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orators. His delivery, though feeble, was peculiarly neat and graceful, and when urged by the fire of his imagination, became so rapid that no short-hand writer was able to take down his words. The scintillations of his fancy, and the flow of his eloquence, may be compared to that of Burke; and as a writer of the English language he is not surpassed by any one, ancient or modern.
From the earliest state of society to the present time, the power of oratory has been felt and acknowledged. In savage states, recently discovered, the chiefs and rulers have obtained their power by the influence of this noble and enthusiastic art; and we may conclude that, as language refines, with grace of action and the pomp of words, its influence will keep pace with the polish of society.
To sing with taste and expression, many qualifications are required :—first, as music, voice, ear and execution; secondly, as language, enunciation, mind, and action. These, when combined with a just feeling, constitute the highest point of vocal excellence. The mode of acquiring the voice has been
explained in a chapter on that subject, and the delivery of words, under the art of speaking ; but to blend the singing and speaking voice together—to unite them artificially in song—is a great achievement. Those who are endowed by nature with a fine voice frequently have little power of showing it under the restraint which words impose. It is a simple operation to perform a strain of music upon the voice without words as upon an instrument; but to engraft syllables upon musical sounds without injuring the tone, is a perfection which few ever attain. Before this can be done, the composer must have a just conception of that alliance which subsists between words and sounds, so as to render the composition suitable for the voice; without this connexion the piece can never be either effective or pleasing. A composer may have a quick sense of the beauty of melody, without a corresponding taste for the beauty of language. In such cases he is satisfied by the charm of the music, and the words are left to shift for themselves. Here the singer has a task to perform, sometimes to substitute other words, and occasionally so to alter their pronunciation as to make them accord with the musical expression: on the other hand, when no exception can be made to the words, to lengthen some notes and shorten others, as the syllables may require, but never at the risk of deforming the melody. As an illustration, the following air is accommodated to four different sets of words :