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oratory; without which it must fail in its effect upon those sought to be convinced or moved. A composition teeming with defects, false in its reasoning, vicious in its moral, if delivered by an accomplished orator will take precedence in most minds over one noble in sentiments, profound in object, spoken by one incapable of investing it with the charm of delivery. Can it be wondered at, in view of this fact, that to the art of delivery the ancients attached an importance almost equal to that of composition? The failure of Demosthenes before he cultivated this art with sufficient care, and his extraordinary success afterward, induced him to value delivery in preference to every other requisite which goes to form the perfect orator. We would not have our students emulate the ancients so far as to render themselves liable to the charge made by Cæsar against some of his cotemporaries, who, he averred, in their practice went so far as to take to themselves the drudgery of the theater; but we would impress upon the understanding of all, that, without giving to the external part of oratory the important consideration it demands, they will signally fail in their desire for eminence. We would say to the young man, study. You may be called upon to occupy a seat in those legislative halls whose walls yet echo with the speeches of a Clay or a Webster,-those mighty dead, the thunder of whose eloquence, reverberating through all time, shall monument their memory in the hearts of all. You may chance to stand, in the exercise of your vocation, before a jury on whose decision rests the life of a human being, the happiness of anxious friends; then, versed in your profession, if you call to your aid the magic charm of that oratory which convinces and s'bdues by its exercise, moving to mercy the stern law, rescuing from its grasp an innocent victim and restoring him to the bosom of his friends, you will find a sweet reward for all your toil. Perhaps you may, as a preacher of the gospel, become an expounder of its lessons. To you will then belong the task of winning from the pursuit of error your fellow-man; and to do this requires in you the exercise of every persuasive art; you must be competent to lead, whom you would persuade. No matter if your compositions do "smell of the lamp," they will be the better for it; for it is in the opinion of weak intellects alone, that sound logic, correct rhetorical ornament, lucid order, and laborious research, are fit only for the drudgery of dullness. Allow such prejudices to prevail, and though possessed of all the learn ing, all the genius that Heaven has lavished upon man, our public speakers will ever fall short of the orators of antiquity, whom they must be content to admire at an humble distance.
THE ELEMENTARY SOUNDS OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE.
Elocution has been defined "the art of reading and speaking well;" therefore, to acquire this art the reader or speaker must have a perfect knowledge of the elementary sounds of the English language. Without this knowledge he will be unable to articulate correctly, and errors in articulation deprive a language of all its force and beauty. No matter how correct and worthy of attention a speaker's sentiments may be, if the words used in delivering them are hurried over precipitately, drawled, or allowed to slip out carelessly, their effect will be dissipated and entirely lost.
There has been too little attention bestowed upon the study of the elements, and to this cause may be attributed the fact that there are so few really good readers or speakers among those whose profession does not imperatively demand that they acquaint themselves perfectly with the elementary sounds of our language.
To cultivate the voice by exercise upon the elements, will give it a melodious fullness that can not perhaps be acquired by any other process; when thus cultivated, it will take such inflections and intonations as the speaker may desire to give it, without effort on his part.
The number of elements in our language is thirty-eight.
They are divided into vowels, subvowels, and aspirates; or, as classified by Dr. Rush in his "Philosophy of the Human Voice," into tonics, subtonics, and atonics.
There are fifteen vowels, fourteen subvowels, and nine aspirates.
as heard in fame, if, lift.
yoke, ye, yonder.
zone, his, Zenophon.
66 azure, enclosure.
pit, up, apt.
“ sin, cell, yes.
"shade, shine, flushed.
"thin, truth, months.
"when, which, what.
There are many words in which there are difficult combinations of the elements; they, as well as those in which the combinations are easy, should be practiced upon until the pupil is able to articulate each element correctly. The following is a table of the analysis of words, in which there are easy and difficult combinations of elements. Let the pupil spell the words, uttering separately each element, and not the name of the word, as is the practice which generally obtains in our schools.
Table of the Analysis of Words.