Page images
PDF
EPUB

the infinite space that is every-where diffused about it. or when the imagination works downward, and considers the bulk of a human body in respect of an animal a hundred times less than a mite, the particular limbs of such an animal, the different springs which actuate the limbs, the spirits which set these springs a-going, and the proportionable minuteness of these several parts, before they have arrived at their full growth and perfection. Spectator, N° 420.

Should the greater part of people sit down and draw up a particular account of their time, what a shameful bill would it be! So much in eating and drinking and sleeping, beyond what nature requires; so much in revelling and wantonness; so much for the recovery of last night's intemperance; so much in gaming, plays, and masquerades; so much in paying and receiving formal and in pertinent visits; so much in idle and foolish prating in censuring and reviling our neighbours; so much in dressing out our bodies and talking of fashions; and so much wasted and lost in doing nothing at all.

Sherlock,

Question and Answer. When a speaker puts a question to himself, and immediately answers it, he becomes as it were two persons: and as in all interlocutory discourse, we find the person who questions and he who answers assume a somewhat different tone of voice, so a speaker who assumes both these personages ought also to assume the different tones they make use of; that is, the question should be pronounced in a higher, a more open and declarative tone, and the answer (after a long pause) in a lower, firmer, and more definite one. Such a distinction of voice is not only proper to distinguish the sense of each sentence, and to keep them from blending together, and confusing the thought, but it gives a more empiatic turn to the meaning, and gratifies the ear by its variety. This figure of speaking is often adopted by the best orators, and merits care

ful attention in pronouncing it. Thus Cicero, in his oration for Muræna, makes use of this figure, where he says .

But to return to what I proposed; away with the name of Cato from this dispute; away with all authority, which in a court of justice ought to have no other influence but to save. Join issue with me upon the crimes themselves. What is your charge, Cato? What is to be tried? What do you offer evidence of? Do you impeach corruption? I do not defend it. Do you blame me før defending, by my pleading, what I punished by law? I answer, that I punished corruption and not innocence: as to corruption, if you please, I will go hand in hand with yourself in impeaching it.

In pronouncing this passage, we may observe that the answers I do not defend it-1 answer, that I punished corruption and not innocence, ought to be preceded by a long pause, and pronounced in a lower tone of voice than the questions to which they relate,

We have another example of this figure in his oration for Cælius :

The charge of poisoning now only remains to be discussed; of which I can neither see the foundation nor unravel the design. For what reason could Cælius have to endeavour to poison that lady? That he might not pay back the gold? Pray did she demand it? To avoid the discovery of his guilt? But who charged him? Who would even have mentioned it, had not Cælius impeached a certain person?

In thís passage we find one question answered by another; and that question in the first instance, Pray did she demand it? requiring the rising inflexion at the end. In this case, however, notwithstanding the question ends with the rising turn of voice, the whole must be pronounced in a lower tone than the question which precedes it..

But one of the most animated figures of this kind we find in his oration for Milo:

Were the situation of things to be expressed in painting in. stead of words, you might then distinguish the traitor from the ụndesigning person : as the one was sitting in his chariot, wrapped up in his cloak, and his wife by his side; it is hard to say if the cloak, the chariot, or the companion, was the greatest impediment to such an intention. For what can carry less the appearance of a design to fight, than a man entangled with a cloak, shut up in a chariot, and almost fettered by a wife? Now, my lords, survey Clodius first leaving his seat in a hurry. For what reason? In the evening, Upon what emergency? Late. To what purpose, especially at this sea son? He strikes off to Pompey's country-house. Why? That he might visit Pompey? He knew he was at his seat by Albium. Was it to view his house? He had been in it a thousand times. Then what could be his motive for all this sauntering and shifting ? Why, to loiter; to gain time, that he might be sure to be on the spot when Milo came up.

The three first questions in this example have no answers, but are still to be pronounced in a higher tone of voice than the affirmative propositions, In the evening, Late, He strikes off to Poma pey's country-house. But the succeeding ques tions have all answers, which must, after a considerable pause, adopt a lower tone of yoịce than the questions that precede them.

Echo. I HAVE adopted this name for want of a better, to express that repetition of a word or thought which immediately arises from a word or thought that preceded it. Thus Mr. Phillips, in Chandler's Parliamentary Debates;

Sir, I should be much surprised to hear the motion made by the honourable gentleman who spoke last but one, opposed by any member in this house. A motion founded in justice, supported by precedent, and warranted by necessity;

Here the word motion may be called the echoing word, which ought always to be pronounced as if marked with a note of admiration; that is, with the rising inflexion in a high tone of voice, and a long pause after it, when it implies any degree of passion, as in this example; but when it is merely narrative or didactic, as in the following passage:

Tully was the first who observed, that friendship improves happiness and abates misery, by the doubling of our joy and dividing of our grief: a thought in which he hath been followed by all the essayers upon friendship that have written since his time.

Spectator, No 68. Here the word thought ought to have the ris, ing inflexion, and a pause after it, but must not be in the high tone which the word motion in the former example required, as it is plain sedate reasoning, and totally devoid of passion, But in a speech of Mr. Pitt, before he was Lord Chatham, we find the echoing word require the same inflexion and pause as in the last example, but accompanied with the high impassioned tone heard in the first:

I cannot say, Sir, which of these motives influence the advocates of the bill before us; a bill in which such cruelties are proposed as are yet unknown amongst the most savage nations; such as slavery has not yet borne or tyranny invented; such as cannot be heard without resentment, nor thought without horror.

Chandler's Debutes, 1740.

But the most beautiful example of this figure, in our, or perhaps in any other language, is that we meet with in Hannah More's Strictures on Female Education. Speaking on dissipation and the modern habits of life, and particularly on the spirit of gaming, she says, - . ;

With “ mysterious reverence" I forbear to descant on those serious and interesting rites, for the more august and solemn celebration of which Fashion nightly convenes these splendid myriads to her more sumptuous temples. Rites! which, when engaged in with due devotion, absorb the whole soul, and call every passion into exercise, except those indeed of love and peace, and kindness and gentleness. Inspiring rites! which stimulate fear, rouse hope, kindle zeal, quicken dulness, sharpen discernment, exercise memory, inflame curiosity! Rites! in short, in the due performance of which, all the energies and attentions, all the powers and abilities, all the abstraction and exertion, all the diligence and devotedness, all the sacrifice of time, all the contempt of ease, all the neglect of sleep, all the oblivion of care, all the risks of fortune (half of which, if directed to their true objects, would change the very face of the world), all these are concentrated to one point: a point! in which the wise and the weak, the learned and the ignorant, the fair and the frightful, the sprightly and the dull, the rich and the poor, the patrician and plebeian meet in one common uniform equality : an equality! as religiously respected in these solemnitics, in which all distinctions are levelled at a blow, and of which the very spirit is therefore democratical, as it is combated in all other instances.

This passage is at once a brilliant example of the echo and the series; and one hardly knows which to admire most, the beautiful structure of the sentences, the varied and animated imagery of the thought, or the philosophical justness of the moral sentiment.

In pronouncing this beautiful passage, the word Rites must become more emphatical with the rising inflexion every time it is repeated, and the pauses after it longer. The words point and equality ought to have the same pause and inflexion, and the several serieses to be pronounced according to the rules under that head, page 113.

Cicero pleading before Cæsar for king Dejo, tarus, says,

What shall I say of his courage, what of his magnanimity, his gravity, his firmness? Qualities! which all the wise and

« PreviousContinue »