« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
is intimated; much more than by the length of them, which can seldom be exactly measured. Sometimes it is only a slight and simple suspension of voice that is proper; sometimes a degree of cadence in the voice is required; and sometimes that peculiar tone and cadence which denote the sentence to be finished. In all these cases, we are to regulate ourselves by attending to the manner in which Nature teaches us to speak, when engaged in real and earnest discourse with others. The following sentence exemplifies the suspending and the closing pauses: ' Hope, the balm of life, sooths us under every misfortune." The first and second pauses are accompanied by an inflection of voice that gives the hearer an expectation of something further to complete the sense; the inflection attending the third pause, signifies that the sense is completed.
The preceding example is an illustration of the suspending pause, in its simple state; the following instance exhibits that pause with a degree of cadence in the voice: "If content cannot remove the disquietudes of mankind, it will at least alleviate them."
The suspending pause is often, in the same sentence, attended with both the rising and the falling inflection of voice; as will be seen in this example: "Moderate exercise, and habitual temperancé, strengthen the constitution."*
As the suspending pause may be thus attended with both the rising and the falling inflection, it is the same with regard to the closing pause; it admits of both. The falling inflection generally accompanies it; but it is not unfrequently connected with the rising inflection. Interrogative sentences, for instance, are often terminated in this manner: as, "Am I ungrateful' ?” “Is he in earnest ́?”
But where a sentence is begun by an interrogative pronoun or adverb, it is commonly terminated by the falling inflection: as, "What has he gained by his folly`?" "Who will assist him?" "Where is the messenger' ?" "When did he arrive`?"
When two questions are united in one sentence, and connected by the conjunction or, the first takes the rising,
*The rifing inflection is denoted by the acute; the falling, by the
the second the falling inflection: as, "Does his conduct support discipliné; or destroy it' ?"
The rising and falling inflections must not be confounded with emphasis. Though they may often coincide, they are, in their nature, perfectly distinct. Emphasis sometimes controls those inflections.
The regular application of the rising and falling inflections, confers so much beauty on expression, and is so necessary to be studied by the young reader, that we shall insert a few more examples to induce him to pay greater attention to the subject. In these instances, all the inflections are not marked. Such only are distinguished as are most striking, and will best serve to show the reader their utility and importance.
"Manufactures', trade', and agriculture', certainly employ more than nineteen parts in twenty, of the uman species."
"He who resigns the world, has no temptation to envy', hatred', malice', anger'; but is in constant possession of a serene mind: he who follows the pleasures of it, which are in their very nature disappointing, is in constant search of care', solicitude', remorse', and confusion."
"To advise the ignorant, relieve the needy', comfort the afflicted', are duties that fall in our way almost every day of our lives."
"Those evil spirits, who, by long custom, have contracted in the body habits of lust, and sensuality'; malicé, and revenge; an aversion to every thing that is good, just`, and laudable', are naturally seasoned and prepared for pain and misery.”
"I am persuaded, that neither death', nor life'; nor angels', nor principalities', nor powers'; nor things present', nor things to come'; nor height', nor depth'; nor any other creature'; shall be able to separate us from the love of God'."
The reader who would wish to see a minute and ingenious investigation of the nature of these inflections, and the rules by which they are governed, may consult Walker's Elements of Elocution.
Manner of reading verse.
WHEN we are reading verse, there is a peculiar difficulty in making the pauses justly. The difficulty arises from the melody of verse, which dictates to the ear pauses or rests of its own; and to adjust and compound these properly with the pauses of the sense, so as neither to hurt the ear, nor offend the understanding, is so very nice a matter, that it is no wonder we so seldom meet with good readers of poetry. There are two kinds of pauses that belong to the melody of verse; one is, the pause at the end of the line; and the other, the casural pause, in or near the middle of it With regard to the pauses at the end of the line, which marks that strain or verse to be finished, rhyme renders this always sensible; and in some measure compels us to observe it in our pronunciation. In respect to blank verse, we ought also to read it, so as to make every line sensible to the ear; for, what is the use of melody, or for what end has the poet composed in verse, if, in reading his lines, we suppress his numbers, by omitting the final pause; and degrade them, by our pronunciation, into mere prose? At the same time that we attend to this pause, every appearance of sing-song and tone must be carefully guarded against. The close of the line where it makes no pause in the meaning, ought not to be marked by such a tone as is used in finishing a sentence; but, without either fall or elevation of the voice, it should be denoted only by so slight a suspension of sound, as may distinguish the passage from one line to another, without injuring the meaning.
The other kind of melodious pause, is that which falls some where about the middle of the verse, and divides it into two hemistichs; a pause, not so great as that which belongs to the close of the line, but still sensible to an ordinary ear. This, which is called the cæsural pause, may fall, in English heroic verse, after the 4th, 5th, 6th, or 7th syllable in the line. Where the verse is so constructed, that this cæsural pause coincides with the slightest pause or division in the sense, the line can be read easily; as in the two first verses of Pope's Messiah :
Ye nymphs of Solyma!" begin the fong;
But if it should happen that words which have so strict and intimate a connexion, as not to bear even a momentary separation, are divided from one another by this cæsural pause, we then feel a sort of struggle between the sense and the sound, which renders it difficult to read such lines harmoniously. The rule of proper pronunciation in such cases, is, to regard only the pause which the sense forms; and to read the line accordingly. The neglect of the cæsural pause may make the line sound somewhat unharmoniously; but the effect would be much worse, if the sense were sacrificed to the sound. For instance, in the following line of Milton, "What in me is dark,
Illumine; what is low, raise and support."
the sense clearly dictates the pause after illum:ne, at the end of the third syllable, which, in reading, ought to be made accordingly; though, if the melody only were to be regarded, illumine should be connected with what follows, and the pause not made till the fourth or sixth syllable. So in the following line of Pope's Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot,
"I fit, with fad civility I read :"
the ear plainly points out the cæsural pause as falling after sad, the fourth syllable. But it would be very bad reading to make any pause there, so as to separate sad and civility. The sense admits of no other pause than after the second syllable sit, which therefore must be the only pause made in reading this part of the sentence.
There is another mode of dividing some verses, by introducing what may be called demi-cæsuras, which require very slight pauses; and which the reader should manage with judgment, or he will be apt to fall into an affected sing-song mode of pronouncing verses of this kind. The following lines exemplify the demi-cæsura.
"Warms in the fun", refreshes in the breeze,
Before the conclusion of this introduction, the Compiler takes the liberty to recommend to teachers, to exercise
their pupils in discovering and explaining the enphatic words, and the proper tones and pauses, of every portion assigned them to read, previously to their being called out to the performance. These preparatory lessons, in which they should be regularly examined, will improve their judgment and taste; prevent the practice of reading without attention to the subject; and establish a habit of readily discovering the meaning, force, and beauty, of every sentence they peruse.