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OF TIME, AND RHETORICAL PAUSES.
TIME. The varieties of movement in utterance, are expressed by the terms long and short, rapid, precipitate, quick, slow, and moderate.
A distinct articulation is promoted by a moderate movement in pronunciation. In general, therefore, this movement is the best. A due degree of slowness in delivery, by the longer and more frequent pauses which it allows the reader or the speaker to make, affords great assistance to his voice, enables him to swell his sounds with greater force and melody, and gives weight and dignity to his subject. A rapid pronunciation, on the contrary, is apt to confound all articulation, and obscure the meaning.
It may not be improper, however, to caution the reader against the opposite extreme of pronouncing too slowly. A lifeless, drawling manner, which allows the minds of the hearers to outspeed the reader or speaker, will inevitably render his performance insipid and fatiguing. Hence, he who would seek to please, to persuade, to instruct, must carefully avoid both extremes, and adopt that variety of movement which the nature of the sentiments delivered, seems to require. The effect of an ordinary discourse may be greatly increased, by pronouncing phrases and short passages that will bear it, much more rapidly than others.
Slov-A needless Alexandrine ends the song',
That', like a wounded snake', drags its slow length along!.
And drags at each remove a lengthening chain'.
Flies o'er th' unbending corn', and skims along the main'.
And all went merry as a marriage bell :
Sprinkled with rosy light the dewy lawn',
Hear our de-cree', and rev-erence what you hear'. As nature delights to indulge herself in variety in all her works, she has bountifully bestowed this privilege upon man; and in nothing is it more conspicuously displayed than in the science of elocution. Here, this “spice of life” grows on every twig. Here, he is permitted to render even variety itself more various. Here, by an appropriate modulation of his voice, by a happy adaptation of its tones and its various degrees of force, stress, and movement to the nature of his subject, he rises in his art to the highest point of excellence.
The foregoing remarks on time, are, perhaps, of too general a character to please the scientifick reader; but it is apprehended, that, with most persons, a minute and critical development of this subject, would be passed by with indifference. Hence, the former may be of some service, where the latter would prove unavailing. Although the movements of the voice in reading and speaking, are susceptible of being as exactly measured as in singing, and may be strictly regulated by rule, yet the adoption in practice of any set of rules that might be laid down for this purpose, would necessarily lead to a stiff and formal exactitude in delivery, far less endurable than the most reckless indifference in regard to time and measure. To read. ers in general, therefore, an exercise of good taste and judgment, in regard to the varieties of movement proper to be adopted on different occasions, is far more important than all the assistance they can possibly derive from rules. It requires nothing more than common observation to perceive, that the proper degrees of quickness and slowness, no less than of loudness and softness, highness and lowness, and so forth, are to be regulated by the quality of the style, and the nature and turn of the sentiments. Who does not possess acumen enough to know, that gay and animated thoughts, sparkling and lively description, and easy, flowing narration, require a more accelerated movement than authoritative, dignified, sublime, grave, or pathetick sentiments?
The term QUANTITY, as applied to a letter or a syllable, is used to denote the time that is occupied in pronouncing it. It is commonly considered either as long or short.
A vowel or a syllable is long, when the accent is on the vow.
el; which causes it to be slowly joined in pronunciation with
the letter which follows it; as, Fäll, bāle, mööd, house, fêa. Disture.
A syllable is short, when the accent is on the consonant; which causes the vowel sound quickly to unite with that of the succeeding letter; as, Bonnět, ănt, hủngěr, pīty, ăntíck.
It is generally estimated, that a long syllable requires double the time of a short one in pronouncing it: thus, Māte and note, i should be pronounced as slowly again as măt and not. i The term Quantity, is also sometimes employed to denote,
not only the time, but likewise the amount of volume or fullness of sound, in which syllables, words, and even sentences,
are uttered. But this extended sense of the term includes i many particulars which are treated under the heads of force, modulation, and so forth.
Dr. Rush applies the terms long and short to the time emsployed in the utterance of syllables, relatively considered in re
spect to each other; and the terms quick and slow, he refers to the utterance of any succession of words considered in the ag. gregate, such as phrases, sentences, or larger portions of a discourse.
The common distinction of syllables into long and short, is - neither definite, nor fully illustrative of their character, for the in quantities or times of syllables exhibit various and undistinti guishable shades of difference, from the shortest, which end
with the abrupt elements, such as pit, ap, to those that allow the greatest prolongation in oratorical expression, namely, those ending with a tonick or a subtonick element; such as pay, go, note, de-gree, com-pile.
Dignified and deliberate discourse, awe, reverence, doubt, and grief, require slow time: gaity, cheerfulness, anger, and eager argument, and, generally, parenthetical clauses, demand a quick time or utterance.
There is not a greater fault, nor one more prevalent, among readers and speakers, than a neglect to protract the sounds of the tonick elements. In the enunciation of dignified and deliberate discourse, especially, the importance of giving the long
concrete to such elements as admit and require it, cannot be too strictly regarded by him who wishes to attain that commanding power over language which is calculated to please, to impress, and to excite the admiration of his hearers.
A RHETORICAL Pause is one not dependent on the grammatical construction of a sentence, but a pause made merely to enable the speaker to pro. nounce a preceding or a succeeding word or phrase in a peculiar tone, or with uncommon force. The shortest Rhetorical Pause is indicated by two dots, thus (..); a longer pause, by three dots, (...); and a pause still longer, by four, (....)..
When justly made, rhetorical pauses tend greatly to height. en the effect of a passage. They may, in general, be better regulated by good taste, than by any set of rules.
Example.—“Alexander wept.” “The great and invincible Alexander .. wept at the fate of Darius.”
Remark.—No grammatical pause is allowable between a nominative and its verb, unless they are separated by an intervening adjunct of considerable length or importance. Hence, in the sentence, “Alexander wept,” no pause is required between the nominative and the verb; but,
RULE 1. When the nominative has an adjunct prefixed, and the verb, an adjunct affixed, a pause is necessary between them; as, "The great and invincible Alexander.. wept at the fate of Darius."
Remark.-If the unpractised student be made to understand, that, in this last example, the phrases in Italicks, constitute the adjuncts, he will readily perceive the importance and the application of the Rule. · "The design and application of the ordinary points or stops, are too well known to require, in this place, any particular no