« PreviousContinue »
GENERAL Directions, &c.
5 7 I 2 13 14 18
25 27 29 39 31 32 33 35
45 45 47 47 52 55
ROLLIN The History of Joseph, abridged
PERCIVAL A fhort Syitem of Virtue and Happiness
KNOX The Child trained up for the Gallows LIVINGSTON Character of Fidelia
ADDISON History of Jerusalem
THE first object of a reader or speaker, is, to be clearly understood by his hearers. In order for this, it is neceffary that be thould pronounce his words distinct-. ly, and deliberately; that be should carefully avoid the two extremes of uttering either too fast, or too flow, and that his tone of voice should be perfectly natural.
A reader or speaker should endeavor to acquire a perfect command of his voice ; fo as neither to stun his. hearers by pitching it upon too high a key ; nor tire their patience by obliging them to listen to founds which are fcarcely audible:
It is not the loudest speaker, who is always the best underltood ; but he who pronounces upon that key which fills the space occupied by the audience. That pitch of voice, which is used in ordinary conversation, is usually the best for a public speaker.
3. Early attention ought to be paid to the pauses ; but the rules for thefe are so indefinite and arbitrary, and so difficult to be comprehended, that long experience is neceffary in order to acquire a perfect knowledge of their use. With regard to the length of the several pauses, no precise rules can be given. This, together with the variety of tones which accompany them, depends much upon the nature of the subject.
4. Perhaps nothing is of more importance to a reader or fpeaker, than a proper attention to accent, emphasis, and c.idence. Every word in our language, of more than one fyllable, has, at leaft, one accented syllable. This fyllable ought to be rightly known, and the word should be pronounced by the reader or speaker in the fame mamer as he would pronounce it in ordinary conversation.
5. By emphasis, we distinguish those words in sentence which we efteen the most important, by laying a greater stress of voice upon them than we do upon the others.. And it is surprising to observe how the sense of a phrase may be altered by varying the emphafis. The following example will serve as an illustration.
6." This short question, Will you ride to town today ?” may be understood in four different ways, and, consequently, may receive four different apswers, according to the placing of che emphafis.
7. If it be pronounced thus ; Will you ride to town today? the answer may properly be, no ; I shall send my son.. If thus ; Will you ride to town to-day ? Answer, no ; I intend to walk. Will you ride to town to-day ? No; I shall ride into the country. Will you ride to town to-day : No ; but I shall to-morrow.
8. This shows how necessary it is that a reader or speaker should know where to place his emphasis. And the only rule for this is, that he Itudy to attain a just conception of the force and spirit of the sentiments which he delivers. There is as great a difference between one who lays his emphasis properly, and one who pays no regard to it, or places it wrong, as there is between one who plays on an instrument with a masterly hand, and the most bungling performer.
9. Cadence is the reverse of emphasis. It is a depresfion or lowering of the voice ; and commonly falls upon the last fyllable in a sentence. It is varied, however, according to the sense. When a question is asked, it seldom falls pon the last word ; and
many fentences require no cadence.
In addition to what has been said, it is of great importance to attend particularly to tones and gestures. To almost every
sentiment we utter, more especially, to every Strong emotion, nature has adapted some peculiar tone of voice. And we may observe, that every man, when he is much ir earnest in common discourse, when he is speaking on som subject which interests him nearly, has an eloquent or persuasive tone and manner.
If one were to tell another that he was very angry, or very much grieved, in a tone which did not fuit fuch emo.
tions, instead of being believed, he would be laughed at. The best direction which can be given, is, to copy the proper tones for expreting every sentiment from those which nature dictates to us in conversation with others.
12. With respect to gesture, the few 'following hints may be of fome service. When speaking in public, one should endeavor to preserve as much dignity as possible in the whole attitude of the body. An erect posture is generally to be chosen ; standing firm fo as to have the fullelt command of all his motions. Any inclination, which is used, should be forwards towards the hearers, which is a natural expression of earnestoe's.
13. As for the countenance, the chief rule is, that it should correspond with the nature of the discourse ; and when no particular emotion is expressed, a ferious and manly look is always the best. The
Thould never be fixed close on any one object, but move easily round upon the whole audience.
14 In the motions made with the hands confifts the chief
part of gesture in speaking. The right hand should be used more frequently than the left. Warm emotions demand the motion of both hands corresponding together. All the gestures should be free and easy. Perpendicular movements with the hands, that is, in a straight line
and down, are seldom good. Oblique motions are, in general, he most graceful.
15. Motions made with tre hands Mould proceed rather from the fhoulders than from the elbows ; for they appear much more easy. Too sudden and nimble motions thould be avoided. Earnestness can be fully expressed without them. Above all things, a speaker should guard against affectation, which is always disgustiul.
TIME is more valuable to young people than to any others. They should not lose an hour in forming their taste, their manners, and their minds ; for whatever they are to a certain degree, at eighteen, they will be more o: Jeis so all the rest of their live