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which made all my bones to shake. Then a spirit passed before my face: the hair of my flesh stood up. It stood still, but I could not discern the form thereof: an image was before mine eyes, there was silence, and I heard a voice, saying-Shall mortal man be more just than God? Shall a man be more pure than his Maker?

General Pitch.

Every person, in animated conversation, or in public speaking, assumes a certain pitch of voice, or general keynote, varying from low to high with the distance of his auditors, and affected likewise by the degree of earnestness with which he speaks. If we wish to make ourselves heard by one at a considerable distance, the voice instinctively strikes a high pitch; whereas, in addressing a person near at hand, it takes a lower one. Although this general key-note predominates, yet, if we observe persons while speaking, we shall perceive--if our ear is discriminating— constant variations or undulations of the voice, above and below the general key-note. An accomplished speaker, possessing a well-trained and well-modulated voice, will, in the progress of a discourse, shift the key-note, in the transition from one division to another, and in accordance with the greater or less degree of animation in his subject.

But, besides the general current of sound running through a discourse, and rising or sinking as above described, there are many minor, and sudden turnings of the voice upward and downward, to which writers on this subject have given the name of slides or inflections. These inflections are the life and spirit of elocution, and it is essential to know them well, in order to read or speak with taste or effect.

Rising Inflection.

I. "The Rising Inflection turns the voice upward, or ends higher than it begins." It is indicated by the acute accent (-) placed above the inflected syllable

II. Questions requiring the direct answer, yes or no, generally take the rising slide: as, Am I ungrateful?

Did he prevaricáte?

Was that Henrý?
Lord, is it I'?•

Am I not right? said hé.*

This slide ranges through a greater or less interval, according to the degree of earnestness and feeling in the speaker. In highly impassioned language, the voice rises to the octave ; but ordinarily, not more than a third. The rising slide may be represented to the eye thus:

Are you


If this be uttered as a mere inquiry, without any emotion, the voice rises through a small interval on the last word. If, however, it express strong surprise, the slide will become intensive, and rise perceptibly higher, thus:

Are you

III. The direct question does not invariably take the rising slide.

Is not that a beautiful flower?


So, in Hamlet, Bernardo, seeing the ghost of the murdered king, says:

"Bernardo. In the same figure like the king that's dead. "Marcellus. Thou art a scholar, speak to it, Horatio. "Bernardo. Looks it not like the king? Mark it, Horatio."

* The inflection frequently affects several words in a sentence.

+ This is a musical term, which will not be understood by some, although it will be by most persons. Considerable advantage in acquiring the art of reading, will result from a knowledge of the elementary principles of music, and from the possession of a musical voice and ear.

Requiring the answer yes or no.

Oh, full of all subtlety, and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord ?

So, likewise, when a question is an appeal to a person, as Did I strike William ? Is he not ungrateful? Have I told a wrong story?

Again, when a question is repeated in a louder voice, tł slide is changed:

Are you going to Salém? Are you going to Salèm?


Falling Inflection.

IN calling to one at a distance by name, I say, in a moderate pitch and with the, rising slide, Williám! If I am not heard, I raise the pitch, and change the slide as I repeat, William! This turning of the voice downward, generally heard in the answer to a question, is called the falling inflection. It is marked by the grave accent (·). A few examples will exhibit the difference between it, and the rising inflection.

Are you going to Trenton ?
Ans. I am going to Princeton
Where did you say?

Ans. To Princeton.

Did he say flower-or flowers?

Study not for amusement-but for improvement.

I. By the foregoing examples it will be perceived, that the rising slide ends higher, and the falling slide ends lower than it begins.

This may be represented to the eye by a diagram.

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horse back?

or on

horse back.

He came on

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angéls, nor principalities, nor powèrs; nor things presént, 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.

Though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charitý, I am nothing.

Jago. My noble lórd—

Othello. What dost thou say, Iagó?

Iago. Did Michael Cassio, when you woo'd my lady, Knów of your love?

Oth. He did, from first to last: Why dost thou ask?
Iago. But for a satisfaction of my thought;

No further harm.

Oth. Why of thy thought, Iagó?

Iago. I did not think he had been acquainted with it.
Oth. O'l yès, and went between us -very

Iago. Indéed?

Oth. Indeed! ay, indèed---Discern'st thou aught in that? Is he not honést?

Iago. Honést, my lord?

Oth. Ay, honèst.

Iago. My lord, for aught I know.

Oth. What dost thou think?

Iago. Think, my lord?

Oth. Think, my lord? By heav'n he echoes me
As if there were some monstèr in his thoughts
Too hideous to be shown.

Did he travel for health-or pleasure?

He travelled neither for health,-nor pleasure.
He must have travelled for health—or pleasúre.*

Dr. Porter, in his Rhetorical Reader, says: "When the disjuncor connects words or clauses, it has the rising slide before, and

He travelled both for health and pleasure.

He resembled his father and his mother.

He resembled neither his father-nor his mother.
He did resemble his father-or mothér.

I did not say a bettér soldier-but an eldèr.

Will you go Monday-or Tuesday?

Will you go Mondáy-or Tuesdáy ?

The first of these questions means, on which of those days will you go?

The second-with the rising slide on both words-will you go on either of those days?

II. The answer to a question usually takes the falling slide, but not always.

Who say the people that I am? They answering said, John the Baptist; but some say Eliàs, and others say that one of the old prophèts is risen again.

Did you sec William? I did.

What did he say to you? Not múch.

Can honor set a leg? Nò. Or an árm? Nò. Or take away the grief of a woùnd? Nó. Honor hath no skill in surgery then? Nò.*

The Circumflex.

III. The union of the two inflections forms the circumflex, which begins with the falling, and ends with the rising slide. It is marked thus: (~) as,-I may possibly go tomorrow, though I cannot go to-daỳ.†

the falling after it." The rule is equally applicable to nor, and to and, when similarly circumstanced. The last example shows, that it is not without exceptions.


The learner must not suppose, that the examples necessarily admit of but one notation. Many of them are susceptible of various inflection, which different readers might make, and with equal taste

+ There is usually a sensible protraction of so if he word which has this double inflection.

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