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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- .
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
DANGER. 1. The ship was as still as she could be.
she 2. He cursed himself in his despair.
his 3. We met a young barefooted child, And she begged loud and bold.
she 4. She had a baby at her back. 5. I turned me to the rich man then. 6. It was a summer evening. 7. And often when I go to plough,
when The ploughshare turns them out.
turns 8. Oft I had heard of Lucy Gray 9. But the sweet face of Lucy Gray.
the Will never more be seen. 10. You to the town must go. 11. That, father, will I gladly do. 12. And yonder is the moon. 13. And there was neither sound nor sight
there To serve them for a guide.
for 14. At daybreak on a hill they stood.
on 15. When in the snow the mother spied.
DANGER. 16. And to the bridge they came.
to 17. Toll for the brave!
for The brave that are no more!
are 18. Eight hundred of the brave. 19. Down went the Royal George.
went 20. It was not in the battle.
in 21. She ran upon no rock.
upon 22. His sword was in its sheath.
in 23. This grass is tender grass; these flowers they have have
no peers 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;
on In Denmark he was cast away.
he 26. We watched her breathing through the night. through 27. That was the grandest funeral
saw 28. God hath his mysteries of grace,
hath Ways that we cannot tell.
that 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. at and while 30. It is an ancient mariner. 31. He listens like a three years' child.
like 32. The bride hath paced into the hall,
into Red as a rose is she!
as 33. The old house by the lindens
The light and shadow played. 34. I saw the nursery windows
Wide open to the air;
were * Said of ships passing a lighthouse. From a poem by Longfellow.
DANGER. 35. 'Twas in the prime of summer time,
in 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.
Were half the wealth bestowed on camps and courts,
were 41. Upon a rock that, high and sheer,
upon Rose from the mountain's breast,
from A weary hunter of the deer
of Had sat him down to rest. 42. I took the dead man by the hand, And called upon his name.
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