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do it by degrees, and constant practice. I would therefore recommend it to him that he should daily exercise himself in reading or repeating, in the hearing of a friend; and that, too, in a large room. At first, his friend should stand at such a distance only as the speaker can easily reach, in his usual manner of delivering himself. Afterwards, let him gradually increase his distance, and the speaker will in the same gradual proportion increase the force of his voice." In doing this, the speaker still keeps on the same tone of voice, but gives it with greater power. It is material to notice, that a well-formed middle tone, and even a low one, is capable of filling any room; and that the neglect of strengthening the voice in these leads a speaker to adopt the high, shouting note which is often heard in our pulpits. Hamlet's address to the players should be mostly delivered in this middle key.
This key of the voice, though very uncommon in level speaking or reading, ought to be practised, as it tends to give strength to the voice generally, and as it is frequently employed in public speaking and declamation. Every one can speak in a high key, but few do it pleasingly. There is a compression necessary in the high notes, as well as the middle and low; this compression distinguishes the vociferous passion of the peasant from that of the accomplished actor or orator. The following passage will bear the most vigorous exercise of the high key:
Fight, gentlemen of England! fight, bold Yeomen!
It should be borne in mind, that it is not he who speaks the loudest who can be heard the furthest. "It is a curious fact in the history of sound," says a scientific observer, "that the loudest noises always perish on the spot where they are produced, whereas musical notes will be heard at a great distance. Thus, if we approach within a mile or two of a town or village in which a fair is held, we may hear very faintly the clamor of the multitude, but more distinctly the organs, and other musical instruments, which are played for their amusement. If a Cremona violin, a real Amati, be played by the side of a modern fiddle, the latter will sound much louder than the former; but the sweet, brilliant tone of the Amati will be heard at a distance the other cannot reach. Dr. Young, on the authority of Durham, states that at Gibraltar the human voice may be heard at a greater distance than that of any other animal; thus, when the cottager in the woods, or the open plain, wishes to call her husband, who is working at a distance, she does not shout, but pitches her voice to a musical key, which she knows from habit, and by that means reaches his ear. The loudest roar of the largest lion could not penetrate so far. Loud speakers are seldom heard to advantage. Burke's voice is said to have been a sort of lofty cry, which tended as much as the formality of his discourse in the House of Commons to send the members to their dinner. Chatham's lowest whisper was distinctly heard. His middle tones were sweet, rich and beautifully varied,' says a writer, describing the orator; when he raised his voice to the highest pitch, the House was completely filled with the volume of sound; and the effect was awful, except when he wished to cheer or animate-and then he had spirit-stirring notes which were perfectly irresistible. The terrible, however, was his peculiar power. Then the House sank before him; still, he was dignified, and, wonder
ful as was his eloquence, it was attended with this important effect, that it possessed every one with a conviction that there was something in him finer than his words, that the man was greater, infinitely greater, than the orator.""
A monotone is intonation without change of pitch: that is, preserving a fulness of tone, without ascent or descent on the scale. It is no very difficult matter to be loud in a high tone; but to be loud and forcible in a low tone, requires great practice and management; this, however, may be facil:tated by pronouncing forcibly at first in a low monotone. A monotone, though in a low key, and without force, is much more sonorous and audible than when the voice slides up and down at almost every word, as it must do to be various. This tone is adopted by actors when they repeat passages aside. It conveys the idea of being inaudible to those with them in the scene, by being in a lower tone than that used in the dialogue; and, by being in a monotone, becomes audible to the whole house. The monotone, therefore, is an excellent vehicle for such passages as require force and audibility in a low tone, and in the hands of a judicious reader or speaker is a perpetual source of variety. It is used when anything awful or sublime is to be expressed, as
O! when the last account twixt Heaven and earth
Is to be made, then shall this hand and seal
The language of the ghost in Hamlet is mostly uttered in a deep monotone. The following passage from Ion is partly given in a solemn monotone :
The monotone is varied, in the italicized part, to the tone of passionate emotion and supplication.
Modulation includes, also, the consideration of time, which is natural in the pronunciation of certain passages. The combinations, then, of pitch, force and time, are extremely numerous: thus, we have low, loud, slow; low, soft, slow; low, feeble, slow; low, loud, quick, &c. ; middle, loud, slow; middle, soft, slow; middle, feeble, slow, &c. Thus, we have a copious natural language, adapted to the expression of every emotion and passion.
Motion and sound, in all their modifications, are, in descriptive reading, more or less imitated. To glide, to drive, to swell, to flow, to skip, to whirl, to turn, to rattle, &c., all partake of a peculiar modification of voice. This expression lies in the key, force, and time of the tones, and the forcible pronunciation of certain letters which are supposed more particularly to express the imitation.
Soft is the strain when Zephyr gently blows,
And the smooth stream in smoother numbers flows;
Not so, when swift Camilla scours the plain,
Flies o'er the unbending corn, and skims along the main.
Grammatical punctuation does not always demand a pause; and the time of the pauses at various points is not correctly stated in many books on reading. In some treatises, the pause at the period is described as being uniformly four times as long as that at a comma; whereas, it is regulated entirely by the nature of the subject, the intimacy or remoteness of the connection between the sentences, and other causes. "I am convinced," says Mr. Knowles, "that a nice attention to rhetorical punctuation has an extremely mischievous tendency, and is totally inconsistent with nature. Give the sense of what you read-MIND is the thing. Pauses are essential only where the omission would obscure the sense. The orator, who, in the act of delivering himself, is studiously solicitous about parcelling his words, is sure to leave the best part of his work undone. He delivers words, not thoughts. Deliver thoughts, and words will take care enough of themselves."
By emphasis is meant that stronger and fuller sound of voice, by which, in reading or speaking, we distinguish the accented syllable, or some word, on which we design to lay particular stress, in order to show how it affects the rest of the sentence. On the right management of the emphasis depend the whole life and spirit of every discourse. If no emphasis be placed on any word, not only is discourse rendered heavy and lifeless, but the meaning left often ambiguous. If the emphasis be placed wrong, we pervert and confound the meaning wholly. In order to acquire the proper management of the emphasis, then, the great rule, and, indeed, the only unexceptional rule, is, that the speaker or reader study to attain a just conception of the force and spirit of those forms of expression which he is to pronounce.
To give a common instance: such a simple question as this, "Do you ride to town to-day?" is capable of no fewer than four acceptations, according as the emphasis is differently placed on the words. If it be pronounced thus: Do you ride to town to-day? the answer may naturally be, No; I send my servant in my stead. If thus: Do you ride to town to-day? Answer. No; I intend to walk. Do you ride to town to-day? No; I ride out into the fields. Do you ride to town to-day? No; but I shall to-morrow. And there is yet another expression that this little sentence is capable of, which would be given by placing the emphasis on the first word, do, being a necessary enforcement of the question, if the person asked had evaded giving a reply; thus: "Do you ride to town to-day?" The tone implying: Come, tell me at once, do you, or do you not?
There are four obvious distinctions in the sound of words, with respect to force. First, the force necessary for the least important words, such as conjunctions, particles, &c., which may be called feeble or unaccented. Second, the force necessary for substantives, verbs, &c., which may be called accented. Third, that force which is used for distinguishing some words from others, commonly called emphasis of force. Fourth, the force necessary for emphasis of sense. As opposition is the foundation of all emphasis of sense, whatever words are contrasted with, contradistinguished from, or set in opposition to, one another, they are always emphatic. Hence, whenever there is antithesis in the sense, whether words or clauses, there ought to be emphasis in the pronunciation.
The variations of emphasis are so numerous as to defy the formation of rules that can be appropriate in all cases. Give a dozen well-trained elocutionists a sentence to mark emphatically, and probably no two would perform the task precisely alike.
What though the field be lost?
And courage never to submit or yield, -
The following speech of Othello is an example of what is termed cumulative emphasis:
GESTURE, considered as a just and elegant adaptation of every part of the body to the nature and import of the subject we are pronouncing, has always Seen considered as one of the most essential parts of Oratory. Cicero says, that its power is even greater than that of words. It is the language of nature in the strictest sense, and makes its way to the heart without the utterance of a single sound. I may threaten a man with my sword by speech, and produce little effect; but if I clap my hand to the hilt simultaneously with the threat, he will be startled according to the earnestness of the action. This instance will illustrate the whole theory of gesture. According to Demosthenes, action is the beginning, the middle, and the end of Oratory.
To be perfectly motionless while we are pronouncing words which require force and energy, is not only depriving them of their necessary support, but rendering them unnatural and ridiculous. A very vehement address, pronounced without any motion but that of the lips and tongue, would be a burlesque upon the meaning, and produce laughter; nay, so unnatural is this total absence of gesticulation, that it is not very easy to speak in this manner. As some action, therefore, must necessarily accompany our words, it is of the utmost consequence that this be such as is suitable and natural. No matter how little, if it be but akin to the words and passion; for, if foreign to them, it counteracts and destroys the very intention of delivery. The voice and gesture may be said to be tuned to each other; and, if they are in a different key, as it may be called, discord must inevitably be the consequence.
A speaker's body," says Fenelon, "must betray action when there is movement in his words; and his body must remain in repose when what he utters is of a level, simple, unimpassioned character. Nothing seems to me so shocking and absurd as the sight of a man lashing himself to a fury in the utterance of tame things. The more he sweats, the more he freezes my very blood."
Mr. Austin, in his "Chironomia," was the first to lay down laws for the regulation of gesture; and nearly all subsequent writers on the subject have borrowed largely from his work. He illustrates his rules by plates, showing the different attitudes and gestures for the expression of certain emotions. Experience has abundantly proved that no benefit is to be derived from the study of these figures. They only serve as a subject for ridicule to boys; and are generally found, in every volume in use, well pencilled over with satirical marks or mottoes, issuing from the mouths of the stiff-looking gentlemen who are presented as models of grace and expression to aspiring youth.
The following is an enumeration of some of the most frequent gestures, to which the various members of the body contribute:
The Head and Face. The hanging down of the head denotes shame, or grief. The holding it up, pride, or courage. To nod forward, implies assent. To toss the head back, dissent. The inclination of the head implies bashfulfulness or languor. The head is averted in dislike or horror. It leans forward in attention.
The Eyes. The eyes are raised, in prayer. They weep, in sorrow. Burn, in anger. They are cast on vacancy, in thought. They are thrown in different directions, in doubt and anxiety.
The Arms. The arm is projected forward, in authority. Both arms are spread extended, in admiration. They are held forward, in imploring help. They both fall suddenly, in disappointment. Folded, they denote thoughtful
The Hands. The hand on the head indicates pain, or distress. On the eyes, shame. On the lips, injunction of silence. On the breast, it appeals to conscience, or intimates desire. The hand waves, or flourishes, in joy, or contempt. Both hands are held supine, or clasped, in prayer. Both descend prone, in blessing. They are clasped, or wrung, in affliction. The outstretched hands, with the knuckles opposite the speaker's face, express fear, abhorrence, rejection, or dismissal. The outstretched hands, with the palms toward the face of the speaker, denote approval, acceptation, welcoming, and love.
The Body. The body, held erect, indicates steadiness and courage. Thrown back, pride. Stooping forward, condescension, or compassion. Bending, reverence, or respect. Prostration, the utmost humility, or abasement.
The Lower Limbs. Their firm position signifies courage, or obstinacy. Bended knees, timidity, or weakness. Frequent change, disturbed thoughts. They advance, in desire, or courage. Retire, in aversion, or fear. Start, in terror. Stamp, in authority, or anger. Kneel, in submission and prayer.
Walker says that we should be careful to let the stroke of the hand which marks force, or emphasis, keep exact time with the force of pronunciation; that is, the hand must go down upon the emphatic word, and no other. Thus, in the imprecation of Brutus, in Julius Cæsar:
When Marcus Brutus grows so covetous,
To lock such rascal counters from his friends,
Here, says Walker, the action of the arm which enforces the emphasis ought to be so directed that the stroke of the hand may be given exactly on the word dash; this will give a concomitant action to the organs of pronunciation, and by this means the whole expression will be greatly augmented.
Archbishop Whately contends, on the contrary, that the natural order of action is, that the gesture should precede the utterance of the words. "An emotion, struggling for utterance, produces a tendency to a bodily gesture, to express that emotion more quickly than words can be framed; the words follow as soon as they can be spoken. And this being always the case with a real, earnest, unstudied speaker, this mode, of placing the action foremost, gives (if it be otherwise appropriate) the appearance of earnest emotion actually present in the mind." And the reverse of this natural order would alone be sufficient to convert the action of Demosthenes himself into unsuccessful and ridiculous mimicry."
Where two such authorities clash, the pupil's own good taste must give the bias to his decision.
"The gracefulness of motion in the human frame," says Austin, in his Chironomia, consists in the facility and security with which it is executed; and the grace of any position consists in the facility with which it can be varied. Hence, in the standing figure, the position is graceful when the weight of the body is principally supported on one leg, while the other is so placed as to be ready to relieve it promptly, aud without effort. The foot which sustains the principal weight must be so placed that a perpendicular line, let fall from the pit of the neck, shall pass through the heel of that foot. Of course, the centre of gravity of the body is, for the time, in that line; whilst