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And the same conduct of the voice must be observed upon the four succeeding ironical members.
"But no exercise will be so proper to inure the voice to high notes as frequently to pronounce a succession of questions, which require the rising inflection of voice at the end, as in the following passage:—
"What was the part of a faithful citizen? Of a prudent, an active, and honest minister? Was he not to secure Euboea, as our defence against all attacks by sea? Was he not to make Boeotia our barrier on the midland side? The cities bordering on Peloponnesus, our bulwark on that quarter? Was he not to attend with due precaution to the importation of corn, that this trade might be protected through all its progress up to our own harbour? Was he not to cover those districts, which we commanded by seasonable detachments, as the Proconesus, the Chersonesus, and Tenedos ? To exert himself in the assembly for this purpose? While with equal zeal he laboured to gain others to our interest and alliance, as Byzantium, Abydus, and Eubœa? Was he not to cut off the best and most important resources of our enemies, and to supply those in which our country was defective ?—And all this you gained by my counsels and my administration.-Leland's Demosthenes.
"It will naturally occur to every judicious reader, that this series of questions ought to rise gradually in force as they proceed, and therefore it will be necessary to keep the voice under at the beginning: to which this observation may be added, that as the rising inflection ought to be adopted on each question, the voice will be very apt to get too high near the end, for which purpose it will be necessary to swell the voice a little below its highest pitch; and if we cannot rise with ease and clearness on every particular to the last, we ought to augment the force on each, that the whole may form a species of climax.
"RULE V.—When we would strengthen the voice in the middle tone, it will be necessary to exercise the voice on very passionate speeches by pronouncing them in a loud tone, without suffering the voice to rise with the force, but preserving all the energy and loudness we are able, in the middle tone of voice.
"The challenge of Macbeth to Banquo's ghost, is a proper passage for this exercise of the middle tone of voice.
"What man dare I dare:
Approach thou like the rugged Russian bear,
Shall never tremble. Be alive again,
And dare me to the desert with thy sword;
The baby of a girl. Hence, horrible shadow,
"RULE VI.—When we have exerted the voice to the highest pitch, it will be necessary to bring it down to a lower, by beginning the succeeding sentence in a lower tone of voice, if the nature of the sentence will permit; and if we are speaking extempore, it will be proper to form the sentence in such a manner as to make it naturally require a lower tone.
The following observations on this subject are also from Walker's "Elements of Elocution:"
"It now remains to say something of those tones which mark the passions and emotions of the speaker. These are entirely independent of the modulation of the voice, though often confounded with it: for modulation relates only to speaking either loudly or softly, in a high or a low key; while the tones of the passions or emotions mean only that quality of sound that indicates the feelings of the speaker, without any reference to the pitch or loudness of his voice; and it is in being easily susceptible of every passion and emotion that presents itself, and being able to express them with that peculiar quality of sound which belongs to them, that the great art of reading and speaking consists. When we speak our own words, and are really impassioned by the occasion of speaking, the passion or emotion precedes the words, and adopts such tones as are suitable to the passion we feel; but when we read, or repeat from memory, the passion is to be taken up as the words occur; and in doing this well, the whole difficulty of reading or repeating from memory
"But it will be demanded, how are we to acquire that peculiar quality of sound that indicates the passion we wish to express? The answer is easy by feeling the passion which expresses itself by that peculiar quality of sound. But the question will return, how are we to acquire a feeling of the passion? The answer to this question is rather discouraging, as it will advise those who have not a power of impassioning themselves upon reading or expressing some very pathetic passage, to turn their studies to some other department of learning, where nature may have been more favourable to their wishes. But is there no method of assisting us in acquiring the tone of the passion we want to express; no method of exciting the passion in ourselves when we wish to express it to others? The advice of Quintilian and Cicero on this occasion is, to represent to our imagination, in the most lively manner possible, all the most striking circumstances of the transaction we describe, or of the passion we wish to feel. Thus,' says Quintilian, 'if I complain of the fate of a man who has been assassinated, may I not paint in my mind a lively picture of all that has probably happened on the occasion? Shall not the assassin appear to rush forth suddenly from his lurking-place? Shall not the other appear seized with horrors? Shall he not cry out, beg his life, or fly to save it? Shall not I see the assassin dealing the deadly blow, and the defenceless wretch falling dead at his feet? Shall not I figure to my mind, and by a lively impression, the blood gushing from his wounds, his ghastly face, his groans, and the last gasp he
"But our natural feelings are not always to be commanded; and, when they are, they stand in need of the regulation and embellishments of art; it is the business, therefore, of every reader and speaker in public, to acquire such tones and gestures as nature gives to the passions; that he may be able to produce the semblance of them when he is not actually impassioned.
Mr. Burke has a very ingenious thought on this subject in his ‘Origin
of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful.' He observes, that there is such a connexion between the internal feeling of a passion and the external expression of it, that we cannot put ourselves in the posture or attitude of any passion, without communicating a certain degree of the passion itself to the mind. The same may be observed of the tone of voice which is peculiar to each passion: each passion produces an agitation of the body, which is accompanied by a correspondent agitation of the mind; certain sounds naturally produce certain bodily agitations, similar to those produced by the passions; and hence music has power over the mind, and can dispose it alternately to joy or sorrow, to pity or revenge. When the voice, therefore, assumes that tone which a musician would produce, in order to express certain passions or sentiments in a song, the speaker, like the performer on a musical instrument, is wrought upon by the sound he creates; and, though active at the beginning, at length becomes passive, by the sound of his own voice on himself. Hence it is, that though we frequently begin to read or speak, without feeling any of the passion we wish to express, we often end in full possession of it. This may serve to show the necessity of studying and imitating those tones, looks, and gestures that accompany the passions, that we may dispose ourselves to feel them mechanically, and improve our expression of them when we feel them spontaneously; for by the imitation of the passion, we meet it, as it were, half way.'
The following observations on the same subject are from Sheridan's" Art of Speaking:"
"NATURE has given to every emotion of the mind its proper outward expression in such manner, that what suits one cannot, by any means, be accommodated to another. Children at three years of age express their grief in a tone of voice, and with an action totally different from that which they use to express their anger; and they utter their joy in a manner different from both. Nor do they ever, by mistake, apply one in place of another. From hence, that is, from nature, is to be deduced the whole art of speaking properly. What we mean does not so much depend upon the words we speak, as on our manner of speaking them; and accordingly, in life, the greatest attention is paid to this, as expressive of what our words often give no indication of. Thus nature fixes the outward expression of every intention or sentiment of the mind. Art only adds gracefulness to what nature leads to. As nature has determined that man shall walk on his feet, not his hands, art teaches him to walk gracefully.
Every part of the human frame contributes to express the passions and emotions of the mind, and to show, in general, its present state. The head is sometimes erected, sometimes hung down, sometimes drawn suddenly back with an air of disdain, sometimes shows by a nod, a particular person or object; gives assent or denial by different motions; threatens by one sort of movement, approves by another, and expresses suspicion by a third.
The arins are sometimes both thrown out, sometimes the right alone. Sometimes they are lifted up as high as the face, to express wonder; sometimes held out before the breast, to show fear; spread forth with the hands open, to express desire or affection; the hands clapped in
surprise, and in sudden joy and grief; the right hand clenched, and the arms brandished, to threaten; the two arms set a-kimbo, to look big, and express contempt or courage. With the hands, as Quintilian says, we solicit, we refuse, we promise, we threaten, we dismiss, we invite, we entreat, we express aversion, fear, doubting, denial, asking, affirmation, negation, joy, grief, confession, penitence. With the hands we describe, and point out all circumstances of time, place, and manner of what we relate; we excite the passions of others, and soothe them, we approve and disapprove, permit, or prohibit, admire, or despise. The hands serve us instead of many sorts of words, and where the language of the tongue is unknown, that of the hands is understood, being universal, and common to all nations.
"The legs advance or retreat, to express desire, or aversion, love, or hatred, courage, or fear, and produce exultation, or leaping in sudden joy; and the stamping of the foot expresses earnestness, anger, and threatening.
"Especially the face, being furnished with a variety of muscles, does more in expressing the passions of the mind than the whole human frame besides. The change of colour (in white people) shows by turns anger by redness, and sometimes by paleness; fear likewise by paleness, and shame by blushing. Every feature contributes its part. The mouth open, shows one state of the mind, shut, another; the gnashing of the teeth, another. The forehead smooth, and eyebrows arched and easy, show tranquillity or joy. Mirth opens the mouth towards the ears, crisps the nose, half shuts the eyes, and sometimes fills them with tears. The forehead wrinkled into frowns, and the eyebrows overhanging the eyes, like clouds, fraught with tempest, show a mind agitated with fury. Above all, the eye shows the very spirit in a visible form. In every different state of mind it assumes a different appearance. Joy brightens and opens it; grief half closes, and drowns it in tears; hatred and anger flash from it like lightning; love darts from it in glances, like the orient beam; jealousy and squinting envy dart their contagious blasts from the eye; and devotion raises it to the skies, as if the soul of the holy man were going to take its flight to heaven.
"The force of attitude and looks alone appears in a wondrously striking manner in the works of the painter and statuary, who have the delicate art of making the flat canvass and rocky marble utter every passion of the human mind, and touch the soul of the spectator, as if the picture or statue spoke the pathetic language of Shakspeare. It is no wonder, then, that masterly action joined with powerful elocution should be irresistible. And the variety of expression by looks and gestures is so great that, as it is well known, a whole play can be represented without a word spoken.
"Though it may be alleged, that a great deal of gesture or action at the bar or in the pulpit, especially the latter, is not wanted, nor is quite in character, it is yet certain, that there is no part of the man that has not its proper attitude. The eyes are not to be rolled along the ceiling, as if the speaker thought himself in duty bound to take care how the flies behave themselves. Nor are they to be constantly cast down upon the ground, as if he were before his judge receiving sentence of death. Nor
to be fixed upon one point, as if he saw a ghost. The arms of the preacher are not to be needlessly thrown out, as if he were drowning in the pulpit, or brandished after the manner of the ancient pugilists or boxers, exercising themselves by fighting with their own shadow, to prepare them for the Olympic contests. Nor, on the contrary, are his hands to be pocketed up, nor his arms to hang by his sides as lank as if they were both withered. The head is not to stand fixed, as if the speaker had a perpetual crick in his neck. Nor is it to nod at every third word, as if he were acting Jupiter, or his would-be son Alexander.*
66 A judicious speaker is master of such a variety of decent and natural motion, and has such a command of attitude, that he will not be long enough in one posture to offend the eye of the spectator. The matter he has to pronounce will suggest the propriety of changing from time to time his look, his posture, his motion, and tone of voice, which if they were to continue too long the same, would become tedious and irksome to the beholders. Yet he is not to be every moment changing posture, like a harlequin, nor throwing his hands about as if he were showing legerdemain tricks.
Modesty ought ever to be conspicuous in the behaviour of all who are obliged to exhibit themselves before the eye of the public. Whatever of gesture or exertion of voice such persons use, they ought to appear plainly to be drawn into them by the importance, spirit, or humour of the matter. If the speaker uses any arts of delivery which appear plainly to be studied, the effect will be, that his awkward attempts to work upon the passions of his hearers by means of which he is not master will render him odious and contemptible to them. With what stiff and pedantic solemnity do some public speakers utter thoughts so trifling as to be hardly worth uttering at all! And what unnatural and unsuitable tones of voice and gesticulations do others apply in delivering what by their manner of delivering one would be apt to question, not only whether it is their own composition, but whether they really understand it."
The writer then proceeds to describe the principal PASSIONS and AFFECTIONS of the mind, and to give rules for the proper expression of them, with regard to looks, tones, and gestures. As the object of this Compilation is to teach READING, and not the histrionic art, we shall omit those descriptions and rules. We shall, however, in the First Part of our book avail ourselves of the PRACTICAL LESSONS which he has added in illustration of them, because we are convinced that they are admirably well calculated to make GOOD READERS. These lessons are contained in a book called "The Art of Speaking," which has been out of print for upwards of sixty years; at least, we have never been able to procure more than one copy of it, and the date of its publication is 1784. It is also described as the Sixth Edition, and was printed, as is stated, for the Dublin
* As represented in Dryden's Ode.