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The fault may be illustrated thus :
Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, tripo pingly on the tongue.
But a little consideration will make apparent a great difference between this style of speech and that of ordinary, direct conversation. In conversation relatively few words are emphasized. The act of thinking is simple, the purpose of speech is clear, and the thought of a phrase is frequently centered in but one word, the word which is the point of strongest contact between the thought and the mind of the listener. Simplify the emphasis in the following sentences :
Milton: Paradise Lost.
many times before their deaths ; The valiant never taste of death but once.
Shakespeare: Julius Cæsar, 11, ii.
This was the noblest Roman of them all.
Ibid.: V, V.
The voice all moods of passion can express
Lloyd. subordinate parts of discourse. Whatever is sufficiently implied, or should be taken for granted, or has been anticipated, and, in short, all the outstanding relations of the main movement of thought and feeling, require to be slighted in expression, in order that they may not unduly reduce the prominence and distinction of the main movement. Only the well trained voice can manage properly the background of what is presented ; and if the background is properly managed, the foreground will generally have the requisite distinctness. When a reader endeavors to make everything tell, he makes nothing tell. Ambitious reading often defeats its own end. (Corson: The Aims of Literary Study, p. 123. Copyright, 1894, by The Macmillan Company. Used with the kind permission of the publishers.)
PROBLEMS IN EMPHASIS The selections for practice should be studied with refer. ence to each of the forms of emphasis. Train the ear by trying to distinguish between the emphasis by force, inflection, change of pitch, and prolonging of the accented vowel. Which predominates in reading a given sentence ? Explain why you emphasize certain words and not others in reading any of the selections. Try shifting emphasis from one word to another, and note whether the sense of the passage is changed or obscured. Can you bring out the same meaning by emphasizing different words in a line?
1. General problems 1. We should do our utmost to encourage the Beautiful, for the Useful encourages itself.
2. Attention is the mother of memory.
3. The ball no question makes of Ayes and Noes, But Right or Left as strikes the player goes.
Fitzgerald : Rubaiyát.
4. All things were held in common, and what one had was another's.
Longfellow : Evangeline.
6. Did ye not hear it ?- No; 't was but the wind,
Or the car rattling o'er the stony street;
Byron : Childe Harold, Canto II, 22.
6. The dry land Earth, and the great receptacle Of congregated waters he called Seas.
Milton : Paradise Lost, VII.
7. She bore a mind that envy could not but call fair.
Shakespeare: Twelfth Night, II, i, 30.
8. One calls the square round, 'tother the round square.
9. Hamlet. Horatio, - or I do forget myself.
Horatio. The same, my lord, and your poor servant ever.
Shakespeare: Hamlet, I, ii.
10. He gave to misery — all he had — a tear, He gained from Heaven 't was all he wished friend.
Gray: Elegy in a Country Churchyard.
11. The first of all English games is making money. That is an
all-absorbing game; and we knock each other down oftener
ask. “Well, I 'll get more,” he says.
Just as, at cricket, you get more runs. There's no use in the runs, but to get more of them than other people is the game. And there's no use in the money, but to have more of it than other people is the game.
I could be well mov'd, if I were as you ;
Shakespeare: Julius Cæsar, III, i.
i Note how the meaning of this line is made clear by means of inflection and change of pitch on “change" and by added force on "that."
13. But now abideth faith, — hope, - love, — these three; and
the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians, XIII, 13.
The little Road says — Go,
Peabody: The House and the Road.
My dearest love,
hence ? Macbeth. To-morrow
as he purposes.
Shakespeare: Macbeth, 1, v.
It is written, “The proper study of mankind is man; man is perennially interesting to man; nay, if we look strictly to it, there is nothing else interesting.
Carlyle : Essay on Biography.
17. If I were an American, as I am an Englishman, while a
foreign troop was landed in my country, I would never lay down my arms
Never - Never Never!
Chatham: On Affairs in America. 18. I strove with none, for none was worth my strife.
Nature I loved, and, next to Nature, Art:
19. Antony sought for happiness in love; Brutus in glory; Cæsar
in dominion; the first found disgrace, the second disgust, the last ingratitude, and each destruction.
Lubbock: The Pleasures of Life.
20. ... For my part, I can see few things more desirable, after
the possession of such radical qualities as honour and humour and pathos, than to have a lively and not a stolid countenance; to have looks to correspond with every feeling; to be elegant and delightful in person, so that we shall please even in the intervals of active pleasing, and may never discredit speech with uncouth manners or become consciously our own burlesques. But of all unfortunates there is one creature (for I will not call him man) conspicuous in misfortune. This is he who has forfeited his birthright of expression, who has cultivated artful intonations, who has taught his face tricks, like a pet monkey, and on every side perverted or cut off his means of communication with his fellow-men. The body is a house of many windows: there we all sit, showing ourselves and crying on the passers-by to come and love us. But this fellow has filled his windows with opaque glass, elegantly coloured. His house may be admired for its design, the crowd may pause before the stained windows, but meanwhile the poor proprietor must lie languishing within, uncomforted, unchangeably alone.
Stevenson: The Truth of Intercourse.' 21. Count. Come, come, Filippo, what is there in the larder ?
Filippo. Shelves and hooks, shelves and hooks, and when
Count. No bread ?
Count. Let be thy jokes and the jerks, man! Anything or nothing?
Filippo. Well, my lord, if all-but-nothing be anything, and one plate of dried prunes be all-but-nothing, then there is anything in your lordship’s larder at your lordship’s service, if your lordship care to call for it.
Tennyson: The Faloon. 1 Used with the kind permission of the publishers, Charles Scribner's Sons.