Imágenes de páginas

« If you

of practice, there are certainly proper boundaries, within which this emphasis must be restrained, in order to make it meet the approbation of sound judgement and correct taste. It will doubtless have different degrees of exertion, according to the greater or less degree of importance of the words upon which it operates ; and there may be very properly some variety in the use of it; but its application is not arbitrary, depending on the caprice of readers.

An emphasis often falls on words in different parts of the same sentence, so it is frequently required to be continued, with a little variation, on two, and sometimes more words together. The following sentences exemplify both the parts of this position : seek to make one rich, study not to increase his stores, but to diminish his desires.' « The Mexican figures, or picture-writing, represent things, not words : they exhibit images to the eye, not ideas to the understand. ing."

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 reg. ulator 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 words with regard to meaning. Emphasis also, in particular cases, al. ters the seat of accent. This is demonstrable from the following examples : “He shall increase, but I shall decrease." There is a difference between giving and forgiving." "In this species of composition, plausibility is much more essential than probability." In these examples, the emphasie requires the accent to be placed on syllables to which it does not common. ly belong,

'In order to acquire the proper management of the einphasis, the great rule to be given is, that the read

er 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 ioconsiderable 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 multi. plying emphatical words too much, and using the ein. pliasis indiscriminately. It is only by a prudent regerve 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 inultitude of strong emphasis, we soon learn to pay little regard to them. To crowd every sentence with emphatical words, is like crowd. ing 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. 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. Einphasis affects particular words and prirases, with a degree os 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 on. ly observe, that the mind, in communicating its ideas, is in a constant state of activity, emotion or agitation, froin the different effects which those ideas produce in the speaker. Now the end of such comin unication being, not merely to lay open the ideas, but alBo the different feelings which they excite in him who utters them, there wust be oiher 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 vur 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, froin the superior ratik 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 chieily in the proper use of these fones, that the lite, 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 different passions and emotions. We shall, howev. er, 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 slaiu 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 uncircumcised triumph. Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew nor raill upon you, nor ields of offerings : for there the shield of the mighty was vilely cast away; the shield of Saul, as though he bad not been aneinted with oil.” The first of thiese divisions expresses sorrow and lamentation ; there. fore the note is low. The acxt contains a spirited command, and should be pronounced much higher. The other sentence, in which he makes a pathetic ad. dress to the nountains where his friends had been lain, must be expressed in a note quite different from


the two former ; pot so low as the first, nor so high as the second, in a manly, firm, and yet plaintise tone.

The correct and natural language of the tions, is not so difficult to be obtained 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, unmearing reading notes, are substituted for them.

But when we recommend to readers an atten. tion to the tone and language of emotions, we must be understood to do it with proper limitation. Modera. tion 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 iw proper, 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 his 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 tunes that.indicate the passions and emotions. “In reading, let all your tones of espression be borrowed from those of common speech, but, in some degree, more faintly characterized. Let those tones which signify any disagreeable passion of the mir:d, be still more faint than those which indicate agreeable egzotions; 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 tas its good effects in this as well as in every other art."

B 2



PAUses or rests, in speaking or reading, are a tolal cessa. tion 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 ac. tion ; 10 the hearer, that the ear also, may be relieved from the fatigue which it would otherwise endure from a continu. ity 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.

An em phatical pause is generally made after sometbing 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 atterition, and of course raise expectation, if the importance of the matter be not fully answerable to such expectation, they occasion disappoint. ment 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 deli. cate 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 connection, 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, avery one, while he is reading, should be very careful to pro. vide a full supply of breath, for what he is ro 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 manage. ment, 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 man. er in which we utter ourselves in ordinary, sensible conversa

« AnteriorContinuar »