« PreviousContinue »
or to- morrow?
I shall go to-morrow.
and then slides downward, just as in a cadence. may be represented thus :
The faulty manner
The other part of the difficulty, in distinguishing the falling inflection from the opposite, arises from its want of sufficient extent. Sometimes indeed the voice is merely dropped to a low note, with. out any slide at all. The best remedy is, to take a sentence with some emphatic word, on which the intensive falling slide is proper, and protract that slide, in a drawling manner, from a high note to a low one.
This will make its distinction from the rising slide very obvious.
Rising Inflection. Rule IV. The pause of suspension, denoting that the sense is unfinished, requires the rising inflection.
This rule embraces several particulars, more especially applying to sentences of the periodic structure, which consist of several members, but form no complete sense before the close. It is a first principle of articulate language, that in such a case, the voice should be kept suspended, to denote continuation of sense. The following are some of the cases to which the rule applies.
1. Sentences beginning with a conditional particle or clause ; as, “ If some of the branches be broken off, and thóu, being a wild olive-trée, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive trée; boast not against the branch
“ As face answereth to face in water, so the heart of man to man.”
2. The case absolute; as,
“ His father dýing, and no heir being left except himself, he succeeded to the estate." “The question having been fully discussed, and all objections completely refuted, the decision was unanimous.”
3. The infinitive mood with its adjuncts, used as a nominative case; as,
“ To smile on those whom we should cénsure, and to countenance those who are guilty of bad actions, is to be guilty ourselves." “ To be pure in heart, to be pious and benévolent, constitutes human happiness.”
4. The rocative* case without strong emphasis, when it is a respectful call to attention, expresses no sense completed, and comes under the inflection of the suspending pause ; as,
Mén, bréthren, and fathers,-hearken.” “Friends, Rómans, countrymen !-lend me your ears.”
5. The parenthesis commonly requires the same inflection at its close, while the rest of it is often to be spoken in the monotone; as,
Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) that the lav hath dominion over a man as long us he liveth ?”
An exception may apply to the general principle of this rule, whenever one voice is to represent two persons, thus ;
If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; not withstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the bódy; what doth it pròfit? Here the sense is entirely suspended to the close, and yet the clause introduced as the language of another, requires the falling slide.
Another exception, resting on still stronger ground, occurs where an antithetic clause requires the intensive falling slide on some chief word, to denote the true meaning: as in the following example, -“ The man who is in the daily use of ardent spirit, if he does not become a drunkard, is in danger of losing his health and character." In this periodic sentence, the meaning is not formed till the close ; and yet the falling slide must be given at the end of the second member, or the sense is subverted; for the rising slide on drunkard would imply that his becoming such, is the only way to preserve health and character.
Rule V. Tender emotion generally inclines the voice to the rising slide.
Grief, compassion, and delicate affection, soften the soul, and are uttered in words, invariably with corresponding qualities of voice.
Hence the vocative case, when it expresses either affection or delicate respect, takes the rising slide; as,
“ Jesus saith unto her, Máry.” “ Jesus saith unto him, Thomas." “Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.” -“Sírs, what must I do to be sayed?" The same slide prevails in pathetic poetry.
Thus with the year,
* I use this term as better suiting my purpose than that of our grammarians,-nominative independent.
Dáy, or the sweet approach of év'n or mórn,
Surround me So in the beautiful little poem of Cowper, on the receipt of his mother's picture
My mother! when I learn'd that thou wast déad,
A long, long sigh, and wept a last adiču. Rule VI. The rising slide is commonly used at the last pause
but one in a sentence. The reason is, that the ear expects the voice to fall when the sense is finished; and therefore it should rise for the sake of variety and harmony, on the pause that precedes the cadence.-Ex.
“ The minor longs to be at age, then to be a man of business, then to make up an estate, then to arrive at honors, then to retire."
« Our lives, (says Seneca,) are spent either in doing nothing at all, or in doing nothing to the purpose, or in doing nothing that we ought to do.”
Falling Inflection. So instinctively does bold and strong passion express itself by this turn of voice, that, just so far as the falling slide becomes intensive, it denotes emphatic force. The VIII. IX. and X. rules will illustrate this remark.
Rule VII. The indirect question, or that which is not answered by yes or no, has the falling inflection; and its answer has the same. As,
What, Tubero, did that naked sword of yours mean, in the battle of Pharsalia? At whose brèast was its point aimed? What was the meaning of your arms, your spirit, your eyes, your hands, your ardour of soul?
Who say the people that I am ? They answering said, John the Bàptist ; but some say, Elias; and others say that one of the old pròphets is risen again.—Where is boasting then? It is excluded.—Who first seduced them to that foul revolt? The infernal sèrpent.
The want of distinction in elementary books, between that sort of question which turns the voice upward, and that which turns it downward, must have been felt by every teacher even of children.
RULE VIII. The language of authority, of surprise, and of distress, is commonly uttered with the falling inflection.
1. The imperative mood, as used to express the commands of a superior, denotes that energy of thought which usually requires the falling slide; as,
Uzziel ! half these draw off and coast the south,
Ne'er be it said our courage falls. 2. Denunciation and reprehension, on the same principle, commonly require the falling inflection; as,
Wo unto you, Pharisees! Wo unto you, làwyers! But God said unto him, thou fool !—this night thy soul shall be required of thee. But Jesus said, Why tèmpt ye me, ye hypocrites ? Paul said to Elymas, O full of all sùbtlety, and all mischief! Thou child of the Devil, -thou enemy of all righteousness!
Hènce !-hòme, you idle creatures, get you hòme.
You blocks, you stònes ! You worse than senseless things! This would be tame indeed, should we place the unemphatic, rising slide on these terms of reproach, thus:
You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things!
3. Exclamation, when it does not express tender emotion, nor ask a question, inclines to adopt the falling slide. Terror expresses itself in this way; as,
Àngels! and ministers of grace,-defend us. Exclamation, denoting surprise, or reverence, or distress; -or a
combination of these different emotions, generally adopts the falling slide. For this reason I suppose that Mary, weeping at the se pulchre, when she perceived that the person whom she had mistaken for the gardener, was the risen Saviour himself, exclaimed with the tone of reverence and surprise,-Rabbòni! And the same inflection probably was used by the leprous men when they cried Jesus, Màster! hare mer. cy on us; instead of the colloquial tone Jésus, Master, which is commonly used in reading the passage, and which expresses nothing of the distress and earnestness which prompted this cry. These examples are distinguished from the vocative case, when it merely calls to attention, or denotes affection.
Rule IX. Emphatic succession of particulars requires the falling slide. The reason is, that a distinctive utterance is necessary
to fix the attention on each particular; as, Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself; is not puffed up; doth not behave itself unsèemly : seeketh not her own; is not easily provoked; thinketh no evil.Thrice was I beaten with ròds; once was I stòned; thrice I suffered shipwréck; a night and a day have I been in the deep.
In each of these examples, all the pauses except the last but one, (for the sake of harmony,) require the downward slide.
Note 1. When the principle of emphatic series interferes with that of the suspending slide, one or the other prevails, according to the degree of emphasis; as,
Though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all farth, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
The pains of getting, the fear of losing, and the inability of enjoying his wealth, have made the miser a mark of satire, in all ages.*
Note 2. Emphatic succession of particulars grows intensive as it goes on; that is, on each succeeding emphatic word, the slide has more stress, and a higher note, than on the preceding; thus,
I tell you, though
though all the
though an angel
should declare the truth of it, I could not believe it.
* All rules of inflection as to a series of single words, when unem phatic, are in my opinion, worse than useless. No rule of harmonic inflection, that is independent of sentiment, can be established with