Изображения страниц

The experience of want | enhances the value of plenty.
Truth | is the basis , of excellence.
Trials , in this state of being | are the lot of man.
Death is the season which brings our affections to the test.

From the right exercise of our intellectual powers | arises | one of the chief sources | of our happiness.

We applaud virtue | even in enemies.
Honour and shame | from bo condition rise.

A public speaker | may have a voice that is musical | and of great compass; but it requires much time and labour to at. tain its just modulation | and that variety of flexion and tone | which a pathetic discourse requires.

These pauses are generally shorter in their duration than those at the grainmatical points. Grammatical punctuation does not always demand a pause, and the time of the pauses at various points is not c rrectly stated in many books on reading. In some treatises, the pause at the period is described as being uniformly four times as long as that at a comina ; whereas, it is regulated entirely by the nature of the subject, the intimacy or remoteness of the connection between the sentences, and other causes.


By emphasis is meant that stronger and fuller sound of voice, by which, in reading or speaking, we distinguish the accented syllable of some word, on which we design to lay particular stress, in order to show how it affects the rest of the sentence. On the right management of the emphasis depend the whole life and spirit of every discourse. If no emphasis be placed on any word, not only is discourse rendered heavy and lifeless, but the meaning left often ambiguous. If the emphasis be placed wrong, we pervert and confound the meaning wholly.

To give a common instance; such a simple question as this,“ Do you ride to town to-day ?" is capable of no fewer than four acceptations, according as the emphasis is differently placed on the words. If it be pronounced thus : Do you ride to town to-day ? the answer may naturally be, No; I send my servant in my stead. If thus: Do you ride to town to-day? Answer, No; I intend to walk.

Do you ride to town to-day? No; I ride out into the fields. Do you ride to town to-day? No; but I shall tomorrow.

In order to acquire the proper management of the emphasis, the great rule, and indeed the only rule possible to be given, is, that the speaker or reader study to attain a just conception of the force and spirit of those sentiments which he is to pronounce. For to lay the emphasis with exact propriety, is a constant exercise of good sense and attention. It is far from being an inconsiderable attainment. It is one of the greatest trials of a true and just taste; and must rise from feeling delicately ourselves, and from judging accurately of what is fittest to strike the feelings of others.

Next to emphasis, the pauses in speaking demand attention. These are of two kinds; first, emphatical pauses : and next, such as mark the distinctions of sense. An emphatical pause is made after something has been said of peculiar moment, on which we want to fix the hearer's attention. Such pauses have the same effect as a strong emphasis, and are subject to the same rules; especially to the caution of not repeating them too frequently.

But the most frequent and principal use of pauses is to mark the divisions of the sense, and at the same time to allow the speaker to draw his breath; and the proper adjustment of such pauses is one of the most difficult articles in delivery. In all reading and public speaking the management of the breath requires great care, so as not to be obliged to divide words from one another which have so intimate a connection, that they ought to be pronounced in the same breath, and without the least separation. Many sentences are miserably mangled, and the force of the emphasis totally lost, by divisions being made in the wrong place. To avoid this, every one, while he is reading or speaking, should be careful to provide a full supply of breath for what he is to utter. It is a great mistake to imagine, that the breath must be drawn only at the end of a period, when the voice is allowed to fall. It may easily be gathered at the intervals of the period, when the voice is only suspended for a moment; and, by this management, we may have always a suthicient stock for carrying on the longest sentence without improper interruptions.


Gesture regulates the looks, movements, and attitudes, which are supposed natural in certain passions and emotions. In strong excitement, there is a similarity of ges ture among all nations; but the extent and variety of its employment in common conversation, and in formal addresses to the public, are greatly regulated by the temper, taste, and intellectual improvement, of each individual nation. The gesture of the actor is more violent and profuse than that of the orator, who is supposed to be more under the influence of reason, and to address himself to the understanding of his audience. In civilised and polished countries, a profusion of gesture is to be avoided in public discourses ; it should neither be m nute nor violent. The first is inconsistent with that absorption of thought which is supposed necessary in an intellectual address; the second is an outrage on the taste and feelings of the audience, and is apt to raise indignation and aversion.

Many modern speakers offend by the vehemence of their gesticulation; indeed, the instruction which is given on gesture should often be occupied in relucing within the limits of grace, extravagant positions and movemens. The ancients were more chaste in their gesture than is commonly imagined. Although, in seasons of great excitement, they adopted, at times, a bold and striking gesture, they were generally more restrained in their movements than many modern speakers.

Gesture regulates the position and movement of the body, the eye, the limbs, and, indeed, the whole deportment. In oratory, the regulation of the hand is of peculiar importance, not only as it serves to express passion, but to mark the dependence of clauses, and to express

the emphasis. In the suspension of a sentence, for instance, the hand may take an upward slide; while at the completion, the hand may sink in a line with the breast. In the stroke of emphasis, the hand rests in the same position, but comes down with a combined jerk of the elbow and wrist. The arm iu its movements must not be much curved, but come freely from the shoulder.

A volume might be written on the subject of gesture; but as the great proportion of students in Elocution do not require this accomplishment, and as it can be learned more quickly and efficaciously by a few instructions from the living model, it has been deemed unnecessary to swell this volume by a detail of its numerous laws. We will only enumerate a few of the most obvious modes of gesture.

The Head and Face. The hanging down of the head denotes shame, or grief. The holding it up, pride, or courage. To nod forward, implies assent. To toss the head back, dissent. The inclination of the head implies bashfulness, or languor. The head is averted in dislike or horror. It leans forward in attention.

The Eyes. The eyes are raised in prayer. They weep in sorrow. Burn in anger. They are cast on vacancy in thought. They are thrown in different directions in doubt and anxiety.

The Arms. The arm is projected forward in authority. Both arms are spread extended in admiration. They are held forward in imploring help. They both fall suddenly in disappointment.

The Hands. The hand on the head indicates pain, or distress. On the eyes, shame. On the lips, injunction of silence. On the breast, it appeals to conscience, or intiinates desire. The hand waves, or flourishes, in joy, or, contempt. Both hands are held supine, or clasped, in prayer.

Both descend prone in blessing. They are clasped, or wrung, in affliction. They are held forward, and received, in friendship.

The Body. The body, held erect, indicates steadiness and courage. Thrown back, pride. Stooping forward,

condescension or compassion. Bending, reverence, or respect. Prostration, the utmost humility, or abasement.

The Lower Limbs. Their firm position, signifies courage, or obstinacy. Bended knees, timidity, or weakness. Frequent change, disturbed thoughts. They advance in desire, or courage. Retire in aversion, or fear. Start, in terror. Stamp, in authority, or anger. Kneel, in submis

sion and prayer.



Rule 1.-When a question commences with an interrogative adverb or pronoun, it terminates with a fulling inflection.


How can he exalt his choughts to anything great' and noble', who only believes that after a short turn on the stage of this world', he is to sink into oblivion", and to lose his consciousness forever'?

If I'm design'd yon lordling's slave',

By nalure's law design'd',
Why was an independent wish'

E’er planted in my mind'?
If not, why am I subject to

His cruelty', or scorn?
Or, why hath man the will', and power"!

To make his fellows mourn?
Who can look down upon the grave', even of an enemy', anu
not feel a compunctious throb”, that he should ever have
warred with the poor handful of earth”, that lies mouldering
before him ?

Who can hold a fire in his hand',
By thinking on the frosty Caucasus'?
Or, wallow naked in December's snow',
By mere remembrance of the summer's heat'?

[ocr errors]
« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »