« PreviousContinue »
This stress is the sign of anger, positive affirmation, command, and of energetic sentiments of all kinds.
Impatience and mirth, being generally uttered in haste, demand radical stress for their appropriate expression.
“There are so few speakers able to give a radical stress with this momentary burst, and therefore so few who may comprehend the mere description of it, that I must draw an illustration from the effort of coughing. A single impulse of coughing, is not in all points exactly like the abrupt voice on syllables; for that single impulse is a forcing out of almost all the breath; which is not the case in syllabic utterance: yet if the tonic element be employed as the vocality of coughing, its abrupt opening will truly represent the function of radical stress, when used in discourse.
" It is this stress which draws the cutting edge of words across the ear, and startles even stupor into attention : this, which lessens the fatigue of listening, and out-voices the murmur and unruly stir of an assembly: and a sensibility to this, through a general instinot of the animal ear, which gives authority to the groom, and makes the horse submissive to his angry accent. Besides the fulness, loudness, and abruptness of the radical stress, when employed for distinct articulation, the tonic sound itself should be a pure vocality. When mixed with aspiration, it loses the brilliancy, that serves to increase the impressive effect of the explosive force.” — Rush.
« Prythe, peace:
Who dares do more, is none.” — Shakespeare. “You can talk a mob into anything; its feelings may be — usually are — on the whole generous and right; but it has no foundation for them, no hold of them; you may tease or tickle it into any, at your pleasure ; it thinks by infection, for the most part, catching a passion like a cold, and there is nothing so little that it will not roar itself wild about, when the fit is on; — nothing so great but it will forget in an hour, when the fit is past. But a gentleman's, or a gentle nation's passions are just, measured, and continuous.”. Ruskin.
“The clear conception, outrunning the deductions of logic, the high purpose, the firm resolve, the dauntless spirit, speaking on the tongue, beaming from the eye, informing every feature, and urging the whole man onward, right onward to his object, — this, this is eloquence; or rather it is something greater and higher than all eloquence, it is action, noble, sublime, godlike action.” — Webster.
“ I have heard it said that, when one lifts up his voice against things that are, and wishes for a change, he is raising a clamor agair:st existing institutions, a clamor against our venerable establishments, a clamor against the law of the land; but this is no clamor against the one or the other, — it is a clanıor against the abuse of them all. It is a clamor raised against the grievances that are felt.
Mr. Burke, who was no friend to popular excitement, who was no ready tool of agitation, no hot-headed enemy of existing establishments, no undervaluer of the wisdom of our ancestors, no scoffer against institutions as they are, — has said, and it deserves to be fixed in letters of gold, over the hall of every assembly which calls itself a legislative body, — Where there is abuse, there ought to be clamor; because it is better to have our slumber broken by the fire-bell, than to perish amid the flames, in our bed!"" – Lord Brougham.
“ Back to thy punishment,
Reply of Death to Satan, in PARADISE Lost.
Median Stress is stress laid on the middle of the sound. It expresses dignity, plaintiveness, wonder, awe, respect, deliberation, solemnity, supplication, and reverential submission.
“Radical stress,' with its abrupt explosion, is the irrepressible burst of forcible utterance, in the language of unconscious and involuntary emotion. It is the expression of passion rather than of will. Median stress, on the contrary, is more or less a conscious and intentional effect, prompted and sustained and enforced by the will. It is the natural utterance of those emotions which allow the intermingling of reflection and sentiment with expression, and which purposely dwell on sound, as a means of enhancing their effect. The swell of median stress is accordingly, more or less ample and prolonged, as the feeling which it utters is moderate, or deep and full, lofty and awful.
“This mode of stress is one of the most important in its effects on language, whether in the form of speaking or of reading. Destitute of its ennobling and expansive sound, the recitation of poetry sinks into the style of dry prose, the language of devotion loses its sacredness, the tones of oratory lose their power over the heart.
“There is great danger, however, of this natural beauty of vocal expression being converted into a fault by being overdone. The habit recognized under the name of mouthing,'has an excessively increased and prolonged median swell for one of its chief characteristics. In this shape, it becomes a great deformity in utterance,-particularly when combined with what is no infrequent concomitant, the faulty mode of voice, known as chanting' or singing. Like sweetness among savors, this truly agreeable quality becomes distasteful or disgusting, when in the least degree excessive." - Russell.
Examples. “When the veil of the temple, even this poor worn garment of our humanity, is rent from the top to the bottom, we catch glimpses of the inner glory: the rocks are riven, the graves open, they who have long slept in the dust come forth, and reveal to us awful and tender secrets, of which otherwise we should have known nothing. • They who love,' as says St. Chrysostom, if it be but man, not God,' will know what I mean, when I speak of joys springing out of the very heart of anguish, and holding to it by a common and inseparable life; will understand how it comes that the pale flowers which thrust themselves out of the ruins of hope, of endeavor, of affection, — yes, even out of the mournful wreck of intellect itself, should breathe out a deep and intimate fragrance, such as the broad wealth of air and sunshine never yet gave,
• For in things
“Where Christ brings His cross He brings His presence, and where He is, none are desolate, and there is no room for despair. At the darkest, you have felt a hand through the dark, closer perhaps and tenderer than any touch dreamt of at noon. As He knows His own, so he knows how to comfort them — using sometimes the very grief itself, and straining it to the sweetness of a faith unattainable to those ignorant of any grief.” — Mrs. Browning.
Methought from out the crowd a steadfast eye
Did single out mine own! a voice Divine
Through sweetness that it kindled ; Lord, for Thine
It matters little, Lord! or come or send
Take Thou my spirit hence, or like a Friend
THE SUMMONS. Dora Greenwell.
“I died for thee; for thee I am alive,
THE BROTHERS. — Jean Ingelow.
Vanishing Stress is stress placed on the vanishing movement, or last part of the sound.
In point of dignity, this stress is far inferior to the median, but it is highly expressive of sentiments represented by the semitone, as impatient ardor, surprise, fretfulness, and sometimes of excessive grief.
The obvious preparation of the organs for the vocal effect, in the expression of vanishing stress, implies its comparative dependence on volition. It is also the natural utterance of determined purpose, of earnest resolve, of störn rebuke, of contempt, of astonishment and horror, of fierce and obstinate will, of dogged sullenness of temper, of stubborn passion, and all similar moods.
Vanishing stress is exemplified, in its moral effect, in the language of a child stung to a high pitch of impatient or peevish feeling, and uttering, in the tone of the most violent ill temper, “I won't!” or “You sha’n’t !” In such circumstances the explosion of passion is deferred, or hangs, for a moment, on the ear, till the vanish or final part of the sound bursts out from the chest, throat, and mouth, with furious vehemence.
“Like all other forms of impassioned utterance which are strongly marked in the usages of natural habit, this property of voice is indispensable to appropriate elocution, whether in speaking or reading. Without 'vanishing stress,' declamation will sometimes lose its manly energy of determined will, and become feeble song to the ear. High-wrought resolution can never be expressed without it. Even the language of protest,
though respectful in form, needs the aid of the right degree of 'vanishing stress,' to intimate its sincerity and its firmness of determination, as well as its depth of conviction.
“ But when we extend our views to the demands of lyric and dramatic poetry, in which high-wrought emotion is so abundant an element of effect, the full command of this property of voice, as the natural utterance of extreme passion, becomes indispensable to true, natural and appropriate style.” — Russell.
“I do not like but yet, it does allay
The good precedence; fye upon but yet :
Cleopatra to Messenger.— ANTHONY AND CLEOPATRA. “On such occasions, I will place myself on the extreme boundary of my right, and bid defiance to the arm that would push me from it."- Webster.
“Let the consequences be what they will, I am determined to proceed. The only principles of public conduct which are worthy of a gentleman or a man, are to sacrifice estate, health, ease, applause, and even life, at the sacred call of his country.”— Otis.
“ Fret, till your proud heart break;
Go, show your slaves how choleric you are,
Brutus to Cassius.— JULIUS CÆSAR.
Compound Stress is stress on both the radical and vanishing movements.
On prolonged quantity, it is the sign of energy or violence in the passion represented by it. It is not an agreeable form of stress, there being a snappishness in its character which should always be avoided by a good reader, except on those rare occasions which especially call for the peculiarity of its expression.
“The use of this form of stress belongs appropriately to feelings of peculiar foron or acuteness. But on this very account, it sometimes becomes