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4. Infuriate Anger. The Doge of Venice, [on the eve of his execution, - in the concluding words of his curse on the city.]
“Thou den of drunkards with the blood of princes !
[To the executioner.] Slave, do thine office!
5. Indignation and Threatening. Gabriel, [to Satan.]
“ Avaunt !
6. Anger and Threatening. Lear, [to Kent.]
“Hear me, rash man! on thy allegiance hear me. Since thou hast striven to make us break our vow, (Which nor our nature nor our place can bear,) We banish thee forever from our sight And kingdom. If, when three days are expired, Thy hated trunk be found in our dominions, That moment is thy death. · Away! By Jupiter, this shall not be revoked!”
7. Anger, Scorn, and Contempt. Coriolanus, [to the Roman populace.]
“ What would you have, you curs, That like not peace nor war? The one affrights you The other makes you proud. He that trusts to you,
Where he should find you lions, finds you hares;
the ice, Or hailstone in the sun. He that depends Upon your favors, swims with fins of lead, And hews down oaks with rushes. — Hang ye ! Trust ye? With every minute do ye change a mind, And call him noble that was now your hate, Him vile, that was your garland.”
Strike for your altars and your fires !
God and your native land !”
The “qualities” of voice which are most frequently exemplified in reading and speaking, are those which have been defined and exemplified under the designations of pure tone” and
orotund.” Deviations from purity of tone, are usually to be regarded as faults of inadvertency or of personal habit. Still, there are some classes of emotions, which, from their peculiar nature, require, as one element in their "expression," an "aspirated quality," or that in which, from the forcible character of the feeling, operating with a corresponding effect on the organs, more breath is expelled from the trachea, in the act of utterance, than is converted into sound by the exertion of the larynx. The stream of air which the excited action of the expulsory muscles, throws out, under the influence of certain passions, becomes too wide and too powerful to be moulded by the glottis and controlled by the vocal chords, which, for the moment, become, as it were, either paralyzed or convulsed, and unable to act with effect. Hence a rushing sound of the breath escaping, unvocalized, is heard along with the partially vocalized sounds by which such passions are expressed. The half-whispering voice of fear, and the harsh, breathing sound of anger, are examples in point, in the extremes of “ expression."
The agitating character of these and similar emotions, disturbs the play of the organs, and not only prevents, in utterance, the effect of purity of tone,
which is always connected with comparative tranquillity of feeling, - but causes, by “ aspirated quality,” or redundant breath superadded to vocal sound, a positive impurity of tone, which has a grating effect on the ear, — somewhat as takes place when we hear a person attempting to play on a wind instrument which has been cracked, and which allows a hissing sound of the breath to escape along with the musical notes.
The emotions which are naturally expressed by the strongest form of “ aspirated quality,” are principally of that class which an eminent writer on the passions has denominated “ malignant," from their peculiar character and effect, as contrasted with those of others which he denominates "genial.” The former class includes fear, hatred, aversion, horror, anger, and all similar feelings : the latter, love, joy, serenity, tenderness, pity, &c.
“ Aspirated quality," like other forms of utterance, may exist, according to the force of emotion, in the three gradations of “effusive," " expulsive," and "explosive" voice. The muscular action attending utterance in the form of
aspirated quality,” is usually such as to blend with the " aspiration" either a “pectoral” or a guttural” resonance, very strongly marked. Hence these properties of voice, which would, in the expression of other emotions, be mere organic faults, now become requisites to effect, and are, therefore, comparative excellences. They require, accordingly, special study and practice as modes of “expressive" utterance.
The “ aspirated quality,” in the “pectoral” form, belongs, usually, to despair, deep-seated anger, revenge, excessive fear, horror, and other deep and powerful emotions.
Other emotions, however, besides those which may be designated as "malignant," partake of "aspirated quality.” Awe may be mentioned as an example, which, when profound, is always marked by a slight aspiration, and a "pec
toral quality.” Joy and grief, too, become aspirated” when highly characterized. Ardor and intense earnestness of emotion, are always “ aspirated." The fervent expression of love, and even of devotion, admits, accordingly, of “
aspirated” utterance. “ Aspiration," like “tremor," thus becomes a natural sign of extremes in feeling; and these two properties united, form the acmé or highest point of “expression."
The “aspirated quality," in the "guttural” form, belongs, in various degrees, to all malignant emotions. In its stronger expression, it gives a harsh, animal, and, sometimes, even fiend-like character to human utterance, as in the malice and revenge of Shylock. In a reduced, though still highly impassioned degree, it gives its peculiar choking effect to the utterance of
anger. In the yell of rage and fury, " aspiration” is displaced by perfectly “ pure tone
of the loudest sound, — by a law of man's organization, which it is unnecessary here to analyze, but which seems to make all the extremes, or utmost reaches of human feeling, musical in their effect. Joy, and the extremes of both grief and anger, may be mentioned as illustrations.
Aversion, disgust, displeasure, impatience, dissatisfaction, and discontent, all, in various degrees, combine "aspirated" utterance and "guttural quality."
The due “ aspiration " of the voice, in all the emotions which have been enumerated as requiring that property, is a point indispensable to the natural and appropriate "expression" of emotion, and consequently an important accomplishment of good elocution, whether in reading or speaking.
To learners who have practised the exercises in whispering, which is the extreme of " aspiration," this quality will not prove difficult of acquisition. It will be of great service, however, to power of " expression,” to render the command of “ aspiration ” easy by frequent repetition on elements, syllables, and words, selected for the purpose, and on the following examples.
1. Awe, [in its gentle form, with moderate “ aspiration."]
(“ Pectoral Quality.”) Note. The effect intended here is but the slightest approach to a whisper, - a barely perceptible breathing sound accompanying the utterance, — not unlike, in its effect, to a slight hoarseness.
“ How awful is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and the gate of Heaven !"
2. The same emotion deepened. “Of old hast Thou laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the work of Thy hands. They shall perish, but Thou shalt endure; yea all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt Thou change them, and they shall be changed: but Thou art the same ; and Thy years shall have no end.
“ Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever Thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God.
“ Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, ‘Return, ye children of men. For a thousand years, in Thy sight, are but as yesterday, when it is past, and as a watch in the night.
“ Thou carriest them away as with a flood; they are as a sleep: in the morning, they are like grass which groweth up. In the morning, it flourisheth and groweth up : in the evening, it is cut down, and withereth."
3. Awe, [deepened by poetic expression.]
“ Behold the world Rests; and her tired inhabitants have paused From trouble and turmoil.