Page images

“Fight, gentlemen of England !. fight, bold yeòmen!
Draw, archers, draw your arrows to the head :
Spur your proud horses hård, and ride in blood;
Amaze the wèlkin with your broken stàves. —
A thòusand hearts are great within my bòsom:
Advance our stàndards, set upon our foes !
Our ancient word of courage, fair Saint George,
Inspire us with the spleen of fiery dragons !
Upon them! Victory sits on our hèlms."

2. Impassioned burst of Scorn.

From CORIOLANUS. — Shakspeare. (“Aspirated pectoral and guttural quality :” Violent force: “Explo

sive radical stress :" “ High pitch.” The exemplification occurs in the reply of Coriolanus, which contains the “ downward slide" of the “ octave,” in the words “ Measureless liar !” and “ Boy!" and the “ downward fifth ” on the other emphatic words.)

Aufidius. “ Name not the god, Thou boy of tears.

Coriolanus. Measureless liar! thou hast made my heart Too great for what contains it. Bòy! Cut me to pieces, Volscians : men and làds, Stain all your edges on me. Bòy!If you have writ your annals true, 't is there . That, like an eagle in a dovecot, I Fluttered your Volscians in Corioli: Alòne I did it.— Bòy!"

3. Indignant Rebuke.

MARULLUS TO THE PEOPLE. Shakspeare. (“Orotund and aspirated pectoral quality :" “Impassioned" force :

“ Explosive radical stress :" “ Low pitch :" “ Downward slide" of the fifth.”

“Begone! run to your hòuses, fall upon your knees, Pray to the gods to intermit the plagues That needs must light on this ingratitude !”.

4. Excessive Grief. (“Aspirated pectoral quality :” Weeping utterance :“Impassioned”

force : Violent s vanishing stress :” “ High pitch :" “ Downward slide" of the “ fifth.”)

David, [BEWAILING THE DEATH OF ABSALOM.] “Ò my son Absalom! my sòn, my son Absalom! Would Gòd I had died for thèe, Ò Àbsalom, my sòn, my

sòn ! "1

5. Exception. - Surprise, Earnest and Impassioned Interro


EXTRACT FROM Chatham. (“Aspirated pectoral quality :” “Declamatory” force : “Compound

stress :” “ High pitch :" “ Upward fifth.") . “Can ministers still presume to expect support in their infatuation? Can parliament be so dead to its dignity and its duty, as to give its support to measures thus obtruded and fórced upon it ?”

From CICERO'S ACCUSATION OF VERRES. “ Is it come to thís ? Shall an inferior mágistrate, a góvernor, who holds his whole power of the Roman people, in a Roman province, within síght of Italy, bínd, scóurge, torture with fire and red hot plates of íron, and at last put to the infamous death of the cross, a Roman cítizen?”

“O you hard hearts, you cruel men of Rome,
Knew ye not Pompey ? Many a time and oft
Have you climbed up to walls and battlements,
To towers and windows, yea, to chimney-tops,

1 For fuller exemplification of the "slide," see "American Elocutionist,” in which this and the other departments of sentential and rhetorical elocution, are fully discussed. The present volume, being designed merely as a manual for training in orthophony, and as an introduction to the Elocutionist, is limited to such an outline of the subject as might afford sufficient ground for the intelligent practice of a course of elementary exercises.

2 The acute accent is the usual mark of the “upward slide,” or “rising inflection."

Your infants in your arms, and there have sat
The live-long day, with patient expectation,
To see great Pompey pass the streets of Rome :
And when you saw his chariot but appear,
Have you not made a universal shout,
That Tiber trembled underneath her banks
To hear the replication of your sounds,
Made in her concave shores?
And do you now put on your best attíre ?
And do you now cull out a hóliday?
And do you now strew flowers in his way,
That comes in triumph over Pompey's blood ?"

II. THE “ DISTINCTIVE" SLIDE. This slide, it will be recollected, is used not for purposes of passion or emotion, but for suggestions connected with the understanding and judgment, — that which may be termed intellectual, not impassioned, expression.

The “ downward distinctive slide" extends, usually, through the interval of a “third.” It is used, first, for mere designation, as in announcing a subject or topic, in didactic style, in introducing a person or an event in narrative, or an object, in descriptive style; as in the following examples: " The duties of the citizens of a repùblic formed the subject of the orator's address.” “ Among the eminent men of the period of the American Revolution, Benjamin Franklin held a conspicuous place.” “From the date of the American Revolution, commenced a new era in the history of man.” “ The dazzling summits of the snow-capt mountains in the distance, threw an air of enchantment over the scene.”

This slide is used also, for distinction in contrasts, as in the latter of two correspondent or antithetic words or phrases, in which the contrast is exactly balanced ; thus, “I would neither be rích nor poor," or when the antithesis is unequal, and one word or phrase is intentionally made more expressive than the other, in which case the more emphatic word or phrase takes the downward slide: thus, “I would rather be rich than poor.” — The “ distinctive upward slide" occurs in the word “rich,in the former of these examples; and it may be given also in the word “poor," in the latter, if pronounced with peculiar distinctive force, so as to authorize, in the sound of the word “poor,” an upward slide, instead of a cadence, at the close of the sentence,-an effect which often takes place in the unstudied and natural use of the voice, and which corresponds somewhat to the rebound of the ball, when it is thrown against the wall with sufficient force to produce that effect.

1 An interrogation of peculiar emphasis, or of great length, takes the downward slide; as, in such cases, the effect of interrogation is lost in that of assertion.


1. Simple Designation.

1. Didactic Style. “ The progress of the Italian òpera, in this country, will form the subject of this essay.”

“The downfall of the Roman empire was the next great theme chosen by that eminent historian.”

“ The origin of the distinctions of rànk in society, forms one of the most interesting topics of historical investigation.”

2. Narrative Style... “The conspiracy of Càtiline, as related by Sallust, was one of the most atrocious designs ever plotted by desperate and heartless villany."

"From the time when the people enjoyed the right of electing their tribunes, they fondly deemed their liberty secured against future encroachments.”

“ The usurpation, as it has been termed, of Oliver Cròmwell, rightly interpreted, is one of the most memorable of lessons to monarchy, ever taught in the great school of history."

3. Descriptive Style. “A sudden shower puts an end to the gaiety of the revellers, and sends them scampering in all directions for shel


“The spots on the disc of the sùn, which, in some instances, are larger than a continent or an ocean, with us, are, it is believed, openings in the luminous atmosphere of that body, exhibiting the dark surface beneath.”.

“ The first primrose of the spring, was peeping through the shrivelled herbage at the roots of the hedge, along the side of the lane."

II. Comparison and Antithesis, or Contrast.

1. Comparison of Single Objects. “ As is the beginning, so is the end.”

2. Double Comparison. “ As we cannot discern the moving of the shadow over the 'díal-plate; so we cannot trace the progress of the mind in knowledge.”

3. Contrast of Single Objects. “I mingled freely with all classes of society, and narrowly observed the life of the peasant, as well as that of the prince.”

4. Double Contrast, or Antithesis. “ As it is the part of justice never to do víolence, it is that of módesty never to commit offènce."

III. THE “MECHANICAL SLIDE." This form of the “ slide” was defined as either “ upward” or “ downward;" the former occurring at the close of the penultimate clause of a sentence, in preparation for its cadence; the latter, when the cadence, from the absence of accent on preceding syllables, descends in the form of a

1 In double contrasts, the full " distinctive slide of the third," falls only on the prominent parts of the contrast, the leading and determining words at the middle and the end of the sentence: the other pair of contrasted words are usually restricted to "falling" and "rising ditone," in their "radical pitch."

« PreviousContinue »