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position in grammar or geometry, in the language of metaphor. But though merely the correct manner, suits many purposes of reading, it is dry and inanimate, and is the lowest department in the province of delivery. Still the great majority, not to say of respectable men, but of bookish men, go nothing beyond this in their attainments or attempts.
Rhetorical reading has a higher object, and calls into action higher powers. It is not applicable to a composition destitute of emotion, for it supposes feeling. It does not barely express the thoughts of an author, but expresses them with the force, variety, and beauty, which feeling demands. And just here it is that the most stubborn difficulty in elocution meets us ;-a difficulty arising from the genius of written language.
The value of the graphic art consists in its being a medium for the acquisition of knowledge, and for the communication of it. In the former case, I refer to the use we make of language in silent reading. The facility with which this is done depends on our acquaintance with the characters of which words are formed; the meaning of words, singly; and the principles which govern their combination in sentences. Our eye may glance over a page in our own tongue, so as perceive all its meaning, in the same time that would be employed on a short sentence of a language, which we are only beginning to learn. But in silent reading, though the eye perceives at a look the form and meaning of words, it cannot perceive the meaning of sentences, without including also grammatical relation. Hence points or pauses are indispensable in the graphic art, as designed merely for the eye.
may take as an example the celebrated response of the Oracle ;
Ibis et redibis nunquam peribis in bello. The eye has no means of judging whether the meaning is,
you shall never return, or you shall never perish, unless a pause is inserted before or after nunquam, to determine with which verb it is grammatically connected.
So far the principles of written language go ;-they embrace words and pauses, and here stop. But the moment we come to transform this written language into oral, by reading aloud, a new set of principles come in with their claims, for which the arts of writing and of printing have made no provision. Here the reader becomes a speaker, and is required to mark with his voice the degrees of emphatic stress, and all the varieties of pitch, quantity of sound, and rate of utterance which sentiment demands. But he is trammelled with the narrowness of language as presented to the eye. He has been accustomed to regard words and pauses only, and all the movements of his voice are adjusted accordingly. You may tell him that he has a tone, but he knows not what you mean.
Tell him to to be natural,—to be in earnest, and you have given him an excellent direction indeed, but how to apply it to the case in hand, is the difficulty, He is more rapid perhaps, or more loud, for this admonition, but under the dominion of inveterate habit, he goes on with his tone still.
To the above defect in the art of printing, let another fact be added, that a great proportion of language, as it appears in books, neither demands nor admits any variety of tones and emphasis ; and another still, that, in most men, habits of voice, once established, cannot be changed without great and persevering efforts; and it will not seem strange that the number of good readers is so small, even among educated and professional men. British writers have constantly complained of the dull, formal manner in which the Liturgy and the sacred Scriptures are read in their churches. And often, in the pulpits of this country, the reading of the Bible is apparently so destitute, not of feeling and devotion merely, but of all just discrimination, as to remind one of the question put by Philip to the nobleman of Ethiopia ; “ Understandest thou wbat thou readest ?”
When we consider the extent to which these faults prevail in rhetorical reading, and the correspondent faults which of course prevail in public speaking, it is time that this greatly neglected subject should receive its due share of attention, amid the general advances in other departments of literature and taste.
Now, if there could at once spring up in our country a supply of teachers, competent, as living models, to regulate the tones of boys, in the forming age,-nothing more would be needed. But, to a great extent, these teachers are to be themselves formed. And to produce the transformation which the case demands, some attempt seems necessary to go to the root of the evil, by incorporating the principles of spoken language with the written. Not that such a change should be attempted in respect to books generally ; but in books of elocution, designed for this single purpose, visible marks may be employed, sufficient to designate the chief points of established correspondence between sentiment and voice. These principles being well settled in the mind of the pupil, may be spontaneously applied, where no such marks are used.
But as this subject is to be resumed under the head of inflections, I drop it here, with a remark or two in passing
Be it remembered then, that all directions as to management of the voice, must be regarded as subsidiary to expression of feeling, or they are worse than useless. Emotion is the thing. One flash of passion on the cheek, one beam of feeling from the eye, one thrilling note of sensibility from the tongue,--have a thousand times more value than any exemplification of mere rules, where feeling is absent."* The benefit of analysis and precept is, to aid the teacher in making the pupil conscious of his own faults, as a prerequisite to their correction. The object is to unfetter the soul, and set it free to act. In doing this, a notation for the eye, designed to rege ulate the voice in a few obvious particulars, may be of much advantage : otherwise why shall we not dismiss punctuation too from books, and depend wholly on the teacher for pauses, as well as tones?
The reasonable prejudice which some intelligent men have felt against any system of notation, arises from the preposterous extent to which it has been carried by a few popular teachers, and especially by their humble imitators. A judicious medium is what we want. Five characters in music, and six vowels in writing, enter into an infinitude of combinations in melody and language. So the elemenlary modifications of voice in speaking are few, and easily
understood; and to mark them, so far as distinction is useful, does not require a tenth part of the rules, which some have thought necessary.
The intellectual and moral qualities indispensable to form an orator, are brought into view in the following pages, no farther than they modify delivery. The parts of externat oratory, as voice, look, and gesture, are only instruments by which the soul acts ;--when the inspiration of soul is absent, these instruments cannot produce eloquence. A treatise on delivery then, must presuppose the existence of genius, mental discipline, and elevation of moral sentiment ;--though a distinct consideration of these belongs to RHETORIC, as a branch of intellectual and Christian philosophy.
The parts of delivery, to be considered in their order, are --ARTICULATION, INFLECTION, ACCENT and EMPHA
MODULATION and ACTION.
I premise here, once for all, that I employ terms according to the best modern use, with as little as possible of technical abstractness. Elocution, which anciently embraced style, and the whole art of rhetoric, now signifies manner of delivery, whether of our own thoughts or those of others. Pronunciation, which anciently signified the whole of delivery, is now equivalent to orthoëpy, or the proper utterance of single words. It were easy, by a critical disquisition, to trace out the etymological affinities of all these terms, and to teach the pupil a distinction between an orator, and an eloquent man, between articulation, and distinct enunciation of words &c; but instead of the scientific air adopted in some works on elocution, it seems to me that the better, because the simpler course, is