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should be disciplined to this distinction, in order to avoid the common fault, which confounds vociferation with emphatic expression. Many, to become forcible speakers, utter the current words of a sentence in so loud a tone, that the whole seems a mere continuity of strong articulate sounds; or if emphatic stress is attempted on particular words, it is done with such violence as to offend against all propriety. This is the declamatory manner. The power of emphasis, when it belongs to single words, depends on concentration. To extend it through a sentence, is to destroy it.
But there are cases in which inore than common stress belongs to several words in succession, forming an emphatic clause. This is sometimes called general emphasis. In some cases of this sort, the several syllables have nearly equal stress : thus ;
Heaven and earth will witness,
In uttering this emphatic clause, the voice drops its pitch, and proceeds nearly in a grave, deliberate monotone.
In other cases, such a clause is to be distinguished from the rest of the sentence, by a general increase of force; and yet its words retain a relative difference among themselves, in quantity, stress, and inflection. This appears in the indignant reply of the youthful Pitt, to his aged accuser in debate;
But youth, it seems, is not my only crime ; I have been accused,- of acting a THEATRICAL part. And afterwards, arraigning the ministry, he said, As to the present gentlemen, I cannot give them my confi
dence. Pardon me, gentlemen,-confidence is a plant of slow growth. In both these cases the emphatic thought belongs to the whole clause, as marked, requiring a grave under-tone; but one word in each must have more stress than the rest, and a note somewhat higher.
The want of proper distinctions as to the emphatic clause, occasioned, if I mistake not, the difference of opinion between Garrick and Johnson respecting the seat of emphasis in the ninth commandment; “ Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” Garrick laid the stress on shalt, to express the authority of the precept; Johnson on not to express its negative character. But clearly both are wrong, for in neither of these respects is this command to be distinguished from others with which it is connected. And if we place the stress on false or on neighbor, still an antithetic relation is suggested, which does not accord with the design of the precept. Now let it be observed, that here is a series of precepts forbidding certain sins against man, our neighbor. Each of these is introduced with the prohibitory phrase, “thou shalt not,” and then comes the thing forbidden; in the sixth, kill ;--in the eighth, steal ;--in the ninth," bear false witness." This shows the point of emphatic discrimination. In the latter case, the stress falls not on a single word, but on a clause, the last word of this clause, however, in the present case, demanding more stress than either of the others.
One more example may make this last remark still plainer. Suppose Paul to have said merely, “I came not to baptize, but to preach.” The contrast expressed
limits the emphasis to two words. But take the whole sentence as it is in Paul's language, “I came not to baptize, but to preach the GOSPEL;"--and you have a contrast between an emphatic word, and an emphatic clause. And though the sense is just as before, you must change the stress in this clause from preach, to gospel, or you utter nonsense. If you retain the stress on preach, the paraphrase is “I came not to baptize the gospel, but to preach the gospel."
This is always grounded on antithetic relation, expressed in pairs of contrasted objects. It will be sufficiently illustrated by a very few examples.
The young are slaves to novelty, the old to custom.
And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
There is but one remark, which is important to be made in this case. In such a reduplication of empbasis, its highest effect is not to be expected. In attempting to give the utmost significance to each of the terms standing in close succession, we are in danger of diminishing the amount of meaning expressed by the whole. The only rule that can be adopted is so to adjust the stress and inflection of voice on the different terms as shall most clear ly, and yet most agreeably convey the sense of the entire passage.
I use this term in the largest sense, as a convenient one to denote that variety in managing the voice, which appears in the delivery of a good speaker.* This includes a number of distinct topics, which may perhaps with sufficient exactness be brought together in one chapter.
Sect. 1.--Faults of Modulation.
The remark has been made in a former page, that the monotone, employed with skill, in pronouncing a simile, or occasionally an elevated or forcible thought, may have great rhetorical effect. Its propriety in such a case, is felt instinctively ; just as other movements of the voice are felt to be proper, when they are prompted by genius and emotion. But the thing I mean to condemn has no
* Though I admire precision in language, I must here again express my dissent from all needless distinctions on a subject so practical as this. Wright in his Elocution considers tune as equivalent to variety, harmony, cadence; and tone, as equivalent to strength and compass ; and criticises Sheridan for making no such distinction. But surely no distinction and no definition of terms is as good as one too loose to be of any value. Technical terms every art and science must have; but modern taste has very properly dispensed with a large proportion of those terms, which make the technical nomenclature of ancient rhetoric a greater burden to memory than the acquisition of a new language.
such qualities to give it vivacity. It is that dull repetition of sounds, on the same pitch, and with the same quantity, which the hearers are ready to ascribe, (and commonly with justice,) to the want of spirit in the speaker. They easily excuse themselves for feeling no interest in what he says, when apparently he feels none himself. Want of variety is fatal to vivacity and interest in delivery, on the same principle that it is so in all other cases.
Let the poet be confined to one undeviating succession of syllables and of rhyme, and who would be enchanted with his numbers ? Let the painter be confined to one colour, and where is the magic of his art ? What gives its charm to the landscape ?-What gives life to the countenance, and language to the eye, as represented on the canvass ? Not such a use of colours as fits the character of a post or ceiling, all white, or all red; but such a blending of colours as give the variety of life and intelligence. The same difference exists between a heavy, uniform movement of the voice, and that which corresponds with real emotion. In music a succession of perfect concords, especially on the same note, would be intolerable.
2. Mechanical variety.
An unskilful reader perhaps is resolved to avoid monotony. In attempting to do this, he may fall into other habits, scarcely less offensive to the ear, and not at all more consistent with the principles of a just elocution. In uttering a sentence, he may think nothing more is necessary, than to employ the greatest possible number of notes ; and thus his chief aim is to leap from one extreme to an