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same measure after a very short accented syllable, where no reader would think of attempting to give quantity; as in the third line the word ' life' is followed by a rest.
But in practice, the omission of it can lead to no error; so that in scoring, no one who has been accustomed to reading the exercises for a few days, will require the rests to be written down, when they relate to the unaccented member of a measure. For such rests only indicate the absence of quantity on the accented syllables; and the student knows already where quantity is practicable, and generally where it is desirable.
It has occurred to me that if there were no other benefit to be derived from the system of scoring than that of exhibiting the gross faults prevalent in the reading of poetry, it would still be worth every one's time to acquire the little knowledge necessary for following the scoring marked out for the purpose of breaking up the sing-song uniformity suggested by the regular rhythm of measured verses. Suppose any one should find six or eight successive lines constructed precisely like the following:
“Mortal | nature | lifts her changeful | form,”
where the measures consist for the most part of two syllables alternating heavy, light; heavy, light; without interruption or variety; what can be more lulling in its effect? Or with the triple measure of dactyles :
Came to the beach a poor | exile of | Erin.
This reads still worse. But a judicious reader at once perceives that the word beach,' for instance, both for the purpose
of thoroughly finishing the word, and because it is an important word in the sentence, requiring a shade of emphasis, should be followed by a pause or a slight suspension. He sees also that the word “poor' is a word to be emphasized, and is highly susceptible of quantity; he therefore places it at the beginning of a measure, extends the quantity throughout that measure, and produces at once a very different reading :
y There | came to the beach | Ya | poor | exile of Erin.
Take also the next line. What can be worse than the reading at first suggested to a beginner by the number of syllables ?
The dew on his | thin robe was heavy and
A reader who perceives the disastrous tendency of such verses to provoke a monotonous jingle, instead of favoring a simple and expressive melody of language, will endeavor to read it so as to show the meaning, and more like prose.
The dew Yon his thin robe Ai n .. . . 16.
was heavy and chill, . . i 12.
giving to the words 'thin' and 'robe sufficient quantity to make each of them occupy a measure ; thus they have due emphasis, and the whole harmony of the verse is improved at the same time.
The student is now left to the practice of scored exercises. Different opinions will be arrived at, I am quite confident, by persons differing in capacity for harmonious reading. Various estimates will be made of the expediency of adopting such a mode. While some readers will regard it as a most invaluable acquisition, and will exclaim with Archimedes • Eureka! before they have practised an hour; by others it will be esteemed an impossibility to acquire the art of reading smoothly in accordance with these principles. To those who find great difficulty in conforming to the scoring, I can only recommend the practice before mentioned of using the words “down,'"up,' for rests in first and second members of measure; the words must of course be spoken very rapidly, or the language of the author very slowly; for in speaking these words, the very time which should legitimately be used to inhale is nearly exhausted. So that this sort of reading will soon fatigue; thus demonstrating the absolute necessity of the rests or pauses. And the reader will soon be able to observe the rests in silence.
To those who, from their naturally correct ear and good taste, have a ready facility at reading scored language, I would recommend that they only practice until they shall have acquired sufficient skill in the use of extended quantity and a fine vanish to their syllables preceding rests, to enable them to produce an elegant reading of the passages which at first seem most difficult to reconcile to the scoring. For they may be assured that such passages may be read effectively according to the prescribed marks; and those failing to accomplish this, will undoubtedly fail for the want of a thorough command over some of the resources taught in this book.
Nevertheless, it is contrary to the spirit and the principles of my teaching, to assume that any prescribed reading is the only one which may be consistent with good taste, or well adapted to express the sentiment with correctness.*
The author has found passages scored by masters of undoubted correctness and skill, the scoring of which he has not been able to reconcile with his own ideas of propriety; but he is not therefore prepared to say that the reading indicated is impracticable or incorrect
What has been aimed at, in the selections scored for measure, is to indicate such a reading as shall be consistent with taste and propriety, and perfectly free from objections; and it will be recollected that a similar remark was made in Chapter IV. of the Second Part, when speaking of Intonation, and the intervals prescribed for the measure of certain inflections.
*As this admission may possibly have the effect with some minds · to invalidate the claims of this method to utility, I am of the opinion
that these claims are rather strengthened and confirmed by such a concession. For, if the principle were not a correct one in practice, it might be shown that it could not be demonstrated upon language written without reference to such an apportionment of syllables ; whereas it is clearly shown in the scoring of the various styles of composition annexed as reading lessons, that the principle applies. And what is still more illustrative of its practical utility, it will be observed that where the style of a composition is most harmonious and beautiful, there the scoring is of most easy application, and the reading according to it most readily performed.