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the former, correspond to its peculiar traits of emotion, which are distinguished by great intensity; running sometimes to the extremes of tone, and often varying from one strain to another. Prose generally preserves a more moderate expression, and a more equable movement of voice, as coinciding with the plainer qualities of thought and language. The rhythmical flow of voice, produced by versification, combining, with the sense of poetic beauty of conception, naturally creates a musical or melodious strain of utterance, in the reading of poetry, which must be avoided in prose, as inconsistent with the practical style of sentiment and expression, and the irregular succession of sounds, which appropriately belong to this form of writing.

The chief requisites, then, for the appropriate reading of poetry, are a clear and distinct conception of the thoughts expressed in the passage which is read, a full and natural sympathy with the emotions which combine with these thoughts, and a discriminating ear for the melody and harmony of verse. The states of mind which produce vividness and variety of tone, have been already adverted to; and some of the most striking instances of their occurrence have been pointed out, in the examples and explanations of the lesson on tones. . It is to the effect of the rhythm of verse, therefore, that the present lesson is intended to direct the learner's attention.

DEFINITION. The chief affections or modifications of voice, arising from the utterance of verse, may be arranged in the manner observed in the lesson on tones, and classed under the heads of force, pitch, and rate. To these qualities we must add that of metre, or prosodial time, which gives character to rhythm, and to which rate' is, in fact, but subordinate.-Time, though it exists in the reading or speaking of prose, is not so distinctly perceptible in this form of utterance as in that of verse. This quality of vocal expression is that which keeps in just proportion the length of every sound, the rate of the succession of sounds, and the duration of panses, whether arising from meaning or merely from versification.

The effect of time on a passage which expresses an emotion requiring a slow utterance, would be, (as in the following example of solemnity and reverence,) to prolong every single sound, to render the succession of sounds slow, to make the pauses long which arise from the sentiment, and those which belong to the verse, perceptible and distinct :

“ These are thy glorious works, Parent of good,
Almighty! thine this universal frame,

Thus wondrous fair! thyself how wondrous then;
Unspeakable! who sitt'st above these heavens,
To us invisible, or dimly seen

In these thy lowest works.” A gay and lively strain of poetry, if correctly timed, would be distinguished, (as, for example, the lines from Milton's L'Allegro, page 157,) by brevity in single sounds, rapid succession of sounds, and short pauses, both as regards the meaning and the verse.

The proportion of sound, of its succession, and of its intervals, (as regulated by the metre, or measure, of time,) is, in both these instances, -and not less in all other cases,-a main circumstance in the true poetic character of the utterance, and a point without which the language must deviate into the manner of prose. Time, indeed, is as essential to poetry as to music.

The modifications of tone arising from the influence of poetry, are chiefly the following:

1st. Rate. Poetry being, as far as the ear is concerned, a rhythmical succession of sounds, it becomes necessary, in point of fact, as well as agreeable to the ear, that every sound should be dwelt upon long enough to give a full impression of its true quantity or length. The reading of poetry, therefore, is distinguished from that of prose, by a comparative prolongation or indulgence of every sound. .

The tones of prose reading, not being affected by any accommodation to melody or harmony of sound, but solely by the plain and direct conveyance of meaning, the voice inclines to brevity. Poetry implies, in all its expression, a reference to pleasure; and the ear is to be gratified by sound, while the mind is receiving ideas. A slightly prolonged articulation, therefore, becomes necessary in the reading of verse, to afford due scope to the beauty of sound : it constitutes the natural expression, also, of the gratification derived, through the ear, from the pleasing form in which objects are offered to the attention; since the sense tends to dwell on what gives delight to the mind. Rapidity and brevity in utterance, accordingly, destroy the effect of poetry to the ear.


The length of single sounds occasions, of necessity, a slow succession of them. The general style of utterance in poetic reading, therefore, is slower than that of prose.

The preceding explanations may be applied to the following stanza. "All hail! thou lovely queen of night,

Bright empress of the starry sky!
The meekness of thy silvery light

Beams gladness on the gazer's eye,
While from thy peerless throne on high

Thou shinest.bright as cloudless noon,
And bidd'st the clouds of darkness fly

Before thy glory,-harvest moon!"

2d. Force. The general effect of verse on the force of the voice, is to diminish it slightly, as compared with the same quality of utterance in prose. This result is produced chiefly by softening the abruptness of force,-partly through the prolongation of

* The prolongation of sound mentioned above is a quality which has been described as comparative merely. It must be confined to a very moderate degree.

sound already mentioned, and partly through a slight yet perceptible swelling of every sound, especially long vowels,--somewhat in the manner of singing, though only a distant approach to it.

The rhythm of verse identifies it so far with music: the swell' is inseparable from musical utterance; and the reading of poetry consequently partakes of it. The slight swell of voice in verse differs, however, from that of music, in not being so regular in its formation. The swell of music is a gradual increase of force, from the beginning to the middle of a note,from which point it diminishes as regularly and gradually as it increased in approaching it. An exact copy of this style of utterance, even in a rapid delivery,-in which it would be comparatively obscured by the quick succession of sounds,-cannot be transferred, even to prose, without creating the fault of a mouthing tone. The swell of verse differs from that of music, not only in being very slight, or barely perceptible, but in attaining its utmost force at a point comparatively near to its commencement, and thence decreasing, in a manner which leaves the diminishing of the force much more apparent to the ear, than the increasing of it when approaching to its utmost degree.

This slight swell of voice is a natural and indispensable characteristic of poetic tone, without which the utterance becomes hard and prosaic. A slow and careful reading of the first line, and especially of the first two words, of the stanzas already quoted, will exemplify this modification of voice.

3d. Pitch. The effect of poetry on the pitch of the voice, is usually, in consequence of the more vivid emotion by which it is characterized, to carry the voice to a higher or lower note than in prose, according to the nature of the emotion expressed, as grave and deep-toned, or inclining to a high strain of utter


Prosodial Pauses. The general office of time,' in regulating the movement of the voice, has been already mentioned. Its peculiar effect on the reading of verse depends much on two pauses, one essential to all <forms of metre, and the other chiefly to those which run to comparative length in single lines, as heroic and blank verse, and, sometimes, anapastic measure. These pauses are termed final and cæsural. The former takes place at the end of every line where it would not destroy the natural connexion of sense; and the latter, at or near the middle of a line.

The final pauses in the following stanza, coincide, at the close of the first two lines, with the sense and the punctuation. But at the close of the third, the final pause must be omitted as inappropriate and unmeaning.

6 On Linden, when the sun was low,

All bloodless lay the untrodden snow,
And dark as winter was the flow

Of Iser rolling rapidly.” Note. The final pause very often coincides with the rhetorical pause, which was mentioned and exemplified in the lesson on pauses. If this coincidence does not exist, and no grammatical stop occurs, no pause should be observed in the reading.

The cæsural pause, in heroic and blank verse, occurs commonly at the end of the fourth syllable, but changes its place occasionally, to produce a more agreeable and varied harmony. "Not half so swift* the trembling doves can fly,

When the fierce eagle cleaves the liquid sky;
Not half so swiftly | the fierce eagle moves,
When through the clouds he drives the trembling

"Now came still evening on, and twilight gray

Hadt | in her sober livery | all things clad;

* This mark denotes the cæsural pause.

† Some verses are divided by a double cæsural pause of shorter duration than that of the common cæsura.

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