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why nature inflects with so much propriety and so much justice. Has she no rule? Is there no principle by which she regulates these well-known and indispensable tones ? Does she act blindly and inconsistently ?-at one time giving the falling and at another the rising slide to sentences, between which, if we look merely at their external appearances, no difference is discernible? Is she so capricious, so vague, and indefinite, so ignorant of the language of the human heart, as to leave, at the mercy of a may, or a might, or a generally, her unequivocal feelings, and her definite and pointed expressions ? It cannot be. Whatever man's character is, her character is consistency. However men may represent and interpret her, she, we are persuaded, knows neither knavery nor hypocrisy, neither caprice nor insincerity. She speaks from the heart to the heart. And if we have not stumbled on the principle, or principles, which regulate her inflections, it is not her fault, it is not because she knows none, neither is it altogether because her principle is involved in such obscurity and doubt.
With these observations before us, we now say, at emphasis is the great primum mobile. Emphasis is the regulator of our system, or rather what we conceive to be the system of nature. By it, we not only hope and trust, but we see, in fact, feel, that we can satisfactorily account for the mays, and the mights, and the generallys, and for other incongruities so conspicuous in the formi. dable and bulky system of Walker. Since we see how much emphasis is capable of accomplishing-how easily she puts down his numerous rules, and even more numerous exceptions-how she, establishing inflection on its true and legitimate basis, the sense, opens up a prospect boundless as is the human race, unexceptionable as unexceptionability itself; since we see all this, we shall show that Walker was not altogether blind to the great and unbounded influence which emphasis exercised over his rulesman influence which he felt as stubborn and as unaccommodating as facts themselves—an influence, over which, in defiance of all his schemes and resources, he could never obtain a complete and independent mastery. And though we do not conceive, that, by quoting his language, our view of emphasis can ever receive one additional particle of truth or falsehood; yet, we are aware, that his words will not have a little ascendancy over many grovelling minds who are naturally formed to enlist under the banners of a leaderwhose whole life consists almost in nothing else but in praising great names, in explaining and defending systems and theories, however slimly built, or destitute of foundation-and, as a prominent part of their character, in endeavouring to put down, not too often, indeed, by the most manly, noble, and systematic attacks, those great, enterprising, and eccentric souls, whom necessity, or some more rational cause, has forced to break loose from the bondage of such imposing names, such venerable and majestic systems.
It were well, indeed, if this respect for names and systems were always such as it should be. It may, it is true, be now and then doomed to feel the rude and vulgar grasp of ignoble minds, who, stirred up by envy, malice, or prejudice, wish to confound in a mass, as ignoble as their origin, all that is splendid, great, and dignified in intellect. But it must never be forgotten, that many men of undoubted genius have, in by far too many instances, allowed an unfounded respect to wield, over their better judgments, a
childish, a disgraceful, and a niost ungovernable sway. It, we venture to say, has been one of the greatest enemies to literature one of the greatest curses to the interests, and the unalienable rights of sovereign intellect.
However, speaking of the Mfluence of emphasis, Walker says, Emphasis which controls every other rule in Reading, forms an exception to this.” Had this indefatigable man listened attentively to this idea, and investigated the subject, he would not only have seen and asserted that emphasis controls, but that it completely overturns, and consequently renders useless, almost all his rules-he would not have foolishly, unphilosophically, referred us to a part of speech as the cause of inflection-neither should he have felt the control of emphasis so distinctly and yet so indistinctly, as only to involve him in difficulties--a control which, while by arresting him almost at every step of his progress, it obliged him to invent rules, as easily and as speedily furnished him with matter for overturning them. And hence his just-alluded-to free and unsophisticated declaration, which, tending to overthrow, as it most certainly does, his inflecting system, becomes, at the same time, an irresistible advocate in favour of our view of the subject.
Emphasis, therefore, will now be introduced as the basis of our rule, which, keeping for the moment in the shade, sentences connected with a number of particulars, is the only one which we think nature uses or requires. We said, that we look upon sentences in no other light than as questions and answers: which view, may be considered as bearing some relation to the rule which we now give.
RULE. — The questioning part, or that part intimating that some expression is to come, will, unless the first word is emphatic, end with the rising inflection; but the answering part, or
that part making known that the expression alluded to is come, will assume the falling inflection.
To illustrate which, we shall give a few sentences, or parts of sentences. The following simple sentence, man is a being, comes under the latter part. It is the answer to some question expressed or understood. It may be, what is man? Being will, therefore, terminate with the falling inflection. But its question, what is man? belongs to the former part of the rule; and because we think the sense makes what, the first word, emphatic, man consequently terminates in the downward slide. To give man this inflection, because it begins with what, is quite ridiculous. It is asto shing, but not less astonishing than true, that so many men, otherwise of superior sense, should day after day have reiterated this nonsense in our ears.
We farther notice, what to an inattentive observer may appear rather strange, that nature and the sense terminate man with the opposite inflection the rising. Of this, examples occur every day in life. The following case, among others, may serve for illustration. Let the question, what is man? be addressed to some person or persons. Suppose the person either mistake the word man for some other word-or, if the answer given be a wretched one.
In either case we, under the guidance of the sense, and with the prospect of an answer, make man emphatic, and ending of course with the rising inflection.
Again, notice the following words or question: Has he been considered a sinful creature ? may, according to circumstances, end with either the rising or the falling slide. Should we wish to call the attention of the answerer to that part of the idea or question which belongs to past time, since we have no doubt that man at the present time is considered
a sinful creature; or if we do entertain some doubt, or what amounts to the same thing, should we wish to know, whether the answerer is aware that man, in past times, has been considered a sinful creature, has, will most certainly become emphatic, and necessarily cause the question to terminate in the falling slide. On the other hand, should we fix on it does not matter what part of the expression, the question will as positively take the opposite slide. Suppose we are anxious about the sinful part of the idea, sinful must be emphatic; and being connected with a question, and consequently having in prospect an answer, it necessarily assumes the upward slide.
Once more: Suppose we are favoured with this answer, He is considered a sinful creature-an answer which, if we have not applied the emphasis to the proper word, may be given -We are at once sensible that this is not the answer. To rectify the mistake, we either reply that we do not ask you whether he is, but whether he has been considered a sinful creature; or, suspecting that, either we have erred in not giving the emphasis to the proper word, or that the person, to whom the words were addressed, has mistaken the word on which the whole question depends, we will repeat the question, giving a decidedly emphatic stress to has—the necessity and propriety of which, being at once evident, will therefore occasion the falling slide.
Farther, look at that question, Is there a guide to show that path? It, we remark, is placed in precisely the same circumstances as the preceding interrogation-liable, according to the sense or the mind of the proposer, to receive either inflection. If the inquirer is rivetted to the existence of such a guide, he does not, in short, he cannot, consider himself called upon to dwell particularly on any thing be