Richard Green Parker.

Exercises in rhetorical reading : with a series of introductory lessons, particularly designed to familiarize readers with the pauses and other marks in general use, and lead them to the practice of modulation and inflection of the voice online

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Online LibraryRichard Green ParkerExercises in rhetorical reading : with a series of introductory lessons, particularly designed to familiarize readers with the pauses and other marks in general use, and lead them to the practice of modulation and inflection of the voice → online text (page 13 of 38)
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discern the form thereof : an image was before mine eyes, there
was silence, and I heard a voice, saying, Shall mortal man be
more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his Maker?

The monotone may with good effect be introduced in many of the sen-
tences contained in the previous pages of this book, especially in Numbers 614
and 615, page 101. As it is the design of the author, in these pages, to furnish
lessons * rather than exercises, in reading, the extracts already introduced
will be sufficient to impress the principle contained in this lesson.



The word AwALYSisf means the separation of the parts of which a thing
is composed.

Every sentence, whether it be a long or a short one, contains one prominent
idea, which, by a proper nmnagement of the voice, must be brought out into
clear and distinct notice. It sometimes happens, especially in very long sen-
tences, that the prominent idea is interrupted or obscured by parentheses,
descriptions, explanatory remarks, or other expressions, which render it diffi-
cult for the reader to distinguish the most important part, and give it that
prominence which it deserves. Herein lies the greatest difficulty in the art
of reading. No rule can be given to aid the pupil in the discovery of the prom-
inent ideas in his reading lessons. He must here be left to study and reflec-
tion. The information, however, that there are such prominent ideas in com-
plex sentences, will lead him to endeavor to discover them ; and the practice
which he has had in the use of emphasis, slur, expression, and other princi-
ples contained in the preceding lessons, will enable him to apply himself to the
study of such sentences, with the hope of distinguishing the parts which should
be brought into strong light, from those which require to be thrown into the
shade. To aid him in the study, a few examples are here introduced.

The rivulet sends forth glad sounds, and tripping o'er its
bed of pebbly sands, or leaping down the rocks, seems with
continuous laughter to rejoice in its own being.

* See preface, p. 5. + See Parker's Exercises in English Composition, p. 23.


in this sentence, one principal idea is expressed, namely, that the
rivulet seiids forth glad soujids, and .frems to rejoice in its oicn being.
This idea must therefore be brought out prominently ; while the ex-
pressions tripping o'er its bed oj pebbly sards, and leaping dawn ihe
rocks, are merely descriptions of the appeara.xe of the river, and need
not be so emphatically marked. The same remark must be made
with regard to the expression with continuous laughter, which is only
an explanation of the manner in which it rejoices. These expressions
may be slightly slurred.*

In reading the sentence, therefore, he will express it as follows, pro-
nouncing the parts in Italic letters with less emphatic force than tiie
prominent idea.

The rivulet sends forth glad sounds, and tripping o'er its
bed of pebbly sands, or leaping down the rocks, seems with
continuous laughter to rejoice in its own being, t

In the following sentences, all the parts, except the prominent ideas,
are printed in luJic letters. The pupil will read them as directed

In order that the pupil may clearly distinguish the prominent parts,
he may first read them with the omission of the parts in Italic letters,
and afterwards read the whole of each sentence as it stands

There was a delicious sensation of mingled security and
awe, with which I looked Aown from my giddy height on the
monsters of the deep at their uncouth gambols. Shoals of
porpoises tumbling about the bows of the ship ; the granjpus
slowly heaving his huge form above the surface; or the rave-
nous shark, darting like a spectre through the blue waters.


The devout heuit, penetrated with large and affecting views
of the immensity of the works of God, the harmony of his
laws, and the extent of his beneficence, bursts into loud and
vocal expressions of praise and adoration; nnd from a full
and overflowing sensibility, seeks to expand itself to the ut-
most limits of creation.

In the following sentence, the pupil may read, first, that only which
is in capital letters; then all but the Italic; and, thirdly, the wholtj

* See Lesson 34.

t This senlence occurs on the 115th page, where it is differently marked. It
is here used for illustration only. Some readers may prefer one mclho'!, and
some another ; for there are probably few who would read any passage in
exactly the same manner.




sentence. He will thus distinguish the various parts of a complex

CAN HE, who, not satisfied with the wide range of ani-
mated existence, calls for the sympathy of the inanimate crea-
tion, REFUSE TO WORSHIP with his fellow-men?

It may here be remarked, that the most prominent part sometimes
consists of a single word, or perhaps of several words, which cannot
be separated from the connexion in which they stand, as in the fol
lowing example : —

Oh, days of ancient GRANDEUR! are ye GONE? For-
ever GONE ? Do these same scenes behold his OFF-
SPRING here the HIRELING of a FOE? Oh that I
KNEW my FATE! that I could READ the destiny that
Heaven has marked for me !

WHENCE, and WHAT art thou, EXECRABLE shape'
That dar'st, though grim and terrible, advance
Thy miscreated front athwart my way

To yonder gates? THROUGH THEM I mean to PASS ,
That be assured, without leave asked of thee :
RETIRE, or taste thy FOLLY ; and learn by PROOF,
Hell-born ! not to contend with spirits of HEAVEN !

What means this SHOUTING? I do fear, the people
Choose Caesar for their KING.
Ay, do you FEAR it?

Then must I think you WOULD NOT HAVE it so.
I would NOT, Cassius; yet I LOVE him well.

And thus, in silent waiting, stood
The piles of stone, and piles of wood;
Till DEATH — who, in his vast affairs,
Ne'er puts things off, as men in theirs;
And thus, if I the truth must tell.
Does his work finally and well —
WINKED at our hero as he past,
*' Your house is finished, sir, at last;


A narrower house — a house of clay —
Your palace for another day ! "

In the analysis of a sentence, with the view to read it correctly,
there are generally three things to be considered by the pupil ; name-
ly : First, IVhat are the nwst prominent parts, ur those which require
emphasis — Secondly, IVhat parts are merely explanatory, and caase-
quently are to he slurred or thrown into shade — Thirdly, What parts,
separated by explanatory, descriptive, or other circumstances, are inti'
mutely connected with each other, and must have their intimate connex-
ion expressed by strong emphasis, or by slurring the parts which scp-
arate them.

The pupil may analyze the followinff sentences ; that is to say, he
may mark and read those parts or words only which are most prom-
inent, and require strong emphasis. He may then mention what parts
are merely explanatory, ike. And then he may point out those parts
which, though distant from the eye, are closely connected in sense.
Lastly, he may read each sentence as it stands, endeavoring to manage
the emphasis, slur, and expression, in the manner in which he has
heretofore been directed.*

How reverend is the face of this tall pile,
Whose ancient pillars rear their marble heads,
To bear aloft its arch'd t and ponderous roof,
By its own weight made stendfast and immovable.
Looking tranquillity ! It strikes an awe
And terror on my aching sight : the tombs
And monumental caves of death look cold.
And shoot a chillness to my trembling heart.


Winter! ruler of the inverted year '

Thy scattered hair with sleet, like ashes, filled,
Thy breath congealed upon thy lips, thy cheeks
Fringed with a beard made white with other snows
Than those of age, thy forehead wrapt in clouds,
A leafless branch thy sceptre, and thy throne
A sliding car, indebted to no wheels.
But urged by storms along its slippery way,

1 love thee, all unlovely as thou seem'st,t
And dreaded as thou art.

* II is rerominended that the pupil be required to write a few of these sen-
tences in the manner directed above, underscoring with a single line such
parts as are to be in Italic letters, willi a double line such as should be in small
capitals, and with three lines such as should be in large capitals. See Parker
and Fox's Grammar, Part III., page 39.

t The pupil will ol\en notice in poetry such abbreviations as these, where
the apostrophe shows that some letter is left out. [See Lesson 20, page 63.]




Slaves cannot breathe in England; if their lungs
Receive our air, that moment they are free :
They touch our country, and their shackles fall.
That's noble, and bespeaks a nation proud
And jealous of the blessing. Spread it then,
And let it circulate through every vein
Of all your empire ; that where Britain's power
Is felt, mankind may feel her mercy too.

Trifles, light as air,
Are, to the jealous, confirmations strong
As proofs of holy writ.

Dangerous conceits are, in their natures, poisons,
Which, at the first, are scarce found to distaste.
But, with a little act upon the blood.
Burn like the mines of sulphur.

I come no more to make you laugh; things noWf
That bear a weighty and a serious brow,
Sad, high, and working, full of state and woe.
Such noble scenes, as draw the eye to flow.
We now present. Those, that can pity, here
May, if they think it well, let fall a tear ;
The subject will deserve it.


Thou hast it now. King, Cawdor, Glamis, all.
As the weird women promised ; and I fear.
Thou play'dst most foully for it : yet it was said.
It should not stand in thy posterity ;
But that myself should be the root and fiither
Of many kings. If there come truth from them,
(As upon thee, Macbeth, their speeches shine,)
Why, by the verities made good.
May they not be my oracles as well.
And set me up in hope ]

Thus arch'd for arched, slipp'nj for slippery, seem'st for scemest. These ab-
breviations are generally made for ihe purpose of shortening the word, and
thereby preserving the measure of tlie verse. But they are very seldom allowed
in prose. See Parker and Fox's Grammar, Part III., No. 207, &c.


Lochiel, Lochiel, beware of the day,
For dark and despairing, my sight I may seal,
But man cannot cover what God would reveal.
'Tis the sunset of life gives me mystical lore,
And coming events cast their shadows before.
I tell thee, CuHoden's* dread echoes shall ring
With the blood-hounds that bark for thy fugitive king.

Lo ! anointed by Heaven with the vials of wrath,
Behold, where he flies on his desolate path !
Now in darkness and billows he sweeps from my sight :
Rise ! rise ! ye wild tempests, and cover his flight !
'Tis finished. Their thunders are hushed on the moors,
Culloden is lost, and mv country deplores.

Impose upon me whatever hardships you please ; give me
nothing but the bread of sorrow to eat; take from me the
friends in whom I had placed my confidence; lay me in the
cold hut of poverty, and on the thorny bed of disease; set
death before me in all its terrors; do all this, — only let me
trust in my Savior, and I will fear no evil, — I will rise supe-
rior to affliction, — I will rejoice in my tribulation.

The Highlands of Scotland are a picturesque, but in gen-
eral a melancholy, country. Long tracts of mountainous
desert covered with dark heath, and often obscured by misty
weather ; narrow valleys, thinly inhabited, and bounded by
precipices resounding with the fall of torrents ; a soil so
rugged, and a clime so dreary, as in many parts to admit
neither the amusements of pasturage, nor the labors of agri-
culture; the mournful dashing of waves along the friths and
lakes that intersect the country; the portentous noises which
every change of the wind, and every increase and diminution
of the waters, is apt to raise in a lonely region, full of echoes,
and rocks, and caverns; the grotesque and ghastly appear-
ance of such a landscape by the light of the moon; objects
like these diffuse a gloom over the fancy, which may be

* Pronounced Cullod'en's.



compatible enough with occasional and social merriment,
but cannot fail to tincture the thoughts even of an ordinary
native in the hour of silence and solitude.


To be — or not to be — that is the question —

Whether 'tis nobler in the mind, to suffer

The stings and arrows of outrageous fortune ;

Or to take arms against assail t of troubles,

And, by opposing, end them? — To die, — to sleep, —

No more ; and, by a sleep, to say we end

The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks

That flesh is heir to, — 'tis a consummation

Devoutly to be wished.


To die ; — to sleep ; —
To sleep ! perchance to dream ; — ay, there's the rub ;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause : There's the respect.
That makes calamity of so long life:
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time.
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely.
The pangs of despised | love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear.
To grunt and sweat under a weary life;
But that the dread of something after death, —
The undiscovered country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns, — puzzles the will;
And makes us rather bear those ills we have.
Than fly to others that we know not of?

* In reading- this extract, the pupil must recall to mind the remarks made on
the 69lh pag-e, relating to accent.

t In most of the eJitions of Shakspeare we read, " to take arms ag-ainst a
sea of troubles ; " but this expression is a manifest violation of all rhetorical
rule. [See Progressive Exercises in English Composition, Lesson 25, p. 49.]
The improved reading in this passage is taken from Steele's " Prosodia Ra
tionalis," a work already referred to m a preceding note.

i See note to No. 761.


Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought;
And enterprises of great j)ith and moment,
With this regard, their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.



Under the head of accented forcc^ Mr. Walker, in his
Rhetorical Grammar, has noticed the peculiar manner in
which words, or parts of different words, are sometimes
blended, so as to appear in pronunciation like a single word.
Thus the sentence, *' Censure is the tax a man pays to the
public for being eminent," when it is read with a proper
regard to the measure of speech, accent, emphasis, &.C., will
appear as if it were written thus : —


Censure isthetax amanpays tothepublic


It will be needless to insert any extracts for the exercise
of the pupil in this principle. The teacher will select from
any part of the book such sentences for him to read as will
enable him readily to perceive the difference between ac-
cented words and accented syllables.

It may here be remarked, that most kinds of reading are included in
the three terms Nakrative, Dkscriptive, and Expressive ; each
of which is respectively characterized by its appropriate degree of ac-
cented force ; and it is proper that the pupil, in studying a reading
lesson, should endeavor to discern under which head his lesson is in-
cluded, in order to adapt his style of reading to the character of the



piece. On this subject much has been said in the previous lessons of this
book. It remains for the pupil, who has gone through these les.sons in
course, to endeavor to ap])ly the instructions given him, in all the various
kinds of reading in which he may be exercised. If he has a correct ear,
he will not fail to observe that both the rising and falling inflections of the
voice admit of different degrees. These are technically described in Dr.
Barber's Grammar of Elocution, and more fully developed in the respec-
tive works of Dr. Rush and Mr. Steele, to which reference has already
been made. The subject is also particularly noticed in Walker's Rhetor-
ical Grammar. In these exercises, it is deemed inexpedient to present any
intricate views of the subject ; but, after the statement of a principle, to
leave the pupil to the guidance of Nature. [See preface and title-page.]



The voice, like all the other faculties of the body or the mind, is
susceptible of great improvement; and under proper management,
one that is naturally feeble may be rendered more effective than an-
other, which is endowed with great strength. The two most important
requisites in a good voice are clearness and strength. In the
twenty-fiflh lesson of this book, some exercises are presented with the
design to accustom the pupil to distinct artfculation. If he has passed
over that lesson with little attention, he is advised to return to it;
and, by persevering practice, acquire a facility in the pronunciation of
those sounds which are represented by the combination of the con-
sonsmts alone. In connexion with this exercise, he is advised to
practise the vowel sounds, in the manner which shall presently be
pointed out.

The Sounds of the Vowels are as follows :■

a as heard in the word fate
















as heard in the word











The Sounds of the Consonants are as follows : —


as in




as in




n n




t( (<




(( u




{( ((









(( <(



(( ((



(( ((




(( u




(( «




(( ((



« ((




(( ((




t( u




(( it



(( «






u u



n u



(I u




U ((



(( c<



These sounds of the vowels and consonants should be uttered in
various ways.

Ist. Let the pupil practise what is called exploding* them ; that is,
let him pronounce each of them in a quick, sudden manner, like the
report of a pistol.

2d. Let him prolong the same sounds, with care, to preserve their

3d. Let him practise both the abrupt and the prolonged sounds of
each, in conjunction with the consonants, and the combination of the
consonants presented in Lesson 25.

4th. Let him practise all the above-mentioned sounds, in each of the

* " This practice," says Dr. Barber, " will be found a more effectual method
than any other of obtaining a strong and powerful voice — of strengthening
such voices as are feeble, and of giving fulness and strength of tone to all in
proportion to their natural capacities.' IJe adds, immediately after, "The
student has not obtained that use of his voice which it is the object of diis
table to teach him, until every sound it contains can be uttered with the sud-
denness of the report of fire-arms, without any apparent eflbrt preceding the
explosion, with a very high degree of percussive force, antl with strength and
fulness of tone." Again, he says ui another place, " We know that persons
with feeble voices have been rendered capable of speaking forcibly and im-
pressively in public, by a perscverajice in the practice here recommended."
— Gram, of EloctUion, p. 30. — Dr. Barber's work cannot be too highly recom-
mended to all who would pursue this subject scientifically. In this lesson the
author has departed in some respects from the arrangement of the vowel
sounds, as presented in the tables of Dr. Barber, and adopted thai which is
contained in the spelling books commonly used. These lessons are designed
principally as an introduction to the subject, and not as a full treatise. They
who have leisure for a more extended view, are referred to Dr. Barber's
Grammar, and to the very able, scientific, an<l more voluminous work to
which reference has been already made — Dr. Rush on " The Philosophy of the
Human Voice." Mr. Steele's work, entitled " Prosodia Rationalis," is like-
wise well worthy the attention of those who would acquire a thorough knowl-
edge of the fKjwers and peculiarities of the human voice.


different pitches or keys of the voice, mentioned in Lesson 27, p. 95 ;
and likewise in a whisper. *

Among the consonants there are two which require particular atten-
tion, namely, I and r ; and if there are any letters, the correct and dis-
tinct articulation of which distinguish a good from a bad pronuncia-
tion, they are these two.

It is recommended that the pupil be thoroughly exercised in the
pronunciation of words which contain these letters, especially the r.
This letter has two sounds, called the smooth and the vibrant. The
vibrant r is pronounced by what is frequently called rolling the tongue.
This sound, when properly made, is one which is highly pleasing to
the ear ; but when too much prolonged, it becomes harsh and offensive,
and is suited only for a rough or energetic utterance. Dr. Rush says
that it " will be agreeable when it consists of one, or at most two or
three strokes and rebounds of the tongue."

The smooth r is that sound which is heard in the words bard, card,
hard. In such words it savors of affectation or provincialism to sub-
stitute the vibrant r


The lordly lion leaves his lonely lair.

He was long, lean, and lank, and laughed loudly.

How sweetly slow the liquid lay
In holy hallelujahs rose!

Let lords and ladies laugh and sing

As loudly and as light;
We beggars, too, can dance, and fling

Dull care a distant flight.

Ruin seize thee, ruthless king.

* The importance of clear and distinct utterance will be seen by the follow-
ing sentences, in wliich the meaning- depends upon it :

That lasts till night.

That last still nig-ht.
Who ever imagined such a notion to exist ?
Who ever imagined such an oceeui to exist '



Around the hearth the crackling fagots blaze.

Approach thou like the rugged Russian bear,
The armed rhinoceros, the Hyrcan tiger.

The master current of her mind
Ran permanent and free.

Round rugged rocks, rude ragged rascals ran.
Lean liquid lays like lightly lulling lakes.

Atwr the pupil has sufficiently practised the utterance of the various
sounds of vowels and consonants, both separately and in combination,
it is recommended that he daily exercise himself in reading or speak
ing with all his powers of loudness and force. This habit will coa
tribute much to the acquisition of strength of voice. But above all,
let him remember that distinctness of articulation is ol the utmost im-
portance in utterance ; and that a weak voice with this quality can
be heard and understood at a much greater distance than a strong one
without it.

Again ; the pupil will find much benefit in the practice of swelling
and diminishing the power of his voice. For this purpose, let him be-
gin a long sentence softly, slowly, and in a low tone, and gradually
swell his voice in pitch, power, and rapidity, till he has attained the
utmost extent of those qualities of which it is susceptible ; and then
let it descend and fade away by degrees, till it becomes almost imper-

And, lastly, reading with rapidity (simply as an exercise of the voice)
will contribute much to the ease and power of utterance. But the
pupil must never allow his words to pass from his mouth indistinctly.
How rapidly soever he may read, as an exercise, he must be careful
to give each syllable and each letter its distinct appropriate sound.

To these directions for the improvement of the voice may be added
-the caution to open the mouth, when speaking, in such a manner as to
afford an easy passage for the sound. Many persons have contracted

Online LibraryRichard Green ParkerExercises in rhetorical reading : with a series of introductory lessons, particularly designed to familiarize readers with the pauses and other marks in general use, and lead them to the practice of modulation and inflection of the voice → online text (page 13 of 38)