Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

application of the falling inflection, or downward slide of the voice, are force and completeness of expression. From these are deduced all special rules of reading, in given passages; and, with a right apprehension of these, the student will, in a short time, acquire a perfect facility, as well as precision, in all the uses of this slide, so as to be able to read, extempore, with propriety and effect, all sentences which derive their charac er or significance from this modification of the voice.

Teachers who have made themselves familiar with Walker's exposition of inflections, will perceive that the author of the present work has omitted the arbitrary distinction enjoined in the reading of the 'sim-* ple' and the compound series.' Walker's direction is to read the former with a certain arbitrary variety of inflection on its component members, for the sake of harmony in sound. Such a mode of reading seems to be utterly at variance with the great principle that the meaning of a passage is the key to its intonation.

A series is a succession of particulars, grouped by close connexion in sense, and possessing a temporary correspondence and unity. Unity of inflection, therefore, must be the natural indication of the unity of thought. Variety may, to a mechanical ear, seem, in such cases, an ornament; but true taste would reject it as inappropriate, and as interfering with the higher claims of meaning. It is the writer, and not the reader, who is responsible, in such circumstances, for the comparative want of variety and harmony in sound.

There seems to be, however, a positive objection to variety of inflection on the successive members of the series, and it is this. To read a long series with the variety prescribed by Walker, it is necessary that the reader should know beforehand the exact number of words contained in it, that he may give the right inflection to each, according to its numerical position. But how can this be done without stopping to count them? If such a rule is to be observed, there can be no such thing as correct unpremeditated reading.

The following may be taken as a specimen of the

application of the arbitrary rules to which these objections have been made.

“Mr. Locke's definition of wit comprehends méta-phors, enigmas, móttoes, pàrables, fàbles, dreams, visions, dramátic writings, burlesque, and all the methods of allusion." Studied variety, and artificial beauty, are no part

of true refinement: they spring from the pedantry of taste.

Dr. Porter, in his Analysis, very justly observes : "All Walker's rules of inflection, as to a series of single words, when unemphatic, are worse than useless. No rule of harmonic inflection that is independent of sentiment, can be established without too much risk of an artificial habit; unless it be this one, that the voice should rise at the last pause before the cadence, and even this may be superseded by emphasis.”

The following passage from Mr. Walker, furnishes a striking instance of the inconsistencies into which the mind is sometimes betrayed by an overweening attachment to system. “These rules” (on inflection) "might be carried to a much greater length; but too nice an attention to them, in a long series, might not only be very difficult, but give an air of stiffness to the pronunciation, which would not be compensated by the propriety.But in the very next sentence—"It may be necessary, however, to observe that, in a long enumeration of particulars, it would not be improper to divide them into portions of three," "and this division ought to commence from the end of the series !

EXERCISES ON INFLECTION.

TABLE OF INFLECTIONS USED IN CONTRAST.*
1. Does he mean honestly, or dishonestly?
2. Did he say húmour, or humour ?

* The above table is designed to facilitate the acquisition of the two principal slides. The exercise should be practised till the

3. Was he to say amber, or amber? 4. Ought he to say ocean, or ocean? 5. Did you say eel, or eel? 6. He does not mean dishonestly, but honestly. 7. He did not say húmour, but humour, 8. He was not to say amber, but amber. 9. We ought not to say ocean, but ocean. 10. You did not say eel, but eel. 11. He means honestly, not dishonestly.* 12. He said humour, not húmour. 13. He was to say amber, not amber. 14. We ought to say ocean, not ocean. 15. You said eel, not eel. 16. You are not wood, you are not stones, but mèn. 17. Not that I loved Caesar léss, but Róme mòre. 18. You shall not in your funeral speech blame us,

But speak all good you can devise of Cæsar. 19. Mark Antony shall not love Cæsar dead

So well as Brutus living. 20. I know no personal cause to spurn at him,

But for the general. 21. It was an enemy, not a friend, who did this. 22. This is the argument of the opponents, and not of the friends, of such a measure. 23. Lady, you utter madness and not sorrow. 24. I am glad rather than sorry that it is so. 25. I come to bury Cæsar, not to praise him.

-I rather choose
To wrong the dead, to wrong myself and you,
Than I will wrong such honourable men.

26.

student can discriminate and apply them with perfect exactness. Young learners will be aided by the practice of marking, with a pencil, those of the examples which are left unaccented, -previous to which exercise it may be useful to review Rule II. on the falling, and Rule I. on the rising inflection.

* Some learners, in practising this class of examples, may need to be guarded against the fault of turning the last inflection of these sentences into a circumflex, in the mode of New-England accent.

EXERCISES ON THE FALLING INFLECTION.

RULE I.

Calling, shouting, exclamation, energetic command: 1. Up drawbridge, groom! What, warder, hò !

Let the portcullis fall! 2. Liberty! freedom! Tyranny is dead!

Run hencé! proclàim, cry it about the streets. 3. Follow your spirit; and upon this charge,

Cry—God for Harry!* England! and St. George! 4. Rejoice! you men of Angiers, ring your bells : King John, your king and England's, doth ap

proach, Open your gates, and give the victors way! 5. Arm, arm !+ it is, it is the cannon's opening roar! 6. War! war! no peace! peace is to me a war. 7. The combat deepens :-On, ye brave

Who rush to glory or the grave!
Wave, Munich, all thy banners wave,

And charge with all thy chivalry. 8. On them, hussars! in thunder on them wheel ! 9. To horse, you gallant princes! straight to horse !

-Then let the trumpet sound
The tucket-sonance, and the note to mount.

10.

Indignant or reproachful address: 1. Thou slàve, thou wretch, thou còward,

Thou little vàliant, great in villany!
Thou ever strong upon the stronger side!

* The examples not accented in type, are meant to be marked by the learner.

† The inflection on the repeated word, is on a lower note than the first; the first has a more moderate fall; and the pause between the exclamatory words, is very slight, as the tone is that of agitation, hurry, and alarm.

Thou fòrtune's champion, that dost never fight
But when her humorous ladyship is by

To teach thee safety. 2.

-But oh!
What shall I say to thee, Lord Scroop, thou cruel,
Ungrateful, savage, and inhuman creature !
Thou that didst bear the keys of all my counsels,
That knew'st the very bottom of my soul,
That almost mightst have coin'd me into gold,
Wouldst thou have practis'd on me for thy use?

Challenge and defiance : 1.

-Who says this? Who'll pròve it, at his pèril, on my head ? 2. Pale, trembling coward, there I throw my gage,

By that and all the rights of knighthood else,
Will I make good against thee, arm to arm,

What I have spoke, or thou canst worse devise. 3. Then, Bolingbroke, as low as to thy heart,

Through the false passage of thy throat, thou liest.

Swearing, adjuration, imprecation: 1. Now, by my life, this day grows wondrous hot 2. Seven, by these hilts, or I'm a villain else. 3.

-By the elements,
If e'er again I meet him beard to beard,

He is mine or I am his. 4. You know that you are Brutus that speak this,

Or, by the gods, this speech were else your last. 5.

-When night
Closes round the ghastly fight,
If the vanquish'd warrior bow,
Spare him by our holy vow,
By our prayers and many tears,
By the mercy that endéars
Spare him :-he our love hath shar'd :-
Spare him, as thou wouldst be spared!

« AnteriorContinuar »