« ZurückWeiter »
this Christian relation is a sufficient reason why the servants should not despise their masters. Again, a distinguished writer
of some conceited men; “ They have not patience to read a book, till they thoroughly understand it." His meaning is, they never read it so as to understand; and this the rising slide expresses. But the other slide would imply, that they have patience to read it, after they understànd it.
One more question remains to be answered; how shall we know when an emphatic word demands the rising, and when the falling inflection?
If the reader has studied the RULES OF INFLECTION which begin at p. 29, he can seldom be at a loss to answer this question for himself. According to established laws of voice, he will know what inflection to give emphatic words, when connected by the disjunctive or ;-as, " Will you ride, or walk?” So when the direct question and answer occur;
Árm’d, say you? Arm'd, my lord.”--So when negation is opposed to affirmation ;-as “He will not come today, but tomòrrow."
Besides these general remarks, it may be added, that the voice, instinctively accompanies emphatic, positive affirination, with the falling slide, and the antithetic negation with the rising.
But there is a large class of sentences, in which qualified affirmation demands the rising turn of voice, often where an antithetic object is suggested or expressed hypothetically. It is not the simple rising slide, but the circumflex, which designates this sort of emphasis. The two indeed, may fall on shades of thought so nearly the same, that it is immaterial which is used; while in other cases the office of the circumflex is so peculiar as to make it quite perceptible to an ear of any discrimination. Every good reader will make this distinction between the first and second instances in which heaven occurs, in the following example ; " The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men and they said, if we shall say from hčaven, he will say, why then did ye not believe him?" The plain distinction between the rising and the falling emphasis, when antithetic relation is expressed or suggested, is, the falling denotes positive affirmation or enunciation of a thought with energy; the rising either expresses negation, or qualified and conditional affirmation. In the latter case the antithetic object, if there is one, may be sug
gested ironically, or hypothetically, or comparatively; thus
If men see our faults, they will talk among themsělves, though we refuse to let them talk to us.
The beggar was blind as well as lăme.
He is more knàve than fool. In such a connexion of two correlate words, whether in contrast or comparison, the most prominent of the two in sense, that in which the essence of the thought lies, commonly has the strong, falling emphasis ; and that which expresses something subordinate or circumstantial, has the rising. The same rising or circumflex emphasis prevails where the thought is conditional, or something is implied or insinuated, rather than strongly expressed.
The amount is, that generally the weaker emphasis, where there is tender, or conditional, or partial enunciation of thought, requires the voice to rise : while the strong emphasis, where the thought is bold, and the language positive, adopts the falling slide, except where some coun. teracting principle occurs, as in the interrogative inflection. In all such cases, explanation becomes obscurity, if carried out of its proper limits. Beyond these, I can no more tell why sorrow or supplication incline the voice to the rising slide, while indignation or command incline it to the falling, than I can tell why one emotion flashes in the eye, and another vents itself in tears. Nor is it reasonable to demand such explanations on this subject, as are not expected on any other. The logician rests in his consciousness and his experience as the basis of argument; and philosophy no more requires or allows us to push our inquiries beyond first principles or facts, in elocution, than in logic.
It will be readily perceived that the stress proper to be laid on any single word, depends much on the comparative stress with which other words in the same sentence are pronounced. A whisper, if it is soft or strong, according to sense, may be as truly discriminating as the loudest tones. The voice should be disciplined to this distinction, in order to avoid the common fault, which confounds vociferation with emphatic expression.
But there are cases in which more than common stress belongs to several words in succession, forming an emphatic clause. In some cases of this sort, the several syllables have nearly equal stress: thus;
-Heaven and earth will witness,
Could we but climb where Moses stood,
Should fright us from the shore. In uttering the emphatic clause, in these cases, the voice drops its pitch, and proceeds nearly in a grave, deliberate monotone.
In other cases, such a clause is to be distinguished from the rest of the sentence, by a general increase of force; and yet its words retain a relative difference among themselves, in quantity, stress, and inflection. One example may make this last remark still plainer. Suppose Paul to have said merely, “ I came not to baptize, but to preach." The contrast expressed, limits the emphasis to two words. But take the whole sentence, as it is in Paul's language, * I came not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel;”—and you have a contrast between an emphatic word, and an emphatic clause. And though the sense is just as before, you must change the stress in this clause from preach to gospel, or you utter nonsense. If you retain the stress on preach, the paraphrase is “I came not to baptize the gospel, but to preach the gospel."
This is always grounded on antithetic relation, expressed in pairs of contrasted objects. It will be sufficiently illustrated by a very few examples.
“ The young are slaves to novelty, the old to custom.”
"And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?"
There is but one remark, which is important to be made in this case. In attempting to give the utmost significance to each of the terms, standing in close succession, we are in danger of diminishing the amount of meaning, expressed by the whole. The only rule that can be adopted is, so to adjust the stress and inflection of voire, on the different terms, as shall most clearly, and yet most agreeably convey the sense of the entire passage. There is still another
kind of sentences, in which there occurs what I would call CUMULATIVE EMPHASIS. This consists of a complex thought, inade up of particulars, expressed in a succession of emphatic words. A striking example of this we have in Paul's indignant reply to the message from the magistrates, that he and his associates, unjustly imprisoned, might be released, and go quietly away. “But Paul said, they have beaten us, openly, uncondemned, being Romans, and have cast us into prison; and now do they thrust us out privily? nay verily; but let them come themselves, and fetch us out.”
Here there is no difficulty from that antithetic mixing of terms just now alluded to
This includes a number of distinct topics, which may perhaps with sufficient exactness be brought together in one chapter.
Sect. 1.-Faults of Modulation. 1. Monotony. The monotone, employed with skill, in pronouncing a simile, or occasionally an elevated or forcible thought, may have great rhetorical effect; just as other movements of the voice, are felt to be proper, when they are prompted by genius and emotion. But the thirg I mean to condemn, is that dull repetition of sounds, on the same pitch, and with the same quantity, which the hearers ascribe to want of spirit in the speaker. Want of variety is fatal to vivacity and interest in delivery, on the same principle that it is so in all other cases. In music, a succession of perfect concords, especially on the same note, would be intolerable.
2. Mechanical variety. An unskilful reader, perhaps resolved to avoid monotony, may think nothing more is necessary, than to employ the greatest possible number of notes; and thus his chief aim is to leap from one extreme to another of his voice. In a short time, this attempt at variety becomes a regular return of similar notes, at stated intervals.
Another defect, of the same sort, arises from an at tempt to produce variety by a frequent and arbitrary change of stress. But here too the only advantage gained.is, that we exchange an absolute for a relative sameness; for the favorite stress returns periodically, without regard to sense.
There is still another kind of this uniform variety, which is extremely common. It consists in the habit of striking a sentence at the beginning, with a high and full voice, which becomes gradually weaker and lower, as the sentence proceeds, especially if it has much length, till it is closed perhaps with one quarter of the impulse with which it commenced. Then the speaker, at the beginning of a new sentence, inflates his lungs, and pours out a full volume of sound, for a few words, sliding downwards again, to a feeble close.
Sect. 2.- Remedies.
1. The most indispensable attainment, towards the cure of bad habits in managing the voice, is the spirit of emphasis. Suppose a student of elocution to have a scholastic tone, or some other of the faults mentioned above;—teach him emphasis, and you have taken the most direct way to remove the defect. It is difficult to give a particular illustration of my meaning, except by the living voice; but the experiment is worthy of a trial, to see if the faulty manner cannot be represented to the eye. Read the following pag