« AnteriorContinuar »
They embarrass only at the begin- tions and modulation. They conning, when they cross the track of sequently form, in almost every inestablished habits. Rendered fa- stance, a style of elocution pommiliar, they rather aid than retard pous and stiff. If the student should delivery, and rather convey delight at length discover that his speaking than excite disgust. If they des- is unnatural and should resolve to troy bad habits of speaking and su- change it, he must settle his own perinduce such as are natural, they system of elocution ; form his hawill prevent perhaps much sin in bits upon this system ; and be his the hearers of the gospel, and pro- own instructor. All this may be long the lives of some of its preach- done, yet few young men have the ers. Many a good pair of lungs energy and perseverance requisite. will be delivered from the tearing Called to speak but seldom, the and destructive effects of vocifera- student feels public declamation to tion, and heads accustomed to nod be an intolerable burden, decries it in broken slumbers in the house of as a childish employment of little God, will be erect and attentive. service, and uses all bis ingenuity If we are asked why some of those to avoid it. who attempt to practise on Walk Time is not the only thing want. er's rules succeed so ill, we reply ed in our schools, for the successthat his system has not till now ful study of elocution. Instructors been reduced to method, and ren- are often lamentably deficient in dered practicable ; and that those the attention they bestow upon this who have attempted to follow it department. A pupil declaims in and have not succeeded, have either their presence a few times only in abused it, or have spent too little the course of a year. Their retime in practising according to its marks on his speaking are general principles. Perhaps too, their taste and extemporaneous. They do not or organs were so defective, that study his manner faithfully till they they never would have learned to understand his faults and excellenspeak well, by any method of prac- cies as a speaker ; and, of course tice they would have been likely to they are unable to give him those adopt.
minute instructions which are alone The measures adopted in the of much value to the student of elogenerality of our schools and acad- cution. Exhortations may be emies with the view of forming or- dealt out from time to time, from ators, we have looked upon as ut- the tutorial, professorial, or presiterly inadequate. In the first place, dential chair ; but however earnest too little time is allotted to the stu- these exhortations, they will be disdy of elocution. An hour or two regarded so soon as the pupil perin a week, is all which is allowed ceives that they are not followed up by most of our schools, colleges, in the habitual instructions of those and higher seminaries. Young who dispense them. He too will men, we know, are supposed to easily lose his interest in this truly practise in private, before they ap- important subject, and without repear in public to declaim. But sistance, will follow the multitude many neglect this almost entirely. to do evil. No college faculty The chief advantage it would give should be considered complete till them in most cases, should they it has its professor of rhetoric, nor pursue it, would be confidence and should any board of trustees be sat. strength and compass of voice. As isfied till they have so arranged the young men commonly declaim, they studies of college as to allow him pay little regard to discriminating time and opportunity for a faithful emphasis, and to variety of inflec- drilling of every student. Public
declamation, in our apprehension, him to throw off bad habits, and is not enough. This should be per adopt the tones of earnest and elomitted only after the most careful quent conversation. And it will study in private, of the meaning of require continual watchfulness on the composition to be delivered, their part, to forewarn the student and the most careful practice in giv- of dangers which threaten him from ing to each word distinctness, with various causes. proper stress and inflection, and to We say these things not because the whole piece the modulation its we are disposed to criminate those spirit demands. One of the can- gentlemen who are already labourons of interpretation is ;-The in- ing in this department in some of terpreter should endeavour to our colleges. We can appreciate throw himself into the circumstan- the arduousness of their office, and ces of the writer. The same should sympathize in the tedium of their be the unviolated canon of every miscellaneous and critical labours. student who speaks the writings of We are happy to notice the testimoanother. He should acquaint him- ny which Dr. Porter bears to the self, and his instructor should see results of their exertions. “The that he does so, with the circum- fifteen years in which I have been stances under which the speech connected.with a Theological Semwas originally delivered, the char. inary, which receives its members acter of the assembly, and the de- from all the colleges, have enabled sign of the orator. Let a pupil me to observe, as I have done with speak one brief extract from De much satisfaction, a gradual and mosthenes after such preparation, growing advance, in our educated and it will be of more benefit to young men, as to the spirit of dehim, than a hundred of the ditties livery. This advance has been which students in academies and especially obvious since several of colleges too often speak. Then, these colleges have had able Proto use the often quoted language of fessors of Rhetoric and Oratory, a Sheridan, “ within, the memory, department of instruction in which the judgment, the passions, [of the it is presumed none of them can pupil,) are all busy : without, eve- much longer remain deficient, conry muscle, every nerve is exerted; sistently with the claims of public not a feature, not a limb but speaks. opinion.” Until something effectThe organs of the body, attuned to ual is done, which shall break down the exertions of the mind, through and root up bad habits of speaking; the kindred organs of the hearers, the pulpit, and the bar, and the instantaneously vibrate those ener- senate-house will not often resound gies from soul to soul. Notwith- with the stirring note of eloquence. standing the diversity of minds in Timely admonitions would guard the audience ; by the lightning of the youthful speaker against the eloquence they are melted into one evil tendencies from which he will mass—the whole assembly, actua. otherwise suffer. Were young ted in one and the same way, be- preachers told that they would be come, as it were, but one man, and tempted, through diffidence and have but one voice- Let us march other causes, to hurry in their deagainst Philip, let us fight for our livery, to speak on a key too high liberties-let us conquer or die! It and uniform ; and thus to lack that is obvious that this course will re- unction which causes the hearer's quire much attention from instruc- soul to melt, till it can pour itself tors in this department ; a labori- out like water before God, he would ous study of the pupil's manner; be saved much pain and trouble. and constant exertions to induce Ministers who have preached with
hurry and vociferation till they have ing thus finished the circuit of his injured their lungs, have, when travels, he returned to Italy after they perceived their error, sudden- an excursion of two years, extremely exchanged their whole style of ly improved, and changed as it were preaching for one that is calm, man- into a new man ; the vehemence of ly, simple, and subduing. Their his voice and action was moderagaudy and youthful style of compo- ted ; the redundancy of his style sition, has at the same time given and fancy corrected ; his lungs place to that simple way of telling strengthened ; and his whole conwhat the gospel is, and how it stitution confirmed.'- Middleton's should induce us to act, which Life of Cicero, vol. I. pp. 43, 47, alone touches the heart and chan- 48. ges it to kindness and love.
We will close this article with Cicero himself fell into the same some brief account of the mode of habit, and to correct it, journeyed instruction in elocution, practised to Athens, and Rhodes, that he among the Greeks and Romans ; might avail himself of the aid of the as serving to confirm what we have best masters and orators. “My advanced. We are not so blind in body," says he, “was very weak our veneration for the ancients,as to and emaciated, my neck long and believe that their orators excel ours small, which is a habit I thought lia- in every point of comparison. Ours, ble to great risk of life if engaged we believe, have more good logic in any fatigue or labour of the lungs; and argument than theirs, and we and it gave greater alarm to those have a greater number of eloquent who had a regard for me, that I men than they could boast. But used to speak without any remis- their eloquence evidently produced sion or variation, with the utmost a much greater effect on the popustretch of my voice, and great agi- lace than ours. This may be ow. tation of my body ; when my ing, in part, to the greater excitafriends, therefore, and physicians bility of these nations, especially of advised me to meddle no more with the people of Greece, and in part causes, I resolved to run any ha- to the popular form of their instizard, rather than quit the hopes of tutions. But it cannot be accountglory which I had proposed to my- ed for wholly, without supposing a self from pleading : but when I con- superior style of elocution in their sidered, that by managing my voice orators. The principal causes of and changing my way of speaking, this superiority were two. The I might both avoid danger and speak Greeks and Romans were a hearwith more ease, I took a resolution ing and not a reading people. Their of travelling into Asia, merely for books were few, and they gained an opportunity of correcting my their information chiefly by the ormanner of speaking. I went to gans of hearing. The instructions Rhodes and applied myself to Molo, of their philosophers were not in whom I had heard before at Rome, the shape of lectures, but were who was both an experienced plead. communicated in familiar converse; er and a fine writer, and was par. their poets and historians recited ticularly expert in observing the their compositions with all the faults of his scholars, as well as in grace they could assume, and the his mode of teaching and improv- whole process of instruction, or of ing them. His greatest trouble mental amusement was managed in with me was to restrain the exuber- the easy and delightful tones of conance of a juvenile fancy, always versation. Hence fewer bad haready to overflow its banks, within bits of elocution were formed among its due and proper channel.” “Hav- them, than with us ; and more of
what are called natural speakers the art of speaking. His recitaexisted among their learned men. tions were frequent and laborious.
This was especially the case at As soon as the youth attained a Athens, where a defective articula- suitable age, he was put under the tion, a false pronunciation or quan- care of the rhetoricians, with whom tity, was visited with the hissing of he remained till prepared for public the populace.
life. Cicero was trained up in this Another cause of their superior discipline, and was favoured by a elocution is, the great pains which father, anxious mainly for the eduwere taken in forming youth to just cation of his sons, with the best habits of speaking.
masters of elocution in Rome ; who Quintillian and Chrysippus would were generally emigrants from have the nurse who taught the child, Greece. He pursued all his studestined for public life, to articu- dies in the department of eloquence late, free from every fault of with an assiduity truly astonishing. speech.* Women were sought as “ He heard the daily lectures of nurses for the infant orator, who the most eminent orators of Greece, were gifted with fine and liquid and was perpetually composing voices, and spake with propriety somewhat at home, and declaiming and elegance. (Quintil. Lib. I. cap. under their correction.” (MiddleI.) It was deemed a fortunate cir- ton's Life of Cic. vol. I. p. 37.) cumstance if the parents of the boy, After having practised for a time in especially if the mother, spake with his profession of the law, he went, ease and refinement. (Quintil. Lib. as we have seen, to Greece and I. c. I. Cic. Brut.) Lelia is men. Asia, to correct some bad habits tioned with enthusiasm by Cicero into which he had run in the vehefor her mild and unaffected elocu- mence of his early attempts. Eren tion, (Cic. de Orat. L. III. c. XII.) amid the laborious duties of his Siand the Gracchi, celebrated for cilian quaestorship, he did not suftheir sweet voices and interesting fer a day to pass without some exdelivery, were nurtured, he says, not ercise in rhetoric. Crassus, Horso much in their inother's lap, as in tensius, Isocrates, and Demosthenes the elegance and purity of her lan- laboured with great care and perguage. The whole of this family, severance in the same department as well as that of Curio, were dis- of study. The Cæsars, Pompey. tinguished for their powers of elo- Severus, and some other illustrious cution, and this fact is attributed generals, continued their rhetorical by Cicero, to the inimitable exam- exercises amid the severe duties of ples each had when children, in the camp. their parents. (Cic. ad Brut.) Quin We need not wonder then, that tillian also directs that regard the ancients, while they fall below should be had to propriety and ele- us in science and various literature, gance of speech in selecting play- should have been so far our superiors mates for the young orator. Great in moving, delighting, and persuadpains were taken to modulate the ing men, since they so assiduously voice as soon as the pupil was able and enthusiastically cultivated the to read. He was then taught the art of delivery, which we so unjustrudiments of delivery, and for the ly and tamely neglect. purpose of practice was committed That we are right in attributing to those who were most skilled in much of the superiority of the an* Of course they would not approve
cient orators to their elocution, we that absurd and ungrammatical mode of will adduce a case affording strong talking to their babes, which many excelpresumptive evidence. No one, at lont mothers practise.
all acquainted with the writings of Voj, I.-No. VII.
Demosthenes, can believe that he Juvenile Psalmody: prepared for ever was wanting in intellectual the Use of Sunday Schools, at strength, or ever exhibited a pro- the request of the Directors of duction without inerit. But before the Western Sunday School Un. he cultivated his delivery, he was ion. By Thomas Hastings, Auhissed from the rostrum ; while, thor of a Dissertation on Musical after he had acquired a proper and Taste, one of the Editors of Mumanly elocution, he was crowned sica Sacra, &c. Utica. with unexampled success. His cave and his lamp will ever be men Cuvrch Music was formerly tioned as a stimulus and encour- taught in Scotland, at the parish agement to those who are suffering school, along with other branches from unnatural habits ; and his per- of a common education. Parents severance to obtain honour from thought it proper that their children man will always be a reproach to should know how to praise God in those who, with the ministry of Je- psalms as well as to read his holy sus before them, and the salvation word. Hence the precentor, or of souls as the object of their lives, church-clerk was commonly the shall be too indolent to cultivate an school-master of the parish. At art which, at least, will be an use- length, however, a noted teacher ful auxiliary in their 'important of psalmody devised a “ Plan for work.
teaching a crowd,” which introduThough we mean to be cautious ced singing-schools. The practice how we join in the hue and cry for of making psalmody a branch of reform in our colleges, we con- common school instruction is now fess that we should rejoice to see a in use among the Shakers in our radical improvement in the mode of country. We remember having teaching delivery through all our heard several entire classes, after seminaries of learning. Especial- an exercise in spelling, unitedly ly should we rejoice to see those sing a hymn with seriousness and who are training up to be sons of propriety. No one was excluded the church, free from the influence from the exercise for harshness of of bad habits of elocution. We voice, but all joined (except such know eloquence will not save the as were quite young,) and discipline soul. We know good elocution is had made them all very tolerable not, of course, eloquence. We singers. know there is an unction in a preach. We have no desire that sacred er whose heart is touched by the music should be introduced into Iloly Spirit, which does more than our school-houses ; but we think any thing else to affect an assem- there is a peculiar propriety in its bly, but we see not why a good being made the subject of attention speaker may not have this unction in our sabbath schools. Infant as well as any other man, and why, voices should be early. taught to having it, he will not speak with hymn their Maker's praise, and at greater power than one whose de. the sabbath school, this sacred art livery is disagreeable. We shall be may be early and gradually acquir. very sorry if we have said aught ed, while at the same time, that sowhich shall lead young preachers lemnity of mind will be cherished, to depend on oratory to the neglect which should ever characterize this of deep and pious feeling ; but we part of divine worship. At the shall feel happy if they will turn “singing school” our young peofrom our page encouraged to pur- ple learn indeed to sing, but with sue eloquence in strict subservien- all the noise and unbeseeming cy to the glory of God and the sal- mirth which are usually attendant vation of souls.
on such meetings, a just sense of