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optics, could have been effected without a previous acquaintance with the laws of motion, the variety of colors, and the relations of magnitude and number, -as look for a development of the modes of the human voice, by him who is ignorant of the known distinctions of sound.
Of the Grouping of Speech.
I HAVE adopted a term from the art of painting, to designate the instrumentality of pauses, and of certain affections of the voice, in uniting the related ideas of discourse, and separating those which are unrelated to each other.
The inversions of style, the intersections of expletives and the wide separation of antecedents and relatives, which are allowed in poetry, may be made sufficiently perspicuous, through the circumspection of the mind, and the advancing span of the eye, in the deliberate perusal of a sentence. But in listening to the speech or reading of others, we can employ no scrutinizing hesitation : and though the memory may retrace, to a certain limit, the intricacies of construction, the best discernment can not always anticipate the sense of a succeeding member, nor the nature and position of its pause. The higher poetry, in the contriving spirit of its eloquence, gives many instances of extreme involution of style. A reader therefore, is frequently obliged to employ other means, for exhibiting the true relationship of words, besides that simple current of utterance, which may be sufficient for the clear syntax of a more natural idiom.
The means by which deviations from the simple construction of sentences may be rendered perspicuous in delivery, are,
Pauses, which are here to be regarded merely as divisional
agents : The Phrases of melody, that have been already in part ex
plained :The reduction of the pitch and force of the voice, for which I
use the term Abatement : A quickness of utterance, that I here call the Flight of the
voice : and A mode of indicating grammatical connexion, which may be
named the Emphatic Tie. I have summed up the several means here enumerated, under the generic term Grouping, in order to explain their purposes by metaphorical illustration ; and have distinguished each by a specific name, thereby to invite attention to the subject, by the institution of a definite nomenclature.
The most common method of grouping the related parts of a sentence, under the bond of a given condition of the voice, is that which is effected by its continuity within the limits of Pauses. This subject is so extensively treated in the art of elocution, that I give here but a single instance of the power of the pause, in separating the confluent ideas of a sentence, and in giving the proper independency to each. Let us take, from the second book of Paradise Lost, the description of Death's advancing to meet Satan, on his arrival at the gates of hell.
Satan was now at hand and from bis seat
I have omitted the punctuation of this passage : 'which if correspondingly read without a pause, would not be absolutely destitute of meaning; for the auditor would understand the general course of the action described. But the force of expression which makes a vivid picture of the whole, through the distinct individuality of its parts, will be entirely lost. There are in this sentence four separate groups of thought, which should be indicated by three pauses.
Satan was now at hand and from his seat
The first division, ending with hand,' gives notice of the rapid approach of Satan. The second represents the monster Death rising from his seat, and is insulated by a pause at moving. This division is properly separated from the next, onward came as fast;' for though it describes the further movement of Death, and in this view might seem to forbid the separation, yet its principal aim is to show the speed of his progress by comparing it with that of Satan, and this justifies the distinction which is here made. The last division, with horrid strides,' must be separated from the preceding : for if it were read-onward came as fast with horrid strides, the immediate connexion of the manner of movement with the declaration of the likeness between the time of it, in the two characters, might authorize the conclusion that Death was striding as fast as Satan was striding. Whereas the pause at fast' refers that mode of progression to Death alone, agreeably to a previous part of the context, which describes Satan as moving on 'swift wings.'
Some of the uses of the Phrases of melody were stated in the preceding section. I here offer one or two examples of the effect of an appropriate melody, in carrying on the connexion of thought, and in producing an immediate perception of grammatical concord :
On the other side,
If the phrase of the falling ditone be used at the pause which must be made at burned, it will, to the ear, destroy the concord between the relative (that' and the antecedent comet.' But by applying the monotone, the relationship between these two words will be vividly impressed, notwithstanding the intervening pause at burned: the grouping power of the melody, in this case, counteracting the dividing agency of the pause.
A similar instance of the influence of the monotone, in effecting a close connexion of the antecedent with the relative, may be perceived at the pause after "unheard,' in the following lines :
First, Moloch, horrid king, besmeared with blood
Let us take one more example illustrative of the principle of intonation here laid down:
Art thou that traitor-angel, art thou he
In this passage the phrase' in heaven' is interposed between peace and faith, the two objectives of broke. Now in order that the syntactic connexion between these words may be impressively shown, the slighest pause only is admissible after 'heaven;' and a more conspicuous one must be placed after •faith.' But the further expletive till then unbroken’ is immediately connected with faith;' and the only means by which this close relationship can be represented in contravention to the delay of the pause after faith,' which was shown to be necessary for another point of perspicuity, is by using the phrase of the rising ditone or the monotone on .faith.' Thus the pause at this word represents clearly the full government of the verb broke,' whilst the phrase of melody at that pause, prevents the intersection of rest, from dissolving the continuity of the previous sense with the succeeding expletive. The pages of poetry are full of instances of phraseology that require the management of the voice here described. Milton and Shakspeare can not be read well, without strict attention to the apparent collision between the purposes of the pause and of the sense, and to the reconciling power of the phrases of melody.
The reduction of the Pitch and Force of the voice being generally combined in reading, I have, in this section, designated them collectively, by a single term,—the Abatement of the voice. Common elementary books are sufficiently explanatory of the nature and uses of this means for exhibiting the sense and sentiment of discourse. Its power of grouping together the related parts of sentences, is shown by the well known mode of utterance in a parenthesis.
I come now to speak of the perspicuity which may be given
to a sentence, by what I have called the Flight of the voice. There is a familiar rule in elocution, which directs us to use a quickened utterance on the common parenthesis. This function may be extended to other grammatical constructions. I give it here the importance of a name, and of a detailed discussion, from the indispensable necessity of employing it, for the clear display of the sense of some of those instances of close trimmed phraseology and extreme inversion, which are occasionally found in the higher species of poetical composition.
In the following example, I have marked, in italics, the part which requires the flight of the voice :
You and I have heard our fathers say
The word "easily,' here qualifies the verb brook'd; and I know no mode of showing this to the auditor, but by the rapid flight here directed. A London edition of Shaskpeare, from which I quote this passage, has a pause after Rome. The rationale of the flight, which lies in allowing the least possible lapse of time between the utterance of related words, suggests the obliteration of this pause, and the addition of a slight one after easily. This tends to prevent the adverb from passing as a qualification of keeping his state,' which certainly can not be the sense of the author ; but which, at a glance of hearing, might be mistaken for it, without the aid of the altered pause and the flight. This is not the place to speak of the nice points of emphasis and of melody, to be connected with the fight of this passage, in order to give full lustre to its effect.
Say first, for Heaven hides nothing from thy view,
To make it appear at once, in speech, that the deep track of hell’is, equally with heaven,' a nominative to hides,' the phrase of the monotone must be used at view,' in addition to the flight of the voice, on the portion marked in italics ;-nor should there be a pause at view,' as given by the editor.
Should the mere grammarian conceive objections to any of these proposed alterations of punctuation, I must beg him to