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desert covered with dark heath, and often obscured by misty weather; narrow valleys, thinly inhabited, and bounded by precipices resounding with the fall of torrents ; a soil so rugged, and a clime so dreary, as in many parts to admit neither the amusements of pasturage, nor the labours of agriculture; the mournful dashing of waves along the friths and lakes that intersect the country; the portentous noises which every change of the wind, and every increase and diminution of the waters is apt to raise in a lonely region, full of echoes, and rocks, and caverns; the grotesque and ghastly appearance of such a landscape by the light of the moon; objects like these diffuse a gloom over the fancy, which may be compatible enough with occasional and social merriment, but cannot fail to tincture the thoughts even of an ordinary native in the hour of silence and solitude.
To die ;-to sleep ;-
* In reading this extract, the pupil must recal to mind the remarks made on the 43d page, relating to accent.
+ In most of the editions of Shakspeare we read, “ to take arms against a sea of trouble;' but this expression is a manifest violation of all rhetorical rule. [See“ Progressive Exercises in English Composition,” Lesson XXV., p. 45.] The improved reading in this passage is taken from Steele's " Prosodia Rationalis," a work already referred to in a preceding note.
That makes calamity of so long life;
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
BLENDING OF WORDS PRODUCED BY ACCENTED FORCE.
Under the head of accented force, Mr. Walker, in his Rhetorical Grammar, has noticed the peculiar manner in which words, or parts of different words, are sometimes blended so as to appear in pronunciation like a single word. Thus the sentence, “ Censure is the tax a man pays to the public for being eminent," when it is read with a proper regard to the measure of speech, accent, emphasis, &c., will appear as if it were written thus :
Censure isthetax forbeingeminent.
tothepublic It will be needless to insert any extracts for the exercise of the pupil in this principle. The teacher will select from any part of the book such sentences for him to read as will enable him readily to perceive the difference between accented words and accented syllables.
It may here be remarked, that most kinds of reading are included in the three terms, NARRATIVE, DESCRIPTIVE, and ExPRESSIVE; each of which is respectively characterized by its appropriate degree of accented force; and it is proper that the pupil, in studying a reading lesson, should endeavour to discern under which head his lesson is included, in order to adapt his style of reading to the character of the piece. On this subject much has been said in the previous lessons of this book. It remains for the pupil, who has gone through these lessons in course, to endeavour to apply the instructions given him, in all the various kinds of reading in which he may be exercised. If he has a correct ear, he will not fail to observe that both the rising and falling inflections of the voice admit of different degrees. These are fully developed in Steele’s “ Prosodia Rationalis,” to which reference has already been made. The subject is also particularly noticed in “ Walker's Rhetorical Grammar.” In these Exercises, which are designed for common schools, it is deemed inexpedient to present any intricate views of the subject; but, after the statement of a principle, to leave the pupil to the guidance of Nature.
IMPROVEMENT OF THE VOICE.
The voice, like all the other faculties of the body or the mind, is susceptible of great improvement; and under proper management, one that is naturally feeble may be rendered more effective than another, which is endowed with great strength. The two most important requisites in a good voice are CLEARNESS and STRENGTH. In the twenty-fifth lesson of this book, some exercises are presented with the design to accustom the pupil to distinct articulation. If he has passed over that lesson with little attention, he is advised to return to it; and, by persevering practice, acquire a facility in the pronunciation of those sounds which are represented by the combination of the consonants alone. In connexion with this exercise he is advised to practise the vowel sounds, in the manner which shall presently be pointed out.
move nor not tube tub bull voice sound
The sounds of the Vowels are as follows :
vine fate brief W
wine gone brag
zone kind sick ch
chair land ball
long mine him sh
shine now pin th
thou lip th
when ring bar zh
azure since kiss
b d f
These sounds of the vowels and consonants should be uttered in various ways.
Ist. Let the pupil practise what is called exploding* them ; that is, let him
each of them in a quick, sudden manner, like the report of a pistol.
* “This practice," says a modern writer, “ will be found a more effectual method than any other of obtaining a strong and powerful voice-of strengthening such voices as are feeble, and of giving fulness and strength of tone to all in proportion to their natural capacities." He adds immediately after, " The student has not obtained that use of his voice which it is the object of this table to teach him, until every sound it contains can be uttered with the suddenness of the report of fire-arms, without any apparent effort preceding the explosion, with a very high degree of percussive force, and with strength and fulness of tone.” Again, he says in another place : * We know that persons with feeble voices have been rendered capable of speaking forcibly and impressively in public, by a perseverance in the practice here recommended." These lessons are designed principally as an introduction to the subject, and not as a full treatise. Those who have leisure for a more extended view, are referred to Mr. Steele's work entiiled “ Prosodia Rationalis," which is well worthy the attention of all who would acquire a thorough knowledge of the powers and peculiarities of the human voice.
2d. Let him prolong the same sounds, with care, to preserve their purity.
3d. Let him practise both the abrupt and the prolonged sounds of each, in conjunction with the consonants, and the combination of the consonants presented in Lesson XXV.
4th. Let him practise all the above-mentioned sounds, in each of the different pitches or keys of the voice, mentioned in Lesson XXVII., p. 62; and likewise in a whisper.*
Among the consonants there are two which require particular attention, namely, I and r; and if there are any letters, the correct and distinct articulation of which distinguish a good from a bad pronunciation, they are these two.
It is recommended that the pupil be thoroughly exercised in the pronunciation of words which contain these etters, especially ther. This letter has two sounds called the smooth and the vibrant. The vibrant r is pronounced by what is frequently called rolling the tongue. This sound, when properly made, is one which is highly pleasing to the ear; but when too much prolonged it becomes harsh and offensive, and is suited only for a rough or energetic utterance. It is generally considered that it will be agreeable when it consists of one, or at most two or three strokes and rebounds of the tongue.
The smooth r is that sound which is heard in the words bard, card, hard. In such words it savours of affectation to substitute the vibrant r.
EXERCISE ON THE SOUNDS OF I AND r.
* The importance of clear and distinct utterance will be seen by the following sentences in which the meaning depends upon it:
That lasts till night.
That last still night.