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arbitrary figns by which our conceptions and judgments are communicated; and for this end they are commonly fufficient; but we find them very inadequate to the purpose of exprefling our feelings. If any one need a proof of this, let him read some dramatic speech expressive of strong passion (for example, Shakspeare's speech of Hamlet to the Ghoft*) in the fame unimpaflioned manner in which he would read an ordinary article of intelligence. Even in filent reading, where the subject interests the paffions, every one who is not deftitute of feeling, whilft he understands the meaning of the words, conceives the ex. pression that would accompany them, if they were spoken:
The language of paflion is uniformly taught by Nature, and is every where intelligible. It consists in the use of tones, looks, and gestures. When anger, fear, joy, grief, love, or any other passion is raised within us, we naturally discover it by the manner in which we utter our words, by the features of the face, and by other well. known ligns. The eyes and countenance, as well as the voice, are capable of endless variety of expression, suited to every possible diversity of feeling; and with these the general air and gesture naturally accord. The use of this language is not confined to the more vehement passions. Upon every subject and occasion on which we speak, some kind of feeling accompanies the words; and this feeling, whatever it be, has its proper expression.
It is an essential part of elocution, to imitate this langnage of Nature. No one can deserve the appellation of a good speaker, much less of a complete orator, who does not, to a distinct articulacion, a ready command of voice, and just pronunciation, accent, and emphasis, add the various expressions of emotions and pasiions. But in this part of his office precept can afford him little assistance.
* Book viii. Chap. 28.
To describe in words the particular expression, which belongs to each emotion and paffion, is, perhaps, wholly impracticable. All attempts to enable men to become orators, by teaching them, in written rules, the manner in which the voice, countenance, and hands, are to be employed in expreling the passions, must, from the nature of the thing, be exceedingly imperfect, and consequently ineffectual.
Upon this head, I shall therefore only lay down the following general precept: observe the manner in which the several passions and feelings are expressed in real life ; and when you attempt to express any passion, inspire your. felf with that secondary kind of feeling, which imagination is able to excite ; and follow your feelings with no other reftraint, than “ this special observance, that you O'ERSTEP NOT THB MODESTY OF NATURE,
THE same general principles, and rules of Elocution, are applicable to Prose and to Verse. The accent and general emphasis should be the same in both : and where the verfification is correct, the melody will fufficiently appear, without any facrifice of sense to found. There is one circumftance, indeed, peculiar to the reading of poetry, which is, that the pause of suspension is here more frequently used than in prose, for the sake of marking the corresponding lines in rhiming couplets or stanzas, or to increase the melody of blank verfe. . It is also desirable, where it can be done without injuring the sense, that a short pause should be made at the end of every line, and, that verses congfting of ten or more syllables should, in some part, be broken by a rest or cæfura.
In the application of the Rules of Elocution to practice, in order to acquire a juft and graceful elocution, it wil be necessary to go through a regular course of exercises ; beginning with such as are more cafy, and proceeding by b
flow steps to such as are more difficult. In the choice of these, the practitioner should pay a particular attention to his prevailing defects, whether they regard articulation, command of voice, emphasis, or cadence: and he should content himself with reading and speaking with an imme. diate view to the correcting of his fundamental faults, before he aims at any thing higher. This may be irksome and disagreeable ; it may require much patience and resolution ; but it is the only way to succeed. For if a man cannot read simple sentences, or easy narrative or didactic pieces, with distinct articulation, just emphasis, and proper tones, how can he expect to do justice to the sublime de. scriptions of poetry, or the animated language of the paflions ?
In performing these exercises, the learner should daily read aloud by himself, and as often as be has opportunity, under the correction of an instructor or friend. He should also frequently recite compositions from memory. This method has several advantages. It obliges the speaker to dwell upon the ideas which he is to express, and hereby enables him to discern their particular meaning and force, and gives him a previous knowledge of the feveral inflexions, emphases, and tones, which the words require : by taking off his eye from the book, it in part relieves him from the influence of the school boy habit of reading in a different key and tone from that of conversation; and it affords greater scope for expression in tones, looks, and gesture.
Ir were much to be wished, that all public speakers would deliver their thoughts and sentiments, either from memory, or immediate conception : for, beside that there is an artificial uniformity which almost always distinguishes reading from speaking; the fixed pofture, and the bending of the head, which reading requires, are inconsistent with the freedom, ease, and variety of juft elocution.
But, if this is too much to be expected, especially from Preachers, who have so much to compose, and are so often called upon to speak in public; it is however extremely desirable, that they mould make themselves so well ac. quainted with their discourse, as to be able, with a fingle glance of the eye, to take in several clauses, or the whole, of a sentence *.
I have only to add, that after the utmost-pains have been taken to acquire a just elocution, and this with the greatest success, there is some difficulty in carrying the art of speaking out of the school, or chamber, to the bar, the fenate, or the pulpit. A young man, who has been accustomed to perform frequent exercises in this art in private, cannot easily persuade himself, when he appears before the public, to consider the business he has to perform in any other light, than as a trial of skill, and a difplay of oratory. Hence the character of an Orator is often treated with ridicule, sometimes with contempt. We are pleased with the easy and graceful movements, which the true gentleman has acquired by having learned to dance; but we are offended by the coxcomb, who is always exhibiting his formal dancing-bow, and minuetftep. So we admire the manly eloquence and noble ardour of the Senator employed in the cause of justice and freedom; the quick recollection, the ingenious reason. ing, and the ready declamation of the accomplished Batrister; and the dignified fimplicity and unaffected energy of the Sacred Instructor ; but when, in any one of these capacities, a man so far forgets the ends and degrades the consequence of his profession, as to fet himself forth un. der the character of a Spouter, and to parade it in the ears of the vulgar with all the pomp of artifieial eloquence, though the unskilful may gaze and applaud, the judicious
* Sec Dean Swift's advice on this head, in his Letter to a young Clergyman.
cannot but be grieved and disgusted. Avail yourself, then, of your skill in the Art of Speaking, but always employ your powers of elocution with caution and modesty ; remembering, that though it be defirable to be admired as an eminent Orator, it is of much more importance to be respected, as an able Lawyer, a useful Preacher, or a wise and upright Statesman.
ON READING WORKS OF TASTE.
MOLTA magis quam MULTORUM lectione formanda mens, ducendus cft color.
READING can be considered as a mere amusement, only by the most vulgar, or the most frivolous
of mankind. Every one, whom natural good sense and a liberal educaNon have qualified to form a judgment upon the subject, will acknowledge, that it is capable of being applied to an endless variety of useful purposes. This is, indeed, fufficiently evident, without
any ftudied proof, from the nature of the thing. For, what is reading, but a method of conferring with men who in every age have been most diftin. guished by their genius and learning, of becoming acquainted with the result of their mature reflections, and of contemplating at leisure the finished productions of their inventive powers ? From such an intercourse, conducted with a moderate share of caution and judgment, it must be impossible not to derive innumerable advantages.