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truthfulness must be apparent, or at least not very questionable.
9. Hence, it is necessary, first, that the narrator of a fact should enjoy the reputation of veracity ; second, that the thing narrated be neither absurd in itself, nor made absurd by conflicting circumstances of time, place, persons, or other objects and incidents; third, that all art which is calculated to engender suspicion, be avoided in narrations.
10. The style properly belonging to historical narrations is the simple ; though the middle, or adorned is not improper.
11. We shall produce three examples, one ancient, and two modern; which may serve as models of the vivid style, which may adorn historical narrations.
I.-EXAMPLE OF A HISTORICAL NARRATION.
THE FIGHT OF THE HORATII WITH THE
(Livius, Book I, Roman History.) “ The sign is given; and the three youths, like a phalanx of soldiers, and with a courage equal to that of a great army, wielding their fatal weapons, rusb. out to meet their adversaries in a hand to hand combat. Neither party think of their own danger; but the political power, or the subjection of one race to the other, is present to their mind; and they reflect, that the future destiny of their country, will be such as they make it now. As soon as they met, and the clash of arms was heard, and the glittering swords were seen, an immense horror seized the spectators, and without indulging in hope, on either side, they remained in breathless suspense.
(9.) What is necessary for it?
Give an example of a historical narration from an an
When the two parties had come to a hand to hand combat, and not only the movements of their bodies, and the brandishing of their weapons, but their wounds were seen, and blood began to flow; two of the Romans, after having wounded the three Albans, fell, expiring upon each other. Upon their fall, the Alban army raised a shout of joy; and the Roman legions lost at once all, except a glimmering ray of hope in the last survivor, upon whom already stood, with drawn swords, the three Curiatii. Fortunately, this last one was uns
inscathed yet; and as he alone was unequal to the contest against all together, so he was a terrible adversary against each one separately. Therefore, in order to fight each single man separately, he undertook to flee; thinking that, in this manner, they would pursue him, but at such a distance as the wounded condition of each would allow. The Roman had already fied a short distance from the place where they had fought; when looking back, he saw them following, at great intervals apart. One was not far from him. Upon him he turned back with great impetuošity ; and while the Alban army shouts to the Curiatii, to bring assistance to their brother; the victorious Horatius, having already slaughtered the first adversary, undertook to fight the second. At this juncture, the Romans, with a loud shout of applauseas parties that favor one side generally do, on a sudden and unexpected turn of affairs-encouraged their soldier, who, therefore, hurried to finish the battle. Before the third soldier, who was not very far, could reach him, he slaughtered the second Curiatius.
Now, they were equal in numbers, and only two had remained, but neither in hope nor strength equal. The Romans had on the field, ready to fight the third battle, a soldier as yet unwounded, and made fierce by a double victory. The Albans opposed to a victorious enemy, a soldier exhausted by wounds, dragging his body, wearied by flight, and morally vanquished by the slaughter of his two brothers before him. That was not a fight. The Roman, exulting, exclaimed, Two brothers have I offered to the Manes; the third one, the cause of this battle, I will also sacrifice, that the Romans shall have command over the Albans.' Then he thrust his sword into the throat of his adversary, who could not hold his weapons, and stripped him, while lying prostrate, of his arms.
The Romans received Horatius with ovations and congratulations ; being so much the more rejoiced, as their success had been nearly hopeless."
II.-EXAMPLE OF A HISTORICAL NARRATION.
(By Washington Irving.) “Were anything wanting to perpetuate this victory, it would be sufficiently memorable from the scene where it was fought. This war has been distinguished by new and peculiar characteristics. Naval warfare has been carried into the interior of a continent; and navies, as if by magic, launched from among
the depths of the forest! The bosom of peaceful lakes, which, but a short time since, were scarcely navigated by man, except to be skimmed by the light canoe of. the savage, have all at once been ploughed by hostile ships. The vast silence, that had reigned for ages on these mighty waters, was broken by the thunder of artillery; and the affrighted savage stared with amazement, from his covert, at the sudden apparition of a sea-fight amid the solitudes of the wilderness. This battle will stand first on the pages of the local legends, and in the marvellous tales of the borders. The fisherman, as he loiters along the beach, will point to some half-buried cannon corroded with the rust of time, and will speak of ocean warriors, that came from the shores of the Atlantic; while the boatman, as he trims his sail to the breeze, will chant, in rude ditties, the name of Perry, the early hero of Lake Erie."
Present another example of a historical narration,
adorned by vivid style, from a modern author ?
III.-EXAMPLE OF A HISTORICAL NARRATION.
LIFE OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
(By George Bancroft.) “ The choice of America fell on a man born west of the Alleghanies, in the cabin of poor people of Hardin County, Kentucky-Abraham Lincoln.
His mother could read, but not write; his father could do neither ; but his parents sent him, with an old spelling-book, to school, and he learned in his childhood to do both,
When eight years old, he floated down the Ohio with his father on a raft, which bore the family and all their possessions to the shore of Indiana ; and, child as he was, he gave help as they toiled through dense forests to the interior of Spencer County. There in the land, of free labor he grew up in a logcabin, with the solemn solitude for his teacher in his meditative hours. Of Asiatic literature he knew only the Bible ; of Greek, Latin and mediæval, no more than the translation of Æsop's Fables ; of English, John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress. The traditions of George Fox and William Penn passed to him dimly along the lines of two centuries through his ancestors, who were Quakers.
Otherwise his education was altogether American. The Declaration of Independence was his compendium
Recite a third example of historical narration, from a