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The greater part of this melody, is in monotone. I do not say the passage requires, exclusively, the order here given to the variations from the predominant phrase, since an accomplished reader might alter the arrangement with equal or superior effect. But I venture to claim that reader's accordance with the confident assertion, that if an equal amount of monotone, however disposed, be not allotted to these lines, the utterance will be, according to the degree of deviation, more or less at variance with the sentiment of the poet, and the rapt dignity of the reader's contemplation. *
* With due apology for the digression, I beg leave to return for a moment to the subject of the last section, hy remarking, that the poet, with a rich instinct of versification, has thickly set the lines above quoted, with long quantities, in happy adaptation to the stately sentiment of the description.
I use here, rather remarkably, the term instinct of versification, not in oversight of the bright intelligence with which this extraordinary man executed every high design and every tittle of his work; but because it is clearly seen, he did not intend to construct the measure of his poem by the rules of quantity alone. The development of the resources of the accentual measure by Milton, was a new and absorbing labour. Had this advance-step preceded him, the originality and restless enterprise of his genius would most probably have joined with the many principles of Greek and Roman composition, so happily transferred to his own language, the accomplishment of the supposed impossibility of adopting the mode of their rythmus. In the above example, where the majesty of his thought secured so much homage from his ear, some of the quantities suddenly arrest that perception of continued movement and deliberate dignity, which the protracted time of the generality of the measure produces. The syllables' state,' 'rich,' and 'sat,' are too short, for the otherwise good iambic temporal rythmus of these lines: and the word barbaric occasions some irregular contrariety in the impressions of quantity and accent. In the abstract pronunciation of this word, the first syllable, 'bar,' is somewhat longer than the second, which, by its nature will not, in this case, bear unusual extension. But the longer syllable is here in the place of the weak syllable of iambic accent; and the impressiveness of exceeding length thus reverses the succession of the prevailing rythmus. Nor does the simple meaning of the epithet barbaric,' allow a sufficient degree of accentual stress on the second syllable, to over-rule the impressiveness of the greater length of the first. If the reader will substitute the adjective orienť for 'barbaric,' and overlook the deterioration of style produced by the change, he will perceive, by comparison, the difference between the accentual and the temporal rythmus, which I have just endeavoured to explain.
Showers on | hěr kings | hěr ör | iễnt pearl | ănd gold.
Now, whether the first and the fourth foot be considered respectively in their order, a trochee and an iambus, as I have marked them, or as a dactyl and an
The following notation of the description of Abdiel's encounter with Satan, from Milton's sixth book, exemplifies the use of the alternate phrase, in the expression of the earnest excitement necessarily produced by the eventful scene:
anapæst, as they may be read, consistently with the genius of our iambic measure, I do assert that the admissible prolongation of the idefinite syllable 'or,' produces a dignity of utterance, not equally effectible on the short time of the accented syllable of barbaric. And I add further, that this line does fulfil the conditions of poetic quantity, as completely as any line that ever was constructed with Greek or with Roman words.
If the reader would know how certain words may be pronounced as a foot or prosodial phrase, either of two or of three syllables, let him recur to our principles of syllabication, formerly laid down. The word showers is one syllable, when the 'e' is omitted; the diphthongal tonic ou,' vanishing directly into the subtonic 'r.' If the sound of 'e' is retained, that element requires a radical, and the word becomes, thereby, of two syllables. The trissyllable 'orient,'is reduced to a dissyllable, by withholding a radical from the sound represented by 'j;' and thereby In this scheme, I have used a limited variation of radical pitch, with the design to show plainly the alternation. Good recitation would require a wider range: still the alternate phrase should predominate. A prevalence of the throughout this passage, might represent the dignified courage
Seronotone and calm security of an aggressor, confident of success : but it would be misapplied and faded coloring for the hurried mingling of watchfulness and dreadful expectation, which the description of the huge impetus is calculated to excite.
Besides these two modes of expression by particular phrases, there is a certain effect produced by an ascent and descent of the melody, through the whole extent of the voice. My design leads me no further than to ascertain and illustrate the general principles of this subject. In the sixth section, I gave the notation of a passage from Othello, in which the progression is represented gradually rising and falling, through the whole compass, corresponding with the variation of force in the sentiment: it is therefore unnecessary to trouble the reader with a similar delineation.
Of the Intonation at Pauses.
The term Pause, in elocution, is applied to that occasional silence in discourse, which is greater than the momentary rest between syllables. dropping that sound as a distinct syllable. Now 'i' in the trissyllable, is expressed by the proper sound of ee-l, and this element passing readily into the subtonic 'y-e,' coalesces with the succeeding tonic to form one syllabic impulse. The word 'orient,' in correct pronunciation, is a true dactyl in quantity; I have set it as an iambus, not intending to defend the propriety of the contraction, but for the pur. pose of constructing thereby a regular iambic line, and to illustrate one of the principles of English pronunciation.
Pauses are used for the more conspicuous display of sense and sentiment, by separating certain words or aggregates of words from each other.
Without entering here, into a circumstantial exposition of the philosophy of grammar, every sentence may, in the most general view, be regarded as resolvable into two constituent generic parts of speech; the substantive, with its accidents of being, and the verb, with its various modes of action: all other symbols of thought being only specifications of the attributes of that being and that action, throughout the modes of time, place, degree, manner, and all other possible relationships of things. Now the pause separates the aggregates of words which describe those existences and agencies with their qualifications : and whilst the continuity of utterance within these sections, gives unity to the impression on the ear, the understanding remains undistracted through the temporary restriction of the scope of attention. The division of discourse, by means of motion and rest, prevents the feebleness or confusion of impression which would result from an unbroken procession of speech, no less remarkably than the skilful disposition of color, and light and space, disentangle the objects and figures of the canvass from the unmeaning positions and actions of a chaos and a crowd.
The extent of the sections of discourse, thus separated by pauses, varies through all increasing degrees, from the limits of a single word to the inclusion of a full member of a sentence. There are, indeed some purposes of expression which require a pause even between syllables. It was shown, in treating of syllabication, that the full opening of the radical can not be completely made, except it is preceded by an occlusion of the voice. Now the accented syllable of the word “at-tack' being an immutable quantity, can receive a marked emphatic distinction, only by means of an abrupt explosion of the radical, after a momentary pause.
The times of the several pauses of discourse vary in duration, from the slight inter-syllabic rest, to the full separation of successive paragraphs: the degrees being accommodated to the requisitions of the greater or less connexion of the sense, and to the peculiar demands of sentiment.
All the parts of a continued discourse, which has the least
unity of purport, should bear some relation to each other. But these relations being severally more or less close, grammatical points were invented to mark their varying degrees. The common points are, however, very indefinitely effective of their purposes, in the art of reading. They are described in books of elementary instruction, principally with reference to the time of pausing; and are addressed to the eye, as indexes of grammatical structure. The symbols of interrogation and of exclamation are said to denote peculiarity of tone; yet even with this vague reference to a rule, the ear is still without a guide in this important branch of elocution. The efficacy of punctuation should consist not more in ordering the measure of time, than in directing an appropriate intonation; and a just definition of Pause would, perhaps, be as properly founded on variations and distinctions, produced by the phrases of melody, as on the different duration of the time of rest. I am not informed that any other writer, besides Mr. Walker, has taught the necessity of regarding the inflections of the voice, in the history of pauses.
It is of much importance in speech, with regard to mere variety of sound as well as to sense and expression, to apply the proper intonation at pauses. The phrases of melody have here a positive meaning, and often mark a continuation or a completion of the sense, when the style and the temporal rest alone would not to an auditor be decisive of its nature. But the purposes of pausing being varied, an appropriate intonation must by its changes prevent that monotony, which is so common with most readers at the grammatical divisions of dis
The effect of pause, in relation to the separation by time, will be illustrated in the next section on the Grouping of the voice; and I now proceed to describe the successions of pitch, to be used at the different places of rest.
The triad of the cadence denotes a completion of the preceding sense, and is therefore inadmissible, except at a proper grammatical period. But it does not follow that reciprocally it must be always applied at the close of a preceding sense ; for in those forms of composition called loose sentences, and inverted periods, there are members with this complete and in