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onward, right onward to his object — this, this is eloquence; or rather it is something greater and higher than all eloquence, it is action, noble, sublime, godlike action."
1. Show that the conditions mentioned in Webster's definition of eloquence were fulfilled when he delivered this oration. Why is it not likely that the same combination of circumstances favorable to the delivery of a great oration will ever again occur in this country? May similar or even greater circumstances occur at some time in the future?
2. What principal thought did Webster wish to impress upon his hearers? What are the large divisions of the oration ? What is the main idea in each ? Show that in each the author rises to an oratorical climax. Why should an oration move in waves of feeling, and not in a continually sustained emotion ?
3. What were the two purposes of the monument as stated by the author ?
4. Point out several philosophic statements, or general truths, that are found in this oration. What is their relation to the purpose of the oration ? 5. Do
notice any particular kind of sentence construction that occurs frequently? Why is this form especially in keeping with the oratorical style ?
6. What figures are used most frequently in this oration — personification, similes, or metaphors ? Which of these is most fitting in an oration? Why?
7. Point out several statements regarding the prosperity and civilization of that day, which are true in a much larger degree of our own time.
II. SPECIAL EXERCISES
Page 181. What kind of ceremony is “laying the corner stone” of any building, monument, etc.? 5. What is meant by “this spacious temple of the firmament”? 6. Why was this particular “ day” chosen for the ceremony? 9. What is meant by “local association” ? Illustrate. 11. What “emotions” of people have been mentioned ? 14. Can you give any reason for repeating the
INTROD. LESS. IN ENG, LIT. -14
“their” before each of the nouns? 15. annals. 19. subsequent. 20. What predicate for “eminence must be supplied in thought? Where? 22. What characteristic of human nature makes such a statement effective in a public address ?
Page 182. 24. posterity. 25. What does the author mean by the allotments of humanity”? 26. “probable ” — distinguish from “possible.” What “great events” did the author have in mind ? What is the general purpose of these first two paragraphs, and especially the last sentence of the second ? 34. What is the word to be emphasized in this statement? 42. Why does the orator speak of the ship of Columbus as “shattered ” ? 44. What is the figure? What was his “hope”? his. "despair”? 46. harassed. 48. “ rapture;” “ecstasy” – why use both of these words ? Should the style of an orator be very terse and condensed, or just the opposite? Give reasons for your opinion. What is the value of the details in this vivid description of the “pathetic scene," (line 40). 56. fortitude.
Page 183. 58. What was the effect of this “piety” of our ancestors upon their character ? 60. Give examples of " civil institutions.” 61. Show that these two great principles must necessarily be “united.” 66. What other "colony” is meant? 67. What “river”? 69. How is the nation thought of? 72. prodigy. 74. Give reasons why the American Revolution was all of these things. 75. What name was sometimes given to this period of great national prosperity ? 78. To whom were this admiration and this gratitude extended ? signal. Give the topic thoughts of the third, fourth, and fifth paragraphs. How is the central thought of the fourth paragraph amplified ? 80. “organ; ” Mr. Webster was president of the Bunker Hill Monument Association. 81. propitious. 87. auspicious. 84–89. Compare this sentence with lines 6-7, p. 181.
Page 184. 93. “prosecuted” what other common use has this word? 95. Look up a description of the architecture of the monument. 100. Refer to lines 11–22, p. 181. 101. Why is the memory of men the safest place for the keeping of the record of “illustrious actions”? 108. entablatures. 114. edifice. 117. Why is it necessary to present some ohject “to the eye” in order to commemorate great lives or great events ? “similar sentiments ” — explain. 119 ff. Show that the facts of the imagination and the feelings are as real, of their kind, as the facts of the reason. To which faculty does literature appeal most strongly, reason or imagination ? Does it appeal to both ?
Page 185. 126. What is the effect of omitting “and”? 130. What “ benefit” is meant ? 132. Tell how these “events” affected the history of other countries than our own. 137. Is the clause, “where the first .. was fought,” in the best position in the sentence ? 143. solaced. 141-144. What is the effect of the “antithesis ” (opposition of thought) in this sentence? 146. How was Webster's statement in regard to “days of disaster ” proved true by subsequent events in our history? 153. The monument would help to produce “ a pious feeling of dependence and gratitude” toward what or whom? 155. Compare Scott's lines :
6 Breathes there a man with soul so dead,
This is my own, my native land?
From wandering on a foreign strand?"
160. “parting day” compare the first line of Gray's Elegy,” “ The curfew tolls the knell of parting day.” Make an outline of the construction of this paragraph. What was the author's purpose in repeating “We know” and “We wish” at the beginning of sentences ? Might the oration have been well concluded at the end of this paragraph ? 162. How does the beginning of this paragraph differ, in thought and feeling, from the close of the preceding one? How would this difference be indicated by the voice? 176. Why was this a wonderful thing? 177. augmented. 178. Show that this statement implies more thought than to say, “ the forests have been felled,” or something in that style. 182 ff. Compare this statement with the facts of commerce, etc., at the present time. 155. What are some of the “exigencies of government”? This means without direct taxation; what kinds of indirect taxation have we?
Page 187. 189. What “mighty revolution” is here referred to ? In what way did it affect all the nations of Europe? How did the American Revolution influence the ideas of Europeans in regard to government? 194. Show that some of our states have larger area and greater wealth than many European nations. 197. “from beyond the track of the sun; to what countries is the speaker referring ? 199. annihilated. Mr. Webster had the famous Monroe Doctrine in mind; but was the statement strictly true? 203. Give particular ex
amples of "improvement in legislation," etc. 207. Explain a faint abstract.” 217. What does “theater” mean here? Look up the derivation of the word. Show that the last sentence of this paragraph prepares the way for the stirring eloquence of the following paragraphs. To whom are these paragraphs addressed ? Where does this section of the oration end? What is the prevailing emotion during the part of the oration addressed to the survivors of the Revolution ? All this vivid description recalls what scene to the imagination of his hearers ?
Page 188. 225 ff. What are the two elements of the changed condition of affairs referred to by the speaker? 230 ff. What do you notice in regard to the construction of this sentence ? 237. What is the predicate of “heights”? In order to read this sentence well, the reader must have this predicate in mind from the very beginning of the sentence. 244. felicity. 245. This refers to the fact that the United States Navy Yard at Charlestown is at the foot of Bunker Hill. 246. “not means of annoyance” refers to what incident connected with the battle of Bunker Hill? 252. Why is the phrase “in the name of” repeated? Why is it not a good practice to carry this to excess ?
Page 190. 255. “ Time and the sword have thinned your ranks” is equivalent to what plain statement? Which of the two do you prefer? Why? 256 ff. This turning away from the present audience, and addressing absent persons, or personified things, as if they were present, is called apostrophe. It should be used very cautiously. A weak speaker who attempts this style usually makes himself ridiculous. 267. What is the value of the quotation ?
The words are quoted from Milton's “Paradise Lost,” Bk. V, line 311. 273. premature. “ Him!” – this encomium in the form of an apostrophe is in honor of General Joseph Warren, who was killed at Bunker Hill while fighting most gallantly. He had served at the battle of Lexington, and had been made major-general of the Massachusetts volunteers only a short while before his death; he had been chairman of the committee of public safety, and president of the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts. Why is the exclamation “ Him!” put in the objective case ? 281. Explain the figurative force of the word “ fertilize.” 286. Explain “thy memory shall not fail.” Page 191.
288. transports. 289. aspirations. 290–295. What change occurs here in the speaker's emotion, and his attitude toward his audience ? Show how this paragraph joins the one just before it with the one that follows. 296. Compare the introductory words of address, “ VETERANS” and “ VENERABLE MEN.” 297. What were these “marks of honor”? 302. sanguine. 309. Why were they agitated and filled with emotion? How would the thoughts of this paragraph tend to change the feelings of the people? 319. succor. 320. exultation.
Page 192. 328. How would the change of feeling at the beginning of this paragraph be indicated with the voice? How had the speaker secured the attention and sympathy of his hearers? 334. Mention some of the ways in which Massachusetts and Boston incurred the displeasure of the British Parliament. 353. Why was this advantage considered “ an unworthy boon”?
Page 193. 356. Why is the word “interest” repeated? 360. “this miserable proffer” refers to what? 365. commiseration. What is the topic thought in this paragraph? Compare the feeling with that of the preceding paragraph.
Page 194. 392. Explain "put professions to the proof.” How was this done? 397. What is the effect of the negative statements ? 399. This passage is quoted from Virgil's “ Æneid,” the greatest heroic poem of Latin literature. Freely translated, it means: “And a spirit, diffused through all the members (of the body), energizes the whole, and mingles itself with the entire body.” This may refer to the body of a single individual, or to a state or nation. This is a great truth; we should look beneath mere outward actions to the spirit which prompted them. The practice of inserting Latin quotations in orations and essays is, fortunately, now being abandoned, and our own language, which all can understand at least partially, is found sufficient for the expression of all our thoughts. 402. yeomanry. 413. Blandishments. 415. intimidate.
Page 195. 423. “one cause, one country, one heart,” these words furnish the key to all of Webster's public efforts. How does this last clause of this paragraph introduce, or lead up to, the principal thought of the last half of the oration ? 436. What country in Europe had given most attention to the appeals of the colonists? 440. Why are strong feeling and “elevated principle” necessary for effective argument and persuasion ? 445. vindication. 446. What was this “practical and severe proof” of the devotion of the colonists ?
Page 196. 455. combatants. The British troops numbered 2500, and their loss was 1050; what was the percentage of loss? The