Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

understanding, and a happy application, of the rules for inflecting, emphasizing, and so forth, in the mind of him who thoroughly investigates the subject, there can remain no doubt; but, should a reader or a speaker rely too much on the formal application of principles and rules, and suppose that, without entering deeply into the nature of the sentiments, passions, and emotions which he attempts to express, these principles alone, are sufficient to inspire him with eloquence, or even elegance, in delivery, there is great danger of his being actually trammelled by them, and of their producing, instead of a happy, an exceedingly ill, effect. Emphasis and emphatick inflections are governed mainly by sentiment, and associated more or less with passion or emotion. The language of passion is energetick and bold, and requires the reader or speaker to enter with feeling into the sentiments which he utters. Therefore, in the application of the rules for inflection and emphasis, this important idea should constantly be borne in mind.

[ocr errors]

CHAPTER V.

OF TIME, AND RHETORICAL PAUSES.

TIME.

The varieties of movement in utterance, are expressed by the terms long and short, rapid, precipitate, quick, slow, and moderate.

General Remarks. A distinct articulation is promoted by a moderate movement in pronunciation. In general, therefore, this movement is the best. A due degree of slowness in delivery, by the longer and more frequent pauses which it allows the reader or the speaker to make, affords great assistance to his voice, enables him to swell his sounds with greater force and melody, and gives weight and dignity to his subject. A rapid pronunciation, on the contrary, is apt to confound all articulation, and obscure the meaning

It may not be improper, however, to caution the reader against the opposite extreme of pronouncing too slowly. A lifeless, drawling manner, which aìlows the minds of the hearers to outspeed the reader or speaker, will inevitably render' his performance insipid and fatiguing. Hence, he who would seek to please, to persuade, to instruct, must carefully avoid both extremes, and adopt that variety of movement which the nature of the sentiment delivered, seems to require. The effect of an ordinary discourse may be greatly increased, by pronouncing phrases and short passages that will bear it, much more rapidly than others.

EXAMPLES.

Slow- A needless Alexandrine ends the song',

That, like a wounded snake', drags its slow length along'.
First march the heavy mules securely slow',
O'er hills', o'er dales', o'er crags', o'er rocks they go'.
Remote', unfriended', melancholy', slow',
Or by the lazy Scheldt', or wandering Po',

Or onward', where the rude', Corinthian boor',
Against
the houseless stranger

shuts the door,
Or where Campania's plain forsaken lies',
A weary waste expanding to the skies';
Where'er I roam', whatever realms to see',
My beart', untravelled', fondly turns to thee':
Still to my brother turns', with ceaseless pain',

And drags at each remove a lengthening chain'!
Quick-Not so when swift Camilla scours the plain',

Flies o'er th' unbending corn', and skims along the main'.
There was a sound of revelry by night,
And Belgium's capital had gathered then
Her beauty and her chivalry', and bright
The lamps shone o'er fair women and brave men':
A thousand hearts beat happily'; and when'
Musick arose with its voluptuous swell',
Soft eyes looked love to eyes which spoke again';

And all went merry as a marriage bell':
Slow—But hush'! hark'! a deep sound strikes like a rising knell'.
Moderate-Aurora now', fair daughter of the dawn',

Sprinkled with rosy light the dewy lawn',
When Jove convened the senate of the skies',
Where high Olympus' cloudy tops arise'.
The sire of gods his awful silence broke',
The heavens attentive', trembled as he spoke':
Celestial states', immortal gods'! give ear';

Hear our de-cree', and rev-erence what you hear. As nature delights to indulge herself in variety in all her works, she has bountifully bestowed this privilege upon man; and in nothing is it more conspicuously displayed than in the science of elocution. Here, this "spice of life" grows on every twig. Here, he is permitted to render even variety itself more various. Here, by an appropriate modulation of his voice, by a happy adaptation of its tones and its various degrees of force, stress, and movement, to the nature of his subject, he rises in his art to the highest point of excellence.

The foregoing remarks on time, are, perhaps, of too general a character to please the scientifick reader; but it is apprehended, that, with most persons, a minute and critical development of this subject, would be passed by with indifference. Hence, the former may be of some service, where the latter would prove unavailing. Although the movements of the voice in reading and speaking, are susceptible of being as exactly measured as in singing, and may be strictly regulated by rule, yet the adoption in practice of any set of rules that might be laid down for this purpose, would necessarily lead to a stiff and formal exactitude in delivery, far less endurable than the most reckless indifference in regard to time and measure. To readers in general, therefore, an exercise of good taste and judgment, in regard to the varieties of movement proper to be adopted on different occasions, is far more important than all the assistance they can possibly derive from rules. It requires nothing more than common observation to perceive, that the proper degrees of quickness and slowness, no less than of loudness and softness, highness and lowness, and so forth, are to be regulated by the quality of the style, and the nature and turn of the sentiments

. Who does not possess acumen enough to know, that

gay and animated thoughts, sparkling and lively description, and easy, flowing narration, require a more accelerated movement than aathoritative, dignified, sublime, grave, or pathetick sentiments ?

QUANTITY.

The term QUANTITY, as applied to a letter or a syllable, is used to denote the time that is occupied in pronouncing it. It is commonly considered either as long or short.

A vowel or a syllable is long, when the accent is on the vowel; which causes it to be slowly joined in pronunciation with the letter which follows it; as, Fall, bāle, mood, höūse, feature.

A syllable is short, when the accent is on the consonant; which causes the vowel sound quickly to unite with that of the succeeding letter; as, Bonnět, ănt, hủngěr, pity, ảntick.

It is generally estimated that a long syllable requires double the time of a short one in pronouncing it: thus, Māte and note, should be pronounced as slowly again as måt and not.

The term Quantity, is also sometimes employed to denote, not only the time, but likewise the amount of volume or fulness of sound, in which syllables, words, and even sentences, are uttered. But this extended sense of the term includes many particulars which are treated under the heads of force, modulation, and so forth.

Dr. Rush applies the terms long and short to the time employed in the utterance of syllables, relatively considered in respect to each other; and the terms quick and slow, he refers to the utterance of any succession of words considered in the aggregate, such as phrases, sentences, or larger portions of a dis

The common distinction of syllables into long and short, is neither definite, nor fully illustrative of their character for the

course.

quantities or times of syllables exhibit various and undistin. guishable shades of difference, from the shortest, which end with the abrupt elements, such as pit, ap, to those that allow the greatest prolongation in oratorical expression, namely, those ending with a tonick or a subtonick element; such as pay, go, note, de-gree, com-pile.

Dignified and deliberate discourse, awe, reverence, doubt, and grief, require slow time: gayety, cheerfulness, anger, and eager argument, and, generally, parenthetical clauses, demand a quick time or utterance.

There is not a greater fault, nor one more prevalent, among readers and speakers, than a neglect to protract the sounds of the tonick elements. In the enunciation of dignified and deliberate discourse, especially, the importance of giving the long concrete to such elements as admit and require it, cannot be too strictly regarded by him who wishes to attain that commanding power over language which is calculated to please, to impress, and to excite the admiration of his hearers.

Hence, it may not be improper again to present this subject in the form of a

RULE. The protracting or lengthening of all such tonick and subtonick elements as will admit of it, adds greatly to distinctness of articulation, and expression in delivery.

EXAMPLES.
Lochiel, Lochiel, beware of the day
When the Lowlands shall mēēt thēē in battle array.
Along the banks where Bābel's current flows,
Our captive bands in dēēp despondence strāyed,
While Zion's fall in sad remembrance rose,
Her friends, her children, mingled with the dead.
Oh, Heaven ! he cried, my blēēding country, sāve !
Is there no hand on high to shield the brāve ?
Hõpe, for a sēason, bade the world farewell,
And frēēdom shrieked as Kosciusko fell!
O, săilor boy, săilor boy! never again

Shall home, love, or kindred, thy wishes repãy;,
Unblessed and unhonoured, down dēēp in the măin,

Full many a score fathom, thy sráme shall decây.
Cassius is a-wēary of the world :-
Háted by one he loves ; brāved by his brother ;
Checked like a bondman; all his fāūlts observed,
Set in a note book, learned and conned by rõte,

« AnteriorContinuar »