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26. " It thunders ! Sons of dust, in reverence bow!
Ancient of Days! thou speakest from above !
." Thou sure and firm-set earth,
28. Besides practising the examples as they are arranged on the preceding pages, they should be so varied as to require a sudden transition of the voice from one extreme of the intervals to another. By this practice, the pupil may at any time, by determining the depth and grade of feeling, strike the appropriate note with as much precision as the vocalist can, when executing any note of the scale.
29. The elements of impassioned utterance are many and various; and although each one must be considered in an insulated light, yet no one of them is ever heard alone; no one ever exists separately in correct and varied speech. They are always applied in combination, and several are sometimes combined in a single act of utterance. We may have, under one syllabic impulse, a long quantity, a wide interval, aspiration, and some one of the modes of stress, all simultaneous in effecting a particular purpose of expression.
30. As the sister Graces produce the most pleasing effect when arranged in one family group, so an impassioned sentiment may be most deeply and vividly impressed by the combination of several vocal elements. This might be clearly illustrated in cases of deep and overwhelming emotions, where the monotone will be found one of the essential constituents, combined with long quantity, the lowest and deepest notes, slow movement, and partially suppressed force, in expressing this condition of the soul.
31. The monotone may be defined as that inflexible movement of the voice which is heard when fear, vastness of thought, force, majesty, power, or the intensity of feeling, is such as partially to obstruct the powers of utterance.
32. This movement of the voice may be accounted for by the fact, that, when the excitement is so powerful, and the kind and degree of feeling are such, as to agitate the whole frame, the vocal organs will be so affected, and their natural functions so controlled, that they can give utterance to the thought or sentiment only on one note, iterated on the same unvarying line of pitch.
33. Grandeur of thought and sublimity of feeling are always expressed by this movement. The effect produced by it is deep and impressive. When its use is known, and the rule for its application is clearly understood, the reading will be characterized by a solemnity of manner, a grandeur of refinement, and a beauty of execution, which all will acknowledge to be in exact accordance with the dictates of Nature, and strictly within the pale of her laws.
34. This will be clearly exemplified in reading the following extracts :
35. “Vital spark of heavenly flame !
Quit, O, quit this mortal frame.
Hark! they whisper; angels say,
37. If the reader utter the thoughts and sentiments, in the last stanza of the above extract, with a just degree of impressiveness, he will appear as if he actually heard, saw, and felt, what the poet described the Christian as hearing, seeing, and feeling. What constituent in vocal intonation, or what element in expression, enables the reader to give force and true coloring to the thoughts and sentiments in the passage just cited ? In what way can it be explained, and made clear to the understanding?
38. The above extract, it will be seen, is descriptive of a scene of inconceivable solemnity, and expressive of the deepest feelings, the most solemn thoughts, and the most profound emotions; and the natural expression of such feelings, thoughts, and emotions, requires the monotone.
39. Why not, then, lay it down as a principle, that passages expressive of similar sentiments are to be read in a similar manner ?
40. If any one fail to see and acknowledge the effect of the monotone in reading the above extract, let him read it again in the key of the monotone, and then without it; and if the difference in the effect be not very perceptible, let it be read to him, first on the key of the monotone, and then with the same stress, tone, quantity, inflection, and rate of movement that would be appropriate in reading the following extract from Prior:
41. "Interred beneath this marble stone
Lie sauntering Jack and idle Joan.
Nor good, nor bad, nor fools, nor wise,
a kind of — as it were;
42. If this measure leave him in doubt, if he then do not see when and how the monotone may be employed with effect, further efforts will be of no avail. He may be con sidered as belonging to that "kind of — as it were" class of individuals, who have not the ability either to note faults, detect blemishes, or to define beauties and enumerate graces.
43. The beauty and force of the monotone may be further exemplified in the reading of some portions of the following extracts : 44. “ The bright sun was extinguished, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air." 45. “ Eternity! thou pleasing, dreadful thought !
Through what variety of untried being,
46. “ Departed spirits of the mighty dead !
Ye that at Marathon and Leuctra bled !
47. “In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep slecp falleth on men, fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake. Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up. It stood still, but I could not discern the form thereof. An image was before mine eyes. There was silence, and I heard a voice, • Shall mortal man be more just than God? Shall a man be more pure than his Maker? Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly; how much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth!'"
48. “In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God. He heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him. Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations of the nills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth. He bowed the heavens also, and came down; and darkness was under his feet; and he rode upon a cherub, and did fly; yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind."
49. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was without form and void ; and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light.X
50. Quantity consists in the extended time of utterance, without changing the standard pronunciation of words. It is produced by a well-marked radical, a full volume of sound, and a clear lessening vanish. When it is well executed, the syllable will be kept free from a vapid, lifeless drawl.
51. The power of giving a gracefully-extended quantity to syllables is not common. The principal source of difference between a good reader and a bad one lies in their varied degrees of ability in this respect.
52. Although writers on elocution seem, in a measure, to have overlooked quantity as an important element of expression, still it is one of the most important which a distin guished speaker employs in giving utterance to the senti ments of sublimity, dignity, deliberation, or doubt.
53. When judiciously applied and skilfully executed, it seems to spread a hue of feeling over the whole sentence. It gives that masterly finish, and that fine, delicate touch, to the expression, which never fails to impress the deepest feeling, or to excite the most sweet and enchanting emotions.
54. A well-marked stress, and a gracefully-extended time, form the bases of the most important properties of the voice,