« PředchozíPokračovat »
confiderable paufe, where the grammatical conftruction requires none at all. In doing this, however, it is neceffary that in the word immediately preceding the paufe, the voice be kept up. in fuch a manner as to intimate to the hearer that the fenfe is not compleated. Mr. GARRICK often obferved this rule with great fuccefs. This particular excellence Mr. Sterne has defcribed in his ufual fprightly manner. See the following work, Book VI. Chap. III.
BEFORE a full paufe, it has been customary in reading to drop the voice in a uniform manner; and this has been called the cadence. But furely nothing can be more deftructive of all propriety and energy than this habit. The tones. and heights at the clofe of a fentence ought to be infinitely diverfified, according to the general nature of the difcourfe, and the particular conftruction and meaning of the fentence. In plain narrative, and especially in argumentation, the leaft attention to the manner in which we relate a story, or fupport an argument in converfation, will show, that it is more frequently proper to raise the voice than to fall it at the end of a fentence. Interrogatives, where the speaker
fpeaker feems to expect an answer, fhould almost always be elevated at the clofe, with a peculiar tone, to indicate that a queftion is afked. Some fentences are so constructed, that the last word requires a ftronger emphafis than any of the preceding; whilst others admit of being clofed with a foft and gentle found. Where there is nothing in the fense which requires the laft found to be elevated or emphatical, an eafy fall, fufficient to fhow that the fenfe is finished, will be proper. And in pathetic pieces, especially thofe of the plaintive, tender, or folemn kind, the tone of the paffion will often require a ftill lower 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 to raife it with all the variation which the fenfe requires. The best method of correcting a uniform cadence, is frequently to read select sentences, in which the ftyle is pointed, and frequent antithefes are introduced; and argumentative pieces, or fuch as abound with interrogatives.
Accompany the Emotions and Paffions which your words exprefs, by correfpondent tones, looks, and gestures.
HERE is the language of emotions and paffions, as well as of ideas. To exprefs the latter is the peculiar province of words; to exprefs the former, nature teaches us to make use of tones, looks, and geftures. When anger, fear, joy, grief, love, or any other active paffion arifes` in our minds, we naturally difcover it by the particular manner in which we utter our words; by the features of the countenance, and by other well known figns. And even when we fpeak without any of the more violent emotions, fome kind of feeling ufually accompanies our words, and this, whatever it be, hath its proper external expreffion. Expreffion hath indeed been fo little ftudied in public fpeaking, that we feem almoft to have forgotten the language of nature, and are ready to consider every attempt to recover it as the laboured and affected effort of art. But Nature is always the fame; and every judicious imitation of it will always be pleafing. Nor
can any one deferve the appellation of a good fpeaker, much lefs of a complete orator, till to distinct articulation, a good command of voice, and juft emphafis, he is able to add the various expreffions of emotion and paffion.
To enumerate thefe expreffions, and defcribe them in all their variations, is impracticable. Attempts have been made with fome fuccefs to analyse the language of ideas; but the language of fentiment and emotion has never yet been analyfed; and perhaps it is not within the reach of human ability, to write a Philofophical Grammar of the Paffions. Or, if it were poffible in any degree to execute this defign, I cannot think, that from such a grammar it would be poffible for any one to instruct himself in the use of the language. All endeavours therefore to make men Orators, by defcribing to them in words the manner in which their voice, countenance, and hands are to be employed, in expreffing the paffions, muft, in my apprehenfion, be weak and ineffectual. And, perhaps, the only inftruction which can be given with advantage on this head, is this general one: Observe in what manner the feveral emotions or paffions are expreffed in real life, or by those who have with great
great labour and tafte acquired a power of imitating nature; and accuftom yourself either to follow the great original itself, or the beft copies you meet with; always, however, " with this special obfervance, that you o'ERSTEP NOT THE MODESTY OF NATURE."
IN the application of thefe rules to practice, in order to acquire a juft and graceful elocution, it will be neceffary to go through a regular course of exercises; beginning with fuch as are most eafy, and proceeding by flow steps to such as are more difficult. In the choice of thefe, the practitioner fhould pay a particular attention to hist prevailing defects, whether they regard articulation, command of voice, emphasis, or cadence: and he should content himself with reading and fpeaking with an immediate view to the correcting of his fundamental faults, before he aims at any thing higher. This may be irksome and difagreeable; it may require much patience and refolution; but it is the only way to fucceed. For, if a man cannot read fimple sentences, or plain marrative or didactic pieces, with distinct articulation, juft emphafis, and proper tones, how can he expect to do juftice to the fublime defcripti