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as well upon a low as a high note. It is opposed to soft
Every one will understand the difference in sound, produced by a light or heavy stroke upon a bell, or upon the same key of a piano.
It is desirable, in some kinds of reading, and more especially for public speaking, that the voice be so exercised as to be capable of loudness, if occasion demand. The danger is, that being exerted for too great a length of time, and overstrained on a high pitch, it may lose its flexibility and softness, qualities much more important. Vociferation is as injurious to the voice, as it is fatiguing and disagreeable to the ear of the auditor. Frequent exercise in reading aloud to others, in declamation, and in vocal music, is the best method of increasing the strength and volume of the voice. For this purpose, passages should be chosen abounding in the open vowels, and admitting a full expansion of the organs, and protraction of the sound at pleasure:
Oh for that warning voice, which he who saw
-Up he rode
• Open, ye everlasting gates,” they sung ;
Satan was heard commanding loud,
Manner of Reading Verse. I. English verse consists of a succession of accented and un
accented syllables, so arranged that the accent* usually falls at measured intervals. In Iambic versent which constitute. the largest portion of English poetry, every second, or al ternate syllable has the accent, thus :
The heav'nly hills were oft within ily view,
And oft the shepherd called thee to liis flock. For the sake of variety however, and of expression, a different arrangement of syllables is often admitted in this kind of verse ; and Trocheest and other poetic feet are intermixed with Iambics, as :
Fāvors to none, ið all she smiles extēnds;
Oft shě rējēcts, but never once ofiends. The first foot in each of these lines is a Trochee, the rest are all Iambics. So in the annexed.couplet, the first line commences with two short syllables, succeeded by two long
Whăt thě wēak lēad with strongest biãs rūles,
Is pride, the never-failing vice of fools. And in the following line :
From the third heāv’n where God resides. To read such lines as these in mechanical conforinity to the Iambic movement, hy placing the accent on the particle the, would be. a violation of taste, of euphony, and of the design of the poet.
In the following couplet, the effect of reading in this manner will be still more apparent :
* By accent is meant a certain stress or percussion of the voice on a particular syllable in a word, causing it to be heard above the rest: as re-lent, com-pel, ex-pect. In some words there is both a principal and a secondary accent; as im-por- tune, con-tra-vene.
† An Iambus is a poetic foot, consisting of two syllables; the first short, or unaccented, the second long, or accented, as retire, immēnse. The circumflex is here employed to simply indicate short quantity, and has no reference to inflection of voice.
# A Trochee is a foot having the first syllable long, and the second short : as Restless, Féarfül:
False eloquence, like the prismatic glass,
Its gaudy colors spreads on every place. In such cases the laws of pronunciation are paramount and must be obeyed.
There are two pauses peculiar to verse, the final and cảesural pauses.
II. At the end of each line of poetry, more especially of blank verse, there should be a suspension of voice, sufficient at least to mark the termination of the line. This is called the final pause; and, without it, the effect of the harmony is in a great measure lost to the ear.
The caesural pause belongs chiefly to English hervic verse, and divides the lines into two equal, or unequal members :
Thy forests, Windsor, || and thy green retreats,
shades. The caesural pause is found in other than heroic verse : The heav'nly spheres to thee, O God, || attune their evening
And colder still | the wind did blow,
Her limbs were chilled, 1 her strength was gone. III. Sometimes, by design of the poet, a pause falls out of its natural position in the line, thus arresting attention by surprise, and producing a fine effect :
Thus with the year
Rhetorical and other Pauses.
Besides the rests of punctuation, which, under the names of comma, colon, semicolon, &c., mark the divisions of a sentence, there is an additional pause, which a reader or speaker of taste sometimes makes, for the sake of effect.
The rhetorical pause is made either before, or aster something very striking or significant is uttered. The effect is, sorcibly to arrest the attention of the hearer to the emphatic word or clause :
I would uncover the breathless corpse of Hamilton, -1 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
they felt no conipunction. I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty .. or give me death!
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 cannot give then my confidence.-Pardon me, gentlemen.--confidence.. is a plant of slow growth.
A longer pause is proper at the close of a paragraph, than at an ordinary period.
The pauses marked in punctuation, are so far from being sufficient or accurate guides to the reader, that an obsequious' attention to them, is one great cause of the heavy, monotonous style of reading into which most persons fall, and which it is so difficult to correct. The learner is directed, at a comma, to rest long enough to count one; at a semicolon, two; and so on : and at a period he is taught always to make a cadence. It is superfluous to say, that such directions do harm, and that those who follow them cannot read naturally, or with effect.. A reader of taste, varies his pauses in length and inflection ; adding or omitting them, according to the spirit and character of what he reads.
Two or three general remarks are here subjoined, not exactly appropriate to any of the preceding heads.
In the enunciation of a sentence, especially if it consist of several members, variety is alike the demand of the ear and the law of correct taste. Opposed to this are several faults of elocution, which it is difficult to describe, or to represent, except by the living voice. One of these is the periodic stress, occurring nearly at measured intervals, and laid upon a word, without regard to its significancy or importance.. The remedy is, the reading of antithetic and other sentences, of which the just emphasis is so obvious and so peremptory, as to forbid all mechanical stress upon unemphatic words.
Another fault may be denominated the anticlimax of modulation. It consists in commencing a sentence with a full swell and elevated pitch of voice, and in the progress of it, regularly sinking and tapering down to an almost inaudible close. This, besides being disagreeable to the ear, essentially impairs the force of elocution, the just effect of which requires, with few exceptions, a sustained, and often an increasing, energy of intonation to the end. No part of a sentence requires to be more distinctly audible than the close ; and none is more difficult of felicitous execution. A uniform cadence, or a uniform inflection of the voice at this point, is monotonous and tiresome; and yet, from the frequent occurrence of the period, difficult to avoid. The more force there is given to the closing words, the easier it is to vary the intonation.
The best corrective of monotony of all sorts, is to possess ourselves of the spirit of what we read, and endeavor to make the thoughts and sentiments our own. The best model in reading or speaking, is the manner in which persons ex