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just taste, and must arise from feeling delicately ourselves, and from judging accurately of what is fittest to strike the feelings of others.
“There is one error against which it is particularly proper to caution the learner; namely, that of multiplying emphatical words too much, and using the emphasis indiscriminately. It is only by a prudent reserve and distinction in the use of them, that we can give them any weight."
2. The inflections of the voice -- by which is meant its course, whether upward, downward, or horizontal - have much to do, in giving the correct expression to reading.
What follows, upon this topic, is an abstract of the rules and observations, upon the same subject, given in Porter's Analysis of Rhetorical Delivery.
The different inflections are the monotone, the rising, the falling, and the circumflex; and they are indicated respectively by the horizontal line, thus , the acute accent, thus ', the grave, thus ', and the acute and grave united, thus °, placed severally over the words affected by these inflections.
(1.) The monotone is a sameness of sound, like that produced by striking successively the same key of a piano-forte. It belongs to grave delivery, especially elevated description, or where emotions of sublimity or reverence are expressed; as, “ He rõde upon a cherub, and dīd fly.” “ I sāw a great white throne, and him that sāt on it."
(2.) In the rising inflection, the voice ascends, while pronouncing a word, from a lower to a higher note in the scale of sounds; as always in the direct question, Will you go to-day?
An important role for the rising inflection is, that it is required by the pause of suspension, denoting that the sense is unfinished.
This rule applies, first, to sentences beginning with a conditiona) particle or clause; as, “ If some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive-trée, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive-trée, boast not against the branches." Second, to the case absolute; as, “ His father dying, and no heir being left except hímself, he succeeded to the estate.” Third, to the infinitive mood and its adjuncts, used as a nominative case ; as, “ To be pure in héart, to be pious and benévolent, constitutes human happiness.” Fourth, when an address is made as a respectful call to attention ; as, “ Mén, bréthren, and fathers, -hearken.”
Tender emotion generally inclines the voice to the rising slide. For instance, when an address is made expressive of affection, or delicate respect; as, “ Jesus saith unto her, Máry.” In pathetic poetry, as,
* Thus with the year,
In grief ; as in Cowper to his mother's picture :
"My mother ! when I learned that thou wast déad,
Say, wast thou conscious of the tears I shed ?" &c.
At the last clause but one in a sentence, the rising slide is also used.
(3.) In the falling inflection, the slide is from a higher to a lower note ; as in the answer to a question, “ Nd; I shall go to-morrow.”
A. question which is not answered by yes or no has the falling inflection ; as, “Who say the people that I am?” « Who first seduced them to that foul revolt?”
The language of authority, of surprise, and of distress, and, in general, bold and strong passion, require the same inflection ; as,
i Uzziel ! half these draw off and coast the south,
With strictest watch; these other wheel the north." “ Paul said to Elymas, O full of all subtlety, and all mischief! Thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness!”.
Angèls, and ministers of grace, defend us !”-“ Jésus, Màster, have mercy on
Emphatie succession of particulars requires the falling slide, sometimes even in opposition to the rule for the pause of suspension ; thus,
Though I have the gift of pròphecy, and understand all mysteries and all knðwledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing."
Generally, when the rising or falling inflections are used, there is only a gentle slide of the voice over two or three notes ; but in cases of emotion, it may pass through five or eight notes, forming the intensive slide, as in the question, uttered with surprise, Are you going to-day?
The intensive falling slide is strongly emphatic, and gives a forcible, animated expression. In the emphatic succession of particulars, it grows more intense as it goes on ; thus, “I tell you, though you, though all the wÒRLD, though an angel from HEAVEN, should declare the truth of it, I could not believe it.” The rising slide, as it occurs in an emphatic series of direct questions, rises higher in each particular, as it proceeds.
If one is puzzled to know whether he has given the rising or falling slide, he may determine it by repeating the word in the form of a question ; thus, " Did I say spring, or spring?
Emphatic repetition requires the falling slide. As, “The Lord called upon him and said, Abraham, Abraham.”—“And the king said, O my son Absálom, my són, my son Absalom !” –“O Jerúsalem, Jerusalem!"
The final pause generally has the falling inflection, and the final close of a piece should be indicated to the ear by an expressive cadence, implying that no more is to be said. The common faults of cadence are, that the voice is dropped too uniformly to the same note ; that it is dropped too much; too far from the end of the sentence; and that the manner of closing is feeble and indistinct.
But when the intensive falling slide comes near the end of a sentence, it turns the voice upward at the close; as, “ If we have no regard to our own character, we ought to have some regard to the character of others.”
The falling inflection has great power, in producing forcible, effective reading, and should be made use of more frequently than it is by most readers.
(4.) The circumflex is composed of the downward and rising inflections the voice first sliding downward, and then upward, upon the same. word, thus giving a significant twisting of the sound; as,
They tell us to be moderate ; but thěy, thěy are to revel in profusion."
This inflection occurs chiefly where the language is either hypothetical or ironical. The most common use of it is to express, indefinitely or conditionally, some idea that is contrasted with another idea, expressed or understood, to which the falling slide belongs; thus, Hume said he would go twenty miles to hear Whitefield preach. The contrast suggested by the circumstance here is, though he would take no pains to hear a common preacher. If any one, in reply to a question concerning a sick person, answers, He is bětter, the circumflex on better denotes that he is still dangerously sick, though somewhat improved.
3. Tones differ both from emphasis and inflections. They constitute that - natural language of passion and emotion, which man has in common with lower animals. The soul is revealed by the tones of the voice, quite as fully as by the expression of the eye.
" And life hath moments when a glance -
It is by the tones, mote ihan by the language, that we understand what others intend to convey to our minds. “The voice can express all passions. It can prolong itself into the slow note of sorrow, and teach the ear to suffer with the heart; it can sharpen itself into the clear note of joy, and, by a purifying motion, seems to make the spirits of the heart as light as the soul.”
And yet, how little use is made of these natural tones, by the common reader, in showing the varying emotions implied in what he is reading, — the hope, fear, love, hate, agitation, surprise, – in short, the life, spirit and beauty, of the whole. On the contrary, the same unmeaning, lifeless tone will prevail through scenes of horror, as through those of delight, — through sudden surprise, as through the most even tenor.
There would seem to be no difficulty in applying the appropriate tones ; indeed, the wonder seems to be, how one can help it. If the author's sentiments are entered into, one can hardly fail to give the words in their proper tones. But as to the most of reading, the deficiency in this particular might justify the inquiry, “ Understandest thou what thou readest?”
This fault, like most others, of poor reading, is traceable to the habits which children are early allowed to form,
The best rule to remedy this defect is, like that for emphasis, to study fully into the spirit of the author's sentiments, and then let the tones be like those of common conversation. Tones which signify a disagreeable passion are fainter than those which indicate agreeable emotions. Sorrow, and its kindred passions, give the voice a slender or tremulous utterance, or entirely suspend it, – the highest passions of this sort being best expressed by silence. Actors are greatly indebted for their skill, in dramatic exhibitions, to rightly exercised tonés of voice. And there is great truth in the reply of the player to the dignitary of the church, who asked him, “Why have your fictions so much more power over the minds of people, than the truths which I utter?”
“Because," said the player, "I speak fictions as though they were realities; but you utter realities as if they were fictions."
4. The rhetorical or emphatic pause is made either before or after the utterance of a striking thought, that it may make a deeper impression upon the mind, thus having the same effect as strong emphasis. The voice must often be suspended where there is no grammatical pause; as, in the couplet,
“Some place the bliss in action, some in ease ;
the voice must rest after the words some and those, though the grammatical construction allows no mark of punctuation between them,
The close of a paragraph, or division of a discourse, should be marked by a longer pause than that generally required by a period.
5. The effect produced by reading depends very much upon the sudden changes or transitions of voice. There is a certain key-note, and a general stress and rate, which prevail through the reading of a piece. But as the mind is moved by the sentiments, the voice rises or falls from this key, becomes louder or more feeble, and the pronunciation slower or more rapid. The rule, in regard to these particulars, is, that when the topic is finished which led to a departure from the uniform course, there should, be an immediate return to it, in a more familiar tone of voice. These transitions do so much towards constituting naturalness in reading, that, in one instance recollected, they were so perfect that it could not be distinguished when the reader introduced a remark of his own; and his lady, after discovering that he had been talking a while when she supposed he was reading, exclaimed, "Do pray give us notice when you are talking yourself, and when you are reading from the book.".
The annexed excellent illustration of transitions is from Parker's “ Introductory Lessons.”
[Softly and slowly.) An hour passed on. The Turk awoke. That bright dream was his last. [More loudly.) He woke, to hear his sentry's shriek, (Very loud and rapid,] “ To arms! they come ! the Greek! the Greek!” (Slowly and softly.] He woke to die, midst flame and smoke, and shout, and groan, and sabre-stroke, and (Faster and louder,] death-shots falling thick and fast, as lightnings from a mountain-cloud; (Still louder,) and heard, with voice as trumpet loud, Bozzaris cheer his band ; ( Very loud, rapidly, and with much animation,] Strike, till the last armed foe expires ! — Strike, for your altars, and your fires ! — Strike, for the green graves of your sires ! — God, and your native land! [In a softer and slower manner.] They fought, like brave men, long and well, – they-piled that ground with Moslem slain, - they conquered, -(Very slowly, and in a mournful manner,] but Bozzaris fell, bleeding at every vein.
6. Poetry should be read with a full swell of the open vowels, and in a melodious and flowing manner. In general, the same rules apply to the reading of poetry as to that of prose. The end of the line should be made perceptible to the ear by a protraction of the voice on the last word, by a slight suspension after it, or by both united. The natural pause in the middle of the line should be slightly given, when it does not interfere with the sense. Metrical accent usually yields to estab