Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

tUu to mark the possessive case of nouns ; as, Jchn's hat. In the written

language the difference between the nominative (or objective) case plural and the possessive case plural is expressed by the addition of an apostrophe after the letter s; as, the trees' leaves. Where a proper name en<n) in s, the s of the possessive case ought to be retained after the apostrophe; as, Mr. Jlmes's house, Collins's odes. Sometimes, for the sake of euphony, and in poetry to suit the measure of a verse, the s after the apostrophe is omitted in the pronunciation, and it ought then to be also dropped in the written or printed word ; as, in Moses' days, for Jesus' sake. But where tie t after the apostrophe is retained in the pronunciation, it ought to be exhibited to the eye.

142. The Hyphen (-) is employed to connect compounded words; as in alms-house, to-morrow. It is also used at the end of a line when a word is divided and a portion of the word has to be carried on to the beginning of the next line. A mark identical with the Hyphen, and called a Makron, is sometimes used over a vowel to denote that the quantity is long; as in remote, serine. The mark called the Breve (-) is placed over a rowel to indicate that it has a short sound; as in Helena.

148. Marks of Quotation (" ") are used to denote that the words of another person, real or supposed, are quoted. When one quotation ia introduced within another, the included one should be preceded by a single inverted comma, and closed by a single apostrophe, thus (* ').

144. Brackets [ ] enclose a word or sentence distinct from the text, or not originally inserted in it : as, "He [Milton] had read much, and knew what books could teach." Marks of Parenthesis enclose what the author himself interposes between parts of a sentence. Brackets generally enclose some explanation, omission, or comment supplied by another.

145. The Diaeresis (••), from a Greek word signifying a division or separation, consists of two points, which are placed over a vowel tc denote that it is to be separated in the pronunciation from the preceding vowel or syllable, in order that the vowel so marked may form, or help to form, a distinct syllable ; as in aerial, orthoepy, zoophyte, blessed.

146. Two Commas (") are occasionally used (as in the Table under Paragraph 20) to indicate that something is understood which was expressed in the line and word immediately above.

147. Marks of Ellipsis (a Greek word signifying an omission) are formed by means of a long dash, or of a succession of points or stars

(——, * * * *), of various lengths, and which are

used to indicate the omission of letters in a word, of words in a sentence, or of sentences in a paragraph.

148. The word Paragraph is from the Greek, and originally signified a writing near or subjoined. Thus it came to mean a subdivisiin in written or printed composition. It was formerly indicated by the following mark (TT); but is now generally represented simply by beginning a sentence with a new line having a slight blank space at its commencement. * Se« IT 20 " simply means see paragraph twenty. The sign (IT) is sometimes used merely as a mark of reference, like an asterisk.

149. The Section denotes the«division of a discourse or chapter into Inferior portions. The Index, or Hand OF"), points out a passage to which it is desired to direct especial attention. Three stars, placed in this form (* *), or N. B., the initials of nota bene, "mark well," are sometimes used for the same purpose as the index. The Asterisk (*), the Obelisk or Dagger (+), the Double Dagger (t), and Parallels (II), together with letters or figures of a small size, technically called Superiors, are marks of reference to the margin, or some other part of a book.

150. The Brace (^^) is used to connect a number of words with one common term. The Caret (/O (from a Latin word, meaning it is want ing) is used exclusively in manuscript, to indicate something interlined. The Cedilla is a mark used under the French e, thus (5), to signify that it is to be pronounced soft, like s.

151. There are three accentual marks. The mark of the acute accent is ( '), and may be remembered by its pointing down towards you, as if to pierce. The mark of the grave accent is ('); the mark of the cir oumflex, which is a compound of the other two, is (a).

152. The acute accent is used in English sometimes as a mark of accent, and sometimes of quantity, and sometimes in place of the Diaeresis. The grave accent and the circumflex are little used in English; and they are employed in French to denote a difference in the pronunciation, not in the accent.

153. In regard to the use of Capital Letters, authors exhibit much the same caprice that they do in punctuation. Formerly initial capital letters were much more used than now in distinguishing nouns. In German, nouns are still generally distinguished in this way. Wordsworth and many other English writers commence their emphatic nouns with capital letters. It is the present approved custom to distinguish by initial capitals the first word of every sentence, of every line of poetry, and of every quotation and every example formally introduced; also of every noun and principal word in the title of a book; as, " Locke on the Human Understanding.''

154. Initial capitals are also used to distinguish proper names and adjectives derived from them; titles of honor and distinction; common nouns personified; the pronoun I and the interjections 0, Ah, &c.; words used as the names of Deity, or to express his attributes; the personal pronouns he, his, and him, when referring to Deity in sentences where reference is at the same time made to any of his creatures in the same number and person; as, " he loved his God, admired His wondrous works." Nouns and adjectives to which it is desired to give any particular prominence that may impress them especially on the reader's attention art frequently capitalized now by the best writers.

Qizstious.—136 What Is Punctuation t 137. To what mode of punctuating doea modern usage Incline? 138. What is said of Grammatical Punctuation? 139. What art the grammatical points? 140. Enumerate other points or marks. 141. What is the use of the Apostrophe? 142. The Hyphen? What mark is used to denote that a vowel if long f Short? 143. What of marks of quotation? 144. Brackets? 145. The Diaeresis? 146. Two commas i 147. Marks of ellipsis; 148. A Paragraph? 149. The Section? The Index i What other marks are there corresponding to the Index? What are the marks of reference? 150. What is the Brace? The Caret i 151, 152. What are the accentual marks, and what their use? 153,154. What is said of the uae of Capital Letters i

LESSON XIV.
ON READING POETRY.

155. Verse is generally an adjunct of poetry, although there may be poetry without it. Poetry of the highest order may be found in the Book of Job and the Psalms of David. But, even when poetry has the form of prose, its diction at times falls into the metrical sweep and cadence, as if by a law which makes the inward harmony suggest the external. The objection has been made that the habit of reciting poetry is apt to lead to a monotonous manner. As well might it be said that a habit of dancing leads to a faulty gait in walking. By attending to the measure of verse alone, and disregarding the sense, a sing-song mode of utterance may be contracted ; but the judicious recitation of verse is admirably adapted to impart ease, flexibility and grace, to delivery.

156. Poetry is sometimes rendered in a slight degree more difficult than prose by the inversions or irregular arrangements of words, required by the measure. Were we, for instance, to express in prose the following couplet:

Achilles' wrath, to Greece the direful spring
Of woes unnumbered, heavenly Goddess, sing!

it would run thus: "Sing, 0 heavenly Goddess! the wrath of Achilles, the direful spring of unnumbered woes to Greece." And this example is by no means one of the most remarkable instances of inversion that could be adduced.

157. Rules for inflecting the voice in the reading of verse, as well as of prose, are fallacious and prejudicial. No good reader was ever formed by them ; and no two good readers will be likely to mark the passages for inflection in a given poem precisely alike. Bad habits of reading are often formed by an unwarranted reliance on the accuracy of these rules.

158. There are, however, some few principles to which the student's attention should be directed ; not because they will certainly make him read well, but because, if he neglects them, he will undoubtedly read badly. The first and most important is, "Be sure you understand what you read." If you do not yourself conceive the sentiments of the author, it is utterly impossible that you should give them expression. But, if you perfeotly understand your author, you will know where to make the proper pauses, and lay the proper emphasis that the subject requires

159. Take, for instance, the following couplet:

Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never is, but always to be blest.

The last line, carelessly read, would be nearly nonsense ; or, if it had any meaning, it would be, that "man exists always for the enjoyment of happiness." But the intention of the poet is, that "man does not enjoy any present happiness, but always looks forward to future bliss." To express this meaning, the emphasis must be thrown on the words is and to be, and the line be read as if printed

Man never is, but always to be blest.

160. The next point to which the young reader's attention should be directed is the metrical structure of the verse. With this he should so 6,r familiarize his ear that he can readily mark by a slight stress the accented syllables. Be careful in doing this not to fall into that sing-song habit which is so ofl'ensive. A good way to avoid it is to adhere to your habitual speaking voice; you may thus, by a little practice, read poetry metrically, without converting it into a bad tune.

161. A single line of poetry is properly called averse; two lines are called a couplet; four verses, of which the rhymes may or may not be alternate, are called a quatrain or stanza. The term stanza, which is of Italian origin and literally signifies a station or resting-place, is also used to designate any regularly recurring number of verses into which a poem may be divided.

162. Almost every verse admits of a pause in or near the middle, which pause is called the Caesura (from the Latin word Caedo, I cut). The following mark (") is usually adopted to denote this pause. On its right disposition depends, in a great degree, the harmony of the verse. The Caesural pause may, but must not of necessity, coincide with a pause in the sense. It may take place after the fourth syllable; as in

Pealed their first notes" to sound the march of Time. Or it may come after the fifth syllable ; as in

If Greece must perish," we thy will obey.
Or after the sixth syllable ; as in

To Him who gives us all" I yield a part.
Or two Caesuras may divide the verse into three portions ; as in

His food the fruits", his drink" the crystal well.

163. The introduction of semi-Caesural pauses frequently increases the melodious flow of the verse; as

Warms' in the sun", refreshes' in the breeze,
Glows' in the stars", and blossoms in the trees,
Lives' throngh all life", extends' through all extent,

Spreads' undividod", operates' unspent.

1G4. The CaBsaral pauses, and the pauses at the end of each line, must be made by suspending, not dropping, the breath; and they must be sa Short as not to cause any interruption in the sense.

1t15. In regard to the Parenthesis, the 6th rule under IT 134 gives directions applicable to poetry as well as to prose, respecting the :ono in which a parenthesis and a simile should be read.

156. The Ellipsis (from a Greek word signifying to have or pass by) is, in Grammar, an omission of one or more words, which the reader is Bupposed to recognize as understood ; as, " There are who love the hunt," for "There are those," &c. ; "The horse I rode," for "The horse which I rode." The Ellipsis is more used in poetry than in prose. An " elliptical phrase " is one in which the Ellipsis is used.

167. In conclusion, we would say with Dr. Blair, merely extending his meaning from oratory or public speaking to school and family reading, that nothing is more necessary for those who would excel than "to cultivate habits of the several virtues, and to refine and improve all their moral feelings. Whenever these become dead or callous, they may be .» assured that they will read and speak with less power and less success.

168. "The sentiments and dispositions particularly requisite for them to cultivate are the love of justice and order, and indignation at insolence and oppression; the love of honesty and truth, and detestation of fraud, meanness, and corruption ; magnanimity of spirit; the love of liberty, of their country, and the public; zeal for all great and noble designs, and reverence for all worthy and heroic characters. A cold an 1 sceptical turn of mind is extremely adverse to eloquence, whether of reac!ing or of speech ; and no less so is that cavilling disposition which takes pleasure in depreciating what is great, and ridiculing what is generally admired.

169 "Such a disposition bespeaks one not very likely to excel in anything, but least of all in oratory. A true orator should be a person of generous sentiments, of warm feelings, and of a mind turned towards the admiration of all those great and high objects which mankind are naturally formed to admire. Joined with the manly virtues, he should at the same time possess strong and tender sensibility to all the injuries, distresses and Borrows, of his fellow-creatures ; a heart that can readily enter into the circumstances of others, and can make their case his own."

Questions. —155. How is a sing-song habit of reading verse induced? 156. What is one of the great peculiarities of poetry? 157, 158. What is the first and most important rule in reading? 159. Illustrate the importance of understanding what yon read. 160. Ought the ear to be familiarised with the metrical structure of the verse yon are reading . 161. What is a Verse? a Conplet? a Quatrain? a Stanza? 162. What is the Caesura? 163. How must the Csesural and other pauses be made? 165. What is the rule in regard to the reading of a parenthesis f a simile' f 167, 168. What, in the opinion of Dr. Blair, ie necessary for those who would excel in elocution t

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »