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The Art of Reading is that system of rules, which teaches to pronounce written composition with justness, energy, variety, and force.
The first object of every one who reads to others, is to be perfectly heard by those whom he addresses. For this purpose, three things are especially necessary. First, a proper loudness of the voice. This must be proportioned to the space which is to be filled, and the number of persons present. Second, a due degree of slowness. Third, perfect distinctaess of articulation. An attention to these three circumstances is the foundation of all good reading.
PAUSES. The next important object of attention in reading, is the due arrangement of pauses. This will be the subject of the following rules.
Rule I. The principal pause in every sentence occurs at the end, where it is always necessary to suspend the voice, before beginning a new sentence.
This is the first and most obvious Rule for pausing. As each sentence may be considered a complete roposition by itself
, it is plain, that in order to distinguish it perfectly from that which follows, a certain interval must separate them. The place where this should occur is, of course, denoted by the period. Its duration is varied in some measure by the length of the sentence, and the number of inferior pauses it contains. The time of the final pause therefore does not admit of any definite rule; but should always be such as to afford relief to the voice, and enable the reader to commence the ensuing sentence without undue or painful effort.
The principal pause being thus attended to, we come next to consider the various subordinate pauses.
Rule II. When the subject in a sentence consists of more than one word, it is necessary to puuse after it.
When a nominative and a verb come in a sentence unattended by adjuncts, no pause is necessary, either for the ear or understanding ; thus in the following sentence-Alexander wept : No pause intervenes between these words, because they convey only two ideas, which are apprehended the moment they are pronounced; but if these words are amplified by dependent words, as in the following sentence—The great and invincible Alexander, wept for the fate of Darius : Here a pause is necessary between these words, not only that the organs may pronounce
the whole with more ease, but that the complex nominative and verb may, by being separately and distinctly exhibited, be more readily and distinctly conceived.
This rule is so far from being unnecessary when we are obliged to pause after the verb, that it then becomes more essential.
EXAMPLE This account of party patches will, I am afraid, appear improbable to those who live at a distance from the fashionable world.
Addison's Spect. No. 81. If in this sentence we only pause at will, as marked by the printer, we shall find ihe verb swallowed up, as it were, by the nominative case, and confounded with it; but if we make a short pause both before and after it, we shall find every part of the sentence obvious and distinct.
That the nominative is more separable from the verb than the verb from the objective case, is plain from the propriety of pausing at self-love, and not at forsook, in the following example:
Self-love forsook the path it first pursued,
Pope's Essay on Man. The same may be observed of the last line of the following couplet :
Earth smiles around with boundless bounty blest,
And heaven heholds its image in his breast. Ibid. Here though the melody invites to a pause at beholds, propriety requires it at heaven.
RULE II. Whatever member intervenes between the nominative case and the verb, is of the nature of a parenthesis, and must be separated from both of them by a
When the Romans and the Sabines were at war, and just upon the point of giving battle, the women, who were all ed to both of them, interposed with so many tears and entreaties, that they prevented the mutual slaughter which threatened both parties, and united them together in a firm and lasting peace. Addison.
Here the member intervening between the nominative case women, and the verb interposed, must be separated from both by a short pause.
RULE IV. Whatever member intervenes between the verb and the objective case, is of the nature of a parenthesis, and must be separated from both by a short pause.
EXAMPLE. I knew a person who possessed the faculty of distinguishing flavors in so great a perfection, that, after baving tasted ten different kinds of tea, he would distinguish, without seeing the colour of it, the particular sort which was offered him. Addison.
The member intervening between the verb distinguish and the accusative the particular sort, must be separated from them by a short pause.
Rule V. When two verbs come together, and the latter is in the infinitive mood, if any words come between, they must be separated from the latter verb by a pause.
EXAMPLE. No one
ight, however low his station may be, to consider himself indifferent in the sight of his Creator.
In this example the phrases no one ought and to consider himself have the words however low his station may be interposed between them, which must therefore be separated from the latter by a short pause.
Rule VI. When the substantive verb to be is followed by a verb in the infinitive mood, which may serve as a nominative case to it, and the phrases before and after the verb may be transposed, a pause falls between the verbs.
EXAMPLES. The practice among the Turks is, to destroy, or imprison for lise, any presumptive heir to the throne.
Here the pause falls between is and to destroy. Their first step was, to possess themselves of Cæsar's papers and money, and next to convene the Senate.
Goldsmith's Roman History. Here we must pause between was and to possess. Never had this august assembly been convened upon so delicate an occasion, as it was, to determine whether Cæsar had been a legal magistrate or a tyrannical usurper. Ibid.
Here the pause comes between was and to determine.
Rule VII. Several subjects belonging to one verb, or several verbs belonging to one subject, should be separated from one another by a short pause.
EXAMPLE. Riches, pleasure, and health, become evils to those who do not know how to use them.
Here the subjects riches, pleasure, and health, belong each of them to the verb become; as Riches become an evil, pleasure becomes an evil, and health becomes an