Imágenes de páginas

meaning. Brutus, in making this assertion, did it under the impression that Cassius thought himself injured by some other person. Taking this, then, for the antithetic idea, and the one which Brutus wished to controvert, the emphasis is involuntarily thrown upon yourself, and this makes the sentence express its true meaning,—thus:

You wronged yourself to write in such a case. The following short sentence may be the appropriate answer to cither of five different questions; and consequently be made to express so many different ideas by the emphasis alone:

Thomas will walk to Geneva to-day. If the question be, ipho will walk to Geneva to'ny, it is determined by placing the emphasis in this sentence on Thoms. If it is doubtful whether any one go, it is decided by placing the emphasis on will. It he question be howo will he go, it is answered by placing the emphasis on valk; and, in the same manner, it will be seen that the emphasis, placed upon either of the remaining words of the sentence, makes it ihe appropriate answer to the question touching place, or time.

This example will further illustrate the subject, by so transposing it as to make it interrogative. The character of the answer will dejend wholly upon the emphasis.

Will Thomas walk to Geneva to-day ?

Ansuer-No; he will not.
Will Thomas walk to Geneva to-day ?

Ans. No; but John will.
Will Thomas walk to Geneva to-day?

Ans. No; he will ride.
Will Thomas walk to Genera to-day?

Ans. No. lle will go to Lyons.
Will Tiroinas walk to lienevä 10-day?

Ans. No; but he will to-morrow. Although the emphasis more commonly falls upon the more imporant words of a sentenre, the following example is one, in which it is required upon a succession of small words. Bussanio, in Shakspeare's Merchant of Venice, had received a ring from his wife, which he had promised never to part wii!ı, but which, forgetting his promise, be care to an officer as a reward for the preservation of his friend's lir. The example is his apology to his wife; but without the proper emphasis it Is hardly intelligibie :

"If you did know in whom ! nuve the ring,
If you did know for whom I gave the ring,
And would concrive for that I give the ring
And how untillingly I left the ring,
When nouzlit would be acceplrc bul the ring,

You would abate the strength of your displeasure." Thus far our remarks upon emphasis have lieen confined to whirl may be called single emphasis; that is, wherr the emphasis is absolute', and arises from the injortance of the worri in itself considered; or, where the two words in antithesis are expressed; or, where but one is expressed and the other understood--the most common case. These are also instances where two emphatic words are opposed to two others, and sometimes where three riords are opposcil to three others in the same sentence, We will give an example of each of these cases.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]


1st. " Where and what art thou, execrable shape ?"

* Arm! warriors, arm for fight?"
“ Wo into yoii, Pharisees!""

Angels, and ininisters of grate, defend us !" [In the above examples the emphasis is absolute, there being no antithiant expressed or necessurily implied.)

2d. “I that denied thee gold, will give my heart."

[In thie sentence the antithesis is expressed ; and we can hardly do other wise than place the emphasis upon both gold and hourl.)

31. “Exercise and temperance strengthen even an indiferent constitution.?

[In thus the antithetic idea is understood :--it is, that not a good constitution merely, is strengthened hy cxercise and temperance, but even un indifferent one.)

4th. “The pleasures nf the imagination are not so gross as those of sense, nor 80 refined as those of the understanding."

(Ilere are two untitheses ; gross and refined furming one, and sense and un. derstanding the other.)

5th “If his principles are false, no apology from himself can make thein righ:; if founder' in truth, nó cousure from others can make thein wrong."

(In this exainple, fulse stands opposed to truth, himself to others, and right lo iorong.)

• In order to acquire the proper management of the emphasis,” says Murray, “the great rule to be given is, that the reader study to attuin a just conception of the force and spirit of the sentiments which he is to pronounce. For to lay the emphasis with exact propriety, re quires a constant exercise of gooel sense and attention. "It is one of the most decisive trials of a true and just taste, and must arise from foeling delicately ourselves, and from judging accurately of what is fittest to strike the feelings of others.”

IV. Inflections. ISFLECTiONs are bendings or slides of the voice from one key to another. They may be divided into the rising inflection, the falling inflection, and the circumflex. In the use of the rising intlection, we strike the word to which it belongs, upon a noto, on the scale of musical soundx, a little below the general key upon which we are speaking, and terminate upon a note about as much higher, turning the word with our voice in this direction, ~). The falling inflection is the reverse of this, (\) striking the word upon a key a little above. and terminating a little below the general speaking key.-By the general key we niean that sound of the voice which preponderates, and which would be heard at a distance too great to distinguish one word from another. The circumflex is a bending of the voice downward, and returning with it in a curve, thus, (u) to the same key upon the same word.

Although the inflections are a distinct property of elocution, they are yet so intimately connected with emphasis, that in our remarks wo chall consider then mostly as but a quality of it. The rising inflection is indeed often uscu without any emphasis ; as at the suspending pause which occurs in compound sentences, to denote the sentence is unfinished ;—the falling is used at the close of sentences;-and both the rising and falling often acur where there should be but little or no emphasis, and contribute in no small degree to the beauty of deli

[ocr errors]

very. But we shall now consider only the more important—the significant inflections; those upon the correct use of which the meaning ani force of composition depend ;-leaving the learner, unincumberou by rules which perplex rather than instruct, to make a practical applica tion of them to the less important parts of composition as his judguien

may direct.

it of you.

Falling Inflection. The falling inflection is used where the language is bold and energetic; where a positive assertion is made; or where an indirect ques. lion is asked.

EXAMPLED. Who Arst sediiced them to that foul revolt 1 The internal sèrpent. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. But Jesus said, why tèmpt ye me, ye Hypocrites ! I insist upon this point; lůrge you to it; prèss it; require it; nay, demand Wliat, Tubero, did that naked sword of yours mcan, at the battle of Pharsa. lia? Ai whose brèast was it aimed ? What was the meaning of your arms, vour spìrit, your eyes, your hands, your ardor of sdul?

Rising Inflection. The rising infection accompanies the weaker emphasis, where the enunciation of thought is tender, conditional, or incomplete.

EXAMPLES. And he lifted up his eyes and saw his brother Benjamin, his inother's són and said, is this your younger brother of whom you spake unto me?

If some of the winches be broken off, and 'thion, being a wild olive tré. kert grafted in among thein, and with them partuke of the roul and fitness o the olive trée; boast not against the branches.

The beauty of a pláin, this greatness of a mountain, the ornamen:s of a building, the expression of a picture, the composition of a discourse, the con luct of a third person, the properties of differerit quantities and numbers,--all the go. neral subjects of science and taste, -are wliat we and our companions regari, as having no peculiar relation to either or us.

This inflection is also used with the direct question, or that which admits of yes or no for the answer; as,-Are you going to Genéva ?

Do you go to-dáy ?-But if the same question be repeated, as if at first not heard or widerstood, it takes in the repetition the more forcible emphasis of the falling inflection; asm? Are you going to Genéva ? Are you going to Genèva ?— Is this your book ?-__"Sir?”—Is this you book ?

When the disjunctive or connects words or plırases, it has the risini infloction before, and the falling after it.

EXAMPLES. Did he act courageously, or cowardly? Do you go to New York, or to Boston ? Would you be happy, or unhappy? Is it lawful on the Sabbath day ló do good, or to do evil 24-10 sáve lise, or to destroy it?

Has God forsaken the works of his own liánds 1or does hc always gracious. ly preserve, and keep, and guide thein ?

But when or is used conjunctively, it has the same inflection after as before it; as,

Would a belief of divine revelation contribute to make rulers less tyrannical or subjects less búvernable ?-He is a man of wisdomn; or, at least, of greu Icàrning.

When affirmation and negation are opposed to cach other, that which affirms has generally the falling, and that which denies the rin sing inflection.

I spoke of his integrity, not of his talent.
I ain going in Rochester, not to Búllalo.
lle was not esteenied for his wéalih, but for his wisduin.
I have not been reading Milion, but nõmer.

Think not that tinc indluence of devotion is confined to the rearedient of the clóset, and the asseinbly of the saints: lunagine not, that, unconected with the duties of life, it is suited only to those enraptured souls, whose feelings per. dopis you derit!e as romantic and visionary :-- It is the guardian of innocenceit is the instrument of virtue-it is a mean by which every good afl'ectiuni may be formed and improved.

The Circumflcr. The circumflex is used to express ideas ironically, hypothetically, or comparatively; or when something is rather insinuated than strongly expressed.

They tell ns to be moderate; but they, they are to revol in profusion.

If unen soe our faults they will talk among then:selves, tliough wc ref'ise bo let them talk to 118.

lle has invre àrt than science.
You were paid to fight against Alexander, not to răil at him.
It may leach us prudence, if we derire froin it no diler benefit.

Were we to ask a physician concerning a sick person, and receive in reply"He is better- :-weinight suppose him to be yet dangerously sick,—the circumfiex giving us an idea only of a slight, or comparative amendment:--but were he to say-He is better--our anxiety for his safity would be at once removed.

The following example will more clearly show the controlling infiuence which the inflection has upon the sense, without changing the seat of the emphasis :

In church I ain unable to suppress cvil thoughits. The idea, which this sentence is intended to convey, is, that the person making the assertion is sulject to evil thoughts, which, not only most places of resort but even the sacredness of a church does not enable him to suppress. Ilence it should be read with the strong emphasis and the falling inflection upon church; thus," In chùrch I am imable to suppress evil thoughts."-But if the circumflex be used vrith the emphasis, a different idea will be conveyed,—it will i:e, that the person, although in most places not suljeci io evil thoughts, is in church peculiarly afflicted by, and unable to suppress them; thus In church I am unable to suppress evil thoughts.- We will take another example. Horatiu in the Fair Penitent says:

"I will not turn aside from my loose pleasure, though all thỹ furce be armed to bar ng way.”

[ocr errors]

The circumflex upon thy implies that Horatio looked upon the posing force with contempt; and is equivalent to saying, “I might turn aside for a respectable opposition, but thy force is not worth rogarding.". But place the falling inflection upon thy, and it makes it a matter of greater moment:-while it compliments the opposing force, It declares a determination to resist it, great as it is.

In examining the principles of vocal inflection, the ingenious scholar will find both amusement and instruction. Without being understood, they are practised by all, intuitively, when the stronger emotions are excited; and if persons could strictly pursue the dictates of nature in these respects, they would never err.* But the force of habit is almost irresistible; and when this is formed on the side of error nothing but the strongly excited emotions can disengage its bonds. It will be in vain, therefore, to depend upon the dictation of these emotions; for they will be found unerring only in the expressions of original thought,--and then only under circumstances as above describedl. It becomes necessary, then, that the doctrine of inflections be studied, that they may be applied in unimpassioned discourse, and to the counposition of others-studied, not under the impression that the principles of nature are to be subverteil

, but discovered, and strictly followed. Porter, in speaking of the importance of a knowledge of the prin. ciples of inflection, says: Analysis of vocal inflections bears th: same relation to oratory, that the tuning of an instrument does for music. The rudest performer in this latter art knows, that his firzo business is to regulate the instrument he uses, when it is so derange as to produce no perfect notes, or to produce others than those which he intends. The voice is the speaker's instrument, which, by neglec. orumismanagement, is often so out of tune as not to obey the will of hiin who uses it. To cure bad habits is the first and hardest task in elocution. Among instructors of children, scarcely one in fifty thinks of carrying his precepts beyond correctness in uttering words, and a mechanical attention to pauses ; 80 that the child who speaks the words of a sentence distinctly and fluently, and “minds the stops," as it is called, is without scruple pronounced a good reader. Hence, among the multitude who consider themselves good readers, there are so few that give by their voice that just expression of sentiment, which constitutes the spirit and soul of delivery."

V. Monotone. Monoroxe is a sameness of sound upon a succession of syllables, like the repeated strokes upon a bell. It has the peculiar property of rendering composition either sublime or ridiculous, according as it may ne judiciously or injudiciously used. Nothing is more disgusting thai a dull repetition of sounds upon the same pitch of the voice, resulting from a dullness in the reader or speaker, and applied in common disourse. It is notwithstanding used with the most happy effect, in grave delivery, in the expression of sublime and reverential emotions, and in clevated description. The following examples will illustrate it as used with propriety:

• Il a inon should discover his own house on Ore, he would not, like a dis. lant and disinterested observer, cry, fire! fré! fire!--but we should haar hia more expreskive exclamation of fire! fore! firei

« AnteriorContinuar »