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RULES, OBSERVATIONS, AND EXERCISES,
PRONUNCIATION, PAUSES, INFLECTIONS,
ACCENT, AND EMPHASIS;
In Prose and Poetry ;
CALCULATED TO ASSIST THE TEACHER, AND TO IMPROVE
THE PUPIL, IN READING AND RECITATION.
BY THOMAS EWING,
nomy, No 59, South Bridge, opposite the College, Edinburgh;
and A New General Atlas.
OLIVER & BOYD, TWEEDDALE-COURT;
SIMPKIN & MARSHALL, LONDON.
[Price Four Shillings and Sixpence Bound.)
PREFACE TO THE SEVENTH EDITION.
In every stage of society, the power of Elocution is felt. Even in the rudest ages, the man who can impart to his sentiments the charm of a graceful or forcible utterance, will sway the minds of others with more absolute control, than he who may deliver the same sentiments, without equal melody of modulation, or equal animation of manner. The Elocution of those early periods, however, is not the result of study, but of the fortuitous advantages of voice, ear, or superior sensibility.
Civilization must have made considerable progress, before Elocution could be studied as an art; and of the refinement and politeness of a nation, there cannot, perhaps, be a surer criterion, than the attention paid to the graces of speech. In Athens, where taste and elegance had attained their utmost height, the public ear was so delicate, as to be offended by the slightest impropriety of pronunciation. Even that mighty orator, whose eloquence revived the ardour of their ancient patriotism, and proved the most formidable obstacle to the encroachments of Philip, incurred, by the awkwardness of his first appearance, the reproaches and hisses of that fastidious people: and it was by his assiduous attention to the graces of Elocution, that he afterwards acquired so absolute an ascendency in their popular assemblies, and attracted crowds of admirers from every corner of Greece. When the warlike rudeness of the Romans had been softened down by the influence of Grecian refinement, to speak their own language with propriety became the highest ambition of their leading men. Brutus thought this accomplishment preferable to the glory of triumphs; and, amidst all the corruption which luxury had introduced, it was chiefly by his overpowering eloquence, that Cicero was able to suspend for a time the ruin of the falling republic.
In Britain the study of Elocution was long and unaccountably neglected. But the time is gone by, when our public speakers, as if they disdained to influence the minds of their countrymen, except by convincing their reason, rejected as trivial and undignified the external aids of delivery: it is a maxim now very generally admitted, that the feelings and passions must be addressed, as well as the understanding; and that “ nothing can gain entrance into the affections, which stumbles at the threshold by offending the ear.”