Delsarte System of Oratory
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It should be borne in mind, as I have already shown, that the manifestations of the shoulder in the street by no means accord with those of people ruled by the fashions of society. There is very little harmony or relation between the exquisite joints of a refined nature, the swift and flexible movements of an elegant organism, and the evolutions clumsily executed by torpid limbs, ankylosed, as it were, by labor at once hard and constant

This observation logically led me to an important conclusion, namely, that the value or importance of a standard is deduced expressly from the nature of the being, or the object to which it is applied. Of what value, for instance, could a millimeter be when added to the stature of a man? That same millimeter, however, would acquire a colossal value when added to the proportions of a flea. It would form a striking monstrosity.

An imperceptible fraction may, in certain cases, constitute an enormity. Again, the value of a standard, not the specific or numerical value which is an invariable basis, but the relative or moral value, must be deduced from the importance of the medium to which it applies. For instance: Five hundred men constitute a very good army in the midst of a peaceful population; and this handful of soldiers exerts, indeed, more moral power than the multitudes restrained under their government. A smile coming from the lips of a sovereign leaves in the soul that it penetrates a far deeper trace than all the demonstrations of a common or vulgar crowd. The traveler, detained by the winter in the polar regions, finds that he is warm and takes pleasure in the discovery, though at the time the thermometer marks 10 degrees below zero.

The atmosphere of a cave that we find warm in winter seems to us, without being modified in the least, of an icy coldness in summer.

The large quantity of alcohol that laboring people consume would ruin the health of less strongly constituted persons.

To conclude, then, these examples prove beyond dispute that one can only appreciate the importance of an act when he takes into account the nature of its agents, and that without these considerations he will be obliged to give up immediately all serious estimation of these manifestations.

Here I touch, it seems to me, a law of harmony, a curious law that I wish to examine incidentally. I shall, then, occupy myself with the objections that may, perhaps, be opposed even yet to the thermometric system of the shoulder

Episode VII.

The foregoing study has, as it seems, established an important fact, namely, that among the various classes of men which make up society there is no common standard of measure. It, therefore, appears impossible, at first sight, to establish a harmonious scale of relations between so many various circles.

However, if these circles, whatever their differences may be, were specified and sufficiently known; if I could, for example, judge a priori of the style and mode of activity adapted to each class of society; in a word, if it were possible for me to characterize each of its classes dynamically, should I not succeed in ascertaining a proportionate gamut or scale among them, and thereby should I not be enabled securely to apply the principles established above?

Let us say, to begin with, that if each social sphere affects a determinate character in the intensity of its passional evolutions, it has, in consequence, its special gamut; then, as many spheres as there are, so many gamuts must there be. Now, all these gamuts taken together must form a scale of proportion in virtue of which they may be characterized. That is obvious. But the difficulty is to prove the mode or first tonality of these gamuts. How are we to set to work?

I cut short, for the clearness of my demonstrations, the recital of the events through which I have been obliged to pass before realizing even my earliest observations. I shall set forth, plainly and simply, the final result of my studies; and it will be seen, in spite of the many difficulties that may arise, with what absolute certainty the principles I have established can be applied.

What I Propose.

I propose a great, a worthy subject for your study. At those oratorical sessions which are rapidly increasing under the name of conferences, sessions at which so many distinguished men take the floor, you have been told in elegant terms, often in eloquent terms, of the sciences, of their application and of their progress. You have listened to discourses upon art, its primitive purity, its supposed principles, its decadence, its renaissance, its multifarious changes; its masterpieces have been pointed out to you; they have been described to you; you have, in some degree, been made familiar with their origin. You have heard the story of the lives of the great artists. They have been shown to you in their weakness and in their strength. The times and manners amid which they lived have been painted for you in more or less imaginary colors. I propose something better than all this.

I offer you a work superior even to those sciences which have been described to you; superior to all which the genius of a Michael Angelo or a Raphael could conceive; a work in comparison with which all the magnificences of science and of art must pale. I propose that you should contemplate yourselves!

Nothing is so unfamiliar to man as himself. I will, therefore, as I have promised, show you the marvels which God himself has placed within you, in the transluminous obscurities of your being.

Now, if there be more science, more genius in the production of a violet or a worm than is revealed by all the combined powers of science and of art, how much admiration should we not feel at the sight of all the splendors which God has spread broadcast in the privileged work wherein He was pleased to reveal his own image! But a light inaccessible to the vain demonstrations of your sciences constantly removes this mysterious image from your gaze. As light eludes the eye which it illumines, if we would seize and contemplate it, we must have two things: we must have a special and a supernatural object. There must be light within you, and it must pierce the depths wherein that image dwells.

Here there is no question of the light which shines to show us the things of the natural world by which we are surrounded. Nor is it a question of the intellectual light sometimes visible to scholars. I speak of that light which is hidden from those very scholars because their eyes could not bear its lustre, a transluminous light which fills the soul with beatific visions, and of which it is said that God wraps it about Him as a mantle.

Now, three worlds, of the nature of which man partakes, are offered for our contemplation. These three worlds are: The natural, the intellectual, and the supernatural.

Three sorts of vision have been given man to initiate him into these three worlds. These different forms of vision are: Direct, inward and higher.

By means of direct vision man is made acquainted with the world of nature; by inward vision he is shown the world of science; and, lastly, by higher vision he sees the world of grace. But as there can be no vision where no light penetrates, it follows that between the three kinds of vision described and the corresponding worlds there must intervene three sorts of light, in order to produce the triple vision necessary for the knowledge of man:

Direct vision—sidereal light—natural world.

Inward vision—the light of tradition—the world of science.

Higher vision—revealed light—supernatural world.

Such are the conditions necessary for the understanding of my demonstrations.

Having prepared your eye for the vision of these three worlds which serve as the bases of art, I shall, then, reveal to you their splendors; happy if, thus, I can help to make you bless the author of so many marvels, and communicate to you those keen joys which perpetuate in the soul a fountain of youth which can never be quenched by the infirmities of the body.

The Beautiful

Beauty is that reason itself which presides at the creation of things. It is the invincible power which attracts and subjugates us in it. The Beautiful admits of three characters, which we distinguish under the titles of ideal beauty, moral beauty, plastic beauty.

Plato defined ideal beauty when he said: "Beauty is the splendor of truth." St. Augustine said of moral beauty that it is the splendor of goodness. I define plastic beauty as the plastic manifestation of truth and goodness.

In so far as it responds to the particular type in accordance with which it is formed, every creature bears the crown of beauty; because in its correspondence with its type it manifests, according to its capacity, the Divine Being who created it.

The Beautiful is an absolute principle; it is the essence of beings, the life of their functions. Beauty is a consequence, an effect, a form of the Beautiful. It results from the attractions of the form. The attraction of the form comes from the nobility of the function. This is why all functions not being equally noble, all do not admit of beauty. The characteristic of beauty is to be amiable; consequently a thing is ugly only in view of the amiable things which we seek in beauty.

Beauty is to the Beautiful what the individual reason is to the Divine reason of things. Human reason is but one ray of a vast orb called the reason of things,—Divine reason. Let us say of beauty what we have said of the individual reason, and we shall understand how the Beautiful is to be distintinguished from it. Beauty is one ray of the Beautiful.

Beauty is the expression of the object for which the thing is.

It is the stamp of its functions. It is the transparency of the aptitudes of the agent and the radiance of the faculties which it governs. It is the order which results from the dynamic disposition of forms operated in view of the function.

Beauty is based on three conditions: Clearness, integrity and due proportion.

Beauty exists in the practical knowledge of the tendencies affected by the form in view of the object for which it is; in view, above all, of the action which it exerts upon the beings with whom it is in relation. Thus a thing is not only beautiful from the transparency of its aptitudes, it is especially so from the beauty of the acts which its use determines abroad. This is the reason why beauty is to all creatures an object of appetency, of desire and of love.


There is a mystery full of deep instruction, a mystery whose divine obscurities surpass all the light whose splendors dazzle us by their supernatural clarity, and which, as a great saint once said, radiates splendid beams and floods with the glory of its fires those spirits who are blind with the blindness of holiness. This mystery, outside of which all is to man dark and incomprehensible, illuminates everything and explains it in the sense that it is the cause, the principle and the end of all things.

This dazzling mystery is the universal criterion of all truth; it is the science of sciences, which is self-defining and whose name is Trinity.

Here we foresee an objection to which we must first reply. Some will be surprised that a system declared to be infallible should rest upon a mystery; they will ask what a mystery can have to do with a purely didactic question. Patience! You shall see that it cannot be otherwise. Nothing is more evident than light, yet light is a mystery, the most obscure of all mysteries. Thus light escapes the eye and it does not see that by means of which it sees. Now, if light is a mystery, why should not mystery be a light? Let us see first what the church teaches us in regard to this mystery.

God is a word which serves as a pretext for every Utopia, for every illusion and for every human folly. The Trinity is the express refutation of all these stupidities; it is their remedy, corrective and preservative. Deprive me of the Trinity and I can no longer understand aught of God. All becomes dark and obscure to me, and I have no longer a rational motive for hope.

The Trinity, the hypostatical basis of beings and things, is the reflection of the Divine Majesty in its work. It is, as it were, a reflection upon us of its own light. The Trinity is our guide in the applied sciences of which it is at once the solution and the enigma.

The Trinity is manifest in the smallest divisions of the Divine work, and is to be regarded as the most fertile means of scientific investigation; for if it is at once the cause, the principle and the end of all science, it is its infallible criterion and we must start from it as an immovable axiom.

Every truth is triangular, and no demonstration responds to its object save in virtue of a triply triple formula.

Theory of Processional Relations; or of the Connection between Principiants and Principiates.


Each term in the Trinity is characterized processionally by the arrangement of the relations which unite it to its congeners. We will represent the nature of these relations by an arrow, the head of which starts from the principiant, touching with its point the principiate.


Principiant terms ———————-> Principiate terms

This established, let us see by what sort of relations we are to distinguish the persons in the Trinity represented by 1, 2 and 3.

1. The Father—a term exclusively principiant, giving the mission and not receiving it.

2. The Son—a term both principiant and principiate, receiving and giving the mission.

3. The Holy Ghost—a term exclusively principiate, receiving the mission and not giving it.


3 / / / B/ C / TRINITY / 1/ 2 ———————- A

A. Relation of generation starting from the generator, ending at the engendered (2), expressing by its horizontality the co-equality of the principiant with the principiate.

B. Relation of spiration starting from the spirator or first principiant 1, ending at the principiate 3.

C. Relation of spiration starting from the spirator or second principiant 2, ending at the principiate 3, emanated by way of the common spiration of its double principle 1 and 2.

Vicious Arrangements.

Reversal of the Processional Relations and Confusion Which Leads to Reversals.

These first three examples sin from lack of a necessary relationship, in default of which the extreme terms cannot be designated. Here, therefore, the intermediate term alone can be estimated.

1 >————> 2 <————< 3

Here the Son offers the relational characteristics of the Holy Ghost.

1 ————> 3

Here He plays the part of the Father by the arrangement of His relations.

1 >————> 3 >————> 2

Here the Holy Ghost is evidently out of place, for He indicates relations which belong only to the Word.

(1.) According to these relations, the Holy Ghost plays the part of the Son, and the Son that of the Holy Ghost.

3 ^ / 1 / v 1———>2

(2.) Here all the relations are reversed so that the Father plays the part of the Son; the Holy Ghost plays the part of the Father; and, finally, the Son that of the Holy Ghost.

3 / / 2 v v 1———>2

(3.) This curious example represents by the identical arrangement of the terms that it brings together, three Sons; that is to say, the person of the Son three times over.

3 ^ / 3 / v 1<———2

(4.) Another reversal of the relations, which derives the Holy Ghost from the Father, the Father from the Son, and the Son from the Holy Ghost.

3 / ^ / 4 v 1<———2

Passion Of Signs. Signs of Passion.

These two terms at first sight seem very similar. It is not so. They express two wholly distinct things. Therefore to know the meaning of words by no means proves one capable of finding words and fitting them to the meaning.

It is clearly easier to translate a language than to write it, and just as we must learn to translate before we can compose, so we must become thoroughly familiar with semeiotics before trying to work at aesthetics; and, as the science of semeiotics is still wholly incomplete, it is, therefore, absolutely impossible that that which is called aesthetics should in the least resemble the science which I have just defined.

I have shown you aesthetics as a science. I have given you its definition. I have fixed its special part in the sum total of knowledge which goes to make up art; moreover, I have pointed out what this science is intended to teach you. I have, by so doing, assumed serious obligations toward you. I must needs produce under this title something more than mere fantastic reflections upon works of art, or more or less attractive stories about their authors and the circumstances in which they lived. It will not be so amusing, but assuredly it will be more profitable, and that is all for which I aspire.

Art, then, is an act whose semeiotics characterizes the forms produced by the action of powers, which action is determined by aesthetics, and the causes of which are sought out by ontology.

/ Ontology examines the constituent virtues of the being. Art. < AEsthetics examines its powers. Semeiotics characterizes its forces.

/ Inherent form of sentiments . . . . . . AEsthetics. Art. < Metaphysical form of the principles . . Ontology. Organic form of signs . . . . . . . . . Semeiotics.

The object of art, therefore, is to reproduce, by the action of a superior principle (ontology), the organic signs explained by semeiotics, and whose fitness is estimated by aesthetics.

Semeiotics is the science of the organic signs by which aesthetics must study inherent fitness.

AEsthetics is the science of the sensitive and passional manifestations which are the object of art, and whose psychic form it constitutes.

If semeiotics does not tell us the passion which the sign reveals, how can aesthetics indicate to us the sign which it should apply to the passion that it studies? In a word, how shall the artist translate the passion which he is called upon to express?

AEsthetics determines the inherent forms of sentiment in view of the effects whose truth of relation it estimates.

Semeiotics studies organic forms in view of the sentiment which produces them.

It is thus that wisdom and reason proceed in inverse sense from the principle to the knowledge which is the object of both. Wisdom, in fact, studies the principle in its consequences, while reason studies the consequences in the principle, hence it comes that wisdom and reason are often at war with each other; hence also the obscurity which generally prevails as to the distinction between them. Let us say that wisdom and reason are to intelligence what aesthetics and semeiotics are to art. Let us add to this parallel that wisdom and reason are to intelligence what aesthetics and semeiotics are to ontology; that is:—

1. If, from a certain organic form, I infer a certain sentiment, that is Semeiotics.

2. If, from a certain sentiment, I deduce a certain organic form, that is AEsthetics.

3. If, after studying the arrangement of an organic form whose inherent fitness I am supposed to know, I take possession of that arrangement under the title of methods, invariably to reproduce that form by substituting my individual will for its inherent cause, that is Art.

4. If I determine the initial phenomena under the impulsion of which the inherent powers act upon the organism, that is Ontology.

5. If I tell how that organism behaves under the inherent action, that is Physiology.

6. If I examine, one by one, the agents of that organism, it is Anatomy.

7. If, amid these different studies, I seek by means of analogy and generalization for light to guide my steps toward my advantage, that is System.

8. If I make that light profitable to my material and spiritual interests, that is Reason.

9. If I add to all this the loving contemplation of the Supreme Author in His work, that is Wisdom.

Let us now leave the abstractions to which you have kindly lent your attention. I cannot here avoid casting a rapid glance at those sources of science and art, the sources whence I desire to draw applications which I am assured will interest you as they interest me. May they afford you the same delight!

By listening to me thus far you have passed through the proofs requisite for your initiation into science as well as art; into science, whose very definition is unknown to the learned bodies, since they have never studied aught of it but its specialties; into art, whose very fundamental basis is unsuspected by the School of Fine Arts, as I have elsewhere demonstrated. Therefore, I now desire in the course of these lectures to set aside the terms of a technology which I could not avoid at the outset, and by the recital of my labors and my researches, my disappointments and my discoveries, to show you the painful birth of a science, whose possession entitles me to the honor of addressing you to-day.

Definition of Form.

Form is the garb of substance. It is the expressive symbol of a mysterious truth. It is the trademark of a hidden virtue. It is the actuality of the being. In a word, form is the plastic art of the Ideal.

We have to consider three sorts of form: The form assumed by the being at birth and which we will call constitutional form. Under the sway of custom forms undergo modifications: We will call these forms habitual forms. Then there are the fugitive forms, modifications of the constitutional form, which are produced under the sway of passion. These forms, which we will call accidental, passional or transitory, are fugitive as the things which give them birth.

On Distinction and Vulgarity of Motion.

Motion generally has its reaection; a projected body rebounds and it is this rebound which we call the reaection of the motion.

Rebounding bodies are agreeable to the eye. Lack of elasticity in a body is disagreeable from the fact that lacking suppleness, it seems as if it must, in falling, be broken, flattened or injured; in a word, must lose something of the integrality of its form. It is, therefore, the reaection of a body which proves its elasticity, and which, by this very quality, gives us a sort of pleasure in witnessing a fall, which apart from this reaection could not be other than disagreeable. Therefore, elasticity of dynamic motions is a prime necessity from the point of view of charm.

In the vulgar man there is no reaection. In the man of distinction, on the contrary, motion is of slight extent and reaection is enormous. Reaection is both slow and rapid.


The artist should have three objects: To move, to interest, to persuade. He interests by language; he moves by thought; he moves, interests and persuades by gesture.

Language is the weakest of the three agents. In a matter of the feelings language proves nothing. It has no real value, save that which is given to it by the preparation of gesture.

Gesture corresponds to the soul, to the heart; language to the life, to the thought, to the mind. The life and the mind being subordinate to the heart, to the soul, gesture is the chief organic agent. So it has its appropriate character which is persuasion, and it borrows from the other two agents interest and emotion. It prepares the way, in fact, for language and thought; it goes before them and foretells their coming; it accentuates them.

By its silent eloquence it predisposes, it guides the listener. It makes him a witness to the secret labor performed by the immanences which are about to burst forth. It flatters him by leading him to feel that he partakes in this preparation by the initiation to which it admits him. It condenses into a single word the powers of the three agents. It represents virtue effective and operative. It assimilates the auxiliaries which surround it, and reflects the immanence proper to its nature, the contemplation of its subject deeply seen, deeply felt. It possesses them synthetically, fully, absolutely.

Artistic gesture is the expression of the physiognomy; it is transluminous action; it is the mirror of lasting things.

Lacordaire, that spoiled child of the intellect, spoke magnificently. He interested, he aroused admiration, but he did not persuade. His organism was rebellious to gesture. He was the artist of language. Ravignan, inferior intellectually, prepared his audience by his attitude, touched them by the general expression of his face, fascinated them by his gaze. He was the artist of gesture.

Thus, if we sing, let us not forget that the prelude, the refrain, is the spiritual expression of the song; that we must take advantage of this exordium to guide ourselves, to predispose our hearers in our favor; that we must point out to them, must make them foresee by the expression of our face the thought and the words which are to follow; that, in fact, the ravished spectator may be dazzled by a song which he has not yet heard, but which he divines or thinks that he divines.

Definition of Gesture. (Compare Delaumosne, page 43.)

Gesture is the direct agent of the heart. It is the fit manifestation of feeling. It is the revealer of thought and the commentator upon speech. It is the elliptical expression of language; it is the justification of the additional meanings of speech. In a word, it is the spirit of which speech is merely the letter. Gesture is parallel to the impression received; it is, therefore, always anterior to speech, which is but a reflected and subordinate expression.

Gesture is founded on three bases which give rise to three orders of studies; that is, to three sciences, namely: The static, the dynamic and the semeiotic.

What are these three sciences, and, first of all, what are they in relation to gesture? The semeiotic is its mind; the dynamic is its soul; the static is founded on the mutual equilibrium or equipoise of the agents.

The dynamic presents the multiple action of three agents; that is to say, of the constituent forces of the soul.

The semeiotic presents to our scrutiny a triple object for study. It sets forth the cause of the acts produced by the dynamic and the static harmonies. Moreover, it reveals the meaning of the types which form the object of the system. It offers us a knowledge of the formal or constitutional types, of the fugitive or accidental types, and, finally, of the habitual types.

The triple object of the dynamic are the rhythmic, inflective and harmonic forms. Dynamic rhythm is founded upon the important law of mobility, inversely proportionate to the masses moved. Dynamic inflections are produced by three movements: Direct movements, rotary movements and movements of flexion in the arc of a circle.

Dynamic harmony is founded on the concomitance of the relations existing between all the agents of gesture. This harmony is regulated by three states, namely: The tonic or eccentric state, the atonic or concentric state, and the normal state. It, therefore, remains for us to fix the three vital conditions of the static part of gesture. The vital condition of the static is based upon the knowledge of the nine stations. The spirit of the static entails the study of scenic planes which embrace three conditions: The condition of the personage in relation to the scenic centre or to the interlocutor whom he addresses; in the second place, his situation; and, finally, the direction assumed by his body in regard to the conditions already indicated.

The soul of the static is in the harmonic opposition of the surfaces moved.

The most powerful of all gestures is that which affects the spectator without his knowing it.

From this statement may be deduced the principle that: Outward gesture, being only the echo of the inward gesture which gave birth to it and rules it, should be inferior to it in development and should be in some sort diaphanous.

Attitudes of the Head.

The head, considered in its three direct poses, presents three conditions or states. When facing the object contemplated, it presents the normal state; bent forward and in the direction of the object, it presents the concentric state; raised and considering the object from above, it presents the eccentric state. [Compare Delaumosne, page 65.]

If, now, we consider each of its attitudes in connection with a double lateral inclination of which they are capable, we have the following nine:

1. The first is normal. The head is neither high nor low, the glance being direct.

2. The second is characteristic of tenderness. This attitude consists in bending the head obliquely toward the interlocutor. The body, in this attitude, should not face the object; thus the head, in bending toward it, bends sidewise in relation to the body.

3. The third attitude is characteristic of sensuality. This attitude is marked by an inclination quite the reverse of the second; that is to say, away from the interlocutor. Naturally, in this attitude, as in the preceding one, the glance is oblique; the head being bent forward and backward, is here placed obliquely.

4. The fourth is characteristic of scrutiny, reflection. The head in this attitude is bent forward as we said in concentration, and the eye, from the effort to lower the head, is thrown up to inspect the object.

5. The fifth is characteristic of veneration. This attitude offers the same inclination as the second; but here, as the head must be lowered, the eye is directed both obliquely and upward.

6. The sixth is characteristic of suspicion. This attitude offers the same inclination as the third, with the concentric modifications indicated for the preceding one.

7. The seventh is characteristic of exaltation, passion. This attitude is eccentric and direct, as we have already said.

8. The eighth attitude is characteristic of abandonment, extreme confidence. This attitude presents the inclination of the second and the fifth, with this difference, that here the head is thrown back and the eye, instead of being bent directly upon the object as in the second and upward as in the fifth, here gazes downward.

9. The ninth attitude is characteristic of pride. This last attitude takes the inclination of the sixth and eighth attitudes, with the differences in gaze indicated in the foregoing.

Thus, to sum up what we have already said, we see that the first, fourth and seventh attitudes are directly toward the object; that the second, fifth and eighth bend obliquely toward the object; and, finally, that the third, sixth and ninth are the result of an oblique inclination away from the object.

NOTE.—It is to be understood that the various attitudes of the head are asserted only in regard to the direction taken by the eye. Thus it is not absolutely true to say that the head is in the eccentric state because it is raised; for it may be that, raised as it is, the direction of the eye may be even higher than it, and, in that case, the head might, although raised, present the aspect of the concentric state. Then it would be true to say that the head presents the concentric state in a high direction.

Attitudes of the Hands.

The hands, like the legs, have three kinds of attitudes. They open without effort and present the normal state; they close and present the concentric state; then they open forcibly and present the eccentric state. These three kinds of attitudes produce nine forms.

1. The first is characteristic of acceptance. In this the hand is presented open without effort, the fingers close together and the palm up.

2. The second is characteristic of caressing. In this attitude the palm of the hand faces the object considered and gently follows its forms.

3. The third is characteristic of negation. This attitude is executed in the following fashion: The arm and hand are placed as in caressing; but, instead of following the form of the object, the hand rids itself of it by a rotary movement, thus placing the palm in a lateral direction.

4. This attitude is executed with the closed fist, the arm hanging naturally, that is, without any action determined by the will.

5. The fifth is characteristic of will. This attitude consists in carrying the fist forward, the back up.

6. The sixth attitude is characteristic of menace. This attitude is effected by an outward rotary movement compressed in the fist, so that, contrary to the will, the back of the hand is down.

7. The seventh is characteristic of desire. The hand, in this attitude, moves forward as in the first, but with the difference that here the fingers are spread apart, this spreading signifying "I do not possess," expresses desire. There is, by the fact of the advance of the hand, aspiration and not possession.

8. The eighth is characteristic of imprecation. It consists in stretching the palm of the hand toward the object as in a caress, but with this difference, that the fingers are spread apart, thus offering a repulsive aspect.

9. The ninth is characteristic of refusal, repulsion. It consists in carrying the hand obliquely as in negation, observing the spreading of the fingers which characterizes this species.

Affirmation—The Hand.

To make the demonstration of the different affirmations of the hand more clear, we employ the cube which, as is well known, has six faces, eight angles, and twelve edges.

When the hand is placed upon a flat surface the affirmation is simple; when the hand is placed upon an angle the affirmation is triple or common to three faces or surfaces. There are three directions in the cube: Horizontal, vertical and transverse. So, too, there are three directions possible for the hand in relation to the body:

1. Abduction—which removes, 2. Adduction—which brings close, and 3. The normal direction.

There are three sorts of adduction, three sorts of abduction, and three sorts of normal direction.

There are three horizontal, three vertical and three transverse directions; hence nine terms applicable to the nine modes of presenting the hand in connection with the cube, which are:


+ -+ / / / / / / / / / UPPER SURFACE. / / / / To hold. / / / + -+ O I U N T W W A A R FRONT SURFACE. R D T D o To retain. T L L o A w Limit. A T i T b E t Obtain. E e R h R l A d BACK SURFACE. A o L r L n a To maintain. g S w S . U . Contain. U R R F F A A C C E E . . + + + / / / LOWER SURFACE. / / / / To sustain. / / / / / / / / / + -+

Table of the Normal Character of These Nine Attitudes.

/ 2. Concentric . . Conflict. 2. Concentro.< 3. Normal . . . . Power. 1. Eccentric . . Convulsion.

/ 2. Concentric . . Prostration. 3. Normo. < 3. Normal . . . . Abandon. 1. Eccentric . . Expansion.

/ 2. Concentric . . Execration. 1. Eccentro. < 3. Normal . . . . Exaltation. 1. Eccentric . . Exasperation.

These nine physiognomies of the hand modify those of the face, often supply their place and sometimes even contradict them. When they are appropriate to the hand and face alike, there is homogeneity. The expression of the hands results from the cooeperation of three orders of phenomena. The first order comprises the intrinsic physiognomies assumed by the hand under the influence of the passions. The second order comprises the attitudes assumed by the hand toward the object of the passion. The third order comprises the evolutions impressed upon the hand by the body, fore-arm and shoulder. These evolutions are so many inflections.

We know the nine attitudes appropriate to the hand, and the nine attitudes designated by the nine modes of presentation of the hand in regard to the cubic surfaces. We must examine the nine inflections which arise in the first instance from the three directions, antero-posterior, vertical and transverse.

These inflections again include three movements of three kinds: Direct movements, circular movements and oblique movements. These movements are produced by three sorts of action: Sectional action, rotary action and translative action.

To recapitulate: These physiognomies, attitudes and inflections form by their combination the multifarious expressions of which the hand is capable, as are all parts of the body.

Having spoken of the affirmations of the hand, we must speak of its degree of certainty of which the arm is the thermometer. This affirmation varies with the angle formed by the fore-arm with the arm. All these modes of affirmation may be applied to negation.

Attitudes of the Legs.

1. The first attitude is normal; it consists of an equal balance of the weight of the body on the two legs. This attitude is that of the soldier carrying arms, without the stiffness assumed by the wilful regularity of rigid discipline. It is also that attitude taken by a man in the act of salutation; it is also characteristic of the weakness of a child or of old age; it is the sign of respect. [Compare Delaumosne, p. 100.]

2. The second attitude is characteristic of repose in strength. The weight of the body is thrown upon one hip, the free leg being carried forward. This change should be effected without tension or stiffness. This attitude is also characteristic of certain concentric passions hidden under seeming calm.

3. This attitude is characteristic of vehemence, of which it is the type. It is preeminently the eccentric attitude. It consists in carrying the whole weight of the body forward, the backward leg extended in equal proportion to the forward poise of the torso.

4. This attitude is characteristic of the weakness which follows vehemence. It is the type of concentration; it is also in character as in species the antipodes of the third attitude, since it is its resolute expression. This attitude consists in throwing the whole weight of the body backward, contrary to the preceding attitude where the body was brought forward, and in bending the leg which bears the weight of the body, which is also the reverse of the preceding attitude, where the leg is extended. This attitude is nearly that of the fencing-master; it differs, however, in the position of the backward foot, which, in fencing, is turned outward. The regularity of this attitude may be verified by kneeling, which is its paroxysm. If the attitude is well done it leads to it naturally.

5. The fifth attitude serves as a preparation for oblique steps; it is also colorless, transitive, suspensive. It ends all the angles formed by walking. We may define this attitude as a third transversal; that is to say, the free leg, instead of being behind as in the third, is impassive, so that the body, instead of being advanced, should be slightly inclined to one side.

6. The sixth attitude is an attitude of pomp and ceremony. It is only assumed in the presence of kings, princes, or persons for whom we have great respect. We will define this attitude as a third crossed proceeding from the fifth; that is to say, the free leg of the fifth becomes the strong leg moving sidewise and slightly forward, thus crossing the back leg.

7. The seventh attitude is an attitude characteristic of absolute repose. It is the strongest attitude, and, consequently, that assumed by intoxication to resist a lack of equilibrium. It is the attitude of vertigo, or of extreme trust.

Do not be surprised by the bringing together of these very different and opposite terms in one and the same attitude. It is a sufficient explanation to say that the strong attitude is sought out by weakness as a weak attitude is sought by strength. This attitude consists in the division of the weight of the body between both legs, which are spread wide apart in parallel directions. This attitude would be improper in a parlor.

8. The eighth attitude is an attitude characteristic of the alternation between the offender and defender. It is the exact medium between the third and fourth; it, therefore, expresses moral as well as physical alternation. A man placed between the offensive and the defensive always assumes this attitude as if to sound the resources of his courage in face of an enemy stronger than himself; in this attitude he may advance or recede. This attitude is a seventh, whose direction, instead of being lateral, is parallel to the body and antero-posterior. In this position the body faces the forward leg, both legs being spread wide apart, as in the seventh, both receive an equal portion of the weight of the body.

9. The ninth attitude is characteristic of defiance. This attitude is a stiff second. It differs only in that the free leg is rigid instead of being bent as in the second. To execute this attitude thoroughly well the free leg must be stretched to the very utmost, without allowing the strong leg to bend as in the fourth, which is the only attitude where the strong leg should be bent. To prevent this flexion, the body must be carried well over on the hip of the strong leg, so that the side of the free leg may be elongated.

Chart Considered from the Organic Point of View.

2. The Son, 3. The Holy Ghost, 1. The Father.

Having examined the table organically, we will study it essentially.


What we have called eccentric, concentric and normal, we will call vitality, intellectuality and spirituality; lastly, having established this table from the organic and the essential point of view, it remains for us to examine it aesthetically and from a practical point of view.

Let us first examine a few gestures, for instance:

Of the Hand.

3 colorless state abandonment / / / / 3 expansion 1 / 2 prostration

3 exaltation 3 power / / / / / / / 1 / 2 1 / 2 1 / 2 exasperation execration convulsive state struggle

Of the Eye.

abandonment / / / / 3 indifference / moroseness

stupor depression or somnolence / / / / / / / 1 / 2 1 / 2 1 / 2 surprise firmness contempt contention of mind

Of the Torso.

dynamic apparatus / / / / 3 limbs / head

larynx veil of the palate / / / / / / / 1 / 2 1 / 2 1 / 2 lungs mouth lips tongue

AEsthetic Division.

3 pure spirituality / / / / 3 vital soul 1 / 2 intellectual soul

3 spiritual life 3 spiritual intellect / / / / / / / 1 / 2 1 / 2 1 / 2 animal life intellectual life animal intellect mental intellece

/ Mind / Science Human Hypostases < Soul Worlds < Grace Life Nature

/ Light / The mind / distinguishes Divine Attributes < Love Functions < The soul < reunites Power The life asserts

/ Understanding / Speculative Faculties < Will Reasons < Final Memory Seminal

/ Trial generates faith Theological Virtues< Tribulation generates experience Fulfilment generates charity

The Holy Trinity Recovered in Sound.

Sound is the reflection of the Divine image. In sound there are three reflex images: The reflex of life; of the intellect; and of love. They result from the parallel and simultaneous action of three agents: The projective (life), reflective (intellect), and vibrative (love).

Sound contains three sounds: That of the tonic, the dominant, and the mediant. The tonic (Father) necessarily generates the dominant (Son), and the mediant (Holy Ghost) proceeds necessarily from the first two.

Pythagoras discovered this law. Passing before a blacksmith's shop, he heard the sound of heavy hammer strokes upon a forge. He recognized perfectly that each blow gave out beside the principal tone (tonic) two other tones, which corresponded to the twelfth and seventeenth of the tonic. Now, the twelfth reversed is nothing but the fifth or dominant, and the seventeenth becomes, by a double reversion, the third or mediant of the tonic.

Let us say, then, that every tone necessarily contains the tonic its generator, the dominant its engendered, and the mediant which proceeds from the other two. The reuenion of these three tones which makes them into one, forms the perfect chord. Full and absolute consonance is the expression of union, of love, of order, of harmony, of peace; it is the return to the source of goodness, to God.

If a fourth form should be added to the perfect chord, to consonance, there would necessarily be a dissonance. This fourth can only enter by an effort, almost by violence. It is outside of plenitude, of the calm established by the Divine law; it produces a painful sensation, a dissonance. As soon as there is a discord, a dissonance, the animal cries out, the dog howls, inert bodies suffer and vibrate; but all is order and calm again when consonance returns.


Speech is an act posterior to will, itself posterior to love; this again posterior to judgment, posterior in its turn to memory, which, finally, is posterior to the impression.

Every impression, to become a sensation, must first be perceived by the intelligence, and thus we may say of the sensation that it is a definite impression. But, to be definite, it must pass into the domain of memory and there solicit the reappearance of its congeners with which it may identify itself. It is in this apparatus and surrounded by this throng of homogeneous impressions which gather round it, as if by magic, or rather which it draws about it as the magnet draws the iron, it is, I say, in this complex state that it appears before the intelligence to receive from the latter a fitting name. For the intelligence could not give it a name if the homogeneous impressions in which it has, so to speak, arrayed itself, did not serve to point it out.

Now, by this distinction, established by the double operation of the memory and the intelligence, a movement takes place in the soul, of attraction, if the intelligence approve; or of repulsion, if it disapprove. This movement is called the will. The will, therefore, becomes the active principle in virtue of which speech is expressed; thus speech is the express agent of the will. It is speech, in fact, which, under the incubation of this mysterious power, rules, groups and moves bodies with the aid of memory.

Inflection is the life of speech; the mind lies in the articulative values, in the distribution of these articulations and their progressions. The soul of speech is in gesture.


Breathing, according to its form of production, is: (1) Costal or combined; (2) diaphragmatic; (3) costo-diaphragmatic.

Breathing is a triple act based upon three phenomena: Inspiration, suspension, expiration. From the successive predominance of each of these three phenomena, or from their equal balance, result eighty-one respiratory acts, which may be reduced to three terms: The breathing is normal, spasmodic, or sibilant.

There are three questions to be considered in regard to breathing:

1. How should it, the breath, be produced to gain the greatest development for the voice?

2. What place should it occupy in speech?

3. What aspect does it assume under the influence of the passions?

In other words, three characters may be attributed to respiration: Vocal, logical, pathetic or passional.

Vocal Respiration.

The lungs constantly contain a quantity of air, which is the source of life and with which we cannot dispense without inconvenience to health and to the voice. The quantity of air requisite for the renewing of the blood, and which is called the breath of life, amounts to a third of what the lungs are capable of receiving. In order to sing, therefore, it must be increased by two-thirds, and it is this borrowed breath only which should be given out in singing. When the lungs are thus filled with air, the sound is produced by escapement. From this it receives greater force, and its production, far from being a fatigue, becomes a relief.

Inspiration should always be followed by a suspensive silence; otherwise the lungs, agitated by the act of inspiration, perform the expiration badly.

Logical Respiration.

Logical respiration constitutes the respiration itself. Suspension expresses reticence, disquietude. Inspiration is an element of dissimulation, concentration, pain. Hence, we have normal, oppressive, spasmodic, superior, sibilant, rattling, intermittent, crackling, and hiccoughing respiration.

Expiration is an element of trust, expansion, confidence and tenderness. If the expression contains both pain and love, the inspiration and expiration will both be noisy; but the one or the other will predominate according as pain predominates over love, or vice versa.

Passional Respiration.

The source of passional respiration lies in the agitation of the heart. The effect of respiration is most powerful, for the slighter and more imperceptible the phenomena are, the more effect they have upon the auditors.

Vocal Organ.

The organ assumes at birth a form; this form is called the timbre or tone, This tone corresponds to the constitutional form. Under the sway of habit, the form assumes an acquired tone which is called emission. The emissive form corresponds to the habitual tone. Under the sway of emotion the voice is modulated and assumes forms which we will call passional or transitory.

The mouth is normal, concentric and eccentric. [See chart in Delaumosne, page 81.]

From these three types we have succeeded in fixing and classifying forty-eight million phenomena.

Definition of the Voice.

The voice is the essential element in singing. It is based upon sound. This is based upon three agents:

The projective agent, or the lungs.

The vibrative agent, or the larnyx.

The reverberative agent, or the mouth.

Each of these agents acts in different ways, nine acts resulting therefrom, which we will call products of phonetic acts.

The projective agent in its special activities engenders

Intensities, Shades, Respirations.

The vibrative agent in its special activities engenders

Prolations, Pathetic effects, Registers.

The reverberative agent in its special activities engenders

Emissions, Articulations, Vowels.

To recapitulate, the phonetic agents give us nine products; but, when studied from the vocal point of view, these products become as many elements and must be examined from the triple point of view of preparatory, practical and transcendant studies. We must, therefore, know first the general definition of these elements, their cause and their theoretical history, which constitutes phonology or the preparatory study of the voice.

Secondly, we must know the physical order in virtue of which these phenomena may be acquired or developed. The various special exercises and the vices to be avoided constitute phonation or the practical study of the voice.

Thirdly, we must know and appreciate the physiological, intellectual and moral meaning of these elements, the different relations of resemblance, of opposition and of identity which exist between these different phenomena.

The modes of application or principles of style form the transcendent study or aesthesiophony, that is, the voice applied to feeling, etc.

What the Register is.

The register is an intrinsic modification of the sound; a modification which is produced in the larynx itself and which does not belong to the mouth. Now, we may say of registers that they are to the larnyx what emissions are to the mouth. Thus registers form a physiognomy which the sound assumes in the larynx, and emissions form the physiognomy which that same sound takes on in the mouth.

On Shading.

Light and shade are not, as has been asserted, subject to the arbitration or inspiration of the moment. They are ruled by laws; for in art there is not a single phenomenon which is not subject to absolute mathematical laws. A knowledge of these laws is important, the art of shading forming the basis of style.

The opinion which makes the ascending phrase progressive is false six times out of seven. It is only correct in the following cases:

1. If an ascending phrase encounters no repeated and no dissonant note it is progressive, and the culminating note is the most intense. It has one degree of intensity.

2. If we find a note repeated in the ascending phrase, that note, even if it be the lowest of all, must be made more important than the highest note and will have two degrees of intensity. In this case, the higher the voice rises the softer it must become; for there cannot be more than one culminating point in a musical phrase any more than in a logical or mimetic phrase. All sounds must, therefore, diminish in proportion to their distance from this centre of expression, from this repeated note. The reason of the intensity of a repeated note lies in the fact that we repeat only that thing which we desire, and this intensity gives it a greater value.

3. If the repeated note be at the same time the culminating note, it will require a new degree of intensity. It will have three degrees of intensity.

4. We may possibly find a dissonant note in the ascending phrase, with a repeated culminating note. (This note would, then, be more than an indication; it would receive an adjective form from the accident, assuming in the musical phrase the value that an adjective would have in a logical phrase.) Its intensity, therefore, would be greater than that of the highest repeated note, and it would have four degrees of intensity.

5. If the dissonant note is also the highest note, it acquires from that position a fifth degree of intensity.

6. It may happen that the dissonant note appearing in a rising phrase is repeated; by reason of this repetition it would receive a sixth degree of intensity.

7. Finally, if the dissonant note is at the same time culminating and repeated, it has seven degrees of intensity.

Pathetic Effects.

Pathetic effects are nine in number, the principal of which are as follows: The veiled tone; the flat or compressed tone; the smothered tone; the ragged tone; the vibrant tone. The last is the most powerful.

Vibration or tremolo, bad when produced involuntarily by the singer, becomes a brilliant quality when it is voluntary and used at an opportune time. Every break must be preceded by a vibration, which prepares the way for it.

Prolations are laryngeal articulations. Great care must be taken not to substitute pectoral articulations for them.

The chest is a passive agent; it should furnish nothing but the breath. The mouth and the larynx alone are entitled to act.

On the Tearing of the Voice.

Exuberance of the contained brings on destruction of that which contains it. Tearing of the voice, therefore, should only be associated with an excessive extension of the sound whose intensity, as we have demonstrated, is in inverse ratio to the dramatic proportion.


The figure 1 is characteristic of unity and measure. The figure 2, which is the measure in the 1, should become subordinate in its greatness and be equal with it. It is another one which gives birth to the idea of number.

The idea of number can only arise from the presence of terms of the same nature. Thus the idea of number cannot arise from the presence of a cart and a toad. We shall thus have two very distinct unities, having no kind of relation to each other. There must, therefore, be equality before there can be number. This is so true that we cannot say of a man and a child that they are two men or two children, because the one is not equal to the other. It is, therefore, from the point of an attributive equality that we are enabled to say: They are two. But we can say: There are two beings, because in regard to being they are equal one to the other. We now understand how two equals one, that the two figures have an equal importance, and that the figure 1 contains exclusively the idea of measure; the figure 2 contains the idea of number, which is not in the 1, this being the characteristic feature by which the two terms differ.

Now, how are we to form a perfect unity between these two equal but distinct terms?

A single operation will suffice to give us the idea we wish, and this operation is revealed to us entire in the word weight. In fact, the two terms can only be united by this word. We feel that 1 and 2 give us a common weight, the sum of which is represented by the figure 3. The figure 3 is, therefore, equal in importance to 1 and to 2; it maintains equality in the terms of which it is the representative, and its characteristic feature is equally important with those already described.

Thus to the figure 1 belongs the idea of measure; to the figure 2 belongs the idea of number; to the figure 3 belongs exclusively the idea of reuenion, of community, of unity in fine, which no other figure can reveal to us. We may say: 1 and 1 are equal among themselves, in the unity of the figure 3; or, in other words: Measure and number find their unity in weight.

Medallion of Inflection (Compare Delaumosne, page 119.)

Explanation.—The vertical line 1 (from top to bottom) expresses affirmation, confirmation; 2, the horizontal line, expresses negation. The oblique lines, 3 and 4, from within outward and from without inward, express rejection. 4, an oblique line from within outward rejects things which we despise. 3, a line from within outward, rejects things which oppress us and of which we wish to get rid. 5, the quadrant of a circle, whose form recalls that of a hammock, expresses well-being, contentment, confidence and happiness. 6, a similar quadrant of a circle, an eccentric curvilinear, expresses secrecy, silence, domination, persuasion, stability, imposition, inclosure. The reentering external curvilinear quadrant of a circle, 7, expresses graceful, delicate things. Produced in two ways, from above downward, it expresses physical delicacy; from below upward, moral and intellectual delicacy. The external quadrant of a circle, 8, expresses exuberance and plenitude, amplitude and generosity. The circular line surrounding and embracing is characteristic of glorification and exaltation.


1. You may believe 2. That none, oh Lord 3. Had such glory 4. Or such happiness.

Thy voice, brother, cannot be heard.

After such a marvel one might believe a thousand others without raising his eyebrows.

The other was a perfect master of the art of cheating.

Remark.—These inflections being produced, it is essential to know the centre from which they emanate. The amplitude of the circle described must be in harmony with the object in question. Thus a circle may be produced with the entire arm, and glorification is the thing in question.

grace, elegance

charm, elevation

Light and amiable.

Light and spiritual.

The half quarter of a circle characteristic of exuberance combined with the half quarter circle characteristic of delicacy, expreses grace. It is delicacy mixed with abundance; tenuity supported by generosity.

The rejection of a contemptible thing (4) concluded by happiness, well-being (5) signifies that repose will not be purchased at the cost of a contemptible thing.

The possession of happiness.

The 3 combined with the 5 rejection of an illusory happiness.

Note.—The figures 3, 4, 5, 6, refer to the corresponding figures in the Medallion of Inflection.

The hand placed horizontally, the back uppermost pirouetting on the wrist alternately in pronation and supination, thus passing from force to feebleness and from feebleness to force, characterizes irritability. [Compare Delaumosne, pages 114-118.]

The Nature of the Colors of Each Circle in the Color Charts.

Red, Blue and Yellow.

Red is the color of life. Indeed, this is asserted by fire, by the heat of the blood.

Blue is the color of the mind. Is not blue the color of the sky, the home of pure intellects, set free from the body, who see and know all things? To them everything is in the light.

Yellow is the color of the soul. Yellow is the color of flame.

Flame contains the warmth of life and the light of the mind. As the soul contains and unites the life and the mind, so the flame warms and shines. [Compare Delaumosne, page 157.]

The Attributes of Reason.

The human reason, that haughty faculty, deified in our age by a myriad of perverse and commonplace minds known under the derisive and doubly vain title of freethinkers, is but blind, despite its high opinion of its own insight. Yes, and we affirm by certain intuition that man's reason is not and cannot be otherwise than blind, aside from the revealing principle which only enlightens it in proportion to its subordination; for, abandoned to itself, reason can only err and must fatally fall into an abyss of illusions.

The melancholy age in which we live but too often offers us an example of the lamentable mistakes into which we are hurried by misguided reason, which, yielding to a criminal presumption, deserts without remorse the principle super-abounding in life, light and glory.

To understand such an anomaly, to explain how reason, which constitutes one of the highest attributes of man, is so far subject to error, it is essential to have a thorough apprehension of the complexity of its nature. What, then, is the real nature of the reason so little studied and so illy known by those very men who raise altars in its honor? Let us try to produce a clear demonstration. And let us first say that reason does not constitute a primary principle in man; for a primary principle could never mistake its object. Neither is it a primary faculty; it is only the form or the manner of being of such a faculty, and thus cannot be a light in itself. The rays by which it shines are external to it in the sense that it receives them from the principle which governs and fertilizes it. Still, let us say that, although neither a principle nor a faculty, reason is none the less, with conscience, of which it forms the base, the noblest power of man; for this power God created free; free from subjection to the principle that enlightens it; free, too, to escape from it. Yet every power necessarily recognizes a guiding principle to whose service it needs must bow; but to reason alone it is granted to avoid the law which imperiously rules the relations of the harmonious subordination of principiant faculties to their principles. Hence the error or possible blindness of reason; hence also its incomparable grandeur, which lies solely in its free and spontaneous subordination. These principles established, let us go still farther, and penetrate deeper into the mysterious genius of reason.

authorized to define reason. He did it in terms at once so simple, so precise, and of such exquisite clarity, that we may venture to think that reason itself could not have better rendered the terms of its own entity.

This definition, let no one fail to see, contains in its extreme brevity more substance than would fill a voluminous treatise. This, then, is his definition:

Reason is the discursive form of the intellect.

Now by this St. Thomas plainly establishes that reason, distinct from the intellect, with which we must beware of confounding it, proceeds from it as effect proceeds from cause. Therefore, intellect surpasses reason as its principiant and guiding faculty; and reason only figures in the intelligential sphere, despite the important part it plays in virtue of its adjunctive or supplementing power.

But what is the purpose of this adjunction? Here, in reply to this grave and important question, let us refer to what the same scholar says elsewhere. "Reason arises," he says, "from the failure of intellect." Certainly this is a luminous, and doubtless a very unexpected proposition. From it we learn, on the one hand, that the intellect is liable to defects and consequently to weaknesses; on the other hand, it seems established that the adjunctive power comes to aid the faculty which governs it, since here the subjected is born of the failure of the subjector.

Let us explain this fresh anomaly. We have in the first place declared the preceding proposition luminous in spite of the obscurity into which we are plunged by the consequences which we have derived from it; but, patience! We are already aware that it is from the very obscurity of things that the brightest light sometimes bursts upon contemplative eyes; and since faith is the next principle to knowledge, let us have faith at least in the trustworthiness of him who addresses us, especially as he has given us repeated, unequivocal tokens of sound and upright reason. Let us, then, have no doubt that the preceding proposition contains a precious precept; and very certainly light will soon dawn on our mind.

This settled, and for the better understanding of the meaning attached to this proposition, let us call to our aid the powers of analogy.

If reason arises from the failure of intellect it is doubtless to rectify the valuations of the ego. Now the compass, which is in itself very inferior to the hand which fashions it and appropriates it to its own use, nevertheless implies a defect in that hand which directs it. So there is between the eye and the telescope, which comes to its aid, all the distance that divides the faculty from the instrument which it governs. Still the telescope joined to the eye communicates to it a great power of vision; but the instrument arises from the failure of the eye, which is nevertheless infinitely superior to it; for it is the eye which sees, and not the telescope.

It is thus that we must understand the relations of reason and intellect. Let us say, then, that the reason is to the intellect exactly what the telescope is to the eye. This established, we can formulate the following definition as well founded.

The intellect is the spiritual eye whose mysterious telescope reason forms, or: reason is a necessary appendage of mental optics, or again: reason is the glass used by the eye of a defective intellect.

But this is not all. St. Thomas provides us still elsewhere with the means of making our analogy more striking. He says, indeed: reason is given us to make clear that which is not evident. Is not this, as it were, the seal of truth applied to our demonstration? Thus the eye uses the telescope absolutely as the intellect employs the reason, to make clear that which is not evident.

Of course it is plain that if the sight and the intellect answered perfectly to their object, they could do without this adjunct which betrays their imperfection. The intellect would thenceforth have no more need of reason than the eye of glasses.

This explains the fact, so important to consider, that the clearer the mental vision is the less one reasons. The angels do not reason; they see clearly what is troubled and confused by our mind. No one reasons in heaven, there is no logician there, no—Intelligence is immortal, but reason, which serves it here below, will fade away in eternity with the senses which like it do but form the conditions of time.

Divine reason alone will endure because it has nothing accidental, and it is substantially united to the eternal word. It is that reason toward which all blest intelligences will finally gravitate. Hence, we see that what already partakes of the celestial life repels reasoning as a cause of imperfection or infirmity. It is thus, by its exclusion of reasons, that the Gospel supremely proves its celestial origin. It is, indeed, a thing well worth remark, especially worthy of our admiration, that there is not to be found, in the four Gospels, a single piece of reasoning, any more than there is an interjection to be found.

Let us add that faith does not reason: which does not mean, as so many misbelievers feign, that faith is fulfilled by blindness or ignorance of the objects of its veneration. Quite the contrary. Faith dispenses with reason because of the perfection of its sight. It is, finally, because it is superior to reason and sees things from a higher plane. This is what so many short-sighted people cannot see; and, to return to our analogy, it seems to them able to see nothing save through the glasses of reason. It seems to them, I say, that any man who does not wear glasses must see crooked. Keep your glasses, my good souls! They suit short limits of sight. But we, who, thank God, have sound sight, are only troubled and clouded by them.

It is thus that reason, which is given us to make clear what is not evident, frequently obscures even the very evidence itself. We might confirm this declaration by a thousand examples. To cite but one, let us point out how plainly the spectacle of the universe of thought and the idea of a Divine Creator prove that no glasses are required to contemplate God in His works. Well! scientists have felt obliged to direct theirs upon these simple notions, and have thus, i.e., by force of reasoning, succeeded in confusing out of all recognition a question sparkling with evidence, so much so that they will fall into such a state of blindness that they can no longer see in this world any trace of the Supreme Intelligence which is yet manifested with glory in the least of His creatures. Consequently, they will bluntly deny the existence of God; but as they still must needs admit a creative cause, they have to that end invented moving atoms and have made from these strange corpuscles something so perfectly invisible that they can spare themselves the trouble of providing public curiosity with a living proof of their theory.

The scientist is born perverted, as was said of the Frenchman who created the vaudeville; and men, too strong-minded and above all too full of reason to give any credence to the mysteries taught by the church, have displayed a blind faith in respect to moving atoms. They think thus to set themselves free from what they call the prejudices of their fathers. They find no difficulty in attributing to invisible corpuscles both the plan and the execution of the beings who people the universe.

This is the fine conception attributed to what is called a higher reason—a conception before which bow legions of strong minds. To such a degree of degradation can reason drag man down.

It is, therefore, dangerous to consult the reason in any case where evidence is likely to be called into play. But, before proceeding farther in the course of our demonstrations, a question presents itself. It may be asked what we think of another kind of reason—pure reason; for it appears that in the opinion of certain philosophers pure reason does exist. I do not know where they authenticated and studied this species of reason. For myself I confess in all humility that not only have I never seen a pure reason, but it has never even been possible for me to raise my mind to the point of comprehending the signification of pure reason. I greatly fear that some nonsense lurks within the phrase, such transcendental nonsense as belongs to ideological philosophers alone. I know not why, but these gentlemen's pure reason always gives me the sensation of a strong blast of moving atoms. In fact, it is not clear; but why require clarity of philosophers and ideologists?

But let us leave these senseless words and pursue the course of our demonstrations.

What we have said of reason is quite sufficient to prevent its confusion with the faculty whose discursive form it is. But this is not enough. We must, by still more delicate distinctions, make any confusion between these two terms impossible.

Reason, although essentially allied to intelligence, is not, like it, primordial in man. Thus God created man intelligent, and consequently susceptible of reason; but we do not see the word reason brought into play in Genesis, because it merely expresses a derivation from the mind or intellect. Reason, therefore, is secondary and posterior in the genetic order. But here to the support of this assertion we have a striking and undeniable proof; namely, that the infant is born intelligent but not reasonable. Intellect proceeds directly from that true light which shines in every man on his entrance into the world, while reason is merely the fruit of experience. A proof of the superiority of intelligence to reason is seen in the fact that it partakes of the immutable, and is not like the latter, liable to progress.

Thus the child is seen to be as intelligent as an adult man can be. Let us rather say that it is in the child especially that intelligence displays its brightest rays. Yet he is not furnished with reason. And why not? Because he has no experience. Reason, therefore, is an acquired power, whose light is borrowed from experience or tradition.

Reason is proportional to the experience acquired. Practical reason or rationality is the ration or portion of experience allotted to each person.

Reason is to the mental vision exactly what the eye is to optical vision, and just as the eye borrows its visual action from external light, so reason borrows its power of clear and correct vision from traditional experience. The similarity is absolute.

Suppress light, and vision ceases to be possible. Suppress revelation from intellectual objects, and reason is thenceforth blind.

Between reason and intelligence, although there be inclusion and co-essentiality in these terms, there is a great difference in the mode of cognizance; for, as St. Augustine says, intelligence is shown by simple perception, and reason by the discursive process. Thus, while intelligence acts simply, as in knowing an intelligible truth by the light of its own intuition, reason goes toward its end progressively, from one thing known to another not yet known.

The latter, as St. Thomas says, implies an imperfection. The former, on the contrary, beseems a perfect being. It is, therefore, evident, adds the same profound thinker, that reasoning bears the same relation to knowledge that motion does to repose, or as acquisition to possession. The one is of an imperfect nature, and the other of a perfect nature. Boethius compares the intellect to eternity; reason, to time.

Yet human reason, according to the principle which illuminates it, offers three degrees of elevation which we will distinguish, for readier comprehension, by three special terms, namely: first, tradition or the experience of another; second, personal experience; third, the reason of things.

Trained by tradition, reason is called common sense. Trained by personal experience to the knowledge of principles, reason is called science. Trained by the contemplation of principles to the perfection of the intellect, reason is called wisdom.

What we call practical reason is based upon the authority of tradition and the lessons of other people's experience in regard to the customary and moral matters of life.

Speculative or discursive reason judges by the criterion of its own experience; thereby inferring consequences more or less in conformity with traditional teachings, and arriving by the logical order of its deductions and in virtue of the principles which it accepts and which it applies to its discoveries, at what we call science.

Transcendental reason pursues, in the effects which it examines, the investigation of their cause, and rises thence to the very reason of things. Wherefore it silences reasoning, enters into a silent and persistent course of observation, consults the facts, examines, studies and questions the principles whence it sees them to be deduced; and, without yielding to the obscurity in which these principles are enveloped, pierces that obscurity by the penetrative force of unremitting attention. Inspired by the standard of faith, it knows that the spirit of God exists at the root of these mysteries. It clings thereto, unites itself thereto by contemplation, and finally draws from this union its strength, its light and its joy.

Such is the course of wisdom, and such are the inestimable advantages of faith to reason. It is in fact by faith that reason is aggrandized and elevated to the height of the intellect whence it draws its certitude.

Reason believes because it desires to understand, and because it knows that faith is the next principle to knowledge.

Thus the grandeur of reason is proportioned to its humility; proportioned, I would say, to the efforts which it multiplies to forget itself when the truth addresses it. But such is not the method of procedure of "strong minds." They have a horror of the mysteries toward which they are still urged by correct instincts. The fact is, let us say it boldly, they fear lest they find God there.

In these misguided spirits there is so much presumption, self-conceit, self-love, that they are, in the nullity of their lofty pride, a worship unto themselves, an idolatry of their own reason. They have deified it,—that poor, frail reason; and this, while mutilating it, while proclaiming it independent and free from all law, from all principle, from everything definite.

To what excess of imbecility, then, have we not seen these freethinkers fall, these apostles of independent reason, who on principle boast that they have no faith and no law! Thence comes the scorn which afflicts these unbelievers for all who believe and hope here below; thence, their systematic ignorance of fundamental questions; thence, the incurable blindness in which they bask; thence, finally, the inconsistencies and contradictions which make them a spectacle humiliating to the human mind.

But agnostic man labors in vain. He cannot escape the mysteries which surround him on every hand, like a gulf in which reason is inevitably lost so soon as it ceases to seek the light.

Man stumbles at every turn against the efforts of a stronger reason than his own,—the Supreme Reason before which, nilly nilly, his must bow and confess the insanity of its judgments.

Logic is not, to reason, a sure guide; and even where it feels its foothold most strong, it sometimes trips, to the disgrace of the good opinion it had of its own infallibility.

Let us show by a simple example to what rebuffs our reason is exposed when counting on the support of its logic, face to face with the reason of facts.

Undoubtedly it is logical and perfectly in conformity with reason, to say that one and one make two. No doubt seems possible on that point. Well, this elementary truth, the most undeniable in the eyes of all men which can be produced, does not, despite the assurances which seem to uphold it, constitute an impregnable axiom; for there are cases when one and one do not make two! Certainly such a proposition seems scarcely reasonable, for its admission would entail the reversal of what are called the sound notions of logic! But what will the logician say if I affirm that in a certain case, one and one make but one-half? Would he even take the trouble to refute me? No, he would laugh in my face; he would not listen to me; he would tax me with absurdity and insanity, preferring thus to lose a chance of instruction rather than confess the impotence of his logic.

There is the evil, and it is generally in this way that ignorance is perpetuated. But let us return to the fact which we desire to prove, contrary to logic and the pretensions of ordinary reason.

Now, it is logical and perfectly in conformity with reason to say that two musical instruments make more noise than one; and that thus two double basses, for example, tuned in unison and placed side by side, produce one sound of a double intensity. This seems an elementary matter. It is as clear, you say, as that one and one make two. Well, no, it is not so clear as you suppose. It is, on the contrary, a mistake; for attentive experiment proves that the result is diametrically opposite to the logical conclusion.

This is a fact which no argument can destroy. Two double basses, placed in the above-named conditions—conditions of vicinity and tonal identity—far from adding up their individual result, are thus reduced each to a quarter of its own sonority, which in the sum total, instead of producing a double sound, produces a sound reduced to half of that given individually by each instrument taken alone. This is how a power plus an analogous power equals together with it but half a power; and thus we are forced to admit that one and one do not necessarily make two.

I have carried the experiment still farther; in the instrument which gained me a first-class medal at the exhibition of 1854, I was enabled to put thirty-six strings of the same piano into unison at once. Well! All these strings, struck simultaneously, did not attain to the intensity of sound produced by one of them struck singly. All these sounds, far from gaining strength by union, reciprocally neutralized one another. This is not logical, I admit; but we must submit to it.

Logic must be silent and reason bow before the brutal force of a fact to which there is no objection to be raised.

Since we are on the subject of the phenomena of sonority, let us draw another illustration from it, quite as overwhelming in its illogicalness as the former.

When two similar phenomena differ from one another on any side, the discord brought about by this difference is more apparent and more striking by reason of the closer conjunction of these phenomena. By way of compensation the dissimilarity is less appreciable in proportion as these phenomena are farther apart from each other.

This is rigorously logical and perfectly conformable to reason; yet there are cases where we must affirm the contrary. Thus the same sound produced, I will suppose, by two flutes not in accord with one another, forms those disagreeable pulsations in the air which discordant sounds inevitably produce. There seems to be no doubt that by gradually bringing these discordant instruments together, the falseness of their relation must be more and more striking, more and more intolerable. Wrong! For then, and above all if the mouths of these instruments be concentrically directed, a mutual translocation is produced between the two discordant sounds, which restores the accuracy of their agreement. Thus the lower sound is raised, while the higher one is lowered, in such a way that the two sounds are mingled on meeting and form a perfect unison. Now, here are contrasts, which, contrary to all rational data, so far from being exaggerated by contact, diminish gradually, until they are utterly annihilated. Thus, then, given two instruments of the same nature, if the harmony which they effect be true, they enter by reason of their conjunction into a negative state which neutralizes their sonority; while the contrary occurs in the case of false unison. Here the instruments become identical with one another, the sonority is increased and the tonal deviation is corrected to the most perfect harmony.

Obstinate rationalists, what is your logic worth here? Has it armed you against the surprises held in store for you by a multitude of facts inaccordant with your reasonings? Oh, proud and haughty reason, bow your head! Confess the inanity of your ways. Bow yet, once again, and contemplate the mystery whence luminous instruction shall beam for you!

At bottom these mysteries may surprise and baffle a reason deprived of principle; but they are never contrary to it, because they proceed from reason itself, from that Supreme Reason which created us in its own image; and, by that very fact, is always in accord with individual reason in so far as this will consent to sacrifice its own prejudices to it, or listen to its infallible lessons.

But man's reason most frequently heeds itself alone. Thence, once again, arise its infirmities. Thus, what will happen, if, because the truths which I utter here are obscure and do not at the first glance appear to conform to the requirements of logic, you hastily reject them with all the loftiness of your scornful reason, which would blush to admit what it did not understand! Poor reason! which in and of itself understands so little, and admits so many follies as soon as a scholar affirms them. The consequence will be that you will be strengthened in the error which flatters your ignorance. Behold that proud reason which would never bend before a mystery revealed, behold it, I say, bowed beneath the weight of prejudices, which there will be more than one scholar, more than one logician, ready to endorse.

Thus reason will refuse as unworthy itself, all belief in the actions of God or of unseen spirits, the angels, heaven, but will not dare to doubt the existence of moving atoms, invisible corpuscles. This is the mental poverty into which the enemies of religious faith unwittingly fall. They pervert that instrument of reason whose true use is to supplement and fortify imperfect intelligence, and misuse it to discredit and overthrow the original intuitions of intelligence.

Random Notes.

Type—Man. Prototype—Angel. Archetype—God.

It is within himself that man should find the reason of all he studies. In the angels he should find the secret of his being: they are his prototypes. Lastly, it is in the Divine archetype that we are to look for the universal reason.

* * * * *

The Senses.

Taste and smell say: It is Good. Sight and touch say: It is Beautiful. Hearing and speech say: It is True.

* * * * *

Every agreeable or disagreeable sight makes the body reaect backward. The degree of reaction should be in proportion to the degree of interest caused by the sight of the object presented to our sight.

* * * * *

The soul is a triple virtue, which, by means of the powers that it governs, forms, develops and modifies the sum total of the constituent forces of the body.

The body is that combination of co-penetrating forces whose inherent powers govern all acts under the triple impulse of the constituent forces of the being.

The immanences are powers which, under the impulse of the constituent virtues of the being, govern and modify the co-penetrating forces of the body.

The powers govern the forces under the impulse of the virtues.

The virtues are the impulses under the sway of which the powers govern and direct the forces.

* * * * *

Light is the symbol of order, of peace, of virtue.

* * * * *

Science and art form two means of assimilation: The one by means of absorption, the other by means of emanation. The one, more generous than the other, gives and communicates; the other unceasingly receives and appeals. Science receives, art gives. By science man assimilates the world; by art he assimilates himself to the world. Assimilation is to science what incarnation is to art.

If science perpetuates things in us, art perpetuates us in things and causes us to survive therein.

If by science man makes himself preeminent in subjugating the things of this world, by art he renders them supernatural by impressing upon them the living characters of his being and of his soul.

Art is an act by which life lives again in that which in itself has no life.

Art should move the secret springs of life, convince the mind and persuade the heart.

* * * * *

Beauty purifies the sense, Truth illuminates the mind, Virtue sanctifies the soul.

* * * * *

The more lofty the intellect, the more simple the speech. (So in art.)

* * * * *

Accent is the modulation of the soul.

* * * * *

The artist who does not love, is by that fact rendered sterile.

* * * * *

Art is a regenerating or delighting power.

* * * * *

Routine is the most formidable thing I know.

* * * * *

If you would move others, put your heart in the place of your larynx; let your voice become a mysterious hand to caress the hearer.

* * * * *

Nothing is more deplorable than a gesture without a motive.

Perhaps the best gesture is that which is least apparent.

* * * * *

There is always voice enough to an attentive listener.

* * * * *

Persuade yourself that there are blind men and deaf men in your audience whom you must move, interest and persuade! Your inflection must become pantomime to the blind, and your pantomime, inflection to the deaf.

* * * * *

The mouth plays a part in everything evil which we would express, by a grimace which consists of protruding the lips and lowering the corners. If the grimace translates a concentric sentiment, it should be made by compressing the lips.

* * * * *

Conscious menace—that of a master to his subordinate—is expressed by a movement of the head carried from above downward.

Impotent menace requires the head to be moved from below upward.

* * * * *

Any interrogation made with crossed arms must partake of the character of a threat.

* * * * *

When two limbs follow the same direction, they cannot be simultaneous without an injury to the law of opposition. Therefore, direct movements should be successive, and opposite movements should be simultaneous.

* * * * *

There are three great articular centres: the shoulder, elbow and wrist. Passional expression passes from the shoulder, where it is in the emotional state, to the elbow, where it is presented in the affectional state; then to the wrist and the thumb, where it is presented in the susceptive and volitional state.

* * * * *

Three centres in the arm: the shoulder for pathetic actions; the elbow, which approaches the body by reason of humility, and reciprocally (that is, inversely) for pride; lastly, the hand for fine, spiritual and delicate actions.

* * * * *

The initial forms of movements should be—in virtue of the zones whence they proceed—the only explicit, and consequently the only truly expressive ones.

* * * * *

Bad actors exert themselves in vain to be moved and to afford a spectacle to themselves. On the other hand, true artists never let their gestures reveal more than a tenth part of the secret emotion that they apparently feel and would hide from the audience to spare their sensibility. Thus they succeed in stirring all spectators.

* * * * *

No, art is not an imitation of nature: art is better than nature. It is nature illuminated.

* * * * *

There are two kinds of loud voices: the vocally loud, which is the vulgar voice; and the dynamically loud, which is the powerful voice. A voice, however powerful it may be, should be inferior to the power which animates it.

* * * * *

Every object of agreeable or disagreeable aspect which surprises us, makes the body recoil. The degree of reaction should be proportionate to the degree of emotion caused by the sight of the object.

* * * * *

Without abnegation, no truth for the artist. We should not preoccupy the audience with our own personality. There is no true, simple or expressive singing without self-denial. We must often leave people in ignorance of our own good qualities.

* * * * *

To use expression at random on our own authority, expression at all hazards, is absurd.

* * * * *

The mouth is a vital thermometer, the nose a moral thermometer.

* * * * *

Dynamic wealth depends upon the number of articulations brought into play; the fewer articulations an actor uses, the more closely he approaches the puppet.

* * * * *

A portion of a whole cannot be seriously appreciated by any one ignorant of the constitution of that whole.

* * * * *

An abstract having been made of the modes of execution which the artist should learn before handling a subject, two things are first of all requisite:

1. To know what he is to seek in that subject itself;

2. To know how to find what he seeks.

* * * * *

Is not the essential principle of art the union of truth, beauty and good? Are its action and aim anything but a tendency toward the realization of these three terms?

* * * * *

We have a right to ask a work of art by what methods it claims to move us, by which side of our character it intends to interest and convince us.

* * * * *

Speech is external, and visible thought is the ambassadress of the intellect.

* * * * *

How should the invisible be visible when the visible is so little so!

* * * * *

One cannot be too careful of his articulation. The initial consonant should be articulated distinctly; the spirit of the word is contained in it.

* * * * *

Two things to be observed in the consonant: its explosion and its preparation. The t, d, p, etc., keep us waiting; the ch, v, j, prepare themselves, as: "vvvenez." The vocals ne, me, re are muffled.

* * * * *

Rhythm is that which asserts; it is the form of movement.

Melody is that which distinguishes.

Harmony is that which conjoins.

* * * * *

Let your attitude, gesture and face foretell what you would make felt.

* * * * *

Be wary of the tremolo which many singers mistake for vibration.

* * * * *

If you cannot conquer your defect, make it beloved.

* * * * *

A movement should never be mixed with a facial twist.

* * * * *

Things that are said quietly should sing themselves in the utterance.

Part Sixth.

Lecture and Lessons Given by Mme. Geraldy (Delsarte's Daughter) in America.


Delivered by Mme. Geraldy at the Berkeley Lyceum, New York, February 6, 1892.


When I made up my mind to come to this country it was not with the object of exhibiting myself, but to speak to you of my father. In your country my father is much talked of. In my country, unfortunately, he is forgotten. My father did not write anything—that is a terrible thing! He expected to do so some day, but he always put it off. At last he decided to do so during the war—our unfortunate war! He did not have many lessons to give at that time, for nobody thought of taking any. This gave him leisure to write. His work was to have borne the title, "My Revelatory Episodes." He had only written five chapters when he died. It was to bring to you these five chapters that I came to America. But as soon as I began to speak of them I was stopped. "Why do you tell us this?" they said; "we know all this already." I then discovered that the books written on my father by the Abbe Delaumosne and by Mme. Angelique Arnaud had been translated and published in this country. Mme. Arnaud's book is the better of the two, but it is not practical—not at all practical.

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