« PreviousContinue »
124. “If they rule, it shall be over our ashes and graves;
But we've smote them already with fire on the waves,
125. " The combat deepens. On, ye brave,
Who rush to glory, or the grave!
And charge with all thy chivalry!”
126. The expressions, “On, ye brave,” — “Wave Munich,” — “And charge," — denote feelings of triumphant exultation; and the utterance of these feelings requires a due degree of loudness, an elevated pitch, extended quantity, median stress, and a well-regulated,'tremulous movement. The tremulous movement should be applied mainly to the words “on” and “charge.” This will enable the reader to impress the sentiment much more vividly than he could by omitting the tremulous movement.
127. Many sentiments depend entirely on loudness for their character ; such as anger, danger, ferocity, and revenge ;- and others again depend chiefly upon it as they assume its character; such as joy, laughter, and astonish ment, as in the following extracts :
128. “ And longer had she sung - but, with a frown,
Revenge impatient rose.
129. " Tubal. Yes, other men have ill luck too. Antonio, as I heard in Genoa, —
Shylock. What, what, what? Ill luck? ill luck ?
Shy. I thank thee, good Tubak. Good new good news! Ha, ha, ha! . Where? In Genoa ?”
130. " But hark! - That heavy sound breaks in once more,
As if the clouds its echo would repeat;
Arm! arm! It is - it is the cannons' opening roar."
FEEBLENESS OF VOICE,
131. Feebleness of voice is an element the reverse of the last. There are some states of the mind that are properly portrayed by feebleness of voice; and there are other conditions of the mind, akin to these, which are always manifested by feebleness or softness of voice. Of this class are modesty, caution, doubt, irresolution, resignation, and despondency, as may be seen in the following extracts :
132. “Wolsey. Why, how now, Cromwell !
Cromwell. I have no power to speak, sir.
Wol. What! amazed
Crom. How does your grace ?
Wol. Why, well;
Crom. I am glad your grace has made that right use of it.
Wol. I hope I have. I am able now, methinks,
133. “Cromwell, I did not think to shed a tear
In all my miseries; but thou hast forced me,
134. “ Would I had never trod this English earth,
Or felt the flatteries that grow upon it!
135. “She looked down to blush, and she looked up to sign,
With a smile on her lip, and a tear in her eye;
136. There are some conditions of the mind demanding a highly intensive degree of force; and there are some emotions occasioned by alarm, terror, or fearful apprehensions, which at once excite the voice, and suppress the loudness of utterance
137. When the force of feeling is such as to get the entire control of the speaker; when he would imbody and unbosom that which is most within him; when he would "wreak his thoughts upon expression," and throw his whole soul, heart, mind, passions, — all that he seeks, knows, bears, and feels, — into a few words; when his mind is in a state of perturbation, confusion, and perplexity, arising from the sudden conflict of violent passions; when his soul is overwhelmed in violent, tumultuous, and conflicting emotions; — then his language will necessarily partake of the perturbation of his mind, and incoherent hints, precipitate sallies, vehement exclamations, bold figures, laconic, abrupt, desultory expressions, will then be thrown out with such explosive energy, that the degree of aspiration must necessarily destroy that pure vocality, and partially suppress that intonation, which are the accompaniments of ordinary degrees of force, and the usual constituents of loudness. This may be fully exempli fied in the reading of the following extracts.
132. “Banished from Rome! What's banished, but set free
From daily contact of the things I loathe?
Your consul's merciful. For this all thanks,
139. Every one must perceive that there is but one prevailing sentiment which runs through the whole of the above extract. The drift of the voice must accommodate itself to this reigning sentiment, and be identical during its preva lence. Almost every word is shaded, in a greater or less degree, by suppressed force; but there are some phrases which require an intensive application of this element; such as the following ; -“Banished from Rome!”—“Tried and convicted traitor !” But what movement, drift, or force of the voice, will best express the sentiments in the line“ • Traitor! I go- but I return. This — trial!” presents a question which perhaps cannot be satisfactorily decided, even at the tribunal where criticism, judgment, and good taste preside. It may not, however, be amiss to observe, in regard to the words and phrases in this line, that such abrupt exclamations, such incoherent hints, such vehement sallies, are the natural expressions of a mind in a state of violent perturbation, and overwhelmed with conflicting emotions; emotions struggling for utterance at the same moment; it being a principle founded in nature, that whatever most strongly operates on the passions will first seek utterance by the lips. In conformity to this state of things, the writer has so arranged the words as to occasion some obscurity, or a species of darkness. But it may be said with truth, that this darkness was necessary to paint the character as it was; and to one skilled in reading nature, there will arise a light out of this darkness, which will enable him to penetrate much farther into the condition of a mind thus agitated than he could possibly do by the most just, perspicuous, and elaborate description.
140. “ Avaunt! and quit my sight! Let the earth hide thee!
Thy bones are marrowless, thy blood is cold;