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On the INFLECTIONS of the VOICE.
Besides the pauses, which indicate a greater or less separation of the parts of a sentence and a conclusion of the whole, there are certain inflections of voice, accompanying these pauses, which are as necessary to the sense of the sentence as the pauses themselves; for, however exactly we may pause between those parts which are separable, if we do not pause with such an inflection of the voice as is suited to the sense, the composition we read will not only want its true meaning, but will have a meaning very different from that intended by the writer.
Whether words are pronounced in a high or low, in a loud or soft tone; whether they are pronounced swiftly or slowly, forcibly or feebly, with the tone of passion or without it; they must necessarily be pronounced either sliding upwards or downwards, or else go into a monotone or song.
By the rising or falling inflection, is not meant the pitch of the voice in which the whole word is pronounced, or that loudness or softness which may accompany any pitch; but that upward or downward slide which the voice makes when the pronunciation of a word is finishing, and which may, therefore, not improperly be called the rising and falling inflection.
We must carefully guard against mistaking the low tone at the beginning of the rising inflection for the falling inflection, and the high tone at the beginning of the falling inflection for the rising inflection, as they are not denominated rising or falling from the high or low tone in which they are pronounced, but from the upward or downward slide in which they terminate, whether pronounced in a high or low key.
THE FINAL PAUSE OR PERIOD.
RULE. The falling inflection takes place at a period.
1. WHO begins with severity in judging of another, ends commonly with falsehood'.
2. We should recollect, that however favourable we may be to ourselves, we are rigorously examined by others'.
3. It is a great support to virtue, when we see a good mind maintain its patience and tranquillity under injuries and affliction, and cordially forgive its oppressors'.
4. No study is more important, no study is more universally interesting, than that of history`.
5. While dangers are at a distance, and do not immediately approach us, let us not conclude, that we are secure, unless we use the necessary precautions' against them.
Note. When there is a succession of periods or loose members in a sentence, though they may all have the falling inflection, yet every one of them ought to be pronounced in a somewhat different pitch of the voice from the other.
6. That man is little to be envied whose patriotism would not gain force upon the plain of Marathon, or whose piety would not grow warmer among the ruins of Iona'.
7. The pleasures of the imagination, the pleasure arising from science, from the fine arts, and from the principle of curiosity, are peculiar to the human' species.
When a sentence concludes an antithesis, the first branch of which being emphatic, requires the falling inflection; the second branch requires the weak emphasis, and rising inflection.
1. If we have no regard for our own' character, we ought to have some regard for the character of others'.
2. If content cannot remove the disquietudes of mankind, it will at least alleviate' them.
NEGATIVE SENTENCE. RULE.-Negative sentences, or members of sentences, must end with the rising inflection.
1. The region beyond the grave is not a solitary' land. There your fathers are, and thither every other friend shall follow you in due season.
2. True charity is not a meteor, which occasionally' glares; but a luminary, which, in its orderly and regular course, dispenses a benignant influence.
3. Humility ever dwells with men of noble minds; it is a flower that prospers not in lean and barren' soils; but in a ground that is rich, it flourishes and is beautiful.
4. Man, by the constitution of his nature, is evidently a religious being. Nor is he formed for a cold and speculative' religion alone. He hath a heart to feel as well as an understanding to decide; and the affections of his heart are adapted, with admirable wisdom, to the objects which religion presents.
5. The humble do not necessarily regard themselves as the unworthiest of all with whom they are acquainted; but, while they acknowledge and admire in many a degree of excellence which they have not attained, they perceive, even in those to whom they are in some respect superiors, much to praise, and much to imitate.
6. Think not, that the influence of devotion is confined to the retirement of the loset, and the assemblies of the saints'. Imagine not, that, unconnected with the duties of life, it is suited only to those enraptured souls, whose feelings, perhaps, you deride as romantic and visionary'. It is the guardian of innocenceit is the instrument of virtue-it is a mean by which every good affection may be formed and improved.
RULE. The penultimate member of a sentence requires the rising
1. The Lord reigneth', let the earth rejoice.
2. Beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years', and a thousand years as one day.
3. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish', but that all should come to repentance.
4. The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; the earth also, and the works' that are therein, shall be burnt up.
5. We were now treading that illustrious island, which was once the luminary of the Caledonian regions, whence savage clans and roving barbarians derived the benefits of knowledge', and the blessings of religion.
6. Mahomet was a native of Mecca, a city of that division of Arabia, which for the luxury of its soil, and happy temperature of its climate, has ever been esteemed the loveliest and sweetest' region in the world, and distinguished by the epithet of Happy.
RULE.-Every direct period, having its two principal constructive parts connected by correspondent conjunctions or adverbs, requires the long pause with the rising inflection at the end of the first part.
1. If when we behold a well made and well regulated watch, we infer the operations of a skilful artificer'; then none but a 'fool' indeed can contemplate the universe, all whose parts are so admirably formed, and so harmoniously adjusted, and yet say "there is no God.'
2. Since God is eternal; since he was before any' thing; then every thing must have derived its existence from him.
3. As there is an essential and unalterable distinction between sweet and bitter, between pleasure and pain, between light and
* Penultimate signifies the last but one.
darkness'; so there is an essential and unalterable distinction between virtue and vice.
4. As it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment'; so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many: and unto them that look for him he shall appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
5. Woe to the man who can command every thing with a wish; for as, on the one hand, the predominant idea of a total privation saps all the vigour of the mind, by fixing a train of corroding reflections'; so, on the other, a constant habit of enjoyment gives insipidity to what were otherwise exquisite, and thus life loses its relish.
6. Whenever you see a people making progress in vice; whenever you see them discovering a growing disregard to the divine law'; there you see proportionable advances made to ruin and misery.*
7. When honour is a support to virtuous principles, and runs parallel with the laws of God and our country', it cannot be too much cherished and encouraged.
8. Obedience, though not the procuring' cause of happiness, is certainly the qualification that fits us for enjoying' it; and if we really possess this qualification, we shall assuredly obtain the heavenly reward.
9. When the mountains shall be dissolved; when the foundations of the earth and the world shall be destroyed; when all sensible objects shall vanish away', he will still be the everlasting God; he will be when they exist no more, as he was when they had no existence at all.
10. Perfection is not the lot of humanity, and the age of heroism had its foibles, as well as the modern. If we are effeminate', they were too often ferocious. If we less frequently produce those astonishing examples of heroism and generosity', we are not so cruel and revengeful. If we are not so famous for fidelity in friendship, and if we are less disinterested and warm', our resentments are also less inexorable.
Note. When the emphatical word in the conditional part of the sentence is in direct opposition to another word in the conclusion, and a concession is implied in the former, in order to strengthen the argument in the latter; the first member has the falling, and the last the rising inflection.
1. If we have no regard for religion in youth', we ought to have some regard for it in age'.
• The rule is the same when the first part only commences with an adverb or a conjunction.
2. If we have no regard for our own' character, we ought to havé some regard for the character of others'.
If these sentences had been formed so as to make the latter member a mere inference from, or consequence of the former, the general rule would have taken place: thus,
1. If we have no regard for religion in youth', we have seldom any regard for it in age'.
2. If we have no regard for our own' character, it can scarcely be expected that we could have any regard for the character of others'.
RULE.-Direct periods commencing with participles of the present and past tense, consist of two parts: between which must be inserted the long pause and rising inflection.
1. Having food and raiment', let us therewith be content. 2. Professing themselves to be wise', they became fools. 3. Not having considered the measures proposed, he failed of
4. Having thus begun to throw off the restraints of reason', he was soon hurried into deplorable excesses.
5. Having existed from all eternity', God through all eternity must continue to exist.
6. Placed by Providence on the palæstra of life', every human being is a wrestler, and happiness is that prize for which he is bound to contend.
7. Viewing the sacred books in no higher light than as they present to us the most ancient monuments of poetry extant, at this day, in the world', they afford a curious object of criticism.
Note. When the last word of the first part of these sentences requires the strong emphasis, the falling inflection must be used instead of the rising.
Hannibal being frequently destitute of money and provisions, with no recruits of strength in case of ill fortune, and no encouragement even when successful'; it is not to be wondered at that his affairs began at length to decline.
RULE. Those parts of a sentence which depend on adjectives require the rising inflection.
1. Destitute of the favour of God', you are in no better situation, with all your supposed abilities, than orphans left to wander in a trackless desert.