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tone prescribed by mere custom and ill-cultivated taste; the force of which adds nothing to meaning, or to genuine emotion, but serves merely to express, in a for-mal way, the misdirected excitement of the speaker. In the other case, an over familiar, or fireside tone of voice, is incurred, which is altogether at variance with (the seriousness and the dignity of public address.
The daily repetition of the various stages of utterance, exemplified in the exercises on force, will serve to maintain vigour and pliancy of voice, and preserve a disciplined strength and facility of utterance. The elementary practice of the examples should not be relinquished, till a perfect command is acquired of every degree of loudness. The succession of the exercises should occasionally be varied, by practising them in inverted order; and care should be taken to preserve, in the expression of each, that perfect distinctness of articulation without which force of utterance becomes useless. Full impressions of the importance of preparatory discipline will be needed, to induce the student to carry on this department of practice with that vigorous and persevering application which it requires. The advantages of the attainment in view, however, are of the utmost consequence to the health and vigour of the corporeal frame, the perfection of the organs of speech, the distinctness of enunciation, the adequate expression of thought, and the appropriate influence of feeling. The customary tones of public speaking are generally assumed through inadvertent imitation, or adopted by misguided taste, and are equally defective and injurious; whether we regard the speaker himself, the sentiments which he utters, or their influence on the minds of others.
Pitch. Few faults in speaking have a worse effect, than the grave and hollow note of voice, into which the studious and the sedentary are peculiarly apt to fall, in public address. A deep and sepulchral solemnity is thus imparted to all subjects, and to all occasions, alike. The free and natural use of the voice is lost; and formality and dulness become inseparably associated with public address on serious subjects; or the tones of bombast and affectation take the place of
those which should flow from earnestness and elevation of mind. The young catch, by involuntary imitation, the intonation of adults; and hence the prevalence of false and hollow utterance, in the declamation at schools and colleges,-a style of voice which often seems on a sudden to convert the youthful speakers into grave and formal personages, somewhat advanced in life.
The false pitch now alluded to, is attended with many injurious consequences: it leads to a faint, inaudible, or indistinct utterance, an exhausting mode of emitting the voice, which impairs the action of the lungs and the vigour of health ; add to which a formal and tedious monotony of speech, preventing the natural tones of the voice, and their appropriate influence.
The true pitch of the voice, for every individual, is that to which he inclines in animated conversation. The prevailing seriousness of feeling which naturally belongs to the expression of the voice, in the utterance of the sentiments commonly introduced in public discourses, may appropriately incline the tone to a lower strain than is usually heard in conversation on ordinary subjects. But the common error is to exaggerate this tendency of voice, and to create a different mode of speech from what is natural and habitual to the speaker; so that the professional man and the individual are not the same being,--if we judge by the tone and expression of the voice.
The opposite fault of a high and feeble note, has a very unfavourable effect on the ear, owing to the associations with which it is accompanied. It divests a speaker's whole manner of manliness and dignity, and renders his utterance much less impressive and distinct than it would otherwise be.
The various kinds and degrees of emotion, require different notes of voice, for their appropriate expression. Deep feeling produces low tones; joyful and elevated feeling inclines to a high strain; and pity, though so widely differing in force, is also expressed by the higher notes of the scale. Moderate emotion inclines to a middle pitch.
The exercises on pitch are intended to produce the effect of contrast, and to guard the ear against the undue prevalence of any note unauthorized by meaning or emotion, or tending to create indistinctness of utterance. The appropriate note of each class of exercises, will be most correctly given in practice, by allowing full scope to the particular emotion which, in each instance, affects the pitch of the voice, and otherwise determines or modifies the prevailing tone.
In this, as well as in other departments of elocution, it is the degree of mental attention and interest in what is read or spoken, that favours felicity and truth of mechanical execution. The exercises on pitch should be attentively practised, till the power of easy transition from one class to another, in inverted, as well as regular, order, is fully acquired, and the appropriate keynote of any emotion can be struck with certainty and precision; while the natural compass of the student's voice is strictly regarded, and a strong and clear articulation carefully preserved.
Time.* The utterance of successive sounds requires, in every form of speech, a certain rate, or proportion of time, occupied in the formation of each element of sound, and in the intervals which elapse between the elements, in their natural and proper succession. A given time is necessary to distinct and intelligible utterance. Deep and solemn emotion requires a slow movement; and a deliberate manner is indispensable to a serious and impressive delivery; while animation and earnestness naturally incline to a degree of quickness in utterance, without which speech is apt to become languid and dull.
The extremes of drawling and rapidity are the common faults in time; the former unavoidably associated with laziness of habit and inefficiency of voice, and the latter, with carelessness and a want of selfcommand, if not of a strong and clear conception of what is uttered.
* The word time is sometimes used in elocution, as equivalent to movement, in music.
The intention of the exercises under the head of time', is, to enable the student to acquire a perfect command of his rate of utterance, with a view to the distinct communication of thought, and the appropriate expression of feeling. To effect this purpose, the various classes of exercise, from the slowest to the quickest in rate, should be frequently and carefully practised, in inverted order, as well as that in which they are arranged in the book.
EXERCISES ON FORCE OF UTTERANCE.
Whispering. All silent they went, for the time was approaching, The moon the blue zenith already was touching; No foot was abroad on the forest or hill, No sound but the lullaby sung by the rill.".
No ripple on the lake;
The deer hath sought the brake;
The springing trout lies still;
Benledi's distant hill."
Or wave their flags abroad;
That shadowed o'er their road :
Still were the pipe and drum;
Their sullen march was dumb."
Moderate and Conversational Force. “The Supreme Author of our being has made every thing that is beautiful in all other objects pleasant, or rather, has made so many objects appear beautiful, that he might render the whole creation more gay and delightful. He has given almost every thing about us the power of raising an agreeable idea in the imagination; so that it is impossible for us to behold his works with coldness or indifference, and to survey so many beauties without a secret satisfaction and complacency. We are everywhere entertained with pleasing shows and apparitions; we discover imaginary glories in the heavens, and in the earth, and see some of this visionary beauty poured out upon the whole creation ; but what a rough unsightly sketch of nature should we be entertained with, did all her colouring disappear, and the several distinctions of light and shade vanish! In short, our souls are at present delightfully lost and bewildered in a pleasing delusion; and we walk about like the enchanted hero in a romance, who sees beautiful castles, woods, and meadows; and at the same time hears the warbling of birds, and the purling of streams: but, upon the finishing of some secret spell, the fantastic scene breaks up; and the disconsolate knight finds himself on a barren heath, or in a solitary desert."
Declamatory Force. 1. “These abominable principles, and this more abominable avowal of them, demand the most decisive indignation. I call upon that right reverend and this most learned bench, to vindicate the religion of their God, to defend and support the justice of their country. I call upon the bishops to interpose the unsullied sanctity of their lawn, upon the judges to interpose the purity of their ermine, to save us from this pollution. I call upon the honour of your lordships, to reverence the dignity of your ancestors, and to maintain your
I call upon the spirit and humanity of my country, to vindicate the national character."