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that any such alteration is perfectly arbitrary : both these mistakes, however, will be rectified by attending to the pronunciation of the following sentence :
When I am in a serious humour, I very often walk by myself in Westminster Abbey ; where the gloominess of the place, and the use to which it is applied, with the solemnity of the building, and the condition of the people who lie in it, are apt to fill the mind with a kind of mélancholy, or rather thoughtfulness, that is not disagreeable.
Spect. No. 428. If the latter members of this sentence, which are very properly marked with commas, were all to have the same inflection, (or suspension of voice, as it is commonly called,) the monotony would strike every one : but let the falling inflection be placed on place, building, and mind, and an agreeable variety will succeed the monotone, which will convince us that this variety arises from the regular variation of inflection upon successive members of the sentence.
Under the article series it has been seen how much force and variety arise from pronouncing the several successive members with an appropriate inflection of voice. It may in the same manner be observed, that wherever similar members occur, though no more than three, a variation of inflection may be adopted with advantage. Thus, in the following example :
Good nature is more agreeable in conversation than wit, and gives a certain air to the countenance, which is more amiable than beauty. It shows virtue in the fairest light, takes off in some measure from the deformity of vice, and makes even folly and impertinence suppòrtable. Spect. No. 169.
In the last sentence of this example, by placing the falling inflection on light at the end of the first member, we shall diversify it from the next member, which must have the rising, and so form an agreeable cadence.
In the same manner, where there are three members in the former part of a sentence before the sense
begins to form, the falling inflection upon the antepenultimate member, as it may be called, will give an agreeable variety to the whole.
The philosopher, the saint, or the hèro ; the wise, the good, or the great man ; very often lie hid and concealed in a plebeian, which a proper education might have disinterred and have brought to light. Spect. No.215.
Here, by placing the falling inflection on hero, we shall diversify it from the rising on plebeian, and add considerably to the harmony of the cadence.
It may be observed, when the first principal constructive member of a sentence extends to a considerable length before the sense begins to form, that, as soon as the sense begins to form, the voice ought to take every occasion of relieving the ear from the sameness which was necessary to connect the sense in the first member; and for that purpose the falling inflection should be adopted as soon as possible at the beginning of the second member, both in order to produce a variety and to form a cadence.
As the noblest mien, or most graceful action, would be degraded and obscured by a garb appropriated to the gross employments of rustics or mechánics, so the most heroic sentiments will lose their efficacy, and the most splendid idèas drop their magnificence, if they are conveyed by words used commonly upon low and trivial occasions.
Johnson. In this sentence, as the voice must preserve a sameness on the subordinate pauses till it comes to mechanics, where it adopts the rising inflection and long pause, so it must adopt the falling inflection on sentiments and ideas, to relieve the ear from that sameness, and form a cadence.
Nearly the same observations hold good in the following sentence :
As beauty of body, with an agreeable carriage, pleases the eye, and that pleasure consists in observing that all the parts have a certain elegance, and are proportioned to each other; so does beauty of behaviour, which appears in our lives, obtain the approbation of all with whom we converse, from the order, consistency, and moderation of our words and actions.
Spectator, No. 104. Here the sense extends to other before it begins to form, and, consequently, the voice must be carried on with little variation till that word is pronounced with the rising inflection and long pause; after which the voice must adopt the rising inflection on beauty, and the falling on behaviour; the falling both on approbation, and the word all; when the cadence must be formed by the falling inflection on order and consistency, the rising on moderation ; and the rising on words, and the falling on actions, the voice descending in a gradually lower tone.
On the period, and the method of forming a cadence.
When a sentence is so far perfectly finished, as not to be connected in construction with the following sentence, it is marked with a period. This point is in general so well understood, that few grammarians have thought it necessary to give an express example of it; though there are none who have inquired into punctuation who do not know, that in loose sentences the period is frequently confounded with the colon. But though the tone with which we conclude a sentence is generally well understood, we cannot be too careful, in pronunciation, to distinguish it as much as possible from that member of a sentence which contains perfect sense, and is usually pointed with a colon. Such members, which may not be improperly called sententiola, or little sentences, require the falling inflection, but in a higher tone than the preceding words, as if we had only finished a part of what we had to say; while the period requires the falling inflection in a lower tone, as if we had nothing more to add. But this final tone does not only lower the last word; it has the same influence on those which more immediately precede the last; so that the cadence is prepared by a gradual fall upon the concluding words, every word in the latter part of a sentence sliding gently lower, till the voice drops upon the last. This will more evidently appear upon repeating the following sentence.
This persuasion of the truth of the gospel, without the evidence which accompanies it, would not have been so firm and so durable: it would not have acquired new force with age: it would not have resisted the tòrrent of time, and have passed from age to age to our own dàys.
We find perfect sense formed at the word durable ; but as this does not conclude the sentence, these words, though adopting the falling inflection, are pronounced in a higher tone than the rest : the same may be observed of the word age, which ends the second member; while in the last member not only the word days is pronounced lower than the rest, but the whole member falls gradually into the cadence, and have passed from age to age to our own days.
Let us take another example: It was said of Socrates, that he brought philosophy down from heaven to inhabit among
en; and I shall be ambitious to have it said of me, that I have brought philosophy out of clúsets and libraries, schoòls and colleges, to dwell in clubs and assemblies, at téa-tables and in coffee-houses.
Spectalor, No. 10. When this sentence is properly read, every ear will perceive a peculiar harmony in the cadence, but few will judge from whence it proceeds. If we analyse it, we shall see that four accented words are contrasted with other four, and that the inflections on each are in an exactly opposite order. This number of accent
ed words, and this order of the inflections, is so agreeable to the ear, that a judicious reader will endeavour to fall into it as often as the sense will permit him, as in the preceding example; and if the sense will only allow him four accented words, as in the following example, he will be sure to preserve the same arrangement of inflections.
Nature seems to have designed the head as the cupola to the most glorious of her works : and when we load it with such a pile of supernumerary ornaments, we destroy the symmetry of the human figure, and foolishly contrive to call off the eye from great and real beauties, to childish géw gaws, ribbons, and bone-làce.
Speclator, No. 98. In pronouncing this finishing sentence of the essay, we ought to begin the cadence after the word figure; then to let the voice play up and down upon the words foolishly and contrive, call off, and the eye ; that is, to give foolishly the rising and contrive the falling inflection—the words call off the rising, and the eye the falling: then the last member after beauties, consisting of four accented words, should have the two inflections arranged as they are in the example; that is, falling, rising, rising, falling, and these to be pronounced in a gradually descending tone till the close of the sentence.
But here it will be absolutely necessary to observe, that though the period generally requires the falling inflection, every period does not necessarily adopt this inflection in the same tone of voice: if sentences are intimately connected in sense, though the grammatical structure of each may be independent on the other, they may not improperly be considered as so many small sentences making one large one, and thus requiring a pronunciation correspondent to their logical dependence on each other : hence it may be laid