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which, though not equally, are in a certain degree emphatical; and placing the greatest stress on conjunctive particles, and other words of secondary importance. These faults are strongly characterized in Churchill's censure of Mossop.
With studied improprieties of speech
He soars beyond the hackney critic's reach,
Whilst principles, ungrac'd, like lacquies wait;
HE, SHE, IT, AND, WE, YE, THEY, fright the soul.
Emphasis is often destroyed by an injudicious attempt to read melodiously. Agreeable inflexions and easy variations of the voice, as far as they arise from, or are consistent with just speaking, are worthy of attention. But to substitute one unmeaning tone, in the room of all the proprieties and graces of good elocution, and then to applaud this manner, under the appellation of musical speaking, can only be the effect of great ignorance and inattention, or of a depraved taste. If public speaking must be musical, let the words be set to music in recitative, that these melodious speakers may no longer lie open to the sarcasm: Do you read or sing? If you sing, you sing very ill. Seriously, it is much to De wondered at that this kind of reading, which has so little merit considered as music, and none at all considered as speaking, should be so studiously practised by many speakers, and so much admired by many hearers. Can a method of reading, which is so entirely different from the usual manner of conversation, be natural and right? Is it possible that all the varieties of sentiment which a public speaker has occasion to introduce, should be properly expressed by one melodious tone. and cadence, employed alike on all occasions, and for all purposes?
Acquire a just Variety of PAUSE and CADENCE,
ONE of the worst faults a speaker can have, is to make no other pauses, than what he finds barely necessary for breathing. I know of nothing that such a speaker can so properly be compared to, as an alarm bell, which, when once set a going, clatters on till the weight that moves it is run down. Without pauses, the sense must always appear confused and obscure, and often be misunderstood; and the spirit and ener gy of the piece must be wholly lost.
in executing this part of the office of a speaker, it will by no means be sufficient to attend to the points used in printing; for these are far from marking all the pauses which ought to be made in speaking. A mechanical
attention to these resting places has perhaps been one chief cause of monotony, by leading the reader to an uniform cadence at every full period. The use of points is to assist the reader in discerning the grammat ical construction, not to direct his pronunciation. reading, it may often be proper to make a pause where the printer has made none. Nay, it is very allowable for the sake of pointing out the sense more strongly, preparing the audience for what is to follow, or enabling the speaker to alter the tone or height of the voice, sometimes to make a very considerable pause, where the grammatical construction requires none at all. Indoing this, however, it is necessary that in the word immediately preceding the pause, the voice be kept up in such a manner as to intimate to the hearer that the sense is not compleated. Mr. Garrick, the first of speakers, often observed this rule with great success. This particular excelence Mr. Sterne has described in his usual sprightly manner. See the following work, Book, VI, Chapter III.
Before a full pause it has been customary in reading to drop the voice in an uniform manner; and this has been called the cadence. But surely nothing can be more destructive of all propriety and energy than this habit.
The tones and heights at the close of a sentence ought to be infinitely diversified, according to the general nature of the discourse, and the particular construction and meaning of the sentence. In plain narrative, and especially in argumentation, the least attention to the manner in which we relate a story, or support an argument in conversation, will shew, that it is more frequently proper to raise the voice, than to fall it at the end of a sentence. Interrogatives, where the speaker seems to expect an answer, should almost always be elevated at the close, with a particular tone, to indicate that a question is asked. Some sentences are so constructed, that the last words require a stronger emphasis than any of the preceding; while others admit of being closed with a soft and gentle sound.
Where there is nothing in the sense which requires the last sound to be elevated or emphatical, an easy fall sufficient to shew that the sense is finished, will be proper. And in pathetic picces, especially those of the plaintive, tender or solemn kind, the tone of the passionwill often require a still greater cadence of the voice. But before a speaker can be able to fall his voice with propriety and judgment at the close of a sentence, he must be able to keep it from falling and raise it with all the variation which the sense requires. The best method of correcting a uniform cadence is frequently to read select sentences, in which the style is pointed, and fre-.. quent antitheses are introduced, and argumentative pieces or such as abound with interrogatives.
Accompany the Emotions andPassions which your words express, by correspondent TONES, LOOKS and GESTURES. THERE is the language of emotions and passions as well as of ideas. To express the latter is the peculiar province of words; to express the former, nature teaches us to make use of tones, looks and gestures. When anger, fear, joy, grief, love, or any other active passion arises in our minds, we naturally discover it by the particular manner in which we utter our words; by the features of the countenance, and by other well known signs. And even when we speak without any of the
more violent emotions, some kind of feeling usually ac companies our words, and this, whatever it be, hath its proper external expression. Expression indeed hath been so little studied in public speaking, that we seem almost to have forgotten the language of nature, and are ready to consider every attempt to recover it, as the labored and effected effort of art. But nature is always the same; and every judicious imitation of it will al ways be pleasing. Nor can any one deserve the ap pellation of a good speaker, much less of a complete orator, till to distinct articulation, a good command of voice, and just emphasis, he is able to add the various expressions of emotion and passion.
To enumerate these expressions, and describe them in all their variations is impracticable. Attempts have been made with some success to analyze the language of ideas; but the language of sentiment and emotion has never yet been analyzed; and perhaps it is not within the reach of human ability, to write a philosophical grammar of the passions. Or if it were possible in any degree to execute this design, I cannot think, that from such a grammar it would be possible for any one to instruct himself in the use of the language. All endeayors therefore to make men orators by describing to them in words the manner in which their voice, countenance and hands are to be employed, in expressing the passions, must in my apprehension, be weak and ineffectual. And, perhaps, the only instruction which can be given with advantage on this head, is this general one Observe in what manner the several emotions or passions are expressed in real life, or by those who have with great labor and taste acquired a power of imitating nature; and accustom yourself either to follow the great original itself, or the best copies you meet with, always however, "with this special observance, that you overstep not the modesty of nature."
In the application of these rules to practice, in order to acquire a just and graceful elocution, it will be necessary to go through a regular course of exercises; beginning with such as are most easy, proceeding by slow steps to such as are most 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 immediate view to the correcting of his fun- damental 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 plain narrative, or didactic pieces, with distinct articulation, just emphasis, and proper tones, how can he expect to do justice to the sublime descriptions of poetry, or the animated language of the passions?
In performing these exercises, the learner should daily read aloud by himself, and as often as he has an opportunity, under the direction of an instructor or friend. He should also frequently recite compositions memoriter. This method has several advantages: It obliges the speaker to dwell upon the idea which he is to express, and hereby enables him to discern their particular meaning and force, and gives him a previous knowledge of the several inflections, emphasis and tones which the words require. And by taking his eyes from the book, it in part relieves him from the influence of the schoolboy habit of reading in a different key and tone from that of conversation; and gives him greater liberty to attempt the expression of the countenance and gesture.
It were much to be wished, that all public speakers would deliver their thoughts and sentiments,either from memory or immediate conception: For, besides that there is an artificial uniformity which almost always distinguishes reading from speaking, the fixed posture, and the bending of the head, which reading requires,are inconsistent with the freedom, ease and variety of just clocution 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 should make themselves so well acquainted with their discourse as to be able with a single glance of the eye, to take in sev eral clauses, or the whole of a sentence.