« AnteriorContinuar »
the native writers it has been reduced to a handful of resolute warriors; but both agree that with Harold and his brothers perished all the nobility of the south of England; a loss which could not be repaired.'
'Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him but Mary sat still in the house.'
'And the Philistines fought, and Israel was smitten, and they fled every man to his tent, and there was a very great slaughter.'
[Such passages as these must never be read with violent emphasis, such as we often should use in declaiming.]
'NATIONAL PRIDE, INDEPENDENCE of our COUNTRY, these we are told by the Minister are only VULGAR TOPICS, fitted for the meridian of the MOB, but utterly UNWORTHY the consideration of THIS HOUSE, or of the MATURED UNDERSTANDING of the noble LORD who CONDESCENDS to INSTRUCT it.'
6 But it SEEMS this is an age of REASON, and the TIME and the PERSON are at last ARRIVED that are to DISSIPATE the ERRORS that have overspread the past generations of IGNORANCE.'
In both these examples there should be a good deal of scornful feeling given. This will require unequal waves on those syllables which are printed in SMALL CAPITALS. The emphatic words are all marked by capitals. It will not do to put the unequal wave on all of them. Suppose, now, such passages to be read with very slow time, as though their meaning was solemn,
instead of scornful, such reading would strike every one as very faulty.
Other passages, which are really solemn, would require long quantity throughout, and emphatic equal waves of the voice on all the emphatic indefinite syllables.
'But THOU, O LORD, have MERCy upon us miserable ofFENDers. SPARE thou THOSE, O GOD, who confess their faults. RESTORE thou THOSE who are penitent; accORDing to thy promises deCLARED unto mankind in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
'OUR Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy NAME. Thy KINGdom COME. THY WILL be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this DAY our Daily bread, and forGIVE US our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation: but deliver us from Evil. For THINE is the KINGdom, and the POWER, and the GLory, for ever and ever AMEN.'
In the descriptions which have been given of the elements of expression and their uses, enough has been said to explain to any one who has thoroughly studied them, for what kind of feeling each of them should be employed. All we have to do here is to show the importance of examining every passage we read, to see what feeling ought to be expressed in reading it. When we have done this, it will be easy to give it the right elements.
Most people, who have thought little on the subject, have fancied that emphasis consists in merely sounding some words louder than the rest. Those who have
gone through this little book, will know better. They will understand that emphasis may be given by the increased use of any of the elements of expression, and that each modification or combination of these gives a DIFFERENT KIND of emphasis. They will see, therefore, the necessity there is of knowing what kind of emphasis is wanted, as well as the words on which it is wanted. This can only be known by pursuing the second process of analysis here explained.*
Neither process of analysis then must be neglected, even on a single sentence, in reading the course of exercises given at the end of this book. If the pieces are read without it, they might almost as well not be
read at all.
Before concluding this chapter, something should be said on the use of what is called Transition of Voice.'
By transition of voice, properly so called, we mean a marked and sudden change between two passages, in any of the elements of expression. Thus, we may change from quick to slow, from forcible to weak, from a high pitch to a low one, &c. Of course, such changes must be made only in places, where the feeling to be expressed by the speaker, or the current of the thought, changes also. In all such cases, a proper analysis of the piece will direct us to make this transition. The following may serve as examples in which violent transition should be used.
At last, turning to poor Dick, "As for you, you have always been a sad dog; you'll never come to good; you'll never be rich; I leave you a shilling, to
*The teacher will find plenty of additional examples of this second process of analysis in the chapters on Emphasis, Emotion, and Drift, in the Grammar of Elocution.
buy a halter!
"Ah, father," cries Dick, without any emotion, "may Heaven give you life and health to enjoy it yourself.""
The speech of the father is angry, that of the son, trifling. There must therefore be a marked transition from the one to the other.
'Three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that, which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us.Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God, who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends, to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. -Besides, sir, we have no election. Even if we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest.'
In this example there are two transitions needed. The first sentence is extremely energetic, and requires deep downward slides on the emphatic words with a considerable degree of force throughout. The second sentence begins, as if the speaker had just recollected something he had not been thinking of before. Besides, sir,———. Of course this must not run on with the same violence as the words before it. The change of feeling must be marked by a transition from great energy to apparent calmness. In the following sentences the voice must gradually recover its energy, as the feelings of the speaker may be supposed to be gradually warming. A second transition, of the same character with the first, will then be required on the second, Besides, sir,
Another use of violent transition is, to give very marked emphasis to one or both of the parts separated by it, and particularly to the last.
'The WAR is inevitable,—and let it cOME!-I rePEAT it, sir,- -LET it COME.'
Let the first part of this example be spoken on a pretty high note, with strong downward slides on 'war' and 'ev:' the second should then follow on a much lower note, and with slower time. The third part should have an earnest, but conversational intonation ; and the fourth a still lower note, and still more extended quantity than the second. There ought to be a considerable pause made between each. These transitions will be found to give extraordinary energy.
'Are you competent to transfer your legislative rights to the French Council of Five-Hundred? Are you competent to transfer them to the British Parliament ? '
The first question here will require a high note and quick time throughout. The second must be asked in a low pitch, with all the solemnity of long drawn quantity.
A species of transition much less violent than that which the preceding examples have been employed to illustrate, should be made in reading, to mark out to the ear the beginning of the paragraphs, or other divisions in a piece. This transition consists, commonly, in a slight abatement either of the force or rapidity of the voice. Examples enough are to be found in the reading exercises.