Page images
PDF
EPUB

were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them ; and they were judged every man according to their works.

Hail horrors !-Hàil
Infernal world! and thou profoundest hell,

Receive thy new possessor! To cultivate the top of the voice, passages of great animation should be selected; particularly such as contain many interrogatories :

They tell us, sir, we are weak—unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when, sir, shall we be stronger ?

Will it be the next week, or the next year? (h) Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and a British guard shall be stationed in every house ? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of resistance by lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us, hand and foot ?

“ Whenee, and what art thou, execrable shape,
That darst, though grim and terrible, advance
Thy miscreated front athwart my way
To yonder gates ? Through them I mean to pass
That be assured, without leave ask'd of thee :
Retire, or taste thy folly; and learn by proof,
Hell-born, not to contend with spirits of heav'n.”
To whom the goblin, full of wrath, replied:
“ Art thou that traitor angel? Art thou he
Who first broke peace in heav'n, and faith, till then
Unbroken, and in proud rebellious arms,
Drew after him the third part of heaven's sons ;
Conjured against the Highest, for which both thou
And they, outcast from God, are here condemned
To waste eternal days in wo and pain ?
And reckonest thou thyself with spirits of heav'n,

Hell-doom'd-and breath'st defiance here, and scorn,
Where I reign king, and, to enrage thee more,
Thy king and lord ! (1) Back to thy punishment,
False fugitive, and to thy speed add wings-
Lest with a whip of scorpions I pursue
Thy ling’ring, or with one stroke of this dart,

Strange horrors seize thee, and pangs unfelt before.” The following passage exhibits the two extremes of pitch:

BATTLE OF WATERLOO.

There was a sound of revelry by night,
And Belgium's capital had gathered then
Her beauty and her chivalry, and bright
The lamps shone o'er fair women and brave men:
A thousand hearts beat happily; and when
Music arose with its voluptuous swell,
Soft eyes looked love to eyes which spake again,

And all went merry as a marriage-bell; (1) But hush! hark ! a deep sound strikes like a rising

knell !
Did ye not hear it ?--No, 'twas but the wind,
Or the car rattling o'er the stony street:
On with the dance! let joy be unconfined;
No sleep till morn when youth and pleasure meet

To chase the glowing hours with flying feet (7) But, hark!—That heavy sound breaks in once more,

As if the clouds its echo would repeat,

And nearer, clearer, deadlier than before ! (H) Arm! àrm! it is—it is the cannon's opening roar!

Loudness. This refers to the degree of strength and fullness which we give to the voice on any key. It is very liable to be confounded with high pitch, although the voice may be loud,

ness.

as well upon a low as a high note. It is opposed to soft

Every one will understand the difference in sound, produced by a light or heavy stroke upon a bell, or upon the same key of a piano.

It is desirable, in some kinds of reading, and inore especially for public speaking, that the voice be so exercised as to be capable of loudness, if occasion demand. The danger is, that being exerted for too great a length of time, and overstrained on a high pitch, it may lose its flexibility and softness, qualities much more important. Vociferation is as injurious to the voice, as it is fatiguing and disagreeable to the ear of the auditor. Frequent exercise in reading aloud to others, in declamation, and in vocal music, is the best method of increasing the strength and volume of the voice. For this purpose, passages should be chosen abounding in the open vowels, and admitting a full expansion of the organs, and protraction of the sound at pleasure:

Oh for that warning voice, which he who saw
The Apocalypse, heard cry in heav'n aloud,
Wo-to the inhabitants of earth!

-Up he rode
Followed by acclamation and the sound
Symphonious of ten thousand harps, that tuned
Angelic harmonies! The earth, the air
Resounded-

Open, ye everlasting gates,” they sung;

Open, ye heav'ns, your living doors ; let in “ The great Creator, from his work return'd, “ Magnificent."

Satan was heard commanding loud, Vanguard ! to right and left the front unfold. Wō! wo! wo! to the inhabitants of the earth.

Manner of Reading Verse. 1. English verse consists of a succession of accented and unaccented syllables, so arranged that the accent usually falls at measured intervals. In Iambic versent which constitute. the largest portion of English poetry, every second, or al ternate syllable has the accent, thus :

The heav'nly hills were oft within thy view,

And oft the shepherd called thee to his flock. For the sake of variety however, and of expression, a different arrangement of syllables is often admitted in this kind of verse ; and Trocheest and other poetic feet are intermixed with Iambics, as :

Fåvõrs tò none, to āll shě smiles ěxtēnds;

Oft shě rējēcts, but never once offends. The first foot in each of these lines is a Trochee, the rest are all Iambics.

So in the annexed couplet, the first line commences with two short syllables, succeeded by two long

ones:

Whăt thě wēak head with strongěst biás rūles,

Is pride, the never-failing vice of fools. And in the following line :

From thể thīrd heav'n where God resides. To read such lines as these in mechanical conformity to the lambic movement, by placing the accent on the particle the, would be a violation of taste, of euphony, and of the design of the poet.

In the following couplet, the effect of reading in this manner will be still more apparent :

* By accent is meant a certain stress or percussion of the voice on a particular syllable in a word, causing it to be heard above the rest: as re-lent, com-pel, ex-pect. In some words there is both a principal and a secondary accent ; as im-por-tune, con-tra-vene.

† An Iambus is a poetic foot, consisting of two syllables; the first short, or unaccented, the second long, or accented, as retīre, immēnse. The circumflex is here employed to simply indicate short quantity, and has no reference to inflection of voice.

# A Trochee is a foot having the first syllable long, and the second short: as Rēstless, Féarfūl.

False eloquence, like the prismatic glass,

Its gaudy colors spreads on every place. In such cases the laws of pronunciation are paramount and must be obeyed.

There are two pauses peculiar to verse, the final and caesural pauses.

II. At the end of each line of poetry, more especially of blank verse, there should be a suspension of voice, sufficient at least to mark the termination of the line. This is called the final pause; and, without it, the effect of the harmony is in a great measure lost to the ear.

The caesural pause belongs chiefly to English heroic verse, and divides the lines into two equal, or unequal members :

Thy forests, Windsor, I and thy green retreats,
At once the monarch's || and the muse's seats,
Invite my lays. || Be present, sylvan maids,

Unlock your springs, || and open all your shades.
The caesural pause is found in other than heroic verse :
The heav'nly spheres to thee, O God, II attune their evening

hymn;
All wise, all holy, thou art praised || in song of seraphim.
Unnumbered systems, suns and worlds || unite to worship thee,
While thy majestic greatness fills || space-time-eternity.
In the following stanza there is a demicacsura :

And colder still the wind did blow,
And darker hours / of night came on ;
And deeper grew | the drifts of snow,

Her limbs were chilled, I her strength was gone. III. Sometimes, by design of the poet, a pause falls out of its natural position in the line, thus arresting attention by surprise, and producing a fine effect :

Thus with the year
Seasons return; but not to me returns
Day || or the sweet approach of ev'n or morn.

« PreviousContinue »