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When we proceed to inquire why articulate sounds, has already perbad habits of speaking prevail to ceived the difference usually made such extent, we find that they can- between the tones of conversation not be attributed in all, nor in most and those of reading. Let it atcases, to any defect of voice or tempt "to imitate the continuous taste. Many of the worst speakers language of conversation, and then have voices of uncommon clearness, give it a book, and let it attempt to flexibility, and compass, and can imitate the voice in reading, and you readily detect any fault in the de- will perceive that it already expresslivery of others. Their conversa es, in its unmeaning sounds, the vation is conducted in tones which riety of the one and the monotony are natural and pleasing. Request of the other. The same spirit of one of them to give you the sub- imitation has a similar influence stance of the sermon he has just de- when this child begins to read at livered, and he will do it without the village school. “ Among inany of that false emphasis, and un- structors of children scarcely one couth modulation practised in the in fifty thinks of carrying his prepulpit, and with the nicest discrimi. cepts beyond correctness in uttering nation of sense, and the most just words, and a mechanical attention and eloquent expression of feeling to pauses. So that a child who But write down this very conversa speaks the words of a sentence distion and request him to read it, and tinctly and fluently, and“ minds the the whole style of his delivery will stops," as it is called, is without be altered ; his emphasis, cadence, scruple, pronounced a good readtones, modulation, will be different, er."* and his expression of countenance, Be the composition the simplest and probably every manifestation of and the most colloquial in its style, feeling, will disappear. Let him the child feels bound to read it in commit it to memory and deliver it the artificial tones used by his inpublicly; and a new and inexpres structors, parents, and companions. sive gesture will be substituted, At a suitable age, this child, now a with tones and emphasis, inore ani- youth, is transferred to the academy, mated perhaps than his reading Here he first learns to declaim, and tones, but if possible more un- adopts the artificial tones prevalent couth.
in these institutions. These are While this man has received from carried to the college. Here they God all which is necessary to render are modified perhaps by others him an eloquent speaker, he has in- equally artificial, and the student sensibly formed habits fatal to a just enters his professional studies with elocution. These, instead of being a burden of false habits in delivery, overcome, are usually confirmed by which cling to him through life. the practice of public speaking. Especially is this the case in the He reads his psalm with a sing. clerical profession in which less opsong tone, and his weekly lesson portunity is afforded, of changing from the scriptures with an alter- habits of speaking than in the pracnate and gradual elevation of the tice of the law. voice tillit reaches a certain pitch, The history we have now given, and a gradual and alternate depres- we do not doubt will be found to be sion of it to the same cadence in substantially that of almost every every sentence.
public speaker who is stiff and unIt is not difficult to understand natural in bis mode of delivery. how these habits were formed. The He may at times have become senbabe, when it begins to learn the use of its organs, and makes its first
* Analysis, p. 36.
sible of his faults, and have endeav- defects of intellect or of sensibility, oured to free himself from their may have great faults in the managethraldom; but, discouraged at his
ment of his voice as a speaker. These unsuccessful attempt, he has re
perhaps he acquired in childhood, just
as he learned to speak at all, or to lapsed into former habits ; or, igno
speak English rather than French, by cant what is requisite to form cor imitation. His tones both of passion rect habits, has blundered out of and articulation, are derived from an his old ones into others equally instinctive correspondence between the bad.
ear and voice. If he had been born He may, however, have escaped,
deaf, he would have possessed neither.
Now in what way shall he break up his and completed his professional stu
bad habits, without so much attention dies a tolerably good speaker. He
to the analysis of speaking sounds, has now new duties to discharge. that he can in some good degree disIf he is a clergyman, amid the la tinguish those which he would wish to bour of his weekly preparation, he adopt or avoid ? How shall he correct has little time for any attention to a tone, while he cannot understand the mere delivery of his sermons.
why it needs correction, because he He comes before the public an in
chooses to remain ignorant of the only
language in which the fault can possiexperienced young man. Others
bly be described ? Let him study and are sitting under his ministry in ma
accustom himself to apply a few eleny respects fitted to be his instruct
mentary principles, and then he may at ors. Oppressed with diffidence, he least be able to understand what are may fear a direct look at his audi- the defects of his own intonations. p. ence, and, fastening his eyes on his 38. notes, may hurry through his dis
The question as to voice, is, are course with a precipitancy and la
there any settled principles in elocubour fatal to rhetorical effect.
tion? When a skilful teacher has Bashfulness may thus originate bad
read to his pupils a sentence for their habits in a young speaker, which imitation, is there any reason why he will remain through life.
should have read it as he did !-or why Since so many are labouring with he or they should read it again in the an unnatural delivery, it is desira. same manner ? Can that reason be ble that something should be done made intelligible ? Doubtless it may,
the for their relief, as well as for the
if it is founded on any stated law of de
livery. The pupils then, need not rest aid of those who are training up for
in a servile imitation of their teacher's public duties. The only sure safe.
manner, but are entitled to ask why guard is to be found in modes of his emphasis, or inflection, or cadence education adapted to the forma was go, and not otherwise ; and then tion of public speakers. But these they may be able to transfer the same cannot exist till " a race of teach- principles to other cases. Then too, one ers shall arise, competent as living
atent as living skilful teacher, by means of such intelmodels, to regulate the tones of ligible analysis, may assist other teach
ers, whose capacity is equal to his own, their pupils. These teachers are
but whose experience has been less to be themselves formed.” But
than his.—pp. 39, 40.
than his.how shall this be effected ? It will answer no good purpose to Such an analysis of speaking tell those who are wishing to be tones would enable those, who have come public speakers, to speak of a bad delivery, to detect their faults, ten; their speaking confirms their and to fix upon the exact causes of ungracious tones and false empha- them; and would suggest the remesis.
dy to be used, which, without such Our author discusses this point in analysis, is a most difficult thing to the following words :
prescribe. We have seen that a man, with no Obvious as these remarks are, the
tones of a natural elocution have not be ignorant of the common not been analyzed till within a few sense principles of managing the years. The plain reason of this is, voice, with which, some are unacthe slight attention hitherto bestow quainted, who, so far as regards ed on the managernent of the voice. strength and closeness of thought, From the days of Quintillian to those are our best preachers. But Sher. of Sheridan, while much labour was idan himself was not satisfied with employed on the matter of elo his own efforts to define those qual. quence, the instrument of elo- ities of voice which were the subquence was strangely neglected. jects of his serious investigation. The regulation of the voice was There was something in good de. aided by no rules founded on scien- livery, which flitted like a shadow tific grounds, but whoever wrote on before every attempt he made to the subject, quoted the precepts of apprehend it. Walker has too genQuintillian without bestowing a erally enjoyed the credit of having thought on the principles which first analyzed the tones of conversagovern a just and natural delivery. tion, and of having pointed out the Hence though elocution has been distinction between the rising and constantly taught from the days of falling inflection. It was a musiPericles, its teachers have la cian named Steele, however, to boured in the dark, and attacked the whom we owe this distinction, in a hydra of false delivery at the great work entitled, “ Prosodia Rationa. est disadvantage. When we in- lis," published a number of years quire into the reason of this, we previous to that of Walker. Anothfind that there is something intrin- er author stated the same distincsically difficult in the analysis of tion in “ the Art of delivering writspeaking tones, because they are ten language,” which was published not permanent in their nature. somewhat earlier than Walker's Ever varying, the nicest perception, Treatise. To Walker, however, the most painful application, and we are indebted for the first attempt the soundest judgment, are needed to establish practical rules for the to ascertain their nature, and give adjustment of the inflections. them so far a form and name that The distinction, just alluded to, their nice shades can be made per- constitutes the principal difference ceptible. It is at the same time between the tones of the voice in sufficiently obvious, that while natu- conversation and those expressed in ral science and intellectual philoso. music. In music each tone is prophy have received much and close longed on the same key, but in attention, there have been but few speaking, the tones consist of slides labourers in this department, and of the voice through several notes those but poorly qualified for their of the octave while the sound of a task. Little can be done in elocu- syllable is forming. These slides tion as a science, till men of nice are either upward or downward, or discrimination make it their serious are united on the same syllable or study; nor can such men labour in word. An important part of good this department with success, if they elocution, consists in making these indulge in theorizing, or spend their slides in the proper places, with suftime in manufacturing rules not ficient and not excessive strength of founded on careful analysis ofspeak- voice, with distinctness, just moduing tones.
lation and gesture. Sheridan was sensible of this ne. The imitators of Walker have cessity, and the result of his inves- adopted his fundamental principle, tigations is a valuable work which and followed him more or less closeevery one should read who would ly. Wright in England, Knowles
and Ewing in Scotland, have im- and rendered the whole system comitated him without adding much plicated and suspicious. that is valuable to his system, or We shall be forgiven for introdufreeing it to any great degree, of the cing these remarks on Walker, since obscurity exhibited in its develop- they seem to be required in noticment, or the fancifulness in its ap- ing a book which adopts his theory, plication. For though Walker has and professes, though with much broached, in our apprehension, the modesty, to correct and simplify true system of elocution, we rare- his system. It should be a subject ly meet with a book so obscure as his of rejoicing that one so well qualifitreatise, or so burdened with ab- ed as the Bartlett Professor at Ansurd and impracticable rules. It dover has undertaken this task. It defies the power of the strongest is well known that Walker's system memory to retain all his distinc. has been the subject of his attentive tions ; and some of them, could examination, and that he has sucthey be rendered familiar, would so cessfully exemplified in his own mislead him who should endeavour practice the benefit of an acquaintto put them in practice, and so fel- ance with vocal inflections. ter and harrass him in the act of de His chapter on inflections is one livery, as greatly to pain his hear- of great value. It reduces to a ers, unless there were some native small compass what in Walker is excellency in his speaking, to atone spread over many pages. It confor the fanciful emphasis borrow- fines the application of the infleced from Walker. The fact with tions to “ the rhetorical principles Walker, seems to have been, that of language where tones express having discovered the few princi- sentiment." Dr. Porter's “Rules," ples which give to elocution harmo- besides being few in number, are ny and variety, he has thrust them perspicuous, and commend themforward as a doting parent does his selves to the common sense of the child, into places where they do not reader. They could have been fra
med only by a nice observation of Perhaps we ought to qualify our the human voice and a thorough remarks, lest they should be deem- investigation of the principles which ed too sweeping. Walker has fail. govern it. Knowles, Ewing, and ed chiefly in his rules for harmo. Wright, and those who have written nic inflection. The inflections he on this subject in our own country, has given for the sentence, con- have copied Walker's faults, but sisting of a series of members, seem our author, after borrowing his leadto us to be almost entirely artificial. ing distinction in the tones of the The same may be said of his rules voice, has proceeded nearly as if for reading poetry. Hence the Walker had not written on the subslight success which has attended ject. This was necessary in reduthe application of his principles, and cing to system what was without the undeserved contempt with form and void. which they are treated by those We may be permitted to suggest whose opinions on this subject however, the query whether Rule would be worthy of regard, could V. p. 54, will not lead the student we believe them to be the results to suppose that tender emotion is of knowledge and deliberation. always expressed by the rising slide, Much of this however inust be and whether, if it does give him this charged upon the imitators of Walk- impression, it will not mislead. To er, especially in our own country, us it seems that tender emotion is who, with a few exceptiocs, have frequently marked by the modulacarried his principles to extremes, tion simply. A case in point will
be found in the exercises appended turns the voice upwards at the end of a to the volume No. 104, “Epitaph sentence; as, on Mrs. Mason." It is one of the
You was paid to fight against Alexander, most tender expressions of conjugal
not to răil at him. affection mourning over the depart. ed object of love that we ever read. Harmony requires the voice to rise, Yet it seems to us, tenderness is at the pause before the cadence; whereexpressed in this case by modulation as emphasis sometimes prescribes the rather than by the slides of the falling slide at this pause, to enforce
the sense; as, voice. So simple seems to us the analy
Better to reign in hèll, than serve in sis of vocal inflections we wonder
heaven. it had not sooner occurred to the teachers of elocution. Some in Now I presume that every one who flections are easily distinguished. is at all accustomed to accurate observSterne observed the use of the cir ation on this subject, must be sensible cumflex long before it was noticed how very little this grand principle is
regarded in forming our earliest habits by any writer on elocution. He
of elocution; and therefore how hope. represents Trim as giving this ac
less are all efforts to correct what is cent to a text and thus pervert. wrong in these habits, without a just ing its sense. Triin reads, “ for knowledge of emphasis. we trust we have a good con- What then is emphasis? Without science.” “ Trust Trust we staying to assign reasons why I am have a good conscience !” “Cer. dissatisfied with definitions heretofore tainly 'Trim, quoth my father, in
given by respectable writers, the fol
lowing is offered as more complete, terrupting him, “ you give that sen
in my opinion, than others which I have tence a very improper accent-you
seen. Emphasis is a distinctive utterread it with such a sneering tone, ance of words which are especially sig. as if the parson was going to abuse nificant, with such a degree and kind of the apostle.”
stress, as conveys their meaning in the This chapter on inflections our best manner. pp. 70, 71. readers will recognise as having ap. peared before the publicin a pamph As a specimen of his mode of let form, under the title “ Analysis treating the subject, we quote the of Vocal Inflections,” in which following passage shape it was favourably received. As it now appears, it is greatly en
But to show that emphasis attaches larged, and improved.
itself not to the part of speech, but to The sentiments advanced by our
the meaning of a word, let one of these author on emphasis seem to us little words become important in sense, founded in truth.
and then it demands a correspondent
stress of voice. Emphasis is governed by the laws of We have an example in the two fol. sentiment, being inseparably associated lowing sentences, ending with the parwith thought and emotion. It is the ticiple so. In one it is used incidentally, most important principle, by which elo- and is barely to be spoken distinctly. In cution is related to the operations of the other it is the chief word, and must mind. Hence when it stands opposed be spoken forcibly. “And Saul said to the claims of custom or of har'nonyunto Michal, why hast thou deceived these always give way to its suprema- me so?" “ Then said the high priest cy. The accent which custom attach- are these things 86?” eg to a word, emphasis may supersede; Another example may show how a as we have seen under the foregoing change of stress on a particle changes article. Custom requires a cadence at the entire sense of a sentence. In the the final pause, but emphasis often narrative of Paul's voyage from Troas