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Some sentences are so full and comprehensive, that almost every word is emphatical: as, "Ye hills and dales, ye "rivers, woods, and plains!" or as that pathetic expostulation in the prophecy of Ezekiel, ". Why will ye die!"
Emphasis, besides its other offices, is the great regulator of quantity. Though the quantity of our syllables is fixed, in words separately pronounced, yet it is mutable, when these words are arranged in sentences; the long being changed into short, the short into long, according to the importance of the word with regard to meaning. Emphasis also, in particular cases, alters the seat of the accent. This is demonstrable from the following examples: "He "shall increase, but I shall decrease." "There is a differ"ence between giving and forgiving.” "composition, plausibility is much more essential than "probability." In these examples, the emphasis requires the accent to be placed on syllables, to which it does not commonly belong.
"In this species of
In order to acquire the 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 sentiments which he is to pronounce. For to lay the emphasis with exact propriety, is a constant exercise of good sense and attention. It is far from being an inconsiderabic attainment. It is one of the most decisive trials of a true and just taste; and must arise from feeling delicately ourselves, and from judging accurately of what is fittest to strike the feelings of others,
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 distinction 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 emphases, 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 even 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. Now the end of such communication being, not merely to lay open the ideas, but also the different feelings which they excite in him who utters them, there must be other signs than words, to manifest those feelings; as words uttered in a monotonous manner, can represent only a similar state of mind, perfectly free from all activity and emotion. As the communication of these internal feelings, was of much more consequence in our social intercourse, than the mere conveyance of ideas, the Author of our being did not, as in that conveyance, leave the invention of the language of emotion to man; but impressed it himself upon our nature, in the same manner as he has done with regard to the rest of the animal world; all of which express their various feelings, by various tones. Ours, indeed, from the superior rank that we hold are in a high degree more comprehensive; as there is not an act of the mind, an exertion of the fancy, or an emotion of the heart, which has not its peculiar tone, or note of the voice, by which it is to be expressed; and which is suited exactly to the degree of internal feeling. It is chiefly in the proper use of these tones, that the life, spirit, beauty, and harmony of delivery consist.
The limits of this introduction, do not admit of examples, to illustrate the variety of tones belonging to the dif ferent 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 uncircum"cised triumph. Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no "dew nor rain upon you, nor fields of offerings: 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, in a manly, firm, and yet plaintive tone.
The correct and natural language of the emotions, is not so difficult to be attained, as most readers seem to imagine. If we enter into the spirit of the author's sentiments, as well as into the meaning of his words, we shall not fail to deliver the words in properly varied tones. For there are few people, who speak English without a provincial note, that have not an accurate use of tones, when they utter their sentiments in earnest discourse. And the reason that they have not the same use of them, in reading aloud the sentiments of others, may be traced to the very defective and erroneous method in which the art of reading is taught; whereby all the various, natural, expressive tones of speech are suppressed: and a few artificial, unmeaning reading notes are substituted for them.
But when we recommend to readers, an attention to the tone and language of emotions, we must be understood to do it with proper limitation. Moderation is necessary in this point, as it is in other things. For when 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 indispensable on such occasions. The speaker who delivers bis 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 characterised. 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 able to proceed through it, with that easy and masterly manner, which has its good effects in this, as well as in every other art."
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 continued action to the hearer, that the ear also, may be relieved from the fatigue, which 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. phatical 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 eccasion 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 generally be 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, which ought to be made in reading. A mechanical attention to these resting places, has perhaps been one cause of monotony, by leading the reader to a similar tone at every stop, and a uniform cadence at every period. The primary use of points, is, to assist the reader in discerning the grammatical construction; and it is only as a secondary object, that they regulate his pronunciation. 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