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To be any thing like perfect, it must represent not only the words generally, but all their varied modulations, tones, and inflections, accent, and emphasis, and a great variety of rhetorical pauses which now are not designated at all. Some of these things, indeed, are not essential to a correct understanding of the meaning of printed language, however much they would exemplify its force and beauty; but I am of the opinion that it would be better if the inflections at least were inserted in all cases where their omission, as in the example of William's answer, renders the sense obscure. No valid objection could be made to so small, and, at the same time, so useful an innovation as this. More than this would, perhaps, be undesirable.
ANALYSIS. The pause of suspension, with the rising or the falling slide. A prolonged horizontal suspension of the voice. Rhetorical pauses, as distinguished from grammatical or sentential pauses. The rhetorical pause proper: when used, and its effect. Examples Patrick Henry's speech-the Earl of Chatham-Dr. Nott-Pope. Other cases of pause where none is allowed in the grammatical construction. The rhetorical pause used In cases of contrast. Example from Cicero from Dr. Blair. A contrast in sentiment requires contrast in voice. Prolonged utterance of words in certain cases. Proper management of the voice.
Crito. Since our last conversation, I have been examining the Second Rule in connection with the Eighth, and I find it stated that in certain cases the pause of suspension takes the rising inflection, and in others the falling. It has occurred to me that there might be a pause of suspension that takes neither the rising nor the falling slide, but I have found no notice of such. Is not such a pause frequently used in reading or speaking'? -a kind of prolonged horizontal suspension of the voice'?
Bernardo. There is, indeed, such a pause-a rhetorical pause proper it should be called; and a judicious use of it is, next to a correct use of the inflections, one of the greatest beauties in reading. The hyphen or dash (—) sometimes indicates it, but not always; and the dash, moreover, is used with both kinds of inflections.
Crito. Are not all the pauses-such as the comma, colon, semicolon, and the marks of interrogation and exclamation, rhetorical pauses'?
Bernardo. With the exception of the marks of interrogation and exclamation, I should say they are not, properly speaking, as their primary object is to mark the divisions of a sentence, and show its grammatical construction. I should call them grammatical or sentential pauses. Moreover, these pauses are so far from being sufficient or accurate guides to the reader, that an obsequious attention to them is one cause of the heavy, monotonous style of reading into which most persons fall, and which it is so difficult to correct. The marks of interrogation and exclamation, the parenthesis, and the hyphen or dash, however, are wholly rhetorical, as they denote no grammatical relation, and have no established length. The rhetorical pause proper, which is sometimes, but not always, denoted by the hyphen, is perhaps the only one of these that requires any special attention.
Crito. I would like to know more of the character of this rhetorical pause, and the principles on which it is based. Will you explain it, and give me some examples of its use'?
Bernardo. The rhetorical pause proper is used, first, where there is an abrupt suspension of the line of thought, for the purpose of giving place to some new suggestion; and, secondly, it is used either before or after something very striking or significant is uttered. In the latter case, the effect is, by holding the hearer momentarily in suspense, suddenly to arrest his at
tention, for the purpose of directing it with greater force to the emphatic word or clause.
Crito. I think, from your description, it is this pause which I have heard appropriately used in the concluding sentence of Patrick Henry's famous speech:
I know not what course others may take', but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death'!
Bernardo. This is correct. Here this pause is used three times, but with the greatest force before the closing emphatic word-"death." Another fine example of it is found in the Earl of Chatham's speech on the repeal of the Stamp Act. He is reported to have spoken as follows, alluding to the ministry who had been opposed to the repeal:
Some of them have done me the honor to ask my poor opinion before they would engage to repeal the act. They will do me the justice to own I did advise them to engage to do it; but, notwithstanding, for I love to be explicit, I can not give them my confidence. Pardon me, gentlemen, confidence is a plant of slow growth.
Here this rhetorical pause is used several times, in some instances in connection with the grammatical pauses; but the one which is the most marked of all is used where no other pause is designated. The concluding words, after this pause, are to be spoken slowly, and with marked emphasis. Crito. I recollect a passage in Rev. Dr. Nott's discourse on the death of Hamilton which requires a similar rhetorical pause in reading. I allude to the following:
I would uncover the breathless corpse of Hamilton, I would lift from his gaping wound his bloody mantle, I would hold it up to heaven before them, and I would ask-in the name of God I would ask-whether at the sight of IT they felt no compunction.
Here, evidently, great force is given to the concluding words by a protracted rhetorical pause after the emphatic pronoun it.
Bernardo. Let me give one example more, which is from Pope's Essay on Man:
Know then thyself: presume not God to scan':
As intimately connected with this subject, I would remark that good readers often give a slight rhetorical pause, or rest, in some other cases also, where no pause is designated, and where none is allowed in the grammatical construction. Especially does this occur where the speaker would fix attention on a single word that stands as immediate nominative to a verb, and also in antithetic or contrasted clauses. Thus, as an example of the first:
Some place the bliss in action, some in ease; Those call it pleasure, and contentment these. Every good reader will suspend the voice briefly, after each of these emphatic words, although no punctuation mark is found there.
Crito. You mentioned antithetic or contrasted clauses also. I observe that in some of the examples of "Comparison and Contrast," under the Sixth Rule, the same kind of pause is made, even where none is required in the grammatical construction. Thus I observe it after the words "Ho
mer, ""Virgil," "the one,' ""the other," etc.
Bernardo. I find a still better example in one of Cicero's orations, in which the orator is speaking of Pompey. In order to show the contrasted parts distinctly, it is desirable to make a longer pause between them than if there were no opposition in the sense.
He waged more wars than others had read'; conquered more provinces than others
parture from the Rule, that an indirect question requires the falling inflection. Are not the examples which I gave indirect questions'?
Bernardo. They are, assuredly; but they can scarcely be said to be complete questions any more than the other examples which puzzled you. Let me change the form a little, and complete the question in each case, and I think you will admit that each still takes the falling inflection at the close, even if you think it does not now.
How shall they call on him if they have not believed' what is said concerning him? and how shall they believe in him if they have not heard of him'? and how shall they hear without a preacher' be sent to them? and how shall they preach except they be sent' for that purpose'?
Crito. The words "believe," "heard," "preacher," and "sent," which ended the several questions in the first form of expression, you' have made emphatic'.'
Bernardo. They were also made emphatic before; and that is the principal reason why the divine, whom you heard read them, struck them on so high a key as to give them the appearance of taking the rising inflection. He supposed that the Apostle Paul, in these remarks, wished to give the greatest force and prominence to the ideas embraced in these particular words; and as these words were contained in the class of indirect questions, which naturally end with the falling inflection, it was only by striking them on a very high key that the object could be accomplished. Having in mind this view of the apostle's meaning, nature directed him how to express it. Another divine, not taking the same view of the passage, would read these questions, as I have usually heard them read, with the falling inflection very apparent. You will please remember that the Third Rule says, "Indirect questions generally require the falling inflection."
Crito. And, as you have explained the examples which I produced, I see that even they, the strongest cases which I could find, can scarcely be called exceptions to the Rule.
Bernardo. And, what is of still greater interest and importance, these examples are additional testimony in confirmation of the principle that, when different readings are given to a passage, and both are considered correct, they always arise from somewhat different views in the minds of the readers. Are there any other points which you would like to take up at this time'?
Crito. Since our last conversation I have found several cases in which the rising inflection is found at the close of a sentence not a question, and I find nothing by which to explain this apparent opposition to Rule Fourth. I will read the examples:
1. Then said Agrippa unto Festus', This man might have been set at liberty` if he had not appealed unto Cæsar.
2. Ingratitude is, therefore, a species of injustice', said Socrates. I should think so',
3. Whence arises the misery of this present world'? It is not owing to our cloudy atmosphere', our changing seasons', our inclement skies'. It is not owing to the debility of our bodies, or to the unequal distribution of the gifts of fortune'. It is owing to our corrupt hearts, our sinful natures'.
4. If we have no regard for religion in youth', we ought to have some regard for it in age'.
5. If we have no regard for our own character', we ought to have some regard for the character of others.'
Here the rising slide is given to the closing word, in accordance with the Note to Rule So, also, if Crito had said, "You have made emphatic'; but I did not'." Probably the true principle which controls the inflection here is that embraced in Rule IX. B
Bernardo. For a solution of these difficulties, I must refer you, in the first place, to what is said of the pause of suspension under Rule Second.
Crito. I confess that I am still in the dark, as I do not see wherein this rule applies to the examples which I have given.
Bernardo. Perhaps it would have been well if the following had been inserted as a Note explanatory of Rule Second: Sentences which are inverted in form, often bring the pause of suspension, and consequently the rising inflection, at the close, thus forming an apparent, but not real, exception to the rule. Now let us change some of these examples back to their more simple forms: 1. Then said Agrippa unto Festus, If this man had not appealed unto Cæsar' he might have been set at liberty'.
2. Ingratitude is therefore a species of injustice', said Socrates. should think so.
Leander answered', I
3. Whence arises the misery of this present world? It is not owing to our cloudy atmosphere', our changing seasons', our inclement skies'; but it is owing to our corrupt hearts', our sinful natures'.
Although the last two examples which you gave may also be changed so as to bring the falling inflection at the close, yet, without this, they may be explained as having much the character of sentences of gentle appeal, reproof, or expostulation, which take the rising inflection in accordance with Rule IX., and with what is said of both negative and affirmative sentences under the Note to Rule VI. I will give you one or two examples, quite similar to those mentioned by you, but in which the tone of "gentle entreaty or expostulation" is a little more apparent:
6. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs'. 7. But she said, Truth', Lord': yet the dogs' eat of the crumbs which fall from their master's table'.-Matt., xv., 26-27.
If you will examine closely you will find that several of the examples given, especially those numbered 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7, are examples in which negation is opposed to affirmation; and you must bear in mind that, although the speaker may not express the affirmative part of the sentence, yet, if he has it in his mind, he will give to the negative part the rising inflection, in accordance with Rule VI. Thus, if I speak the negative sentence, "I did not say he was a good citizen'," and give it the rising inflection, I thereby show that I have also an affirmative declaration in my mind.
Crito. I must confess that the difficulties which troubled me have been more easily removed than I anticipated. I am beginning to think there is more science and true philosophy in the art of reading than is usually conceded..
Bernardo. You will find this philosophy more and more apparent the farther you proceed. The inflections which we give to speech depend wholly upon the sentiments which we wish to express. Being designed as the exponents of thought, they are not arbitrary or optional, but have their basis in the nature of speech itself. Words are but arbitrary signs of thought; but inflections, especially where they are at all marked, are natural signs, and are therefore the same in all languages. But I have not time to dwell upon this subject here, although it is one that has been wonderfully overlooked by our best elocutionists. In our next conversation I trust we shall be able to enter upon an examination of principles that are somewhat in advance of the Elementary Rules that we have thus far been considering.
How we natu
ANALYSIS.-The "Elements of Elocution" treat chiefly of the pronunciation of words rather than of sentences. The various modulations of the voice that are required for whole sentences. Principles rather than rules are required to guide us. rally express a contrast. "Discretion and cunning," an example from Addison. Where the speaker puts a question, and then answers it himself. Example from Cicero. Questions that take a declarative form. Emphatic repetition of a word or thought. Examples The introduction of a simile or comparison in poetry. Addison's description of Maribor. ough. The principle that governs the reading of a simile. A simile from Milton. The reading of sublime, grand, and magnificent descriptions. Extract from Pope.
Crito. I have been reflecting that thus far, in our conversations, we have been considering chiefly the pronunciation of separate words and syllables, and that the twelve Rules which are given in the "Elements of Elocution" treat almost wholly of words, separately considered, rather than of sentences and entire discourses. Are there no principles of Elocution which apply especially to the different forms of expression', and different kinds of writing'?
Bernardo. There are, most assuredly; and your question very appropriately calls up the very subject to which I alluded at the close of our last conversation. Different modulations of the voice, separate from the inflections, accent, and emphasis that are given to single words, are required to express different sentiments, emotions, and passions. Thus, in reading, sometimes a high pitch of voice, and sometimes a low pitch is required for whole sentences; and, according to the sentiment and the circumstances of the occasion, the voice must have all varieties of tone or expression, and range through all degrees of high and low, loud and soft, forcible and feeble, quick, moderate, and slow, just as we hear it in natural and free conversation.
Crito. But so many rules are here required to be known that it would seem impossible to learn all the rules for correct reading that might be given.
Bernardo. It is not so much particular rules as correct general principles that we require to guide us. Moreover, we are already acquainted with these general principles, for we make use of them daily in our ordinary conversation; and what we especially need is to notice how we naturally ex-press our own sentiments, and then to apply the principle when we read the similar sentiments of others. Thus-for a simple illustration-in briefly describing two persons or objects by contrast or contraries (a figure of speech called antithesis), we naturally express the first clause of the contrast in a little higher tone of voice than we apply to the latter, with a prolonged pause between them, as in one of the examples under Rule VI. : "Homer was the greater genius'-Virgil the better artist'." You will also observe that "rhetorical pause of suspension" after the words Homer and Virgil, to which we have before alluded.
Crito. It occurs to me that a fine example for the exemplification of this principle is furnished by Addison, in a number of the Spectator, in the contrast which is drawn between Discretion' and Cunning'. It is very evident that throughout this extract the word cunning is to be pronounced on a lower pitch than discretion, and that it receives the falling inflection on its first syllable, while it has a very slight rising inflection at its close. It is an extract worthy of being remembered', also', for the moral which it conveys.