« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
of composition, plausibility is much more essential than próbability.” In these examples, the emphasis requires the accent to be placed on syllables, to which it does not commonly belong.
In order to acquire the proper management of the emphasis, the great rule, and indeed the only rule possible to be given, is, that the speaker or reader study to attain a just conception of the force and spirit of the sentiments which he is to pronounce. For to lay the emphasis with exact propriety, is a constant exercise of good sense and attention. It is far from being an inconsiderable attain. ment. It is one of the greatest trials of a true and 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; nainely, that of multiplying emphatical words too much. It is only by a prudent reserve in the use of them, that we can give them any weight. If they recur too often ; if a speaker or reader attempts to render every thing which he expresses of high importance, by a multitude of strong emphases, we soon learn to pay little regard to them. To crowd every sentence with emphatical words, iš like crowding all the pages of a book with Italic characters, which, as to the effect, is just the same as to use no such distinctions at all.
SECTION 4. Of Pauses. Pauses or rests, in speaking and reading, are a total cessation of the voice, during a perceptible, and, in many cases, a measurable space of time.
Pauses are equally necessary to the speaker, and the hearer. To the speaker, that he may take breath, without which he cannot proceed far in delivery; and that he may, by these temporary rests, relieve the organs of speech, which otherwise would be soon tired by continued ? action: to the hearer, that the ear also may be relieved
from the fatigue, which it would otherwise endure from a continuity of sound; and that the understanding may have sufficient time to mark the distinction of sentences, and their several members.
There are two kinds of pauses: first, emphatical pauses; and next, such as mark the distinctions of the sense. An emphatical pause is made, after something has been said of peculiar moment, and on which we desire to fix the hearer's attention. Sometimes, before such a thing is said, we usher it in with a pause of this nature. Such pauses have the same effect as a strong emphasis; and are subject to the same rules; especially to the caution just now given, of not repeating them too frequently. For as they excite uncommon attention, and of course raise expectation, if the importance of the matter is not fully answerable to such expectation, they occasion disappointment and disgust.
But the most frequent and the principal use of pauses, is, to mark the divisions of the sense, and at the same time to allow the speaker to draw his breath; and the proper and delicate adjustment of such pauses, is one of the most nice and difficult articles of delivery. In all reading, and public speaking, the management of the breath requires good deal of care, so as not to oblige us to divide words from one another, which have so intimate a connexion, that they ought to be pronounced with the same breath, and without the least separation. Many sentences are miserably mangled, and the force of the emphasis totally lost, by the divisions being made in the wrong place. To avoid this, ' every one, while he is speaking or reading, should be very careful to provide a full supply of breath for what he is to utter. It is a great mistake to imagine, that the breath must be drawn only at the end of a period, when the voice is allowed to fall. It may easily be gathered at the intervals of the period, when the voice is only suspended for a moment; and, by this management, one may always have a sufficient stock for carrying on the longest sentence, without improper interruptions.
Pauses in reading, and public discourse, must be formed upon the manner in which we utter ourselves in ordinary, sensible conversation; and not upon the stiff artificial mane ner which we acquire, from reading books according to the common punctuation. It will by no means be sufficient to attend to the points used in printing; for these are far from marking all the pauses which ought to be made in speaking. A mechanical attention to these resting-places, has perhaps been one cause of monotony, by leading the reader to a similar tone at every stop, and a uniform cadence at every period. The primary use of points is, to assist the reader in discerning the grammatical construction; and it is only as a secondary object, that they regulate his pronunciation.
To render pauses pleasing and expressive, they must not only be made in the right place, but also accompanied with a proper tone of voice, by which the nature of these pauses is intimated ; much more than by the length of them, which can seldom be exactly measured. Sometimes it is only a slight and simple suspension of voice that is proper; sometimes a degree of cadence in the voice is required; and sometimes that peculiar tone and cadence which denote the sentence to be finished. In all these cases, we are to regulate ourselves, by attending to the manner in which nature teaches us to speak, when engaged in real and earnest discourse with others.
It is a general rule, that the suspending pause should be used when the sense is incomplete; and the closing pause, when it is finished. But there are phrases, in which, though the sense is not completed, the voice takes the closing, rather than the suspending pause; and others, in which the sentence finishes by the pause of suspension.
The closing pause must not be confounded with that fall of the voice, or cadence, with which many readers uniforinly finish a sentence. Nothing is more destructive of propriety and energy than this habit. The tones and in: fiections of the voice at the close of a sentence, ought to be
diversified, according to the general nature of the discourse, and the particular construction and meaning of the sentence. In plain narrative, and especially in argumentation, a small attention to the manner in which we relate a fact, or maintain an arguinent, in conversation, will show, that it is frequently more proper to raise the voice, than to let it fall, at the end of a sentence. Some sentences are so constructed, that the last words require a stronger emphasis than any of the preceding; while others admit of being closed with a soft and gentle sound. Where there is nothing in the sense which requires the last sound to be elevated or emphatical, an easy fall, sufficient to show that the sense is finished, will be proper. And in pathetic pieces, especially those of the plaintive, tender, or solemn. kind, the tone of the passion will often require a still greater cadence of the voice. The best method of correcting a uniform cadence, is frequently to read select sentences, in which the style is pointed, and in which antitheses are frequently introduced ; and argumentative pieces, or such as abound with interrogatives, or earnest excla. mation.
SECTION 5. of Tones. Tones are different both from emphasis and pauseș ; consisting in the modulation of the voice, the notes or variations of sound which we employ in the expression of our sentiments.
'Emphasis” affects particular words and phrases with a degree of tone or inflection of the voice; but tones, pecularly so called, affect sentences, paragraphs, and sometimes even the whole of a discourse.
To show the use and necessity of tones, we need only observe, that the mind, in communicating its ideas, is in a continual state of activity, emotion, or agitation, from the different effects which those ideas produce in the speaker. Now the end of such communication being, not merely to lay open the ideas, but also the different feelings which
they excite in him who utters them, there must be other signs than words, to manifest those feelings; as words uttered in a monotonous manner, can represent only a simi-, lar state of mind, perfectly free from all activity or emotion. As the communication of these internal feelings, was of much more consequence in our social intercourse, than the mere conveyance of ideas, the Author of our being did not, as in that conveyance, leave the invention of the language of emotion, to man; but impressed it himself upon our nature in the same manner as he has done with regard to the rest of the animal world; all of which express their various feelings, by various tones. Ours indeed, from the superior rank that we hold, are in a high degree more comprehensive; as there is not an act of the mind, an exertion of the fancy, or an emotion of the heart, which has not its peculiar tone, or note of the voice, by which it is to be expressed ; and which is suited exactly to the. degree of internal feeling. It is chiefly in the proper use of these tones, that the life, spirit, beauty, and harmony of delivery consist.
An extract from the beautiful lamentation of David over Saul and Jonathan, may serve as an example of what has been said on this subject. “The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places. How are the mighty fallen! Tell it not in Gath; publish it not in the streets of Askelon : lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice ; lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph. Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, nor rain upon you, nor fields of offerings; for there the shield of the mighty was vilely cast away; the shield of Saul, as though he had not been anointed with oil!” The first of these divisions expresses sorrow and lamentation; therefore the note is low. The next contains a spirited command, and should be pronounced much higher. The other sentence, in which he makes a pathetic address to the mountains where his friends were slain, must be expressed in a note quite diffprent from the two former; not so low as the first, nor