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OF ACCENT AND EMPHASIS.

29

It is plain that the words in italics are not emphatic at all; but that the verse-accent has thrown the inconsiderate reader on these words, and hence these unimportant words have received a prominence that is not their due. It is evident that the following is nearer the right way of reading the lines, though it is difficult to represent to the eye what the feeling and intelligence of the reader can at once convey to the listener through the ear:

Oh that-those-lips had language! Life has-passed-
With-me but-roughly since-I-heard-thee last.
Those-lips-are-thine-thy-own sweet smile I see,
The-same that oft-in-childhood solaced-me.

It is one of the hardest tasks of the teacher to overcome the tendency of the child to obey the verse-accent, to ignore the senseaccent, and hence to place the emphasis upon the wrong word. If, from the beginning of his practice in reading poetry, he has been allowed merely to read it off, in a sort of sing-song, and with no kind of attention to the sense, then the task of cure becomes well-nigh impossible. The best means of cure are,

1st. To ask the pupil to make the statement in his own words;

2nd. To ask him to make it in the words of the book, but as if they were his own; and—

3rd. To put to him the necessary questions about pause and emphasis.

The following is a course of EXERCISES upon this important point; but, as we have shown in Chapter I., it will always be necessary for the teacher, before reading any poem, to put distinct questions on each of the lines which contain this contradiction between the verseaccent and the sense-accent-between the scanning and the emphasis. The two never-failing conditions of reading these exercises rightly

are,

1st. We must make a pause somewhere before we come to the word in which the contradiction resides; and

2nd. We must hasten over the word or words which contain the contradiction to the word or words which are really important.

Each of the following lines, therefore, should be preceded by two

questions-one regarding the pause, and the other regarding the important or the emphatic word. Thus, supposing the line happens to be that one from The Inchcape Bell in which the beauty of the spring-day is described,—

All things were joyful on that day.

The danger is of placing the accent on the word on; and this is counteracted by questioning it out of the class that we should pause a little after all, after things, and after joyful, and then hasten on to the important word that. It is very important that the teacher should never tell the class what the emphatic word is, but should question it out of them.

EXERCISES ON THE CONTRADICTION BETWEEN THE VERSE-ACCENT AND THE SENSE-ACCENT

OR EMPHASIS.

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OF ACCENT AND EMPHASIS.

16. And to the bridge they came. 17. Toll for the brave!

The brave that are no more! 18. Eight hundred of the brave. 19. Down went the Royal George. 20. It was not in the battle.

21. She ran upon no rock.

22. His sword was in its sheath.

24. A woman on the road I met.

25. And, thus continuing, she said
I had a son, who many a day
Sailed on the seas, but he is dead;
In Denmark he was cast away.

26. We watched her breathing through the night.

upon

in

23. This grass is tender grass; these flowers they have have no peers

27. That was the grandest funeral
That ever passed on earth;
But no man heard the trampling,
Or saw the train go forth.

28. God hath his mysteries of grace, Ways that we cannot tell.

DANGER.

to

30. It is an ancient mariner.

31. He listens like a three years' child.

32. The bride hath paced into the hall, Red as a rose is she!

for

are

of

went

in

33. The old house by the lindens
Stood silent in the shade;
And on the gravelled pathway
The light and shadow played.

on

had

on

he

through

was

heard

saw

29. They come forth from the darkness, and their sails from Gleam for a moment only in the blaze;

for

And eager faces, as the light unveils,

Gaze at the tower, and vanish while they gaze.

hath

that

as

at and while

is

like

into

as

by

on

31

34. I saw the nursery windows

Wide open to the air;
But the faces of the children,
They were no longer there.

*Said of ships passing a lighthouse. From a poem by Longfellow.

to
of

were

35. 'Twas in the prime of summer time, An evening calm and cool.

36. It was the schooner Hesperus.

37. A chieftain to the highlands bound.
38. O Hesperus! thou bringest all good things
Home to the weary, to the hungry cheer.

39. Up to the throne of God is borne

The voice of praise at early morn.

41. Upon a rock that, high and sheer, Rose from the mountain's breast, A weary hunter of the deer

Had sat him down to rest.

DANGER. in

42. I took the dead man by the hand, And called upon his name.

was

to

40. Were half the power that fills the world with terror, Were half the wealth bestowed on camps and courts, Given to redeem the human mind from error,

There were no need of arsenals nor forts.

to

to

to

were

upon from

of

by upon

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We have seen that every sentence must have its own set of pauses, and its own set of emphatic words; and we are now to see that every sentence in prose or in poetry has its own special character, which corresponds to a certain feeling in the man who wrote it, and which corresponds to a certain feeling in the person who reads it. With the character of the sentence varies the character of the feeling. With the character of the feeling must vary also the expression of the voice. The expression of the voice depends upon its inflection and its pitch. The pitch is a matter which must be settled according to each individual case; and no general rules can be given for it. But the inflection requires careful attention; and the question whether it must be the rising or the falling inflection depends entirely on the nature of the sentence. A large induction will lead us to the following conclusions:

1. That sentences which are incomplete in their nature, or which involve an appeal to the listener, require the rising inflection. It is plain that all questions are of this sort.

2. That sentences which are complete in their sense, and which express a belief on the part of the speaker, or a command from the speaker to the listener, take the falling inflection.

These inflections are "natural" to every good reader; that is, they have become the tradition of all cultivated persons. In the case of

D

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