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

. (page 3 of 38)
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 3 of 38)
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the management of the breath requires a good deal of care, so as not to
oblige us to divide words from one another, which have so intimate a
connexion that they ought to be pronounced with the same breath, and
without the least separation. Many a sentence is miserably mangled,
and the force of the emphasis totally lost, by divisions being made in the
wrong place. To avoid this, every one, while he is reading, should be
very careful to provide a full supply of breath for what he is to utter.
It is a great mistake to imagine that the breath must be drawn only at
the end of a period, when the voice is allowed to fall. It may easily be
gathered at the intervals of the period, when the voice is suspended only
for a moment ; and, by this management, one may always have a suffi-
cient stock for carrying on the longest sentence, without improper inter-

" Pauses in reading must generally be formed upon the manner in
which we utter ourselves in ordinary, sensible conversation, and not
upon the stiff, artificial manner which is acquired from reading books



according to the common punctuation. It will by no means be sufficient
to attend to the points used in printing, for these are far from marking
all the pauses which ought to be made in reading. A mechanical atten-
tion to these resting places has perhaps been one cause of monotony, by
leading the reader to a similar tone at every stop, and a uniform cadence
at every period. The primary use of points is to assist the reader in
discerning the grammatical construction ; and it is only as a secondary
object that they regulate his pronunciation. On this head the following
direction may be of use : ' Though in reading great attention should be
paid to the stops, yet a greater should be given to the sense, and their
correspondent times occasionally lengthened beyond what is usual in
common speech.'

" To render pauses pleasing and expressive, they must not only be
made in the right place, but also accompanied with a proper tone of
voice, by which the nature of these pauses is intimated ; much more
than by the length of them, which can seldom be exactly measured.
Sometimes it is only a slight and simple suspension of voice that is
proper ; sometimes a degree of cadence in the voice is required ; and
sometimes that peculiar tone and cadence which denote the sentence to
be finished. In all these cases, we are to regulate ourselves by attend-
ing to the manner in which nature teaches us to speak when engaged in
real and earnest discourse with others. The following sentence exem-
plifies the suspending and the closing pauses : ' Hope, the balm of life,
soothes us under every misfortune.' The first and second pauses are
accompanied by an inflection of voice, that gives the hearer an expecta-
tion of something further to complete the sense ; the inflection attending
the third pause signifies that the sense is completed.

" The preceding example is an illustration of the suspending pause, in
its simple state : the following instance exhibits that pause with a degree
of cadence in the voice ; ' If content cannot remove the disquietudes of
mankind, it will at least alleviate them.'

" The suspending pause is often, in the same sentence, attended with
both the rising and the falling inflection of voice ; as will be seen in this
example: 'Moderate exercise^ and habitual temperance', strengthen
the constitution.' *

" As the suspending pause may be thus attended with both the rising
and the falling inflection, it is the same with regard to the closing pause :
it admits of both. The falling inflection generally accompanies it ; but
it is not unfrequently connected with the rising inflection. Interrogative
sentences, for instance, are often terminated in this manner : as, ' Am I
ungrateful' ? ' ' Is he in earnest' ? '

" But where a sentence is begun by an interrogative pronoun or ad-
verb, it is commonly terminated by the falling inflection : as, ' What has
he gained by his folly' ? ' * Who will assist him'? ' ' Where is the mes-
senger' ? ' * When did he arrive' ? '

" When two questions are united in one sentence, and connected by
the conjunction or, the first takes the rising, the second the falling in-
flection : as, ' Does his conduct support discipline' or destroy it'? '

"The rising and falling inflections must not be confounded with
emphasis. Though they may often coincide, they are, in their nature,
perfectly distinct. Emphasis sometimes controls those inflections.

" The regular application of the rising and falling inflections confers

The rising Inflection is denoted by the acute, the falling by the gnre, accent.


so much beauty on expression, and is so necessary to be studied by
the young reader, that we shall insert a few more examples, to induce
him to pay greater attention to the subject. In these instances, all
the inflections are not marked. Such only are distinguished as are
most striking, and will best serve to show the reader their utility and

" ' Manufactures^ trade\ and agriculture', certainly employ more than
nineteen parts in twenty of the human species.'

" ' He who resigns the world has no temptation to envy', hatred\
malice^ anger'; but is in constant possession of a serene mind: he
who follows the pleasures of it, which are in their very nature dis-
appointing, is in constant search of care\ solicitude', remorse', and con-

" ' To advise the ignorant^ relieve the needy\, comfort the afflicted',
are duties that fall in our way almost every day of our lives.'

" ' Those evil spirits, who, by long custom, have contracted in the body
habits of lust' and sensuaUty^; malice' and revenge""; an aversion to
everything that is good\ just^ and laudable', are naturally seasoned and
prepared for pain and misery.'

"'I am persuaded, that neither death*'^:»«r^ life^ ; nor angels', nor
principalities', nor powers^ ; nor things present', iaor things to come^ ; nor
height', nor depth^ ; nor any other creature', shall bp. ai)le to separate us
from the love of Grod\'

" The reader who would wish to see a minute ai^ ingenious investi-
gation of the nature of these inflections, and the rules by which they
are governed, may consult Walker's Elements of Elocution.


" When we are reading verse, there is a peculiar difficulty in making
the pauses justly. The difficulty arises from the melody of verse, which
dictates to the ear pauses or rests of its own ; and to adjust and com-
pound these properly with the pauses of the sense, so as neither to hurt
the ear nor ofiend the understanding, is so very nice a matter, that it is
no wonder we so seldom meet with good readers of poetry. There are
two kinds of pauses that belong to the melody of verse : one is the pause
at th€ end of the line ; and the other, the caesural pause in or near the
middle of it. With regard to the pause at the end of the line, which
marks that strain or verse to be finished, rhyme renders this always sen-
sible, and in some measure compels us to observe it in our pronuncia-
tion. In respect to blank verse, we ought also to read it so as to make
every line sensible to the ear ; for, what is the use of melody, or for what
end has the poet composed in verse, if, in reading his lines, we suppress
his numbers, by omitting the final pause ; and degrade them, by our
pronunciation, into mere prose ? At the same time that we attend to
this pause, every appearance of sing-song and tone must be carefully
guarded against. The close of the line, where it makes no pause in
the meaning, ought not to be marked by such a tone as is used in
finishing a sentence ; but, without either fall or elevation of the voice,
it should be denoted only by so slight a suspension of sound as may
distinguish the passage from one line to another, without injuring the

'< The other kind of melodious pause is that which falls somewhere
about the middle of the verse, and divides it into two hemistichs ; a
pause not so great as that which belongs to the close of the line, but


Still sensible to an ordinary ear. This, which is called the caesural
pause, may fall, in English heroic verse, after the fourth, fifth, sixth, or
seventh, syllable in the line. Where the verse is so constructed that
this caesural pause coincides with the slightest pause or division in the
sense, the line can be read easily ; as in the two first verses of Pope's
Messiah :

' Ye nymphs of Solyma^ ! begin the song ;
To heavenly ihemes^^ sublimer strains belong.'

But if it should happen that words which have so strict and intimate a
connexion as not to bear even a momentary separation are divided from
one another by this cajsural pause, we then feel a sort of struggle between
the sense and the sound, which renders it difficult to read such lines
harmoniously. The rule of proper pronunciation in such cases is, to
regard only the pause which the sense forms, and to read the line
accordingly. The neglect of the caesural pause may make the line
sound somewhat unharmoniously ; but the effect would be much worse,
if the sense were sacrificed to the sound. For instance, in the following
lines of Milton,

What in me is dark,

Illumine ; what is low, raise and support,'

the sense clearly dictates the pause after illumine, at the end of the third
syllable, which, in reading, ought to be made accordingly ; though, if
the melody only were to be regarded, illumine should be connected with
what follows, and the pause not made till the fourth or sixth syllable.
So m the following line of Pope's Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot,

' I sit, with sad civility I read,'

the ear plainly points out the cajsural pause as falling after sad, the fourth
syllable. But it would be very bad reading to make any pause thiere,
so as to separate sad and civility. The sense admits of no other pause
than after the second syllable, sit, which therefore must be the only pause
made in reading this part of the sentence.

" There is another mode of dividing some verses, by introducing what
may be called demi-caesuras, which require very slight pauses; and
which the reader should manage with judgment, or he will be apt to fall
into an afiected, sing-song mode of pronouncing verses of this kind. The
following lines exemplify the demi-csesura.

* Warms' in the sun", refreshes' in ihe breeze,
Glows' in ihe stars", and blossoms' in the trees :
Lives' through all life"; extends through all extent,
Spreads' undivided", operates' unspent.'

«' Before the conclusion of this introduction, the compiler takes the
liberty to recommend to teachers to exercise their pupils in discovering
and explaining the emphatic words, and the proper tones and pauses,
of every portion assigned them to read, previously to their being called
out to the performance. These preparatory lessons, in which they should
be regularly examined, will improve their judgment and taste, prevent
the practice of reading without attention to the subject, and establish a
habit of readily discovering the meaning, force, and beauty, of every
sentence they peruse."


To the directions of Mr. Murray which have now been recited, the
author of this work has little to add, except the suggestions which are
given in the respective lessons which follow. One direction more, how
ever, he will add, which is partly expressed in borrowed language •

" Learn to speak slow ; all other graces
Will follow in their proper places ;"
And while thus slowly onward you proceed,
Study the meaning of whate'er you read.



The Period is a round dot or mark like this •

2. The period is generally placed after the last word in a

3. When you come to a period, you must stop, as if you
had nothing more to read.

4. You must pronounce the word which is immediately
before a period, with the falling inflection of the voice.

5. But you do not know what I mean by the falling in-
flection of the voice.

6. I am now going to tell you.

7. Listen attentively to what I am going to say.

8. Charles has bought a new hat.

9. That sentence was read with the falling inflection of
the voice.

10. 1 am going to tell you in the next lesson what I mean
by the rising inflection of the voice.

11. Look in the next lesson, and find the eighth sentence,
which you have just read.

12. Tell me whether you would read it in the same man-
ner in the second lesson.


i26 ' nfT^0{«rcTORY lessons.



The Interrogation Pointy or Question^ is a mark like
this ?

The interrogation pointy or question^ shows that a
question is asked, and is generally read with the rising
inflection of the voice,


13. Has Charles bought a new hat?

14. Did you say that Charles has bought a new hat?

15. Did you read the thirteenth sentence in the same
manner that you read the eighth ?

16. Do you know what I mean by the rising inflection of
the voice ?

17. Do you know now how to read a sentence with the
faiiing inflection of the voice?

18. Shall I tell you again? Will you listen attentively?

19. Are the little marks after the sentences in the first
lesson, like those at the end of the sentences in this lesson?

20. Do you know that you have read all the sentences in
this lesson with the rising inflection of the voice?

21. Will you look at the following sentences, and read
those which are marked D, with the falling inflection of the
voice, and those which are marked Q,, with the rising in-
flection of the voice?

22. D. John has arrived.

23. d. Has .John arrived?

24. D. My father is very well.

25. Q,. Is your mother well ?

26. D, Mary has lost her book.

27. Q,. Has Caroline found her work-box ?

28. D. They who have not read these sentences well
must read them over again.

29. Q. May they who have read them well proceed to
the next lesson?

30. D. As soon as they understand what they have read,
1 shall give them a new lesson.

31. Q,. Will they all be as easy as this?


32. D. That will depend upon yourself more than
on me.

33. Q,. Does the D in the above sentences stand for a

34. D. Yes. I think, also, that the Q, stands for a


Sometimes the sentence which ends with an interrogation
pointy should he read with the falling inflection of the voice


35. What o'clock is it 1

36. How do you do to-day ?

37. What have you in your hand ?

38. Where have you been ?

39. When did your father return home?

40. How did you hear that story?

41. How much did he give for his book?

42. Whose hat is that in the entry ?

43. What did you see in the street?

44. How high is the steeple of St. Paul's Church 1

45. Where does that man live?

46. Which of those books do you prefer ? ^

47. Who is that at the other end of the room ?

48. Whither is that bird flying?

49. Why did you leave your place just now?

50. Wherefore do you not try to read correctly ?


Sometimes the first part of a sentence ending ivith an
%^terrogation point, must he read with the rising inflection
of the voice, and the last part with the falling inflection.
The parts of the sentence are separated hy a mark like
this ( , ) called a comma. At the comma the rising infleC'


Hon must be used, and at the interrogation point the falling


51. Shall I give you a peach, or an apple?

52. Would you rather have a kite, or a football?

53. Is that John, or Charles 1

54. Are you going home, or into the school-house ?

55. Will you go now, or will you stay a little longer 1

56. Is that a Grammar, or a Geography 1

57. Do you expect to ride, or to walk 1

58. Does your father intend to build his new house in
the city, or in the country ?

59. Shall we now attend to our reading lessons, or to our
lessons in spelling 1

60. Did you go to church on the last Sabbath, or did you
stay at home 1


Sometimes the first part of a sentence ending with a
note of interrogation, must be read with the falling infec-
tion of the voice, and the last part with the rising inflec-


61. Where have you been to-day? At home ?

62. Whose books are those on the floor ? Do they be-
long to John ?

63. Whither shall I go ? Shall I return home ?

64. What is that on the top of the house ? Is it a bird ?

65. What are you doing with your book 1 Are you tear-
ing out the leaves ?

66. Whom shall I send? Will John go willingly ?

67. When shall I bring you those books ? Would you
like to have them to-day ?

68. Who told you to return ? Did your father ?

69. How much did you pay for that book ? More than
three shillings ?

70. How old shall you be on your next birthday?
Eleven ?


71. Why did you not arrive sooner ? Were you neces-
sarily detained ?

72. How often shall my brother sin against me, and I for-
give him ? Till seven times ?

73. But what excuse can the Englishman plead ? The
custom of duelling?

74. What concern they 1 The general cause ?

75. How many lessons are there in this book 1 Are there
more than twenty-five ?


In this lesson some of the sentences are questions requir-
ing the rising, and some the falling, inflection of the voice.
AfeiD sentences also ending with a period are inserted.
No directions are given to the pupil with regard to the
manner of reading them, it being desirable that his own
understanding, under the guidance of nature alone, should
direct him. JBut it may be observed that questions which
can be answered by yes, or no, generally require the rising
inflection of the voice ; and that questions which cannot be
answered by yes, or no, generally require the falling in-


76. John, where have you been this morning ?

77. Have you seen my father to-day.

78. That is a beautiful top.

79. Where did you get it ?

80. I bought it at the toy-shop.

81. What did you give for it 1

82. I gave a shilling for it.

83. What excuse have you for coming late this morning?
Did you not know that it is past the school hour ?

84. If you are so inattentive to your lessons, do you think
that you shall make much improvement ?

85. Will you go, or stay? Will you ride, or walk ?
8(3, Will you go to-day, or to-morrow ?

87. Did he resemble his father, or his mother ?

88. Is this book yours, or mine ?

89. Do you hold the watch to-night ? We do, sii .




90. Did you say that he was armed ? He was armed.

91. Did you not speak to it ? I did.

92. Art thou he that should come, or must we expect
another person ?

93. Why are you so silent ? Have you nothing to say ?

94. Who hath believed our report ? To whom hath the
arm of the Lord been revealed ?



The Exclamation Point is a mark like this !

The exclamation point is placed at the end of sentences
which express surprise, astonishment, wonder, or admiration,
and other strong feelings ; and such sentences are generally
read with the falling inflection of the voice.


95. How cold it is to-day !

96. What a beautiful top that is !

97. How mysterious are the ways of Providence !

98. How noisy those boys are in the street !

99. What a simple fellow he is to spend his money so
uselessly !

100. Poor fellow, he does not know what to do with

101. What a fine morning it is ! How brightly the sun
shines ! How verdant is the landscape ! How sweetly the
birds sing !

102. Look here! See what a handsome doll my mother
has just given me !

103. Good Heaven ! What an eventful life was hers !

104. Good friends! sweet friends! let me not stir you
up to such a sudden flood of mutiny !

105. Oh, what a fall was there, my countrymen !

106. Oh disgrace upon manhood ! It is strange ! It is
dreadful !

107. Alas, poor country, almost afraid to kno»v itself!


108. Oh glory ! glory ! mighty one on earth 1 How just-
ly imaged in this waterfall !

109. Tremendous torrent ! for an instant hush the terrors
of thy voice !

110. Ah, terribly the hoarse and rapid whirlpools rage
there !

111. Oh! deep enchanting prelude to repose! The dawn
of bliss, the twilight of our woes !

112. Daughter of Faith, awake ! arise ! illume the dread
unknown, the chaos of the tomb !

113. It is a dread and awful thing to die !

114. Lovely art thou, oh' Peace ! and lovely are thy chil-
dren, and lovely are the prints of thy footsteps in the green
valleys 1

115. Why, here comes my father ! How quickly he has
returned 1 Oh how glad I am to see him I



The pupil was taught, in the first lesson, (see No. 3,) that lohen he
comes to a period, he must stop, as if he had nothing more to read. At
the end of a paragraph, whether the period or any other mark be used,
a longer pause should be made than at the end of an ordinary sentence.
The interrogation and the exclamation points generally require pauses
of the same length with the period.

It may here be remarked, that good readers always make their
PAUSES LONG ; but ivfialever be the length of the pause, t lie pupil must be
careful that every pause which he makes shall be a total cessation of



116. George is a good boy. He gets his lesson well. He
is attentive to the instructions of his teacher. He is orderly
and quiet at home.

117. A good scholar is known by his obedience to the
rules of the school. He obeys the directions of his teacher.
His attendance at the proper time of school is always punc-


tual. He is remarkable for his diligence and attention. He
reads no other book than that which he is desired to read by
his master. He studies no lessons but those which are ap-
pointed for the day. He takes no toys from his pocket to
amuse himself or others. He pays no regard to those who
attempt to divert his attention from his book.

118. Do you know who is a good scholar? Can you
point out many in this room ? How negligent some of our
fellow-pupils are ! Ah 1 I am afraid that many will regret
that they have not improved their time !

119. Why, here comes Charles ! Did you think that he
would return so soon 1 I suspect that he has not been
pleased with his visit. Have you, Charles? And were your
friends glad to see you ? When is cousin Jane to be mar-
ried ? Will she make us a visit before she is married ? Or
will she wait until she has changed her name?

120. My dear Edward, how happy I am to see you ! I
heard of your approaching happiness with the highest pleas-
ure. How does Rose do ? And how is our old whimsical
friend the baron ? You must be patient, and answer all my
questions. I have many inquiries to make.

121. The first dawn of morning found Waverley on the
esplanade in front of the old Gothic gate of the castle. But
he paced it long before the draw-bridge was lowered. He
produced his order to the sergeant of the guard, and was
admitted. The place of his friend's confinement was a
gloomy apartment in the central part of the castle.

122. Do you expect to be as high in your class as your
brother? Did you recite your lessons as well as he did?
La/y boy ! Careless child ! You have been playing these
two hours. You have paid no attention to your lessons.
You cannot say a word of them. How foolish you have
been ! What a waste of time and talents you have made !



The Comma is a mark like this ,

TVhen you come to a comma in reading, you must gener-
ally make a short pause. Sometimes you must use the falling


injlection of the voice, when you come to a comma ; and
sometiTTies ymc must keep your voice siispended^ as if some
one had stopped you before you Jiad read all that you in-
tended. In this lesson you must keep your voice suspended
when you come to a comma ; hut let the slight pause, or stop
that you make, he a total cessation of the voice,


123. Diligence, industry, and proper improvement of
time, are material duties of the young.

124. He is generous, just, charitable, and humane.

125. By wisdom, by art, by the united strength of a ciril
community, men have been enabled to subdue the whole
race of lions, bears, and serpents.

126. The genuine glory, the proper distinction of the
rational species, arises from the perfection of the mental

127. Courage is apt to be fierce, and strength is often

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 3 of 38)