Page images
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]

“Softly sweet, in Lydian | measures, 1991 Soon he soothed his soul to | pleasures.- 1 War he / sung is | toil and trouble, 1991 Honor, but an empty | bubble.” 1991991

III. — “Anapastic" Metre.

1. Lines of Three Anapasts." g“How fleet is a | glance of the mind ! 19919

a Com | pared with the speed of its | flight, 11 The tempestit | self lags be | hind, 1991

And the swift-winged | arrows of light.” 1991991

2. Lines of Four " Anapasts.9 "The evening was glorious ; 19 and light 9

through the trees 1991 Played the sunshine and raindrops, the birds and

the | breeze ; 190 1991 The landscape out | stretching in loveliness,

lay 1991 a On the 1 lap of the year, 19 in the beauty of |

May." 1991191

CHAPTER IX.

EMPHASIS AND EXPRESSION.

The analysis of elocution has, in the preceding chapters, been extended so far as to comprehend all the chief topics of practical elocution. The subjects of emphasis and" expression," have been reserved for the conclusion of this manual; as they properly comprise a virtual review of the whole subject.

[ocr errors]

I. - Impassioned Emphasis. Emphasis, in its usual acceptation, is limited to mere comparative force of utterance on an accented syllable. The term, properly defined, extends to whatever expedient the voice uses to render a sound specially significant or expressive. Thus, in the scornful challenge which Bolingbroke addresses to Mowbray.

Pale, trembling COWARD! there I throw my gage : The emphasis lies, doubtless, on the word coward, and is concentrated in the syllable cow-, by peculiar force of utterance. But the mere force or loudness used, is only one of the many elements of expression, which the syllable is made to comprise, in the intensely excited passion implied in the words.

Attentive analysis will show that, in what is termed “ emphasis,” in this instance, there are included all of the following elements of vocal effect : 1st, the mere force or energy of the utterance, which produces the loudness of voice that accompanies violent or vehement excitement of feeling ; 2d, the abrupt and explosive articulation with which the accented syllable is shot from the mouth, in the expression of anger and scorn; 3d, the comparatively low pitch on which the syllable cow- is uttered, as contrasted with the high note on the opening word “ pale," and which indicates the deep-seated contempt and indignation of the speaker ; 4th, the comparatively long duration of the accented syllable, and the consequent effect of deliberate and voluntary emotion, as contrasted with the rapid rate of hasty and rash excitement; 5th, the downward "slide, the inseparable characteristic of all impetuous, violent, and angry emotion; 6th, the pectoral,gultural," and strongly " aspirated quality " of voice, with which the utterance seems to burst from the chest and throat, with a half-suffocated and hissing sound, peculiarly characteristic of fierce and contemptuous emotion. It

may appear, at first view, that this analysis extends beyond emphasis into os expression. But emphasis is, in fact, nothing else than “ expression,” concentrated and condensed into an accented syllable. For confirmation of this assertion we may refer to the result, in cases of acknowledged imperfect emphasis, that a failure, as regards the full effect of any one of the above elements, produces the fault. Let the student himself bring the matter to the test of his own observation, by uttering the word - coward,six times in succession, dropping, each time, one of the elements of " expression," enumerated in the preceding analysis; and he will perceive that he loses, in every instance, the emphasis of impassioned accent. Similar illustrations might be drawn from all the emotions, in turn. But the verification may be left for the practice of oral illustration, by the student, or the teacher.

II. — Unimpassioned Emphasis. It may be thought, however, that, although the emphasis of passion dues include many elements, the common emphasis of meaning, in unimpassioned intellectual communication, may be sufficiently expressed by mere comparative force of accent. This impression, too, will, on examination, be found erroneous. The simplest distinctive emphasis that can be given, comprises several points of effect, which are easily detected by analysis.

We may take, for an example of unimpassioned emphasis, the expressions in the moral of the fable of the Discontented Pendulum, “ Let any man resolve always to do right now, leaving then to do as it can; and if he were to live to the age of Methuselah, he would never do

wrong." The words “ now" and "then," in this passage, are instances of distinctive emphasis : they are marked, 1st, by the usual superior force of utterance, which belongs to important and significant words; 2d, by a jerking stress, repeated at the beginning and end of each “ tonic" element of sound in the two words, and constituting what is technically termed in elocution “ compound stress ; 3d, by the comparatively high pitch on which each of these two words is set, relatively to the rest of the sentence ; 4th, by a significant turn or “double slide" of voice, termed the "6 wave, or, perhaps, — in the spirit of very keen and peculiarly marked distinction, — by a double turn, constituting a quadruple "slide" and a “double wave,” in the style peculiar to the prolonged utterance of acute verbal distinctions; 5th, by the protracted sound of the words, which is inseparable from the enunciation of significant expressions, in general, but particularly, as just mentioned, from the style of verbal distinctions and subtle discriminations ; 6th, by the “ oral quality ” of voice, with which the words are uttered. — By “ oral quality is not meant

"head tone,” which always accompanies unimpassioned and merely intellectual communication, -an utterance addressed to the understanding, and not to the passions, and hence divested of deep " pectoral or harsh "guttural" quality, but that distinctly marked and exclusively oral tone, which causes the voice to sound as if it emanated from, or originated in, the mouth alone, and designedly threw the utterance into the shape of a mere process of articulation, dependent, for its whole effect, on the tongue, the palate, the teeth or the lips. All nice distinctions in grammar, in logic, and even in ethics, are given in this purely “oral ” form. This mode of voice is, as it were, the

[ocr errors]

that“ pure

or

opposite pole to that of deep passion, which is not merely lowpitched, but designedly resounds in the thoracic cavity, and by its hollow “pectoral” effect, seems to emanate from the chest. It indicates, thus, to the ear the presence, as the “oral quality" does the absence, of a deep inward movement of feeling. — The effect of the “ oral quality,'' as a part of the emphasis of intellectual distinctions, may be ascertained by the student for himself, if he will utter the words “ now" and " thenin the preceding passage, first, with “ low pitch," and deep" pectoral ” murmur, and, afterwards, with “high pitch," and thin “ oral” enunciation. A similar analysis may be made on all the constituent elements of unimpassioned emphasis, as enumerated in this paragraph.

The reason why, in our analysis of elocution, the consideration of emphasis was postponed to other topics, will now be distinctly perceived. The appropriate study of emphasis, requires a knowledge of its various constituents. But the previous discussion and exemplification of these, renders the separate practice of each, under the denomination of emphasis, unnecessary. It will be sufficient, here, to present a few examples of emphasis, for practical analysis, classified in such a manner as to suggest to the student and the teacher the modes of practice best adapted to produce a distinct, impressive, and discriminating emphasis.

It will give additional value to all exercises in emphasis, if the examples are thoroughly analyzed, so as to exhibit all the properties of elocution comprised in each. It becomes necessary, once more, to drop, here, a suggestion on the effect of practice, – that, in the first course of exercise, the full force of emphasis, in all its characteristics, is the object to be kept in view, so as to gain the power of throwing out the utmost expressive force, when impassioned utterance requires it; but that a subsequent course should be carefully added, so as to bring down and soften the emphasis of unimpassioned language into a quiet and moderate style of expression, marked by chaste and manly reserve. - Our current style of professional reading is justly complained of by foreigners, as being mechanical and studied in its emphasis ; and our popular oratory, as characterized by violence rather than genuine force. Earnestness, it is true, is the soul of eloquence; but it rarely authorizes vehemence, and never vociferation, - a habit which for the time, degrades man from his rational elevation of humanity to the level of animal life. Emotion, the true source of impassioned emphasis, may be, in the highest degree, vivid, without being turbulent.

EXAMPLES OF EMPHASIS.

[ocr errors]

octave

I. — Impassioned emphasis.

Fierce Anger and Defiance. [Coriolanus, enraged by the accusation of the Tribunes.] ("Aspirated guttural quality”: “Impassioned ” and increasing

“Expulsive force: “Compound and thorough stress”: “High and progressively rising “pitch”: Downward "third,” fifth," and

in the "slide": "Emphatically “slow move. ment.").

“Call me their traitor! - Thou injurious tribune!
Within thine eyes sat twenty thousand deaths,
In thine hands clutched as many millions, in
Thy lying tongue BOTH numbers, I would say,
Thou LIEST, unto thee, with a voice as free
As I do pray the gods.”

Revenge.
[Othello, instigated by Iago, against Cassio.]
(" Aspirated pectoral quality": Intensely "Impassioned

- Ex. pulsive” force : “ Thorough stress": 'Low pitch”: Downward "slide" of the “fifth” and “third”: “Emphatically deliberate and slow movement.")

“Oh! that the slave had FORTY THOUSAND lives!
My great revenge had stomach for them ALL!”

Anger and Threatening. [Coriolanus, to the Roman soldiers when repulsed.] (" Aspirated guttural quality”: “Impassioned” force : "Vanishing, radical,” and “median stress”: “High pitch”: “Downward " " slide' of the fifth : Movement first “slow," then quick.")

" You souls of geese,
That bear the shapes of men, how have you run
From slaves that apes would beat! - Pluto and HELL!
All hurt behind; backs red, and faces pale
With flight and agued fear ! — Mend, and CHARGE HOME,
Or by the fires of heaven, I 'll leave the foe,
And make my wars on YOU: look to't: COME ON ! "

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »