« PreviousContinue »
drawn from all the emotions, in turn. But the verification may be left for the practice of oral illustration, by the student, or the teacher.
II. - Unimpassioned Emphasis.
It may be thought, however, that, although the emphasis of passion does include many elements, the common emphasis of meaning, in unimpassioned intellectual communication, may be sufficiently expressed by mere comparative force of accent. This impression, too, will, on examination, be found erroneous. The simplest distinctive emphasis that can be given, comprises several points of effect, which are easily detected by analysis.
We may take, for an example of unimpassioned emphasis, the expressions in the moral of the fable of the Discontented Pendulum, “Let any man resolve always to do right now, leaving then to do as it can; and if he were to live to the age of Methuselah, he would never do wrong.'
The words “ now” and “ then," in this passage, are instances of distinctive emphasis : they are marked, 1st, by the usual superior force of utterance, which belongs to important and significant words; 2d, by a jerking stress, repeated at the beginning and end of each “ tonic" element of sound in the two words, and constituting what is technically termed in elocution" compound stress; 3d, by the comparatively high pitch on which each of these two words is set, relatively to the rest of the sentence; 4th, by a significant turn or “ double slide" of voice, termed the wave,
or, perhaps, — in the spirit of very keen and peculiarly marked distinction, — by a double turn, constituting a quadruple "slide" and a “ double wave,” in the style peculiar to the prolonged utterance of acute verbal distinctions; 5th, by the protracted sound of the words, which is inseparable from the enunciation of significant expressions, in general, but particularly, as just mentioned, from the style of verbal distinctions and subtle discriminations ; 6th, by the “ oral quality" of voice, with which the words are uttered. By“ oral quality” is not meant
head tone,” which always accompanies unimpassioned and merely intellectual communication, an utterance addressed to the understanding, and not to the passions, and hence divested of deep “ pectoral” or harsh "guttural ” quality, but that distinctly marked and exclusively oral tone, which causes the voice to sound as if it emanated from, or originated in, the mouth alone, and designedly threw the utterance into the shape of a mere process of articulation, dependent, for its whole effect, on the tongue, the palate, the teeth or the lips. All nice distinctions in grammar, in logic, and even in ethics, are given in this purely " oral” form. This mode of voice is, as it were, the
opposite pole to that of deep passion, which is not merely lowpitched, but designedly resounds in the thoracic cavity, and by its hollow “pectoral” effect, seems to emanate from the chest. It indicates, thus, to the ear the presence, as the “oral quality does the absence, of a deep inward movement of feeling. — The effect of the “ oral quality," as a part of the emphasis of intellectual distinctions, may be ascertained by the student for himself, if he will utter the words “ ” and “then” in the preceding passage, first, with “ low pitch," and deep" pectoral ” murmur, and, afterwards, with “high pitch," and thin “oral” enunciation. A similar analysis may be made on all the constituent elements of unimpassioned emphasis, as enumerated in this paragraph.
The reason why, in our analysis of elocution, the consideration of emphasis was postponed to other topics, will now be distinctly perceived. The appropriate study of emphasis, requires a knowledge of its various constituents. But the previous discussion and exemplification of these, renders the separate practice of each, under the denomination of emphasis, unnecessary. It will be sufficient, here, to present a few examples of emphasis, for practical analysis, classified in such a manner as to suggest to the student and the teacher the modes of practice best adapted to produce a distinct, impressive, and discriminating emphasis.
It will give additional value to all exercises in emphasis, if the examples are thoroughly analyzed, so as to exhibit all the properties of elocution comprised in each. It becomes necessary, once more, to drop, here, a suggestion on the effect of practice, that, in the first course of exercise, the full force of emphasis, in all its characteristics, is the object to be kept in view, so as to gain the power of throwing out the utmost expressive force, when impassioned utterance requires it; but that a subsequent course should be carefully added, so as to bring down and soften the emphasis of unimpassioned language into a quiet and moderate style of expression, marked by chaste and manly reserve. - Our current style of professional reading is justly complained of by foreigners, as being mechanical and studied in its emphasis ; and our popular oratory, as characterized by violence rather than genuine force. Earnestness, it is true, is the soul of eloquence; but it rarely authorizes vehemence, and never vociferation, a habit which for the time, degrades man from his rational elevation of humanity to the level of animal life. Emotion, the true source of impassioned emphasis, may be, in the highest degree, vivid, without being turbulent.
EXAMPLES OF EMPHASIS.
in the or
I. - Impassioned emphasis.
Fierce Anger and Defiance. (Coriolanus, enraged by the accusation of the Tribunes.] ("Aspirated guttural quality": "Impassioned" and increasing
“Expulsive" force : “Compound and thorough stress”: High and progressively rising “pitch”: Downward “third," fifth,' octave
slide" : Emphatically “slow move. ment.")
“Call me their traitor! Thou injurious tribune!
Revenge. [Othello, instigated by Iago, against Cassio.] (" Aspirated pectoral quality": Intensely "Impassioned " "Ex
pulsive” force : “ Thorough stress”: " Low pitch”: Downward "slide" of the "fifth” and “third”: “Emphatically deliberate and slow movement.”)
“Oh! that the slave had FORTY THOUSAND lives !
Anger and Threatening. (Coriolanus, to the Roman soldiers when repulsed.] (" Aspirated guttural quality”: “Impassioned" force : “Vanishing, radical,” and “median stress” : “ High pitch":
" Downward" "slide" of the fifth : “Movement first “slow," then “ quick.")
“ You souls of geese,
[Edmund, in Reply to Albany.] P" Orotund quality”: “Impassioned" force: “Thorough stress":
“Middle pitch”: Downward“ fifths": Deliberate
" What in the world he is,
II. — Unimpassioned Emphasis.
Emphasis of Designation. [Description of a Bookseller's Literary Dinner.] “ The host seemed to have adopted Addison's idea as to the literary precedence of his guests. – A popular * poet had the post of honor ; opposite to whom was a hot-pressed traveller in qudrto, with plates.
A grave-looking antiquary, who had produced several sòlid works, that were much quòted and little réad, was treated with great respect, and seated next to a neat, dressy gentleman in black, who had written a thin, genteel, hot-pressed octavo on political economy, that was getting into fashion. Several three-volume-duodècimo men, of fair currency, were placed about the centre of the table ; while the lower end was taken up with small poets, translators, and authors who had not as yet risen with much notoriety."
Emphasis of Comparison and Contrast in Equal and
Single Parts. “ The † high and the low, the rich and the poor, approach, in point of real enjoyment, much nearer to each other, than is commonly imagined. Providence never intended that any state here
* Usually, a downward slide of the second accompanies the "emphasis of designation."
† In the parallel or antithesis of equal and single parts, the slides exhibit the intervals of the upward and downward " third.”
should be either completely happy, or entirely miserable. If the feelings of pleasure are more numerous and more lively in the higher departments of life, such also are those of pain. If greatness flatters our vánity, it multiplies our dùngers. If opulence increases our gratifications, it increases, in the same proportion, our desires and demands. If the poor are confined to a more nárrow circle, yet within that circle lie most of those natural satisfàctions, which, after all the refinements of art, are found to be the most genuine and trùe.”
[Comparison and Contrast in Equal and Double Parts.]
" In * Hòmer, we discern all the Greek vivácity; in Virgil, all the Roman stàteliness. Homer's imagination is by much the most rich and cópious ; Virgil's the most chaste and correct. The strength of the fòrmer lies, in his power of warming the fáncy ; that of the latter, in his power of touching the hèart. Hòmer's style is more simple and ánimated ; Virgil's more elegant and uniform. The first has, on many occasions, a sublimity to which the làtter never attáins ; but the latter, in return, never sinks below a certain degree of epic dignity, which cannot so clearly be pronounced of the former.
[Comparison and Contrast in Unequal Parts.]
6. Better be
[Phrases of Successive Emphatic Words.
"The British army, traversing the Carnatic, after the desolation effected by Hyder Ali, beheld I not one living thing, nòt óne màn, not one woman, not one child, not one four-footed béast, of dny description whatèver."
* In contrasts of double parts, the primary members have the "slide" of the "third ”; but the inferior ones that of the “ second.”
+ The preponderant member has the downward, – the weaker, the upward " slide."
In emphatic phrases, every word takes a distinct and opposite "slide.” $ The subjects of "slide," ("inflection,”). “ rhetorical" pause, emphasis, and the other grammatical and sentential parts of elocution, are dis