Abbildungen der Seite

were paraphrased, it would run thus : 'Twas base and poor, unworthy of a man, though not unworthy of a brute. And thus we find, that in this emphasis, what is affirmed of the emphatick object, is not denied of the antithetick object, agreeably to the de. finition laid down.

In the examples which have been hitherto produc. ed, the emphasis has always clearly suggested the antithesis ; and a paraphrase, formed by producing both the emphatick and antithetick object, has readily presented itself: but there are many instances, where, though the antithetick object is equally real, it is not so easily made out. In order to facilitate this operation, it will be necessary to observe, that the human feelings have recourse to the most minute distinctions imaginable, for the sake of expressing those feelings with precision and force.

Thus when Lothario, in the Fair Penitent, says to Lucilla,

I see thou hast learn'd to ráil. Fair Pen. Acti

The emphasis with the rising inflection on the word rail, does not suggest any precise antithetick object in opposition to it, but an indefinite something more excellent than railing, as if he had said, I see thou hast learn'd to rail, if thou hast not acquired any art more excellent than railing : but whether she has any such acquirement, he leaves her to judge.

In the same manner,when Jane Shore is protesting her fidelity to Edward's issue, Gloucester answers,

'Tis wellwe'll try' the temper of your heart.

Jane Shore, Activi

The emphasis with the falling inflection on the word try suggests an antithesis, which makes it necessary to have recourse to the former speech : in this we find Jane Shore gives proof of her fidelity by protestations; but Gloucester replies, 'Tis well, we'll try the temper of your heart ; which is perfectly equivalent to saying, We will not only prove your fidelity by talking, but by trial ; and as this amplifies and illustrates the sense of the passage, we may be sure the emphasis is properly placed.

An instance of an antithesis, perhaps, still less obvious, we have in the following line of Richard the

Third, where Prince Edward apologizes for his brother's sarcastick ridicule on the Duke of Gloucester:

I hope your grace knows how to béar with him. Act it.

The bear, in this sentence, is the emphatical word, and always pronounced with the rising inflection ; but though we perceive, at first hearing, the proprie. ty of adopting this inflection, we cannot so readily. discover the antithetick object intimated by it; it is not till we consider the definition of the neuter verb to bear, that we find out what is opposed to it ; the word bear, in the passage alluded to, indicates supporting a degree of displeasure, so as to seem pleased when we are not really so ; the antithetick object, therefore, must be, being really pleased, and the paraphrase intimated by this emphasis will be this: I hope your grace knows how to bear, or to seem pleas. ed with him, though not to be really pleased with him.

Sometimes the sense of a passage makes it difficult to determine whether we must use the emphasis with the rising or falling inflection ; and in this case, (though it seldom happens) we may adopt either the one or the other indifferently. Thus when Horatio, in the Fair Penitent, tells Calista that he came to her as a friend, she answers,

You are my husband's friend, the friend of Altamont! The words husband and Altamont, in this line, are emphatical ; if they are both pronounced with the

falling inflection, it imports an absolute denial of the antithetick object, which is the friendship of Horatio to her; if we pronounce them with the rising inflection, it only insinuates that he is not her friend : and this latter emphasis seems the most suitable to the situation of Calista, as at that time she has not so far broke terms with Horatio as absolutely to deny that he is her friend ; and, therefore, the inflection which affirms something in the emphasis, without denying the antithesis, is the inflection she ought to adopt.

Thus have I been led insensibly by my subject into intricacies and distinctions, whither, perhaps, but few of my readers will be able to follow me : I might, indeed, have contented myself with less minuteness and precision, but the speculation appeared too curious and useful to be slightly treated. If what has been observed of these emphatick inflections be true, we may take occasion to conteniplate how few are the principles on which Divine Wisdom constructs operations of the greatest extent and variety : and it may be presumed, that by being acquainted with these principles, we shall be better enabled to enter into the views of Providence in the gift of speech, by perfecting and regulating it according to these views. By a knowledge of the principles of grammar, we are enabled to express our thoughts with greater force, precision, and perspicuity ; and it cannot be doubted, that a knowledge of the grammar of pronunciation, if it may be called so, will powerfully tend to the same useful purpose.

Practical System of Emphasis.

HAVING endeavoured to shew the nature of emphasis, properly so called, and attempted to distin

guish it into its several kinds, according to the inflection of voice it adopts ; having made some efforts to ascertain the peculiar character of each emphatick inflection, and by this means afforded some assistance to a discovery of the true emphasis in doubtful cases; it will be necessary, in the next place, to endeavour to reduce what has been said into a practical system, and to extend the former observations on emphatick inflection to the pronunciation of every different species of emphasis. Hitherto we have treated chiefly of that emphasis, which may be called single; that is, either where the two emphatick words in antithesis with each other are expressed ; or where but one of them is expressed, and the antithesis to it is implied or understood. But besides these, there are instances where two emphatick words are opposed to two others, and sometimes where three emphatick words are opposed to three others in the same sentence. Let us take a view of each of these different kinds of emphasis in its order :

S Exercise and temperance strengthen even an indifferent con2 stitution.

SYou were paid to fight against Alexander, and not to ráil

at him.

S The pleasures of the imagination are not so gròss as those
l of sénse, nor so refined as those of the understanding.
raised a mòrtal to the skies.
She drew an angel down.

[ocr errors]

In the first example, we find the emphatick word indifferent suggest an antithesis not expressed, namely, not a good constitution ; this may be called the single emphasis implied.

In the second example, the words fight and rail are in antithesis with each other, and do not suggest any other antithetick objects; and this may be called the single emphasis expressed.

In the next example, the emphatick words gross and refined are opposed to each other, and contrast. ed with sense and understanding ; and this mutual correspondence and opposition of four parts to each other may not improperly be termed the double emphasis.

When three antithetick objects are opposed to three, as in No. 4, we may call the assemblage the treble emphasis.

Single Emphasis implied and expressed.

In the single emphasis implied, we find the inflections are so strictly appropriated to the nature of the emphasis, that using one instead of the other would inevitably alter the sense: This has been abundantly proved in the preceding chapter. The same may be observed (as we shall see presently) of the single emphasis expressed ; but this appropriation of inflection to sense does not seem to hold so strictly where the emphasis is double, or treble ; for here, as the antithetick objects are almost always expressed, and there is seldom any danger of a mistake in the sense, we shall not wonder to find harmony claim her indisputable rights in making this sense most agreeable to the ear.

But though the inflections of the double and treble emphasis frequently yield to the harmony of arrangement, the single emphasis expressed requires its specifick inflection on each part; for in the second example : You were paid to fight against Alexander, and not to rail

at him.

Here, if we were to place the rising inflection on fight and the falling on rail, as the harmony of ca

« ZurückWeiter »