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say báttle for ha- bit, hábit-and for bor row bórrow. This is one of the chief sources of the difference between the Scotch and English Gentlemen in the pronunciation of Englith ; I mean, the laying the Accent on the vowel instead of the consonant, by which means they make fyllables long, that are short with us.
“ And here I can not help taking notice of a circumstance which shews, in the strongest light, the amazing deficiency of those who have hitherto employed their labours on that subject, in point of knowlege of the true genius and conítitution of our tongue. Several of the Compilers of Dictionaries, Vocabularies, and Spelling Books,--have undertaken to mark the Accents of our words but so little acquainted were they with the nature of our Accent, that they thought it necessary only to mark the syllable on which the ftress is to be laid, without marking the particular letter of the syllable to which the Accent belongs. They have therefore marked them by one uniform rule, that of placing the Accent always' over the vowel of the distinguished syllable. By which means they have done worse than if they had not pointed out such fyllables at all; for this rule, instead of guiding Strangers to a true pronunciation, infallibly leads them to a wrong one, whenever the Accent should be placed on the confonant. Thus all foreigners and provincials must for ever be mifled, by consulting such Dictionaries. For instance, if they look for the word endeavour, finding the Accent upon the vowel e, they will of course sound it endéa-vour. In the same manner dedicate will be called dé-dicate, precipitate precí-pitate -hab'it, há-bit-and so on. Now had they only attended to the plain rule of placing the Accent always over the consonant, whenever the stress is upon that, they would have afforded the best and most general guide to just pronunciation, that could be found with regard to our tongue. For it is an unerring rule throughout the whole, that whenever the Accent is on the confonant, the preceding vowel has a short found. As there is also another infallible rule in our tongue, that no vowel ever has a long found in an unaccented syllable, if this article of Accent were properly adjusted, it would prove a master-key to the pronunciation of our whole tongue.
" When we see such a palpable and gross mistake as this in our Compilers of Dictionaries, we should be at a loss to account for it, if we did not refcct, that they, as well as our Grammarians, have never examined the state of the living tongue, but wholly confined their labour's to the dead written
language; their chief object therefore has been to affif silent Readers, in comprehending the meaning of the words ; not those who are to read aloud, in a proper delivery; to teach men how to write, not how to speak correctly. In this view, the marking the syllable alone on which the Accent is laid, without attending to the particular letter, would answer their purpose, as it would enable Writers to arrange their words properly in metre, according to the rules of English verfification. Every word in our language of more syllables than one has an accented syllable. The longer polysyllables have.frequently two Accents, but one is so much Itronger than the other, as to thew that it is but one word; and the inferior Accent is always less forcible than any Accent that is the fingle one in a word. : Thus in the word expos tulator'y=--the : strongest Accent is on the second syllable pos, but there is a fainter Accent on the last syllable but one, sounded tur', ex- ; pos"tulatúr-ry, as a succession of four unaccented syllables would not be agreeable to the ear, and might prevent distinct articulation. All monosyllables in our language are also accented, the particles alone excepted, which are always without accent, when not emphatical; and they are long or short in the same manner as before mentioned, according as the seat of the Accent is on the vowel or confonant. Thus ad'd, led', bid', rod', cub, are all short, the voice paffing quickly over the vowel to the consonant; but for the contrary reafon the words áll, láid, bide, róad, cúbe, are long, the Accent being on the vowels, on which the voice dwells fome time before it sounds the consonants."
Mr. Sheridan now proceeds to lay before his Readers fome very ingenious remarks in regard to the different ways of dis-, tinguishing words; and concludes this Lecture with a few practical rules for the strict observation of the laws of Ac
In the fourth Lecture, which treats of Emphasis, he sets out with remarking, that Emphasis discharges, in sentences;- . the same kind of office that accent does in words. As accent.. is the link which' joins fyllables together, and forms them · into words, so Emphasis unites words, and forms them into sentences, or members of sentences.
As accent dignifies the syllable on which it is laid, and makes it more diftinguished by the ear than the rest, so Emphasis ennobles the word to which it belongs, and presents it in a stronger light to the understanding. Accent is the mark which distinguishes words from each other, as simple types of our ideas, without refer
ence to their agreement or disagreement: Emphasis is the maik which points out their several degrees of relationship, and the rank which they hold in the mind. Accent addresses itself to the ear only; Emphasis, thro' the ear, to the under ftanding
As there is no pointing out the meaning of words by reading, without a proper offervation of Emphasis, it has been a great defect in the art of writing, Mr. Sheridan observes, “ that there have been no marks invented for fo necessary a purpose; as it requires, at all times, a painful attention, in the Reader, to the context, in order to be able to do it at all ; and in many cases, the most fevere attention will not answer the end; for the Emphasis is often to be regulated, not by the preceding part of the sentence, but by the subsequent one; which frequently is so long, that the motion of the eye cannot precede the voice with sufficient celerity, to take in the meaning in due time."
The want of such marks, he observes, is no where so strongly perceived as in the general manner of reading the Church service; which is often fa ill performed, that not only the beauty and spirit of the service is loft, but the very meaning is obscured, concealed, or wholly perverted. There is no composition in the English tongue, he says, which is at all attended to, so little understood, in general, as the Church service. Accordingly he produces several striking instances of impropriety in some of the verses from Scripture, that are read before the Exhortation, remarking, that had there been proper marks invented for Emphafis, fuch gross errors could not have been committed.
We readily agree with Mr. Sheridan, that most of the improprieties he has pointed out in the reading these verses, are really such: but we cannot altogether subscribe to his own manner of reading the same passages. Indeed, we were greatly surprized to find our Author so deficient in the application of his own rules. The usual manner of reading the following text, he says, is this.
“ Enter no't into judgment with thy servant, O Lord, for in thy s'ight, shall no man living be jus'tified.
“ Here the words no't, fer'vant, s'ight, justified, between which it is impossible to find out any connection, or depen. dence of one on the other, are principally marked. By these false Emphases the mind is turned wholly from the main pur-Rev. Oet. 1762.
port and drift of the verse. Upon hearing an Emphasis on the particle no't, it expects quite another conclusion to make the meaning consistent; and instead of the particle for, which begins the latter part of the sentence, it would expect a but; as, enter not into judgment with thy servant, O Lord, but regard me with an cye of mercy. When it hears the Emphasis on servant, it expets another conclufion; as, enter not into judgment with thy ferovant, O Lord, but enter into judgment with those who are not thy servants. The same also will be found in the Emphasis on the words light, and juftified. So that the sentence will seem to point at several different meanings, and to have no consistency. But if it be read in the following manner, the meaning and connection will be obvious. Enter not into judgement with thy fervant "O Lord" for in thy fight, shall no man living be justified. Here we see the whole meaning is obvious, and that there is a great deal more implied than the mere words could express, without the aid of proper Emphases. Enter not into judgment with thy servant, O Lord —That is, enter not, O Lord, into the severity of judgment with thy creature, --For in thy fight,—which is all-piercing, and can spy the smallest blemish. -hall no man living be justified-No man on earth, no not the best shall be found perfect, or fufficiently pure, to stand the examination, of the eye of purity itself. For in thy sight shall no man liv'ing be justified.”
Now, to copy Mr. Sheridan's manner of criticism, might we not ask him, if his laying the Emphasis on the word living in this passage, does not seem to intimate that dead men may be justified tho' the living shall not. Yet this, surely, cannot be the sense of the pastage. The word living is here used as a phraseological and unmeaning term; and had the verse ran thus, For in thy light shall no" m`an be justificd, the sense of it would have been the same; and can Mr. Sheridan pretend that the Emphasis, which only, according to him, gives sense and meaning to the whole sentence, should be laid upon a word merely expletive ?
Our Author exemplifies also the following verse, which, he fays, is generally pronounced in a manner equally faulty,
If we we say that we have no sìn, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in' us: bút if we confefs our sin's, hě is faithful and just to forgive us our fin's, and to cleanse us from 'ail unrighteousness, Mr. Sheridan makes several remarks
to prove the absurdity of reading this text as above accented : we could not forbear smiling, however, at some of them, as. very uncommon instances or critical fagacity. His observations on the word say in particular, are very quaint and puerile ; this word is here evidently enough confined to ourselves; as, if we say to ourselves, or flatter ourselves that we have no fin, &c. His removing the Emphasis from jay to if, there, fore, in this sentence, is, in our opinion, wrong; and the reasons he gives for it far-fetched and groundless. Mr. Sheridan's manner of reading the whole verse, is thisIf we say that we have nò sìn we deceive our felves, and the trù:h is not in us : but", if we confèss our fins, "His faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to clean se us from all righteousness. The critical Reader will not fail here to observe, that, altho' our Author has made fome emendation on the whole, yet he hath fallen into some blunders cqually absurd with those he censures. For instance, if we allow what he supposes, that, for the reasons he alledges, the Emphasis should be placed on the particle if, in the first member of the sentence, it should certainly, for similar reasons, be laid on the second if, in the second part of it. The motive for his laying the Emphasis on confess in the second part, also, should have induced him to lay it on fay in the first. Again, Mr. Sheridan omits laying any Emphasis on the word deceive, where it ought to lie, and where he had the same reason for placing it, as for his laying it on trùth; he only shifts the falsely-placed Emphasis on sèlves to our ; reading ourselves instead of ourselves; an insignificant and ridiculous alteration. We would read this former part of the sentence thus- If we sày we have nòsìn we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not
Our Author proceeds next to give some instances of improper Emphasis in theatrical declamation, with remarks thereon; in most of which we think him equally mistaken. There is a passage, says he, in Macbeth, which, as it has been generally spoken on the stage, and read by most people, is downright nonsense ; which yet, in itself, 'is a very fine one, and conveys an idea truly súblime. This is the following expression of Macbeth's, after his having committed the murder.
Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood