Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

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 stage of this world, he is to sink into oblivion, and to lose his consciousness for ever. Here we perceive, that the two sentences, though one is an interrogation, and the other a declaration, both end with the same inflection of voice, and that the falling inflection; but if we convert these words into an interrogation, by leaving out the interrogative 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, contrary to the inflection it takes in the two former examples. If grammarians, therefore, by the elevation 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 voice 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 the emphasis, but the rising inflection is on the last words; essentially different from the inflection on these words in the first question, Why should not a female character be as ridiculous in a man, us 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 between a question formed with, and without, the interrogative 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 of the same kind in a declarative sentence. See Series, page 116.

EXAMPLES.

From whence can he produce such cogent exhortations to the practice of every virtue, such ardent excitement to piety and devòtion, and such assistance to attain them, as those which are to be met with throughout every page of these inimitable writings? Jenyn's l'iew of the Internal Erid. p. 41.

Where, amidst the dark clouds of pagan philosophy, can he show us such a clear prospect of a future stàte, the immortality of the sòul, the resurrection of the dead, and the general judgment, as in St. Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians ?

Ibid. page 40.

The definite question, or the question without the in

terrogative words.

Rule. I. When interrogative sentences are formed without the interrogative words, the last word must have the rising inflection. If there be an emphaticai 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 shiproreck, in the two following examples, have all the rising inflection.

EXAMPLES.

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 ?

Spect. 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 that 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. Would an infinitely wise Being make such glorious beings for so meán a purpose ? Can he delight in the production of such abórtive intelligences, such short-lived reasonable beings? Would he give us talents that are not to be exerted, capacities that are not to be grátified ? Spect. No. 111.

It is said of Diogenes, that meeting a young man who was going to a feast, he took him up in the street and carried him home to his friends as one who was running into imminent danger, had he not prevented him. What would that philosopher have said, had he been present at the gluttony of a modern meal!

Would not he have thought the master of a family mad, and have begged his servants to tie down his hands, had he seen him devour foul, fish, and flesh; swallow oil and vinegar, wines and spices; throw down salads of twenty different herbs, sauces of a hundred ingredients, confections and fruits of numberless sweets and flavours ?

Spect. No. 195. Should a spirit of superior rank, who is a stranger to human nature, accidentally alight upon the earth, and take a survey of its inhabitants, what would his notions of us bè? Would not he think that we are a species of beings, made for quite different ends and purposes than what we really áre? Must not he imagine that we are placed in this world to get riches and hónours? Would not he think that it was our duty to toil after wealth, and station, and title? Nay, would not he believe we were forbidden poverty by threats of eternal punishment, and enjoined to pursue our pleasures under pain of damnation ? He would certainly imagine that we were influenced by a scheme of duties quite opposite to those which are indeed prescribed to

Ibid, No. 575.

Us.

That is, the word one is to be pronounced as if it were an inaccented syllable of the word making, and as if written makingone. See The Differont Forces of Emphatical Words.

In these examples we find, that, however variously the voice may employ itself on the rest of the sentence, the concluding words on the last member must necessarily be suspended with the rising inflection. The only exception to this rule is, when these interrogative sentences are connected by the disjunctive 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 infection.

EXAMPLES. Shall we in your person crówn the author of the public calamities, or shall we destrùy him ?

Æschines on the Crown, Rollin. Is the goodness, or wisdom, of the divine Being, more manifest in this his preceedings?

Spect. No 519.

Exclamation.

This note is appropriated by grammarians to indicate that some passion or emotion is contained in the words to which it is annexed, and it may, therefore, 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 elocution of the reader, I shall not at present attempt to decide; 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 deserve a place in grammatical punctuation.

Thus the sentence, How mysterious are the ways of Providence! which naturally adopts the exclamation, 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 ? Expressing our gratitude, we may cry out with rapture, What have you done for me! or we may use the very same words contemptuously to inquire, What have you done for me ? intimating that nothing has been done ; the very different import of these sentences, as they are differently pointed, sufficiently show the utility of the note of exclamation.

It may not be entirely useless to take notice of a common error of grammarians; which is, that both this point and the interrogation require an elevation of voice. The inflection of voice proper to one species of question, which, it is probable, grammarians may have mistaken for an elevation of voice, it is presumed has been fully explained under that article : by the elevation of voice they impute to this point, it is not unlikely that they mean the pathos or energy, with which we usually express passion or emotion, but which is by no means inseparably connected with elevation of voice : were we even to suppose, that all passion or emotion necessarily assumes a louder tone,

« VorigeDoorgaan »