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Secondly, Let us enquire what a good Pronunciation is, and how to attain it.
1. A good Pronunciation in reading, is the Art of managing and governing the Voice so as to express the full Sense and Spirit of your Author, in that just, decent, and graceful Manner, which will not only instruct but affect the Hearers; and will not only raise in them the same Ideas he intended to convey, but the fame Passions he really felt. This is the
End of reading to others, and this End can only be attained by a proper and just Pronunciation.
And hence we may learn wherein a good Pronunciation in speaking consists; which is nothing but a natural, easy, and graceful Variation of the Voice, suitable to the Nature and Importance of the Sentiments we deliver.
A good Pronunciation in both these Respects is more easily attained by some than others; as some can more readily enter into the Sense and Sentiments of an Author, and more easily deliver their own, than others can ; and at the same time have a more happy Facility of expressing all the proper Variations and Modulations of the Voice than others have. Thus Persons of a quick Apprehension, and a brisk Flow of animal Spirits (setting aside all Impediments of the Organs) have generally a more lively, just, and natural Elocution, than Pera fons of a flow Perception and a flegmatick Caft. However, it may in a good Degree be attained by every one that will carefully attend to and practise those Rules that are proper to acquire it.
And to this End the Observation of the following Rules is necessary.
1. Have a particular Regard to your Pauses, Emphasis, and Cadence.
1. To your Pauses.
And with respect to this, you will in a good measure in i reading be directed by the Points: but not perfectly; for there are but few Books that are exactly pointed.
The common Stops or Points are these :
A Comma (, ), Semi-colon (;), Colon (:), Period ( . ), Interrogation ( ? ), and Almiration (!),
cal Sound where with you speak, for a firange, new, aukward Tone, as fome do when they begin to read; which would ulmoj persuade our Ears, that the Speaker, and the Reader, were two different Perfons, if our Ejes did not tell us the contrary.
Warts's Art of Readir g.
But beside these, there are four more Notes or Distinctions of Pause, viz. a Parenthesis (O); which requires the Paule of a Comma at least, and sometimes a Semi-colon after it. 2. A Double Period, or Blank Line, (-); which denotes the Pause of two Periods, or half a Paragraph. 3. A Paragraph or Break; when the Line is broke or left imperfect, and the next begins under the second or third Letter of the preceding Line ; and denotes the Pause of two double Periods. 4. A double Paragraph, that is, when the next Line not only begins shorter than the preceding, but leaves the Space of a whole Line vacant between them; which shews that the Voice is to rest during the Time of two Paragraphs.
These Points serve two Purposes. 1. To distinguish the Sense of the Author. 2. To direct the Pronunciation of the Reader.
You are not to fetch your Breath (if it can be avoided) till you come to the Period or Full Stop; but a discernable Pause is to be made at every one, according to its proper Quantity or Duration.
A Comma stops the Voice while we may privately tell one, a Semi-colon two; a Colon three : and a period four.
Where the Periods are very long, you may take Breath at a Colon or Semi-colon; and sometimes at a Comma, but never where there is no Stop at all. And that you may not be under a Necessity to take fresh Breath before you come to a proper Pause, it will be proper to look forward to the Close of the Sentence, and measure the Length of it with your Eye before you begin it; that if it be long, you may take in a fufficient Supply of Breath to carry you to the End of it.
To break a Habit of taking Breath too often in reading, accuftoin yourself to read long Periods, such (for Instance) as the sixteen first Lines in Milton's Paradise Lost.
But after all, there is so much Licenfe admitted, and so much Irregularity introduced, into the modern Method of Punctation, that it is become a very imperfect Rule to direct a just Pronunciation. The Pauses therefore, as well as the Variations of the Voice, must be chiefly regulated by a careful Attention to the Sense and Importance of the Subject.
2. The next Thing to be regarded in reading is the Emphasis; and to see that it be always laid on the emphatical Word.
When we distinguish any particular Syllable in a Word with a strong Voice, it is called Accent; when we thus diftinguish any particular Word in a Sentence, it is called Emphasis; and the Word so distinguished, the emphatical Word,
And the emphatical Words (for there are often more than one) in a Sentence, are those which carry a Weight or Importance in themselves, or those on which the Sense of the rest depends; and these must always be distinguished by a fuller and stronger Sound of Voice, wherever they are found, whether in the Beginning, Middle, or End of á Sentence.' Take for instance those Words of the Satyrist.
Rém, facias Rém,
Pope. In these Lines the emphatical Words are accented; and which they are, the Sense will always discover.
Here it may not be amiss briefly to observe two or three Things.
1. That some Sentences are fo full and comprehensive, that almost every Word is emphatical: For instance, that pathetic Expoftulation in the Prophecy of Ezekiel.
Why will ye die! In this short Sentence, every Word is emphatical, and on wbichever Word you lay the Emphasis, whether the first, second, third, or fourth, it strikes out a different Sense, and opens a new Subject of moving Expoftulation.
2. Some Sentences are equivocal, as well as some Words ; that is, contain in them more Senses than one; and which is the Sense intended, can only be known by observing on what Word the Emphasis is laid. For instance-Shall you ride to Town to-day? This Question is capable of being taken in four different Senses, according to the different Words on which you lay the Emphasis. If it be laid on the Word (you), the Answer may be, No, but I intend to send my Servant in my stead. If the Emphasis be laid on the Word (ride), the proper Answer might be, No, I intend to walk it. If you place the Emphasis on the Word [Town), it is a different Question; and the Answer may be, No, for I design to ride into the Country. And if the Emphasis be laid on the Words [today], the Sense is still something different from all these; and the proper Answer may be, No, but I fall to-morrow. Of such Importance sometimes is a right Emphalis, in order to determine the proper Sense of what we read or speak. But I would obserye
3. The Voice must express, as near as may be, the very Sense or Idea designed to be conveyed by the emphatical Word; by a strong, rough, and violent, or a foft, smooth, and tender Sound.
Thus the different Passions of the Mind are to be expressed by a different Sound or Tone of Voice. Love, by a soft, smooth, languishing Voice; Anger, by a strong, vehement, and elevated Voice; Joy, by a quick, sweet, and clear Voice; Sorrow, by a low, flexible, interrupted Voice; Fear, by a dejected, tremulous, hesitating Voice; Courage, hath a full, bold, and loud Voice; and Perplexity, a grave, steady, and earnest one. Briefly, in Exordiums the Voice should be low; in Narrations, distinct; in Reasoning, now; in Persuafions, strong: It should thunder in Anger, soften in Sorrow, tremble in Fear, and melt in Love.
4. The Variation of the Emphasis must not only distinguish the various Paffions described, but the several Forms and Figures of Speech in which they are expressed. e. g.
In a Prosopopæia, we must change the Voice as the Person introduced would.
In 'an Antithesis, one Contrary must be pronounced louder than the other.
In a Climax, the Voice should always rise with it.
Words of Quality and Distinction, or of Praise or Dispraise, must be pronounced with a strong Emphasis.
Hence then it follows
Lastly, That no Emphasis at all is better than a wrong or misplaced one. For that only perplexes, this always misleads the Mind of the Hearer.
3. The next Thing to be observed is Cadence.
This is directly opposite to Emphasis. Emphasis is raising the Voice, Cadence is falling it; and when rightly managed is
But befide a Cadence of Voice, there is fuch a Thing as Cadence of Stile. And that is, when the Sense being almost expressed and perfectly difcerned by the Reader, the remaining Words (which are only necessary to compleat the Period) gently fall of themselves without any emphatical Word among them. And if
And if your Author's Language be pure and elegant, his Cadence of Stile will naturally direct your Cadence of Voice.
Cadence generally takes place at the End of a Sentence; unless it closes with an emphatical Word,
Every Parenthesis is to be pronounced in Cadence; that is, with a low Voice, and quicker than ordinary; that it may not take off the Attention too much from the Sense of the Period it interrupts. But all Apostropes and Projopopeias are to be pronounced in Emphasis.
So much for Pauses, Emphasis, and Cadence : A careful Regard to all which is the first Rule for attaining a right Pronunciation.
II. If you
would acquire a juft Pronunciation in Reading, you must not only take in the full Sense, but enter into the Spirit of your Author: For you can never convey the Force and Fulness of his Ideas to another till you feel them yourself. No Man can read an Author he does not perfectly understand and taste.
“ The great Rule which the Masters of Rhetoric so much “ press, can never enough be remembered; that to make a “ Man speak well and pronounce with a right Emphasis, he « ought thoroughly to understand all that he says, be fully
persuaded of it, and bring himself to have those Affections “'which he desires to infuse into others. He that is inwardly “ persuaded of the Truth of what he says, and that hath a « Concern about it in his Mind, will pronounce with a natural " Vehemence that is far more lovely than all the Strains that « Art can lead him to. An Orator must endeavour to feel “ what he says, and then he will speak so as to make others « feel it.” *
The same Rules are to be observed in reading Poetry and Prose: Neither the Rhime nor the Numbers should take off your Attention from the Sense and Spirit of your Auther. It is this only that must direct your Pronunciation in Poetry as well as Prose. When you read Verse, you must not at all favour the Measure or Rhime; that often obscures the Sense and spoils the Pronunciation : For the great End of Pronunciation is to elucidate and heighten the Sense; that is, to represent it not only in a clear but a strong Light. Whatever then obstructs this is carefully to be avoided, both in Verse and Prose. Nay, this ought to be more carefully observed in reading Verse than Prose; because the Author, by a constant Attention to his Measures and Rhime, and the Exaltation of his Language, is often very apt to obscure his Sense; which therefore requires the more Care in the Reader to discover and distinguish it by the Pronunciation. And if when you
read * Burnet's Prfloral Care, p. 228.