Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

Anger may glance into the breast of a wise man ; but rests only in the bosom of fools.

An angry man who suppresses his passion, thinks worse than he speaks; and an angry man that will chide speaks worse than he thinks.

Better reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven.

He rais'd a mortal to the skies;

She brought an angel down. Emphasis likewise serves to express some particular meaning not immediately arising from the words, but depending upon the intention of the speaker, or some incidental circumstance. The following short sentence may have three different meanings, according to the different places of the emphasis ; Do you intend to go to London this summer ? !

In order to acquire, a habit of speaking with a just and forcible emphasis, nothing more is necessary than previously to study the construction, meaning, and spirit of every sen. tence, and to adhere as nearly as possible to the manner in which we distinguish one word from another in conversation; for in familiar discourse we scarce ever fail to express. ourselves emphatically, or place the emphasis improperly, With respect to artificial helps, such as distinguishing words or clauses of sentences by particular characters or marks ; I believe it will always be found, upon trial, that they mis. lead, instead of assist the reader, by not leaving him at full liberty to follow his own understanding and feelings.

The most common faults respecting emphasis are laying so strong an emphasis on one word as to leave no power of giving a particular force to other words, which, though not equally, are in a certain degree emphatical; and placing the greatest stress on conjunctive particles, and other words of secondary importance. These faults are strongly characterized in Churehill's Censure of Mossop.

With studied improprieties of speech
He soars beyond the hackney critic's reach,
To epithets allots empliatic state,
Whilst principles, ungrac'd, like lacquies wait;
Jo ways first trodden by himself excells
And stands alone in undeclinables ;
Conjunction, preposition, adverb, join
To stamp new vigor on the nervous line.
In monosyllables his thunders roll,

HE, SHE, IT, AND, WE, YE, THEY, fright the soul. Emphasis is often destroyed by an injudicious attempt to I melodiously. Agreeable inflections and easy varia

tions of the voice, as far as they arise from, or are consistent with just speaking, are worthy of atiention. But to substitute one unmeaning tone, in the room of all the proprieties and graces of good elocution, and then to applaud this manner, under the appellation of musical speaking, can only be the effect of great ignorance and inattention, or of a depraved state.

RULE VI. :: Acquire a just. Variety of Pause and CADENCE. ·

One of the worst faults a speaker can have, is to make no other pauses, that what he finds barely necessary for breathing. I know of nothing that such a speaker can so properly be compared to, as an alarm bell, which, when once set a going, clatters on till the weight that moves it is run down. Without pauses, the sense must always appear confused and obscure, and often be misunderstood ; and the spirit and

energy of the piece must be wholly lost. . In executing this part of the office of a speaker, it will by : no means be sufficient to attend to the points used in prin.

ting; for these are far from marking all the pauses which ought to be made in speaking. A mechanical attention to these resting places has perhaps been one chief cause of monotony, by leading the reader to an uniform cadence at every full period. The use of points is to assist the reader in discerning the grammatical construction, not to direct his pronunciation. In reading, it may be often proper to make a pause where the printer has made none. Nay, it is very allowable for the sake of pointing out the sense more strongly, preparing the audience for what is to follow, or enabling the speaker to alter the tone or height of the voice, some

times to make a very considerable pause, where the gramma(1 tical construction requires none at all. In doing this, howe.

ver, it is necessary that in the word immediately preceding the pause, the voice be kept up in such a manner as to intimate to the hearer that the sense is not completed. Mr. Garrick, the first of speakers, often observed this rule with great success.

Before a full pause it has been customary in reading to drop the voice in an uniform manner; and this has been cal. led the cadence. But surely nothing can be more destructive of all propriety and energy than this habit. The tones and heights at the close of a sentence ought to be infinitely diversified, according to the general nature of the discourse,

and the particular construction and meaning of the sen

the least attention to the manner in which we relate a story, or support an argument in conversation, will show, that it is more frequently proper to raise the voice, than to fall it at the end of a sentence. Interrogatives, where the spea. ker seems to expect an answer, should almost always be

elevated at the close, with a paticular tone, to indicate that , a question is asked. Some sentences are so constructed,

that the last words require a stronger emphasis than any of the preceding; while others admit of being closed with a soft and gentle sound.

Where there is nothing in the sense which requires the Jast sound to be elevated or emphatical, an easy fall suffi. cient to show that the sense is finished, will be proper. And in pathetic pieces, especially those of the plaintive, tender, or solemn kind, the tone of the passion will often require a still greater cadence of the voice. But before a speaker can be able to fall his voice with propriety and judgment at the close of a sentence, he must be able to keep it from falling, and raise it with all the variation which the sense requires. The best method of correcting a uniform cadence is frequently to read select sentences, in which the style is pointed, and frequent antitheses are introduced, and argu. mentative pieces or such as abound with interrogatives.

AMERICAN ORATOR:

CHAPTER I.

CONGRESSIONAL SPEECHES.

Extract of a Speech in Congress, by MR. GRUNDY, ON

the report of the committee of foreign relations.

SO soon as the committee on our foreign relations was appointed, we were forcibly impressed with the serious and highly responsible station you had assigned us ; to that committee, consisting of nine members only, were not only the eyes of this house but of the nation turned, and from us, in this the most troubled season our world has ever known, was it expected, that a course of measures would be recommended, calculated to protect the interests of seven millions of people. Under this impression, we deemed it a duty to take time for deliberation; we thought it better to encounter the charge of having acted in a tardy and dilatory way, than to take a rash step, by which this nation might be plunged into difficulties, from which it could not be easily extricated. We there. fore took the necessary time to weigh the arguments both for and against the measures we have recommended ; and as far as we were able, we surveyed the consequences which were to follow from the course we proposed. We foresaw, that our countrymen were to fall in the meditated conflict, and that American blood was to stream afresh. Nor were we unmindful of the expenditure of public treasure. And what cost me more reiection than every thing else, was the new test to which we are to put this government. We are about to ascertain by actual experiment, how far our republican institutions are calli

culated to stand the shock of war; and whether, after foreign danger has disappeared, we can again assume our peaceful attitude, without endangering the liberties of the people.

Against these considerations, weighty in themselves, your committee felt themselves constrained to decide, influenced by existing circumstances of a character too imperious to be resisted; these I will enumerate before I sit down. My business at present is to address a particular portion of the members of this house-I mean, sir, the rea publican members--and although what I am about to say might be deemed impolitic on ordinary subjects of legislation, yet, at this time, and on this occasion, it would be criminal to conceal a single thought which might influence their determination. We should now forget little party animosities; we should mingle minds freely ; and, as far as we are able, commune with the understandings of each other; and, the decision once made, let us become one people, and present an undivided front to the enemies of our country.

Republicans should never forget, that some years ago a set of men of different politics held the reins of this government, and drove the car of state ; they were charged with being friendly to standing armies in times of peace, and favourable to expensive establishments; not for the purpose of opposing foreign enemies, but to encourage executive patronage, and to bring these forces to operate upon the people themselves. These measures alarmed the republicans ; they remonstrated, they clamored, they appealed to the people, and by a national sentence, the men then in power were taken down from their high places, and republican men were put in their seats.

If your minds are resolved on war, you are consistent, you are right, you are still republicans ; but if you are not resolved, pause and reflect, for should this resolution pass, and you then become faint hearted, remember that you have abandoned your old principles, and trod in the paths of your predecessors.

According to my view of this subject, we now stand on the bank ; one movement more, the rubicon is passed, we are in Italy, and we must march to Rome.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »