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feribed; that all artificial rules are ufelefs; and that good fense, and a cultivated taste, are the only requifites to form a good public fpeaker. But it is true in the art of fpeaking, as well as in the art of living, that general precepts are of little ufe till they are unfolded, and applied to particular cafes. To difcover and correct thofe tones and habits of fpeaking, which are grofs deviations from Nature, and, as far as they prevail, muft deftroy all propriety and grace of utterance; and to acquire a habit of reading, or Speaking, upon every occafion, in a manner fuited to the nature of the subject, and the kind of difcourfe or writing to be delivered, whether it be narrative, didactic, argumentative, oratorical, colloquial, defcriptive, or pathetic; must be the refult of much attention and labour. And there can be no reafon to doubt, that, in paffing through that courfe of exercife which is neceffary in order to attain this end, much affiftance may be derived from instruction, What are rules or leffons for acquiring this or any other art, but the obfervations of others, collected into a narrow compafs, and digefted in a natural order, for the direction of the inexperienced and unpractifed learner? And what is there in the art of speaking, which fhould render it in capable of receiving aid from precepts?
PRESUMING, then, that the acquifition of the art of fpeaking, like all other practical arts, may be facilitated by rules, I fhall lay before my readers, in a plain didactie form, fuch Rules refpecting Elocution, as appear beft adapted to form a correct and graceful speaker.
Let your Articulation be diftinct and deliberate.
GOOD Articulation confifts in giving a clear and full utterance to the feveral fimple and complex founds. The nature of the founds, therefore, ought to be well underfood: and much pains fhould be taken to discover and
correct thofe faults in articulation, which, though often afcribed to fome defect in the organs of fpeech, are gene◄ rally the confequence of inattention or bad example.
SOME perfons find it difficult to articulate the letter /; others, the fimple founds expreffed by r, s, th, f. But the inftance of defective articulation which is moft common, and therefore requires particular notice, is the omiffion of the afpirate h. Through feveral counties in England this defect almoft, univerfally prevails, and fometimes occafions ludicrous, and even ferious mistakes. This is an omiflion which materially affects the energy of pronunciation; the expreffion of emotions and paffions often depending, in a great measure, upon the vehemence with which the afpirate is uttered. The his fometimes, perverfely enough, omitted where it ought to be founded, and founded where it ought to be omitted; the effect of which will be eafily perceived in the following examples: He had learned the whole art of angling by heart: beat the Joup.-Thefe and other fimilar faults may be corrected, by daily reading fentences fo contrived, as frequently to repeat the founds which are incorrectly uttered; and especially, by remarking them whenever they occur in conversation.
OTHER defects in articulation regard the complex founds, and confift in a confufed and cluttering pronun eiation of words. The most effectual methods of conquering this habit are, to read aloud paffages chofen for the purpofe; fuch, for inftance, as abound with long and unufual words, or in which many fhort fyllables come together; and to read, at certain ftated times, much flower than the fenfe and juft fpeaking would require. Almost all perfons, who have not studied the art of fpeaking, have a habit of uttering their words fo rapidly, that this latter exercife ought generally to be made afe of for a confiderable time at firft: for where there is a uniformly
formly rapid utterance, it is abfolutely impoffible that there fhould be strong emphafis, natural tones, or any juft elocution.
AIM at nothing higher, till you can read diftinctly and deliberately.
LEARN to fpeak flow, all other graces
Will follow in their proper places.
Let your Pronunciation be bold and forcible. AN infipid flatnefs and languor is almoft a univerfal fault in reading. Even public fpeakers often fuffer their words to drop from their lips with fuch a faint and feeble utterance, that they appear neither to understand nor feel what they fay themfelves, nor to have any defire that it fhould be underflood or felt by their audience. This is a fundamental fault: a fpeaker without energy is a lifelefs ftatue.
In order to acquire a forcible manner of pronouncing your words, inure yourfelf, while reading, to draw in as much air as your lungs can contain with eafe, and to expel it with vehemence, in uttering those founds which require an emphatical pronunciation; read aloud in the open air, and with all the exertion you can command; preferve your body in an erect attitude while your are speaking; let all the confonant founds be expreffed with a full impulfe or percuffion of the breath, and a forcible action of the organs employed in forming them; and let all the vowel founds have a full and bold utterance. Continue these exercises with perfeverance, till you have acquired ftrength and energy of speech.
BUT in obferving this rule, beware of running into the extreme of vociferation. This fault is chiefly found among thofe who, in contempt and defpite of all rule and pro
priety, are determined to command the attention of the vulgar. Thefe are the fpeakers who, in Shakspeare's phrase, "offend the judicious hearer to the foul, by tearing a paffion to rags, to very tatters, to split the ears of the groundlings." Cicero compares fuch fpeakers to cripples. who get on horfeback because they cannot walk: they bellow, because they cannot fpeak.
Acquire a compass and variety in the height of your voice. THE monotony fo much complained of in public speakers is chiefly owing to the neglect of this rule. They commonly content themselves with one certain key, which they employ on all occafions, and upon every subject: or if they attempt variety, it is only in proportion to the number of their hearers, and the extent of the place in which they fpeak; imagining, that fpeaking in a high key is the fame thing as speaking loud; and not observing, that whether a speaker shall be heard or not, depends more upon the diftin&tnefs and force with which he utters his words, than upon the height of the key in which he speaks
WITHIN a certain compass of notes, above or below which articulation would be difficult, propriety of fpeaking requires variety in the height, as well as in the strength and tone of the voice. Different kinds of speaking require different heights of voice. Nature inftructs us to relate a ftory, to fupport an argument, to command a fervant, to utter exclamations of anger or rage, and to pour forth lamentations and forrows, not only with different tones, but with different elevations of voice. Men, at different ages of life, and in different fituations, fpeak in very different keys. The vagrant, when he begs; the foldier, when he gives the word of command; the watchman, when he announces the hour of the night; the fovereign,
when he iffues his edict; the fenator, when he harangues; the lover when he whispers his tender tale, do not differ more in the tones which they ufe, than in the key in which they fpeak. Reading and fpeaking, therefore, in which all the variations of expreffion in real life are copied, must have continual variations in the height of the voice.
To acquire the power of changing the key in which you speak at pleasure, accuftom yourself to pitch your voice in different keys, from the lowest to the highest notes on which you can articulate diftinctly. Many of thefe would neither be proper nor agreeable in speaking; but the exercife will give you fuch a command of voice, as is fcarcely to be acquired by any other method. Having repeated this experiment till you can speak with ease at feveral heights of the voice; read, as exercifes on this rule, fuch compofitions as have a variety of speakers, or fuch as relate dialogues; obferving the height of voice. which is proper to each, and endeavouring to change them as Nature directs.
In the fame compofition there may be frequent occafion to alter the height of the voice, in paffing from one part to another, without any change of perfon. This is the cafe, for example, in Shakspeare's "All the World's a Stage, &c., and in his defcription of the Queen of the Fairies *.
Pronounce your words with propriety and elegance. Ir is not eafy to fix upon any ftandard by which the propriety of pronunciation may be determined. A rigorous adherence to etymology, or to analogy, would often produce a pedantic pronunciation of words, which in a polite circle would appear perfectly ridiculous. The
* See Book vii. Chap. 18 and 23, of this Work.