« 上一頁繼續 »
this. She is pronounced at considerable length, the rising inflexion with the minor third being adopted. "While the lovely babe unconscious lies" must be given in a tone distinctly shaded from she, and with such a modulation as to convey the reader's appreciation and admiration of that feeling which impels the mother to watch over its slumbers, and commune, as it were, with an unconscious babe. There is the reflex of the melancholy joy of the mother in the tones of the reader as he repeats, "And weaves a song of melancholy joy." A slight change of tone is necessary where the mother is introduced as speaking in her own person-a slight change, however, for the sympathy before expressed was so strong as to have nearly assimilated the tones of the narrator to those of the mother, who is immediately after introduced. Sleep, image of thy father, sleep, my boy!" The tone of tenderness in the word sleep may have a tinge of the mother's sadness by a circumflex of a half note, one of the nicest movements of the voice in speaking.
In the rules on Inflexion, it was noticed, that any thing in the form of an address was given in a light and quick voice, on the same tone as the word preceding; but this refers to such addresses as are common. In this line, "Image of thy father" is dwelt on with a tone of tenderness and force; and even the common address of "my boy," following the second "sleep," may be prolonged with a strong force, intimating the mother's pride that her child was a boy. This mode of pronouncing it, might be considered justified by the train of the mother's feelings, which have been jarred by the world; she rejoices to think that her child is a boy who will help her to brave the storms of the world. "No lingering hour of sorrow shall be thine', no sigh that rends thy father's' heart and mine'. Bright as his manly sire, the son shall be, in form and soul; but, ah'! more blessed than he." The line, "Bright as his manly sire," &c., is given in a stronger and more glowing style than the former, and the voice resumes a lower and sadder note at But, ah! more blessed than he." It may appear natural that the voice should appear more cheerful in the confident anticipation of the son being born to happier fortunes; but the fond anticipation is given in the tone of sadness with which she mentions her husband's unhappy fate. The introduction of the fond anticipation by ah! shows what the poet meant. "Thy fame, thy worth, thy filial love, at last shall soothe this aching heart for all the past," &c. The voice on these lines becomes louder and more triumphant.
SELECTIONS FOR READING.
An ingenious writer, whose definition of emphasis has been quoted in the former part of this work, has found fault with the common rule given for reading, that we should endeavour to suppose ourselves in the situation of the author, and speak as if we were equally interested in the subject. There is no doubt that the mere reader cannot always do so, because there is frequently no sympathy betwixt the author and the reader; his emphasis may be just, but he divests himself of those tones which convey a feeling of interest and intensity. The interest of the reader, indeed, must, even in cases where he approves of the sentiment of the author, be supposed to be less than that of the author; and, hence, reading is the most chastened and subdued form of delivery. But while the reader gives the mere reflex of the author's mind, there is little harm in permitting juvenile pupils to assume the character of the author. This has been termed mimickry; but it appears to me, that, while the character is assumed, if the tones are given in consonancy with that character, they conduce in the end to form easy and natural speakers. Reading may be reduced to three heads :1. Plain reading, when merely distinctness and emphasis are concerned; when the reader, from the nature of the subject and the circumstances in which he and the audience are placed, must show no sympathy in the subject-matter. 2. Ornamental reading, where the speaker sympathises with the author, or, in his delivery, expresses his admiration of what he speaks; and, 3d, Impassioned reading, where the speaker enters fully into the character of the author, and speaks as if the sentiments were his own. There are thus three degrees of animation in reading. The first mentioned is seldom used, except in recapitulation, abstract reasoning, and matters of business; for it is impossible that a reader can deliver even the most common composition without some tone of approval or of sympathy; and though the sentiment may not, at times, be in accordance with his own feelings, he will be naturally led, from a wish to do justice to the composition, to mingle a tone of intensity with the delivery. With regard to the tone of approval or sym
pathy in the delivery of the reader, it may be necessary to state, that subjects of a pleasing interest may be given with more markedness of feeling than those of a mournful kind, and that the reader should never be so far carried away by his sympathy as to lose the command of his voice and features.
In the poetical extracts which follow, there are many pieces containing splendid description and glowing sentiment, and the sympathy of the reader in these must be pretty strongly expressed. They are put first in order, that the reader may be accustomed, at the earliest part of his course, to enter into the feeling of what he reads. So important is it to break through the frigid monotone or unmeaning chant previously acquired, that even a caricature expression is hailed with delight by the teacher, as he then sees that he has some foundation on which to rear a superstructure. He is not, of course, to encourage a caricature or theatrical mode of expression, but to correct and chasten it down into propriety. This remark, however, refers to the latter period of a student's course; at the commencement of the course, the voice must be stretched and exercised as shown in the foregoing rules and remarks, that it may acquire strength and pliability.
The poetical pieces are also placed first, as "the regularity of cadences of verse, and the adjustment of the metrical quantities of syllables and pauses within the cadences, conduce to give a smoothness and melodious expression which cannot be acquired by prose alone."*
MISCELLANEOUS POETICAL PIECES.
INTRODUCTION TO THE LORD OF THE ISLES.-Sir W. Scott.
Autumn departs-but still his mantle's fold Rests on the groves of noble Somerville, Beneath a shroud of russet, dropped with gold, Tweed and his tributaries mingle still; Hoarser the wind, and deeper sounds the rill, Yet lingering notes of sylvan music swell, The deep-toned cushat, and the readbreast shrill; And yet some tints of summer splendour tell When the broad sun sinks down on Ettrick's western fell. Autumn departs-from Gala's field no more
Come rural sounds our kindred banks to cheer; Blent with the stream and gale that waft it o'er, No more the distant reaper's mirth we hear.
* Chapman's Rhythmical Grammar.
The last blithe shout hath died upon our ear,
Save where, sad laggard of the autumnal train,
Some age-struck wanderer gleans few ears of scattered grain.
To mark the last bright tints the mountain stain,
And moralise on mortal joy and pain?
O! if such scenes thou lovest, scorn not the minstrel strain
That gleam through mist in Autumn's evening sky
Through fields time-wasted, on sad inquest bound, Where happier bards of yore have richer harvests found. So shalt thou list, and haply not unmoved, To a wild tale of Albyn's warrior day; In distant lands, by the rough West reproved, Still live some reliques of the ancient lay. For, when on Coolin's hills the lights decay, With such the Seer of Skye the eve beguiles; "Tis known amid the pathless wastes of Reay, In Harris known, and in Iona's piles, Where rest from mortal coil the mighty of the Isles.
ADDRESS TO MONT BLANC.-Coleridge.
Hast thou a charm to stay the morning star
Rave ceaselessly; but thou, most awful form!
O dread and silent mount! I gazed upon thee,
Didst vanish from my thought: entranced in prayer
Yet, like some sweet beguiling melody,
So sweet, we know not we are listening to it,
Thou first and chief, sole sovran of the vale!
And you, ye five wild torrents fiercely glad!