Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

more pleasing and suitable to children under seven and eight years of age. And such familiar reading, as coming near to their own chat, is most likely to keep them from, or cure them of a canting, whining, drawling, or un-animated manner.

They must be taught, that, in questions, the voice is often to rise towards the end of the sentence, contrary to the manner of pronouncing most other sorts of matter ; because the emphatical word, or that, upon which the stress of the question lies, is often the last in the sentence. Example. Can any good come out of Nazareth ?" Here the emphatical word is Nazareth ; therefore the word, Nazareth, is to be pronounced in a higher note than any other part of the sentence. But in pronouncing the following, “ By what authority dost thou these things ; and who give thee this authority ?” the einphatical words are authority and who; because what the Jews asked our Saviour was, by what power or authority, he did his wonderful works ; and how he came by that power. And in all questions, the emphasis must, according to the intention of the speaker, be put upon that word which signifies the point, about which he inquires. Example. “Is it true, that you have seen a noble lord from court to-day, who has told you bad news ?" If the inquirer wants only to know, whether myself, or some other person, has seen the supposed great man ; he will put the emphasis upon you. If he knows that I have seen somebody froin' court, and only wants to know, whether I have seen a great man, who may be supposed to know what inferior persons about the court do not, he will put the emphasis upon noble lord. If he wants to know, only whether the great man came directly from court, so that his intelligence may be depended upon, he will put the emphasis upon court. If he wants only to know, whether I have seen him to-day, or yesterday, he will put the ememphasis upon to-day. If he knows, that I have seen a great man from court, to-day, and only wants to know, whether he has told me any news, he will put the einphasis upon news, If he knows all the rest, and wants only to know, whether the news I heard was bad, he will put the einphasis upon the word bad.

rooin.

The matter contained in a parenthesis, or between commas instead of a parenthesis, which authors and editors often use, and between brackets, [ ] is to be pronounced with a lower voice, aud quicker than the rest, and with a short stop at the beginning and end ; that the hearer may perceive where the strain of the discourse breaks off, and where it is resumed; as, “When, therefore, the Lord knew, that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made, and baptized more disciples than John, (though Jesus himself did not baptize, but his disciples) he departed from Judea, and returned to Gallilee."*

A youth should not only be accustomed to read to the master, while the general business of the school is going on, so that none, but the master, and those of his own class, can hear him ; but likewise to read, or speak, by himself, while all the rest hear. This will give him courage, and accustom him to pronounce distinctly, so that every syllable shall be heard (though not every syllable alike loud, and with the same emphasis) through the whole

For it is one part of the judgment of a public speaker, to accommodate his voice to the place he speaks in, in such a manner as to fill it, and at the same time, not stun the hearers. It is matter of no small difficulty to bring young readers to speak slow enough. There is little danger of their speaking too slow. Though that is a fault as well as the contrary. For the hearers cannot but be disgusted and tired with listening much longer than is necessary, and losing precious time.

In every sentence, there is some word, perhaps several, which are to be pronounced with a stronger accent, or emphasis, than the others. Time was, when the emphatical word, or words, in every sentence, were printed in Italics ; and a great advantage it was toward understanding the sense of the author, especially, where there was a thread of reasoning carried on. Bnt we are now grown so nice, that we have found, the intermixture of two characters deforms the page, and gives it a speckled appearance. As if it were not of infinitely more consequence to make sure of edifying the reader, than of

* John iy, 1, 2, 3.

pleasing his eye. But to return to emphasis, there is nothing more pedantic than too much laid upon trifling inatter. Men of learning, especially physicians, and divines, are apt to get into a fulsome, bombastic way of uttering themselves on all occasions, as if they were dictating, when perhaps the business is of no greater consequence, than

What's a clock? Or how's the wind ?
Whose coach is that we've left behind ?

SWIFT.

Nor can an error be more ridiculous, than some that have been occasioned by an emphasis placed wrong. Such was that of a clergyman's curate, who having occasion to read in the church our Saviour's saying to the disciples, Luke xxiv. 25. “O fools and slots of heart (that is, backward] " to believe all that the prophets have written concerning me!" placed the emphasis upon the word believe, as if Christ had called them fools for believing. Upon the rector's finding fault ; when he read it next he placed the emphasis upon all; as if it had been foolish in the disciples to believe all. The rector again blaming this manner of placing the emphasis, the good curate accented the word prophets ; as if the prophets had been persons in no respect worthy of belief.

A total want of energy in expressing pathetic language is equally blameable. I have often been amazed how public speakers could bring out the strong and pathetic expressions, they have occasion to utter, in so cold and un-animated a manner, I happened lately to hear the tenth chapter of Joshua read in a church in the country, It contains the history of the miraculous conquest of the five kings, who arose against the people of Israel. The clergyman bears a very good character in the neighbourhood; I was therefore grieved to hear him read so 'striking a piece of scripture-history in a manner so un-animated, that it was fit to lull the whole parish to sleep. Particularly I shall never forget his manner of expressing the twenty second verse, which is the Jewish general's orde to bring out the captive kings to slaughter. “ Open the mouth of the cave, and bring out those five kings to me out of the cave ;' which he uttered in the very manner

he would have expressed himself, if he had said to his boy, “Open my chamber door and bring me my slippers froin under the bed.'

CICERO * very jưdiciously directs, that a public speaker remit, from time to time, somewhat of the vehemence of his action, and not utter every passage with all the force he can ; to set off, the more strongly, the more emphatical parts; as the painters, by means of shades properly placed, make the figures stand off bolder. For if the speaker has uttered a weaker passage with all the energy he is master of, what is he to do when he comes to the inost pathetic parts?

The ease, with which a speaker goes through a long discourse, and his success with his audience, depend much upon his setting out in a proper key,+ and at a due pitch of loudness. If he begins in too high a tone or sets out too loud, how is he afterwards to rise to a higher note, or swell his voice louder, as the more pathetic strains may require? The command of the voice, therefore, in this respect, is to be studied very early.

The force or pathos, with which a speech is to be delivered, is to increase as the speech goes on.

The speaker is to grow warm by degrees, as the chariot wheel by its continued motion; I not to begin in a pathetic strain, because the audience are not prepared to go along with him.

False and provincial accents are to be guarded against or corrected. The manner of pronouncing, which is usual among people of education, who are natives of the metropolis, is, in every country, the standard. For what Horace & says of the choice of words, viz. that the people, by their practice, establish what is right, is equally true of the pronunciation of them.

* De Orat. L. III. p 144. Toin. I. “Habeat tam in illa in dicendo," &c.

+ The word key (taken from music) means that note, in the scale, which is the lowest of those that are used in a particular piece, and to which the others refer; and has nothing to do with loudness or softness. For a pieco of music may be sung or played louder or softer, whatever its key is.

I“Quid insuavius, &c. What is more offensive to the ear, than for å pleader to open his cause in a boisterous manner.”

AUCT. AD HEREN, L. III. N XII. $ “Quem penes arbitrium eft, et jus et norma loquendi”

Hor. ART Post С

Nature has given to every emotion of the mind its proper outward expression, in such a manner, that what suits one, cannot by any means be accommodated to another. Children at three years of age express their grief in a tone of voice, and with an action totally different from that, which they use to express their anger ; and they utter their joy in a manner different from both. Nor do they cver, by mistake, apply one in place of another. From hence, that is, from nature, is to be deduced the whole art of speaking properly. What we mean, does not so much depend upon the words we speak, as on our manner of speaking them ; and accordingly, in life, the greatest attention is paid to this, as expressive of what our words often give no indication of. Thus nature fixes the outward expression of every intention or sentiment of the mind.

Art only adds gracefulness to what nature leads to. As nature has determined that man shall walk on his feet, not his hands : Art teaches him to walk gracefully.

Every part of the human frame contributes to express the passions and emotions of the mind, and to shew in general its present state. The head is sometimes erected, sometimes hung down, sometimes drawn suddenly back with an air of disdain, sometimes shews by a nod, a particular person, or object; gives assent, or denial, by different motions ; threatens by one sort of movement, approves by another, and expresses suspicion by a third.

The arms are sometimes both thrown out, sometimes the right alone. Sometimes they are lifted up as high as the face, to express wonder, sometimes held out before the breast, to shew fear; spread forth with the hands open, to express desire or affection; the hands clapped in surprise, and in sudden joy and grief; the right hand clenched, and the arms brandished, to threaten; the two arms set akimbo, to look big, and express contempt or courage. With the hands, as Quintilian* says we solicit, we refuse, we promise, we threaten, we dismiss, we invite, we intreat, we express aversion, fear, doubting, denial, asking, affirmation, negation, joy, grief, confession, penitence. With the hands we describe and point out all circumstances of timne, place, and manner of what we relate ; we excite

T. ORAT. P. 453. " Annon his poscimus," &c.

« AnteriorContinuar »