« FöregåendeFortsätt »
In order to do a thing well, we should attempt to do but one thing at a time. The foregoing examples bear so great a variety of oratorical marks, indicative of their just enunciation, as to render it impossible for the tyro in elocution to attend to them all at the first reading. The author suggests, therefore, the propriety of the pupil's attending, in his first reading of these exercises, merely to the correct orthoepy, and a distinct articulation, of the words. In his second reading, let him attend particularly to a proper modulation and inflection of them. In his third reading, let his attention be solely directed to the emphasis and rhetorical pauses requisite to be observed in a just enunciation of the examples. In his fourth and fifth read. ings of these passages, let him give those words containing the accented vowels, that full and “voluptuous swell” and prolongation of sound which a rich, deep, and harmonick intonation imperiously demands. In reference to the explosion and protraction of the tonick and subtonick elements, let him not be afraid to get his mouth off, nor to open his throat; but, as nature has been bountiful in bestowing upon us organs capable of producing soft, smooth, and graceful, musical, powerful, and expressive sounds, and as art has been ingenious and wise in the contrivance of language so admirably adapted to the happy exer, cise of the vocal powers, let him give these organs full play, and make the most of the words which he utters.
When the learner shall have read these examples five or six times over, attending, according to the directions, to only one thing, or, at most, to two things, at each reading, he will be prepared to enunciate them with his attention directed to all the various marks appended to the examples, as he goes along, It is presumed that no teacher will expect either improvement or a happy performance on the part of his pupil, unless he himself pronounce each sentence or paragraph in his own most eloquent and masterly manner, before the pupil is allowed to utter it.
These examples are designed to illustrate particularly, first, the importance of protracting the tonick and subtonick elements
with a full volume and melodious swell; secondly, the importance and proper application of rhetorical pauses; and, lastly, the final pause in rhyming verse. This lastnamed pause takes place at the words “ties," "given," and "burn,” in the second and third of the poetick examples; but it will be observed that, at the words “discontent” and “chamber," in the last example, which is blank verse—no such pause is requisite.
The pupil should be cautioned against placing a stress upon any of the vowel sounds that require prolongation, except when they occur in words really emphatick.
Of what does chapter 5, treat?
What is said of variety in movement?-What, of the exercise of judg. ment and good taste in elocution?
Please to define and illustrate the term Quantity. What is generally held to be the difference between a long and a short syllable?
How does Dr. Rush apply the terms long and short, quick and slow?
Have syllables various degrees of length?—Please to illustrate this by examples.
What kinds of discourse should be enunciated in slow, and what, in quick time?
What is said about protracting the long vowel or tonick elements? What is a Rhetorical Pause?-Give an example.
Repeat the Rule respecting the adjuncts of the verb and nomina. tive.-Illustrate and explain it.
What is said of the pauses denoted by the common points or stops
Define and illustrate by examples, the cæsural pause-also the demicæsural.
OF RHETORICAL ACTION.
. In a rhetorical sense, Action seems to imply
those characteristicks of delivery included under the terms Gesture, Attitude, and Expression of countenance.
This important part of good delivery, is much less regarded, and, consequently, much less cultivated, by the moderns, than it is was by the ancients. A just and an elegant adaptation of every
part of the body, and of every expression of the countenance, to the nature and import of the subject one is delivering, may be considered, however, as too essential a part of oratory to be passed by unnoticed.
As more or less action must necessarily accompany the words of every speaker who delivers his sentiments in earnest,
as they ought to be in order to move and persuade, it is of the i utmost importance to him that that action be appropriate and
natural-never forced and awkward, but easy and graceful, except where the nature of the subject requires it to be bold and vehement.
The prescribed limits of the author, however, permit him to present only a mere sketch of the outlines of this important. subject, leaving it to the dictates of good sense and cultivated taste to fill them up.
Gesticulation and expression of countenance, are the language of nature; and, as they spring from the heart and the feelings, when legitimately called forth, they convey a language that reaches the heart. But because it is urged, that gestures must
be natural, it is not hence to be inferred, that they must be the spontaneous efforts of nature, unaided by art or cultivation. In this, as well as in those things which relate to the cultivation of the vocal powers, we call in the aid of art, not to pervert, but to refine, to exalt, to perfect nature. No one thinks of be. coming skilled in dancing, or in vocal or instrumental musick, or in mathematicks, or logick, without long and close applica. tion to the subject, under an able teacher, or in private. If one would excel in penmanship, he places himself under the instruction of a professor in the art; if he would become an adept in wrestling or boxing, he receives instruction from a professor in pugilisticks; if he wishes to be skilled in horsemanship, he puts himself under a riding master: or else he attains any one of these objects, by private application and long practice. When Caspar Hauser was first thrown into Nuremburg, at the age of seventeen, after having been confined all his life in a narrow dungeon, he did not know how to walk! Although nature had performed her whole duty to this youth, she had not taught him this art; nor would she ever have taught him, nor would he ever have learned, to walk, had he not exerted his capabilities for the attainment of this object, by repeated and persevering efforts. If, then, any one would excel in gesticulation, or in any other important qualification of an orator, let him assiduously set about the cultivation of his natural powers; and if he cannot avail himself of the instructions of a compe. tent master in the art, he may, at least, glean useful hints from books that treat upon the subject, and, more especially, by observing the manner adopted by the best speakers: but let him bear in mind, that, in order to excel, in this, or in any other important attainment, he must-accompany his desires by private application and persevering efforts.
If argument were necessary to enforce the importance of cultivation in gesticulation, one sufficiently cogent might be drawn from the graceful skill and power displayed in this art by the best actors on the stage. No truth is clearer, than that their masterly excellence is the fruit of their own industry.
But, in applying art to the aid of oratory, and especially in
i copying the mien and gesture of those who excel in it, great
caution is to be observed. No true orator can be formed after KANY MODEL. He that copies or borrows from any standard e of excellence, should be careful, in the first place, not to copy
his peculiarities or his defects. Secondly, whatever is copied, should be so completely brought under his command by long practice, as to appear perfectly natural, and his own. Art should never be allowed to put any constraint upon nature; but should be so completely refined and subdued, as to appear to be the work of nature herself. Whenever art, in a speaker, is allowed, in the slightest degree, to put a constraint upon nature, it is immediately detected, shows affectation, and is sure to disgust, rather than to please and impress, the hearer.
The leading object of every publick speaker should be to per. * suade. In order to persuade, he must be able to please—to af- ' = 3 fect the feelings and to move the heart. To accomplish all this,
the first important requisite, doubtless, is, to advance sound arhá guments in clear and chaste language; but he should remember lub that arguments, when accompanied by appropriate gesture, an as earnest and a sincere expression of countenance, and a masterly 23 intonation, come upon the hearer with a double force. lul. As we have no admitted standard of excellence in gesticula. let tion, we are left without ample data from which to draw a com
plete set of rules to regulate all the proper movements of the Deu body, limbs, and features, which should take place in delivery. m In general terms, force and grace may be considered the leadbol ing qualities of a good delivery. When combined, they mutual.
ly support each other, and may be regarded as the most power
ful auxiliaries of oratory. ii In presenting particular directions for gesture, it is easier to
give negative, than positive, instruction. In gesticulation, every i one knows, that the right hand should be much more frequent1. ly employed than the left; and that it should be allowed to fall i with great energy when he wishes to enforce an important sen.
timent. In order to do this with full effect, it is equally appa. rent, that the arm should be boldly extended, so as to give all its muscles full play. A bold and manly freedom of gesture is to