« AnteriorContinuar »
spread, and the voice plaintive, frequently interrupted with sighs. But when this passion is in excess it distorts the countenance, as if in agonies of pain ; it raises the voice to the loudest complainings, and sometimes even to cries and shrieks; it wrings the hands, beats the head and breast, tears the hair, and throws itself on the ground, and, like other passions in excess, seems to border on frenzy.
SNEER. Sneer is ironical approbation, where, with a voice and countenance of mirth somewhat exaggerated, we cast the severest censures; it is hypocritical mirth and good humour, and differs from the real by the sly, arch, satirical tone of voice, look and gesture which accompany it.
Scoffing at Supposed Cowardice.
Somewhat extravagant and wild, perhaps
SURPRISE, WONDER, AMAZEMENT, ASTONISHMENT. An uncommon object produces wonder. If it appears suddenly it begets surprise, surprise continuing becomes amazement, and, if the object of wonder comes gently to the mind, and arrests the attention by its beauty or grandeur, it excites admiration, which is a mixture of approbation and wonder : so true is that observation of Dr, Young in the tragedy of the Revenge :
Late time shall wonder that my joys shall raise,
Wonder or amazement opens the eyes and makes them appear very prominent. It sometimes raises them to the skies, but more frequently fixes them on the object. The mouth is open, and the hands are held up nearly in the attitude of fear. The voice is at first low, but so emphatical that every word is pronounced slowly and with energy: When, by the discovery of something excellent in the object of wonder, the emotion may be called admiration, the eyes are raised, the hands lifted up or clapped together, and the voice elevated with expressions of rapture.
Surprise at Unexpected Events.
VEXATION. Vexation, besides expressing itself by the looks, gestures, tone, and restlessness of perplexity, adds to these complaint, fretting, and remorse.
Vexation at Neglecting One's Duty.
SHAME. Shame, or a sense of appearing to disadvantage before one's own fellow-creatures, turns away the face from the beholders, covers it with blushes, hangs the head, casts down the eyes, draws down and contracts the eyebrows. It either strikes the person dumb, or, if he attempts to say any thing in his own defence, causes his tongue to falter, confounds his utterance, and puts him upon making all kinds of gestures and grimaces to keep himself in countenance; all which only heighten his confusion and embarrassment. Shame at being Convicted of a Crime.
O my dread lord,
GRAVITY. Gravity, or seriousness, as when the mind is fixed, or deliberating on some important subject, smooths the countenance, and gives it an air of melancholy ; the eyebrows are lowereà,
eyes cast downward, the mouth almost shut, and sometimes a little contracted. The posture of the body and limbs is composed, and without much motion ; the speech slow and solemn, the tone without much variety.
Grave Deliberation on War and Peace.
COMMANDING. Commanding requires an air a little more peremptory, with a look a little severe or stern. The hand is held out and moved toward the person to whom the order is given, with the palm upward, and sometimes it is accompanied by a nod of the head to the person commanded. If the command be absolute, and to a person unwilling to obey, the right hand is extended and projected forcibly toward the person commanded.
Commanding Combatants to Fight.
These, we think, will be sufficient to illustrate how important a part the correct manifestation of the passions has to play in the proper rendering of many of the finest passages of our best authors, and, therefore, the great need there exists for careful consideration by all who wish to succeed as Reciters or Readers.
CHAPTER VI. PROSE ELOCUTION, OR HOW TO READ PROSE. THE first and most important thing to bear in mind in undertaking to read Prose is to fully understand what you wish to do; then to clearly comprehend what you have to say; and finally, so to speak or read as to convey a distinct impression to the minds of those who are listening that you fully understand whatyou are saying, and, therefore, intend to give the sense as clearly as your voice and action will enable you.
Now the highest triumph of Elocution has been stated to be : “the truthful utterance of intense and passionate feeling." If this is to be attained, it will at once be clearly seen that success can only be assured in proportion as the voice, the expression, and the energy of the whole being is so concentrated as to secure the embodiment of the fullest and most complete representation of the words selected. One writer on Elocution truly observes, “Elocution has a high aim ; she follows the human voice in its natural and unrestrained expression of intense feeling; she accompanies it ‘in the very torrent, tempest, and whirlwind of its passion ;' she knows it in its joy and its sorrow ; she catches and treasures up its intonations of love and hate, persuasion and command, scorn, pity, tenderness, and rage ; and by the power of her 'so potent art,' she holds them like familiar spirits, to be let loose at will. Under her teaching, he who will may learn their mastery ; subdue them to his power, and call them to his aid when he would cast a spell over the minds and hearts of his fellow men.”
Such being the case, it will be seen that in addition to the general instructions already given, and which deal with the details of the art of Elocution, it is important that careful study should be given to the various forms of style which belong to