« PreviousContinue »
on these parts, will sufficiently diversify them to the
There are other instances where, though the contrasted parts consist but of few words, they require, in pronouncing them, a diversity of voice. Thus in Blair's Sermon on Gentleness :
As there is a worldly happiness which God perceives to be no more than disguised misery; as there are worldly honours wbich in his estima. tion are reproach ; so there is a worldly wisdom which in his sight is foolishness. Of this worldly wisdom the characters are given in the Scriptures, and placed in contrast with those of the wisdom which is from above. The one is the wisdom of the crafty; the o:her, that of the upright: the one terminates in selfishness; the other in charity: the one is full of strife and bitter envyings; the other of mercy and of good fruits.
The first principal constructive part of the first sentence of this passage must be pronounced in a somewhat elevated tone of voice, and end with the rising inflection at reproach ; then, after a pause, the voice must drop into a somewhat lower tone, with which the last member must be pronounced. The opposing parts in the rest of the passage must be pronounced so as to pause after The one, &c. and give the first members a higher tone, ending with the rising inflection on crafty, selfishness, and envyings; then, after a pause, the last member must be pronounced in a somewhat lower tone, and end with the falling inflection.
Paralépsis. Paralepsis, or Omission, is a figure by which the orator pretends to conceal or pass by what he really means to declare and strongly to enforce.
Whatever we seem to give up, as a matter of small consequence, we generally pronounce in a higher and softer tone of voice than the rest : this is accompanied with an air of indifference that seems to make light of what we mention, and this indifference generally leads us to end the particulars with the suspension of voice, properly called the rising inflection. Thus Cicero, in his defence of Sextius, introduces his character in the following manner, with a design of recommending him to the favour of the judges :
I might say many things of his liberality, kindness to his domestics, his command in the army, and moderation during his office in the province ; but the honour of the state presents itself to my view, and calling me to it, advises me to omit these lesser matters.
The first part of this sentence should be spoken in a soft high tone of voice, with an air of indifference, as if waving the advantages arising from his client's character ; but the latter part assumes a lower and firmer tone, which greatly enforces and sets off the former.
The same observations hold good in the pronunciation of the following passage of his oration against Rullus, who had proposed a law to sell the public lands:
I do not complain of the diminution of our revenues, and the woful ef. fects of this loss and damage. I omit what may give every one occasion for a rery grievous and just complaint, that we could not preserve the principal estates of the publie, the finest possession of the Roman people, the fund of our provisions, the granary of our wants, a revenue entrusted with the state ; but that we must give up those lands to Rullus, which, after the power of Sylla, and the largesses of the Gracchi, are yet left us ; I do not say, this is now the only revenue of the state, which continues when others cease; is an ornament in peace, fails us not in war, supports the army, and does not fear an enemy. I pass over all these things, and reserve them for my discourse to the people, and only speak at present of the danger of our peace and liberties.
Every member of this sentence, where there is a pause, must be pronounced with the rising inflection, commonly called a suspension of voice; the whole must have an air of indifference, except the two or three last members, where the voice must fall into a lower and firmer tone at and reserve them, and continue in this tone to the end.
Anacoenosis, or Communication, is a figure by which the speaker applies to his hearers or opponents for their opinion upon the point in debate. Thus Cicero, in his Oration for Cæcina, appeals to Piso :
Suppose, Piso, that any person had driven you from your house by violence, how would you have bebaved ?
A similar appeal he makes use of in his Oration for Rabirius.
But what could you have done in such a case, and at such a juncture ? —when to have sat still, or to have withdrawn, would have been coward. ice; when the wickedness and fury of Saturninus had sent for you into the capital, and the consuls had called you to protect the safety and lib. erty of your country? Whose authority, whose voice, which party would you have followed ? and whose orders would you have chosen to obey?
“ This figure,” says an ingenious author, “has something of the air of conversation ; and though public discourses ought not to be turned into mere conversation, yet a proper and decent mixture of such a sort of freedom entertains our hearers, both on account of its variety, and its apparent condescension and good nature.”
Gibbon's Rhetoric, p. 166. From the account we have given of this figure, it is sufficiently plain that it ought to be pronounced in an easy, familiar, middle tone of voice; without passion, and with such a frankness and openness of manner, as if we were fully satisfied of the justice of our cause, and venture it to be decided on the common principles of reason and equity.
We have a shining example of this figure in the speech of the Lord Chief Justice to King Henry the Fifth, to excuse himself for committing him to prison for striking him in the execution of his office, when he was Prince of Wales.
I then did use the person of vour father ;
My person, or my liege's sovereignty. The pronunciation of this speech will derive its greatest beauty from an attention to the anacoenosis, beginning at the eleventh line. The preceding lines must paint the dignity of the office, the atrocity of the blow, and the courage and resolution of the commitment; but the succeeding lines must assume a differ: ent style; they must begin by a frankness of manner approaching to indifference, but gradually assume a dignity, as they begin to describe objects of power, authority, and grandeur. An easy and almost indifferent manner takes place again at Question your royal thoughts; but this manner, as in the preceding part, naturally slides into one more dignified at Hear your own dignity so much profan'd, &c.—but at the lines And then imagine me, &c.—the voice again assumes the plain, open, frank, indifferent tone, till the concluding lines, After this cold consid'rance, &c. when the voice assumes a firmer tone, to indicate a consciousness of the justice of the cause, and a confidence in the uprightness of the determination.
Hypotypósis. Hypotyposis, or Lively Description, is a representation of things in such strong and glowing colours, as to make them seem painted or transacted to the hearer's imagination.
This is the definition of the hypotyposis, which we find in most of our books of rhetoric : but if the definition of a figure, which has been given at the beginning of this part of the present work, be a just one, description is no more entitled to the appellation of a figure than narration, contemplation, reflection, or any similar expression of the mind. But, though rigorously speaking, it may not be a figure of rhetoric, it is a species of writing which deserves a very particular consideration, as it is the subject of delivery; for there is no part of composition which requires greater taste and judgment, than that where the description of objects is strong and vivid, and where the