« VorigeDoorgaan »
any kind, physical or spiritual, furnish themes which adroit
In the particular thoughts and sentiments of the discourse, also, as well as in the style generally, grace appears so far as the mind of the speaker is exhibited moving freely in its conceptions and its representations. In the ready apprehension of the subject, the discovery and use of arguments and illustrations, the easy and natural expression of sentiments in kind and degree appropriate to the occasion—whenever in these there is exercised freedom, skill, dexterity, grace may appear. For grace is but the expression of power working freely.
The parables of our Savior reveal this element to a high degree in the richness and freeness of the illustrative imagery.
The sermons of Jeremy Taylor furnish, also, a happy illustration of this species of grace. Macaulay exhibits this element in his style generally. The expression flows with an ease and a finish that exhibits great power and freeness in representation.
24. RHETORICAL PROPRIETY appears in the speaker's selection of his subject, as well as also in the development of it and in the style of expression, so far as they are conformed to what is required by the occasion, the laws of thought and the principles of discourse.
The writings of Leighton, of Addison, and of Irving, pessoss this element of beauty in a high degree.
OF DISCOURSE AND ITS KINDS. § 25. Discourse, as the communication of thought, implies at once and necessarily, in its primary and complete signification, a speaker and a hearer ;-a speaker, who in speaking seeks to produce a certain effect in the mind of the hearer.
This effect is primarily in the intelligence or understanding of the hearer; and secondarily and consequentially in the feelings and the will.
§ 26. Oratory, therefore, or address, is the proper form of discourse in its strictest and fullest import. It constitutes, accordingly, the immediate object of rhetoric.
The very nature of discourse, thus, marks out the field of rhetoric as the art of discourse; and determines in what light the art should regard other so called forms of discourse, as history, essay, and the like. These are, strictly speaking, abnormal forms of discourse; and want some element which is to be found in proper oratory. Rhetoric, in the unfolding of its principles, should confine its view to oratory, therefore, not only because oratory is the only pure form of discourse, but, also, because in unfolding the principles of oratory, it at the same time unfolds the main principles of the other derived forms of discourse. It is only from considerations of expediency and not of philosophical accuracy that general rhetoric embraces any of these abpormal species. At least, it has fulfilled its office when it has indicated the distinction between pure discourse or oratory, and the several irregular forms, and thereby made known the principles which come in to modify the laws of proper rhetoric in its application to them.
$ 27. The primary and essential characteristic of oratory as distinguished from other forms of discourse lies in its implying the direct opposition of speaker and hearer and the aim on the part of the former to produce a certain effect on the mind of the latter.
Whenever, accordingly, this opposition is lost sight of by the speaker, his discourse ceases to be oratory. It falls at once into the essay or some other impure form of discourse Hence the first principle to be observed in all oratory or address—that it ever respect the mind of the hearer; and regard it as present to be influenced by the discourse. This IS THE HIGHEST LAW OF ORATORY.
Although it may be difficult, for the most part, to single out the particular forms of expression in which proper oratory may be distinguished from mere essay, still the true oratorical spirit will reveal itself throughout the discourse and give to the whole a peculiar coloring.
There are, however, some particular expressions that can be named by which oratory is at once distinguished from
Oratory, thus, always conceives of itself in the forms of time and not of space; and hence avoids the use of the adverbs of place to designate what has preceded or is to follow, and uses those of time. The orator never says, thus, “what I have said above,” but “ what I have said before;" the essayist does the reverse. The orator says, “I will spcak of this hereafter," not "further on," &c.
Again, the orator does not conceive of himself as the mere mouth-piece of the assembly, and does not, therefore, identify himself with the audience in the use of the plural pronouns, “we," “our,” &c. It is otherwise in public
prayer; it is otherwise, also, with the essayist. The essayist merely expresses or utters forth without the distinct idea of a listener, thoughts or sentiments which he regards as common to himself and the reader. The distinct personality being dropped, the use of the plural becomes easy and natural. Hence, probably, the “we” of editors and critics. They express not personal but common convictions and sentiments.
§ 28. Of the derived species of Discourse, two kinds are distinguishable; one which drops from oratory only the idea of a present hearer, as Epistolary Composition; the other, which drops also the idea of a direct effect on another mind, as Representative Discourse generally.
$ 29. EPISTOLARY COMPOSITION, as it differs from proper Oratory only in the circumstance that it addresses an absent mind, conforms more closely than other derived species to the principles of Rhetoric. Its chief peculiarity lies in its not contemplating vocal delivery
It will be remarked that while epistolary composition more frequently respects a single mind, proper oratory respects more commonly a multitude. At least, oratory rises to its highest perfection when addressed to a large assembly; for then the moral elevation, which is the proper soul of oratory, is highest. But epistolary composition, when addressed to multitudes, rises to high degrees of eloquence; as is seen in the epistles of the Apostle Paul.
When the epistolary form is adopted for the form's sake, it then falls into the rank of mere Representative Discourse.
§ 30. REPRESENTATIVE DISCOURSE, so far as it
diverges from proper oratory in dropping the opposi tion of speaker and hearer, has for its highest law, the representation of its theme for its own sake.
All Representative Discourse, as such, accordingly, bas for its controlling principle, the following, viz:
That the thought be represented in its utmost clearness, accuracy and completeness.
§ 31. We have, thus, the characteristics of the several divisions of Discourse, including Poetry.
Poetry represents for the sake of the form;
Representative Discourse represents for the sake of the theme itself;
Oratory represents for the sake of the effect on another mind.
In Poetry, accordingly, the form rules; in Representative Discourse, the matter; in Oratory, the exterior aim.
The intimacy and relationship between these several forms of representation in language are in this view clearly indicated. The intrinsic dependence of the form on the matter, the common attributes of the mind that addresses and of the mind that is addressed, and their common relationship to truth as the matter of discourse, show at once how large a field is common to all these arts. Particularly, is it seen how slight are the modifications which an art of representative discourse requires in the principles of proper oratory. Indeed, these modifications are, in the main, such as cannot well be set forth in distinct forms of language. See § 27.
§ 32. Representative Discourse is either Pure or MIXED.