Page images

neighbours; or would it make men more virtuous, and, consequently more happy, in every situation ?

His remarks upon these areá In the two former of these examples, we find the disjunctive or necessarily difect the voice in the last member of each to the falling infilection; and, in the third example, we have not only an instance of the diversity of voice on the several questions according to their form, but an illustration of the exception, formed by the conjunction or ; for, in the former part of this passage, where it is used conjunctly, it does not occasion any more alteration of the voice on the word ensue, than on

any other conjunctive word; but when used disjunctively, as in the last member of the question, commencing at- or would it not make men more virtuous, &c.—we find it very properly change the tone of voice from the interrogative to the declarative; that is, from the rising to the falling inflection.” What a deal of trouble and research might this indefatigable man have saved himself, if he had had a right view of the cause of inflection! He tells us that or used disjunctively occasions the member, would it not make men moře virtuous in every situation, “ to change very properly the tone of voice from the interrogative to the declarative.” Over the inflection of this or any other member it can have no control. But this member will very properly take the falling inflection, if would be emphatic: if not, it will decidedly take the rising. This was all he had to discover ; and this is the principle which we apply to these examples. The questioning state, from believing it, what harm could

sue ? is somewhat inverted ; not inverted, it would stand thus : What harm could ensue from believing it? What is the emphatic word which causes the downward slide, - We have put the inflections as they are given by Walker. Speaking of this rule, he says-" It may throw light upon a passage in Shakspeare, very difficult to pronounce with variety, if we terminate every question with the rising inflection, which, however, must necessarily be the case, as the questions do not imply opposition to, or exclusion of each other. The passage referred to is in Henry V., where that monarch, after the discovery of the conspiracy against him, thus expostulates with Lord Scroope, who was concerned in it:"

We shall give the passage, and mark it as he has done.

Oh how hast thou with jealousy infected ':
The sweetness of affiance ! show men dútiful?
Why so didst thou: or seem they grave and learned ?
Why so didst thou: come they of noble family?
Why so didst thou : seem they religious ?
Why so didst thou : or are they spare in dièt*;
Free from gross passion or of mirth or anger ;
Constant in spirit, not swerving with the blind,
Garnish'd and deck'd in modest còmplimient,
Not working with the eye without the ear,
And but in purged judgment trusting néither ?
Such and so finely boulted didst thòu seem.

He farther observes that, “ in pronouncing this passage, it should seem most eligible to use the rising inflection at the end of the several questions: but after the first four, the falling inflection seems very properly adopted in the word diet, as this is the first branch of the last series of questions.*

We cannot find room for his other remarks on this passage of Shakspeare. But proper and eligible as his mode of in

• Those who wish to consult Walker farther on this part of the subject, will observe that our edition is the fifth-p. 133.

Aecting these lines may be, there is nothing here from which we can decide with certainty. Had he not listened. 80 much to the dictates of variety, however good in them. selves-had he shut his eyes on his notions of opposition or exclusion, with his other interrogative principles, and attended first and last of all to the sense and emphasis, O how he must have cleared this part of his system of rubbish, and opened up a path at once smooth, uniform, and captivating! Had he, with one sweep of a generalizing eye, beheld nature's few, yet grand, and universal inflect. ing principles, he might have easily cast, over this department of education, a charm, to which it has hitherto been a total stranger-he might have caused even niany a straggling traveller,' who, in the midst of his literary rambles, had only come to take a wayward glance, not only to sit down and partake of her dainties, but enticed by the luxuries, yet simplicities of her board, to prolong his stay,--aye, and to turn, if not a deaf, at least, an unwill. ing ear to the serious calls of some ás important, but more forbidding hostess. But in following Walker farther, we perceive him once more. grappling with a difficulty, which, some persons may imagine, might be very easily

He discovers that it is not always very obvious whether or be con-junctive or dis-junctive. To supply this great desideratum, he proposes' another rule. There is a stanza in Gray's Elegy in a Country Churchyard in which

It is thus:


or occurs.

Can storied urn or animated bust

Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath ?
Can honour's voice provoke the silent dust,

Or, Aattry soothe the dull cold ear of death?

And to account for the rising slide which, he thinks,

[ocr errors]

death should take, he of course affirms that or is conjunctive. It is just as much con-junctive, or, if you will, dis-junctive, as the or in the following lines given by him in the preceding page, as an example of dis-junction. The lines are :

[ocr errors]

See Falkland dies, the virtuous and the just;
See god-like Turenne prostrate in the dust;
See Sydney bleeds amid the martial strife :
Was this their virtue or contempt of life?

All that the authors here insinuate is, that if not the one, it must be the other ; if not honour, it is flattery; if not virtue, it must be contempt.

But we must proceed to the note of exclamation. And here we have to say that our rule is equally applicable. Nevertheless we meet with another vague rule for the in. flection of sentences, to which this note has been affixed, " When a word is repeated in the form of an exclamation it has generally the rising inflection." Why not always ? Why only generally? Why is nature either so capricious, or so capriciously represented ? Nature! who in this case does not act blindly. Nature! who in this particular guides her inflection by a principle not buried in the dark.

Before giving any examples, it might be observed, what Walker has noticed, that this point has been frequently confounded with that of interrogation. Though the close connection evidently subsisting between the one and the other may plead for a palliation of the crime, it certainly can neither altogether excuse nor conceal an ignorance of the radical distinction which nature invariably maintains and unhesitatingly recognizes. But in this very close connection, which has, in many instances, occasioned this

indiscriminate use of the interrogative for the exclamatory point, we behold some proof in favour of that view, in which we comprehend all sentences their being under the same laws by which nature governs all the inflections of language.

With the general, though not the particular ideas of Walker on this subject, we are glad to say that we agree. He refers these sentences to his other rules, and we refer his other rules to our rule. It must not be forgotten, however, that he has mentioned one exception to his general rule an exception which, reasoning, a priore, from his system, we could have divined he must meet. But in another page, he very properly notices that even this exception does not in reality exist.

The following extract contains an exclamation coming under the first part of our rule. In other words, it is the questioning state of the exclamation, the emphasis of which is thrown on the last word; and consequently terminating in the rising inflection.

Will you for ever, Athenians, do nothing but walk up and down the city asking one another, what news? What news! Is there any thing more new than to see a man of Macedonia become master of the Athenians, and give laws to Greece ?

It is evident that there are some words understood to what news! These are to be collected from the preceding -- from the sense of the passage, without attending to which, we shall completely bewilder ourselves. They may be, will you do nothing but ask one another what news!

And thi the mode by which Walker nullifies his exception to which we have just alluded. He gives the falling inflection to all exclamatory sentences beginning with the interrogative words, how, what-the same inflection

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »