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such a question was asked, and all the intonations of voice are changed, so that you do not seem to hear a real person speaking, but are only told that he did speak. This change in expression of voice will be apparent in repeating the two forms of the example last quoted. Doubtless most readers of the New Testament have felt the spirit with which the Evangelist relates an interview between the Jewish priests, and John the Baptist. Omitting the few clauses of narrative, it is a dialogue, thus;
Priests ;-Who àrt thou ?
Priests ;-Who àrt thou ?--that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?
John ;-I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness,--Māke strāight the wāy of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.
Priests ;-Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Chríst, or Elías, neither that prophet?
John ;-I baptize with water ; but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; &c. The reader will perceive by turning to the passage in the Evangelist John, 1: 19,-and repeating it as it stands there, that, not only must the saine voice ask the questions, with a higher note, and give the answers, with a lower; but also must distinguish the intermingled clauses of narrative, from the dialogue.
Now all these thoughts might be intelligibly expressed
in the language of description, by the very common process of changing the pronouns into the third person, and the verbs into the third person of the past tense, and, of course, transforming all the interlocutory tones, into those of narrative. But where would be the variety and spirit of the passage? It would scarcely retain even a dull resemblance of its present form.
It is by just this sort of transformation, that reporters of debates in legislative bodies, so often contrive to divest & speech of half its interest, if they do not grossly obscure its meaning. As I wish to be understood, I will give a specimen of this kind, where the orator is described as proceeding thus; “He said that the remarks of the honorable member, whether so intended by him or not, were of a very injurious character. If not aimed at bim personally, they were adapted to cast suspicion, at least, on his motives. And he asked if any gentleman, in his moments of cool reflection, would blame him, if he stood forth, the guardian of his own reputation."
Now let the narrator keep in his own province, and merely state the thing as it was,--and the difference is seen at once. The orator speaks in the first
"I say that the remarks of the honorable member, whether so intended by him or not, are of a very injurious character. If not aimed at me, personally, they are adapted to cast suspicion, at least, on my motives. And I ask, will any gentleman, in his moments of cool reflection, blame me, if I stand forth, the guardian of my own reputation ?" Here, if any one will analyze the language, in both cases, he will see that, in the former, verbs are accommodated to past time, and pronouns are all thrown into the third person, though belonging to different antecedents; and thus the reporter's pen spreads ambiguity and weakness over a thought, as the torpedo benumbs what it touches.
So in sacred oratory, it is a common thing, that a passage from the Bible, which would speak to the heart, with its own proper authority and energy, if the preacher had simply cited it as the word of God; is transmuted into comparative insignificance, by the process of quotation.
The reader will perceive, that the principle which I here aim to illustrate, though it belongs primarily to the philosophy of style, has a very extensive influence over every department of delivery.
The man who feels the inspiration of true eloquence, will find some of his happiest resources in what I here call representation. He can break through the trammels of a tame, inanimate address. He can ask questions, and answer them; can personate an accuser and a respondent ; can suppose himself accused or interrogated, and give his replies. He can call up the absent or the dead, and make them speak through his lips. The skill of representing two or more persons, by appropriate management of language and voice, may properly be called rhetorical dialogue. It was thus that the great orators of antiquity, and thus that Chrysostom and Massillon held their hearers in captivity
I will only add, that when a writer, in the act of composition, finds himself perplexed with clashing pronouns of the third person ;-or when he is at a loss, whether part or the whole of a sentence, should or should not be distinguished with a mark of interrogation, he should suspect in himself some aberration from the true principles of style.
Sect. 10.-Reading of Poetry. Before we dismiss the general subject of this chapter, some remarks may be expected on proper management of the voice in the reading of verse. These remarks, however, must necessarily be so brief as to give only a few leading suggestions on this difficult branch of elocution. I say difficult, because on the one hand, the genius of verse requires that it be pronounced with a fuller swell of the open vowels, and in a manner more melodious and flowing than prose. As the peculiar charms of poetry consist very much in delicacy of sentiment, and beauty of language, it were absurd to read it without regard to these characteristics. But on the other hand, to preserve the metrical flow of versification, and yet not impair the sense, is no easy attainment. The following general principles may be of use to the student.
1. In proportion as the sentiment of a passage is elevated, inspiring emotions of dignity or reverence, the voice has less variety of inflection, and is more inclined to the monotone. The grand and sublime in description, and in poetic simile; the language of adoration, and of supplication, are universally distinguished, in the above respect, from familiar discourse.
2. When the sentiment of a passage is delicate and gentle, especially when it is plaintive, it inclines the voice to the rising inflection ; and for this reason, poetry oftener requires the rising inflection than prose : yet,
3. The rights of emphasis must be respected in poetry. When the language of a passage is strong and discriminating, or familiarly descriptive, or colloquial, the same modifications of voice are required as in prose, The emphatic stress and inflection, that must be intensive, in prose, to express a thought forcibly, are equally necessary in poetry.
Say first, of God above, or man below,
What thèn ?-is the reward of virtue bréad ? 4. The metrical accent of poetry is subordinate to sense, and to established usage in pronunciation. It is a general rule, that though the poet has violated this principle in arranging the syllables of his feet, still it should not be violated by the reader. That is a childish conformity to poetic measure, which we sometimes hear, as marked in the following examples.
False eloquence, like the prismatic glass,
Its gaudy colors spreads on every place. Again ;
Their praise is still, the style is excellent ;
The sense, they humbly take upon content.
My soul ascends above the sky,