« НазадПродовжити »
persons read with an improper emphasis, or with no emphasis at all, that is, with a stupid monotony. Much study and pains are necessary in acquiring the habit of just and forcible pronunciation; and it can only be the effect of close attention and long practice, to be able, with a mere glance of the eye, to read any piece with good emphasis and good discretion.
It is another office of Emphasis to express the opposition between the several parts of a sentence, where the style is pointed and antithetical. Pope's Effay on Man, and his Moral Essays, and the Proverbs of Solomon, will furnish many proper exercises in this species of speaking. In some sentences the antithesis is double, and even treble; these must be expreffed in reading, by a very distinct emphasis on each part of the opposition, The following instances are of this kind :
Anger may glance into the breast of a wise man ; but rests only in the bosom of fools.
An angry man who suppresses his pallion, thinks worse than he speaks: and an angry man that will chide, speaks worse than he thinks.
Better to reign in hell, than serve in heaven.
He rais'd a mortal to the skies;
Emphasis likewise serves to express some particular meaning not immediately arising from the words, but depending upon the intention of the speaker, or some incidental circumstance. The following short sentence may have three different meanings, according to the different place of the Emphasis: Do you intend to go to London this summer?
In order to acquire a habit of speaking with a just and forcible emphasis, nothing more is necessary, than previously to study the construction, meaning, and spirit of every sentence, and to adhere as nearly as possible to the manner in which we distinguish one word from another in conversation ; for in familiar discourse we scarcely ever fail to express ourfelves emphatically, and seldom place the emphasis improperly. With respect to artificial helps, such as distinguishing words or clauses of sentences by particular characters or marks; I believe it will always be found, upon trial, that they mislead instead of assist the reader, by not leave ing him at full liberty to follow his own understanding and feelings.
The most common faults respecting emphasis are, laying so strong an emphasis on one word as to leave no power of giving á particular force to other words; which; though not equally, are in a certain degree emphatical ; and placing the greatest stress on conjunctive particles, and other words of secondary importance. These faults are strongly characterised in Churchill's censure of Mosfop.
With ftudied improprieties of speech
Emphasis is often destroyed by an injudicious attempt to read melodiously. Agreeable inflexions and easy variations of the voice; as far as they arife from, or are consistent with just speaking; are deserving of attention. But to substitute one unineaning tune, in the room of all the proprieties and graces of good elocution, and then to applaud this manner, wnder the appellation of musical
speaking, can only be the effect of great ignorance and inattention, or of a depraved taste. If public speaking must be musical, let the words be set to music in recitative, that these melodious speakers may no longer lie open to the sarcasm; Do you read or fing? if you fing, you sing very ill. Seriously, it is much to be wondered at, that this kind of reading, which has so little merit considered as music, and none at all considered as speaking, should be so studiously practised by many speakers, and so much admired by many hearers. Can a method of reading, which is fo entirely different from the usual manner of conversation, be natural and right? Is it possible that all the varieties of sentiment, which a public speaker has occasion to introduce, should be properly expressed by one melodious tone and cadence, employed alike on all occasions and for all purposes?
RU LE VII.
NE of the worst faults a speaker can have,
is to make no other pauses than what he finds barely necessary for breathing. I know of
nothing nothing that such a speaker can fo properly be compared to, as an alarum-bell, which, when once set a-going, clatters on till the weight that moves it is run down. Without pauses, the sense must always appear confused and obscure, and often be misunderstood; and the spirit and energy of the piece must be wholly loft.
In executing this part of the office of a speaker, 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 speaking. A mechanical attention to these resting-places has perhaps been one chief cause of monotony, by leading the reader to a uniform found at every imperfect break, and a uniform cadence at every full period. The use of points is to assist the reader in discerning the grammatical construction, not to direct his pronunciation. In reading, it may often be proper to make a pause where the printer has made none. Nay, it is very allow- . able for the sake of pointing out the sense more strongly, preparing the audience for what is to follow, or enabling the speaker to alter the tone or height of the voice, sometimes to make a very