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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 fices, 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
purpose. EXAMPLE of the Commencing Series with the rising modulation, from the introductory character of its members.“ The présence, knowledge, power, wísdom, hóliness, and goodness of the Deity, are all unboùnded.” Or, with an occasional deviation for the sake of variety-“The présence, knowledge, power, 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 présent nor things to cóme; nor height nor depth ; nor any other créature, shall be able to séparate ūs from the love of Gód which is in Christ Jésus oūr 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 good man is approved by his own mind; lóved by his friends ; esteemed by his acquaintance; hònoured 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 soul can exért hersēlf in many different wàys; she can understánd, will, imagine; sèe and hear;
love and discourse; and applý herself to many different exercises and uses."
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 héight that róse to the majèstic; she danced, she walked, and rode with equal gràce.” “In her family, in her court, in her kingdom, Elizabeth remained equally mistress.”
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 enemies and the adulàtion of friends, than Queen Elizabeth; and yet there scarce is any whose reputá. tion has been more certainly detérmined by the unanimous consent of postèrity. The unusual length of her administration, and the strong features of her cháracter, were able to overcome áll prèjudices; and oblíging her detractors to abate much of their invectives, and her admirers sòmewhat of their pánegyrics, have, at lást, in spite of political fáctions, and what is more, of religious animósities, produced a uniform judgment with regard to her conduct. Her vígour, her cónstancy, her magnanimity, her penetration, vigilance, and address, are allowed to merit the highest pràises, and appear not to have been surpassed by any person that ever filled a thrdne: a conduct lèss rigorous, lèss impérious, more sincére, more indulgent to her people, would have been requisite
to form a perfect chàracter. By the force of her mind, she controlled all her more active and stronger quālities, and prevented them from running into excèss. Her héroism was exempted from all temèrity, her frugálity from ávarice, her friéndship from partiàlity, her enterprises from túrbulence and vain ambition; she guarded not herself, with èqual cáre or equal succéss, from lèss infirmities: the rívalship of beauty, the desíre of admiration; the jealousy of lóve, 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 pretended õnes. Few sovereigns of England succeeded to the throne in more difficult círcumstances, and none ever condùcted the government with such uniform success and felìcity. Though unacquainted with the practice of tolerátion, the true secret for managing religious fāctions, she preserved her people by her superior prúdence from those confusions in which theoldgical controversy had involved all the neighbouring nations : and though her enemies were the most powerful princes of Eúrope, the most active, the most enterprísing, the least scrúpulous, she was able by her vígour to make deep impressions on their states; her own greatness, meanwhile, remaining. untouched and unimpaired.
The wise ministers and bràve warriors who flourished during her réign, share the praise of her succéss; but, instead of lessening the applāuse due to bēr, they make great addition to it. They owed, áll of them, their advancement to her chdice; they were supported by her constancy; and, with all their ability, they were never able to acquire an undue ascendant over her. In her fámily, in her court, in her kingdom, she'remained equally mìstress. The force of the tender passions was great over her, but the force of her mind was still superior; and the combat which her victory visibly cost her, serves only to display the fìrmness of her resolútion, and the loftiness of her ambitious sentiments.
The fáme of this princess, though it has surmounted the prejudices both of faction and of bigotry, yet lies still exposed to anòther prejudice, which is more durable, because móre natural; and whích, according to the different views in which we survey her, is capable either of exàlting beyond measure, or diminishing
the lustre of her cháracter. This prējudice is founded on the consideration of her sex. 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 amiable weaknesses by which her sex is distànguished. But the trùe method of estimating her mērit, is to lay aside all thése considerations, and to consider her merely as a rátional bèing, plàced in authority, and entrūsted with the government of mankind. We may find it difficult to reconcile our fancy to her as a wife, or a místress; but her qualities as a sóvereign, though with some considerable exceptions, are the object of undisputed applause and approbation.-Hume.
A PANEGYRIC ON GREAT BRITAIN.
Full are thy cities with the sons of Art;