Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

certain poverty of argument or absence of feeling-the speaker then evidently labours to produce an effect not natural in the circumstances. The orator must first display a certain vigour of conception and diction, before he can legitimately call in the aids of action. The mind must first be moved, before such results can follow. The engine that is to exhibit such heavings and tossings must first be set in motion, otherwise, the tempest will seem the mere vapouring of externals—not the reflection of a living principle. An arm so raised as to express any thing or everything—a noise and fury that are of the speaker's own kindling and not that of his subject--a routine of gesticulations, sometimes antecedent, sometimes subsequent to the language they should accompany,—are all symptomatic of a mere affectation of earnestness, that is the more provoking from the tediousness it inflicts. It promises something, yet yields nothingattracts, yet repulses-gives note of some coming greatness, yet passes off pointless and fruitless like the revolutions of a windmill or the report of a popgun,

Lastly, action that is regulated by feeling will cease when the feeling ceases. The procuring cause having subsided, the effect will disappear. The passage involving a condensation of sentiment and evolving a corresponding expression, of impassioned action, having been enunciated, the sensible speaker will, with relaxed energy, return to the level tone and action of the more subdued passage that succeeds. He will not be equally animated in all, as all are not equally eloquent in themselves. The opposite of this is that homogeneous movement of the body which never knows an end, as it never knew a beginning. It commenced without a cause, and continues causeless. The action that has its origin in the mind, which began and continued involuntarily, will also cease involuntarily, because naturally and necessarily. The feeling is exhausted because the subject is exhausted, and the action which is the type of the feeling is exhausted with it. In such a case, the relief experienced by the speaker and the hearer is reciprocal. The one feels he has accomplished his purpose—the other is well assured the speaker meant what he said, and used no false pretences. This is the work of nature—unpresuming, undissembling nature ; the other is mere trick and subterfuge—a subterfuge too palpable not to be discerned, and too gross ever to be forgiven.

The following outlines may assist the student in his attempt to acquire some degree of grace and propriety in gesture.

The Advancing Step denotes determination, purpose with the hands extended forward towards an approaching object, expresses welcome.

The Receding Step denotes a disposition to avoid—with the arms projected forward, palm outwards, denotes fear, alarm, terror, according to the violence and rapidity of start with which it is accompanied.

a

In Dialogue, the body maintains a diagonal direction towards the person addressed—not fixedly, however, so as to produce stiffness, but alternately in reference to other objects introduced. The back is turned when dissent, dislike, repulsiveness, is expressed.

The Hand should be presented open, the thumb and first finger particularly separated from the palm-never clenched except in extremity of passion or of purpose. It should be exposed with the palm upwards, styled the supine position; all curving of the fingers or diagonal edging of the hand should be avoided.

The Inverted position of the palm, styled the palm prone,

in which the back of the hand is exposed, is expressive of repose, of rest after labour

He láy like a warrior tāking his rést,

With his màrtial cloak around him.”

The action Repulsice, in which the open palm is turned outward, is expressive of dislike, scorn, reprobation, and should be accompanied with a simultaneous aversion of the eye

Nó more! I'll hear no more! Begóne and leàre me!

The Junction of the hands, either at the tips of the fingers or at the palms, with the uplifted eye, is expressive of deep thought, contemplation

Etérnity! Thou pleasing, drèadful thought !"

The Wringing of the hands or fingers—the one hand clasping the other-is expressive of grief, remorse, and is generally accompanied with a restlessness of the whole frame

“ Hére's the smell of blood still! All the perfumes

Of Arábia will not sweeten this little hànd !

The Index hand is expressive of individuality—the argumentum ad hominem so to speak, -and is delivered with erectness of the person and elongation of the arm

" And Náthan said unto Dávid- Thòu ārt the mān!'»

The forefinger of the right hand meeting that of the left at the points, is expressive of nice discrimination, minute distinction

“ Mark mehère is the point!” The hand flat on the region of the heart expresses sensation, consciousness

ess

" Whence this sécret dread and inward hórror

Of falling into noùght?" If not flat, but merely touching the breast with the points of the fingers, the action is expressive, not of sensation, but of self-appropriation

“And kéep his only són, mysélf, at home." The hand, or one prominent finger, brought to the forehead, or traversing the region of the temples, with the eyes uplifted and a due solemnity of utterance, indicates doubt, anxiety, deep apprehension“ What dréams may come, when we have shúffled off

This mortal coil, mūst give us pause!”

There are Three Ranges of Action—the Downward, the Horizontal, and the Elevated, depending each on the direction of the object to which the action refers. The Downward

range exhibits the arm coming to its object diagonally downwards from the shoulder.

“Even at the bàse of Pompey's státue,

Gréat Caēsar féll.”

In the Horizontal or colloquial range the arm forms, more or less, a horizontal line from the shoulder to the hand“Rómans, countrymen, and lóvers-héar me for my càuse!"

In the Elevated, the arm rises diagonally from the shoulder, and is used on all highly oratorical occasions, or in reference to an elevated object

«The game's afodt; Follow your spirit; and upon thīs chārge, Crý, Heàven for Hárry, E'ngland, and St Geòrge !"

“ Ye crágs and peaks ! I'm with yoù once again !"

In each of these

ranges
there

may be discovered a subdi. vision of five individual positions into which gesticulation resolves itself-these are, the across, the forward, the oblique, the extended, the backward-each of which the student of elocution should be able to assume easily and instantly at the required juncture. These, it is to be understood, apply, as do all other principles of gesture, to the left hand as well as the right; thus furnishing, in connection with the three ranges of action, thirty different directions of the arm; and when doubled with the repulsive form of the hand, sixty. The individual positions of the hand and arm are indeed indefinite, supplying the orator with an almost countless variety of gesticulations. The position across is, of course, that which the arm takes in crossing the body downwards, horizontally, or upwards the forward, where the arm is brought in the direction immediately opposite itself--the oblique, where it takes an angular direction outwards—the extended, where it is projected to the extreme point on its own side of the body-and the backward, where it indicates a reference to an object in its own rear.

Both arms may be in action at the same time, called double action--but they must be uniform in their operation, having one object in view. The same mind prompts both, consequently the action of both must manifest the same feeling. They are under one government, and must express the same allegiance. It cannot be natural, then, that the one ascends while the other descends that the one is less elevated, less horizontal, less expressive, than the other that the one is more languid in its movements, the other more instantaneous and energetic. The one sinks to repose naturally enough by dropping while the other rises into action; but the fall must be of that insensate character which never attracts the eye of the spectator, or divides his attention with the more important gesticulation of the other. There are no doubt some actions of a mixed character to

« PředchozíPokračovat »