Page images


1. There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the full, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.

2. The chief in silence strode before,
And reach'd that torrent's sounding shore,
Which, daughter of three mighty lakes,
From Vennachar in silver breaks,
Sweeps through the plain, and ceaseless mines
On Bochastle the mouldering lines,
Where Rome, the empress of the world,
Of yore her eagle wings unfurl’d.

3. There is a joy in grief, when peace dwells with the sorrowful. But they are wasted with mourning, O daughter of Toscar, and their days are few. They fall away like the flower on which the sun looks in his strength, after the mildew has passed over it, and its head is heavy with the drops of night.

4. Men must acquire a very peculiar and strong habit of turning their eye inwards, in order to explore the interior regions and recesses of the mind, the hollow caverns of deep thought, the private seats of fancy, and the wastes and wildernesses, as well as the more fruitful and cultivated tracts of this obscure climate.

5. As from some rocky cliff the shepherd sees
Clust'ring in heaps on heaps the driving bees,
Rolling and black’ning, swarms succeeding swarms,
With deeper murmurs and more hoarse alarms;
Dusky they spread a close-embodied crowd,
And o'er the vale descends the living cloud.
So, from the tents and ships, a length'ning train
Spreads all the beach, and wide o'ershades the plain;
Along the region runs a deaf'ning sound;
Beneath their footsteps groans the trembling ground.

6. A very shower
Of beauty is thy earthly dower
Twice seven consenting years have shed
Their utmost bounty on thy head :
And these gray rocks, this household lawn,
These trees, a veil just half withdrawn,

This little bay, a quiet road
That holds in shelter thy abode;
In truth, together you do seem

Like something fashion'd in a dream."



THE various kinds of ORIGINAL CoM Position, in which the preceding Rules and Exercises may be practised, are Narrative, Descriptive, and Miscellaneous Essa3ys.t


Narrative Essays relate events, which should be recorded in the order of time; and facts, which should be mentioned in the order of place.

Write narrative essays from the following detached Sentences:—


Cincinnatus was chosen consul.

He had for some time lived in retirement, cultivating a small farm.

He regretted that his assistance should be required.

He resolved to side with neither the patrician nor the plebeian

Having restored tranquillity, he returned home.

* The Teacher should direct the attention of his Pupils to the figures which occur in the course of their ordinary reading, and occasionally prescribe exercises upon them after the manner of the above.

+ The Teacher may occasionally vary the exercises in Original Composition, by making his Pupils write them in the form of LETTERs, which ought to be composed in a more easy and familiar style than regular Essays.

An assembly having been appointed for choosing another consul, the senate fixed upon Quintius Cincinnatus. This noble Roman had, for some time, given up all views of ambition, and retired to a little farm, where the deputies of the senate found him holding the plough, and dressed in the humble attire of a labouring husbandman. Preferring the charms of country retirement to the fatiguing splendours of office, he appeared but little elevated by the dignity which was offered to him, and rather testified a concern that his aid should be wanted. Having taken a tender leave of his wife, he departed for the city, where he found the two parties violently inflamed against each other. The new consul, however, resolved to side with neither; but, by a strict attention to the interests of his country, instead of gaining the confidence of faction, endeavoured to secure the esteem of all. By his moderation, humanity, and justice, he at length restored to the people that tranquillity, which he so much loved himself; when he again renounced the splendours of ambition, and returned with increasing relish to the enjoyment of his farm.


1. Cincinnatus was chosen dictator.

He was the only person on whom his countrymen could depend.

As before, he was found labouring in his field.

He was astonished, but not elated, by the unbounded power offered to him. He nominated Tarquitius, another poor man, his master of the horse.

Cincinnatus delivered his country, and resigned the dictatorship in fourteen days.

He was content with temperance and fame.

2. The city of Falerii was besieged by Camillus, general of the Romans. A schoolmaster decoyed the children of the principal citizens into the Roman camp. He told Camillus that the possession of these children would soon make the citizens surrender. Camillus replied, that the Romans loved courage, but hated treachery. He ordered the schoolmaster to be whipt into the city by the boys. The citizens immediately submitted to the Romans.

3. The city of Troy was taken by the Greeks. The conquerors permitted every free citizen to choose any one thing which he valued most. AEneas carried away his household gods. The Greeks gave him permission to take what he valued next. He raised his aged father upon his shoulders. The Greeks then gave him leave to carry away all his property.

4. Damon was condemned to death by the tyrant Dionysius.

Pythias offered to submit to death if his friend did not return. The tyrant blamed Pythias for his foolish confidence. At the very hour Damon arrived. Dionysius pardoned Damon, and begged to be honoured with the friendship of two such worthy men.

5. After the battle of Cressy, Calais was besieged by Edward III. Provoked by the resistance of the inhabitants, he ordered them to choose six of their number to be put to death. While all were struck with horror at this sentence, Eustace de St Pierre offered himself for one. Five more soon joined him; and they came with halters about their necks to Edward. He ordered them to be executed; but his queen pleaded so powerfully for them, that he pardoned them. The queen not only entertained them sumptuously in her own tent, but sent them back loaded with presents.

6. David was born at Bethlehem.

He was sent to the camp to inquire for his brothers.

He was provoked to hear the Israelites challenged by Goliah.

He slew their champion with a stone thrown from a sling, and the Philistines fled."

W He was permitted to go home to settle his affairs.

SECTION II. DESCRIPTIVE ESSAYS. Descriptive Essays give an account of persons, animals, places, objects, &c.

* The Teacher can be at no loss for additional subjects of Narrative Essays. After his Pupils have had some practice in original composition, he may discontinue giving them detached sentences, especially when the narratives are taken from Scripture history.

Write descriptive essays on the following subjects:—


A description of Nice; the extent of the city and county ; the situation of the city; its appearance and fortifications; scenery and productions of the adjacent country.

I am at last settled at Nice, and have leisure to give you some account of this very remarkable place. The county of Nice extends about eighty miles in length, and in some places it is thirty miles broad. The length of the city does not exceed two miles, nor is the breadth of it, in any part, above one. It is bounded by the Mediterranean on the south, and wedged in between a steep rock and the little river Paglion, which descends from the mountains, and washing the town walls on the west side, falls into the sea, after having filled some canals for the use of the inhabitants. The city of Nice is built in the form of a triangle, the base of which is towards the sea. On the west side, it is surrounded by a wall and rampart; on the east, it is overhung by a rock, with the ruins of an old castle, which, before the invention of artillery, was reckoned impregnable. When I stand upon the rampart and look around me, I can scarcely help thinking myself enchanted. The small extent of country which I see, is cultivated like a garden. Indeed, the plain presents nothing but gardens, full of green trees loaded with oranges, lemons, citrons, and bergamots, which make a delightful appearance.


l. The apostle Paul; his birthplace; by whom educated; in the opinions of what sect; on what occasion first mentioned in Scripture; for what then remarkable; his conversion; subsequent history; for what distinguished.

2. Julius Caesar; his family; his great rival; his conquests; his great power; his death and character.

3. Jerusalem; its situation; remarkable localities in the city and neighbourhood; when first mentioned in history; to whom originally belonged; when the citadel taken by the Israelites; by whom made the capital; the most famous of its public buildings; how many times taken and plundered; the most remarkable events in its history; by whom destroyed; by whom rebuilt; present state.

« PreviousContinue »