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ON the INFLECTIONS of the VOICE.
Besides the pauses, which indicate a greater or less separation of the parts of a sentence and a conclusion of the whole, there are certain inflections of voice, accompanying these pauses, which are as necessary to the sense of the sentence as the pauses themselves; for, however exactly we may pause between those parts which are separable, if we do not pause with such an inflection of the voice as is suited to the sense, the composition we read will not only want its true meaning, but will have a meaning very different from that intended by the writer.
Whether words are pronounced in a high or low, in a loud or soft tone; whether they are pronounced swiftly or slowly, forcibly or feebly, with the tone of passion or without it; they must necessarily be pronounced either sliding upwards or downwards, or else go into a monotone or song.
By the rising or falling inflection, is not meant the pitch of the voice in which the whole word is pronounced, or that loudness or softness which may accompany any pitch; but that upward or downward slide which the voice makes when the pronunciation of a word is finishing, and which may, therefore, not improperly be called the rising and falling inflection.
We must carefully guard against mistaking the low tone at the beginning of the rising inflection for the falling inflection, and the high tone at the beginning of the falling inflection for the rising inflection, as they are not denominated rising or falling from the high or low tone in which they are pronounced, but from the upward or downward slide in which they terminate, whether pronounced in a high or low key.
THE FINAL PAUSE OR PERIOD.
RULE I. The falling inflection takes place at a period.
1. That man is little to be envied whose patriotism would not gain force upon the plain of Marathon, or whose piety would not grow warmer among the ruins of Iona'.
2. The pleasures of the imagination, the pleasure arising from science, from the fine arts, and from the principle of curiosity, are peculiar to the human' species.
When a sentence concludes an antithesis, the first branch of which being emphatic, requires the falling inflection; the second branch requires the weak emphasis, and rising inflection.
Note. When there is a succession of periods or loose members in a sentence, though they may all have the falling inflection, yet every one of them ought to be pronounced in a somewhat different pitch of the voice from the other.
1. If we have no regard for our own' character, we ought to have some regard for the character of others'.
2. If content cannot remove' the disquietudes of mankind, it will at least alleviate' them.
RULE II.-Negative sentences, or members of sentences, must end with the rising inflection.
1. The region beyond the grave is not a solitary' land. There your fathers are, and thither every other friend shall follow you in due season.
2. True charity is not a meteor, which occasionally' glares; but a luminary, which, in its orderly and regular course, dispenses a benignant influence.
RULE III.-The penultimate member of a sentence requires the rising inflection.
1. We were now treading that illustrious island, which was once the luminary of the Caledonian regions, whence savage clans and roving barbarians derived the benefits of knowledge', and the blessings of religion.
2. Mahomet was a native of Mecca, a city of that division of Arabia, which, for the luxury of its soil and happy temperature of its climate, has ever been esteemed the loveliest and sweetest' region in the world, and distinguished by the epithet of Happy.
RULE IV.-Every direct period, having its two principal constructive parts connected by corresponding conjunctions or adverbs, requires the long pause, with the rising inflection at the end of the first part.
1. If, when we behold a well-made and well-regulated watch, we infer the operations of a skilful artificer'; then none but a
* Penultimate signifies the last but one.
'fool' indeed can contemplate the universe, all whose parts are so admirably formed, and so harmoniously adjusted, and yet 'there is no God.'
2. Whenever you see a people making progress in vice; whenever you see them discovering a growing disregard to the divine law; there you see proportional advances made to ruin and misery.*
3. When the mountains shall be dissolved; when the foundations of the earth and the world shall be destroyed; when all sensible objects shall vanish away', he will still be the everlasting God;' he will be when they exist no more, as he was when they had no existence at all.
4. Perfection is not the lot of humanity, and the age of heroism had its foibles, as well as the modern. If we are effeminate', they were too often ferocious. If we less frequently produce those astonishing examples of heroism and generosity', we are not so cruel and revengeful. If we are not so famous for fidelity in friendship, and if we are less disinterested and warm', our resentments are also less inexorable.
Note. When the emphatical word in the conditional part of the sentence is in direct opposition to another word in the conclusion, and a concession is implied in the former, in order to strengthen the argument in the latter, the first member has the falling, and the last the rising inflection.
1. If we have no regard for religion in youth', we ought to have some regard for it in age'.
2. If we have no regard for our own' character, we ought to have some regard for the character of others'.
If these sentences had been formed so as to make the latter member a mere inference from, or consequence of the former, the general rule would have taken place: thus,
1. If we have no regard for religion in youth', we have seldom any regard for it in age'.
2. If we have no regard for our own' character, it can scarcely be expected that we could have any regard for the character of others'.
RULE V.-Direct periods, commencing with participles of
the present and past tense, consist of two parts; between which must be inserted the long pause and rising inflection.
1. Having existed from all eternity', God through all eternity must continue to exist.
The rule is the same when the first part only commences with an adverb or a conjunction.
2. Placed by Providence on the palæstra of life', every human being is a wrestler, and happiness is that prize for which he is bound to contend.
Note. When the last word of the first part of these sentences requires the strong emphasis, the falling inflection must be used instead of the rising.
Hannibal being frequently destitute of money and provisions, with no recruits of strength in case of ill fortune, and no encouragement, even when successful; it is not to be wondered at that his affairs began at length to decline.
RULE VI.-Those parts of a sentence which depend on adjectives require the rising inflection.
1. Destitute of the favour of God', you are in no better situation, with all your supposed abilities, than orphans left to wander in a trackless desert.
2. Full of spirit, and high in hope', we set out on the journey of life.
RULE VII.-Every inverted period requires the rising inflection and long pause between its two principal constructive parts.
1. Persons of good taste expect to be pleased', at the same time they are informed.
2. I can desire to perceive those things that God has prepared for those that love' him, though they be such as eye hath not seen, ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive.
Sentences, constructed like the following, also fall under this rule.
3. Poor were the expectations of the studious, the modest, and the good', if the reward of their labours were only to be expected from man.
4. Virtue were a kind of misery', if fame only were all the garland that crowned her.
A period is said to be inverted, when the first part forms perfect sense by itself, but is modified or determined in its signification by the latter.
RULE VIII. The member that forms perfect sense must be separated from those that follow by a long pause and the falling inflection.
1. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God'; so that things which are seen were not made of things that do appear.
2. By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed'; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
Note. When a sentence consists of several loose members which neither modify nor are modified by one another, they may be considered as a compound series, and pronounced accordingly.
RULE IX.-The first member of an antithesis must end with the long pause and the rising inflection.
1. The most frightful disorders arose from the state of feudal anarchy. Force decided all things. Europe was one great field of battle, where the weak struggled for freedom', and the strong for dominion. The king was without power', and the nobles without principle. They were tyrants at home', and robbers abroad. Nothing remained to be a check upon ferocity and violence.
2. Between fame and true honour a distinction is to be made. The former is a blind and noisy' applause: the latter a more silent and internal homage. Fame floats on the breath of the multitude': honour rests on the judgment of the thinking. Fame may give praise, while it withholds esteem': true honour implies esteem, mingled with respect. The one regards particular distinguished' talents: the other looks up to the whole character.
3. These two qualities, delicacy and correctness, mutually imply each other. No taste can be exquisitely delicate without being correct; nor can be thoroughly correct without being deli
A loose sentence is a member containing perfect sense by itself, followed by some other member or members, which do not restrain or qualify its signification.
Antithesis opposes words to words, and thoughts to thoughts.