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In bearing testimony to the general character of a man we say,
He is too honorable to be guilty of a vile act'. But if he is accused of some act of baseness, a contrast is, at once, instituted between his character and the specified act, and we change the inflections, and say,
He is too honorable to be guilty of such an act. A man may say, in general terms,
I am too busy' for projects'. But if he is urged to embark in some particular enterprise, he will change the inflections, and say,
I am too busy for projects'. In such cases, as the falling inflection is required in the former part, by the principle of contrast and emphasis, (as will hereafter be more fully explained,) the sentence necessarily closes with the rising inflection.
Sometimes also, emphasis alone seems to require the rising inflection on the concluding word. See exception to Rule II.
Remark.-As a sentence generally ends with the falling inflection, harmony and variety of sound seem to require, that the last but one should be the rising inflection. Such, in fact, is the very common custom of speakers, even though this part of the sentence, where the rising inflections w uld fall, should form complete sense. This principle may, therefore, be considered as sometimes giving authority for exception to the rule. This may be illustrated by the following sentence. If read according to the Rule, it would be inflected thus:
Hearken to thy father who hath cherished thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old .
If read in accordance with the principle above stated, it would be inflected thus :
Hearken to thy father who hath cherished' thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old”.
If the two words only, "cherished” and “old” are inflected, the latter perhaps would be the correct reading, but let the word “mother" be also inflected, and the two principles no longer conflict with each other. It would then be read as follows:
Hearken tô thy Father who hath cherished thee, and despise not thy mother' when she is old.
In many cases, however, it may be necessary that one or the other of these principles should give way.
Which of them should yield, in any given case, must depend upon the construction of the sentence, the nature of the style and subject, and often, upon the taste of the speaker.
RULE II.—Language which demands strong emphasis, generally requires the falling inflection.
Under this head may be specified the following particulars :
Even with the fierce looks of these bloody men. 29. Exclamation, especially when indicating strong emotion; as,
Oh, ye Gods!! ye Gods'! must I endure all this?
A present deity'! the vaulted roofs rebound.
39. In a series of words or members, where each particular is specified with some degree of emphasis, if it be a commencing series, the falling inflection is proper at each word or member, except the last, which must have the rising inflection; if it be a concluding series, the falling inflection is given to each word or member, except the last but one, which requires the rising inflection.
EXAMPLES OF COMMENCING SERIES. Wine, beauty, music, pomp', are poor expedients to heave off the load of an hour from the heir of eternity'.
Absalom's beauty', Jonathan's love', David's valor', Solomon's wisdom', the patience of Job', the prudence of Augustus', the eloquence of Cicero', and the intelligence of all’, though faintly amiable in the creature, are found in immense perfection in the Creator.
I conjure you by that which you profess,
Confound and swallow navigation up;
To what I ask you. Such series as the above, whether in the beginning or middle of a sentence, if they do not conclude the sentence, are called commencing series
. If, however, they close the sentence, they are called concluding series.
EXAMPLES OF CONCLUDING SERIES.
They, through faith, subdued kingdoms', wrought righteousness', obtained promises', stopped the mouths of lions', quenched the violence of fire', escaped the edge of the sword", out of weakness were made strong\, waxed valiant in fight', turned to flight the armies of aliens'.
NOTE.- When the emphasis on these words or members, is not marked, they take the rising inflection, according to Rule
They are the offspring of restlessness', vanity', and idleness!
Love', hope', and joy' took possession of his breast. 49. When words, which naturally take the rising inflection, become emphatic by repetition or any other cause, they often take the falling inflection. For examples, see Exceptions to Rules IV. and V. E.cception to the Rule. - While the tendency of emphasis is
. decidedly to the use of the falling inflection, sometimes a word to which the falling inflection naturally belongs, when it becomes emphatic, changes this for the rising inflection; as,
Three thousand ducats', 't is a good round sum'.
Here sum and blind, according to Rule I, would take the falling inflection, but as they are emphatic, and the object of emphasis is to draw attention to the word emphasized, this is here accomplished, in part, by giving an unusual inflection. Some speakers would give these words the circumflex, but it would be the rising circumflex, so that the sound would still terminate with the rising inflection.
RULE III.—Questions, which can not be answered by yes or no, together with their answers, generally require the falling inflection; as, Where has he gone?
Ans. To New York'.
Ans. I know not..
Where did you say he had gone'?
When did he go?? QUESTIONS.—What is the first rule for the use of the falling inflection? Give an example. When this occurs at the close of a sentence, what is it called? What is said about the manner of closing a sentence? What is the best guide on this point? Where else may the sense be complete? What inflection must be used in this case? Give an example. What is the exception to the first rule? Give an example. What is antithesis? What is the substance of the remark? Explain the example. Repeat the second rule. What is the first particular under this rule? Give an example. What is the second particular? Give an example. What is the third head under this rule? What is a commencing series? What is a concluding series? Give examples. Repeat the note, and give the examples under it. What is the fourth head under this rule? Repeat the exception. Give the examples. What is supposed to be the reason of the exception? Repeat the third rule for the use of the falling inflection. If these tions are repeated, what inflection is used?
III. RISING INFLECTION.
As the completeness of the sense forms the first rule for the use of the falling inflection, so the converse of that principle forms a guide for the use of the rising inflection, and may be expressed thus :
RULE IV.–Where a pause is rendered proper by the meaning, and the sense is incomplete, the rising inflection is generally required ; as,
To endure slander and abuse with meekness', requires no ordinary degree of self-command".
Night coming on', both armies retired from the field of battle'. As a dog returneth to his vomit', so a fool returneth to his folly.
The person or object addressed, comes under this head; as,
Exception.—Where a word, which, according to this rule, requires the rising inflection, becomes emphatic, it generally must have the falling inflection, according to Rule II; as,
When we aim at a high standard, if we do not attain' it, we shall secure a high degree of excellence.
Those who mingle with the vicious, if they do not become depraved", will lose all delicacy of feeling.
So also, when a child addresses his father, he first says, Father'! but if he repeats it emphatically, he changes the inflection, and says, Father'! Father'!
NOTE.—The principle of this rule will be found to apply especially to the last pause before a cadence, as that is generally the most interesting point of suspension. See examples under Rule II, 39. Harmony of sound, also, seems to require the rising inflection at this place, even when other reasons would indicate the contrary. See Rule I, Remarks.
RULE V.—Questions which may be answered by yes or no, generally require the rising, and their answers the falling inflection ; as,
Has he arrived'? Yes.
Does the law condemn him'? It does not . Exception.-If these questions are repeated emphatically, they take the falling inflection, according to Rule II; as,
Has he arrived ?
Will he return'? NOTE.-When a word or sentence is repeated as a kind of interrogatory exclamation, the rising inflection is used, according to the principle of this Rule; as,
You ask, who would venture in such a cause? Who would venture'! Rather say, who would not venture all things for such an object ?
He is called the friend of virtue. The friend' ! ay! the enthusiastic lover', the devoted protector', rather.
So, also, when one receives unexpected information, he exclaims, ah'! indeed!!