« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
trippingly on the tongue ; but if you mouth it, as many of your players do, I had as lief the town-crier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air too much with your hands, thus ; but use all gently; for in the very torrent, tempest, and (as I may say) whirlwind of your passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may give it smoothness. 0, it offends me to the soul to hear a robustious, periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings, who, for the most part are capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb shows, and noise. I would have such a fellow whipped for o'erdoing Termagant; it out-herods Herod : pray you avoid it.”
8. SEEK TO READ OR SPEAK DISTINCTLY.-It is of vital importance that you should guard against gabbling on at a rapid rate, as if you were more anxious to get the piece over than to convey a proper impression to the minds of the hearers. Remember that, as a rule, by far the greater portion of an audience can only receive what you have to say or read very slowly into their minds, and hence, if they cannot keep pace with your delivery, much of the interest, and, indeed, of the beauty or truth you are seeking to impress upon them, will be lost altogether. True, you will find that sometimes what you have to say or read will need all the energy you can command, as well as the speed with which you can express it, but unless you cultivate, as a rule, a slow and steady pace, you will not be able to carry all the power, energy, or speed which will be needful to rush on to victory with all the might of every power you possess.
As a general rule you will find the following points helpful in deciding the character of the delivery needful to produce proper effect. If the piece is of a solemn character it will of necessity require a slow and very deliberate delivery.
If it is a simple narrative it should be quicker, but yet of a medium character. When, however, the piece is of an animated or passionate character, it should become more or less rapid according to the nature of the subject and the intensity of the emotion it calls forth. If you will try and realise every tender emotion, and feel every bold expression, it will animate you with a kindred power to do all you can to excite similar feelings in the hearts of those who listen to you. The following is perhaps one of the best illustrations of what we mean. Speaking on the subject, an ex
cellent author remarks: “In just articulation the words are not hurried over, nor melted together ; they are neither abridged nor prolonged ; they are not swallowed, nor are they shot from the mouth ; neither are they trailed, and then suffered to drop unfinished; but they are delivered from the lips as beautiful coins are issued from the mint, deeply and accurately impressed, neatly struck by the proper organs, distinct, sharp, perfectly finished."
Solomon wisely remarks that "a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in baskets of silver,” and it is because this is so true that we are anxious to enable our readers to become good readers—that we would press upon each the importance of “fitly speaking ;' in other words, to speak in such a mauner that, by the tones of the voice—the emphasis on the important words -the inflections—the pauses--the movements of every limb, the play of each feature-yea, the whole effort shall be so uniform, and so well done, that the eye may be pleased, the ear gratified, and the sympathy of the audience completely gained. If this is done you will be able to realise most vividly the truth of Longfellow's words, where he says in his poem, "The Day is Done”.
“Then read from the treasured volume
The poem of thy choice,
The beauty of thy voice;
And the cares that infest the day
And as silently steal away.” Surely it is worthy of every effort to attain such a power for doing good among those with whom you may have to mingle.
9. BE CAREFUL NOT TO DRAWL.—There is a vast difference between distinct and deliberate and drawling; hence we say, with special emphasis, watch carefully that you do not drop into the bad habit of drawling, as if you were going to sleep before you had finished, and intended to administer a sleeping-draught also to your audience at the same time. Can anything be more wretched or out of place, on the platform or in the pulpit, than a dull, dreamy, drawling delivery? No wonder Demosthenes, when asked what was the first point in Oratory, said—“Delivery:” and being asked what was the second, answered—“Delivery ; and upon the same question being put for the third time, he still replied—“Delivery.' Yes, it is quite true. How many good sermons and lectures have been completely spoilt by a bad delivery. The greatest care may be bestowed upon the
preparation, the matter may be good, the argument sound, the arrangement excellent, the language chaste, but if the delivery is of a drawling, sleepy character, the subject will fall powerless, simply from the want of proper care in its delivery. If you would touch the heart, fire the imagination, or stir the will, you must seek to have.
“Wit, and words, and worth,
To stir men's blood !' For the purpose of illustrating these distinctions, let us, by way of contrast, take the following selections :
MODERATE RATE. If the relation of sleep to night, and, in some instances, its converse be real, we cannot reflect without amazement upon the extent to which it carries us. Day and night are things close to us ; the change applies immediately to our sensations ; of all the phenomena of nature it is the most obvious, and the most familiar to our experience ; but in its course, it belongs to the great motions which are passing in the heavens; while the earth glides around her axle, she ministers to the alternate necessities of the animals dwelling upon her surface, at the same time that she obeys the influences of those attractions which regulate the order of many thousand worlds. The relation, therefore, of sleep to night is the relation of the inhabitants of the earth to the rotation of their globe : probably it is more ; it is a relation to the system of which the globe is a part, and, still further, to the congregatiori of systems of which theirs is only one. If this account be true, it connects the meanest individual with the universe itself; a chicken roosting upon its perch with the spheres revolving in the firmanent.
QUICK STYLE. One touch to her hand, and one word in her ear, When they reach'd the hall door, and the charger stood near, So light to the croupe the fair lady he swung, So light to the saddle before her he sprung? “She is won ! we are gone, over bank, bush, and scaur, They'll have fleet steeds that follow," quoth young Lochinvar. There was mounting ʼmong Græmes of the Netherby clan ; Fosters, Fenwicks, and Musgraves, they rode and they ran ; There was racing and chasing on Cannobie Lea, But the lost bride of Netherby ne'er did they see ! So daring in love, and so dauntless in war, Have
ye e'er heard of gallant like young Lochinvar ? Be on your guard against dropping into the bad habit of speaks ing through your nose, or what is commonly called, giving your words a nasal twang. It is always a serious defect, and will of necessity prove, a barrier to your usefulness and success, it you do not avoid such an intolerable and disagreeable habit. You should seek to talk with propriety, just as an artist seeks to sing or paint according to the very best rules, and with an utter avoidance of everything which would in any way mar the beauty or the effect intended to be produced. Remember, there must not only be the presence of everything that is possible and good, but a complete absence of anything bad either in habit or taste, or the perfection at which you aim will never be attained or recognised.
10. BE CAREFUL WITH YOUR STOPS. --By simply misplacing or omitting a comma, or other point, the entire meaning, as we have already seen, may be entirely changed. It is, therefore, of the greatest importance that every care should be taken in the study of the various points which an author may use in the construction of his sentences. It will never do to gabble on like the boy who began the well-known words, “My name is Norval on the Grampian hills," &c., and rattled on without a single stop.
The importance, yea, even the necessity of properly obserying the punctuation will be better seen by going over the following lines ; and noting how the sense can be made into nonsense by putting stops in the wrong places.
I saw a peacock with a fiery tail
saw a phial-glass sixteen yards deep
I saw the man who saw this dreadful sight Books, like music, have certain well-understood signs, which mark the length of a pause. A comma (,) while we count one ; a semicolon (;) while we count two; a colon (:) while we count three ; a full stop (.) while we count four. Nor is this all. You will frequently find, when you enter fully into the meaning of the words, that great effect can be produced by a pause in certain parts. Indeed, there can be no doubt that a judicious pause is sometimes most powerful in producing an impression, and the careful reader who drinks in the spirit of an author's words will frequently realise how needful it will be to use the pause with propriety. It is as wise to study this, as to study the tone of the voice, the action of the body, or any other accessory to a good delivery. Even those who object to it, and claim that it has a mischievous tendency, are obliged to admit that they are essential where th omission would obscure the sense of the writer, and this is all we contend for. can bring out more vividly the subject you are reciting, and with greater perfection, by the introduction of a pause, then by all means do so. Perhaps the following may help to point out wherein the danger lies, and also aid in showing when to pause with propriety and effect :
In pausing, ever let this rule take place :