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Weeping as fast as they stream forth thy blood,
6. Shouting and Calling, (The strongest “swell” of which the voice is capable, the
note prolonged.) Cinna, [after the assassination of Casar.] “Liberty! Freedom! Tyranny is dead! Run hence! proclaim, cry it about the streets !' Cassius. Some to the common pulpits ! and cry out,
Liberty, freedom, and enfranchisement !'
The word “
vanishing,” in this use of it, is divested entirely of its usual meaning. It has no reference whatever to an effect corresponding to the gradual disappearing of a visible object, withdrawing from the eye. It refers, as a technical term, merely to the last audible moment of a vocal sound, as the word " vanish"
was technically used in speaking of the “vanishing movement" in the utterance of a sound or the enunciation of a letter. The terms "radical” and “ vanish,” used in elocution, with reference to the property of“ stress,” are always to be understood as exactly synonymous, the former, with the word initial, and the latter, with the word final.
We have observed, thus far, that some emotions, in their
utterance, throw the stress or force of vocal sound upon the first portion of an element, as in the “ explosive radical” of anger, of fear, of scorn, and similar passions; while others retain the “ stress” for the effect of a 'swell,” or expulsive force, on the middle of a note, as in the “ median style of the shout of triumph, or the gentle, but full-swelling tone of reverence, or adoration. We proceed now to those emotions which express themselves by a jerking force,
stress,” thrown out at the “vanish” or close of a sound.
The force of utterance in the expression of emotions marked by “vanishing stress," begins with a light and gentle, and ends with a heavy and violent sound, which leaves off instantly and abruptly. But although the sound, in such cases, is obviously slight at its commencement, and powerful at its close, it is by no means a gradual formation and increase of force, easily followed by the ear analyzed by the mind. On the contrary, the whole duration of such sounds is very brief and transient, and their effect on the ear excessively abrupt, as well as violent.
This form of "stress," being the natural expression of extreme emotion, does not admit of the gradations which may not unfrequently be traced in the “radical” and “median” modes. It exists only in the shape of a protracted or deferred "explosion.” Its nature is incompatible with “ expulsion,” or any inferior force.
A pretty accurate impression of the character of the vanishing stress, may be obtained by listening to the sound of a musket, when, through negligent loading, or from damp powder, it" hangs fire," and a partially hissing, but growing sound precedes the final explosion. It is exhibited in the mechanical functions of the human organs of respiration and of voice, when the workman who is using a heavy sledge-hammer brings it down in coincidence with a groaning expiration, terminating, at the moment of the blow, in the form familiarly termed a grunt. It is exemplified, in its moral effect, in the language of a child stung to a high pitch of impatient or peevish feeling, and uttering, in the tone of the most violent ill temper, its appropriate “I won't !” or “YOU shan't!” In such circumstances the “explosion” of passion is deferred, or hangs, for a moment, on the ear, till the “vanish or final part of the sound bursts out from the chest, throat, and mouth with furious vehemence; leaving, in its abrupt termination, an effect directly contrary to the dying wail of grief, or the gentle vanish of the tone of love.
The obvious preparation of the organs for the vocal effect, in the expression of “vanishing stress,” implies its comparative dependence on volition. Hence it is the natural utterance of determined purpose, of earnest resolve, of stern rebuke, of contempt, of astonishment and horror, of fierce and obstinate will, of dogged sullenness of temper, of stubborn passion, and all similar moods. It is the language, also, of peevishness and impatience, and, sometimes, of ercessive grief.
Like all other forms of impassioned utterance which are strongly marked in the usages of natural habit, this property of voice is indispensable to appropriate elocution, whether in speaking or reading. Without "vanishing stress," declamation will sometimes lose its manly energy of determined will, and become feeble song to the ear. Highwrought resolution can never be expressed without it. Even the language of protest, though respectful in its form, needs the aid of the right degree of “vanishing stress," to intimate its sincerity and its firmness of determination, as well as its depth of conviction.
But when we extend our view to the demands of lyric and dramatic poetry, in which high-wrought emotion is so abundant an element of effect, the full command of this property of voice, as the natural utterance of extreme passion, becomes indispensable to true, natural, and appropriate style.
Determined Purpose and Earnest Resolve.
Example 1. [Webster on Freedom of Debate.] (“ Pectoral Quality”: “ Declamatory” force : Bold " stress.")
“On such occasions, I will place myself on the extreme boundary of my right, and bid defiance to the arm that would push me from it.”
2. [Otis against “ Writs of Assistance."] (" Quality” and force, as in Example 1 : “Stress"
“Let the consequences be what they will, I am determined to proceed. The only principles of public conduct which are worthy of a gentleman or a man, are, to sacrifice estate, health, ease, applause, and even life at the sacred call of his country.”
3. [Swiss deputy's reply to Charles of Burgundy.] (“ Aspirated Pectoral Quality" : "Impassioned ” force : In
creased “stress.”) “ You may, if it be God's will, gain our barren and rugged mountains. But, like our ancestors of old, we will seek refuge in wilder and more distant solitudes; and when we have resisted to the last, we will starve in the icy wastes of the glaciers. Ay, men, women, and children, we will be frozen into annihilation together, ere one free Switzer will acknowledge a foreign master!"
4. [Campbell's war-song of the Greeks.] ("Orotund Quality": Impassioned ” force : " Stress" still
That living we will be victorious,
Stern Rebuke. King Henry V. [to Lord Scroop, on the detection of his
Treason.] (“ Aspirated Pectoral Quality”: “Impassioned ” force : Vehe
" But oh!
Contempt and Mockery. Queen Constance, to the Arch-duke of Austria.] (" Aspirated oral, and guttural Quality”: “Impassioned"
force: Violent “ stress.”) « Thou slave! thou wretch! thou coward ! Thou little valiant, great in villany! Thou ever strong upon the stronger side! Thou Fortune's champion, that dost never fight But when her humorous ladyship is by To teach thee safety!"
Astonishment and Horror. Macduf, [on discovering the murder of Duncan.] (Extremely “Aspirated pectoral Quality”: “Impassioned"
force: Excessive “stress.") “Oh! horror ! horror ! horror ! — Tongue, nor heart, Cannot conceive, nor name thee !
“ Confusion now hath made his masterpiece!