« PredošláPokračovať »
verse as it were with the reader or auditor, and urging him to attention by the answer it leads him to expect. If this figure is formed by the verb only, and without the interrogative words, it frequently commences and continues with a monotone, and ends with an inflection of voice, which not only pleases the ear by the striking variety it produces, but rouses the attention by its more immediate address to the understanding. But when to these marking properties we annex emotion or passion, this figure becomes the most powerful engine in the whole arsenal of oratory. How does Cicero press and bear down his adversary by the force of interrogations, when, pleading for his client, he thus addresses himself to his accuser:
I will make you this offer, Plancius; choose any one tribe you please, and show, as you ought, by whom it was bribed : but if you cannot, and, in my opinion, will not even attempt to do this, I will show you how he gained it. Is this a fair contest? Will you engage on this ground ? It is an open, honourable challenge to you. Why are you silent ? Why do you dissemble? Why do you prevaricate ? I repeatedly insist upon this point, I urge you to it, press it, require it, nay, I demand it of you. His interrogations to Tubero, in his Oration for Ligarius, have the same irresistible force.
What, Tubero, did that naked sword of yours mean in the battle of Pharsalia ? at whose breast was its point aimed? What was then the meaning of your arms, your spirit, your eyes, your hands, your ardour of soul? What did you desire, what wish for? I press the youth too much; he seems disturbed. Let me return to myself. I too bore arms on the same side.
As these questions have the nature of a climax, they ought to be pronounced with increasing force to the end ; that is, every succeeding question should be pronounced higher and louder than the preceding, and the demand in the last example but one in a lower and louder tone than all.
What uncommon force and spirit do the questions of Germanicus to his mutinous soldiers give to his reproaches !
What is there in these days that you have not attempted? what have you not profaned? What name shall I give to this assembly? Shall I call you sóldiers? you, who have besieged with your arms, and surrounded with a trench, the son of your émperor? Shall I call you citizens? you, who have so shamefully trampled upon the authority of the sénate? you, who have violated the justice due to enemies, the sanctity of émbassy, and the rights of nations ?
Tacitus, Annals, lib. i. The beauty of this passage depends much upon the pronunciation of the word you : for as it is in apposition to the question beginning with a verb, like that it ought to have the rising inflection ; but this inflection ought to be pronounced with a large scope of sound, beginning low and ending high, the voice dwelling a considerable time on the pronunciation: this will in some measure express that surprise and indignation with which the questions are charged ; and if the second you is made more emphatical than the first, and the third than the second, the force and variety of the passage will be considerably augmented. See Question, page 103.
Aparithmesis, or Enumeration, Gradation, and Climax.
I have associated these different figures under the same head, because there is something as similar in their pronunciation as in their structure and meaning; and this similitude may serve to illustrate and explain what there is alike in the pronunciation of each. What is common to these figures is an accumulation of particulars, which particulars form a whole; and the pronunciation in all of them should mark strongly that unity and wholeness, in which the force and beauty of the figure consist. This pronunciation has been explained at large in the article Series, page 116, and to this the reader must be referred. It seems only necessary to add here, that, in proportion to the degree of passion with which any of these figures are charged, the pronunciation of the latter members should rise in force and elevation of voice above the former, that the whole may conclude with a suitable force and variety. But even where there is no passion in the enumeration of particulars, and one does not rise above another in importance, it seems highly proper to increase the force and elevation of voice on the latter members, in order to avoid too great a sameness, and to make the sentence end with harmony. Thus, when Cicero enumerates the great qualities of Pompey :
What language can equal the valour of Pompey? What can be said, either worthy of him, new to you, or which every one has not heard ? For those are not the only virtues of a general which are commonly thought so. It is not courage alone which forms a great leader, but industry in business, intrepidity in dangers, vigour in acting, prudence in concerting, promptness in executing. All which qualities appear with greater lustre in him than in all the other generals we ever saw or heard of.
Proleg. Man. In the same manner, when Mr. Addison enumerates the several particulars in Milton's allegorical character of Death :
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 noble to be passed over in silence, and extremely suitable to this king of terrours.
Spectator, No. 310. In these enumerations we do not find the particulars rising in force as they proceed: but as their sameness of form requires a sameness of inflection, in order to show that they are parts of a whole, so a small increase of force and elevation on each subsequent particular seems necessary, in order to make the whole more varied and agreeable.
Climax, or gradation, taken in the strictest sense, is an assemblage of particulars forming a whole in such a manner, that the last idea in the former member becomes the first in the latter, and so on, step by step, till the climax or gradation is completed. There is great strength as well as beauty in this figure, when the several steps rise naturally out of each other, and are closely connected by the sense which they jointly convey. This mutual relation of parts we may perceive in the following example:
There is no enjoyment of property without government, no government without a magistrate, no magistrate without obedience, and no obedience where every one acts as he pleases.
This climax is a concluding series, and must have its two first members pronounced with the falling inflection; the third with the rising, and the last with the falling, in a lower tone of voice than any of the rest.
In the same manner, when Cicero is pleading for Milo, he says,
Nor did he commit himself only to the people, but also to the senate ; not to the senate only, but likewise to the public forces; nor to these only, but also to the power of him with whom the senate had intrusted the whole commonwealth.
In this climax the circumstances rise in importance, and should therefore have an increasing force and elevation of voice as they proceed. The two first members must end with the falling inflection—these only with the rising, and the last with the falling, but in a more forcible and elevated tone than the rest.
A similar figure from Cicero must be pronounced somewhat differently.
What hope is there remaining of liberty, if whatever is their pleasure, it is lawful for them to do; if what is lawful for them to do, they are able to do; if what they are able to do, they dare do; if what they dare do, they really execute; and if what they execute, is no way offensive to you?
In pronouncing this figure, the voice must adopt the falling inflection on each particular; it must increase in force and elevation till it comes to the last member, and this must have still more force than the former members, but must be pronounced in a low concluding tone.
A perfectly similar pronunciation will suit the following climax from Shakspeare:
What a piece of work is man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculties! in form and moving how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a God!
Hamlet. Mr. Addision has a beautiful climax of circumstances rising one above another, when he is describing the treatment of negroes in the West Indies, who sometimes, upon the death of their masters, or upon changing their service, hang themselves upon the next tree.
. Who can forbear, says Mr. Addison, admiring their fidelity, though it expresses itself in so dreadful a manner ? What might not that savage greatness of soul, which appears in these poor wretches on many occasions, be raised to, were it rightly cultivated ? And what colour of excuse can there be for the contempt with which we treat this part of our species ? That we should not put them upon the common foot of humanity; that we should only set an insignificant fine upon the man who mùrders them; nay, that we should, as much as in us lies, cut them off from the prospects of happiness in another world as well as in this, and deny them that which we look upon as the proper means for attàining it ?
Spectator, No. 215. The falling inflection with increasing force upon the words humanity, murders, and another, will give that force and colouring to this passage which it so richly deserves.
But the series or climax never appears to such advantage in pronunciation as when it is highly impas