Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

general is expressed with some part of the looks and actions of courage:

Jealousy, would be likely to be well expressed by one who had often seen prisoners tortured in the dungeons of the inquisition, or who had seen what the dungeons of the inquisition are the best earthly emblem of; I mean hell. For next to being in the Pope's or in Satan's prison, is the torture of him who is possessed with the spirit of jealousy. Being a mixture of passions directly contrary to one another, the person, whose soul is the seat of such confusion and tumult, must be in as much greater misery than Prometheus, with the vulture tearing his liver, as the pains of the mind are greater than those of the body. Jealousy is a ferment of love, hatred, hope, fear, shame, anxiety, suspicion, grief, pity, envy, pride, rage, cruelty, vengeance, madness, and if there be any other tormenting passion, which can agitate the human mind. Therefore to express jealousy well

, requires that one know how to represent justly all these passions by turns. (See Love, Hatred, &c.) And often, several of them together. Jealousy shows itself by restlessness, peevishness, thoughtfulness, anxiety, absence of mind. Sometimes it bursts out in piteous complaint, and weeping; then a gleam of hope, that all is yet well, lights up the countenance into a momentary smile. Immediately the face clouded with a general gloom, shows the mind overcast again with horrid suspicions and frightful imaginations. Then the arms are folded upon the breast; the fist violently clenched; the rolling, bloody eyes dart fury. He hurries to and fro; he has no more rest than a ship in a troubled sea, the sport of winds and waves. Again he composes himself a little to reflect on the charms of the suspected person. She appears to his imagination like the sweetness of the rising dawn. Then his monster breeding fancy represents her as false as she is fair. Then he roars out as one on the rack, when the cruel engine rends every joint, and every sinew bursts. Then he throws himself on the ground. He beats his head against the pavement. Then he springs up, and with the look and action of a fury, bursting hot from the abyss, he snaches the instrument of death, and after ripping up the bosom of the loved, suspected, hated, lamented fair one, he stabs himself to the heart, and exhibits a striking proof, how terrible a creature a puny mortal is, when agitated by an infernal passion,

Dotage, or infirm old age, shows itself by talkativeness, boasting of the past, hollowness of eyes and cheeks, dimness of sight, deafness, tremor of voice, the accepts, through default of teeth, scarce intelligible ; arms weak, knees tottering, head paralytic, hollow coughing, frequent expectoration, breathless wheezing, laborious groaning, the body stooping under the insupportable load of years which soon shall crush it into the dust, from whence it had its origin.

Folly, that of a natural idiot, gives the face an habitual thoughtless, brainless grin. The eyes dance from object to object, without ever fixing steadily upon any one. A thousand different and incoherent passions, looks and gestures, speeches and absurdities, are played off every moment.

Distraction, opens the eyes to a frightful wideness; rolls them hastily and widely from object to cbject; distorts every feature; gnashes with the teeth; agitates all parts of the body; rolls in the dust ; foams at the mouth; utters with hideous bellowings, execrations, blasphemies, and all that is fierce and outrageous; rushing furiously on all who approach; and if not restrained, tears its own flesh and destroys itself.

Sickness, has infirmity and feebleness in every motion and utterance. The eyes dim and almost closed; cheeks pale and hoilow; the jaw fallen; the head hung down, as if too heavy to be supported by the neck. A general inertia prevails. The voice trembling, the utterance through the nose ; every sentence accompanied with a groan; the hand shaking, and the knees tottering under the body; or the body stretched helpless on the bed.

Fainting, produces a sudden relaxation of all that holds the human frame together, every sinew and ligament unstrung. The colour flies from the vermilion cheek; the sparkling eye grows dim. Down the body drops, as helpJess and senseless as a mass of clay, to which, by its colour and appearance, it seems hastening to resolve itself. Which leads me to conclude with

Death, the awful end of all flesh; which exhibits nothing in appearance,

different from what I have been just describing; for fainting continued ends in death; a subject almost too serious to be made a matter of artificial imitation.

Lower degrees of every passion are to be expressed by more moderate exertions of voice and gesture, as every public speaker's discretion will suggest to him.

Mixed passions, or emotions of the mind, require mixed

room.

a sermon.

expression. Pity, for example, is composed of grief and love. It is therefore evident that a correct speaker must by his looks and gestures, and by the tone and pitch of his voice, express both grief and love, in expressing pity, and so of the rest.

It is to be remembered, that the action, in expressing the various humours and passions, for which I have here given rules, is to be suited to the age, sex, condition, and circumstances of the character. Violent anger, or rage, for example, is to be expressed with great agitation, (See Anger) but the rage of an infirm old man, of a woman, and of a youth, are all different from one another, and from that of a man in the flower of his age, as every speaker's discretion will suggest. A hero may show fear or sensibility of pain, but not in the same manner as a girl would express those sensations. Grief may be expressed by a person reading a melancholy story, or a description in a

It may be acted upon the stage. It may be dwelt upon by the pleader at the bar ; or it may have a place in

The passion is still grief. But the manner of expressing it will be different in each of the speakers, if they have judgment.

A correct speaker does not make a movement of limb or feature, for which he has not a reason, If he addresses heaven, he looks upwards. If he speaks to his fellow creatures, he looks round upon them. The spirit of what he says, or is said to him, appears in his look.

If he expresses amazement, or would excite it, he lifts up his hands and eyes.

If he invites to virtue and happiness, he spreads his arms, and looks benevolent. If he threatens the vengeance of heaven against vice, he bends his eyebrows into wrath, and menaces with his arm and countenance. He does not needlessly saw the air with his arm, nor stab himself with his finger. He does not clap his right hand upon his breast unless he has occasion to speak of himself, or to introduce conscience, or somewhat sentimental. He does not start back, unless he wants to express horror or aversion. He does not come forward, but when he has occasion to solicit. He does not raise his voice, but to express somewhat peculiarly emphatical. He does not lower it but to contrast the raising of it. His eyes, by turns, according to the humour of the matter he has to express, sparkle fury; brighten into joy ; glance disdain ; melt into grief; frown disgust and hatred ; languish into love; or glare distraction.

RULES RESPECTING ELOCUTION

[EXTRACTED FROM WALKER'S SPEAKER.)

RULE I.

Let

your ARTICULATION be Distinct and Deliberate. A GOOD articulation consists in giving a clear and full utterance to the several simple and complex sounds. The nature of these sounds therefore ought to be well understood ; and much pains should be taken to discover and correct those faults in articulation, wbich though often ascribed to some defects in the organs of speech, are generally the consequence of inattention or bad example. Many of these respect the sounding of the consonants. Some cannot pronounce the letter l, and others the simple sounds r, s, th, sh : others generally omit the aspirate h. These faults may be corrected, by reading sentences so contrived as often to repeat the faulty sounds, and by guarding against them in familiar conversation.

Other defects in articulation regard the complex sounds, and consist in a confused and cluttering pronunciation of words. The most effectual methods of conquering this habit are, to read aloud passages chosen for the purpose, (such for instance as abound with long and unusual words, or in which many short syllables come together) and to read at certain stated times, much slower than the sense and just speaking would require. Almost all persons, who have not studied the art of speaking, have a habit of uttering their words so rapidly that this latter exercise ought generally to be made use of for a considerable time at first; for where there is a uniformly rapid utterance, it is absolutely impossible that there should be strong emphasis, natural tones, or any just elocution.

Aim at nothing higher, till you can read distinctly and deliberately.

Learn to speak slow, all other graces,
Will follow in their proper places.

RULE II.

Let your PRONUNCIATION be Bold and Forcible. AN insipid flatness and languor is almost the universal fault in reading, and even public speakers often suffer

their words to drop from their lips with such a faint and feeble utterance, that they appear neither to understand or feel what they say themselves, nor to have any desire that it should be understood or felt by their audience. This is a fundamental fault; a speaker without energy, is a lifeless statue.

In order to acquire a forcible manner of pronouncing your words, inure yourself while reading, to draw in as much air as your lungs can contain with ease, and to expel it with vehemence, in uttering those sounds which require an emphatical pronunciation ; read aloud in the open air, and with all the exertion you can command; preserve your body in an erect attitude while you are speaking ; let all the consonant sounds be expressed with a full impulse or percussion of the breath, and a forcible action of the organs employed in forming them; and let all the vowel sounds have a full and bold utterance. Practise these rules with perseverance, till you have acquired strength and energy of speech.

But in observing this rule, beware of running into the extreme of vociferation. We find this fault chiefly among those, who, in contempt and despite of all rule and propri.ety, are determined to command the attention of the vulgar. These are the speakers, who, in Shakespeare's phrase, “offend the judicious hearer to the soul, by tearing a passion to rags, to very tatters, to split the ears of the groundlings.". Cicero compares such speakers to cripples who get on horseback because they cannot walk; they bellow be cause they cannot speak.

RULE III.

Acquire a compass and variety in the height of your Voice.

THE monotony so much complained of in public speakers, is chiefly owing to the neglect of this rule. They generally content themselves with one certain key whicb they employ on all occasions, and on every subject; or if they attempt variety, it is only in proportion to the number of their hearers, and the extent of the places in which they speak; imagining, that speaking in a high key is the same thing as speaking loud; and not observing that whether a speaker shall be heard or not, depends more upon the distinctness and force with which he utters his words, than upon the height at which he pitches his voice.

« VorigeDoorgaan »