« AnteriorContinuar »
In Shakespeare's Richard II. the Duchess speaker may render his voice louder, withof York thus impeaches the sincerity of out altering the key; and we shali always her husband :
be able to give molt body, moit perfeverPleads he in earnesti-Look upon his face,
ing force of found, to triat pitch of voice, His eyes do drop no tears; his prayers are jeft; ed. Whereas, by setting out on our high
to which in conversation we are accustomHis words come from his mouth; ours, from cur breaft:
eft pitch or key, we certainly allow ourHe prays but faintly, and would be denied; felves less compass, and are likely to strain We pray with heart and soul.
our voice before we have done. We shall But, I believe it is needless to say any whenever a man speaks with pain to him
fatigue ourselves, and speak with pain; and more, in order to thew the high impor felf, he is always heard with pain by his tance of a good Delivery. I proceed, audience. Give the voice therefore full therefore, to such observations as appear strength and swell of found; but always to me most useful to be made on this pitch it on your ordinary speaking key. head.
Make it a constant rule never to utter a The great objects which every public speaker will naturally have in his eye in ford without pain to yourselves, and with
greater quantity of voice, than you can af. forming his Delivery, are, first, to speak out any extraordinary effort. As long as so as to be fully and eafily understood by all who hear him; and next, to speak with you keep within these bounds, the other
organs of speech will be at liberty to difgrace and force, so as to please and to move his audience. Let us consider what charge their several offices with ease; and is most important with respect to each of you will always have your voice under com
mand. But whenever you transgress these there ..
In order to be fully and easily under- bounds, you give up the reins, and have no food, the four chief requisites are, A due useful rule too, in order to be well heard, degree of loudness of voice; Distinctness; to fix our eye on some of the mot dillant Slowness; and, Propriety of Pronuncia- perfons in the asembly, and to consider tion.
The first attention of every public speak ourselves as speaking to them. We natuer, doubtless, must be, to make himself be rally and mechanically uiter our words heard by all those to whom he speaks. He with such a degree of frength, as to make mui endeavour to fill with his voice the dress ourselves, provided he be within the
ourselves be heard by one to whom we adiçace occupied by the allembly. This
reach of our voice. As this is the case in power of voice, it may be thought, is
common conversation, it will hold also in a measure; but, however, may receive con- publie speaking. But remember, that in
public as well as in conversation, it is poffiderable assistance from art. Much depends for this purpose on the proper pitch, extreme hurts the ear, by making the
sible to offend by f; eaking too loud. This and management of the voice. Every man has three pitches in his voice; the high, maíses; besides its giving the speaker the
voice come upon it in rumbling indiitinct is that which he uses in calling aloud to disagreeable appearance of one who endeasome one at a distance. The low is, when
vours to compel affent, by mere vehe.
mence and force of sound. he approaches to a whisper. "The middle is, that which he employs in common con
In the next place, to being well heard, versation, and which he should generally culation contributes more, than mere loud
and clearly underlicod, distinctnefs of artis afe in public discourse. For it is a great nels of found. The geantity of found nemiitake, to imagine that one must take the higheit pitch of his voice, in order to be ceflery to fill even a large space, is finaller weil heard by a great assembly. This is distinê articulation, a man of a weak voice
than is commonly imagined; and with confounding two things which are diffe- will make it reach farther, than the itrongrent, loudness, or strength of sound, with eit voice can reach without it. To this, the key, or note on which we speaki Atherefore, every public speaker ought to On this whole subject, Mr. Sheridan's Lec.
pay great attention. He must give every tares on Elocution are very worthy of being
Icund which ne uiters its due proportion, consulted; and several hints are here taken from
and make every syllable, and even every hem.
letter in the word which he pronounces,
be heard diftinctly; without furring, whif- ever long; and the genius of the language pering, or suppresling any of the proper requires the voice to mark that fyllable by sounds.
a ítronger percussion, and to pass more In the third place, in order to articulate slightly over the rest. Now, after we have distinctly, moderation is requisite with re- learned the proper seats of these accents, it gard to the speed of pronouncing. Preci- is an important rule, to give every word pitancy of speech confounds all articula- just the same accent in public speaking, as tion, and all meaning. I need scarcely ob- in common discourse. Many persons err in serve, that there may be also an extreme this respect. When they speak in public, on the opposite side. It is obvious, that a and with solemnity, they pronounce the lifeless, drawling pronunciation, which al- syllables in a different manner from what lows the minds of the hearers to be always they do at other times. They dwell upon outrunning the speaker, must render every them, and protract them; they multiply discourse infipid and fatiguing. But the accents on the same word; from a mistaken extreme of speaking too fast is much more notion, that it gives gravity and force to common, and requires the more to be their discourse, and adds to the pomp of guarded against, because, when it has public declamation. Whereas, this is one grown up into a habit, few errors are more of the greatest faults that can be committed difficult to be corrected. To pronounce in pronunciation; it makes what is called a with a proper degree of flowness, and with theatrical or mouthing manner ; and gives full and clear articulation, is the first thing an artificial affected air to speech, which to be studied by all who begin to speak in detracts greatly both from its agreeableness, public; and cannot be too much recom- and its impression. Inended to them. Such a pronunciation I proceed to treat next of those higher gives weight and dignity to their discourse, parts of Delivery, by studying which, a It is a great assistance to the voice, by the speaker has something farther in view than pauses and rests which it allows it more merely to render himself intelligible, and easily to make; and it enables the speaker seeks to give grace and force to what he to swell all his sounds, both with inore utters. These may be comprised under four force and more music. It assists him also heads, Emphasis, Pauses, Tones, and Gefin preserving a due command of himself; tures. Let me only premise in general, to whereas a rapid and hurried manner, is apt what I am to fay concerning them, that atto excite that flutter of spirits, which is the tention to these articles of Delivery, is by greatest enemy to all right execution in the no means to be confined, as some might be way of oratory. “ Promptum fit os," says apt to imagine, to the more elaborate and Quintilian, “ non præceps, moderatum, pathetic parts of a discourse; there is, pernon lentum.'
haps, as great attention requisite, and as After these fundamental attentions to much skill displayed, in adapting emphases, the pitch and management of the voice, pauses, tones, and gestures, properly, to to distinct articulation, and to a proper de- calm and plain speaking: and the effect of gree of flowness of speech, what a public a just and graceful delivery will, in every Ipeaker must, in the fourth place, study, is part of a subject, be found of high imporPropriety of Pronunciation ; or the giving tance for commanding attention, and ento every word, which he utters, that found, forcing what is spoken. which the most polite usage of the language First, let us consider Emphasis; by this appropriates to it ; in opposition to broad, is meant a stronger and fuller sound of vulgar, or provincial pronunciation. This voice, by which we distinguish the accent. is requisite, both for speaking intelligibly, ed syllable of some word, on which we and for speaking with grace or beauty. design to lay particular stress, and to how Instructions concerning this article, can be how it affects the rest of the sentence. given by the living voice only. But there Sometimes the emphatic word must be difis one observation, which it may not be tinguithed by a particular tone of voice, as improper here to make. In the English well as by a stronger accent. On the right language, every word which consists of more management of the emphasis, depends the fyllables than one, has one accented syl- whole life and spirit of every discourse.. lable. The accent reits sometimes on the If no emphasis be placed on any words; vowel, sometimes on the consonant. Selo not only is discourse rendered heavy and dom, or never, is there more than one ac- lifeless, but the meaning left often ambie cented syllable in any English word, how- guous. If the emphasis be placed wrong,
we pervert and confound the meaning rehearsed in private, with this particular wholly. To give a common instance; such view, to search for the proper emphases a fimple question as this: “Do you ride before they were pronounced in public; to town to-day?” is capable of no fewer marking, at the same time, with a pen, than four different acceptations, accord. the emphatical words in every sentence, ing as the emphasis is differently placed or at least the mott weighty and affecton the words. If it be pronounced thus : ing parts of the discourse, and fixing them Do yoa ride to town to-day? the answer well in memory. Were this attention may naturally be, No; I send my servant in oftener bestowed, were this part of promy stead. If thus; Do you ride to town nunciation Itudied with more exactness, to-day? Answer, No; I intend to walk. and not left to the moment of delivery, as Do you ride to toun to-day? No; I ride is commonly done, public speakers would out into the fields. Do you ride to town find their care abundantly repaid, by the te-day? No; but I shall to-morrow. In remarkable effects which it would produce like manner, in solemn discourse, the whole upon their audience. Let me caution, at force and beauty of an expression often the same time, against one error, that of depend on the accented word; and we multiplying emphatical words too much., may present to the hearers quite different It is only by a prudent reserve in the use views of the same sentiment, by placing of them, that we can give them any the emphasis differently. In the follow- weight. If they recur too often; if a ing words of our Saviour, observe in what speaker attempts to render every thing different lights the thought is placed, ac- which he says of high importance, by a cording as the words are pronounced. multitude of strong emphases, we soon " Judas, betrayeft thou the Son of Man learn to pay little regard to them. To with a kiss ?" 'Betrayeft thou-makes the crowd every sentence with emphatical, reproach turn, on the infamy of treachery. words, is like crowding all the pages of a -Betrayeft thoummakes it rest, upon Ju. book with italic characters, which, as to das's connection with his master. Betrayeft the effect, is just the same with using no thou the Son of Man—relts it, upon our such distinctions at all. Saviour's personal character and eminence. Next to emphasis, the Pauses in speak. Betrayeft thou the Son of Man with a ing demand attention. These are of two kif ? turns it upon his prostituting the fig- kinds; first, emphatical pauses; and next, nal of peace and friendship, to the purpose such as mark the distinctions of sense. of a mark of destruction.
An emphatical pause is made, after someIn order to acquire the proper manage. thing has been taid of peculiar moment, Ment of the emphasis, the great rule, and in and on which we want to fix the hearer's deed the only rule posible to be given, is, attention. Sometimes, before such a thing that the speaker study to attain a just con- is said, we usher it in with a pause of this ception of the force and spirit of those nature. Such pauses have the same effect sentiments which he is to pronounce. For as a strong emphasis, and are subject to to lay the emphasis with exact propriety, is the same rules; especially to the caution a constant exercise of good sense and at- just now given, of not repeating them too tention. It is far from being an incon. frequently. For, as they excite uncom. fiderable attainment. It is one of the mon attention, and of course raise expecta. greatest trials of a true and just taste; and tion, if the importance of the matter be muft arise from feeling delicately our- not fully answerable to such expectation, felves, and from judging accurately of they occasion disappointment and disguft. what is fittest to strike the feelings of But the most frequent and the principal others. There is as great a difference be- use of pauses, is to mark the divisions of tween a chapter of the Bible, or any other the sense, and at the same time to allow piece of plain prose, read by one who the speaker to draw his breath; and the places the several emphases every where proper and graceful adjustment of such with taste and judgment, and by one who paules, is one of the most nice and difficult neglects or mistakes them, as there is be- articles in delivery. In all public speaktween the same tune played by the moft ing, the management of the breath re. masterly hand, or by the most bungling quires a good deal of care, so as not to be performer.
obliged to divide words from one another, In all prepared discourses, it would be which have so intimate a connection, that of great use, if they were read over or they ought to be pronounced with the
fame breath, and without the least separa- ear pauses or rests of its own ; and to adtion. Many a sentence is miserably man- just and compound these properly with the gled, and the force of the emphasis to- pauses of the sense, fo as neither to hurt tally loft, by divisions being made in the the ear; nor offend the understanding, is so wrong place. To avoid this, every one, very nice a matter, that it is no wonder we while he is speaking, should be very careful so feldom meet with good readers of poeto provide a full supply of breath for what try. There are two kinds of paules that he is to utter. It is a great mistake to belong to the music of verse; one is, the imagine, that the breath must be drawn pause at the end of the line; and the other, only at the end of a period, when the voice the cæsural pause in the middle of it. is allowed to fall. It may easily be ga With regard to the pause at the end of thered at the intervals of the period, when the line, which marks that ftrain or verse the voice is only suspended for a moment; to be finished, ryhme renders this always and, by this management, one may have sensible, and in fome measure compels us always a sufficient stock for carrying on to observe it in our pronunciation. In the longest fentence, without improper in- blank verse, where there is a greater literruptions.
berty permitted of running the lines into If any one, in public speaking, Mall one another, sometimes without any surhave formed to himself a certain melody pension in the sense, it has been made a or tune, which requires rest and pauses of question, Whether, in reading such verse its own, distinct from those of the sense, with propriety, any regard at all should be he has, undoubtedly, contracted one of the paid to the clofe of a line ? On the stage, worst habits into which a public speaker where the appearance of speaking in verse can fall. It is the sense which should al. fhould always be avoided, there can, I ways rule the pauses of the voice; for think, be no doubt, that the close of such wherever there is any sensible suspension lines as make no pause in the sense, should of the voice, the hearer is always led to not be rendered perceptible to the ear. expect fomething corresponding in the But on other occafions, this were impromeaning. Pauses in public discourse, must per: for what is the use of melody, or for be formed upon the manner in which we what end has the poet composed in verse, utter ourselves in ordinary, sensible con- if, in reading his lines, we suppress his versation; and not upon the stiff, artificial numbers; and degrade them, by our promanner which we acquire from reading nunciation, into mere proie? We ought, books according to the common punctua. therefore, certainly to read blank verfe so tion. The general run of punctuation is as to make every line sensible to the ear. very arbitrary; often capricious and false; At the same time, in doing so, every apand dietates an uniformity of tone in the pearance of fing-long and tone must be pauses, which is extremely disagreeable : carefully guarded against. The close of for we are to observe, that to render pauses the line, where it makes no pause in the graceful and expressive, they must not only meaning, ought to be marked, not by such be made in the right place, but also be a tone as is used in finishing a sentence. accompanied with a proper tone of voice, but without either letting the voice fall or by which the nature of these pauses is in- elevating it, it Mould be marked only by timated; much more than by the length such a light suspension of found, as may of them, which can never be exactly mea- distinguish the passage from one line to sured. Sometimes it is only a flight and another, without injuring the meaning. fimple fufpenfion of voice that is proper; The other kind of musical pause, is that sometimes a degree of cadence in the voice which falls somewhere about the middle is required; and sometimes that peculiar of the verse, and divides it into two hemitone and cadence, which denotes the fen- ftichs; a pause, not so great as that which tence finished. In all these cases, we are to belongs to the close of the line, but still regulate ourselves, by attending to the man. sensible to an ordinary ear. This, which ner in which nature teaches us to speak is called the cæsural pause, in the French when er.gaged in real and earnest dif- heroic verse falls uniformly in the middle course with others.
of the line, in the English, it may fall after When we are reading or reciting verfc, the 4th, 5th, 6th, or 7th fyllables in the there is a peculiar difficulty in making the line, and no other. Where the verse is so pauses juitly. The difficulty arises from constructed that this cæsural pause cointhe melody of verle, which dictates to the cides with the flightest pause or division in
the sense, the line can be read easily; as be laughed at. Sympathy is one of the in the two first verses of Mr. Pope's Mes- most powerful principles by which persualain,
five discourle works its effect. The speaker
endeavours to transfuse into his hearers his Te symphs of Solyma! begin the font;
own sentiments and emotions; which he can To beavenly themes, fublimer itrains belong;
never be successful in doing, unless he ut. But if it shall happen that words, which ters them in such a manner as to convince have such a strici and intimate connelliun, the hearers that he feels them *. The pro, 2 rot to bear even a moinentary fepara- per exprefien of tones, therefore, deserves tion are divided from one another by this to be attentively studied by every one who czlural pause, we then feel a sort of tirug- would be a successful orator. ale between the sense and the sound, The greatcit and moit material instrucwhica renders it dificult to read tuch lines tion which can be given for this purpose is, gracefully. The rule of proper promul- to form the tones of public speaking upon ciation in such calus is, to regard only the the tones of fentible and animated converpaule which the inie forms, and to read fation. Ve may observe that every man, the line accordingly. Tise luglect of the when he is much in earneit in common dif. cziural pause may make the line found course, when he is engaged in speaking on lome hai unharmoniously; but the effect some subject which interetts him nearly, has would be much worse, if the tense were fa- an eloquent or persuasive tone and manner. crificed to the found. For instance, in the What is the reason of our being often fo following line of Milton,
frigid and unperfuafive in public dilcourie, - What in me is dik,
but our departing from the natural tone of Ilimine; what is low, raise and support. speaking, and delivering ourselves in an
affected, artificial manner? Nothing can be The fenfe clearly di&tates the pause after
more absurd than to imagine, that as soon as illumine," at the end of the third fyllz- one mounts 2 pulpit, or rises in a public afble, which, in reading, ought to be made fembly, he is instantly to lay aside the voice accordingly; thougn, if the melody only with which he expresses himself in private ; were to be regarded, “illumine"? should be
to affume a new, ftudied tone, and a caconnected with what follows, and the pause dence altogether foreign to his natural not made till the tih or 6th fyllable. So manner. This has vitiated all delivery; this in the following line of Mr. Popes (Epile has given rise to cant and tedious monoto Dr. Arbuthnot):
tony, in the different kinds of modern pub. I fit, with fad civility I read :
lic ipeaking, especially in thc pulpit. Men
depaited from nature; and fought to give The ear plainly points out the cæfural pause a beauty or force, as they imagined, to their as falling after “ fad;" the 4th fyllable. discourie, by substituting certain ftudied But it would be very bad reading to make musical toncs, in the room of the genuine any pause there, so as to separate “ sad” expresions of sentiment, which the voice and “ civility.” The sense admits of no carries in natural discourse. other pause than after the second syllable “ fit," which therefore must be the only ** All that passes in the mind of man may bę pause made in the reading.
“ reduced to two claifes, which I call, Ideas, and I proceed to treat next of Tones in pro
« Emotions. By Ideas, I mean all thoughts
“ which rise and pass in luccellion in the mind: Funciation, which are different both from
" By Emotions, all exertions of the mind in aremphafis and pauses; confitting in the no
“ ranging, combining, and separating its ideas; dulation of the voice, the notes or varia as well as all the effects produced on the mind tions of sound which we employ in public
“ itself by those ideas, from the more violent
“ agitation of the pallious, to the calmer feelings speaking. How much of the propriety, the
“ produced by the operation of the intellect and force and grace of discourse, muft depend on
" the fancy. In short, thought is the object of these, will appear from this fingle conside " the one, internal feeling of the other. Thac ration; that to almost every sentiment
which ferves to express the former, I call the etter, more especially to every strong emo
• Langu:ge of Ideas; and the latter, the Laution, nature hath adapted some peculiar tone
guage of Emotions. Words are the figns of the
one, tones of the other. Without the ute of voice; inlomuch, that he who should tell << of these two sorts of language, it is impossible another that he was very angry, or much to communicate through the car all chat panies grieved, in a tone which did not fuit such " in the mind of man." emotions, instead of being believed, would
SHERIDAN on the Art of Reading.