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If, in reading this sentence, we were to place the emphasis with the rising inflection on lose, and the falling on win, aird were to pronounce the rest of the sentence in a low monotonous tone of voice, in the same manner as when it contained but half the number of syllables, we should be both obscure and discordant; but, as the last member is lengthened to double the number of syllables, we find it may be so pronounced as to form an harmonious cadence. Another example will show the necessity of some. times breaking the general rule. Mr. Addison, speaking of the mutual polish and refinement which the intercourse between the sexes gives each other, concludes,
In a word : a man would not only be an unhappy, but a rude unfinished creature, were he conversant with none but those of his own make.
Spect. No. 433.
Here we find the intermediate member close the sentence, and is of such a length as to forbid the feeble monotone which is proper in other cases. It may not, however, be useless to observe, that when these
importance as to demand an emphatical pronunciation, the antithesis is in some measure obscured, and the sentence is deprived of spirit and vivacity.
Before we conclude this article, we may observe, that the emphasis on opposite parts, which obscures the intermediate member, is calculated more for the porposes of force than harmony, and therefore ought to be observed with less rigour in verse than prose; but where the former is familiar, argumentative, and . strongly emphatical, it seems to require the obscure pronunciation of the intermediate member no less than the latter.
"Tis hard to say if greater want of skill
Pope's Essay on Crit.
In the first couplet of this passage, the word ill, which agrees to both the emphatick words writing and judging, is pronounced feebly with the falling inflection, after a strong pronunciation of the same inflection on judging. In the next couplet, tire and patience, mislead, and sense, form a double emphasis, and come under the general rule ; but in the next couplet, the words wrong and amiss, being only different expressions for the same idea, are to be considered as an intermediate member to the two emphatick words censure and write, and pronounced feebly with the same inflections as the words they follow.*
From what has been said on this article, it appears of how much importance to reading and
* In the first edition of this work I had not sufficiently considered the nature of unaccented words, and, therefore, gave them the very vague and indefinite appellations I met with in other authors, namely obscure, and feeble ; a farther prosecution of the subject in the Rhetorical Grammar enabled me to ascertain the real force of these unaccented words, and to class them with the unaccented syllables of accented words. Thus a clear and definite idea was substituted for an indeterminate and obscure one : And I could, with confidence, tell my pupil that the sentence,
« I do not, so much request, as demand your attention,"
was pronounced like three words; I do not, like a word of three syllables, with the accent on the second; so much request, like a word of four syllables, with the accent on the last and as demand your attention like a word of seven syllables, with the accent on the third, see p. 199,
speaking is a judicious distribution of emphasis ; and if what has been observed be true, it is evident how useful, and even necessary it must be, in teaching, to adopt something like the method of marking them here pointed out. Methods of this kind are usually rejected, because at first they are found rather to embarrass than assist the reader ; but this will be found to be the case in every art where improvement arises chiefly from habit : The principles of musick would embarrass and puzzle a performer who had learned only from the ear, but nothing but a knowledge of these principles could convey to him the difficult passages of a composer, and enable him to acquire them without the assistance of a teacher. Reading, indeed, may be considered as a species of musick ; the organs of utterance are the instruments, but the mind itself is the performer ; and, therefore, to pursue the similitude, though the mind may have a full conception of the sense of an author, and be able to judge nicely of the execution of others, yet if it has not imbibed the habit of performing on its own instrument, no expression will be produced. There is a certain mechanical dexterity to be acquired before the beautiful conceptions we possess can be communicated to others. This mechanism is an essential part of all the fine arts. Nothing but habitual practice will give the musician his neatness of execution, the painter his force of colouring, and even the poet the happiest choice and arrangement of his words and thoughts. How, then, can we expect that a luminous and elegant expression in reading and speaking can be acquired without a similar attention to habitual practice? This is the golden key to every excellence, but can be purchased only by labour, unremitting labour, and perseverance.
BESIDES that variety which necessarily arises from an attention to the foregoing rules, that is, from annexing certain inflections to sentences of a particu. lar import or structure, there is still another source of variety, in those parts of a sentence where the sense is not at all concerned, and where the variety is merely to please the ear. It is certain, that if the sense of a sentence be strongly conveyed, it will seldom be inharmoniously pronounced; but it is as certain, there are many members of sentences which may be differently pronounced without affecting the sense, but which cannot be differently pronounced without greatly affecting their variety and harmony. Thus in the following sentence:
As we perceive the shadow to have moved along the dialplate, but did not perceive it moving ; and it appears that the grass has grown, though nobody ever sáw it grow: so the advances we make in knowledge, as they consist of such minute steps, are only perceivable by the distance.
In this sentence, provided we do not drop the voice before the end, the sense of the sentence is not at all concerned in any of the inflections, except that on grow in the middle, which must necessarily be the rising, and that on distance at the end, which 'must be the falling inflection : if these inflections are preserved on these words, the rest may take their chance, and the sense will be scarcely affected ; but the dullest ear must perceive an infinite advantage to the harmony in placing the falling inflection on grown in the first part of the sentence, and on knowledge in the last : and so natural is this pronunciation, that there are few readers so bad as not to place these inflections on these words without any other guide than the ear.
This part of pronunciation, therefore, though of little importance to the sense, is of the utmost im. portance to the harmony of a sentence. Every writer on the subject has left it entirely to the ear; and, indeed, so nice are the principles on which harmony and variety in pronunciation depend, that it is no wonder any analysis of it has been shifted off, and classed among those things for which it is utterly impossible to give rules. But, as we have often observed, though the varieties of voice, in other respects, are almost infinite, all these varieties are still reducible to two radical and essential differences, the upward and downward slide or inflection; and therefore, though the high and low, the loud and soft, the the quick and slow, the forcible and feeble, admit of almost infinite degrees, every one of these differences and degrees must either adopt the rising or falling inflection of voice; and these inflections being more essential to the sense and harmony than any, or all the other differences, we have, in the distinction of the voice into the rising and falling inflection, a key to part of the harmony and variety so much admired, and, it may be added, a very essential part. If, therefore, no rules could be given to the application of these inflections to the purposes of harmony and variety, the practicability of marking upon paper those which are actually made use of by good readers and speakers, would be of the utmost importance to elocution; but in this, as well as in other cases, an attempt will be made to mark out some rules, which it is hoped will not be entirely useless.
When similar members of sentences do not run into such a series, as brings them into the enumerative form; the voice, both to relieve the ear, and im
tive forms a series, anbers of se