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In pronouncing this passage we must carefully pause between every contrasted word, or the whole force of the comparison will be lost; nay, there will be danger of obscuring the sense by blending together opposite qualities, if we do not carefully keep them separate by pauses, and at the same time give an additional diversity to the opposing parts by a different shade of sound: that is, if we do not give the former part of the contrast a higher sound, and the latter a somewhat lower.
The same observations will hold good in pronouncing the following passage in Cicero's Oration for Roscius of Ameria.
Therefore, O ye judges! you are now to consider, whether it is more probable that the deceased was murdered by the man who inherits his estate, or by him, who inherits nothing but beggary by the same death. By the man who was raised from penury to plenty, or by him who was brought from happiness to misery. By him whom the lust of lucre has inflamed with the most inveterate hatred against his own relations; or by him whose life was such, that he never knew what gain was but from the product of his own labours. By him, who, of all dealers in the trade of blood, was the most audacious; or by him who was so little accustomed to the forum and trials, that he dreads not only the benches of a court, but the very town. In short, ye judges, what I think most to this point is, you are to consider whether it is most likely that an enemy, or a son, would be guilty of this murder.
There is a species of sentences, which forms one of the greatest beauties of composition, and which, if well pronounced, is among the most striking graces of delivery; that is, where a number of particular members follow in a series, and form something like a gradation or climax. If we consider the nature of such a sentence, it will, in some measure, direct us to a just pronunciation of it. It is a whole, composed of many particulars, arranged in such order as to show each
part distinctly, and, at the same time, its relation to the whole. In order to mark these particulars distinctly, they must not be suffered to blend with each other; and at the same time to show that they have a common relation to the whole sentence; they must not be pronounced entirely different. In short, the similitude and diversity in the pronunciation should be an exact picture of the similitude and diversity in the composition. For as a climax in writing ought to rise in force as it proceeds, so the voice, in pronouncing it, ought gradually to increase its force upon every subsequent member. Here is the diversity; but, as the members have a similar form, and stand equally related to the object of the sentence, they ought to have a similar inflection of the voice. Here is the uniformity: for it is this inflection or slide of the voice that classes speaking sounds more specifically than any other distinction. But as these particulars, when they form a climax, are really emphatical, and require the falling slide, so every series of particulars, whether they really increase in force or not, may, for the sake of gratifying the ear, and giving an importance to the subject, adopt the falling inflection likewise. This, however, must be understood only as a general rule.
These observations premised, we may proceed to distinguish the series into two kinds: that, where the series begins the sentence, but does not either end it, or form complete sense; which we may call the commencing series: and that, where the series either ends the sentence, or forms complete sense; which we may call the concluding series. For the pronunciation of these different sentences, we may lay down this general rule.
In a commencing series, pronounce every particular with the falling inflection but the last; and in a concluding series, let every member have the falling inflection except the last but one; and this ought to have the falling inflection likewise, if it be of sufficient length to admit of a pause with a rising inflection before the end.
In order to convey as clear an idea as possible of the pronunciation of this figure, a plate is annexed, delineating the inflections of Mr. Addison's beautiful description of Milton's Figure of Death.
To advise the ignorant, relieve the nèedy, comfort the afflicted, are duties that fall in our way, almost every day of our lives. Spectator, No. 93.
In our country, a man seldom sets up for a poet without attacking the reputation of all his brothers in the art. The ignorance of the moderns, the scribblers of the àge, the decay of poetry, are the topics of detraction, with which he makes his entrance into the world. Ibid. No. 253.
The miser is more industrious than the saint. The pains of getting, the fear of losing, and the inability of enjoying his wealth, have been the mark of satire in all ages. Ibid. No. 624.
When ambition pulls one way, interest another, inclination a thìrd, and perhaps reason contrary to áll, a man is likely to pass his time but ill, who has so many different parties to please. Ibid. No. 162.
As the genius of Milton was wonderfully turned to the sublime, his subject is the noblest that could have entered into the thoughts of man; every thing that is truly great and astonishing, has a place in it: the whole system of the intellectual world, the chaos and the creation, heaven, earth, and hell, enter into the constitution of his poem. Ibid. No. 315.
Labour or exercise ferments the hùmours, casts them into their proper channels, throws off redundancies, and helps nature in those secret distribú tions, without which the body cannot subsist in its vigour, nor the soul act with cheerfulness. Ibid. No. 115.
Were the books of our best authors to be retailed to the public, and every page submitted to the taste of forty or fifty thousand readers, I am afraid we should complain of many flat exprèssions, trivial observations, beaten topics, and common thoughts, which go off very well in the lump.
Ibid. No. 124. To preserve in Macbeth a just consistency of character, to make that
character naturally susceptible of those desires that were to be communicated to it, to render it interesting to the spectator by some amiable qualities, to make it exemplify the dangers of ambition, and the terrors of remorse, was all that could be required of the tragedian and the moralist.
Mrs. Montague's Essay on Shakspeare, p. 198.
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 to Satan, his advancing to the combat, the outcry at his birth, are circumstances too noble to be passed over in silence, and extremely suitable to this king of terrors. Spect. No. 310.
Aristotle observes, that the fable of an epic poem should abound in circumstances that are both credible and astonishing. Milton's fable is a masterpiece of this nature; as the war in heaven, the condition of the fallen àngels, the state of innocence, the temptation of the sèrpent, and the fall of mán, though they are very astonishing in themselves, are not only credible, but actual points of faith. Ibid. No. 315.
The inconveniences of attendance on great men are more lamented than felt. To the greater number, solicitation is its own reward. To be seen in good company, to talk of familiarities with men in power, to be able to tell the freshest news, to gratify an inferior circle with predictions of increase or decline of favour, and to be regarded as a candidate for high óffices, are compensations more than equivalent to the delay of favours, which, perhaps, he that asks them, has hardly the confidence to expect. Johnson.
Let a man's innocence be what it will, let his virtues arise to the highest pitch of perfection attainable in this life, there will still be in him so many secret sins, so many human fràilties, so many offences of ignorance, passion, and prejudice, so many unguarded words and thoughts, and, in short, so many defects in his best actions, that, without the advantages of such an expiation and atonement as Christianity has revealed to us, it is impossible that he should be cleared before his sovereign Judge, or that he should be able to stand in his sight. Spect. No. 513.
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 mortality of the soul, the fortuitous organization of the body, the motion 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 infinitely greater measure of faith than any set of articles which they so violently oppose? Ibid. No. 168.
Our lives, says Seneca, are spent either in doing nothing at all, or in doing nothing to the purpose, or in doing nothing that we ought to do.
Ibid. No. 93. It was necessary for the world that arts should be invented and improved,
books written and transmitted to postérity, nations conquered and cìvilized. Ibid. No. 255. All other acts of perpetuating our ideas, except writing or printing, continue but a short time: statues can last but a few thousand of years, edifices féwer, and colours still fewer than édifices. Ibid. No. 166.
This persuasion of the truth of the gospel, without the evidence which accompanies it, would not have been so firm and so dùrable; it would not have acquired new force with àge, it would not have resisted the torrent of time, and have passed from age to age to our own dàys.
Life consists, not of a series of illustrious actions, or elegant enjoyments; the greater part of our time passes in compliance with necèssities, in the performance of daily duties, in the removal of small inconvéniences, in the procurement of petty pleasures. Johnson.
A man has frequent opportunities of mitigating the fierceness of a party, of doing justice to the character of a deserving màn, of softening the envious, quieting the angry, and rectifying the prejudiced; which are all of them employments suited to a reasonable nature, and bring great satisfaction to the person who can busy himself in them with discretion. Spectator.
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 estàte, then to arrive at honours, then to retire. Ibid. 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.
Spectator, No. 93.
The devout man does not only believe, but feels there is a Deity; he has actual sensations of him; his experience concurs with his reason; he sees him more in all his intercourses with him; and even in this life almost loses his faith in conviction. Ibid. No. 465.
The ill-natured man, though but of equal parts with the good-natured man, gives himself a larger field to expàtiate in; he exposes those failings in human nature which the other would cast a veil over, laughs at vices which the other either excuses or conceals, falls indifferently upon friends or énemies, exposes the person who has obliged him, and, in short, sticks at nothing that may establish his character of a wit. Ibid. No. 169.
For what can interrupt the content of the fair sex, upon whom one age has laboured after another to confer honours and accumulate immunities? those, to whom rudeness is infamy, and insult is cowardice? whose eye commands the brave, and whose smile softens the sevère? whom the sailor travels to adorn, the soldier bleeds to defend, and the poet wears out life to cèlebrate; who claim tribute from every art and science, and for whom all who approach them endeavour to multiply delights, without requiring from them any return but willingness to be pleased. Johnson. Nature has laid out all her art in beautifying the face; she has touched it