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Full text of "Elements of elocution : in which the principles of reading and speaking are investigated ... with directions for strengthening and modulating the voice ... to which is added a complete system of the passions, showing how they affect the countenance, tone of voice, and gesture of the body : exemplified by a copious selection of the most striking passages of Shakespeare : the whole illustrated by copper-plates explaining the nature of accent, emphasis, inflection, and cadence"

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Edwin SC 

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Having had the honour, a few years ago, 
to give publick lectures on English Pronuncia- 
tion at the University of Oxford, I was some 
time afterwards invited by several of the Heads 
of Houses to give private lectures on the Art of 
Reading, in their respective Colleges. So flat- 
tering an invitation made me extremely anxious 
to preserve the favourable impression I had made, 
and this put me upon throwing the instruction 
I had to convey into something that had the 
appearance of a system. Those only who are 
thoroughly acquainted with the subject, can 
conceive the labour and perplexity in which this 
task engaged me : It was not a florid harangue 
on the advantages of good Reading that was ex- 
pected from me, but some plain practical rules, 
in a scholastick and methodical form, that would 
convey real and useful instruction. 

viir PREFACE. 

This led me to a distinction of the voice 3 
which though often mentioned by musicians, has 
been but little noticed by teachers of Reading* ; 
which is that distinction of the voice into the 

* In the first edition of this work I expressed myself with 
a scrupulous caution, respecting this distinction of voice ; be- 
cause, in a grammar written a century ago by Charles Butler, 
of Magdalen College, Oxford, I found a direction for reading 
the question beginning with the verb, not only in a higher 
tone, but with a different turn of the voice from the other ques- 
tion ; and in a grammar by Mr. Perry, of Scotland, about thirty 
years ago, I found the same distinction of voice in the same case : 
and, except in these two authors, I never met with this dis- 
tinction in reading till the last edition of Enfield's Speaker 5 
where, in Rule VII. of the Essay on Elocution, instead of the 
old direction, Acquire a just variety of Pause and Cadence^ I 
found, Acquire a just variety of Pause and Inflection ; and though 
in the old Rule there was not a single word about inflection of 
the voice, in the new one I found the inflections of the voice di- 
vided into two kinds ; the one conveying the idea of continua- 
tion, the other of completion ; the former of which is called 
the suspending, the latter the closing pause : — though, in a few 
lines after, we find what is called the closing pause, is often ap- 
plicable to members, when the sense is suspended. In these 
new directions, too, I found the question distinguished into 
two kinds, and the suspending and the closing pause applied 
respectively to each. I could not help congratulating myself, 
that a doctrine I had published so many years before, began 
to be adopted by so judicious a writer as Mr. Enfield. But 
when I found it had not only been adopted, but acknowledged 
by Mr. Murray, the Author of the best Grammar and Selection 
of Lessons for Reading in the English Language, I found my- 
self fully compensated for the misfortune of not being noticed 
by the Author cf the Speaker. 



upward and downward slide, into which all 
speaking sounds may be resolved : The moment 
I admitted this distinction, I found I had pos- 
session of the quality of the voice I wanted ; 
for though these slides or inflections were indef- 
inite as to their quantity or duration, they were 
still essentially distinct, and were never convert- 
ible into each other ; whereas all the other dis- 
tinctions were relative ; and what was high 
and loud in one case, might be soft and low 
in another. Accordingly I found, upon pursuing 
this distinction, that, provided the proper slide 
was preserved on that word which the sense and 
harmony required, the other distinctions of the 
voice were more easily attained : and if they 
were not, the pronunciation was infinitely less 
injured, than if every other distinction of the 
voice had been preserved, and this single one 
neglected. Here then commenced my system ; 
infinite were the difficulties and obscurities that 
impeded my progress at first ; but perseverance, 
and, perhaps, enthusiasm, at last brought it to a 

Without any breach of modesty, it may be 
asserted, that the general idea is new T , curious, 


and important : and, without any false humility, 
I am ready to allow, that the manner of treat- 
ing it has too many faults and imperfections. 
Besides those incorectnesses which are insepar- 
able from the novelty and difficulty of the sub- 
ject, it partakes of that haste, that interruption, 
and want of finishing, which must necessarily 
arise from the constant and laborious attendance 
on pupils ; for, though nothing but long practice 
in actual teaching could have enabled me to 
construct such a system, it required the leisure 
and liberty of independence to produce it to the 
best advantage. 




WHEN the first Edition of this Work was published^ 
I considered the human voice as divisible into two inflections 
only. Some time after, upon reconsidering the subject 
more maturely, I found there were certain turns of voice 
which I could not distinctly class with either of these two 
inflections. This discovery mortified me exceedingly, I 
feared my whole labour was lost, and that I had been fa- 
tiguing myself with a distinction which existed no where 
but in my imagination, None* but those who have been 
system makers, can judge of the regret and disappointment 
which this apprehension occasioned. It did not, however, 
continue long. The same trial of the voice which assured 
me of the two opposite inflections, the rising and falling, 
soon convinced me that those inflections which I could not 
reduce to either of these two, were neither more nor less 
than two combinations of them : and that they were real 
circumflexes ; the one beginning with the rising inflection, 
and ending with the falling upon the same syllable \ and the 
other beginning with the falling, and ending with the rising 
on the same syllable. This relieved from my anxiety , and I 
considered the discovery of so much importance, that I im- 
nediately published a small Pamphlet, called The Melody of 


Speaking Delineated ; in which I explained it as well as 1 was 
able by writing, but referred the reader to some passages 
where he could scarcely fail to adopt it upon certain words, 
and perceive the justness of the distinction. I was confirmed 
in my opinion by reflecting that a priori, and independently 
on actual practice, these modifications of the human voice 
must necessarily exist. First, if there was no turn or inflec- 
tion of the voice, it must continue in a monotone. Second- 
ly, if the voice was inflected, it must be either upwards or 
downwards, and so produce either the rising or failing inflec- 
tion. Thirdly, if these two were united on the same sylla- 
ble, it could only be by beginning with the rising, and ending 
with the falling inflection, or vice versa ; as any other mix- 
ture of these opposite inflections was impossible. A thorough 
conviction of the truth of this distinction, gave me a con- 
fidence which nothing could shake. I exemplified it, viva 
voce, to many of my critical friends, who uniformly agreed 
with me : and this enabled me to conceive and demonstrate 
the Greek and Latin circumflex, (so often mentioned, and 
so totally unintelligible to the moderns,) but occasioned 
not a little surprise (since it is as easy to conceive that the 
voice may fall and rise upon the same syllable, as that it 
may rise and fall) why the ancients had the latter circum- 
flex, and not the former. Some probable conjectures re- 
specting this point, as well as the nature of accent, ancient 
and modern, may be seen at the end of a Work lately pub- 
lished, called A Key to the Classical Pronunciation of Greek and 
Latin Proper Names. 




Introduction, Elocution defined 17 

General Idea of the common Doctrine of Punctuation 19 

Introduction to the Theory of Rhetorical Punctuation 25 

Inconsistencies of the common Doctrine of Punctuation 27 

Theory of Rhetorical Punctuation v 31 

Practical System of Rhetorical Punctuation 39 

Introduction to the Theory of the Inflections of the Voice 70 

Of the two simple Inflections of the Voice 71 

Method of explaining the Inflections of the Voice 73 

Another method of explaining the Inflections of the Voice 78 

Utility of a knowledge of the Inflections of the Voice 88 

Practical System of the Inflections of the Voice 91 

Pronunciation of a Compact Sentence 92 

Inverted Period 97 

Pronunciation of a Loose Sentence 99 

the Antithetick Member 105 

the Penultimate Member 106 

the Series 112 

the Simple Series 116 

the Compound Series 121 

the Series of Serieses 129 

the Final Pause, or Period, 136 

the Interrogation 140 

the Exclamation 162 

the Parenthesis 167 



Accent 181 

Accent defined and explained 185 

English, Scotch, and Irish Accent, how they differ 187 

Introduction to the Theory of Emphasis 188 

Theory of Emphatick Inflection 202 

Practical System of Emphasis 212 

Single Emphasis 214' 

Double Emphasis 224 

Treble Emphasis 225 

General Emphasis 232 

Intermediate, or Elliptical Member 236 

Harmonick Inflection 243 

Harmony of Prose 250 

Harmony of Prosaick Inflections 255 

Rules for reading Verse 262 

Modulation of the Voice 286 

Gesture 301 

The Passions 308 

Tranquillity, Cheerfulness 317 

Mirth 318 

Raillery 319 

Sneer, Joy 320 

Delight £22 

Love -323 

Pity 325 

Hope 327 

Hatred, Aversion 328 

Anger, Rage, Fury 330 

Revenge 332 

Reproach 333 

Fear, Terrour, 335 

Sorrow 337 

Remorse 341 





Surprise, Wonder, Amazement, Admiration 




Confidence, Courage, Boasting 


Perplexity, Irresolution, Anxiety 


Vexation, Peevishness 


Envy, Malice 


Suspicion, Jealousy 


Modesty, Submission, 


Shame, Gravity 


Inquiry, Attention 


Teaching or Instructing 






Authority, Commanding 


Forbidding, Affirming 


Denying, Differing 




Judging, Reproving 


Acquitting, Condemning 




Dismissing, Refusing 


Giving, Granting, 


Gratitude, Curiosity 


Promising, Veneration 


Respect, Desire, Commendatiom 




Complaining, Fatigue 





TO ( 


It may not, perhaps, be improper to inform the 
Reader, that if he wishes fully to understand the fol 
lowing Work, he must first apply himself closely to 
the acquiring of a just idea of the two radical dis- 
tinctions of the voice into the Rising and Falling 
Inflection, as explained, Part I. p. 82 and 84 ; and 
Part II. p. 183. If, however, after all his labour, 
the Author should not have been able to convey 
an idea of these two distinctions of voice upon 
paper, he flatters himself that those parts of the 
Work, which do not depend upon these distinc- 
tions, are sufficiently new and useful to reward the 
time and pains of a perusal. 




ELOCUTION, in the modern sense of the word, 
seems to signify that pronunciation which is given 
to words when they are arranged into sentences and 
form discourse. 

Pronunciation, in its largest sense, may signify the 
utterance of words, either taken separately, or in 
connection with each other ; but the pronunciation 
of words, connected into a sentence, seems very 
properly specified by elocution. 

Elocution, therefore, according to this definition 
of it, may have elements or principles distinct from 
those of pronunciation in its most limited sense ; 
and we may consider the elements of elocution, not 
as those principles which constitute the utterance 
of single words, but as those which form the just e* 
nunciation of words in dependence on each other for 
sense : at this point the present work commences. 
The delivery of words formed into sentences, and 
these sentences formed into discourse, is the object 
of it ; and as reading is a correct and beautiful pic- 
ture of speaking ; speaking, it is presumed, cannot 
be more successfully taught, than by referring us te 
such rules as instruct us in the art of reading. 


The art of reading is that system of rules, which 
teaches us to pronounce written composition with 
justness, energy, variety and ease. Agreeably to this 
definition, reading may be considered as that species 
of deliver}-, which not only expresses the sense of 
an author, so as barely to be understood, but which, 
at the same time, gi^es it all that force, beauty, and 
variety, of which it is susceptible : the first of these 
considerations belongs to grammar, and the last to 

The sense of an author being the first object of 
reading, it will be necessary to inquire into those 
divisions and subdivisions of a sentence which are 
employed to fix and ascertain its meaning : this leads 
to a consideration of the doctrine of punctuation. 

Punctuation may be considered in two different 
lights ; first, as it clears and preserves the sense of 
a sentence, by combining those words together which 
are united in sense, and separating those that are 
distinct ; and second!} , as it directs to such pauses, 
elevations, and depressions of the voice, as not oily 
murk the sense of the sentence more precisely, but 
give it a variety and beauty which recommend it to 
the ear ; for in speaking, as in other arts, the useful 
and the agreeable are i imost always found to coin- 
cide ; and evei y real embellishment promotes and 
effects the principal design. 

In order, therefore, to have as clear an idea of 
punctuation as possible, it will be necessary to con- 
sider it as i elated to grammar and rhetorick distinct- 
ly. It win not be easy to say any thing new on 
punctuation, as it relates to grammar ; but it will not 
be difficult to show, what perplexity it is involved in 
when reduced to enunciation ; and how necessary it 
is to* understand distinctly the rhetorical as well as 
^amniatical division of a sentence, if we would wish 
to arrive at precision and accuracy in reading and 
speaking 5 this will so evidently appear in the course 


of this essay, as to make it needless to insist farther 
on it here ; and as the basis of rhetorick and oratory 
is grammar, it will be absolutely necessaiy to con- 
sider punctuation as it relates precisely to the sense, 
before it is viewed as it relates to the force, beauty, 
and harmony of language. 

But the business of this essay is not so much to 
construct a new system of punctuation, as to endeav- 
our to make the best use of that which is already 
established ; an attempt to reduce the whole doctrine 
of rhetorical punctuation to a few plain simple prin- 
ciples, which may enable the reader, in some mea- 
sure, to point for himself : for this purpose, it will, 
in the first place, be necessary to exhibit a general 
idea of the punctuation in use, that we may be bet- 
ter enabled to see how far it will assist us in the 
practice of pronunciation, and where we must have 
recourse to principles more permanent and syste- 

A general Idea of the common Doctrine ofPunctu* 


Some grammarians define punctuation to be the 
art oi marking in writing the several pauses, or rests, 
between sentences, and the parts of sentences, ac- 
cording to their proper quantity or proportion, as 
they are expressed in a just and accurate pronun- 
ciation. Others, as Sir James Burrow and Dr* 
Bowles, besides considering the points as marks of 
rest and pauses, suppose them to be hints for a dif- 
ferent modulation oi voice, or rules for regulating 
the accent of the voice, in reading ; but whether this 
modulation of the voice relates to all the points, or 
to the interrogation, exclamation, and parenthesis on- 


ly, we are not informed. Grammarians are pretty 
generally agreed in distinguishing the pauses into 

The period 
The colon 
The semicolon 
The comma 


marked thus- 

and those pauses which are accompanied with an al- 
teration in the tone of the voice, into 

The interrogation ^ C ? 

The exclamation V marked thus < ! 
The parenthesis ) ( () 

The period is supposed to be a pause double the 
time of the colon ; the colon, double the semicolon ; 
and the semicolon, double that of the comma, or 
smallest pause : the interrogation and exclamation 
points are said to be indefinite as to their quantity of 
time, and to mark an elevation of voice ; and the 
parenthesis, to mark a moderate depression of the 
voice, with a pause greater than a comma. 

A simple sentence, that is, a sentence having but 
one subject, or nominative, and one finite verb, ad-" 
mits of no pause. Thus in the following sentence : 
The passion for praise produces excellent effects in 
women of sense. The passion for praise is the sub- 
ject, or nominative case to the verb produces ; and ex- 
eellent effects in women of sense ', is the object or ac- 
cusative case, with its concomitant circumstances or 
adjuncts of specification, as Dr. Lowth very prop- 
erly terms them, and this sentence, says the learned 
bishop, admits of no pause between any of its parts ; 
but when a new verb is added to the sentence, as in 
the following : The passion for praise, which is so 
very vehement in the fair sex, produces excellent ef- 
fects in women of sense. Here a new verb is intro- 


duced, accompanied with adjuncts of its own, and the 
subject is repeated by the relative pronoun which : 
it now becomes a compounded sentence, made up 
of two simple sentences, one of which is inserted in 
the middle of the other ; it must, therefore, be distin- 
guished into its component parts by a point placed 
on each side of the additional sentence. 

In every sentence, therefore, as many subjects, or 
as many finite verbs, as there are, either expressed or 
implied, so many distinctions there may be : as, 
My hopes, fears, joys, pains, all centre in you. The 
case is the same when several adjuncts affect the 
subject of the verb : as, A good, wise, learned man 
is an ornament to the commojiwealth ; or when sev- 
eral adverbs, or adverbial circumstances affect the 
verb : as, He behaved himself modestly, prudent- 
ly, virtuously. For as many such adjuncts as 
there are, so many several members does the sen- 
tence contain ; and these are to be distinguished from 
each other, as much as several subjects or finite verbs. 
The reason of this is, that as many subjects, finite 
verbs, or adjuncts as there are in a sentence, so ma- 
ny distinct sentences are actually implied ; as the 
first example is equivalent to, My hopes all centre 
in you, my fears all centre in you, &c. The second 
example is equivalent to, A good man is an ornament 
to the commonwealth, a wise man is an ornament to 
the commonwealth, &c. The third example is e- 
quivalent to, He behaved himself modestly, he behav- 
ed himself prudetitly, &c. ; and these implied sen- 
tences are all to be distinguished by a comma. 

The exception to this rule is, where these sub- 
jects or adjuncts are united by a conjunction : as, 
The imagination and the judgment do not always 
agree ; and, A man never becomes learned without 
studying constantly and methodically. In these 
cases the comma between the subjects and adjuncts 
is omitted. 


There are s^me other kinds of sentences, which, 
though seemingly simple, are nevertheless of the 
compound kind, and really contain several subjects, 
verbs or adjuncts. Thus in the sentences cental ning 
what is called the ablative absolute : as, Physicians, 
the disease once discovered, think the cure half 
wrought ; where the words disease once discovered^ 
are equivalent to, -when the cause of the disease 
is discovered. — So in those sentences where nouns 
are added by apposition : as, The Scots, a hardy 
people, endured it all. So also in those where voca- 
tive cases occur : as, This, my friend, you must al- 
low me. The first of these examples is equivalent 
to, The Scots endured it all, and The Scots, who are 
a hardy people, endured it all : and the last to, This 
you must allow me, and this my friend must allow 

When a sentence can be divided into two or more 
members, which members are again divisible into 
members more simple, the former are to be separa- 
ted by a semicolon. 


But as this passion for admiration, when it works according 
to reason, improves the beautiful part of our species in every 
thing that is laudable ; so nothing is more destructive to them, 
when it is governed by vanity and folly. 

When a sentence can be divided into two parts, 
each of which parts are again divisible by semi- 
colons, the former are to be separated by a colon. 


As we cannot discern the shadow moving along the dial- 
plate, so the advances we make in knowledge are only per- 
ceived by the distance gone over. 


Here the two members, being both simple, are 
only separated by a comma. 

As we perceive the shadow to have moved, but did not 
perceive it moving ; so our advances in learning, as they 
consist of such minute steps, are only perceivable by the dis- 

Here the sentence being divided into two equal 
parts, and those compounded, since they include 
others, we separate the former by a semicolon, and 
the latter by commas. 

As we perceive the shadow to have moved along the dial, 
but did not perceive it moving ; and it appears that the 
grass has grown, though nobody ever saw it grow ; so the 
advances we make in knowledge, as they consist of suck 
minute steps, are only perceivable by the distance. 

Here the advancement in knowledge is compared 
to the motion of a shadow, and the growth of grass ; 
which comparison divides the sentence into two 
principal parts : but since what is said of the move- 
ment of the shadow, and of the growth of grass, like- 
wise contains two simple members, they are to be 
separated by a semicolon ; consequently, a higher 
pointing is required, to separate them from the other 
part of the sentence, which they are opposed to : 
and this is a colon. 

When a member of a sentence forms complete 
sense, and does not excite expectation of what fol- 
lows ; though it consist but of a simple member, it 
may be marked with a colon. 


The discourse consisted of two parts ; in the first was shown 
the necessity of fighting - t in the second, the advantages that 
would arise from it. 


The Augustan age was so eminent for good poets, that they 
have served as models to all others : yet it did not produce a- 
ny good tragic poets. 

When a sentence is so far perfectly finished, as 
not to be connected in construction with the follow- 
ing sentence, it is marked with a period. 

This is the most concise and comprehensive view 
I could possibly collect from the several authors, 
who have written on this subject. But it may be 
observed, that these rules, though sufficient to pre- 
vent confusion in writing, are very inadequate to the 
purposes of just and accurate pronouncing ; as it is 
certain that a just, a forcible, and easy pronunciation, 
will oblige a judicious reader to pause much more 
frequently, than the most correct and accurate writ- 
ers or printers give him leave : but I must again 
observe, that when I contend for the propriety, and 
even necessity, of pausing, where we find no points 
in writing or printing, I do not mean to disturb the 
present practice of punctuation : I wish only to 
afford such aids to pronunciation as are actually 
made use of by the best readers and speakers, and 
such as we must use in reading and speaking in pub- 
lick, if we would wish to pronounce with justness, 
energy, and ease. 


An Introduction to the Theory of Rhetorical Punc- 

Dr. Lowth has, with great plainness and precis- 
ion, drawn the line which bounds the use of the 
comma upon paper, by telling us, that every simple 
sentence, or that sentence which has but one subject 
and one finite verb, cannot have any of its adjuncts, 
or imperfect phrases, separated by a point. This he 
illustrates by a sentence, where the subject and the 
verb are accompanied by as many adjuncts as they 
commonly are, but no provision is made for such 
phrases as extend to twice the length, and yet con- 
tinue perfectly simple. — The passion for praise pro- 
duces excellent effects in women of sense, — is a sen- 
tence of so moderate a size, as may be pronounced 
even with solemnity and energy, by most people, with- 
out once taking breath ; but if we amplify these ad- 
juncts that accompany the nominative case and the 
verb in such a manner as is frequently to be met withj 
at least in incorrect composition, we shall find it im- 
possible to pronounce the sentence with force and 
ease, without some interval for respiration ; — for in- 
stance, if we had the following sentence to read — A 
violent passion for universal admiration produces the 
most ridiculous circumstances in the general behaviour 
of women of the most excellent understandings. — If, I 
say, we had this sentence to read, how could we pos^ 
sibly pronounce it with force and ease, without once 
fetching breath ? — and yet, according to the strictest 
laws of grammar, no pause is to be admitted ; for 
this latter sentence, though almost three times as 
long, is as perfectly simple as the former. 

The necessity of taking breath, in some of these 
longer simple sentences, has obliged the most ac- 


curate and metaphysical inquirers into punctuation 
to admit of the most vague and indeterminate rules. 
The most subtile among the French writers* on this 
subject, after giving a thousand fine-spun reasons for 
placing the points with justness and precision, ad- 
mits of placing a comma in a simple sentence — 
" Quand les propositions sont trop tongues pour etre 
" enoncees de suite avec aisance." And one of our 
best English criticks tells us, that the difference be- 
tween the colon and the semicolon has a dependence 
on something that influences all the points, and sways 
the w T hole doctrine of punctuation, which is, the 
length and shortness of the members and periods ; 
for when the phrases are long, he says, we point high- 
er than when they are short. 

This confession is a sure proof, that the rules of 
these grammarians did not reach all cases ; and that, 
in speaking, they often found themselves obliged to 
pause where they did not dare to insert a pause in 
writing, for fear of breaking the grammatical connec- 
tion of the words : a fear, as will be seen hereafter, 
which arose from a superficial knowledge of the prm-r 
ciples of rhetorical punctuation. 

But as a proof that the shortest sentences are not 
always to be pronounced so as to preserve a perfect 
equality of time between every word, and consequent- 
ly, that some words admit of longer intervals than 
others ; we need only pronounce a short simple sen- 
tence in the different ways w T e did the long one. 

Thus if we say, The passion for praise, produces 
excelhnt effects, in women of sense. — Here, I say, if 
we make a short pause at praise, and effects, we do 
not perceive the least impropriety ; but if we repeat 
the same sentence, and make "the same pauses at 
produces, and in, we shall soon discover an essential 
difference. — For example : The passion for praise - 

* Eeauze*e Grammaire Generate. 


produces, excellent effects in, women of sense. — Here, 
by using the same pause between different words, 
the sense is materially affected ; which evidently 
shews how necessary it is to good reading and speak- 
ing, to pause only between such words as admit of 
being separated ; and that it is not so much the 
number as the position of the pauses that affects the 
sense of a sentence. 

And here a question naturally arises, since it is of 
so much consequence to the sense of a sentence 
where we admit a pause, what are the parts of speech 
which allow a pause between them and wnat are 
those which do not ? To which it may be answer- 
ed, that the comma, or, what is equivalent to it in 
reading, a short pause, may be so frequently admit- 
ted between words in a grammatical connection, that 
It will be much easier to say where it cannot inter- 
vene, than where it can. The only words which 
seem too intimately connected to admit a pause, 
are — the article and the substantive, the substantive 
and the adjective in their natural order, and the pre- 
position and the noun it governs ; every oiher com- 
bination of words, when forming simple sentences of 
considerable length, seems divisible if occasion re- 
quire. That a substantive in the nominative case may 
be separated from the verb it governs, will be readily 
admitted, if we consider with how many adjuncts, or 
modifying words, it may be connected ; and, con- 
sequently, how difficult it will be to carry the voice on 
to the verb with force, and to continue this iorce till 
the objective case with all its adjuncts and concomi- 
tants axe pronounced : this will appeal' evidently from 
the amplified sentence already produced ; which, 
though not a very common, is a very possible ex- 
ample ; and rules founded on the reason of a thing, 
must either suit all cases or none. 

Whatever, therefore, may be the integrity of gram- 
matical connection to the eyCj certain it is that the 


ear perceives neither obstruction nor obscurity in a 
pause between the nominative case and the verb, 
when the nominative is composed of such words us 
are less separable. Nay, we find the substantive 
verb, by the most scrupulous grammarians, constant- 
ly separated from its preceding noun by a comma, 
whenever the noun is joined to an)' considerable 
number of less separable words. 


One great use of prepositions in English, is to express those 
relations, which, in some languages, are chiefly marked by 
cases. Dr. Lowttis Grammar. 

A colon, or member, is a chief constructive part, or greater 
division of a sentence. Ibid. 

The very notion of any duration's being past, implies that it 
was once present ; for the idea of being once present, is actually 
included in the idea ot its being past. 

Spectator, No. 590. 

This punctuation of the substantive verb runs 
through our whole typography, and sufficiently shews 
the division which the ear invariably makes, when 
delivery requires a distinct and forcible pronuncia- 
tion ; for not the smallest reason can be given, why 
this verb should be separated from its noun, that 
will not be equally applicable to every other verb 
in the language. 

The general reluctance, however, at admitting a 
pause to the eye, between the nominative case and 
the verb, is not without a foundation in reason. 
The pauses of distinction between the parts of a com- 
plex nominative case, seem specifically different h cm 
the pause between the nominative case and the verb ; 
that the same pause, therefore, to the eye should be u- 
sed between both, seems repugnant to a feeling oi the 
different kind of connection that subsists between parts 
which are only occasionally united, and those which 
are necessarily united ; thus in the following sen- 


tence : Riches, pleasure, and health become evils to 
the generality of mankind. 

There are few readers who would not make a long- 
er pause between the nominative health and the verb 
become, than between riches and pleasure, or plea- 
sure and health ; and yet there are few writers, or 
printers, who would not insert a pause after the two 
first words, and omit it after the third. This gener- 
al practice can arise from nothing but the perception 
of the difference there is between those parts that 
compose the nominative plural, and those parts which 
compose the nominative and the verb ; and rather 
than confound this difference, we choose to omit the 
pause in writing, though we use it in speaking : till, 
therefore, we have a point, which, like one of the 
Hebrew points, at the same time that it marks a dis- 
tinction between parts, marks a necessary connection 
between them also, we must be contented to let this 
useful and distinguishing pause in reading and speak- 
ing go unmarked in writing and printing. 

If we inquire into the difference between the parts 
of the nominative, and the nominative itself as part 
of the sentence, we shall find that the former are on- 
ly parts of a part, and that the latter is a part of a 
whole ; or, in other words, the former are parts of a 
superior part, and the latter is the superior part it- 
self ; which part, as it consists of several parts, must, 
in order to show that these parts form only one part, 
be terminated by a pause, longer than what is given 
to the parts of which it is composed ; but as such 
a pause can only be marked by a semicolon, and as 
a semicolon is often a mark of disjunction, it would 
be highly improper to place it between words so in- 
timately connected as the nominative and the verb ; 
for as these words, except sometimes on account of 
emphasis, admit of no separation by a pause, when 
the nominative does not consist of parts, so, unless 
we had a pause, which would shew this union of 


«ach part with the other, without a disunion of the 
whole number of parts from what follows, we bad 
better, perhaps, let this chasm in punctuation stand 
unfilled. Where the parts are evidently distinct, as 
in sentences constructed on conjunctions, however 
short the parts may be, there seems no impropriety in 
placing a long pause : thus, in the proverbial sentence, 
As the day lengthens the cold strengthens : we m ay 
place a comma, and even a semicolon, at lengthens^ 
without appearing to injure the sense ; but if we 
were to place the same points between the nomin 
and the verb in the following sentence, The lengthening 
day is followed by the strengthening cold ; we should 
feel an impropriety at placing even a comma at day y 
though we should not perceive the least at actually 
pausing as long between the parts of this, as between 
those of the former sentence. The only method, 
therefore, of marking this necessary p; use to the ear,, 
without hurting the connection between these parts of 
a sentence to the eye, would be to adopt the hyphen ; 
this always shews a necessary connection of sense, 
and at the same time a clear distinction of parts dif- 
ferent from the distinction and connection exhibited by 
the comma ; and this seems the point wanting to ren- 
der our punctuation much more definite and complete. 
A want of this distinctive, and at the same time 
connective mark, has made many writers particularly 
those who have expressed themselves with more 
than common delicacy and precision, adopt a dash 
between parts intimately connected, to shew the sense 
is to be continued, and the pause lengthened at 
the same time. Sterne is the most remarkable for 
the use of this dash : and it must be owned, that in 
him it often conveys infinite meaning ; but where 
used too often, as in those swarms of modern writers 
of novels, who affect to write like Sterne, or where used 
improperly, and when the common points would give 
more precision to the sense, as we sometimes find even 


in Sterne himself ; in this case, I say, it may be 
reckoned among one of the greatest abuses of modern 

Sterne's dashing may be called a species of rhe- 
torical punctuation ; but the clash may and ought to 
be used grammatically, when there is such an order of 
the words as to induce the reader to run the sense of 
one member into another, 'from which it ought to be 


After the Prince of Orange had got possession of the 
government of England — Scotland and Ireland remained still 
to be settled. Macphersorts History of England* 

The punctuation of the eye, and that of the ear ? 
being thus at variance, and the latter being the prin- 
cipal object of this essay, it may not be useless to 
attempt to give a general idea of the principles of 
that punctuation which really exists in correct and 
elegant speaking, but which has hitherto been left 
entirely to the taste and judgment of the reader. 

Theory of Rhetorical Punctuation. 

It may be observed, that pausing is regulated by 
two circumstances ; one is, conveying ideas distinctly 
by separating such as are distinct, and uniting such 
as are associated ; the other is, forming the words 
that convey these ideas into such classes, or portions, 
as may be forcibly and easily pronounced ; for this 
reason, when the words, from their signification, re- 
quire to be distinctly pointed out, that is, to convey 
objects distinguished from each other, however fre- 
quent and numerous the pauses may be, they are 


necessary ; but if words connected in sense, contin- 
ue to a greater extent than can be easily pronounced 
together, and at the same time have no such distinct 
parts as immediately suggest where we ought to 
pause, the only rule that can be given is, not to sepa- 
rate such words as are more united than those that 
we do not separate. 

But it may be demanded, how shall we know the 
several degrees of union between words, so as to en- 
able us to divide them properly ? — To this it may 
be answered, that all words may be distinguished 
into those that modify, and those that are modified* : 
the words that are modified are the nominative, and 
the verb it governs ; every other word may be said 
to be a modifier of these words : the noun and verb 
being thus distinguished from every other, may be 
one reason, that, when modified, they so readily ad- 
mit a pause between them ; because words that are 
separately modified may be presumed to be more 
separable from each other than the words that mo- 
dify and the words modified. The modifying words 
are themselves modified by other words, and thus 
become divisible into superior and subordinate 
classes, each class being composed of words more 
united among themselves than the several classes are 
with each other. Thus in the sentence, The passion 
for praise produces excellent effects in women of 
sense — the noun passion, and the verb produces, with 
their several adjuncts, form the two principal portions, 
or classes, of words in this sentence ; and between 
these classes a pause is more readily admitted than 
between any other words : if the latter class may be 
thought too long to be pronounced without a pause, 
we may more easily place one at effects than between 
any other words ; because, though produces is mod- 
ified by every one of the succeeding words, taken 

* Buffier Grammaire, p. 60. 


all together, yet it is more immediately modified by 
excellent effects, as this portion is also modified by 
in women of sense ; all the words of which phrase 
are more immediately modified by the succeeding 
words than the preceding phrase, produces excellent 
effects, is by them. 

But what, it may be said, is the principle of unity 
among these classes ; and by what marks are we to 
judge that words belong rather to one class than to 
another ? To this it may be answered, that the 
modifying and the modified words form the first 
or larger classes ; and the words that modify 
these modifying words, and the modifying words 
themselves, which are necessarily more united with 
each other than with those they modify, form the 
smaller classes of words. Upon these principles we 
may divide the sentence last quoted ; and upon the 
same principles we may account for the division of 
the following. — A violent and ungovernable passion 
for praise the most universal and unlimited, produces 
often the most ridiculous consequences in zuo?nen of 
the most exalted understandings. — When I say, a 
violent and ungovernable passion, I may pause at 
violent to distinguish it from ungovernable, but not 
at ungovernable^ because it immediately modifies 
passion ; but when I say, for praise, the most univer- 
sal and unlimited, I must pause at passion, to shew 
the greater connection between the words praise and 
universal and unlimited than between these and pas- 
sion ; the latter class thus secured* by a pause, from 
mixing with the former, it is subject to such division 
as its structure requires ; the substantive praise, 
coming before the modifying words, is separated 
from them by a pause, not because such a pause is 
necessary the better to understand the connection be- 
tween them ; for had the modifying word been 
single, it would not have admitted a pause ; but be- 
cause the two modifying words, universal and unlim* 


ited, form a class by themselves, sufficiently united 
to the word praise to detach it from passion, and 
sufficiently distinct from it to be separated by a com- 
ma. But it may be asked, why does not the same 
classification take place in the former part of this 
sentence, with respect to the two adjectives, violent 
and ungovernable, and the substantive, passion ? It 
may be answered, that a pause of distinction is ad- 
mitted at violent; but if we were to pause at ungovern- 
able, the two modifying words would seem to form 
a class, before the word modified by them is express- 
ed or understood ; whereas, in the succeeding part 
of the sentence, the word praise is understood, and 
the modifying words, universal and unlimited, are 
necessarily referred to it. 

If it be demanded, why, in the former sentence^ 
A violent and ungovernable passion for praise pro- 
duces, &x. we cannot pause both at passion anct 
praise ? it may be answered, that as the words for 
praise modify passion, they have the nature of an 
adjective, and therefore should coalesce with the 
word passion, which they modify ; unless another 
Word, more united to them than they are to passion^ 
could be added, to make them form a distinct class ; 
for, in this case, they would be as easily separable as 
two adjectives after a substantive. Thus in the 
phrase, A violent and ungovernable passion, for praise 
and adulation, he. here we find praise and adulation 
form a class of words sufficiep dy united to be pro- 
nounced separately from passion, if either the neces- 
sity of taking breath, or a distinctness of pronuncia- 
tion, require it ; for as pausing ought to answer one 
of these purposes, where neither of them are answer- 
ed, the pause must be improper. Thus in the fol- 
lowing sentence : A violent and ungovernable passion 
for praise produces, &c. if we pause at passion, and 
then at praise, we shall pause without any necessity ; 
for as we must pause at praise, and the wordsj^r 


praise being neither associated with, nor distinguish- 
ed from, any succeeding words, they ought to be 
united with those that precede, as both of them form 
a member sufficiently short to be pronounced with 
ease ; but if distinctness had made it necessary to 
pause at praise, then notwithstanding the shortness 
of the phrase, it would have formed a distinct mem- 
ber, and have readily admitted a pause. Thus in the 
sentence, A violent and ungovernable passion for 
praise, rathet than improvement in virtue, produces 
often the most ridiculous circumstances, &c. : here 
the word praise, being emphatically distinguished 
from improvement in virtue, demands a pause after 
it ; and as this word, and its opposite, form a class 
more united together than both are with the word 
passion, a pause is necessary, to shew they belong to 
distinct classes ; the pause between the opposing 
words shewing their distinction) and the pause be- 
fore and after them shewing their union. 

But it may be asked, how can we suppose words 
opposed to each other, and requiring a pause to 
shew that opposition, can be more united with each 
other than they are with the preceding words they 
modify ? It may be answered, that the modifying 
word, when unaccompanied by adjuncts, and the 
word modified, form but one class, and do not admit 
of a pause, either when the modifying word pre- 
cedes or succeeds the word modified. — Thus in the 
phrases, It was from a prepense malice that he com- 
mitted the action ; and, It was from a malice pre- 
pense that he committed the action : In these phrases, 
I say, the substantive malice, and the adjective pre* 
pense, are equally inseparable by a pause ; but in 
the following phrases : 

It was from a preconceived and prepense malice 
that he committed the action : and, It was from a 
malice, preconceived and prepense, that he committed 
the action. In the former of these phrases, the mod- 


ifying words do not form a distinct class from the 
word modified ; and in the latter they do, and, there- 
fore, admit of a pause after the word malice, which 
can arise from nothing else but this : in one case, 
the modifying words, preceding the word modified, 
Can signify nothing without being joined to it ; and 
in the other, the modified word, preceding those 
that modify, does signify something independent 
on them ; and this independent signification admits 
those words that equally depend on it, to form a 
distinct, though not an independent, class, by per- 
mitting a pause. Hence arises this general rule — 
The word modified, and the words modifying, form 
but one class with relation to the rest of the words of 
the sentence ; but if the modifying words precede the 
word modified, the modifying words are distinguished 
from each other by a pause, but not from the word 
modified ; and if the modifying words succeed the 
word modified, they are not only distinguished from 
each other, but from the word which they modify ; 
that is, they form distinct classes respecting each 
other, and one whole class respecting the rest of the 
words in the sentence. 

Thus have we endeavoured to trace out the rea- 
son for pausing differently in phrases differently con- 
structed, though perfectly similar in meaning. In 
this enquiry, the ingenious researches of Lord Kaims 
upon this subject have been of great use. His idea 
of the connection between the adjective and the 
substantive in their natural order, and the separation 
they admit of when inverted, is the principal clue to 
the difficulties that have been proposed : his asser- 
tion, however, that the adjective and substantive 
in an inverted order admit of a pause, is true only 
when the adjective is single ; for thousands of in- 
stances might be produced, where a pause is no 
more admissible between a substantive and an ad- 
jective in their inverted than in their natural order. 


For example, in the following lines from the Rape of 
the Lock : 

Of these the thief the care of nations own, 
And guard with arms divine the British throne. 

Though the melody of the verse inclines us 
strongly to pause at arms, yet the adjective divine, 
immediately succeeding, forbids it. Nay, if the line 
Lord Kaims produces to prove we may pause be- 
tween the adjective and the substantive in an invert- 
ed order — 

For thee the fates, severely kind, ordain— 

If this line, I say, had been constructed in this man- 

For thee the fates severe, have this ordain'd, 

it is evident no pause could be admitted between 
the substantive fa tes and the adjective severe, though 
they are here in their inverted order ; it is not then 
merely the adjective being placed after the substan- 
tive which makes it separable from it, but the ad- 
jective being joined by other words, which, when 
the substantive is understood, are more immediate- 
ly connected with each other than with the substan- 
tive itself. 

If these observations have any solidity, we may 
perceive how few are the grammatical connections 
which absolutely refuse a suspension of pronuncia- 
tion, for the sake of breathing, where precision or 
-energy require it : it is certainly to be presumed, 
that the breath of every person is nearly proportioned 
to the forcible pronunciation of so many words to- 
gether as are necessary to preserve the sense un- 
broken ; the contrary, however, would often be the 
case, if die integrity of the sense depended on the 
common rules for placing the comma. Let those 5 


however, who can pronounce a long sentence easily 
and forcibly, provided they preserve the pauses neces- 
sary to the sense, take breath as seldom as they 
please. I have rather consulted the infirmities than 
the perfections of my fellow creatures ; by endeav- 
ouring to point out those resources which are ne- 
cessary to the weak, without imposing them as rules 
Upon the strong ; — Clausulas emm, says Cicero, at*- 
que int&rpuncta verborum anima: interclusio atque 
angustice spintus adtulerunt. De Orat. Lib. iii. 

But from studying the human voice, and not re- 
lying implicitly on the assertions of the ancients, we 
perceive the weakness of that common observation) 
that long sentences require a greater quantity of 
breath, and a much more forcible exertion in the 
lungs, than such sentences as are short. The folly 
of this opinion must evidently appear to those who 
have taken notice how often we may pause in a long 
sentence ; and it will be shown hereafter, that the 
sense of a sentence depends much less on the pause 
than on the inflexion of voice we adopt ; and that, 
provided we pause in the proper place, and preserve 
the proper tone and inflexion of the voice, the sense 
runs no risk on account of the multiplicity or dura- 
tion of the pauses. 

To reduce what has been said into something like 
a system, we shall endeavour to bring together sen- 
tences in every variety of construction, and mark, 
as carefully as possible, such pauses, as are neces- 
sary to pronounce them with clearness, force, and 


A Practical System of Rhetorical Punctuation. 

Before we give such directions for pausing, or 
dividing a sentence, as will, in some measure, enable 
us to aviod the errors of common punctuation, and 
to point for ourselves, it will be necessary to inquire 
into the nature of a sentence, and to distinguish it 
into its different kinds : for this purpose, I shall 
make use of the words of a very ingenious author,* 
who has lately written on the Philosophy of Rhetor- 
ick : ' Complex sentences,' says this author, 'are of two 

* kinds ; first, they are either periods, or sentences of 
'a looser composition, for which the language doth 
' not furnish us with a particular name. 

' A period is a complex sentence, wherein the 

* meaning remains suspended, till the whole is finish-. 
c ed : the connection, consequently, is so close be- 
' tween the beginning and the end, as to give rise to 
4 the name period, which signifies circuit ; the fol- 

* lowing is such a sentence : 

" Corruption could not spread with so much sue- 
" cess, though reduced into system, and though some 
" ministers, with equal impudence and folly, avowed 
" it, by themselves and their advocates, to be the prin-, 
" cipal expedient by which they governed, if a long 
" and almost unobserved progression of causes and 
" effects did not prepare the conjuncture." 

Bolingbroke's Spirit of Patriotism. 

1 The criterion of a period is this : If you stop any 
< where before the end, the preceding words will not 
' form a sentence, and therefore cannot convey any 
'■ determined sense. 

' This is plainly the case with the above example ; 
k - the first verb being could, and not can ; the poten- 

* Campbell's Philos. of Rhetoric^, vol ii. p. 339, 


* tial, and not the indicative mood, shews that the 

* sentence is hypothetical, and requires to its comple- 

* tion some clause beginning with if unless, or some 

* other conditional particle ; and after you are come 
4 to the conjunction, you find no part where you 
8 can stop before the end. An example of a complex 
' sentence that is not a period, I shall produce from 
' the same performance : ' 

" One party had given their whole attention, dur- 
ing several years, to the project of enriching them- 
" selves, and impoverishing the rest of the nation ; 
" and, by these and other means, of establishing their 
" dominion under the government, and with the fa- 
" vour of a family who were foreigners ; and there - 
" fore might believe that they were established on the 
" throne, by the good will and strength of this party 
" alone." 

' The criterion of such loose sentences is as follows : 

* there will always be found in them one place at least 
i before the end, at which if you make a stop, the 
6 construction of the preceding part will render it a 
4 complete sentence ; thus, in the example now giv- 
6 en, whether you stop at the word themselves, at 
1 nation, at dominion, 2X government, or at foreigners-, 
' all which words are marked in the quotation in Ital- 
' icks, you will find you have read a perfect sentence.' 

This distinction of a sentence into a period or com- 
pact sentence, and a loose sentence, does not seem to 
satisfy this ingenious critick ; and he produces an ex- 
ample of a sentence of an intermediate sort, that is 
neither an entirely loose sentence, nor a perfect pe- 
riod : this example, too, is taken from Lord Boling- 
broke, where, speaking of the Eucharist, he says : ' ' the 
" other institution has been so disguised by ornament, 
" and so much directed in your church, at least, to a 
" different purpose from commemoration, that if the 
" disciples were to assemble at Easter in the chapel 
" of his holiness* Peter would know his successor 


u as little as Christ would acknowledge his vicar ; 
" and the rest would be unable to guess what the 
" ceremony represented or intended." Though this 
sentence forms perfect sense at vicar, the critick af- 
firms, that ' the succeeding members are so closely 
i connected with the preceding, that they all togeth- 
' er may be considered as a period, or compact sen- 

Here we find the former distinction destroyed, 
and we are again to seek for such a definition of a 
sentence as will assure us what is a period or com- 
pact sentence, and what is a loose sentence ; or, in 
other words, what members are necessarily, and what 
are not necessarily connected. In the first place we 
may observe, that it is not the perfect sense, formed 
by the preceding members, that determines a sen- 
tence to be loose : because succeeding members may 
be so necessarily connected with those that precede, 
notwithstanding the preceding members form perfect 
sense, that both together may form one period. Mr. 
Addison affords us an instance of this, in the Specta- 
tor, No. 86 : " Every one that speaks and reasons, 
" is a grammarian and a logician, though he may be 
" utterly unacquainted with the rules of grammar or 
" logick as they are delivered in books and systems." 

If we finish this sentence at logician, we shall find 
the sense perfect ; and yet nothing can be more evi- 
dent than that both the member which contains this 
word, and that which follows, are inseparably con- 
nected. It is not, therefore, the perfect sense which 
a member may form, that necessarily detaches it from 
the rest ; if, upon perusing the latter part of the sen- 
tence, we find it evidently contained in the idea of 
the former, they must both be inseparably connect- 
ed : the whole sentence, therefore, must be under- 
stood before we can pronounce upon the connection 
consisting between its parts. 


But it may be demanded, what is the criterion of 
this connection ; and how shall we know, with cer- 
tainty, whether the idea of the latter member is ne- 
cessarily contained in the former ? To this it may be 
answered, if the latter member modifies the former, 
or places it in a point of view different from what it 
appears in alone, we may pronounce the members 
necessarily connected, and the sentence to be com- 
pact and periodick. In the last instance, the first 
member, Every one that speaks and reasons, is a 
grammarian and a logician ; does not intend to af- 
firm a fact which might be understood as descriptive 
of the state of man, either with or without the attain- 
ments of grammar and logick ; but it refers precisely 
to that state which has no such attainments, and thus 
is modified by the last member, though he may be 
utterly unacquainted -with the rules of grammar, or 
logick, as they are delivered in books and systems. 
The modification, therefore, of the former member 
by the latter, is the criterion of such connection as 
forms a period or compact sentence. 

It is on this principle that all sentences founded on 
an hypothesis, a condition, a concession, or excep- 
tion, maybe esteemed compact sentences or periods; 
for in these sentences we shall find one part of the 
sentence modified by the other ; and it may be af- 
firmed of all other sentences, that whenever the con- 
junctions that connect their members together mod- 
ify these members, the sentences they compose are 
periodick ; and that whenever the conjunctions only 
explain or add to the meaning of the members to 
which they are subjoined, the sentences which these 
members compose are loose sentences. It will be 
necessary to explain this observation by examples. 


A man should endeavour to make the sphere of his innocent- 
pleasures as wide as possible, that he may retire into them witfy 


safety, and find in them such a satisfaction as a wise man 
would not blush to take. Of this nature are those of the im- 
agination, which do not require such a bent of thought as is 
necessary to our more serious employments, nor at the same 
time suffer the mind to sink into that negligence and remissness, 
which are apt to accompany our more sensual delights. — Spec- 
tator, No. 411. 

In the first of these sentences we find the conjunc- 
tion that modifies or restrains the meaning oi the 
preceding member ; for it is not asserted in general, 
and without limitation, that a man should make the 
sphere of his innocent pleasures as wide as possible, 
but that he should do so for the purpose of retiring 
into himself : these two members, therefore, are 
necessarily connected, and might have formed a pe- 
riod or compact sentence, had they not been follow- 
ed by the last member ; but as that only adds to the 
sense of the preceding members, and does not qual- 
ify them, the whole assemblage of members, taken 
together, form but one loose sentence. 

The last member of the last sentence is necessarily 
connected with what precedes, because it modifies or 
restrains the meaning of it ; for it is not meant, that 
the pleasures of the imagination do not suffer the 
mind to sink into negligence and remissness in gen- 
eral, but into that particular negligence and remiss- 
ness which is apt to accompany our more sensual de- 
lights. The first member of this sentence affords an 
opportunity of explaining this by its opposite : for 
here it is not meant, that those pleasures of the imag- 
ination only are of this innocent nature which do not 
require such a bent of thought as is necessary to our 
more serious employments, but that of this nature 
are the pleasures of the imagination in general ; and 
it is by asking the question whether a preceding 
member affirms any thing in general, or only affirms 
something as limited or qualified by what follows, 
that we shall discover whether these members are 


either immediately or remotely connected, and, con- 
sequently, whether they form a loose or a compact 
sentence : as the former member, therefore, of the 
last sentence, is not necessarily connected with those 
that succeed, the sentence may be pronounced to be 
a loose sentence. 

If these observations have any solidity, we have at 
last arrived at the true distinction between a period 
and a loose sentence ; which is, that a period is an 
assemblage of such words, or members, as do not 
form sense independent on each other ; or if they do, 
the former modify the latter, or inversely ; and that 
a loose sentence is an assemblage of such words or 
members as do form sense, independent on those that 
follow, and at the same time are not modified by them : 
A period or compact sentence, therefore, is divisible 
into two kinds ; the first, where the former words 
and members depend for sense on the latter, as in the 
sentence, As we cannot discern the shadow moving 
along the dial-plate, so the advances we make in 
learning are only perceived by the distance gone over. 
Which for distinction's sake we may call a direct 
period. The second kind of period, or compact sen- 
tence, is that where, though the first part forms sense 
without the latter, it is nevertheless ?nodified by it ; as 
in the sentence, There are several arts which all men 
are in some measure masters of, without being at the 
pains of learning them. Which we may call an in- 
verted period. The loose sentence has its first mem- 
bers forming sense, without being modified by the lat- 
ter ; as in the sentence, Persons of good taste expect 
to be pleased at the same time they are informed ; and 
think that the best sense always deserves the best lan- 
guage. In which example, we find the latter mem- 
ber adding something to the former, but not modify- 
ing or altering it. 

It will readily occur to the critical reader, that, in 
this definition of a period, I have departed widely 


from the doctrine of the ancients, who consider it as 
an assemblage of members, and not of words only ; 
but as such a reader will know the difficulty of giving 
a precise idea of a period, according to the opinion of 
the ancients, and what diversity and uncertainty there 
is about it among the moderns ; he will the more 
easily excuse my hazarding a definition of my own. 
My principal object has been, to give such a defini- 
tion as would be clear, precise and useful : such a 
one as would best answer the purposes of pronuncia- 
tion, by exactly drawing the line between the con- 
nection and disjunctions of words, without making 
use of such indefinite terms as the more or less inti- 
mate connection of the parts, or the concurrence of the 
parts to the plenitude of a total sense. 

Sentences thus defined and distinguished into their 
several kinds, we shall be better enabled to give such 
rules for dividing them by pauses, as will reduce 
punctuation to some rational and steady principles. 
Previously, however, to these rules, it will be neces- 
sary to observe, that as the times of the pauses are 
exceedingly indefinite, the fewer distinctions we make 
between them, the less we shall embarrass the reader : 
the common estimate of the times of the comma, 
the semicolon, the colon, and the period, in the 
geometrical proportions of 1, 2, 4, 8, pleases us, from 
its analogy with the times of the semibrief, minim, 
crotchet, and quaver in musick ; but every one will 
confess at first sight, that as these distinctions in read- 
ing are arbitrary , they are useless ; every one feels 
a difference between a greater and a smaller pause, 
but few can conceive degrees of these ; I shall beg 
leave, therefore, to reduce the number of pauses to 
three ; namely, the smaller pause, answering to the 
comma ; the greater pause answering to the semico- 
lon and colon ; and the greatest pause answering to 
the period. The ancients knew nothing of the se- 
micolon : and if we consider practice and real utility. 


I believe it will be found, that the three distinctions 
of the ancients answer every useful purpose in writing 
and reading. 

The smaller pause, the greater pause, and the 
greatest pause, are the distinctions, therefore, I shall 
beg leave to adopt in the rules to be given for divid- 
ing a sentence : and as the division of a sentence de- 
pends necessarily on its structure, and the greater or 
less connection of its parts, it will be proper to be- 
gin with the direct period ; that is, where no sense is 
formed till the sentence is concluded. 

Rule I. Every direct period consists of two prin- 
cipal constructive parts, between which parts the 
greater pause must be inserted ; when these parts 
commence with conjunctions that correspond with 
each other, they are sufficiently distinguishable ; as in 
the following sentence : 

As we cannot discern the shadow moving along the dial- 
plate, so the advances we make in knowledge are only perceiv- 
ed by the distance gone over. 

Here we may observe, that the first constructive 
part begins with as, and the second with so ; the ex- 
pectation is excited by the first, and answered by the 
latter : at that point, therefore, where the expecta- 
tion begins to be answered, and the sense begins to 
form, the principal pause is to be used ; and, by these 
means, the two contrasted and correspondent parts 
are distinctly viewed by the mind. 

A period may be direct, and its parts as necessari- 
ly connected, where only the first conjunction is ex- 


As in my speculations I have endeavoured to extinguish 
passion and prejudice, I am still desirous of doing some good 
in this particular. Spectator. 


Here the word so is understood before I am, and 
the long pause as much required as if so had been ex- 
pressed ; since it is here the sentence naturally di- 
vides into two correspondent and dependent parts. 

That point, therefore, where the expectation be- 
gins to be answered, or where one part of the sen- 
tence begins to modify the other, is the point which 
We must be the most careful to mark ; as it is here 
the sentence naturally divides into its principal con 
structive parts. 

Rule II. Every inverted period consists of two 
principal constructive parts, between which parts the 
greater pause must be inserted ; these parts divide at 
that point, where the latter part of the sentence begins 
to modify the former ; in periods of this kind, the 
latter conjunction only is expressed, as in the exam- 
ple : Every one that speaks and reasons is a gram- 
marian, and a logician, though he may be utterly un- 
acquainted with the rules of grammar, orlogick, as they 
are delivered in books and systems. If we invert this 
period, we shall find it susceptible of the two corre- 
spondent conjunctions though and yet ; as, Though 
utterly unacquainted with the rules of grammar or 
logick, as delivered in books and systems, yet every 
man who speaks and reasons is a grammarian and 
logician. — -This inversion of the order of a sentence, 
is, perhaps, the best criterion of the connection of its 
parts ; and proves that the former, though forming 
complete sense by itself, is modified by the latter. — >f 
Thus in the phrases, Christ died for him, because he 
died for all— Many things are believed, though they 
exceed the capacity of our wits. Hooker. 

In these phrases, if we do but transpose the noun 
and pronoun, and invert the order, the sentences will 
be perfectly the same in sense, and the connection will 
be more apparent ; as, Because Christ died for all, he 
died for him— Though many things exceed the capaci- 
ty of our wits, they are believed. 


Rule III. Every loose sentence must consist of a 
period, either direct or inverted, and an additional 
member which does not modify it ; and, consequent- 
ly, this species of sentence requires a pause between 
the principal constructive parts of the period, and 
between the period and the additional member. 


Persons of good taste expect to be pleased, at the same time 
they are informed ; and think that the best sense always de- 
serves the best language. 

In this sentence an inverted period is constructed 
at the word informed ; which requires a pause at 
pleased, because here the former part of the sentence 
is modified by the latter ; and a pause is required at 
injbrm&L because here another member commences. 
Let us take another example : 

The soul, considered abstractedly from its passions, is of a 
remiss and sedentary nature; slow in its resolves, and languish- 
ing in its executions. Spectator, No. 255. 

Here a direct period is formed at nature ; the prin^ 
cipal constructive parts of this period separate at 
passions ; and here must be the larger pause : the 
succeeding members are only additional, and require 
a larger pause between them and the period they be- 
long to, and a smaller pause between each other at re- 

Having thus given an idea of the principal pause 
in a sentence, it will be necessary to say something 
of the subordinate pauses, which may all be compre- 
hended under what is called the short pause. 

And, first it may be observed, that by the long 
pause, is not meant a pause of any determinate length, 
but the longest pause in the sentence. Thus the 
pause between the nominative and the verb in the 
following sentence : 


The great and invincible Alexander, wept for the fate of 

The pause here, I say, may be called the long pause, 
though not half so long as the pause between the 
two principal constructive parts in the following sen- 
tence : 

If impudence prevailed as much in the forum and the courts 
of justice, as insolence does in the country and places of less re- 
sort ; Aulus Caecina would submit as much to the impudence of 
Sextus iEbutius in this cause, as he did before to his insolence 
when assaulted by him. 

Here the pause between the words resort, and Aulus 
Carina, may be called the long pause, not so much 
from its duration, as from its being the principal 
pause in the sentence : the long pause, therefore, 
must always be understood relatively to the smaller 
pauses : and it may pass for a good general rule, that 
the principal pause is longer, or shorter, according to 
the simplicity or complexity of the sentence : thus, 
in the three following sentences, we find the two 
principal constructive parts separated by a pause in 
exact proportion to the simplicity or complexity of 
tht members : 


As we cannot discern the shadow moving along the dial- 
pla*e, so the advances we make in knowledge are only per- 
ceivable by the distance gone over. 

As we perceive the shadow to have moved, but did not per- 
ceive it moving ; so our advances in learning, consisting of 
insensible steps, are only perceivable by the distance. 

As we perceive the shadow to have moved along the dial, 
but did not perceive it moving ; and it appears the grass has 
grown, though nobody ever saw it grow : so the advances we 
make in knowledge, as they make such minute steps, are only 
perceivable by the distance. 


In the first sentence the two principal constructive 
parts are separated by a comma at dial-plate ; in the 
second, by a semicolon at moving ; and in the third, 
by a colon at grow : if, for the purposes of force, 
variety, or ease, (each of which causes will be some- 
times sufficient reason for a pause, where there is 
none in the sense) — if, for any of these purposes, I 
say, it were necessary to pause in the first member of 
the first sentence, no words seem so readily to admit a 
pause between them as shadow and moving, as here 
the object is distinguished from the circumstance at- 
tending it ; and if a pause were necessary in the last 
member, the two principal parts here seem to be the 
nominative phrase ending at knowledge, and the verb 
with its adjuncts beginning at are. The second sen- 
tence seems to have all the pauses it will admit of ; 
but the third might, for some of the above-mentioned 
reasons, have a pause at shadow, and, for reasons that 
will be given hereafter, ought always to have a pause 
at grown : and as the last member is intersected by 
an incidental member between the nominative and the 
verb, it ought to have two subordinate pauses, one at 
knowledge and the other at steps, before the final pause 
at distance. 

Thus when the sentence is divided into its princi- 
pal parts by the long pause, these parts, if complex, 
are again divisible into subordinate parts by a short 
pause; and these, if necessary, are again divisible into 
more subordinate parts by a still shorter pause, till at 
last we arrive at those words which admit of no pause ; 
as the article and the substantive, the substantive and 
adjective in their natural order, or, if unattended by 
adjuncts, in any order ; and the prepositions and the 
words they govern. These words may be consider- 
ed as principles, in their nature not divisible : if, with- 
out necessity , we pause between other words, the pro- 
nunciation will be only languid and embarrassed :. 


but between these, a pause is not only embarrassing, 
but unsuitable and repugnant to the sense. 

The subordinate parts of sentences are easily dis- 
tinguished in such sentences as consist of parts cor- 
responding to parts, as in the following example : 

If impudence prevailed as much in the forum and courts of 
justice, as insolence does in the country and places of less re- 
sort ; Aulus Csecina would submit as much to the impudence 
of Sextus iEbutius in this cause, as he did before to his inso- 
lence when assaulted by him. 

Here the whole sentence readily divides into two 
principal constructive parts at resort ; the first part 
as readily divides into two subordinate parts at jus- 
tice ; and the last into two other subordinate parts at 
cause ; and these are all the pauses necessary : but 
if, either from the necessity of drawing breath, or of 
more strongly enforcing every part of this sentence, 
we were to admit of more pauses than those, it can- 
not be denied, that for this purpose, some places 
more readily admit of a pause than others : if, for in- 
stance, the first subordinate part were to admit of 
two pauses, they could no where be so suitably plac- 
ed as at impudence and. Jorum ; if the next might be 
over-pointed in the same manner, the points would 
be less unsuitable at does and country than at any oth- 
<er words ; in the same manner a pause might be 
more tolerable at Coecina and Mbutius, and at bejore 
and insolence, than in any other of die subordinate 
parts of the latter division of this sentence. 

The parts of loose sentences which admit of the 
short pause, must be determined by the same prin- 
ciples. If this sentence has been properly defined, 
it is a sentence consisting of a clause containing per- 
fect sense, followed by an additional clause which 
does not modify it. Thus in the following exam* 
pie : 


Foolish men are more apt to consider what they have lost) 
than what they possess ; and to turn their eyes on those who 
are richer than themselves, rather than on those who are under 
greater difficulties. 

Here a perfect sentence is formed at possess, and 
here must be the longest pause, as it intervenes be- 
tween two parts nearly independent : the principal 
pause in the first member of this sentence, which may 
be called a subordinate pause respecting the whole 
sentence, is at lost, and that of the last member at 
themselves ; if, for the sake of precision, other and 
shorter pauses were admitted, it should seem most 
suitable to admit them at men and consider in the 
first member, at eyes and those in the first part of the 
second member, and at those in the last. In these 
observations, however, it must be carefully under- 
stood, that this multiplicity of shorter pauses are not 
recommended as necessary or proper, but only as 
possible, and to be admitted occasionally : and, to 
draw the line as much as possible between what is 
necessary and unnecessary, we shall endeavour to 
bring together such particular cases as demand the 
short pause, and those where it cannot be omitted 
without hurting either the sense or the delivery. 

Rule IV. When a nominative consists of more 
than one word, it is necessary to pause after it. 

When a nominative and a verb come in a sentence 
unattended by adjuncts, no pause is necessary, either 
for the ear or understanding ; thus in the following 
sentence — Alexander wept : No pause intervenes be- 
tween these words, because they convey only two 
ideas, which are apprehended the moment they are 
pronounced ; but if these words are amplified by ad- 
juncts of specification, as in the following sentence — 
The great and invincible Alexander, wept for the fate 
of Darius : Here a pause is necessary between these 
words, not only that the organs may pronounce the 
whole with more ease, but that the complex nomina- 


tive and verb may, by being separately and dis- 
tinctly exhibited, be more readily and distinctly 

This rule is so far from being unnecessary when 
we are obliged to pause after the verb, that it then 
becomes more essential. 


This account of party patches will, I am afraid, appear im- 
probable to those who live at a distance from the fashionable 
world. Addison* s Sped. No. 81. 

If in this sentence we only pause at will, as mark- 
ed by the printer, we shall find the verb swallowed 
up, as it were, by the nominative case, and confound- 
ed with it ; but if we make a short pause both be- 
fore and after it, we shall find every part of the sen- 
tence obvious and distinct. 

That the nominative is more separable from the 
verb than the verb from the objective case, is plain 
from the propriety of pausing at self-love , and not at 
forsook, in the following example : 

Self-love forsook the path it first pursu'd, 
And found the private in the pubiick good. 

Pope's Essay on Man. 

The same may be observed of the first line of the 
following couplet : 

Earth smiles around with boundless bounty blest, 
And heav'n beholds its image in his breast. Ibid. 

Here, though the melody invites to a pause at beholds, 
propriety requires it at heaven. 

Rule V. Whatever member intervenes between 
the nominative case and the verb, is of the nature of 
a parenthesis, and must be separated from both of 
them by a short pause. 



I am told that many virtuous matrons, who formerly have 
been taught to believe that this artificial spotting of a face was 
unlawful, are now reconciled, by a zeal for their cause, to what 
they could not be prompted by a concern for their beauty. 

Addison's Sped. No. 81. 

The member intervening between the nominative 
matrons and the verb are, may be considered as inci- 
dental, and must therefore be separated from both. 

When the Romans and Sabines were at war, and jnst upon 
the point of giving battle, the women, who were allied to both 
of them, interposed with so many tears and in treaties, that 
they prevented the mutual slaughter which threatened both 
parties, and united them together in a firm and lasting peace* 

Addison t ibid. 

Here the member intervening between the nomina- 
tive case women, and the verb interposed, must be 
separated from both by a short pause. 

Rule VI. Whatever member intervenes between 
the verb and the accusative case, is of the nature of 
a parenthesis, and must be separated from both by a 
short pause. 


I knew a person who possessed the faculty of distinguishing 
flavours in so great a perfection, that, after having tasted ten 
different kinds of tea, he would distinguish, without seeing the 
colour of it, the particular sort which was offered him, 

Addison's Sped. No. 409. 

The member intervening between the verb distin- 
guish and the accusative the particular sort, must be 
separated from them by a short pause. 

A man of a fine taste in writing will discern, after the same 
manner, not only the general beauties and imperfections of an 
author, but discover the several ways of thinking and express* 
mg himself, which diversify him from all other authors, 

Addison, ibid* 


The member intervening between the verb discern 
and the accusative not only the general beauties, must 
be separated from both by a short pause. 

Rule VII. When two verbs come together, and 
the latter is in the infinitive mood, if any words come 
between, they must be separated from the latter verb 
by a pause. 


Now, because our inward passions and inclinations can nev? 
er make themselves visible, it is impossible for a jealous man, 
to be thoroughly cured of his suspicions. Spectator, No. 1?0* 

In this example, the verbal phrases, it is impossible 
and to be thoroughly cured, have the words for a jeal- 
ous man coming between them, which must there- 
fore be separated from the latter by a comma, or 
short pause. 

Whether 'tis nobler in the mind, to suffer 
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune ; 
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, 
And by opposing end them ? Shakespeare. 

If it were necessary for breathing to pause any 
where in this passage, we should find a pause much 
more admissible at mind than in any other part, an 
here a clause intervenes between the verbs is and, 
suffer ; and two verbs seem more separable than a 
verb and its objective case. 

But when the substantive verb to be is followed bv 
a verb in the infinitive mood, which may serve as a 
nominative case to it, and the phrases before and after 
the verb may be transposed, then the pause Fails be- 
tween the verbs. 


The practice among the Turks is, to destroy, or imprison for: 
life, any presumptive heir to the throne. 

Here the pause falls between is and to destroy. 


Their first step was, to possess themselves of Cassar's papers 
and money, and next to convene the Senate. 

Goldsmith's Roman History. 

Here we must pause between was and to possess. 

Never had this august assembly been convened upon so de- 
licate an occasion, as it was, to determine whether Caesar had 
been a legal magistrate or a tyrannical usurper. Ibid. 

Here the pause comes between was and to deter- 

Rule VIII. If there are several subjects belonging 
in the same manner to one verb, or several verbs, be- 
longing in the same manner to one subject, the sub- 
jects and verbs are still to be accounted equal in 
number ; for every verb must have its subject, and 
every subject its verb ; and every one of the subjects, 
or verbs, should have its point of distinction and a 
short pause. 


Riches, pleasure, and health, become evils to those who do 
not know how to use them. 

Here the subjects riches ; pleasure, and health, be- 
long each of them to the verb become ; as, Riches be- 
come an evil, pleasure becomes an evil, and health be- 
comes an evil, &c. Each of these, therefore, must be 
separated by a short pause ; and all of them, forming 
only one compound nominative case, must, according 
to Rule IV. be separated by a short pause from the 
verb. This last pause must be the more particularly 
attended to, as we scarcely ever see it marked in 
printing. One of the best French* grammarians, 
however, has decided, that this pause is not only as 
necessary here as between the other parts, but more so; 
because, says he, if the pause be omitted between the 

Beauzee Grammaire Qenerale, torn. ii. p. 583. 


last nominative and the verb, it might appear that the 
verb were more closely united to this than any of the 
rest, contrary to the truth of the case. 

I am perfectly of opinion with this ingenious gram- 
marian, with respect to the propriety of placing a 
p,iuse in speaking, if not in writing, between the last 
noun and the verb, but for very different reasons ; if 
we ought to insert a pause here, to shew that the con- 
nection between the last noun and the verb is no 
greater than between the verb and the preceding 
nouns, no good reason can be given why we should 
not place a pause between the last adjective and the 
substantive in this sentence : 

A polite, an active, and a supple behaviour, is necessary to 
Succeed in life. 

The word behaviour, in this sentence, is not more 
intimately connected in signification with supple^ 
than with polite and active ; and yet no punctuist 
would insert a pause between the two former to shew 
that the three properties polite, active, and supple, were 
equally connected with the common word behaviour. 
Whence then arises the propriety of placing a pause 
between the word health and become in the former 
instance ? Evidently from hence : the nominative con- 
sists of three particulars, which, though distinguished 
from each other by pauses, form but one nominative 
plural, and are more connected with each other 
than with the verb they govern ; their connection, 
therefore, with each other, as forming one distinct part, 
and not their belonging equally to the verb, is the 
reason that a pause is proper. If shewing the con- 
nection of dependent words to be equal, were the 
reason for placing a pause, we ought to place a pause 
between the pronoun and the first verb in the follow- 
ing example : 


He went into the cavern, found the instruments, hewed 
down the trees and in one day put the vessels in a condition 
for sailing. Telemachus. 

Here every member depends equally on the pro- 
noun he> and yet it would be contrary to the best prac- 
tice to insert a pause between this word and the verb 
went. But if the common nominative consisted of 
more than one word, a pause would not only be allowa- 
ble, but proper, as in the following example : 

The active and indefatigable Telemachus, went into the 
cavern, found the instruments, hewed down the trees, and in 
One day put the vessels in a condition for sailing. 

It is, therefore, because the nominative forms a 
class of words more intimately connected with each 
other than all are with the verb, that makes this part 
of speech separable by a pause in the latter example, 
and not in the former.* 

Rule IX* If there are several adjectives belonging 
In the same manner to one substantive, or several 
substantives belonging in the same manner to one 
adjective, the adjective and substantives are still to 
be accounted equal in number ; for every substantive 
must have its adjective, and every adjective its sub- 
stantive ; and every adjective coming after its 
substantive, and every adjective coming before 
the substantive except the last, must be separated 
by a short pause. 


A polite, an active, and a supple behaviour, is necessary to 
succeed in life. 

In this example, behaviour, as was observed in the 
foregoing rule, is understood to belong equally to 

* Why a pause may be used in speaking where a comma might b£ 
Improper in writing, see p. 29 : and why a pause may be admitted, both 
in writing and speaking, between the substantive and adjective, whett 
several adjtctives follow the substantive, and not when the adjectives 
precede the substantive, may be seen at large, p. 36. 


polite and active, as to supple, and, consequently^ 
every adjective has its correspondent substantive j 
and as the adjectives come before the substantive* 
every one but that which immediately precedes its 
substantive is separated by a pause. The punctuation 
is different in the following sentence : 

A behaviour, active, supple, and polite, is necessary to sue* 
eeed in life. 

In this example, as the substantive precedes the 
adjectives, every adjective is separated from the 
substantive by a pause : for the reason of this, see 
p. 35. 

Rule X. If there are several adverbs belonging in 
the same manner to one verb, or several verbs be- 
longing in the same manner to one adverb, the verbs 
and adverbs are still to be accounted equal in num- 
ber ; and if the adverbs come after the verb, they are 
each of them to be separated by a pause ; but if the 
adverbs come before the verb, a pause must separate 
each of them from the verb but the last. 


To love, wisely, rationally, and prudently, is, in the opinion 
<>f lovers, not to love at all. 

Wisely, rationally, and prudently to love, is, in the opinion of 
lovers, not to love at all. 

In the first example, the verb and adverb are sepa- 
rated by a pause, for the same reason that the adjective 
was separated from its substantive in the same situa- 
tion in the preceding rule ; that is, the verb to love 
excites an idea which the mind may contemplate for 
a moment separately from the adverb which modifies 
it ; and as this adverb is accompanied by others, they 
form a class more united by similitude with each 
other than with the verb they modify ; and distin- 
guishing the word to which they ail relate by a pause 


makes an equal relation to each more distinct and 
apparent. The reason why this separation does not 
take place in the last example, is, that though modify- 
ing words may be distinguished from each other, 
they cannot be separated, even in idea, from the words 
they modify, because they give the mind no object to 
rest on ; and so intimately are they always connected, 
that, though the modified word comes first, and by 
this means affords the mind a momentary pause, yet 
no pause is admitted between the modified and the 
modifying word, unless the latter is accompanied 
by other modifying words, which then form a 
class apart, and require separation both from each 
other, and the word they modify. 
Thus in the following examples : 

To eat, drink, and sleep moderately is greatly conducive to 

Moderately to eat, drink, and sleep is greatly conducive to 

We find the adverb moderately, in the first example, 
coming after the verb sleep, and unaccompanied by 
any other words, is not separated from the verb 
by a pause, any more than when it precedes the 
verb, as in the last example : but every crit- 
ical ear will admit of a pause between the verb and 
adverb in the following lines of Othello in Shake- 
speare : 

Then must you speak 
Of one, that loved, not wisely, but too well. Shakespeare. 

Because in this passage the words, not wisely but too 
well, form a distinct class, and cannot be distinctly 
apprehended but by being separated from the verb 
they modify. 

But when the adverb precedes the verb, it is then 
in the same case as the adjective before the substari- 


tive ; it is impossible to divide it from the verb by 
a pause. 


This ring he holds 
In most rich choice, yet in his idle fire 
To buy his will it would not seem too dear, 
Howe'er repented of. Ibid. 

In this example, the adverb howe'er must neces.- 
sarily be classed with the verb it precedes, and 5fcj con- 
sequently, a pause must be placed at dear. 

To trace the ways 
Of highest agents, deem'd however wise. Milton. 

Here the word however modifies the adjective wise, 
and therefore is more closely united with it than with 
the verb deem'd : and if this union be not intimated 
by a short pause at deem'd, -the sense will be a little 
ambiguous ; as we shall not know whether these 
agents are extremely, or only moderately wise. But 
when this word is used conjunctively, that is, when 
we may supply its place by substituting never th kss, 
notwithstanding, yet, or still, a pause ought always 
fro toilow it. 


In your excuse your love does, little say, 

You might howe'er, have took a fairer way. Dryden. 

Here the word howe'er is used conjunctively, and 
a pause after it is highly necessary. 

I do not build my reasoning wholly on the case of persecu- 
tion ; however, I do not exclude it. Atterbury. 

A pause in this sentence at however, manifestly fixes 
and regulates the sense of it. 

Rule XI. Whatever words are put into the caseab* 
solute, commonly called the ablative absolute, must 
be separated from the rest by a short pause. 



If a man borrow ought of his neighbour, and it be hurt or 
die, the owner thereof not being with it, he shall surely make 
it good. Old Testament, 

Here the owner thereof not being with it, is the 
phrase called the ablative absolute ; and this, like a 
parenthesis, must be separated from the rest of the 
sentence by a short pause on each side. 

God, from the mount of Sinai, whose grey top 
Shall tremble he descending, will h mself 
In thunder, lightnings, and loud trumpets' sound 
Ordain them laws. MiJon. 

Here, he descending, neither governs nor is govern- 
ed by any other part of the sentence ; and is said to 
be in the ablative absolute, and this independence 
must be marked by a short pause before and alter 
the clause. 

Rule XII. Nouns in apposition, or words in the 
same case, where the latter is only explanatory of the 
former, have a short pause between them, either if 
both these nouns consist of many terms, or the latter 


When first thy sire, to send on earth 

Virtue, his darling child, design'd ; 

To thee he gave the heav'nly birth, 

And bade thee form her infant mind. Gray. 

Here the word Virtue, and the following member, 
may be said to be in apposition, and must be divided 
by a short pause. 

If the two nouns are single, no pause is admitted ; 
as, Paul the apostle; King George: but if the latter 
consists of many terms, a short pause is necessary ; 
as, Paul, the apostle of the Gentiles ; George, king 
of Great-Britain, France, and Ireland* 


The reason of this seems to be the same with 
that which permits us to pause between a substan^ 
tive and adjective in an inverted order, when the lat? 
ter has adjuncts that form a class ; for when nouns 
are in apposition, the latter, by qualifying the former, 
has the nature of an adjective, and is therefore sub* 
ject to the same laws of punctuation. 

Rule XIII. Who, which, when in the nominative 
ease, and the pronoun that, when used for who, or 
which, require a short pause before them. 


A man can never be obliged to submit to any power, unless 
he can be satisfied, who is the person, who has a right to exer- 
cise it. Locke. 

To which, their want of judging abilities, add also their 
want of opportunity to apply such a serious consideration as 
may let them into the true goodness and evil of things, which 
are qualities, which seldom display themselves to the first 
view. South. 

You'll rue the time, 

That clogs me with this answer. Shakespeare, 

Nothing they but dust can show, 

Or bones, that hasten to be so. Cowley. 

Saints, that taught, and led the way to Heav'n. Ticket, 

Rule XIV. When that is used as a casual con- 
junction, it ought always to be preceded by a short 


It is not, that I love you less 

Than when before your feet I lay, 

But to prevent the sad increase 

Of hopeless love, I keep away. Waller, 

Forgive me, that I thus your patience wrong. Cowley, 

The custom and familiarity of these tongues do sometime* 
So far influence the expressions in these epistles, that one may 
©bserve the force of the Hebrew conjugations. Lock, 


There is the greater necessity for attending to this 
rule, as we so frequently find it neglected in printing :" 
for fear of crowding the line with points, and appear- 
ing to clog the sense to the eye, the ear is often de- 
frauded of her unquestionable rights. I shall give 
two instances, among a thousand that might be 
brought, to shew where this is the case. 

I must therefore desire the reader to remember that, by the 
pleasures of the imagination, I mean only such pleasures as 
arise originally from sight. Spectator, No. 411. 

It is true, the higher nature still advances, and by that 
means, preserves his distance and superiority in the scale of 
being ; but he knows that, how high soever the station is of 
which he stands possessed at present, the inferior nature will 
at length mount up to it, and shine forth in the same degree 
of glory. Spectator, No. 111. 

In these examples, we find the incidental member 
succeeding the conjunction that is separated from it 
by a pause ; but the pause which ought to precede 
this conjunction is omitted : this punctuation runs 
through our whole orthography, and is the more 
culpable, as the insertion of the pause after that, 
where it is less wanted than before, is more apt to 
mislead the reader than if he saw no pause at all. 

Rule XV. Prepositions and conjunctions are 
more united with the words they precede than with 
those they follow ; and, consequently, if it be neces- 
sary to pause, the preposition and conjunction ought 
to be classed with the succeeding words, and not 
with the preceding. 


A violent passion, for universal admiration, produces the most 
ridiculous circumstances, in the general behaviour, of women 
of the most excellent understandings. 

As it has been formerly remarked, (p. 35.) we 
may pause four times in this sentence, if necessary, 


without in the least hurting the sense : that is, at 
passion, admiration, circumstances, and behaviour ; 
but, if instead of pausing at these words, we were 
to pause at the words for, produces, in, mid of, which 
are the words immediately succeeding, we shall soon 
perceive to which words the prepositions naturally 

Homer and Hesiod intimate to us how this art should be 
applied, when they represent the Muses as surrounding Jupiter, 
and warbling hymns about his throne. 

In this example, the conjunction as, and the cop- 
ulative and, in the last clause, must necessarily be 
classed with the succeeding, and not the preceding 

I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. 

Old Testament. 

Here the conjunction except, naturally associates 
with the latter part of the sentence, and requires a 
short pause before it. 

This let him know, 
Lest, wilfully transgressing, he pretend 
Surprisal. Milton. 

In this example the conjunction lest is very property 
separated from the preceding words by a short pause 
at know, and as the parenthetick words wilfully 
transgressing come between the conjunction, and the 
pronoun to which it belongs, the conjunction has 
very properly a pause both before and after it. 

People expect in a small essay, that a point of humour should 
be worked up, in all its parts., and a subject touched upon, in 
its most essential articles, without the repetitions, tautologies, 
and enlargements, that are indulged to longer labours. 

Spectator, No. 124. 

In this sentence the preposition up is separated from 
in, because it enters into the composition of the verb 


work, as to workup forms one complex verb; the 
same may be observed of the preposition upon, in the 
next clause of the sentence. An exception to this 
will be found in the following rule. 

Rule XVI. When words are placed either in 
opposition to, or in apposition with, each other, the 
words so placed require to be distinguished by a 

This is a rule of very great extent, and will be 
more fully treated under the article Emphasis : it 
will be proper, however, to give a general idea of it 
in this place, as pause and force are very different 
things, and ought therefore to be treated separately 
and distinctly. 


The pleasures of the imagination, taken in their full extent, 
are not so gross as those of sense, nor so refined as those of 
the understanding. Spectator, No. 411. 

In this example we shall find all writers and print- 
ers agree in placing but one pause between the four 
contrasted parts,, and this point is at sense : here, it 
must be owned, is the principal pause ; but it must 
likewise be acknowledged by every judicious ear, 
that a short pause at gross, and another at refined, 
convey more forcibly and distinctly every part of the 

Some place the bliss in action, some in ease ; 
Those call it pleasure, and contentment these. 

Pope's Essay on Man. 

In this couplet we never see a pause after the two 
words some in the first line, nor after the words 
those and contentment in the second ; and yet no- 
thing can be more evident than that a short pause 
after these words tends greatly to place, the sense in, 
a clear and distinct point of view. 


In the same manner, when one object is succes- 
sively contrasted with another, though these objects 
form the nominative case to the verb, and consist 
but of a single word, it is necessary to pause after 
each, in order to show the contrast more distinct- 


At the same time that 1 think discretion the most useful ta- 
lent a man can be master of, 1 look upon cunning to be the 
accomplishment of little, mean, ungenerous minds. Discretion 
points out the noblest ends to us, and pursues the most proper 
and laudable methods of attaining them : Cunning has only 
.private selfish aims, and sticks at nothing which may make 
them succeed. Discretion has large and extended views, and, 
like a well formed eye, commands a whole horizon : Cunning 
is a kind of short-sightedness, that discovers the minutest ob- 
jects that are near at hand, but is not able to discern things 
at a distance. Discretion, the more it is discovered, gives 
a greater authority to the person who possesses it ; Cunning, 
when it is once detected, loses its force, and makes a man 
incapable of bringing about even those events which he might 
have done, had he passed only for a plain man. Discretion 
is the perfection of reason, and a guide to us in all the duties 
of life : Cunning is a kind of instinct, that only looks out after 
our immediate interest and welfare. Discretion is only found 
in men of strong sense and good understandings : Cunning 
is often to be met with in brutes themselves, and in persons 
who are but the fewest removes from them : in short, Cun- 
ning is only the mimick of Discretion, and may pass upon 
weak men, in the bame maner as vivacity is often mistaken 
for wit, and gravity for wisdom. Addison 1 s Spectator , No. 225. 

In this passage, much of the force and precision 
of the contrast between discretion and cunning would 
be lost without a sensible pause after each. 

The necessity of distinguishing opposite or con- 
trasted pails in a sentence, will sometimes oblige us 
to separate words that are the most intimately 


To suppose the zodiack and planets to be efficient of, and 
antecedent to themselves, would be absurd. Bentky. 


Here the prepositions of and to are in opposition 
to each other, and both connected intimately with 
the word themselves / but this connection does 
not preclude the necessity of a pause alter each, 
to show their distinct and specifick relation to their 
governing words, and their equal relation to the com- 
mon word themselves. Indeed, the words o/*and to, 
in this sentence are emphatical, from that exactness 
and precision which the argument seems to require. 

It is objected by readers of history, that the battles in those 
narrations are scarce ever to be understood. This' misfortune 
is to be ascribed to the ignorance of historians in the methods 
of drawing up, changing the forms of battalia, and the enemy 
retreating from, as well as approaching to, the charge. 

Sped. No. 428. 

The pretexts were, his having invaded and overcome many 
states that were in alliance with, and under the protection of 
Rome. Goldsmith's Rom Hist. 

Though a pause seems admissible both after from and 
to in this sentence, yet the opposition between these 
prepositions seems as much marked by emphasis as 
by rest : and in examples of this kind it seems neces- 
sary to pause a smaller time after the last preposition 
than after the first. 

To sum up the whole in a few words, as those clas- 
ses of words which admit of no separation are very 
small and very few, if we do but take the opportunity 
of pausing where the sense will permit, we shall nev- 
er be obliged to break in upon the sense when we 
iind ourselves under a necessity of pausing ; but if 
we overshoot ourselves by pronouncing more in a 
breath than is necessary, and neglecting those inter- 
vals where we may pioise conveniently, we shall of- 
ten find ourselves obliged to pause where the sense is 
not separable, and, consequently, to weaken and ob- 
scure the composition. This observation, for the 
sake of the memory, may be conveniently comprised 
in the following verses : 


In pausing, ever let this rule take place, 

Never to separate words in any case 

That are less separable than those you join : 

And, which imports the same, not to combine 

Such words together as do not relate 

So closely as the words you separate. 

The interrogation, exclamation, and parenthesis, 
seem rather to be whole sentences than members of 
a sentence ; and as they are distinguished from others, 
more by a peculiar inflection of voice than by paus- 
ing, they naturally belong to that part of this essay 
which treats of those inflections of voice which are 
annexed to sentences, and parts of sentences, accord- 
ing to their different structure and signification. 

Thus have I attempted, with a trembling hand, 
to hint a few more rules for pausing than have been 
hitherto generally adopted ; and though but little is 
accomplished, I flatter myself enough is done to 
show how much farther we might go in this subject, 
if we would apply ourselves to it systematically, and 
leave less to the taste and understanding of the 

I doubt not but many will be displeased at the 
number of pauses I have added to those already in 
use ; but I can with confidence affirm, that not half 
the pauses are found in printing which are heard in 
the pronunciation of a good reader or speaker ; and 
that, if we would read or speak well, we must pause 
upon an average, at every fifth or sixth word. It 
must also be observed, that publick reading, or 
speaking, requires pausing much oftener, than reading 
and conversing in private ; as the parts of a picture 
which is to be viewed at a distance, must be more 
distinctly and strongly marked, than those of an ob- 
ject which are nearer to the eye, and understood at the 
first inspection. 


Introduction to the Theory of the Inflections of the 


Besides the pauses, which indicate a greater or 
less separation of the parts of a sentence and a con- 
clusion of the whole, there are certain inflections of 
voice, accompanying these pauses, which are as ne- 
cessary to the sense of the sentence as the pauses 
themselves ; for, however exactly we may pause be- 
tween those parts which are separable, if we do not 
pause with such an inflection of the voice as is suited 
to the sense, the composition we read will not only 
want its true meaning, but will have a meaning very 
different from that intended by the writer. How de- 
sirable, therefore, must any method be, that can con- 
vey to us that inflection of voice which is best suited 
to the sense of an author ! but this will at first sight 
"be pronounced impossible. What ! it will be said, 
will any one pretend to convey to us, upon paper, all 
that force, beauty, variety, and harmony, which a 
good reader throws into composition, when he enters 
into the spirit of his author, and displays every part of 
it to advantage ? No, it may be answered, this is not 
attempted : but, because all this cannot be done, is 
it impossible to do any part of it ? Because the ex- 
act time of pausing is not always denoted by the 
points in use, is it useless to have any marks of pausing 
at all ? Because the precise degree of emphatick force 
is not conveyed by printing some words in a different 
character, cannot we sometimes assist the reader in 
apprehending the force or feebleness of pronunciation, 
by printing the emphatical words in Italicks ? The 
practice of this in books of instruction sufficiently 
shews it is not entirely useless ; and, if executed with 
more judgment, there is little doubt of its being ren- 
dered still more useful. 


The truth is, something relative to the pronuncia- 
tion can be conveyed by written marks, and some- 
thing cannot. The pauses between sentences, and 
members of sentences, may be conveyed ; the accent 
on any particular syllable of a word may be convey- 
ed ? the emphasis on any particular word in a sen- 
tence may be conveyed ; and it is presumed it will 
be demonstrated in the course of this work, that a 
certain inflection of voice, which shows the import of 
the pauses, forms the harmony of a cadence, distin- 
guishes emphasis into its different kinds, and gives 
each kind its specifick and determinate meaning, may 
be as clearly conveyed upon paper, as either the 
pause, the accent, or the emphatick word :• — Here 
then is one step farther, in the art of reading, than 
any author has hitherto ventured to go ; and that this 
new step is not entirely visionary and impracticable,, 
will more clearly appear by considering the nature, 
of speaking sounds. 

Of the two simple Itijfbctims of the Voice, 
All vocal sounds imv be divided into two kinds 

namely, speaking sounds, and musical sounds. Mu- 
sical sounds are such as continue a given time on 
one precise point of the musical scale, and leap, as it 
were, from one note to another ; while speaking 
sounds, instead of dwelling on the note they begin 
with, slide* either upwards, or downwards, to the 
neighbouring notes, without any perceptible rest on 
any : so that speaking and musical sounds are essen- 
tially distinct ; the former being constantly in mo- 
tion from the moment they commence; the latter 
being at rest for some given time In one precise 

* Smith's Harmonicks, p. 3, Note (c)« 


The continual motion of speaking sounds makes 
it almost as impossible for the ear to mark their sev- 
eral differences, as it would be for the eye to define 
an object that is swiftly passing before it, and contin- 
ually vanishing away ; the difficulty of arresting 
speaking sounds for examination, h is made almost 
all authors suppose it impossible to give any such 
distinct account of them, as to be of use in speaking 
and reading; and, indeed, the vast variety of tone 
which a good reader or speaker throws into delive- 
ry, and of which it is impossible to convey any idea 
but by imitation, has led us easily to suppose that 
nothing at all of this variety can be defined and redu- 
ced to rule : but when we consider, that whether 
words are pronounced in a high or low, in a loud or 
a soft tone ; whether they are pronounced swiftly or 
slowly, forcibly or feebly, with the tone of the pas- 
sion, or without it ; they must necessarily be pro- 
nounced either sliding upwards or downwards, or 
else go into a monotone or song ; when we consider 
this, I say, we shall find, that the primary division 
of speaking sounds is into the upward and the down- 
ward slide of the voice ; and that whatever other 
diversity of time, tone, or force, is added to speaking 
it must necessarily be conveyed by these two slides. 

These two slides, or inflections of voice, therefore, 
are the axis, as it were, on which the force, variety, 
and harmony of speaking turns. They may be con- 
sidered as the great outlines of pronunciation ; and 
if diese outlines can be tolerably conveyed to a rea- 
der, they must be of nearly the same use to him, as 
the rough draught of a picture is to a pupil in paint- 
ing. This then we shall attempt to accomplish, by 
adducing some of the most familiar phrases in the 
language, and pointing out the inflections which ev- 
ery ear, however unpractised, will naturally adopt in 
pronouncing them. These phrases, hich are in 
every body's mouth, will become a kind of data, or 


principles, to which the reader must constantly be 
referred, when he is at a loss for the precise sound 
that is understood by these different inflections ; 
and these familiar sounds, it is presumed, will suffi- 
ciently instruct him. 

Method of explaining the Inflections of the Voice.. 

It must first be premised, that, by the rising or fall- 
ing inflection, is not meant the pitch of voice in which 
the whole word is pronounced, or that loudness or 
softness which may accompany any pitch ; but that 
upward or downward slide which the voice makes 
when the pronunciation of a word is finishing ; and 
which may, therefore, not improperly be called the 
rising and falling inflection. 

So important is a just mixture of these two inflec- 
tions, that the moment they are neglected, our pro- 
nunciation becomes forceless and monotonous : if the 
sense of a sentence require the voice to adopt the ris- 
ing inflection on any particular word, either in the 
middle, or at the end of a phrase, variety and harmo- 
ny demand the falling inflection on one of the preced- 
ing words ; and on the other hand, if emphasis, har- 
mony, or a completion of sense, require the falling 
inflection on any word, the word immediately pre- 
ceding, almost always, demands the rising inflec- 
tion ; so that these inflections of voice are in an or- 
der nearly alternate. 

This is very observable in reading a sentence, when 
we have mistaken the connection between the mem- 
bers, either by supposing the sense is to be continued 
when it finishes, or supposing it finished when it is 
really to be continued : for in either of these cases, 
before we have pronounced the last word, we find it 
nesessary to return pretty far back to some of the 
preceding words, in order to give them such kifiecr 


tions as are suitable to those which the sense re- 
quires on the succeeding words. Thus, in pronoun- 
cing the speech of Portius in Cato, which is gene- 
rally mis-pointed, as in the following example : 

Remember what our father oft has told us, 
The ways of heav'n are dark and intricate* 
Puzzled in mazes and perplex'd in errors ; 
Our understanding traces them in vain, 
Lost and bewilder'd in the fruitless search : 
Nor sees- with how much art the windings run, 
Nor where the regular confusion ends. 

If, I say, from' not having considered this passage,. 
we run the second line into the third, by suspending 
the voice at intricate in the rising inflection, and 
dropping it at errors in the falling,, we find a very im- 
proper meaning conveyed ; and if, in recovering our- 
selves from this improper pronunciation, we take no- 
tice of the different, manner in which we pronounce 
the second and third lines, we shall find, that not on- 
ly the last word of these lines, but that every word 
alters its inflection ; for, when we perceive, that by 
mistaking the pause, we have misconceived the 
sense, we find it necessary to begin the line again, 
and pronounce every word differently y in order ta 
muke it harmonious. 

But though these two inflections of voice run 
through almost every word of which a sentence is 
composed, they are no where so perceptible as at a 
long pause, or where the sense of the words requires 
an emphasis ; especially if the word end with a long 
open vowel : in this case, if we do but attend nicely 
to that turn of. the voice which finishes this emphati- 
eal word, or that member of a sentence where we 
pause, we shall soon perceive the different inflection 
with which these words are pronounced. 

In order to make this different inflection of voice 
more easily apprehended^ it may not, perhaps,, be 


useless to attend to the following directions. Let 
us suppose we are to pronounce the following sen- 
tence : 

Does Csesar deserve fame or blame ? 

This sentence, it is presumed, will, at first sight, 
be pronounced with the proper inflections of voice, 
by every one that can barely read ; and if the reader 
will but narrowly watch the sounds of the words 
fame and blame, he will have an example of the two 
inflections here spoken of : fame will have the rising, 
and blame the falling inflection : But, to make this 
distinction still clearer, if, instead of pronouncing the 
word fame slightly, he does but give it a strong em- 
phatick force, and let it drawl off the tongue for some 
time before the sound finishes, he will find it slide 
upwards, and end in a rising tone ; if he makes the 
same experiment on the word blame , he will find the 
sound slide downwards, and end in a falling tone : 
and this drawling pronunciation, though it lengthens 
the sounds beyond their proper duration, does not 
alter them essentially ; the same inflections are pre* 
served as in the common pronunciation; and the 
distinction is as real in one mode of pronouncing as 
in the other, though not so perceptible. 

Every pause, of whatever kind, must necessarily 
adopt one of these two inflections, or continue in a 
monotone : thus, when we ask a question without 
the interrogative words, we naturally adopt the rising 
inflection on the last word ; as, 

Can Caesar deserve blame ? Impossible ! 

Here blame, the last word of the question, has the 
rising inflection, contrary to the inflection on that 
word in the former instance ; and impossible, with 
the note of admiration, the falling : The comma, or 
that suspension of voice generally annexed to it, 
Which marks a continuation -of the sense, is most fre- 


quently accompanied by the rising inflection, as in 
the following sentence : 

If Caesar deserves blame, he ought to have no fame. 

Here we find the word blame, marked with a comma, 
hits exactly the same inflection of voice as the same 
word in the interrogative sentence immediately pre- 
ceding ; the only difference is, that the rising inflec- 
tion slides higher at the interrogation than at the com* 
ma, especially if it be pronounced with emphasis. 

The three other points, namely, the semicolon, 
Colon, and period, adopt either the rising or falling in- 
flection, as the sense or harmony requires, though in 
different degrees of elevation and depression. But 
these different degrees of rising or falling on the slide 
which ends the word, are by no means so essential as 
the kind of slide we adopt. Thus in the following 
sentences : 

As we cannot discern the shadow moving along the dial- 
plate, so the advances we make in knowledge are only per- 
ceivable by the distance gone over. 

As we perceive the shadow to have moved, but did not per- 
ceive it moving ; so our advances in learning, consisting of 
insensible steps, are only perceivable by the distance. 

As we perceive the shadow to have moved along the dial, 
but did not perceive it moving ; and it appears that the grass 
has grown, though ncfbody ever saw it grow : so the advan- 
ces we make in knowledge, as they consist of such minute steps, 
are only perceivable by the distance. 

Here, I say, the words dial-plate, moving, and 
grow, marked with a comma, semicolon, and colon, 
must necessarily end with the upward slide ; and, 
provided this slide be adopted, it is not of any very 
great consequence to the sense whether the slide be 
raised much or little ; but if the downward slide be 
given to any of these words, though in the smaliesjt 
degree, the sense will be materially affected. 


The same points, when the sentence is differently 
constructed, adopt the other inflection. 

Thus the inflection of voice which is adopted in a 
series of emphatick particulars, for the sake of force 
and precision, though these particulars are marked by 
commas only, is the falling inflection : we have an 
example of this in the true pronunciation of the fol- 
lowing sentence. 

I tell you, though you, though all the world, though an 
angel from heaven, were to affirm the truth of it, I could not 
believe it. 

That this is the proper inflection on each of these 
particulars, will more evidently appear by repeating 
them with the opposite inflection of voice, or that sus- 
pension usually given to the comma : 

I tell you, though you, though all the world, though as 
angel from heaven were to affirm the truth of it, 1 could not 
believe it. 

In pronouncing this sentence, therefore, in order to 
give force and precision to every portion, the failing 
inflection ought to be adopted on you, world, and 
heaven ; and for the sake of conveying what is meant 
by this inflection, we may call each of these words 
emphatical, and print them in Italicks ; not that all 
emphasis necessarily adopts the failing inflection, but 
because this inflection is generally annexed to em- 
phasis, for want of a just idea of the distinction of in- 
flection here laid down : 

I tell you, though you, though all the world, though an an- 
gel from heaven, were to ami m the truth of it, 1 could not be- 
lieve it. 

The falling inflection annexed to members of sen- 
tences generally marked with the semicolon and co- 
lon, may be seen in the following example : 


Persons of Sfood taste expect to be pleased, at the same time 
they are informed ; and think that the best sense always de- 
serves the best language : but still the chief regard is to be had 
to perspicuity. 

In this example, the word informed is marked with 
the semicolon, and the word language with the colon ; 
and from the sense and structure of the sentence, both 
require the falling inflection, contrary to that annex- 
ed to the same points in the preceding sentences. 
The period in each sentence has the failing inflection, 
and in the last sentence is pronounced in a lower 
tone of voice than the same inflection on the colon 
and semicolon. 

Thus we see, that whatever variety of another kind, 
such as loudness or softness, highness or lowness, 
swiftness or slowness, or whatever other variety we 
may accompany the points with, they must necessari- 
ly adopt either the rising or falling inflection, or 
be pronounced in a monotone. These inflections, 
therefore, which are the most marking differences in 
reading and speaking, perhaps, are not improperly 
pitched upon to serve as guides to an accurate pro- 
nunciation ; but as so much depends upon a just no- 
tion of this real though delicate distinction, if the 
reader is not yet made sufficiently acquainted with it, 
he will not think it superfluous to peruse the following 
attempt to render it still clearer. 

Another Method of explaining the Inflections of the 


Every sentence consisting of an affirmation and 
negation directly opposed to each other, has an appro 
priated pronunciation, which, in earnest speaking, ev- 
ery ear adopts without any premeditation. Thus in 
the following sentence : 


Caesar does not deserve fame, but feme, 

Here the word fame has the rising, and blame the 
falling inflection ; and we find all sentences construct- 
ed in the same manner, have , like this, the rising in- 
flection on the negative, and the falling inflection on 
the affirmative member. The word blame, there- 
fore, in this sentence, has not the falling inflection on 
it because it is the last word, but because affirmation, 
opposed to negation, naturally adopts this inflection. 

Thus far choice has been made of words different 
in sense, though similar in sound, that the sentence 
might appear to carry some meaning with it, and the 
reader be led to annex those inflections to the words 
which the sense seemed to demand ; but, perhaps^ 
the shortest method of convey ing the nature of these 
inflections, would be to take the same word, and 
place it in the interrogative and declarative sentences,, 
in opposition to itself : Thus it is certain, that ever)? 
speaker, upon pronouncing the following phrases* 
would give the fast fame in each line the rising, and 
the fast fame in each line the falling inflection : 

Does he say fame, or fame ? 
He does not say fame, but fame. 

But here an ear which cannot discern the true differ- 
ence of sound in these words, will be apt to suppose 
that what difference there is, arises from the fast fame- 
being pronounced in a lower tone than the first ; but 
this, it may be observed, makes no essential differ- 
ence : Let us pronounce the last word in as high a 
key as we please, provided we preserve the proper 
inflection, the contrast to the former word will appear 5 
as a proof of this, let us pronounce the last word of 
the last phrase with a strong emphasis, and we shall 
find, that though it is in a higher key than the first 
word. fame, the voice slides in a contrary direction. 
Accordingly we find, that if we lay the strong em- 


phasis upon the first fame in the following sentence, 
the last fame will take the rising inflection : 

He says fatne, and not fame. 

So that the inflections on the first and last fame, in 
this sentence, are in an opposite order to the same 
inflections on the same words in the two former 

But, perhaps, by this time, the reader's ear is puz- 
zled with the sounds of single words, and it may not 
be amiss to try it with the same inflections, terminating 
members of sentences : This, perhaps, will not only 
convey the nature of these two inflections better than 
by sounding them upon single words, but give us, at 
the same time, a better idea of their importance and 
utility. And, first, let the reader try over the follow- 
ing passage of Mr. Addison in the Spectator, by read- 
ing it so as to place the rising inflection, or that in- 
flection commonly marked by a comma, on every 
particular of the series : 

The descriptive part of this allegory is likewise very strong, 
and full of sublime ideas : The figure ol Death, the regal 
crown upon his head, his menace of Satan, his advancing t© 
the combat, the outcry at his birth, are circumstances too no- 
ble to be passed over in silence, and extremely suitable to 
this king of terrours. 

Then let him practise it over by reading it so as to 
place the falling inflection, or that inflection commonly 
marked by a colon, on every particular of the series 
but the last ; to which let him give the rising inflection, 
marked by the comma : 

The descriptive part of this allegory is likewise very strong, 
and fud of sub-.ime ideas : The rigure of Death, the regal 
crown upon his head, his menace of Satan : his advancing 
to the combat : the outcry at his birth, are circumstances too 
nobie to be passed over in silence, and extremely suitable t£> 
this king of terrours. 


This last manner of reading this passage is un- 
questionably the true one, as it throws a kind of em- 
phasis on each member which forms a beautiful 
climax, entirely lost in the common mode of pro- 
nouncing them : and, to omit no method that may 
tend to convey an idea of this difference of inflection, 
let us suppose these words to be all emphatical, and, 
as such, according to the common method they may 
be printed in Itaiicks ; this is not an accurate idea of 
emphasis, as will be shewn hereafter, but it is the 
common one, and, as such, may serve to shew the 
difference between pronouncing the first example and 
the second. 

The descriptive part of this allegory is likewise very strong 
and full of sublime ideas : The figure of Death : the regal 
crown upon his head : his menace of Satan : his advancing 
to the combat : the outcry at his birth, are circumstances too no- 
ble to be passed over in silence, and extremely suitable to this 
king of terrours. 

If the reader, from this description of the inflec- 
tions of the voice, can so far understand them as to 
be sensible of the great difference there is between 
suspending the voice at every comma in the first ex- 
ample, and giving it a forcible downward direction at 
every colon in the two last examples, it is presumed, 
he will sufficiently conceive, that this distinction of 
the two leading inflections of the voice may be ap- 
plied to the most useful purposes in the art of read- 
ing. But in order to give a still clearer idea, if pos- 
sible, of these two different inflections we shall subjoin 
a sort of scale or diagram, with an explanation of each 
example annexed. 



Explanation of Plate I. 
No. I. Did he do it voluntarily or involuntarily ? 

In the pronunciation of these words, we find every 
syllable in the word voluntarily rises except the first, 
vol ; and every syllable in the word involuntarily falls 
but the first, in* A slow drawling pronunciation of 
these words will evidently show that this is the case. 
These different slides of the voice are named from the 
direction they take in the conclusion of a word, as that 
is the most apparent, especially if there are several 
syllables after the accented syllable, or if the word 
be but of one syllable, and terminate in a vowel or a 
liquid : for, in this case, the sound lasts some time 
after the word is articulated. Thus voluntarily may 
be said to have the rising, and involuntarily the fall- 
ing inflection ; and we must carefully guard against 
mistaking the low tone at the beginning of the rising 
inflection for the falling inflection, and the high tone 
at the beginning of the falling inflection, for the rising 
inflection, as they are not denominated rising or fall- 
ing from the high or low tone in which they are pro- 
nounced, but, from the upward or downward slide in 
which they terminate, whether pronounced in a high 
or a low key. 

In this representation we see something of that 
wave-like rising and failing of the voice, which con- 
stitutes the variety and harmony of speech. It will 
not be easy at first to conceive this correspondence 
between the eye and the ear, especially if we do not 
dwell distinctly on the words we repeat ; but I flatter 
myself a little custom will soon render it clear, at least 
with respect to the words that are accented or em- 
phatical ; for it is to be observed, that in this scheme 
every word, whether accented or not, is arranged un- 


der that line of sound to which it belongs : though the 
unaccented words are generally pronounced so fee- 
bly, as to render it often very difficult to say to which 
class they belong ; that is, whether to the rising or 
falling inflection ; but when the accented or emphatick 
words have their proper inflection, the subordinate 
words can scarcely be in an improper one ; and this 
makes the difficulty of ascertaining their true inflec- 
tion of less consequence. The accented or emphatick 
words, therefore, are those only which we need at pre- 
sent attend to ; and those in good speaking and read- 
ing, we shall find constandy adopting such an inflec- 
tion as is suitable to the sense and harmony of the 

The sentence No. I. and any other sentence con- 
structed in exactly the same manner, must neces- 
sarily adopt the rising inflection on the first member, 
and the falling on the last ; that is, the rising inflec- 
tion on voluntarily, and the falling on involuntarily ; 
and this pronunciation is so appropriated to this 
species of sentence, that the dullest and most unprac- 
tised ear would, without the least reflection, adopt it. 
The same may be said of the sentence, No. II. which 
every ear would agree in pronouncing with the same 
inflections in a contrary order ; that is, the falling 
inflection on voluntarily, and the rising on involun- 

No. III. and IV. shew that the same words take 
different inflections in correspondence with the sense 
and structure of the sentence ; for as the word con- 
stitution, in No. IV. only ends a member of the 
sentence, and leaves the sense unfinished, it necessari- 
ly adopts the suspending or rising inflection ; and har- 
mony requires that the preceding words should be 
so arranged, as to form the greatest harmony and 
variety, which is done by giving every one of the 
words an inflection, different from what it has in No. 
III. where constitution ends the sentence. 


But when we say a word is to have the rising- in- 
flection, it is not meant that this word is to be pro- 
nounced in a higher tone than other words, but that 
the latter part of the word is to have a higher tone 
than the former part ; the same may be observed, 
mutatis mutandis, of the falling inflection ; and this 
difference of tone between the former and latter part 
of a word (especially if the word be a monosyllable,) 
is so difficult to analyse, that though we can per- 
ceive a difference upon the whole, we cannot easily 
mark where it lies. 

But if we form a series of words, beginning with 
long polysyllables, and proceeding to monosyllables, 
and carefully preserve the same inflection on each 
sentence, we shall plainly perceive the diversity of 
inflection in the short as well as in the long words. 
This will appear by pronouncing the different series 
in the plate annexed. 

Explanation of Plate II. 

In this table we find the rising and falling inflec- 
tions very distinguishable in the long words, and 
grow more and more imperceptible in the short ones ; 
they are, however, no less real in one, than in the oth- 
er ; as a good ear will easily perceive, by beginning 
at the long words, and repeating down to the short 
ones. From No. I. to No. IX. the contrasted words 
are rising at the comma, and falling at the note of 
interrogation ; and from No. X. to No. XVIII. they 
are falling at the comma, and rising at the period. 

Lest an inaccurate ear should be led to suppose 
that the different signification of the opposing words 
is the reason of their sounding differently, we have 
given some phrases composed of the same words, 
which are nevertheless pronounced with exactly the 
same difference of inflection as the others. Thus 

XIX Did tie- act f us fly . 

XX / know not. ivtn Itrrr he acted /ustly or tui/tisttr 
b'tl he acted contrary /,/ tmv 

A XI. if headed contrary to f&w. he eoudd not have 
acted ' jtisttv , t>u t tinius/dr 


the words conscience, No. IV. are pronounced with 
the same difference of inflection as the preceding 
phrases ; that is, the first conscience has the rising 
and the last the falling inflection ; the following 
words, unjustly, pride, mind, all, and lad, have the 
same diversity of pronunciation ; and the diversity 
in these, as in the rest, is in an inverted order in the 
opposite column. 

If we consider these slides or inflections with re- 
spect to quantity ; that is, how long the upward in- 
flection continues to rise from the point where it be- 
gins, and how long the downward inflection falls from 
its commencing point ; we shall find that as this dif- 
ference is not easily ascertained, so, in an outline of 
this kind, it is of no great consequence : the rising or 
falling of the slide, in a greater or a less degree, does 
not essentially affect the sense or harmony of a sen- 
tence ; while adopting one slide for the other, will 
often destroy both. See p. 75. 

Thus in the interrogative sentence, No. XIX. 
Did he act justly ? the voice ought to adopt the rising 
inflection, and continue the upward slide on the word 
justly, somewhat longer and higher than if it had 
been a mere comma ; and yet, if we mark the rising 
inflection on the word justly in the sentence, No. XX. 
the difference of the slides on these two words in these 
different sentences is not very considerable. 

If we consider the sentence, No. XXI. as conclud- 
ing a subject or a considerable branch of it, the voice 
will gradually slide into a lower tone towards the end, 
and the word unjustly will be pronounced in a lower 
tone of voice than in the sentence, No. V. ; but the 
downward slide in both will be nearly of the same 
duration and extent : for, as we have before observ- 
ed, as the different key in which we sing or play a 
tune, makes no difference in the length or shortness of 
the notes ; so the different pitch of voice in which 
we speak or read, has no relation to the height or low- 


ness of the slide or inflection with which we terminate 
our words. 

It will be necessary for the pupil to practise over 
these series of words, and to form sentences of his 
own, for the purpose of using the ear to distinguish 
the inflections. In order to this, he must dwell lon- 
ger on the words at which he pauses, and on those 
which have emphasis, than is proper when he is read- 
ing or speaking in common, that the ear may be better 
enabled to catch the inflection : it may be remarked 
too, that the more colloquial and familiar the language, 
provided it is earnest and emphatical, the more per- 
ceptible the inflections are ; and the more elevated and 
poetical, the less so. The plaintive tone, so essen- 
tial to the delivery of elegiack composition, greatly 
diminishes the slides, and reduces them almost to 
monotones ; nay, a perfect monotone, without any 
inflection at all, is sometimes very judiciously intro- 
duced in reading verse. Thus in the sublime de- 
scription of the richness of Satan's throne, in the be- 
ginning of the second book of Paradise Lost : 

High on a throne of royal state which far 
Outshone the wealth of Ormus or of Inde, 
Or where the gorgeous East with richest hand 
Show'rs on her kings barbarick pearJ and gold, 
Satan exalted sat. 

In this passage, I say, every word of the third and 
fourth line, but pearl and gold, may be pronounced in 
a monotone ; and this monotone will greatly add 
to the dignity and grandeur of the object described. 

As poetry, therefore, when properly read, will of- 
ten greatly diminish, and sometimes even entirely 
sink the inflections into a monotone ; emphatick sen- 
tences in prose will be the best for the learner to 
practise upon, in order to acquire an idea of the 
difference of inflection : constantly observing to pro- 


long and drawl out the pronunciation of the word, the 
inflection of which he wants to discover. 

Perhaps the best method of knowing whether we 
make use of the inflection we intend, is to form it 
into a question with the disjunctive or, and to repeat 
it in the same manner as the interrogative sentences, 
Plate II. 

Thus in the following sentence : 

A contented mind, and a good conscience, will make a man 
happy in all conditions. 

In order to pronounce this sentence to the best 
advantage, it will be necessary to lay the falling in- 
flection on the word mind, the rising on conscience, 
and the falling on all ; if I would know the falling 
inflection I am to lay on mind, let me form the word 
into this question, Is it mind, or mind ? and the pro- 
nunciation of the last mind, as in No. VII. will be 
that which I must adopt in the sentence ; if I want 
to know the rising inflection on conscience, I must 
say, Is it conscience, or conscience? and the first pro- 
nunciation of the word, as in No. IV. is that which 
I must adopt : the falling inflection on all will be 
determined by saying, Is it all, or all ? as the last 
all has the inflection sought for. 

In the same manner, if, in the following couplet of 

What the weak head with strongest bias rules 
Is pride ; the never-failing vice of fools. 

If in this couplet, I say, we are directed to lay 
the falling inflection on pride, we need only form the 
word into this question — Is it pride, or pride ? and 
the last being the falling inflection, is that which we 
ought to adopt in reading the couplet. 

It may not, perhaps, be altogether useless to ob- 
serve, that these angular lines may be considered as 


a kind of bars in the musick of speaking : each of 
them contain a certain portion of either the rising or 
falling inflection ; but though every word in each 
line is pronounced with the same inflection, they are 
not all pronounced with the same force ; no line can 
have more than one accented or emphatick syllable in 
it, and the rest, though preserving the same inflec- 
tion, abate of the force of sound. 

With respect to the relative force of these unem- 
phatick words, see Introduction to the Theory of Em- 

Utility of a Knowledge of the Infections of the 

But it will be demanded : suppose we could con- 
ceive the nature of these inflections ever so clearly, 
of what use will it be ? I answer, that as the sense 
and harmony of a sentence depend so much on the 
proper application of these inflections, it will be of 
infinite use to an indifferent reader to know how a 
good reader applies them. 

It will, perhaps, be objected, that an attention 
to these inflections, marked upon paper, will be apt 
to embarrass the mind of the reader, which should 
be wholly employed on the sense of the writer. 
To this objection it may be answered, that the very 
same argument will lie against the use of pauses in 
printing; and the ancient Greek method of writing 
without any intervals between words, will, accord- 
ing to this reasoning, be by far the most eligible. 
The truth is, every thing new embarrasses ; and if 
we have already acquired an art in an imperfect way, 
the means of facilitating a more perfect acquisition 
of it, will at first retard our progress : if a child has 
once learned to read tolerably, without having the 


Words divided into syllables, such a division will ap- 
pear new and embarrassing to him ; and though syl- 
labication is so confessedly useful to learners, those 
who can once read without it, would be rather puz- 
zled than assisted by it. To those, therefore, who 
already read well, this system of inflections is not ad- 
dressed. What help do they stand in need of, who 
are sufficiently perfect ? It is to the learner only, and 
he who* is in doubt about the best method of reading 
a passage, that this assistance is recommended ; and 
it may be with confidence asserted, that if such a one 
will but bestow half the time to acquire a knowledge 
of these inflections that is usually spent in learning 
the gamut, he will have no reason to repent his la- 

A want of instructing youth early in the knowl- 
edge of inflections, is the great occasion of embar- 
rassment in teaching them to read. We can tell 
them they are too high or too low, too loud or too 
soft, too forcible or too feeble, and that they either 
pause, or continue the voice in the wrong place : but 
we have no way of conveying to them their error, if 
they make use of a wrong inflection ; though this 
may actually be the case, where they are without 
fault in every other particular : that is, there may be 
a wrong slide of the voice upon a particular word, 
though it is neither pronounced too high nor too 
low, too loud nor too soft, too forcibly nor too feebly, 
nor with any improper pause or continuation of voice. 
Let us suppose, for example, a youth, little instructed 
in reading, were to pronounce the following sen- 
tence : 

If we have no regard to our own character, we ought to 
have some regard to the character of others. 

There is the greatest probability, I say, that such 
a reader would pronounce the first emphatick word 


own with the rising, and the last emphatick word 
others with the falling inflection, which by no means 
brings out the sense of the sentence to the best ad- 
vantage. To tell him he must lay more stress upon 
the word own, will by no means set him right, un- 
less the kind of stress is conveyed ; for he may in- 
crease the stress upon both the emphatick words, 
Without removing the impropriety. In the same 
manner, if in reading the following passage : 

Enter not into judgment with thy servant, O Lord ! for in 
thy sight shall no man living be justified. 

If, in pronouncing this passage, I say, the reader 
neglects placing an emphasis on the last thy, it will 
be in vain to tell him he ought to lay a stress on that 
word, unless we direct him to the kind of stress ; 
for though, in the former instance the emphasis with 
the falling inflection was the true emphasis on own, 
the same emphasis on thy, in the latter instance, 
would utterly destroy the meaning : it is evident, 
therefore, if once a youth were taught to distinguish 
accurately the rising and falling inflection, how easily 
and methodically instruction in reading might be 

At this point the present treatise might finish ; 
and, it is presumed, not without having added some- 
thing to the art of reading. A method which conveys 
to us some of the essential turns of voice in a good 
reader or speaker cannot be without its advantages. 
But something farther is proposed. An attempt 
will be made to point out several of those varieties 
in the sense and structure of a sentence which severally 
demand a particular application of these inflec- 
tions ; from a variety of these examples, gen- 
eral rules will be drawn, and the whole doctrine of in- 
flections will be reduced into something like a system. 
A first essay on an untreated subject can scarcely be 


exempt from a multitude of inaccuracies ; and ob- 
scurity is the natural attendant on novelty : but if any 
advantages, however small, are the result of this nov- 
elty, the candid and judicious reader who under- 
stands the difficulty of the undertaking, will not 
think even these small advantages entirely unworthy 
of his attention. 

Practical System of the Inflections of the Voice. 

Words adopt particular inflections, either accord- 
ing to the particular signification they bear, or as they 
are either differently arranged or connected with other 
words. The first application of inflection relates to em- 
phasis, which will be considered at large in its proper 
place : the last relates to that application of inflection, 
which arises from the division of a sentence, into its 
component parts; and this is the object of punctuation. 
Punctuation, or the division of a sentence, has been 
already treated in the former part of this work : we 
now proceed to apply the doctrine of inflection to 
that of punctuation, by shewing what turns or slides 
of voice are most suitable to the several distinctions, 
rests, and pause of a sentence. But before any rules for 
applyingthe inflections are laid down, perhaps it will be 
necessary again to take notice, that though there are 
but two simple or radically different inflections, the 
rising and falling, yet the latter is divisible into two 
kinds of very different and even opposite import. 
The falling inflection without a fall of the voice, or, 
in other words, that inflection of voice which consists 
of a downward slide, in a high and forcible tone, may 
either be applied to that part of a sentence where a 
portion of sense is formed, as at the word unjustly r , 
Plate II. No. XX. ; or to that part where no sense is 
"formed, as at the word temperance, Plate I. No. VI. ; 
but when this downward slide is pronounced in a 



lower and less forcible tone than the preceding words, 
it indicates not only that the sense, but the sentence is 

It must be carefully noted, therefore, that whenev- 
er the falling inflection is said to be on a word, it is not 
meant that this inflection is to be pronounced in a 
low and feeble tone, unless the sentence is concluded ; 
and that even a perfect sentence is not always to be 
pronounced with this inflection in a low tone, will be 
shewn hereafter, under the article Final Pause, or 

See a farther explanation of this definition, Plate 
III. No. I. and IV. 

The rising inflection is denoted by the acute ac- 
cent, thus ('). 

The falling inflection is denoted by the grave ac- 
cent, thus ( v ). 

Compact Sentence. 

Direct Period. 

Rule I. Every direct period, so constructed as 
to .have its two principal constructive parts connected 
by correspondent conjunctions, requires the long 
pause with the rising inflection at the end of the first 
principal constructive member. 


As we cannot discern the shadow moving along the dial- 
plate, so the advances we make in knowledge are only per- 
ceivable by the distance gone over. 

As we perceive the shadow to have moved, but did not per- 
ceive it moving ; so our advances in learning, consisting of 
insensible steps, are only perceivable by the distance. 

As we perceive the shadow to have moved along the dial, 
but did not perceive it moving ; and it appears that the grass 
has grown* though nobody ever saw it grow : so the advaj> 


ees we make in knowledge, as they consist of such minute steps, 
are only perceivable by the distance. 

Each of these three sentences consists of two prin- 
cipal correspondent parts ; the first commencing with 
as, and the last with so : as the first member of the 
first sentence is simple, it is marked with a comma 
only at dial-plate ; as the second is compounded, it 
is marked with a semicolon at moving ; and as the 
last is decompounded, it is marked with a colon at 
grow : this punctuation is according to the general 
ruies of pausing, and agreeable to good sense ; for it 
is certainly proper that the time of the pause should 
increase with the increase and complexity of the mem- 
bers to which it is annexed, as more time is requir- 
ed to comprehend a large and complicated member 
than a short and simple one : but whatever may be the 
time taken up in pausing at the different points, the 
inflection annexed to them must always be the 
same ; that is, the comma, semicolon, and colon, 
must invariably have the rising inflection. See 
page 76. 

The same may be observed of the following sen- 
tences : See page 46. 

Although I fear it may be a shame to be dismayed at the 
entrance of my discourse in defence of a most valiant man ; 
and that it no ways becomes me, while Milo is more concern- 
ed for the safety of the state than for himself, not to show the 
same greatness of mind in behalf of him ; yet this new form of 
prosecution terrifies my eyes, which, whatever way they turn, 
want the ancient custom of the forum, and the former manner 
of trials. Cicero's Oration for Milo, 

Although, son Marcus, as you have now been a hearer of 
Cratippus for a year, and this at Athens, you ought to abound 
in the precepts and doctrines of philosophy, by reason of the 
great character both of your instructor and the city, one of 
which can furnish you with knowledge, and the other with 
examples ; yet, as I always to my advantage joined the Latin 
tongue with the Greek, and I have done it not only in oratorj, 


bm likewise in philosophy ; I think you ought to do the same, 
that you may be equally conversant in both languages. 

Cicero's Offices, book 1. chap. i. 

These sentences begin with the concessive con- 
junction although, and have their correspondent con- 
junction yet ; and these conjunctions form the two 
principal constructive members. The words him y 
and examples, therefore, at the end of the first mem- 
bers, must have the rising inflection, and here must 
be the long pause. 

Rule II. Every direct period, consisting of two 
principal constructive parts, and having only the first 
part commence with a conjunction, requires the ris- 
ing inflection and long pause at the end of this part. 
See p. 47. 


As in my speculations I have endeavoured to extinguish 
passion and prejudice, I am still desirous of doing some good 
in this particular. Spectator. 

Here the sentence divides itself into two corres- 
pondent parts at prejudice ; and as the word so is un- 
derstood before the words / am, they must be pre- 
ceded by the long pause and rising inflection. 

If impudence prevailed as much in the forum and courts of 
justice, as insolence does in the country and places of less re- 
sort ; Aulus Caecina would submit as much to the impudence 
of Sextus iEbutius in this cause, as he did before to his inso- 
lence when assaulted by him. 

If I have any genius, which I am sensible can be but very 
small ; or any readiness in speaking, in which I do not deny 
but I have been much conversant ; or any skill in oratory, from 
an acquaintance with the best arts, to which I confess I have 
been always inclined : no one has a better right to demand of 
me the fruit of all these things than this Auius Licinius. 

Cicero's Oration for Archias, 

If, after surveying the whole earth at once, and the several 
planets that lie within its neighbourhood, we contemplate those 


wide fields of ether, that reach in height as far as from Saturn 
to the fixed stars, and run abroad, almost to an infinitude ; our 
imagination finds its capacity filled with so immense a prospect, 
and puts itself upon the stretch to comprehend it. 

Addison's Spectator, No. 411. 

In the first of these examples, the first part of the 
sentence ends at resort, and the second begins at Au- 
lus Ccecina : in the second sentence, the first part ends 
at inclined, and the second begins at no one ; and in 
the third the first part ends at infinitude, and the sec- 
ond begins at our : between these words, therefore, 
in each sentence, must be inserted the long pause and 
rising inflection. 

All these sentences commence with a conjunction, 
and may be said to have a correspondent conjunction 
commencing the second part of the sentence, not ex- 
pressed, but understood. In the first sentence com- 
mencing with if, then is understood at the beginning 1 
of the second part ; the sense of this conjunctive ad- 
verb then may be plainly perceived to exist by in- 
serting it in the sentence, and observing its suitable- 
ness when expressed : 

If impudence prevailed as much in the forum and courts of 
justice, as insolence does in the country and places of less re- 
sort, then Aulus Caecina would submit as much to the impu- 
dence of Sextus iEbutius in tin's cause, as he did before to his 
insolence when assaulted by him. 

The same insertion of the word then might be 
made in the two last examples commencing with 
if, and the same suitableness would appear ; for 
though correct and animated language tends to sup- 
press as much as possible the words that are so im- 
plied in the sense as to make it unnecessary to ex- 
press them, yet if, when inserted, they are suitable 
to the sense, it is a proof that the structure of the 
sentence is perfectly the same, whether these super- 
fluous words are expressed or not. 


The exception to this rule is, when the emphatical 
word in the conditional part of the sentence is in 
direct opposition to another word in the conclusion, 
and a concession is implied in the former, in order 
to strengthen the argument in the latter ; for in this 
case the middle of the sentence has the falling, and 
the latter member the rising inflection. 


If we have no regard for religon in youth, we ought to 
have some regard for it in age. 

If we have no regard for our own character, we ought to 
have some regard for the character of others. 

In these examples, we find the words youth, and 
own character, have the falling inflection, and both 
periods end with the rising inflection ; but if these 
sentences had been formed so as to make the latter 
member a mere inference from, or consequence of 
the former, the general rule would have taken place, 
and the first emphatick word would have had the ris- 
ing, and the last the falling inflection. 


If we have no regard for religion in youth, we have seldom 
any regard for it in age. 

If we no regard for our own character, it can scarcely be 
expected that we could have any regard for the character of 

Rule III. Direct periods, which commence with 
particles of the present and past tense, consist of two 
parts ; between which must be inserted the long 
pause and rising inflection. 


Having already shown how the fancy is affected by the works 
of nature, and afterwards considered in general both the works 


of nature and of art, how they mutually assist and complete 
each other, in forming such scenes and prospects as are most 
apt to delight the mind of the beholder ; I shall in this paper 
throw together some reflections on that particular art, which 
has a more immediate tendency than any other, to produce 
those primary pleasures of the imagination, which have hith- 
erto been the subject of this discourse. Sped. No. 415. 

The sense is suspended in this sentence, till the 
word beholder, and here is to be placed the long 
pause and rising inflection ; in this place also, it is 
evident, the word now might be inserted in perfect 
conformity to the sense. 


When the last word of the first part of these sen- 
tences requires the strong emphasis, the falling in* 
flection must be used instead of the rising. 


Hannibal being frequently destitute of money and provis- 
ions, with no recruits of strength in case of ill fortune, and no 
encouragement even when successful ; it is not to be wondered 
at that his affairs began at length to decline. 

Goldsmith's Rom. Hist. Vol. i. p. 278. 

In this sentence, the phrase even xvhen successful) 
demands the strong emphasis, and must therefore 
be pronounced with the falling inflection : it may be 
observed likewise, that these sentences are of the 
nature of those constructed on conjunctions; as the 
last member of this would easily admit of then at 
the beginning, to show a kind of condition in the 
former, which corresponds with and modifies the 

Inverted Period* 

Rule I. Every period, where the first part forms 
perfect sense bv itself, but is modified or determined 


in its signification by the latter, has the rising in- 
flection and long pause between these parts as in the 
direct period. See p. 46. 


Gratian very often recommends the fine taste, as the utmost 
perfection of an accomplished man. 

In this sentence, the first member ending at taste 
forms perfect sense, but is qualified by the last ; 
for Gratian is not said simply to recommend the 
fine taste, but to recommend it in a certain way ; 
that is, as the utmost perfection of an accomplished 
man. The same may be observed of the following 

Persons of good taste expect to be pleased, at the same time 
they are informed. 

Here perfect sense is formed at pleased ; but it is 
not meant that persons of good taste are pleased in 
general, but with reference to the time they are 
informed : the words taste and pleased, therefore, in 
these sentences, we must pronounce with the rising 
inflection, and accompany this inflection with a pause. 
For the same reasons, the same pause and inflection 
must precede the word though in the following ex- 
amples : 

I can desire to perceive those things that God has prepared 
for those that love him, though they be such as eye hath not 
seen ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man to 
conceive. Locke. 

The sound of love makes your soft heart afraid, 

And guard itself, though but a child invade. Waller. 


Loose Sentence, 

A loose sentence has been shown to consist of a 
period, either direct or inverted, and an additional 
member which does not modify it ; or, in other 
words, a loose sentence is a member containing per- 
fect sense by itself, followed by some other member 
or members, which do not restrain or qualify its sig- 
nification. According to this definition, a loose 
sentence must have that member which forms pertect 
sense detached from those that follow, by a long pause 
and the falling inflection. See p. 47. 

As, in speaking, the ear seizes every occasion of 
varying the tone of voice which the sense will permit ; 
so, in reading, we ought as much as possible to imi- 
tate the variety of speaking, by taking every oppor- 
tunity of altering the voice in correspondence with 
the sense : the most general fault of printing, is to 
mark those members of loose sentences, which form 
perfect sense, with a comma, instead of a semicolon^ 
or colon ; and a similar, as well as the most common 
fault of readers, is to suspend the voice at the end of 
these members, and so to run the sense of one 
member into another : by this means, the sense is 
obscured, and a monoto.iy is produced,^ instead of 
that distinctness and variety which arises from pro- 
nouncing these members witii such an inflection of 
voice as marks a certain portion of perfect sense, not 
immediately connected with what follows ; for as a 
member of this kind does not depend for its sense 
on the following member, it ought to be pronounced 
in such a manner, as to show its independence on 
the succeeding member, and its dependence on the 
period, as forming but a part of it. 

In order to convey precisely the import of these 
members, it is necessary to pronounce them with 


the falling inflection, without suffering the voice to 
fall gradually as at a period ; by which means the 
pause becomes different from the mere comma, which 
suspends the voice, and marks immediate depend- 
ence on what follows ; and from the period, which 
marks not only an independence on what follows, 
but an exclusion of whatever may follow, and therefore 
drops the voice as at a conclusion. As this inflec- 
tion is produced by a certain portion of perfect sense, 
which, in some degree, separates the member it falls 
on, from those that follow, it may not improperly be 
called the disjunctive inflection. An example will 
assist us in comprehending this important inflection 
in reading : 

All superiority and pre-eminence that one man can have 
over another, may be reduced to the notion of quality ; which, 
considered at large, is either that of fortune, body, or mind : 
the first is that which consists in birth, title, or riches ; and is 
the most foreign to our natures, and what we can the least 
call our own, of any of the three kinds of quality. 

Sped. No. 2.19. 

In the first part of this sentence, the falling inflec- 
tion takes place on the word quality ; for this mem- 
ber, we find, contains perfect sense, and the succeed- 
ing members are not necessarily connected with it : 
the same inflection takes place in the next member 
on the word riches ; which, with respect to the sense 
of the member it terminates, and its connection with 
the following members, is exactly under the same 
predicament as the former, though the one is marked 
with a comma, and the other with a semicolon, 
which is the common punctuation in all the editions 
of the Spectator : a very little reflection, however, 
will shew us the necessity of adopting the same pause 
and inflection on both the above-mentioned words, 
as this inflection not only marks more precisely the 
completeness of sense in the members they termin- 


ate, but gives a variety to the period, by making the 
first, and the succeeding members, end in a different 
tone of voice ; if we were to read all the members as 
if marked with commas, that is, as if the sense of 
the members were absolutely dependent on each oth- 
er, the necessity of attending to this inflection of 
voice in loose sentences would more evidently ap- 
pear. This division of a sentence is sometimes, 
and ought almost always to be marked with a semi- 
colon, as in the following sentence at the word 
possess : 


Foolish men are more apt to consider what they have lost, 
than what they possess.; and to fix their eyes upon those who 
are richer than themselves, rather than on those who are un- 
der greater difficulties. Spectator, No. 574-. 

But though we sometimes find these independent 
members of sentences pointed properly by the semi- 
colon, we much oftener see thein marked only by a 
comma ; and thus are they necessarily confounded 
with those members which are dependent on the suc- 
ceeding member, where a comma is the proper punct- 
uation. An and, a which, a xvhere, or any of the 
connective words, commencing the succeeding mem- 
ber, is a sufficient reason with most printers for point- 
ing the preceding member with a comma, even where 
these connective words do not qualify the preceding 
member, and consequently do not join members to- 
gether as they are parts of each other, but as they are 
parts of the period ; which is the case in the exam- 
ples already produced. 

The following examples afford a proof of the neces- 
sity of adopting the falling inflection, in order to sep- 
arate the first member which contains perfect sense, 
from those which follow, let the punctuation be what 
it will. 


The soul, considered abstractedly from its passions, is of a 
remiss and sedentary nature, slow in its resolves, and languish- 
ing in its executions. Spectator^ No. 255. 

The faculty (taste,) must in some degree be born with us, 
and it very often happens, that those who have other qualities 
in perfection are wholly void of this. Ibid, No. 409. 

This therefore is a good office, (the planting of trees) which 
is suited to the meanest capacities, and which may be perform- 
ed by multitudes, who have not abilities to deserve well of their 
country, and recommend themselves to their posterity by any 
other method. Ibid. No. 583. 

In these last examples we may observe, that the first 
member, which is distinguished by a comma in most 
editions of the Spectator, is exactly under the same 
predicament with the member of the two former ex- 
amples, which is marked with a semicolon ; and 
which is unquestionably the true method of pointing 
them : for though, in the compact sentence, where 
the sense is suspended till the whole is finished, the 
semicolon and colon have the rising inflection, as in 
examples, p. 74; yet, in the loose sentence, these points 
are generally accompanied by the failing inflection, 
as in the last examples : and it must be insisted on, 
that unless the line be drawn between such members 
as contain perfect, and such as contain imperfect sense, 
the parts of a sentence cannot be pronounced to the 
best advantage ; if, by continuing the voice exactly 
in the same suspense, one thought is run into another 
which does not really belong to it, the sense must be 
injured; and though the mind is often too well in- 
formed of the subject to be much at a loss for the 
sense, let the punctuation be what it will, yet it is 
impossible the sense of an author can be readily per- 
ceived in its full beauty, when it is obscured by an 
erroneous pronunciation of the sentence which con- 
veys it. 

But though sense is often, harmony is much more 
frequently, concerned in a proper use of this disjunc 


tive inflection. The comma occurs so much often- 
er than any other pause, that it is highly important to 
harmonious delivery that it should not be introduced 
oftenerthan is necessary ; every good reader, there- 
fore, will take frequent opportunities of changing the 
comma into the semicolon, as it is chiefly from not 
attending to this distinction that the common punctu- 
ation is so unfavourable to variety. And if the cor- 
rectors of the press, who are generally very intelligent 
men, would but adopt this distinction of a period in- 
to a compact and loose sentence, and in the latter al- 
ways place a semicolon, or colon, where the former 
part of the sentence forms perfect sense, and is not 
modified by the latter, it is inconceivable how many 
errours in reading might be avoided : it must be 
owned, indeed, that the difficulty of always precisely 
distinguishing between a member, which, by modi- 
fying the preceding member, is necessarily connect- 
ed with it, and another, which only adds to what pre- 
cedes, without modifying the sense, is no small ex- 
tenuation of this common errour of printers ; but it 
is presumed, that our not being able to do it in diffi- 
cult cases is no reason we should neglect it in obvi- 
ous ones, and these are sufficiently numerous to be of 


the utmost importance to our pronunciation. This 
will more evidently appear by the following rules, on 
the use of the falling inflection in the loose sentence. 
Rule I. Every member of a sentence forming 
consistent sense, and followed by two other members 
which do not modify or restrain its signification, ad- 
mits of the falling inflection. 


In short, to cut off all cavi.ling- against the ancients, and 
particularly those of the warmer climates, who have most heat 
and life in their imaginations, we are to consider that the rule 
of observing what the French ca 1 the bienseance in an al- 
lusion, has been found out of later years, and in the colder 


regions of the world ; where we would make some amends for 
our want of force, and spirit, by a scrupulous nicety and ex- 
actness in our compositions. Spectator, No. 160. 

In this example we see the falling inflection at 
world very properly marked with a semicolon, though 
followed by the word where, which seems so inti- 
mately to connect them ; and which might be shown 
in a thousand similar passages, to induce our printers 
to mark these members with a comma only. 

It is this that recommends variety, where the mind is every 
instant called off to something new, and the attention not suf- 
fered to dwell too long on any particular object. 

Spectator, No. 412. 

For this reason, there is nothing more enlivens a prospect 
than rivers, jetteaus, and falls of water, where the scene is 
perpetually shifting and entertaining the sight every moment 
with something that is new. Ibid. No. 412. 

In these instances, though the word water in the 
last sentence, and the word variety in the preceding 
example, are marked with a comma only, precision, 
as well as harmony, require the falling inflection ; the 
first member is a kind of text to the whole sentence 
and is not so closely connected with the succeeding 
members as these last are with each other ; an occa- 
sional sense of the propriety of this distinction makes 
our printers sometimes point the first member of a 
similar sentence with the semicolon. 


At a little distance from my friend's house, among the 
ruins of an old abbey, there is a long walk of aged elms ; 
which are shot up so very high, that when one passes under 
them, the rooks and crows that rest upon the tops of them seem 
to be cawing in another region. Spectator, No. 110. 

Here the first member is very properly pointed 
with a semicolon at elms, and the emphatick pause on 
this word gives a precision and variety to the whole 


sentence ; but as an instance how little the generali- 
ty of our punctuists are guided by the sense of the 
sentence, we need only produce the period which im- 
mediately follows : 

I am very much delighted with this sort of noise, which I 
consider as a kind of natural prayer to that Beine who supp ies 
the wants of his whole creation, and who, in the beautiful lan- 
guage of the Psalms, feedeth the young ravens that call upon 
him. Ibid. 

In these two last instances, the first part of each 
sentence is connected with the succeeding member by 
the relative which ; but as this word does not restrain 
but only explain and extend the meaning of the pre- 
ceding member, the latter, like the former, ought to 
be marked with the semicolon, and pronounced with 
the falling inflection, - 

Cicero concludes his celebrated books de Oratore with some 
precepts for pronunciation and action ; without which part, he 
affirms, that the best orator in the world can never succeed, and 
an indifferent one who is master of this shall gain much greater 
applause. Sped. No. 54-1. 

In this instance we find the word action often point- 
ed with a comma only, though it is certain that it 
ought to be pronounced with the falling inflection ; 
for as the succeeding word without does not modify 
it, and as the next member necessarily requires the 
rising inflection at succeed, the falling inflection on the 
word action adds greatly to the precision and variety 
of the whole sentence. 

Antithetick Member. 

When sentences have two parts corresponding with 
each other, so as to form an antithesis, the first 
part must always terminate with the rising inflec- 




We are always complaining our days are few, and acting as 
though there should be no end of tht m. Spectator No. 93. 

I imagined that I was admitted into a long spacious gallery, 
which had one side covered with pieces, rf all the famous paint- 
ers who are now living ; and the other with the greatest mas- 
ters who are dead. Ibid. No. 83. 

The wicked may indeed taste a malignant kind of pleasure, 
in those actions to which they are accustomed whilst in this 
life ; but when they are removed from all those objects which 
are here apt to gratify them, they will naturally become their 
own tormentors. Ibid No 447. 

The pleasures of the imagination are not so gross as those of 
Sense, nor so refined as those of the understanding. Ibid. No. 411. 

In all these examples, the first part of every antithe- 
sis might form a perfect sentence by itself ; but the 
mutual relation between the former and latter part, 
forms as necessary a connection between them as 
if the former pail formed no sense by itself, and the 
latter part modified and restrained the sense of the 
former ; and therefore the word Jew, in the first ex- 
ample, the word sense in the second, the word living 
in the third, and the words this HJe in the fourth, must 
necessarily adopt the rising inflection. For the same 
reason, the same inflection must take place at the 
word succeed in the following example : 

Cicero concludes his celebrated books de Oratore, with some 
precepts for pronunciation and action ; without which part, he 
affirms, that the best orator in the world can never succeed, 
and an indifferent one, who is master of this, shall gain much 
greater applause. Spectator, No. 541. 

Penultimate Member. 

An exception to the foregoing rules forms another 
rule, which forbids us, without absolute necessity, to 


adopt the falling inflection on the last member but one. 
This rule is founded on the natural perception of har- 
mony in the ear, which has as much dislike to a too 
great similitude of consecutive sounds, as the under- 
standing has to a want of sufficient distinction be- 
tween members differently connected. When this 
distinction, therefore, is sufficiently obvious, and no 
improper connection is formed by using the right in- 
flection, the ear always requires this inflection on the 
penultimate member ; for, as the last member must 
almost always be terminated by the falling inflection 
at the period, a falling inflection, immediately pre- 
ceding it in the penultimate member, would be 
too sudden a repetition of nearly similar sounds : 
hence arises the propriety of the following rules. 

Rule I. Every member of a sentence, immediately 
preceding the last, requires the rising inflection. 


Aristotle tells us, that the world is a copy or transcript of 
those ideas which are in the mind of the first Being ; and that 
those ideas which are in the mind of man are a transcript of the 
world : to this we may add, that words are the transcript of 
those ideas which are in the mind of man, and that writing or 
printing is the transcript of words. Sped. iso. 166. 

In this example, if there were no connection be- 
tween the two last members from the antithesis they 
contain, the rising inflection would be necessary at the 
end of the penultimate member, for the sake of 

In short, a modern Pindarick writer, compared with Pindar, 
is like a sister among the Camisars, compared with Virgil's 
Sybil ; there is the distortion, grimace, and outward figure, 
but nothing of that divine impulse which raises the mind above 
itself, and makes the sounds more than human. 

Sped. No. 160. 

The florist, the planter, the gardener, the husbandman, when 
they are accomplishments to the man of fortune, are great re- 


liefs to a country life, and many ways useful to those who are 
possessed of them. Ibid. l\o. 93. 

In the first of these examples the sentence might 
have finished at itself, and in the last at life ; 
for the succeeding members do not modify them, Lut > 
as they are penultimate members, they necessarily 
require the rising inflection. 

He has annexed a secret pleasure to the idea of any thing 
that is new or uncommon, that he might encourage us in the 
pursuit after knowledge, and engage us to seaich into the 
wonders of his creation ; for every new idea brings such a 
p easure along with it as rewards any pains we have taken in 
the acquisition, and consequently serves as a motive to put us 
upon fresh discoveries. Ibid. No 4- 1 3. 

In this example, we see that it is not the pei feet 
sense of a member which alone qualifies it for the 
falling inflection ; it must be followed by one mem- 
ber, at least, which does not admit this pause ; other- 
wise it is transferred from the first to the succeeding 
member, which is the case in this example. The 
first compound member forms perfect sense at the 
word knowledge, and the succeeding member is riot 
necessarily connected with it : but as this member 
forms perfect sense likewise, and is followed by one, 
which cannot be united with it by the comma or i is- 
ing inflection ; therefore, to avoid the ill effect of two 
successive pauses exactly the same, the falling inflec- 
tion must be placed on the word creation. 

Rule II. As a farther illustration ol this, we may 
observe, that when the first member forms perfect 
sense, and is followed by two members necessarily 
connected, the failing inflection must be placed on 
the first. 

It shall ever be my study to make discoveries of this nature 
in human life, and to settle the proper distinctions between the 
virtues and perfections of mankind, and those false colours and 
resemblances of them that shine alike in the eyes of the vuigar. 



In this example, we may observe that the falling 
inflection might have been placed on the second mem- 
ber, if the second and third members had not been 
necessarily connected by an antithesis ; which shows 
that the falling inflection requires the member it is 
placed on, not only to have perfect sense independ- 
ent on the succeeding member, but at the same time 
requires the succeeding member to be dependent on 
a third. 


Emphasis, which controls every other rule in read- 
ing, forms an exception to this ; which is, that where 
an emphatick word is in the first member of a sen- 
tence, and the last has no emphatical word, this pe- 
nultimate member then terminates with the failing* 


I mast therefore desire the reader to remember, that b)^ the 
pleasures of the imagination, I meant only such p.easures as 
arise originally from sight ; and that I divide these p easures 
into two kinds. Sped. No. 411. 

In this sentence the word sight is emphatical, and 
therefore, though in the penultimate number, must 
not have the rising, but the failing inflection, as this 
is die inflection best suited to the sense of the em- 
phiicick phrase. See article Emphasis. 

The person he chanced to see was, to appearance, an old 
sordid blind man; buc upon his following him from place to 
pi ice, he at last found, by his own confession, that he was Pi.u- 
tus. the God of Riches ; and that he was just come out of the 
house of a miser. Spectator, No. 461-. 

In this sentence the words God of Riches, as op- 
posed to the words old sordid blind man, are emphat- 
ical, and, therefore, though in the penultimate mem- 


ber, require the falling inflection. The same may 
be observed of the word most in the following sen- 
tence : 

If they do not acquiesce in his judgment, which, I think, 
never happened above once or twice at most, they appeal to 

In this sentence we find the connection interrupt- 
ed, and the cadence injured, by giving the falling in- 
flection to the word most ; but if we were to give 
this word the rising inflection for the sake of preserv- 
ing the cadence and connection, we should lose so 
much force as would render this pronunciation less 
eligible upon the whole. The author, therefore, is 
answerable for this incompatibility of the strongest 
sense with the best sound, and the reader is reduced 
to choose the lesser evil. 

The same variance between emphasis and connec- 
tion may be observed in the following sentence : 

Religious hope does not only bear up the mind under her 
sufferings, but makes her rejoice in them, as they may be 
the means of procuring her the great and ultimate end of all 
her hope. Spectator, No. 471. 

Here we see the word rejoice, in opposition to dear 
tip the mind, require, from its being emphatical, the 
failing inflection ; and yet, from its being modified 
by what follows, it ought to have the rising. 

As a corollary to the former rules, it follows, that 
if a loose sentence, having one member forming per- 
fect sense, and not modiiied by what follows, is suc- 
ceeded by another member, which forms perfect 
sense likewise, unmodified by succeeding members ; 
that as often as members of this kind occur, without 
finishing the sentence, they ought to be marked with 
semicolons, or colons, and pronounced, like a series, 
with the falling inflection. 



This persuasion of the truth of the gospel, without the evi- 
dence which accompanies it, would not have been so firm and 
so durable ; it would not have acquired new force with age : 
It would not have resisted the torrent of time, and have pass- 
ed from age to age to our own days. 

In this example a perfect sentence might be form- 
ed at durable ; and as it is not modified by what 
follows, it ought to have the falling inflection : A 
perfect sentence might also be formed at age ; which, 
being under the same predicament as the former 
member, requires the falling inflection likewise : a 
sentence in the same manner might be formed at 
time ; but as this is the penultimate member, it must 
necessarily adopt the rising inflection, according to 
the rule laid down in the preceding article. 

It may be necessary to observe, that when these 
members of sentences marked with a semicolon, or 
colon, follow each other in a series, though they must 
all have the falling inflection, this inflection must be 
pronounced in a higher tone of voice on the second 
than on the first, and on the third than on the second; 
to prevent the monotony which would otherwise ne- 
cessarily be the consequence : A series of colons, 
therefore, must be considered as a compound series, 
and pronounced according to the rules laid down for 
the pronunciation of that species of sentence which 
will be the subject of the next article. 


Natural reason inclines men to mutual converse and society : 
It implants in them a strong affection for those who spring 
from them : It excites them to form communities, and join in 
publick assemblies : And, for these ends, to endeavour to pro- 
eure both the necessaries and conveniencies of life. Cicero. 

In this sentence the falling inflection in the com- 
mon level of the voice is placed on the word society ; 


the same inflection, with a little more force, and in k 
somewhat higher tone of voice, takes place on the 
words spring from them ; and the word assemblies 
has the same inflection a little increased in force and 
height ; this gradual increase of force and height on 
the three first members, gives variety and harmom to 
the declension of voice on the next member, which 
forms the period. 


As variety is necessary in the delivery of almost 
every separate portion of a sentence, it must be much 
more so where the sentence is so constructed that per- 
fectly similar portions succeed each other to a con- 
siderable number. If the ear is displeased at the 
similar endings of two or three members, which, 
though unlike in other respects, are necessari- 
ly connected in sense, how intolerable must it be to 
hear a long detail of perfectly similar members, pro- 
nounced with exactly the same tone of voice ! The 
instinctive taste for harmony in the most undisciplin- 
ed ear would be disgusted with such a monotony : 
And we find few readers, even among those who are 
incapable of diversifying any other species of sen- 
tence, that do not endeavour to throw some variety 
into an enumeration of many similar particulars. An 
attempt to point out the most harmonious and em- 
phatick variety, and to reduce it to such rules as may 
help to guide us in the most frequent and obvious in- 
stances, is one of the principal objects of the present 

Nothing, however, can be more various than the 
pronunciation of a series : Almost every different 
number of particulars requires a different method of 
varying them ; and even those of precisely the same 
number of particulars admit of a different mode of 


pronunciation, as the series is either commencing or 
concluding, simple or compound ; single or double, 
or treble, with many other varieties too complex to be 
easily determined : but as enumerating several par- 
ticulars of a similar kind, in such a manner as to 
convey them more forcibly to the mind, and at the 
same time to render them agreeable to the ear ; as 
this, I say, is one of the most striking beauties in 
reading, it will be necessary to give as clear an idea 
as possible of that tone and inflection of voice which 
seems so peculiarly adapted to this species of sen- 

In the first place, then, we may observe, that when- 
ever we enumerate particulars with emphasis, or 
more than ordinary precision, we are apt to give 
some of the first, at least, such a tone as marks not 
only a distinct enumeration but a complete one ; that 
is, the voice falls into such a tone as shews each par- 
ticular article of enumeration to be completed, but 
not the whole number ; or, in other words, it is ex- 
actly that tone of voice we use, when, in collecting 
several particulars into one aggregate, we distinguish 
with more than ordinary precision each particular from 
the other. In the pronunciation of sentences of this 
kind, the similar members would naturally adopt 
the falling inflection ; or that inflection we use on the 
words voluntarily, determinately :, knowingly, &c. 
No. X. XI. XII. XIII. &c. of the scale of sounds, 
Plate II. p. 84 ; which inflection not only distinguishes 
and enforces each particular taken separately, but pre- 
serves the idea of a collective whole. 

But the nature as well as use of this inflection will ? 
perhaps, be better understood by recurring to a for- 
mer example : 

I tell you, though you, though all the world, though an an*, 
gel from heaven were to affirm the truth of it, I could not be- 
lieve it. 



If, instead of adopting the falling inflection i 
you, world, and heaven, we suspend the voice upon 
these words, as we do upon the v. oids voluntarily, 
deter minutely, knowingly, &x. No. I. II. III. &.c. or 
the words involuntarily, indeterminately, unknowing- 
ly, No. X. XI. XII. &c. Plate II. we shall soon per- 
ceive the propriety of using the inflection we are here 
describing, that is, the same inflection with which 
we pronounce the words involuntarily, indeterminate- 
ly, unknowingly, &c. No. 1. II. 111. &c. or the words 
voluntarily, determinately, knowingly, &c. No. X. 
XI. XII. ■ &c. Plate II. And first let us try this pas- 
sage with the rising inflection on each particular : 

I tell you, though you, though all the world, though an 
angel from heaven, were to affirm the truth of it, I couid not 
bexieve it. 

How tame and insipid is this asseveration, in com- 
parison with the following manner of delivering it ! 
that is, each particular having the falling inflection : 

I tell you, though you, though all the world, though an 
angel from heaven, were to affirm the truth of it, I could not 
believe it. 

The necessity of adopting this inflection in the 
series will be still more apparent, by repeating an- 
other passage both with and without it. And first 
let us try the example, by pronouncing it with the 
voice suspended on every member, as the commas 
seem to indicate ; that is, with the rising inflection, 
as on the words voluntarily, determinately, knowingly, 
&x. No. I. II. III. &c. or the words involuntarily, 
indeterminately, unknowingly, No. X. XL XII. ckc. 
Plate II. 

The descriptive part of this allegory is likewise very strong 
and full of sublime ideas ; — the figure of death, the regal 
erowri upon his head, his menace of Satan, his advancing to 
the combat, the outcry at his birth, are circumstances too no- 


We to be passed over in silence, and extremely suitable to this 
king of terrours. 

Now let us pronounce each particular of this series 
but the last with the falling inflection, that is, with 
the same inflection as on the words involuntarily ', in- 
determinately, unknowingly, &c. or the words volun- 
tarily, deter minutely, knowingly, &c. No. X. XL 
XII. &c. Plate 11. p. 84. 

The descriptive part of this allegory is likewise very strong 
and full ot sublime ideas ; the figure of death, the regal crown 
upon his head, his menace of Satan, his advancing to the com- 
bat, the outcry at his birth, are circumstances too noble to be 
passed over in silence, and extremely suitable to this king of 

The difference of these two methods of pronounc- 
ing this sentence is so obvious as to leave no doubt 
to which we shall give the preference ; but it may 
not be improper to remark, that in a series of this 
kind, unless the language be very emphatical, it is 
necessary to give the iast article of the series the ris- 
ing inflection, as this is the point where the sense be- 
gins to form ; and this point, if emphasis forbid not, 
always requires the suspension of voice marked by 
the rising inflection. See Compact Sentence, p. 92 
and 96. 

Thus having given a general idea of this very im- 
portant figure in reading, it will be necessary to enter 
upon that system of rules, which is calculated to di- 
rect and ascertain the pronunciation of it ; but as 
every series requires different inflections, as it either 
commences or concludes a sentence, it may be ne- 
cessary to observe, that by the name of a commen- 
cing series is meant that which begins a sentence, 
but does not conclude it ; and that by the name of a 
concluding series is meant that which ends the sen- 
tence, whether it begin it or not. As a difference of 
inflection also takes place upon the several members 
of a series, as these members consist of one single 


word, or more words, it will not, perhaps, be impri 
to call the series whose members consist ci sinerle 
words, a simple series ; and those whose members 
consist of two or more words, a compound series. 
In order, therefore, to convey the rules that relate to 
this curious and intricate part of reading, it will be 
necessary to begin with the most simple combination 
of words, though not properly a series. 

Simple Series. 

Rule I. When two members, consisting of single 
words, commence a sentence, the first must have the 
falling, and the last the rising inflection. 


Exercise and temperance strengthen the constitution. 

The difference of tone which distinguishes the com- 
mencing words of this sentence, will be much more 
perceptible, if we do but consult explication of Plate 
I. page 82. 

Rule II. When two members, consisting of single 
words, conclude a sentence, as the last must naturally 
have the failing inflection, the last but one assumes 
the rising inflection. 

The constitution is strengthened by exercise and temperance. 

This rule is the converse of the former. It must, 
however, be observed, that sentences of this kind, 
which can scarcely be called a series of particulars, 
may, when commencing, assume a different order of 
inflections on the first words, when the succeeding 
clause does not conclude the sentence. This may 
be illustrated by consulting Plate I. No. III. and 
I\ . ; where we see exercise and temperance, when 
the nextcktuse conciuaes the sentence, as in No. III. 
adopt one order oi inflections ; and the same words, 


when the next clause does not conclude, as in No. IV. 
adopt a quite opposite order. Not that this order in 
No. IV. is absolutely necessary, as that in No. III. ; 
but it may always be adopted when we wish to be 
more harmonious and emphatical. 

Rule III. When three members of a sentence, con- 
sisting of single words, succeed each other in a com- 
mencing series, the two last are to be pronounced as 
in Rule I. and the first with the failing inflection, in 
a somewhat lower tone than the second. 


Manufactures, trade, and agriculture, naturally employ more 
than nineteen parts of the species in twenty. Spectator, No. 115. 

A man that has a taste for musick, painting, or architect- 
ure, is like one that has another sense, when compared with such 
as have no relish of those arts. Ibid. No. 93. 

In short, a modern Pindarick writer, compared with Pindar, 
is like a sister among the Camisars, compared with Virgil's 
Sybil ; there is the distortion, grimace, and outward figure, 
but nothing of that divine impulse, which raises the mind above 
itself, and makes the sounds more than human. 

Spectator, No. 160. 

Rule IV. When three members of a sentence, con- 
sisting of single words, succeed each other in a con-, 
eluding series, the two last are to be pronounced as 
in Rule II. and the first with the rising inflection in 
a little higher tone than the second. 


A modern Pindarick writer, compared with Pindar, is like a 
sister among the Camisars compared with Virgil's Sybil ; the 
one gives that divine impulse which raises the mind above it- 
self, and makes the sounds more than human, while the other 
abounds with nothing but distortion, grimace, and outward 

It may not be improper to observe, that although 
the series of four, whether commencing or conclud 


ing, must necessarily hare the first and last words in- 
flected alike, and the two middle words inflected alike, 
yet that the series of three in a concluding member 
may, when we are pronouncing with a degree of so- 
lemnity, and wish to form a cadence ; in this case, I 
say, we not only may, but must pronounce the first 
word with the failing, the second with the rising, 
and the last with the falling inflection. 

Rule V. When four members of a sentence, con- 
sisting of single words, succeed each other in a com- 
mencing series, and are the only series in the sentence, 
they may be divided into two equal portions : the fii st 
member of the first portion must be pronounced with 
the rising, and the second with the falling inflection, 
as in Ruie II. ; and the two members oi the lust por- 
tion exactly the reverse, that is, according to Rule I. 


Metals, minerals, plants, and meteors, contain a thousand 
curious properties, which are as engaging to the fancy as to the 
reason. Spectator, ho. 4?20. 

Proofs of the immortality of the soul may justly be drawn 
from the nature c£ ihe Supreme Being, whose justice, good- 
ness, wisdom, and veracity, are all concerned in this great point. 

Spectator, No. 111. 

The florist, the planter, the gardener, the husbandman, when 
they are only accomplishments to the man of fortune, are g? eat 
reliefs to a country life, and many ways useiuJ to those who 
are possesed of them. luid. bio. 93. 

Rule VI. When four members of a sentence, con- 
sisting of single words, succeed each other in a con- 
cluding series, a pause may, as in the former rule, 
divide them into two equal portions : but they are 
to be pronounced with exactly contrary inflections ; 
that is, the two first must be pronounced according 
to Rule Is and the two last according to Rule II. 



There is something very engaging to the fancy as well as 
to our reason, in the treatise of metals, minerals, plants, and 
meteors. Spectator, No. 420. 

An instance of the variety of inflection with which 
a series of four particulars is pronounced, and of the 
diversity of inflection which the series requires, as it 
is either commencing or concluding, will be greatly 
illustrated by the following example : 

He who resigns the world, has no temptation to envy, ha- 
tred, malice, anger, but is in constant possession of a serene 
mind ; he who follows the pleasures of it, which are in their 
very nature disappointing, is in constant search of care, solici- 
tude, remorse, and confusion. Spectator, No. 282. 

The first series in this sentence being a commenc- 
ing series, is pronounced as in rule V. ; and the last, 
as a concluding series, according to rule VI. 

These rules might be carried to a much greater 
length ; but too nice an attention to them, in a long 
series, might not only be very difficult, but give an 
air of stiffness to the pronunciation, which would not 
be compensated by the propriety. It may be neces- 
sary, however, to observe, that in a long enumeration 
of particulars, it would not be improper to divide 
them into portions of three ; and if Ave are not read- 
ing extempore, as it may be called, this division of a 
series into portions of three ought to commence from 
the end of the series ; that if it is a commencing, we 
may pronounce the last portion as in Rule III. ; and 
if it is a concluding series, we may pronounce the last 
portion according to the observation annexed to 
Rule IV. 

Rule VII. When a simple series extends to a con- 
siderable length, we may divide it into portions of 
three, beginning from the last : if it be a commenc- 
ing series, pronounce the last three words according 


to Rule III. ; and if it be a concluding series, pro- 
nounce th 
Rule IV. 

nounce them according to the observation added to 

Commencing Series. 


Love, joy, peace ; long suffering, gentleness, goodness ; 
faith, meekness, temperance, are the fruits of the Spirit, and 
against such there is no law. 

Concluding Series. 


But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace ; long suffering, 
gentleness, goodness ; faith, meekness, temperance : — Against 
such there is no law. G alat tans 7 chap, v. 

Commencing Series. 


Metaphors ; enigmas, mottos, parables ; fables, dreams, 
visions ; dramatick writings, burlesque, and all the methods of 
allusion, are comprehended in Mr. Locke's definition of wit, 
and Mr. Addison's short explanation of it. 

Concluding Series. 


Mr. Locke's definition of wit, with this short explication, 
comprehends most of the species of wit ; as metaphors, enig- 
mas, mottos, parables ; fables, dreams, visions ; dramatick 
writings, burlesque, and all the methods of allusion. 

Spectator, No. 62. 

If these observations should appear to have too 
much refinement, and to bestow more labour on these 
passages than is rewarded by the variety produced ; 
it must be remembered, that in forming a system, and 
pushing its principles to their remotest consequences, 


—for the sake of shewing the extent of these govern, 
ing principles, and giving an air of completeness and 
universality to the system adopted, it is often neces- 
sary to attend to particulars more curious than usef _il; 
if, however, we consider, that pronouncing thes. p. is J 
sages in a perfect monotone would be extremely dis- 
gusting, and that some general idea of the variety 
they are capable of, may at least give the ear a hint 
of a better pronunciation, it will not be thought use- 
less that so much pains has been bestowed on this 
species of sentence. This consideration may encour- 
age us to push our inquiries still farther into this 
laborious part of the subject ; as those readers who 
are disgusted at it, may easily omit the perusal, and 
pass on to something more easy and agreeable. 

Compound Series. 

Preliminary Observation. 

Wh e n the members of a series consist of several 
words, or comprehend several distinct members of 
sentences, they are under somewhat different laws 
from those consisting of single words. In a single 
series the ear is chiefly consulted, and the inflections 
of voice are so arranged as to produce the greatest 
variety ; but in a compound series the understanding 
takes the lead : For as a number of similar members 
of sentences in succession form a sort of climax in 
the sense, this climax can be no way pronounced 
so forcibly as by adopting the same inflection which 
is used for the strong emphasis ; for, by this means, 
the sense is not only placed in a more distinct point 
of view, but the voice enabled to rise gradually upon 
every particular, and thus add to force an agreeable 



In pronouncing the compound series, the same 
rule may be given as in the simple series : Where the 
compound series commences, the falling inflection 
takes place on every member but the last ; and when 
the series concludes, it may take place on every 
member except the last but one. It must be care- 
fully noted, likewise, that the second member ought 
to be pronounced a little higher, and more forcibly 
than the first, the third than the second, and so on ; 
for which purpose, if the members are numerous, it 
is evidently necessary to pronounce the first member 
in so low a tone as to admit of rising gradually on the 
same inflection to the last. 

Rule I. When two commencing members of a 
sentence, each of which consists of more than a sin- 
gle word, are in succession, the first member must 
terminate with the falling, and the last with the rising 


Moderate exercise, and habitual temperance, strengthen the 

In this example, we find the first member, ending 
at exercise, pronounced with the falling, and the 
second, at temperance, pronounced with the rising in- 

Rule II. When two successive members, each of 
which consists of more than a single word, conclude 
a sentence, the first member is to be pronounced with 
the rising, and the last with the falling inflection, or 
rather with the falling inflection in a lower tone of 
voice, called the concluding inflection. See Plate I. 
No. III. and IV. p. 83. 


Nothing tends more powerfully to strengthen the constitu- 
tion than moderate exercise and habitual temperance. 

ELOCUTION - . 123 

In this example, the first member, at exercise, is 
pronounced with the rising inflection, and the last, at 
temperance, with the concluding or falling inflection, 
without force, and in a lower tone of voice than the 
preceding words. 

Rule III. When three members of a sentence, each 
of which consists of more than a single word, are in 
a commencing series, the first member must be pro- 
nounced with the falling inflection, the second with 
the same inflection, somewhat higher and more forci- 
ble, and the third with the rising inflection, as in the 
last member, Rule I. 


To advise the ignorant, relieve the needy, comfort the 
afflicted, are duties that fall in our way almost every day of 
our lives. Sped. No. 93. 

In our country, a man seldom sets up for a poet, without at- 
tacking the reputation of all his brothers in the art. The 
ignorance of the moderns, the scribblers of the age, the decay 
of poetry, are the topicks of detraction with which he makes 
his entrance into the world. Ibid* No. c 253. 

As the genius of Milton was wonderfully turned to the sub- 
lime, his subject is the noblest that couid have entered into the 
thoughts of man ; every thing that is truly great and astonish- 
ing has a place in it ; the whole system of the intellectual 
world, the chaos and the creation, heaven, earth, and hell, en- 
ter into the constitution of his poem. Ibid, No. 315. 

Rule IV. When three members of a sentence, each 
of which Consists of more than a single word, are in 
a concluding series, the falling inflection can only- 
fall on the first member, and the two last are pro- 
nounced exactly like the two concluding members, 
Rule II. 


It was necessary for the world, that arts should be invented 
and improved, books written and transmitted to posterity, 
nations conquered and civilized. Spectator, No. 255. 


All other arts of perpetuating our ideas, except writing or 
printing, continue but a short time : JStaiues can last but a few- 
thousands of years, edinces fewer, and colours still fewer than 
ediBces. Ibid. No. 166. 

Oir lives, says Seneca, are spent either in doing nothing at all, 
or in doing nothing to the put pose, or in doing nothing that we 
ought to do. Sped. No. 93. 

If a man would know whether he is possessed of a taste for 
fine writing, 1 would have him read over the celebrated works 
of antiquity, and be very careful to observe whether he tastes the 
distinguishing perfections, or, if I may be allowed to call them 
so, the specitick qualities of the author he peruses; whether he 
is particularly pleased with Livy for his manner of telling a 
story ; with Sallust, for his entering into those internal principles 
of action which arise from the characters and manners of 
the persons he describes ; or with Taci us, for his displaying 
those outward motives of safety and interest, which gave birth 
to the whole series of transactions which he relates. 

Ibid. No. 409. 

It may here be necessary to observe , that if we 
doubt of the inflections that are to be given to a very 
compound series, the best way to discover them will 
be to reduce the series to a few words, and then the 
proper inflections will be very perceptible. Suppose, 
for instance, we contract the series in the last exam- 
ple to its radical words, which, lor example sake, 
let us suppose to be these — whether he is pleased 
with Livy for his story, Sallust for his characters, or 
Tacitus for his motives : we shall find, by this ti ial, 
the sume radical pronunciation proper both for the 
original and the abridgment. 

Rule V. When four members of a sentence, each 
of which consists of more than a single word, are in 
a commencing series, the three first are to be pro- 
nounced with the falling inflection. 


Labour or exercise ferments the humours, casts them into 
their proper channels, throws off redundancies, and helps nature 


in those secret distributions, without which the body cannot 
subsist inits vigour, nor the soul act with cheerfulness. 

Spectator, No. l\5. 

Rule VI. When four members of a sentence, each 
of which consists oi more than a single word, follow 
in a concluding series, the two first members only 
can have the failing inflection, and the two last are 
to be pronounced like the two concluding members, 
Ruie 1L 


Notwithstanding all the pains which Cicero took in the edu- 
cation of his son. history informs us, that young Marcus prov- 
ed a mere blockhead ; and that Nature (who, it seems, was 
even with the son for her prodigality to the father) rendered 
him incapable of improving by all the rules of eloquence, the 
precepts of philosophy, his own endeavours, and the most re- 
fined conversation in A'thens. Spectator, No. 307. 

Rule VII. When five members of a sentence, 
each of which contains more than a single word, fol- 
low in a commencing series, tfte four first may be 
pronounced with the tailing infection ; each member 
rising above the preceding one, and the last as in 
Rule I. 


The descriptive part of this allegory is likewise very strong 
and full of sublime ideas. The figure of death, the regal 
crown upon his head, his menace of Satan, his advancing to 
the combat, the outcry at his birth, are circumstances too no- 
ble to be passed over in silence, and extremely suitable to this 
king of terrours. Spectator, No. 310. 

Aristotle observes, that the fable of an epick poem should 
abound in circumstances that are both credible and astonish- 
ing : Milton's fable is a master-piece of this nature ; as the war 
in heaven, the condition of the fallen angels, the state of inno- 
cence, the temptation of the serpent, and the fall of man, 
though they are very astonishing in themselves, are not only 
credible but actual points of faith. Spectator, No. 315. 


Rule VIII. When five members of a sentence, 
each of which contains more than a single word, 
follow in a concluding series, the three first may be 
pronounced with the tailing inflection, and the two 
last with the rising and falling inflection, as in Rule 


Though we seem grieved at the shortness of life in general, 
we are wishing every period of it at an end. The minor longs 
to be at age, then to be a man of business, then to make up an 
estate, then to arrive at honours, then to retire. 

Spectator, No. 93. 

There is no blessing of life comparable to the enjoyment of 
a discreet and virtuous friend, it eases and unloads the mind, 
clears and improves the understanding, engenders thoughts and 
knowledge, animates virtue and good resolutions, and finds 
employment for the most vacant hours of life. Spect. No. 93. 

The devout man does not only believe but feels there is a 
Deity ; he has actual sensations of him ; his experience con- 
curs with his reason ; h% sees him more and more in all his in- 
tercourses with him, and even in this life almost loses his faith 
in conviction. Ibid. No. 465. 

Rule IX. When six members of a sentence, each 
of which contains more than a single word, foilow in 
a commencing series, the first five may be pronounc - 
ed with the falling inflection, every member rising 
above the preceding one, and the two last members 
as in Rule II. 


That a man, to whom he was, in a great measure, beholden 
for his crown, and even for his life ; a man to whom, by every 
honour and favour, he had endeavoured to express his grati- 
tude ; whose brother, the earl of Derby, was his own father-in- 
law ; to whom he had even committed the trust of his person, 
by creating him lord chamberlain ; that a man, enjoying his 
full confidence and affection ; not actuated by any motive of 


discontent or apprehension ; that this man should engage in a 
conspiracy against him, he deemed absolutely false and incred- 
ible. Hume's Hist, of England, Vol /. p. 363. 

I would fain ask one of those bigoted infidels, supposing all 
the great points of atheism as the casual or eternal formation 
of the world, the materiality of a thinking substance, the mor- 
tality of the soul, the fortuitous organization of the body, the 
motions and gravitation of matter, with the like particulars, 
were laid together, and formed into a kind of creed, according 
to the opinions of the most celebrated atheists ; I say, supposing 
such a creed as this were formed, and imposed upon any one 
people in the world, whether it would not require an infinite- 
ly greater measure of faith than any set of articles which they 
so violently oppose. Spectator, No. 168. 

Under this rule may be placed that grand and ter- 
rible adjuration of Macbeth : 

I conjure you by that which you profess 
(Howe'er you come to know it) answer me ; 
Though you untie the winds and let them fight 
Against the churches ; though the yesty waves 
Confound and swallow navigation up ; 
Though bladed corn be lodg'd and trees blown down ; 
Though castles topple on their warder's heads ; 
Though palaces and pyramids do slope 
Their heads to their foundations ; though the treasure 
Of nature's germins tumble altogether, 
Ev'n till destruction sicken, answer me 
To what I ask you. 

Where, by placing the falling inflection, without drop- 
ping the voice, on each particular, and giving this in- 
flection a degree of emphasis, increasing from the first 
member to the sixth, we shall find the whole climax 
wonderfully enforced and diversified : this was the 
method approved and practised by the inimitable 
Mr. Garrick ; and though it is possible that a very 
good actor may vary in some particulars from this 
rule, and yet pronounce the whole agreeably, it may 
with confidence be asserted that no actor can pro- 


nounce this passage to so much advantage as by adopt- 
ing the inflections laid down in this rule. 

Rule X. When six members of a sentence, each 
of which consists of more than a single word, succeed 
each other in a concluding series, the four first may 
be pronounced with the falling inflection, each mem- 
ber ascending above the preceding, and the two last 
as in Rule II. 


For if we interpret the Spectator's words in their literal 
meaning, we must suppose that women of the first quality used 
to pass away whole mornings at a puppet-show ; that they at- 
tested their principles by patches ; that an audience would sit 
out an evening to hear a dramatick performance, written in a 
language which they did not understand ; that chairs and 
flower pots were introduced as actors on the British stage ; that 
a promiscuous assembly of men and women were allowed to 
meet at midnight in masks within the verge of the court, with 
may improbabilities of the like nature. Spectator, No. 102. 

Rule XI. When seven or more members of a sen- 
tence, each of which consists of more than a single 
word, succeed each other in a commencing series, 
all but the last member may be pronounced with the 
falling inflection, each succeeding member rising a- 
bove that which precedes it, and the two last mem- 
bers as in Rule I. 


Nature has laid out all her art in beautifying the face ; she 
has touched it with vermiiion ; planted in it a double row of 
ivory ; made it the seat of smiles and blushes ; lighted it up 
and enlivened it with the brightness of the eyes ; hung it on 
each side with curious organs of sense ; given it airs and graces 
that cannot be described ; and surrounded it with such a flow- 
ing shade of hair, as sets all its beauties in the most agreeable 
light. Spectator, No. 98. 


Series of Serieses. 
Preliminary Observation. 

When the members of a series, either from their 
similitude or contrariety to each other, fall into pairs 
or triplets ; these pairs or triplets, considered as whole 
members, are pronounced according to the rules re- 
specting those members of a series that consist of 
more than a single word ; but the parts of which these 
members are composed, if consisting of single words, 
are pronounced according to those rules which relate 
to those members that consist of single words, as far 
as their subordination to the whole series of members 
will permit. Hence arises, 

Rule I. When several members of a sentence, con- 
sisting of distinct portions of similar or opposite 
words in a series, follow in succession, they must be 
pronounced singly, according to the number of mem- 
bers in each portion, and together, according to the 
number of portions in the whole sentence, that the 
whole may form one related compound series. 


The soul consists of many faculties, as the understanding and 
the will, with all the senses both inward and outward ; or, to 
speak more philosophically, the soul can exert herself in 
many different ways of action : she dan understand, will, im- 
agine ; see, and hear ; love, and discourse ; and apply herself 
to many other like exercises of different kinds and natures 

Spectator^ No. 600. 

The first portion of this series of serieses, she can. 
understand, will, imagine, as it contains one complete 
portion, may be considered as a concluding series ; 
and as it forms but one portion of a greater series, 
it may be considered as a commencing one, and 
must be pronounced in subserviency to it ; that is, 


the first and second word must have the rising, and 
the last the falling inflection, but without dropping 
the voice. The next portion must be pronounced 
in a similar manner ; that is, the first word with the 
rising, and the last with the falling inflection, with 
the voice a little higher and more forcible on the word 
hear than on the word imagine : the next portion, be- 
ing the last but one, alters its inflections ; the first 
word having the falling and the last the rising inflec- 
tion, agreeably to the rule laid down in the prelimi- 
nary observation to the Compound Series. 

On the other hand, those evil spirits, who, by long custom, 
have contracted in the body habits of lust and sensuality ; 
malice and revenge ; an aversion to every thing that is good, 
just, and ! audable, are naturally seasoned, and prepared for 
pain and misery. Spectator, No. 447. 

As this is a commencing series of serieses, the 
last member but one of the second series may be pro- 
nounced with the falling inflection at revenge : and 
as the last member has a series of three single words, 
they come under Rule III. of the Simple Commenc- 
ing Series. 

The condition, speech, and behaviour of the dying parents ; 
with the age, innocence, and distress of the children, are set 
forth in such tender circumstances, that it is impossible for a 
reader of common humanity not to be affected with them. 

* Spectator, No. 85. 

These two serieses, containing three members each, 
and not concluding the sentence, may be considered 
as a concluding and commencing series of three sin- 
gle members each, and pronounced as in Rule III. 
of the Simple Series. 

His (Satan's) pride, envy, and revenge ; obstinacy, despair, 
and impenitence, are ah of them very artfully interwoven. 

Spectator, No. 303. 



Here are two distinct serieses of three members, 
each of which must be pronounced exactly like the 
last example, that is, like the concluding and com- 
mencing series of three, Rule III. of the Simple 

The man who lives under an habitual sense of the divine pres- 
ence, keeps up a perpetual cheerfulness of temper, and enjoys 
every moment the satisfaction of thinking himself in company 
with his dearest and best of friends. He no sooner steps out 
of the world, but his heart burns with devouon, swells with 
hope, and triumphs in the consciousness of that presence which 
every where surrounds him ; or on the contrary pours out its 
fears, its sorrows, its apprehensions, to the great Supporter of 
its existence. Spectator, No. 93. 

This sentence may be considered as a sentence 
consisting of two commencing serieses, both of which 
may be pronounced according to Rule III. Com- 
pound Series. 

How many instances have we (in the fair sex) of chastity, 
fidelity, devotion ? How many ladies distinguish themselves by 
the education of their children, care of their families, and love 
of their husbands : which are the great atchievements of woman 
kind; as the making of war, the carrying on of traffic k, the 
administration of justice, are those by which men grow famous 
and get themselves a name ? Spectator, No. 73. 

The several serieses in this passage may be consid- 
ered as forming one complete observation : the first 
is a concluding series of three, and may be pronoun- 
ced as the concluding series, Rule IV. in every 
member but the last, which being the first step of 
the series of serieses, instead of the concluding in- 
flection, adopts the falling inflection only. The next 
series may be pronounced in the same manner as the 
former, with this difference only, the last member, 
being the second step of the series of serieses, ought 
to have the falling inflection a little higher on hits- 
bands than it was on devotion in the first series. The 


last series has its three members pronounced exactly 
like the commencing series, Rule 111. ; and thus 
every series is pronounced, both according to its own 
particular analogy, and that of the three taken togeth- 

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life ; nor angels, 
nor principalities, nor powers ; nor things present, nor things 
to come ; 

Nor height, nor depth ; nor any other creature, shall be able 
to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus 
our Lord. Romans, ch. viii. ver. 38, 39. 

Upon the first view of this passage, we find it natur- 
ally tails into certain distinct port ions of similar or op- 
posite words. These portions seem to be five in num- 
ber ; the first containing two members, death, life ; the 
second containing three members, angels, principali- 
ties, powers ; the third two, things present, things to 
come ; the fourth two, height, depth ; the fifth one, 
any other creature : these members, if pronounced 
at random, and without relation to that order in which 
they are placed by the sacred writer, lose half their 
beauty and effect ; but if each member is pronounced 
with an inflection of voice that corresponds to its sit- 
uation in the sentence, the whole series becomes the 
most striking and beautiful climax imaginable. 

In order, then, to pronounce this passage properly, 
it is presumed that there ought to be a gradation of 
force from the first portion to the last ; and that this 
force may have the greater variety, each portion ought 
to be accompanied with a gradation of voice from 
low to high ; that each portion also should continue 
distinct, ever}- portion but the last should be pronounc- 
ed as a simple concluding series, with the failing in- 
flection on the last member, enforcing, and not drop- 
ping the voice ; the last member, according to the 
general rule, must have the rising inflection ; and in 


this manner of pronouncing it, the whole sentence 
has its greatest possible force, beauty, and variety. 

From the examples which have been adduced, we 
have seen in how many instances the force, variety and 
harmony of a sentence have been improved by a prop- 
er use of the falling inflection. The series in partic- 
ular is indebted to this inflection for its greatest force 
and beauty. But it is necessary to observe, that this 
inflection is not equally adapted to the pronunciation 
of every series : where force, precision, or distinction 
is necessary, this inflection very happily expresses the 
sense of the sentence, and forms an agreeable climax 
of sound to the ear ; but where the sense of the sen- 
tence does not require this force, precision, or dis- 
tinction, (which is but seldom the case,) where the 
sentence commences with a conditional or supposi- 
tive conjunction, or where the language is plaintive 
and poetical, the falling inflection seems less suitable 
than the rising : this will be better perceived by a few 


Seeing then that the soul has many different faculties, or ia 
other words, many different ways of acting ; that it can be in- 
tensely pleased or made happy by all these different faculties 
or ways of acting ; that it may be endowed with several latent 
faculties, which it is not at present in a condition to exert ; that 
we cannot believe the soul is endowed with any faculty which 
is of no use to it ; that whenever any one of these faculties 
is transcendently pleased, the soul is in a state of happiness ; 
and in the last place, considering that the happiness of another 
world is to be the happiness of the whole man ; who can ques- 
tion but that there is an infinite variety in those pleasures we 
are speaking of ; and that this fulness of joy will be made up 
of all those pleasures which the nature of the soul is capable of 
receiving ? Sped. No. 600. 

As the fourth member of this sentence, from its 
very nature, requires the rising inflection, and as the 
whole series is constructed on the suppositive con- 


junction seeing ; every particular member of it seems 
necessarily to require the rising inflection : for it may 
be observed as a pretty general rule, that where a 
conditional or a suppositive conjunction commences 
the series, if there is nothing particularly emphatical 
in it, the rising inflection on each particular of the 
series is preferable to the failing, especially if the lan- 
guage be plaintive and tender. 


When the gay and smiling aspect of things has begun to 
leave the passages to a man's heart thus thoughtlessly unguard- 
ed ; when kind and caressing looks of every object without, 
that can flatter his senses, has conspired with the enemy with- 
in, to betray him and put him off his defence ; when musick 
likewise hath lent her aid, and tried her power upon the pas- 
sions ; when the voice of singing men, and the voice of singing 
women, with the sound of the viol and the lute, have broke in 
upon his soul, and in some tender notes have touched the secret 
springs of rapture, — that moment let us dissect and look into 
his heart ; — see how vain, how weak, how empty a thing it is \ 
Sterne's Sermon on the House of Mournings &c* 

In this example, the plaintive tone which the whole 
sentence requires, gives it an air of poetry, and makes 
the falling inflection too harsh to terminate the sever- 
al particulars ; for it may be observed in pausing, 
that a series of particulars are as seldom to be pro- 
nounced with the falling inflection in poetry, as they 
are for the most part to be so pronounced in prose. 
The reason of this, perhaps, may be, that, as poetry 
assumes so often the ornamental and the plaintive, 
where a distinct and emphatick enumeration is not 
so much the object as a noble or a tender one ; that 
expression which gives the idea of force and familiarity 
is not so suitable to poetry as to prose : as a confirmation 
of this we may observe, that when poetry becomes ei- 
ther forceful or familiar, the falling inflection is then 
properly adopted in the pronunciation of the series, 



Love in these labyrinths his slaves detains, 
And mighty hearts are held in slender chains ; 
With hairy springes we the birds betray, 
Slight lines of hair surprise the finny prey ; 
Fair tresses, man's imperial race ensnare, 
And beauty draws us with a single hair. 

Rape of the Lock, Canto ii. ver. 23. 

Here the emphasis on each particular requires the 
first and second to be pronounced with the falling 
inflection, as in Rule VI. of the Compound Se- 

But rhyming poetry so seldom admits of this in- 
flection in the series, that the general rule is for a con- 
trary pronunciation. 


So when the faithful pencil has design'd 
Some bright idea of the master's mind, 
Where a new world leaps out at his command, 
And ready nature waits upon his hand ; 
When the ripe colours soften and unite, 
And sweetly melt into just shade and light ; 
When mellowing years their full perfection give, 
And each bold figure just begins to live ; 
The treacherous colours the fair art betray, 
And all the bright creation fades away. 

Pope's Essay on Crit, <ver. 484. 

In this example we find every particular, except 
the last but one (where the sentence begins to grow 
emphatical,) adopt the rising inflection, as more a- 
greeable to the pathetick tenor of the passage than the 
failing ; and it may be observed, that there are few 
passages of this sort in rhyming poetry, of the pa- 
thetick or ornamental kind, which do not necessari- 
ly require the same inflection. 

Thus no objection to the utility of these long laboured 
rules has been dissembled. In subj ects of this nature 


something must always be left to the taste and judgment 
of the reader ; but the author flatters himself, if any 
thing like a general rule is discovered in a point sup- 
posed to be without all rule, that something at least 
is added to the common stock of knowledge, which 
may in practise be attended with advantage. 

What the bishop of London says of improvements 
in grammar, may, with the greatest propriety, be 
applied to this part of elocution. " A system of this 
u kind," says this learned and ingenious writer, "aris- 
" ingfrom the collection and arrangement of a muiti- 
" tude of minute particulars, which often elude the 
" most careful search, and sometimes escape obser- 
" vation when they are most obvious, must always 
" stand in need of improvement : it is, indeed, the 
" necessary condition of every work of human art or 
" science, small as well as great, to advance towards 
" perfection by slow degrees : by an approximation, 
" which, though it may still carry it forward, yet 
" will certainly never bring it to the point to which it 
" tends." 

Dr. Loivtb's Preface to his Grammar. 

The Final Pause or Period. 

When a sentence is so far perfectly finished, as 
not to be connected in construction with the follow- 
ing sentence, it is marked with a period. This point 
is in general so well understood, that lew grammari- 
ans have thought it necessary to give an express ex- 
ample of it ; though there are none who have inquir- 
ed into punctuation who do not know, that in loose 
sentences the period is frequently confounded with 
the colon. But though the tone, with which we 
conclude a sentence, is generally well understood, 
We cannot be too careful in pronunciation to distin- 


guish it as much as possible from that member of a 
sentence, which contains perfect sense, and is not 
necessarily connected with what follows. Such a 
member, which may not be improperly called a sen- 
tentiola, or little sentence, requires the falling inflec- 
tion, but in a higher tone than the preceding words ; 
as if we had only finished a part of what w T e had to 
say, while the period requires the falling inflection in 
a lower tone, as if we had nothing more to add. But 
this final tone does not only lower the last word ; it 
has the same influence on those which more imme- 
diately precede the last ; so that the cadence is pre- 
pared by a gradual fall upon the concluding words ; 
every word in the latter part of a sentence sliding 
gently lower till the voice drops upon the last. See 
this more clearly explained, Plates I. and II. This 
will more evidently appear upon repeating the fol- 
lowing sentence : 


As the word taste arises very often in conversation, I shall 
endeavour to give some account of it, and to lay down rules 
how we miy know whether we are possessed of it, and how we 
may acquire that fine taste in writing which is so much talk- 
ed of among the polite world. Spectator > No. 4«07» 

We find perfect sense formed at the words account 
of it, and possessed of it ; but as they do not conclude 
the sentence, these words, if they adopt the falling 
inflection, must be pronounced in a higher tone than 
the rest ; while in the last member, not only the word 
tvorld is pronounced lower than the rest, but the 
whole member falls gradually into the cadence, 
which is so much talked of among the polite world. 
And here it will be absolutely necessary to observe, 
that though the period generally requires the failing 
inflection, every period does not necessarily adopt 
this inflection in the same tone of voice ; if sentences 


are intimately connected in sense, though the gram- 
ma deal structure of each may be independent on the 
other, they may not improperly be considered as so 
many small sentences making one large one, and 
thus requiring a pronunciation correspondent to their 
logical dependence on each other : hence it may be 
laid down as a general rule ; that a series of periods 
in regular succession are to be pronounced as every 
other series : that is, if they follow each other re- 
gularly as parts of the same observation, they are to 
be pronounced as parts, and not as wholes. 


Some men cannot discern between a noble and a mean ac- 
tion. Others are apt to attribute them to some false end or 
intention, and others purposely misrepresent or put a wrong 
interpretation on them. Sped. No. 255. 

Though the first part of this passage is marked with 
a period in all the editions of the Spectator I have 
seen, nothing can be plainer than that it ought to be 
pronounced as the first member of the concluding 
series of three compound members. See article 
Compound Se?ies, Rule IV. 

Thus although the whole of life is allowed by every one to 
be short, the several divisions of it appear long and tedious. 
We are for lengthening our span in general, but would fain 
contract the parts of which it is composed. The usurer would 
be very well satisfied to have all the time annihilated, that 
lies between the present moment and next quarter-day. The 
politician would be contented to lose three years in his life, 
could he place things in the posture, which he fancies they will 
stand in, after such a revolution of time. The lover would be 
glad to strike out of his existence all the moments that are to 
pass away before the happy meeting. Thus as fast as our time 
runs, we should be very glad in most part of our lives, that it 
ran much faster than it does Spectator, No. 93. 

Though here are no less than six periods in this 
passage, and every one of them requires the falling 


inflection, yet every one of them ought to be pro- 
nounced in a somewhat different pitch of voice from 
the other ; and for this purpose they may be consider- 
ed as a concluding series of compound members ; 
the last period of which must conclude with a lower 
tone of voice than the preceding, that there may be a 
gradation. See Compound Series, Rule IV. 

To these observations this may be subjoined, that 
the period, though generally, does not always, re- 
quire the falling inflection and a lower tone of voice. 
The first and most general exception to the rule is 
the following : 

Exception I. 

When a sentence concludes an antithesis, the first 
branch of which requires the strong emphasis, and 
therefore demands the falling inflection ; the second 
branch requires the weak emphasis, and rising inflec- 
tion : and, consequently, if this latter branch of the 
antithesis finish the sentence, it must finish without 
dropping the voice, that the inflections on the opposite 
parts of the antithesis may be different. See Em- 


If we have no regard for our own character, we ought to 
have some regard for the character of others. 

If content cannot remove the disquietudes of mankind, it 
will at least alleviate them. 

I would have your papers consist also of all things which 
may be necessary or useful to any part of society ; and the 
mechanick arts should have their place as well as the liberal. 

Spectator, No. 428. 

In the first of these examples, a concession is made 
in the strongest terms in the supposition, for the sake 
of strengthening the assertion in the conclusion., and 


therefore neither can be pronounced with due force 
but by giving own the falling and others the rising 
inflection. There is almost the same necessity for the 
same order of inflections on remove and alleviate in the 
second example ; and the third would be more forci- 
bly pronounced with the falling inflection on m echanick 
arts, and the rising on liberal, unless it were to con- 
clude a paragraph or branch of a subject ; for in this 
case, if the sense does not necessarily require the ris- 
ing inflection, the e ar will always expect the failing. 
Sc^ Penultimate Member. 

To this iLxception may be added another, which 
forms a rule of very great extent ; and that is, where 
the last member of a sentence is a negative, in oppo- 
sition to some affirmative, either expressed or under- 
stood ; but this rule is so allied to emphasis, that the 
reader is referred to that article, where he will find 
it fully explained and illustrated. 


" But besides the points which mark the pauses in 
" discourse," says Dr. Lowth, " there are others 
" which denote a different modulation of the voice 
" in correspondence with the sense. The interroga- 
" tion and exclamation points," says the learned bish- 
op, " are sufficiently explained by their names ; they 
" are indeterminate as to their quantity or time, and 
" may be equivalent in that respect to a semicolon, a 
" colon, or a period, as the sense requires ; they 
" mark an elevation of voice." This is, perhaps, as 
just an account of these points as could have been 
given in so few words ; but, like every general rule 
that has been hitherto given, leaves us in a thousand 
difficulties when we would reduce it to practice. 
Whatever may be the variety of time we annex to 


the interrogation, certain it is, that there is no cir- 
cumstance in reading or speaking which admits of 
a greater variety of tone ; a question may imply so 
many different degrees of doubt, and is liable to so 
many alterations from a diversity of intention in the 
speaker, that I shall at present content myself with 
pointing out a few of the most obvious ; and endeav- 
our to distinguish and reduce them to certain class- 
es, that they may be applied to particular examples, 
and rendered useful. 

The most obvious distinction between interroga- 
tive and other sentences is, that as, in other senten- 
ces, the substantive or pronoun precedes the verb it 
governs, in an interrogative sentence, the verb, either 
auxiliary or principal, ought always to precede either 
the substantive or pronoun. Thus, when I speak 
declaratively, I say / am going to college ; but when 
I speak interrogatively, I say, Are you going to col- 
lege ? where we may observe, that in the declarative 
and interrogative sentences, the pronoun and the verb 
hold different places. 

This inversion of the common order of the words 
in composition is accompanied by a similar inver- 
sion of the inflection of voice in pronunciation ; for 
as the common order of inflections in a declarative 
sentence, is that of placing the rising inflection to- 
wards the middle, and the falling at the end, as in the 
first example; the interrogation inverts this order, 
and uses the falling inflection of voice in the middle 
of the sentence, and the rising on the last word, as in 
the last example : this peculiarity, however, does not 
extend to every species of interrogation ; and inter- 
rogative sentences are, in reality, so frequently to be 
pronounced like declarative sentences, it is scarcely 
any wonder that those who do not attend to the deli- 
cacies of reading should never use the rising inflec- 
tion of the voice on any question : but such force, 
spirit, and variety, is thrown into a discourse by such 


an alteration of the voice as the question affords, that 
those who have the least desire to read well, ought 
never to neglect so favourable an opportunity : a 
question terminating with the rising inflection of 
voice at once breaks the chain of discourse, grown 
heavy by its length, rouses the auditor from the 
languor of attending to a continued series of argu- 
ment, and excites fresh attention by the shortness, 
briskness, and novelty of the address : and if the 
greatest masters of composition have thought it neces- 
sary to throw in questions to enliven and enforce 
their harangues, those who have the least taste for 
the delivery of them find it as necessary to attend to 
the peculiarity of voice this figure requires when they 

This inflection of voice, however, which dis- 
tinguishes the interrogation, seems entirely confined 
to those questions which are formed without the inter- 
rogative pronouns or adverbs. When a question com- 
mences with one of these, it has invariably the same 
inflection as the declarative sentence, unless we have 
either not heard, or mistaken an answer just given 
us ; for in that case, the emphasis is placed upon the 
interrogative word ; and the voice elevated by the 
rising inflection on the end of the sentence. Thus, 
if we say simply, TVhen do you go to college ? the 
word college has the falling inflection, and the voice 
is no more elevated than if, being acquainted with the 
time, we should say, At that time I find you go to 
college : but if we have mistaken the answer that has 
been given us concerning the time, we say, When do 
you go to college ? we lay a considerable stress upon 
the word when, and suspend the voice with the rising 
inflection to the end of the sentence. 

Again ; if we ask a question without previous con- 
versation, or reference to any thing that has passed, if 
we do not use the interrogative words, we infallibly use 
the rising inflection, and elevate the voice on the 


end of the question ; thus we meet, and say, Are 
you going to college ? — if we have the least eagerness 
for information, the voice is elevated and supended 
with the rising inflection on the last word ; but if the 
person we speak to, either does not hear, or else mis- 
takes what we say, so as to make it necessary to re- 
peat the question, we then adopt the falling inflection 
on the last word, and, giving it some degree of em- 
phasis, say, Are you going to college ? with the same 
inflection of voice, and in nearly the same tone, with 
which we should say simply, You are now going to 
college ; with this difference only, that in the latter 
case the voice falls into a lower tone, and in the for^ 
mer seems to rest in the tone of the sentence, some- 
what louder, perhaps, but with exactly the same falling 
inflection as the latter, and entirely different from that 
upward turn of voice which distinguishes the first 

Thus we find the immediate repetition of the same 
question requires a different inflection of voice ac- 
cording to its form. When we ask a question com- 
mencing with an interrogative word, we use the falling 
inflection on the last word ; as, When do you go to 
college ? When, from a mistake of the answer about 
the time, we repeat this question, we use the rising 
inflection of voice, and elevate it to the end ; as, 
When do you go to college ? On the contrary, when 
we first ask a question without the interrogative word, 
we use the rising inflection, and raise the voice on the 
last word ; as, Are you going to college ? and when 
we repeat the question, we use the falling inflection 
of voice on the last word ; and though we may pro- 
nounce the last word louder than the rest, we do 
not use the rising inflection as in the former case- 
but the falling ; as, I say, are you going to college? 

But such is the variety of this species of sentence, 
that a question may be asked without either the in- 
terrogative words, or an inversion of the arrangement^ 


or the rising inflection of voice on the last word : for 
instead of saying, Do you intend to read that book ? 
with the rising inflection on the word book, we may, 
with the same expectation of an answer, use the same 
inflection on the same word and say, You intend to 
read that book ? — Both sentences will be equally in- 
terrogator} 7 , though the last seems distinguished from 
the first, by implying less doubt of what we ask ; lor 
when we say, You intend to read that book ? with 
the rising inflection on the word book, we have not so 
much doubt about the reading of it as when we say, 
Do you intend to read that book ? with the same in- 
flection on the same word : and accordingly we find 
the voice more elevated at the end of the question 
where there is more doubt implied ; and where the 
doubt is small, the voice is less elevated at the 
end ; though, in both cases, the same kind of in- 
flection is inviolably preserved ; for the question — 
You intend to read that book ? with the rising inflec- 
tion on the word book, is equivalent to the interroga- 
tive affirmation ; / suppose you intend to read that 
book ? both of which we find naturally terminate in a 
suspension of voice, as if an ellipsis had been made, 
and part of the question omitted ; for these questions 
end in exactly the same inflection of voice which he 
same words would have in the question at length — You 
intend to read that book, do you not ? — that is, in the 
suspension of voice called the rising inflection, sim- 
ilar to that usually marked by the comma. Not but 
this very phrase, You intend to read that book, pro- 
nounced with the felling inflection on the last word 
like a declarative sentence, might have the import of 
a question, if attended with such circumstances as 
implied a doubt in the speaker and required an an- 
swer from the hearer : though this mode of speaking 
would, perhaps, imply the least degree of doubt pos- 
sible, yet as some degree of doubt might be implied, 
it must necessarily be classed with the interrogation. 


Having premised these observations, it may be 
necessary to take notice, that with respect to pronun- 
ciation, all questions may be divided into two class- 
es ; namely, into such as are formed by the inter- 
rogative pronouns or adverbs, and into such as are 
formed only by an inversion of the common arrange- 
ment of the words : the first, with respect to inflec- 
tion of voice, except in the cases already mentioned, 
may be considered as purely declarative ; and like 
declarative sentences they require the falling inflec- 
tion at the end : and the last, with some few excep- 
tions, require the rising inflection of voice on the last 
word ; and it is this rising inflection at the end which 
distinguishes them from almost every other species 
of sentence. Of both these in their order. 

7%e Question with the Interrogative Words* 

Rule I. When an interrogative sentence com- 
mences with any of the interrogative pronouns ot 
adverbs, with respect to inflection, elevation, or de- 
pression of voice, it is pronounced exactly like a de- 
clarative sentence. 


How can he exalt his thoughts to any thing great and nor* 
ble, who only believes that after a short turn on the stage of 
this world, he is to sink into oblivion, and to lose his con-* 
sciousness for ever ? Spectator, No. 210. 

As an illustration of the rule we need only altera 
two or three of the words to reduce it to a declara^ 
tive sentence ; and we shall find the inflection, eleva*> 
tion, and depression of voice on every part of it 
the same. 


He cannot exalt his thoughts to any thing great or noble, 
because he only believes that after a short turn on the sUge 
of this world, he is to sink into oblivion, and to lose his con- 
sciousness for ever* 

Here we perceive, that the two sentences, though 
one. is an interrogation, and the other a declaration, 
end both with the same inflection of voice, and that 
the failing inflection ; but if we convert these words 
into an interrogation, by leaving out the interroga- 
tive word, we shall soon perceive the difference. 

Can he exalt his thoughts to any thing great or noble, who 
only believes that after a short turn on the stage of this world 
he is to sink into oblivion and to lose his consciousness for 
ever ? 

In pronouncing this sentence with propriety we 
find the voice slide upwards on the last words, con- 
trary to the inflection it takes in the two former ex- 
amples. If grammarians, therefore, by the eleva- 
tion of voice, which they attribute to the question, 
mean the rising inflection, their rule with some few 
exceptions, is true only of questions formed without 
the interrogative words ; for the others, though they 
may have a force and loudness on the last words, if 
they happen to be emphatical, have no more of that 
distinctive inflection which is peculiar to the former 
kind of interrogation, than if they were no questions 
at all. Let us take another example : Why should 
not a female character be as ridiculous in a man, as a 
male character in one of the female sex ? Here the 
voict is no more elevated at the end than if I were to 
say, A female character is just as ridiculous in a man 
as a male character in one of the female sex : but if 
I say, Is not a female character as ridiculous in a man 
as a male character in one of the female sex ? Here 
not only ttie emphasis, but the rising inflection, is on 
the last words ; essentially different from the inflec- 


tion on these words in the first question, Why should 
not a female character be as ridiculous in a man, as a 
male character in one of the female sex? We may 
presume, therefore, that it is the emphasis, with 
which these questions sometimes terminate, that has 
led the generality of grammarians to conclude, that 
all questions terminate in an elevation of voice, and 
so to confound that essential difference there is be- 
tween a question formed with and without the inter- 
rogative words. 

Rule II. Interrogative sentences commencing with 
interrogative words, and consisting of members in a 
series depending necessarily on each other for sense, 
are to be pronounced as a series of members, oi the 
same kind, in a declarative sentence. 


From whence can he produce such cogent exhortations to 
the practice of every virtue, such ardent excitements to piety 
and devotion, and such assistance to attain them, as those which 
are to be met with throughout every page of these inimitable 
writings ? Jenyns's Vk<w of 'the Internal Evid* p 41. 

Where, amidst the dark clouds of pagan philosophy, can he 
shew us such a clear prospect of a future state, the immortal- 
ity of the soul, the resurrection of the dead, and the general 
judgment, as in St. Paul's first Epistle to the Corinthians ? 

Ibid. p. 40. 

But to consider the ParadiseLost only as it regards our pres- 
ent subject ; what can be conceived greater than the battle 
of angels, the majesty of Messiah, the stature and behaviour of 
Satan and his peers ? what more beautiful than Pandemoni- 
um, Paradise, Heaven, A'ngels, Adam, and E v ve ? what 
more strange than the creation of the world the several meta- 
morphoses of the fallen angels, and the surprising adventures 
their leader meets with in his search after paradise ? 

Spectator •, No. 418. 

In these sentences we find exactly the same paus- 
es and inflections of voice take place as in the differ- 


ent series of declarative sentences ; that is, the first 
example is to he pronounced as in Rule III. of the 
Compound Series, p. 123 ; the second as in Rule 
V. p. 124 ; and the last example, being a Series of 
Serieses, must be pronounced according to the rules 
laid down under that article, p. 129. 

But the question, which in reading and speaking 
produces the greatest force and variety, is that which 
is formed without the interrogative words. 

The Question without the Interrogative Words. 

Rule I. When interrogative sentences are formed 
without the interrogative words, the last word must 
have the rising inflection. If there be an emphatical 
word in the last member, followed by several words 
depending on it, which conclude the sentence, both 
the emphatical word and the concluding words are to 
be pronounced with the rising inflection : thus the 
words making one, and cause of the shipwreck, in the 
two tollowing examples, have all the rising inflection. 


Would it not employ a beau prettily enough if, instead of 
eternally playing with his snuff-box, he spent some part of his 
time in making one ? Spectator, No, 43. 

If the owner of a vessel had fitted it out with every thing 
necessary, and provided to the utmost of his power, against 
the dangers of the sea, and hat a storm should afterwards 
arise and break the masts, would any one in that case accuse 
him of being the cause of the shipwreck ? 

Demosthenes on the Crown. Rollin. 

In these examples, we find, that, however vari- 
ously the voice may employ itself on the rest of the 
sentence, the concluding words in the last member 
must necessarily be suspended with the rising jnflec» 


tion : the only exception to this rule is, when these 
interrogative sentences are connected by the disjunc- 
tive or ; for in that case the sentence or sentences 
that succeed the conjunction are pronounced as if 
they were formed by the interrogative words, or were 
merely declarative. 

Rule II. When interrogative sentences, connected 
by the disjunctive or, succeed each other, the first 
ends with the rising and the rest with the falling in- 


Shall we in your person crown the author of the publick ca- 
lamities, or shall we destroy him ? 

JEschines on the Crotun. Rollin. 

Is the goodness, or wisdom of the divine Being, more man- 
ifested in this his proceeding ? Sped. No. 519. 

But should these credulous infidels after all be in the right, 
and this pretended revelation be all a fable, from believing it 
what hkrm could ensue ? Would it render princes moie ty- 
rannical, or subjects more ungovernable ? The rich more in- 
solent, or the poor more disorderly ? — Would it make worse 
par nts or children ; husbands or wives ; masters or servants ; 
friends or neighbours ; or would it not make men more virtu- 
ous, and, consequently, mere happy in every situation ? 

Jenyns's View of the internal Evidence , p. 107. 

In the two former of these examples, we find the 
disjunctive or necessarily direct the voice in the last 
member of each to the failing inflection ; and in the 
third example, we have not only an instance of the 
diversity of voice on the several questions according 
to their form, but an illustration of the exception 
formed by the conjunctive or ; for in the former 
part of this passage, where it is used conjunctively > 
it does not occasion any more alteration of the voice 
on the word ensue than any other conjunctive word ; 
bu when used disjunctively, as in the last member 
.of the question commencing at-— or would it not make 


men more virtuous, &c. — we find it very properly 
change the tone of voice from the interrogative to 
the declarative ; that is, from the rising to the fall- 
ing inflection. 

Rule III. Interrogative sentences without inter- 
rogative words, when consisting of a variety of mem* 
bei s necessarily depending on each other lor sense, 
admit of every tone, pause, and inflection of voice, 
common to other sentences, provided the last mem- 
ber, on which the whole question depends, has that 
peculiar elevation and inflection of voice which dis- 
tinguishes this species of interrogation. 


But can we believe a thinking being, that is in a perpetual 
progress of improvements, and travelling on from perfection to 
perfection, after having just looked abroad into the works of 
its Creator, and made a few discoveries of his infinite goodness, 
wisdom, and power, must perish at her first setting out, and in 
the very beginning of her inquiries \ 

Spectator ■, No. 111. 

In reading this passage we shall find, that placing 
the falling inflection without dropping the voice on 
the words improvements and Creator, will not only 
prevent the monotony which is apt to arise from too 
long a suspension of the voice, but enforce the sense 
by enumerating, as it were, the several particulars of 
which the question consists. 


Do you think that Themistocles, and the heroes who were 
killed in the battles of Marathon and Platea ; do you think the 
Very tombs of your ancestors will not send forth groans, if you 
crown a man. who, by his own confession, has been for ever 
conspiring with barbarians to ruin Greece ? 

Mschtnes on the Crown. RoU'tn. 

This passage will be rendered much more forci- 
ble and harmonious, if, instead of suspending the 


voice throughout, we make use of the falling inflec- 
tion, without dropping the voice on the words Pla- 
tea and confession. 

Rule IV. Interrogative sentences, formed without 
the interrogative words, and consisting of members 
in a series, which form perfect sense as they pro- 
ceed, must have every member terminate with the in- 
flection of voice peculiar to this species of interro- 


And with regard to the unhappy Lacedemonians, what 
calamities have not befallen them for taking only a small part 
of the spoils of the temple ? they who formerly assumed a 
superiority over Greece, are they not now going to send am- 
bassadors to Alexander's court, to bear the name of hostages 
in his train, to become a spectacle of misery, to bow the knee 
before the monarch, submit themselves and their country to 
his mercy, and receive such laws as a conqueror — a conqueror 
they attacked first, shall think fit to prescribe them ? 

JEs chines on the Crown. Rollim. 

It need scarcely be observed, that, in order to 
prevent the monotony to which this passage is very 
liable in reading, we ought to begin the first question 
as soft as possible, that the voice may pronounce them 
all with an increasing force to the last. 

But did you, O— -(what title shall I give you !) did you be- 
tray the least shadow of displeasure against me, when I broke 
the chords of that harmony in your presence, and dispossessed 
the commonwealth of the advantages of that confederacy, which 
you magnify so much with the loudest strains of your theatrical 
voice ? did you ascend the rostrum ? did you denounce, or once 
explain those crimes, with which you are now pleased to charge 
me ? Demosthenes on the Crown. Roll'in.. 

In this and the preceding sentence, we shall find 
the ear relieved, and the sense greatly enforced, by 
placing the failing inflection with emphasis in a high 
tone of voice on the words conqueror? fir st y and ex- 
plain y according to Rule III. 


Would an infinitely wise Being make such glorious beings 
for so mean a purpose ? can he delight in the production of such 
abortive intelligence, such short-lived reasonable beings ? would 
he give us talents that are not to be exerted, capacities that are 
not to be gratified ? Spectator, No. 111. 

In the reading of every series here produced, it will 
be necessary to increase the force at the same time that 
we preserve the rising inflection on the last word or 
member of every one. 

One exception to this rule is, when a series of 
questions and answers follow each other : for in 
this case, though the first is elevated as in other in- 
terrogations, not commencing with interrogative 
words, the rest of the questions assume the declara- 
tive tone, and fall gradually into a period. 


As for the particular occasion of these (charity) schools, 
there cannot any offer more worthy a generous mind.. Would 
you do a handsome thing without return ? — do it for an infant 
that is not sensible of the obligation. Would you do it for 
the publick good ? — do it for one who will be an honest ar- 
tificer. Would you do it for the sake of heaven ? — </ive it for 
one who shall be instructed in the worship of Him for whose 
sake you gave it. Spectator, No. 294. 

In this example there is evidently an opposition 
in the interrogations which is equivalent to the dis- 
junctive or ; and if the ellipsis were supplied, which 
this opposition suggests, the sentence would run thus : 
If you will not do a handsome thing without return, 
would you do it for the publick good? and, if not for 
the publick good, would you do it for the sake of hea- 
ven ? so that this exception may be said to come un- 
der Rule II. of this article. 

This rule may throw a light upon a passage in 
Shakespeare, very difficult to pronounce with varie- 
ty, if we terminate every question with the rising in- 
flection, which, however, must necessarily be the 
case as the questions do not imply opposition to, or 


exclusion of each other. The passage referred to is 
in Henry V. where that monarch, after the discovery 
of the conspiracy against him, thus expostulates with 
Lord Scroope, who was concerned in it : 

Oh how hast thou with jealousy infected 
The sweetness of affiance ! show men dutiful ? 
Why so didst thou : or seem they grave and learned ? 
Why so didst thou : come they of noble family ? 
Why so didst thou : seem they religious ? 
Why so didst thou : or are they spare in diet ; 
Free from gross passion or of mirth or anger ; 
Constant in spirit, not swerving with the blood ; 
Garnish'd and deck'd in modest compliment, 
Not working with the eye without the ear, 
And but in purged judgment trusting neither ? 
Such and so finely boulted didst thou seem. 

In pronouncing this passage, it should seem most- 
eligible to use the rising inflection at the end of the 
several questions : but after the four first, the falling 
inflection seems very properly adopted on the word 
diet, as this is the first branch of the last series of 
questions ; and as this series continues for several 
lines, provided the voice be but inflected upwards 
on the last member at neither, the rest of the parts 
may be pronounced as is most suitable to the sense 
and harmony of the whole, according to Rule III. 
of this article. 

The necessity of attending to the distinction of in- 
flection, when things are distinguished and opposed 
to each other, will appear more clearly from the fol- 
lowing passage : 

See Falkland dies, the virtuous and the just ; 

See god-like Turenne prostrate on the dust ; 

See Sydney bleeds amid the martial strife ; 

Was this their virtue or contempt of life ? Pope, 

If, in reading this passage, the voice were to adopt 
the same inflection both on virtue and on contempt 


of life, and to end the last branch of the question 
as well as the first with the rising inflection, the dis- 
tinction, so strongly marked by the sense, would be 
utterly lost ; whereas, if we end virtue with the ris- 
ing, and life with the fulling inflection, the distinction 
evidently appears. But in the following passage 
from Shakespeare we have an instance of the neces- 
sity of a contrary mode of pronunciation, arising 
from a similitude of objects connected by the dis- 
junctive or: 

Is this the nature, 
Which passion could not shake ? whose solid virtue, 
The shot of accident or dart of chance 
Could neither raze nor pierce ? Othello. 

In this passage, - the shot of accident and the dart 
of chance, being only different words for the same 
thing, the word or conjoins them ; and to avoid any 
implication that they may mean different things, the 
same inflection of voice ought to be on them both, 
that is, the rising inflection : but in the last member, 
where the opposition is evident, both from the sense 
of the words, and the disjunctive nor, the falling in- 
flection ought to be laid on raze, and the rising on 

For the same reason, in reading the following 
stanza of Gray r s Elegy in a Country Church-yard, 
it should seem by much the most eligible method 
to suspend the voice with the rising inflection on the 
word death : 

Can storied urn, or animated bust, 

Back tn its mansion call the fleeting breath ? 

Can Honour's voice provoke the silent dust, 
Or Fiatt'ry sooth the dull cold ear of death ? 

As the sense of the word or, that is, whether it 
means conjunction or disjunction, is not always very 


obvious, it may not be useless to propose the follow- 
ing rule : if we are in doubt whether or is conjunc- 
tive or disjunctive, let us make use of this para- 
phrase — If it is not so, is it so ? and if the sense will 
bear this paraphrase, the or is disjunctive, and the 
subsequent question ought to have the falling in- 
flection : if it will not bear it, the or is conjunctive, 
and the subsequent question ought to have the rising 
inflection. Thus if we paraphrase the stanza just 
quoted, we shah find the or conjunctive. If storied 
urn cannot call back the fleeting breath, can animated 
bust call it back ? If Honour' s voice cannot provoke 
the silent dust, can Flattery sooth the dull cold ear of 
death ? 

If this paraphrase does not seem suitable to the 
general import of the sentence, it is because the ob- 
jects are not put in opposition or contradistinction 
to each other, and thereibre that the or is conjunc- 
tive, and, consequently, that the latter question re- 
quires -the rising inflection as well as the former : but 
where the or is disjunctive, we find tliib paraphrase 
very suitable to the general import of the sentence. 
Thus in the following sentence : 

But should these credulous infidels after all be in the right, 
and this pretended revelation be all a fable ; from believing it 
what harm could ensue \ would it render princes more tyran- 
nical, or subjects more ungovernable, the rich more insolent or 
the poor more disorderly ? Would it make worse parents, or 
children, husbands, or wives ; masters, or servants, friends, or 
neighbours ? or would it not make men more virtuous, and, 
consequently, more happy in every situation I Jenyns, 

If we try the paraphrase upon the former parts of 
this sentence, we shall find it as repugnant to the 
sense as in the former example ; but if we apply it 
to the last member, we shall find it perfectly accord 
with the meaning of the author. Thus, if we say— 
If it will not make worse parents or children, hus- 
bands or wives, masters or servants, fiends or neigh- 


hours ; will it not make men more virtuous, and, con- 
sequently, more happy in every situation ? — h om 
whence we may conclude, that in the former part of 
this passage, the or is conjunctive, and suspends the 
voice at the end of every member, and that the last 
or is disjunctive, and requires the sentence to end 
with the falling inflection. 

In passages of this kind, therefore, it seems quite 
necessary to attend to the distinction of inflection 
here laid down : and it may be farther observed, 
that the sense of a passage will always be more clear- 
ly understood by attending to this distinction, though 
there may not be always the same necessity for it. 
Thus in the following passage : 

One great use of prepositions in English, is toexpress those re- 
lations, which in some languages, are chiefly marked by cases, 
or the different endings ol the noun. 

Here, though the word eases ends the penultimate 
member, yet, as the last member must have the fall- 
ing inflection, the word eases must have the falling 
likewise ; for as here the word or is very different from 
the or preceded by either in this sentence, All lan- 
guages express the relations of nouns either by pre- 
positions or cases ; so it seems to intimate a different 
pronunciation : and as in the last example the words 
preposition and cases are opposed to each other, and 
fo that reason require different inflections; so, in the 
former, a sameness of inflection on both the parts 
connected by or, seems better to preserve that same- 
ness of idea which each of these parts conveys. 

These examples serve to discover a great and nat- 
ural source of that variety and precision which we 
so much admire in good readers and speakers. So 
many more instances might h..;ve been produced, 
that these remarks mriht huve justly formed a sep- 
arate article ; but hey seemed to belong more 
particularly to the interrogation, as here we view 


the force of contrast in a stronger light ; here we see 
that though the interrogation, without the interrog- 
ative words, necessarily requires the rising inflec- 
tion, yet when one part of this interrogation is distinct- 
ly opposed to, or contrasted with the other, these 
parts require opposite inflections of voice ; and it 
may without hesitation, be pronounced, that similar 
inflections of voice upon similar members, or members 
in apposition, and opposite inflections of voice upon op- 
posite words, or words opposed to, or contradistin- 
guished from each other in sense, are as congenial and 
essential to language as the marking of different things 
by different words. 

And here it were to be wished we could conclude 
this article without a mention of those exceptions, 
which are so apt to discourage inquirers into this 
subject, and induce them to conclude that there is 
nothing like rule or method in reading or speaking : 
but it ought to be remembered, that though there 
are numerous exceptions to almost every rule in 
grammar, we do not from this conclude, that gram- 
mar has no rules at all ; in subjects where custom 
has so extensive an influence, and where nature 
seems to vary expression for the sake oi variet}', if 
such rules can be drawn out as have a great majority 
of instances in their favour, we may certain!} con- 
clude that this, as well as every other depart mem of 
language, is not without fixed and settled rules. 

That rule which directs us to suspend, the voice 
with the rising inflection at the end oi a question 
formed without the interrogative words, is, perhaps, 
as general, and as well iounded, as any rule in lan- 
guage ; but the ear, which is disgusted at too long a 
suspension of voice, when the question is drawn out 
to a considerable length, often tor the sake of a bet- 
ter sound, converts the interrogative into the declar- 
ative tone, and concludes a question of this kind 
with the falling inflection : 


Thus there are few readers who would not con- 
clude the following question with the failing inflection. 

Do you think that Themistocles and the heroes who were 
killed in the battles of Marathon and Piataea, do you think che 
very tombs of your ancestors would not send forth groans, if 
you crown a man, who, by his own confession, has been for 
ever conspiring with barbarians to ruin Greece ? 

If this question were considered as entirely de- 
tached from the rest of the subject, there is no doubt 
but the ear is much more gratified by this, than by 
an opposite pronunciation ; but when we reflect, 
that by this pronunciation, though the ear is gratili- 
ed, it is at the expense of that peculiar poigiu 
which the rising inflection gives to this species of in- 
terrogation, we shall be less satisfied with the sacri- 
fice we make to sound ; for though sound has. its 
rights as well as sense, sense seems to have the first 
claim, especially in prose, and more particularly in 
this case, where the question loses all its force arid 
vigour ,unless pronounced with its specifick inflection 1 : 
besides, when we consider that in pronouncing a 
whole subject to the best advantage, perhaps it is 
not necessary that every pail should i3e so pronounc- 
ed as to be by itself most agreeable to the ear, we 
shall perceive that it is possi oie some parts may be 
pronounced less harmoniously as parts, which may 
contribute greatly to the energy, variety, and even 
harmony of the whole ; as less agreeable passages, and 
even discords in musick, are known to add greatly to 
the general beauty and effect of a whole composition. 

It must, however, be acknowledged, that some 
questions are so immoderately long, and, iosing sight 
of the first object of interrogation, run into such a va- 
riety of after-thoughts, that, preserving the idea of 
the question all through, and ending it with the ris- 
ing inflection, would not only be very difficult a. id 
inharmonious, but in some measure prejudicial to tiie 


force and energy of the sense : when this is the case, 
changing the rising to the falling inflection is certain- 
ly proper ; and what fault there is in the want of cor- 
respondence between sense and sound, must be plac- 
ed to the account of the composition : a reader, like 
a musical performer, perhaps, can cover a few blem- 
ishes in his author, by the elegance and delicacy of 
the tones he produces ; but all his art will not ena- 
ble him to make bad composition read as well as 
good ; or to make sense and sound accord in the 
reading, when they are at variance in the composi- 
tion. Thus in the following sentence : 

The Brigantines, even under a female leader, had force 
enough to burn the enemy's settlements, to storm their camps, 
and if success had not introduced negligence and inactivity, 
would have been able entirely to throw pff the yoke : And 
shall not we, untouched, unsubdued, and struggling, not for 
the acquisition, but the continuance of liberty, declare, at the 
very first onset, what kind of men Caledonia has reserved for- 
her defence ? 

In reading this sentence, we find it difficult to give 
it all its necessary force and harmony, and at the 
same time pronounce the emphatical word Caledonia, 
and the following words, with the rising inflection, 
as the nature of the question seems to demand ; on 
the other hand, if we lay the emphasis with the falling 
infection on the word Caledonia, the rising inflection 
on reserved, and the falling on defence, the cadence 
will be harmoniously formed, and the sense will ap- 
pear greatly enforced ; but as this sense is not the 
precise and specinck import of the interrogation, it 
must be left to the reader's judgment which mode of 
pronunciation he will adopt. 

And here it may be worth observing, that ques- 
tions without the interrogative words, demanding he 
rising infection of voice, c re always unfavourable to 
harmony when they end a branch of a subject, com- 


monly denoted by the paragraph : And that if the 
general rule be violated, this position of the question 
seems the best apology for it ; as concluding a ques- 
tion of this kind with the rising inflection seems to 
leave a demand unanswered, and the branch of the 
subject imperfect : but if the question does not end 
the paragraph, but is either directly answered by the 
speaker, or followed by something so immediately 
connected with it as to remove the suspense of wait- 
ing for an answer ; if this is the case, I say, let the 
train of questions be ever so numerous, it seems 
quite necessary to conclude with the rising inflection. 


Consider, I beseech yon, what was the part of a faithful cit- 
izen ? of a prudent^ an active, and an honest minister ? Was he 
not to secure Eubcea as our defence against all attacks by sea ? 
Was he not to make Beotia our barrier on the midland side ? 
The cities bordering on Peloponnesus our bulwark on that 
quarter ? Was he not to attend with due precaution to the im- 
portation of corn, that this trade might be protected through 
all its progress up to our own harbours ? Was he not to cover 
those districts which we commanded by seasonable detach- 
ments, as the Proconesus, the Chersonesus, and Tenedos ? To 
exert himself in the assembly for this purpose ? While with 
equal zeal he laboured to gain others to our interest and alli- 
ance, as Byzantium, Abydus, and Euboea ? Was he not to 
cut off the best, and most important resources of our enemies, 
and to supply those in which our country was defective ? — And 
all this you gained by my counsels and my administration. 

LelancPs Demosthenes, 

In pronouncing this passage, we find no method 
so proper as that of annexing the rising inflection to 
every single question ; and as they are not final, but 
are closed by a sentence with the falling inflection, 
the whole comes forcibly to the mind and agreea- 
bly to the ear, instead of that hiatus, both in sense 
and sound, with which the former sentence con- 
cludes w r hen we finish it with the rising inflection. 


It may be observed, likewise, that when questions 
are succeeded by answers, it will be necessary to 
raise the voice in the rising inflection on the ques- 
tion, and after a considerable pause to pronounce 
the answer in a lower tone of voice, that they may 
be the better distinguished from each other. 


My departure is objected to me, which charge I cannot answer 
without commending myself. For what must I say ? That I 
fled from a consciousness of guilt ? But what is charged upon 
me as a crime, was so far from being a fault, that it is the 
most glorious action since the memory of man. That I feared 
being called to an account by the people ? That was never 
talked of ; and if it had been done, I should have come off with 
double honour. That I wanted the support of good and hon- 
est men ? That is false. That I was afraid of death ? That 
is a calumny. 1 must, therefore, say what I would not, un- 
less compelled to it, that I withdrew to preserve the city. 


In pronouncing- this passage, we shall find it abso- 
lutely necessary, both for the vivacity of the questions, 
and to distinguish them from the answers, to pro- 
nounce the former in a higher, and the latter in a 
lower tone of voice, and to make a very long pause 
after each question. 

It seems necessary only to make one observation 
more before we close this article ; and that is, that as 
questions of this kind, which demand the rising in- 
flection at the end, especially when they are drawn 
out to any length, are apt to carry the voice into a 
higher key than is either suitable or pleasant, too much 
care cannot be taken to keep the voice down, when 
we are pronouncing the former parts of a long ques- 
tion, and the commencing questions of a long succes- 
sion of questions ; for as the characteristick pro- 
nunciation of these questions is, to end with the rising 
inflection, provided we do but terminate with this, the 
voice mav creep on in a low and almost sameness of 


tone till the end ; and then if the voice is not agreea- 
ble in a high key, which is the case with the generali- 
ty of voices, the last word of the whole may be pro- 
nouced with the rising inflection, in nearly the same 
low key in which the voice commences. 

Perhaps it may not be entirely useless to take notice 
of a very common mistake of printers, which is an- 
nexing the note of interrogation to such sentences as 
are not really interrogative, and which include a 
question only imperatively. Such are the following : 

Presumptuous man ! the reason would'st thou find, 
Why form'd so weak, so little, and so blind ? 
First, if thou canst, the harder reason guess, 
Why form'd no weaker, blinder, and no less. 
Ask of thy mother, earth, why oaks are made 
Taller or stronger than the weeds they shade ? 
Or ask of yonder argent fields above, 
Why Jove's satellites are less than Jove ? 

Pope's Essay on Man> Ep. u v. 35, 

In this passage we find the first couplet very prop- 
erly marked with the note of interrogation, and the 
second couplet as properly left without it. But the 
third couplet, which is no more a question than the 
second, has a note of interrogation annexed to it ; and 
the fourth, which is perfectly similar to the third, 
is marked with a note of interrogation likewise* 


This note is appropriated by grammarians to in- 
dicate that some passion or emotion is contained in 
the words to which it is annexed ; and it may, there- 
fore, be looked upon as essentially distinct from the 
rest of the points ; the office of which is commonly 
supposed to be that of fixing or determining the 
Sense only. Whether a point that indicates passion 


or emotion, without determining what emotion or 
passion is meant, or if we had points expressive of 
every passion or emotion, whether this would, in 
common usage, more assist or embarrass the elocu- 
tion of the reader, I shail not at present attempt to de- 
cide ; but when this point is applied to sentences 
which, from their form, might be supposed to be 
merely interrogative, and yet really imply wonder, 
surprise, or astonishment ; when this use, I say, is 
made of the note of exclamation, it must be confessed 
to be of no small importance in reading, and very 
justly to deserve a place in grammatical punctuation. 

Thus the sentence, How mysterious are the ways 
of Providence ! which naturally adopts the exclama- 
tion, may, by a speaker who denies these mysteries, 
become a question, by laying a stress on the word 
how, and subjoining the note of interrogation ; as, 
How mysterious are the ways of Providence ? Upon 
hearing a piece of musick, we may cry out with rap- 
ture, What harmony is that ! or we may use the 
words to inquire What harmony is that ? that is, 
what kind of harmony. The very different import, 
then, of these sentences, as they are differently point- 
ed, sufficiently shew the utility of the note of excla- 

So little, however, is this distinction attended to, 
that we seldom see a sentence commencing with the 
interrogative words marked with any thing but the 
note of interrogation, however distant the meaning 
of the sentence may be from doubt or inquiry. 

Thus Mr. Addison, speaking of the necessity of 
exercise, says — 

The earth must be laboured before it gives its increase ; and 
when it is forced into its several products, how many hands 
must they pass through before they are fit for use ? 

Spectator, No. 115. 


And this passage, in all the editions of the Spec- 
tator I have seen, is marked with a note of interroga- 
tion. Another writer in the Spectator, speaking of 
the grandeur and beauty of heaven, says — 

How great must be the majesty of that place, where the 
whole art of creation has been employed, and where God has 
chosen to show himself in the most magnificent manner ? 

Ibid. No. 580. 

Instances of this mistake are innumerable ; and 
yet it is as clear as any thing in language, that these 
passages ought not to be marked with the interroga- 
tion, but with the exclamation point. It may be 
urged, indeed, in extenuation of this fault, that the 
note of interrogation is not always very easy to be 
distinguished from the note of exclamation ; and 
when this is the case, a mistake is not of any great 
importance to the reader ; for we may be sure that 
question which may be mistaken for an exclamation, 
whatever tone or passion it may demand, can never 
require any inflection of voice on the last word, but 
that which the question itself requires, which is the 
falling inflection. It will, however, be necessary to 
take notice of an exception to this rule, which is, 
when the exclamation comes immediately after a 
question, and, as it were, repeats it; for, in this case, 
the repeated question, which is really an exclama- 
tion, assumes the rising inflection. 


Will you forever, Athenians, do nothing but walk up and 
down the city, asking one another, What news ? What news ! 
Is there any thing more new than to see a man of Macedonia 
become master of the Athenians, and give Jaws to all Greece ? 

Demosthenes* First Philippick. Rollin* 

In this passage we find the first question includ- 
ing the last, and, being formed without the interrog- 


ative words, requires the rising inflection ; and as 
the sentence of admiration, What news ! immediate- 
ly follows, it exactly imitates the object it ironically 
admires. This inflection of the note of admiration 
is not confined to the repetition of this inflection in 
the foregoing question ; for if a question is asked 
with the interrogative words, and, consequently, with 
the failing inflection, if we immediately echo the 
question, and turn it into an admiration, the voice 
necessarily adopts the rising inflection before describ- 
ed. Thus when Pope inquires into the place where 
happiness resides, he says — 

Plant of celestial seed, if dropp'd below, 
Say in what mortal soil thou deign'st to grow : 
Fair op'ning to some courts propitious shine, 
Or deep with diamonds in the flaming mine ? 
Twin'd with the wreaths Parnassian laureis yield, 
Or reap'd in iron harvests of the neid ? 
Where grows ? where grows not ? if vain our toil, 
We ought to blame the culture, not the soil. 

Pope's Essay on Man, ep. iv. 

Here the phrase, where grows, assumes the risings 
inflection, and ought to be marked with the note of 

It may not be entirely useless to take notice of a 
common errour of grammarians ; which is, that both 
this point and the interrogation require an elevation 
of voice. The inflection of voice proper to one spe- 
cies of question, which, it is probable, grammarians 
may have mistaken ibr an elevation of voice, it is 
presumed has been fully explained under that arti- 
cle : By the elevation of voice they attribute to this 
point, it is not unlikely that they mean the pathos or 
energy with which we usually express passion or emo- 
tion ; but which is, by no means, inseparably con- 
nected with elevation of voice : were we even to 
suppose, that all passion or emotion necessarily as* 

166 Elements of 

sumes a louder tone, it must still be acknowledged 
this is very different from a higher tone of voice, and 
therefore that the common rule is veiy fallacious and 

The truth is, the expression of passion or emotion 
consists in giving a distinct and specifick quality to 
the sounds we use, rather than increasing or dimin- 
ishing their quantity, or in giving this quantity any 
local direction upwards or downwards : Understand- 
ing the import of a sentence, and expressing that 
sentence with passion or emotion, are things as dis- 
tinct as the head and the heart : This point, therefore, 
though useful to distinguish interrogation from emo- 
tion, is as different from the rest of the points as 
Grammar is from Rhetorick ; and whatever may be 
the tone of voice proper to the note of exclamation, 
it is certain the inflections it requires are exactly the 
same as the rest of the points ; that is, if the excla- 
mation point is placed after a member that would 
have the rising inflection in another sentence, it ought 
to have the rising in this ; if after a member that 
would have the tailing inflection, the exclamation 
ought to have the falling inflection likewise ; or if 
exclamation is mingled with a question, it requires 
the same inflection the question would require, unless, 
as we have formerly observed, the question with the 
interrogative words is an echo of another question of 
the same kind, which, in this case, always requires the 
rising inflection : And this exception, it may be ob- 
served, is perfectly agreeable to the general rule ; for 
a repetition of a question of this kind alters its form, 
and changes it in effect into a question without the 
interrogative word ; as the member, where grows, 
in the last example, is equivalent to the sentence, Do 
you ask where it grows ; an ellipsis in the words, 
not altering in the least the import of the sentence. 

An instance, that the exclamation may be mixed 
with interrogations of both kinds, may be seen in the- 


following speech of Gracchus, quoted by Cicero, and 
inserted in the Spectator, No. 541. 

Whither shall I turn ? Wretch that I am ! to what place shall 
I betake myself ? Shall I go to the Capitol ? alas ! it is over- 
flowed with my brother's blood ! or shall I retire to my house ? 
yet there I behold my mother plunged in misery, weeping and 
despairing ! 

Every distinct portion of this passage may be tru- 
ly said to be an exclamation ; and yet we find, in 
reading it, though it can scarcely be pronounced with 
too much emotion, the inflections of voice are the 
same as if pronounced without any emotion at all : 
that is, the portion, Whither shall I turn, terminates 
like a question with the interrogative word, with the 
falling inflection. The member, Wretch that I am 9 
like a member forming incomplete sense, with the 
rising inflection ; the question, without the interroga- 
tive word, Shall I go to the Capitol, with the rising 
inflection ; alas / it is overflowed with my brothers 
blood, with the falling : The question commencing 
with the disjunctive or, or shall I retire to my house y 
with the failing inflection, but in a lower tone of 

Thus we see how vague and indefinite are the gen- 
eral rules for reading this point, for want of distin- 
guishing high and low tones of voice from those up- 
ward and downward slides, which may be in any 
note of the voice, and which, from their radical dif- 
ference, form the most marking differences in pro- 


The parenthesis is defined by our excellent gram- 
marian, Dr. Lowth, to be a member of a sentence 
inserted in the body of a sentence* which member 



is neither necessary to the sense, nor at all affects the 
construction. He observes, also, that in reading or 
speaking, it ought to have a moderate depression of 
the voice, and a pause greater than a comma. This 
is, perhaps, as just a definition of the parenthesis, as 
could be given in so few words, and may serve to 
regulate our opinion of it when the marks of it in 
printing are either omitted or used improperly ; but 
several other particulars respecting this grammati- 
cal note may be remarked, which will tend great- 
ly to acquaint us with the true nature of it, and 
shew us how it may be pronounced to advantage. 
And first it may be observed, that the parenthesis 
seems to have been much under-rated by the gener- 
ality of writers on composition, who consider it rath- 
er as a blemish than an advantage to style, and have 
almost entirely prohibited the use of it. This, how- 
ever, cannot be done without arraigning the taste of 
the best writers, both ancient and modern, who fre- 
quently make use of this figure of grammar, and of- 
ten with great advantage : for though, when used in- 
judiciously, it interrupts the course of the thought, 
and obscures the meaning ; yet sometimes it so hap- 
pily conveys a sentiment or stroke of humour, as to 
entitle it to no small merit among the grammatical 
figures, and to rank it even with those of oratory and 
eloquence. What, for example, can add greater 
force to a pathetick sentiment than a thought rising 
up from the fulness of the heart, as it were in the 
middle of another sentence ? What can add greater 
poignancy to a sally of wit, than conceiving it as 
springing naturally from the luxuriancy of the sub- 
ject without the least effort or premeditation of the 
writer ? What can give such importance to a tran- 
sient thought, as producing it ( in the negligence of 
an intervening member ; and how much is compo- 
sition familiarized, and rendered natural and easy, 
by the judicious introduction of these transient un- 


premeditated thoughts ! This manner of conveying 
a thought makes us esteem it the more in proportioa 
as the author seems to esteem it less ; and if, to this 
advantage of the parenthesis, we add that of the con- 
ciseness of thought and variety of pronunciation, it 
sometimes bestows on the style and cadence of a 
sentence, we shall by no means think it a trifling or 
insignificant part of composition. 

But though the parenthesis has often an excellent 
effect both in composition and delivery, yet, when 
it is used too frequently, or extended to too great 
a length, it embarrasses the reader, and obscures 
rather than illustrates the meaning of the author ; 
for which reason we find good writers constantly 
avoid a long and complicated parenthesis. The 
best parenthesis, therefore, is the shortest ; for as 
the main current of the sentence is standing still 
while this intervening member is pronounced, the 
thread of the discourse is broken, and, if discontinued 
too long, is with difficulty taken up again. 

The real nature of the parenthesis once understood, 
we are at no loss for the true manner of delivering it. 
The tone of voice ought to be interrupted, as it were 
by something unforeseen ; and, after a pause, the pa- 
renthesis should be pronounced in a lower tone of voice, 
at the end of which, after another pause, the higher 
tone of voice, which was interrupted, should be re- 
sumed, that the connection between the former and 
latter part of the interrupted sentence may berestored* 
It may be observed, too, that in order to preserve; 
the integrity of the principal members, the paren- 
thesis ought not only to be pronounced in a lower 
tone, but a degree swifter than the rest of the period, 
as this still better preserves the broken sense, and 
distinguishes the explanation from the text. For 
that this is always the case in conversation, we can 
be under no doubt, when we consider, that whatever; 
is supposed to make our auditors wait, gives an rm* 


pulse to the tongue, in order to relieve them as soon 
as possible from the suspense of an occasional and 
unexpected interruption. 

Rule I. The most general rule is, that the paren- 
thesis always terminates with that pause and inflection 
of voice with which the interrupted part of the sen- 
tence that precedes it is marked ; for any closer con- 
nection between the parenthesis and the latter, than 
between the parenthesis and the former part of the 
sentence, would form a fresh member, compounded 
of the parenthesis and the latter part, and by this 
means leave the former imperfect. Accordingly, 
when the member immediately preceding the paren- 
thesis ends with imperfect sense, or a comma and the 
rising inflection, (which is almost always the case,) 
the parenthesis ends with a comma, and the rising 
inflection likewise. 


Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the 
law, ) that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he 
liveth? Rom. vii. 1. 

When it ends with perfect sense, generally mark- 
ed with a colon, and consequently requires the fall- 
ing inflection of voice, (which very seldom happens,) 
the parenthesis ends with a colon and falling inflec- 
tion also. 


Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them 
without violence : (for they feared the people, lest they should 
have been stoned :) And when they had brought them, they 
set them before the council. Jets, v. 26, 27, 

But before we proceed to give other examples, it 
will be necessary to take notice, that though the pause 
and inflection, terminating the parenthesis and the 
member that precedes it, may be said to be the same., 


it must still be understood to mean the same only 
as far as the difference of tone with which the paren- 
thesis is pronounced will permit ; for if the paren- 
thesis is to be pronounced in a lower tone than the 
principal sentence, which seems universally allowed, 
the pause and inflection of voice with which the pa- 
renthesis ends, must necessarily be pronounced lower 
than the same pauses and inflections terminating the 
preceding member : but as this is only like reading 
the same sentence in a higher or lower, in a louder or 
softer tone, (in all which modes of pronunciation the 
pauses and inflections have an exact proportion, and 
are called the same, though different in some re- 
spects ;) so the higher and lower tone with which 
the same pause and inflection are pronounced in and 
out of a parenthesis, may be so easily conceived, 
that, perhaps, this observation may, by most readers, 
be thought superfluous. To resume therefore the 
rule : 

A parenthesis must be pronounced in a lower 
tone of voice, and conclude with the same pause and 
inflection which terminate the member that immedi- 
ately precedes it. 


Notwithstanding all this care of Cicero, history informs us> 
that Marcus proved a mere blockhead ; and that nature (who 
it seems was even with the son for her prodigality to the fa- 
ther) rendered him incapable of improving, by all the rules of 
eloquence, the precepts of philosophy, his own endeavours, and 
the most refined conversation in Athens. Spectator, No. 307* 

Natural historians observe (for whilst I am in the country I 
must fetch my allusions from thence) that only male birds 
have voices ; that their songs begin a little before breeding- 
time, and end a little after. Ibid. No. 1 23* 

Dr. Clarke has observed, that Homer is more perspicuous 
than any other author j but if he is so (which yet may be gues- 


tioned) the perspicuity arises from his subject, and not from 
the language itself in which he writes. 

Ward's Grammar, p. 292, 

The many letters which come to me from persons of the 
best sense in both sexes (for 1 may pronounce their characters 
from their way of writing) do not a little encourage me in the 
prosecution of this my undertaking. Spectator, No. 124?. 

It is this sense which furnishes the imagination with its ideas ; 
so that by the pleasures of the imagination or fancy (which I 
shall use promiscuously) I here mean such as arise from 
visible objects. Ibid, No. 411, 

In these examples, we find the parenthesis break 
in upon the sense ; but as the interruption is short, 
and is also distinguished from the body of the sen- 
tence by a different tone of voice, as well as by paus- 
es, it does not in the least embarrass it. 

But when parentheses are long, which is some- 
times the case in prose, and often in poetry, too 
much care cannot be taken to read them in so dif- 
ferent a tone of voice from the rest of the sentence, 
as may keep them perfectly separate and distinct : 
this is not only to be done by lowering the voice, 
and pronouncing the parenthesis more rapidly, but 
by giving a degree of monotone or sameness to the 
voice, which will, perhaps, distinguish the parenthe- 
sis, and keep it from mingling with what incloses it 
better than any of the other peculiarities. Let us 
take a few examples by way of praxis. 

Since then every sort of good which is immediately of im- 
portance to happiness, must be perceived by some immediate 
power or sense, antecedent to any opinions or reasoning, | for 
it is the business of reason to compare the several sorts of good 
perceived by the several senses, and to find out the proper 
means for obtaining them,) we must therefore carefully in- 
quire into the several sublimer perceptive powers or senses ; 
•since it is by them we best discover what state or course o£ 


life best answers the intention of God and nature, and wherein 
true happiness consists. 

Hutchesoris Moral Philosophy, look i. chap. i. sect. 5. 

If sometimes on account of virtue we should be exposed to 
such evils, which is sometimes the case (though men are much 
more frequently involved by their vices in such evils, and that 
in a more shameful base way) virtue can teach us to bear such 
evils with resolution, or to conquer them. 

Ibid, chap, ii. sect. 11. 

And although the diligent and active should not, without 
weighty causes, be any way restrained in their just acquisitions r 
(and, indeed, the best sorts of democracy may allow them to 
acquire as much as can be requisite for any elegance or pleas- 
ure of life that a wise man could desire :) yet we are never to 
put in the balance with the liberty or safety of a people, the 
gratifying the vain ambition, luxury, or avarice of a few. 

Ibid book iii. cb. vi. sect. 1. 

For these reasons, the senate and people of A'thens, (with 
due veneration to the gods and heroes, and guardians of ther 
Athenian city and territory, whose aid they now implore ; and 
•with due attention to the virtue of their ancestors, to whom 
the general liberty of Greece was ever dearer than the partic- 
ular interest of their own state) have resolved that a fleet of 
two hundred vessels shall be sent to sea, the admiral to cruise- 
within the streights of Thermopylae. 

Ltland's Demosthenes on the Crown* 

As to my own abilities in speaking (for I shall admit this 
charge, although experience hath convinced me, that what is 
called the power of eloquence depends for the most part upon 
the hearers, and that the characters of publick speakers are de- 
termined by that degree of favour which you vouchsafe to 
each ;) if long practice, I say, hath given me any proficiency in 
speaking, you have ever found it devoted to my country. 


In these instances of the parenthesis, it will be 
found very difficult to keep the main thread of the 
subject entire, unless we distinguish the intervening 
member by a pause, a lower tone of voice, and a 
somewhat swifter and less varied tone than what pre- 


cedes and follows : and we must never forget, that 
when the parenthesis is pronounced, the voice, after 
a short pause, must recover the higher tone it fell 
from, in order to preserve the connection in the 
thought. Without these precautions it will often be 
Impossible to pronounce Milton so as to make him 
intelligible. That sublime and excursive genius is, 
like Homer, frequently, by the beauty of an inter- 
vening thought, carried so far out of the direct line 
of his subject, as to make it impossible for his read- 
er to preserve the direct line, but by distinguishing 
those thoughts that vary from it by a different pro- 
nunciation. Let us adduce a few examples for prac- 

But what if he our conqueror (whom I now 
Of force believe almighty, since no less than such 
Could have o'er-power'd such force as ours) 
Have left us this our spirit and strength entire 
Strongly to suffer, and support our pains ? 

Par ad. Lost, b»u v. 1 4#. 

His spsar (to equal which the tallest pine 
Hewn on Norwegian hills to be the mast 
Of some great admiral were but a wand) 
Hewalk'd with to support uneasy steps 
Over the burning marie. Ibid* v. 292. 

Know then, that after Lucifer from heav'n 
(So call him brighter once amidst the host 
Of angels than that star the stars among) 
Fell with his flaming legions through the deep 
Into his place, and the great Son return'd 
Victorious with his saints, th' omnipotent 
Eternal Father from his throne beheld 
Their multitude, and to his Son thus spake. 

Ibid book vii. v. 131. 

Round he surveys (and well might where he stood 
So high above the circling canopy 
Of night's extended shade) from eastern point 
Of Libra, to the fleecy star that bears 
Andromeda far off Atlantick seas 
JBeyoad the horizon* Ibid, book ill ▼. 55£ 


They anon 
With hundreds and with thousands trooping came 
Attended : all access was throng'd ; the gates 
And porches wide, but chief the spacious hall 
(Though like a cover'd field, where champions bold 
Wont ride in arm'd, and at the soldan's chair 
Defy'd the best of Panim chivalry 
To mortal combat, or career with lance) 
Thick swarm'd both on the ground, and in the air 
Brush'd with the hiss of rustling wings. 

Ibid, book i. v. 752, 

Under this article, perhaps, may be arranged aside 
speeches in dramatick works, and all the intervening 
explanatory members in narrative writing : for both 
these species of members, like the parenthesis, re- 
quire both a lower tone of voice, and a more rapid 
pronunciation, than the rest of the composition. 

It may not, perhaps, be improper to observe, that 
the small intervening members, says I, says he y con- 
tinued they, &c. not only follow the inflection, but 
the tone of the member which precedes them : that 
is, if the preceding member breaks off with the ris- 
ing inflection, these intervening members are not 
pronounced in a lower tone, like other parentheses, 
but in a higher and feebler tone of voice than the 


Thus then, said he, since you are so urgent, it is thus that I 
conceive it. The sovereign good is -hat, the possession of 
which renders us happy -\nd how, said I, do we possess it I 
Is it sensual or intellectual ? There you are entering, said he, 
Upon the detail. Harrit* 

The first intervening member, said he, is pronounc- 
ed with the falling inflection somewhat feebler than 
the words thus then, which have the same inflection : 
the next intervening member, said I, has the falling 
inflection, in a feebler tone than the word how, which 


has the falling inflection likewise ; but said he, in the 
next sentence, has the rising inflection like the pre- 
ceding word entering, though in a feebler tone of 
voice. The same may be observed of the interven- 
ing member, says one of the frogs, in the following 
example : 

A company of waggish boys were watching of frogs at the 
side of a pond, and still as any of them put up their heads, 
they would be pelting them down again with stones : " Chil- 
dren," (says one of the frogs,) " you never consider, that though 
this may be play to you, it is death to us." 

& Estrange in Sped. No. 23. 

But when the intervening member goes farther 
than these simple phrases, they must always be pro- 
nounced in a lower tone of voice, and terminate with 
the rising inflection. 


I had letters from him (here I felt in my pockets) that ex- 
actly spoke the Czar's character, which I knew perfectly well. 

Spectator, No. 136. 

Young master was alive last Whitsuntide, said the coach- 
man. — Whitsuntide ! alas ! cried Trim, (extending his right 
arm, and falling instantly into the same attitude in which he 
read the sermon) — What is Whitsuntide, Jonathan, (for that 
was the coachman's name,) or Shrovetide, or any tide or time 
past to this ? Are we not here now, continued the corporal, 
(striking the end of his stick perpendicularly upon the floor, so as 
to give an idea of health and stability,) and are we not (drop- 
ping his hat upon the ground; gone in a moment r* Sterne. 

In these examples we perceive the parenthesis has 
a pronunciation much more different from the text 
than the small explanatory members, cried Trim, and 
continued the Corporal, which, though pronounced 
in a different manner from the body of the sentence^ 
have not so marked a difference as the parenthesis* 


Rule II. As the first general rule was, that the pa- 
renthesis ought to terminate with the same pause and 
inflection of voice as the member that preceded it ; 
the next general rule is, that the parenthesis, like the 
member immediately preceding it, almost always 
terminates with the pause of the comma and the ris- 
ing inflection : this has been abundantly exemplified 
in the foregoing instances ; and it will now be neces- 
sary to take notice of an exception to this rule, which 
is, when the parenthesis terminates with an emphat* 
ical word which requires the falling inflection ; for in 
this case, emphasis requires, that the parenthesis 
should terminate with the falling instead of the rising 


Had I, when speaking in the assembly, been absolute and 
independent master of affairs, then your other speakers might 
cali me to account. But if ye were ever present, if ye were all 
in general invited to propose your sentiments, if ye were all 
agreed that the measures then suggested were really the best ; 
if you, ^Eschines, in particular, were thus persuaded, (and it 
was no partial affection for me, that prompted you to give me 
up the hopes, the applause, the honours, which attended that 
course I then advised, but the superiour force of truth, and 
your utter inability to point out any more eligible course ;) if 
this was the case, I say, is it not highly cruel and unjust to ar- 
raign those measures now, when you could not then propose 
any better I Iceland's Demost. on the Crown* 

Here the parenthesis finishing with two parts in 
opposition to each other, and the first of them being 
negative, and the last positive, the sense necessarily 
requires that advised should terminate with the rising, 
and eligible course with the falling inflection ; but as 
the member which immediately precedes the paren- 
thesis is emphatical, and takes the falling inflection^ 
likewise in this case the general rule is not broken*, 



Cicero, speaking of the duty of magistrates, 

Care must be taken that it be not (as was often done by our 
ancestors through the smallness of the treasury and continu- 
ance of the wars) necessary to raise taxes ; and in order to 
prevent this, provision should be made against it long before- 
hand : but if the necessity of this service should happen to any- 
state (which I had rather suppose of another than our own ; 
nor am I now discoursing of our own, but of every state in 
general) methods must be used to convince all persons (if they 
would be secure) that they ought to submit to necessity. 

Cicero' s Offices > hook n. c. 21. 

In this passage are no less than three parentheses ; 
the first and last, according to the general rule, end 
•with the rising inflection : but the middle parenthetick 
member ending with two emphatick objects, the last 
of which requires the falling inflection, the general 
rule must be dispensed with. Why the negative 
part of a sentence requires the rising, and the positive 
part the falling inflection, see Theory of Emphatick 

Before we conclude this article, it may not be im- 
proper to take notice of a very erroneous practice 
among printers, which is, substituting commas in- 
stead of the hooks which mark a parenthesis. Slight 
as this fault may appear at first sight, we shall find^ 
upon reflection, that it is productive of great inconve- 
niences ; for if the parenthesis ought to be read in a 
lower tone of voice, and these hooks which inclose it 
are a mark of this tone, how shall a reader be able to 
understand this at sight, if the marks of the paren- 
thesis are taken away, and commas inserted in their 
Stead? The difficulty of always deciding, what is a 
parenthesis, and what is not, may, perhaps, be some 
excuse for confounding it with other intervening 
members ; but the absolute necessity of reading a 
real parenthesis with its proper tone of voice, makes 


it of some importance to distinguish between this 
and the incidental member which is often confound- 
ed with it. The best rule, therefore, to distin- 
guish the member in question is, not merely to 
try if sense remains when it is left out of the sen- 
tence, but to see if the member so modifies the pre- 
ceding member as to change it from a general to a 
particular meaning ; for if this be the case, the mem- 
ber, though incidental, is absolutely necessary to the 
sense of the whole sentence, and consequently cannot 
be a parenthesis. An example will assist us in un- 
derstanding this distinction, which is nearly the same 
as that which has been taken notice of in the defini- 
tion of a sentence, p. 42. 


My friend the divine, having been used with words of com- 
plaisance, (which he thinks could be properly applied to no man 
living, and I think couid be only spoken of him, and chat in 
his absence) was so offended with the excessive way of speak- 
ing civilities among us, that he made a discourse against it at 
the club. 

The incidental member in this sentence, which, in 
every edition of the Spectator I have seen, is marked 
as a parenthesis, is certainly nothing more than an in- 
cidental niemoer modifying that which precedes, and 
therefore ought to have no fall of the voice in pro- 
nouncing it as the parenthesis requires ; tor the words 
of complaisance are not merely these words in gen- 
eral, but such as he thought couid be applied to no 
one living, &c. ; and consequently this modifying 
member ought not to be so detached irom that which 
it modifies, as to be pronounced in a lower tone of 
voice, as this would in some measure injure the 

Tnus have we gone through the several pauses 
and distinctions of punctuation, and to these pauses 


and distinctions have added such a slide or inflection 
of voice as is suited to express them with clearness, 
strength, and propriety. Our next attempt must be 
to show what pronunciation is required by accent, 
emphasis, variety, harmony, and passion : and this 
must be the subject of the second part of this 




As Accent relates to the pronunciation of words 
taken singly, it can have little to do in an essay on 
the pronunciation of words in succession, as Elocu- 
tion, perhaps, may not improperly be called ; for as 
words justly pronounced are merely the materials for 
delivery, these must all be supposed to be in our own 
possession before we can possibly begin to arrange 
and display them to advantage. A person who pro- 
nounces every word singly with the greatest purity, 
may not be able to read well ; and another may con* 
vey the sense of an author with great force and beau- 
ty, who does not always either pronounce the ords 
justly, or place the accent on the proper syllable^ 
The only point, therefore, in which it will be neces- 
sary to take notice of accent in reading, is that where 
the emphasis requires a transposition of it : this 
happens when two words which have a sameness in 
part of their formation, are opposed to each other in 
sense. Thus, if I pronounce the words justice and 
injustice as single words, I naturally place the accent 
on the penultimate syllable of both ; but if I contrast 
them, and say, Neither justice nor injustice have any 
thing to do with the present question ; in this sen- 
tence I naturally place the accent on the first syllable 
of injustice ', in order the more forcibly and clearly to 
distinguish it from justice. This transposition of 
the accent, which is so evidently dictated by the 
sense, extends itself to ail words which have a same- 

182 Elements of 

ness of termination, though they may not be directly 
opposite in sense ; thus, if I wanted more particular- 
ly to show that I meant one requisite of dramatick 
story rather than another, I should say, In this spe- 
cies of composition, plausibility is much more essen- 
tial than probability ; and in the pronunciation of 
these words, I should infallibly transpose the accent 
of both from the third to the first syllables ; in order 
to contrast those parts of the words which are dis- 
tinguished from each other by the import of the sen- 
tence. As an instance of the necessity of attending 
to this emphatical accent, as it may be called, we 
need only give a passage from the Spectator, No. 189 : 

In this case I may use the saying of an eminent wit, who 
Upon some great men's pressing him to forgive his daughter 
•who had married against his consent, told them he could re- 
fuse nothing to their instances, but that he would have them 
remember there was a difference between giving and/orgiving. 

In this example, we find the whole sense of the 
passage depends on placing the accent on the first 
syllable of forgiving, in order to contrast it more 
strongly with giving, to which it is opposed ; as, 
without this transposition of accent, the opposition 
on which the sentiment turns, would be lost. 

Another instance will more fully illustrate the 
necessity of attending to this emphatical accent. 

The prince for the publick good has a sovereign property in 
every private person's estate ; and, consequently, his riches 
must increase or decrease, in proportion to the number and 
riches of his subjects. Spectator, No. 200. 

The words increase and decrease have, in this 
example, the accent on the first syllable of each, as 
it is there the contrast in the sense lies. 

What has already been said of accent, as it relates 
to the art of reading, is, perhaps, more than sufficient ; 
but so much has been said about the nature of rhis 
accent, both in the ancient and modern languages* 


that it may not be improper to offer a few thoughts 
on the subject here. Almost all authors, ancient 
and modern, assert, that the accented syllable is pro- 
nounced in a higher tone than the rest ; but Mr* 
Sheridan insists that it is not pronounced higher^ 
but louder only.* Whatever may have been the 
nature of accent in the learned languages, certain it is, 
that the accented syllable in our own is always louder 
than the rest ; and if we attend ever so little to the 
two kinds of inflection with which every accented 
word in a sentence is pronounced, we shall soon see 
that the accented syllable is either higher or lower 
than the rest, according to the inflection which it 

Thus in this sentence, Plate III. No. I. p. 184 : 

Sooner or later virtue must meet with a reward. 

Here I say the last syllable ward has the falling iflu 
flection ; and if we pronounce the word without em- 
phasis, and merely as if we were concluding the 
subject, this syllable will be pronounced louder and 
lower than the syllable immediately preceding ; but 
if we give emphasis to this syllable, by opposing it to 
something else, we shall find it pronounced both high- 
er and louder than the preceding syllables. Thus 
in the following sentence, Flate III. No. II. : 

Most certainly virtue will meet with a reward, and not pun- 

Here the word reward has the same inflection as 
in the former instance, and the word punishment ends 
with the rising inflection ; but the syllable ward 
is perceptibly higher as well as louder than the 
syllable that precedes it. Again, if we give this 

* See this erroneous opinion of Mr. Sheridan clearly refuted in the 
Observations on the Greek and Latin Accent and Quantity at the end of 
the Key to the, Glass'wl Pronunciation of Greek at\£ Latin f roper JSwe*, 


Word the rising inflection, we shall find, in this case, 
that without emphasis the accented syllable ward is 
pronounced both louder and higher than the preced- 
ing syllables. Thus No. III. : 

If virtue must have a reward, it is our interest to be virtu- 

These observations compare the accented syllable 
with the preceding syllables only : it will in the next 
place be necessary to compare it with those that fol- 
low : for which purpose, let us observe the pronun- 
ciation of this sentence, No. IV. 

We ought to avoid blame, though we cannot be perfect. 

Here, I say, if we give the word perfect the fall- 
ing inflection, and pronounce it with emphasis, we 
shall find the first syllable very preceptibly higher 
and louder than the last ; on the contrary, if we give 
the word perfect the rising inflection, we shall find 
the accented syllable louder than the last, though not 
so high ; for the last syllable perceptibly slides into 
a higher tone. Thus No. V. : 

If we wish to be perfect, we must imitate Christ. 

These observations will, perhaps, be still better 
conceived, by watching our pronunciation of a word 
where the accent is nearly in the middle. Thus in 
this passage of Shakespeare : 

What earthly name to interrogatories, 
Shall task the free breath of a sacred king ? 

King John* 

In this passage, I say, the syllable rog has the ris- 
ing inflection, and is pronounced perceptibly louder 
and higher than the two first, and louder and lower 
than the three last : but if we give this syllable the 
felling inflection, as in this sentence : 


He is neither mov'd by intreaties nor interrogatories. 

Here, I say, the syllable rog, if pronounced with, 
the least degree of emphasis, is both louder and 
higher than either the preceding or" subsequent syl- 

From these observations, this general conclusion 
may be drawn : Whatever inflection be adopted, the 
accented syllable is always louder than the rest ; but 
if the accent be pronounced with the rising inflection, 
the accented syllable is higher than the preceding, and 
lower than the succeeding syllable ; and if the accent 
have the falling inflection, the accented syllable is pro* 
nounced higher than any other syllable, either pre* 
ceding or succeeding. The only exception to this is 
the sentence, No. I. where the accent is on the last 
syllable of a word which has no emphasis, and is pro- 
nounced as forming a cadence at the conclusion of 
a discourse. 

Sooner or later virtue must meet with a reward. 

Here the last syllable, though pronounced louder 
than the first, is evidently pronounced a degree 

It may not, perhaps, be improper to take notice of 
a common usage of the word accent, which, though, 
seemingly inaccurate, will be found, upon examina- 
tion, to be a just application of the word. It is the 
custom, not only of England, but of other parts of 
the world which are seats of empire, to call those 
modes of pronunciation used in parts distant from, 
the capital, by the name of accents. Thus we say, a 
native of Ireland speaks* English with the Irish, and 
a native of Scotland with the Scotch accent ; though 
both these speakers pronounce every word with the 
accent on the very same syllable as the English, 
Why then do we say, they speak with a different ac- 
cent? One reason is, that speaking sounds have 


never been sufficiently analysed to enable us to dis- 
cover their component parts, which makes us take 
up with indefinite and unspecifick terms, instead of 
such as are precise and appropriated to their ob- 
ject. This has greatly obscured the notion of accent, 
and led Mr. Sheridan to suppose, that accent in our 
language is no more than a force upon a certain syl- 
lable of a word which distinguishes it from the rest ; 
but that accent has no reference to inflections of 
voice, and for that reason the word is used by us in 
the singular number.* Others have imagined, that 
we have two accents, the grave and acute ; but in 
the definition of these, they seem only to mean that 
the latter has a greater degree of force than the for- 
mer. Thus, for want of the simple distinction of 
the rising and falling slide of the voice, with which 
every accented syllable must necessarily be pronounc- 
ed, the nature of our own accent seems as obscure, 
and as little understood, as that of the Greeks and 
Romans : and it is to this obscurity we owe the sup- 
posed impropriety of calling a dialect by the name 
of accent ; for though there are other differences in 
the Scotch and Irish pronunciation of English be- 
sides this, it is to the difference of accent that the chief 
diversity is owing : if we understand accent only as 
force or stress, there is, indeed, the slightest difference 
imaginable ; since in both these kingdoms the stress 
is (to the exception of very few words indeed) laid on 
the same syllable as in England ; and, for this rea- 
son, the laws of poetry are exactly the same in all ; 
but if we divide accent into grave and acute, and call 
the acute the stress with the rising inflection, and the 
grave the stress with the falling inflection, we shall 
then see the propriety of saying, such a one speaks 
with the Irish or Scotch accent ; for though the Irish 
<piace the stress precisely on the same syllable as the 

"* Essay on the Harmony of Language. JRofoon, 1774. 


English, it is often with a different inflection ; and 
the same may be said of the Scotch. Thus the Scotch 
pronounce the far greater pail of their words with the 
acute accent, or rising inflection, and the Irish as con- 
stantly make use of the grave accent, or falling in- 
flection, while the English observe pretty nearly a 
due mixture of each. If we pronounce a sentence in 
these three different modes, it may, perhaps, suggest 
to the ear the truth of the foregoing observations. 

, Scotch. 

Exercise and temperance strengthen the constitution. 

> Irish. 

Exercise and temperance strengthen the constitution. 

N English. 

Exercise and temperance strengthen the constitution. 

If these observations are just, the Irish ought to 
habituate themselves to a more frequent use of the 
rising inflection, and the Scotch to the falling, in or- 
der to acquire what is not (from this view of the sub- 
ject) improperly called the English accent. 

But, besides the two simpie accents, which, from 
the rising or falling inflection they adopt, may be call- 
ed the acute and the grave ; there are two other ac- 
cents compounded of these, which may be called the 
rising and falling circumflexes. These are totally 
unknown to the moderns : but are so inherent in the 
nature of the human voice, and so demonstrable upon 
experiment, as to defy contradiction. See Preface to 
this work, in the Notes * 

188 'elements of 


Introduction to the Theory of Emphasis. 

Emphasis, in the most usual sense of the word, 
is that stress with which certain words are pronounc- 
ed, so as to be distinguished from the rest of the sen- 
tence. Among the number of words we make use 
of in discourse, there will always be some which are 
more necessary to be understood than others : those 
things with which we suppose our hearers to be pre- 
acquainted, we express by such a subordination of 
stress as is suitable to the small importance of things 
already understood ; while those of which our hear- 
ers are either not fully informed, or which they might 
possibly misconceive, are enforced with such an in- 
crease of stress as makes it impossible for the hearer 
to overlook or mistake them. Thus, as in a picture, 
the more essential parts of a sentence are raised, as it 
were, from the level of speaking ; and the less neces- 
sary are, by this means, sunk into a comparative 

From this general idea of emphasis, it will readily 
appear of how much consequence it is to readers and 
speakers not to be mistaken in it ; the necessity of 
distinguishing the emphatical words from the rest, 
has made writers on this subject extremely solicit- 
ous to give such rules for placing the emphasis, as 
may, in some measure, facilitate this difficult part of 
elocution : but few have gone farther than to tell us, 
that we must place the emphasis on that word in read- 
ing, which we should make emphatical in speaking ; 
and though the importance of emphasis is insisted on 
with the utmost force and elegance of language, no 
assistance is given us to determine which is the em- 
phatick word where several appear equally emphati- 



cal, nor have we any rule to distinguish between those 
words which have a greater, and those which have a 
less degree of stress ; the sense of the author is the 
sole direction we are referred to, and all is left to the 
taste and understanding of the reader. 

One writer, indeed, the author of the Philosophical 
Inquiry into the Delivery 'of -written Language , has 
given us a distinction ot emphasis into two kinds, 
which has thrown great light upon this abstruse sub- 
ject. This gentleman distinguishes the stress into 
emphasis of force, and emphasis of sense. " Em- 
phasis of force," he tells us, " is that stress we lay 
" on almost every significant word; emphasis of sense 
ff is that stress we lay one or two particular words, 
" which distinguishes them from all the rest in the 
" sentence." — " The former stress, "he observes, "is 
" variable, according to the conception and taste of 
" the reader, and cannot be reduced to any certain 
" rule :" " the latter," he says, " is determined by the 
" sense of the author, and is always fixed and in- 
" variable." This distinction, it must be owned, is, 
in general, a very just one ; and a want of attending- 
to it, has occasioned great confusion in this subject, 
even in our best writers. They perceived, that be- 
sides those words which were strongly emphaticaL 
there were many others that had a stress greatly su~ 
periour to the particles and less significant words, and 
these they jumbled together under the general term 
emphasis. Thus, when the emphatical words were to 
be marked by being printed in a different character, 
we find in several of the modern productions on the 
art of reading, that sometimes more than half of the 
words are printed in Italic ks, and considered as equal- 
ly emphatical. The wrong tendency of such a. 
practice is sufficiently obvious, but its origin was 
never pointed out till the publication of the essay 
above mentioned. This must be allowed to have 
thrown considerable light on the subject ; and it is by 


the assistance which this author has given, that I shall 
endeavour to push my inquiries into emphasis still 
farther than he has done : I shah not only establish 
the distinction he has laid down, but attempt to draw 
the line between these two kinds of emphasis, so as 
to mark more precisely the boundaries oi each. To 
this distinction of emphasis, I shall add another : I 
shall make a distinction of each into two kinds, ac- 
cording to the inflection of voice they adopt ; which, 
though of the utmosi importance in conveying a just 
idea of emphasis, has never been noticed b\ an} of 
our writers on the subject. This distinction ot em- 
phasis arises naturally from the observations already 
laid down, on the rising and falling inflection ; we 
have seen the importance of attending to these two 
inflections in the several parts, and at the end of a 
sentence ; and it is presumed, the utility of attending 
to the same inflections, when applied to emphasis 
will appear no less evident and unquestionable. 

But before we enter into this distinction of em- 
phatick inflection, it may not be improper to show 
more precisely the distinction of emphasis, into that 
which iirises from the peculiar sense of one or two 
words in a sentence, and that which arises irom the 
greater importance of the nouns, verbs, and other 
significant words, than of connectives and particles. 
And, first, let us examine some passages where on- 
ly the latter kind of emphasis is found ; this emphasis, 
if it may be so called, takes place on almost every 
word in a sentence, but the articles, prepositions, 
and smaller parts of speech ; and by pronouncing 
these feeblv, we ffive a force to the other words, that 
is commonly, but improperly, styled emphasis. 

Thus, in pronouncing the following sentence in 
the Spectator : 

Gratian very often recommends the fine taste as the utmost 
perfection of an accomplished man. Spectator ; No. 4Qg- 

ELOCUTION 1 . 191 

We may perceive a very evident difference in the 
force with which these words are pronounced : the 
article the, the conjunction and particle as the, and 
the preposition and article of an, are very distinguish- 
able from the rest of the words by a less forcible pro- 
nunciation ; and this less forcible pronunciation on 
the smaller words, raises the others to some degree of 
emphasis. If we pronounce the next sentence prop- 
erly, we shall find several other words sink into 
an obscurity of the same kind, and by their fee- 
bleness a comparative degree of force thrown on the 
rest of the words. 

As this word arises very often in conversation, I shall en- 
deavour to give some account of it ; and to lay down rules how 
we know whether we are possessed of it ; and how we may ac- 
quire that fine taste in writing which is so much talked of a- 
mong the polite world. Ibid, 

In this sentence we find . the prepositions, conjuc- 
tions, and pronoun it, pronounced with the same de- 
gree of feebleness as in the last instance ; and besides 
these we find the words, / shall, -we may, we are, and 
"which is, pronounced much more feebly than the rest 
of the words ; this can be owing to nothing but the 
nature of the words themselves, which, though in- 
dicating person, promise, power, and existence, ex- 
hibit none of these particulars emphatically ; that is, 
these words imply only such general circumstances, 
as the objects are commonly supposed to be accom- 
panied with, and therefore are anticipated or pre- 
supposed by the hearer : for whatever the hearer is 
supposed to be acquainted with, is not the object of 
communication : the person speaking is under no 
necessity of telling his auditors that he in particular 
shall do any thing, unless he means to distinguish 
himself from some other speaker ; for that he speaks, 
is very well understood by every one who hears 
him ; and for this reason, whatever has been once 


mentioned, is generally pronounced afterwards with 
less force than at first, as supposed to be already 
sufficiently known. 

As an instance of the variety which this emphasis 
of force (as it is called) admits, it may not be improp- 
er to mark the foregoing sentence two different 
ways ; first with such words in Italicks as seem 
necessarily to require a greater force than the particles ; 
and then to add to these, such words as we may pro- 
nounce in the same manner without altering the sense.. 

As this word arises very often in conversation, I shall endeavour to 
give some account of it ; and to lay down rules how we may 
know whether we are possessed of it ; and how we may acquire 
that j£W taste in writing which is so much talked of among the 
polite world. 

As this nvord arises very often in conversation, I shall endeavour to 
give some account of it ; and to lay down rules how we may know 
whether we are possessed of it ; and how we may acquire that 
fine taste in writing which is so much talked of among the polite 

It may, however, be observed, that though the 
last manner of marking this sentence is more em- 
phatical, the first is the most easy and natural. 

I shall offer another instance to show the difference 
in the stress we lay on different words in a sentence, 
and then proceed to an examination of that stress 
which may be properly styled emphatical. Thus if 
we repeat the following sentence, 

Exercise and temperance strengthen the constitution, 

We find the particles arcc/and the, pronounced much 
more feebly than the other words : and yet these oth- 
er words cannot be properly called emphatical ; for 
the stress that is laid on them is no more than what 
is necessary to convey distinctly the meaning of each 
word : but if a word which has emphasis of sense be 
thrown into this sentence, we shall soon perceive a 


striking difference between these words and the em- 
phatical one ; thus, if we were to say, 

Exercise and temperance strengthen even an Indifferent con- 

Here we shall find the word indifferent pronounc- 
ed much more forcibly than the words exercise, tem- 
perance, and stengthen, as these words are more forc- 
ibly pronounced than the particles and and the, and 
even than the wor&constitution: for as this word comes 
immediately after the emphatick word indifferent, and 
is, by the very import of the emphasis, in some 
measure understood, it sinks into the same degree of 
obscurity with the particles, and cannot be raised 
from this obscurity without diminishing the force of 
the emphatick word itself. 

If it should be asked what degree of force are we 
to give to these obscure words, it may be answered, 
just that force we give to the unaccented syllables of 
words ; so that two words, one accented and the 
other not, are to the ear exactly like one word ; thus 
the words, even an indifferent constitution, are sound- 
ed like a word of eleven syllables, with the accent on 
the fifth. For a full explication of the relative force 
of words, see Rhetorical Grammar, p. 97. 

This brings us to a three-fold distinction of words 
with regard to the force with which they are pro- 
nounced ; namely, the conjunction's, particles, and 
words understood, which are obscurely and feebly 
pronounced ; the substantives, verbs, and more 
significant words, which are firmly and distinctly 
pronounced ; and the emphatical word, which is 
forcibly pronounced : it is the last of these only 
which can be properly styled emphasis ; and it is to 
a discovery of the nature and cause of this emphasis, 
that all our attention ought to be directed. 

And first we may observe, that if these distinctions 
are just, the common definition of emphasis is very 


faulty. Emphasis is said to be a stress laid on one 
or more words to distinguish them from others : but- 
this definition, as we have just seen, makes almost 
every word in a sentence emphatical, and, at the same 
time, confounds the distinction between words which 
have force from a peculiarity of meaning, and those 
which have force from having only a general mean- 
ing, or more meaning than the particles. Here then 
we must endeavour to investigate a juster definition ; 
such a one as will enable us to distinguish words 
which are really emphatical, -from those which are 
only pronounced with common force : for, as the in- 
genious author abovementioned has observed, these 
latter words may sometimes be forcibly, and some- 
times feebly pronounced, without any importance to 
the sense, as has been shown in the last example but 
one ; but the former, that is, such words as are truly 
emphatical, must always have their just degree of 
force and energy, or the sense will be manifestly in- 
jured : this Emphasis of sense , therefore, ought to 
be the first object of inquiry. 

The principal circumstance that distinguishes em- 
phatical words from others, seems to be a meaning 
which points out, or distinguishes, something as dis- 
tinct or opposite to some other thing. When this op- 
position is expressed in words, it forms an antithesis, 
the opposite parts of which are always emphatical. 
Thus in the following couplet from Pope : 

'Tis hard to say, if greater want of skill 
Appear in writing or in judging ill. 

The words writing and. judging are opposed to each 
other, and are theretore the emphatical words : where 
we may likewise observe, that the disjunctive or, by 
which the antithesis is connected, means one of the 
things exclusively of the other. The same may be 
observed in another couplet from the same author ; 


where one branch of the antithesis is not expressed 
but understood : 

Get wealth and place, if possible with grace, 
If not, by any means get wealth and place. 

Here it appears evidently, that the words any 
means, which are the most emphatical, are directly 
opposed to the means understood by the word grace, 
and the last line is perfectly equivalent to this : If not 
by these means, by any other means y get wealth and 

In these instances, the opposition suggested by the 
emphatical word is evident at first sight ; in other 
cases, perhaps, the antithesis is not quite so obvious ; 
but if an emphasis can be laid on any word, we may 
be assured that word is an antithesis with some 
meaning agreeable to the general sense of the pas- 

To illustrate this, let us pronounce a line of Mar* 
cus, in Cato, where, expressing his indignation at the 
behaviour of Caesar, he says, 

I'm tortur'd even to madness, when I think 
Of the proud victor 

And we shall find the greatest stress fall naturally 
on that word, which seems opposed to some com. 
mon or general meaning ; for the young hero does 
not say, in the common and unemphatick sense of 
the word think, that he is tortured even to madness 
when he thinks on Caesar ; but in the strong and 
emphatick sense of this word, which implies not on- 
ly when I hear or discourse of him, but even when I 
think of him, I am tortured even to madness. As the 
word think, therefore, arises above the common level 
of signification, it is pronounced above the common 
level of sound ; and as this signification is opposed to 

196 ELEMENTS ©* 

a signification less forcible, the word may be proper- 
ly said to be emphatical. 

This more than ordinary meaning, or a meaning 
opposed to some other meaning, seems to be the 
principal source of emphasis ; for if, as in the last 
instance, we find the words will bear this opposition 
to their common signification, we may be sure they 
are emphatical ; this will be still more evident from 
another example : 

By the faculty of a lively and picturesque imagination, a 
man in a dungeon is capable of entertaining himself with scenes 
and landscapes, more beautiful than any that can be found 
in the whole compass of nature. Spectator, No. 411. 

If we read this passage without that emphasis 
which the word dungeon requires, we enervate the 
meaning, and scarcely give the sense of the author ; 
for the import plainly is, that a lively imagination, 
not merely absent from beautiful scenes, but even in a 
dungeon, can form scenes more beautiful than any in 

This plenitude of meaning in a particular word, 
is not always so prominent as to be discernible by a 
common reader ; but wherever it really exists, the 
general meaning of the author is greatly enforced by 
emphatically pointing it out. Let us take an exam- 
ple : 

Steele begins one of his letters in the Spectator with 
the following sentence : 

I have very often lamented, and hinted my sorrow in several 
Speculations, that the art of painting is so little made use of, to 
the improvement of our manners. Spectator, No. 226. 

As in this sentence, which is the first in the essay 
it is taken from, we find a new and important object 
introduced ; so, if we do not pronounce it with em- 
phasis, it will not be sufficiently noticed. The word 


painting, as it stands in this sentence, may very well 
be supposed to be in contrast with other arts, which, 
though often used for the improvement of manners, 
are, perhaps, not so conducive to that end, as this 
particular art : this antithesis is perfectly understood 
if the word painting is made emphatical, but entirely 
lost if it is pronounced feebly : nay, sliding it over 
without emphasis, will suppose the hearer pre-ac- 
quainted with the subject to be treated, contrary to 
what is really the case : this will be still more ap- 
parent by pronouncing it both ways ; first, without 
the proper stress on the word painting, and afterwards 
with it. 

I have very often lamented, and hinted my sorrow in several 
speculations, that the art of painting is so little made use of to 
the improvement of our manners. 

I have very often lamented, and hinted my sorrow in several 
speculations, that the art of painting is so little made use of to 
the improvement of our manners. 

In these instances we find every emphatical word 
placed in opposition, as it were, to some meaning 
which it seems to exclude. 

Wherever the contrariety or opposition is express- 
ed, we are at no loss for the emphatical words ; the 
greatest difficulty in readiiig, lies in a discovery of 
those w T ords which are in opposition to something not 
expressed, but understood ; and the best method to 
find the emphasis in these sentences, is to take the 
word we suppose to be emphatical, and try whether 
it will admit of those words being supplied which an 
emphasis on it would suggest : if, when these words 
are supplied, we find them not only agreeable to the 
meaning of the writer, but an improvement of his 
meaning, we may pronounce the word emphatical ; 
but if these words we supply are not agreeable to 
the meaning of the words expressed, or else give 
them an affected and fanciful meaning, we ought by 


no means to lay the emphasis upon them : Let us 
take an example of both these kinds of emphasis. 

Mr. Addison, in one of his Spectators, showing 
the advantages of good taste, says — 

A man of a polite imagination is let into a great many 
pleasures that the vulgar are not capable of receiving ; he can 
converse with a picture, and find an agreeable companion in a 
statue. Spectator, No. 4-11. 

We shall find but few readers lay any considera- 
ble stress upon the word picture, in this sentence ; 
but if we examine it by the former rule, we shall find 
a stress upon this word a considerable embellishment 
to the thought ; for it hints to the mind that a polite 
imagination does not only find pleasure in conversing 
with those objects which give pleasure to all, but with 
those which give pleasure to such only as can converse 
with them ; here then the emphasis on the wora pic- 
ture, is not only an advantage to the thought, but in 
some measure necessary to it. This will appear 
still more evidently by reading the passage both ways, 
as in the last example. 

But if emphasis does not improve, it always vitiates 
the sense ; and, tiierefore, should be always avoid- 
ed where the use of it is not evident : this will ap- 
pear by placing an emphasis on a word in a sentence 
which does not require it : 

I have several letters by me from people of good sense, wh» 
lament the depravity or poverty of taste the town has fallen in- 
to with relation to plays and public k spectacles. 

Spectator, No. 208. 

Now, if we lay a considerable degree of emphasis 
upon the words good sense, it will strongly suggest 
that the people here mentioned are not common or 
ordinary people, which, though not opposite to the 
meaning of the writer, does not seem necessary either 
to the completion or embellishment of it ; for as 


particularly marking these people out as persons of 
good sense, seems to obviate an objection that they 
might possibly be fools, and as it would not be very 
wise to suppose this objection, it would show as lit- 
tle wisdom to endeavour to preclude it by a more than 
ordinary stress ; the plain words of the author, there- 
fore, without any emphasis on them, sufficiently show 
his meaning. 

From these observations, the following definition 
of emphasis seems naturally to arise: Emphasis, when 
applied to particular words, is that stress we lay on 
words which are in contradistinction to other words 
either expressed or understood. And hence will fol- 
low this general rule : Wherever there is contra- 
distinction in the sense of the words, there ought to be 
emphasis in the pronunciation of them ; the converse 
of this being equally true, Wherever we place em- 
phasis, we suggest the idea of contradistinction. 

Emphasis thus investigated and defined, we may 
observe, that all words are pronounced either with em- 
phatick force, accented force, or unaccented force $ 
this last kind of force we may call by the name of 
feebleness ; or, in other words, where the words are 
in contradistinction to other words, or to some sense 
implied, we may call them emphatick ; where they do 
not denote contradistinction, and yet are more im- 
portant than the particles, we may call them accented^ 
and the particles and lesser words we may call unac- 
cented or feeble ; for if we observe the pronunciation 
of these latter words, we shall find they have exactly 
the same feebleness as the unaccented syllables t of a 
word whose accented syllable is pronounced with some 
degree of force : we shall see likewise, that an accented 
word, which has a degree of force, when compared 
with unaccented words ; when it is joined with an em- 
phatick one, and pronounced immediately before or 
after it, sinks into a feebleness equal to the unaccent- 
ed WQrds ; and that the unaccented syllables, even of 


an emphatick word, are pronounced with as much less 
force than the accented syllable, as the unaccented syl- 
lables of an accented word, are less forcible than the 
accented syllable of an unemphatick word. These 
observations are exemplified in the pronunciation of 
the following sentences : 

Exercise and temperance strengthen the constitution. 

Exercise and temperance strengthen even an indifferent con- 

In the first of these sentences, the particles cnc/and 
the are pronounced like unaccented syllables of tem- 
perance and constitution : in the last sentence, the 
word constitution is pronounced with the same feeble- 
ness as the particles and and the ; and the two last 
syllables of the emphatick word indifferent are as 
much below the second syllable in force, as the 
particles and unaccented syllables are below those 
which have an accent. 

By this threefold distinction we are enabled to make 
very considerable advances in the methods of con- 
veying instruction in reading ; we can not only mark 
the emphatick words as usual, but distinguish them 
from the accented : these again may be distinguished 
from the unaccented, and by these means we make 
a nearer approach to the sense of composition, and 
to a method of conveying our delivery of it to others. 
But a still greater advance remains to be made by an- 
other distinction, a distinction which, to the former ad- 
vantages of marking the different degrees of force on 
words,adds the still more striking difference of inflection 
of voice. This distinction, though obvious and palpa- 
ble, is perfectly new ; and it is hoped it has been so 
explained in the first part of this work, as to be readily 
comprehended by the reader ; for when it is once 
comprehended, we may strongly presume that it can- 
not fail to add greatly to instruction in speaking, as 


these two different inflections of voice are the most 
marking and significant distinctions of speech. 

As a specimen of the utility of these distinction 
of emphasis and inflection, we may observe, that a dif- 
ference of character may express the different de- 
grees of force with which every word is pronounced, 
and a different accent may show what inflection each 
of these forces must adopt. Thus in the following 
example : 

Exercise and temperance strengthen even an INDIF S FERENT 

Here we see a threefold distinction of force : the 
word indifferent is emphatical, and has the greatest 
stress ; the words exercise, temperance, and strength- 
en, have a lesser degree of force ; and the words and, 
even, an, and constitution, have a still smaller degree 
of stress, and may be said to be absolutely feeble : and 
these different forces are diversified by the difference 
of inflection, as marked in the example. But al- 
though, in certain critical cases, where the sense of 
an author is difficult to point out, all these three dis- 
tinctions may greatly assist us in conveying the ex- 
act pronunciation ; yet, in general, it will be quite 
sufficient to mark the emphatick word with small 
Italtcks, and the rest with Roman letters, without 
entering into the distinction of the feeble words from 
those that have a secondary force : which feeble words, 
if necessary to be pointed out, may be denoted by the 
small Roman letter, and their different inflections by 
a different accent. 

Those who wish to see this notation more distinct- 
ly delineated, may consult the Rh etorical Gr am- 
mar; where, it is presumed, they will find the full- 
est satisfaction respecting the relative force of unac- 
cented words. 



Theory of Empkatick Inflection. 

Having thus endeavoured to give a clear and 
distinct idea of the two different kinds of emphasis, 
and attempted to prove, that emphasis, properly so 
called, always supposes contradistinction or antithe- 
sis, either expressed or understood ; it will now be 
necessary to show that every emphatick word, prop- 
erly so called, is as much distinguished by the in- 
flection it adopts, as by the force with which it is 

We have seen already, that where there is no 
emphasis, the most significant words in a sentence 
adopt a different inflection of voice for the sake of 
variety and harmony : for, provided the sentence 
reads well, it is of no consequence on which words 
the different inflections are placed. Thus in the fol- 
lowing sentence : 

Exercise and temperance strengthen the constitution. 

In this sentence, I say, the words temperance and 
strengthen have the rising, and exercise and constitu- 
tion the falling inflection ; but if this sentence were 
lengthened by the addition of another member, we 
should find the inflections shift their places. Thus 
in the following sentence : 


Exercise and temperance strengthen the constitution and 
Sweeten the enjoyments of life. 

Here, I say, the words exercise and constitution 
have the rising, and temperance and strengthen the 
falling inflection, as most agreeable to the harmony 
of the whole sentence : but if a word really emphati- 
cal had been in the first sentence, no additional 


member would have obliged it to alter its inflection, 
Thus in the following sentence : 

Exercise and temperance strengthen even an indifferent con- 

Here the word indifferent, which is really empha- 
tical, has the falling inflection ; and this inflection it 
will still preserve, though we lengthen the sentence 
in imitation of the former by an additional member. 
For example ; 

Exercise and temperance strengthen even an indifferent con- 
stitution, and supply* in some measure the imperfections of 

Here we find that, however the inflection may 
change place on the rest of the words, the word in- 
different must always have the falling inflection, or 
the sense of the sentence will not be brought perfect- 
ly out. In the same manner we may observe, that 
the same word in another sentence, when it requires 
the rising inflection, cannot alter that inflection to the 
falling, without injuring the sense. Thus in the fol- 
lowing sentence : 

He that has but an indifferent constitution ought to strength- 
en it by exercise and temperance. 

Here the word indifferent must necessarily have 
the emphasis with the rising inflection, whatever 
may be the inflection on the other words. 

As a farther proof that emphatick words cannot 
alter their inflection, we need only attend to the pro- 
nunciation of a line in Milton, where two emphatick 
words are opposed to each other ; speaking of Nim- 
rod, he says- 
Hunting (and men not beasts shall be his game.) B. xii. v. ?>0. 


In pronouncing this passage, we shall find every 
reader iay the falling inflection on men, and the ris- 
ing on beasts, as giving them a contrary position, 
that is, pronouncing men with the rising, and beasts 
with the falling inflection, would soon convince us 
that the former arrangement is precisely what the 
sense demands. 

From these observations this maxim arises, that 
as the emphasis of a word depends on the sense of a 
sentence, so the inflection of voice which this em. 
phatick word adopts, depends on the sense likewise, 
and is equally invariable : from whence it will evi- 
dently follow, that where there are two emphatick 
words in the same sentence, the sense alone can de- 
cide which is to have the rising, and which the fall- 
ing inflection of voice. 

It has been already proved, that emphasis always 
implies antithesis ; and that where this antithesis is 
agreeable to the sense of the author, the emphasis is 
proper ; but that where there is no antithesis in the 
thought, there ought to be none on the words : be- 
cause, whenever an emphasis is placed upon an im- 
proper word, it will suggest an antithesis, which 
either does not exist, or is not agreeable to the sense 
and intention of the writer. Here some new light 
seems to be thrown on the nature of emphasis, and 
a line drawn to distinguish emphatick w T ords from 
others ; but still we are at a loss for the reason why 
one emphatick word should adopt the rising inflec- 
tion, and another the falling : from the foregoing ex- 
amples, it appears, that every emphatick word re- 
quires either the one or the other of these inflections, 
and that the meaning of an author entirely depends 
on giving each emphatick w r ord its peculiar inflec- 
tion. It does not seem therefore entirely useless, 
so far to inquire into the nature, or specifick quali- 
ty, if I may be allowed to call it so, of these two em- 
phatick inflections, as to be able to decide which we 


shall adopt, where the sense of the author does not 
immediately dictate. Thus in a former quotation 
from Milton, when speaking of Nimrod, he says. 

Hunting (and men not beasts shall be his game.) 

Here I say, the ear and understanding are both 
immediately satisfied upon pronouncing men with 
the falling, and beasts with the rising inflection ; but 
in another line of the same author, when speaking of 
Satan, he calls him, 

The tempter ere th' accuser of mankind. 

Here, I say, it is not quite so clear how we shall 
dispose of these two inflections on the two emphatick 
words tempter and accuser ; and an inquiry into the 
nature of these inflections, so as to fix the peculiar 
import of each, may, perhaps, assist us in deciding 
with precision in this and similar instances. 

It has been observed, that emphasis is divisible 
into two kinds, namely, into that where the antithesis 
is expressed, and that where it is only implied ; or, 
in other words, into that emphasis where there arc 
two or more emphatick words corresponding to each 
other, and that where the emphatick word relates to 
some other word, not expressed but understood ; 
an instance of the first is this : 

When a Persian soldier was reviling Alexander the Great, 
his officer reprimanded him by saying, Sir, you were paid to 
right against Alexander, and not to rail at him. Spectator. 

Here we find fight and rail are the two emphatick 
words which correspond to each other, and that the 
positive member, which affirms something, adopts the 
felling inflection on fight, and the negative member, 
which excludes something, has the rising inflection 
on rail. 


An instance of the latter kind of emphasis is this : 

By the faculty of a lively and picturesque imagination, a 
man in a dungeon is capable of entertaining himself with 
scenes and landscapes, more beautiful than any that can be 
found in the whole compass of nature. Spectator, No. 411. 

Here we find the word dungeon emphatical, but it 
has not any correspondent word as in the other sen- 
tence. If we pronounce this emphatick word with 
the falling inflection, the correspondent words which 
belong to this emphasis may be imagined to be near- 
ly these, not merely absent from beautiful scenes ; 
which, if added to the word dungeon, we should find 
perfectly agreeable to the sense suggested by the em- 
phasis on that word ; if we draw out this latter sen- 
tence at length, we shall find it consist of the same 
positive and negative parts as the former, and that 
the positive part assumes the falling, and the negative 
the rising inflection in both. 


When a Persian soldier was reviling Alexander the Great, 
his officer reprimanded him by saying, Sir, you were paid to 
fight against Alexander, and not to rail at him. 

By the faculty of a lively and picturesque imagination, a man 
in a dungeon, and not merely absent from beautiful scenes, is 
capable of entertaining himself with scenes and landscapes, 
more beautiful than any that can be found in the w T hole 
compass of nature. 

Here then we are advanced one step towards a 
knowledge of what inflection of voice we ought to 
use on one kind of emphasis ; for whenever the em- 
phatick word points out a particular sense in exclusion 
of some other sense, this emphatical word adopts the 
falling inflection : the word fight, therefore, in the 
first, and dungeon in the last example, must necessari- 
ly be pronounced with the falling inflection, as they 


tacitly exclude rail, and mere absence from beautiful 
scenes, which are in contradistinction to them. 

Having thus discovered the specifick import of one 
emphatick inflection, it will not be very difficult to 
trace out the other : for as the import of these two 
inflections may be presumed to be different, we may, 
by analogy, be led to conclude, that as the emphatick 
word which excludes something in contradistinction 
to it, demands the falling inflection, the emphasis 
with the rising inflection is to be placed on those 
ivords, which, though in contradistinction to something 
else, do not absolutely exclude its existence. Let us 
try this by an example. Lothario, in the Fair Peni- 
tent, expressing his contempt for the opposition of 
Horatio, says, 

By the joys 
Which yet my soul has uncontroll'd pursued, 
I would not turn aside from my least pleasure, 
Though all thy' force were arm'd to bar my way. 

Fair Penitent, Act if* 

The word thy, in this passage, has the emphasis with 
the rising inflection ; which intimates, that however 
Lothario might be restrained by the force of others, 
Horatio's force, at least, was too insignificant to con- 
trol him : and as a farther proof thatthis is the sense 
suggested by the rising inflection on the word thy, if 
we do but alter the inflection upon this word, by giv- 
ing it the emphasis with the falling inflection, we 
shall find, that, instead of contempt and sneer, a com- 
pliment will be paid to Horatio ; for it would imply 
as much as if Lothario had said, / woidd not turn 
aside from my least pleasure, not only though common 
force, but even though thy force, great as it is, were 
armed to bar my way : and that this cannot be the 
sense of the passage, is evident. 

Here then we seem arrived at the true principle 
of distinction in emphasis. All emphasis has an av- 


tithe sis either expressed or understood; if the emphasis 
excludes the antithesis, the emphatick word has the 
Jailing inflection ; if the emphasis does not exclude the 
antithesis, the emphatick xvord has the rising in- 
flection. The grand distinction, therefore, between 
the two emphatick inflections is this ; the falling in- 
flection affirms something in the emphasis, and denies 
what is opposed to it in the antithesis, while the em- 
phasis with the rising inflection, affirms something in 
the emphasis, without denying what is opposed to it 
in the antithesis : the former, therefore, from its 
affirming and denying absolutely, may be called the 
strong emphasis ; and the latter, from its affirming 
only, and not denying, may be called the weak em- 
phasis. As a farther trial of the truth of these de- 
finitions, let us examine them by a few additional 

When Richard the Third rejects the proposal of 
the duke of Norfolk to pardon the rebels, he says, 

Why that, indeed, was our sixth Harry's way, 
Which made his reign one scene of rude commotion : 
I'll be in men's despite a monarch : no, 
Let kings that/^r forgive ; blows and revenge 
For me. Richard III. Act 5. 

In this example, we find several words emphatical : 
but the words despite and fear particularly so : these 
are always pronounced with the strong emphasis, 
which always adopts the falling inflection. In the 
foregoing definition of this emphasis, it is said, that 
the falling inflection affirms something in the em- 
phasis, and denies what is opposed to it in the anti- 
thesis ; and we accordingly find, that something is 
affirmed of the words despite and fear, and something 
is denied of the antithetick objects suggested by these 
words, which are favour and fearlessness ; for the 
paraphrase of these words, when thus emphatical, 
would be, ril be, not in metis favour, but in their 


Respite a monarch — and let not me who am fearless ', 
but kings that fear , forgive : by which we perceive the 
justness of the definition ; for what is affirmed of the 
emphatick object is denied of the antithetick object ; 
agreeably to the definition of the strong emphasis, or 
the emphasis with the falling inflection : another ex- 
ample will serve farther to illustrate the nature of 
this species of emphasis. 

When Cato is encouraging his little senate to hold 
out against Caesar to the last, he says, 

Why should Rome fall a moment ere her time ? 

The emphasis, with the falling inflection on the 
word moment, which is the inflection it is always pro- 
nounced with, suggests an antithesis opposed to a 
moment, which antithesis is a very short time ; and 
the import of this emphasis at length, would be 
equivalent to this : Why should Rome fall not only a 
little, but even a moment before her time ? By which 
paraphrase, we see the definition of this emphasis 
again exemplified ; for something is affirmed of the 
emphatick object, and something is denied of the 
antithetick object. 

The import of the emphasis with the rising in- 
flection, may be exemplified by the following pas- 
sage. Horatio, in the Fair Penitent, taxing Lothario 
with forgery, says, 

? Twas base and poor, unworthy of a man, 

To forge a scroll so villainous and loose, 

And mark it with a noble lady's name. Act. ii. 

The word man, in the first line of this example, is 
the emphatick object, which must necessarily have 
the rising inflection ; because this inflection intimates, 
that something is affirmed of the emphatick, which 
is not denied of the antithetick object : the anti- 
thetick object to the word man, we may suppose to 
be some being of a lower order ; and if this emphasis 



were paraphrased, it would run thus : ^Txvas base 
and poor, unworthy of a man, though not unworthy of 
a brute. And thus we find, that in this emphasis, 
what is affirmed of the emphatick object, is not de- 
nied of the antithetick object, agreeably to the de- 
finition laid down. 

In the examples which have been hitherto produc- 
ed, the emphasis has always clearly suggested the 
antithesis ; and a paraphrase, formed by producing 
both the emphatick and antithetick object, has readily 
presented itself : but there are many instances, where, 
though the antithetick object is equally real, it is not 
so easily made out. In order to facilitate this opera- 
tion, it will be necessary to observe, that the human 
feelings have recourse to the most minute distinc- 
tions imaginable, for the sake of expressing those 
feelings with precision and force. 

Thus when Lothario, in the Fair Penitent, says t© 

I see thou hast leaned to rati. 

Fair Pen. Act i, 

The emphasis with the rising inflection on the word 
rail, does not suggest any precise antithetick object in 
opposition to it, but an indefinite something more 
excellent than railing, as if he had said, / see thou 
hast learn 'd to rail, if thou hast not acquired any art 
more excellent than railing : but whether she has any 
such acquirement, he leaves her to judge. 

In the same manner, when Jane Shore is protesting 
her fidelity to Edward's issae, Gloucester answers, 

- 5 Tis well — we'll try* the temper of your heart. 

Jane Shore, Act iv. 

The emphasis with the falling inflection on the word 
try suggests an antithesis, which makes it necessary 
to have recourse to the former speech : in this we 
find Jane Shore gives proof of her fidelity by protest- 


ations ; but Gloucester replies, ' Tis well, we'll try the 
temper of your heart ; which is perfectly equivalent 
to saying, We will not only p?'ove your fidelity by 
talking, but by trial ; and as this amplifies and illus- 
trates the sense of the passage, we may be sure the 
emphasis is properly placed. 

An instance of an antithesis, perhaps, still less ob- 
vious, we have in the following line of Richard the 
Third, where Prince Edward apologizes for his 
brother's sarcastick ridicule on the Duke of Glouces- 
ter : 

I hope your grace knows how to bear with hint. Act iii. 

The bear, in this sentence, is the emphatical word, 
and always pronounced with the rising inflection ; 
but though we perceive, at first hearing, the proprie- 
ty of adopting this inflection, we cannot so readily 
discover the antithetick object intimated by it ; it is 
not till we consider the definition of the neuter verb 
to bear, that we find out what is opposed to it ; the 
word bear, in the passage alluded to, indicates sup- 
porting a degree of displeasure, so as to seem pleased 
when we are not really so ; the antithetick object, 
therefore, must be, being really pleased, and the par- 
aphrase intimated by this emphasis will be this : / 
hope your grace knows how to bear, or to seem pleas- 
edwith him, though not to be really pleased with him. 

Sometimes the sense of a passage makes it difficult 
to determine whether we must use the emphasis with 
the rising or falling inflection ; and in this case, 
(though it seldom happens) we may adopt either the 
one or the other indifferently. Thus when Horatio, 
in the Fair Penitent, tells Calista that he came to her 
as a friend, she answers, 

You are my husband's friend, the friend of Al'tamontl 

The words husband and Altamont, in this line, are 
emphatical ; if they are both pronounced with the 


falling inflection, it imports an absolute denial of the 
antithetick object, which is the friendship of Horatio 
to her ; if we pronounce them with the rising inflec- 
tion, it only insinuates that he is not her friend : and 
this latter emphasis seems the most suitable to the 
situation of Calista, as at that time she has not so far 
broke terms with Horatio as absolutely to deny that 
he is her friend ; and, therefore, the inflection which 
affirms something in the emphasis, without denying 
the antithesis, is the inflection she ought to adopt. 

Thus have I been led insensibly by my subject 
into intricacies and distinctions, whither, perhaps, but 
few of my readers will be able to follow me : I 
might, indeed, have contented myself with less mi- 
nuteness and precision, but the speculation appeared 
too curious and useful to be slightly treated. If 
what has been observed of these emphatick inflections. 
be true, we may take occasion to contemplate how 
few are the principles on which Divine Wisdom con- 
structs operations of + he greatest extent and variety r 
and it may be presumed, that by being acquainted 
with these principles, we shall be better enabled to 
enter into the views of Providence in the gift ^of 
speech, by perfecting and regulating it according to 
these views. By a knowledge of the principles of 
grammar, we are enabled to express our thoughts 
with greater force, precision, and perspicuity ; and 
it cannot be doubted, that a knowledge of the gram- 
mar of pronunciation, if it may be called so, will 
powerfully tend to the same useful purpose. 

Practical System of Emphasis. 

Having endeavoured to shew the nature of em- 
phasis, properly so called, and attempted to distin- 


guish it into its several kinds, according to the inflec- 
tion of voice it adopts ; having made some efforts to 
ascertain the peculiar character of each emphatick 
inflection, and by this means afforded some assist- 
ance to a discovery of the true emphasis in doubtful 
cases ; it will be necessary, in the next place, to en- 
deavour to reduce what has been said into a practical 
system, and to extend the former observations on 
emphatick inflection to the pronunciation of every dif- 
ferent species of emphasis. Hitherto we have treat- 
ed chiefly of that emphasis, which may be called 
single ; that is, either where the two emphatick words 
in antithesis with each other are expressed ; or 
where but one of them is expressed, and the an- 
tithesis to it is implied or understood. But be- 
sides these, there are instances where two emphatick 
words are opposed to two others, and sometimes 
where three emphatick words are opposed to three 
others in the same sentence. Let us take a view of 
each of these different kinds of emphasis in its order : 

1 f Exercise and temperance strengthen even an indifferent con- 
\ stitution. 

2 J" You were paid to fight against Alexander, and not to rail 
(_ at him. 

~ f The pleasures of the imagination are not so gross as those 
\ of sense, nor so refined as those of the understanding. 

{He rai 
She dr< 

sed a mortal to the skies. 
drew an angel down. 

In the first example, we find the emphatick word 
indiffereiit suggest an antithesis not expressed, name- 
ly, not a good constitution ; this may be called the 
single emphasis implied. 

In the second example, the words fight and rail 
are in antithesis with each other, and do not suggest 
any other antithetick objects ; and this may be called 
the single emphasis expressed. 


111 the next example, the emphatick words gross 
and refined are opposed to each other, and contrast- 
ed with sense and understanding ; and this mutual 
correspondence and opposition of four parts to each 
other may not improperly be termed the double em- 

When three antithetick objects are opposed te 
three, as in No. 4, we may call the assemblage the 
treble emphasis. 

Single Emphasis implied and expressed. 

In the single emphasis implied, we find the inflec- 
tions are so strictly appropriated to the nature of the 
emphasis, that using one instead of the other would 
inevitably alter the sense : This has been abundantly 
proved in the preceding chapter. The same may 
be observed (as we shall see presently) of the single 
emphasis expressed ; but this appropriation of inflec- 
tion to sense does not seem to hold so strictly where 
the emphasis is double, or treble ; for here, as the 
antithetick objects are almost always expressed, and 
there is seldom any danger of a mistake in the sense, 
we shall not wonder to find harmony claim her indis- 
putable rights in making this sense most agreeable 
to the ear. 

But though the inflections of the double and treble 
emphasis frequently yield to the harmony of arrange- 
ment, the single emphasis expressed requires its spe- 
cifick inflection on each part ; for in the second ex- 
ample : 

You were paid to fight against Alexander, and not to rail 
at him. 

Here, if we were to place the rising inflection on 
Jight and the falling on rail, as the harmony of ca- 


dence would intimate, we should soon find, that in 
the single emphasis expressed, there is as strict an 
appropriation of inflection to the sense of the empha- 
sis as when but one part of the antithesis is expres- 
sed in the single emphasis implied. As the inflec- 
tions in this species of emphasis, therefore, are of 
much more importance, and much more difficult to 
settle, than those of the double and treble emphasis, 
it may not be improper, before we enter on the lat- 
ter, to extend our speculations a little on the former. 
Whatever may be the reason why the positive 
member of a sentence should adopt the emphasis with 
the falling inflection, and the negative member the 
rising ; certain it is, that this appropriation of emphat- 
ick inflection, to a positive or negative signification, 
runs through the whole system of pronunciation. 
Agreeably to this arrangement, we constantly find 
good readers finish negative sentences with the ris- 
ing inflection, where ordinary readers are sure to use 
the falling inflection, and to drop the voice ; and, 
perhaps, this different pronunciation forms one of the 
greatest differences between good and bad readers : 
Thus, in the following sentence from the Oration of 
Demosthenes on the Crown, translated by Dr. Ice- 
land : 

Observe then, jEschines ; our ancestors acted thus in both 
these instances ; not that they acted for their benefactors, not 
that they saw no danger in these expeditions. Such considera- 
tions never could induce them to abandon those who fled to 
their protection. N6, from the nobler motives of glory and 
renown, they devoted their services to the distressed. 

There are few good readers who will not pronounce 
the two first sentences of this passage so as to ter- 
minate them with the rising inflection : And this 
manner of reading them we find agreeable to the par- 
a phrase suggested by thefalling inflection adopted by 
the positive signification of the last sentence ; by 
which means all the sentences of this passage form 

216 ELEMENTS 01 

parts of one thought, and may be reduced to the defi- 
nition of the emphasis with the falling inflection ; as, 
They acted from the nobler motives of glory and re- 
nown, and not inferiour motives. 

Wherever, therefore a negative sentence, or mem- 
ber of a sentence, is in opposition to a positive sen- 
tence, or member of a sentence, we find it usually 
adopt the rising inflection : And often where there is 
no correspondent positive member or sentence ex- 
pressed, if the negative member or sentence would 
admit of a positive, and that the sense of this positive 
is agreeable to the general tenor of the composition ; 
in this case, likewise, we find the negative member 
or sentence adopt the rising inflection. Thus, in the 
same oration, Demosthenes, speaking of the publick 
works he had erected, says, 

As to those publick works, so much the object of your ridi- 
cule, they, undoubtedly, demand a due share of honour and ap- 
plause ; but I rate them far beneath the great merit of my ad- 
ministration. It is not with stones nor bricks that I' have for- 
tified the city. It is not from works like these that I' derive my 
reputation. Would you know my methods of fortifying ? Ex- 
amine, and you will find them in the arms, the towns, the ter- 
ritories, the harbours 1 have secured ; the navies, the troops, 
she armies I have raised. 

The two middle negative sentences of this passage- 
have not any correspondent positive sentences pre- 
ceding or following them ; but the rising inflection 
on these sentences suggests a meaning so compatible 
with the mind of the speaker, that we cannot doubt of 
its being the true one ; for it is equivalent to saying. 
It is not with works like these that I' have fortified 
the city, but -with something much better. This will 
receive a farther illustration from another passage of 
the same orator. 

For if you now pronounce, that, as my publick conduct hath 
not been right, Cte.iphon must stand condemned, it must be 


thought that yourselves have acted wrong, not that you 
owe your present state to the caprice of fortune. But it can- 
not be. No, ray countrymen ! It cannot be you have acted 
wrong, in encountering danger bravely, for the liberty and 
safety of all Greece. No ! by those generous souls of ancient 
times, who were exposed at Marathon ! By those who stood 
arrayed at Platea ! By those who encountered the Persian 
fleet at Salamis ! who fought at Artemisium ! By all those il- 
lustrious sons of Athens, whose remains lie deposited in the 
publick monuments ! All of whom received the same honoura- 
ble interment from their country : Not those only who pre- 
vailed, not those only who were victorious. And with reason. 
What was the part of gallant men they all performed ; their 
success was such as the supreme director of the world dispens- 
ed to each. 

The two last members of the first sentence we find 
naturally adopt their specifick inflections ; that is, the 
positive member, the falling on wrong, and the nega- 
tive the rising onfortune. The succeeding sentence 
has a negation in it that suits the rising inflection 
much better than the falling, and therefore Greece 
has very properly the rising inflection ; and the latter 
members, not those only who prevailed, not those only 
-who were victorious, will not admit of the falling in- 
flection without an evident prejudice to the sense. 

Plausible, however, as this doctrine may appeal', 
it is not pretended that it is universally true. It is 
certain, that a negative member of a sentence may of- 
ten have the falling, and a positive member the rising 
inflection : But it is as certain, that where the sen- 
tence is so constructed as to require the rising inflec- 
tion on the negative, and the falling on the positive 
part of the sentence, there is always both greater force 
and harmony. 

From these observations, therefore, we may con- 
clude, that in the single emphasis, where harmony is 
not grossly violated, sense ought always to predom- 
inate : and hence will arise this general rule : When- 
ever a sentence is composed of a positive and negative 
part, if this positive and negative imports that some- 


thing is affirmed of one of the things which is denied 
of the other, the positive must have the falling and the 
negative the rising inflection. 

Small as the extent of this rule is, it appears to 
throw a considerable light on the doctrine of empha- 
sis ; and particularly where the sense of a passage is 
not very obvious, and where harmony admits of a 
diversity of inflection. Let us endeavour to reduce 
these speculations to practice. In a passage of Mil- 
ton's Paradise Lost, the angel, speaking of Nimrod, 

Hunting (and men, not beasts, shall be his game.) 

B. xii. 

Every ear agrees to lay the emphasis with the falling 
inflection on men, and the emphasis with the rising 
inflection on beasts, agreeably to the rule just laid 
down ; but when, in the same author, we meet with 
a description of Satan's coming down to be reveng- 
ed on men in these words, 

For now 
Satan, now first inflam'd with rage, came down ; 
The tempter, ere th* accuser of mankind, 
To wreck on innocent frail man his loss 
Of that first battle, and his flight to hell. 

B. iv. 

In the third line of this passage we find no such 
certainty in adapting a different inflection to the two 
emphatick words tempter and accuser, as in the for- 
mer instance. 

A little reflection, however, obliges us to give the 
falling inflection to tempter, and the rising to accuser ; 
but the reason of this disposition does not readily oc- 
cur. A little farther reflection will induce us to re- 
solve this arrangement of inflection into the foregoing 
rule. For the word ere, signifying before, relates to 
the word wow, in the former line ; and the paraphrase 


of this emphasis is, the tempter now, at this time, not 
the accuser, as he was afterwards ; whereas a trans- 
position of emphatick inflection, that is, the rising in- 
flection on tempter, and the falling on accuser, would 
infallibly suggest this sense — The tempter, not only 
before he was something more inimical than accuser ', 
but before he was even the accuser of mankind. This 
paraphrase agrees so ill with the sense of the passage, 
and the former so well, that we need not hesitate a 
moment about the true emphasis. 

The reason for placing the emphasis with the ris- 
ing inflection on accuser, and that with the falling on 
tempter, seems to arise from the same principle as 
that of placing the emphasis with the falling inflec- 
tion on the positive, and that with the rising inflec- 
tion on the negative part of a sentence ; for the pri- 
ority of one thing to another is reducible to its be- 
ing that thing at that time, and not another thing ; 
and the preferableness of one thing to another is equal 
to the choice being fixed on one thing and not anoth- 
er. Thus the following phrase : " I would rather 
teach the art of poisoning than that of sophistry," 
may be reduced to this : If I must teach one of these 
arts, I will teach poisoning, and not sophistry. But 
if one of these parts of the antithesis admits of em- 
phasis, that is, if it appears to be the intention of the 
speaker not to say merely that one thing is prior or 
preferable to another, but that one of these things, in 
the strictest sense of the word, and opposed to some- 
thing of smaller import, is prior or preferable to an- 
other ; or, if one of these things is said to be prior or 
preferable to another thing, taken in its strictest sense, 
and opposed to some other thing of less importance ; 
in this case, I say, the emphasis with the falling in- 
flection is on that part of the antithesis which inti- 
mates something of more importance than is simply 
expressed. Thus, in the following sentence, 


I would die sooner than mention it. 

If we mean only to declare our choice between d} - 
ing and mentioning, the falling inflection must be 
placed on die, as this is the part of the sentence that 
corresponds to the positive part of tjie declaration : 
If we would express this choice with emphasis, so 
as to show that we would not only undergo great 
difficulties, but that we would even die sooner than 
mention it, the same inflection is preserved on the 
same word, with a small addition of emphatick force : 
If it were understood that we would die sooner than 
mention it, but for fear mention should be taken in 
too large a sense, we wish to express a resolution of 
dying before we would discover the smallest part of 
it ; in this case, I say, we should lay the strong em- 
phasis and falling inflection on mention, which would 
intimate a new antithesis, and the equivalent to say- 
ing, / would not only die before I would declare or re- 
late it, but even before I would mention it ; and here 
we find the word die assume the weak emphasis and 
rising inflection, as the question in this case is not so 
much about dying as about the degree of mention 
we are resolved not to make. 

But if both parts of the comparison be understood, 
aud therefore to be taken simply and without em- 
phasis, and it is the intention of the speaker to de- 
clare, with emphasis, the priority or preferableness 
only ; in this case, the comparative word has the 
strong emphasis and falling inflection, and the word 
compared has the weak emphasis and rising inflec- 
tion. Thus Gay, in his fable of the Elephant and 
Bookseller, makes the latter offer pay to the former 
for writing satire ; and in order to show there is no 
necessity to hire beasts to prey on men, while men, 
by envy, prey on each other, says, 

Envy's a sharper spur than pay. 


Here the word sharper has the strong emphasis 
and failing inflection, as envy is not said, with em- 
phasis, to be a sharper spur than pay ; for envy is 
not here opposed to any other disposition, or to a 
disposition less malevolent ; nor is pay opposed to 
any other, or to a less reward ; but the emphasis is 
confined to the comparative word, sharper ; as if he 
had said, Envy is not only a spur equally sharp, but 
sharper than pay. 

On these principles we may account for the em- 
phasis which a good actor always places on the first 
part of the antithesis in the following examples : 

Ham. What ! look'd he frowningly ? 

Her. A countenance more in sorrow than in anger. Shakes,, 

It is a custom 
More honoured in the breach than the observance. Ibid. 

He is more knave than fool. Proverbial phrase. 

Oh ! the blood more stirs* 
To rouse a lion than to start a hare. 

Shakes. Hen. IV. Part I. Act u 

This last example is the parallel of that from. 
Gay ; and it is presumed, that a judicious actor 
would lay the great stress, that is, the emphasis with 
the falling inflection, on the word more, and give the 
words lion and hare the weak emphasis and rising 
inflection. For Hotspur, in this passage, is talking 
of dangers, and is not so much comparing them as 
the advantages that arise from them ; and the para- 
phrase of this emphasis would be, the resistance we 
make to great and small danger is not equal; a great 
danger stirs the blood much more than a small one. 

This paraphrasing or drawing out the significa- 
tion of emphatick words seems the best guide where 
the sense is not quite obvious, and will lead us to 
decide in many doubtful cases, where nothing but 


the taste of the reader is commonly appealed to. To 
illustrate this still farther, let us examine a line in 
Otway's Venice Preserved, where Pierre, expatiat- 
ing on the wretched state of Venice, says, 

Justice is lame as well as blind among us. 

The phrase, as well as, signifies nothing more 
than parity, and is nearly similar in sense to the 
conjunction and ; if, therefore, we lay the falling in- 
flection on blind, it would be equivalent to saying, 
Justice is not only lame, but blind; and this is a piece 
of information we did not want : For justice is al- 
ways supposed to be blind. But the falling inflec- 
tion on lame, and the rising on blind, is equivalent to 
saying, Justice is not only blind, as she is every where 
else, but in Venice she is lame as well as blind. And 
that this is the true meaning of the passage, cannot 
be doubted. If the poet had writen the line in this 
manner : 

Justice is as lame as she is blind among us : 

The falling inflection placed on blind, would imply, 
that Justice is not only very lame, but even as lame as 
she is blind. Thus we see the sense varies with the 
different emphasis we adopt, and is never fully and 
forcibly displayed without the kind of emphasis that 
is peculiarly suited to it. 

But it may be asked, since the sense must be fully 
conceived before we can adapt the emphasis to the 
words, of what use is it to ring all these changes upon 
the different emphases, when, though we conceive 
them ever so distinctly they will only suggest one 
particular sense, but will never tell us which we 
shall adopt as most suitable to the meaning of the 
author. To this it may be answered, that whatever 
tends to show the different import of each kind of em- 
phasis, enables us the better to judge of the suitable- 


ness or unsuitableness of each emphasis to the sense. 
This unfolding and displaying of what is suggested 
by each emphasis is that assistance to the under- 
standing which spectacles are to the eye ; magnify- 
ing glasses are not calculated for those whose powers 
of sight are so strong and clear as to have no need of 
them, nor for those who have no sight at all ; but 
for such as wish to view objects distinctly, and 
with less labour than without this assistance. Where 
the sense is clear, we need no such assistance : but 
where the sense is obscure and dubious, it can 
scarcely be doubted that displaying and unfolding 
it by such paraphrases as are suggested by the ap- 
plication of different kinds of emphasis, will tend 
greatly to take away the ambiguity, will show which 
kind of emphasis is most suitable to the sense, and 
enable us to pronounce with greater confidence and 

From what has been said of the nature of em- 
phasis, it will evidently follow, that pronunciation is 
a kind of supplement to WTitten language. As 
vivacity and force depend greatly on brevity, and 
brevity borders naturally on obscurity ; in order to 
preserve the meaning without losing the force, pro- 
nunciation interposes, and, as it were, supplies the 
ellipsis in the written words, by a stress and inflection 
of voice, which imply what belongs to the sense, 
but which is not sufficiently obvious without oral 
utterance. Hence we may conclude, that language 
is never perfect till it is delivered. A just pronun- 
ciation brings to view its latent and elliptical senses, 
without clogging it with repetitions which would re- 
tard its communication and enfeeble its strength* 
Thus by pronouncing the following sentence : Ex- 
ercise and temperance strengthen an indifferent con- 
stitution : By pronouncing this sentence, I say, with 
the falling inflection on the word indifferent, I 
convey as much to the understanding as if I had 


said, Exercise and temperance strengthen not on- 
ly a common constitution, but even an indifferent con- 
stitution. And the inferiority of the latter sen- 
tence, from its tautology and pleonastick tardiness, 
sufficiently shows the necessity of a just pronuncia- 
tion to supply the ellipses of written language. 

Double Emphasu 

The double emphasis, as we have already observ- 
ed in page 213, seems most frequently to be regulated 
by the harmony of the sentence ; for as it is a general 
rule, that the rising inflection must take place in the 
middle of such a sentence, the second branch of the 
first member must necessarily have the rising inflec- 
tion, and the rest of the branches must have such an 
emphasis and inflection as contribute most to the 
harmony of the period. With this general rule, that 
the two parts of the antithesis have each of them the 
two different inflections, arranged in an opposite or- 
der ; that is, as two inflections in the same member 
cannot be alike, if the second branch of the first mem- 
ber has the rising, the first branch must, of course, 
have the falling inflection ; and as the last branch of 
the second member forms the period, and therefore re- 
quires the falling, the first branch of this member 
must necessarily have the rising inflection ; this is 
the arrangement of inflection which seems universal- 
ly adopted by the ear, as it will be found, upon ex- 
periment, no other is so various and musical. An 
example will soon convince us of this : 

The pleasures of the imagination, taken in their full extent, 
are not so gross as those o£ sense, nor so refined as those of the 
understanding* Spect. No. 411. 


In this example, the ear perceives the necessity of 
adopting the rising inflection on the word sense; 
and, for the sake of variety, lays the falling inflection 
on gross; and, by the same anticipation, perceiving 
the period must have the falling inflection on imag- 
ination, adopts the rising inflection on refined; by 
these means, the greatest variety is obtained, and the 
sense inviolably preserved ; for if we were to repeat 
this passage with contrary inflections on the first 
member, we should soon perceive the impropri- 
ety : 

The pleasures of the imagination, taken in their full extent, 
are not so gross as those of sense, nor so refined as those of the un* 

Here we perceive the whole sentence is monoto- 
nous, by adopting the same inflections in the same 
order on the first and last members ; and the sense 
is manifestly injured by laying the strong emphasis 
and falling inflection in the middle of the sentence^ 
contrary to the general rule. 

The nature of the double emphasis expressed, re- 
specting the inflection of voice which each antithetick 
part adopts rather in compliance with the ear than 
for the purpose of enforcing the sense, will be far- 
ther illustrated by the treble emphasis. 

Treble Emphasis. 

The treble emphasis, where all the parts are ex- 
pressed, occurs but seldom ; and when it does, there 
is seldom any difficulty in pronouncing it ; for as 
each part has its correspondent part expressed, there 
is scarcely any necessity to enforce one more than 
the other, and they easily fall into a just and har- 
monious arrangement. Thus, in the following lines : 



She in her girls again is courted; 
I y go a wooing with my boys : 

Every emphatical word adopts that inflection 
which the harmony of the verse would necessarily 
require, if there were not an emphatical word in the 
whole couplet. This arrangement of emphatick in- 
flections almost always takes place when every part 
of the treble emphasis is expressed ; but when the 
double emphasis has two of its parts so emphatical 
as to imply two antithetick objects not expressed, 
and so to form a treble emphasis implied only ; in 
this case, I say, it is not so easily determined how 
we are to place the emphatick inflections. Thus in 
the following passage of Milton, f Paradise Lost, 
Book I. v. 262 J 

To reign is worth ambition, though in hell ; 
Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven : 

The words heaven and hell, in the last line, be- 
sides the common antithesis which they form to 
each other, seem to have each of them an antithetick 
object distinct and separate, and so to form a treble 
emphasis, instead of a double one ; for the empha- 
sis with the falling inflection on hell, seems to inti- 
mate, that to reign is so desirable, that it is better 
to reign, not only where it is attended with its usual 
cares, but even in hell, where it is attended with tor- 
ments ; and the same emphatick inflection on heav-* 
en implies, that servitude is not only detestable 
where it has its usual inconveniences, but even in 
heaven, where it is attended with pleasures. These 
paraphrases, implied by the emphases with the fall- 
ing inflection, seem not only to agree with the sense 
of the author, but necessarily to belong to it ; and 
yet so agreeable is a contrary arrangement of inflec- 
tion to the ear, that we seldom find this passage pro- 
nounced in this manner. 


Let a whole assembly be desired to read these 
lines in Milton, and a single person will scarcely be 
found whose ear will not draw him into the common 
arrangement of emphatick inflection, though contra- 
ry to the strongest sense of the passage : 

To reign is worth ambition, though in hell 5 
Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven. 

Most readers, I say, in repeating these lines, will 
pronounce the last line as it is marked ; that is, they 
will lay the falling inflection on reign, and the rising 
inflection on hell, in order to diversify it from the 
two concluding branches of the antithesis ; that is, 
the line will be exactly the same with respect to in- 
flection and emphasis, as the following : 

Not so gross as those of s ense, nor so refined as those of the 

But if we attend to the sense of Milton, we shall 
find that the word hell, though in the middle of the 
antithesis, seems necessarily to require the falling in r 
flection ; for, as we have observed, Satan's ambition 
to reign is so great, that he wishes to reign even in 
hell ; that is, not where reigning has its usual cares 
attending it, but even in hell, where it is accompanied 
with torments suited to his superiour wickedness. If 
we wish to convey this sense strongly, which the 
words of the author will certainly admit of, we must 
necessarily place the emphasis with the falling inflec- 
tion on the word hell, and neglect the musick of the 
line, which would require another arrangement : For 
if it is an invariable maxim, that where force and har- 
mony are inconsistent, the preference must be given 
to the former ; without all question, this passage 
ought to be read, not as it commonly is, in this man- 


*To reign is worth ambition, though in hell ; 
Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven : 

But in this : 

To reign is worth ambition, though in hell ; 
Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven. 

An emphasis of exactly the same kind is found in 
a saying of Julius Caesar, who, when he was passing 
through an obscure village in Gaul, made use of 
these words : 

I would rather be the first man in that village than the sec- 
ond in Rome. 

The general harmony of pronunciation invariably 
inclines us, at the first reading of this passage, to 
lay the emphasis with the falling inflection on first ; 
that with the rising on village ; the rising likewise 
on second, and the falling on Rome ; but if we wish 
strongly to enforce the sense of the words, we must 
necessarily lay the rising inflection on first, and the 
falling on village, in the following manner : 

I would rather be the first man in that village than the sec* 
end in Rome. 

For in this pronunciation we strongly enforce the 
desire he had for superiority, by making him prefer 
it, not only in a common place, but even it that village, 
to inferiority, even in Rome. If this latter mode of 
reading this sentence seems too turgid and emphatick 
for the historick style, what are we to think of that 
general rule that seems universally to be acknowl- 
edged by all readers ; namely, that the sense of an 
author ought always to be enforced to the utmost, let 
the harmony be what it will ? This maxim, howev- 

* Mr. Garrick, upon being asked to read these lines, repeated them 
at first in the former mode of placing the emphatick inflections ; but, up- 
on re-considering them, approved of the latter. 


er, I take to be rashly adopted ; for, as we have be- 
fore observed, reading seems to be a compromise be- 
tween the rights of sense and sound. Obscurity is 
the greatest possible defect in reading ; and no har- 
mony whatever will make amends for it : But if the 
sense of a passage be sufficiently clear, it seems no 
infringement on the rights of the understanding to 
give this sufficiently clear sense an harmonious utter- 
ance. In this case, it is, perhaps, necessary to dis- 
tinguish between clear sense and strong sense ; the 
first is that which puts the author's meaning beyond 
the possibility of mistake ; the latter, as it were, adds 
something to it, and places the sense in such a point 
of view as to give it, though not a different, yet a 
greater force than what the words immediately sug- 
gest ; but if this additional force becomes harsh, 
quaint, or affected, the ear claims her rights in favour 
of harmony ; and good taste will always admit her 
claim, when the rights of the understanding are suf- 
ficiently secured. 

Thus, in that noble sentiment of Cato : 

A day, an hour, of virtuous liberty- 
Is worth a whole eternity of bondage. 

To pronounce this passage with the greatest force, 
we ought to lay the emphasis with the falling inflec- 
tion on eternity, as this would suggest a paraphrase 
perfectly illustrative of the sense, which is, that a day 
or an hour of virtuous liberty is not only worth more 
than the longest finite duration in bondage, but even 
a whole eternity. This pronunciation, however, 
would necessarily give the rising inflection to bond- 
age, which would conclude the passage so inharmo- 
niously, that the ear finds itself obliged to neglect this 
so forcible expression, and content itself with plac- 
ing the rising inflection on eternity, for the sake of the 
harmony of the cadence : and as the plain import of 


the word eternity is sufficiently strong and emphatic- 
al, sense is no great loser by the sacrifice : If, how- 
ever, the thought could have been so disposed as to 
have made a word, so susceptible of force as eternity, 
adopt the falling inflection and conclude the line, the 
expression, it is presumed, would have been still 
stronger. Let us suppose, for instance, the two last 
lines had stood thus : 

A day, an hour, in virtuous liberty 
Outweighs, in bondage, an eternity : 

I do not contend that this alteration is not greatly in- 
feriour to the original in point of composition, from 
the necessity of adopting words less suitable ; but, I 
think, I may appeal to the ear of every critical speak- 
er for the superiority of the latter, with respect to 
the force and harmony of pronunciation. In the 
same manner, it may be observed, that if the words 
in Milton were transposed as in the following line, 

Better in hell to reign, than serve in heav'n, 

the falling inflection on hell, and the rising on reign, 
would preserve both the force and harmony ; but I 
am far from presuming to judge whether the line 
would be better by this alteration. The same may 
be observed in the transposition of the saying of 
Caesar : 

In that village I would rather be the first many than the 
second in Rome. 

By this arrangement, we see the strongly emphatick 
words, which require the falling inflection, are in the 
beginning and end of the sentence, and the two em- 
phatick words that require the rising inflection in the 
middle ; and, consequently, the inflections on the 
two first and two last emphatick words are in a differ- 
ent order. 


But if a treble emphasis implied will often, for the 
sake of harmony, neglect such an emphasis as pro- 
duces the greatest force, there is a much greater ne- 
cessity for this sacrifice to sound where every part of 
the treble emphasis is expressed. Thus, in the fol- 
lowing lines : 

He raised a mortal to the skies. 
She drew an angel down. 

If, for the sake of showing that Timotheus did not 
only raise a mortal very high, but even to the skies ; 
if, I say, for the sake of intimating this sense, we lay 
the emphasis with the falling inflection on skies, we 
shall ruin the harmony of the couplet : The same 
may be observed if we lay the same emphasis on an- 
gel ; for though this would intimate that St. Cecilia 
did not draw down a common being, but even an 
angel, yet this intimation would make no amends for 
the quaintness and discord this inflection would oc- 
casion ; but if these lines had been so constructed as 
to admit of the emphasis with the falling inflection on 
these words, perhaps we should not have found either 
sense or harmony the worse for it. 

He to the slues a mortal raised, 
An angel she drew down. 

Thus we perceive there are some things clear and de- 
cided, others ambiguous and indeterminate : The 
best decision in the latter case is, to observe the pro- 
nunciation of the best readers and speakers, and to 
mark it by the inflections which are here made use of. 
A notation of this kind, will enable us to collect ex- 
amples of different modes of pronunciation, and to 
form an opinion from examples of the best authority : 
by this means we shall be able to give some stabili- 
ty to those sounds which have hitherto been thought 
too fleeting and evanescent for retrospection. 


General Emphasis. 

Hitherto emphasis has been considered as ap- 
propriated to a particular word in a sentence, the pe- 
culiar sense of which demanded an increase of force, 
and an inflection correspondent to that sense ; we 
shall now endeavour to throw some light upon that 
emphatick force; which, when the composition is very- 
animated, and approaches to a close, we often lay 
upon several words in succession : This successive 
emphatick force does not, like the former, suggest any 
particular meaning excluded by it, and therefore may 
not improperly be called a general emphasis. This 
emphasis is not so much regulated by the sense of 
the author as by the taste and feelings of the reader, 
and therefore does not admit of any certain rule ; but 
as it is very strong and energetick when it is happily 
applied, it may not be useless to endeavour to give 
such rules as will naturally arise from a few ex- 

When Lucius, in Cato, seems to have exhausted 
every topick in favour of giving up a hopeless war 
and submitting to Caesar, he concludes with this em- 
phatick period : 

What men could do, 
Is done already : Heav'n and earth will witness, 
I'f Rome must fall, that we are innocent. 

The common manner of pronouncing this last line is, 
to lay an emphasis with the rising inflection on the 
word must, which is certainly a very just one, and 
may be called the particular emphasis ; but if 
we were to place an emphasis on each of the 
four words, if Rome must fall ; that is, the em- 
phasis with the rising inflection on if that with the 
falling on Rome and must, and the rising on fall ; 


if these emphases, I say, are pronounced with a dis- 
tinct pause after each, it is inconceivable the force 
that will be given to these few words. 

In the same manner, when Demosthenes is de- 
scribing the former helpless state of Athens, he 

There was a time, then, my fellow-citizens, when the La- 
cedemonians were sovereign masters both by sea and land ; 
when their troops and forts surrounded the entire circuit of At- 
tica ; when they possessed Euboea, Tanagra, the whole Boeotian 
district, Megara, iEgina, Cleone, and the other islands ; while 
this state had not one ship, not one wall. 

The general mode of pronouncing the last mem- 
ber of this sentence is, to lay an emphasis on the last 
word, wall : This is unquestionably proper ; but if 
we lay an emphasis on the three last words, that is, the 
falling on not, the rising on one, and the falling on 
wall, and pause very distinctly between each, we shall 
be at no loss to decide on the superiority of this gen- 
eral emphasis. We have another instance of the force 
of this general emphasis, in that beautiful climax of 
Zanga, in the tragedy of the Revenge : 

That's truly great ! what think you 'twas set up 
The Greek and Roman name in such a lustre, 
But doing right in stern despite of nature, 
Shutting their ears to all her little cries, 
When great, august, and godlike justice call'd, 
At Aulis one pour'd out a daughter's life, 
And gain'd more glory than by all his wars ; 
Another slew a sister in just rage ; 
A third, the theme of all succeeding time r 
Gave to the cruel axe a darling son : 
Nay more, for justice some devote themselves, 
As he at Carthage, an immortal name ! 
Yet there is one step left above them all, 
Above their history, above their fable ; 
A wife, bride, mistress, unenjoyed, 

Do that, and tread upon the Greek and Roman glory. 

Act iv. Scene last. 


In pronouncing this passage, we shall find the gen- 
erality of readers content themselves with laying an 
emphasis upon the word one in the thirteenth line, 
and pronounce the two succeeding words step and 
left without any particular force ; but if we give em- 
phatick force to each of these three words, and at the 
same time pause considerably after every word, we 
shall find the whole line glow with meaning and 
energy : for though pronouncing the word one with 
the emphasis and rising inflection, and the succeed- 
ing words step and left with the same inflection, with- 
out emphasis, would undoubtedly bring out the au- 
thor's sense ; yet pronouncing one and step both with 
emphasis and the falling inflection, seems to snatch a 
grace beyond the reach of art, and fall in with the 
enthusiasm of the poet. The emphasis with the fall- 
ing inflection and increasing force, on the four suc- 
cessive words w \fe, bride, mistress, unenjoyed, in the 
last line but one, crowns the whole climax with suita- 
ble force and harmony. 

But though general emphasis may, at first sight, 
seem to be an exception to the general rule, yet, upon 
a nearer inspection, it will be found strictly con- 
formable to it. Emphasis has been defined to be 
another word for opposition or contradistinction * r 
now wherej it may be asked, is the opposition or 
contradistinction to the words if and Rome and fall 
in the sentence, 

Heav'n and earth will witness, 
If Rome must fall, that we are innocent ? 

It may be answered, that the mind, in endeavour- 
ing to express things strongly, seems to have re- 
course to a redundancy of sound as well as of words ; 
the adjective own and the substantive self are super- 
fluous words, if we regard only their mere grammat- 
ical import. For the sentences, this book is mine y 
and / wrote it, literally signify as much as this book 


is my own, and I wrote it myself; but the latter sen- 
tences may be said to be emphatical, and the for- 
mer not. To the same end our language has adopt- 
ed an auxiliary verb, to express action or passion 
with emphasis, in a shorter way than perhaps in any 
other tongue* Thus, when Othello says to Desde- 
mona — 

Perdition catch my soul, but I do love thee — - 

it is equivalent to saying, / actually and really love 
thee, — in contradistinction to the appearance of love, 
which so often supplies the place of the reality : and 
this seems to lead us to the latent antithesis of the 
general emphasis, which is, the appearance, as dis- 
tinguished from the reality or the similitude, from 
the identity ; and therefore, though the words if 
Rome, and fall, taken separately, have no direct an- 
tithetick ideas, yet, when united together by succes- 
sive emphases, they imply a reality and identity of 
situation in opposition to every possible contrary 
situation, which contrary situation becomes the real 
antithetick object of the emphatick words, and thus 
brings the general emphasis under the same defini- 
tion as particular emphasis, and shows that both are 
but other words for opposition, contradistinction, or 

From this view of emphasis, we may perceive the 
propriety of laying a stress upon some of the most 
insignificant words when the language is impassion* 
ed, in order to create a general force, which suffi- 
ciently justifies the seeming impropriety. Thus, in 
the following sentence — The very man whom he had 
loaded with favours was the first to accuse him — a 
stress upon the word man will give considerable 
force to the sentence — the very ?nan, &c. If to the 
stress on this word we give one to the word very, 
the force will be considerably increased— the very 


man, &c. But if to these words we unite a stress 
on the word the, the emphasis will then attain its ut- 
most pitch, and be emphatick, as it may be called, 
in the superlative degree — the very man, &c. And 
this general emphasis, it may be observed, has iden- 
tity for its object, the antithesis to which is appear- 
ance, similitude, or the least possible diversity. 

Intermediate or Elliptical Member. 

It now remains to say something of an emphatick 
circumstance, which, though not mentioned by any 
of our writers on the subject, seems of the utmost 
importance to an accurate idea of pronunciation. 

It has been already observed, that emphatick force 
is relative : It may be likewise observed, that it is 
not relative only with respect to the inferiour force 
which is given to the unemphatick words ; it is re- 
lative, also, with respect to the inflection on those 
words that are not emphatical ; that is, emphasis de- 
rives as much force from pronouncing those words 
which are not emphatical with a peculiar inflection, 
as it does from pronouncing the emphatick words 
themselves with a suitable inflection and greater force. 
Let us endeavour to illustrate this by an example : 

Must we, in your person, crown the author of the publick ca- 
lamities, or must we destroy him ? 

Ms chines against Demosthenes. 

Here, I say, in order to preserve to the two emphatic- 
al words, crown and destroy, that force which the con- 
trast demands, we must necessarily pronounce the 
intermediate member, the author of the publick calam- 
ities, with the rising inflection, like crownjout in a fee- 
bler, though higher tone of voice : This mode of pro- 
nunciation places the opposite parts in full view, which 
would be necessarily obscured, if the words author 


of the publick calamities had the same portion of force 
and variety as the rest ; so that this member, which 
may not improperly be called the elliptical member, 
has exactly that inflection and that feebleness which 
it would have, if it had been repeated, at the end of 
the sentence, in this manner : 

Must we, in your person, crown the author of the publick ca- 
lamities ? or must we destroy the author of the publick calami- 
ties ? 

This will be farther illustrated by another exam- 
pie : 

It is not he who hath strengthened our fortifications, who 
hath digged our intrenchments, who hath disturbed the tombs 
of our ancestors, that should demand the honours of a patriot 
minister, but he who hath procured some intrinsick services to 
the state. 

Here the intermediate member, that should demand 
the honours of a patriot minister, which agrees both 
with the positive and negative part of the sentence, 
must be pronounced in subordination to the word 
ancestors ; that is, as this word has the emphasis 
with the rising inflection, according to the general 
rule, the intermediate member must have the rising 
inflection likewise, in a higher and feebler tone of 
voice, and without any peculiar force upon any of 
the words. 

Another example will render this rule still clearer : 

A good man will love himself too well to lose an estate by 
gaming, and his neighbour too well to win one. 

In this sentence, as in the two former, there are two 
principal constructive parts ; and between these parts 
there is a member which relates to both, and must be 
pronounced in subordination to both, else the force 
of each will be lost. This member is, an estate by 
gaming ; the first principal constructive part of this 


sentence ends with the emphatick word lose ; and as 
its connection with the latter constructive part neces- 
sarily requires that it should be pronounced with the 
rising inflection, every word of the intermediate mem- 
ber which follows it must be pronounced with the 
rising inflection likewise : for if any emphasis or va- 
riety of inflection be given to this member, it will in- 
fallibly deprive the correspondent antithetick words, 
himself, lose, neighbour, and win, of all their force and 
harmony. Every word of this middle member, 
therefore, must be pronounced with the rising inflec- 
tion, in a 'somewhat higher tone than the word lose, 
and nearly approaching a monotone. On the con- 
trary, if we were to place this member at the end of 
the sentence, in this manner, 

A good man will love himself too well to lose, and his 
neighbour too well to win, an estate by gaming — 

In this arrangement, in order to give force and vari- 
ety to the correspondent emphatick words, the same 
inflections must take place as before ; that is, himself 
must have the failing, lose the rising, neighbour the 
rising, and win the falling inflection : and to preserve 
this order, which can alone give the sentence its due 
precision, the last member, an estate by gaming, 
must be pronounced with the same inflection as the 
word win, but in a lower tone of voice, and appoach- 
ing to a monotone ; for if any force or variety is giv- 
en to these words, it must necessarily be at the ex- 
pense of those that are alone. entitled to it. The bad 
effect, indeed, of pronouncing so many words at the 
end of a sentence in so low and feeble a tone, is cipt 
to invite the ear to a different pronunciation at first ; 
but a moment's reflection on the sense will induce us 
rather to dispense with the want of sound than of 
meaning. The first of these forms of arranging the 
words is indisputably the best ; and writers would 
do well to make it a rule in composition, never to 


finish a sentence with a member that relates to each 
part of a preceding antithesis ; a neglect of this rule 
occasions many uncouth sentences even in our best 

Mr. Addison, speaking of the power of the imagi- 
nation, says, 

It would be vain to inquire whether the power of imagining 
things strongly proceeds from any greater perfection in the 
soul, or from any nicer texture in the brain of one man than of 
another. Spectator, No. 417. 

In this sentence, in order to present each part of 
the antithesis, soul and brain, clearly and precisely 
to the mind, it will be necessary to confine the em- 
phatick force to these words alone; and this can be 
done no other way than by laying the rising inflection, 
on soul, and the falling on brain, and pronouncing the 
last member, of one man than of another, with the 
same inflection as brain, but in a lower and almost 
monotonous tone of voice ; this will necessarily give 
an uncouthness to the sound of the sentence, but is 
absolutely necessary to give the sense of it strongly 
and clearly. 

It is true, that by this mode of pronunciation the 
intermediate member is presented less clearly to the 
mind ; but when we consider that the sense of it is 
nearly anticipated by the comparative greater and 
nicer, we shall, with less reluctance, give it up to the 
principal emphatick words, soul and brain. 

It must not be dissembled, however, that if this 
intermediate member contains an emphatical word, 
or extends to any length, it will be necessary to con- 
sider it as an essential member of the sentence, and to 
pronounce it with emphasis and variety. Thus, if 
the sentence just quoted had been constructed in 
this manner : 

A good man will love himself too well to lose, and his 
neighbour too well to win, a very considerable sum by gaming* 


If, in reading this sentence, we were to place the 
emphasis with the rising inflection on lose, and the 
falling on win, and were to pronounce the rest of the 
sentence in a low monotonous tone of voice, 
in the same manner as when it contained but half 
the number of syllables, we should be both obscure 
and discordant ; but, as the last member is lengthen- 
ed to double the number of syllables, we find it may 
be so pronounced as to form an harmonious cadence. 
Another example will show the necessity of some- 
times breaking the general rule. Mr. Addison, 
speaking of the mutual polish and refinement which 
the intercourse between the sexes gives each other, 

In a word : a man -would not only be an unhappy, but a 
rude unfinished creature, were he conversant with none but 
those of his own make. Sptct. No. 433, 

Here we find the intermediate member close the sen- 
tence, and is of such a length as to forbid the feeble 
monotone which is proper in other cases. It may 
not, however, be useless to observe, that when these 
intermediate members are so long, or of so much 
importance as to demand an emphatical pronun- 
ciation, the antithesis is in some measure obscur- 
ed, and the sentence is deprived of spirit and 

Before we conclude this article, we may observe, 
that the emphasis on opposite parts, which obscures 
the intermediate member, is calculated more for the 
porposes of force than harmony, and therefore ought 
to be observed with less rigour in verse than prose ; 
but where the former is familiar, argumentative, and 
strongly emphatical, it seems to require the obscure 
pronunciation of the intermediate member no less 
than the latter. 



'THs hard to say if greater want of skill 
Appear in writing or in judging ill : 
But of the two less dangerous is th' offence, 
To tire our patience than mislead our sense ; 
Some few in that, but numbers err in this, 
Ten censure Wrong for one who writes amiss £ 
A fool might once himself alone expose, 
Now one in verse makes many more in prose. 

Pope's Essay on Cm. 

In the first couplet of this passage, the word ill, which 
agrees to both the emphatick words writing and 
judging, is pronounced feebly with the falling in- 
flection, after a strong pronunciation of the same 
inflection on judging. In the next couplet, tire and 
patience, mislead, and sense, form a double empha- 
sis, and come under the general rule ; but in the 
next couplet, the words wrong and amiss, being 
only different expressions for the same idea, are to 
be considered as an intermediate member to the two 
emphatick words censure and write, and pronounced 
feebly with the same inflections as the words they 

From what has been said on this article, it ap- 
pears of how much importance to reading and 

* In the first edition of this work! had not sufficiently considered the 
aature ©f unaccented words, and, therefore, gave them the very vague 
and indefinite appellations I met with in other authors, namely obfcure, and 
feeble; a farther prosecution of the subject in the Rhetorical Grammar 
enabled me to ascertain the real force of these unaccented words, and to 
class them with the unaccented syllables of accented words. Thus a clear 
and definite idea was substituted for an indeterminate and obscure one i 
And I could, with confidence, tell my pupil that the sentence, 

« I do not, so much request, as demand your attention," 

was pronounced like three words ; I do not, like a word of three syllable?, 
with the accent on the second ; so much request, like a word of four 
syllables, with the accent on the ldst and as demand your attention. 
like a word of seven syllables, with the accent on the third. See p. 193, 



speaking is a judicious distribution of emphasis ; and 
if what has been observed be true, it is evident 
how useful, and even necessary it must be, in 
teaching, to adopt something like the method of 
marking them here pointed out. Methods of this 
kind are usually rejected, because at first they are 
found rather to embarrass than assist the reader ; 
but this will be found to be the case in every art 
where improvement arises chiefly from habit : The 
principles of musick would embarrass and puzzle a 
performer who had learned only from the ear, but 
nothing but a knowledge of these principles could 
convey to him the difficult passages of a composer, 
and enable him to acquire them without the assist- 
ance of a teacher. Reading, indeed, may be con- 
sidered as a species of musick ; the organs of ut- 
terance are the instruments, but the mind itself is 
the performer ; and, therefore, to pursue the simili- 
tude, though the mind may have a full conception of 
the sense of an author, and be able to judge nicely 
of the execution of others, yet if it has not im- 
bibed the habit of performing on its own instru- 
ment, no expression will be produced. There is a 
certain mechanical dexterity to be acquired before 
the beautiful conceptions we possess can be com- 
municated to others. This mechanism is an essen- 
tial part of all the fine arts. Nothing but habitual 
practice will give the musician his neatness of exe- 
cution, the painter his force of colouring, and even 
the poet the happiest choice and arrangement of his 
words and thoughts. How, then, can we expect 
that a luminous and elegant expression in reading 
and speaking can be acquired without a similar 
attention to habitual practice ? This is the gold- 
en key to every excellence, but can be purchased 
only by labour, unremitting labour, and perse- 


Harmonick Inflection. 

Besides that variety which necessarily arises; 
from an attention to the foregoing rules, that is, from 
annexing certain inflections to sentences of a particu- 
lar import or structure, there is still another source 
of variety, in those parts of a sentence where the 
sense is not at all concerned, and where the variety 
is merely to please the ear. It is certain, that if the 
sense of a sentence be strongly conveyed, it will sel- 
dom be inharmoniously pronounced ; but it is as 
certain, there are many members of sentences which 
may be differently pronounced without affecting the 
sense, but which cannot be differently pronounced 
without greatly affecting their variety and harmony. 
Thus in the following sentence : 

As we perceive the shadow to have moved along the dial- 
plate, but did not perceive it moving ; and it appears that the 
grass has grown, though nobody ever saw it grow : so the 
advances we make in knowledge, as they consist of such mi- 
nute steps, are only perceivable by the distance. 

In this sentence, provided we do not drop the 
voice before the end, the sense of the sentence is not 
at all concerned in any of the inflections, except that 
on grow in the middle, which must necessarily be 
the rising, and that on distance at the end, which 
must be the failing inflection : if these inflections are 
preserved on these words, the rest may take their 
chance, and the sense will be scarcely affected ; but 
the dullest ear must perceive an infinite advantage 
to the harmony in placing the falling inflection on 
grown in the first part of the sentence, and on knowl- 
edge in the last : and so natural is this pronunciation, 
that there are few readers so bad as not to place these 
inflections on these words without any other guide 
than the ear. 

244 ELEMENTS 0» 

This part of pronunciation, therefore, though of 
little importance to the sense, is of the utmost im- 
portance to the harmony of a sentence. Every writ- 
er on the subject has left it entirely to the ear ; and, 
indeed, so nice are the principles on which harmony 
and variety in pronunciation depend, that it is no 
wonder any analysis of it has been shifted off, andi 
classed among those things for which it is utterly 
impossible to give rules. Rut, as we have often ob- 
served, though the varieties of voice, in other re- 
spects, are almost infinite, all these varieties are still 
reducible to two radical and essential differences, the 
upward and downward slide or inflection ; and there- 
fore, though the high and low, the loud and soft, the 
the quick and slow, the forcible and feeble, admit of 
almost infinite degrees, every one of these differen- 
ces and degrees must either adopt the rising or fall- 
ing inflection of voice ; and these inflections being 
inore essential to the sense and harmony than any, 
or all the other differences, we have, in the distinc- 
tion of the voice into the rising and falling inflection, 
a key to part of the harmony and variety so much 
admired, and, it may be added, a very essential part. 
If, therefore, no rules could be given to the applica- 
tion of these inflections to the purposes of harmony 
and variety, the practicability of marking upon paper 
those which are actually made use of by good read- 
ers and speakers, would be of the utmost importance 
to elocution ; but in this, as well as in other cases, 
an attempt will be made to mark out some rules> 
which it is hoped will not be entirely useless. 

Preliminary Observations. 

When similar members of sentences do not run 
into such a series, as brings them into the enumera- 
tive form j the voice, both to relieve the ear, and inv 


press the sense, falls naturally into a succession of 
inflections, which is something similar to that used 
in the series, and at once gives force and variety : 
these inflections sometimes take place at the begin- 
ning of a sentence, where the members are similar ; 
but most commonly near the end, when the sentence 
is concluding with several similar members, which, 
without this inflection on some particular words, 
would disgust the ear by a succession of similar 
sounds, This inflection from the obvious use of it ? 
we may call the Harmonick Inflection. 

Difficult, and, perhaps, impossible as it is to de- 
scribe sounds upon paper to those who are wholly un- 
acquainted with them, the task is not quite so ardu- 
ous when we address those who have a general idea 
of what we attempt to convey. If the nature of the 
rising and falling inflections has been sufficiently con- 
ceived, the use of them in this particular will be 
easily pointed out. The harmonick inflection then is, 
using the rising and falling inflection of the voice up- 
on successive words, principally to please the ear, 
2nd break a continued chain of similar pauses : for 
the rising inflection of the voice has nothing emphat- 
ical in it, nor the falling any thing concluding. As 
this latter inflection, and the small pause that accom- 
panies it, often takes place on words that are imme- 
diately connected in sense with what follows, it seems 
barely a resting place for the voice and ear, and such 
an enforcing of the sense as naturally arises from a 
more deliberate pronunciation of the words. That 
the voice may be in the falling inflection without 
marking a conclusion in the sense, and even while it 
excites expectation of something to follow, is evident 
from the pronunciation of the first member of a se- 
ries ; but this falling inflection of the voice is essen- 
tially different from that which we commonly use 
when we conclude a sentence ; for, in the former 
case, as has been already observed, the voice is pal- 


pably raised higher than on the preceding words, 
though ending with the falling inflection ;* in the lat- 
ter it falls gradually lower on several of the preced- 
ing words, and may properly be said to drop. An 
example will contribute greatly to the comprehend- 
ing of this marking inflection, so necessary to the va- 
riety and harmony of a sentence. 

We may observe, that any single circumstance of what we 
have formerly seen often raises up a whole scene of imagery, 
and awakens numberless ideas that before slept in the imagina- 
tion ; such a particular smell or colour is able to fill the mind 
on a sudden with a picture of the fields or gardens where we 
first met with it ; and to bring up into view, al the variety of 
images that once attended it. Spectator ■, No. 417. 

We may here observe, that the former part of this 
passage has a succession of similar pauses tiii it 
comes to the semicolon, (which from the complete 
sense it forms might as well have been marked by a 
colon), and that the succeeding part of the sentence 
runs exactly into the same succession of similar paus- 
es : which, if pronounced exactly alike, would offend 
the ear by a monotony. A good reader, therefore, 
solicitous to avoid a sameness of sound, throws his 
voice into the rising inflection upon bring, and into 
the falling upon view, by which means a variety is 
introduced, and the period ends more harmoniously 
from the preparation made for it by the harmonick in- 

Another instance where this inflection may be 
repeated successively, is, perhaps, better calculated 
to convey an idea of it : 

We may learn from this observation which we have made 
on the mind of man, to take particular care, when we have 
once settled in a regular course of life, how we too frequently 
indulge ourselves in any of the most innocent diversions and 
entertainments ; since the mind may insensibly fall off from 

* See Part I. p. 90, 150, 



the relish of virtuous actions, and by degrees exchange that 
pleasure, which it takes in the performance of its duty, for de- 
lights of a much more inferiour and unprofitable nature. 

Sped. No. 44?-. 

In this example, we have the same succession of 
similar pauses as in the last ; and though the voice 
may very properly fix itself in the falling inflection 
on the word entertainments, and by that means oc- 
casion some variety, yet the subsequent part of the 
period proceeds by similar pauses as well as the 
former ; and therefore, the harmonick inflection in- 
troduced upon the words degrees and exchange, and 
upon that and pleasure, that is, the rising inflection 
upon degrees and that, and the falling inflection 
upon exchange and pleasure ; by this means, I say, 
the monotony will be broken, the thought enforc- 
ed, and the period rendered much more musical. 

One example more, where this inflection may be 
oftener repeated, will still better enable us to show the 
real nature and use of it : 

I must confess I think it below reasonable creatures to be al- 
together conversant in such diversions as are merely innocent, 
and have nothing else to recommend them but that there is 
no hurt in them. Whether any kind of gaming has even this 
much to say for itself, I shall not determine ; but I think it 
very wonderful to see persons of the best sense passing away a 
dozen hours together in shuffling and dividing a pack of cards* 
with no other conversation but what is made up of a few game 
phrases, and no other ideas, but those of black and red spots 
ranged together in different figures. Sped. No. 93. 

The necessitv of introducing the harmonick inflec- 
tion in the latter part of this sentence will better ap- 
pear, by first reading it in the common manner, and 
afterwards with the inflection we have been describ- 
ing : this will show the diffiulty of avoiding a mo- 
notony without adopting this inflection, and the 
variety and force it gives to the language and sen- 
timent when it is adopted. The words best and senses 


passing and away; dozen and together; shuffling and 
dividing ; other and conversation ; xvhat and maofe tt/> ; 
these words, I say, will be very apt to drag, and pro- 
duce a sameness of sound if pronounced in the com- 
mon way ; but if the rising inflection is used on the 
first, and the falling on the last, of every pair, the 
monotony will be prevented, and a succession of 
sounds introduced, very descriptive of the repetition 
conveyed by the words. 

But the great object of the harmonick inflection is 
forming the cadence : here it is, that harmony and va- 
riety are more peculiarly necessary, as the ear is more 
particularly affected by the close of a subject, or any 
branch of a subject, than by any other part of the com- 
position. We have had frequent occasion to observe, 
that though a series of sentences may all require to 
be pronounced with the falling inflection ; yet if they 
all belong to one subject, or one branch of a subject, 
usually called a paragraph, that the last of them only 
demands that depression of voice which marks a con- 
clusion : to which observation we may add this gen- 
eral rule* 

Rule I. When a series of similar sentences, or 
members of sentences, form a branch of a subject 
or paragraph ; the last sentence or member must 
fall gradually into a lower tone, and adopt the har- 
monick inflection, on such w r ords as form the most 
agreeable cadence. 


One of the most eminent mathematicians of the age has as- 
sured me, that the greatest pleasure he took in reading Virgil 
was in examining iEneas's voyage by the map ; as I question 
not but many a modern compiler of history would be delight- 
ed with little more in that divine author than in the bare mat- 
ters of fact. Spectator, No. 109. 

Here we find placing the rising inflection upon the; 
word little, and the falling upon more ; and the fall- 


ing upon divine, and the rising upon author, gives 
both a distinctness and harmony to the cadence. 

Gratian very often recommends the fine taste as the utmost 
perfection of an accomplished man. As this word arises very 
often in conversation, I shall endeavour to give some account 
of it ; and to lay down rules how we may know whether we 
are possessed of it, and how we may acquire that fine taste of 
writing, which is so much talked of among the polite world. 

Sped. No. 109. 

Placing the rising inflection upon how, and the 
falling upon acquire ; the falling inflection upon j£we», 
and the rising upon writing, prevents a sameness 
which would otherwise arise from the similitude of 
the three members, and gives an agreeable close to 
the sentence. 

Since I have mentioned this unaccountable zeal which ap- 
pears in atheists and infidels, I must farther observe that they 
are likewise in a most particular manner possessed with the 
spirit of bigotry. They are wedded to opinions full of contra- 
diction and impossibility, and at the same time look upon the 
smallest difficulty in an article of faith as a sufficient reason for 
rejecting it. Spect. No. 185. 

As the rising inflection on the word wedded, and 
the falling on the word opinions, the falling on contra- 
diction, and the rising on impossibility, prevents a 
sameness in the first member of the last sentence 
arising from its similitude to the closing member of 
the first ; so the rising inflection upon the words 
same and smallest, and the falling upon time and dif- 
ficulty, and the falling upon article, and the rising 
upon faith ; this arrangement of inflections, I say, on 
the latter part of the sentence, gives a force, harmony, 
and variety, to the cadence. 

We may be sure the metaphorical word taste would not 
have been so genera'- in all tongues, had chere not been a very 
great conformity between that mental taste, which is the sub- 


ject of this paper, and that sensitive taste which gives us a rel- 
ish of every different flavour that affects the palate Accord- 
ingly we find, there are as many degrees of refinement in the 
intellectual faculty, as in the sense which is marked out by 
this common denomination. Sped. No. 409. 

If we do but place the rising inflection on accord- 
ingly, and the falling on find, the rising on many, and 
the falling on refinement, in the last sentence, we 
shall perceive a great variety, as well as harmony add- 
ed to the whole passage. 

Harmony of Prose, 

The foregoing observations on the harmony of the 
cadence, have, undoubtedly, suggested to the read- 
er that great object of ancient and modern composi- 
tion, the harmony of prose : this is a subject so inti- 
mately connected with harmonious pronunciation, 
that it seems necessary to investigate the principles of 
that composition which is generally esteemed har- 
monious, in order, if possible, to throw some light 
upon the most accurate mode of delivering it. 

The ancients thought harmonious prose to be on- 
ly a looser kind of numbers, and resolved many pas- 
sages of their most celebrated orations into such feet 
as composed verse. In modern languages, where 
accent seems to stand for the quantity of the an- 
cients, we find harmonious prose resolvable into an 
arrangement of accented syllables, somewhat similar 
to that of versification. The return of the accented 
syllable, at certain intervals, seems the common defi- 
nition of both. 

In verse we find these intervals nearly equal ; and 
it is this equality which forms the measure. Thus 
in the following couplet : 


Short is the date, alas ! of modern rhymes ; 

And 'tis but just to let them live betimes. Pope. 

An undisciplined reader, in pronouncing this sen- 
tence, would be apt, from the greater smoothness of 
the line, to lay the accent, or metrical emphasis, as it 
may be called, on the word is in the first line ; but 
as this would bring forward a word which, from its 
nature, is always sufficiently understood, a good 
reader will place the accent on short and date, and 
sink the words is the into a comparative obscurity ; 
and as this interval of two syllables happens at the 
beginning of a line, it is so far from having a bad ef- 
fect on the ear, that it frequently relieves it from the 
too great sameness to which rhyming verse is al- 
ways liable. 

But if this inequality of interval is sometimes, for 
the sake of variety, necessary in verse, it is not to be 
wondered, that, for a similar reason, we avoid as much 
as possible too great a regularity of interval between 
the accented syllables in prose. Loose and negli- 
gent, however, as prose may appear, it is not entire- 
ly destitute of measure : for it may be with confi- 
dence asserted, that, wherever a style is remarkably 
smooth and flowing, it is owing in some measure to 
a regular return of accented syllables. And though 
a strength and severity of style has in it something 
more excellent than the soft and flowing, yet the lat- 
ter holds certainly a distinguished rank in composi- 
tion. The musick of language never displeases us, 
but when sense is sacrificed to sound ; when both 
are compatible, we should deprive a thought of half 
its beauty, not to give it all the harmony of which 
language is susceptible. As all subjects are not mas- 
culine, sublime, and strong ; all subjects do not re- 
quire, and indeed are not susceptible of a strength 
and severity of style. Those, therefore, which are 
beautiful, didactick and persuasive, demand a smooth- 
ness and elegance of language ; which is not only 


agreeable, as it is suited to the objects it conveys, 
but, like fine colours or sounds, is, in some measure, 
pleasing for its own sake. Accordingly, we find, 
that, though we cannot so easily trace that accentual 
rhythmus which forms the harmony of the beginning 
and middle of a sentence, yet the latter part, or what 
is commonly called the cadence, consists (when har- 
moniously constructed) of such an arrangement of 
accented words as approaches nearly to verse. Ev- 
ery ear will immediately find a ruggedness and want 
of harmony in the conclusion of the following sen- 
tence : 

We are always complaining our days are few, and acting as 
though there would be no end of them. Addison. 

The reason of this harshness seems to be, that 
vast chasm of unaccented words that extends from 
the word acting to the word end. The ear, indeed, 
sensible of the want of accent, lays a little stress upon 
though : but this does not quite remedy the evil : 
still there are four words unaccented, and the sen- 
tence remains harsh : but if we alter its structure, by 
placing a word that admits of an accent in the mid- 
dle of these four words, we shall find harmony suc- 
ceed to harshness and inequality. 

We are always complaining our days are few, and acting as 
though there would never be an end of them. 

This difference, therefore, can arise from nothing 
but an unequal and unmetrical arrangement of ac- 
cent in the former sentence, and a greater approach 
to equal and metrical arrangement of accent in the 

As a farther corroboration of the truth of this 
opinion, let us take a sentence remarkable for its har- 
mony, and try whether it arises from the foregoing 


We hear at this distance but a faint echo of that thunder in 
Demosthenes,which shook the throne of Macedonto its founda- 
tions ; and are sometimes at a loss for that conviction in the ar- 
guments of Cicero, which balanced in the midst of convulsions 
the tottering republic k of Rome. 

In the latter part of this sentence, we find the ac- 
cented syllables at exactly equal intervals from the 
word sometimes to the word midst ; that is, there 
are three unaccented syllables between every accent- 
ed syllable : and from the word midst to the word 
Mome, there is an exact equality of intervals ; that is, 
two unaccented syllables, or, which is perfectly 
equivalent, syllables pronounced in the time of two, 
to one unaccented. 

Now, if we change a few of the words of this sen- 
tence to others of different length and accent, we shall 
find the harmony of the sentence considerably dimin- 
ished, though the sense may be inviolably preserved. 

We hear at this distance but a faint echo of that thunder in 
Demosthenes which shook the throne of Macedon to its founda- 
tions ; and are sometimes at a loss for that force in the • roofs 
of Cicero, which balanced in the midst of anarchy the tottering 
state of Rome. 

That full flow of prosaick harmony, so perceptible 
in the former sentence, is greatly diminished in this ; 
and the reason seems plainly pointed out : for as the 
harmony of verse is owing solely to an equal and reg 
ular return of accent, the harmony of prose must arise 
from the same source ; that is, as verse owes its har- 
mony entirely to a regular return of accent, prose can 
never be harmonious by a total want of it. The 
sole difference between them seems to lie in the con- 
stant, regular, and artificial arrangement of accent in 
the one, and the unstudied, various, and even oppo- 
site arrangement in the other. Verse, with some few 
exceptions, proceeds in a regular alternation of ac- 
cent, from one end of the poem to the other ; harmo- 


nious prose, on the contrary, in some members, 
adopts one species of arrangement, and in some an- 
other ; but always so as to avoid such clusters of 
accents in one place, and such a total absence of them 
in another, as necessarily occasions a ruggedness and 
difficulty of pronunciation. 

At first sight, perhaps, we should be led to sup- 
pose, that the intervals between the accents ought 
rather to diminish than increase as they approach the 
end of a sentence ; and yet, if we consult the ear, we 
shall find that intervals of two unaccented syllables 
sound better, even in the closing member of a sen- 
tence, than intervals of one unaccented syllable only. 
Let us take the following sentence as an example of 

Demetrius compares prosperity to the indulgence of a fond 
mother to a child, which often proves his ruin ; but the affec- 
tion of the Divine Being to that of a wise father, who would 
have his sons exercised in labour, disappointment, and pain, 
that they may gather strength and fortitude. 

Now, if, instead of the word strength, we substi- 
tute experience, though the sense may be weakened, 
the sound will, perhaps, be improved ; and if the 
ears of others should agree with mine in this particu- 
lar, it may be laid down as a rule, that other circum- 
stances being equal, the last members of sentences 
ought rather to end in the dactylick than in the iam- 
bick measure. In this appellation of the meas- 
ure of prose, I adopt the terms generally made 
use of, and particularly by Mason, in his Essay 
on Prosaick Numbers. This gentleman deserves 
much praise for his attempt to investigate the causes 
of prosaick harmony, but appears to me to have an idea 
of English metre so blended with that of the Lat- 
in and Greek, as to throw errour and confusion over 
his whole performance. For what can we make oi his 
placing two long quantities over the two syllables of 


the words sentence and spondee? Each of these 
words can have but one accent ; and it is accent, or 
emphasis, and these only, and not any length or open- 
ness of the vowels, that forms English metre, or that 
rhythmus which is analogous to it in prose, 

Harmony of Prosaic k Inflections. 

Hitherto I have only considered poetick and 
prosaick harmony as arising from a harmonious and 
rhythmical arrangement of accent ; and it is with 
some diffidence I venture upon a farther explication 
of this subject upon principles which have never yet 
been thought of : but I presume it will be found, 
upon inquiry, that the various and harmonious ar- 
rangement of the rising and falling inflections of the 
voice, is no less the cause of harmony, both in verse 
and prose, than the metrical arrangement of accent 
and emphasis. 

The melody both of prose and verse seems to 
consist as much in such an arrangement of emphat- 
ick inflection, as suits the sense, and is agreeable to 
the ear, as it does in a rhythmical disposition of ac- 
cented and emphatick syllables. To illustrate this 
observation, let us take an harmonious couplet in 
Pope's Prologue to Cato : 

A brave man struggling in the storms of fate, 
And greatly falling with a falling state. 

The first line of this couplet ends with the rising' 
inflection, to prevent the want of harmony there 
would be in ending two successive lines with the 
same inflection ; a sameness for which nothing but 
emphasis will ever apologize. As this line ends 
with the rising inflection, the last word may not im- 
properly be called the rudder, which directs the in- 


flections on the preceding words ; for, in order to 
prevent an exact return of the same order of inflec- 
tion, it is not sufficient that the different inflections 
succeed each other alternately ; this world be like 
the successive sounds of the letters A, B ; A, Bo 
To prevent a return of sounds so little various, we 
find the ear generally adopt a succession of inflection „ 
which interposes two similar inflections between two 
similar inflections ; and this produces a variety sim- 
ilar to the series, 

A, B, B, A ; or B, A, A, B. 

The first line, therefore, of this verse, necessarily 
ending with the rising inflection on the word fate, in 
order to make the other words as various and har- 
monious as possible, the falling inflection is placed 
on storms, the same inflection on struggling, and 
the rising inflection on brave ; and this, in the first 
line, forms the arrangement, rising, falling, fallings 
rising; or, 

A, B, B, A. 

The next line ending the sentence, necessarily a- 
dopts the falling inflection on the last word state, and 
this directs the rising inflection to be placed on the 
two words falling, and the falling inflection on great- 
hj, which produces this order, falling, rising, rising, 
falling; or B, A, A, B. This order of placing 
the inflections is not invariably adopted, because em- 
phasis sets aside every other rule, and makes har- 
mony subservient to sense : but it may be asserted, 
that this order of arranging the inflections is so 
generally adopted by the ear, that when emphasis 
does not forbid, this is the arrangement into which 
the verse naturally slides. It may likewise be ob- 
served, that where emphasis coincides with this ar> 


rangement, the verse is always the most harmoni- 
ous, and the sense in its most poetical dress. Nay, 
we shall find harmonious prose, where emphasis does 
not interrupt the natural current of inflection, glide 
insensibly into this rhythmical arrangement of in- 
flection. Let us take an example : 

Exercise and temperance strengthen the constitution. 

Agreeably to the order we have just taken notice of , 
we find this sentence adopt the falling inflection on 
exercise, the rising on temperance and strengthen, and 
the falling on constitution ; but if we add another 
member to this sentence, so connected with this as to 
require the rising inflection on constitution, we shall 
find that the arrangement of inflection is changed, but 
the same order preserved. 

Exercise and temperance strengthen the constitution, and 
sweeten the enjoyments of life. 

Here, I say, contrary to the former arrangement, we 
find the rising inflection on exercise, the falling on 
temperance and strengthen, and the rising on constitu- 
tion ; because here the sense remains suspended and 
unfinished. See Plate I. No. IV. p. 83. A final 
member succeeds, consisting of three accented 
words ; the two last of which must always be pro- 
nounced with different inflections ; that is, the penul- 
timate with the rising, and the ultimate with the 
falling inflection ; but the antipenultimate word 
sweeten, may adopt either the rising or falling in- 
flection, as either will diversify it sufficiently from the 
preceding and succeeding inflections ; but the falling 
inflection on this word seems to be preferable, as the 
three words sweeten, enjoyment, and life, form one 
distinct portion ; and this portion can be no way so 
variously pronounced as by the falling inflection on 


sweeten, the rising on enjoyments, and the falling on 

But whatever may be the order of arrangement in 
the commencement and middle of a sentence, it is 
certain, that if we mean to form an harmonious ca- 
dence, one of these two arrangements of inflection ought 
to take place at the end of a sentence : that is, if the 
last member consists of four accented words, the same 
inflections ought to take place at the end of a sentence, 
as we find generally obtain in the last line of a couplet 
in poetry ; or if the last member consist of three ac- 
cented words, such inflections ought to be adopted as 
will make a series of three inflections most various, 
which is, by giving the last word the falling, the pe- 
nultimate the rising, and the antipenultimate either 
the rising or falling inflection. See Simple Series, 
Rule iv. p. 117. 

An instance of the first arrangement is the following 
sentence : 

The immortality of the soul is the basis of morality, and 
the source of all the pleasing hopes and secret joys, that 
can arise in the heart of a reasonable creature. Sped. No. 111. 

In the last member but one of this sentence, the 
words pleasing and joys have the rising inflection, and 
hopes and secret the falling ; and in the last member, 
the words arise and creature have the falling, and 
heart and reasonable the rising inflection, which 
is exactly the order of inflection in the last couplet of 
the tragedy of Cato : 

Produces fraud and cruelty and strife, 
And robs the guilty world of Cato's life ; 

Where produces and strife have the rising inflection, 
andyhzz/c/and cruelty the falling ; and guilty and life 
the falling, and world and Cato the rising inflection. 


An instance of the other arrangement we find in 
this sentence : 

Cicero concludes his celebrated books de Oratore, with some 
precepts for pronunciation and action ; without which part he 
affirms, that the best orator in the world can never succeed, 
and an indifferent one, who is master of this, shall gain much 
greater applause. 

In order to pronounce this sentence with an har- 
monious cadence, the word this must have the ris- 
ing inflection, as at the end of the first line of a coup- 
let, and the three last words, much greater applause y 
which form the last member, must be pronounced 
very distinctly with the falling inflection on the last, 
the rising inflection on greater ', and the falling on 

The rule, therefore, that arises from these obser- 
vations is, that when the last pause necessarily leaves 
the last member of a sentence with four accented 
words, as in the first example, they are pronounced 
with the inflections in the order falling, rising, ris- 
ing, falling; and when the pause leaves three accent- 
ed words in the last member, they are pronounced 
as in the last example ; that is, either in the order, 
falling, rising, falling; or rising, rising, falling. 

As a corroboration of these principles, we may 
observe, that where the pause necessarily leaves but 
two accented words in the last member, and that 
emphasis forbids the preceding member to be so 
pronounced as to form the order of inflections we 
have prescribed ; when this is the case, I say, we 
shall find the period end inharmoniously. Let us take 
an example : 

If they do not acquiesce in his judgment, which I think 
never happened above once or twice at most, they appeal to me. 


Here the sense requires, that the emphasis with 
the falling inflection should be placed on the word 

260 ELEMENTS 0? 

most ; after which must be a pause : and as the final 
member consists only of two accented words, appeal 
and me, no tolerable cadence can be formed ; for 
these words, having necessarily the rising and fall- 
ing inflection, are but a repetition of the same inflec- 
tions, in the same order as on the words twice and 
most, which forms as monotonous a conclusion as 
the series, 

A, B ; A, B. 

It seldom happens, however, that the sentence is 
so constructed as to prevent the ear from falling in- 
to one or other of the two before mentioned ar- 
rangements of inflection* For so agreeable to the 
ear is an harmonious cadence, that, for the sake of 
forming one, allowances will be made for giving an 
emphatick accent even to words not entitled to it 
from their sense. Let us suppose the following sen- 
tence forming the conclusion of a discourse : 

So that from what has been said, we may certainly conclude, 
that as virtue is not always rewarded in the present life, it will 
be sure to meet with the most ample and satisfactory reward 
in the life to come. 

If this sentence is properly pronounced, there 
must be a considerable pause at the word reward, in 
order to pronounce the last member with a distinct 
and harmonious fall ; but if we pause here, we shall 
find it impossible to pronounce the last member har- 
moniously without laying a stress on the word in; 
and though this word has no title either to accent or 
emphasis from the sense it conveys, yet the necessi- 
ty of concluding a discourse, or any capital branch 
of a discourse, with an harmonious fall, will suffi- 
ciently authorize a considerable stress and distinct 
inflection on that insignificant word. 

A good ear, therefore, will sometimes lay a stress 
on certain words, and sometimes omit it for the sake 


of an harmonious cadence. Thus, in Sterne's Ser- 
mon on the House of Mourning and the House of 
Feasting, we meet with this passage : 

From reflections of this serious cast, how insensibly do the 
thoughts carry us farther ! and from considering what we are, 
what kind of world we live in, and what evils befall us in it, 
how naturally do they set us to look forwards at what possibly 
we shall be ! for what kind of world we are intended — what 
evils may befall us there — and what provision we may make 
against them here, whilst we have time and opportunity. 

In this passage we find the last member, whilst we 
have time and opportunity, necessarily requires that 
the word whilst should be pronounced with the de- 
gree of force due to an accented word, or the cadence 
would be faulty. But if this last member were con- 
structed in this manner ; whilst we have time and 
opportunity afforded us ; in this case, I say, we need 
give no force to the word whilst, as there are three 
accented words, time, opportunity, and afforded? 
which will be sufficient to form the cadence without it. 
These observations necessarily suggest the impor- 
tance of such a choice and arrangement of words as 
fail in with the most harmonious pronunciation. Pro- 
nunciation and composition mutually throw light on 
each other ; they are counterparts of one great opera- 
tion of the human mind, namely, that of conveying 
the ideas and feelings of one man to another with 
force, precision, and harmony. It will not be very 
surprising, therefore, if the foregoing observations on 
pronunciation should have hinted a few rules on the 
harmony of composition. We have seen that the 
harmony of every sentence depends more particular- 
ly on the construction of the latter part,* as this forms 
what is commonly called the cadence. This part of 
the sentence, therefore, should be more particularly 
attended to, as it is that which crowns the whole, 
and makes the most lasting impression on the ear, 

* Quint. L. IX. Cap. iv. 


Rules for Reading Verse. 

Whatever difficulties we may find in reading 
prose, they are greatly increased when the composi- 
tion is in verse ; and more particularly if the verse be 
rhyme. The regularity of the feet, and the sameness 
of sound in rhyming verse, strongly solicits the voice 
to a sameness of tone ; and tone, unless directed by a 
judicious ear, is apt to degenerate into a song, and a 
song, of all others, the most disgusting to a person of 
just taste. If, therefore, there are few who read prose 
with propriety, there are still fewer who succeed in 
verse ; they either want that equable and harmonious 
flow of sound which distinguishes it from loose, un- 
measured composition, or they have not a sufficient 
delicacy of ear to keep the harmonious smoothness of 
verse from sliding into a whining cant ; nay, so 
agreeable is this cant to many readers, that a simple 
and natural delivery of verse seems tame and insipid, 
and much too familiar for the dignity of the lan- 
guage. So pernicious are bad habits in every exer- 
cise of the faculties, that they not only lead us to 
false objects of beauty and propriety, but at last de- 
prive us of the very power of perceiving the mis- 
take. For those, therefore, whose ears are not just, 
and who are totally deficient in a true taste for 
the musick of poetry, the best method of avoiding 
this impropriety is to read verse exactly as if it were 
prose ; for though this may be said to be an errour, it 
is certainly an errour on the safer side. 

To say, however, as some do, that the pronuncia- 
tion of verse is entirely destitute of song, and that it 
is no more than a just pronunciation of prose, is as 
distant from the truth, as the whining cant we have 
been speaking of is from true poetick harmony. Poe- 


try without song is a body without a soul. The tunc 
of this song is, indeed, difficult to hit ; but when once 
it is hit, it is sure to give the most exquisite pleasure^ 
It excites in the hearer the most eager desire of imita- 
tion ; and if this desire be not accompanied by a just 
taste or good instruction, it generally substitutes the 
turn ti, turn ti, as it is called, for simple, elegant 
poetick harmony. 

It must, however, be confessed, that elegant read- 
ers of verse often verge so nearly on what is called 
sing song, without falling into it, that it is no wonder 
those who attempt to imitate thenv -slide into that 
blemish which borders so nearly on a beauty. And, 
indeed, as an ingenious author observes,* " there is 
" such an affinity between poetry and musick, that they 
" were in the earlier ages never separated; and though 
" modern refinement has, in a great measure, destroy - 
" ed this union, yet it is with some degree of difficul- 
" ty, in rehearsing these divine compositions, that we 
" forget the singing of the Muse." 

The truth is, the pronunciation of verse is a species 
of elocution very distinct from the pronunciation of 
prose : both of them have nature for their basis ; but 
one is common, familiar, and practical nature ; the 
other beautiful, elevated, and ideal nature ; the latter 
as different from the former as the elegant step of a 
minuet is from the common motions in walking. Ac- 
cordingly, we find, there are many who can read 
prose well, who are entirely at a loss for the pronun- 
ciation of verse : for these, then, we will endeavour 
to lay down a few rules, which may serve to facili- 
tate the acquiring of so desirable an accomplish- 

But first it may be observed, that though all the 
passions may be in a poetical dress, and that the 
movement of the verse may be suited to all their dif- 
ferent characters ; yet, as verse is a species of musick K 

* Philosophical <Essay oa the, Delivery of written Language, 


none of the passions appear to such advantage in po- 
etry as the benevolent ones ; for as melody is a 
thing pleasing in itself, it must naturally unite with 
those passions which are productive of pleasing sen- 
sations ; in like manner as graceful action accords 
with a generous sentiment, or as a beautiful counte- 
nance gives advantage to an amiable idea. Thus the 
noble and generous passions are the constant topicks 
of ancient and modern poets ; and of these passions, 
the pathetick seems the favourite and most endearing 
theme. Those readers, therefore, who cannot assume 
a plaintive tone of voice, will never succeed in reading 
poetry ; and those who have this power, will read 
verse very agreeably, though almost every other re- 
quisite for delivery be wanting. 

It has been observed upon a former occasion,* that 
the different inflections of the voice upon particular 
words are not so perceptible in verse as prose ; and 
that in the former, the voice sometimes entirely sinks 
the inflection, and slides into a monotone. This pro- 
pensity of the voice in reading verse, shows how 
nearly poetry approaches to musick ; as those notes 
properly called musical, are really so many mono- 
tones, or notes without slides, in different degrees 
of the musical scale, and sometimes in the same 
degree. This approach to a monotone, especially in 
plaintive poetry, makes it often difficult, and some- 
times impossible, to distinguish whether the slides 
that accompany the pauses and emphasis of verse are 
rising or falling : and at those pauses where we can 
easily distinguish the inflections, we sometimes find 
them different from such as we should adopt in read- 
ing the passage if it were prose ; that is, we often find 
the rising inflection at a pause in verse, where, if it 
were prose, we should use the falling : an instance is 
given of this at the end of the series, (p. 134) ; and 
to this many more might be added. For as pronun- 

* Part I. p. 166. 


ciation has for its object the strongest and clearest 
sense, united with the most agreeable sound ; if, in 
order to be harmonious, we must necessarily enfeeble 
or obscure the sense ; or if, in order to be strong and 
clear, we find it necessary to be harsh, the composi- 
tion is certainly faulty ; and all a reader can do in 
this case is, to make such a compromise between 
sense and sound as will produce, upon the whole, 
the best effect It has been before observed, that 
sometimes in prose, when the meaning is sufficiently 
obvious, we may abate an enforcement of the sense 
for the sake of the sound ; and in poetry, the sacrifice 
to sound is much more necessary ; that is, if the 
sense be sufficiently clear ; for nothing can offend 
against every species of pronunciation so much as 
confusion or obscurity. 

But though an elegant and harmonious pronunci- 
ation of verse will sometimes oblige us to adopt dif- 
ferent inflections from those we should use in pro- 
saick pronunciation, it may still be laid down as a 
good general rule, that verse requires the same in- 
flections as prose, though less strongly marked, and 
more approaching to monotones. If, therefore, we 
are at a loss for the true inflection of voice on any 
word in poetry, let us reduce it to earnest conversa- 
tion, and pronounce it in the most familiar and pro- 
saick manner ; and we shall for the most part fall in- 
to those very inflections we ought to adopt in repeat 
ing verse : nay, it is the preservation of these prosa- 
ick inflections that makes the poetick pronunciation 
natural ; and the whining cant which is adopted by 
many affected readers of poetry, owes, in a great 
measure, its origin to a neglect of this rule. Thus 
in the following couplet : 

Short is the date in which ill acts prevail, 

But honesty's a rock will never fail. Steele. 

If we pronounce the last word fail with the rising 
inflection, sliding upwards a little higher than usual ? 


we shall infallibly draw the couplet into the whining 
tone we are here speaking of; * but if we pronounce 
every part of the same sentence exactly in the same 
manner, except the last word, and give this the fall- 
ing inflection, we shall find a natural tone preserved, 
and the whining cant entirely vanished. 

This observation naturally leads us to a rule which 
may justly be looked on as the fundamental princi- 
ple of all poetick pronunciation; which is, that, 
wherever a sentence, or member of a sentence, would 
necessarily require the falling infection in prose, it 
ought always to have the same inflection in poetry ; 
for though, if we were to read verse prosaically, we 
should often place the falling inflection where the style 
of verse would require the rising, yet in those parts, 
where a portion of perfect sense, or the conclusion of 
a sentence, necessarily requires the falling inflection, 
the same inflection must be adopted both in verse and 


Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit 

Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste 

Brought death into the world, and all our woe, 

With loss of Eden, till one greater man 

Restore us, and regain the blissful seat ; 

Sing, heav'nly muse, that on the secret top 

Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire 

That shepherd, who first taught the chosen seed, 

In the beginning, how the heav'ns and earth 

Rose out of chaos. Milton's Farad. Lost. B. i. v, i . 

Though we were to read this passage quite prosaic- 
ally, it would not admit of the falling inflection on 
any of its pauses till the end, and here the voice 
ought to assume the falling inflection, and be in a 
lower tone than at any of the other pauses : But in 
the following example : 

* Conversing with Dr. Johnson upon this subject, he repeated this coup- 
let to me in the manner here described ; which he said was the ^manner 
in Which Savage always used to pronounce verse. 


High on a throne of royal state, which far 
Outshone the wealth of Ormus or of Inde, 
Or where the gorgeous East with richest hand, 
Show'rs on her kings barbarick pearl and gold, 
Satan exalted sat. Ibid, B. ii. v. 1. 

In reading this passage prosaically, we might place 
the falling inflection on Inde ; but the poetical pro- 
nunciation of this passage would necessarily require 
a suspension of voice with the rising inflection on that 
word. It may be observed, indeed, that it is in the 
frequent use of the rising inflection, where prose 
would adopt the falling, that the song of poetry con- 
sists : familiar, strong, argumentative subjects natur- 
ally enforce the language with the falling inflection, 
as this is naturally expressive of activity, force, and 
precision ; but grand, beautiful, and plaintive sub- 
jects slide naturally into the rising inflection, as this 
is expressive of awe, admiration, and melancholy ; 
where the mind may be said to be passive : and it is 
this general tendency of the plaintive tone to assume 
the rising inflection, which inclines injudicious read- 
ers to adopt it at those pauses where the falling inflec- 
tion is absolutely necessary ; and for want of which 
the pronunciation degenerates into the whine, so much 
and so justly disliked ; for it is very remarkable, that 
if, where the sense concludes, we are careful to pre- 
serve the falling inflection, and let the voice drop in- 
to the natural talking tone, the voice may be suspend- 
ed in the rising inflection on any other part of the 
verse, with very little danger of falling into the chant 
of bad readers. Thus in the following passage which 
opens the tragedy of Cato : 

The dawn is overcast, the morning low'rs, 
And heavily in clouds brings on the day ; 
The great, the important day, 
Big with the fate of Cato and of Rome. 

The grandeur of the objects and swell of language 
in this description, naturally throw the voice into 


those tones that express the awe and dignity which 
these objects excite in the mind ; and these tones 
being inclined to the plaintive, naturally slide into the 
rising inflection, on the pauses ; and this is apt to 
draw the voice into a chant : but let the word Rome 
have the falling inflection and sink into a lower key, 
in the natural talking tone, and the imperfections in 
pronouncing the former part will be in a great mea- 
sure covered ; on the contrary, though the former 
part be pronounced ever so accurately, if the word 
Mome has the using inflection, the whole will appear 
to be unfinished, and have a disagreeable whining 

This may suffice to shew the necessity of attend- 
ing to the pronunciation of periods in verse, and of 
giving them the same inflection of voice they would 
require in prose ; for it must be carefully noted, that 
though we often end with the rising inflection in 
verse, where we should use the falling in prose, yet 
if in prose it is necessary we should end with the 
rising inflection, we ought always to end with the 
same inflection in verse ; in this case, the rising in- 
flection at the end of a sentence will not appear to 
have the whining tone. Thus, where a question 
would require the rising inflection in prose, verse 
will necessarily require it to the end with the same 
inflection : and in this case, the rising inflection will 
have no bad effect on the ear. 


What ! shall an African, shall Juba's heir 
Reproach great Cato's son, and show the world 
A virtue wanting in a Roman soul ? 

Here, though every pause requires the rising inflec- 
tion, and the period the same, yet as this period is an 
interogation requiring the rising inflection, no whin- 
ing chant is the consequence, but the whole is 

"elocution". 269 

From these observations, this general rule will 
naturally arise : that though, in verse, we frequently 
suspend the voice by the rising inflection, where, if the 
composition were prose, we should adopt the falling ; 
yet, wherever, in prose, the member or sentence would 
necessarily require the rising inflection, this inflection 
must necessarily be adopted in verse. An instance 
of all these cases may be found in the following ex- 
ample from Pope : 

He who through vast immensity can pierce, 
See worlds on worlds compose one universe ; 
Observe how system into system runs, 
What other planets circle other suns ; 
What varied being peoples ev'ry star, 
May tell why heav'n has made us as we are. 
But of this frame, the bearings and the ties, 
The strong connections, nice dependencies, 
Gradations just, has thy pervading soul 
Look'd through ? or can a part contain the whole f 

Is the great chain that draws all to agree, 
And drawn supports, upheld by God, or thee ? 

If this passage were prose, every line but the fifth 
might end with the falling inflection, like a commenc- 
ing series of five members ; but the fifth, being 
that where the two principal constructive parts unite, 
and the sense begins to form, here, both in prose and 
verse, must be the principal pause, and the rising in- 
flection.* The two questions with which this sen- 
tence ends, ought to have the rising inflection also, 
as this is the inflection they would necessarily have 
in prose ; though from injudiciously printing the 
last couplet so as to form a fresh paragraph, the word 
whole is generally pronounced with the falling in- 
flection, in order to avoid the bad effect of a ques- 
tion with the rising inflection at the end of a para- 
graph ; which would be effectually prevented by unit- 
ing the last couplet to the rest, so as to form one 

* See Part I. p. 83, 93, 

270 Elements of 

whole portion ; and which was undoubtedly the in- 
tention of the poet. 

Having premised these observations, we shall en- 
deavour to throw together a few rules for the reading 
of verse, which, by descending to particulars, it is 
hoped, will be more useful than those very general 
ones which are commonly to be met with on this 
subject ; and which, though very ingenious, seem 
calculated rather for the making of verses than the 
reading of them. 

Rule I. As the exact tone of the passion, or emo- 
tion, which verse excites, is not at first easy to hit, 
it will be proper always to begin a poem in a sim- 
ple and almost prosaick style, and so proceed till we 
are warmed with the subject, and feel the emotion 
we wish to express. 

Thus in Gray's Elegy in a Country Church-yard, 
if we cannot immediately strike into the solemn 
style with which that poem begins, it will be better 
to commence with an easier and iess marking tone ; 
and somewhat like the style of reading prose, till the 
subject becomes a little familiar. There are few 
poems which will not allow of this prosaick com- 
mencement ; and where they do not, it is a much 
less fault in reading to begin with too little emphasis, 
than either to strike into a wrong one, or to ex- 
ecute the right emphasis awkwardly. Gray's Ode 
on the Extirpation of the Bards, is almost the on- 
ly one that does not admit of commencing mode- 

Rum seize thee, ruthless king ! 
Confusion on thy banners wait i &c. 

Rule II. In verse every syllable is to have the 
same accent, and every word the same emphasis, as 
in prose : for though the rhythmical arrangement 
of the accent and emphasis is the very definition of 
poetry, yet, if this arrangement tends to give an em- 


phasis to words which would have none in prose, or 
an accent to such syllables as have properly no ac- 
cent, the rhythmus, or musick of the verse, must be 
entirely neglected. Thus the article the ought ne- 
ver to have a stress, though placed in that part of 
the verse where the ear expects an accent. 

Of all the causes which conspire to blind 

Man's erring judgment and misguide the mind, 

What the weak head with strongest bias rules, 

Is pride ; the never-failing vice of fools. Pops. 

An injudicious reader of verse would be very apt 
to lay a stress upon the article the in the third line, 
but a good reader would infallibly neglect the stress 
on this, and transfer it to the words what and weak. 
Thus also in the following example, no stress must be 
laid on the word oJ\ because we should not give it 
any in prosaick pronunciation : 

Ask of thy mother earth why oaks are made 

Taller and stronger than the weeds they shade. Ibid* 

For the same reason the word as, either in the first 
or second line of the following couplet, ought to have 
no stress : 

Eye nature's walks, shoot folly as it flies, 

And catch the manners living as thy rise. liuL 

The last syllable of the word excellent, in the follow- 
ing couplet, being the place of the stress, is very 
apt to draw the organs to a wrong pronunciation of 
the word, in compliance with the rhythmus of the 
verse : 

Their praise is still the style is excellent : 

The sense they humbly take upon content. Hid, 

But a stress upon the last syllable of this word must 
be avoided upon pain of the greatest possible re- 


proach to a good reader ; which is that of altering the 
accent of a word, to indulge the ear in a childish 
jingle of syllables. The same may be observed of 
the word eloquence and the particle the in the follow- 
ing couplet : 

False eloquence like the prismatick glass 

Its gaudy colours spreads on ev'ry place. Ibid* 

If, in compliance with the rhythmus, or tune of the 
verse, we were to lay a stress on the last syllable of 
eloquence, and on the particle them the first of these 
verses, scarcely any thing can be conceived more 
disgusting to a good judge of reading. 

A bad fault opposite to this is very common among 
bad readers ; and that is, hurry ing over the two last 
syllables of such words so as to reduce the pronuncia- 
tion to prose : for it must be carefully noted, that 
the beauty of reading verse depends exceedingly upon 
the tune in which we pronounce it. The unaccented 
syllables, though less forcible, ought to have the same 
time as those that are accented ; a regular march, 
an agreeable movement, ought to reign through the 

This rule, however, with respect to the place 
of the accent, admits of some few exceptions. 
Milton has sometimes placed words so unfavourably 
for pronunciation in the common way, that the ear 
would be more disgusted with the harshness of the 
verse, if the right accent were preserved, than with a 
wrong accent which preserves the harmony of the 
verse : for it is not merely reducing a line to prose 
if the sense requires it, which is a capital fault in read- 
ing poetry, but reducing it to very harsh and disagree- 
able prose. Thus the Angel in Milton, reasoning 
with Adam about the planets, says, 

For such vast room in nature unpossess'd 
By living soul, desert and desolate 


Only to shine yet scarce to contribute 
Each orb a glimpse of light, convey'd so far 
Down to this habitable, which returns 
Light back to them, is obvious to dispute. 

Parad, Lost. B. viii. v. 153, 

The word contribute has properly the accent on the 
second syllable ; but the verse would be so harsh 
with this accent, that it is presumed a good reader 
would, for the sake of sound, lay the principal ac- 
cent on the first syllable, and a subordinate stress 
on the third. The same may be observed of the 
word attribute, in the following passage from the 
same author : 

The swiftness of those circles attribute, 

Though numberless, to his Omnipotence, 

That to corporeal substances could add 

Speed almost spiritual. Ibid, B. viii. v. 197* 

Where a word admits of some diversity in plac- 
ing the accent, it is scarcely necessary to observe, 
that the verse ought in this case to decide. Thus 
in the following passage : 

Now gentle gales 
Fanning their odoriferous wings dispense 
Native perfumes, and whisper whence they stole 
Those balmy spoils. Parad. Lost. B. iv. v. 156, 

For Hamlet and the trifling of his favour 

Hold it a fashion and a toy in blood, 

A violet in the youth and prime of nature, 

Forward not permanent, though sweet not lasting, 

The perfume of a minute. Shahs. 

The word perfume in the passage from Milton 
ought to be accented on the last syllable, and the 
same word in Shakespeare on the first ; for both 
these modes of placing the accent are allowable in 
prose, though the last seems the preferable ; as it is 
agreeable to that analogy of dissyllable nouns and 


verbs of the same form, which requires the accent to 
be on the first syllable of the noun, and on the last 
of the verb. 

But when the poet has with great judgment con- 
trived that his numbers shall be harsh and grating, 
in order to correspond to the ideas they suggest, the 
common accentuation must be preserved. 

On a sudden open fly 
With impetuous recoil and jarring sound 
Th' infernal doors, and on their hinges grate 
Harsh thunder. Parad. Lost. B. ii v. 879- 

Here the harshness arising from the accent on the 
second syllable of the word impetuous, finely expres- 
ses the recoil and jarring sound of the gates of hell- 
Rule III. the vowel e, which is often cut off by 
an apostrophe in the word the, and in syllables be- 
fore r, as dangerous, generous, £sfc. ought to be pre- 
served in the pronunciation, because the syllable it 
forms is so short as to admit of being sounded with 
the preceding syllable, so as not to increase the 
number of syllables to the ear, or at all hurt the har- 

'Tis hard to say, if greater want of skill 

Appear in writing or in judging ill ; 

But of the two less dang'rous is th* offence, 

To tire our patience, than mislead our sense. Pope. 

Him the Almighty power 
Hurl'd headlong flaming from th* etherial sky 
With hideous ruin and combustion, down 
To bottomless perdition, there to dwell 
In adamantine chains, and penal fire, 
Who durst defy th' Omnipotent to arms. Milton. 

In the example from Milton, we have an instance 
that the particle the may either form a distinct syl- 
lable in poetry or not ; in the first line it must ne- 
cessarily form a distinct syllable ; in the second and 
last it may be so blended with the succeeding word 


as to be pronounced without elision, and yet form 
no distinct syllable. 

Rule IV. Almost every verse admits of a pause 
in or near the middle of the line, which is called 
the caesura ; this must be carefully observed in 
reading verse, or much of the distinctness, and al- 
most all the harmony will be lost. 


Nature to all things fix'd the limits fit, 

And wisely curb'd proud man's pretending wit $ 

As on the land, while here the ocean gains, 

In other parts it leaves wide sandy plains ; 

Thus in the soul, while memory prevails, 

The solid pow'r of understanding fails ; 

Where beams of warm imagination play 

The memory's soft figures melt away. Pope, 

These lines have seldom any points inserted in the 
middle, even by the most scrupulous punctuists ; 
and yet nothing can be more palpable to the ear, 
than that a pause in the first at things, in the se- 
cond at curbed, in the third at land, in the fourth 
at parts, and in the fifth at soul, is absolutely ne- 
cessary to the harmony of these lines ; and that the 
sixth, by admitting no pause but at understanding, 
and the seventh none but at imagination, border 
very nearly upon prose. The reason why these 
lines will not admit of a pause any where but at 
these words, will be evident to those who have pe- 
rused the former part of this work on the division 
of a sentence, (Part I. page 32 ;) and if the reader 
would see one of the most curious pieces of anal- 
ysis on this subject in any language, let him pe- 
ruse in Lord Kaim's Elements of Criticism the chap- 
ter on Versification, where he will find the subject 
of pausing, as it relates to verse, discussed in the 
deepest, clearest, and most satisfactory manner. It 
will be only necessary to observe, in this place, that 
though the most harmonious place for the capital 


pause is after the fourth syllable, it may, for the 
sake of expressing the sense strongly and suitably, 
and sometimes even for the sake of variety, be placed 
at several other intervals. 


'Tis hard to say — if greater want of skill. 
So when an angel — by divine command, 
With rising tempest — shakes a guilty land. 
Then from his closing eyes — thy form shall part, 
And the last pang — shall tear thee from his heart. 
Inspir'd repuls'd battalions — to engage, 
And taught the doubtful battle — where to rage. 
Know, then, thyself — presume not God to scan ; 
The proper study of mankind — is man. 

But besides the capital pause, there are certain sub- 
ordinate pauses, which, though not so essential as 
the capital pause, yet, according to some of our pros- 
odists, form some of the greatest delicacies in reading 
verse, and are an inexhaustible source of variety and 
harmony in the composition of poetick numbers. But 
in the exemplifying of this demi- caesura, or subordinate 
pause, our prosodists either show the impropriety of 
many of these pauses, or that they may be accounted 
for upon a different principle. 


Relent | less walls || whose darksome round | contains. 
For her | white virgins || hyme | neals sing. 
In these | deep solitudes || and aw | ful cells. 

Nothing could be more puerile and destructive 
of the sense than to make pauses as they are here 
marked in the middle of the words relentless, hymeneal y 
and awful, which are the instances Lord Kaims brings 
of the use of this half pause. In the lines quoted by 
Mr. Sheridan, as instances of the demi- caesura, we 
find an emphatick opposition at every one ; and this 


opposition always requires a pause, whether in prose 
or verse. See Part I. page 65. 

Glows | while he reads || but trembles | as he writes. 
Reason | the card || but passion | is the gale. 
From men | their cities |j and from gods | their fanes. 
From storms | a shelter || and from heat | a shade. 

So that, on the whole, notwithstanding the decided 
manner in which these prosodists speak of the demu 
aesura as necessary in verse, I am apt to conclude 
that it often exists no where but in their own imagi- 
nations. But the next Rule will lead us to the con- 
sideration of a pause of much more importance, which 
is a pause at the end of the line. 

Rule V. At the end of every line in poetry must 
be a pause proportioned to the intimate or remote 
connection subsisting between the two lines. 

Mr. Sheridan, in his Art of Reading, has insisted 
largely on the necessity of making a pause at the 
end of every line in poetry, whether the sense re- 
quires it or not, which he says has hitherto escaped 
die observation of all writers on the subject ; and 
this, he observes, is so necessary, that without it we 
change the verse into prose. It is with diffidence I 
dissent from such an authority, especially as I have 
heard it approved by- persons of great judgment and 
taste.* I must own, however, that the necessity of 
this pause, where the sense does not require it, is 
not so evident to me, as to remove every doubt 
about it ; for, in the first place, if the author has so 
united the preceding and following lines in verse as 
to make them real prose why is a reader to do that 
which his author has neglected to do ; and indeed 
seems to have forbidden by the very nature of the 

* I asked Dr. Lnwth, Mr. Garrick, and Dr. Johnson, about the propri- 
ety of this pause, and they all agreed with Mr. Sheridan. Had I been less 
acquainted with the subject, and seen less of the fallibility of great names 
upon it, 1 sho aid have yielded to this decision ; but great names are noth» 
ing where the matter in question is open to experiment ; and to this ex* 
periment I appeal. 


composition ? In the next place, this slight and al- 
most insensible pause of suspension does not seem 
to answer the end proposed by it ; which is, that of 
making the ear sensible of the versification, or of the 
number of accentual impressions in every line. For 
this final pause is often so small, when compared 
with that which precedes or follows it in the body 
of the line, and this latter and larger pause is so of- 
ten accompanied with an inflection of voice which 
marks the formation of perfect sense, that the bound- 
aries of the verse become almost, if not utterly im- 
perceptible, and the composition, for a few lines, falls 
into an harmonious kind of prose. For it is evident, 
that it is not a small pause at the end of a line in 
verse, which makes it appear poetry to the ear, so 
much as that adjustment of the accented syllables 
which forms a regular return of stress, whether the 
line be long or short. Accordingly, we find, that 
those lines in blank verse, which have a long pause 
in the middle, from a conclusion of the sense, and a 
very short one at die end, from the sense continuing, 
are, in spite of all our address in reading, very prosa- 
ical. This prosaick air in these lines may have a 
very good effect in point of expression and variety, 
but if too frequently repeated, will undoubtedly ren- 
der the verse almost imperceptible ; for, as was before 
observed, the ear will measure the lines by the greatest 
pauses, and if these fall within, and not at the end 
of the line, the versification will seem to be compos- 
ed of unequal lines, and will want that measure which 
the ear always expects in verse, and never dispenses 
with, but when sense, variety, or expression is pro- 
moted by it. 


Deeds of eternal fame 
Were done, but infinite ; for wide was spread 
That war, and various ; sometimes on firm ground 


A standing fight ; then soaring on main wing, 
Tormented all the air ; all air seem'd then 
Conflicting fire : long time in even scale 
The battle hung Milton, 

The pauses at the ends of these lines are so small 
when compared with those in the body of the lines, 
that an appeal may be made to every ear for the 
truth of what has been just observed. This dispro- 
portion in the pauses cannot, however, be said to re- 
duce the composition to prose ; nay, even if we were 
to use no pauses at all at the end of the lines, they 
would not, on this account, entirely lose their poetick 
character ; for, at worst, they might be called nu- 
merous or harmonious prose : and that the greatest 
part of blank verse is neither more nor less than this, 
it would not be difficult to prove. 

Mr. Sheridan defines numbers to be certain im- 
pressions made on the ear at stated and regular dis- 
tances ; and as he supposes verse would be no verse 
without a pause at the end of each line, he must de- 
fine verse to be a certain number of impressions 
made on the ear at stated and regular distances, ter- 
minated by a pause, so as to make this number of 
impressions perceptibly equal in every line. But if 
a pause comes into the definition of verse because it 
serves to show the equal number of impressions in ev- 
ery line, a pause that is insufficient for this purpose 
is not, strictly speaking, a poetical pause ; for if the 
pause classes words into such portions as obliges the 
ear to perceive the equality or inequality of these 
portions, the longest pauses will be the boundaries 
of those portions the ear will most readily perceive , 
and the short pauses will, like the demi-csesura, ap- 
pear either imperceptible, or subservient only to the 
greater pause : Thus the foregoing passage from 
Milton will, while we are pronouncing it, address 
the ear in the same manner it does the eye in the fol- 
lowing arrangement : 


Deeds of eternal fame were done, but infinite ; 
For wide was spread that war and various ; 
Sometimes on firm ground a standing fight ; 
Then soaring on main wing, tormented all the air ; 
All air seem'd then conflicting fire : 
Long time in even scale the battle hung. 

This arrangement of the words, though exactly 
classed into those portions in which they come to the 
ear, seems to destroy the verse to the eye, and to re- 
duce it into what may be called numerous prose : 
But have we not reason to suspect that the eye puts 
a cheat upon the ear, by making us imagine a pause 
to exist where there is only a vacancy to the eye ? 
Mr. Sheridan has very properly accounted for the 
perception of false quantity in Latin verse by this as- 
sociation of visible and audible objects, and there 
seems an equal reason to suspect the same fallacy 

The best pronouncers of tragedy have never ob- 
served this pause, and why it should be introduced 
into other composition is not easily comprehended : 
The numbers of the verse, the dignity of the lan- 
guage, an inversion of the common order of the 
words, sufficiently preserve it from falling into prose ; 
and if the name of verse only be wanting, the loss is 
not very considerable. When the line is terminated 
by a rhyme, the boundaries of the verse are very 
discernible by the smallest pause ; though the most 
harmonious rhyming verse must be acknowledged to 
be that where the rhyme is accompanied by a con- 
siderable pause in the sense ; but as too long a succes- 
sion of these lines satiates the ear with too much e- 
quality, we readily exchange sound for variety or 
force of expression. Sometimes even the pauses be- 
fore and after a rhyme are so considerable, and that 
at the end of the rhyme so small, that the boundaries 
of the verse are lost in the rapidity of the expression. 


Which, without passing through the judgment, gains 
The heart, and all its end at once attains. Pope* 

'Tis with our judgments as our watches; none 

Go just alike, yet each believes his own. Ibid* 

In these lines I think it is evident, that if we make 
a small pause of suspension, as Mr. Sheridan calls it, 
at the end of the first verse, the pauses of sense at 
judgment and heart, and at watches and alike, are so 
much more perceptible, that ^very trace of the 
length of the verse is lost : The same may be ob- 
served of the following lines of Milton : 

Sing, heav'nly Muse, that on the secret top 

Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire 

That Shepherd, who first taught the chosen seed 

In the beginning, how the heav'ns and earth 

Rose out of chaos : Or if Sion hill 

Delight thee more, and Siloa's brook, that flow'd 

Fast by the oracle of God ; I thence 

Invoke thy aid to my advent'rous song. 

In the fifth, sixth, and seventh lines of this passage, 
the pause in the sense falls so distinctly on the words 
chaos, more, and God, that a slight pause at hill, 
flow d, and thence, would not have the least power of 
informing the ear of the end of the line, and of the 
equality of the verse, and, therefore, for these pur- 
poses would be entirely useless. For in all pronunci- 
ation, whether prosaick or poetick, at the beginning of 
every fresh portion, the mind must necessarily have 
the pause of the sense in view ; and this prospect of 
the sense must regulate the voice for that portion, to 
the entire neglect of any length in the verse, as an 
attention to this must necessarily interrupt that flow 
or current in the pronunciation which the sense de- 
mands. Thus the current of the voice is stopped at 
chaos ; and the succeeding part of the vesse, Or if 
Sion hill, is so much detached from the preceding 
part, that the admeasurement of the verse is destroy - 


ed to the ear, and we might add a foot more to the 
latter part of the verse without seeming at all to 
lengthen it ; we might, for example, write the line in 
this manner, 

Rose out of Chaos ; or if Sion's verdant hill, 

without any indication of false quantity to the ear, 
though the eye scans it as too long by two syl- 

The affectation which most writers of blank verse 
have of extending the sense beyond the line, whether 
necessary or not, is followed by a similar affectation 
in the printer, who will often omit placing a pause 
at the end of a line of verse, where he would have 
inserted one in prose ; and this affectation is still car- 
ried farther by the reader, who will generally run the 
sense of one line into another, where there is the least 
opportunity of doing it, in order to show that he is 
too sagacious to suppose there is any conclusion in 
the sense because the line concludes. This affecta- 
tion, I say, has possibly given rise to the opposite one 
adopted by the learned ; namely, that of pausing 
where the sense absolutely forbids a pause, and so 
by shunning Scylla, to fall into Charybdis : This 
errour is excellently described by Pope : 

The vulgar thus through imitation err, 

As oft the learn'd by be«ng singular ; 

So much they hate the crowd, that if the throng 

By chance go right, they purposely go wrong. 

The truth is, the end of a line in verse naturally 
inclines us to pause ; and the words that refuse a 
pause so seldom occur at the end of a verse, that we 
often pause between words in verse where we should 
not in prose, but where a pause would by no means 
interfere with the sense : this, it is presumed, has been 
fully shown in the former part of this work ; and this, 
perhaps, may be the reason why a pause at the end 


®f a line in poetry is supposed to be in compliment 
to the verse, when the very same pause in prose is 
allowable, and, perhaps, eligible, but neglected as 
unnecessary : However this be, certain it is, that 
if we pronounce many lines in Milton, so as to make 
the equality of impressions on the ear distinctly per- 
ceptible at the end of every line ; if by making this 
pause we make the pauses that mark the sense less 
perceptible, we exchange a solid advantage for a 
childish rhythm, and, by endeavouring to preserve 
the name of verse, lose all its meaning and energy. 

Rule VI. In order to form a cadence in a period 
in rhyming verse, we must adopt the falling inflection 
wit i considerable force, in the caesura of the last line 
but one. 


One science only will one genius fit, 

So vast is art, so narrow human wit j 

Not only bounded to peculiar arts, 

But oft in those confined to single parts ; 

Like kings we lose the conquests gain'd before, 

By vain ambition still to make them more ; 

Each might his several province j| well command, 

Would all but stoop to what they understand. 

In repeating these lines, we shall find it necessary 
to form the cadence, by giving the falling inflection 
with a little more force than common to the word 
province. The same may be observed of the word 
prospect, in the last line but one of the following 
passage : 

So pleas'd at first, the tow'ring Alps we try, 
Mount o'er the vales, and seem to tread the sky ; 
Th' eternal snows appear already past, 
And the first clouds and mountains seem the last : 
But those attain'd, we tremble to survey 
The growing labours of the lengthen'd way ; 
Th' increasing prospect || tires our wand'ring eyes, 
Hills peep o'er hills, and Alps on Alps arise. 


Rule VII. A simile in poetry ought always to be 
read in a lower tone of voice than that part of the pas- 
sage which precedes it. 


'Twas then great Marlb'rough's mighty soul was prov'd, 

That in the shock of charging hosts unmov'd, 

Amidst confusion, horrour, and despair, 

Examin'd all the dreadful scenes of war. 

In peaceful thought the field of death survey'd, 

To fainting squadrons sent the timely aid ; 

Inspir'd repuls'd battalions to engage, 

And taught the doubtful battle where to rage. 

So when an angel, by divine command 

With rising tempests shakes a guilty land, 

(Such as of late o'er pale Britannia past,) 

Calm and serene he drives the furious blast ; 

And, pleas'd th' Almighty's orders to perform, 

Rides on the whirlwind, and directs the storm. Addison. 

Rule VIII. Where there is no pause in the sense 
at the end of the verse, the last word must have ex- 
actly the same inflection it would have in prose. 


O'er their heads a crystal firmament, 
Whereon a sapphire throne, inlaid with pure* 
Amber, and colours of the show'ry arch. Milton. 

In this example, the word pure must have the fall- 
ing inflection, whether we make any pause at it or 
not, as this is the inflection the word would have if 
the sentence were pronounced prosaically. For the 
same reason the words retired and went, in the fol- 
lowing example, must be pronounced with the ris- 
ing inflection. 

• This, it is presumed, is an instance, that a pause of suspension may 
sometimes be improper at the end oi a line. See page 277. 


At his command th' uprooted hills retir'd 
Each to his place ; they heard his voice and went 
Obsequious ; heav'n his wonted face renew'd, 
And with fresh flow'rets hili and valley smil'd. 

Rule IX. Sublime, grand, and magnificent de- 
scription in poetry, frequently requires a lower tone of 
voice, and a sameness nearly approaching to a mo- 
notone, to give it variety. 

This rule will surprise many who have always 
been taught, to look upon a monotone or sameness 
of voice as a deformity in reading. A deformity it 
certainly is, when it arises either from a want of 
power to alter the voice, or a want of judgment to 
introduce it properly ; but I presume it may be with 
confidence affirmed, that when it is introduced with 
propriety, it is one of the greatest embellishments of 
poetick pronunciation. Nay, a monotone connected 
with preceding and succeeding inflections, is a real 
variety, and is exactly similar to a succession of the 
same identical notes in musick ; which, considered 
apart, is perfectly monotonous, but, taken with whit 
goes before and follows, is among the finest beauties 
of composition. 

The use of the monotone has already been exem- 
plified, page 86, in the grand description of Satan's 
throne, at the beginning of the Second Book of Pa- 
radise Lost, and may be farther illustrated by a pas- 
sage of the Allegro of the same poet. 

Hence ! loath'd Melancholy, 

Of Cerberus, and blackest Midnight born, 
In Stygian cave forlorn, 

'Mongst horrid shapes and shrieks, and sights unholy, 
Find out some uncouth cell, 

Where brooding darkness spreads his jealous wings, 
And the night raven sings ; 

There, under ebon shades and low-brow'd rocks, 
As ragged as thy locks, 

In dark Cimmerian desert ever dwell. 


In repeating this passage, we shall find the dark- 
ness and horror of the cell wonderfully augmented, 
by pronouncing the eighth line, 

" There, under ebon shades, and low-brow'd rocks," 

in a low monotone ; which monotone may not be 
improperly signified, by the horizontal line general- 
ly used to mark long quantity ; as this line is per- 
fectly descriptive of a sameness of tone ; as the acute 
and grave accent are of variety. 

Modulation of the Voice. 

After a perfect idea is attained of the pause, 
emphasis, and inflection, with which we ought to 
pronounce every word, sentence, interrogation, cli- 
max, and different figure of speech, it will be abso- 
lutely necessary to be acquainted with the power, 
variety, and extent of the instrument, through which 
we convey them to others ; for unless this instru- 
ment be in a proper pitch, whatever we pronounce 
will be feeble and unnatural ; as it is only in a cer- 
tain pitch that the voice can command the greatest 
variety of tones, so as to utter them with energy and 

Every one has a certain pitch of voice, in which 
he is most easy to himself, and most agreeable to 
others ; this may be called the natural pitch : this is 
the pitch in which we converse ; and this must be 
the basis of every improvement we acquire from art 
and exercise : for such is the force of exercise upon 
the organs of speech, as well as every other in the 
human body, that constant practice will strengthen 
the voice in any key we use it to, even though this 


happen not to be the most natural and easy at first. 
This is abundantly proved by the strong vocifera- 
tion which the itinerant retailers in the streets acquire 
after a few years practice. Whatever key they hap- 
pen to pitch upon at first is generally preserved ; and 
the voice in that note becomes wonderfully strong 
and sonorous : but as the Spectator humorously ob- 
serves, their articulation is generally so indistinct, 
that we understand what they sell, not so much by 
the words as the tune. 

As constant exercise is of such importance to 
strengthen the voice, care should be taken, that we 
exercise it on that part where it has naturally the 
greatest power and variety : this is the middle tone ; 
the tone we habitually make use of, when we con- 
verse with, or speak to persons at a moderate 
distance ; for if we call out to one who is so far off 
as to be almost out of hearing, we naturally raise our 
voice to a higher key, as well as swell it upon that 
key to a much greater degree of loudness ; as, on 
the contrary, if we wish to be heard only by a single 
person in company, we naturally let fall our voice in- 
to a low key, and abate the force of it, so as to keep 
it from being heard by any but the person we are 
speaking to. 

In this situation, nature dictates ; but the situation 
of the publick speaker is a situation of art ; he not 
only wishes to be heard, but to be heard with energy 
and ease ; for this purpose, his voice must be power- 
ful in that key which is easiest to him, in that which 
he will most naturally fall into, and which he will cer- 
tainly have the most frequent occasion to use : and 
this is the middle tone. 

But before Ave enter farther on this subject, it seems 
absolutely necessary to obviate a very common mis- 
take with respect to the voice, which may lead to an 
incurable errour ; and that is the confounding of high 
and low with loud and soft. These plain differences 


are as often jumbled together as accent and quantity 
though to much worse purpose. Our mistaking of 
accent for quantity when we converse about it, makes 
not the least alteration in our speaking ; but if, when 
we ought only to be louder, we raise our voice to a 
higher key, our tones become shrill and feeble, and 
frustrate the very intention of speaking. 

Those who understand ever so little of musick, 
know that high and loud, and soft and low, are by no 
means necessarily connected ; and that we may be 
very soft in a high note, and very loud in a low one ; 
just as a smart stroke on a bell may have exactly the 
same note as a slight one, though it is considerably 
louder. But to explain this difference to those who 
are unacquainted with musick, we may say, that a 
high tone is that we naturally assume when we wish 
to be heard at a distance, as the same degree of force 
is more audible in a high, than in a low tone, from 
the acuteness of the former, and the gravity of the 
latter ; and that a low tone is that we naturally assume 
when we are speaking to a person at a small distance 
and wish not to be heard by others ; as a low tone 
with the same force is less audible than a high one ; 
if, therefore, we raise our voice to the pitch we should 
naturally use if we were calling to a person at a great 
distance, and at the same time exert so small a degree 
of force as to be heard only by a person who is near 
us, we shall have an example of a high note in a soft 
tone ; and on the contrary, if we suppose ourselves 
speaking to a person at a small distance, and wish to 
be heard by those who are at a greater, in this situa- 
tion we shall naturally sink the voice into a low note, 
and throw just as much force or loudness into it as is 
necessary to make it audible to the persons at a dis- 
tance. This is exactly the manner in which actors 
speak the speeches that are spoken aside. The low 
tone conveys the idea of speaking to a person near 
us, and the loud tone enables us to convey this idea 


to a distance. By this experiment we perceive, that 
high and loud, and soft and low, though most fre- 
quently associated, are essentially distinct from each 

Such, however, is the nature of the human voice, 
that to begin in the extremes of high and low are 
not equally dangerous. The voice naturally slides 
into a higher tone, when we want to speak louder, 
but not so easily into a lower tone, when we would 
speak more softly. Experience shows us, that we 
can raise our voice at pleasure to any pitch it is 
capable of ; but the same experience tells us, that 
it requires infinite art and practice to bring the voice 
to a lower key when it is once raised too high. It 
ought therefore to be a first principle with all publick 
readers and speakers, rather to begin under the 
common level of their voice than above it. The 
attention of an auditory, at the commencement of a 
lecture or oration, makes the softest accents of the 
speaker audible, at the same time that it affords a 
happy occasion for introducing a variety of voice, 
without which every address must soon tire. A rep- 
etition of the same subject, a thousand times over, 
is not more tiresome to the understanding, than, 
a monotonous delivery of the most varied sub- 
ject to the ear. Poets, to produce variety, alter the 
structure of their verse and rather hazard uncouthness 
and discord than sameness. Prose writers change 
the style, turn, and structure of their periods, and 
sometimes throw in exclamations, and sometimes 
interrogations, to rouse and keep alive the attention ; 
but all this art is entirely thrown away, if the reader 
does not enter into the spirit of his author, and by a 
similar kind of genius, render even variety itself more 
various ; if he does not, by an alteration in his voice, 
manner, tone, gesture, loudness, softness, quickness^ 
slowness, adopt every change of which the subject is 

290 ELfiUEffTS OF 

Every one, therefore, who would acquire a vari- 
ety of tone in publick reading or speaking, must 
avoid as the greatest evil a loud and vociferous be- 
ginning ; and for that purpose it would be prudent 
in a reader or speaker to adapt his voice as if on- 
ly to be heard by the person who is nearest to him ; 
if his voice has natural strength, and the subject 
any thing impassioned in it, a higher and louder 
tone will insensibly steal on him ; and his greatest 
address must be directed to keeping it within bounds. 
For this purpose it will be frequently necessary 
for him to recall his voice, as it were, from the 
extremities of his auditory, and direct it to those 
who are nearest to him. This it will be proper 
to do almost at the beginning of every paragraph 
in reading, and at the introduction of every part 
of the subject in discourse. Nothing will so pow- 
erfully work on the voice, as supposing ourselves 
conversing at different intervals with different parts 
of the audience. 

A celebrated writer on this subject directs a rea- 
der or speaker, upon his first addressing his audi- 
tory, to fix his eyes upon that part of them from 
which he is the farthest, and to pitch his voice 
so as to reach them. This, I fear, would be at- 
tended with very ill consequences if the assembly 
were very large ; as a speaker would be strongly 
tempted to raise his voice, as well as increase its 
force ; and by this means begin in a key much too 
high for the generality of his auditory, or for his 
own powers to continue it. The safest rule, there- 
fore, is certainly to begin, as it were, with those 
of the assembly that are nearest to us ; and if the 
voice be but articulate, however low the key may 
be, it will still be audible ; and those who have 
a sufficient strength of voice for a publick auditory, 
find it so much more difficult to bring down than 
raise the pitch, that they will not wonder I employ my 


«hief care to guard against an errourby far the most 
common, as well as the most dangerous. 

Much, undoubtedly, will depend on the size and 
structure of the place we speak in : some are so 
immensely large, as many of our churches and ca- 
thedrals, that the voice is nearly as much dissipate 
ed as in the open air ; and often with the addition- 
al inconvenience of a thousand confused echos and 
re-echos. Here a loud and vociferous speaker will 
render himself unintelligible in proportion to his 
exertion of voice : as departing and commencing 
sounds will encounter each other, and defeat every 
intention of distinctness and harmony. 

Nothing but good articulation will make a speak- 
er audible in this situation, and a judicious atten- 
tion to that tone of voice which is most suitable td 
the size and imperfections of the place. If the 
place we speak in be but small, it will be scarcely 
necessary to observe that the loudness of the voice 
should be in proportion. Those who have not ears 
sufficiently delicate to discern the true quantity of 
sound necessary to fill the place they speak in, ought 
to take every possible method to acquire so essential 
a qualification. A knowledge of musick, many 
trials of different degrees of loudness, and the friend- 
ly criticism of good judges, may do much towards 
acquiring this accomplishment ; and it must ever 
be remembered, that high and low are essentially 
distinct from loud and soft ; as we may with the 
Utmost propriety be at the highest note of our voice 
in the smallest room, provided we are not too loud, 
and use the lowest part of our voice in the largest^ 
provided we are not too soft and indistinct to be 

In order to reduce the foregoing observations to 
practice, it may not be unprofitable to attend to the 
following rules. 



Rule I, To gain a habit of lowering the voice, it 
will be necessary to drop the voice to a lower key up- 
on the end of one sentence, and to commence the 
next sentence in the same low key with which we 
concluded the former ; for this purpose, it will be 
necessary to select sentences where this pronuncia- 
tion is eligible, and practise upon them. 


Our sight is the most perfect and most delightful of all our 
senses. It fills the mind with the largest variety of ideas, con- 
verses with its objects at the greatest distance, and continues 
the longest in action without being tired or satiated with its 
proper enjoyments. The sense of feeling can indeed give us a 
notion of extension, shape, and all other ideas that enter at the 
eye, except colours ; but at the same time it is very much 
straightened and confined in its operations to the number, bulk, 
and distance of its particular objects. Sped. No. 411. 

I shall first consider those pleasures of the imagination which 
arise from the actual view and survey of outward objects ; and 
these, I think, all proceed from the sight of what is great, un- 
common, or beautiful. There may, indeed, be something so 
terrible or offensive that the horrour or loathsomenes of the 
object may overbear the pleasure which results from its great- 
ness, novelty, or beauty ; but still there will be such a mixture 
of delight in the very disgust it gives us, as any of these three 
qualifications are most conspicuous and prevailing. 

Sped. No. 412, 

The sense of feeling, in the first example, and 
there may indeed, in the second, may very properly 
commence in a low tone of voice, as this tone is gen- 
erally suitable to the concession contained in each of 
the sentences, 

Similes in poetry form proper examples for gaining 
a habit of lowering the voice. 


He above the rest, 
In shape and gesture proudly eminent, 
Stood like a tow'r. His form had not yet lost 


All her original brightness, nor appear'd 

Less than archangel ruin'd and th' excess 

Of glory obscur'd ; as when the sun new ris'n 

Looks through the horizontal misty air 

Shorn of his beams : or from behind the moon 

In dim eclipse disastrous twilight sheds 

On half the nations, and with fear of change 

Perplexes monarchs. Paradise Lost. 

In this example are two similes in succession ; and 
it may be observed, that, in order to pronounce them 
properly, the voice ought to be twice lowered ; that 
is, on the first simile at as when the sun, and then at 
or from behind the moon, which last simile must be 
in a lower tone of voice than the former, and both 
nearly in a monotone, 

Rule II. This lowering of the voice will be great* 
by facilitated if we begin the words we wish to lower 
the voice upon, in a monotone, or sameness of sound, 
approaching to that produced by repeatedly striking 
the same key of a harpsichord. Thus in the follow- 
ing passage from Dr. Akenside's Pleasures of Imag- 
ination : 

With what attractive charms this goodly frame 
Of nature, touches the consenting hearts 
Of mortal men ; and what the pleasing stores 
Which beauteous imitation thence derives, 
To deck the poet's or the painter's toil, 
My verse unfolds. Attend, ye gentle pow'rs 
Of musical delight ! and, while I sing 
Your gifts, your honours, dance around my strain* 
Thou, smiling queen of every tuneful breast, 
Indulgent Fancy ;. from the fruitful banks 
Of Avon, whence thy rosy fingers cull 
Fresh flow'rs, and dews, to sprinkle on the turf 
Where Shakespeare lies, be present : and with thee 
Let Fiction come upon her vagrant wing, 
Wafting ten thousand colours through the air ; 
And by the glances of her magick eye, 
Combining each in endless fairy forms 
Her wild creation. Goddess of the lyre, 
Which rules the accents of the moving sphere, 


Wilt thou, eternal Harmony, descend, 

And join this festive train ? for with thee comes 

The guide, the guardian of their lovely sports, 

Majestick Truth ; and where Truth deigns to come 

Her sister Liberty will not be far. 

Be present, all ye Genii, who conduct 

The wand'ring footsteps of the youthful bard, 

New to your springs and shades ; who touch his ear 

With finer sounds ; who heighten to his eye 

The bloom of nature, and before him turn 

The gayest, happiest attitudes of things. 

Pleasures of Imagination, Book /, 

This exordium consists of an invocation of several 
poetick powers, each of which ought to be address- 
ed in a manner somewhat different ; but none of 
them admits of a difference sufficient to give a vari- 
ety to a long paragraph, except that of eternal Har- 
mony : and this from its nature requires a solemn 
monotone in a much lower key than the rest : if 
therefore we pronounce the words, 

Goddess of the lyre, 
Which rules the accents of the moving sphere : 

If, I say, we pronounce these words in a low mono- 
tone, without any inflection of voice on them ; we 
shall throw a great variety into the whole invocation, 
and give it at the same time that expression w^hich 
the importance of the subject demands. 

Rule III. As few voices are perfect ; those which 
have a good bottom often wanting a top, and inverse- 
ly ; care should be taken to improve by practice 
that part of the voice which is most deficient ; for 
instance ; if we want to gain a bottom, we ought to 
practise speeches which require exertion, a little be- 
low the common pitch ; when we can do this with 
ease, we may practise them on a little lower note, 
and so on till we are as low as we desire : for this 
purpose, it will be necessary to repeat such passages 
as require a full, audible tone of voice in a low key ; 


©f this kind is the speech of king John to Hubert ? 
where he takes him aside, and tempts him to under- 
take the death of prince Arthur : 

Come hither, Hubert ! O my gentle Hubert, 
We owe thee much ; within this wall of flesh 
There is a soul counts thee her creditor, 
And with advantage means to pay thy love. 
And, my good friend, thy voluntary oath 
Lives in this bosom, dearly cherished. 
Give me thy hand — I had a thing to say- 
But I will fit it with some better time. 
By heav'n, Hubert, I'm almost asham'd 
To say what good respect I have of thee. 

Hub, I am much bounden to your majesty. 

A*. John. Good friend, thou hast no cause to say so yet, 
But thou shalt have — and creep time ne'er so slow. 
Yet it shall come for me to do thee good. 
I had a thing to say, — but let it go ; 
The sun is in the heav'n, and the proud day, 
Attended with the pleasures of the world, 
Is all too wanton and too full of gauds 
To give me audience. If the midnight bell 
Did with his iron tongue and brazen mouth 
Sound one unto the drowsy race of night ; 
If this same were a church-yard where we standi 
And thou possessed with a thousand wrongs \ 
Or if that thou could'st see me without eyes, 
Hear me without thine ears, and make reply 
Without a tongue, using conceit alone, 
Without eyes, ears, and harmful sound of words^ 
Then in despight of broad-ey'd watchful day 
I would into thy bosom pour my thoughts : 
But, ah ! I will not — yet I love thee well, 
And, by my troth, I think thou lov'st me well. 

Hub. So well, that what you bid me undertake,, 
Though that my death were adjunct to my act, 
By heav'n I'd do't. 

K. John. Do I not know thou would'st ? 
Good Hubert, Hubert, Hubert, throw thine eye 
On that young boy : I'll tell thee what, my friend. 
He is a very serpent in my way, 
And wheresoe'er this foot of mine doth tread, 
He lies before me. Do'st thou understand me 3 
Thou art his keeper. 


Hub. And I'll keep him so, 
That he shall not offend your majesty. 

K. John. Death. 

Hub. My Lord ? 

K. John. A grave. 

Hub. He shall not live. 

K. John. Enough. 
I could be merry now. Hubert, I love thee ; 
Well, I'll not say what I intend for thee : 
Remember. Shakespeare's King John, Act iii. Scene 5 

I have quoted so much of this fine passage, because 
I think almost every part of it affords an opportunity 
of practising to speak with force and energy upon a 
lower tone of the voice ; for the whole scene may be 
considered as only an earnest whisper ; but as this 
whisper must be heard by a whole audience, it is 
necessary, while we lower the pitch, to add to the 
force of the voice : this, however, is no easy opera- 
tion, and none but good readers and consummate 
actors, can do it perfectly. It is no very difficult 
matter to be loud in a high tone of voice ; but to be 
loud and forcible in a low tone, requires great prac- 
tice and management ; this, however, may be facili- 
tated by pronouncing forcibly at first in a low mono- 
tone ; a monotone, though in a low key, and without 
force, is much more sonorous and audible than when 
the voice slides up and down at almost every word, 
as it must do to be various. This tone is adopted 
by actors when they repeat passages aside. They 
are to give the idea of speaking to themselves, in 
such a manner as not to be heard by the person 
with them on the stage, and yet must necessarily be 
heard by the whole theatre. The monotone in a low 
key answers both these purposes. It conveys the 
idea of being inaudible to the actors with them in the 
scene, by being in a lower tone than that used in the 
dialogue ; and by being in a monotone becomes au- 
dible to the whole house. The monotone, there- 


fore, becomes an excellent vehicle for such passages 
as require force and audibility in a low tone, and in 
the hands of a judicious reader or speaker is a per- 
petual source of variety. 

Rule IV. When we would strengthen the voice 
in a higher note, it will be necessary to practise such 
passages as require a high tone of voice ; and if we 
find the voice grow thin, or approach to a squeak up- 
on the high note, it will be proper to swell the voice 
a little below this high note, and to give it force and 
audibility by throwing it into a sameness of tone 
approaching the monotone. A speech of Titus 
Quintius to the Roman people, ironically encourag- 
ing them to the greatest excesses, is a good praxis 
for the higher tone of voice. 

When you are to contend with us, you can seize the Aventine 
hill, you can possess yourselves of the Mons Sacer, the enemy is 
at our gates, the iEsquiline is near being taken, and nobody 
stirs to hinder it. But against us you are valiant, against us 
you can arm with all diligence. Come on, then, besiege the 
senate-house, make a camp of the forum, fill the gaols with our 
chief nobles, and when you have achieved these glorious ex- 
ploits, then at the least, sally out at the JEsq inline gate with 
the same fierce spirits against the enemy. Does your resolution 
fail you for this? Go, then, and behold from our walls, your 
lands ravaged, your houses plundered and in flames, the whole 
country laid waste with fire and sword. Have you any thing 
here to repair these damages ? Will the tribunes make up your 
losses to you ? They will give you words, as many as you 
please ; bring impeachments in abundance against the prime 
men of the state ; heap laws upon laws ; assemblies you shall 
have without end ; but will any of you return the richer from 
these assemblies? Extinguish,. O Romans! these fatal divis- 
ions ; generously break this cursed enchantment, which keeps 
you buried in a scandalous inaction.— Open your eyes, and 
consider the management of those ambitious men, who, to 
make themselves powerful in their party, study nothing but 
how they may foment divisions in the commonwealth. 

There are few voices so strong in the upper notes 
as to be able to pronounce this speech with the spirit 


it demands ; care must be taken, therefore, particu- 
larly in the ironical parts, to keep the voice from go- 
ing too high, for which purpose it ought to approach 
to a monotone in the high notes required upon the 
words, against us you are valiant — against us you 
can arm with all diligence ; and particularly upon the 
questions, Does your resolution fail you for this ? 
Have you any thing here to repair these damages ? 
Will the tribunes make up your losses to you ? And 
the same conduct of the voice must be observed 
upon the four succeeding ironical members. 

But no exercise will be so proper to inure the 
voice to high notes as frequently to pronounce a 
succession of questions, which require the rising 
inflection of voice at the end. Such is that instance 
of a succession of questions, ending with the rising 
inflection, in the Oration of Demosthenes on the 
Crown. See p. 160. 

What was the part of a faithful citizen ? Of a prudent, an 
active, and honest minister ? Was he not to secure Euboea, as 
our defence against all attacks by sea ? Was he not to make 
Boeotia our barrier on the midland side ? The cities bordering 
on Peloponnesus, our bulwark on that quarter ? Was he not to 
attend with due precaution to the importation of corn, that this 
trade might be protected through all its progress up to our 
own harbour ? Was he not to cover those districts, which we 
commanded by seasonable detachments, as the Proconesus, the 
Chersonesus, and Tenedos ? To exert himself in the assembly 
for this purpose ? While with equal zeal he laboured to gain 
others to our interest and alliance, as Byzantium, Abydus, and 
Euboea ? Was he not to cut off the best and most important 
resources of our enemies, and to supply those in which our 
country was defective? — And all this you gained by my 
counsels and my administration. 

Leland's Demosthenes on the Crown, 

It will naturally occur to every judicious reader, 
that this series of questions ought to rise gradually 
in force as they proceed, and therefore it will be 
necessary to keep the voice under at the beginning : 

elocution. 299 

fo which this observation may be added, that as the 
rising inflection ought to be adopted on each question i 
the voice will be very apt to get too high near the 
end ; for which purpose it will be necessary to swell 
the voice a little below its highest pitch ; and if we 
cannot rise with ease and clearness on every particular 
to the last, we ought to augment the force on each, 
that the whole may form a species of climax. 

Rule V. When we would strengthen the voice iii 
the middle tone, it will be necessary to exercise 
the voice on very passionate speeches by pronounc- 
ing them in a loud tone, without suffering the voice 
to rise with the force, but preserving all the energy 
and loudness we are able, in the middle tone of 

The challenge of Macbeth to Banquo's ghost, is 
a proper passage for this exercise of the middle tone 
of voice. 

What man dare I dare : 
Approach thou like the rugged Russian bear, 
The arm'd rhinoceros or Hyrcanian tyger ; 
Take any shape but that, and my firm nerves 
Shall never tremble. Be alive again, 
And dare me to the desart with thy sword 5 
If trembling I inhibit, then protest me 
The baby of a girl. Hence, horrible shadow, 
Unreal mock'ry, hence ! 

Rule VI. When we have exerted the voice to 
the highest pitch, it will be necessary to bring it 
down to a lower, by beginning the succeeding sen- 
tence in a lower tone of voice, if the nature of the sen- 
tence will permit ; and if we are speaking extempore, 
it will be proper to form the sentence in such a man- 
ner as to make it naturally require a lower tone. A 
good praxis for recovering the voice when it is car- 
ried to its utmost pitch is the furious resentment and 
indignation of Posthumus against himself for giving 
credit to the infidelity of Imogen. 


Jachimo. This Posthumus — methinks I see him now— 

Put. Ay, so thou dost, 
Italian fiend ! ah me, most credulous fool, 
Egregious murderer, thief, any thing, 
That's due to all the villains past, in being, 
To come — oh give me cord, or knife, or poison, 
Some upright justicer ? Thou king, send out 
For torturers ingenious ; it is I 
That all th* abhorred things o'th'earth amend 
By being worse than they. I am Posthumus 
That killed thy daughter ; villain-like, I lie, 
That caus'd a lesser villain than myself, 
A sacrilegious thief to do't. The temple 
Of virtue was she, yea, and she herself — 
Spit and throw stones, cast mire upon me, set 
The dogs o'th' street to bait me : every villain 
Be calPd Posthumus Leonatus, and 
Be villany less than 'twas. Oh ! Imogen, 
My queen, my life, my wife ! O Imogen, 
Imogen ! Imogen ! 

In this example we find the fury of the passion very 
apt to carry the voice too high, but the poet has ve- 
ry judiciously thrown in breaks and alterations in 
the passion, which give the speaker an opportunity 
of lowering and altering his voice. Thus the voice 
is at its highest pitch of rage at to come, when the 
break and different shade of the same passion, at O 
give me cord, &c. affords an opportunity of lowering 
the voice by means of a mixture of intreaty. The 
voice is at its utmost extent of height at kilVd thy 
daughter; as in this passage he declares openly his 
guilt, in order to provoke his punishment ; but the 
next clause, villain-like, I lie, gives a different shade 
of force to the voice by a mixture of remorse. The 
next sentence, The temple of virtue, &c. has a re- 
gret and tenderness in it that affords an alteration of 
voice ; but as this alteration slides into extreme grief, 
in which the voice is very apt to go too high, the 
next sentence, Spit and throw stones, &c. by the 
deep hatred it fails into, gives the speaker an oppor- 


tunity of lowering and recovering the force of his 
voice, in order to conclude with that force and ten- 
derness which the latter part of the speech necessa- 
rily requires. Thus, by properly distinguishing 
the different shades and mixtures of the passions, we 
not only produce variety, but afford the voice such 
resources of energy, as can alone support it in the 

Rule VII. When we are speaking extempore, and 
have carried the voice to its utmost extent in a high 
key, in order to bring it down to a lower, we ought, 
if 1 possible, to adopt some passion which requires a 
low key ; such as shame, hatred, admonition, &c. 
as in the spirited speech of T. Quintius to the Ro- 
man people, quoted under Rule IV. 

The same may be observed of the speech of the 
Angel, in Milton, to Satan. 

Think we such toils, such cares disturb the peace 

Of heav'n's blest habitants ?-^-alike I scorn 

Thy person, and imposture. Milton, 

The former part of this speech raises the voice to 
the highest pitch, and is finely relieved and contrast- 
ed by the low tone which scorn requires in the con- 


Ge sture, considered as a just and elegant adapta- 
tion of every part of the body to the nature and 
import of the subject we are pronouncing, has al- 
ways been considered as one of the most essential 
parts of oratory. Its power, as Cicero observes, 
is much greater than that of words. It is the lan- 
guage of nature in the strictest sense, and makes 
its way to the heart, without the utterance of a 


single sound. Ancient and modern orators are full 
of the power of action ; and action, as with the il- 
lustrious Grecian orator, seems to form the begin- 
ning, the middle, and end of oratory. 

Such, however, is the force of custom, that though 
we all confess the power and necessity of this branch 
of publick speaking, we find few, in our own coun- 
try at least, that are hardy enough to put it in 
practice. The most accomplished speakers in the 
British Senate are very faulty in their use ol ac- 
tion, and it is remarkable that those who are excel- 
lent in every other part of oratory are very defi- 
cient in this. The truth is, though the reason of 
action in speaking is in the nature of things, the 
difficulty of acquiring the other requisites of an 
orator, and the still greater difficulty of attaining 
excellence in action, (which after all our pains is 
less esteemed than excellencies of another kind) ; 
these, I say, seem to be the reasons why action is 
so little cultivated among us : to this we may add, 
that so different are national tastes in this particu- 
lar, that hardly any two people agree in the just 
proportion of this so celebrated quality of an ora- 
tor. Perhaps the finished action of a Cicero or a 
Demosthenes would scarcely be borne in our times, 
though accompanied with every other excellence. 
The Italians and French, though generally esteem- 
ed better publick speakers than the English, appear 
to us to overcharge their oratory with action ; and 
some of their finest strokes of action w r ould, per- 
haps, excite our laughter. The oratory, therefore, 
of the Greeks and Romans in this point, is as ill 
suited to a British auditor, as the accent and quan- 
tity of the ancients is to the English language. 
The common feelings of nature, with the signs that 
express them, undergo a kind of modification, which 
is suitable to the taste and genius of every nation ; 
and it is this national taste which must necessarily 

elocution. 3Q3 

fee the vehicle of every thing we convey agreeably 
to the publick we belong to. Whether the action 
of the ancients was excessive, or whether that of 
the English be not too scanty, is not the question ? 
those who would succeed as English orators must 
speak to English taste ; as a general must learn 
the modern exercise of arms to command modern 
armies, and not the discipline and weapons of the 

But though the oratory of the moderns does not 
require all those various evolutions of gesture which 
was almost indispensable in the ancients, yet a cer- 
tain degree of it must necessarily enter into the 
composition of every good speaker and reader. To 
be perfectly motionless while we are pronouncing 
words which require force and energy, is not only 
depriving them of their necessary support, but ren- 
dering them unnatural and ridiculous. A very ve- 
hement address, pronounced without any motion 
but that of the lips and tongue, would be a burlesque 
upon the meaning, and produce laughter ; nay, so 
unnatural is this total absence of gesticulation, that it 
is not very easy to speak in this manner. 

As some action, therefore, must necessarily accom- 
pany our words, it is of the utmost consequence, that 
this be such as is suitable and natural. No matter 
how little, if it be but akin to the words and passion ; 
for if foreign to them, it counteracts and destroys the- 
very intention of delivery. The voice and gesture 
may be said to be tuned to each other : and if they 
are in a different key, as it may be called, discord 
must inevitably be the consequence. An awkward 
action, and such as is unsuitable to the words and 
passion, is the body out of tune, and gives the eye 
as much pain as discord does the ear. 

In order therefore to gain a just idea of suitable ac- 
tion and expression, it will be necessary to observe 
that every passion, emotion, and sentiment, has a 


particular attitude of the body, cast of the eye, and 
tone of the voice, that particularly belongs to that 
passion, emotion, or sentiment : these should be 
carefully studied, and practised before a glass when 
we are alone ; and before a few friends, whose can- 
dour and judgment we can rely on. Some good 
piece of composition should then be selected, and 
every period or sentence be marked with that passion, 
emotion, or sentiment, indicated by the words, that 
the eye in reading may be reminded of the passion 
or sentiment to be assumed. These passions and 
emotions we should express with the utmost force and 
energy we are able, when we are alone, that we may 
wear ourselves into the habit of assuming them easily 
in publick. This forcible practice in private, will 
have the same effect on our publick delivery, that 
dancing a minuet has on our general air and deport- 
ment. What Pope says of writing is perfectly ap- 
plicable to action in oratory. 

True ease in action comes from art, not chance, 
As those move easiest who have learn'd to dance. 

To descend, however to a few of those particulars, 
to which it seems the most necessary to attend ; it 
may not be improper to take notice, that in read- 
ing, much less action is required than in speaking. 
When we read to a few persons only in private, 
it may not be useless to observe, that we should 
accustom ourselves to read standing ; that the book 
should be held in the left hand ; that we should 
take our eyes as often as possible from the book, 
and direct them to those that hear us. The three 
or four last words, at least, of every paragraph, or 
branch of a subject, should be pronounced with 
the eye pointed to one of the auditors. When any 
thing sublime, lofty, or heavenly, is expressed, the 
eye and the right hand may be very properly ele- 


vated ; and when any thing low, inferiour, or gro- 
velling is referred to, the eye and hand may be 
directed downwards : when any thing distant or ex- 
tensive is mentioned, the hand may naturally de- 
scribe the distance or extent ; and when concious 
virtue, or any heartfelt emotion, or tender sentiment 
occurs, we may as naturally clap the right hand on 
the breast, exactly over the heart. 

In speaking extempore, we should be sparing of 
the use of the left hand, which may not ungrace- 
fully hang down by the side, and be suffered to receive 
that small degree of motion which will necessarily 
be communicated to it by the action of the right 
hand. The right hand, when in action, ought to 
rise extending from the side, that is, in a direction 
from left to right ; and then be propelled forwards, 
with the fingers open, and easily and differently 
curved : the arm should move chiefly from the el- 
bow, the hand seldom be raised higher than the shoul- 
der, and when it has described its object, or enforc- 
ed its emphasis, ought to drop lifeless down to 
the si^e, ready to commence action afresh. The 
utmost care must be taken to keep the elbow from 
inclining to the body, and to let the arms, when 
not hanging at rest by the side, approach to the 
action we call a-kimbo ; we must be cautious, too, 
in all action but such as describes extent or cir- 
cumference, to keep the hand, or lower part of the 
arm, from cutting the perpendicular line that di- 
vides the body into right and left ; but above all, 
we must be careful to let the stroke of the hand, 
which marks force, or emphasis, keep exact time 
with the force of pronunciation ; that is, the hand 
must go down upon the emphatical word, and no 
other : Thus in the execration of Brutus, in Julius 
Caesar : 

When Marcus Brutus grows so covetous, 
To lock such rascal-counters from his friends, 



Be ready, gods, with all your thunderbolts, 
Dash him in pieces. 

Here the action of the arm which enforces the em- 
phasis ought to be so directed, that the stroke of the 
hand may be given exactly on the word dash ; this 
will give a concomitant action to the organs of pro- 
nunciation, and by this means the whole expression 
will be greatly augmented. This action may be call- 
ed beating time to the emphasis, and is as necessary 
in forcible and harmonious speaking, as the agreement 
between the motion of the feet, and the musick in 

These are some of the simplest and most necessa- 
ry directions, and such as may be followed with the 
greatest safety : observing the action of the best read- 
ers and speakers may, with some cautions, be recom- 
mended to youth ; but cannot with the same safety 
be proposed to those who, by long practice, are con- 
firmed in habits of their own ; it may, instead of a 
modest and negative kind of awkwardness, which is 
scarcely offensive, substitute a real and disgusting 
kind of mimickry ; and this, by every person jf the 
least taste, will be looked upon as a bad exchange. 

To the generality of readers and speakers, there- 
fore, it may be proposed to make use of no more ac- 
tion than they can help. If they are really in earnest, 
as they ought to be, some gesticulation will naturally 
break out ; and if it be kept within bounds, it will 
always be tolerable. A man's own feelings will oft- 
en tell him how far he may venture with safety ; for 
in that • ituation which he finds the easiest to himself, 
he w ill appear most agreeable to his auditory. Such 
a sympathy do we find between speaker and hearer y 

* For a simple outline of action, as it may be called, it is presumed the 
Elements of Gesture, prefixed to the Academick Speaker, will be found highly 
useful ; as the directions there given are illustrated by plates describing the 
sever .1 positions of the body, legs, arms, and hands, in a graceful and forc- 
ible delivery. 


that the one cannot be in an awkward situation with- 
out communicating a feeling of it to the other. 

Thus have we endeavoured to delineate those out- 
lines, which nothing but good sense and taste will fill 
up. The more distinctly these lines are marked, the 
easier will be the finishing ; and if, instead of leav- 
ing so much to taste, as is generally done, we were 
to push as far as possible our enquiries into those 
principles of truth and beauty, in delivery, which are 
immutable and eternal ; if, I say, we were to mark 
carefully the seemingly infinite variety of voice and 
gesture, in speaking and reading, and compare this 
variety with the various senses and passions of which 
they are expressive ; from the simplicity of nature in 
her other operations, we have reason to hope, that 
they might be so classed and arranged, as to be of 
much easier attainment, and productive of much cer- 
tainty and improvement, in the very difficult acquisi- 
tion of a just and agreeable delivery., 



It now remains to say something of those tones* 
which mark the passions and emotions of the speak- 
er. These are entirely independent on the modula- 
tion of the voice, though often confounded with it : 
for modulation relates only to speaking either loud- 
ly or softly, in a high or a low key ; while the 
tones of the passions or emotions mean only that 
quality of sound that indicates the feelings of the 
speaker, without any reference to the pitch or 
loudness of his voice ; and it is in being easily sus- 
ceptible of every passion and emotion that presents 
itself, and being able to express them with that 
peculiar quality of sound which belongs to them, 
that the great art of reading and speaking consists. 
When we speak our own words, and are really im- 
passioned by the occasion of speaking, the passion 
or emotion precedes the words, and adopts such 
tones as are suitable to the passion we feel ; but 
when we read, or repeat from memory, the passion 
is to be taken up as the words occur ; and in doing 
this well, the whole difficulty of reading or repeating 
from memory lies. 

But it will be demanded, how are we to acquire 
that peculiar quality of sound that indicates the 
passion we wish to express ? The answer is easy t 
by feeling the passion which expresses itself by that 
peculiar quality of sound. But the question will 
return, how are we to acquire a feeling of the 
passion ? The answer to this question is rather dis- 
couraging, as it will advise those who have not a 
power of impassioning themselves upon reading or 
expressing some very pathetick passage, to turn their 
studies to some other department of learning, where 
nature may have been more favourable to their 
wishes. But is there no method of assisting us in ac~ 


Quiring the tone of the passion we want to express ; 
no method of exciting the passion in ourselves when 
when we wish to express it to others ? The advice of 
Quintilian and Cicero on this occasion, is, to repre- 
sent to our imagination, in the most lively manner 
possible, all the most striking circumstances of the 
transaction we describe, or of the passion we wish to 
feel. " Thus," says Quintilian, " if I complain of 
" the fate of a man who has been assassinated, may I 
" not paint in my mind a lively picture of all that has 
" probably happened on the occasion ? Shall not the 
" assassin appear to rush forth suddenly from his 
" lurking-place ? Shall not the other appear seized 
" with horrours ? Shall he not cry out, beg his life, 
" or fly to save it ? Shall not I see the assassin 
" dealing the deadly blow, and the defenceless wretch 
" falling dead at his feet ? Shall not I figure to my 
" mind, and by a lively impression, the blood gush- 
" ing from his wounds, his ghastly face, his groans, 
" and the last gasp he fetches ?" 

This must be allowed to be a very natural me- 
thod of exciting an emotion in the mind ; but still 
the woes of others, whether real or fictitious, will 
often make but a weak impression on our own 
mind, and will fail of affecting us with a sufficient 
force to excite the same emotions in the minds of 
our hearers. In this exigence, it may not, perhaps 
be unprofitable, to call to our assistance the device 
of the ancient Grecian actor Polus ; who, when he 
had the part of Electra to perform, and was to repre- 
sent that princess weeping over the ashes of her broth- 
er Orestes, ordered the urn which contained the 
ashes of his dear and only son to be brought upon 
the stage, and by this means excited in himself 
the pitch of grief with which he wished to affect his 

Calling to mind, therefore, such passages of our 
own life as are similar to those we read or speak of, 
will ? if I am not mistaken, considerably assist us in 


gaining that fervour and warmth of expression, which, 
by a certain sympathy, is sure to affect thobt who 
hear us. 

But our natural feelings are not always to be 
commanded ; and, when they are, stand in need of 
the regulation and embellishments of art : it is the 
business, therefore, of every reader and speaker in 
publick, to acquire such tones and gestures as na- 
ture gives to the passions ; that he may be able to 
produce the semblance of them when he is not ac- 
tually impassioned. The feelings of men, when un- 
premeditatedly impassioned, will do wonders. We 
seldom hear a person express love, rage, or pity, 
when these passions are produced by a powerful ob- 
ject on the spot, without feeling in ourselves the 
workings of the passions thus instantaneously pro- 
duced. Here the reality of the situation contributes 
greatly to our own feelings, as well as to the feelings 
01 the speaker. The speech of a malefactor seldom 
fails to move us powerfully, however wretchedly de- 
livered ; and a person really in the agonies of passion 
moves us irresistibly. But these are situations veiy 
different from the reader and speaker in pubiick. 
The reader has always a fictitious or absent passion 
to exhibit : and the publick speaker must always 
produce his passion at a certain time and place, and 
in a certain order ; and in this situation it is general- 
ly supposed by our best criticks, that an excess of 
feeling, such as we have when unpremeditatcdly ac- 
tuated by strong passions, would render us incapa- 
ble of expressing ourselves, so as properly to affect 
others. I have myself seen Powel, in the character 
of George Barnwell, so overwhelmed with grief in 
that pathetick address, 

Be warn'd, ye youths, who see my sad despair, &c. 

as to be incapable of expressing himself in the most 
pathetick manner to the audience, However this 


be, certain it is, we ought to study the effects and 
appearances of the passions, that we may be able to 
exhibit them when we are not really impassioned ; 
and, when we are, to give passion its most agreeable 
expression. Mr. Burke has a very ingenious 
thought on this subject in his Origin of our Ideas of 
the Sublime and Beautiful. He observes, that there 
is such a connection between the internal feeling of 
a passion, and the external expression of it, that we 
cannot put ourselves in the posture or attitude of any 
passion, without communicating a certain degree of 
the passion itself to the mind. The same may be 
observed of the tone of voice which is peculiar to 
each passion : each passion produces an agitation of 
the body, which is accompanied by a correspondent 
agitation of the mind : certain sounds naturally pro- 
duce certain bodily agitations, similar to those pro- 
duced by the passions ; and hence musick has power 
over the mind, and can dispose it alternately to joy, 
or sorrow ; to pity, or revenge. When the voice, 
therefore, assumes that tone which a musician would 
produce in order to express certain passions or sen- 
timents in a song, — the speaker, like the performer 
on a musical instrument, is wrought upon by the 
sound he creates ; and, though active at the begin- 
ning, at length becomes passive, by the sound of 
his own voice on himself. Hence it is, that though 
we frequently begin to read or speak, without feeling 
any of the passion we wish to express, we often end 
in full possession of it. This may serve to show the 
necessity of studying and imitating those tones, 
looks, and gestures, that accompany the passions, 
that we may dispose ourselves to feel them mechani- 
cally, and improve our expression of them when we 
feel them spontaneously ; for by the imitation of the 
passion, we meet it, as it were, halfway. 

A passion well described, disposes us to the feel- 
ing of it, and greatly assists us in expressing it with 
force and propriety ; this shows the necessity of a 


good description of the passions, and how much the 
art of speaking depends upon it. Those who feel 
the passions the most powerfully, and unite with this 
feeling a power of describing their feelings, are those 
from w T hom we may expect the best pictures of what 
passes in the soul. For this reason, good poets are 
generally the best painters of the passions ; and, for 
this reason, too, we find the greatest orators have been 
most conversant with the best poets ; for though it is 
not the business of the poet, like that of the philoso- 
pher, to enter into a logical definition of the origin, 
extent, and various relations of the passion he produc- 
es, he must, however, feel it strongly, and express it 
exactly as we see it in nature, or it will fail in its effect 
on the soul ; which, in this case, judges by a sort of 
instinct. This, it is presumed, will be a sufficient 
reason for drawing the examples that are given of the 
passions chiefly from the poets ; and of these, chief- 
ly those in the dramatick line ; as it is in these that 
the passions are generally the most delicately and 
forcibly touched. 

Aaron Hill, in his Essay on the Art of Acting, 
has made a bold attempt at such a description of the 
passions as may enable an actor to adopt them me- 
chanically, by shewing, that all the passions require 
either a braced or relaxed state of the sinews, and a 
peculiar cast of the eye. This system he has sup- 
ported with much ingenuity ; but it were to be wish- 
ed he had lived to give his original idea the finishing 
he intended, and to have seen it combated by oppo- 
site opinions, that he might have removed several 
objections that lie against it, and render the truth of 
it doubtful. It must be owned, however, that this 
writer deserves great praise for the mere attempt he 
has made to form a new system, which, under some 
restrictions, may not be without its use. It is cer- 
tain, that all the passions, when violent, brace the 
sinews ; grief, which, when moderate, may be said 
to melt or relax the frame, when accompanied by an-, 


guish and bitter complainings, becomes active and 
bracing.* Pity seems never to rise to a sufficient de- 
gree of sorrow to brace the sinews ; and anger,even in 
the slightest degree, seems to give a kind of tension 
to the voice and limbs. Thus Shakespeare, as quot- 
ed by this writer, has given us an admirable picture 
of this passion in its violence, and has made this vio- 
lent tension of the sinews a considerable part of Hs 

Now imitate the action of the tyger ! 
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood ; 
Lend fierce and dreadful aspect to the eye ; 
Set the teeth close and stretch the nostril wide; 
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit 
To its full height 

To this may be added, that admirable picture of 
violent anger which Shakespeare puts in the mouth 
of Suffolk, in the Second Part of Henry VL 

Would curses kill, as doth the mandrake's groan, 
I would invent as bitter searching terms, 
As curst, as harsh, and horrible to hear, 
Delivered strongly through my fixed teeth, 
With full as many signs of deadly hate* 
As lean fac'd Envy in her loathsome cave. 
My tongue should stumble in mine earnest words, 
Mine eyes should sparkle like the beaten flint, 
Mine hair be fix'd on end like one distract, 
Ay, ev'ry joint should seem to curse and ban ; 
And, even now my burden'd heart would break, 
Should I not curse them.— - 

Who can read these admirable descriptions of an- 
ger without finding his whole frame braced, and 
his mind strongly tinctured with the passion delin- 
eated ! How much is it to be regretted that so 
great a master of the passions as Shakespeare, has 
not left us a description similar to this , of every 

* See Dr. Johnson's excellent remark upon the speech ©f Lady Con* 
usance, in King John, Act iii. sc. 2. 


emotion of the soul ! But though he has not de- 
scribed every other passion like this, he has placed 
them all in such marking points of view, as en- 
ables us to see the workings of the human heart 
from his writings, in a clearer and more affecting 
way than in any other of our poets ; and, perhaps, 
the best description that could be given us of the 
passions in any language, may be extracted from 
the epithets he has made use of. But to return to 
the system : Hill defines scorn to be negligent an- 
ger, and adds, "it is expressed by languid mus- 
"cles, witha smile upon the eye in the light spe- 
" cies, or a frown to hit the serious." The rea- 
son he gives for this expression is, "because scorn 
" insinuates, by a voluntary slackness, or disarming 
" of the nerves, a known or a concluded absence 
" of all power in the insulted object, even to make 
" defence seem necessary." This seems a very ac- 
curate picture of the passion, and the slackness of 
the nerves appears necessarily to enter into the prop- 
per method of expressing it. But what are we to 
think of his definition of Joy ! "Joy," says he, 
" is pride possessed of triumph." No author I have 
ever yet met with, has supposed pride to be a neces- 
sary part of the composition of joy ; though a degree 
of joy may form part of the composition of pride. 
Pity, he defines to be active grief for another's afflic- 
tions ; but this definition seems not to include the 
most leading trait of pity, which is, benevolence and 
love ; and though pity is always accompanied with 
a degree of sorrow which often excites us to assist 
those we pity, yet pity is often, bestowed on objects 
we neither can nor endeavour to assist. The poets 
have always strongly marked this alliance between 
pity and love, and with great propriety. When 
Blandford tells Oroonoko he pities him, Oroonoko 


•Do pity me ; 

Pity's akin to love, and every thought 
Of that soft kind is welcome to my soul. 

Oroonoko. Act h\ 

And Dryden, in his Alexander's Feast, after de- 
scribing the power of Timotheus in exciting his 
hero's pity for the sad fate of Darius, says, 

The mighty master smil'd to see, 
That love was in the next degree ; 
'Twas but a kindred sound to move, 
For pity melts the soul to love. 

And Julia, in the Two Gentlemen of Verona, says 
of Proteus, 

Because he loves her he despises me ; 

Because I love him, I must pity him. Act iv. 

Poets, who, where the passions are concerned, are 
generally the best philosophers, constantly describe 
love and pity as melting the soul : but how does 
this agree with the intense muscles with which 
Hill marks the expression of both these passions ? 
And how, according to this writer, can the mus- 
cles be intense and the eye languid at the same 
time, as he has described them in pity ; or is it 
conceivable that the eye can express an emotion 
directly contrary to the feelings of the whole frame ? 
The distinction, therefore, of braced and unbraced 
muscles, upon which his whole system turns, seems 
at best but a doubtful hypothesis ; and much too 
hidden and uncertain for the direction of so important 
a matter as the expression of the passions. 

In the display of the passions which I have adopt- 
ed, nothing farther is intended, than such a descrip- 
tion of them as may serve to give an idea of their 
external appearance, and such examples of their op- 
erations on the soul as may tend to awaken an origin- 
al feeling of them in the breast of the reader. But 


it cannot be too carefully noted, that, if possible, the 
expression of every passion ought to commence 
within. The imagination ought to be strongly im- 
pressed with the idea of an object which naturally 
excites it, before the body is brought to correspond 
to it by suitable gesture. This order ought never 
to be reversed, except when the mind is too cold and 
languid to imbibe the passion first ; and, in this case, 
an adaptation of the body to an expression of the 
passion, will either help to excite the passion we 
wish to feel, or in some measure supply the absence 
of it. 

The two circumstances that most strongly mark 
the expression of passion, are the tone of the voice, 
and the external appearance of countenance and ges- 
ture ; these we shall endeavour to describe, and to 
each description subjoin an example for practice. 

In the following explanation and description of 
the passions, I have been greatly indebted to a very 
ingenious performance, called the Art of Speaking ; 
this work, though not without its imperfections, is 
on a plan the most useful that has hitherto been 
adopted. The passions are first described, then 
passages are produced which contain the several 
passions, and these passions are marked in the mar- 
gin as they promiscuously occur in the passage. 
This plan I have adopted, and I hope not without 
some degree of improvement. For after the descrip- 
tion of the several passions, in which I have frequent- 
ly departed widely from this author, I have subjoin- 
ed examples to each passion and emotion, which 
contain scarcely any passion or emotion but that de- 
scribed ; and by thus keeping one passion in view 
at a time, it is presumed the pupil will more easily 
acquire the imitation of it, than by passing suddenly 
to those passages where they are scattered promis- 
cuously in small portions. But though this associa- 
tion of the similar passions is certainly an advantage, 
the greatest merit is due to the author above men^ 


tioned ; who, by the division of a passage into its 
several passions, and marking these passions as they 
occur, has done real service to the art of speaking, 
and rendered his book one of the most useful that 
has been hitherto published. 

The first picture of the Passions (if it may be 
called so) is 


Tranquillity appears by the composure of the 
countenance, and general repose of the whole body, 
without the exertion of any one muscle. The coun- 
tenance open, the forehead smooth, the eyebrows 
arched, the mouth just not shut, and the eyes pas- 
sing with an easy motion from object to object, but 
not dwelling long upon any one. To distinguish it, 
however, from insensibility, it seems necessary to 
give it that cast of happiness which borders on cheer- 


When joy is settled into a habit, or flows from a 
placid temper of mind, desiring to please and be 
pleased, it is called gaiety, good humour, or cheer- 

Cheerfulness adds a smile to tranquillity, and opens 
the mouth a little more. 

Cheerfulness in Retirement. 

Now my co-mates, and brothers in exile, 
Hath not old custom made this life more sweet 
Than that of painted pomp ? Are not these woods 
More free from peril than the envious court ? 
Here feel we but the penalty of Adam, 
The season's difference ; as the icy fang 
And churlish chiding of the winter's wind, 
Which, when it bites and blows upon my body 
Ev'n till I shrink with cold, I smile and say, 


This is no flattery ; these are counsellors 
That feelingly persuade me what I am. 
Sweet are the uses of adversity, 
That, like a toad, ugly and venomous, 
Wears yet a precious jewel in its head ; 
And this our life exempt from publick haunts, 
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, 
Sermons in stones, and good in every thing. 

Shakespeare* s As Tou Like It* 


When joy arises from ludicrous or fugitive amuse- 
ments in which others share with us, it is called mer- 
riment or mirth. 

Mirth, or laughter, opens the mouth horizontal- 
ly, raises the cheeks high, lessens the aperture of the 
eyes, and, when violent, shakes and convulses the 
whole frame, fills the eyes with tears, and occasions 
holding the sides from the pain the convulsive laughs 
ter gives them. 

Invocation of the Goddess of Mirth. 


But come, thou goddess, fair and free, 

In heav'n yclep'd Euphrosyne, 

And of men heart-easing Mirth ; 

Whom lovely Venus at a birth, 

With two sister graces more, 

To ivy-crowned Bacchus bore. 

Come, thou nymph, and bring with thee 

Mirth and youthful Jollity ; 

Quips, and cranks, and wanton wiles ; 

Nods, and becks, and wreathed smiles % 

Such as hang on Hebe's cheek, 

And love to live in dimples sleek : 

Sport, that wrinkled Care derides, 

And Laughter, holding both his sides : 

Come, and trip it as ye go, 

On the light fantastick toe ; 

And in thy right hand bring with thee 

The mountain nymph, sweet Liberty. 

Milton's Comus* 

Elocution. 319 

Laughter on seeing a shrewd Buffoon* 

-A fool, a fool, I met a fool i'th'forest, 

A motley fool, a miserable varlet ; 

As I do live by food, I met a fool, 

Who laid him down, and bask'd him in the sun, 

And rail'd on lady Fortune in good terms ; 

In good set terms, and yet a motley fool ; 

Good morrow, fool, quoth I ; no, sir, quoth he, 

Call me not fool, till heav'n hath sent me fortune 5 

And then he drew a dial from his poke, 

And, looking on it with lack-lustre eye, 

Says, very wisely, it is ten o'clock ; 

Thus may we see, quoth he, how the world wags ; 

5 Tis but an hour ago since it was nine, 

And after one hour more 'twill be eleven, 

And so from hour to hour we ripe and ripe, 

And then from hour to hour we rot and rot, 

And thereby hangs a tale. When I did hear 

The motley fool thus moral on the time, 

My lungs began to crow like chanticleer, 

That fools should be so deep contemplative : 

And I did laugh sans intermission 

An hour by his dial. O noble fool ! 

A worthy fool 1 motley's the only wear. 

Shakespeare's As Tou Like It* 


Raillery, without animosity, puts on the aspect of 
cheerfulness ; the countenance smiling, and the tone 
of voice sprightly. 

Rallying a Person for being melancholy. 

Let me play the fool 
With mirth and laughter ; so let wrinkles come, 
And let my liver rather heat with wine, 
Than my heart cool with mortifying groans. 
Why should a man, whose blood is warm within, 
Sit like his grandsire cut in alabaster ? 
Sleep when he wakes, and creep into the jaundice 
By being peevish ? I tell thee what, Anthonio, 
(I love thee, and it is my love that speaks ;) 
There are a sort of men whose visages 
Do cream and mantle like a standing pond, 


And do a wilful stillness entertain, 
With purpose to be drest in an opinion 
Of wisdom, gravity, profound conceit, 
As who should say, I am, sir, Oracle, 
And when I ope my lips, let no dog bark ! 
I'll tell thee more of this another time ; 
But fish not with this melancholy bait 
For this fool's gudgeon, this opinion. 
Come, good Lorenzo, fare ye well a while, 
I'll end my exhortation after dinner. 

Merchant of Venice. 


Sneer is ironical approbation : where, with a voice 
and countenance of mirth somewhat exaggerated, we 
cast the severest censures ; it is hypocritical mirth and 
good humour, and differs from the real by the sly, 
arch, satirical tone of voice, look, and gesture, that 
accompany it. 

Scoffing at supposed Cowardice. 

Satan beheld their plight, 
And to his mates thus in derision call'd : 
O friends, why come not on those victors proud ? 
Ere while they fierce were coming, and when we, 
To entertain them fair with open front 
And breast, (what could we more ?) propounded term^ 
Of composition, straight they chang'd their minds, 
Flew off, and into strange vagaries fell, 
As they would dance : yet for a dance they seem'd 
Somewhat extravagant and wild, perhaps 
For joy of offer'd peace ; but I suppose, 
If our proposals once again were heard, 
We should compel them to a quick result. 

Milton's Parad. Lost. 


A pleasing elation of mind, on the actual or assur- 
ed attainment of good, or deliverance from evil, is 
called Joy. 

Joy, when moderate, opens the countenance with 
smiles, and throws, as it were, a sunshine of delecta- 


tion over the whole frame : When it is sudden and 
violent, it expresses itself by clapping the hands, 
raising the eyes towards heaven, and giving such a 
spring to the body as to make it attempt to mount up 
as if it could fly : When Joy is extreme, and goes 
into transport, rapture, and extacy, it has a wildness 
x)f look and gesture that borders on folly, madness, 
and sorrow. 

Joy expected. 

Ah, Juliet ! if the measure of thy joy 
Be heap'd like mine, and that thy skill be more 
Tq blazon it, then sweeten with thy breath 
This neighbour air, and let rich musick's tongue 
Unfold the imagin'd happiness that both 
Receive in either by this dear encounter. 

Shakes. Rom. and Jul. 

Joy approaching to Transport. 

Oh, joy ! thou welcome stranger, twice three years 

I have not felt thy vital beam, but now 

It warms my veins, and plays about my heart ; 

A fiery instinct lifts me from the ground, 

And I could mount. Dr. Toung's Revenge. 

Joy approaching to Folly. 

Come, let us to the castle ; 

News, Friends ; our wars are done, the Turks are drown'd ; 

How do our old acquaintance of this isle ? — 

Honey, you shall be well desir'd in Cyprus ; 

I have found great love among them. O, my sweet, 

I prattle out of fashion, and I dote 

In mine own comforts. Shakes. Othello. 

Joy bordering on Sorrow. 

O my soul's joy ! 
If after every tempest come such calms, 
May the winds blow till they have waken'd death ! 
And let the labouring bark climb hills of seas, 
Olympus high, and duck again as low 
As hell's from heav'n ! If it were now to die, 


'Twere now to be most happy, for I fear 

My soul hath her content so absolute, 

That not another comfort like to this 

Succeeds in unknown fate. Ibtdem. 

Joy, or Satisfaction inexpressible, 

Imoinda, Oh ! this separation, 
Has made you dearer, if it can be so, 
Than you were ever to me : you appear 
Like a kind star to my benighted steps, 
To guide me on my way to happiness ; 
I cannot miss it now. Governour, friend, 
You think me mad : But let me bless you all 
Who any ways have been the instruments 
Of finding her again Imoinda's found ! 
And every thing that I would have in her. 

I have a thousand things to ask of her, 
And she as many more to know of me, 
But you have made me happier, I confess, 
Acknowledge it much happier, than I 
Have words or power to tell you. Captain, you, 
Ev'n you. who most have wrong'd me, I forgive : 
I will not say you have betray'd me now, 
I'll think you but the minister of fate 
To bring me to my lov'd Imoinda here. 
Let the fools 

Who follow fortune live upon her smiles, 
All our prosperity is plac'd in love, 
Wp have enough of that to make us happy ; 
This little spot of earth you stand upon, 
Is more to me than the extended plains 
Of my great father's kingdom ; here I reign 
In full delight, in joys to pow'r unknown, 
Your love my empire, and your heart my throne. 

Southern's Oroonoko* 


Delight is a high degree of satisfaction, or rather 
is joy moderated, and affording leisure to dwell on 
the pleasing object ; the tones, looks, and gestures, 
are the same as those of joy, but less forcible, and 
more permanent. Thus we graze upon a pleasing 
figure or picture, listen to musick, and are intent 
upon delightful studies. 


Delight on viewing a Statue. 

Leon. See, my lord, 

Would you not deem it breath'd, and that those veins 
Did verily bear blood ? 

Paul. My lord's almost so far transported that 
He'll think anon it lives. 

Leon. O sweet Paulina, 
Make me to think so twenty years together, 
No settled senses of the world can match 
The pleasure of that madness. Shakesp* Winter's Tale. 


Love is not ill defined by Aaron Hill, when he calls 
it, desire kept temperate by reverence : it is, he says, 
a conscious and triumphant swell of hope, intimidat- 
ed by respectful apprehension of offending, where 
we long to seem agreeable : it is complaint made 
amiable by gracefulness ; reproach endeared by 
tenderness ; and rapture awed by reverence ; the 
idea, then, says he, to be conceived by one who 
would express love elegantly, is that of joy combin- 
ed with fear. 

To this we may add Shakespeare's description of 
this passion, in As You Like It. 

Pkzbe. Good shepherd, tell this youth what 'tis to love. 

Syl. It is to be all made of phantasy ; 
All made of passion, and all made of wishes 5 
All adoration, duty, and observance, 
All humbleness, all patience, and impatience ; 
All purity, all trial, all observance. As Tou Like It. 

If these are just descriptions of love, how unlike to 
it is that passion which so profanely assumes its 
name ! 

Love gives a soft serenity to the countenance, a 
languishing to the eyes, a sweetness to the voice, and 
a tenderness to the whole frame : when intreating, 
it clasps the hands, with intermingled fingers, to the 
breast ; when declaring, the right hand, open, is pressed 



with force upon the breast exactly over the heart ; 
it makes its approaches with the utmost delicacy, and 
is attended with trembling hesitation and confusion. 

Love described. 

Come hither, boy ; if ever thou shalt love, 
In the sweet pangs of it remember me, 
For such as I am, all true lovers are ; 
Unstaid and skittish in all motions else, 
Save in the constant image of the creature 
That is belov'd.— 

Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, 

Description of languishing Love. 

O fellow, come, the song we had last night : — 

Mark it, Cesario ; it is old and plain ; 

The spinsters, and the knitters in the sun, 

And the free maids that weave their thread with bones, 

Do use to chaunt it ; it is silly sooth, 

And dallies with the innocence of love 

Like to old age. Ibid. 

If musick be the food of love, play on ; 
Give me excess of it ; that, surfeiting, 
The appetite may sicken, and so die — 
That strain again ; — it had a dying fall ; 
O, it came o'er my ear, like the sweet south, 
That breathes upon a bank of violets, 
Stealing and giving adour. — Enough, no more, 
Tis not so sweet now, as it was before. 
O spirit of love, how quick and fresh art thou ! 
That, notwithstanding thy capacity 
Receiveth as the sea, nought enters there, 
Of what validity and pitch soever, 
But fails into abatement and low price, 
Even in a minute ! so full of shapes is Fancy, 
That it alone is high fantastical. Twelfth Night. 

Delight in Love. 

What you do 
Still betters what is done. When you speak, sweet, 
I'd have you do it ever : When you sing, 
I'd have you buy and sell so ; so give alms, 


Fray so ; and, for the ordering your affairs, 

To sing them too : When you do dance, I wish you 

A wave o'the sea, that you might ever do 

Nothing but that ; move still, still so, 

And own no other function : each your doing, 

So singular in each particular, 

Crowns what you are doing in the present deeds, 

That all your acts are queens. Ibid. Winter's Tale. 

Protestation in Love. 

O, hear me breathe my life 

Before this ancient Sir, who, it should seem, 

Hath some time lov'd : I take thy hand ; this hand, 

As soft as dove's down, and as white as it ; 

Or Ethiopian s tooth, or the fann'd snow, 

That's bolted by the northern blasts twice o'er. 

Shakespeare's Winter's Tale. 

Love complaining. 

Ay, Protheus, but that life is alter'd now ; 
I have done penance for contemning Love, 
Whose high imperious thoughts have punish' d me 
With bitter fasts, with penitential groans, 
With nightly tears, and daily heart-sore sighs : 
For in revenge of my contempt of Love, 
Love hath chas'd sleep from my enthralled eyes, 
And made them watchers of mine own heart's sorrow. 
O gentle Protheus, Love's a mighty lord, 
And hath so humbled me, as I confess 
There is no woe to his correction ; 
Nor to his service, any joy on earth ; 
Now no discourse except it be of Love ; 
Now can I break my fast, dine, sup, and sleep, 
Upon the very simple name of Love. 

Shakespeare's Two Gent, of Verona. 


Pity is benevolence to the afflicted. It is a mix- 
ture of love for an object that suffers, and a grief 
that we are not able to remove those sufferings. It 
shows itself in a compassionate tenderness of voice, a 
feeling of pain in the countenance, and a gentle rais- 
ing and falling of the hands and eyes, as if mourning 


over the unhappy object. The mouth is open, the 
eye-brows are drawn down, and the features contract- 
ed or drawn together. See p. 314, 315. 

Pity in plaintive narration. 

As in a theatre the eyes of men, 
After a well-grac'd actor leaves the stage, 
Are idly bent on him that enters next, 
Thinking his prattle to be tedious, 
Even so, or with much more contempt, men's eyes 
Did scowl on Richard ; no man cry'd God save him ; 
No joyful tongue gave him his welcome home : 
But dust was thrown upon his sacred head ; 
Which with such gentle sorrow he shook off— 
His face still combating with tears and smiles, 
The badges of his grief and patience, — 
That had not God, for some strong purpose, steePd 
The hearts of men, they must perforce have melted, 
And barbarism itself have pitied him. 
But heaven hath a hand in those events ; 
To whose high will we bound our calm contents. 

Shakespeare* s Rich. II* 

Pity for falling greatness. 

Ah, Richard ! with eyes of heavy mind, 
I see thy glory like a shooting star. 
Fall to the base earth, from the firmament ! 
Thy sun sits weeping in the lowly west, 
"Witnessing storms to come, woe and unrest ; 
Thy friends are fled, to wait upon thy foes, 
And crossly to thy good all fortune goes. Ibid, 

Pity for a departed Friend, 

Alas ! Poor Yorick ! I knew him, Horatio ; a fellow of in- 
finite jest, of most excellent fancy : he hath borne me on his 
back a thousand times : and now how abhorred in my imagin- 
ation it is ; my gorge rises at it. Here hung those lips that 
I have kissed, I know not how oft. Where be your gibes now ? 
Your gambols ? Your songs ? Your flashes of merriment, 
that were wont to set the table on a roar ? Not one now to 
mock your own grinning ? Quite chop-fallen ? Now get 
you to my lady's chamber, and tell her, .ether paint an inch 
thick, to this favour she must come ; make her laugh at that. — 

Ibid, Hamlet* 


Pity for the object beloved. 

Poor lord ! is 't 1 
That chase thee from thy country, and expose 
Those tender limbs of thine to the event 
Of the none- sparing war ? and is it I 
That drive thee from the sportive court, where thou 
Wast shot at with fair eyes, to be the mark 
Of smoky muskets ? O you leaden messengers, 
That ride upon the violent speed of fire, 
Fly with false aim : move the still-piercing air, 
That sings with piercing, do not touch my lord ! 
Whoever shoots at him, 1 set him there ; 
Whoever charges on his forward breast, 
I am the catifF, that do hold him to it ; 
And, though I kill him not, 1 am the cause 
His death was so effected : better 'twere 
1 met the raven lion when he roar'd 
With sharp constraint of hunger ; better 'twere 
That all the miseries which nature owes, 
Were mine at once : No, come thou home, Rougillon, 
Whence honour but of danger wins a scar ; 
As oft it loses all ; I will be gone : 
My being here it is, that holds thee hence ; 
Shall I stay here to do't ? no, no, although 
The air of paradise did fan the house, 
And angels offic'd all ! I will be gone. 

Shakespeare's AWs Well, i$c. 

P Ity for youth over-watched. 

Luc I have slept, my lord, already. 

Bru It was well done ; and thou shalt sleep again ; 
I shall not hold thee long : if I do live, 
I will be good to thee. [Mustek, and a song. 

This is a sleepy tune ; O murd'rous slumber ! 
Lay'st thou thy leaden mace upon my boy, 
That plays thee musick ? — Gentle knave, good night ; 
I will not do thee so much wrong to wake thee. 
If thou dost nod, thou break'st thy instrument ; 
I'll take it from thee, and, good boy, good night ! 

Ibid. Jul. Cas. 


Hope is a mixture of desire and joy, agitating 
the mind, and anticipating its enjoyment, It e 


rects and and brightens the countenance, spreads the 
arms, with the hands open, as to receive the object 
of its wishes : the voice is plaintive, and inclining to 
eagerness ; the breath drawn inwards more forcibly 
than usual, in order to express our desires the more 
strongly, and our earnest expectation of receiving the 
object of them. 

Collins, in his Ode on the Passions, gives us a 
beautiful picture of Hope : 

But thou, O Hope, with eyes so fair, 

What was thy delighted measure ? 

Still it whisper'd promis'd pleasure, 

And bade the lovely scenes at distance hail ; 

Still would her touch the strain prolong, 

And from the rocks, the woods, the vale, 

She call'd on echo still through all the song ; 

And where her sweetest theme she chose, 

A soft responsive voice was heard at every close, 

And Hope, enchanted, smil'd, and wav'd her golden hair. 

Hope from approaching Nuptials* 

Now, fair Hippolita, our nuptial hour 
Draws on apace, four happy days brings in 
Another moon ; but oh ! methinks, how slow 
This old moon wanes ! she lingers my desires, 
Like to a step dame, or a dowager, 
Long-withering out a young man's revenue. 

Shakesp. Midsum, Night's Dream* 

Hope of good tidings, 

O Hope, sweet flatterer, whose delusive touch 
Sheds on afflicted minds the balm of comfort ; 
Relieves the load of poverty ; sustain s 
The captive bending with the weight of bonds, 
And smooths the pillow of disease and pain ; 
Send back th* exploring messenger with joy, 
And let me hail thee from that friendly grove. 

Glover's Boadicea. 

When, by frequent reflection on a disagreeable ob- 
ject, our disapprobation of it is attended with a disin- 


dination of mind towards it, it is called hatred. 
When our hatred and disapprobation of any object 
are accompanied with a painful sensation upon the 
apprehension of its presence or approach, there fol- 
lows an inclination to avoid it, called aversion. 

Hatred, or aversion, draws back the body as to 
avoid the hated object ; the hands at the same time 
thrown out spread, as if to keep it off. The face 
is turned away from that side towards which the hands 
are thrown out ; the eyes looking angrily, and obliquely 
the same way the hands are directed; the eye -brows are 
contracted, the upper lip disdainfully drawn up, and 
the teeth set ; the pitch of the voice is low, but loud 
and harsh, the tone chiding, unequal, surly, and 
vehement, the sentences are short and abrupt. 

A description and example of this passion from 
Shakespeare is given in the introduction to these 
examples, p. 313. To these we shall add a few 
others : 

Hatred cursing the object hated. 

Poison be their drink, 
Gall, worse than gall, the daintiest meat they taste ; 
Their sweetest shade a grove of cypress trees, 
Their sweetest prospects murd'ring basilisks, 
Their softest touch as smart as lizard's stings, 
Their musick frightful as the serpent's hiss, 
And boding screech-owls make the concert full ; 
All the foul terrours of dark-seated hell. Shakesp.Hen. VI. 

This seems imitated by Dr. Young. 

Why get thee gone, horrour and night go with thee. 
Sisters of Acheron, go hand in hand, 
Go dance about the bow'r and close them in ; 
And tell them that I sent you to salute them. 
Profane the ground, and for uY ambrosial rose 
And breath of jessamin, let hemlock blacken, 
And deadly flight- shade poison all the air : 
For the sweet nightingale may ravens croak, 
Toads pant, and adders rustle through the leaves : 
May serpents, winding up the trees, let fall 


Their hissing necks upon them from above, 
And mingle kisses — such as I would give them. 


Hatred of a rival in glory. 

He is my bane, I cannot bear him ; 
One heaven and earth can never hold us both ; 
Still shall we hate, and with defiance deadly- 
Keep rage alive till one be lost for ever ; 
As if two suns should meet in one meridian, 
And strive in fiery combat for the passage. 

Rowe's Tamerlane. 


When hatred and displeasure rise high on a sud- 
den from an apprehension of injury received, and 
perturbation of mind in consequence of it, it is called 
anger ; and rising to a very high degree, and ex- 
tinguishing humanity, becomes rage and fury. 

Anger, when violent, expresses itself with rapidity, 
noise, harshness, and sometimes with interruption 
and hesitation, as if unable to utter itself with suf- 
ficient force. It wrinkles the brows, enlarges and 
heaves the nostrils, strains the muscles, clinches the 
fist, stamps with the foot, and gives a violent agitation 
to the whole body. The voice assumes the high- 
est tone it can adopt consistently with force and loud- 
ness, though sometimes to express anger with un- 
common energy, the voice assumes a low and for- 
cible tone. 

Narrative in suppressed Anger. 

My liege, I did deny no prisoners. 
But I remember when the fight was done, 
When I was dry with rage, and extreme toil, 
Breathless and faint, leaning upon my sword, 
Came there a certain lord, neat, trimly dress'd, 
Fresh as a bridegroom ; and his chin, new reap'd* 
Show'd like a stubble land at harvest-home : 
He was perfumed like a milliner ; 
And 'twixt his finger and his thumb he held 


A pouncet-box which ever and anon, 

He gave his nose, and took't away again ; — 

Who, therewith angry when it next came there, 

Took it in snuff — and still he smil'd and talk'd, 

And as the soldiers bore dead bodies by, 

He call'd them — untaught knaves, unmannerly, 

To bring a slovenly, unhandsome corse 

Betwixt the wind and his nobility. 

With many holiday and lady terms, 

He question'd me, among the rest demanded 

My prisoners, in your majesty's behalf. 

I then all smarting with my wounds being cold, 

To be so pestered with a popinjay, 

Out of my grief and my impatience 

Answer'd neglectingly, I know not what, 

He should, or he should not ; — for he made me mad, 

To see him shine so brisk, and smell so sweet, 

And talk so like a waiting gentlewoman, 

Of guns, and drums, and wounds, (heav'n save the mark!) 

And telling me the sovereign'st thing on earth, 

Was^parmacity for an inward bruise ; 

And that it was great pity, so it was, 

That villanous salt-petre should be digg'd 

Out of the bowels of the harmless earth, 

Which many a good tall fellow had destroy'd 

So cowardly ; and but for these vile guns, 

He would himself have been a soldier. 

This bald, unjointed chat of his, my lord, 

I answer'd indirectly, as I said, 

And I beseech you, let not his report, 

Come current for an accusation, 

Betwixt my love and your high majesty. 

Shakespeare's Henry IV. First Pari* 

Scorn and violent Anger, reproving. 

Tut! tut! 
Grace me no grace, nor uncle me no uncle, 
I am no traitor's uncle ; and that word — grace 
In an ungracious mouth is but profane ; 
Why have those banish'd and forbidden legs 
Dar'd once to touch a dust of England's ground ? 
But more than why — Why have they dar'd to march 
So many miles upon her peaceful bosom ; 
Frighting her pale fac'd villages with war, 
And ostentation of despised arms ? 
Com'st thou because the anointed king is hence? 


Why foolish boy, the king is left behind) 

And in my loyal bosom lies his pow'r. 

Were I but now the lord of such hot youth 

As when brave Gaunt, thy father, and myself 

Rescu'd the Black Prince, that young Mars ofmer^ 

From forth the ranks of many thousand French ; 

Oh, then, how quickly should this arm of mine, 

Now prisoner to the palsy, chastise thee, 

And minister correction to thy fault ! Shakes. Rich. IL 


Revenge is a propensity and endeavour to injure 
the offender, which is attended with triumph and ex - 
ultation when the injury is accomplished. It ex 
presses itself like malice, but more openly, loudly, 
and triumphantly. 

Determined Revenge, >• 

I know not : if they speak but truth of her 

These hands shall tear her ; if they wrong her honour, 

The proudest of them shall well hear of it. 

Time hath not yet so dry'd this blood of mine, 

Nor age so eat up my invention, 

Nor fortune made such havock of my means, 

Nor my bad life 'reft me so much of friends, 

But they shall find awak'd in such a kind, 

Both strength of limb and policy of mind, 

Ability in means, and choice of friends 

To quit me of them thoroughly. Ibid, Much 4do, &e* 

Eager Revenge. 

Oh, I could play the woman with mine eyes, 

And braggart with my tongue ! — But, gentle heav'np 

Cut short all intermission : front to front, 

Bring thou this fiend of Scotland, and myself ; 

Within my sword's length set him ; if he 'scape, 

Heav'n forgive him too ! Shahs. Macbeth* 

Unrestrained Fury. 

Alive ! in triumph ! and Mercutio slain t 
Away to heaven, respective lenity, 


And fire-ey'd fury be my conduct now !— 
Now, Tybalt, take the villain back again, 
That late thou gav'st me ; for Mereutio's soul 
Is but a little way above our heads 
Staying for thine to keep him company, 
And thou or I, or both, shall follow him. 

Romeo and Juliet. 


Reproach is settled anger or hatred chastising the 
object of dislike, by casting in his teeth the severest 
censures upon his imperfections or misconduct : 
the brow is contracted, the lip turned up with scorn, 
the head shaken, the voice low, as if abhorring, and 
the whole body expressive of aversion. 

Reproaching with Stupidity and Inconstancy. 

Wherefore rejoice ? What conquest brings he home ? 

What tributaries follow him to Rome, 

To grace in captive bonds his chariot wheels ? 

You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things i 

O, you hard hearts, you cruel men of Rome, 

Knew ye not Pompey ? Many a time and oft 

Have you climb' d up to walls and battlements, 

To tow'rs and windows, yea, to chimney tops, 

Your infants in your arms, and there have sat 

The live-long day, with patient expectation, 

To see great Pompey pass the streets of Rome ; 

And when you saw his chariot but appear, 

Have you not made an universal shout, 

That Tyber trembled underneath his banks. 

To hear the replication of your sounds, 

Made in his concave shores ? 

And do you now put on your best attire ? 

And do you now cull out a holiday ? 

And do you now strew flowers in his way, 

That comes in triumph over Pompey's blood ? 

Be gone ; 

Run to your houses ; fall upon your knees, 

Pray to the gods to intermit the plague, 

That needs must light on this ingratitude. 

Shakesp* Jul, Cat, 

334 ELEMENTS 0* 

Reproaching with want of Friendship. 

You have done that you should be sorry for. 
There is no terrour, Cassius, in your threats ; 
For 1 am arm'd so strong in honesty, 
That they pass by me, as the idle wind, 
Which I respect not. I did send to you 
For certain sums of gold, which you deny'd me ; 
For I can raise no money by vile means ; 
No, Cassius, I had rather coin my heart, 
And drop my blood for drachmas, than to wring 
From the hard hands of peasants their vile trash 
By any indirection. I did send 
To you for gold to pay my legions, 
Which you deny'd me : Was that done like Cassius ? 
Should I have answer'd Caius Cassius so ? 
When Marcus Brutus grows so covetous, 
To lock such rascal -counters from his friends, 
Be ready, gods, with all your thunderbolts, 
Dash him to pieces. Ibid* 

Reproaching with want of Manliness, 

O proper stuff ! 
This is the very painting of your fears ; 
This is the air-drawn dagger, which, you said, 
L.ed you to Duncan. Oh, these flaws and starts, 
(Impostors to true fear) would well become 
A woman's story, at a winter's fire, 
Authoriz'd by her grandam. Shame itself ! 
Why do you make such faces I When all's done, 
You look but on a stool. Ibid. Macbeth . 

Reproaching with want of Courage and Spirit. 

■ Thou slave, thou wretch, thou coward, 
Thou little valiant, great in villany ! 
Thou ever strong upon the stronger side ! 
Thou fortune's champion, thou dost never fight 
But when her humorous ladyship is by 
To teach thee safety ! thou art perjur'd too, 
And sooth'st up greatness. What a fool art thou, 
A ramping fool ; to brag and stamp, and swear, 
Upon my party ! Thou cold-blooded slave, 
Hast thou not spoke like thunder on my side, 
Been sworn my soldier ? Bidding me depend 
Upon thy stars, thy fortune, and thy strength ?• 


And dost thou now fall over to my foes ? 
Thou wear a lion's hide ! doff it for shame, 
And hang a calf's skin on those recreant limbs. 

King John* 


Fear is a mixture of aversion and sorrow, discom- 
posing and debilitating the mind upon the approach 
or anticipation of evil. When this is attended with 
surprise and much discomposure, it grows into ter- 
rour and consternation. 

Fear, violent and sudden, opens wide the eyes and 
mouth, shortens the nose, gives the countenance an 
air of wildness, covers it with deadly paleness, draws 
back the elbows parallel with the sides, lifts up the 
open hands, with the fingers spread, to the height of 
the breast, at some distance before it, so as to shield 
it from the dreadful object. One foot is drawn back 
behind the other, so that the body seems shrinking 
from the danger, and putting itself in a posture for 
flight. The heart beats violently, the breath is 
quick and short, and the whole body is thrown 
into a general tremour. The voice is weak and 
trembling, the sentences are short, and the meaning 
confused and incoherent. 

Terrour before dreadful Actions described* 

Between the acting of a dreadful thing, 
And the first motion, all the interim is 
Like a phantasma, or a hideous dream $ 
The genius, and the mortal instruments, 
Are then in council, and the state of man, 
Like to a little kingdom, suffers then 
The nature of an insurrection. Shakespeare's Jul. Cas, 

Terrour of Evening and Night described. 

Light thickens, and the crow 

Makes wing to the rooky wood ; 

Good things of day begin to droop and drowse 5 

While night's black agents to their prey do rouse. 


Thou marvell'st at my words : but hold thee still y 
Things, bad begun, make strong themselves by ill. 

Ibid. Macbeth, 

Fear from a dreadful Object. 

Angels and ministers of grace defend us — 
Be thou a spirit of health, or goblin damn'd, 
Bring with thee airs from heav'n, or blasts from hell, 
Be thy intents wicked or charitable, 
Thou com'st in such a questionable shape 
That I will speak to thee. 
Save me, and hover o'er me with your wings, 
You heav'nly guards ! — what would your gracious figure ? 

Ibid. Hamlet. 

Horrour at a dreadful Apparition. 

How ill this taper burns ! ha ! who comes here ? 
I think it is the weakness of my eyes, 
That shapes this monstrous apparition — 
It comes upon me — Art thou any thing ? 
Art thou some God, some angel, or some devil, 
That mak'st my blood cold, and my hair to start, 
Speak to me, what thou art. Ibid. Julius Casar. 

Terrour from committing Murder. 

Mac. I've done the deed — didst not thou hear a noise ? 

Lady. I heard the owl scream, and the crickets cry. 
Did you not speak ? 

Mac. When ? 

Lady. Now. 

Mac. As I descended ? 

Lady. Ay. 

Mac. Hark ! — who lies i' th* second chamber ? 

Lady. Donalbaln. 

Mac. This is a sorry sight. 

Lady. A foolish thought to say a sorry sight. 

Mac. There's one did laugh in his sleep, and one cry'd 
murder ! 
That they did wake each other ; I stood and heard them : 
But they did say their pray'rs, and address'd them 
Again to sleep. 

Shakespeare s Macbeth, 


Fear of being discovered in Murder* 

Alas, I am afraid they have awak'd, 
And 'tis not done ; th' attempt, and not the deed, 

Confounds us Hark ! I laid the daggers ready, 

He could not miss them. Had he not resembled 
My father as he slept, I had done it. 

Shakespeare's Macbeth, 


Sorrow is a painful depression of spirit, upon the 
deprivation of good, or arrival of evil ; when it is 
silent and thoughtful, it is sadness ; when long in- 
dulged, so as to prey upon and possess the mind, it 
becomes habitual, and grows into melancholy ; when 
tossed by hopes and fears, it is distraction ; when 
these are swallowed up by it, it settles into despair. 

In moderate sorrow, the countenance is dejected, 
the eyes are cast downward, the arms hang loose, 
sometimes a little raised, suddenly to fall again ; the 
hands open, the fingers spread, and the voice plaintive, 
frequently interrupted with sighs. But when this 
passion is in excess, it distorts the countenance, as 
if in agonies of pain ; it raises the voice to the loud- 
est complainings, and sometimes even to cries and 
shrieks ; it wrings the hands, beats the head and 
breast, tears the hair, and throws itself on the ground ; 
and, like other passions, in excess, seems to border- 
on frenzy. 


Anth, In sooth, I know not why I am so sad'. 
It wearies me ; you say it wearies you : 
But how I caught it, found it, or came by it, 
What stuff 'tis made of, whereof it is born, 
I am to learn. 

And such a want-wit sadness makes of me, 
That I have much ado to know myself. 

Gra. You look not well, signor Anthonio ; 
You have too much respect upon the world : 
They lose it that do buy it with much care ; 


Believe me, you are marvellously chang'd. 

Anth. I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano j 
A stage, where every one must play his part ; 
And mine's a sad one. Shakespeare s Merchant of Venice, 

Deep Melancholy described. 

She never told her love, 
But let concealment, like a worm i* th' bud, 
Feed on her damask cheek. She pin'd in thought, 
And with a green and yellow melancholy 
She sat like Patience on a monument 
Smiling at Grief. Ibid. Twelfth Night. 

Pensive foreboding. 

My mother had a maid call'd Barbara, 
She was in love ; and he she lov'd prov'd mad, 
And did forsake her : she had a song of willow 
An old thing 'twas, but it express'd her fortune, 
And she dy'd singing it : That song to night 
Will not go from my mind, I have much to do 
But to go hang my head all o* one side, 
And sing it like poor Barbara. Ibid, Othello , 

Silent Grief, 

Seems, madam ! nay, it is : I know not seems, 
*Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother^ 
Nor customary suits of solemn black, 
Nor windy suspiration of fore'd breath ; 
No, nor the fruitful river in the eye, 
Nor the dejected 'haviour of the visage, 
Together with all forms, modes, shows of grief 
That can denote me truly : These indeed seem, 
For they are actions that a man might play ; 
But I have that within which passeth show, 
These but the trappings and the fruits of woe. 

Ibid, Hamlet. 

Inward Sorrow* 

Say that again. 
The shadow of my sorrow ! Ha ! let's see :-— 
3 Tis very true, my grief lies all within ; 
And these external manners of lament 


Are merely shadows to the unseen grief 
That swells with silence in my tortured soul ; 
Tltere lies the substance : and I thank thee, king, 
For thy great bounty, that not only giv'st 
Me cause to wail, but teachest me the way 
How to lament the cause. I'll beg one boon, 
And then be gone, and trouble you no more. 

Ibid. Rich. II. 

Sorrow forgetful of its Intentions. 

Yet one word more ; — Grief boundeth where it falls. 
Not with the empty hollowness, but weight ; 
I take my leave before I have begun, 
For sorrow ends not when it seemeth done. 
Commend me to my brother, Edmund York, 
Lo, this is all : — nay, yet depart not so ; 
Though this be all, do not so quickly go, 
I shall remember more. Bid him — Oh, what ? 
With all good speed at Flashy visit me. 
Alack, and what shall good old York there see, 
But empty lodgings, and unfurnish'd walls, 
Unpeopled offices, untrodden stones ? 
And what hear there for welcome but my groans $ 
Therefore commend me ; let him not come there 
To seek out sorrow that dwells every where 5 
Desolate, desolate, will I hence, and die ; 
The last leave of thee takes my weeping eye. 

Ibid. Rich. II. 

Grief deploring loss of Happiness. 

I had been happy, if the general camp, 

Pioneers and all, had wrong'd my love, 

So had I nothing known : O now for ever, 

Farewell the tranquil mind ; farewell content, 

Farewell the plumed troop and the big war 

That make ambition virtue ! O farewell, 

Farewell the neighing steed, and the shrill trump, 

The spirit-stirring drum, the ear piercing fife, 

The royal banner, and all quality, 

Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war ! 

Farewell ! Othello's occupation's gone. Ibid. Othello 

Grief approaching to Madness. 

Pand. Lady, you utter madness, and not sorrow. 
Const. Thou art unholy to belie me so 5 


I am not mad ; this hair I tear is mine ; 

My name is Constance ; I was Geffrey's wife j. 

Young Arthur is my son, and he is lost : 

I am not mad ; — I would to heaven I were ! 

For then 'tis like I should forget myself: 

Oh, if I could, what grief should I forget ! 

Preach some philosophy to make me mad, 

And, cardinal, thou shalt be canoniz'd ; 

For, being not mad, but sensible of grief, 

My reasonable part produces reason 

How I may be delivered of these woes, 

And teaches me to kill or hang myself : 

If 1 were mad, I should forget my son, 

Or madly think a babe of clouts were he ; 

I am not mad ; too well, too well I feel 

The different plague of each calamity. Ibid. King John, 

Grief mixed with Pity, assuming a Smile. 

Grief fills the room up of my absent child, 

Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me ; 

Puts on his pretty looks, repeats his words, 

Remembers me of all his gracious parts, 

Stuffs out his vacant garments with his form, 

Then have I reason to be fond ot grief. Ibid. 

Grief approaching to Distraction. 

Thou canst not speak of what thou dost not feel ; 

Wert thou as young as I, Juliet thy love, 

An hour but married, Tybalt murder'd, 

Doating like me, and like me banished, 

Then might'st thou speak, then might'st thou tear thy 

And fall upon the ground as I do now, 
Taking the measure of an unmade grave. 

Ibid. Romeo and Juliet. 

Grief choking Expression. 

Macd. My children too ! 

Rosse. Wife, children, servants, all that could be found ! 

Macd. And I must be from thence ! my wife kili'd too ? 

Rosse. Fve said. 

MaL Be comforted. 
Let's make us med'cines of our great revenge, 
To cure this deadly grief. 


Macd. He has no children ! 
What all my pretty ones ? Did you say all ? 
What, all ? 

Mai. Endure it like a man. 

Macd. I shall. 
But I must also feel it as a man. 
I cannot but remember such things were 
That were most precious to me : did heav'n look on, 
.And would not take their part \ Sinful Macduff, 
They were all struck for thee ! naught that I am ! 
Not for their own demerits, but for mine, 
Fell slaughter on their souls : heaven rest them now. 

Ibid. Macbeth. 


Remorse, or a painful remembrance of criminal 
actions or pursuits, casts down the countenance, and 
clouds it with anxiety, hangs down the head, shakes 
it with regret, just raises the eyes as if to look up, 
and suddenly casts them down again with sighs ; the 
right hand sometimes beats the breast, and the whole 
body writhes as with self aversion. The voice has 
a harshness as in hatred, and inclines to a low and 
reproachful tone. 

Keen Remorse for Drunkenness. 

I remember a mass of things, but nothing distinctly; a 
quarrel, but nothing wherefore. O that men should put an enemy 
in their mouths to steal away their brains ! that we should with 
joy, pleasure, revel, and applause, transform ourselves into 
beasts ! I will ask him for my place again ; he shall tell me I 
am a drunkard : Had I as many mouths as Hydra, such an 
answer would stop them all. To be now a sensible man, by 
and by a fool, and presently a beast ! O strange ! every inor- 
dinate cup is unblessed, and the ingredient is a devil. 

Ibid. Othello. 

Remorse for Treachery and Ingratitude. 

I am alone the villain of the earth ; 

And feel I am so most. O Anthony, 

Thou mine of bounty, how wouldst thou have paid 


My better service, when my turpitude 

Thou dost so crown with gold ! This blows my heart ; 

If swift thought break it not, a swifter mean 

Shall out-strike thought ; but thought wi'l do't I feel— 

I fight against thee ! — No : I will go seek 

Some ditch wherein to die ; the foulest best 

Befits my latter part of life. Ibid. Ant. and Cleo. 

Reproach and Remorse for Murder of an innocent Child. 

Oh, when the last account 'twixt heaven and earth 
Is to be made, then shall this hand and seal 
Witness against us to damnation ! 
How oft the sight of means to do ill deeds 
Makes deeds ill done ! Hadst thou not been by, 
A fellow by the hand of Nature mark'd, 
Quoted and sign'd to do a deed of shame, 
This murder had not come into my mind, 
But taking note of thy abhorr'd aspect, 
Finding thee fit for bloody villany 
Apt, liable to be employed in danger, 
1 faintly broke with thee of Arthur's death ; 
And thou to be endeared to a king, 
Mads't it no conscience to destroy a prince. 

Ibid. King John* 


Despair, as in a condemned criminal, or one who 
has lost all hope of salvation, bends the eye-brows 
downwards, clouds the forehead, rolls the eyes fright- 
fully, opens the mouth horizontally, bites the lips, 
widens the nostrils, and gnashes the teeth. The 
arms are sometimes bent at the elbows, the fists 
clinched hard, the veins and muscles swelled, the 
skin livid, the whole body strained and violently ag- 
itated ; while groans of inward torture are more fre- 
quently uttered than words. If any words, they are 
few, and expressed with a sullen eager bitterness, 
the tone of the voice often loud and furious, and 
sometimes in the same note for a considerable time. 
This state of human nature is too frightiul to dwell 
upon, and almost improper for imitation ; for if death 


cannot be counterfeited without too much shocking 
our humanity ; despair, which exhibits a state ten 
thousand times more terrible than death, ought to be 
viewed with a kind of reverence to the great Author 
of Nature, who seems sometimes to exhibit to us 
this agony of mind as a warning to avoid that wick- 
edness which produces it. 

Shakespeare has most exquisitely touched this 
fearful situation of human nature, where he draws 
cardinal Beaufort, after a wicked life, dying in des- 
pair, and terrified with the murder of duke Hum- 
phrey, to which he was accessary. 

K. Hen. How fares my lord ? speak, Beaufort, to thy sove- 

Car. If thou be'st Death I'll give thee England's treasure, 
Enough to purchase such another island, 
So thou wilt let me live and feel no pain. 

K. Hen Ah, what a sign it is of evil life, 
When death's approach is seen so terrible ! 

War. Beaufort, it is thy sovereign speaks to thee. 

Car. Bring me to my trial when you will, 
Dy'd he not in his bed ? where should he die ? 
Can I make men live, whether they will or no ?— 
Oh ! torture me no more, I will confess. — 
Alive again ? then show me where he is, 
I'll give a thousand pounds to look upon him — 
He hath no eyes, the dust hath blinded them-— 
Comb down his hair ; look ! look ! it stands upright, 
Like lime-twigs to catch my winged soul ! 
Give me some drink, and bid the apothecary 
Bring the strong poison that I bought of him. 

K. Hen. O thou Eternal Mover of the heavens, 
Look down with gentle eye upon this wretch ; 
O beat away the busy meddling fiend 
That lays strong siege unto this wretch's soul, 
And from his bosom purge this bleak despair ! 

War. See how the pangs of death do make him grin. 

Sal. Disturb him not, let him pass peaceably. 

K. Hen. Peace to his soul, if God's good pleasure be !' 
Lord Cardinal, if thou think'st on heav'n's bliss, 
Hold up thy hand, make signal of thy hope, — 
Pe dies aud makes no sign ; O God, forgive him. 

Ibid. 2d Part, Henry VI. 


The bare situation of the characters, the pause 
and the few plain words of King Henry, he dies 
and makes no sign f have more of the real sublime 
in them than volumes of the laboured speeches in 
most of our modern tragedies, which, in the em- 
phatical language of Shakespeare, may be said to 
be " full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." 


An uncommon object produces wonder ; if it ap- 
pears suddenly, it begets surprise ; surprise contin- 
uing becomes amazement ; and if the object of 
wonder comes gently to the mind, and arrests the 
attention by its beauty or grandeur, it excites ad- 
miration, which is a mixture of approbation and 
wonder ; so true is that observation of Dr. Young, 
in the tragedy of the Revenge : 

Late time shall wonder, that my joys shall raise, 
For wonder is involuntary praise. 

Wonder or amazement opens the eyes, and makes 
them appear very prominent. It sometimes raises 
them to the skies, but more frequently fixes them 
on the object ; the mouth is open, and the hands 
are held up nearly in the attitude of fear ; the voice 
is at first low, but so emphatical, that every word 
is pronounced slowly and with energy : When, by 
the discovery of something excellent in the object 
of wonder, the emotion may be called admiration, 
the eyes are raised, the hands lifted up, or clapped 
together, and the voice elated with expressions of 

Surprise at unexpected Events. 

Gone to be marry'd, gone to swear a peace ! 
False blood to false blood join'd ! Gone to be friends ! 
Shall Lewis have Blanch ? and Blanch those provinces ? 


It is not so : Thou hast mis-spoke, mis-heard ? 

Be well advis'd, tell o'er thy tale again : 

It cannot be > thou dost but say 'tis so, 

What dost thou mean by shaking of thy head ? 

Why dost thou look so sadly on my son ? 

What means that hand upon that breast of thine ? 

Why holds thine eye that lamentable rheum, 

Lake a proud river peering o'er his bounds ? 

Be these sad sighs confirmers of thy words ? 

Then speak again ; not all thy former tale, 

But this one word, whether thy tale be true. 

Shahspeari s K. John* 

Amazement at strange News, 

Old men and beldames, in the streets, 
Do prophesy upon it dangerously ; 
Young Arthur's death is common in their mouths ; 
And when they talk of him they shake their heads, 
And whisper one another in the ear ; 
And he that speaks doth gripe the hearer's wrist 5 
Whilst he that hears makes fearful action, 
With wrinkled brows, with nods, with rolling eyes. 
I saw a smith stand with his hammer thus, 
The whilst his iron did on the anvil cool, 
With open mouth swallowing a tailor's news ; 
Who with his shears and measure in his hand, 
Standing on slippers, (which his nimble haste 
Had falsely thrust upon contrary feet,) 
Told of a many thousand warlike French, 
That were embatteled and rank'd in Kent : 
Another lean unwashed artificer 
Cuts off his tale and talks of Arthur's death. Ibid, 

Emphatich Climax of Astonishment. 

Sir Richard, what think you ? Have you beheld, 
Or, have you read, or heard \ or could you think > 
Or do you almost think, although you see, 
That you do see ? Could thought, without this object. 
Form such another ? This is the very top, 
The height, the crest, or crest unto the crest 
Of Murder's arms : This is the bloodiest shame, 
The wildest savagery, the vilest stroke, 
That ever wall-ey'd Wrath, or starving Rage, 
Presented to the tears of soft Remorse. Ibid, 




When our esteem of ourselves ; or opinion of 
our own rank and merit, is so high as to lessen the 
regard due to the rank and merit of others, it is call- 
ed pride. When it supposes others below our re- 
gard, it is contempt, scorn, or disdain. 

Pride assumes a lofty look, bordering upon the 
aspect and attitude of anger. The eyes full open, 
but with the eye-brows considerably drawn down, 
the mouth pouting, mostly shut, and the lips con- 
tracted. The words are uttered with a slow, stiff, 
bombastick affectation of importance ; the hands 
sometimes rest on the hips, with the elbows brought 
forward, in the position called a-kimbo ; the legs at 
a distance from each other, the steps large and 

Pride asserting Independence. 

Your grace shall pardon me, I will not back ; 
I am too high born to be property'd ; 
To be a secondary at control, 
Or useful serving-man and instrument 
To any sov'reign state throughout the world. 
Your breath first kindled the dead coal of war 
Between this chastis'd kingdom and myself, 
And brought in rr that should feed this fire ; 
And now 'tis far too huge to be blown out 
With that same weak wind which enkindled it. 
You taught me how to know the face of right, 
Acquainted me with interest to this land ; 
Yea, thrust this enterprize into my heart ; 
And come ye now to tell me John hath made 
His peace with Rome ? What is that peace to me ? 
I, by the honour of my marriage bed, 
After young Authur, claim this land for mine ; 
And, now it is half conquered, must I back, 
Because that John hath made his peace with Rome ? 
Am I Rome's slave ? What penny hath Rome borne, 
What men provided, what munition sent, 
To underprop this action ? Pst not I 
,That undergo this charge ? Who else but I, 


And such as to my claim are liable, 

Sweat in this business, and maintain this war ? 

Have I not heard these islanders shout out, 

Vive le Roy I as I have bank'd their towns ? 

Have I not here the best cards for the game, 

To win this easy match play'd for a crown ? 

And shall I now give o'er the yielded set ? 

No, no, on my soul, it never shall be said. Shakesp. K.John 

Pride bordering on Contempt, 

Worcester, get thee gone, for I do see 
Danger and disobedience in thine eye : 
O, sir, your presence is too bold and peremptory, 
And majesty might never yet endure 
The moody frontier of a servant brow. 
You have have good leave to leave us ; when we need 
Your use and counsel, we shall send for you. 

Shakespeare's Hen. IV. 


Confidence is hope, elated by security of success 
in obtaining its object ; and courage is the contempt 
of any unavoidable danger in the execution of what 
is resolved upon : in both, the head is erect, the 
breast projected, the countenance clear and open, 
the accents are strong, round, and not too rapid ; 
the voice firm and even. Boasting exaggerates these 
appearances by loudness, blustering, and what is not 
unaptly called swaggering : The arms are placed a- 
kimbo, the foot stamped on the ground, the head 
drawn back with pride, the legs take large strides, 
and the voice swells into bombast. 

Cotifidence in one beloved. 

Base men that use them to so base effect ; 
But truer stars did govern Proteus' birth ; 
His words are bonds, his oaths are oracles, 
His love sincere, his thought immaculate, 
His tears pure mesengers sent from his heart, 
His heart as far from fraud as heav'n from earth. 

Shahs. Two Gent, of Ver. 


Confidence of Success in Combat. 

Baling. O let no noble eye profane a tear 
For me, if I be gor'd with Mowbray's spear i 
As confident as is the faulcon's flight 
Against a bird, do I with Mowbray fight. — 
My loving lord, 1 take my leave of you ! — 
Of you. my noble cousin, lord Aumerle ; — 
INot sick, although 1 have to do with death ; 
But lusty, young, and cheerly drawing breath.— 
Lo, as at English feasts, so I regreet 
The daintiest last, to itiake the end most sweet. 
Oh thou» the earthly author of my blood, 
Whose youthful spirit in me regenerate, 
Doth with a twofold vigour lift me up, 
To reach at victory above my head, — 
Add proof unto mine armour with my prayers ; 
That it may enter Mowbray's waxen coat, 
And furbish new the name of John of Gaunt, 
Even in the lusty 'haviour of his son. Shakes. Rich. II. 

Mouth. However heaven or fortune cast my lot, 
There lives or dies true to king Richard's throne, 
A loyal, just, and upright gentleman ; 
Never did captive with a freer heart, 
Cast off his chains of bondage, and embrace 
His golden, uncontroll'd enfranchisement, 
More than my dancing soul doth celebrate 
This feast of battle with mine adversary. — 
Most mighty liege, — and my companion peers, 
Take from my mouth the wish of happy years : 
As gentle and as jocund, as to jest, 
Go I to fight, truth hath a quiet breast. Ibid, 

Firm determined Resolution in Battle* 

1 am satisfied : 

Cses ir sits down in Alexandria, where 

I will oppose bis fate. Our force by land 

Hath nobly held ; our sever'd navy, too, 

Have knit again, and fleet, threat'ning most sea-like. 

Where hast thou been, my heart ? Dost thou hear, lady \ 

If from the field L should return once more, 

To kiss these lips, I will appear in blood ; 

I and my sword will earn my chronicle j 

There is hope in it yet : 


I will be treble-sinew'd, hearted, breath'd, 

And fight maliciously : for when mine hours 

Were nice and lucky, men did ransom lives 

Of me for jests ; but now Til set my teeth, 

And send to darkness all that stop me. Ibid, Ant. £f Choi* 

Boasting indignant Challenge, 

Show me what thou'lt do : 

Woo't weep ? woo't fight ? woo't fast? woo't tear thyself? 

Woo't drink up Esil ? eat a crocodile ? 

I'll do't — Do'st thou come here to whine, 

To outface me with leaping in her grave ? 

Be buried quick with her, and so will I : 

And if thou prate of mountains, let them throw 

Millions of acres on us ; till our ground, 

Singing its pate against the burning zone, 

Make Ossa like a wart ! Nay, and thou'lt mouth, 

I'll rant as well as thou Ibid. Hamlet* 


These emotions collect the body together as if 
for thoughtful consideration ; the eye-brows are con- 
tracted, the head hanging on the breast, the eyes 
cast downwards, the mouth shut, the lips pursed to- 
gether. Suddenly the whole body alters its aspect, 
as having discovered something, then falls into con- 
templation as before ; the motions of the body are 
restless and unequal, sometimes moving quick, and 
sometimes slow ; the pauses in speaking are long, 
the tone of the voice uneven, the sentences broken 
and unfinished. 

Perplexity from Temptation to Evil. 

From thee ; even from thy virtue !— . 
What's this ? what's this ? Is this her fault or mine ? 
The tempter, or the tempted, who sins most ? 
Not she ; nor doth she tempt ; but it is I, 
That lying by the violet in the sun, 
Do as the carrion does, not as the flower, 
Corrupt with virtuous season. Can it be, 


That modesty may more betray our sense 

Than woman's lightness ? Having waste ground enough^ 

Shall we desire to raze the sanctuary, 

And pitch our evils there ? Oh fie, fie, fie J 

What dost thou ? or what art thou, Angelo ? 

Dost thou desire her foully for those things 

That make her good ? O let her brother live ; 

Thieves for their robbery have authority, 

"When judges steal themselves. What ! do I love her, 

That I desire to hear her speak again, 

And feast upon her eyes ? What i'st I dream on ? 

cunning enemy, that to catch a saint 

With saints dost bait thy hook ! most dangerous 

Is that temptation that doth goad us on 

To sin in loving virtue. Shakesp. Meas. for Meat. 

Perplexity from unexpected Events 

Heaven for his mercy ! what a tide of woes 
Gomes rushing on this woful land at once ! 

1 know not what to do : — I would to heav'n 
(So my untruth hath not provok'd him to it) 
The king had cut off my head with my brother's.-— 
What, are there posts despatch'd for Ireland ? — 
How shall we do for money for these wars ? 

Come, sister, — cousin, I would say ; pray pardon me. 

Go, fellow, get thee home, provide some cans, 

And bring away the armour that is there. — 

Gentlemen, will you go muster men ? If I know 

How, or which way, to order these affairs, 

Thus disorderly thrust into my hands, 

Never believe me. Both are my kinsmen :-— 

The one's my sovereign, whom both my oath 

And duty bids defend ; the other again 

Is my kinsman, whom the king has wrong'd ; 

Whom conscience and my kindred bids to right. 

Weli, somewhat we must do — Come, cousin, I'll 

Dispose of you : go muster up your men, 

And meet me presently at Berkley : Gentlemen, 

1 should to Plashy too j — 

But time will not permit : — All is uneven, 

And every thing is left at six and seven. Ibid. Rich. II. 

Perplexity, how to act on sudden Surprise. 

Yes ; — 'tis iEmilia : — by and by — vShe's dead. 
? Tis like she comes to speak of Cassio's death ; 


The noise was high. — Ha » no more moving > 
Still as the grave. — Shall she come in, wer't good ? 
I think she stirs again : — No. — What's the best. 
If she come in she'll sure speak to my wife. 

Shahsp. Othefh. 


Vexation, besides expressing itself with the looks 5 
gestures, tone, and restlessness of perplexity, adds 
to these, complaint, fretting, and remorse. 

Vexation at neglecting one's duty. 

O what a rogue and peasant slave am I i 
Is it not monstrous, that this player here, 
But in a fiction, in a dream of passion, 
Could force his soul so to his own conceit, 
That from her working, all his visage warm'd, 
Tears in his eyes, distraction in's aspect, 
A broken voice, and his whole function suiting 
With forms to his conceit ! and all for nothing ; 
For Hecuba ! 

What's Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba, 
That he should weep for her ? Ibid. Hamlei. 


Peevishness is an habitual proneness to anger on ev- 
ery slight occasion, and may be called a lower degree 
of anger : it expresses itself, therefore, like anger, but 
more moderately, with half sentences and broken 
speeches uttered hastily. The upper lip is disdain- 
fully drown up, and the eyes are cast obliquely upon 
the object of displeasure. 

Trot. What, art thou angry, Pandarus ? What with me V 

Pan. Because she's akin to me ; therefore, she's not so fair 
as Helen ; an she were not kin to me, she would be as fair on 
Friday as Helen is on Sunday. But what care I ? I care not 
an she were a blackamoor, 'tis all one to me. 

Trot. Say I she is not fair ? 

Pan. I do not care whether you do or no. She's a fool to 
Stay behind her father : let her to the Greeks— and so I'll tell 


her the next time I see her — for my parfe, I'll meddle nor make* 
no more i'th' matter. 

Tro'u Pandarus — 

Pan. Not I. 

Tro'u Sweet Pandarus 

Pan. Pray you speak no more to me — I will leave all as I 
found it — and there's an end. Shakes. Troil. and Cress. 


Envy is a mixture of joy, sorrow, and hatred : it 
is a sorrow arising from the happiness of others en- 
joying a good which we desire, and think we de- 
serve, or a pleasure we receive upon their losing this 
good, for which we hated them. It is nearly akin to 
malice, but much more moderate in its tones and 

Aside the devil turn'd, 

For envy, yet, with jealous leer malign, 

Ey'd them askance, and to himself thus plain'd. 

Sight-hateful, sight-tormenting ! thus these two, 
Imparadis'd in one another's arms, 
The happier Eden, shall enjoy their fill 
Of bliss on bliss : while I to hell am thrust, 
Where neither joy nor love, but fierce desire, 
Among our other torments not the least, 
Still unfulfill'd with pain of longing pines. 

Milton's Paradise Lost. Book iv. v. 502. 


Malice, is an habitual malevolence long continu- 
ed, and watching occasion to exert itself on the hat- 
ed object. This hateful disposition sets the jaws, 
or gnashes the teeth, sends blasting flashes from the 
eyes, stretches the mouth horizontally, clinches both 
the fists, and bends the elbows in a straining man- 
ner to the body. The tone of voice and expression 
are much the same as in anger, but not so loud. 

How like a fawning publican he looks : 
I hate him, for he is a Christian, 


But more for that in low simplicity, 

He lends out money gratis, and brings down 

The rate of usance here with us in Venice. 

If I can catch him once upon the hip, 

I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him. 

He hates our sacred nation, and he rails 

Ev'n there, where merchants most do congregate, 

On me, my bargains, and my well-won thrift, 

Which he calls interest. Cursed be my tribe 

If I forgive him. Shakes. Merchant of Venice. 


Fear of another's endeavouring to prevent our at- 
tainment of the good desired, raises our suspicion ; 
and suspicion of his having obtained, or of being 
likely to obtain it, raises or constitutes jealousy. 
Jealousy between the sexes is a ferment of love, hat- 
red, hope, fear, shame, anxiety, grief, pity, envy, 
pride, rage, cruelty, vengeance, madness, and every 
other tormenting passion which can agitate the hu- 
man mind. Therefore, to express jealousy well, 
one ought to know how to represent justly all these 
passions by turns, and often several of them together. 
Jealousy shows itself by restlessness, peevishness, 
thoughtfulness, anxiety, and absence of mind* 
Sometimes it bursts out into piteous complaint, and 
weeping ; then a gleam of hope, that all is yet well, 
lights up the countenance into a momentary smile. 
Immediately the face, clouded with a general gloom, 
shews the mind overcast again with horrid suspic- 
ions and frightful imaginations. Thus the jealous 
man is a prey to the most tormenting feelings, and is 
alternately tantalized by hope, and plunged into des- 
pair. Shakespeare, as if unable to express these 
feelings, makes Othello cry out, 

But oh ! what damned minutes tells he o'er 
Who doats yet doubts, suspects yet strongly loves { 



Surprise in Jealousy commencing. 

Think, my lord ! — O heav'n, he echoes me ! 
As if there were some monster in his thought 
Too hideous to be shown — Thou dost mean something : 
I heard thee say but now — Thou lik'dst not that, 
When Cassio left my wife — What didst not like ? 
And when I told thee he was of my counsel 
In my whole course of wooing, thou cry'dst, indeed! 
And didst contract and purse thy brow together, 
As if thou hadstshut up within thy brain, 
Some horrible conceit : if thou dost love me, 
Show me thy thought. Shakesp. Othello. 

Suspicion and Jealousy commencing. 

Leo. Too hot, too hot : 
To mingle friendship far, is mingling bloods. 
I have a tremor cordis on me : — my heart dances ; 
But not for joy, — not joy — This entertainment 
May a free face put on ; derive a liberty 
From heartiness, from bounty, fertile bosom, 
And well become the agent : it may, I grant ; 
But to be paddling palms, and pinching fingers, 
As now they are ; and making practis'd smiles, 
As in a looking-glass ; and then to sigh as 'twere 
The mort o' the deer ; O that is entertainment 
My bosom likes not, nor my brows ; — Mamilius, 
Art thou my boy ? Ibid. Winters Tale, 

Jealousy increasing. 

Go to, go to. 
How she holds up the neb, the bill to him, 
And arms her with the boldness of a wife, 
To her allowing husband ! Gone already ; 
Inch-thick, knee deep, o'er head and ears a fork'd one.— 
Go, play, boy, play ; — thy mother plays, and I 
Play too, but so disgrac'd a part, whose issue, 
Will hiss me to my grave ; contempt and clamour 
Will be my knell — Go, play, boy, play — 
There have been, 

Oj 1 am much deceiv'd, cuckolds ere now, 
And many a man there is evn at this present? 


Now while I speak this, holds his wife by the arm, 
That little thinks she hath been false in his absence. 

Shakespeare's Winter's Tate* 

Attempt to hide Jealousy. 

Her. Are you mov'd, my lord I 

Leo. No, in good earnest. — 
How sometimes nature will betray its folly, 
Its tenderness ; and and make itself a pastime 
To harder bosoms I looking on the lines 
Of my boy's face, methoughts, I did recoil 
Twenty-three years ; and saw myself unbreech'd, 
In my green velvet coat ; my dagger muzzled, 
Lest it should bite its master, and so prove, 
As ornament oft does, too dangerous. — 
How like, methought, I then was to this kernel, 
This squash, this gentleman : — Mine honest friend, 
Will you take eggs for money ? Ihtdemi 

Jealousy confirmed. 

Dost think I am so muddy, so unsettled, 
To appoint myself in this vexation, sully 
The purity and whiteness of my sheets, 
Which, to preserve, is sleep ; which, being spotted. 
Is goads, thorns, nettles, tails of wasps ? 
Give scandal to the blood o* th* prince my son, 
Who, I do think is mine, and love as mine, 
Without ripe moving to't I Would I do this I 
Could man so blench I lUdem* 

Jealousy mixed with Grief. 

How blest am I 
In my just censure ! in my true opinion ! — 
Alack for lesser knowledge ! — how accurs'd 
In being so bless'd ! There may be in the cup 
A spider steep'd, and one may drink, depart, 
And yet partake no venom, for his knowledge 
Is not infected ; but if one present 
The abhorr'd ingredient to his eye, make known 
How he hath drunk, he cracks his gorge, his sides, 
With violent hefts. — I have drunk, and sees the spider ! 



Jealousy mixed with Rage and Regie;. 

This fellow 's of exceeding honesty, 
And knows all qualities with a learned spirit 
Of human dealings : if I do prove her haggard, 
Though that her jesses were my dear heart stringr. 
I'd whistle her off and let her down the wind 
To prey at fortune. Haply, for I am black, 
And have not those soft parts of conversation, 
That chamberers have ; or, for I am declin'd 
Into the vale of years — yet that's not much ; — 
She's gone, I am abus'd, and my relief 
Must be — to loath her. Oh the curse of marriage, 
That we can call these delicate creatures our's 
And not their appetites ! Shahs. Othello, 


Modesty is a diffidence of ourselves, accompanied 
with a delicacy in our sense of whatever is mean, 
indecent, or dishonourable ; or a fear of doing these 
things, or of having them imputed to us. . Submis- 
sion is an humble sense of our inferiority, and a qui- 
et surrender of our powers to a superiour. Modesty 
bends the body forward, has a placid, downcast 
countenance, levels the eyes to the breast, if not to 
the feet, of the superiour character : the voice is low, 
the tone submissive, and the words few. Submis- 
sion adds to these a lower bending of the head, and 
a spreading of the arms and hands downwards to- 
wards the person we submit to. 

Modesty on being appointed to a high Station. 

Now, good my lord, 
Let there be some more test made of my metal, 
Before so noble, and so great a figure 
Be stamp'd upon it. Shakes, Meas. for Meau 

Submission on Forgiveness of Crime. 

O noble sir ! 
Your over-kindness doth wring tears from me ? 


I do embrace your offer, and dispose 

From henceforth of poor Claudio. Shakes, Much Ado, &c. 


Shame, or a sense of appearing to a disadvantage 
before one's own fellow- creatures, turns away the 
face from the beholders, covers it with blushes, 
hangs the head, casts down the eyes, draws down and 
contracts the eye-brows. It either strikes the per- 
son dumb, or, if he attempts to say any thing in his 
own defence, causes his tongue to falter, confounds 
his utterance, and puts him upon making a thousand 
gestures and grimaces to keep himself in counte- 
nance ; all which only heighten his confusion and 

Shame at being convicted of a Crime. 

Oh my dread lord— 
I should be guiltier than my guiltiness, 
To think I can be undiscernible 
When I perceive your grace, like power divine, 
Hath look'd upon my passes ; then, good prince, 
No longer session hold upon my shame, 
But let my trial be mine own confession : 
Immediate sentence then, and sequent death 
Is all the grace 1 beg. Ibid. Meas.for Meas* 


Gravity, or seriousness, as when the mind is fixed, 
or deliberating on some important subject, smooths 
the countenance, and gives it an air of melancholy ; 
the eye-brows are lowered, the eyes cast downwards, 
the mouth almost shut, and sometimes a little con- 
tracted. The posture of the body and limbs is com- 
posed, and without much motion : the speech slow 
and solemn, the tone without much variety. 

Grave Deliberation on War and Peace. 

Fathers, we once again are met in council : 
Caesar's approach has summon'd us together, 


And Rome attends her fate from our resolves. 

How shall we treat this bold aspiring man ? 

Success still follows him, and backs his crimes : 

Pharsalia gave him Rome. Egypt has since 

Receiv'd his yoke, and the whole Nile is Caesar's. 

Why should I mention Juba's overthrow, 

Or Scipio's death ? Numidia's burning sands 

Still smoke with blood : 'Tis time we should decree 

What course to take ; our foe advances on us, 

And envies us even Lybia's sultry deserts 

Fathers, pronounce your thoughts ; are they still fix'd 

To hoid it out and fight it to the last ? 

Or. are your hearts subdu'd at length, and wrought, 

By time and ill success, to a submission ? 

Sempronius, speak* Addison s Cato* 


Inquiry into some difficult subject, fixes the body 
nearly in one posture, the head somewhat stooping, 
the eyes poring, andthe eye- brows contracted. 

Inquiry mixed with Suspicion. 

Pray you, once more— 
Is not your father grown incapable 
Of reas'nable affairs ? is he not stupid 
With age and altering rheums ? Can he speak, hear? 
Know man from man, dispute his own estate ? 
Lies he not bed-rid, and again does nothing 
But what he did being childish ? 

Shakespeare's Winter's Tah> 


Attention to an esteemed or superiour character has 
nearly the same aspect as Inquiry, and requires 
silence ; the eyes often cast down upon the ground ; 
sometimes fixed upon the face of the speaker, but not 
too familiarly. 


Teaching, explaining, or inculcating, requires a 
mild serene air, sometimes approaching to an authori- 


tative gravity ; the features and gestures altering ac- 
cording to the age or dignity of the pupil, and 
importance of the subject inculcated. To youth it 
should be mild, open, serene, and condescending ; 
to equals and superiours, modest, and diffident ; but 
when the subject is of great dignity or importance, the 
air and manner of conveying the instruction ought to 
be firm and emphatical, the eye steady and open, the 
eye-brow a little drawn down over it, but not so much 
as to look surly or dogmatical ; the pitch of voice 
ought to be strong, steady, and clear, the articulation 
distinct, the utterance slow, and the manner approach- 
ing to confidence. 

Instruction to modest Youth* 

Pol. Wherefore, gentle maiden, 
Do you neglect your gilly-flowers and carnations ? 

Per. I have heard it said, 
There is an art which in their piedness shares 
With great creating nature. 

Pol. Say there be, 
Yet nature is made better by no mean, 
But nature makes that mean ; so over that ar»t 
Which you say adds to nature, is an art 
Which nature makes ; you see, sweet maid, we marry 
A gentler scyon to the wildest stock ; 
And make conceive a bark of baser kind 
By bud of nobler race. This is an art 
Which does mend nature, change it rather ; but 
The art itself is nature. Shakespeare's Winter's Title. 

Instruction to an Inferiour*- 

There is a kind of character in thy life 
That to the observer doth thy history 
Fully unfold : Thyself and thy belongings 
Are not thine own so proper, as to waste 
Thyself upon thy virtues, them on thee. 
Heav'n doth with us as we with torches do, 
Noc light them for themselves : for if our virtues 
Bid not go forth of us, 'twere all alike 


As if we had them not. Spirits are not finely touch'd 

But to fine issues ; nature never lends 

The smallest scruple of her excellence ; 

But like a thrifty goddess she determines 

Herself the glory of a creditor, 

Both thanks and use. But I do bend my speech 

To one that can in my part me advertise. 

Hold therefore, Angelo — 

In our remove be thou at full ourself. 

Mortality and mercy in Vienna 

Live in thy tongue and heart : Old Escalus, 

Though first in question, is thy secondary : 

Take thy commission. Shakes. Meas.for Meat. 


Arguing requires a cool, sedate, attentive aspect, 
and a clear, slow, and emphatical accent, with much 
demonstration by the hand ; it assumes somewhat of 
authority, as if fully convinced of the truth of what 
it pleads for, and sometimes rises to great vehemence 
and energy of assertion ; the voice clear, bold, dis 
tinct, and firm, as in confidence. 

Reasoning with deference to others. 

Ay, but yet 
Let us be keen, and rather cut a little, 
Than fall and bruise to death. Alas ! this gentleman.. 
Whom I would save, had a most noble father ! 
Let but your honour know, (whom I believe 
To be most straight in virtue,) 
That in the working of your own affections, ' 
Had time coher'd with place, or place with wishing, 
Or that the resolute acting of your blood 
Could have attain'd th' effect of your own purpose, 
Whether you had not some time in your life 
Err'd in this point which now you censure him, 
And pulled the law upon you. Shakes. Meas.for Meas. 

Reasoning warmly. 

By my white beard, 
You offer him, if this be so, a wrong, 


Something unfilial : Reason, my son 

Should choose himself a wife ; but as good reason, 

The father, (all whose joy is nothing else 

But fair posterity) should hold some counsel 

In such a business. Ibid* Winter's Tale. 

Argument asserting right to Property. 

As I was banish'd, I was banish'd Hereford ; 

But as I come, I come for Lancaster : 

And, noble uncle, I beseech your grace, 

Look on my wrongs with an indifferent eye : 

You are my father, for, methinks, in you 

I see old Gaunt alive ; O, then, my father ! 

Will you permit that I should stand condemn'd 

A wand'ring vagabond ; my rights and royalties 

Pluck'd from my arms perforce, and given away 

To upstart unthrifts ? Wherefore was I born ? 

If that my cousin king be king of England, 

It must be granted, I am duke of Lancaster. 

You have a son, Aumerle, my noble kinsman ; 

Had you first dy'd, and he been thus trod down, 

He should have found his uncle Gaunt a father, 

To rouse his wrongs, and chase them to the bay, 

I am deny'd to sue my livery here, 

And yet my letters-patents give me leave : 

My father's goods are all distrain'd and sold ; 

And these, and all, are all amiss employ'd, 

What would you have me do ? I am a subject, 

And challenge law : Attornies are deny'd me ; 

And therefore personally I lay my claim 

To my inheritance of free descent. Shakes. Rich. II. 


Admonition assumes a grave air, bordering on 
severity ; the head is sometimes shaken at the person 
\v& admonish, as if we felt for the miseries he was 
likely to bring upon himself ; the right hand is directed 
to the person spoken to, and the fore-finger, project- 
ed from the rest, seems to point out more particularly 
the danger we give warning of ; the voice assumes 
a low tone, bordering on a monotone, with a mixture 
of severity and sympathy, of pity and reproach, 


Admonition to execute Laws strictly. 

'Tis one thing to be tempted, Escalus, 
Another thing to fall. I not deny, 
The jury, passing on the prisoner's life, 
May, in the sworn twelvr , have a thief or two, 
Guiltier than him they try ; what's open made to justice, 
That justice seizes. What know the laws 
Th^it rhieves do pass on thieves ? 'tis very pregnant, 
The jewel that we find, we stoop and take it, 
Because we see it ; but what we do not see, 
We tread upon, and never think of it. 
You may not so extenuate his offence, 
For I have had such faults ; but rather tell me, 
When I that censure him, do so offend, 
Let mine own judgment pattern out my death, 
And nothing come in partial. Sir, he must die. 

Sbakesp, Meas,for Meat* 

Admonition to beware of complaisance in Friendship, 

Ever note, Lucilius, 
When love begins to sicken and decay, 
It useth an enforced ceremony. 
There are no tricks in plain and simple faith : 
But hollow men, like horses hot at hand, 
Make gallant s v ew, and promise of their mettle : 
But when they should endure the bloody spur, 
They fall their crests, and, like deceitful jades, 
Sink in the trial. Comes his army on ? Ibid, Jul, Cat 

Admonition to act justly. 

Remember March, the ides of March remember ! 
Did not great Julius bleed for justice' sake ? 
What villain touch'd his body, that did stab, 
And not for justice ? What, shall one of us, 
That struck the foremost man of all this world, 
But for supporting robbers ; shall we now 
Contaminate our fingers with base bribes ? 
And sell the mighty space of our large honours, 
For so much trash, as may be grasped thus ?— 
I'd rather be a dog, and bay the moon, 
Than such a Roman. Ibid, Jul, C*s* 



Authority opens the countenance, but draws down 
the eye-brows a little, so as to give the look an air of 

Authority forbidding Combatants tojight. 

Let them lay by their helmets and their spears, 
And both return back to their chairs again : — 
Withdraw with us, and let the trumpets sound, 
While we return these dukes what we decree. 

Draw near 

And list what with our council we have done. 
For that our kingdom's earth should not be soil'd 
With that dear blood which it hath fostered ; 
And for our eyes do hate the dire aspect 
Of civil wounds, plough'd up with neighbour's swords, 
Therefore we banish you our territories : 
You, cousin Hereford, upon pain of death, 
Till twice five summers have enrich'd our fields, 
Shall not regreet our fair dominions, 
But tread the stranger paths of banishment. 

Ibid, Richard. II. 


Commanding requires an air a little more peremp- 
tory, with a look a little severe, or stern. The hand 
is held out, and moved towards the person to whom 
the order is given, with the palm upwards, and some- 
times it is accompanied by a nod of the head to the 
person commanded. If the command be absolute, 
and to a person unwilling to obey, the right hand is 
extended and projected forcibly towards the person 

Commanding Combatants tojight. 

We were not born to sue, but to command ; 
Which since we cannot do to make you friends, 
Be ready, as your lives shall answer it, 
At Coventry, upon St. Lambert's day ; 


There shall your swords and lances arbitrate 

The swelling difference of your settled hate. 

Since we cannot atone you, you shall see 

Justice decide the victor's chivalry. 

Lord Marshal, command our officers at arms, 

Be ready to direct these home alarms. Shakes. Rich. II. 


Forbidding draws the head baekwards, and push 
es the arm and hand forwards, with the palm down- 
wards, as if going to lay it upon the person, and hold 
him down immoveable, that he may not do what is 
forbidden him : the countenance has the air of aver- 
sion, the voice is harsh, and the manner peremp- 

Forbidding to break Orders. 

On pain of death, no person be so bold, 
Or daring hardy, as to touch the lists, 
Except the marshal, and such officers 
Appointed to direct these fair designs. Ibid 


Affirming, with a judicial oath, is expressed by 
lifting the right hand and eyes towards heaven ; or 
if conscience is appealed to, by laying the right hand 
open upon the breast, exactly upon the heart ; the 
voice low and solemn, the words slow and deliberate : 
but when the affirmation is mixed with rage or re- 
sentment, the voice is more open and loud, the 
words quicker, and the countenance has all the con- 
fidence of strong and peremptory assertion. 

Affirming an Accusation. 

My lord Aumerle, I know your daring tongue 

Scorns to unsay what once it hath deliver'd : 

In that dead time when Glo'ster's death was plotted, 


I heard you say, — " Is not my arm of length 

" That reacheth from the restful English court, 

"As far as Calais to my uncle's head ?" 

Among much other talk, that very time 

I heard you say, you rather had refuse 

The offer of an hundred thousand crowns 

Than Bolingbroke return to England : 

Adding, withal, how blest this land would be, 

In this your cousin's death. 

If that thy valour stand on sympathies, 

There is my gage, Aumerle, in gage to thine. 

I heard thee say, and vauntingly thou spak'st it, 

That thou wert cause of noble Glo'ster's death ! 

If thou deny's it, twenty times thou liest ; 

And I will turn thy falsehood to thy heart, 

Where it was forged, with my rapier's point. Rich, II. 


Denying what is affirmed is but an affirmation of 
the contrary, and is expressed like affirmation. De- 
nying a favour — see Refusing. 

Denying an Accusation. 

If I in act consent, or sin of thought, 
Be guilty of the stealing that sweet breath, 
Which was embounded in that beauteous clay, 
Let hell want pains enough to torture me ! 
I left him well. King John. 


Differing in sentiment may be expressed nearly as 
refusing. See Refusing. 

Differing about the conduct of a War. 

Bru. Well, to our work alive. What do you think 
Of marching to Philippi presently ? 

Cas. I do not think it good. 

Bru. Your reason ? 

Cas. This it is : 
'Tis better that the enemy seek us, 
So shall he waste his means, weary his soldiers,- 


Doing himself offence ; whilst we, lying still, 
Are full of rest, defence, and nimbieness. 

Bru. Good reasons must of force give place to better. 
The people 'twixt Philippi and this ground, 
Do stand but in a forc'd affection : 
For they have grudg'd us contribution. 
The enemy marching along by them, 
By them shall make a fuller number up, 
Come on refreshed, new added, and encouraged ; 
From which advantage shall we cut him off, 
If at Philippi we do face him there, 
These people at our backs. 

Cas. Hear me, good brother 

Bru. Under your pardon You must note beside, 

That we have tried the utmost of our friends, 

Our legions are brimful, our cause is ripe j 

The enemy increaseth every day, 

We, at the height, are ready to decline. 

There is a tide in the affairs of men, 

Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune ; 

Omitted, all the voyage of their life 

Is bound in shallows and in miseries. 

On such a full sea are we now afloat, 

And we must take the current when it serves, 

Or lose our ventures. Shakesp. Jul. Cces. 


Agreeing in opinion, or being convinced, is ex 
pressed nearly as granting. See Gr anting. 

Agreeing in an Enterprize. 

Post. I embrace these conditions ; let us have articles 
betwixt us ; only thus far you shall answer, if you make your 
addesses to her, and give me directly to understand you have 
prevailed, I am no farther your enemy ; she is not worth our 
debate. If she remain unseduced, you not making it appear 
otherwise ; for your ill opinion, and the assault you have 
made to her chastity, you shall answer me with your sword. 

Jac. Your hand, a covenant ; we will have these things set 
down by lawful counsel, and straightway for Britain, lest the 
bargain should catch cold and starve. I will fetch my gold, 
and have our two wagers recorded. Ibid. Cymbeline. 



Judging, demands a grave steady look, with deep 
attention, the countenance altogether clear from any 
appearance, either of disgust or favour. The pro- 
nunciation slow, distinct, and emphatical, accom- 
panied with little action, and that very grave. 

Judging according to strict Law* 

Her. T beseech your grace that I may know, 
The worst that may befall me in this case, 
If I refuse to wed Demetrius. 

Thes. Either to die the death, or to abjure 
For ever the society of men 
Therefore, fair Hermia, question your desires, 
Know of your youth, examine well your blood, 
Whether, not yielding to your father's choice, 
You can endure the livery of a nun, 
For aye to be in shady cloister mew'd, 
To live a barren sister all your life, 
Chanting faint hymns to the cold fruitless moon. 
Thrice blessed they that master so their blood, 
To undergo such maiden pilgrimage ! 
But earlier happy is the rose distill'd 
Than that which, withering on the virgin thorn, 
Grows, lives, and dies in single blessedness. 

Her. So will I grow, so live, so die, my lord, 
Ere I will yield up my virginity 
Unto his lordship, to whose unwish'd yoke 
My soul consents not to give sovereignty. 

Thes. Take time to pause, and by the next new moon* 
(The sealing day betwixt my love and me, 
For everlasting bond of fellowship) 
Upon that day either prepare to die 
For disobedience to your father's will, 
Or else to wed Demetrius, as he would, 
Or on Diana's altar to protest 
For aye austerity and single life. 

Shakesp. Mids. Night 9 s Dream, 


Reproving puts on a stern aspect, roughens the 
Voice, and is accompanied with gestures, not much 


different from those of threatening, but not so lively. 
It is like Reproach, but without the sourness and 
ill-nature. See Reproach. 

Reproving with Authority. 

How comes it, Cassio, you are thus forgot, 
That you unlace your reputation thus, 
And spend your rich opinion for the name 
Of a night brawler ? Give me answer to it. 

Shakespeare s Othello < 


Acquitting is performed with a benevolent, tran- 
quil countenance, and mild tone of voice ; the right 
hand is open, and waved gently towards the person 
acquitted, expressing dismission. See Dismiss- 


Condemning assumes a severe look, bat some- 
times mixed with pity. The sentence is expressed 
either with severity or pity, according to the guilt of 
the person condemned. 

Passing sentence with Severity. 

For this new-married man approaching here, 

Whose salt imagination yet hath wrong'd 

Your well- defended honour ; you must pardon him 

For Mariana's sake ; but as a judge, 

Being doubly criminal, in violation 

Of sacred chastity, and in promise breach, 

Thereon dependent for your brother's life, 

The very mercy of the law cries out 

Most audible, ev'n from his proper toneue, 

An Angelo for Claudio ; death for death. 

Haste still pays haste, and leisure answers leisure ; 

Like doth quit like, and measure still for measure. 

Then, Angelo, thy faults are manifest ; 

IVhich, tho' thou would'st. deny 'em, deny thee 'vantage, 


We do condemn thee to the very block 

Where Claudio stoop'd to death, and with like haste. 

Away with him. Shakes. Meas.for Meets. 

Passing sentence nvlth Pity and Reluctance. 

God quit you in his mercy ! Hear your sentence ; 
You have conspir'd against our royal person, 
Join'd with an enemy, and from his coffers 
Receiv'd the golden earnest of our death ; 
Wherein you would have sold your king to slaughter, 
His princes and his peers to servitude, 
His subjects to oppression and contempt, 
And his whole kingdom into desolation. 
Touching our person, seek we no revenge ; 
But we our kingdom's safety must so tender, 
Whose ruin you three sought, that to her laws 
We do deliver you. Go, therefore, hence, 
Poor miserable wretches, to your death, 
The taste whereof, God of his mercy give 
You patience to endure, and true repentance 
Qf all your dire offences. Bear them hence. 

Ibid. Hen. V. 



Pardoning differs from acquitting in this : the lat- 
ter means clearing a person after trial of guilt, where- 
as the former supposes guilt, and signifies merely- 
delivering the guilty person from punishment. Par- 
doning requires some degree of severity of aspect 
and tone of voice, because the pardoned person is 
not an object of entire unmixed approbation. 

Pardoning a cruel Prosecution. 

That thou may'st see the difference of our spirits*, 
I pardon thee thy life before thou ask'st it : 
For half thy wealth, it is Anthonio's ; 
The other half comes to the general state 
Which humbleness may drive into a fine. 

Ibid, Merch. of Vim 



Dismissing, with approbation, is done with a kind 
aspect and tone of voice : the right hand open, the 
palm upwards, gently waved towards the person. 
Dismissing, with displeasure, besides the look and 
tone of voice which suits displeasure, the hand is 
hastily thrown out towards the person dismissed, the 
back part of the hand towards him, and the coun- 
tenance at the same time turned away from him. 

Dismissing with Complaisance, 

Chat, Then take my king's defiance from my mouth, 
The farthest limit of my embassy. 

K. John. Bear mine to him, and so depart in peace : 
Be thou as lightning in the eyes of France, 
For, ere thou canst report I will be there, 
The thunder of my cannon shall be heard ; 
So hence ! Be thou the trumpet of our wrath, 
And sullen presage of your own decay. — 
An honourable conduct let him have ; — 
Pembroke, look to't ;— farewell, Chatillon. 

Shakes, King John, 


Refusing,, when accompanied with displeasure, is 
done nearly in the same way as dismissing with dis- 
pleasure. Without displeasure, it is done with a 
visible reluctance, which occasions bringing out the 
words slowly, with such a shake of the head and 
shrug of the shoulders, and hesitation in the speech, 
as implies perplexity between granting and refusing, 
as in the following example : 

Refusing to lend Money, 

They answer in a joint and corporate voice, 
That now they are at fall, want treasure, cannot 
Do what they would ; are sorry —you are honourable—* 
But yet they could have wish'd— they know not— 


Something hath been amiss — a noble nature 

May catch a wrench — would all were well — 'tis pity ; 

And so intending other serious matters, 

After distasteful looks and these hard fractions 

With certain half-caps, and cold-moving nods, 

They froze me into silence. Shakes, Titnan of Athens, 

Refusing with Displeasure* 

Met. Most high, most mighty, and most puissant Caesar, 
..Metellus Cimber throws before thy seat 
An humble heart. 

Gas. I must prevent thee, Cimber ; 
These couchings, and these lowly courtesies 
Might fire the blood of ordinary men, 
And turn pre-ordtnance, and first decree 
Into the lane of children. Be not fond, 
To think that Caesar bears such rebel blood, 
That will be thaw'd from the true quality 
With that which melteth fools ; I mean, sweet words, 
Low-crooked curt'sies, and base spaniel fawning. 
Thy brother by decree is banished; 
If thou dost bend, and pray, and fawn for him, 
I spurn thee like a cur out of my way. 
Know, Caesar doth not wrong, nor without cause 
Will he be satisfied. Ibid. Jul, C&s. 


When done with unreserved good- will, is accom- 
panied with a benevolent aspect, and tone of voice ; 
the right hand open, with the palm upwards, extend- 
ing towards the person we favour, as if delivering 
to him what he asks ; the head at the same time in- 
clining forwards, as indicating a benevolent dispose 
tion and. entire consent. 

Giving a Daughter in Marriage, 

Pros. If I have too severely punished you, 
Your compensation makes amends ; for I 
Have given you here a third of mine own life. 
Or that for which I live, whom once again 
I tender to thy hand : all thy vexations 


Were but my tria^ of thy love, and thou 

Hast strangely stood the test. Here, afore heav 7 n ? 

I ratify this my rich gift : O Ferdinand, 

Do not smile at me that I boast her off ; 

For thou shalt find she will outstrip all praise, 

And make it halt, behind her. 

Fer. I do believe it 
Against an oracle. 

Pros. Then as my gift, and thine own acquisition, 
Worthily purchas'd, take my daughter. Shakes. Tempest, 


Gratitude puts on an aspect full of complacency. 
If the object of it be a character greatly superiour, it 
expresses much submission. The right hand open 
with the fingers spread, and pressed upon the breast 
just over the heart, expresses very properly a sincere 
and hearty sensibility of obligation. 

Gratitude for great Benefits. 

O great Sciolto ! O my more than father ! 
Let me not live, but at thy very name 
My eager heart springs up and leaps with joy. 
When I forget the vast, vast debt I owe thee — 
(Forget — but 'tis impossible) then let me 
Forget the use and privilege of reason, 
Be banish'dfrom the commerce of mankind, 
To wander in the desert among brutes, 
To bear the various fury of the seasons, 
The midnight cold, and noon-tide scorching heat, 
To be the scorn of earth, and curse of heaven. 

Rowes Fair Penitent. 


Curiosity opens the eyes and mouth, lengthens 
the neck, bends the body forwards, and fixes it in 
one posture, nearly as in Admiration. When it 
speaks, the voice, tone, and gesture, nearly as In- 
quiry. See Inquiry. 


Curiosity at first seeing a fine Object. 

Pros. The fringed curtains of thine eye advance, 
And say what thou seest yond. 

Mir. What ! is't a spirit ? 
Lo, how it looks about ! believe me, Sir, 
It carries a brave form. But 'tis a spirit. 

Pros No, wench, it eats and sleeps, and hath such senses 
As we have, such. 

Mir. I might call him 
A thing divine, for nothing natural, 
1 ever saw so noble. Shahs. Tempest. 


Promising is expressed by benevolent looks, a 
soft but earnest voice, and sometimes by inclining 
the head, and hands open, with the palms upwards, 
towards the person to whom the promise is made. 
Sincerity in promising is expressed by laying the 
right hand gently on the left breast. 

Promise of prosperous Events. 

I'll deliver all, 
And promise you calm seas, auspicious gales, 
And sail so expeditious, it shall catch 
-Your royal fleet far off. Ibidem. 


To parents, superiours, or persons of eminent vir- 
tue, is an humble and respectful acknowledgment 
of their excellence, and our own inferiority. The 
head and body is inclined a little forward, and the 
hand, with the palm downward, just raised so as to 
meet the inclination of the body, and then let fall 
again with apparent timidity and diffidence ; the 
eye is sometimes lifted up, and then immediately 
cast downward, as if unworthy to behold the object 
before it ; the eye-brows are drawn down ; the 
features, and the whole body and limbs, are all 


composed to the most profound gravity. When 
this rises to adoration of the Almighty Creator and 
Director of all things, it is too sacred to be imitated, 
and seems to demand that humble annihilation of 
ourselves, which must ever be the consequence of 
a just sense of the Divine Majesty, and our ownun- 


Is but a less degree of veneration, and is nearly 
allied to modesty. 


Expresses itself by bending the body* forwards, 
and stretching the arms towards the object, as to 
grasp it. The countenance smiling, but eager and 
wishful ; the eyes wide open, and eye-brows raised ; 
the mouth open ; the tone of voice suppliant, but 
lively and cheerful, unless there be distress as well as 
desire ; the expressions fluent and copious ; if no 
words are used, sighs instead of them ; but this is 
chiefly in distress. 


Commendation is the expression of the approba- 
tion we have for any object in which we find any 
congruity to our ideas of excellence, natural, or 
moral, so as to communicate pleasure. As commen- 
dation generally supposes superiority in the person 
commending, it assumes the aspect of love, (bu:: with- 
out desire and respect,) and expresses itself in a mild 
tone of voice, with a small degree of confidence ; 
the arms are gently spread, the hands open, with the 
palms upwards, directed towards the person ap- 
proved, and sometimes gently lifted up and down, 
as if pronouncing his praise. 


Commendation for obliging Behaviour, 

You have done our pleasures much grace, fair ladies ; 
Set a fair fashion on our entertainment, 
Which was not half so beautiful and kind ; 
You've added worth unto't, and lively lustre, 
And entertain'd me with mine own device : 
I am to thank you for it. Timon oj 'Athens, 

Commendation for Fidelity, 

O good old man, how well in thee appears 
The constant service of the antique world, 
When service sweat for duty, not for meed ! 
Thou art not for the fashion of these times, 
Where none will sweat but for promotion ; 
And having that, do choke their service up, 
Even with the having : It is not so with thee. 

As Tou Like It* 


Exhorting, or encouraging, is earnest persuasion, 
attended with confidence of success. The voice has 
the softness of love, intermixed with the firmness of 
courage ; the arms are sometimes spread, with the 
hands open, as intreating ; and sometimes the right 
hand is lifted up, and struck rapidly down, as enforc- 
ing what we say. 

But wherefore do you droop ? Why look you sad ? 
Be great in act as you have been in thought ; 
Let not the world see fear and sad distrust 
Govern the motion of a kingly eye : 
Be stirring as the time ; be fire with fire ; 
Threaten the threatener, and outface the brow 
Of bragging horrour : so shall inferiour eyes, 
That borrow their behaviours from the great, 
Grow great by your example ; and put on 
The dauntless spirit of resolution ; 
Show boldness and aspiring confidence : 
What, shall they seek the lion in his den, 


And fright him there, and make him tremble there ? — 
Oh let it not be said ! — Forage, and run, 
To meet displeasure farther from the doors, 
And grapple with him ere he comes so nigh. 

Shakesp. K. John. 


Complaining, as when one is under violent bod- 
ily pain, distorts the features, almost closes the 
eyes ; sometimes raises them wistfully ; opens the 
mouth, gnashes the teeth, draws up the upper 
lip, draws down the head upon the breast, and 
contracts the whole body. The arms are violently 
bent at the elbows, and the fists strongly clinched. 
The voice is uttered in groans, lamentations, and 
sometimes violent screams. 

Complaining of extreme Pain. 

Search there ; nay, probe me ; search my wounded reins- 
Pull, draw it out — 

Oh, I am shot ! A forked burning arrow 
Sticks across my shoulders : the sad venom flies 
Like light'ning through my flesh, my blood, my marrow. 
Ha ! what a change of torments I endure ! 
A bolt of ice runs hissing through my bowels : 
5 Tis, sure, the arm of death ; give me a chair ; 
Cover me, for I freeze, and my teeth chatter, 
And my knees knock together. Lee's Alexander* 


Fatigue from hard labour gives a general lan- 
guor to the body ; the countenance is dejected, the 
arms hang listless ; the body, if not sitting or ly- 
ing along, stoops, as in old age ; the legs, if walk- 
ing, are dragged heavily along, and seem at every 
step to bend under the weight of the body. The 
voice is weak, and hardly articulate enough to be 


Fatigue from Travelling. 


I see a man's life is a tedious one : 
I've tir'd myself, and, for two nights together, 
Have made the ground my bed. I should be sick, 
But that my resolution helps me. Milford, 
When from the mountain top Pisanio show'd thee, 
Thou wast within a ken. Oh me, I think 
Foundations fly the wretched ; such, I mean, 
Where they should be relieved. Shakespeare's Cymbeline. 

Feebleness from Hunger. 

Adam. Dear master, I can go no farther : Oh, I die for food ! 
here lie I down and measure out my grave. Farewell, kind 

Duke. Welcome : set down your venerable burden, 
And let him feed. 

Orla. I thank you most for him. 

Adam. So had you need ; 
I scarce can speak to thank you for myself. 

Ibid. As Ton Like It. 


Sickness has infirmity, or feebleness, in every mo- 
tion and utterance ; the eyes dim and almost clos- 
ed, the cheeks are pale and hollow, the jaw falls, 
the head hangs down, as if too heavy to be support- 
ed by the neck ; the voice feeble, trembling, and 
plaintive, the head shaking, and the whole body, 
as it were, sinking under the weight that oppress- 
es it. 

Sickness approaching to Death. 

And wherefore should this good news make me sick ? 
I should rejoice now at this happy news, 
And now my sight fails, and my brain is giddy :— - 

me ! come near me ; now I am much ill. 

1 pray you take me up and bear me hence 
Into some other chamber ; softly, pray — 
Let there be no noise made, my gentle friend s> 



Unless some dull and favourable hand 
Will whisper musick to my weary spirit. 

Shakes. Hen. IV. 2nd Part. 

Trifling as this selection of examples of the pas- 
sions may appear, it is presumed it will be singular- 
ly useful. The passions are every where to be found 
in small portions, promiscuously mingled with each 
other, but not so easily met with in examples of 
length, and where one passion only operates at a 
time : Such a selection, however, seemed highly 
proper to facilitate the study of the passions, as it is 
evident that the expression of any passion may be 
sooner gained by confining our practice for a consid- 
erable time to one passion only, than by passing ab- 
ruptly from one to the other, as they promiscuously 
occur ; which is the case with the Author to whom 
I am so much indebted for the description of the 
Passions, and with those who have servilely copied 
him. The instances of a single passion which I have 
selected, may be augmented at pleasure ; and when 
the pupil has acquired the expression of each passion 
singly, I would earnestly recommend to him to an- 
alyze his composition, and carefully to mark it with 
the several passions, emotions, and sentiments it con- 
tains, by which means he will distinguish and 
separate what is often mixed and confounded, and 
be prompted to force and variety at almost every 

I am well aware, that the passions are sometimes 
so slightly touched, and often melt so insensibly into 
each other, as to make it somewhat difficult pre- 
cisely to mark their boundaries ; but this is no 
argument against our marking them where they are 
distinct and obvious ; nor against our suggesting 
them to those who may not be quite so clear-sighted 
as ourselves. Indeed, the objection to this practice 
seems entirely founded on these two misconceptions : 


because we cannot perfectly delineate every shade of 
sound or passion, we ought not to attempt any ap- 
proaches to them ; and because good readers and 
speakers have no need of these assistances, therefore 
they are useless to every one else. But this reason- 
ing, I am convinced, is so palpably wrong, as suf- 
ficiently to establish the contrary opinion, without 
any other argument in its favour. 


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