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Commencing Series generally admit the rising modulation on account of their introductory character; whereas those of the Concluding Series will in most instances require the falling, from their affirmative character. The Commencing Series is that which begins a sentence without concluding it; the Concluding Series, that which terminates a sentence whether it commences it or not.
The Series has long been treated as one of the most intricate principles in the Art of Reading, and has certainly become sufficiently perplexing by the rules hitherto in use. Some elocutionists have insisted that every successive member in the enumeration should receive a different modulation from the preceding; while others contend that there should be a gradual progression upwards until the scale of four or five particulars be reached, that the voice should then return to the commencing tone, and ascend in the same gradation as before until it reaches the penultimate. It seems much simpler and equally efficient to deliver the entire series in one uniform modulation, with the exception of the penultimate and ultimate members, the modulation of which must depend upon their relationship to the general sense. By adopting a scale of fours or fives, or any fixed scale whatever, the reader necessarily inflicts an intolerable stiffness upon the passage, and is seldom prepared, at first sight, to preserve the integrity of the rule, so difficult is it to enumerate the particulars as he proceeds. Nor is the sentence likely to suffer by an adherence to one prevailing inflection, provided it be delivered naturally, with an occasional shifting of the voice from one monotone to another as the taste of the reader directs. Should he think otherwise, however, he can easily introduce an occasional rising or falling slide for the sake of change, without recognising any fixed scale of particulars, the very consideration of which is calculated to produce a most prejudicial tameness. Let him adopt the modu
lation suggested by the spirit of the passage as being negative, concessive, or affirmative, introductory or conclusive, and let any occasional deviation be at the suggestion of the moment, and not the previously concerted effect of a principle he is bound to recognise and vindicate on every new particular. The reader's chief design is impressiveness, which will always be best secured when nature is consulted -but nature is simple in all her operations, the reverse of man's inventions, which are frequently too complicated to serve any useful purpose.
EXAMPLE of the Commencing Series with the rising modulation, from the introductory character of its members.— "The présence, knówledge, power, wisdom, hóliness, and goodness of the Deity, are áll unbounded." Or, with an occasional deviation for the sake of variety-" The présence, knówledge, pòwer, wisdom, hòliness, and goodness of the Deity, are áll unbounded."
EXAMPLE of the Commencing with an occasional falling modulation, on account of the antithesis involved.—“ I am persuaded that neither death nor lífe; nor ángels, nor principálities, nor powers; nor things prèsent nor things to cóme; nor height nor dépth; nor any other creature, shall be able to separate ūs from the love of God which is in Christ Jésus our Lòrd." In this sentence, it will be observed, the rising modulation prevails from the negative character of the clauses.
EXAMPLE of the Concluding Series with the falling modulation, each member being affirmative. "The goòd man is approved by his own mind; loved by his friends; esteémed by his acquaintance; honoured by his country; revéred by postèrity."
EXAMPLE of the Concluding with an occasional rising inflection, in consequence of the concession implied in some particulars." The sòul can exért herself in many different wàys; she can understánd, will, imágine; sèe and héar;
love and discourse; and apply herself to mány different éxercises and ùses."
The distinction of Simple and Compound Series is unnecessary; as is also still more that of the Series of Serieses. The understood principle of the Harmonic Inflection serves all the purpose of the former-the latter occurs so rarely as to require no special notice.
When the several particulars of a Series rise in importance, each member increasing in sense or argument, it then assumes the character of a Climax, and requires a proportional increase of voice and modulation. "Queen Mary was of a height that rose to the majèstic; she danced, she walked, and róde with équal gràce." "In her family, in her court, in her kingdom, Elizabeth remained équally mìstress."
The student will perceive that the rule of the Series is of little practical use as a separate Principle, its modulations being all reducible to those of the previous rules, taken in connection with Principle Seventh.
Exercises on Principle Sixth :
CHARACTER OF QUEEN ELIZABETH.
There are few pèrsonages in history who have been more exposed to the càlumny of énemies and the adulation of friends, than Queen Elizabeth; and yet there scarce is any whose reputátion has been more cèrtainly determined by the unanimous consent of postèrity. The unúsual lèngth of her administration, and the strong features of her character, were able to overcome áll prèjudices; and oblíging her detràctors to abate much of their invectives, and her admirers sòmewhat of their pánegyrics, have, at lást, in spite of political factions, and what is more, of religious animósities, produced a ùniform júdgment with regard to her cònduct. Her vígour, her constancy, her magnanímity, her penetrátion, vìgilance, and addréss, are allowed to merit the highest pràises, and appear not to have been surpassed by any person that ever filled a thròne: a conduct lèss rígorous, lèss impérious, mòre sincére, more indulgent to her people, would have been requisite
to form a pérfect character. By the force of her mínd, she controlled all her more active and stronger qualities, and prevented them from rúnning into excèss. Her héroism was exempted from all temèrity, her frugálity from àvarice, her friendship from partiàlity, her enterprises from túrbulence and vain ambition; she guarded not herself, with èqual cáre or èqual succéss, from lèss infirmities: the rivalship of beaùty, the desire of admiràtion; the jealousy of love, and the sállies of ànger.
Her singular talents for government were founded equally on her témper, and on her capacity. Endowed with a great command over herself, she soon obtained an uncontrolled ascendant over the people; and while she merited all their esteem by her réal virtues, she also engaged their affection by her pretènded ōnes. Few sovereigns of England succeeded to the throne in more difficult círcumstances, and none ever conducted the government with such uniform success and felicity. Though unacquainted with the practice of tolerátion, the true secret for managing relígious fāctions, she preserved her people by her supèrior prúdence from those confusions in which theològical cóntroversy had involved all the neighbouring nàtions: and though her enemies were the most powerful princes of Europe, the most active, the most enterprísing, the least scrúpulous, she was able by her vígour to make deep impressions on their stàtes; her own greatness, meanwhile, remaining untouched and unimpàired.
The wise mínisters and bràve warriors who floùrished during her reign, share the praise of her succéss; but, instead of lessening the applause due to her, they make great addition tò it. They owed, all of them, their advancement to her chòice; they were supported by her cònstancy; and, with all their ability, they were never able to acquire an undue ascéndant òver her. In her family, in her court, in her kingdom, she remained equally mistress. The force of the tender passions was great over her, but the force of her mind was still supèrior; and the combat which her victory visibly cost her, serves only to display the firmness of her resolútion, and the lóftiness of her ambitious sèntiments.
The fame of this princess, though it has surmounted the prejudices both of faction and of bigotry, yet lies still exposed to another prejudice, which is mòre dúrable, because móre nàtural; and whích, according to the different views in which we survey her, is capable either of exàlting beyond méasure, or dimìnishing
the lustre of her character. This prejudice is founded on the consideration of her sèx. When we contemplate her as a woman, we are apt to be struck with the highest admiration of her qualities and extensive capacity; but we are also apt to require some more softness of disposition, some greáter lènity of témper, some of those àmiable weaknesses by which her sex is distinguished. But the true method of estimating her merit, is to lay aside all thése considèrations, and to consider her merely as a rátional bèing, placed in authority, and entrusted with the government of mankind. We may find it difficult to reconcile our fancy to her as a wife, or a mistress; but her quàlities as a sóvereign, though with some considerable excéptions, are the object of undisputed applause and approbàtion.-Hume.
A PANEGYRIC ON GREAT BRITAIN.
Walks, unconfin'd, even to thy farthest cots,
Pleased and unwearied, in his guarded toil.
Full are thy cities with the sons of Art;
And Trade and Joy in every busy street,