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TONE OF AWE.
(See Tone Drill No. 28.)
[The tone of Awe indicates that the speaker is deeply impressed. There is implied reverential fear, sometimes a mild horror. Awe borders on Solemnity and Sublimity.]
The Burning of Moscow.
J. T. HEADLEY.
When night again descended on the city, it presented a spectacle, the like of which was never seen before, and which baffles all description. The streets were streets of fire, the heavens a canopy of fire, and the entire body of the city a mass of fire, fed by a hurricane that sped the blazing fragments in a constant stream through the air. Incessant explosions, from the blowing up of stores of oil, and tar, and spirits, shook the very foundations of the city, and sent vast volumes of smoke rolling furiously toward the sky. Huge sheets of canvas on fire came floating like messengers of death through the flames; the towers and domes of the churches and palaces glowing with a red-hot heat over the wild sea below, then tottering a moment on their bases, were hurled by the tempest into the common ruin.
Thousands of wretches, before unseen, were driven by the heat from the cellars and hovels, and streamed in an incessant throng through the streets. Children were seen carrying their parents; the strong, the weak. O, it was a scene of woe and fear inconceivable and indescribable! A mighty and close-packed city of houses, and churches, and palaces, wrapped from limit to limit in flames!
Huge domes and towers, throwing off sparks like blazing firebrands, now disappeared in their maddening flow, as they rushed and broke high over their tops, scattering their spray of fire against the clouds. The heavens themselves seemed to have caught the conflagration, and the angry masses that
Columns of flame would
swept it rolled over a bosom of fire. rise and sink along the surface of this sea, and huge volumes of black smoke suddenly shoot into the air, as if volcanoes were working below. The black form of the Kremlin alone towered above the chaos, now wrapped in flame and smoke, again emerging into view, standing amid this scene of desolation and terror, like Virtue in the midst of a burning world, enveloped but unscathed by the devouring elements.
Said Napoleon years afterward: "It was a. spectacle of a sea and billows of fire, a sky and clouds of flame, mountains of red rolling flames, like immense waves of the sea, alternately bursting forth and elevating themselves to skies of flame above. O, it was the most grand, the most sublime, and the most terrific sight the world ever beheld."
I had a dream which was not all a dream:
Swung blind and black'ning in the moonless air.
Of this their desolation; and all hearts
And they did live by watch-fires; and the thrones,
The habitations of all things which dwell,
To look once more into each other's face.
Forests were set on fire; but hour by hour
The populous and the powerful was a lump-
And their masts fell down piecemeal; as they dropp'd
The waves were dead; the tides were in their grave;
TONE OF REPROOF.
(See Tone Drill No. 174.)
[The tone of Reproof denotes dignified dissatisfaction and correction. It is tinged with authority and sometimes with reproach.]
Reproof of the Duke of Bedford.
Compare the natural dignity and importance of the richest peer of England; the noble independence, which he might have maintained in parliament, and the real interest and respect, which he might have acquired, not only in parliament, but through the whole kingdom; compare these glorious distinctions with the ambition of holding a share in government, the emoluments of a place, the sale of a borough, or the purchase of a corporation; and, though you may not regret the virtues which create respect, you may see, with
anguish, how much real importance and authority you have lost. Consider the character of an independent, virtuous Duke of Bedford; imagine what he might be in this country.
He would never prostitute his dignity in parliament by an indecent violence either in opposing or defending a minister. He would not at one moment rancorously persecute, at another basely cringe to the favorite of his sovereign. After outraging the royal dignity with peremptory conditions, little short of menace and hostility, he would never descend to the humility of soliciting an interview with the favorite, and of offering to recover, at any price, the honor of his friendship. Though deceived, perhaps, in his youth, he would not, through the course of a long life, have invariably chosen his friends. from among the most profligate of mankind.
His own honor would have forbidden him from mixing his private pleasures or conversation with jockeys, gamesters, blasphemers, gladiators, or buffoons. He would then have
never felt, much less would he have submitted to the humiliating, dishonest necessity of engaging in the interest and intrigues of his dependents, of supplying their vices, or relieving their beggary, at the expense of his country. He would not have betrayed such ignorance, or such contempt of the constitution, as openly to avow, in a court of justice, the purchase and sale of a borough. He would not have thought it consistent with his rank in the state, or even with his personal importance, to be the little tyrant of a little corporation.
Henry IV to His Son.
Thou dost, in thy passages of life,
Make me believe, that thou art only mark'd
Could such inordinate, and low desires,
Such poor, such bare, such lewd, such mean attempts,
Such barren pleasures, rude society,
As thou art match'd withal, and grafted to,
Accompany the greatness of thy blood,
Henry IV, Pt. I, iii., 2.