Page images
PDF
EPUB

Rhetorical and other Pauses.

Besides the rests of punctuation, which, under the names of comma, colon, semicolon, &c., mark the divisions of a sentence, there is an additional pause, which a reader or speaker of taste sometimes makes, for the sake of effect.

The rhetorical pause is made either before, or after something very striking or significant is uttered. The effect is, forcibly to arrest the attention of the hearer to the emphatic word or clause :

I would uncover the breathless corpse of Hamilton,-1 would lift from his gaping wound his bloody mantle,-I would hold it up to heaven before them, and I would ask, in the name of God I would ask, whether at the sight of IT .. they felt no compunction.

I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty .. or give me death!

Some of them have done me the honor to ask my poor opinion, before they would engage to repeal the act :- they will do me the justice to own, I did advise them to engage to do it,—but notwithstanding—for I love to be explicit I cannot give them my confidence.-Pardon me, gentlemen,-confidence .. is a plant of slow growth.

A longer pause is proper at the close of a paragraph, than at an ordinary period. The

pauses marked in punctuation, are so far from being sufficient or accurate guides to the reader, that an obsequious attention to them, is one great cause of the heavy, monotonous style of reading into which most persons fall, and which it is so difficult to correct. The learner is directed, at a comma, to rest long enough to count one; at a semicolon, two; and so on : and at a period he is taught always to make a' cadence. It is superfluous to say, that such directions do harm, and that those who follow them cannot read naturally, or with effect. A reader of taste, varies his

pauses in length and inflection ; adding or omitting them, according to the spirit and character of what he reads.

Two or three general remarks are here subjoined, not exactly appropriate to any of the preceding heads.

In the enunciation of a sentence, especially if it consist of several members, variety is alike the demand of the ear and the law of correct taste. Opposed to this are several faults of elocution, which it is difficult to describe, or to represent, except by the living voice. One of these is the periodic stress, occurring nearly at measured intervals, and laid upon a word, without regard to its significancy or importance. The remedy is, the reading of antithetic and other sentences, of which the just emphasis is so obvious, and so peremptory, ás to forbid all mechanical stress upon unemphatic words.

Another fault may be denominated the anticlimax of modulation. It consists in commencing a sentence with a full swell and elevated pitch of voice, and in the progress of it, regularly sinking and tapering down to an almost inaudible close. This, besides being disagreeable to the ear, essentially impairs the force of elocution, the just effect of which requires, with few exceptions, a sustained, and often an increasing, energy of intonation to the end. No part of a sentence requires to be more distinctly audible than the

and none is more difficult of félicitous execution. A uniform cadence, or a uniform inflection of the voice at this point, is monotonous and tiresome; and yet, from the frequent occurrence of the period, difficult to avoid. The more force there is given to the closing words, the easier it is to vary the intonation.

The best corrective of monotony of all sorts, is to possess ourselves of the spirit of what we read, and endeavor to make the thoughts and sentiments our own. The best model in reading or speaking, is the manner in which persons ex

close ;

press their own thoughts and sentiments, when under no restraint.*

Written directions as to the manner of reading, although useful, can never supply the defect of judgment and taste in the reader. Much may be done by presenting him a proper selection and variety of subjects for exercise ; still more, by a correct model in the voice and manner of the living instructer.

SELECTED LESSONS.

ment,

LESSON VIII. [To correct a habit, very common with learner of reading mechanically, without atlending at all to the sense and spirit of the piece, a few lessons are inserted without punctuation. Having no artificial guides or helps, the scholar will be thrown upon his own resources, and forced to exercise some degree of altention and judg

For the purposes of reference, figures are placed on the margin of the page, at regular intervals of ten lines. This method preserves the natural division of paragraphs, and is attended with no inconvenience, it the teacher looks over-as it is presumed he always does—while the class reads.)

The Contented Porter.-RICHARDSON. 1

A Porter one day resting himself with his load by him groaned aloud and wished he had five hundred pounds why says a gentleman who was passing by I will give you five hundred pounds and now what will you do with it oh says the porter I will soon tell you what I will do with it first I will have a half pint of aleand a toast and nutmeg every morning for my breakfast well and what time will you get up oh I have been used to be up at five or six o'clock so I will do that now well what will you do after breakfast why I will fetch a walk till dinner and what will you have for dinner 2 why I will have a good dinner I will have good roast beef

* It will often be found useful for the learner to close his book, and endeavor to utter, as his own language, a sentence which troubles him.

and some carrots and greens and I will have a full pot every day and then I will smoke a pipe well and then perhaps you will take a nap may be I may no I will not take a nap I will fetch another walk till supper well and what will you have for supper I do not know I will have more beef if I am a hungry or else I will have a Welsh rabbit and another full pot of beer well and then why then I will go to bed to be sure pray how much now may you earn a week by your business why master I can make you eighteen shillings a 3 week will not you be tired now do you think after a little

while in doing nothing every day I do not know master I have been thinking so well then let me propose a scheme

you with all my heart master cannot you do all this every day as you are and employ your time into the bargain why really so I can master I think and so take your five hundred pounds again and thank you.

to

LESSON IX. A Persecuting Spirit reproved.—PERCIVAL. 1

ARAM was sitting at the door of his tent under the shade of his fig-tree-when it came to pass that a man stricken with years bearing a staff in his hand journeyed that way. and it was noon day, and Aram said unto the strange, pass not by I pray thee, but come in and wash thy feet and tarry here until the evening for thou art stricken with years and the heat overcometh thee and the stranger left his staff at the door and entered into the tent of Aram and he rested himself and Aram set before him bread, and cakes of fine

meal baked upon the hearth and Aram blessed the bread 2 calling upon the name of the Lord out the stranger did eat,

and refused to pray unto the Most High; saying thy Lord is not the God of my fathers , why therefore should I present my vows unto him.

And Aram's wrath was kindled and he called his servants and they beat the stranger and drove him into the wilderness now in the evening Aram lifted up his voice unto the Lord and prayed unto him and the Lord said Aram where is the stranger that sojourned this day with thee and Aram

answered and said behold O Lord he ate of thy bread and 3 would not offer unto thee his prayers and thanksgivings

therefore did I chastise him and drive him from before me into the wilderness.

And the Lord said unto Aram who hath made thee a judge between me and him have not I borne with thine iniquities and winked at thy backslidings and shalt thou be severe with thy broj her to mark his errors and to punish his perverseness arise and follow the stranger and carry with thee oil and wine and anoint lis bruises and speak kindly

unto him for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God and judg4 ment belongeth only unto me vain is thine oblation of thanksgiving without a lowly heart.

As a bulrush thou mayest bow down thine head and lift up thy voice like a trumpet but thou obeyest not the ordinance of thy God if thy worship be for strife and debate behold the sacrifice that I have chosen is it not to undo the heavy burdens to let the oppressed go free and to break every yoke to deal thy bread to the hungry and to bring the poor that are cast out to thy house and Aram trembled before

the presence of God and he arose and put on sackcloth and 5 ashes and went out into the wilderness to do as the Lord had

commanded hini.

LESSON X.

The Indian Chief.-ANONYMOUS. 1 - DURING the war in America a company of Indians at

tacked a small body of British troops and defeated them as the Indians had greatly the advantage in swiftness of foot and were eager in the pursuit very few of the British escaped and those who fell into their hands were treated with a cruelty of which there are not many examples even in that country. Iwo of the Indians came up to a young officer, and attacked him with great fury as they were armed with battle axes; he had no hope of escape but just at this crisis

another Indian came up who was advanced in years and was 2 armed with a bow and arrows.

The old man instantly drew his bow but after having taken his aim at the officer he suddenly dropped the point

« PreviousContinue »