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There is one general principle on which the system of modulation is constructed that should never be lost sight of, for it has its origin in nature, consequently any departure from it involves a violation of propriety. It is this,—that the introductory part of a sentence necessarily requires the low monotone and rising modulation, whereas the concluding portion naturally takes the high monotone and falling inflection. That division of a sentence which is purely introductory can never receive the falling modulation on its own account as being introductory. It may occasionally require the falling from its emphatic relation to other members, as in the case of the antithesis, but not otherwise. The rising modulation is required, as there the sense is suspended; whereas the concluding part, on the principle of the voice being the echo of the sense, requires the falling, as with it the sense is completed.
There seem to be Seven General Principles to which the Art of Reading may be reduced, as there seem to be seven distinct forms of sense or of expression. Into one or other of these forms, we apprehend, may be resolved every possible construction of sentence to which the system of modulation can legitimately be applied..
THE AFFIRMATIVE MEMBER AND ITS PENULTIMATE.
RULE.-An Affirmative or Final member takes the falling modulation on its accented or emphatic word, but the accented word of the Penultimate member takes the rising modulation, in order to prepare a cadence for the close of the sentence.
An affirmative member is that whose affirmation is altogether independent of other clauses a final or ultimate member is that which completes the sense of other mem
bers the penultimate is that which precedes the ultimate. When the ultimate is particularly long, it may be subdivided into a penultimate and ultimate for the purpose of modulation.
EXAMPLE.- "Exèrcise stréngthens the constitution"—an affirmative member, embracing only one idea, and taking the falling inflection on its accented word "constitution."
Again." Exèrcise strengthens even an indifferent constitution"-" indifferent" now taking the inflection, being a more important word as antithetical to a good constitution, and therefore emphatic.*
Again. "Exércise, hōwever little it may be regarded, stréngthens even an indìfferent constitution." Here a new member is introduced, forming a penultimate, and taking the rising inflection on its accented word "regarded," th term "indifferent" still retaining the falling inflection as a final or ultimate member.
It will be observed that the words exercise, strengthen, little, are also inflected. This is upon the principle of what some elocutionists call the harmonic inflection, or general emphasis, and which is intended to introduce an agreeable variety of tone, at once pleasing to the ear and illustrative of the sense. For this, however, no rule is necessary, nor indeed can be offered, farther than that all similarly important words should be so modulated. Even, however, may, are denoted by the monotone as requiring to be enunciated upon the level at which the voice has arrived by the previous inflection.
Simple and obvious as Principle First is, there is not probably in the whole science of elocution one more frequently violated, and, consequently, that serves as a better test of the reader. The practice generally is, like the old "use and wont" of the monotonous school-boy, to assign the fall* See page 59 on the distinction betwixt accented and emphatic words.
ing modulation to that member only which concludes a sentence; whereas every member affirmative in its character, be it in the beginning, middle, or close of a sentence, and whatever be its punctuation, should take the same falling slide. When passages occur in which the affirmative member prevails, each succeeding clause being complete in itself, and altogether detached both in sense and construction from those that precede and follow, the reader must not be tempted, by any apparent sameness of delivery, to introduce an occasional false modulation for the sake of variety. No such deviation from rule is necessary. The beauty and variety of the delivery are sufficiently sustained by an occasional shifting of the voice from a lower to a higher monotone, as the sense may admit. The principle of the affirmative member is the surest protection against false intonation, and the only cure for that extremely pernicious vice in delivery known by the epithet sing-song. All the provincialisms that exist and nearly every province has its own-consist in a peculiarly disagreeable modulation of the final member. The order of nature is to fall at the close-the sense being finished, no suspension of voice should take place; but it happens that, either in ignorance or disregard of this principle, the natives of certain localities practise an unnatural rising or falling tone, most offensive to the cultivated ear. A firm unyielding slide downwards would effectually prevent this in such as have not yet been seduced into the evil habit, and might shortly cure it in such as have.
The reader may exercise himself on the following Extracts as exemplifying Principle First-in the former, the inflections of the affirmative member and its penultimate are given, as also those of the harmonic inflection. He is requested to observe, in all examples of Rules, that the harmonic inflection is to be given more lightly and trippingly than that of the Rule itself.
COMAL AND GALVINA.
"Mòurnful is thy tále, sòn of the cár," said Carril of ōther times,"It sends my soul back to the ages of old, and to the days of ōther years.-O'ften have I heard of Cómal, who slew the friend he loved; yet vìctory attended his steel; and the battle was consúmed in his prèsence.
"Cómal was the son of Albion; the chief of a hundred hills. His déer drank of a thousand strèams.-A thousand rocks replied to the voice of his dògs.-His fáce was the mildness of youth. His hand the death of heroes. O'ne was his love, and fàir was shé! the daughter of mighty Cònloch.-Shè appeared like a sunbeam amōng wòmen.—Her háir was like the wing of the ràven.—Her dogs were taught to the chase.-Her bówstring sounded on the winds of the fòrest. Her sóul was fixed on Còmal.-O'ften mét their eyes of love. Their còurse in the chase was òne.-Happy were their words in sècret.—But Gòrmal loved the máid, the dark chief of the gloomy A'rdven.—He watched her lōne steps in the heath; the fóe of unhappy Còmal!
"One day, tìred of the chase, when the mist had concealed their friends, Cómal, and the daughter of Cónloch, mét in the cave of Rònan. It was the wónted haunt of Cōmal.-Its sides were hung with his arms.-A húndred shields of thòngs were there; a hùndred helms of sounding stèel.—' Rèst hére,' hē sāid, 'my lòve, Galvína; thōu light of the cave of Rónan !—A dèer appears on Mōra's bròw.-I gó; but I will soon retùrn.'-'I féar,' she said, 'dàrk Górmal, my fòe; hé hàunts the cave of Rónan ! I will rèst among the arms; but soon retùrn, my love.'
"He went to the deer of Mòra.-The daughter of Cónloch would needs try his lòve.-She clothed her white sìdes with his ármour, and stróde from the cave of Rònan !-Hè thought it was his fòe. His heart beat high.-His còlour changed, and dárkness dimmed his eyes.-He drew the bòw.-The àrrow fléw-Galvína fell in blood !—He rán with wìldness in his stéps, and cálled the daughter of Conloch.-Nò answer in the lōnely cave.-'Where àrt thōu, O my lōve?'-He saw, at léngth, her hèaving heart beating around the féathered àrrow.-'O, Cōnloch's daughter, is it thoú?' -He súnk upon her breast.
"The hùnters found the hapless pàir.-He afterwards walked the hill-but màny and sílent wēre his stèps rōund the dārk
dwelling of his lòve. The fleet of the òcean came.—Hè fóught; the strangers flèd. He séarched for dèath along the field-But who could slay the mighty Còmal!-He threw awày his dark brown shield-An árrow found his manly breast.-He sléeps with his loved Galvína, at the noise of the sounding sùrge !-Their gréen tòmbs are seen by the mariner, when he bounds o'er the waves of the nòrth."-Ossian.
Prayer is the soul's sincere desire,
The motion of a hidden fire,
That trembles in the breast.
Prayer is the burden of a sigh,
The upward glancing of an eye,
Prayer is the simplest form of speech
Prayer, the sublimest strains that reach
Prayer is the Christian's vital breath,
His watchword at the gates of death-
Prayer is the contrite sinner's voice,
The saints, in prayer, appear as one,
Nor prayer is made on earth alone:
The Holy Spirit pleads;
And Jesus, on the eternal throne,