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such leisure in the time of death, so gaze upon the secrets of the deep?
Clar.. Methought I had; and often did I strive
Brak. Awaked you not with this sore agony ?
Clar: O no, my dream was lengthened after life; O, then began the tempest of my soul; I passed, methought, the melancholy flood, With that grim ferryman which poets write of, Unto the kingdom of perpetual night. The first that there did greet my stranger soul, Was my great father-in-law, renowned Warwick, Who cried aloud: “ What scourge for perjury Can this dark monarchy afford false Clarence ?" And so he vanished ;-then came wandering by A shadow like an angel, with bright hair Dabbled in blood; and he shrieked out aloud: " Clarence is come,-false, FLEETING, PERJURED Clarence, That stabbed me in the field of Tewksbury; Seize on him, furies, take him to your torments !" With that, methought a legion of foul fiends Environed me, and howled in mine ears Such hideous cries, that, with the very noise, I trembling waked; and for a season after, Could not believe but that I was in hell!. Such terrible impression made my dream.
Brak. No marvel, lord, that it affrighted you;
Clar. O, Brakenbury, I have done these things,
Brak. I will, my lord. [Clarence reposes himself on a chair.
Aad, for unfelt imaginations,
This dialogue, in which Clarence relates to Brakenbury his sublime and terrible dream, occurs in Shakspeare's tragedy of King Richard III. It is one of the best pieces in our language, for a rhetorical exercise. The phrases in italic should be given with great power, and those in small capitals on a still higher key.
Some individuals say they think dialogues are theatrical, and consequently immoral. A dialogue is merely an interchange of sentiment,-a colloquy between two or more persons. Socrates conversed with Cebes and his other friends, during the last day and moments of his life, with a view of convincing them that the soul is immortal. That sublime and solemn dialogue is published in Plato's Phedon. The interviews which the apostles had with those to whom they taught the gospel, with each other, and with our Savior himself, may, with propriety, be called dialogues. Conversation is but another word for dialogue.
Dialogues, like single pieces, are rendered good or bad, by the sentiments embodied in them. But even if they were neither good nor bad, in a moral point of viow, they would aid the student, very much, in his efforts to become excellently skilled in reading and oratory. In some dialogues, serious characters appear; in others, ludicrous; and this is according to nature. In conversation or dialogues, the intonations and inflections of the voice, are more likely to be correct, than in reading or declaiming single pieces. Gesticulation, too, is generally better. The writer both admits and contends, that the influence of the unnatural manner in which actors sometimes exhibit the passions,—the dresses of some female performers,—the intoxicating drinks used in theatres,—and the bad women that frequent them, is to corrupt morals. As a substitute for the “unlawful pleasures," if indeed they can be called pleasures, to be found at badly conducted theatres; he would recommend those “innocent ones,” which may be derived from reading pieces, or exhibiting dialogues, plays, and tragedies "of chaste wit, as well as of pathos, beauty, and sublimity.”
86. VIRGINIUS AND LUCIUS.-James Sheridan Knowles
Lucius. 'Tis well you're found, Virginius!
Virginius. What makes you from the city ? look !
Most hopeful sons, is nothing but this,
Vir. I did not mind thee, Lucius ! Uncommon things make common things forgot. Hast thou a message for me, Lucius ? Well! I'll stay and hear it, but be brief; my heart Follows
Vir. On what account?
your arrival You'll learn.
Vir. How! is it something can't be told
Luc. He is both safe and well.
Luc. I have said
[Returns I am patient.
Luc. Your Virginia
Vir. Stop, my Lucius!
If 'tis prophetic, Lucius, of thy news,
Luc. You are still —
Vir. Neither dead nor sick! All well! No harm!
down and sleep, and yet
Luc. You are requir'd in Rome,
Vir. Whose suit?
with Claudius? Innocence
Luc. He has claimed Virginia.
Vir. Claimed her! Claimed her!
says she is the child
Vir. Go on ;-you see I'm calm.
Luc. He seized her in
Vir. Dragg'd her to
Luc. Numitorious there confronted him!
Vir. Did he not strike him dead ?
Luc. I was despatched to fetch thee, ere I could learn.
Vir. The claim of Claudius-Appius's client-Ha!
The “Tragedy of Virginius," from which this dialogue is taken, is founded on historical facts. We learn from “ Ferguson's Rome,” that“ Appius Claudius, one of the usurpers, being captivated with the beauty of Virginia, the child of an honorable family, and already betrothed to a person of her own condition, endeavored to make himself master of her person, by depriving her at once of her parentage and of her liberty. For this pui. pose, under pretence that she had been born in servitude, and that she had been stolen away in her infancy, he suborned a person to claim her as his slave. The decemvir himself being judge in this iniquitous suit, gave judgment against the helpless party, and ordered her to be removed to the house of the person by whom he was claimed. In this affecting scene, the father, under pretence of bidding a last farewell to his child, came forward to embrace her; and, in the presence of the multitude, having then no other means to preserve her honor, he availed himself of the prerogative of a Roman father, and stabbed her to the heart with a knife. The indignation which arose from this piteous sight, reëstablished a patrician administration."
When Virginius tells Lucius, -"You see I'm calm ”...“O, I'll be patient”-he was greatly agitated; and, of course, those phrases, and other similar ones, are ironical. His deepest indignation was naturally aroused against the lascivious tyrant.