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In order to acquire a proper management of the emphasis, the great rule to be given is, that the reader study to attain a just conception of the force and spirit of the sentiment which he is to pronounce. To lay the emphasis with exact propriety, is a constant exercise of good sense and attention. It is far from being an inconsiderable attainment. It is one of the most decisive trials of true and just taste; and must arise from feeling delicately ourselves, and from judging accurately of what is fittest to strike the feelings of
There is one error, against which it is particularly proper to caution the learner; namely, that of multiplying emphatical words too much, and using the emphasis indiscriminately. It is only by a prudent reserve and distinct on in the use of them, that we can give them any weight. If they recur too often; if a reader attempts to render every thing he expresses, of high importance, by a multitude of strong emphasis, we soon learn to pay little regard to them. To crowd every sentence with emphatical words, is 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.
Tones are different both from emphasis and pauses; consisting in 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 voice; but tones, peculiarly so called, affect sentences, paragraphs, and sometimes 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 constant state of activity, emotion, or agitation, from the different effects which those ideas produce in the speaker.
The limits of this introduction do not admit of examples, to illus trate the variety of tones belonging to the different passions and emotions. We shall, however, select one, which is extracted from the beautiful lamentation of David over Saul and Jonathan, and which will, in some degree, elucidate 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 offer. ings; 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 had been slain, must be expressed in a note quite different from the two former; not so low as the first, nor so high as the second, but in a man. ly, firm, and yet plaintive tone.
Moderation in attention to the tone and language of emotions, is necessary as in other things. For when the reading becomes strictly imitative, it assumes a theatrical manner, and must be highly improper, as well as give offence to the hearers; because it is inconsistent with that delicacy and modesty which are indispensible on such occasions. The speaker who delivers his own emotions, must be supposed to be more vivid and animated than would be proper in the person who relates them at second hand.
We shall conclude this section with the following rule, for the tones that indicate the passions and emotions: "In reading, let all your tones of expression be borrowed from those of common speech, but, in some degree, more faintly characterized. Let those tones which signify any disagreeable passion of the mind, be still more faint than those which indicate agreeable emotions; and, on all occasions, preserve yourselves from being so far affected with the subject, as to be unable to proceed through it, with that easy and masterly manner, which has its good effects in this, as well as in every other
Pauses, or rests, in speaking or 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 continual action; to the hearer, that the ear, also, may be relieved from the fatigue 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 sense. An emphatical pause is generally 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 of not repeating them too frequently. For as they excite uncommon attention, and of course raise expectation, if the importance of the matter be 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 reader 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, the management of the breath requires a 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 a sentence is miserably mangled, and the force of the emphasis totally lost, by divisions being made in the wrong place. To avoid this, every one,
while he is 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 suspended only 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 must be generally formed upon the manner in which we utter ourselves in ordinary, sensible conversation; and not upon the stiff artificial manner, which is acquired 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 that ought to be made in reading. On this head, the following direction may be of use: Though in reading, great attention should be paid to the stops, yet a greater should be given to the sense; and their correspondent times occasionally lengthened beyond what is usual in common speech."
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. The following sentence exemplifies the suspending and the closing pauses: "Hope, the balm of life, soothes us under every misfortune."! "The first and second pauses are accompanied by an inflection of voice, that gives the hearer an expectation of something further to complete the sense: the inflection attending the third pause signifies that the sense is completed.
The preceding example is an illustration of the suspending pause, in its simple state: the following instance exhibits that pause with a degree of cadence in the voice: "If content cannot remove the disquietudes of mankind, it will at least alleviate them."
The rising and falling inflections must not be confounded with emphasis. Though they may often coincide, they are, in their nature, perfectly distinct. Emphasis sometimes controls those inflections.
The regular application of the rising and falling inflections, confers so much beauty on expression, and is so necessary to be studied by the young reader, that we shall insert a few more examples, to induce him to pay greater attention to the subject. In these instances, all the inflections are not marked. Such only are distinguished, as are most striking, and will best serve to show the reader their utility and importance.
"Manufactures, trade, and agriculture', certainly employ more than nineteen parts in twenty of the human species.
"He who resigns the world, has no temptation to envy', hatred`,
malice`, anger'; but is in constant possession of a serene mind; he who follows the pleasures of it, which are, in their very nature, disappointing, is in constant search of care`, solicitude', remorse', and confusion."
"To advise the ignorant`, relieve the needy`, comfort the afflicted', are duties that fall in our way almost every day of our lives."
"Those evil spirits, who, by long custom, have contracted habits of lust' and sensuality`; malice', and revenge`; an aversion to every thing that is good`, just`, and laudable, are naturally seasoned and prepared for pain and misery."
"I am persuaded that neither death', nor life`; nor angels', nor principalities', nor powers`; nor things present', nor things to come`; nor height', nor depth`; nor any other creature', shall be able to se parate us from the love of God.”
The reader who would wish to see a minute and ingenious investigation of the nature of these inflections, and the rules by which they are governed, may consult Walker's Elements of Elocution.
MANNER OF READING VERSE.
When we are reading verse, there is a peculiar difficulty in making the pauses justly. The difficulty arises from the melody of verse which dictates to the ear pauses or rests of its own: and to adjust and compound these properly with the pauses of the sense, so as neither to hurt the ear, nor offend the understanding, is so very nice a matter, that it is no wonder we so seldom meet with good readers of poetry. There are two kinds of pauses that belong to the melody of verse: one is the pause at the end of the line; and the other, the cxsural pause in or near the middle of it. With regard to the pause at the end of the line, which marks that strain or verse to be finished, rhyme renders this always sensible; and in some measure compels us to observe it in our pronunciation. In respect to blank verse, we ought also to read it so as to make every line sensible to the ear; for, what is the use of melody, or for what end has the poet composed in verse, if, in reading his lines, we suppress his numbers, by omitting the final pause; and degrade them, by our pronunciation, into mere prose?
The other kind of melodious pause, is that which falls somewhere about the middle of the verse, and divides it into two hemistichs; a pause not so great as that which belongs to the close of the line, but still sensible to an ordinary ear. This, which is called the cæsural pause, may fall, in English heroic verse, after the 4th, 5th, 6th, or 7th syllable in the line. Where the verse is so constructed, that this cæsural pause coincides with the slightest pause or division in the sense, the line can be read easily; as in the two first verses of Pope's Messiah:
"Ye nymphs of Solyma! begin the song;
"To heav'nly themes``, sublimer strains belong."
But if it should happen that words which have so strict and intimate a connection, as not to bear even a momentary separation, are divided from one another by this cæsural pause, we then feel a sort of strug
gle between the sense and the sound, which renders it difficult to read such lines harmoniously. The rule of proper pronunciation in such cases, is to regard only the pause which the sense forms; and to read the line accordingly. The neglect of the casural pause may make the line sound somewhat unharmoniously; but the effect would be much worse, if the sense were sacrificed to the sound. For instance, in the following lines of Milton:
"What in me is dark,
Illumine; what is low, raise and support."
The sense clearly dictates the pause after illumine, at the end of the third syllable, which, in reading, ought to be made accordingly; though, if the melody only were to be regarded, illumine should be connected with what follows, and the pause not made till the fourth or sixth syllable. So in the following line of Pope's Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot:
"I sit, with sad civility I read."
The ear plainly points out the cæsural pause as falling after sad, the fourth syllable. But it would be very bad reading to make any pause there, so as to separate sad and civility. The sense admits of no other pause than after the second syllable sit, which therefore must be the only pause made in reading this part of the sentence.
There is another mode of dividing some verses, by introducing what may be called demi-casuras, which require very slight pauses, and which the reader should manage with judgment, or he will be apt to fall into an affected sing-song mode of pronouncing verses of this kind. The following lines exemplify the demi-cæsura:
"Warms' in the sun", refreshes' in the breeze,
Acquire a compass and variety in the Height of your Voice.-The monotony so much complained of in public speakers, is chiefly owing to the neglect of this rule. They generally content themselves with one certain key which they employ on all occasions, and on every subject; or if they attempt variety it is only in proportion to the number of their hearers, and the extent of the places in which they speak; imagining, that speaking in a high key is the same thing as speaking loud; and not observing, that whether a speaker shall be heard or not, depends more upon the distinctness and force with which he utters his words, than upon the height, at which he pitches his voice.
But it is an essential qualification of a good speaker to be able to alter the height, as well as the strength and the tone of his voice, as occasion requires. Different species of speaking require different heights of voice. Nature instructs us to relate a story, to support an argument, to command a servant, to utter exclamations of