Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

PART I.
ELOCUTIONARY.

I. ELEMENTS OF ELOCUTION.

INFLECTIONS. The character of the inflections, or slides of the voice, and the marks used to designate them, were briefly explained in the Second Reader of this series.

Instead of placing the marks of the inflections over the accented syllables of inflected words, or over the emphatic words, as most writers on Elocution • have done, we have generally placed them at the end of the inflected word or clause. As accent and emphasis are entirely distinct from inflection, there seems to be no good reason for uniting them; and, indeed, it often happens that the accented syllable of a word is not the one which is inflected. Thus, in the example, “Did he answer satisfactorily'?” as usually spoken, the voice does not begin to rise until it has pronounced the accented syllable; and in the example, “Did he resemble his father', - or his mother' " in which Dr. Porter, in his excellent work, places the inflections over the accented syllables of the inflected words, it is very certain that the closing syllables have the greatest degree of inflection; and that, in the word "father'," the accented syllable is not inflected at all, but is pronounced in the same tone as the preceding part of the sentence.

As an emphatical word usually bears the same rhetorical relation to the clause in which it is placed as the accented syllable does to the word of which it forms a part, so there is no more propriety in placing the mark of inflection over an emphatic word than over an accented syllable. Therefore, in the following examples,

Did he show compassion for me'?

To what place shall I betake myself" ? we would place the inflections at the close of the sentences. We thus avoid confounding emphasis with inflection, an error which has led many learncrs astray; and if we emphasize the words “ compassion” and “betake,” we shall be sure to give them the right tone if we keep in view the inflections at the close.

We would give the following rules for the position of the marks of inflection:

ist. When the entire rising or downward slide, or much the greater part of it, occurs on an emphatic word, and is not continued to the end of the clause or sentence, the mark may be placed at the end of such infected word, as:

I dare accusation. I defy' the honorable gentleman. : 2d. When the rising, or the downward slide, wherever it occurs, is con

tinued to the end of a clause, so that the greatest rise or fall is at the end, the mark should be placed at the end, as in the following:

Charity envieth not'; charity vaunteth not itself'; is not puffed up!! In this example the downward stide begins at en, vaun, and is, and is continued to the end of each member respectively, where is the greatest extent of the slide.

A very satisfactory reason for placing the mark of inflection at the end of “not,” rather than over the accented syllable of “envieth,” is, that it is a guide to the correct pronunciation of the sentence in the former case, but no guide at all in the latter case; for if it be placed over "envieth," the end of the sentence may, nevertheless, have the rising inflection, as in the example:

Charity envieth not’; but is kindly disposed to all!. Here envieth is pronounced the same as in the former case, and yet the rising inflection is required at the end of the clause, while the downward inflection is required in the former case. For the mark to be a correct guide, iż musi be placed at the end of the clause in both cases.

ELEMENTARY RULES.

"Speak clearly, if you speak at all;
Carve every word before you let it fall;
Don't, like a lecturer or dramatic star,
Try over hard to roll the British R;
Do put your accents in the proper spot;
Don't-let me beg you don't say "How?” for “ What?"
And when you stick on conversation's burs,

Don't strew the pathway with those dreadful urs."-0. W. HOLMES. RULE. 1.Direct questions, or those that can be answered by yes or no, generally require the rising inflection, and their answers the falling.

EXAMPLES.-Do you think he will come to-day'? No'; I think he will not!.-Was that Henry'? No!; it was John-Did you see William'? Yes, I did'.- Are you going to town to-day'? No, I shall go to-morrow!

MODIFICATIONS OF RULE I. Note I.- Answers that are given in a careless or indifferent manner, or in a tone of slight disrespect, take the rising inflection in all cases.

EXAMPLES.-Did you see William'? I did'.-What did he say to you'! Not much'. See, also, Lesson II., p. 39, of Second Reader.

Note II.- Direct questions, when they have the nature of an appeal, or are spoken in an exclamatory manner, take the falling inflection. In these cases the voice often falls below the general pitch, contrary to the general rule for the falling inflection.

EXAMPLES.—18 not that a beautiful sight'?— Will you persist in doing it'?-18 it right'? -Is it just'?

Was ever woman in this humor wooed' ?

Was ever woman in this humor won'? NOTE III.—When a direct question is not understood, and is repeated with emphasis, the repeated question takes the falling inflection.

EXAMPLEs. - Will you speak to him to-day'? If the question is not understood, it is repeated with the falling inflection, thus : Will you speak to him to-day'-Are you going to Salem'? I said, Are you going to Salem'?

Rule II.—The panse of suspension, denoting that the sense is unfinished, such as a succession of particulars that are not emphatic, cases of direct address, sentences implying condition, the case absolute, etc., generally requires the rising inflection.

EXAMPLES.-John', James', and William', come here. --The great', the good', the honored', the noble,' the wealthy', alike pass away,

Friends', Romans', countrymen', lend me your ears.
Jesus saith unto him, Simon', son of Jonas', lovest thou me':

Ye hills', and dales', ye rivers', woods', and plains',
And ye that live and move, fair creatures', tell!,

Tell, if ye saw, how came I thus'; how here? NOTE.--For cases in which emphatic succession of particulars modifies this rule, see Rule VILI.

RULE III.-Indirect questions, or those which can not be answered by yes or no, generally require the falling inflection, and their answers the same.

EXAMPLES.When did you see him'? Yesterday.-When will he come again', Tomorrow!

Who say the people that I am'? They answering, said, John the Baptist'; but some say Elias'; and others say that one of the old prophets' is risen again.

Note.—But when the indirect question is one asking a repetition of what was not at first understood, it takes the rising inflection. “What did be say'?” is an indirect question, with the falling inflection, asking for information. But if I myself heard the person speak, and did not fully understand him, and then ask some person to repeat what he said, I give my question the rising inflection, thus, “What did he say'?” (Remark. Perhaps the true reason of the rising inflection here on the word say is because it is preceded by an emphatic word (what) with the falling inflection. See note to Rule IV.).

RULE IV.-A completion of the sense, whether at the close or any other part of the sentence, requires the falling inflection.

EXAMPLES. He that saw me' saw you also', and he who aided me once' will aid me again.'

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth! And the earth was without form, and void'; and darkness was on the face of the deep': and the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.'

NOTE.—But when strong emphasis, with the falling inflection, comes near the close of a sentence, the voice often takes the rising inflection at the close.

EXAMPLES. - If William does not come, I think John' will be here'.-If he should come, what would you do'?

CASSIUS. What night is this?
CASCA. A very pleasing night to honest' men'.
Proceed', I am attentive'.
This is the course rather of our enemies, than of friends of our country's liberty'
If the witness does not believe in God, or a future state, you can not swear' hini'.

RULE V.-Words and clauses connected by the disjunctive or, generally require the rising inflection before the disjunctive, and the falling after it. Where several words are thus connected in the same clause, the rising inflection is given to all except the last.

EXAMPLES.-Will you go' or stay'? I will go':-Will you go in the buggy', or the car. riage', or the cars', or the coach'? I will go in the cars!

He may study law', or medicine', or divinity'; or', he may enter into trade'.
The baptism of John, was it from heaven', or of men ?

Did he travel for health', or for pleasure'?
Did he resemble his father', or his mother'?

Note I.-When the disjunctive or is made emphatic, with the falling inflection, it is followed by the rising inflection, in accordance with the note to Rule IV.; as, “He must have traveled for health, or' pleas

ure'.”

EXAMPLES. - He must either work', or study'.-He must be a mechanic, or' a lawyer'. -He must get his living in one way, or the other'.

Note II.—When or is used conjunctively, as no contrast is denoted by it, it requires the rising inflection after as well as before it, except when the clause or sentence expresses a completion of the sense.

EXAMPLE.—Did he give you money', or food', or clothing'? No', he gave me nothing!

RULE VI.- When negation is opposed to affirmation, the former takes the rising and the latter the falling inflection, in whatever order they occur. Comparison and contrast (antithesis) come under the same head.

EXAMPLES. -I did not hear him', I saw him.-I said he was a good soldier, not a good citizen'.-He will not come to-day', but to-morrow'.-He did not call me', but you! He means dutifull, not undutiful'.-I come to bury Cæsar, not to praise him'.

This is no time for a tribunal of justice', but for showing mercy'; not for accusation', but for philanthropy'; not for trial', but for pardon'; not for sentence and execution', but for compassion and kindness!

Comparison and Contrast.-Homer was the greater genius', Virgil the better artist'; in the one we most admire the man', in the other the work\. - There were tyrants at home', and robbers abroad!

By honor and dishonor'; by evil report' and good report'; as deceivers', and yet true'; as unknown', and yet well known'; as dying', and behold we live'; as chastened', and not killed'; as sorrowful', yet always rejoicing'; as poor', yet making many rich'; as having nothing', yet possessing all things!

When our vices leave us', we flatter ourselves we leave them'.
The prodigal robs his heir', the miser robs himself !.

Note I.-Negative sentences which imply a continuance of thought, although they may not be opposed to affirmation, frequently close with the rising inflection; as,

True politeness is not a mere compliance with arbitrary custom'.
Do not suppose that I would deceive you'.
These things do not make your government'.

This is nearly allied in character to Rule IX. ; and, such examples as those under Note I. may be considered as expressive of tender emotion, in opposition to strong emotion. Affirmative sentences similar to the foregoing require the rising inflection, in accordance with Rule IX., when they express tender emotion; as,

I trust you will hear me'. I am sure you are mistaken'.
But, sir, the poor must not starve'; they must be taken care of'.

NOTE 11.-When, in contrasted sentences, negation is attended with deep and calm feeling, it requires the falling inflection. EXAMPLE.—We are perplexed', but not in despair'; persecuted', but not forsaken!.

RULE VII.-For the sake of variety and harmony, the last pause but one in a sentence is usually preceded by the rising inflection.

ExamPLES.— The minor longs to be of age'; then to be a man of business'; then to ar. rive at honors' ; then to retire!

Time taxes our health', our limbs', our faculties', our strength', and our features'.

Note.—The foregoing rule is sometimes departed from in the case of an emphatic succession of particulars, for which, see Rule VIII.

In the second preceding example, the rising inflection is given to the words health, limbs, faculties, and strength, both because they are not attended with strong emphasis, and because th..y are followed by the pause of suspension, in which the mind anticipates a continuation of the sentence.

RULE VIII.- 1st. A Commencing Series.

In an emphatic series of particulars, where the series begins the sentence, but does not either end it or form complete sense, every particular except the last should have the falling inflection.

EXAMPLE.-Our disordered hearts', our guilty passions', our violent prejudices', and misplaced desires', are the instruments of the trouble which we endure.

2d. A Concluding Series. When the series ends the sentence, or forms complete sense, every particular in the series, except the last but one, should have the falling inflection; and, indeed, all should have it, if the closing member of the series is of sufficient length to admit a pause with the rising inflection, before the end.

EXAMPLE.-Charity suffereth long', and is kind'; charity envieth not'; charity vaun. eth not itself'; is not puffed up'; doth not behave itself unseemly'; ieeketh not her own'; is not easily provoked' ; thinketh no evil'.

NOTE.—The degree of emphasis, and often of solemnity, with which the successive particulars are mentioned, decides, in cases of the pause of suspension (see Rule II.), whether the rising or the falling inflection is to be used. Thus, a succession of particulars which one reader deems unimportant, will be read by him throughout with the rising inflection, while auother, feeling more deeply, will use the falling inflection. Thus:

1. The birds sing', the lambs play', the grass grows’, the trees are green', and all nature is beautiful'.

2. The blind see'; the lame walk'; the lepers are cleansed"; the deaf hear'; the dead are raised'; and to the poor', the gospel is preached'.

In this example all the particulars have the falling inflection.

The first line in Mark Antony's harangue is read differently by equally good readers; but the difference arises wholly from their different appreciation of the spirit and intention of the speaker. Thus :

Friends', Romans', countrymen', lend me your ears'!
Friends', Romans', countrymen', lend me your ears'?

If Antony designed to characterize “countrymen” with peculiar emphasis, he gave it the falling inflection, otherwise he gave the word no greater prominence than the preceding words “friends” and “Romans.”

RULE IX.-Expressions of tender emotion, such as grief, pity, kindness, gentle joy, a gentle reproof, gentle appeal, gentle entreaty or expostulation, etc., commonly require a gentle rising inflection. EXAMPLES. - Mary'! Mary'! do'not do so'.

My mother'! when I learned that thon wast cea:l',
Say!, wast thou conscious' of the tears' I shed'?
Hovered thy spirit o'er thy sorrowing son',
Wretch even then', life's journey just begun'?
I would not live alway'; I ask not to stay,
Where storm after storm riees dark o'er the way';
I would not live alway, thus fettered by sin';

Temptation without, and corruption within';-
Is your father' well', the old man' of whom ye spake'? Is he' yet alise'?

« ElőzőTovább »