Page images

was Arthur, and he dragged after him, from the bottom, the dear object which clung to him when they sunk.

16. Rover now reached them, and, with all the sagacity of his tribe, seizing the long tresses of Mary in his mouth so as to lift her head above the water, bore her triumphantly toward the shore. Arthur swam by her side. I could only wait for them on the shore.

17. They were now within a few rods of land, when Arthur's strength began to fail. Poor Arthur sunk! He rose again,— made a few feeble strokes; and the waters again covered him.

18. Once more he rose, — endeavored to speak, — cast a mournful look upon Mary, — folded his arms, — and sunk forever! A few noiseless bubbles struggled to the surface and his spirit mingled with the air. Of all that, lately, so happy party, Mary alone was saved!

Questions. — Which is the first example in this exercise marked with the monotone? Point out other examples. Point out some examples which are not marked, that require the monotone. Where is Lake George? What iff the principal incident narrated in this exercise?


Modulation implies the various intonations of the voice that are heard in reading or speaking.

Good reading depends very much upon a proper modulation. When skillfully employed, it gives life, spirit, and beauty to what would otherwise be monotonous and uninteresting.

The following particulars may be specified as embracing some of the most important principles connected with this subject; namely, Expression, Personation, and Rhetorical Pause.

Questions. — What is modulation? What effect has it on reading when skillfullv employed? What principles of modulation are here introduced?



Expression implies the peculiar tones of voice, and the manner of utterance, expressive of the thoughts, feelings, and emotions of the reader

It admits of several divisions, of which P^itch, Quantity, Quality, and Movement may be regarded as the most important.

I. PiTcn.

Pitch of voice refers to the note, or key, on which we read or speak.

Every person's voice has many variations; but it will be sufficiently exact for our present purposes to mention only three general distinctions: —

1. The high pitch, as heard when the voice is raised above the ordinary conversa'tional tone, or in calling to a person at a distance.

2. The middle pitch, as heard in common conversation.

3. The low pitch, as heard when the voice falls below the conversational tone, or in the grave under key.

The proper pitch, or key, in reading or speaking, must always be governed by circumstances. The character of the subject, the number of the audience, and the space to be filled, will be the best guide.

1. High Pitch.

1. Fire, fire I The ship's on fire! Quick, let down, the boat!

2. If we retain the glory of our ancestors,
Whose ashes will rise up against our dullness, —
Shake off our tameness, and give way to courage.

Questions. — 'What is expression? What particulars are Illustrated under expression? What is pitch? How many general distinctions has pitch? What are they What is the best guide to a proper pitch in reading or speaking? Read the ex amples.



2. Middle Pilch.

1. A gentleman is gentle, modest, courteous, generous; slow t« take oHei.ce, as being one that never gives it; slow to surmise, as being one that never thinks it; goes armed only in consciousness of right; subjects his appetites, refines his taste, subdues his feelings, and controls bis speech.

2. True courage is cool and calm. The bravest of men have the least of a brutal, boasting insolence; and in the very time of danger they are found the most serene and free. Rage, we know, can make a coward forget himself, and fight. But what is done in fury or anger can never be placed to the account of courage.

3. Low Pitch.

1. My heart is awed within me when I think
Of the great miracle that still goes on

In silence round me!

2. Ay, gloriously thou standest there,

Beautiful, boundless firmament I
That, swelling wide o'er earth and air,

And round the horizon bent,
With thy bright vault and sapphire wall
Dost overhang and circle all!

L. Quantity.

Quantity of voice is here used to signify the volume, or loudness, with which one speaks on the same hey, or pitch.

Care must be taken lest a high tone be mistaken for a loud one. Many pupils, when requested to "read louder," merely raise the voice to a higher pitch, without materially increasing the quantity. But this is not what we now mean by reading louder; we want an increased volume of voice on the same key-note.

The following examples will illustrate more fully what we mean by an increase of quantity on the same key, or pitch. Let the pupil read each one, first in a soft, feeble voice, and then repeat it with

Questions. — What Is quantity as here used? What- mistake Is sometimes made by pupils when requested to "read louder "? How b the Increase of quantity on the same key, or pitch, illustrated?

increased emphasis, until he reaches the utmost capacity of his voice on that particular key. This exercise may be greatly varied by repeating the example in the same manner on different keys, or pitches of the voice. The dots at the end of the first example are given to show-the increase of the volume of voice at each successive reading.


1. The war is inevitable. • . The war is inevitable. .

The war is inevitable. •
The war is inevitable. •
, , The war is inevitable. •

2. I charge thee, fling away ambition!
8. I tell thee we are free!

• 4. Go to the ant, thou sluggard, and be wise.

HI. Quality.

Qttality of the voice has reference to the tones; and it is commonly designated by the —-terms rough, smooth, harsh, soft, full, slender, musical, shrill, nasal, or guttural.

One tone may be the same as another in pitch and quantity, yet quite unlike it in quality. A sound produced by the voice is very different in kind from one produced by a stringed instrument, although both may be on the same key. Indeed, it is hardly possible . for any two voices to produce the same quality of tone, though essentially alike in all other respects. .

To give the voice, therefore, a just adaptation to all the different characters of style, sentiment, and emotion, is somewhat difficult; yet much may be done toward accomplishing this, by duly considering the spirit and circumstances which dictated the language to be read or spoken, and thereby so enlisting the feelings as to inspire emotions similar to those of the writer.

Although each one of the preceding distinctions in the qualities of the voice may sometimes be appropriately used, yet those qualities

Questions.—Read the examples. What is meant by the quality of the yoice? What terms are commonly, used to designate it? What is said of the qualities of the toice 1 How may they be cultivated?

most commonly employed in reading or speaking, and therefore the: most important to be cultivated, are the Smooth or Soft, Fuit 01 Round, the Aspirated, and the Guttural.


1. Smooth or Soft.

How soft the music of those village bells,
Falling at intervals upon the ear
In cadence sweet! now dying all away,
Now pealing loud again, and louder still,
Clear and sonorous as the gale comes on!
With easy force, it opens all the cells
Where memory slept.

2. Full or Round.

See how the rending clouds divide!
How forked lightnings glaring fly!
Hark! how the awful thunders roar,
And grumble through the angry sky!

3. Aspirated and Guttural.

1. And what art thou? I know, but dare not speak!

2. Whence is that knocking?
How is't with me, when every noise appalls me!

3. Down to the dust! and as thou rott'st away,
E'en worms shall perish on thy poisonous clay!

4. Accursed be the tongue that tells me so;
For it hath cowed my better part of man!

IV. Movement. Movement refers to the time or rate of uttering words or sentences.

It may be quick, moderate, or slow, according to the character of the composition to be read.

1. Quick.

Down with the boats! Where is Sophia? Here. The children?

Questions. —Which are most commonly used in reading or speaking? Read_ the examples. What is movement? What are its general distinctions? Read the examples.

« PreviousContinue »