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8.—Remorse, and Despair. [SATAN RECALLING THE BOAST WITH WHICH HE ARRAYED HIS LEGIONS, IN
"Ay me! | they little know!
[BURKE'S DESCRIPTION OF THE DESOLATION EFFECTED BY HYDER ALI
AND HIS son.]-Burke. “So completely did these masters in their art, Hyder Ali, and his more ferocious son, absolve themselves of their impious vow, that when the British armies traversed, as they did, the Carnatic, for hundreds of miles, in all directions, through the whole line of their march, | they did not see one man, / not one woman, || not one child, || || not one four-footed beast || of any description whatever. One | dead / uniform silence || reigned over the whole region.”
10.-Oratorical Interrogation. [BRUTUS'S HARANGUE TO THE PEOPLE, AFTER THE ASSASSINATION OF
CÆSAR.] --Shakspeare. “ Who's here so base that would be a bondman? — || If any, speak; || for him have I offended. || || Who's here so rude, that would not be a Roman ?- || If any, speak; || for him have I offended. || || Who's here so vile, that will not love his country ? - || If any, speak; || for him have I offended. — || || I pause for a reply.”
These are of great practical utility in reading; as, besides prescribing the indispensable long pauses at heads of discourse and paragraphs, they direct the voice to many cessa.
tions of utterance, which are not indicated by the usual punctuation of sentences. Their chief use is to supply the deficiency arising from the inadequacy of points, or grammatical punctuation, to mark all the places at which a pause necessarily occurs in reading.
The “ rhetorical ” pauses often coincide with the usual points ; but they apply, also, in many cases in which no point is used. The common grammatical punctuation, (indicated by the comma, semicolon, colon, and period,) coincides, in most instances, with the cessations of voice which meaning requires. But this is not always the case; as they sometimes occur where the syntax of a sentence is interrupted or terminated, for the time, but where the sense requires no pause.
“Rhetorical ” pauses regard the sense of a sentence, and are intended for the ear: grammatical punctuation refers to the syntactical structure of a sentence, and is addressed to the eye. The " rhetorical” pauses are of indefinite length, and always vary, as to their duration, with the sentiment and the utterance, as brisk and animated, or slow and grave. Grammatical pauses have a fixed and uniform value, as representing the component parts of a sentence as such, and, in reading aloud, can seldom be appropriately used, as sometimes directed, by a process of counting, one, at a comma; two, at a semicolon ; " &c., since the feelings which are expressed by the sentence, may, in one part of it, be lively and rapid, and in another solemn and slow; as in the following instance.
“ Your house ' is finished, ' sir, | at last;
A narrower house, || || a house of clay.” “ Rhetorical” pauses may be briefly classed in the manner before exemplified, in application to long and compound sentences, as dividing the whole, first, into two main parts, or compound clauses, - then, these into two minor portions, or simple clauses, — these again into phrases, - last of all, these phrases into words.
It is not meant that in every compound sentence all these divisions or subdivisions are invariably found, or that there may not be several successive principal and subordinate parts in one sentence. But in most compound sentences, and in many simple sentences, several of chem will be found, and particularly the last two, - the rhetorical pause between clauses and words, as in the following instances : 7. In a few_days | the country was overrun. “ They fled ' in haste.” “The enemy approached.”
The careful observance of thė “ rhetorical” pause, is one of the chief means of distinctness in the expression of thought. In narration and description, and in plain didactic style, it is equally important that the successive sounds of the voice should be relieved from each other, in portions best adapted to present the component parts of the whole in a clear, distinct, impressive manner, according to their comparative length and importance. The thought or sentiment which is thus communicated, falls on the ear with a definite and satisfactory succession of sounds, which the mind easily receives and appreciates. The parts being thus exactly given, each takes its own due weight, and at the same time, enhances the effect of the whole. The result is that the communication is fully understood and makes its just impression.
But young readers, especially, are apt to hasten on, in the act of reading, till they come to a full stop; and even then to slight the due pause. This hurried mode of reading, renders it impossible to give a sentiment force or weight to the ear. Much time, therefore, should be spent in reading sentences of an unimpassioned character, such as usually require the most frequent application of the “rhetorical ” pause. The following examples will serve to suggest the most important applications of this pause.
EXAMPLES OF THE
1.— Between Phrases. Phrases commencing with a Preposition. 1. " Depart to the house which has ' in this city' been prepared for thy residence.”
2. “My heart was wounded ' with the arrow of affliction, and my eyes became dim' with sorrow.”
3. “ To increase the austerity of my life, I frequently watched all night, sitting at the entrance of the cave ' with my face to the east, resigning myself' to the secret influences of the Prophet.”
4. “When I awaked, I laid my forehead upon the ground, and blessed the Prophet | for the instruction of the morning." 5. “ The king, whose doubts were now remo
hoved, looked up | with a smile that communicated the joy of his mind.”
Phrases commencing with an Adverb. 1. “He has passed to that world | where the weary are at
2. “ The voice of Heaven summons you in these hours | when the leaves fall, and the winter is gathering."
3. “Be entreated to make the decisive effort | ere it be too late.”
4. “He continued steadfast in his purpose | while others wavered.”
Phrases commencing with a Conjunction. 1. “ It is more blessed to give | than to receive.”
2. “Yet I know not, whether my danger is a reality | or a dream.”
3. “In the spirit of sympathy, we call on rocks and streams' and forests || to witness and share our emotions.”
4. “ The same sun which now marks the autumn of the year, will again arise in his brightness, and bring along with him the promise of the spring and all the magnificence of summer.”
5. “ The voice of despair now whispers that all exertion is in vain.”
6. “We are often deceived ' because we are willing to be deceived."
II.- Between Words.
The Nominative and the Verb. 1. “ The breeze | died away, as the sun | sank behind the hills.”
2. “The smoke | rises not through the trees: for the honors of the grove | are fallen.”
3. “Weeping may endure for a night; but joy cometh in the morning."
Ellipsis. “ Add to your faith virtue; and to virtue | knowledge; and . to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience.
The due observance of the pauses indicated by grammatical punctuation, is one of the useful and effectual means of arresting the attention of young learners, and accustoming them to mark distinctly the component portions of a sentence. But the common fault of school reading, and, sometimes, of professional exercises,-a uniform
i For farther statement and illustration of "rhetorical” pauses, see “ American Elocutionist.” The “prosodial pauses” will be found on a subsequent page of this manual, and, at greater length, in the "Elocutionist.”
and mechanical style,- is, in part, owing to exact compliance with the direction to pause, invariably, for a given time at each point. A change of feeling, or a shade of meaning, may lengthen, shorten, or destroy the usual pause at a comma. The syntax of a sentence may demand a separating point, where oral expression glides on continuously, and allows no break. The converse is as true. The rule of syntax may forbid a comma where a sudden change of feeling may produce a pause longer than that usually made at a period. – A most instructive lesson in elocution is given by Sterne, in his satirical sketch of the literal critic, with stop-watch in his hand, taking note of Garrick's “
ungrammatical ” pause between the nominative and the verb.
The mistake, however, is too generally sanctioned by books and teachers, that the comma, semicolon, &c., are intended as guides to the ear. They do, no doubt, incidentally, serve this purpose, – but by no means uniformly. The design of grammatical punctuation is to aid the eye of the reader, in resolving a sentence into its syntactical portions. These often coincide, in phrases and clauses, with the natural cessations of voice, which mark the divisions and subdivisions of utterance that constitute the portions of the oral expression of a thought: they enable the reader to refer a given word or clause to another at a distance from it in place, but connected with it in sense, and thus aid his apprehension of its meaning. But, in many cases, this coincidence of grammatical and rhetorical pausing does not take place. Even the close punctuation adopted in modern typography, does not present all the pauses which feeling and sentiment, or abstract thought itself, require; as may be seen by running the eye over the rhetorical and other pauses marked in the exercises occurring in preceding pages. Nor is it possible to read correctly, in many instances, without omitting a pause at the grammatical points; as may be observed even in the familiar phrases, “ Yes, sir," no, sir.” The comma, if followed as a guide, would here produce an awkward, limping gait of voice, – resembling that of a young child in its first lessons.
The exercise of reading aloud has but one true, safe, and uniform standard, — the ear, or, rather the intuitive perception of the mind. The comma and other ocular points are, at best, but collateral and incidental aids, not always to be depended on; and, sometimes, they are to be regarded as impediments which emotion is to put down, in order to attain true expression.
The general rule of elocution, then, as regards the comma, semicolon, and colon, if we use them as guides to the voice,
- must be, to follow them only so far as they coincide with the meaning, and to lengthen or shorten, or omit the pauses corresponding to them, as the sentiment or emotion expressed in a sentence may require, in slow or in lively utterance; but especially to remember that there may be a long pause of feeling, where no grammatical point occurs.