Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

of the soul are touched and aroused by its potency, and the religious emotions awakened at its magic call.

“Now for the fight! Now for the cannon-peal!

Forward-through blood, and toil, and cloud, and fire!
Glorious the shout, the shock, the crash of steel,

The volley's roll, the rocket's blasting spire!

They shakel like broken waves their squares retire!
On them, hussars! Now give them rein and heel !

Think of the orphan'd child, the murdered sire:
Earth cries for blood! In thunder on them wheel!
This hour to Europe's fate shall set the triumph-seal!”

[ocr errors]

EXERCISES IN OROTUND VOICE. In the following exercises the voice ranges from G, on the fifth of the scale, to B, C, D, and E: (B) “Majestic monarch—of the cloud !

Who rear'st aloft—thy regal form
To hear—the tempest—trumpings loud,
And see the lightning lances driven,
When strive

the warriors of the storm
And rollsthe thunder-drum of heaven !-
Child of the sun !-to thee 't is given

To guard the banner of the free,-
To hover_in the sulphur smoke,

To ward away—the battle-stroke,
(E) And bid its blendings—shine afar, -

Like rainbows on the cloud of war,

The harbingers-of victory.—DRAKE.

[ocr errors]

(C)

(E)

“No, let us rather choose, -
Arm'd with hell-flames and fury-all at once-
O'er heaven's high tow’rs to force resistless way,
Turning our tortures into horrid arms
Against the torturer, (B) when,—to meet the noise
Of his almighty engine,—he shall hear
Infernal thunder, and—for lightning see
Black fire and horror shot with equal rage
Among his angels; and his (E) throne itself
Mixt with Tartarean sulphur and strange fire,
His own invented torments.”—MILTON.

“The horrors and cruelties of civil and intestine war, the bloodshed and the barbarism of the battle-field, the furies and the crimes attendant upon massacre, conflagration, and pillage, can never be made to prepare the way for the blessings of liberty,-peace,—and equal rights to enter-and take up their abode in any land. They serve only to bind upon it still more firmly the burden and the woes of slavery and sin. 'All they that take the sword' (that is, select and adopt it as the means of improving their social or political condition) “shall perish with the sword. But truth-is mighty, reason—is mighty, conscience—is mighty, yet the spirit of human and of Christian benevolence is mightier than them all,—and the most despised minority, the most trampled victims of oppression and slavery, if they make these the weapons of their warfare, and wield them in faith, patience, and perseverance, will be sure to conquer,—for God—will be their ally. And the strongest and fiercest-giant, who comes to the field with a spear, and with a sword, and with a shield will be sure to fall before the merest stripling who meets them in the name of-the LORD."-C. W. UPHAM.

The falsetto, as its name implies, is false voice. We may more properly say a strained voice. In oratory it is talking on a higher pitch than the orotund, and partakes of the tones used in the effort of calling or talking to persons at a distance. To produce it properly the imagination should be directed to distance. The lips and corners of the mouth are drawn further back than in producing the orotund, and the sound is more shrill. The round O will best represent the orotund tone and the compressed the falsetto.

This quality of voice is not much used in speaking, yet we have many passages in recitations where it occurs, adding usually great rhetorical force and beauty of expression, by its bursting suddenly upon the hearer, in tones from eight to ten notes higher than the general tenor of the piece. It occurs in passages where intense excitement or alarm is to be exhibited, as in the cry of fire, help, or of resistance, of victory, and in calling and hailing persons at a distance; as, (8) Fire! (9FIRE! (10) FIRE!

"Ah!' she said, 'the eyes of Panguk

Glare upon me in the darkness;
I can feel his icy fingers
Clasping mine amid the darkness.'

(8) Hiawatha! (10) HIAWATHA !"

“The midday watch was set beneath the blaze of light,
When there camea cry from the tall mast-head,

(11) A sail! (12)a sail in sight!'”

This voice, when used to represent sounds in the distance, must be fainter and much softer than that pitch of voice used in representing something near:

"When o'er the silent seas alone
For days and nights we've cheerless gone,
Oh! they who've felt it know how sweet
Some sunny morn a sail to meet.

Sparkling at once is every eye;
(9) Ship AHOY! (10)ship Ahoy!' our joyful cry;

While answering back the sounds we hear,
(11) 'Ship ahoy! (12)ship ahoy! what cheer? what cheer?'

[ocr errors]

The conversational voice, though it should be pure in tone, is restricted in compass or prolongation, and the vibrations are not so forcible as in the orotund. Very many people, in common conversation, run into an insipid falsetto, mixed with nasal tones, which are exceedingly grating to the ear of the listener.

We may perhaps be allowed to add here that this nasal-sound is a predominant fault in some parts of our country. But it should never be dignified, as it sometimes is, by naming it a head-voice. There is no such thing as a head-voice in nature. It is a habit, and an exceedingly bad one, of perverting pure sound; forcing it through the nose when it ought to have free passage through the open mouth. There is but one pure nasal-sound in the English alphabet, which occurs on ng or nk, and in this there is no mixture of mouth-sound. M and n are formed in the back of the mouth, and the sound thrown through the nose.

They are mixed mouth and nasal-sounds. If there is any stoppage of this passage, by a drying of the secretions, by catarrh, or by snuff-taking, these sounds can not be produced, while the swallowed sounds of bo, d, gr usually take their place. If persons thus affected attempt to say "good morning" the result is good bordig. This is not more objectionable, however, than the constant habit of driving the sound through the nose or splitting it between the nasal and mouth passages. This habit prevails so widely in some parts of the United States—the sounds are so common—that they are unnoticed, and persons imitate each other by association without knowing it. To remedy this it is necessary to husband the expenditure of the breath, holding the sound firmly, and forcing it out through the open mouth. This, like other bad habits, requires frequent friendly hints from associates if we would have it effectually eradicated.

Others again talk on one key without modulation or breath. Incessant talkers generally choose this manner, and are called tiresome and disagreeable. The painful sympathy of the listener, occasioned by their want of breath wherewith to make pure sounds, is almost intolerable. To be decently smothered would be merciful in comparison.

The following example shows the ascent from the conversational to the falsetto, and the descent to the conversational voice:

"The war-that for a space did fail
Now trebly thundering swell’d the gale,

And-Stanley-was the cry.
A light on Marmion's visage spread,

And fired his glazing eye;
With dying hand above his head
He shook the fragment of his blade,
And shouted, “Victory! Charge, Chester, charge!
On, Stanley, ON!'
Were the last words of Marmion."

The grave tones of voice are the antipodes of the orotund and falsetto, and are used in solemn and impressive styles, which are more difficult to acquire. The transition of the voice from the extreme upper tones of the falsetto to a full low register in many instances is productive of marvelous rhetorical effects, and repays the student for the labor of acquiring such power.

“ The world was void;
The populous and the powerful was a lump,
Seasonless,-herbless,-treeless,-manless,-lifeless;
A lump—of death;—a chaos—of hard clay.
The rivers,-lakes,—and ocean-all stood still;
And nothing stirr'd-within their silent depths.
Ships, sailorless,-lay rotting on the sea,
And their masts fell down piecemeal; as they dropp'd,
They slept on the abyss without a surge.
The waves were dead; the tides were in their grave;-
The moon, their mistress, had expired before;
The winds were wither'd in the stagnant air;
And the clouds perished.--Darkness had no need
Of aid from them;-she-was the UNIVERSE."

" But Linden saw another sight,
When the drum beat at dead of night,
Commanding fires of death to light

The darkness of her scenery.”

Example of ascent from the grave tones of voice into the orotund, ending in the falsetto:

"The combat deepens;-on, ye brave,
Who rush to glory, or the grave!
Wave, Munich, all thy banners wave!

And charge with all thy chivalry!" Tremor of voice is produced by a retention of the volume of air in the larynx, with the glottis sufficiently contracted to prevent an even escape of sound. The escaping air playing upon the chords of the glottis, and this double vibratory force reaching the sounding-board above, gives a tremulous or wavy sound of the voice, corresponding somewhat to the trembling, buzzing sound produced in making the name-sound of z. But the difference between these is wide; the first being an emotional sound formed in the voice-chamber, the other an articulating sound made by the tongue and teeth. There are many emotions which can not be expressed without this effort. It is used in sorrow, in terror, and in distress of mind. Bestow much practice on the trilled words:

“Cromwell, I did not think-to shed a tear
In all my miseries; but thou hast forced me,
Out of thy honest truth, to playthe woman."

Queen Katharine said, in commending her daughter to Henry, “And a little to love her, for her mother's sake; who loved him-Heaven knows how dearly!”

That which gives beauty to all the qualities of the voice is feeling. We must feel what we say.

“Hark-I hear thy thunder's sound
Shake the forum-round—and round.
Shakothe pillars of the earth 1”

• Tried-and convicted-traitor :- Who says this ?
• Banish'd!' I thank you for it.”

6

“Unnerved, and now unsettled in his mind,
From long and exquisite pain, he sobs and cries,
Kissing the old man's cheek,— Help me,-my father!
Let
me,

I pray thee,- live once more among ye.
Let me go home.' •My son,' returns the Doge,
"Obey.-Thy country wills it.'”

[ocr errors]

Hamlet. Oh! that this too, too solid flesh would melty
Thaw and resolve itself into a dew;
Or that the Everlasting had not fixed
His canon 'gainst self-slaughter. O God! O God I
How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable
Seem to me all the uses of this world!
Fie on't! O fie! 't is an unweeded garden,
That goes to seed; things rank, and gross in nature,
Possess it merely. That it should come to this!
But two months dead !—nay, not so much, not two:
So excellent a king; that was, to this,

« AnteriorContinuar »