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5th, Thorough stress," in which the initial, middle, and final portions of a sound, are all, distinctively and impressively marked by special " expulsive force" of voice.
6th,“ Tremor,” tremulous, or intermittent " stress.”
This form of vocal force is exemplified in the mechanical act of abrupt coughing. * In speech, its highest form exists in the utterance of all sounds which embody startling and abrupt emotions; as fear, anger, &c. It exists, also, although in a reduced form, in the tones of determined will, earnest argument, emphatic and distinct or exact communication, and other unimpassioned modes of expression.
In the latter shape, "radical” stress does little more than impart to speech an additional degree of that clear, distinct, and energetic character of utterance, which is marked by the decision of its “radical movement, the phrase, (it will be recollected,) by which Dr. Rush has designated the opening, or initial part, of articulate sounds. But, even in this reduced degree, it forms one of the most valuable accomplishments of elocution ; for, although it does not, in this mode, aim at a sympathetic effect on passion or imagination, it subserves the substantially useful purpose of addressing, in clear, distinct style, the ear and the understanding. The definiteness and decision of the speaker's intention, the clear conviction of his judgment, the distinctness of his perceptions, and the energy of his will, are all indicated in this natural language of voice.
* " There are so few speakers able to give a radical stress to syllabic utterance, with this momentary burst, which I here mean to describe, that I must draw an illustration from the effort of cougbing. It will be perceived that a single impulse of coughing, is not, in all points, exactly like the abrupt voice on syllables: for that single impulse is a forcing out of almost all the breath; yet if the tonic element a-we' be employed as the vocality of coughing, its abrupt opening will truly represent the function of radical stress when used in discourse.
“The clear and forcible radical stress can take place only after an interruption of the voice. It would seem as if there is some momentary occlusion in the larynx, by which the breath is barred and accumulated for the purpose of a full and sudden discharge. This occlusion is most under command, and the explosion is most powerful, on syllables beginning with a tonic element, or with an abrupt one preceding a tonic; for, in this last case, an obstruction in the organs of articulation, is combined with the function of the larynx, above supposed.” Dr. Rush,
A due “radical stress,” farther, imparts point and spirit to articulation : it gives an edge and a life to utterance, and hinders emotion from rendering the voice confused and indistinct. Vehemence, without “radical stress,” becomes vociferation and bawling.
The energy of the “radical movement,” may, indeed, be justly termed the salt and the relish of oral communication, as it preserves the pungency and penetrating effect of articulate utterance. - Without due radical stress,” reading or speaking becomes insipid and ineffective. The argumentative speaker who has not this quality at command, seems to strike with the flat rather than the edge of the rhetorical weapon.* Carried to excess, it becomes, of course, a fault: it savors of dogmatical arrogance and assumption, of selfish wilfulness, and self-conceit. Persuasion, not intimidation, is the soul of eloquence; argument, not assertion, the instrument of conviction; sympathy, not opposition, the avenue to the heart. A uniform, hard “radical stress,” therefore, can effect none of the best purposes of speech, and must ever be regarded as allied to violence and vulgarity, or the slang of party invective.
The utter absence, however, of“ radical stress,” bespeaks timidity and indecision, confusion of thought, and feebleness of purpose. The speaker who fails in regard to the effect of the property of “radical stress,” solicits our pity, rather than commands our respect. The right degree of this function indicates the manly, self-possessed, and impressive speaker. — These remarks all apply, with corresponding force, to the exercise of reading. A feeble, vacillating, inexpressive utterance, kills, as it were, by a slow but sure death, the sentiments of the most impressive writer ; and the hacking edge of a uniform, unmodified, “radical stress,” turns the parlor or the class-room into the arena of a debating-club.
* "It is this,” (radical stress,) "which draws the cutting edge of words across the ear, and startles even stupor into attention : - this which lessens the fatigue of listening, and outvoices the stir and rustle of an assembly :and it is the sensibility to this, through a general instinct of the animal ear, which gives authority to the groomn, and makes the horse submissive to his angry accent." Dr. Rush.
False taste and style in the practice of elocution, some times lead to the cultivation of an exclusive habit of “radical stress,” in the utterance of young readers and speakers. The effect of this fault is very unfavorable. The decision of tone which it implies, belongs properly to years and to experience, on special occasions, or to the language of vehement excitement. It is utterly incompatible with the just diffidence and respectful tone appropriate in youth, and forever prevents the winning effect of nature's genuine eloquence, in the tones of feeling chastened and subdued by reverence for truth and respect for man.
The orator, however, and the reader, must still be regarded as, in their function, representing, for the moment, the sentiments of humanity, not merely the opinion or feeling of the individual. Hence, a just degree of firmness and force, (and the “radical stress” is the exponent of these qualities,) is a point indispensable to eloquent speaking and impressive reading.
The practice of the following examples should be accompanied by an extensive and thorough course of discipline on all degrees of “explosion," in elements, syllables, and words, — advancing from the very slightest to the intensest form, and occasionally reversing the order, so as to reduce the function of explosion from its most impassioned to its merely intellectual character and expression.
I. “Impassioned Radical."
Example 1. Fear. ("Explosive " Utterance : “Aspirated Guttural Quality.”)
[“ While throng the citizens with terror dumb, Or whispering with white lips,] "The foe!- they come,
2. Anger and Scorn. (“ Explosive ” Utterance : “ Aspirated Pectoral Quality.”)
Coriolanus, (to the people.] “ You common cry of curs ! whose breath I hate As reek o' the rotten fens, whose loves I prize
As the dead carcases of unburied men,
II. " Unimpassioned Radical." Example 1. Didactic Composition : Grave Style. (“ Pure Tone: "
“ Moderate Force,' " " Grave” Style. — Usual Style of a Sermon, or of a Moral or Political Discourse.) “How can it enter into the thoughts of man, that the soul, which is capable of such immense perfections, and of receiving new improvements, to all eternity, shall fall away into nothing almost as soon as it is created ? Are such abilities made for no purpose ?
A brute arrives at a point of perfection that he can never pass : in a few years he has all the endowments he is capable of; and were he to live ten thousand more, would be the same thing he is at present.
Were a human soul thus at a stand in her accomplishments, were her faculties to be full blown, and incapable of farther enlargement, I could imagine it might fall away insensibly, and drop, at once, into a state of annihilation. But can we believe that a thinking being, which is in a perpetual progress of improvements, and travelling on from perfection to perfection, - after having just looked abroad into the works of its Creator, and made a few discoveries of His infinite goodness, wisdom, and power, — must perish at her first setting out, and in the very beginning of her inquiries?”
2. Didactic Composition: Serious Style.* (“ Pure Tone : - Moderate " Force,
6. Serious Style. The usual form of utterance, in the reading of an Essay, or of a Literary or Scientific Discourse.) “ The essay, the drama, the novel, have a most extensive
* See foot note on next page.
and powerful influence upon the moral feelings and character of the age. Even descriptions of natural scenery owe much of their beauty and interest to the moral associations which they awaken.
"In like manner, fine turns of expression or thought, often operate more by suggestion than enumeration. But when feelings and passions are directly described, or imbodied in the hero, and called forth by the incidents of a story, it is then that the magic of fiction and poetry is complete, that they enter in and dwell in the secret chambers of the soul, moulding it at will. In these moments of deep excitement, must not a bias be given to the character, and much be done to elevate and refine, or degrade and pollute, those sympathies and sentiments which are the sources of much of our virtue and happiness, or of our guilt and misery ?”
3. Poetic Composition : Animated Style.* (“Pure Tone: "“ Moderate " Force, " Lively” Style.) “ Is this a time to be gloomy and sad,
When our mother Nature laughs around; When even the deep blue heavens look glad,
And gladness breathes from the blossoming ground! The clouds are at play, in the azure space,
And their shadows at play on the bright green vale ; And here they stretch to the frolic chase,
And there they roll on the easy gale.
On the dewy earth that smiles on his ray,
Ay look, and he'll smile thy gloom away.” * In these examples the "radical stress” is merely of that gentle kind which gives distinctness and life to articulation, by a firm and clear "radical movement,” and preserves the serious style from verging on the solemn, by “swell" and prolongation, or by drawling. The slightest form of a clear cough, is the mechanical standard of organic action, in this degree of
stress; " and this distinction should be carefully observed ; for, when strong feeling is expressed in “grave," or in "serious," or in " animated" style, especially in poetry, the “ stress" changes to “median,” for greater expressive effect.