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Thou hast no speculation in those eyes
141. The term transition implies those variations of expression, and sudden changes of the voice, which occur in impressive delivery.
142. It is one of the stated laws of delivery, that the vocal tones shall correspond in variety to the sentiments, and accommodate themselves to the varying character of the language, by giving to every shade of thought, and to every kind and degree of emotion, its appropriate utterance.
143. When a passage abounds in varied emotion and fignu ative expression, the tones of the voice must become assimilated to them by frequent, vivid, and sudden transitions, or a continually varying rate of utterance through all the stages of delivery.
144. In accommodating the voice to each successive emotion, it will require, in some cases, a sudden variation of pitch, a greater or less degree of force, a difference in the rate of movement, a corresponding change in quantity, a forcible application of some one of the forms of stress, with an occasional addition of tremor or aspiration; all modified and combined as the drift of the sentiment may demand.
145. When a new thought presents itself, notice should be given to the ear, by the application, increase, abatement, or combination of such of the preceding principles as criticism shall define, good taste approve, and circumstances may require.
146. The following extract will serve to illustrate the subject of transition :
147. “Poor Indians! Where are they now? Indeed, this is a truly afflicting consideration. The people here may say what they please ; but, on the principles of eternal truth and justice, they have no right to this country. They say that they have bought it. Bought it! Yes. Of whom? Of the poor trembling natives, who knew that refusal would be vain; and who strove to make a merit of necessity, by seeming to yield with grace what they knew that they bad not the power to retain."
148. In the above extract, the phrase “ They say that they have bought it," indicates a degree of complacency slightly bordering on boasting; and this will require elevation of pitch, extended quantity, and a delicate application of tremor on the word " bought.” The transition from this word to the next phrase, “Bought it,” must be marked by low pitch, suppressed force, and strong aspiration - elements which must always blend in uttering the feelings of indignant reproach. The phrase “Yes. Of whom?” is to be uttered on the tone of a strong, triumphant appeal; and this requires extended quantity, and an intensive downward inflection. The phrase " Of the poor trembling natives," must be uttered on the semitonic movement, with slow rate, feeble voice, elevated pitch, and upward inflection, because the first four of the last-named elements must blend in expressing the feelings of sympathy, pity, or commiseration; and the last named element —" upward inflection” — is always used when we would express what is weak, feeble, or helpless; as may be clearly seen by a reference to the rules and illustrations numbered from 44 to 46, also from 264 to 270, in the PRINCIPLES or ELOCUTION, explained in the PRACTICAL READER.
149. The above remarks have been made with a view of
explaining more fully what is meant by transition.
It is a subject of considerable moment, and might be much further illustrated by examples; but the teacher will readily find examples on every page in the following selections. His better judgment and good taste will be exercised in deciding where, and to what extent, it may be applicable. His pupils will, of course, be made to understand the reasons of his decisions, and how far they coincide with the standard of good taste In truth, transition may be considered as the complete finish of expression, without which there can be no such thing as impressive reading. It is an element which must be temperately employed, and is much less called for in prose than in dramatic compositions. Indeed, great transitions are to be avoided, as unnatural, except in cases of intense mental excitement.
150. It is the part of an elevated intellect to act and to think for itself, to become the master instead of the slave of opinion. Its prominent characteristic is the power of lighting its own fire, and intensely sympathizing with the passions it creates. It possesses the power of self-excitation and selfcontrol; and the emotions, like well-trained troops, move by rule, and become impetuous at its call. Such an intellect can address the understanding alone, or the passions, or the Eensibility, or the fancy; or, if need be, it can blend them all in one glowing mass, and boldly direct them at the very springs of volition.
151. In the full belief that much can be done towards the formation of such an intellect, and that some system should be in the hands of both teacher and pupil, which will serve as a guide to point out the course to be pursued, to give directions for successful progress, and define the objects which are to be kept steadily in view, the preceding principles, ustrations, remarks, and references, have been arranged.
Moral and Literary Studies.
The deep sympathy with which we must always regard our own race, invests moral and literary studies with a peculiar interest. Nor are they deficient in practical utility.
We are all charged with the duty of self-improvement, and, to the proper performance of that duty, nothing is more essential than an acquaintance with ourselves — such acquaintance as can be gained only by comparing our personal characters with the original constitution of our nature, and by being fully apprized of the deceitfulness and infirmity of our hearts. We shall be called, too, to operate on the minds of others.
As parents, we shall have occasion to guide and influence the minds of our children. As men of business, we shall succeed, or fail of success, very much as we can inspire the community with confidence in our judgment and principles, and give direction to the taste and opinions of those with whom we deal.
So, also, in our professional pursuits, in our course as citizens, as neighbors, and as men. There are few occasions, indeed, on which we can act wisely and efficiently without having some regard to the principles of human nature; and he, whose views in this respect are unsettled or narrow, will find in such views a most fruitful source of error and disappointment.
Whence is it that some men seem to move with an un erring sagacity towards their object, foreseeing and obviating difficulties, enlisting friends, converting even opposition into aid, and impressing on all a conviction of their power and skill? It is no superhuman or original instinct with which such men have been endowed. It is rather acquired wisdom and tact, which they have gained by observing closely the characters and actions of men, and the course of human events.
Another advantage of this class of studies is to be found in their effect on mental culture. In order to give full and harmonious development to all our powers, we need studies which address imagination as well as reason which enlist the feelings while they enlighten the understanding — which call us to balance probabilities, and to analyze complex objects of thought.
We need studies which shall accustom us to control the excursions of fancy, and to give them such direction that they shall aid reason, strengthen virtue, and incite to high aspirations after excellence. We need a training that shall enable us to command our thoughts under the most agitating circumstances, and to subordinate our feelings to the authority of judgment and conscience.
I need hardly add, that, in these respects, no studies can be so useful as those which, by introducing us to our fellowmen at eventful moments, when they are called to act under deep emotion, and in view of great interests, train us to the habit of combining judgment with feeling - of consulting truth and right, while we do not stille sympathy.
Mathematical studies cultivate the power of close and continuous attention; physical science gives scope and employment to the practical as well as the speculative reason; bui it is the science of man, as unfolded by philosophy, history, and poetry, that seems best calculated to make the mind vigilant in observation, jealous of fallacy, vigorous and com prehensive in thought, chastened in taste, and discursive, yet sober, in fancy.
The above extract from one of the great educationists of the day, confirms what we have already stated on pages 13, 14, and 15, where it is urged, that the pupil should, as far as practicalie, be made acquainted with the best productions of the most gifted minds. These "seem best calculated to make the mind vigorous and comprehensive in thought, chastened in taste, ai d discursive, yet sober, in fancy."