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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 em should be employed. All we have to do here is, to show the importance of examining every passage we read, that we may 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
*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.
be said on the use of what is called Transition of
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 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. sides, 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.
In conclusion, let it be repeated that Elocution is not to be learnt without diligence and persevering EXERCISE of the voice. If the pupil has been made to understand all the explanations of the elements of
Elocution which are contained in the foregoing pages, and to distinguish by his ear between the different modifications of sound which the examples are intended to exhibit, he will indeed have done much. He will have learnt a good deal that MAY afterwards be made useful, and will have improved his ability to criticize the speaking of others. His VOICE, however, will be little, if at all, improved, unless ALL the elementary exercises have been thoroughly gone through. His power to use his voice in readUSE ing, or in speaking, will not be bettered, unless he proceed to practise himself in this department, by reading in the manner which has been pointed out. The system of accent must be perfectly understood to make him preserve his breath; the habit of correct analysis must be formed, to make him express the
We do not claim the power of working miracles, of manufacturing good Elocutionists without labor. All we boast of having accomplished, is, the having pointed out a system of exertion, by which, with as little fatigue as possible, the pupil may arrive at excellence. To have mastered all that is contained in this book will be as much as a class of children can accomplish. More will be required, however, to perfect the delivery of the adult. Elocution is, like music, painting, or sculpture, a difficult, though an elegant and highly useful art.