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220
ORTHOMETRY.
passion, like the queen in the play in Hamlet', 1 doth protest too much,' the chances are the song-is overdone. The feelings you want to excite in a song should be rather suggested than ostentatiously paraded, and in proportion as this is skilfully done, the song, I believe, proves successful."
It has been said that the songs of a nation are as potent as its laws, and doubtless there is no little truth in the saying.
How small of all that human hearts endure, That part which kings or laws can cause or cure!
Laws become obsolete and are abrogated, but the passionate words of a song that embody national sentiments, or have touched the nation's heart, pass into its "household words," and live on for ever.
The seasons change, the winds they shift and veer;
The grass of yester-year
Is dead ; the birds depart, the groves decay ;
Empires dissolve, and peoples disappear;
Songs pass not away.
Thackeray has said that Gray, the writer of the well-known Elegy, passed on to immortality with the thinnest volume under his arm of any English author. This truth might well be extended still further, to the effect that some few of our humblest bards have been admitted amongst the " Im­mortals " upon the strength of one or two songs only, inscribed upon a single sheet of paper. And upon an eminence scarcely lower than the national