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always demand a pause, and that the time of the pauses at various points is not correctly stated in many books on reading. In some treatises, the pause at the period is described as being uniformly four times as long as that at a comma; whereas it is regulated entirely by the nature of the subject, the intimacy or remoteness of the connection between the sentences, and other causes.
MEASURE OF SPEECH.
The measure of speech was first explained by Mr Steele in his Prosodia Rationalis. Although the subject is interesting as connected with the physiology of speech, and useful as contributing to the harmony of pronunciation, and the ease and convenience of the speaker, it has not received that attention which its importance seems to demand.*
Measure, as applied to speech, consists of a heavy or accented portion of syllabic sound, and of a light or unaccented portion produced by one effort of the human voice. In forming the heavy or accented syllable, the organs make a stroke or beat, and, however instantaneous, are placed in a certain position, from which they must be removed before they can make another stroke. Thus, in the repetition of fast, fast, there must be two distinct pulsations, and a pause must occur betwixt the two, to enable the organs to recover their position. But the time of this pause may be filled up with a light syllable, or one under remission; thus, faster, faster, occupy the same time in the pronunciation as fast, fast. This remiss or light action of the voice may extend to two and three syllables, as is seen in circumstance, infinitely, &c. The stroke, or pulsative effort of the voice, then, can only be on one syllable; the remission of the voice can give several syllables after the pulsation. This pulsation and remission have been illustrated by the planting and raising of the foot in walking; hence the Thesis and Arsis of the Greeks: the first is the pulsative, the second, the remiss action. Now, apart from the pauses of passion and of connection, there must be frequent pauses arising from the nature of the organs of speech; these are denoted in the following examples by the figure and the pulsative and remiss syllables by ... and
It has been said that the pulsative effort can be made only on one syllable; if the syllable has extended quantity, it may be pronounced both with the pulsative effort, and die away in the remission; but if it is short in quantity, a pause must occur before the pronunciation of the next syllable. One syllable, then, may occupy what is called a measure, the voice being either prolonged, or the time being made up with a pause. This pause is denoted by the figure; a repetition of the same figure is used to denote the longer pauses which are determined by passion, or the intimacy and remoteness of the sense.
*Mr Chapman, in his Rhythmical Grammar, has treated the subject at great length; and Mr Barber, in his Grammar of Elocution, has confined his markings of extracts entirely to the elucidation of this subject.
In the alternation of heavy and light, the natural order is from heavy to light, as the impressions on the ear are formed from the impulses which are most strongly marked. A measure or cadence,* then, is a portion of sound beginning heavy, and ending light. Common measure or cadence is made up of a heavy and light syllable, triple measure of a heavy and two light syllables.
While the stormy | tempest | blows,
While the battle | rages | long and | loud.
The bar is the measurer of time. It may contain an imperfect
"Twas at the | royal | feast for | Persia | won.
Each bar is equal here in time; by this it is not meant that the word for occupies as much time as 'Twas at the, or royal; the time of the bar in which for is placed, is made up by a pause. Pauses, then, make up both for heavy and light syllables. Such measures are called imperfect.
The imperfect measure, did you, is supplied by the pause. The measure sire and fall may be termed perfect ones, as the quantity being extended, the voice may assume the heavy and light. In simple measure, a common measure may occur, as in the bar wild wood, the time being the same as in the triple bar.
Heroic or Iambic verse commonly begins with a light syllable; 3 pause precedes it to make up for the heavy.
Eternal blessings | crown my earliest | friend.
The division of the quantities of a cadence is properly called its The whole quantity of the time or duration of a cadence, whether common or triple, may be subdivided by metrical articu lation in sound or silence into any unequal fractional quantities of time, provided their sum altogether be neither more nor less than the integral quantity of the said cadence. Thus, in the lines, T
Where is my | cabin door | fast by the wild wood,
*Cadence, in the measure of speech, has no connection with the cadence in modulation.
the words within the bars occupy the same time, but the fractional parts do not separately correspond in time: thus, where is my occupies the same time as cab-in door; but the syllable where is longer than cab, and the time of the bar is made up on door, which is pronounced longer than my. Accent, then, or the heavy, should not be confounded with quantity.
There is much confusion among grammarians on this subject of accent and quantity, and their scanning of verse gives no assistance to the pronunciation. The measure of speech proceeding on the alternation of heavy and light, as explained above, is a sure guide to harmonious pronunciation.
Rhythmus consists of an arrangement of syllabic measures distinguishable by the ear, divided more or less by pauses, and of more or less obvious proportion in their periods and responses.
Verse is constituted of a regular succession of similar cadences or measures, or of a limited variety of cadences, by which sensible responses are presented to the ear at regular proportioned distances. Poetry is based on the regular succession of the two measures, common and triple, varied, however, by imperfect measures, which require pauses, and by the occasional introduction of a change of measure. The best cadences are those of two syllables; the next are those of three; and the next, those of one. All these may find a place in the same verse, and their employment gives a pleasing variety to the line, as in the following :
Arms and the man I sing who forced by |
Hail | holy light offspring of heaven | first born.
The following marked examples will illustrate the principles referred to in the above remarks, and conduce to make good timists in reading. The duration of the pauses is marked out by
sweet | Shak
Of things more than mortal
speare would dream, 7]
The fairies by moonlight dance round
his green bed,
The love-stricken | maiden, the soft-sigh
ing | swain,
Here I rove
without danger, here | sigh |
The sweet bud of beauty no blight shall here I dread,
For hallowed the turf is that pillowed his
In the above lines, there is the measure of one syllable, and of two and three syllables; but the time of each bar must be the same, whether in sound or silence.
Roll on thou | deep and dark | blue | ocean, |
Ten thousand | fleets | sweep I over | thee | Min |
Man | marks the earth with ruin, his con
* It is laid down as a rule, that a shut sound, such as e in ten, cannot be pronounced with prolonged quantity, and that a pause must be made after it; but emphasis prolongs the shut sounds. The prolongation on ten is necessary to express the idea of vastness.
His steps are not upon thy | paths; | thy |
spise | ។។|
Spurning him from thy bosom, to the skies, |
And I send'st him | shivering in thy | playful spray, |
to his gods, where | haply |
His petty | hope, in some near port | or | bay, 177
Then dashest him | a | gain to earth, 1991