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of a word. This obviously plays but a subordinate part in speech; but yet it is a great source of variety, at the same time that it is the principal instrument in our versification.
In determining what syllables are to be marked by accent, taste or feeling has nothing to do; this is settled by usage. Words however, spelled in the same way but having different meanings, often have the place of their accent changed: Thus désert, a wilderness; desert', merit or demerit ;-con'duct, behavior; conduct', to lead or manage. And so of many others. But though good taste has nothing to do with determining what syllables are to receive the accent, it has much to do with the manner in which they are to be thus distinguished.
There are three ways in which aocent may be given; by extending the natural time of the syllable, by giving it throughout more than its natural force, and by laying a stress on the radical point of the syllable. Here we are presented with time, and two of the forms of stress, before explained, to wit, the loud concrete and the radical, as elements which may be used in accent. The three forms of accent thus defined may be designated as the Temporal, the Forcible, and the Radical. The Temporal accent is confined to syllables of indefinite quantity; but since in English the accented syllables are generally the longest in the word, this form of accent in current speaking and reading is the most common. The accent of force may be given to all but the immutable syllables, and to these the Radical accent is specially appropriated.
EXAMPLES. 1. Temporal Accent. 2. Forcible Accent. 3. Radical Accent. Be-hav-ior.
A-but-ment. The principal point to be observed here is, that the Temporal accent is more melodious than either of the others, while the Radical accent is least agreeable of the three. To substitute either of the others for the first is, then, obviously a violation of melody; and the last should be confined to immutable syllables. It is a great accomplishment in the poet, so to arrange his verses that the accent shall in all cases be that of quantity; and just so far as he approaches to this, will his lines, when properly read, flow softly and strike musically upon the ear. But even this excellence of an author might be annulled by the defective mode of giving the accent, on the part of the reader. To him then who is found inclined to substitute either of the others for the Temporal accent, set exercises should be assigned in the reading of dignified prose and verse.
WHILE accent is employed without regard to feeling or expression, Emphasis on the contrary implies emotion. Emphasis like accent is a stress laid on syllables, and usually on the same syllables which take the accent. When however the claims of accent come into conflict with those of emphasis, the former must yield; as “He must increase, but I must decrease.” “ This mortal shall put on immortality.” Of the two, then, it is obvious that Emphasis holds the higher rank.
The following are the purposes for which Emphasis is mainly used. First, to distinguish words which are specially significant, either in themselves considered, or from the relation in which they stand. Secondly, to mark the antithetic relation existing between the words composing a sentence, or the ideas embraced in it. Thirdly, to make the sense of an elliptical sentence obvious, as addressed to the ear; and fourthly to mark the syntax, in cases where words holding a close grammatical relation are separated by parentheses and interposed clauses. The occasions for emphasis then are of constant recurrence ;—either of these circumstances serving as a sufficient reason for its use. And emphasis is often required on several words in succession, constituting a phrase or member of a sentence. How then can emphasis be defined ? In what does it consist ? and what are the means by which it is executed ?
Emphasis may be defined— The EXPRESSIVE but occasional distinction of syllables, and consequently of the words of which they form a part. The degree of distinction which is essential to constitute emphasis but slightly exceeds the natural accent; but the higher forms of emphasis are strongly marked, and by whatever means this distinction is imparted to the word, its character cannot be mistaken. The dash placed under the word is the visible symbol of emphasis in writing, as a change of type is in printing; the italic letter marking the slighter degrees of emphasis, and the capital the stronger. Good taste directs that these symbols which are addressed to the eye should rarely be used: and thus it is left to the discrimination of the reader alone to determine the place of the emphasis, as well as the kind of emphasis to be employed.
The object of emphasis being to distinguish some words from others for the purpose of giving them more importance in utterance, it is clear that whatever will serve to arrest the ear and fix the attention upon a word performs this office; and this may be done by the use of any of the following elements, explained in the last chapter ;-to wit, Time, the various kinds of Stress, Pitch both concrete and discrete, the Waves, Force, and several of the modifications of Quality, as the term is applied to the voice. We proceed to give a few examples of these different kinds of emphasis, in the order in which the elements employed were introduced to the learner, in the last chapter. And here the fact must force itself upon the attention, that if emphasis can be given in so varied a manner, all apology for monotony in spirited delivery is at once removed. In no department of observation do we find that nature has lavished her gifts in greater profusion, than in furnishing the materials of an effective delivery.
I. TEMPORAL EMPHASIS.
The element of Time or Quantity, though never discon nected from all other elements which contribute to emphasis, is yet the predominant characteristic in the expression of serious dignity. It can be given only on syllables which admit of indefinite extension.
EXAMPLES.* 1. Roll on, thou deep and dark blue ocean-roll. 2. Nine times the space that measures day and night
To mortal men, he with his horrid crew
Lay vanquished. 3.
For soon expect to feel
So spake the seraph Abdiel, faithful found
II. EMPHASIS OF STRESS. Among the modes of distinguishing syllables are the different modes of stress; and these are varied both with the sentiment, and with the character of the syllable on which the stress is to be employed
EXAMPLES. Radical Emphasis.—This form of Emphasis is suited to the expression of anger and all the violent emotions; and is the one usually employed in rapid utterance. The Radical is the only kind of stress which immutable syllables will bear, but it may be given on syllables of indefinite time. 1. The prison of his tyr-anny who reigns
By our delay. 2.
Back to thy pun-ishment, False fugitive. 3. The universal cry is—Let us march against Philip, let us fight
for our lib-erties—let us con-quer or die!
* NOTE TO THE TEACHER.-In the exercises of this section, the learner should first be permitted to employ his own skill in execution. Afterwards he may read them with his teacher.