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bears some remark,, and familiarly asks ; What is thii 9

The answer to the indirect question, according to the

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general rule, has the falling sirde ; though at the expense
of harmony; as,

' Who say the people that I dmf They ansxoeriug said^ John the
Bi^tist ; hut some say, Elkas ; and others say that one t^ the old
jtrdphets is risen again, — Where is bdasting thenf It is exclttded. —
Who first sediteed them to that foul revolt t The infernal serpent.

The want of distinction m elementary books, between
that sort of question which torns the voice upward, and
that which turns it downward, must have been felt by eve-
ry teacher even of children* This distinction is scarcely •
noticed by the ancients. Augustine, in remarking on the
false sense sometimes given to a passage of Scripture by
false pronunciation, says. The ancients called that ques-
tion intirrogationi which is answered by yes or no ; and
that ptrcontatiofij which admits of other answers.* Quinc-
tilian, however, says the two terms were used indiffer-

13] RuLC VUI. The language of auikoriiy and of
surprise^ is commonly uttered with the falling inflection.
Bold and strong passion so much inclines Uie voice to
this slide, that m most of the cases hereafter' to be speci-
fied, emphatic force is denoted by it.

1 . The imperative mood, as used to express the com-
mands of a superior, denotes that energy of thought which
usually requires the falling slide. Thus Milton supposes
Gabriel to speak, at the head of his radiant files.

* He givM an eztmple from Paul, with the pronancittion which
he proposes ; — " post percontationem, Q^is accusabit adversus electos
Dei f illnd qaod seqaitor sono interrogantit enuntietur, Deus qui
just^eat f ut tacit^ retpondeatar, Abn. £t item percontemar, Qi(»
est qui condemnat f rursas interrogemus, Christus Jesus, qui mortuus
est? etc. ut ubique tacit^ respondeatnryJWm.*'

De Doetrina Christiana, Uh, UJ, Cap, 3.

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Uziiel ! Half these draw off and coast the s6ath,

With strictest wktch ; these other, wheel the ndrth. —

— Ithoriel and Zephon ! with win|r*d speed

Search through this gkrden ; leave unsearch'd no ndok.

This evening from tlie san's decline arriv'd-

Who tells of some infernal spirit seen,

Hitherward bent : —

Such where ye find, seize i^t, and hither bring.

Thus in the battle of Rokeby, young Redmond ad-
dressed his soldiers :

*Up, comrades ! Cip— in Rokeby's halls
Ne'er be it said our courage falls.

No language surpasses the English, in the spirit and
vivacity of its imperative mood, and vocative case. These
often are found together in the same address ; and when
combined with emphasis, separately or united, they have
the falling slide, and great strength.

2. Denunciation and reprehension^ on the same prin-
pie, commonly require the falling inflection ; as,

Wo onto you, Phkrisees ! for ye love the uppermost seats in the
synagogues. W6 unto you, lawyers ! for ye have taken away the
key of knowledge. But God said unto him, thou f5ol !— this night
thy 86ul shall be required of thee. But Jesus said. Why t^mpt ye
me, ye hypocrites.' Paul said to Ely mas, O full of all si^ibtlety,
and all mischief! Thou child of the devil,— thou enemy of all
righteousness !

In the beginning of Sbakspeare's Julius Caesar, Marul-
lus, a patriotic Roman,. finding in the streets some peas-
ants, who were keeping holiday, for Caesar's triumph over
the liberties of his country, accosted them in this indig-
nant strain ;

H^nce ! — home, you idle creatures, get you h6me.

Too bldcks, yoq stdnes ! Too wdrse than senseless things !

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This would be tame iodeed, should we place the un-
emphatic, risiag slide- on these terms of reproach, thus:

Tou blocks, yoa stdnei, you w6ne than senseleit things.

The Strong reprehension of our Saviour, addressed to
the tempter, would lose much of its meaning, if uttered
with the gentle, rising slide, thus ; Get ihu behind me, Sd^
tan. But it becomes very significant, with the emphatic
downward inflection ; Get thee behind mc, — Sdtan,

3. Exclamation^ when it does not express tender
emotion, nor ask a question, inclines to adopt the falling

Terror expresses itself in this way. Thus the ap-
pearance of the ghost in Hamlet produces the exclama-
tion :

^Angels! and ministers of gr^ce, — defend us.*

Exclamation, denoting surprise, or reverence, or dis-
tress,— or a combination of these diflferent emotions, gene-
rally adopts the falling slide, modified indeed by the de-
gree of emotion. For this reason I suppose that Mary,
weeping at the sepulchre, when she perceived that the
person whom she had mistaken for the gardener, was the
risen Savior himself, exclaimed with the tone of reve-
rence and surprise, — Rabbbni ! And the same inflection
probably was used by the leprous men when they cried
Jisus^ Mister I have mercy on us ; instead of the collo-

* The city watch is startled, not so much by the words of distress
that echo through the stillness of midnight, as by the tones that de-
note the reality of that distress ;— " h^lp ?— milirder, - h^lp !— •" The
man whose own house is in flames, cries " fire ! — fire !" It is only
from the truant hoy in the streeto that we hear the careless ^zolama-
tion, " fire, fire."

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60 Tin-LfiGTioirs— rM^LiKo.

quial tooe Jesus, Mdster, wbicb is commonly used in
reading the passage, and which expresses nothing of the
distress and earnestness which prompted this cry. These
examples are distinguished from the vocative case, when
It merely calb to attention or denotes affection.

14] Rule IX. Emphatic succession of particulars
requires the falling sKde.* The reason is, that a distinc-
tive utterance is necessary to fix the attention on each
particular. The figure asyndeton, or omission of copula-
tives, especially when it respects clauses, and not single
words, belongs to this class ; as.

Go and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; the
blind 8^1 the lame wklk, the lepers are clekased, the deaf h^ar,
the dead are rdised, to the poor the gospel is preached.— Charity
suffereth long, and is kind ; charity ^nvieth not ', charity yailinteth
not itself; is not puffed iip ; doth not behaTe itself unseemly : seek-
eth not her dwn ; is not easily provoked ; thinketh no ^vil. — Thrice
was I beaten with rods ; once was I stdned ; thrice I suffered ship-
wreck ; a night and a day have I been in the d^ep.

In each of these examples, all the pauses except the
last but one, (for the sake of harmony,) require the down*^
ward slide. The polysyndeton, requiring a still more de-
liberate pronunciation, adopts the same slide ; as.

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with all thy hekrt, and with
all thy s6ul, and with i^ thy strength, and with all thy mind, and
thy neighbor as thys^fl

Note 1 . When tbe principle of emphatic series in-

* The looM setUente^ though it does not strictly belong to this
role, commonly coincides with it ; becauae in the appended member
or members, marked b^ the semieoloB or colon, a complete sense, at
each of these pauses, is so far raqieessed as generally to admit 4he
fidling slide. «

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terferes with that of the suspending slide, one or the oth-
er prevails, according to the nature of the case. When
the structure is hypothetical, and yet the sense is such,
and so Car formed as to admit emphasis, tlie falKng slide
prevails, thus :

And thoagh I hare th« gift of pr6phecj, and nndentand all
mysteries, and all kndwledge ; and though I have all faith, wo
aUi I coold fwoorve laoilaitnaB, imd baye not ehiiuciiy, I an ttotli.

But when the series begins a sentence, and etxki particu-
lar hangn on something still to come, for its sense, there
is so little emphasis that the rising slide, denoting suspen-
sion, is required ; thus,-—

The paiQi of getting, the iear of l^mg, and the iaability ef •*•
J6ying his veaUh, have made the miser a mark of aatife, in all

Note 2« The principles of emphatic series, may form

an exception to Rule HI, as,

We are troobled on every side, yet not distressed ; perplexed,
hot not in despair ; persecuted, but not forsaken : east d<5wn, but
not de8tr6yed.*

Note S. Emphatic succession of particulars grows
intensive as it goes on ; that is, on each succeeding em-
phatic word, the slide has more stress, and a higher note,
than on the preceding ; thus,^—

* AH Walker's rules of inflections as to a series of single words,
when nneoiphatio, are in my opinion, worse than useless. No rule
of karfmonu inflection, that is independent of sentiment, can be
estatllished without too much risk of an artificial habit, unless it be
thifl one, that the voice should rise at the last pause before the ca-
dence ; and even IhSi may be superseded by emphasis.

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I toll you, though \i though all theS^ though ta ^-

gel from \ should decltre the truth of it, I could not believe

The rising slide, on the contrary, as it occurs ia
an emphatic series of direct questions, rises higher on v
each particular, as it proceeds.

15] RuleX* Emphatic repetitum requires the fall-
ing slide.

Whatever inflection is given to a word, in the first in-
stance, when that word is repeated with stress, it demands
the falling slide. Thus in Julius Cssar, Cassius says ;

Tou wr6ng me every way, you wr&ng me, Brutus.
The word wrong is slightly emphatic, with the falling
slide, in the first clause; but in the second, it requires a
double or triple force of voice, with the same slide on a
higher note, to express the meaning strongly. But the
principle of this rule is more apparent still, when the re-
peated word changes its inflection. Thus I ask one at a
distance. Are you going to Boston 9 If he telb me that
he did not hear my question, I repeat it with the other
slide, Are you going to Bditon ?*

* [n colloquial language, the poiot I am iUostraUng is quite
familiar to every ear. The teacher calls a pupil by name in the .
rising inflection, and not being heard, repeats the call in the foil-
ing. The answer to such a call, if it is a mere response, is ** SAr;*
—if it expresses doubt, it is '< Sir" A question that is not under-
stood is repeated with a louder voice and a change of slide : **i^
this your bdokf Is this your bdoftf Little children, with their
^t elements of speech, make this distinction perfectly.

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I caDoot forbear to say here, though the remark be-
longs to style more than to delivery, that while it is the
province of dulness to repeat the same thoughts or words,
from mere carelessness ; there i? scarcely a more vivid
figure of rhetoric than repetition, when it springs from
genius and emotion. But as the finest strains of anisic
derive increase of spirit and effect from repetition, so in
delivery, increase of emotion demands a correspondent
stress and inflection of voice. For this reason, the com-
mon method of reading our Savbur's parable of the wise
and the foolish builder, with the rising slide on both parts
is much less impressive than that which adopts the falling
slide with increase of stress on the series of particulars
as repeated.

WhofoeTer hMreth these fayings of mine, and doeth them, I
will liken him onto a wise man which built his house upon a roek ;
and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds bl^w,
and beat upon that house, and it fell n6t,— for it was founded upon
a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and
doeth them not, shaU be likened unto a foolish man, that built his
house upon the sknd : and the rkin descended, and the fldods came,
and the winds blew, and beat upon thdt house, and it fbll ; — and
great was the fall of it.

16] Rule XI. The final pause requires the falling

That dropping of the voice which denotes the sense
to be finished, is so commonly expected by the ear, that
the worst readers make a cadence of some sort at the
close of a sentence. In respect to this, some general
faults may be guarded against, though it is not possible to
tell in absolute terms what a good cadence is ; because,
in dififerent circumstances, it is modified by diflferent prin-

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64 imrLECTiOiis^^BiBiira.

ciples of elooation. The most common fault in the ca-
dence of bad speakers, consists in dropping the voice too
uniformly to the same note* The next consists in drop*
ping it too mncb. The next, in dropping it too far firom
the end of the sentence, or beginning the cadence too
soon ; and another still consists in that feeble and indis-
tinot manner of closing sentences, which is common to
men unskilled in managing the voice. We should take
•care also to mark the diflference between that downward
turn of the voice which occurs at the falling slide in the
middle of a sentence, and that which occurs at the close.
The latter is made on a lower note, and if emphasis is
absent, witii less spirit than the former; As, '^This
heavenly benefactor claims, not the homage of our lips, but
of our heirU : and who can doubt that be is entitled to the
homage of our heitrts,^^ . Here the word hearts has the
same slide in the middle of the sentence as at the close*
Though it has a much lower note in the latter case than
in the former.

It must be observed too that the final pause does not
always require a cadence. When the strong emphasis
with the falling slide comes near the end of a sentence,
it turns the voice upward at the close ; as, ^* If we have
no regard to our otvn character, we ought to have some
regard to the character of others^^ " You were paid to
fight against Alexander, not to rdU at him." This is a
departure from a general rule of elocution ; but it is only
one case among many, in which emphasis asserts its su-
premacy over any other principle that interferes with its
claims. Indeed, any one who has given but little attention
to this point, would be surprised to observe accurately.

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how often sentences are closed, in conversation, without
any proper cadence ; the voice being carried to a high
note, on the last word^ sometimes with the falling, and
sometimes with the rising slide.


17] Rule XII. The circumflex occurs chiefly
where the language is either hypothetical or ironical.

The most common use of it is to express indefinitely
or conditionally some idea tliat is contrasted with another
idea expressed or understood, to which the falling slide
belongs ; thus ; — Hume said he would go twenty miles, 4o
hear Whltjield preach. The contrast suggested by the
circumflex here is ; though he would take no pains to.
hear a cdmmon preacher. You ask a physician concern*
ing your friend who is dangerously sick, and receive \his,
reply. — He is better. The circumflex denotes only i^
partial, doubtful amendment, and implies But he is still
dangerously sick. The same turn of voice occurs in the
following example, on the word importunity.

Thoagh he will not riseand give him, becapie he iti h\a,frUndf
yet because of hie impifrtHmity he will rise and give him as many
as he needeth.

This circumflex, when indistiiM^ coincides nearly with
the rising sKde ; when distinct j it denotes qualified af-
firmatiop instead of that which is positive as marked by
the falling slide^ This^biht suggests amMch more perfect
rule than tbatoC Walksr, by which to ascertain ibe proper
slide under the empbtttts. See Empihcttic Inifkcihn, pp.


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18] Accent is a stress laid on particular syllables,
to promote harmony and distinctness of articulation. The
syllable on which accent shall be placed, is determined
by custom ; and that without any regard to the meaning
of words, except in these few cases.

First, where the same word in form, has a different
sense, according to the seat of the accent. This may be
the case while the word continues to be the same part of
speech, as, des'ert, (a tvUdemess) desert', (merit) — to
conjtire, {to use magic) to conjure', {to entreat)* Or
the accent may distinguish between the same word used
as a noun or an adjective; as, com'pact, (an agreement)
compact, (close) — minute, (ofame) minute', (small). Or
it may distinguish the noun from from the verb, thus :


to tbfltraet'


to export'


to eompound'

' ex'tract

to extract'




to import'




to inoenae'



to inaalt'


to confine'


to object'


to eontraot'


to preaent'


to oontrast'


to project'




tor^bel' .




to torment'


to digest*



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The province of emphasis is so much more important
than diat of accent, that the customary seat of the latter is
tramqpo9e.d in any case where the claims of emphasb re-
quire It. This takes place chiefly in words which have
a partial sameness in form, but are contrasted in sense.


Ha mmt increafe, bat I mutt dicrttme.

This oorriiptible mutt put on ineorrapUon ; and this ifu^rtal mmt
put on Immortality.

What fellowahip hath rigkUovmntm with imrightoooaiiOM ?

Coniider well what yoa have ildno, and what yon have loft itn-

Ho that ibconded ia the aamo as ho that d^seondod.

Tho differonco in this oaso, is no loss than botwizt dictney and
iftdoeonoy ; botwizt nligion and irroligion.

In the jiitoibloness, or iraisoitableness, tho proportion or dUpro-
portion of the affeotion to tho object which excites it, consists the
propriety or Isiproprioty of tho consequent action.*

With those consideratbns respecting accent which
bebng especially to the grammarian, we have no con-
cern. As connected with articulation, the influence of
accent was briefly discussed, [2] page 28. As connect-
ed with inflection, an additional remark seems necessary
here. T%e accented eyUable of a word it always vtitred
with a LOUDER note than the rest. When the syllable has
the rising inflection^ the slide continues upward till the
word is finished; so that vihen several syllables of a word
follow the auenty they rise to a higher note than that
which is accented; and when the accented syllable is the

* In this last example, tho latter accented word in each of tho
couplets, perhaps would bo more exacUy marked with tho circmn-
flox; tho same case occurs often, as in p. 64, last paragraph.

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68 AOOtlfT.

lofi ifi a toordj it i$ al$0 tke kighesh But when tiie ae*
eent€d gf/Uable hms the filing slide^ it i9 dway ftrwtk
with a higher note than any c4her $yUabh in that word.
The reader may easily understand this remark by turning
to the example, page 50, at the bottom ; and then fraei-
ing for himself other examples, with an accent in the mid-
dle of a long word ; as,

Did ha dare to propose sach interrd^tories ?
Here the slide which begins on rog continues to rise on
the three following syllables; whereas in the question,
Will you go to-ddy ? the same slide terminates with the
syllables on wbiob it begins. But no example can be
framed with the faUing inflection, (the cadence only ex-
cepted,) in which the accented syllable, where the ^ide
begins, is not higher than any other syllable before, or af-)
ter it.* This remark furnishes another opportunity lo
correct the very common mistalke of those who think the
falling inflection to consist in a sudden dropping of the
voice, whereas it consists in sliding it down, and that from
a high note, whenever there is intensive stress.

* I dwell • little on the above dietinctioiiy because, ia my opin-
ion, Walker, and Ewinjjr after him, have stated it incorrectly.

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One elementary principle which has been more than
once suggested already, respecting management of the
voice, deserves to be repeated here, because of its direct
bearing on the subject of this chapter and the next.

No useful purpose can be answered by attempting to
establish any system of inflections in reading and speak-
ing, except so far as these inflections do actually accom-
pany, in good speakers, the spontaneous expression of
sentiment and emotion. We say, without any scruple,
that certain feelings of the speaker are commonly ex-
pressed with certain modifications of voice. These mod-
ifications we can describe in a manner not difficult ta be
understood. But here a serious obstacle meets us. The
pupil is told how emotion speaks in a given case, and then
be attempts to do the same thing without emotion. But
great as this difficulty is, it is not peculiar to any one
mode of instruction ; it attends every system of elocution
that can be devised. Take, for example, the standing
canon, be natural, which for ages has been thought the
only adequate direction in delivery. This maxim is just;
it is simple ; it is easily repeated by a teacher ; — but who
does not know that it has been repeated a thousand times
without any practical advantage .^^ What is it to be natwi
ral9 It is so to speak that the modifications of voice

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shall be such as feeliDg 'demands. But here is the same
obstacle as before ; — ^the pupil attempts to be natural in
speaking, and fails, just because he attempts to do what
feeling demands, without feeling. This intrinsic difficul-
ty accompanies every theory on this subject, even when
no perverted habits of voice are to be encountered, and
much more where such habits exist. The only remedy
to be relied on is that which I have briefly urged in an-
other place. The Teacher, who would give his pupik a
just emphasis and modulation, must unceasingly impress
on them the importance of entering with feeling into the
sentiments which they are to utter.

Emphasis is governed by the laws of sentiment, be-
ing inseparably associated with thought and emotion. It
is the most important principle, by which elocution is re-
lated to the operations of mind. Hence when it stands
opposed to the claims of custom or of harmony, these al-
ways give way to its supremacy. The accent which cus-
tom attaches to a word, emphasis may supersede ; as we
have seen under the foregoing article. Custom requires
a cadence at the final pause, but emphasis often turns the
voice upward at the end of a sentence ; as,

You were paid to fight againft Alexander, not to rdU at him.
See [16] p. 64. Harmony requires the voice to rise at the
pause before the cadence ; whereas emphasis sometimes
prescribes the falling slide at this pause, to enforce the
sense; as.

Better to reign in kiU^ than lenre in kiaven.

Now I presume that every one, who is at all accus-
tomed to accurate observation on this subject, must be

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sei^ble how very litde this grand principle is regarded in
forming our earliest habits of elocution; and therefore
bow hopeless are all eflbrts to correct what is wrong in
these habits, without a just knowledge of emphasis.

What then is emphasis ? Without staying to assign
reasons why I am dissatisGed with definitions heretofore
given by respectable writers, the following is offered as
more complete, in my opinion, than others which I have
seen. Empha$it is a distinctive utterance of words j tchieh
are especially significant^ toith such a degree and kind of
stress, as conveys their meaning in the best manner.

According to this definition, I would include the whole
subject under emphatic stress and emphatic inflection.

[19] Sect. I.— Emphatic Stress.

This consists chiefiy in the loudness of the note, but
includes also the time in which Important words are utter-
ed. Both these are commonly united ; but the latter,
since it will require some notice when I come to speak of
ra^e and emphatic pause, may be dismissed here, as to its
separate consideration, with a single remark. A good
reader or speaker, when he utters a word on which the
meaning of a sentence is suspended, spontaneously dwells
on that word, or gives it more time, according to the in-
tensity of its meaning. The significance and weight
which he thus attaches to words that are important, is a

Online LibraryEbenezer PorterAnalysis of the principles of rhetorical delivery as applied in reading and ... → online text (page 5 of 30)