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4. Poetic Composition : Gay Style. (“Pure Tone: Moderately Strong Force, “Brisk” Style.) “ Ye of the rose lip and the dew-bright eye

And the bounding footstep, to meet me fly! With the lyre and the wreath and the joyous lay,

Come forth to the sunshine,- I may not stay." “ There's a dance of leaves in that aspen bower,

There's a titter of winds in that beechen tree, There's a smile on the fruit, and a smile on the flower,

And a laugh from the brook that runs to the sea !”

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II. MEDIAN STRess." This form of stress Dr. Rush describes as a gradual strengthening and subsequent reduction of the voice, similar to what is called a swell, in the language of musical expression."

“Radical stress," with its abrupt explosion, is the irrepressible burst of forcible utterance, in the language of unconscious and involuntary emotion. It is the expression of passion rather than of will. “ Median stress," on the contrary, is more or less a conscious and intentional effect, prompted and sustained and enforced by the will. It is the natural utterance of those emotions which allow the intermingling of reflection and sentiment with expression, and which purposely dwell on sound, as a means of enhancing their effect. The swell of " median stress” is, accordingly, more or less ample and prolonged, as the feeling which it utters is moderate, or deep and full, lofty and awful. “ Median stress

" has the form of " effusive" utterance in sublime, solemn, and pathetic emotions : it becomes “expulsive,” in those which combine force with grandeur, as in admiration, courage, authoritative command, indignation, and similar feelings. But its effect is utterly incompatible with the abruptness of “explosion.” — Its comparatively musical character adapts it, with special felicity of effect, to the melody of verse, and the natural swell" of poetic expression.


This mode of stress is one of the most important in its effects on language, whether in the form of speaking or of reading. Destitute of its ennobling and expansive sound, the recitation of poetry sinks into the style of dry prose, the language of devotion loses its sacredness, the tones of oratory lose their power over the heart.

There is great danger, however, of this natural beauty of vocal expression being converted into a fault by being overdone. The habit recognized under the name of " mouthing," has an excessively increased and prolonged dian swell” for one of its chief characteristics. In this shape, it becomes a great deformity in utterance, -particularly when combined with what is no infrequent concomitant, the faulty mode of voice, known as “chanting" or “singing." Like sweetness among savors, this truly agreeable quality of sound, becomes distasteful or disgusting, when in the least degree excessive.

The practice of "median stress," therefore, requires very close attention. The spirit of poetry and the language of eloquence, – the highest effects of human utterance, render it indispensable as an accomplishment in elocution. But a chaste and discriminating ear is requisite to decide the just degree of its extent.

“Median stress,” is found in conjunction with most of the emotions which are uttered in the forms of " pure tone and orotund : " it exists also, though less perceptible in its effect, in union with “ aspirated quality.” It accompanies, likewise, all stages of force from the slightest to the most vehement.

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1. Pathos. (Gentlest form of "median stress," – a barely

perceptible "swell.")
“ Calm on its leaf-strewn bier,
Unlike a gift of Nature to Decay, -

Too rose-like still, too beautiful, too dear,-
The child at rest before its mother lay:

Even so to pass away,

With its bright smile ! — Elysium what wert thou
To her that wept o'er that young slumberer's brow?

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2. Solemnity. (“Swell” moderately increased.)

“Thou unrelenting Past !
Strong are the barriers round thy dark domain;

And fetters, sure and fast,
Hold all that enter thy unbreathing reign.

Far in thy realm withdrawn
Old empires sit in sullenness and gloom;

And glorious ages gone
Lie deep within the shadow of thy womb.

Childhood, with all its mirth,
Youth, Manhood, Age, that draws us to the ground,

And last, Man's Life on earth,
Glide to thy dim dominions, and are bound."

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3. Tranquillity.
"Why weep ye, then, for him, who, having won

The bound of man's appointed years,
Life's blessings all enjoyed, life's labors done,

Serenely to his final rest has passed;
While the soft memory of his virtues, yet,
Lingers like twilight hues, when the bright sun is set ?
“ His youth was innocent; his riper age,

Marked with some act of goodness, every day; And, watched by eyes that loved him, calm and

sage, Faded his late declining years away. Cheerful he

gave his being up, and went To share the holy rest that waits a life well spent.

4. Reverence. (Fuller "swell.")
Effusive orotund quality.

“Father! Thy hand Hath reared these venerable columns, Thou,

Didst weave this verdant roof. Thou didst look down
Upon the naked earth; and, forthwith, rose
All these fair ranks of trees. They, in Thy sun,
Budded, and shook their green leaves in Thy breeze,
And shot towards heaven. The century-living crow,
Whose birth was their tops, grew old and died
Among their branches, till, at last, they stood,
As now they stand, massy, and tall, and dark,
Fit shrine for humble worshipper to hold
Communion with his Maker!

5. Pathos and Sublimity. (Full and prolonged "swell.")

How are the mighty fallen ! - Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives; and in their death they were not divided : they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions.

- Ye daughters of Israel weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet, with other delights; who put on ornaments of gold upon your apparel! How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! O Jonathan! thou wast slain in thy high places ! — How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished !”

6. Solemnity, Sublimity, and Fervor. (Fullest “swell.")

“Oh! sing unto the Lord a new song; for he hath done marvellous things : his right hand and his holy arm hath gotten him the victory. — Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth : make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. Sing unto the Lord with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm. With trumpets and sound of cornet, make a joyful noise before the Lord the King. Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof; the world, ind they that dwell therein. Let the floods clap their hands : let the hills be joyful together."

II. ExpulsiveUtterance.
Pure Tone: " Moderate Force."

1. Grave Style.*
(Gentle and

median stress,

” without prolongation.) “The excuses of youth, for the neglect of religion, are those which are most frequently offered, and most easily admitted. The restrictions of religion, though proper enough for maturer age, are too severe, it is said, for this frolicsome and gladsome period. Its consolations, too, they do not want. Leave these to prop the feeble limbs of old age, or to cheer the sinking spirits of adversity. — False and pernicious maxim! As if, at the end of a stated number of years, a man could become religious in a moment ! As if the husbandman, at the end of a summer, could call up a harvest from the soil which he had never tilled! As if manhood, too, would have no excuses! And what are they? That he has grown too old to amend. That his parents took no pains with his religious education, and therefore his ignorance is not his own fault. That he must be making provision for old age; and the pressure of cares will allow him no time to attend to the evidences, or learn the rules of religion. Thus life is spent in framing apologies, in making and breaking resolutions, and deferring amendment, till death places his cold hand on the mouth open to make its last excuse, and one more is added to the crowded congregation of the dead."

2. Serious Style.f (" Median stress,” still shorter in duration, but increased in force.)

" Whether the naturalist be at home or abroad, in every * This example furnishes an instance of the "grave” style assuming the "median stress," for impressive effect, as formerly mentioned. 7. + These examples illustrate the application of “median stress” to “serious" and "animated ” style, from fulness of feeling and effect. Had the composition been of a lower tone, the utterance would have exemplified the application of the “unimpassioned radical."

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