Sidor som bilder

or to friends in private, previously to look over the subject, so as to render themselves perfectly masters of it, or embarrassment, hesitation, and very often an entire failure of effect, will be the consequence.

The writer would not be understood to mean, by reading as we speak, that reading should, therefore, be like fiippant and common-place conversation, as might erroneously be supposed; but that reading should be consonant with the subject which we utter. If the Supreme Being be addressed in an extemporary prayer, nature and good feeling will dictate a meek, solemn, and reverential tone and manner; so should the same subject, without the least deviation, be read. The meaning here wished to be inculcated is, that we should speak correctly and read as we speak. To prove that reading and speaking sound alike, let a competent judge place himself in an ante chamber where he may hear, but not see, a person reading, and he cannot be able to determine whether he is reading or reciting, provided the reader be a good one.

Independently of the pleasure afforded to the auditors by a perfect reader, he participates in that pleasure by being enabled, from his just conceptions, to develop the frequently profound or sublime meaning of his author, and at the same time dress it in all the fascination of eloquence. Who can hear “Paradise Lost” properly read, and not be a convert to this opinion? One of the chief errors in young readers or speakers proceeds from a precipitancy of utterance, which is subversive of all good elocution ; to avoid that fault, the beginner should be taught to read the observations on quantity, and follow them. Giving proper quantity will correct too quick utterance.

ON READING RHYMING VERSE. Distinctness of utterance, and clearness of articulation, so indispensable in all kinds of oratorical exercises, must, in an especial manner, be attended to in reading verse, else that song so disgusting to good taste, and a perfect ear, will be the result. The material difference

between reading prose and rhyming verse, rests in giving more time between each word and sentence in verse than in prose; reading with very little reference to the jingle, or rhyme, but with great attention to the sense ; using the same inflections as in prose, and rather avoiding than encouraging that measured tone, improperly called musical; for if the harmony of that author's verse to whose sense we do justice, do not distinctly speak for itself, his claims to poetry must rest on a very slight foundation indeed.

ON READING BLANK VERSE. The correct delivery of blank verse, as well as of prose or rhyming verse, principally depends upon the reader's having a perfect knowledge of the subject which he is uttering.

The mode of reading blank verse, differs only in giving more quantity and solemnity of tone, than in prose or rhyming verse.

What is meånt by quantity, is taking nearly double the time in utterance, and with much more proximity to the sublime in blank verse, than in prose or rhyming verse, and continually bearing in mind the slight suspensive pause, that is, keeping up the voice, until the period or full sense be arrived at.

Perhaps it may here be necessary to say more upon a subject, to the judicious use of which, all perfect, forcible, and elegant reading, and speaking owe so much.

In giving proper quantity, not only the accented and unaccented vowels must have their full, round, due pro-, portion of sound, but the consonants also, and every word, syllable, and letter, should have its proper articulate sound accorded to it.

The sublime passages of scripture ought to be read agreeably to the above directions.

The following example will sufficiently elucidate the propriety of keeping up the voice until the sense be completed, and the period arrived at.

“ These are thy glorious works, Parent of good,
Almighty, thine this universal frame,
Thus wond'rous fair; thyself how wond'rous then!
Unspeakable, who sitt'st above these heav'ns
To us invisible, or dimly seen
In these thy lowest works; yet these declare
Thy goodness, beyond thought, and pow'r divine.


[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Those who wish to receive and impart the advantages derivable from the author's essay, the system by which he gives instruction, will please strictly to adhere to the following directions. Let the preceptor divide his classes in ten for each class, and meeting the ten, take up the first rule, or head, reading aloud the first sentence himself, and causing the first member of the class to repeat the same, and so on, until master and pupil have read the whole rule; so let him proceed with the rest of the class until the rule be gone through by all. Then let him take up the second head, following the above plan.

There are great advantages to be obtained by this method, which originated with the author. The first is, the pupil, without the drudgery of committing to memory, may become perfectly master of the two rules and their illustrations, before he leaves the class room. The second is, that by causing each member to read the same rule, twenty lessons are obtained in one meeting of the classes, for B. hears the errors of A. corrected; C. those of A. and B., and so on, until all derive the full advantage of the plan.

The master should, from the commencement, impress upon his pupils the indispensable necessity of using quantity. It not only imparts fullness to pronunciation, but also corrects one of the worst errors in readers or

speakers, which is precipitancy of utterance. The scriptures ought frequently to be resorted to not only for the purpose of laying a solid foundation for the well doing of the pupil, but as affording some of the most admira

and sublime passages within the scope of human observation.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »