« PreviousContinue »
rangement. 5. Politics; talent displayed in its leading articles. 6. Foreign news, correspondents. 7. Literary criticism. 8. Parliamentary reports. 9. Legal intelligence. 10. Its general influence, &c.
A ship. Materials : -1. The name. 2. The dimensions. 3. The tonnage. 4. For what service. 5. Power of sailing. 6. Propelled by sails or steam. 7. Constructed of what material, number of masts, &c. 8. Accommodation for passengers.
9. Character of the captain. 10. The crew, their disposition and efficiency, &c.
A journey. Materials :- 1. In England, or on the Continent. 2. Railway, steamboat, carriage, &c. 3. The towns. 4. Characteristics of the people. 5. The language or dialect. 6. The scenery or general appearance of the country.
7. The incidents of the journey. 8. The number of the party travelling together. 9. The hotel accommodation. 10. The object of the journey. 11. The time it occupied. 12. The return home, &c.
A country walk. Materials :-1. The weather and time of the year. 2. Number of companions. 3. Meadows, green lanes, high roads, &c. 4. Prospects. 5. Gentlemen's seats, farm-houses, woods, rivers, &c. 6. Incidents : storm, rain, people met, &c.
The following are proposed as useful subjects for description :
1. A sea-port town. 2. A telescope. 3. A piano-forte. 4. A school-room. 5. A writing-desk. 6. The Crimea. 7. A river. 8. A cathedral. 9. A manufactory. 10. A bridge. 11. A palace. 12. The Exhibition (of 1851). 13. A mine. 14. A mountain. 15. A man-of-war. 16. A monastery. 17. A prison. 18. A fortress. 19. An hospital. 20. A fleet.
21. A costume.
A narrative is a species of description. Here the composition consists of the relation of events and circumstances, with an account of the characters engaged in them. In this form of writing, particular care should be taken of the arrangement.
Facts should be related in the order of time in which they occurred, and should not be mixed up with each other. A narrative should be a plain and simple statement; such words should be chosen as will
best suit the case, and no attempt should be made at introducing far-fetched terms or high-flown language. Reflections suggested by the incidents may be occasionally interspersed with them ; but it is recommended that, at first, the student confine himself to the re relation of facts. At a later period, when he will have acquired some facility of expression in relation, remarks or reflections may be added. These, however, should never be too long, or too frequent, as they will then divert the reader's attention from the facts stated, and interfere with the interest awakened by the story. A shipwreck, a battle, the events of a reign, a conspiracy, &c., are proper subjects for a narrative.
EXAMPLES OF NARRATIVE.
The following narrative of the Conquest of Rhodes by Solyman, the Turkish Sultan, extracted from Robertson's “ History of Charles V.,” is an example of this form of composition:
“ While the Christian princes were thus wasting each other's strength, Solyman the Magnificent entered Hungary with a numerous army, and investing Belgrade, which was deemed the chief barrier of that kingdom against the Turkish arms, soon forced it to surrender. Encouraged by this success, he turned his victorious arms against the island of Rhodes, the seat, at that time, of the knights of St. John of Jerusalem. This small state he attacked with such a numerous army as the lords of Asia have been accustomed, in every age, to bring into the field. Two hundred thousand men, and a fleet of 400 sail, appeared against a town defended by a garrison consisting of 5000 soldiers, and 600 knights, under the command of Villiers de L'Isle Adam, the grand-master, whose wisdom and valour rendered him worthy of that station at such a dangerous juncture. No sooner did he begin to suspect the destination of Solyman's vast armaments, than he despatched messengers to all the Christian courts, imploring their aid against the common enemy.
But though every prince in that age acknowledged Rhodes to be the great bulwark of Christendom in the East, and trusted to the gallantry of its knights as the best security against the progress of the Ottoman arms; though Adrian, with a zeal which became the head and father of the church, exhorted the contending powers to forget their private quarrels, and, by uniting their arms, to prevent the infidels from destroying a society which did honour to the Christian name ; yet so violent and implacable was the animosity of both parties, that, regardless of the danger to which they exposed all Europe, and unmoved by the entreaties of the grand-master, they suffered Solyman to carry on his operations against Rhodes, without disturbance. The grand-master, after incredible efforts of courage, of patience, and of military conduct, during a siege of six months ; after sustaining many assaults, and disputing every post with amazing obstinacy, was obliged at last to yield to numbers, and, having obtained an honourable capitulation from the sultan, who admired and respected his virtue, he surrendered the town, which
was reduced to a heap of rubbish, and destitute of every resource. Charles and Francis, ashamed of having occasioned such a loss to Christendom by their ambitious contests, endeavoured to throw the blame of it on each other ; while all Europe, with greater justice, imputed it equally to both. The emperor, hy way of reparation, granted the knights of St. John the small island of Malta, in which they fixed their residence, retaining, though with less power and splendour, their ancient spirit and implacable enmity to the infidels.”
In the above passage, the order of time is strictly maintained. Solyman's success against Belgrade is mentioned as the immediate cause of the attack on Rhodes. We are then informed who were the defenders of this island, and of the respective numbers of the contending forces. The character of the grandmaster is merely hinted at in general terms, and his efforts to gain assistance are described. Then come the part taken by the pope Adrian in the matter, and the cause of the neglect of the Christian princes to assist the knights. The circumstances of the siege are then stated, and the issue of the event; the whole passage concluding with some remarks on the consequences of this event.
The second example of this form is taken from Alison's "History of Europe," and gives an account of the circumstances attending the assassination of the Emperor Paul I. of Russia :
“On the evening before his death, Paul received a