Page images

Who say the people that I àm? They answering said, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others say that one of the old prophets is risen again. Where is boasting then? It is excluded.-Who first seduced them to that foul revolt? The infernal sèrpent.

The want of distinction in elementary books, between that sort of question which turns the voice upward, and that which turns it downward, must have been felt by every teacher even of children.

RULE VIII. The language of authority, of surprise, and of distress, is commonly uttered with the falling inflection.

1. The imperative mood, as used to express the commands of a superior, denotes that energy of thought which usually requires the falling slide; as,

Uzziel! half these draw off and coast the south,

With strictest watch; these other, wheel the nòrth.—
-Ithuriel and Zephon! with winged speed

Search through this gàrden; leave unsearch'd no nòok.
Up, comrades! ùp!-in Rokeby's halls

Ne'er be it said our courage falls.

2. Denunciation and reprehension, on the same principle, commonly require the falling inflection; as,

Wo unto you, Pharisees! Wò unto you, làwyers! But God said unto him, thou fool!-this night thy sòul shall be required of thee. But Jesus said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? Paul said to Elymas, O full of all subtlety, and all mischief! Thou child of the Devil, -thou enemy of all righteousness!

Hènce!-home, you idle creatures, get you home.

You blocks, you stònes! You worse than senseless things! This would be tame indeed, should we place the unemphatic, rising slide on these terms of reproach, thus:

You blocks, you stónes, you wórse than senseless things!

3. Exclamation, when it does not express tender emotion, nor ask a question, inclines to adopt the falling slide. Terror expresses itself in this way; as,

Àngels and ministers of grace,-defend us.

Exclamation, denoting surprise, or reverence, or distress,—or a

combination of these different emotions, generally adopts the falling slide. For this reason I suppose that Mary, weeping at the sepulchre, when she perceived that the person whom she had mistaken for the gardener, was the risen Saviour himself, exclaimed with the tone of reverence and surprise,-Rabbòni! And the same inflection probably was used by the leprous men when they cried Jesus, Màster! have mercy on us; instead of the colloquial tone Jésus, Máster, which is com monly used in reading the passage, and which expresses nothing of the distress and earnestness which prompted this cry. These examples are distinguished from the vocative case, when it merely calls to attention, or denotes affection.

RULE IX. Emphatic succession of particulars requires the falling slide. The reason is, that a distinctive utterance is necessary to fix the attention on each particular; as,

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity ènvieth not; charity vaùnteth not itself; is not puffed up; doth not behave itself unsèemly: seeketh not her own; is not easily provoked; thinketh no èvil.Thrice was I beaten with ròds; once was I stòned; thrice I suffered shipwreck; a night and a day have I been in the deep.

In each of these examples, all the pauses except the last but one, (for the sake of harmony,) require the downward slide.

Note 1. When the principle of emphatic series interferes with that of the suspending slide, one or the other prevails, according to the degree of emphasis; as,

Though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all know`ledge; and though I have all faìth, so that I could remove mountains, and have not chárity, I am nothing.

The pains of getting, the fear of losing, and the inability of enjoying his wealth, have made the miser a mark of satire, in all ages.*

Note 2. Emphatic succession of particulars grows intensive as it goes on; that is, on each succeeding emphatic word, the slide has more stress, and a higher note, than on the preceding; thus,

I tell you, though



[blocks in formation]

should declare the truth of it, I could not believe it.

* All rules of inflection as to a series of single words, when unem phatic, are in my opinion, worse than useless. No rule of harmonic inflection, that is independent of sentiment, can. be established with

The rising slide, on the contrary, as it occurs in an emphatic series of direct questions, rises higher on each particular, as it proceeds.

RULE X. Emphatic repetition requires the falling slide. Whatever inflection is given to a word, in the first instance, when that word is repeated with stress, it demands the falling slide. Thus in Julius Cæsar, Cassius says;

You wrong me every way, you wròng me, Brutus.

The word wrong is slightly emphatic, with the falling slide, in the first clause; but in the second, it requires a double or triple force of voice, with the same slide on a higher note, to express the meaning strongly. But the principle of this rule is more apparent still, when the repeated word changes its inflection. Thus I ask one at a distance, Are you going to Boston? If he tells me that he did not hear my question, I repeat it with the other slide, Are you going to Bòston? *

RULE XI. The final pause requires the falling slide.

That dropping of the voice which denotes the sense to be finished, is so commonly expected by the ear, that the worst readers make a cadence of some sort, at the close of a sentence. In respect to this, some general faults may be guarded against, though it is not possible to tell in absolute terms what a good cadence is, because, in different circumstances, it is modified by different principles of elocution. The most common fault in the cadence of bad speakers, consists in dropping the voice too uniformly to the

out too much risk of an artificial habit, unless it be this one, that the voice should rise at the last pause before the cadence; and even this may be superseded by emphasis.

* In colloquial language, the point I am illustrating is quite familiar to every ear. The teacher calls a pupil by name in the rising inflection, and not being heard, repeats the call in the falling. The answer to such a call, if it is a mere response, is "Str;"-if it expresses doubt, it is "Sir." A question that is not understood is repeated with a louder voice and a change of slide: "Is this your book? Is this your book? Little children with their first elements of speech, make this distinction perfectly.

same note. The next consists in dropping it too much The next, in dropping it too far from the end of the sentence, or beginning the cadence too soon; and another still consists in that feeble and indistinct manner of closing sentences, which is common to men unskilled in managing the voice.

We should take care also to mark the difference between that downward turn of the voice which occurs at the falling slide in the middle of a sentence, and that which occurs at the close." The latter is made on a lower note, and if emphasis is absent, with less spirit than the former; As, "This heavenly benefactor claims, not the homage of our lips, but of our hearts; and who can doubt that he is entitled to the homage of our hearts." Here the word hearts has the same slide in the middle of the sentence as at the close. Though it has a much lower note in the latter case than in the former.

It must be observed too that the final pause does not always require a cadence. When the strong emphasis with the falling slide comes near the end of a sentence, it turns the voice upward at the close; as, "If we have no regard to our own character, we ought to have some regard to the character of others." "You were paid to fight against Alexander, not to rail at him." This is a departure from a general rule of elocution; but it is only one case among many, in which emphasis asserts its supremacy over any other principle, that interferes with its claims. Indeed, any one, who has given but little attention to this point, would be surprised to observe accurately, how often sentences are closed, in conversation, without any proper cadence; the voice being carried to a high note, on the last word, sometimes with the falling, and sometimes with the rising slide.


RULE XII. The circumflex occurs chiefly where the language is either hypothetical or ironical.

The most common use of it is to express, indefinitely or conditionally, some idea that is contrasted with another idea, expressed or understood, to which the falling slide belongs; thus;-Hume said he would go twenty miles, to hear Whitefield preach. The contrast suggested by the circumflex here is; though he would take no pains to hear a common preacher.

You ask a physician concerning your friend who is dangerously sick, and receive this reply.-He is better. The circumflex denotes only a partial, doubtful amendment, and implies But he is still dangerously sick. The same turn of voice occurs in the following example, on the word importunity.

"Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth."

This circumflex, when indistinct, coincides nearly with the rising slide; when distinct, it denotes qualified affirmation instead of that which is positive as marked by the falling slide.



ACCENT is a stress laid on particular syllables, to promote harmony and distinctness of articulation. The syllable on which accent shall be placed, is determined by custom; and that without any regard to the meaning of words, except in these few cases.

Where the same word in form, has a different sense, according to the seat of the accent; as, des'ert, (a wilderness) desert', (merit).-Or the accent may distinguish between the same word used as a noun or an adjective; as compact, (an agreement) compact', (close). Or it may distinguish the noun from the verb, thus:


to abstract'


to export'

The seat of accent may be transposed by emphasis; as, He must increase, but I must decrease.

This corruptible must put on incorruption.

What fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?

The accented syllable of a word is always uttered with a LOUDER note than the rest. When the syllable has the rising inflection, the slide continues upward till the word is finished; so that when several syllables of a word follow the accent, they rise to a higher note than that which is accented; and when the accented syllable is the last in a word, it is also the highest. But when the accented syllable has the falling slide, it is always struck with a higher note than any other syllable in that word.

Thus ;-rising slide.

Did he dare to propose such interrog


« PreviousContinue »