« السابقةمتابعة »
the face glow with emotion, and the whole boy become lost in the sentiment of his declamation ?
8. Introduce elocution into school to cultivate a taste for reading, to exercise and strengthen memory, to awaken feeling, to excite imagination, and to train those who are to enter the professions, to become graceful and pleasing speakers.
Introduce it as a relief from study, a pleasing recreation, and a source of intellectual enjoyment. Introduce it as a part of the esthetic education so peculiarly appropriate for woman. Make it as a part of the education of man as an expressive being.
2. GOOD READING.
1. There is one accomplishment, in particular, which I would earnestly recommend to you. Cultivate assiduously the ability to read well. I stop to particularize this, because it is a thing so very much neglected, and because it is such an elegant and charming accomplishment. Where one person is really interested by músic, twenty are pleased by good reading. Where one person is capable of becoming a skillful musician, twenty may become good readers. Where there is one occasion suitable for the exercise of músical talent, there are twenty for that of good rèading.
2. The culture of the voice necessary for reading well, gives a delightful charm to the same voice in conversàtion. Good reading is the natural exponent and vehicle of all good things. It seems to bring dead aúthors to life again, and makes us sit down familiarly with the gréat and good of all ages.
3. What a fascinátion there is in really good reading! What a power it gives one ! In the hospital, in the chamber of the invalid, in the nùrsery, in the doméstic and in the social circle, among chosen friends and compdnions, how it enables you to minister to the amuse
ment, the comfort, the pleasure of dear ones as no other art or accomplishment càn. No instrument of man's devising can reach the heart as does that most wonderful instrument, the húman voice.
4. If you would double the value of all your other acquisitions, if you would add immeasurably to your ówn enjoyment and to your power of promoting the enjoyment of others, cultivate, with incessant care, this divíne gèft. No music below the skies is equal to that of pure, silvery spéech from the lips of a man or woman of high cùlture.
John S. HART,
3. THE MUSIC OF THE HUMAN VOICE. 1. Willis, in his essay on “unwritten music,” has placed the appropriate sound of the female voice among the most beautiful of its forms; and there is, unquestionably, a fine analogy between the sound of the running brook, the note of the wood-bird, the voice of a happy child, the low breathing of a flute, and the clear, soft tone of a woman's voice, when it utters the natural music of home—the accents of gentleness and love.
2. To a well-tuned ear, there is a rich, deep melody in the distinctive bass of the male voice, in its subdued tones. But the key-note of poetry seems to have been lent to woman. On the ear of infancy and childhood, her voice was meant to fall as a winning prelude to all the other melodies of nature; the human nerves attuned, accordingly, to the breath of her voice; and, through life, the chords of the heart respond most readily to her touch.
3. Yet how often is this result impeded by the processes of artificial culture; by the over-excitement of mind and nerve, attending excessive application ; by that unwise neglect of health and healthful action, which dims the eye and deadens the ear to beauty, and robs
life of the joyous and sympathetic spirit which is native to childhood; and which, otherwise, would ever be gushing forth in notes of gladness and endearment, the physical not less than the moral charm of human utterance !
4. There are beautiful exceptions, undoubtedly, to this general fact of ungainly habit. But the ground of just complaint is, that there is no provision made in our systems of education for the cultivation of one of woman's peculiar endowments—an attractive voice. Our girls do not come home to us, after their period of school life, qualified to read with effect in their own language. There is wanting in their voices that adaptation of tone to feeling, which is the music of the heart in reading; there is wanting that clear, impressive style which belongs to the utterance of cultivated taste and judgment, and which enhances every sentiment by appropriate emphasis and pause; there is even a want of that distinct articulation which alone can make sound the intelligible medium of thought.
PROF. WILLIAM RUSSELL.
4. THE ART OF READING.
1. The art of reading well is an accomplishment that all desire to possess, many think they have already, and that a few set about to acquire. These, believing their power is altogether in their genius, are, after a few lessons from an elocutionist, disappointed at not becoming themselves at once masters of the art; and with the restless vavity of their belief, abandon the study for some new subject of trial and failure. Such cases of infirmity result in part from the wavering character of the human tribe; but they chiefly arise from defects in the usual course of instruction.
2. Go to some of our colleges and universities, and observe how the art of speaking is not taught there. See a boy of but fifteen years, with no want of youthful diffidence, and not without a craving desire to learn, sent upon a stage, pale and choking with apprehension; being forced into an attempt to do that, without instruction, which he came purposely to learn ; and furnishing amusement to his classmates, by a pardonable awkwardness, that should be punished, in the person of his pretending but neglectful preceptor, with little less than scourging.
3. Then visit a conservatorio of music; observe there the elementary outset, the orderly task, the masterly discipline, the unwearied superintendence, and the incessant toil to reach the utmost accomplishment in the Singing-Voice; and afterwards do not be surprised that the pulpit, the senate, the bar, and the chair of medical professorship, are filled with such abominable drawlers, mouthers, mumblers, clutterers, squeakers, chanters, and mongers in monotony; nor that the Schools of Singing are constantly sending abroad those great instances of vocal wonder who triumph along the crowded resorts of the world ; who contribute to the halls of fashion and wealth their most refined source of gratification; who sometimes quell the pride of rank by a momentary sensation of envy; and who draw forth the adıniration and receive the crowning applause of the prince and sage.
4. The high accomplishments in elocution are supposed to be universally the unacquired gifts of genius, and to consist of powers and graces beyond the reach of art. So seem the plainest services of arithmetic to a savage; and so, to the slave, seem all the ways of music which modern art has so accurately penned, as to time, and tune, and momentary grace. Ignorance knows not what has been done; indolence thinks nothing can be done; and both uniting, borrow from the abused eloquence of poetry an aphorism to justify supineness of inquiry.
5. ON LEARNING BY HEART.
1. Till he has fairly tried it, I suspect a reader does not know how much he would gain from committing to memory passages of real excellence; precisely because he does not know how much he overlooks when merely reading. Learn one true poem by heart, and see if you do not find it so. Beauty after beauty will reveal itself, in chosen phrase, or bappy music, or noble suggestion, otherwise undreamed of. It is like looking at one of Nature's wonders through a microscope.
2. Again : how much in such a poem that you really did feel admirable and lovely on a first reading, passes away, if you do not give it a further and much better reading !-passes away utterly, like a sweet sound, or an image on the lake, which the first breath of wind dispels. If you could only fix that image, as the photographers do theirs, so beautifully, so perfectly! And you can do so! Learn it by heart, and it is yours for ever!
3. I have said, a true poem; for naturally men will choose to learn poetry—from the beginning of time they have done so. To immortal verse the memory gives a willing, a joyous, and a lasting home. Some prose, however, is poetical, is poetry, and altogether worthy to be learned by heart; and the learning is not so very difficult. It is not difficult or toilsome to learn that which pleases us; and the labor, once given, is forgotten, while the result remains.
4. Poems, and noble extracts, whether of verse or of prose, once so reduced into possession and rendered truly our own, may be to us a daily pleasure ;-better far than a whole library unused. They may come to us in our dull moments, to refresh us as with spring flowers; in our selfish musings, to win us by pure delight from the tyranny of foolish castle-building, self-gratulations,