Abbildungen der Seite

as in that conveyance, leave the invention of the language of emotion, to man; but impressed it himself upon our nature, in the fame manner as he has done with regard to the reft of the animal world; all of which exprefs their various feelings, by various tones. Ours, indeed, from the fuperior rank that we hold, are in a high degree more comprehenfive; as there is not an act of the mind, an exertion of the fancy, or an emotion of the heart, which has not its peculiar tone, or note of the voice, by which it is to be exprefsed; and which is suited exactly to the degree of internal feeling. It is chiefly in the proper ufe of these tones, that the life, fpirit, beauty, and harmony of delivery confift.

The limits of this introduction, do not admit of examples, to illuftrate the variety of tones belonging to the different pafsions and emotions. We fhall, however, felect one, which is extracted from the beautiful lamentation of David over Saul and Jonathan, and which will, in fome degree, elucidate what has been faid on this fubject. "The beauty of Ifrael is flain upon thy high places: how "are the mighty fallen! Tell it not in Gath; publish it "not in the fireets of Afkelon: left the daughters of the "Philiftines rejoice; left the daughters of the uncircumcifed "triumph. Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew "nor rain upon you, nor fields of offerings; for there the "fhield of the mighty was vilely caft away; the shield of "Saul, as though he had not been anointed with oyl." The firft of these divisions exprefses forrow and lamentation; therefore the note is low. The next contains a spirited command, and fhould be pronounced much higher. The other fentence, in which he makes a pathetic addrefs to the mountains where his friends had been flain, must be ex

prefsed in a note quite different from the two former; not fo low as the first, nor fo high as the second, in a manly, firm, and yet plaintive tone.

The correct and natural language of the emotions, is not fo difficult to be attained, as most readers feem to imagine. If we enter into the spirit of the author's fentiments, 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 ufe of tones, when they utter their fentiments in earneft difcourfe, And the reason that they have not the fame use of them, in reading aloud the fentiments of others, may be traced to the very defective and erroneous method, in which the art of reading is taught; whereby all the various, natural, expressive tones of fpeech, are fupprefsed; and a few artificial, unmeaning reading notes, are fubftituted 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 reading becomes ftrictly imitative, it assumes a theatrical manner, and muft be highly improper, as well as give offence to the hearers; because it is inconfiftent with that delicacy and modefty, which are indifpenfable on fuch occafions. The speaker who delivers his own emotions, mult be fuppofed to be more vivid and animated, than would be proper in the perfon who relates them at fecond hand.

We fhall conclude this fection with the following rule, for the tones that indicate the pafsions and emotions. "In reading, let all your tones of exprefsion be borrowed "from thofe of common fpeech, but, in fome degree, more


*faintly characterised. Let thofe tones which fignify any difagreeable pafsion of the mind, be ftill more faint than "those which indicate agreeable emotions: and, on all oc"cafions, preferve yourfelves fo far from being affected "with the fubject, as to be able to proceed through it, "with that eafy and mafterly manner, which has its good "effects in this, as well as in every other art."



PAUSES or refts, in speaking or reading, are a total cefsation of the voice, during a perceptible, and, in many cafes, a measurable space of time. Paufes are equally necefsary to the speaker, and the hearer. To the speaker, that he may take breath, without which he cannot proceed far in delivery; and that he may, by these temporary rests, relieve the organs of fpeech, which otherwife would be foon tired by continued action: to the hearer, that the ear alfo may be relieved from the fatigue, which it would otherwife endure from a continuity of found; and that the understanding may have fufficient time to mark the distinction of fentences, and their feveral members.

There are two kinds of paufes; first, emphatical pauses ; and next, fuch as mark the diftinctions of fenfe. An emphatical paufe is generally made, after fomething has been faid of peculiar moment, and on which we defire to fix the hearer's attention. Sometimes, before fuch a thing is faid, we usher it in with a pause of this nature. Such paufes have the fame effect as a strong emphasis; and are fubject to the fame rules; especially to the caution, of not repeating them. too frequently. For as they excite uncommon attention,

and of courfe raife expectation, if the importance of the matter be not fully anfwerable to fuch expectation, they occafion difappointment and difguft.

But the moft frequent and the principal ufe of pauses, is, to mark the divifions of the fenfe, and at the fame time to allow the reader to draw his breath; and the proper and delicate adjufiment of fuch paufes, 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 from one another, which have fo intimate a connexion, that they ought to be pronounced with the fame breath, and without the leaft feparation. Many a fentence is miferably mangled, and the force of the emphasis totally loft, by divifions being made in the wrong place. To avoid this, every one, while he is reading, fhould be very careful to provide a full fupply of breath, for what he is to utter. It is a great mistake to imagine, that the breath muft be drawn only at the end of a period, when the voice is allowed to fall. It may eafily be gathered at the intervals of the period, when the voice is fufpended only for a moment; and, by this management, one may always have a fufficient flock for carrying on the longeft fentence, without improper interruptions.

Paufes in reading muft generally be formed upon the manner in which we utter ourfelves in ordinary, fenfible converfation; and not upon the ftiff artificial manner, which is acquired from reading books according to the common punctuation. It will by no means be fufficient to attend to the points ufed in printing; for thefe are far from marking. all the paufes, which ought to be made in reading. A mechanical attention to these refting places, has perhaps been

one cause of monotony, by leading the reader to a fimilar tone at every stop, and a uniform cadence at every period. The primary ufe of points, is to afsift the reader in difcerning the grammatical construction; and it is only as a fecondary object, that they regulate his pronunciation. On this head, the following direction may be of ufe: "Though in reading great attention should be paid to the ftops, yet a greater "fhould be given to the sense; and their correfpondent "times occafionally lengthened beyond what is ufual in "common fpeech."

[ocr errors]

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, by which the nature of thefe pauses is intimated; much more than by the length of them, which can feldom be exactly measured. Sometimes it is only a flight and simple suspension of voice that is proper; fometimes a degree of cadence in the voice is required; and fometimes that peculiar tone and cadence which denote the fentence to be finished. In all these cafes, we are to regulate ourselves by attending to the manner in which Nature teaches us to speak, when engaged in real and earnest difcourfe with others. The following fentence exemplifies the fufpending and the closing paufes: "Hope, the balm "of life, fooths us under every misfortune." The firft and fecond paufes are accompanied by an inflection of voice, that gives the bearer an expectation of fomething further to complete the fense: the inflection attending the third paufe, fignifies that the fenfe is completed.

The preceding example is an illuftration, of the fufpending paufe, in its fimple ftate: the following infiance exhibits that paufe with a degree of cadence in the voice: "If " content cannot remove the difquietudes of mankind', "it will at least alleviate them."

« ZurückWeiter »