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dence. Pardon me, gentlemen,-confidence is a plant of slow
The want of proper distinctions as to the emphatic clause, occasioned, if I mistake not, the difference of opinion between Garrick and Johnson respecting the seat of emphasis in the ninth commandment; “ Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” Garrick laid the stress on shalt, to express the authority of the precept; Johnson on not to express its negative character. But clearly both are wrong, for in neither of these respects is this command to be distinguished from others with which it is connected. And if we place the stress on false or on neighbor, still an antithetic relation is suggested, which does not accord with the design of the precept. Now let it be observed, that here is a series of precepts forbidding certain sins against man, our neighbor. Each of these is introduced with the prohibitory phrase, “thou shalt not,” and then comes the thing forbidden; in the sixth, kill ;--in the eighth, steal ;--in the ninth," bear false witness." This shows the point of emphatic discrimination. In the latter case, the stress falls not on a single word, but on a clause, the last word of this clause, however, in the present case, demanding more stress than either of the others.
One more 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 inote 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 such a reduplication of emphasis, its highest effect is not to be expected. 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 voice on the different terms as shall most clearly, and yet most agreeably convey the sense of the entire passage.
I use this term in the largest sense, as a convenient one to denote that variety in managing the voice, which appears in the delivery of a good speaker.* 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 remark has been made in a former page, that the monotone, employed with skill, in pronouncing a simile, or occasionally an elevated or forcible thought, may have great rhetorical effect. Its propriety in such a case, is felt instinctively; just as other movements of the voice are felt to be proper, when they are prompted by genius and emotion. But the thing I mean to condemn has no
Though I admire precision in language, I must here again express my dissent from all needless distinctions on a subject so practical as this. Wright in his Elocution considers tune as equivalent to variety, harmony, cadence; and tone, as equivalent to strength and compass; and criticises Sheridan for making no such distinction. But surely no distinction and no definition of terms is as good as one too loose to be of any value. Technical terms évery art and science must have; but modern taste has very properly dispensed with a large proportion of those terms, which make the technical nomenclature of ancient rhetoric a greater burden to memory than the acquisition of a new language.
such qualities to give it vivacity. It is that dull repetition of sounds, on the same pitch, and with the same quantity, which the hearers are ready to ascribe, (and commonly with justice,) to the want of spirit in the speaker. They easily excuse themselves for feeling no interest in what he says, when apparently he feels none himself. Want of variety is fatal to vivacity and interest in delivery, on the same principle that it is so in all other cases.
Let the poet be confined to one undeviating succession of syllables and of rhyme, and who would be enchanted with his numbers ? Let the painter be confined to one colour, and where is the magic of his art ? What gives its charm to the landscape ?-What gives life to the countenance, and language to the eye, as represented on the canvass ? Not such a use of colours as fits the character of a post or ceiling, all white, or all red; but such a blending of colours as give the variety of life and intelligence. The same difference exists between a heavy, uniform movement of the voice, and that which corresponds with real emotion. In music a succession of perfect concords, especially on the same note, would be intolerable.
2. Mechanical variety.
An unskilful reader perhaps is resolved to avoid monotony. In attempting to do this, he may fall into other habits, scarcely less offensive to the ear, and not at all more consistent with the principles of a just elocution. In uttering a sentence, he 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 an
other 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 attempt to produce variety by a frequent change of stress. The man is disgusted with the plodding uniformity that measures out syllables and words, as a dragoon does his steps. He aims therefore at an emphatic manner, which shall give a much greater quantity of sound to some words that to others. 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
There is still another kind of this uniform variety, which is extremely common at our public schools and colleges, and from them is carried into the different departments of public speaking. 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 downward again, as on an inclined plane, to a feeble close. . Besides the effort at variety, which often produces this fault, it is increased in many cases, by that labor of lungs, and that unskilfulness in managing the breath, which attends want of custom in speaking. The man who has this habit, (and not a few have it, as any one would perceive, who should place himself just within hearing distance of twen