since the reader is un- 
conscious of them) stand between his conception and 
the audience. But, granting all this, the fact still 
remains that there can be no adequa te voc^ Jpterpre- 



SUGGESTIONS TO TEACHEES 



31? 



tation of great literature unless, through connotation, 
the minff, the nearr.'fKe imagination of the speaker, are 
touched, arous ed, inflamed with a mighty passion . It 
is prima rily the r eader^ s toy i n the text that inspires 
him : and out of this inspiration alone can come good 
vocal expression. 

So far as the ave rage student is concerned vocal 
interpretati on is a secondary matt er. To enjoy litera- 
ture for its beauty, for the ^motions it enge nders 
within us, for the stimulus it gives to our imagina- 
tions, for the noble impulses it tfftllS' Mp in us — ^this is 
the ffoar of literary study. And when the student 
enjoys, he longs to share his delight with others, and 
that is the impulse, the fundamental impulse, that 
urges him to express vocally. 



m