ページの画像
PDF
ePub

which does not terminate with a modifying clause, has the falling inflection.

Note. The note to which the cadence falls, and the space through which it descends, are dependent on the emotion with which the sentiment should be uttered, or on the length and complication of the sentence. In strong emotion, the cadence is often both abrupt and low: thus,

“Let us do, or die." In gentle emotion, the cadence is gradual and moderate : “How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank.”

In short sentences, in which emotion does not prevail, the fall is slight. “Human life is the journey of a day.” In long sentences the fall is more obvious, and commences farther from the close. “As we perceive the shadow to have moved along the dial, but did not perceive its moving; and it appears that the grass has grown, though nobody ever saw it grow : so the advances we make in knowledge, as they consist of such minute steps, are only perceivable by the distance."

RULE II. Sentences which terminate with a modifying phrase, and all sentences which qualify or affect, in any way, a preceding sentence, or are introductory to other sentences, close with a tone adapted to the modification or connexion of meaning. “My sentence is for open war: of wiles

(More unexpert) I boast not; them let those
Contrive who need, or when they need : not now.
For, while they sit contriving, shall the rest,
Millions that stand in arms, and longing wait,
The signal to ascend, sit lingering here,

Heaven's fugitives?''* ERRORS. The common faults of cadence are, Ist, delaying the fall of voice till the last word of the sen

* Farther examples may be found in the appropriate exercises on Inflection.

tence, and dropping at once from; perhaps, a uniform and level tone preceding; 2d, falling very low in the closing phrase ; 3d, falling at too early a point in the sentence; 4th, using a waving tone of voice, which makes a false emphasis near the close; 5th, a gradual gliding downward from the opening of the sentence; 6th, a gradual diminishing of the force of the voice, till it becomes nearly inaudible at the close; 7th, the disagreeable sameness produced by the repetition of any of these tones throughout a piece.

The various faulty cadences which have been men- . tioned, including the last, might be expressed thus to the eye. 1st. The dropping of the voice upon the last word:

16 The sums he has, by arbitrary taxes and unheard of impositions, extorted from the industrious poor, are not to be

The most faithful allies of the computed. commonwealth have been treated as

enemies. Roman citizens have, like slaves, been put to death with

tortures." This fault might be represented by a sort of diagram, thus:

2d. A low fall on the closing phrase: “ The sums he has, by arbitrary taxes and unheard of impositions, extorted from the industrious poor, are not

to

be

computed. The most faithful allies of the commonwealth have been treated

as

enemies.

Roman citizens have been put to death

like

slaves." This fault might be represented thus:

3d. Falling at too early a point in the sentence :

"The sums he has, by arbitrary taxes and unheard of impositions, extorted from the indústrious poor,

are not to be computed. The most faithful alliés of the commonwealth

have been treated as ènemies." Roman citizens have been put to death

like slàves."* This cadence is not quite so uniform as either of the preceding, and cannot be so strictly copied to the eye --comparatively, however, it would run thus:

4th. False emphasis and undulation at the close of a

sentence : 6. The sums he has, by arbitrary taxes and unheard of impositions, extorted from the industrious poor, are not to be computed. The most faithful allies of the commonwealth have been treated as enemies. Roman citizens have been put to death like slaves."

This fault might be represented thus:

5th, & 6th. Diminishing and gradually descending

cadence:
The most faithful allies of the commonwealth
have
been

treated'

as

enemies.

* This cadence is always accompanied by the inflection of 'em phátic phrase.'

[blocks in formation]

The first of the faults arises from a habit of reading with a mechanical attention to the words, instead of an intelligent observation of meaning. It is the appropriate tone of children, while the difficulty of reading still remains, to some extent, or when they are reading what they do not understand. The habit of attending solely or chiefly to the words of a sentence, soon becomes fixed as a permanent one, and entails unmeaning and arbitrary tones on the reading even of adults. It is hardly necessary to say that this tone is at variance with all meaning, and that it can be removed only by a close attention to the sense of what is read.

The second fault in cadence is contracted usually by reading grave and formal pieces; the solemnity of style in which is unnatural to the tones of youth. The usual standard inadvertently adopted by boys in the reading of such pieces, is that which they too often hear from the pulpit. The effect of this tone is to substitute a heavy and hollow-sounding close, bearing a measured proportion to the preceding parts of a sentence, for the true and varied tone of meaning. This cadence is especially inappropriate in the young, and should be carefully avoided by directing the attention to the nature of the sentiment which is expressed, and adapting the voice to the meaning, and not to a certain routine of mechanical utterance.

The third fault, that of beginning to fall too soon, also arises from the mind being in the habit of attending to the language rather than to the thought, and from the wrong impression that there must necessarily

be a fall at the close of every sentence, and, perhaps, too, from a mistake in taste, by which the young reader is led to imagine that there is something pleasing to the ear, in a regular and formal descent of the voice.

This tone is unavoidably associated with a pedantic manner, and should be carefully guarded against, by endeavouring to keep the voice in the same strain of expression which would be observed in conversation, when not marked by incorrect or inappropriate tones. The meaning of a sentence, and nothing else, can suggest the true tone.

The fourth error in cadence is the tone often heard at the close of sentences, in the speaking of declamatory pieces at school and college exhibitions. It falls upon the ear with a sound resembling the close of an hexameter verse. Like the faults already mentioned, it is characterized by a mechanical and measured flow of voice, depending on the succession of the words, and not on the meaning of the sentence. The speaker is inadvertently carried away by the rhetorical force and rhythm of the language, and thus loses a clear and distinct conception of the sentiment. The tone of energy, instead of falling only on emphatic words, is distributed vaguely over the whole surface of a sentence, and floats off in an undulating and half-musical close. This fault would be avoided by directing the attention to the thoughts rather than to the language of a piece, and by observing the true emphasis of meaning, instead of an arbitrary emphasis of sound.

The fifth and sixth faults usually occur in the same general tone; the voice commencing every sentence on a comparatively high note, and with a moderate degree of force, but the pitch gradually falling, and the loudness gradually diminishing, in the progress of the sentence, till the tone has nearly died away at the close. These faults originate in the habits contracted in child. hood, from the unnatural attempt to read too loud, or in too large a room, and thus to make an effort which the powers of the voice, are, at that early age, incapable of sustaining. The young reader soon gets accus.tomed to this subsiding tone, as a matter of course in all reading, until it becomes as it were the fixed gait

« 前へ次へ »