Page images
PDF
EPUB
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]

Let the learner supply the genus in each of the following propositions :

Society is the .... of a number of rational beings. An insurrection is the .... against civil authority. Language is the of ideas by significant sounds.

Sobriety is the .... of being habitually temperate in the use of spirituous liquors.

Madness is .... of disordered reason or intellect.

A politician is .... versed in the science of government.

Gunpowder is a .... of saltpetre, sulphur, and charcoal. A market is a ....

where provisions or cattle are exposed for sale.

Grammar is the .... of speaking and writing a language correctly.

A meadow is .... appropriated to the production

of hay.

A month is the .... of four weeks.
A helm is the .. by which a ship is steered.

An orphan is ....

.... who is deprived of his parents. Idolatry is the .... of images.

A plough is .... used for turning up and breaking the earth.

Ink is a . used for writing.

[ocr errors]

LESSON VII. Let the learner substitute the subjects for the following definitions, and introduce them into sentences of his own composition :

1. A representation of natural objects by means of colour, &c.

2. A periodical record of passing events.

3. One who conducts the private correspondence of another.

4. An account of the lives of eminent characters. 5. The power of giving utterance to thought. 6. The sign of an idea. 7. The power of keeping our desires within bounds. 8. The abode of the just in a future life. 9. A man of enormous bulk and stature. 10. A body of troops commanded by a colonel.

Jl. A machine used for communicating intelligence from a distance by signals.

12. The supreme council of the English nation.

a

LESSON VIII. The following words are to be defined, and remarks made upon them by the pupil. Thus :subject.

species. remarks. A general is the commander of an army. One who holds this office should possess many high qualities ; courage, resolution, knowledge of military tactics, skill in manoeuvring, &c. Hannibal, Julius Cæsar, Frederic the Great, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Wellington, were all celebrated generals.

genus.

[ocr errors]

1. A dictionary

13. A sergeant (military). 2. A grammar

14. A sentence (legal) 3. Harmony

15. A revolution (political)... 4. A minister

16. A review (literary) 5. Contentment

17. A pirate 6. A pilgrim

18. A museum 7. A record

19. A parish 8. A residence

20. Economy 9. A catalogue

21. A monitor 10. A consul

22. A month 11. A gladiator ...

23. A glacier 12. A square (mathematical)... | 24. A herald

DESCRIPTION,

A description differs from a definition; the latter is merely a general statement of the nature of a subject, whereas the former enters into the particulars by which certain individual persons, places, and things are distinguished from others. Thus, the definition of “man" may be “a rational animal;” but the descrip' tion of a man would inform us of the appearance, manners, mental peculiarities, &c., of some one man.

A description needs not contain all the qualities belonging to a subject. Sometimes it may refer only to external appearance

sometimes to moral habits sometimes to mental faculties or acquirements, &c. Of course, the more of these various qualities it comprises, the more complete will be the description.

To describe well, attention should be directed chiefly to three points : 1. Begin with the larger divisions, and then go into particulars. 2. Do not make too many subdivisions; and 3. Be careful to choose accurate and appropriate terms.

Before writing a description, it will be well to consider the various parts or divisions of the subject, and to make a list of them in their proper order. This will prevent us from losing sight of any of the necessary parts of the subject, and will serve to render the description more complete. For example, suppose we are required to describe A COUNTRY HOUSE, the following points would have to be considered:-1. The situation. 2. The country in the immediate neighbourhood. 3. The garden, stables, out-houses, &c. 4. The style of building. 5. The entrance-hall. 6. The division or plan of the house. 7. The library and other sitting-rooms. 8. The bedrooms, &c.

It should also be remembered that, in writing a description, it is inexpedient to enter too minutely into details. A sufficient number of these should be introduced to fix the peculiarity of the subject — to bring it vividly before the reader's mental vision; but the broad outlines and striking features are the main points for consideration: they are like the powerful strokes of the painter's brush, which stamp the individuality of the scene, and impress it firmly upon the imagination.

EXAMPLES OF DESCRIPTIONS,

I, The following is a description of an interior, from Sir Walter Scott's story, “Old Mortality":

“Upon entering the place of refuge, he found Balfour seated on his humble couch, with a pocket Bible open in his hand, which he seemed to study with intense meditation. His broadsword, which he had unsheathed in the first alarm, at the arrival of the dragoons, lay naked across his knees, and the little taper that stood beside him on the old chest, which served the purpose of a table, threw a partial and imperfect light upon those stern and harsh features, in which ferocity was rendered more solemn and dignified by a wild cast of tragic enthusiasm. His brow was that of one in whom some strong o'ermastering principle has overwhelmed all other passions and feelings,-like the swell of a high spring-tide, when the usual cliffs and breakers vanish from the eye, and their existence is only indicated by the chafing foam of the waves that burst and wheel over them.”

The singular beauty of this passage consists in the truth of the delineation, and the power and skill with which the whole picture is drawn. The words marked in italics are the main features - the materials of the description - and their grouping contributes powerfully to deepen the impression. First, we have Balfour, the principal figure. The couch, the Bible, the broadsword, and the taper, are external accessories, and the reflection of the light upon his features gives the writer an opportunity of revealing the character and feelings, as well as the outward appearance, of the fanatical Puritan. The graceful figure with which the

passage closes, renders it one of the most striking and impressive descriptions in the works of this great writer.

« PreviousContinue »