Imatges de pÓgina

RULE X.-Expressions of strong emotion, such as the language of exclamation (not designed as a question), authority, surprise, distress, denunciation, lamentation, earnest entreaty, command, reproach, terror, anger, hatred, envy, revenge, etc., and strong affirmation, require the falling inflection.

EXAMPLES.-What a piece of work is man'! How noble in reason'! how infinite in faculties! in action', how like an angel'! in apprehension', how like a God!

My lords, I am amazed'; yes, my lords, I am amazed at his Grace's speech.

Woe unto you Pharisees'! Woe unto you Scribes'!

You blocks', you stones', you worse than senseless things'!

Go to the ant', thou sluggard'; consider her ways, and be wise'.

Jesus saith unto her, Mary'. She turned herself, and said unto him, Rabboni.

I tell you, though you', though all the world', though an angel from heaven' should declare the truth of it, I could not believe it.

I dare accusation. I defy the honorable gentleman.

I'd rather be a dog', and bay the moon', than such a Roman'.

CAB. O ye gods'! ye gods'! must I endure all this'?

BRU. All this? ay', and more`.

NOTE.-When exclamatory sentences become questions they require the rising inflection.

EXAMPLES.-What are you saying!-Where are you going'!

They planted by your care'! No! your oppressions planted them in America'.


RULE XI.-Hypothetical expressions, sarcasm, and irony, and sentences implying a comparison or contrast that is not fully expressed, often require a union of the two inflections on the same syllable.

EXPLANATION.-In addition to the rising and falling inflections, there is what is called the circumflex or wave, which is a union of the two on the same syllable. It is a significant twisting or waving of the voice, generally first downward and then upward, but sometimes the reverse, and is attended with a sensible protraction of sound on the syllable thus inflected. It is marked thus: (~~) as, "I may possibly go to-morrow, though I can not go to-day." "I did it myself, sir." Surprising'! You did it!"

EXAMPLES. If the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

I grant you I was down, and out of breath; and so was he.

And but for these vile guns, he would himself' have been a soldier'.

QUEEN. Hamlet', you have your father much offended.

HAMLET. Madam', you have my father much offended.

SHYLOOK. If it will feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge.

Hath a dog money'? Is it possible a cur can lend two thousand ducats'?

They tell us to be moderate; but they, they are to revel in profusion.

You pretend to reason'? You don't so much as know the first elements of reasoning. NOTE.-A nice distinction in sense sometimes depends upon the right use of the inflections.

EXAMPLES. "I did not give a sixpence'."

"I did not give a sixpence."

The circumflex on sixpence implies that I gave more or less than that sum; but the falling inflection on the same word implies that I gave nothing at all.

"Hume said he would go twenty miles to hear Whitefield preach," (here the circumflex implies the contrast), "but he would take no pains to hear an ordinary' preacher."

"A man who is in the daily use of ardent spirits, if he does not become a drúnkard', is in danger of losing his health and character."

The rising inflection on the closing syllable of drunkard would pervert the meaning wholly, and assert that, in order to preserve health and character, one must become a drunkard.

"The dog would have died if they had not cut off his head."

The falling inflection on died would make the cutting off his head necessary to saving his life.

A physician says of a patient, "He is better'." This implies a positive amendment. But if he says, "6 'He is better'," it denotes only a partial and perhaps doubtful amendment, and implies, "But he is still dangerously sick."


RULE XII.-The monotone, which is a succession of words on the same key or pitch, and is not properly an inflection, is often employed in passages of solemn denunciation, sublime description, or expressing deep reverence and awe. It is marked with the short horizontal dash over the accented vowel. It must not be mistaken for the long sound of the vowels, as given in the Pronouncing Key.

EXAMPLES. And one cried unto another, and said, Hōly, hōly, hōly is the Lord of hōsts. The whole earth is full of his glōry.

Blessing, honor, glōry, and pōwer be unto him that sitteth on the throne, and to the Lamb forever and ever.

In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth on men, fear came upon me, and trembling which made all my bones to shake. Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up. It stood still, but I could not discern the form thereof: an image was before my eyes, there was silence, and I heard a voice, saying, Shall mōrtal mån be mōre just than Gōd? Shall a man be more pūre than his Maker?


Emphasis is a forcible stress of voice upon some word or words in a sentence on account of their significancy and importance. Sometimes it merely gives prolonged loudness to a word, but generally the various inflections are connected with it. Thus it not only gives additional force to language, but the sense often depends upon it.

EXAMPLES.-I did not say he struck me; I said he struck John'.

I did not say he struck me; I said he pushed me.

I did not say he struck me; I said John did.

I did not say he struck me; but I wrote it.

I did not say he struck me; but John said he did.

He that can not bear a jest, should never make one.

It is not so easy to hide one's faults as to mend them.
CASSIUS. I may do that I shall be sorry for.

BRUTUS. You have done that you should be sorry for.

(The varied effects of emphatic stress and emphatic inflection are so fully shown in the Reading Lessons of all the Readers as to need no further illustration.)





ANALYSIS-Modifications of general rules, owing to the great variety of emotions, passions, and feelings, which language is designed to express. Direct questions whose answers take the rising inflection. Examples. No one can be a correct reader without a correct appreciation of what he reads. When good readers will read the same passage differently. Questions that contain an appeal. The inflections in spoken language. Why printed language is a very imperfect representation of spoken language. Importance of the inflections in obscure passages.

Bernardo. Well', Crito', 1 believe we agreed to devote the evenings of this week to an examination of some of the higher principles of Elocution. At what point shall we begin'?

Crito. As I have met with some difficulties in what are called the "Elements of Elocution," perhaps it would be well to take up these first. Bernardo. By all means. Let us know what these difficulties are, that

we may remove them, if possible.

Crito. In the first place, I would ask, as introductory, why there should be so many modifications, by way of notes and exceptions, of the Rules laid down in the "Elements ?"

Bernardo. The answer is very easy. It is owing to the great variety of emotions, passions, and feelings, which written language is designed to express. Plain and simple language, which has but little variety, requires but few rules. Thus, in the case of plain direct questions, without emotion, if the answers are plain and simple also, they will in all cases take the falling inflection. Look at the examples given under the Notes to Rule I. Do you not see that all of them are, more or less, the language of passion or emotion'?

Crito. I had not thought of it before; but I see it is so. I suppose', then', the reason for every departure from Rule I., in the case of direct questions, is to be found in the nature of the passion or feeling which is designed to be expressed.

Bernardo. Exactly so'. Depend upon it, if the answer to a direct and simple question does not take the falling inflection', it is because something more than a plain and direct answer is contained in the reply.

Crito. I was puzzled, a few days ago, to find a rule for the inflection which I heard given, in a political debate, to several answers to direct questions. The following are the examples:

Mr. A. Did not you vote for Harrison'?

Mr. B. To be sure I did'; but has that any thing to do with the question'?

Mr. A. Certainly it has. Does it not show that you belong to the Republican party'? Mr. B. Not at all, sir". I belonged to the Whig party then', and I advocate the same principles now. Can you say as much-that you have not changed both party and principles too'?

Mr. A. Most assuredly I can'.

Here the answers take the rising inflection; and I suppose the principle, or rule, is to be found in the first Note under Rule I.

Bernardo. You are correct. The answers are given with a feeling, and in a tone of self-assurance, that may be considered as approaching to

[ocr errors]

"slight disrespect." Yet this style becomes monotonous and tiresome if carried too far; and I think it would have been better if Mr. A. had dropped the taunt in his last reply, and answered in a tone of dignified candor, which would have required the falling inflection at the close. You will find a good example of the rising inflection required in the answer to both kinds of questions in the following dialogue, from Shakspeare, between the villain Iago and Othello. Observe Othello's answer with the rising inflection, "He did';" also the effect of the assumed indifference, or pretended careless absent-mindedness of Iago, in giving to several of his answers the rising in


Iago. My noble lord'—

Othello. What dost thou say', Iago'?

Iago. Did Michael Cassio, when you woo'd my lady, know of your love'?

Oth. He did', from first to last: why dost thou ask?

Iago. But for a satisfaction of my thought":2

No further harm'.

Oth. Why of thy thought', Iago'?

Tago. I did not think he had been acquainted with

Oth. Oh yes, and went between us very oft.

Iago. Indeed'?

Oth. Indeed! ay, indeed'13 Discern'st thou aught in that'?

Is he not honest'?

lago. Honest', my lord' ?

Oth. Ay, honest.

lago. My lord, for aught I know'.

Oth. What dost thou think`?

Iago. Think', my lord' ?

Oth. Think, my lord? By heaven he echoes me

As if there were some monster in his thoughts

Too hideous to be shown.

Crito. How much the beauty of such a piece depends upon the manner of reading' it! One can almost look into the very heart of Othello, and see the first awakening of a suspicious nature, as, startled by Iago's "Indeed' ?" he repeats the word after him in a manner that indicates how easily his jealousy may be fully aroused.

Bernardo. Yes; and this passage from Shakspeare not only furnishes a fine illustration of the principle referred to in Note I., under Rule First, but is a fine reading exercise also, on account of other nice points contained in it. Both the cunning treachery of Iago, and the gradually awakened suspicion in the breast of the honest Othello of a something wrong, must be fully appreciated by one who would read the passage well. Unpremeditated language seldom fails to give a truthful expression of the feelings; but when we read this language of another, we must fully enter into his feelings if we would as truthfully express all that he intended. You see', therefore, Crito', that in order to read Shakspeare well', one must fully enter into, and thoroughly understand, the characters represented.

Crito. This gives me some new ideas of the art of reading; for it appears, from what you say, that if we would correctly express the thoughts and feelings of another', we must first know precisely what those thoughts and feelings are'; and that no one can read well', unless he reads understandingly. Truly, this view of the subject, while it shows the difficulties in the way of good reading, elevates reading to the dignity of one of the Fine Arts. But', let me ask', can not one imitate good reading', so as to read correctly, even without a correct understanding of what he reads? Bernardo. To some extent one may; as one may learn, parrot-like, to 1 For the rising inflection to "say," see Note to Rule III. • Note 1 to Rule L.

3 Surprise: Rule X.

utter words without meaning. But such a person could never be sure of reading a new piece, or even a single sentence, correctly. The chief reason why so many are poor readers is, either they do not fully understand what they read, or they do not fully enter into its spirit while reading. You may lay this down as a principle: that no one can be a correct reader without a correct appreciation of what he reads.

Crito. Then I should suppose that if two persons have precisely the same understanding of a passage, both ought to read it in the same manner.

Bernardo. Certainly they ought, in all important particulars; and, if they read it differently-one, for example, with the marked rising inflection where the other uses the falling, it must be either because both do not attach precisely the same meaning to it, or because one of them reads it erroneously.

Crito. And yet I have in my mind an example of a direct question which I have heard asked with the falling inflection at the close, and which, it appears to me, might as well have taken the rising slide. It is this. One morning William was told by his father that he must do a certain piece of work in the garden. At noon he was again reminded that the work must be done, when William asked, "Must the work be done to-day'?" giving to the question the falling inflection, whereas he might have given it the rising. But if the same question may be asked with one inflection as well as with the other, I do not see that the rule is of any use.

Bernardo. One very important use of it, and of the notes under it, is to lead you to notice what it is that causes the falling inflection to be given to the question in this particular case, in violation of the general rule. Did William merely ask the question for information'? or did he connect with it something like a fretful appeal to his father that the work might be deferred'?1

Crito. The latter, I suppose. Do you mean to say, then, that it is because William's question had in it "the nature of an appeal," that it takes the falling inflection, in opposition to the general rule'?

Bernardo. That is precisely what I mean. Nature has adopted the falling inflection in this case to show that the question contains this appeal. The rising inflection would not have shown it. You can try it, and you will at once see the difference.

Crito. But if I find this same question in a book, how do I know, from the mere words (as they are the same in one case as in the other), whether William spoke it pleasantly', or fretfully' ?4

Bernardo. We do not always know, unless the mark of inflection is given as a guide. In spoken language, the inflections in such cases are always correctly used, even by children; and they are always correctly understood by the hearer.

Crito. Then why should they not be used in written or printed language'? Would not the language thereby more plainly express the meaning intended'?

Bernardo. Without doubt it would; and if Shakspeare, throughout all his plays, had marked the inflections as he wished the passages spoken, he would have made all his characters so well understood that the critics would have been saved a great amount of controversy. Our printed language is, at the best, a very imperfect representation of spoken language.

See Rule V., also Rule III., for the downward slide here, as the question does not admit a categorical answer, yes or no.

« AnteriorContinua »