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bring out the full meaning of lauguage, to expose to view the nicest shades of thought which seem to have existed in the author's mind. But let it also be remembered that in many cases this is all yery apparent without any emphasis at all; and that there are also other means of giving emphasis to language than by wide inflections. Too frequent vocal stress is tedious to the ear, besides defeating the legitimate object of emphasis, which should be to distinguish the most important words in a sentence, and to make them prominent.

Those who use this frequent and very marked emphasis, are apt to destroy the harmonious effect of reading by the reiteration of the same inflection and the return of the same melody. Something must be left to the intrinsic value of language, the inherent force that it has. Such a language as ours, so fertile in words expressive of almost every shade of meaning, must be partly relied upon in its simple utterance; and its melody and rhythm are both materially injured by the hammering process of giving stress to every other syllable in a sentence. The beauty and best effect of language is sadly marred by a certain air of conceit imparted to a reading when the even flow of utterance is too much interrupted by marked inflections.* In the exciting scenes of tragedy, where the

* The giving marked emphasis to every word in a sentence which will possibly admit it, is inexcusable in a language like ours. Some of the Eastern dialects require more inflection than our tongue, because they contain words which are variously inflected, and have a different signification for each inflection. I have heard two learned divines gravely debating the question whether the negative in the

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emotions are supposed to be varied, and where the language is violent, there is need of strong and varied emphasis. This is to be produced by wide inflections, by vast contrasts as to loudness or intensity of voice, by protracted pauses, by change of rate (or rapidity), by abruptness, quantity, by aspiration, altered pitch, &c. Now, although for correctness and effect in the utterance of such passages, much skill and judgment are required, yet I hesitate not to assert, that the perfection of reading in the plain or simple melody, called by Dr. Rush the DIATONIC MELODY OF SPEECH, is a still more rare accomplishment than that of producing effect upon high-wrought passages of tragedy. And I have found it easier to inculcate a good

rendering of strongly-marked passages, than to form those - habits of correctness in the utterance of plain and unimpas

sioned speech which display at once the beauty of language and the art of judicious reading. To read in such a manner as to be able to dispense with extravagant inflection or rare efforts of emphasis, supposes perfect command of the voice, a nice ear, and cultivated taste; but without these, the reader who shall hope to produce effect by means of skill in contrast and emphasis, will be in imminent danger of becoming a ranter, and his simple melody will most assuredly be a failure.

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Decalogue should be emphasized or not, as “Thou shalt not bear false witness,” and “Thou shalt do no murder.” These are puerilities beneath notice when the question relates to the prominence of the sentiment. If such questions do come up, they should be decided only on the ground of harmony. They belong to considerations of rhythm; and will be amply treated under the head of Measure.

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By transition merely change of pitch is meant, and this is often of great utility both in reading and speaking. Any tolerably good reader will perceive the propriety of entering upon a new paragraph with an altered pitch of voice. Or, where the train of thought is interrupted by a new idea, the speaker would most naturally give some indication of such change by lowering or perhaps elevating the voice after a slight pause at the end of a sentence. Parenthetical clauses are always to be uttered in an undertone, and frequently with increased rapidity; and on the stage, matter which is to be heard by the audience, but not intended for the ear of parties in the dialogue, may often be most advantageously spoken in a pitch much lower than the general key-note; and from this circumstance requires to be uttered with great force, involving much of the aspirated or whispered tone; otherwise it might be lost to the audience from the low pitch which it requires. The following passage will furnish a good example for transition. It is from “ Richard II.,” where the Duchess is describing the entrance of Richard into London :

“Men's eyes
Did scowl on Richard; no man cried "God save him.'
No joyful tongue gave him his welcome home;
But dust was thrown upon his sacred head;
Which with such gentle sorrow he shook off-
His face still combating with tears and smiles-
The badges of his grief and patience-
That had not God, for some strong purpose, steeld
The hearts of men, they must perforce have melted,
And barbarism itself have pitied him.”

This passage admits of considerable variety of pitch. On the word scowl the downward third may be effectively applied with a well marked vanish.* The four lines ending with the words shook off' should be uttered with much evenness and a constant play of the semitone; the next two lines in a pitch rather lower, being parenthetical; “That had not God,' &c., as far as the word steeld,' should be read at an increased rate of voice, and in pitch still lower; the word (steel'd takes a rise of note, the word “melted,' a downward inflection; the syllable self' in the last line has a high pitch with downward inflection, and is followed by a slight suspension of voice before the cadence.

See the analysis of syllables, pages 31 and 46.




A SPECIMEN of the aside talk above spoken of, we may take from the “Twelfth Night,” and from the scene where Malvolio supposes himself beloved by the Countess Olivia, and thinks aloud on the stage; Sir Toby, Sir Andrew, and Fabian being concealed in a box tree.

MALVOLIO. 'Tis but fortune; all is fortune. Maria once told me, she did affect me: and I have heard herself come thus near, that, should she fancy, it should be one of my com. plexion. Besides, she uses me with a more exalted respect, than any one else that follows her. What should I think on't?

SIR TOBY (aside). Here's an overweening rogue !*

FABIAN. O peace! Contemplation makes a rare turkeycock of him; how he jets under his advanced plumes !

All that is printed in italics is aside talk, not supposed to be heard by Malvolio.

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