« AnteriorContinuar »
fect monotone. The annexed example, read in the tone of solemn description, allows but a very slight interval to the rising slide on the word “falls.'
“The dew of night fálls, and the earth is refreshed.”
In the following and similar examples, the inflection rises in proportion as the clause, or clauses to which it belongs, are lengthened :
"As we cannot discern the shadow moving along the díal-plate, so the advances we make in knowledge, are only perceived by the distance gone over.”
“As we perceive the shadow to have moved, but did not perceive its moving; so our advances in learning, consisting of insensible steps, are only perceivable by the distance."
“As we perceive the shadow to have moved along the dial-plate, but did not perceive its moving; and it appears that the grass has grown, though nobody ever sáw it grow : so the advances we make in knowledge, as they consist of so minute steps, are only perceivable by the distance."
Note 2. Rule I. on the rising inflection applies in the tone of a question which requires an affirmative or a negative answer; in the tone of surprise, as it intimates suspense, and is usually expressed in the form of question; in respectful address, request, petition, or apostrophe; in the negative, or less forcible, part of an antithesis; in the expression of a condition, à supposition, or a concession; in the first part of a comparison, a contrast, or a correspondence; in the expression of connexion or continuance; in any phrase which is introductory to another, and leaves the sense of a passage incomplete.
Examples. Questions admitting of an affirmative or a negative
“Will you obéy so atrocious a mandate?" Surprise : "Há! laughest thou, Lochiel, my vision
to scórn?" “Whát! surrender on terms so dishonourable ?" Address : “My lord, I think I saw him yesternight.”
"Can you, fellow-citizens, be misled by such arguments?"
Request: “Refuse not this last request of friend
Petition : "Oh! gently on thy suppliant's head,
Dread goddess, lay thy chastening hánd!” Apostrophe: 0 sacred Truth, thy triumphs ceased
awhile,”— Antithesis: “He came not with the aspect of véngeance but of mercy.”
Condition or supposition: “If we attempt to number the stárs, we are presently bewildered and lost: if we attempt to compass the idea of etérnity, we are overwhelmed by the contemplation of a theme so vast..
Concession : "Science may raise you to éminence; but virtue alone can guide you to felicity.”
Comparison, contrast, and correspondence: “As face answereth to face in water, so the heart of man to
“Dryden is sometimes vehement and rápid : Pope is always smooth, uniform, and gentle.”'
Connexion and continuance: “He came unto his ówn, and his own received him not.”
Introductory phrase: "In the midst of perplexities, he was never discouraged."
Application of Rule I. to series of words and clauses. The last member of a commencing series is read with the rising inflection.
A commencing series is that in which the sense is merely commenced, or left incomplete, at every word or clause; the whole being introductory to a following phrase.
[Compare this with the definition of the concluding series, in the application of Rule IV. on the falling inflection.]
Examples. “Valour, humanity, courtesy, justice, and honour, were the characteristics of chivalry.”
“Personal courage, humane seeling, courteous de
portment, a strict regard to justice, and a high sense of honour, were the characteristics of chivalry. *
Note 3. Exceptions to all the applications of Rule I. on the rising inflection, occur in cases of peculiar force or emphasis. In such instances, the falling inflection supersedes the rising; as the former is th invariable indication of energetic expression, and the rule of force displaces every other, in the utterance of thought.
Examples. Earnest interrogation : “He now appears before a jury of his country for redress. Will you deny him this redress.”
Interrogation of emphasis: "Do you think that your conditions will be accepted? Can you even imagin they will be listened to ?"
Peculiar distinction in contrast: “If we have no regard for our own character, we ought to have some regard for that of others."
Emphatic expression in condition and supposition : "If you did, I care not.”
Energetic expression, although marked by the forms of connexion and continuance of meaning:
"Such, where ye find, seize fàst, and hither bring.”
Introductory and incomplete expression, when emphatic: “Destitute of every shadow of excuse, he shrunk abashed at the reproof.” “Every day he lived, he would have repurchased the bounty of the
The falling inflection seems, notwithstanding the incomplete sense of a commencing series, to belong appropriately to all the members but the last, on the principle of enumeration, which, from its approach to completeness at every stage, naturally inclines to the falling inflection, as we may ascertain by referring to the customary tone of serious and attentive counting or reckoning. This inflection, however, is of minor consequence, and, unless in emphatic language, may be superseded by the rising, without any other defect, than a comparative want of force and harmony. It is the closing inflection of the series which is essential to meaning, and indicates to the ear, whether the sense is complete or incomplete, and whether the series is a commencing or a concluding one. [See Concluding Remarks on Inflection.]
crown, and ten times more, if ten times more he had received."
The last member of a commencing series, if emphatic: “His hopes, his happiness, his very life, hung upon the next word from those lips."
Expressions of surprise, when emphatic: “It does not seem pòssible, even after the testimony of our senses."
Forcible address : “Mr. Chairman, I call on your interference to put a stop to this uproar." Request, petition, intreaty, apostrophe:
"Be husband to me, Heavens!” Note 4. The rising inflection gives place to the falling, in the tone of an interrogatory sentence which extends to unusual length, or concludes a long paragraph or an entire piece; thus,
"The Brigantines, even under a female leader, had force enough to burn the enemy's settlements, to storm their camps, and if success had not introduced negligence and inactivity, would have been able entirely to throw off the yoke; and shall not we, untouched, unsubdued, and struggling not for the acquisition, but the continuance of liberty, declare, at the very first onset, what kind of men Caledonia has reserved for her defence ?"
Rule II. The tones of pathos,-of tenderness and of grief,—usually incline to the rising inflection.
For examples turn to Note 2d, Rule IV. on the falling inflection.
Exception. The exclamations of excessive grief take the appropriate falling inflection of force; thus, "Oh ! my son Àbsalom! my sòn, my son
À bsalom!" RULE III. Poetic and beautiful description, whether in the form of verse or of prose,-has the rising inflection.
For examples see as above, and add the following: 6 When the gay and smiling aspect of things, has
begun to leave the passages to a man's heart thus thoughtlessly unguarded; when kind and caressing looks of every object without, that can flatter his senses, have conspired with the enemy within to betray him, and put him off his defénce; when music likewise hath lent her aid, and tried her power upon the pássions; when the voice of singing men, and the voice of singing women, with the sound of the viol and the lute, have broke in upon his soul, and, in some tender notes, have touched the secret springs of rápture;-that moment, let us dissect and look into his heart: see how vàin, how wèak,* how empty a thing it is." +
Exception. Description, when characterized by great force, requires the falling slide in poetry, as well as in prose; thus,
"Now storming fury rose,
Of conflict;"RULE IV. Harmony and completeness of cadence, require the rising inflection at the close of the penul
* See Note 1 to Rule IV. on the falling inflection.
† The above example, it will be perceived, might be classed under the commencing series, and, if divested of poetic character, might be read with a prevailing downward slide. This circumstance may suggest the general rule of reading poetic series with the rising slide on every member, except the penultimate of a commencing series, and the last of a concluding one; the falling slide being required in the former, as a preparation for a distinct and prominent rising slide on the last member, and in the latter for the cadence of the sentence.
The reason why the prevalence of a rising slide should charac terize poetic description, is to be found, perhaps, in the milder and softer character of that inflection, compared to the falling slide, which is always the expression of force. The calm and gentle emotions of poetic description, in general, will therefore be most appropriately given by the former.
[See, as a contrast to this inflection, the Exceptions to Rule III. on the rising inflection.]