Изображения страниц


To tyrannous hate! swell, bosom, with thy fraught,
For 'tis of aspics' tongues.
Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more :
Or close the wall up with our English dead !

peace, there's noihing so becomes a man,
As modest stillness, and humility;
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger ;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favoured rage.
On, on, you noblest English,
Whose blood is fetched from fathers of war-proof!
Fathers, that, like so many Alexanders,
Have, in these paris, from morn till even fought,
And sheathed their swords for lack of argument.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the siart. The game's afoot ;
Follow your spirit: and, upon this charge,
Cry-Heaven for Harry! England ! and St. George !

MORE ASPIRATED, Fight, gentlemen of England ! fight, bold yeomen! Draw, archers, draw your arrows to the head : Spur your proud horses hard, and ride in blood; Amaze the welkin with your broken staves ! A thousand hearts are great within my bosom: Advance our standards, set upon our foes ; Our ancient word of courage, fair St. George, Inspire us with the spleen of fiery dragons ! Upon them! Victory sits on our helms.

FONDNESS, MIXED WITH SORROW.-HIGH, SOFT, SLOW. Oh, my long lost hope ! If thou to giddy valour gav'st the rein, To-morrow I may lose my son for ever. The love of thee before thou saw'st the light, Sustained

my life when thy brave father fell. If thou shalt fall, I have nor love, nor hope, In this wide world. My son, remember me !

Wilt thou be gone? It is not yet near day:
It was the nightingale, and not the lark,
That pierced the fearful hollow of thine ear;
Nightly she sings on yon pomegranate tree:
Believe me, love, it was the nightingale.


In the examples given above, the prevailing tone of the voice was pointed out; but in passionate composition, and even in that of reasoning and narrative, there is frequently in the same sentence, and, generally, at the beginning of a new sentence and paragraph, a marked variety of tone. The right assumption of these keys constitutes what may be termed the feeling of a composition; without it, acting is lifeless, and argument tiresome. It is a want of this variety which distinguishes the inanimate speaker; his inflection may be correct, and have even what has been termed a musical cadence; but without this variety of key, he must tire his audience. The effect of a transition from the major to the minor key in music is not more striking than the variety which the voice will occasionally assume.

A change of key is generally necessary at the commencement of a new sentence. When in the preceding sentence the voice has sunk down towards the close, in the new sentence it sometimes recovers its elasticity, and sometimes it continues in the depressed note on which the preceding sentence terminates. This is generally the case when the second sentence is illustrative or expository of the first :

No blessing of life is comparable to the enjoyment of a discreet and virtuous friend. It eases and unloads the mind, clears and improves the understanding, engenders thoughts and knowledge, animates virtue and good resolutions, soothes and allays the passions, and finds employment for most of the vacant hours of life.

Here the second sentence beginning, It eases, assumes the low note, which terminates the preceding sentence. In the remaining clauses the voice is varied, in order to rivet the attention on each particular. Speciality, in the same sentence, has a similar effect :

The flying Mede-his shaftless broken bow.

The fiery Greek-his red pursuing spear. Opposition, variety, modification of the sense, interruption of the thought, whether in one sentence or in separate sentences, produce a change of key :

Oh, blindness to the future! kindly given,
That each may fill the circle marked by Heaven,
Who sees, wiih equal eye, as God of all,
A hero perish, or a sparrow fall ;
Atoms or systems into ruin hurl'd;
And now a bubble burst, and now a world.
Mountains above, earth's, ocean's plain below,

Dealh in the front, destruction in the rear. Age in a virtuous person, carries in it an authority which makes it preferable to all the pleasures of youth.

To die—10 sleep—to sleep! perchance to dream :
Ay, there's the rub.

If thou be'st heBut oh! how fallen. In passionate composition, the changes of key are more frequent than in argument, as the mind is more restless; in the latter case, it is principally at the beginning of sentences or paragraphs that a change is necessary. In order to keep the minds of an audience awake to an argument, it is necessary that the speaker should at times use the artifice of sincerity, wonder, &c.; indeed, they are not artifices, but the feeling which must occupy the breast of every one who speaks with intensity. Even the reading of a narrative partakes of the mood of the speaker's mind, and will be relieved at times by those modifications of voice, which are in accordance with his natural temper.

If, then, a mere narrative assumes these modulations, a public address, such as is given from the pulpit, should be greatly varied in its tones; for then, pity, hope, and other passions, must animate the mind of the speaker; nay, even in the closest reasoning, there must be an earnestness, in which must be exhibited, by varying tones, the natural impatience of a mind which, convinced itself, wonders at the tardiness of conviction on others, the relapse into the calmness of appeal natural after such impatience, and the assumption of confidence in the statement of arguments that appear manisest to all. It is on several of the most remarkable of these moods of the mind that the figures of rhetoric are founded; their pronunciation, then, must be intimately connected with the molulation of the voice, and with the shift which forms so prominent a part of modulation.

IMITATIVE MODULATION. Immensity, sublimity, are naturally expressed by a prolongation and swell of the voice :

Roll on thou deep and dark blue ocean, roll,

Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain. The adoption of a tone little varied in the inflection is necessary in such passages, the wave of the voice not exceeding a half note :

Thou glorious mirror! where the Almighty's form
Glasses itself in tempests; in all time,
Calm or convulsed, in breeze or gale or storm,
Icing the pole; or, in the torrid clime,

Dark, heaving ; boundless, endless, and sublime. The reader's admiration of a passage is conveyed to another by a subdued imitation, and a long interval betwixt the words. I notice this, although it does not come within the legitimate sphere of ornamental reading, as it is a practice of daily occurrence, and as it is frequently employed by the intelligent reader to convey to others the full beauty, force and sublimity of a passage. In such reading, there is a tone of wonder and admiration; and the frequent pauses are made, that the hearer may have leisure to see the composition in all its meaning.

Motion and sound in all their modifications, are, in descriptive reading, more or less imitated. To glide, to drive, to swell, to flow, to skip, to whirl, to turn, to rattle, &c., all partake of a peculiar modification of voice. This expression lies in the key, force, and time of the tones, and the forcible pronunciation of certain letters which are supposed more particularly to express the imitation,

True ease in writing comes from art, not chance;
As those move easiest, who have learned to dance.
'Tis not enough, no harshness gives offence-
The sound must seem an echo to the sense.
Soft is the strain when Zephyr gently blows,
And the smooth stream in smoother nurnbers flows;

But when loud surges lash the sounding shore,
The hoarse rough verse should like the corrent roar.
When Ajax strives sonje rock's vast weight 10 throw,
The line 100 labours, and the words move slow;
Nou so, when swifi Camilla scours the plain,
Flies o'er the unbending corn, and skinis along the main.
See from the brake the whirring pheasant springs,

And mounis exulling on triumphant wings. The rhythmus of speech is significant of various kinds of motion.


Up the high hill he heaves a huge round stone. The pauses which must necessarily occur betwixt high, hill, huge, round, and stone, are eminently descriptive of slow motion. The necessity of these pauses is shewn in what follows on the measure of speech.

First march the heavy mules securely slow,

O'er hills, o'er dales, o'er crags, o'er rocks they go. The regularity of the cadence here, is peculiarly appropriate.


Besides the pauses of passion, and those which are denoted by grammatical punctuation, there are short pauses at the termination of those clusters of words which have been termed oratorical, and others which are regulated by the rhythmus of speech. The latter are explained elsewhere; the former, which have obtained the name of Rhetorical Pauses, may be quickly understood by the following rule and examples.

Pause before the nominative, if it consists of several words, or if it is one important word; before and after an immediate clause; before the relative; before and after clauses introduced by prepositions; before conjunctions ; and before the infinitive mood, if any words intervene betwixt it and the word which governs it.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »