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lute. W at the beginning of a word has the weak sound of 00; as in waft, warble, wave, weave, well, wind, wind, willow.
Many poets have successfully exerted their skill in selecting words the sound of which fitly expresses the loud or soft sounds they wish to describe, and the strength or weakness they wish to paint. Thus in Milton's description of the battle of the angels :
Now storming fury rose,
Arms on armor clashing brayed
By contrast take his description of soft music :
And ever, against eating cares,
The hidden soul of harmony.
As with the force of winds and waters pent
spirit. In the Tartar-Turkish, savmak means to hate, sevmek to love ; the former being the stronger emotion with a barbarian! In the Semitic languages, “the weaker vowels i and u often convey a less active meaning as compared with the strong full a.” Thus, in the Arabic, “The three consonants q, t, 1, form a root which conveys the idea of killing; then qatala means 'he killed,' qutila, 'he was killed.' Every active verb, like qatala, has its corresponding passive, qutila.” See Whitney on “Language and the Study of Language," pp. 301, 302; and Preface to Wedgwood's “ Dictionary of English Etymology." Compare the positive indicative Latin sum, es, est, sumus, estis, sunt, I am, you are, he is, etc., with the contingent subjunctive sim, sis, sit, simus, sitis, sint, I may be, thou mayst be, etc. In German, danken is to thank ; denken, to think. See note, p. 18.
With horrible convulsion, to and fro
Contrast Cleopatra's last words as the poisonous serpent at her breast is stinging her to death. (Shakespeare's “Antony and Cleopatra," Act V. Sc. 2.)
CHARMIAN (to CLEOPATRA). O Eastern star !
Peace ! peace !
0, break! O, break! CLEOPATRA. As sweet as balm, as soft as air, as gentle,
O Antony ! Nay, I will take thee too :
(Applying another asp to her arm.)
What should I stay (Falls on a bed and dies.) Read in Shakespeare's “King Henry the Fifth " the monarch's animating words to his soldiers at the siege of Harfleur :
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Cry — “Heaven for Harry! England ! and Saint Georgo ! For contrast with the preceding, read Young's description of the languid lady:
The languid lady next appears in state,
“My fan,” let others say, who laugh at toil.
Again, what power of voice is sufficient to adequately express Satan's magnificent call to his millions of fallen angel warriors, who lay stunned on the fiery flood ?
He called so loud that all the hollow deep
On the other hand, silence, like that of a clear midnight, requires a very different degree of force. Thus, in Shelley's “Queen Mab”:
How beautiful this night! The balmiest sigh
Tinge not the moon's pure beam ; yon castled steep,
- all form a scene
So cold, so bright, so still. From the foregoing considerations and examples we evolve FORCE as an element of vocal expression in elocution; and we see that loudness and energy are naturally expressed by a louder or more energetic voice than feebleness, languor, or silence.
How loud should one speak or read? Evidently and always, loud enough to be heard without the slightest effort on the part of the audience. Not only so, but one should commonly use a somewhat greater degree of force than this, in order to allow room for variation of the voice by diminution.
This degree of force which is recommended for all ordinary occasions, and which is somewhat above the degree of loudness that would naturally be used in conversation, may be styled moderate ; a higher degree may be termed loud or strong, and a lower, soft, slight, or weak.
Strong force is usually appropriate to joy, mirth, distress, surprise, scorn, impatience, and remorse, when these emotions are powerful ; also to anger, rage, defiance, terror, excited command, and energetic decision. Moderate force should be used when no special reason can be given for any other. Slight force is generally used in tranquillity, tenderness, sorrow, pity, quiet contempt, secrecy, fear, awe, solemnity, reverence, and utter despair.
The sounds of i in pit, e in pet, u in put, a in pat, o in pot, are small.
Those of a in far, o in foe, a in fall, are larger. The sound of short i is especially adapted to express
littleness; as in nit, flit, giggle, tittle, and a multitude of other words. *
We read in Holy Writ of “ a still small voice," and Shakespeare tells us of a “big manly voice.” Which of these is appropriate to the following extract from Tennyson?
O mighty-mouthed inventor of harmonies !
Rings to the roar of an angel onset ! On the contrary, what volume of voice bests suits the following from Poe?
Hear the sledges with the bells, silver bells !
How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
In the icy air of night!
With a crystalline delight;
* Diminutive nouns are usually formed by some termination that has a short-sounding vowel. Thus -kin is appended; as lambkin, little lamb; or -ock, as hillock, little hill ; or -let, as streamlet, little stream; or -ling, as darling (for dear-ling), little dear; or -ie, as Willie, little Will; Annie, little Ann. Some are formed by a change of vowel; as tip from top; chick from cock ; kitten from cat. Compare spout and spit ; float, flout, fleet, and fit. The fitness of vowels to express size as well as force (see note, p. 13) is seen in other languages. Thus in Greek, Marpós, makros, large; but ulapós, mikros, little ; 'Apns, Ares, god of war; but 'Epis, Eris, goddess of discord; kpuśw, krozo, croak; but wpiśw, krizo, creak. In Latin, the masculine ending or is changed to rix for the feminine ; as victor, victrix. In the German, we find hahn, a cock ; but henne, a hen. In the Danish and Swedish, he is han, she is henne. In the Irish, many masculine nouns are changed to feminine by the insertion of the light vowel i after the radical vowel. These examples and those in the note on page 13 show that a correspondence between sound and sense, in the matter of strength and of size, extends to the very roots of language. See Excursus in Roelirig's “Shortest Road to German.”