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the word "vanish" was technically used in speaking of the ' vanishing movement" in the utterance of a sound or the enunciation of a letter. The terms "radical" and "vanish," used in elocution, with reference to the property of “stress,” are always to be understood as exactly synonymous, the former, with the word initial, and the latter, with the word final.
We have observed, thus far, that some emotions, in their utterance, throw the "stress," or force of vocal sound, upon the first portion of an element, as in the "explosive radical" of anger, of fear, of scorn, and similar passions; while others retain the "stress the effect of a "swell," or expulsive force, on the middle of a note, as in the "median" style of the shout of triumph, or the gentle, but full-swelling tone of reverence, or adoration. We proceed now to those emotions which express themselves by a jerking force, or stress," thrown out at the "vanish or close of a sound.
The force of utterance in the expression of emotions marked by "vanishing stress," begins with a light and gentle, and ends with a heavy and violent sound, which leaves off instantly and abruptly. But although the sound, in such cases, is obviously slight at its commencement, and powerful at its close, it is by no means a gradual formation and increase of force, easily followed by the ear or analyzed by the mind. On the contrary, the whole duration of such sounds is very brief and transient, and their effect on the ear excessively abrupt, as well as violent.
This form of "stress," being the natural expression of extreme emotion, does not admit of the gradations which may not unfrequently be traced in the "radical" and "median" modes. It exists only in the shape of a protracted or deferred "explosion." Its nature is incompatible with "expulsion," or any inferior force.
A pretty accurate impression of the character of the "vanishing stress," may be obtained by listening to the sound of a musket, when, through negligent loading, or from damp powder, it "hangs fire," and a partially hissing, but growing sound precedes the final explosion. It is exhibited in the mechanical functions of the human organs of respiration and of voice, when the workman who is using a heavy sledge-hammer brings it down in coincidence with a groaning expiration, terminating at the moment of the blow, in the form
familiarly termed a grunt. It is exemplified, in its moral effect, in the language of a child stung to a high pitch of impatient or peevish feeling, and uttering, in the tone of the most violent ill-temper, its appropriate “ I won't!" or " YOU SHAN'T!" In such circumstances the "explosion" of passion is deferred, or hangs, for a moment, on the ear, till the "vanish" or final part of the sound bursts out from the chest, throat, and mouth, with furious vehemence; leaving, in its abrupt termination, an effect directly contrary to the dying wail of grief, or the gentle vanish of the tone of love.
The obvious preparation of the organs for the vocal effect, in the expression of "vanishing stress," implies its comparative dependence on volition. Hence it is the natural utterance of determined purpose, of earnest resolve, of stern rebuke, of contempt, of astonishment and horror, of fierce and obstinate will, of dogged sullenness of temper, of stubborn passion, and all similar moods. It is the language, also, of peevishness and impatience, and, sometimes, of excessive grief.
Like all other forms of impassioned utterance which are strongly marked in the usages of natural habit, this property of voice is indispensable to appropriate elocution, whether in speaking or reading. Without "vanishing stress," declamation will sometimes lose its manly energy of determined will, and become feeble song to the ear. High-wrought resolution can never be expressed without it. Even the language of protest, though respectful in its form, needs the aid of the right degree of "vanishing stress," to intimate its sincerity and its firmness of determination, as well as its depth of conviction.
But when we extend our view to the demands of lyric and dramatic poetry, in which high-wrought emotion is so abundant an element of effect, the full command of this property of voice, as the natural utterance of extreme passion, becomes indispensable to true, natural, and appropriate style.
EXAMPLES OF "VANISHING STRESS."
Determined Purpose and Earnest Resolve. EXAMPLE 1.. [WEBSTER, ON FREEDOM OF DEBATE.] (“Pectoral quality :” “ Declamatory" force: Bold “stress.”) “On such occasions, I will place myself on the extreme boundary of my right, and bid defiance to the arm that would push me from it."
2. [OTIS, AGAINST "WRITS OF ASSISTANCE."] ("Quality" and force, as in Example 1: "Stress" erate.)
"Let the consequences be what they will, I am determined to proceed. The only principles of public conduct which are worthy of a gentleman or a man, are, to sacrifice estate, health, ease, applause, and even life, at the sacred call of his country."
3. [SWISS DEPUTY'S REPLY TO CHARLES OF BURGUNDY.] ("Aspirated Pectoral Quality:" "Impassioned" force: Increased
"You may, if it be God's will, gain our barren and rugged mountains. But, like our ancestors of old, we will seek refuge in wilder and more distant solitudes; and when we have resisted to the last, we will starve in the icy wastes of the glaciers. Ay, men, women, and children, we will be frozen into annihilation together, ere one free Switzer will acknowledge a foreign master!"
4. [CAMPBELL'S war-song of the Greeks.] ("Orotund Quality:" "Impassioned" force: vehement.)
"Stress" still more
"We've sworn, by our country's assaulters,
Or that dying, our deaths shall be glorious."
KING HENRY V. [TO LORD SCROOP, ON THE DETECTION OF HIS TREASON.] -Shakspeare.
("Aspirated Pectoral Quality :" "Impassioned" force: Vehement "stress.")
What shall I say to thee, Lord Scroop, thou cruel,
Thou that didst bear the keys of all my counsels,
Contempt and Mockery.
QUEEN CONSTANCE, [TO THE ARCH-DUKE OF AUSTRIA.] — Shakspeare. ("Aspirated oral, and guttural Quality:" "Impassioned" force: Violent "stress.")
"Thou slave! thou wretch! thou coward! Thou little valiant, great in villany!
Thou ever strong upon the stronger side!
Astonishment and Horror.
MACDUFF, [ON DISCOVERING THE MURDER OF DUNCAN.]-Shakspeare. (Extremely "Aspirated pectoral Quality :" "Impassioned" force: Excessive 66 stress")
"Oh! horror! horror! horror!-Tongue nor heart, Cannot conceive, nor name thee!
"Confusion now hath made his masterpiece!
Approach the chamber, and destroy your sight With a new Gorgon!"
Fierce and Stubborn Will.
SHYLOCK, [REFUSING TO LISTEN TO ANTONIO.]-Shakspeare.
("Aspirated, pectoral and guttural Quality:" "Impassioned" vehemence: Excessive stress.")
"I'll have my bond; I will not hear thee speak: I'll have my bond; and therefore speak no more.
I'll not be made a soft and dull-eyed fool,
HOTSPUR, [IRRITATED AGAINST HENRY IV.]-Shakspeare. "Why, look you, I am whipped and scourged with rods, Nettled, and stung with pismires, when I hear Of this vile politician Bolingbroke!"
This designation is applied to that form of "stress" which throws out the voice forcibly on the first and the last part of a sound, but slights, comparatively, the intermediate portion. It is, then, the application of a "radical" and a "vanishing" stress on the same sound, without an intervening “ median.”
It is the natural mode of " expression," in the utterance of surprise, and sometimes, though less frequently, of other emotions, as contempt and mockery, sarcasm and raillery.
In the instinctive uses of the voice, this function seems specially designed to give point and pungency to the “radical” and “ vanish," or opening and closing portions of sounds which occupy a large space of time, and traverse a wide interval of the "scale." The explo sive" force at the commencement of such sounds, and the partial repetition of " explosive utterance at their termination, seems to mark distinctly to the ear the space which they occupy, and thus intimate their significant value in feeling. We see an analogous proceeding which addresses itself to the eye, when the workman, desirous of obtaining a perfectly exact measure, makes a deep indentation with the end of his rule, at each end of a given line, or distance, upon the object which he is measuring. Such indentations may illustrate the design or the effect, of the pungent points of sound, in “compound stress:" they are distinct and impressive marks, and utter an important meaning.
The use of this form of "stress" belongs appropriately to feelings of peculiar force or acuteness. But on this very account, it becomes an indispensable means of natural expression and true effect, in many passages of reading and speaking. The difference between vivid and dull or flat utterance, will often turn on the exactness with which this expressive function of voice is exerted.
The careful and repeated practice of "compound stress," on elements, syllables, and words, should accompany the repetition of the