Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

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

"He lay like a warrior taking his rést,

With his màrtial clóak around him."

The action Repulsive, 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 leave 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—

"Eternity! Thou pleasing, dreadful 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 pèrfumes Of Arábia will not sweeten this little hand!"

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 sàid unto Dávid- Thòu ārt the man!""

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

“Màrk me—hère is the point!"

The hand flat on the region of the heart expresses sensation, consciousness—

"Whence this sécret drèad 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 keep his ònly són, myself, at hòme.”

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 dreams may come, when we have shuffled off This mortal coil, mūst give us pàuse!"

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 base of Pompey's státue,

Gréat Caesar fèll."

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 cause!”

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 ;

Fóllow your spirit; and upōn this charge,

Crý, Heaven for Hárry, England, and St George !"

"Ye crágs and peaks! I'm with you ōnce agàin !”

In each of these ranges there may be discovered a subdivision 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 otherthat 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 gèsticulation of the other. There are no doubt some actions of a mixed character to

which this rule does not apply-where both arms uniting to express a combination of feelings must necessarily occupy separate positions-but, as a general principle, its reasonableness and correctness must be self-evident. Its violation, through awkwardness or inattention, is just another manifestation of that "sawing of the air," which all students of nature, from Shakspeare downwards, have condemned as a deformity. Nature must preside over the movements of the body, as well as the modulation of the voice. To gesticulate from the mere impulse of intention, is the reverse of nature; it is mere affectation, and the source of much that is vulgar and grotesque.

The eye and hand should uniformly accompany each other. The eye is supposed to see its object an instant or two before the hand arrives at it—the language, or rather the idea it embodies, becoming the index to the eye, as the eye is to the hand-yet so closely do they unite to describe the thing signified, the sentiment of love, or fear, or surprise,-that they seem to form one simultaneous movement. Like the natural daybreak, it cannot be discerned when the one state is, and the other is not; so imperceptibly does each glide into the other. The thought is seen, enunciated, and personated, with such instantaneousness, that it is difficult to say when the one act terminates and the other begins. Nor is the hand always last in the order of expression-the eye may return to the object, and, by a look of recognition, confirm the impression already made. One presiding influence so controls a series of agents, that, as they move, they reciprocate upon each other the living principle which first called them into action

"All are but parts of one congenial whole,

Whose body Nature is, and Mind the soul."

SELECTIONS.

PART FIRST-MORAL AND RELIGIOUS.

CONVERSATION.

NEVER speak anything for a truth which you know or believe to be false. Lying is a great sin against God, who gave us a tongue to speak the truth, and not falsehood. It is a great offence against humanity itself; for, where there is no regard to truth, there can be no safe society between man and man. And it is an injury to the speaker; for, besides the disgrace which it brings upon him, it occasions so much baseness of mind, that he can scarcely tell truth, or avoid lying, even when he has no colour of necessity for it; and, in time, he comes to such a pass, that as other people cannot believe he speaks truth, so he himself scarcely knows when he tells a falsehood.

As you must be careful not to lie, so you must avoid coming near it. You must not equivocate, nor speak any thing positively for which you have no authority but report, or conjecture, or opinion.

Let your words be few, especially when your superiors, or strangers, are present, lest you betray your own weakness, and rob yourselves of the opportunity, which you might otherwise have had, to gain knowledge, wisdom, and experience, by hearing those whom you silence by your impertinent talking.

Be not too earnest, loud, or violent in your conversation. Silence your opponent with reason, not with noise..

Be careful not to interrupt another when he is speaking; hear him out, and you will understand him the better, and be able to give him the better answer.

« PředchozíPokračovat »