Page images
PDF

taken in these proceedings. It has been said by a noble lord on my left hand, that I likewise am running the race of popularity. If the noble lord means by popularity, that applause bestowed by after-ages on good and virtuous actions, I have long been struggling in that race: to what purpose, all-trying time can alone determine. But if the noble lord means that mushroom popularity which is raised without merit, and lost without a crime, he is much mistaken in his opinion. I defy the noble lord to point out a single action of my life, in which the popularity of the times ever had the smallest influence on my determinations.

2. The decemvir then began to excuse himself, saying, that he was willing to give liberty to all deliberations upon the question, but could not bear an oration, which, leaving the point in debate, only seemed calculated to promote sedition: that he and his colleagues had received an unlimited power from the people, till the great work of forming the laws was finished, during which they were resolved to act to the extent of their power, and then would be answerable for their administration: he therefore demanded, that they should have a power of levying and commanding the forces that were to be sent against the enemy.

3. With regard to my poverty, the king has, indeed, been justly informed. My whole estate consists of a house of but mean appearance, and a little spot of ground, from which, by my own labour, I draw my support. But if, by any means, thou hast been persuaded to think that this poverty renders me of less consequence in my own country, or in any degree unhappy, thou art greatly deceived. I have no reason to complain of fortune: she supplies me with all that nature requires; and if I am without superfluities, I am also free from the desire of them. With these, I confess I should be more able to succour the necessitous, the only advantage for which the wealthy are to be envied: but small as my possessions are, I can still contribute something to the support of the state, and the assistance of my friends. With respect to honours, my country places me, poor as I am, upon a level with the richest: for Rome knows no qualifications for great employments but virtue and ability. She appoints me to officiate in the most august ceremonies of religion ; she intrusts me with the command of her armies; she confides to my care the most important negotiations. My poverty does not lessen the weight and influence of my counsels in the senate. The Roman people honour me for that very poverty which king Pyrrhus considers as a disgrace. They know the many opportunities I have had to enrich myself without censure; they are convinced of my disinterested zeal for their prosperity: and if I have any thing to complain of, in the return they make me, it is only the excess of their applause. What value, then, can I put upon thy gold and silver ? What king can add any thing to my fortune 2

4. Pericles maintained that they had failed in nothing of their duty, as they had given orders that the dead bodies should be taken up; that, if any one were guilty, it was the accuser himself, who, being charged with these orders, had neglected to put them in execution; but that he blamed nobody; and that the tempest, which came on unexpectedly at the very instant, was an unanswerable apology, and entirely discharged the accused from all guilt. He demanded that a whole day should be allowed them to make their defence,—a favour not denied to the most criminal; and that they should be tried separately. He represented that they were not in the least obliged to precipitate a sentence wherein the lives of the most illustrious citizens were concerned : that it was, in some measure, attacking the gods, to make men responsible for the winds and weather: that they could not, without the most flagrant ingratitude and injustice, put to death the conquerors, to whom they ought to decree crowns and honours, or give up the defenders of their country to the rage of those who envied them : that if they did so, their unjust judgment would be followed by a sudden but vain repentance, which would leave behind it the sharpest remorse, and cover them with eternal infamy.”

SECTION III.
SIMPLE SENTENCES.

Sentences are either simple or complex.

A simple sentence contains only one proposition.

A complex sentence consists of two or more simple sentences so combined as to make but one complete proposition.

Divide the following complex into simplesentences:—

* These exercises, and those which follow under Sections III. IV. V. VI. and VII. may be multiplied from any text-book of history.

EXAMPLE.

Friendship improves happiness, and abates misery, by doubling our joy, and dividing our grief.

Friendship improves happiness. Friendship abates misery. Friendship doubles our joy. Friendship divides our grief.

TeXERCISES.

1. Modesty is not properly a virtue, but it is a very good sign of a tractable disposition, and a great preservative against vice. 2. Thousands, whom indolence has sunk into contemptible obscurity, might have attained the highest distinctions, if idleness had not frustrated the effect of all their powers. 3. At our first setting out in life, when yet unacquainted with the world and its snares, when every pleasure enchants with its smile, and every object shines with the gloss of novelty, let us beware of the seducing appearances which surround us, and recollect what others have suffered from the power of headstrong desire. 4. The Romans, fleeing in great consternation, were pursued by the enemy to the bridge, over which both victors and vanquished were about to enter the city in confusion. All now appeared to be lost, when the sentinel, who had been placed there to defend it, opposed himself to the torrent of the enemy, and, assisted only by two more, for some time sustained the whole fury of the assault, till the bridge was broken down behind him; when plunging with his arms into the Tiber, he swam back to his fellow-soldiers.

SECTION IV.
ABRIDGMENT OF COMPLEX SENTENCES.

The clauses of a complex sentence are either princi. pal or secondary. The principal clause is that which contains the leading proposition; and it must express a complete idea, even when separated from the rest of the sentence. A secondary clause is a simple sentence, or part of a sentence, modifying the principal clause. Secondary clauses may be divided into Adjective,

Relative, Participial, Adverbial, Connective or Conjunctive, Absolute, Apposition, Parenthetical, &c. An adjective clause is introduced by an adjective. A relative clause is introduced by a relative pronoun. A participial clause is introduced by a participle, which describes some other word in the sentence. An adverbial clause is introduced by an adverb. A connective or conjunctive clause is introduced by a conjunction. An absolute clause is not dependent upon any other word or words in the sentence. An apposition clause contains a noun placed in apposition with the word or clause going before. A parenthetical clause is enclosed by a parenthesis.

Abridge the following passages by writing only the principal clauses, making each a separate sentence:—

EXAMPLE.

Socrates, though primarily attentive to the culture of his mind, was not negligent of his external appearance. His cleanliness resulted from those ideas of order and decency, which governed all his actions.

Socrates was not negligent of his external appearance. His cleanliness resulted from his ideas of order and decency.

EXERCISES.

1. A horse, having been insulted by a stag, and finding himself unequal to his adversary, applied to a man for assistance. The request was easily granted; and the man, putting a bridle in his mouth, and mounting upon his back, soon came up with the stag, and laid him dead at his enemy's feet. The horse, having thus gratified his revenge, thanked his assistant. “Now,” said he, “I will return in triumph, and reign the undisputed lord of the forest.” “By no means,” replied the man, “I shall have occasion for your services, and you must go home with me.” So saying, he led him to his hovel, where the unhappy steed spent the remainder of his days in laborious servitude; sensible, too late, that revenge may cost a great deal more than it is worth.

2. A youth, who lived in the country, and who had not acquired, either by reading or conversation, any knowledge of the animals

D

which inhabit foreign regions, went to a neighbouring city to see an exhibition of wild beasts. “What is the name of that lovely animal,” said he to the keeper, “which you have placed near one of the ugliest beasts in your collection, as if you meant to contrast beauty with deformity?”—“The animal which you admire,” replied the keeper, “is called a tiger; and, notwithstanding the meekness of his looks, he is fierce and savage beyond description. But the other beast, which you despise, is in the highest degree docile, affectionate, and useful. For the benefit of man, he traverses the sandy deserts of Arabia, where drink and pasture are seldom to be found, and will continue several days without sustenance, yet still patient of labour. The camel, therefore (for such is the name given to this animal), is more worthy of your admiration than the tiger, notwithstanding the inelegance of his imake, and the two bunches upon his back : for mere external beauty is of little estimation; and deformity, when associated with amiable dispositions and useful qualities, should not preclude our respect and approbation.”

SECTION W.
ABRIDGMENT or complex sent ENCEs (continued).

Abridge the following passages by writing in each sentence the principal clause, and such secondary clauses only as the sense may require:—*

EXAMPLE.

Sir Philip Sidney, at the battle near Zutphen, was wounded by a musket-ball, which broke the bone of his thigh. He was carried about a mile and a half to the camp; and being faint with the loss of blood, and probably parched with thirst, through the heat of the weather, he called for drink. It was immediately brought to him : but as he was putting the vessel to his mouth, a poor wounded soldier, who happened at that instant to be carried past him, looked up to it with wistful eyes. The gallant and generous Sidney took the bottle from his mouth, and delivered it to the soldier, saying, “Thy necessity is yet greater than mine.”

* In exercises like this, the Teacher may suggest whether the secondary clauses should be adjective, relative, participial, adverbial, connective, absolute, apposition, or parenthetical.

« PreviousContinue »