صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

ware the mighty fallen! Tell it not in Gath; publish it not in the a.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 rain upon you, nor fields of "offerings; for there the shield of the mighty was vilely cast "away; the shield of Saul, as though he had not been anointed with " oil." The first of these divisions, expresses sorrow and lamentation; therefore the note is low. The next contains a spirited command, and should be pronounced much higher. The other sentence, in which he makes a pathetic address to the mountains where his friends had been slain, must be expressed in a note quite different from the two former; not so low as the first, nor so high as the second, but in a manly, firm, and yet plaintive tone.

The correct and natural language of the emotions is not so difficult to be attained 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 dcfective 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, unmeaning reading notes, are substituted for them.

But when we recommend to readers, an attention to the tone and language of emotions, we must be understood to do it with proper limitation. Moderation is necessary in this point, as it is in other things. For when the reading becomes strictly, imitative, it assumes a theatrical manner, and must be highly improper, 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 tones that indicate the passions and emotions : “ In reading, let all

your tones of expression be borrowed from those of common * speech, but, in some degree, more faintly characterized. Let " those tones which signify any disagreeable passion of the mind, "be still more faint than those which indicate agreeable emotions; " and, on all occasions, preserve yourselves from being so far affect “ed with the subject, as to be unable to proceed through it, with " that easy and masterly manner, which has its good effects in this, “as well as in every other art."

SECTION VII.,

Pauses. PAUSES, or rests, in speaking or reading, are a total cessation 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 be 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 action; to the hearer, that the ear, also, may be relieved from the fatigue which it would otherwise endure from a continuity of sound, and that the understand. ing 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 emphatical pause is generally made after something has been said of peculiar moment, and on which we desire to fix the hearer's attention. Some. times, 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 uncomma attention, and of course raise expectation, if the importance of the matter be not fully answerable to such expectation, they o casion disappointment 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 delicate 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 froin one another, which have so intimate a connexion, that they cught 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.com To avoid this, every one, while he is reading, should be very careful to provide a full supply of breath for what he is to utter. It is a great mistake to imaginé, that the breath must be drawn ouly 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 management, 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 manner m which we utter ourselves in ordinary, sensible conversation; and not upon the stiff artificial manner, which is acquired from reading books according to the common punctuation. It will by no means be sufficient to attend to the points used in printing ; for these are far from marking all the pauses which ought to be made in reading. A mechanical attention to these resting places, has perhaps been one cause of monotony, by leading the reader to a siinilar tone at every stop, and a uniform cadence at every period. 'T!e primary use of points, is to assist the reader in discerning the grammatical construction; and it is only as a secondary object. that they regulate his pronunciation. On this head, the following direction may be of use: “Though in reading, great attention should be paid to the stops, yet a greater should be given to the sense; and their correspondent times occasionally lengthened bem yond what is usual in common speech.

To render pauses pleasing and expressive, they must not only be made in the right place, but also accompanied with a proper tone of voice, hy which the nature of these pauses is intamaica,

B

are

[ocr errors]

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 sus. pending and the closing pauses: "Hope, the balm of life, sooths us under every misfortune." The first and second pa accoinpanied 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 temperance', 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 ir carnest'?"

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 second the falling inflection: as, “Does his conduct support discipline', 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 human species.”

* He who resigns the world, has no temptation to envy', hatred, * The rising inflection is denoted by the acute; the falling, by the

Srave accent.

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 afflict ed', 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, malice', and revenge'; an aver sion 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 Elocutjon.

SECTION VIII.

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 110 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 cæsural pause in or near the middle of it. With regard to the pause 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 somewhere about the middle of the verse, and divides it into two hem stichs; a pause, nct 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 hrst verses of Pope's Messiah:

Ye nymphs of Solyma'! begin the song;

"To heav'nly themes", sublimer strains belong." But if it should happen that words which have so strict and inti. mate a connexion, as not to bear even a momentary separation, are divided from one another by this cæsura! pause, we then feel a sort of struggle between the sense and the sound, which renders it dif. ficult to read such lines harmoniously. The rule of proper promunciation in such cases, is to regard only the pause which the sense forms; and to lead the line accordingly. The neglect of the cæsural pause inay 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 lines of Milton :

---- What in me is dark,

" Illumine; what is low, raise and support.” The sense clearly dictates the pause after illumine, at the end of the Sd 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 fourtlı of sixth syllable. So in the following line of Pope's Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot:

" I sit, with sad civility I read.” The ear plainly points out the cæsural pause as falling after sad, the fth syllable. But it would be very bad leading to make any pause here, 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-casuras, which require very slight pauses; and which the reader should manage with judginent, of he will be apt to fall into an affected sing-song mode of pronouncing verses of this kind. The following lines exemplify the demiCæsura':

“ Warins' in the sun", refreshes' in the breaze,
• Glows' in the stars", and blossoms' in the trees ;
* Lives' through all life''; extends' through all extent,

• Spreads' undivided", operates' unspent." Before the conclusion of this introduction, the Compiler takes the libcrty to recommend to teachers, to exercise their pupils in discovering and explaining the emphatic words, and the proper tones and pauses, of cvery 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 discover ing the meaning, force, and beauty of what they peruse.

« السابقةمتابعة »