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llereditary bondmen! Know ye not
And thou, O sun!
Behoves no more,
In the following exercises the learner is expected to write the ideas conveyed in the poetical extracts, in prose, varying the words and expressions, as well as the arrangement of
* This form of expression, where one mood of the verb is used for another, is sometimes imitated by prose writers. Thus, “Sixty summers had passed over his head without imparting one ray of warmth to his heart; without exciting one tender feeling for the sex, deprived of whose cheering presence, the paradise of the world were a wilderness of weeds.”—New Monthly Magazine. In this extract, the imperfect of the subjunctive is used without its attendant conjunction for the pluperfect of the potential. Cowper has a similar expression in his fable entitled “ The Needless Alarm,” where he ases th3 pluperfect of the indicative for the pluperfect of the potential : thus,
“Awhile they mused; surveying every face,
Thou hadst supposed them of superior race
them, so as to make clear and distinct sentences,
as in the following
Same idea expressed in prose. Health, peace, and competence comprise all the pleasures which this world can afford.
Same line transposed in s variety of ways.
weary way the ploughman plods homeward.
The example shows that it is not always necessary to change the language, in order to convert poetry into prosa. Of the ten modes in which the above recited line has been transposed, it will be noticed that several of them are entirely prosaic.
It may here be remarked that in the conversion of poetry into * Sir Walter Scott, in a letter to his son, (See Lockhart's Life, Vol. V., p. 54,) has the following language: “You should exercise yourself frequently in trying to make translations of the passages which most strike you, trying to invest the sense of Tacitus in as good English as you can. This will an swer the double purpose of making yourself familiar with the Latin anthor, and giving you the command of your own language, which no person will ever have, who does not study English Composition in early life.” The conversion of verse into prose it is conceived will, at least in a good degree, subserve the same useful purpose of giving command of language; and for this reason the exercises in this lesson, or similar ones, cannot be too strongly recommended, especially to those whose minds' have not been disciplined by an attention to the classics.
prose, the animation of the style is often endangered. Poetry admits more ornament than prose, and especially a more lib. eral use of that figure (Prosopopocia or Personification) by which life and action are attributed to inanimate objects. The exercises, therefore, of the pupil, in converting poetry into prose, will be deemed useful only as tending to give clear ideas and command of language.
The learner is presumed now to be prepared to transpose simple tales and stories from verse into prose, with some additions of his own. Such exercises will be found of mucb use, not only in acquiring command of language, but also as an exercise of the imagination. In performing these exercises, the greatest latitude may be allowed, and the learner may be permitted not only to alter the language, but to substitute his own ideas, and to vary the circumstances, so as to make the exercise as nearly an original one as he can.
Example The following short tale, or story in verse, is presented to be convertod into a tale in prose.
If ever you should come to Modēna,
'Tis of a lady in her earliest youth,
She sits, inclining forward as to speak,
An emerald stone in every golden clasp; * Any volume of poetical extracts will furnish additional exercises for the student. It is therefore deemed inexpedient to present in this volumo an additional number of them.
And on her brow, fairer than alabas ar
But then her face,
Alone it hangs
- it may be true or false, -
Weary of his life, Francesco flew to Venice, and embarking, Flung it away in battle with the Turk. Donati lived, and long might you have seen An old man wandering as in quest of something, Something he could not find, he knew not what. When he was gone, the house remained awhile Silent and tenantless, - then went to strangers.
Full fifty years were past, and all forgotten, When, on an idle day, a day of search 'Mid the old lumber in the gallery, That mouldering chest was noticed ; and 't was said By one as young, as thoughtless as Ginevra, “Why not remove it from its lurking-place ? " 'T was done as soon as said ; but on the way It burst, it fell; and lo! a skeleton With here and there a pearl, an emerald-stone,
A golden clasp, clasping a shred of gold.
There then had she found a grave!
Conversion of the preceding Story into Prose.
THE LEGEND OF MODENA.*
In an elegant apartment of a palace overlooking the Reggio gate in Modena, which, about fifty years before, belonged to the noble family of Donati, but which now was occupied by a very distant branch of that illustrious race, sát the loveliest of its descendants — the beautiful Bea. trice, the flower of Modena. Upon the marble table and embroidered ottomans before her, lay a variety of rich costumes, which her favorito attendant, Laura, was arranging where their rich folds fell most gracefully, and their bright tints mocked the rainbows hues of colored light; for the fair Beatrice was selecting a becoming attire for a masquerade ball, which was to be given during the gay season of the approaching Carnival. But a shadow of discontent rested on her brow, as she surveyed the splendid dresses— they were too common-place and she turned from them with disdain. Suddenly her eye rested upon an antique pic. ture, hanging on the tapestried wall, which represented a young and beautiful figure in the attitude of
“Inclining forward, as to speak,
Her lips half open and her finger up,
Pushing aside the costly silks and velvets, she ran to look at the pic. ture more closely. The lady's dress was perfect, she thought; it just suited her capricious taste, and one like it she determined to have and wear, at the approaching festival. In vain Laura expostulated, and the difficulty of obtaining such an antiquated costume was brought to her mind, and finally, the legend connected with the portrait was begun. But the wilful Beatrice would not listen, although a destiny, sad as that of the ill-fated lady of the portrait was predicted, if she persevered in her whim. Regardless of remonstrance, Beatrice proceeded to search among the finery of her ancestors for something to correspond with the dress which she determined to have, spite of all their old legends, whirh she
* This “ Legend" was written by a young lady of about thirteen years of age,
and presented as an exercise at the public school in this city, un'ci the charge of the author.