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I had, however, still better teaching than theirs, and that compulsorily, and every day of the week.
Walter Scott and Pope's Homer were reading of my own election, but my mother forced me, by steady daily toil, to learn long chapters of the Bible by heart; as well as to read it every syllable through, aloud, hard names and all, from Genesis to the Apocalypse, about once a year: and to that discipline — patient, accurate, and resolute -I owe, not only a knowledge of the book, which I find occasionally serviceable, but much of my general power of taking pains, and the best part of my taste in literature. From Walter Scott's novels I might easily, as I grew older, have fallen to other people's novels; and Pope might, perhaps, have led me to take Johnson's 2 English, or Gibbon's,: as types of language; but, once knowing the 32nd of Deuteronomy, the 119th Psalm, the 15th of First Corinthians, the Sermon on the Mount, and most of the Apocalypse, every syllable by heart, and having always a way of thinking with myself what words meant, it was not possible for me, even in the foolishest times of youth, to write entirely superficial or formal English.
STUDY HINTS Study the spelling and meaning of these words: privileges superficial
evangelical formal occasionally syllable
What instances of humor do you find? What authors does he specially mention? What is his opinion of the value of his early training? Do you think that his opinion is correct? Aside from the subject matter, what else did Ruskin learn in reading the Bible? How did he acquire a vocabulary? Which of the books that he read are you suffi
1 The Revelation, the last book in the New Testament.
2 Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), a noted converser and writer, who loved long words derived from the Latin.
8 Edward Gibbon (1737-1794), author of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, who was also fond of words of Latin origin.
ciently familiar with to give some of their general characteristics? How many of the same books did Abraham Lincoln (p. 258) and Ruskin read early in life?
SUGGESTIONS FOR ORAL AND WRITTEN ENGLISH
THEME SUBJECTS My Autobiography.
The Reading That I now Like and My Early Reading
Why I Like It. Give two reasons for thinking the Relate orally three Biblical stories.
Bible a model for those who Debate: Should Sunday Readspeak or write.
ing Differ from that of Week (Quote passages to justify your Days?
SUGGESTIONS FOR ADDITIONAL READINGS Read from the Bible: The Story of Creation; The Story of Abraham; The Story of David; The Story of Samson; The Story of Ruth; Daniel in the Lions' Den; The Description of the New Jerusalem (Revelation, xxi, xxii).
Read from Pope's or Bryant's translation of Homer's Odyssey: Ulysses (Odysseus) and Calypso (Book v); The Lotus-Eaters and the Cyclops (Book ix); Æolus and Circe (Book x); The Sirens, Scylla and Charybdis (Book xii).
Defoe's Robinson Crusoe. (Note the Biblical simplicity of his style.) Franklin's Autobiography (the first twenty-five pages).
Ruskin's The King of the Golden River and Sesame and Lilies, Lecture II. (The part relating to Shakespeare.)
John Milton (1608-1674) was born in London, England. He is, next to Shakespeare, the greatest English poet. This description of Satan is taken from the sublimest epic in the English language, Paradise Lost. Milton was totally blind at the time he produced this, so that he was obliged to dictate it to his daughters. It was a tremendous task, for the epic embraces twelve books. Milton has exerted great influence upon English poetry and prose. See also:
Halleck's New English Literature, pp. 238–252, 255.
[In the poem, Satan led a host of rebellious angels against God and was cast out of heaven. He then set up a kingdom in the “infernal world.”]
FAREWELL, happy fields,
1 Lower world.
His spear, to equal which the tallest pine,
... he, above the rest
Read this aloud until you can feel Milton's mastery of harmonious rhythm and understand the secret of his influence in English poetry.
. Do you agree with the poet in lines 6 and 7 that our happiness in large measure depends upon our way of looking at things? L. 21. “Thick as autumnal leaves,” etc. is a very famous expression. Try to picture the scene. Read aloud the lines that show the indomitable pride of Satan. What fine comparisons can you point out? What impression do you get of his great size? After studying this selection carefully, read it aloud again, then try to think what words will best describe the impression it leaves on you.
1 The ship with which the admiral leads the fleet. “Ammiral” is the old spelling for
SUGGESTIONS FOR ADDITIONAL READINGS
Selections from Milton's L'Allegro, Comus, Il Penseroso, and Book I of Paradise Lost.