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words are more forcibly pronounced than the particles and and the, and even than the word constitution : for as this word comes immediately after the emphatic word indifferent, and is, by the very import of the emphasis, in some measure understood, it finks into the same degree of obfcurity with the particles, and cannot be raised from this obscurity without diminishing the force of the emphatic word itself.

If it should be asked what degree of force are we to give to these obscure words, it may be answered, just that force which we give to the unaccented syllables of words; so that two words, one accented and the other not, are to the ear exactly like one word; thus the words, even an indifferent constitution, are founded like a word of eleven fyllables, with the accent on the fifth. For a full explication of the relative force of words, see Rhetorical Grammar, p. 97.

This brings us to a threefold distinction of words with regard to the force with which they are pronounced ; namely, the conjunctions, particles, and words understood, which are obscurely and feebly pronounced; the substantives, verbs, and more significant words, which are firmly and distinctly pronounced; and the emphatical word, which is forcibly pronounced: it is the last of these only which can be properly styled emphasis ; and it is to a discovery of the nature and cause of this emphasis, that all our attention ought to be directed.

And first we may observe, that if these diftinctions are just, the common definition of emphasis is very faulty. Emphasis is said to be a stress laid on one or more words to distinguish them from others: but this definition, as we


have just seen, makes almost every word in a sentence emphatical, and, at the same time, confounds the distinction between words which have force from a peculiarity of meaning, and those which have force from having only a general meaning, or more meaning than the particles. Here then we must endeavour to investigate a jufter definition; such a one as will enable us to distinguish words which are really emphatical, from those which are only pronounced with common force: for, as the ingenious author above mentioned has observed, these latter words may sometimes be forcibly, and sometimes feebly pronounced, without any importance to the sense, as has been shown in the last example but one ; but the former, that is, such words as are truly emphatical, must always have their just degree of force and energy, or the sense will be manifestly injured : this Emphasis of sense, therefore, ought to be the first object of inquiry.

The principal circumstance that distinguishes emphatical words from others, seems to be a meaning which points out, or distinguishes, something as difinet or opposite to some other thing. When this opposition is expressed in words, it forms an antithesis, the opposite parts of which are always emphatical. Thus in the following couplet from Pope :

'Tis hard to say, if greater want of skill

Appear in writing or in judging ill. The words writing and judging are opposed to each other, and are therefore the emphatical words: where we may likewise observe, that the disjunctive or, by which the antithesis is .connected, means one of the things exclusively of the other. The same may be observed in another couplet from the same author; where one branch of the antithesis is not expressed, but understood :

Get wealth and place, if possible with grace,

If not by any means get wealth and place. Here it appears evidently, that the words any means, which are the most emphatical, are di. rectly opposed to the means understood by the word grace, and the last line is perfectly equivalent to this: If not by these means, by any other means, get wealth and place.

In these instances, the opposition suggested by the emphatical word is evident at first sight; in other cases, perhaps, the antithesis is not quite so obvious; but if an emphasis can be laid on any word, we may be assured that word is in antithesis with some meaning agreeable to the general sense of the passage.

To illustrate this, let us pronounce a line of Marcus in Cato, where, expressing his indignation at the behaviour of Cæsar, he says,

I'm tortur'd ev'n to madness, when I think

Of the proud victorAnd we shall find the greatest stress fall naturally on that word, which seems opposed to some common or general meaning; for the young hero does not say, in the common and unemphatic sense of the word think, that he is tortured even to madness when he thinks on Cæsar; but in the strong and emphatic sense of this word, which implies, not only when I hear or discourse of him, but even when I think of him, I ain tortured even to madness. As the word

think therefore rises above the common level of signification, it is pronounced above the common level of sound; and as this fignification is opposed to a signification less forcible, the word may be properly said to be emphatical.

This more than ordinary meaning, or a meaning opposed to some other meaning, seems to be the principal source of emphasis; for if, as in the last instance, we find the words will bear this opposition to their common fignification, we may be sure they are emphatical; this will be still more evident from another example:

By the faculty of a lively and picturesque imagination, a man in a dungeon is capable of entertaining himself with scenes and landskips, more beautiful than any that can be found in the whole compass of nature. Spectator, No 411.

If we read this passage without that emphasis which the word dungeon requires, we enervate the meaning, and scarcely give the sense of the author; for the import plainly is, that a lively imagination, not merely absent from beautiful scenes, but even in a dungeon, can form scenes more beautiful than any in nature,

This plenitude of meaning in a particular word, is not always so prominent as to be discernible by a common reader ; but wherever it really exists, the general meaning of the author is greatly enforced by emphatically pointing it out. Let us take an example:

Steele begins one of his letters in the Spec. tator with the following sentence:

I have very often lamented, and hinted my sorrow in several {peculations, that the art of painting is so little made use of, to the improvement of our manners. Spef. No 226.

As in this sentence, which is the first in the

essay it is taken from, we find a new and important object introduced; so, if we do not pronounce it with emphasis, it will not be sufficiently noticed. The word painting, as it stands in this sentence, may very well be supposed to be in contrast with other arts, which, though often used for the improvement of manners, are, perhaps, not so conducive to that end, as this particular art: this antithesis is perfectly understood if the word painting is made emphatical, but entirely lost if it is pronounced fee. bly: nay, Niding it over without emphasis, will suppose the hearer pre-acquainted with the subject to be treated, contrary to what is really the case: this will be still more apparent by pronouncing it both ways; first, without the proper stress on the word painting, and afterwards with it.

I have often lamented, and hinted my sorrow in feveral fpeculations, that the art of painting is so little made ufe of to the improvement of our manners.

I have very often lamented, and hinted my forrow in several speculations, that the art of painting is so little made use of to the improvement of our manners.

In these instances we find every emphatical word placed in opposition, as it were, to some meaning which it seems to exclude.

Wherever the contrariety or opposition is expressed, we are at no loss for the emphatical words; the greatest difficulty in reading, lies in a discovery of those words which are in opposition to something not expressed, but understood; and the best method to find the emphasis in these sentences, is to take the word we suppose to be emphatical, and try whether it will admit of those words being supplied


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