THE CANADIAN ELOCUTIONIST
DESIGNED FOR THE USE OF Colleges, Schools and for Self Instruction TOGETHER WITH A COPIOUS SELECTION, IN PROSE AND POETRY, OF PIECES ADAPTED FOR READING, RECITATION AND PRACTICE
ANNA K. HOWARD, LL.B.,
[MISS ANNA HALLECK KELSEY].
Teacher of Elocution and English Literature.
"The manner of speaking is as important as the matter."—CHESTERFIELD.
The principal object the author had in view in the preparation of this work, was to place in convenient form for the use, both of teachers and others, the principles, rules, illustrations and exercises, that she has found most useful and practical for the purpose of instruction, and best calculated to make good readers, and easy, graceful and correct speakers.
For this purpose the rules and advices have been simplified and divested, as much as possible, of all abstruse scientific terms, and made as simple and plain as could be done, having a due regard to the proper explanations requisite to make them easy to understand and not difficult to practise.
It is hoped that this system of instruction, which has been for some years very successfully employed by the compiler in her own practice, may prove a valuable aid to those who wish to pursue the study of the art.
The examples chosen to illustrate the rules have been taken with a due regard to their fitness to exemplify the principles involved, and to show the various styles of reading, declamation and oratory, and the selections have been made in such a manner as to adapt them for use in schools, colleges and for public reading.
TORONTO, September 24th, 1885.
Of the importance of the study of Elocution as part of a good education there can be no question. Almost every one is liable to be called upon, perhaps at a few minutes notice, to explain his views and give his opinions on subjects of various degrees of importance, and to do so with effect ease in speaking is most requisite. Ease implies knowledge, and address in speaking is highly ornamental as well as useful even in private life.
The art of Elocution held a prominent place in ancient education, but has been greatly neglected in modern times, except by a few persons—whose fame as speakers and orators is a sufficient proof of the value and necessity of the study. The Ancients—particularly the Greeks and the Romans—were fully conscious of the benefits resulting from a close attention to and the practice of such rules as are fitted to advance the orator in his profession, and their schools of oratory were attended by all classes; nor were their greatest orators ashamed to acknowledge their indebtedness to their training in the art for a large portion of their success. The Welsh Triads say "Many are the friends of the golden tongue," and, how many a jury has thought a speaker's arguments without force because his manner was so, and have found a verdict, against law and against evidence, because they had been charmed into delusion by the potent fascination of some gifted orator.
As Quintilian remarks: "A proof of the importance of delivery may be drawn from the additional force which the actors give to what is written by the best poets; so that what we hear pronounced by them gives infinitely more pleasure than when we only read it. I think, I may affirm that a very indifferent speech, well set off by the speaker, will have a greater effect than the best, if destitute of that advantage;" and Henry Irving, in a recent article, says: "In the practice of acting, a most important point is the study of elocution; and, in elocution one great difficulty is the use of sufficient force to be generally heard without being unnaturally loud, and without acquiring a stilted delivery. I never knew an actor who brought the art of elocution to greater perfection than the late Charles Mathews, whose utterance on the stage was so natural, that one was surprised to find when near him that he was really speaking in a very loud key." Such are some of the testimonies to the value of this art.
Many persons object to the study of elocution because they do not expect to become professional readers or public speakers, but surely this is a great mistake, and they might as well object to the study of literature because they do not expect to become an author; and still more mischievous in its results is the fallacy, only too current even among persons of intelligence, that those who display great and successful oratorical powers, possess a genius or faculty that is the gift of nature, and which it would be in vain to endeavour to acquire by practice, as if orators "were born, not made," as is said of poets.
The art of reading well is one of those rare accomplishments which all wish to possess, a few think they have, while others who see and believe that it is not the unacquired gift of genius, labour to obtain it, and it will be found that excellence in this, as in everything else of value, is the result of well-directed effort, and the reward of unremitting industry. A thorough knowledge of the principles of any art will enable a student to achieve perfection in it, so in elocution he may add new beauties to his own style of reading and speaking however excellent they may be naturally. But it is often said "Our greatest orators were not trained." But is this true? How are we to know how much and how laborious was the preliminary training each effort of these great orators cost them, before their eloquence thrilled through the listening crowds? As Henry Ward Beecher says: "If you go to the land which has been irradiated by parliamentary eloquence; if you go to the people of Great Britain; if you go to the great men in ancient times; if you go to the illustrious names that every one recalls—Demosthenes and Cicero—they all represent a life of work. You will not find one great sculptor, nor one great architect, nor one eminent man in any department of art, whose greatness, if you inquire, you will not find to be the fruit of study, and of the evolution which comes from study." So much for the importance of Elocution and the advantages of acquiring a proficiency therein.
A few remarks to those who are ambitious of excelling in the art may now be given, showing how they may best proceed in improving themselves therein.
The following rules are worthy of strict attention:—1. Let your articulation be distinct and deliberate. 2. Let your pronunciation be bold and forcible. 3. Acquire a compass and variety in the height of your voice. 4. Pronounce your words with propriety and elegance. 5. Pronounce every word consisting of more than one syllable with its proper accent. 6. In every sentence distinguish the more significant words by a natural, forcible and varied emphasis. 7. Acquire a just variety of pause and cadence. 8. Accompany the emotions and passions which your words express, by corresponding tones, looks and gestures.
To follow nature is the fundamental rule in oratory, without regard to which, all other rules will only produce affected declamation not just elocution. Learn to speak slowly and deliberately, almost all persons who have not studied the art have a habit of uttering their words too rapidly. It should be borne in mind that the higher degrees of excellence in elocution are to be gained, not by reading much, but by pronouncing what is read with a strict regard to the nature of the subject, the structure of the sentences, the turn of the sentiment, and a correct and judicious application of the rules of the science. It is an essential qualification of a good speaker to be able to alter the height as well as the strength and the tone of his voice as occasion requires, so accustom yourself to pitch your voice in different keys, from the highest to the lowest; but this subject is of such a nature that it is difficult to give rules for all the inflections of the voice, and it is almost, if not quite impossible to teach gesture by written instructions; a few lessons from a good and experienced teacher will do more to give a pupil ease, grace, and force of action than all the books and diagrams in the world. Action is important to the orator, and changes of action must accord with the language; the lower the language the slower should be the movements and vice versa, observing Shakespeare's rule: "Suit the action to the word, the word to the action, with this special observance—that you o'erstep not the modesty of nature." Study repose, without it, both in speech and action, the ears, eyes, and minds of the audience, and the powers of the speaker are alike fatigued; follow nature, consider how she teaches you to utter any sentiment or feeling of your heart. Whether you speak in a private room or in a great assembly, remember that you still speak, and speak naturally. Conventional tones and action have been the ruin of delivery in the pulpit, the senate, at the bar, and on the platform.
All public speaking, but especially acting and reciting, must be heightened a little above ordinary nature, the pauses longer and more frequent, the tones weightier, the action more forcible, and the expression more highly coloured. Speaking from memory admits of the application of every possible element of effectiveness, rhetorical and elocutionary, and in the delivery of a few great actors the highest excellence in this art has been exemplified. But speaking from memory requires the most minute and careful study, as well as high elocutionary ability, to guard the speaker against a merely mechanical utterance. Read in the same manner you would speak, as if the matter were your own original sentiments uttered directly from the heart. Action should not be used in ordinary reading.
Endeavour to learn something from every one, either by imitating, but not servilely, what is good, or avoiding what is bad. Before speaking in public collect your thoughts and calm yourself, avoiding all hurry. Be punctual with your audience, an apology for being late is the worst prologue. Leave off before your hearers become tired, it is better for you that they should think your speech too short than too long.
Let everything be carefully finished, well-polished, and perfect. Many of the greatest effects in all arts have been the results of long and patient study and hard work, however simple and spontaneous they may have appeared to be.
Remember, that the highest art is to conceal art, that attention to trifles makes perfection, and that perfection is no trifle.
Calisthenics Walking Sitting Kneeling
Directions for Breathing
IV.—ELEMENTARY SOUNDS, ETC.
Elements Pronunciation and Accent
V.—QUALITIES OF VOICE.
I. Pure II. Orotund III. Guttural IV. Tremor V. Aspirate VI. Falsetto
I. DEGREES. I. Gentle II. Moderate III. Heavy
II. VARIATIONS OF FORCE, OR STRESS. I. Radical II. Median III. Vanishing IV. Compound V. Thorough VI. Semitone VII. Monotone
I. Moderate II. Quick III. Slow
I. Middle II. High III. Low IV. Transition
IX.—PAUSES, INFLECTIONS, ETC.
I. Rhetorical pause II. Emphasis III. Climax IV. Inflection V. Circumflex or Wave
I. Personation II. Expression
I. Position of the Hand II. Direction
XII.—INTRODUCTION TO AUDIENCE.
I. Introduction II. Advice to Students
XIII.—GENERAL EXAMPLES FOR PRACTICE.
SELECTIONS FOR READING.
A Child's First Impression of a Star... N. P. Willis. A Legend of Bregenz... Adelaide A. Procter. A Modest Wit A Prayer... James Russell Lowett. A Slip of the Tongue A Tarryton Romance Advice to a Young Lawyer... Story. An Autumn Day... Bryant. An Order for a Picture... Alice Cary. Ask Mamma... A. M. Bell. Aunty Doleful's Visit Baby's Visitor Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata Bells Across the Snow... Frances Ridley Havergal. Brutus on the Death of Caesar... Shakespeare. Calling a Boy in the Morning Cataline's Defiance... Rev'd. George Croly. Christ Turned and Looked upon Peter... Elisabeth B. Browning. Cuddle Doon... Alexander Andersen. Curfew Must not Ring To-night Dios Te Guarde Domestic Love and Happiness... Thomson. Drifting... T. Buchanan Read. Elizabeth... H. W. Longfellow. Eve's Regrets on Quitting Paradise... Milton. Experience with European Guides... Mark Twain. Fashionable Singing First Experience Gertrude of Wyoming... Campell. Ginevra... Rogers. God, the True Source of Consolation... Moore. Good-Bye... Whyte Melville. Guilty or Not Guilty Hagar in the Wilderness... N. P. Willis. Hannah Binding Shoes... Lucy Larcom. Highland Mary... Burns. Home Song... H. W. Longfellow. How We Hunted a Mouse... Joshua Jenkins. How Women say Good-bye I Remember, I Remember... T. Hood I'll Take What Father Takes... W. Boyle. In School Days... Whittier. Jimmy Butler and the Owl Keys... Bessie Chandler King John... Shakespeare. Landing of Columbus... Rogers. Little Bennie... Annie G. Ketchum. Little Mary's Wish... Mrs. L. M. Blinn. Love in Idleness... Shakespeare. Makin' an Editor Outen 0' Him... Will. M. Carleton. Malibran and the Young Musician Marmion and Douglas... Sir W. Scott. Mary Maloney's Philosophy Mary Stuart... Schiler. Memory's Pictures... Alice Cary. My Trundle Bed Nay, I'll Stay With the Lad... Lillie E. Barr. Never Give Up Niagara... John G. C. Brainard. No Kiss Ocean... W. Wetherald. On His Blindness... Milton. On the Miseries of Human Life... Thomson. Only Sixteen Oration Against Cataline... Cicero. Over the Hill from the Poor-House... Will M. Carleton. Papa Can't Find Me Passing Away... Pierpont. Paul's Defence before Agrippa... Bible. Per Pacem ad Lucem... Adelaide A. Procter. Poor Little Joe... Peleg Arkwright. Poor Little Stephen Girard... Mark Twain. Prayer... Tennyson. Reading the List Reflections on the Tomb of Shakespeare... Irving. Rock of Ages... F. L. Stanton. Roll Call Romeo and Juliet... Shakespeare Sandalphon... H. W. Longfellow. Santa Claus in the Mines Satisfaction Saved... Mary B. Sleight. Scene at Niagara Falls... Charlei Torson. Scenes from Hamlet... Shakespeare. Scenes from Leah the Forsaken Scenes from Macbeth... Shakespeare. Scenes from Pizarro... Sheridan. Scene from Richelieu... Sir Edward Lytton Bulwer. Sim's Little Girl... Mary Hartwell. Slander Somebody's Mother Song of Birds... H. W. Longfellow. Sonnet... James Ritttell Lowell. St. Philip Neri and the Youth... Dr. Byrom. Temperance... Rev. John Ireland. The Ague The Approach to Paradise... Milton. The Armada... Macaulay. The Bald-Headed Man The Battle of Agincourt... Shakespeare. The Bishop's Visit... Emily Huntington Miller. The Bridal Wine-Cup... Sidney Herbert. The Chimes of S. S. Peter and Paul The Dead Doll The Death-Bed... Thomas Hood. The Engineer's Story The Faithful Housewife The Famine... H. W. Longfellow. The Field of Waterloo... Lord Byron. The Fireman... George M. Baker. The Foolish Virgins... Tennyson. The Hired Squirrel... Laura Sanford. The Hypochondriac The Inexperienced Speaker The Jester's Choice... Horace Smith. The Kiss The Last Hymn... Marianne Farningham. The Last Station The Launch of the Ship... H. W. Longfellow. The Little Hatchet Story... R. N. Burdette. The Little Hero The Little Quaker Sinner The Miniature The Model Wife... Ruskin. The Modern Cain... E. Evans Edwards. The Newsboy's Debt The Old Man in the Model Church... John H Yates. The Old Soldier of the Regiment... G. Newell Lovejoy. The Opening of the Piano... O. W. Holmes. The Painter of Seville... Susan Wilson.
The Patriot's Elysium... Montgomery. The Polish Boy... Mrs. Ann S. Stephens. The Potion Scene (Romeo and Juliet)... Shakespeare. The Quaker Widow... Bayard Taylor. The Quarrel of Brutus and Cassius... Shakespeare. The Retort The Rift of the Rock... Annie Herbert. The Seasons... Thomson. The Serenade The Sioux Chief's Daughter... Joaquin Miller. The Sister of Charity... Owen Meredith. The Wedding Fee... B. M. Streeter. The Whistler... Robert Story. The World from the Sidewalk The Worn Wedding Ring... W. C. Bennett. The Young Gray Head... Mrs. Southey. There's Nothing True but Heaven... Moore. Though Lost to Sight to Memory Dear... Ruthven Jenkyns. Three Words of Strength... Schiller. To Her Husband... Anne Bradstreet. Tom... Constance Fenimore Woolsen. Trial Scene from the Merchant of Venice... Shakespeare. Trusting Wanted Waterloo... Lady Morgan. Wounded Your Mission
Miss Kelsey has given special attention to Reading and Elocution for a number of years. She has a powerful voice, with variety of expression. Miss Kelsey I know to be a lady of true Christian principles, ambitions to excel, and set a good example in Elocution and Literature. I commend her to those interested in this branch of learning.
Allen A. Griffith,
Author of "Lessons in Elocution," And Professor of Elocution at State Normal School at Ypsilanti, Mich.
I have long known Professor Griffith, whose communication is enclosed. Such is his ability in his profession, and so large are his acquirements, And so just and broad his critical faculty, that I cannot commend Miss Kelsey in any way so well as by saying that I accept the Professor's judgment as most satisfactory. His opinion of her is reliable beyond question.
I have been pleased with Miss Kelsey's views on Elocution, as far as I can learn them from a single interview, and hope she may be successful in the profession she has chosen.
Late Pastor of Jefferson Ave. Presbyterian Church, Detroit, Michigan.
35 Union Square, New York.
Miss Kelsey has been under my instruction in Elocution, and I take pleasure in saying that she was so earnest in study, and so faithful in practice, that her proficiency was very great. I bespeak for her added success as a teacher; and from the repertoire which her recent study has given, new triumphs as a public reader.
Anna Randall Diehl,
Author of "Randall's Elocution," and "The Quarterly Elocutionist."
Ann Arbour, November 3rd, 1880.
To whom it may concern:
I have known Miss Kelsey (now Mrs. William J. Howard) for upwards of two years, and have a high respect for her as a conscientious, cultivated and agreeable lady, who is entitled to confidence and esteem. She has a good reputation as an Elocutionist, and I have no doubt would give valuable and faithful instruction to any one who may seek her aid.
(Signed) THOMAS M. COOLEY.
Professor of Law, Michigan University, and Judge of Supreme Court, Michigan.
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MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY, ANN ARBOR, MICH. November 13th, 1880.
For several years Mrs. Anna K. Howard, (then Miss Kelsey) lived in Ann Arbor as a teacher of Elocution, and also as a student in one of our professional departments, and was known to me as very earnest in all her work.
I never had the pleasure of hearing her read or of witnessing any of her instructions in Elocution; but of her proficiency in both directions, I frequently heard very favourable reports.
MOSES COIT TYLER,
Professor of History in Cornell University, and author of "History of American Literature."
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[St. Catharines (Ont.) Times.]
MISS KELSEY fairly took the audience by storm, being heartily encored. She is one of the best professional readers we have ever listened to.
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[Ann Arbor (Mich.) Courier.]
MISS KELSEY'S manner is simple and graceful, or full of vigour and fire; her voice singularly sweet and flexible, or deep and sonorous at will. Miss K. has given readings in many of our important cities, and she always holds her audience spell-bound.
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[Grand Rapids (Mich.) Press.]
MISS KELSEY is a lady of unusual talent; evidently understands her vocation. She fully sustained her reputation acquired elsewhere, and has made many friends in this city—her professional worth and professional merit being recognized—who will be pleased with another opportunity of listening to her readings should she thus favour them.
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[St. Thomas (Ont.) Times.]
The readings of Miss Kelsey were the piece de resistance of the evening. This lady has a very sweet voice, and flexible, pure accentuation, and is altogether as good an elocutionist as we have ever heard. It was wonderful how distinctly her voice was heard all over the hall, though apparently making no effort. She was applauded with enthusiasm.
Gymnastic and calisthenic exercises are invaluable aids to the culture and development of the bodily organs, for purposes of vocalization.
The organs of the voice require vigour and pliancy of muscle, to perform their office with energy and effect.
Before proceeding to the vocal gymnastics, it is indispensable, almost, to practice a series of muscular exercises, adapted to the expansion of the chest, freedom of the circulation, and general vitality of the whole system.
First, stand firmly upon both feet, hands upon the hips, fingers in front, head erect, so as to throw the larynx directly over the wind-pipe in a perpendicular line; bring the arms, thus adjusted, with hands pressed firmly against the waist, back and down, six times in succession; the shoulders will be brought down and back, head up, chest thrown forward. Keeping the hands in this position, breathe freely, filling the lungs to the utmost, emitting the breath slowly. Now, bring the hands, clenched tightly, against the sides of the chest; thrust the right fist forward— keeping the head up and chest forward, whole body firm; bring it back, and repeat six times; left the same; then both fists; then right up six times; then left; then both; then right, down six times; left, the same; then both. Now clench the fists tightly, and press them under the arm-pits, throwing the chest as well forward as possible, shoulders down and back, head erect; thrust the fists down the sides, and return, six times, with the utmost energy. Now, keeping the head, shoulders, and chest still the same, extend the hands forward, palms open and facing, bring both back as far as the bones and muscles of the shoulders will admit, without bending arms at elbows. Now, thrust the body to the right, knees and feet firm, and strike the left side with open palms, vigorously, repeat with body to the left. Now, with arms akimbo, thrust the right foot forward (kicking) with energy, six times; left same. Now, place the clenched fist in the small of the back with great force; throw the whole body backwards, feet and knees firm, tilling the lungs to the utmost and uttering, as you go over, the alphabetical element, "a" then long "o," then long "e" If these movements have been made with great energy and precision, the blood is circulating freely, and the whole body is aglow, and you are ready now for vocal exercises.
These should be repeated daily with increasing energy.
The best time for practicing gymnastic exercises is either early in the morning or in the cool of the evening; but never immediately after meals.
As the feet and lower limbs are the foundation, we shall begin by giving their different positions. The student should be careful to keep the body erect.
A good voice depends upon the position, and the practice of Position and Gesture will prove a valuable aid in physical culture, and in acquiring a graceful address. There are two primary positions of the feet in speaking:
First.—The body rests on the left foot, right a little advanced, right knee bent.
Second.—The body rests on the right foot, the left a little advanced, left knee bent.
There are two other positions which are called secondary. They are assumed in argument, appeal or persuasion.
The first secondary position is taken from the first primary by advancing the unoccupied foot, and resting the body upon it, leaning forward, the left foot brought to its support. The second secondary position is the same as the first with the body resting on the left foot. In assuming these positions the movements must be made with the utmost simplicity, avoiding all display or parade, and advancing, retiring or changing with ease and gracefulness, excepting when the action demands energy or marked decision. All changes must be made as lightly and as imperceptibly as possible, without any unnecessary sweep of the moving foot, and in all changes that foot should be moved first which does not support the weight of the body. All action should be graceful in mechanism and definite in expressiveness. The speaker should keep his place—all his motions may be easily made in one square yard, but the stage or dramatic action requires more extended movements.
In walking, the head and body should be carried upright, yet perfectly free and easy, with the shoulders thrown back, the knees should be straight, and the toes turned out. In the walk or march, the foot should be advanced, keeping the knee and instep straight, and the toe pointing downward; it should then be placed softly on the ground without jerking the body; and this movement should be repeated with the left foot, and the action continued until it can be performed with ease and elegance.
"In a graceful human step," it has been well observed, "the heel is always raised before the foot is lifted from the ground, as if the foot were part of a wheel rolling forward, and the weight of the body, supported by the muscles of the calf of the leg, rests, for a time, on the fore part of the foot and toes. There is then a bending of the foot in a certain degree."
In reading, the student should sit erect, with both feet resting on the floor, and one foot slightly advanced, the head up so as to be able to use the whole trunk in respiration.
To kneel gracefully, assume the first standing position resting the weight of the body on the right foot, then place the left knee gently down on the floor keeping the body perfectly erect, then bring the right knee down;—in rising, these motions are reversed, the right knee being raised first, the full weight of the body resting on it while rising, bring up the left knee and assume the first standing position. To be effective these motions should be very gracefully executed and a great deal of practice must be given to acquire freedom of action.
HOLDING THE BOOK.
The book should be held in the right hand by the side, standing in the first position then raise it and open it to place, pass it to the left hand letting the right hand drop by the side, the book being held so that the upper part of it is below the chin, so as to show the countenance, and permit the free use of the eyes, which should frequently be raised from the book and directed to those who are listening.
Deep breathing with the lips closed, inhaling as long as possible, and exhaling slowly, is very beneficial.
Having inflated the lungs to their utmost capacity, form the breath into the element of long o, in its escape through the vocal organs. This exercise should be frequently repeated, as the voice will be strengthened thereby, and the capacity of the chest greatly increased. Do not raise the shoulders or the upper part of the chest alone when you breathe. Breathe as a healthy child breathes, by the expansion and contraction of abdominal and intercostal muscles. Such breathing will improve the health, and be of great assistance in continuous reading or speaking. Great care is necessary in converting the breath into voice. Do not waste breath; use it economically, or hoarseness will follow. Much practice on the vocal elements, with all the varieties of pitch, then the utterance of words, then of sentences, and finally of whole paragraphs, is necessary in learning to use the breath, and in acquiring judgment and taste in vocalizing. Never speak when the lungs are exhausted. Keep them well inflated.
SPECIAL DIRECTIONS FOR BREATHING.
1. Place yourself in a perfectly erect but easy posture; the weight of the body resting on one foot; the feet at a moderate distance, the one in advance of the other; the arms akimbo; the fingers pressing on the abdominal muscles, in front, and the thumbs on the dorsal muscles, on each side of the spine; the chest freely expanded and fully projected; the shoulders held backward and downward; the head perfectly vertical.
2. Having thus complied with the preliminary conditions of a free and unembarrassed action of the organs, draw in and give out the breath very fully and very slowly, about a dozen times in succession.
3. Draw in a very full breath, and send it forth in a prolonged sound of the letter h. In the act of inspiration, take in as much breath as you can contain. In that of expiration, retain all you can, and give out as little as possible, merely sufficient to keep the sound of h audible.
4. Draw in a very full breath, as before, and emit it with a lively, expulsive force, in the sound of h, but little prolonged in the style of a moderate, whispered cough.
5. Draw in the breath, as already directed, and emit it with a sudden and violent explosion, in a very brief sound of the letter h, in the style of an abrupt and forcible, but whispered cough. The breath is, in this mode of expiration, thrown out with abrupt violence.
6. Inflate the lungs to their utmost capacity and exhale the breath very slowly, counting rapidly up to ten, as many times as possible with one breath.
Each of the above exercises should be repeated often, by the student, in his room, or while walking; and may be given with the gymnastic exercises previously introduced.
A good articulation consists in a clear, full, and distinct utterance of words, in accordance with the best standard of pronunciation, and this constitutes the basis of every other excellence in reading and oratory. Care and attention, with diligent practice, will keep young persons from falling into the bad habit of imperfect articulation, for most voices are good until domestic or local habits spoil them. Hence the great importance of careful training in early childhood, for if parents and instructors would direct their attention to this matter a manifest improvement would quickly follow; yet, to acquire a good articulation is not so difficult a task "as to defy the assaults of labour."
"The importance of a correct enunciation in a public speaker is well known —for if he possesses only a moderate voice, if he articulates correctly, he will be better understood and heard with greater pleasure, than one who vociferates without judgment. The voice of the latter may indeed extend to a considerable distance,—but the sound is dissipated in confusion; of the former voice, not the smallest vibration is wasted, every stroke is perceived even at the utmost distance to which it reaches; and hence it often has the appearance of penetrating even farther than one which is loud, but badly articulated."
In connection with this subject, a few words are necessary concerning impediment of speech, for in cases where a slight degree of hesitation breaks the fluent tenor of discourse much may be accomplished by due care and attention, and most defects of speech, voice, and manner may be modified or remedied by cultivation and diligent study and practice.
In seeking for a remedy the first thing to be considered is the care of the health, for this is the foundation of every hope of cure, and all excesses should be avoided and all irregularities guarded against.
All the mental powers should be enlisted in the combat with the defect, and the student should speak with deliberation and with an expiring breath, and when alone practice frequently the words and letters that he finds most difficult to pronounce, and should also furnish his mind with a copious vocabulary of synonyms, so that if he finds himself unable to utter a particular word, he may substitute some other in its place. But above all he must maintain a courageous command over himself and exert the energy of his own mind. By observing these rules, if the defect is not entirely eradicated, it will at least be palliated in a considerable degree.
ELEMENTARY SOUNDS OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE.
The number of elements in the language is thirty-eight.
They are divided into vowels, sub-vowels, and aspirates; or, as classified by Dr. Rush in his "Philosophy of the Human Voice," into tonics, sub-tonics, and atonics.
There are fifteen vowels, fourteen sub-vowels, and nine aspirates.
Table of the Elements.
A as heard in ale, fate, may. A " " " arm, farm, harm. A " " " all, fall, orb. A " " " an, idea, pan. E " " " easy, imitate, me. E " " " end, let, mend. I " " " isle, ice, fly, mine. I " " " in, pin, England. O " " " old, more, oats. O " " " oose, lose, to, fool O " " " on, lock, not. U " " " mew, few, tube, pupil. U " " " up, tub, her, hurt. U " " " full, pull, wolf. OU " " " our, flour, power.
B as heard in bow, boat, barb. D " " " day, bid, dare. G " " " gay, fig, gilt. L " " " light, liberty, all. M " " " mind, storm, mate. N " " " no, on, nine. NG " " " sing, finger, long. R " " " roe, rare, orb. TH " " " then, with, beneath. V as heard in vice, vile, salve. W " " " woe, wave, world. Y " " " yoke, ye, yonder. Z " " " zone, his, Zenophon. ZH " " " azure, enclosure.
F as heard in fame, if, lift. H " " " he, hut. K " " " kite, cake. P " " " pit, up, apt. S " " " sin, cell, yes. SH " " " shade, shine, flushed. T " " " take, oats, it. TH " " " thin, truth, months. WH " " " when, which, what.
There are many words in which there are difficult combinations of the elements; they, as well as those in which the combinations are easy, should be practiced upon until the pupil is able to articulate each element correctly. The following is a table of the analysis of words, in which there are easy and difficult combinations of elements. Let the pupil spell the words, uttering separately each element, and not the name of the word, as is the practice which generally obtains in our schools.
Table of the Analysis of Words.
ale, a-l. day, d-a. fame, f-a-m. crew, k-r-u. call, k-a-l. deeds, d-e-d-z. wool, w-u-l. isle, i-l. dare, d-a-r. ink, i-ng-k. pause, p-a-z. mow, m-o. lose, l-o-z. pray, p-r-a. spell, s-p-e-l. twists, t-w-i-s-t-s. waste, w-a-s-t. awful, a-f-u-l. up, u-p. mouths, m-ou-th-z. sky, s-k-i. lamb, l-a-m. oak, o-k. eve, e-v. once, w-u-n-s. awe, a. power, p-ou-u-r. mulcts, m-u-l-k-t-s. John, d-gh-a-n. objects, o-b-d-jh-e-k-ts. thousandth, th-ou-z-a-n-d-th. wives, w-i-v-z. softness, s-o-f-t-n-e-s. shrugged, sh-r-u-g-d. themselves, th-e-m-s-e-l-v-z. church, t-sh-u-r-t-sh.
They were wrenched by the hand of violence. The strength of his nostrils is terrible. A gentle current rippled by. Thou barb'd'st the dart by which he fell. Arm'd, say ye? Arm'd, my lord! He sawed six sleek, slim saplings. It was strongly urged upon him. Amidst the mists, he thrusts his fists against the posts. The swan swam over the sea; well swum, swan. The swan swam back again; well swum, swan.
PRONUNCIATION AND ACCENT.
Pronunciation is the mode of enouncing certain words and syllables. As pronunciation varies with the modes and fashions of the times, it is sometimes fluctuating in particular words, and high authorities are often so much at variance, that the correct mode is hard to be determined; hence to acquire a correct pronunciation, this irregularity, whatever be the cause, must be submitted to.
Be very careful to give each letter its proper sound and avoid omitting or perverting the sound of any letter or syllable of a word, without some good authority.
The unaccentuated syllables of words are very liable to be either omitted, slurred or corrupted, and there is no word in the language more frequently and unjustly treated in this respect than the conjunction—and. It is seldom half articulated, although it is properly entitled to three distinct elementary sounds.
Heaven and earth will witness, If Rome must fall, that we are innocent. I
The Assyrian came down, like the wolf on the fold, And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold.
The word and, in these and similar examples, is commonly pronounced as if written und or un, with an imperfect or partially occluded articulation of these elements; whereas, it ought always to be pronounced in such a manner that each of its own three elementary sounds, though in their combined state, may distinctly appear.
In pronouncing the phrase, "and his," not only the a, but the h, is, also, frequently suppressed, and the sound of the d is combined with that of the i following it; as if written thus, und diz cohorts, and so on. Many pronounce the phrase "are innocent," in the first example, as if written a rinesunt. This practice of suppressing letters, and as it were melting words into indistinct masses, cannot be too cautiously guarded against.
Avoid the affectations and mis-pronunciations exemplified in the following list of words which are often mispronounced. Do not say—
Git for get. Hev " have. Ketch " catch. Geth'er " gath'er. Stid'y " stead'y. Good'niss " good'ness. Hon'ist " hon'est. Hun'durd " hund'red. Sav'ij " sav'age. Mawn'ing " morn'ing. Cli'mit " cli'mate. Si'lunt " si'lent. Souns " sounds. Fiels " fields. Sof'ly " soft'ly. Kindl'st " kindl'dst. Armst " arm'dst. Gen'ral " gen'eral. Sep'rate " sep'arate. Mis'ries " mis'eries. Dif'frence " diff'erence. Ex'lent " ex'cellent. Comp'ny " com'pany. Liv'in " liv'ing. Lenth'en " length'en. Chastisemunt " chastisement. Bereavemunt " bereavement. Contentmunt " contentment. Offis " office. Hevun " heaven. Curosity " curiosity. Absolut " absolute, etc.
QUALITIES OF VOICE.
By Quality of Voice is meant the kind of voice used to express sentiment.
There are two general divisions of quality: PURE and IMPURE. These are sub- divided into Pure, Deepened or Orotund, Guttural, Tremor, Aspirate, and Falsetto qualities.
The Pure or Natural tone is employed in ordinary speaking or descriptive language, and is expressed with less expenditure of breath than any other quality of voice. It is entirely free from any impure vocal sound.
"How calm, how beautiful a scene is this,— When Nature, waking from her silent sleep, Bursts forth in light, and harmony, and joy! When earth, and sky, and air, are glowing all With gayety and life, and pensive shades Of morning loveliness are cast around! The purple clouds, so streaked with crimson light, Bespeak the coming of majestic day;— Mark how the crimson grows more crimson still, While, ever and anon, a golden beam Seems darting out its radiance! Heralds of day! where is that mighty form Which clothes you all in splendour, and around Your colourless, pale forms spreads the bright hues Of heaven?—He cometh from his gorgeous couch, And gilds the bosom of the glowing east!"
Sweet was the sound, when oft at evening's close Up yonder hill the village murmur rose; There, as I passed with careless steps and slow The mingling notes came softened from below; The swain responsive as the milk-maid sung, The sober herd that lowed to meet their young; The noisy geese that gabbled o'er the pool, The playful children just let loose from school; The watch-dog's voice that bayed the whispering wind, And the loud laugh that spoke the vacant mind; These all in sweet confusion sought the shade, And filled each pause the nightingale had made. But now the sounds of population fail, No cheerful murmurs fluctuate in the gale, No busy steps the grass-grown footway tread, For all the blooming flush of life is fled. All but yon widowed, solitary thing, That feebly bends beside the plashy spring; She, wretched matron—forced in age, for bread, To strip the brook with mantling cresses spread, To pick her wintry fagot from the thorn, To seek her nightly shed and weep till morn— She only left of all the harmless train, The sad historian of the pensive plain!
The Orotund is a highly improved state of the Natural voice, and is the quality most used, being far more expressive, as it gives grandeur and energy to thought and expression. This voice is highly agreeable, and is more musical and flexible than the common voice.
Dr. Rush defines the Orotund as that assemblage of eminent qualities which constitute the highest characteristic of the speaking voice. He describes it to be a full, clear, strong, smooth, and ringing sound, rarely heard in ordinary speech; but which is never found in its highest excellence, except by careful cultivation. He describes the fine qualities of voice constituting the Orotund in the following words:—
By a fullness of voice, is meant the grave or hollow volume, which approaches to hoarseness.
By a freedom from nasal murmur and aspiration.
By a satisfactory loudness and audibility.
By smoothness, or a freedom from all reedy or guttural harshness.
By a ringing sonorous quality of voice resembling certain musical instruments.
The possession of the power of this voice is greatly dependent on cultivation and management, and experiments have proved that more depends on cultivation than on natural peculiarity. Much care and labour are necessary for acquiring this improved condition of the speaking voice, the lungs must be kept well supplied with breath, there must be a full expansion of the chest, causing the abdomen gently to protrude, the throat and the mouth must be kept well open so as to give free course to the sound. Never waste the breath, every pause must be occupied in replenishing the lungs, and the inhalation should be done as silently as possible, and through the nostrils as well as by the mouth.
Excellence in this quality of voice depends on the earnest and frequent practice of reading aloud with the utmost degree of force. The voice may be exerted to a great extent without fatigue or injury, but should never be taxed beyond its powers, and as soon as this strong action can be employed without producing hoarseness, it should be maintained for half an hour at a time.
This practice is very beneficial to the health, especially if prosecuted in the open air, or in a large, well ventilated room, and if pursued regularly, energetically, and systematically, the pupil will be surprised and delighted at his rapid progress in this art, and his voice, from a condition of comparative feebleness, will soon develop into one of well- marked strength, fullness, and distinctness.
Ye ice-falls! ye that from the mountain's brow Adown enormous ravines slope amain,— Torrents, methinks, that heard a mighty voice, And stopped at once amid their maddest plunge! Motionless torrents! silent cataracts! Who made you glorious as the gates of heaven Beneath the keen, full moon? Who bade the sun Clothe you with rainbows? Who, with living flowers Of loveliest blue, spread garlands at your feet!— God! let the torrents, like a shout of nations, Answer! and let the ice-plains echo, God!— And they, too, have a voice,—yon piles of snow, And in their perilous fall shall thunder, God!
The hoarse, rough voice, should like a torrent roar.
Hurrah! the foes are moving. Hark to the mingled din Of fife, and steed, and trump, and drum, and roaring culverin. The fiery duke is pricking fast across Saint Andre's plain, With all the hireling chivalry of Guelders and Almayne. Now by the lips of those ye love, fair gentlemen of France, Charge for the golden lilies—upon them with the lance! A thousand spurs are striking deep, a thousand spears in rest, A thousand knights are pressing close behind the snow-white crest, And in they burst, and on they rushed, while, like a guiding star, Amidst the thickest carnage blazed the helmet of Navarre.
"Up drawbridge, grooms!—What, warder, ho! Let the portcullis fall."— Lord Marmion turned,—well was his need!— And dashed the rowels in his steed, Like arrow through the archway sprung; The ponderous gate behind him rung: To pass there was such scanty room, The bars, descending, razed his plume.
Sir Walter Scott.
Fight, gentlemen of England! fight, bold yeomen! Draw, archers, draw your arrows to the head! Spur your proud horses hard, and ride in blood! Amaze the welkin with your broken staves! A thousand hearts are great within my bosom! Advance our standards, set upon our foes! Our ancient word of courage—fair Saint George— Inspire us with the spleen of fiery dragons! Upon them! Victory sits on our helms!
And reckon'st thou thyself with spirits of heaven, Hell-doomed, and breath'st defiance here and scorn, Where I reign king? and to enrage the more Thy King and Lord! Back to thy punishment, False fugitive, and to thy speed add wings, Lest with a whip of scorpions I pursue Thy lingering, or with one stroke of this dart Strange horrors seize thee, and pangs unfelt before.
These are Thy glorious works, Parent of Good! Almighty! Thine this universal frame, Thus wondrous fair!—Thyself how wondrous, then! Unspeakable! who sitt'st above these heavens, To us invisible, or dimly seen Midst these, thy lowest works! Yet these declare Thy goodness beyond thought, And power divine!
An hour passed on:—the Turk awoke:— That bright dream was his last;— He woke—to hear his sentries shriek, "To arms!—they come!—the Greek, the Greek!" He woke—to die, 'midst flame and smoke, And shout, and groan, and sabre-stroke, And death-shots felling thick and fast.
Like forest-pines before the blast, Or lightnings from the mountain-cloud; And heard, with voice as trumpet loud, Bozzaris cheer his band; "Strike—till the last armed foe expires, Strike—for your altars and your fires, Strike—for the green graves of your sires, Heaven—and your native land!"
They fought like brave men, long and well, They piled that ground with Moslem slain, They conquered—but Bozzaris fell Bleeding at every vein. His few surviving comrades saw His smile, when rang their proud hurrah, And the red field was won; They saw in death his eyelids close, Calmly, as to a night's repose, Like flowers at set of sun.
The Guttural Quality is used in expressing the strongest degree of contempt, disgust, aversion, revenge, etc. Its characteristic is an explosive resonance in the throat, producing a harsh and grating sound, and its expression can be used in all the various tones, giving to them its own peculiar character.
This quality, is, however, of rare occurrence, and needs less cultivation than the other qualities.
Avaunt! and quit my sight! Let the earth hide thee! Thy bones are marrowless, thy blood is cold: Thou hast no speculation in those eyes Which thou dost glare with! Hence, horrible shadow! Unreal mockery, hence!
How like a fawning publican he looks! I hate him, for he is a Christian: But more, for that, in low simplicity, He lends out money gratis, and brings down The rate of usance here with us in Venice: If I can catch him once upon the hip, I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him. He hates our sacred nation; and he rails, Even there where merchants most do congregate, On me, my bargains, and my well-won thrift, Which he calls interest:—Cursed be my tribe, If I forgive him!
Thou stands't at length before me undisguised— Of all earth's grovelling crew, the most accursed. Thou worm! thou viper!—to thy native earth Return! Away! Thou art too base for man To tread upon! Thou scum! thou reptile!
"And, Douglas, more I tell thee here, Even in thy pitch of pride, Here in thy hold, thy vassals near, (Nay, never look upon your Lord, And lay your hands upon your sword,) I tell thee, thou'rt defied! And if thou said'st I am not peer— To any lord in Scotland here, Lowland or Highland, far or near, Lord Angus, thou has't lied!"
Sir Walter Scott.
The Tremor Quality is used in expressing pity, grief, joy, mirth, etc., and its characteristic is a frequent rise and fall of the voice, and a more delicate exercise of that particular vibration in the throat, known as "gurgling." It is apparent in extreme feebleness, in age, exhaustion, sickness, fatigue, grief, and even joy, and other feelings in which ardour or extreme tenderness predominate.
Pity the sorrows of a poor old man Whose trembling limbs have borne him to your door; Whose days are dwindled to the shortest span;— Oh, give relief, and heaven will bless your store!
The king stood still till the last echo died; then, throwing off the sackcloth from his brow, and laying back the pall from the still features of his child, he bowed his head upon him, and broke forth in the resistless eloquence of woe:—
"Alas! my noble boy! that thou should'st die! Thou, who wert made so beautifully fair! that death should settle in thy glorious eye, and leave his stillness in thy clustering hair! How could he mark thee for the silent tomb, my proud boy, Absalom!
"Cold is thy brow, my son! and I am chill, as to my bosom I have tried to press thee! How was I wont to feel my pulses thrill, like a rich harp- string, yearning to caress thee, and hear thy sweet 'My father!' from those dumb and cold lips, Absolom!
"But death is on thee! I shall hear the gush of music and the voices of the young; and life will pass me in the mantling blush, and the dark tresses to the soft winds flung;—but thou no more, with thy sweet voice, shalt come to meet me, Absalom!"
N. P. Willis.
Noble old man! He did not live to see me, and I—I—did not live to see him. Weighed down by sorrow and disappointment, he died before I was born—six thousand brief summers before I was born.
But let us try to hear it with fortitude. Let us trust that he is better off where he is. Let us take comfort in the thought that his loss is our gain.
Forsake me not thus, Adam, witness heav'n What love sincere, and reverence in my heart I bear thee, and unweeting have offended, Unhappily deceiv'd; thy suppliant I beg, and clasp thy knees; bereave me not, Whereon I live, thy gentle looks, thy aid, Thy counsel in this uttermost distress. My only strength and stay: forlorn of thee, Whither shall I betake me, where subsist? While yet we live, scarce one short hour, perhaps Between us two let there be peace, both joining, As joined in injuries, one enmity, Against a foe by doom express assign'd us, That cruel serpent!
The Aspirate Quality is used in the utterance of secrecy and fear, and discontent generally takes this quality.
Its characteristic is distinctness, therefore exercises on this voice will prove invaluable to the pupil and deep inhalations are indispensable.
The aspirate is usually combined with other qualities and the earnestness and other expressive effects of aspiration may be spread over a whole sentence or it may be restricted to a single word.
The aspirate quality is entitled to notice as a powerful agent in oratorical expression, and the whispered utterances of any well disciplined voice will be heard in the remotest parts of a large theatre, and the voice is greatly strengthened by frequent practice in this quality.
Hark! I hear the bugles of the enemy! They are on their march along the bank of the river! We must retreat instantly, or be cut off from our boats! I see the head of their column already rising over the height! Our only safety is in the screen of this hedge. Keep close to it—be silent—and stoop as you run! For the boats! Forward!
MACBETH. I have done the deed:—Did'st thou not hear a noise?
LADY MACBETH. I heard the owl scream, and the crickets cry. Did not you speak?
LADY M. Now.
MACB. As I descended?
LADY M. Ay.
MACB. Hark! Who lies i' the second chamber?
LADY M. Donaldbain.
MACB. This is a sorry sight. [Showing his hands.
LADY M. A foolish thought, to say a sorry sight.
MACB. There's one did laugh in his sleep, and one cried "Murder!" That they did wake each other; I stood and heard them: But they did say their prayers, and addressed them Again to sleep.
"Pray you tread softly,—that the blind mole may not Hear a footfall: we are now near his cell. Speak softly! All's hushed as midnight yet. See'st thou here? This is the mouth o' the cell: no noise! and enter."
Ah' mercy on my soul! What is that? My old friend's ghost? They say none but wicked folks walk; I wish I were at the bottom of a coal-pit. See; how long and pale his face has grown since his death: he never was handsome; and death has improved him very much the wrong way. Pray do not come near me! I wish'd you very well when you were alive; but I could never abide a dead man, cheek by jowl with me.
FALSETTO QUALITY. The Falsetto Quality is used in expressing terror, pain, anger, affection, etc. Some people speak altogether in falsetto, especially those who are not careful in pronunciation. It is harsh, rude, and grating, and is heard in the whine of peevishness, in the high pitch of mirth, and in the piercing scream of terror.
I was dozing comfortably in my easy-chair, and dreaming of the good times which I hope are coming, when there fell upon my ears a most startling scream. It was the voice of my Maria Ann in mortal agony. The voice came from the kitchen, and to the kitchen I rushed. The idolized form of my Maria Ann was perched upon a chair, and she was flourishing an iron spoon in all directions, and shouting "Shoo-shoo," in a general manner to everything in the room. To my anxious inquiries as to what was the matter, she screamed, "O, Joshua, a mouse, shoo—wha—shoo—a great—shoo— horrid mouse, and it ran right out of the cupboard—shoo—go away—shoo— Joshua—shoo—kill it—oh, my—shoo."
SIR PETER.—Lady Teazle, Lady Teazle, I'll not bear it.
LADY TEAZLE.—Sir Peter, Sir Peter, you may bear it or not, as you please; but I ought to have my own way in everything, and, what's more, I will, too. What though I was educated in the country, I know very well that women of fashion in London are accountable to nobody after they are married.
SIR P.—Very well, ma'am, very well!—so a husband is to have no influence, no authority?
LADY T.—Authority! No, to be sure. If you wanted authority over me, you should have adopted me, and not married me; I am sure you were old enough.
"I've seen mair mice than you, guidman— An' what think ye o' that? Sae haud your tongue an' say nae mair— I tell ye, it was a rat."
Force refers to the strength or power of the voice, and is divided into forms and degrees. Very particular attention should be given to the subject of force, since that expression, which is so very important in elocution, is almost altogether dependent on some one or other modification of this attribute of the voice. It may truly be considered the light and shade of a proper intonation. Force may be applied to sentences or even to single words, for the purpose of energetic expression.
The degrees of force are Gentle, Moderate, and Heavy.
The Gentle Force is used in expressing tenderness, love, secrecy, caution, etc., and the lungs must be kept thoroughly inflated, especially in reverberating sounds.
"Heard you that strain of music light, Borne gently on the breeze of night,— So soft and low as scarce to seem More than the magic of a dream? Morpheus caught the liquid swell,— Its echo broke his drowsy spell. Hark! now it rises sweetly clear, Prolonged upon the raptured ear;— Sinking now, the quivering note Seems scarcely on the air to float; It falls—'tis mute,—nor swells again;— Oh! what wert thou, melodious strain?"
Mrs. J. H. Abbot.
Was it the chime of a tiny bell, That came so sweet to my dreaming ear, Like the silvery tones of a fairy's shell, That he winds on the beach so mellow and clear, When the winds and the waves lie together asleep, And the moon and the fairy are watching the deep, She dispensing her silvery light, And he his notes as silvery quite, While the boatman listens and ships his oar, To catch the music that comes from the shore?— Hark! the notes on my ear that play, Are set to words: as they float, they say, "Passing away! passing away!"
3. Hear the sledges with the bells—silver bells! What a world of merriment their melody foretells! How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle in the icy air of night! While the stars that oversprinkle all the heavens, seem to twinkle With a crystalline delight— Keeping time, time, time, in a sort of Runic rhyme, To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells From the bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, bells,— From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.
E. A. Poe.
The Moderate Force is used in ordinary conversation and unemotional utterances.
She stood before her father's gorgeous tent To listen for his coming. Her loose hair Was resting on her shoulders like a cloud Floating around a statue, and the wind, Just swaying her light robe, reveal'd a shape Praxiteles might worship. She had clasp'd Her hands upon her bosom, and had raised Her beautiful dark Jewish eyes to heaven, Till the long lashes lay upon her brow. Her lips were slightly parted, like the cleft Of a pomegranate blossom; and her neck, Just where the cheek was melting to its curve, With the unearthly beauty sometimes there, Was shaded, as if light had fallen off, Its surface was so polish'd. She was stilling Her light, quick breath, to hear; and the white rose Scarce moved upon her bosom, as it swell'd, Like nothing but a lovely wave of light To meet the arching of her queenly neck. Her countenance was radiant with love, She looked like one to die for it—a being Whose whole existence was the pouring out Of rich and deep affections.
N. P. Willis.
Oh! sing unto the Lord a new song, for He hath done marvellous things: His right hand and His holy arm hath gotten Him the victory. Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. Sing unto the Lord with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm.
POR. The quality of mercy is not strain'd; It droppeth, as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath: it is twice bless'd; It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes; 'Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes The throned monarch better than his crown; His sceptre shows the force of temporal power, The attribute to awe and majesty, Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings: But mercy is above this sceptred sway, It is enthroned in the hearts of kings, It is an attribute to God himself; And earthly power doth then show likest God's, When mercy seasons justice.
Heavy Force, is used in giving the language of command, exultation, denunciation, defiance, etc., and in using this force the lungs must be inflated to their utmost capacity. In giving the accompanying examples the student must exert every energy of the body and mind, and by earnest practice he will increase the power and flexibility of his voice to a surprising extent, and also acquire a distinctness of tone and earnestness of manner, that will serve him well, as a public speaker.
Banished from Rome! What's banished, but set free From daily contact with the things I loathe? "Tried and convicted traitor!" Who says this? Who'll prove it, at his peril, on my head?
Banished! I thank you for't! It breaks my chain! I held some slack allegiance till this hour— But now, my sword's my own. Smile on, my lords! I scorn to count what feelings, withered hopes, Strong provocations, bitter, burning wrongs, I have within my heart's hot cells shut up, To leave you in your lazy dignities! But here I stand and scoff you! here I fling Hatred and full defiance in your face! Your Consul's merciful—for this, all thanks: He dares not touch a hair of Cataline!
"Traitor!" I go—but I return. This—trial? Here I devote your senate! I've had wrongs To stir a fever in the blood of age, Or make the infant's sinews strong as steel! This day's the birth of sorrow! This hour's work Will breed proscriptions! Look to your hearths, my lords! For there henceforth shall sit, for household gods, Shapes hot from Tartarus!—all shames and crimes!— Wan treachery, with his thirsty dagger drawn; Suspicion, poisoning his brother's cup; Naked rebellion, with the torch and axe, Making his wild sport of your blazing thrones; Till anarchy comes down on you like night, And massacre seals Rome's eternal grave!
But Douglas round him drew his cloak, Folded his arms, and thus he spoke: "My manors, halls, and bowers, shall still Be open, at my sovereign's will, To each one whom he lists, howe'er Unmeet to be the owner's peer. My castles are my king's alone, From turret to foundation stone;— The hand of Douglas is his own, And never shall in friendly grasp, The hand of such as Marmion clasp!" Burned Marmion's swarthy cheek like fire, And shook his very frame for ire— And "This to me!" he said— "And 'twere not for thy hoary beard, Such hand as Marmion's had not spared To cleave the Douglas' head! And first I tell thee, haughty peer, He who does England's message here, Although the meanest in her state, May well, proud Angus, be thy mate!"
Sir Walter Scott.
What man dare, I dare! Approach thou like the rugged Russian bear, The armed rhinoceros, or the Hyrcan tiger, Take any shape but that, and my firm nerves Shall never tremble: or, be alive again, And dare me to the desert with thy sword! Hence, horrible shadow! Unreal mockery, hence!
VARIATIONS OF FORCE OR STRESS.
These are known as the Radical, Median, Vanishing, Compound, and Thorough stress.
This is used in expressing lively description, haste, fear, command, etc., and consists of an abrupt and forcible utterance, usually more or less explosive, and falls on the first part of a sound or upon the opening of a vowel, and its use contributes much to distinct pronounciation. It is not common to give a strong, full and clear radical stress, yet this abrupt function is highly important in elocution, and when properly used in public reading or on the stage "will startle even stupor into attention." It is this tone that prompts children to obedience, and makes animals submissive to their masters.
Out with you!—and he went out.
There's a dance of leaves in that aspen bower, There's a titter of winds in that beechen tree, There's a smile on the fruit, and a smile on the flower, And a laugh from the brook that runs to the sea!
But hark! that heavy sound breaks in once more, As if the clouds its echo would repeat; And nearer, clearer, deadlier than before! Arm! arm! it is! it is! the cannon's opening roar!
Ah! then and there was hurrying to and fro, And gathering tears and tremblings of distress, And cheeks all pale, which but an hour ago Blush'd at the praise of their own loveliness; And there were sudden partings, such as press The life from out young hearts, and choking sighs Which ne'er might be repeated! Who could guess If ever more should meet those mutual eyes, Since upon night so sweet such awful morn could rise?
The Median Stress is used in the expression of grandeur, sublimity, reverence, etc., and smoothness and dignity are its characteristics, for it gives emphasis without abruptness or violence. In using this stress, there is a gradual increase and swell in the middle of a sound, and a subsequent gradual decrease—thus giving a greater intensity of voice and dignity of expression than Radical Stress.
Roll on, thou dark and deep blue ocean, roll.
We praise thee, O God, we acknowledge thee to be the Lord.
Father! Thy hand Hath reared these venerable columns; Thou Didst weave this verdant roof; Thou didst look down Upon the naked earth; and, forthwith, rose All these fair ranks of trees. They in Thy sun Budded, and shook their green leaves in Thy breeze, And shot towards heaven. The century-living crow, Whose birth was in their tops, grew old and died Among their branches, till, at last, they stood, As now they stand, massy, and tall, and dark,— Fit shrine for humble worshipper to hold Communion with his Maker!
How are the mighty fallen! Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives; and in their death they were not divided; they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions. Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet, with other delights; who put on ornaments of gold upon your apparel! How are the mighty fallen in the midst of battle! O Jonathan! thou wast slain in thine high places! How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished!
THE VANISHING STRESS.
The Vanishing Stress occurs as its name implies at the end or closing of a sound or vowel, and is used in expressing disgust, complaint, fretfulness, ardour, surprise, etc. The sound is guttural, and sometimes terminates in sobbing or hic-cough. It has less dignity and grace than the gradual swell of the Median Stress.
Do you hear the rain, Mr. Caudle? I say, do you hear it? But I don't care; I'll go to mother's to-morrow; I will; and what's more I'll walk every step of the way; and you know that will give me my death. Don't call me a foolish woman; 'tis you that's the foolish man. You know I can't wear clogs; and, with no umbrella, the wet's sure to give me a cold: it always does: but what do you care for that? Nothing at all. I may be laid up for what you care, as I dare say I shall; and a pretty doctor's bill there'll be. I hope there will. It will teach you to lend your umbrellas again. I shouldn't wonder if I caught my death: yes, and that's what you lent the umbrella for.
CAS. Brutus, bay not me! I'll not endure it. You forget yourself, To hedge me in: I am a soldier, I, Older in practice, abler than yourself To make conditions.
BRU. Go to! you are not, Cassius.
CAS. I am.
BRU. I say you are not!
CAS. Urge me no more: I shall forget myself: Have mind upon your health; tempt me no farther!
BRU. You say you are a better soldier: Let it appear so; make your vaunting true, And it shall please me well. For mine own part, I shall be glad to learn of noble men.
CAS. You wrong me every way, you wrong me, Brutus. I said, an elder soldier, not a better. Did I say better?
BRU. If you did, I care not!
CAS. When Caesar lived, he durst not thus have moved me!
BRU. Peace, peace! you durst not so have tempted him?
CAS. I durst not?
CAS. What! durst not tempt him?
BRU. For your life, you durst not!
CAS. Do not presume too much upon my love; I may do that I shall be sorry for.
Compound Stress is the natural mode of expressing surprise, and also— though not so frequently—of sarcasm, contempt, mockery, etc. In using this stress the voice, with more or less explosive force, touches strongly and distinctly on both the opening and closing points of a sound or vowel, and passes slightly and almost imperceptibly over the middle part.
Gone to be married! Gone to swear a peace! False blood to false blood joined! Gone to be friends! Shall Lewis have Blanche, and Blanche these provinces? It is not so; thou hast misspoke, misheard,— Be well advised, tell o'er thy tale again: It can not be;—thou dost but say 'tis so.
JULIA. Why! do you think I'll work?
DUKE. I think 'twill happen, wife.
JULIA. What, rub and scrub your noble palace clean?
DUKE. Those taper fingers will do it daintily.
JULIA. And dress your victuals (if there be any)? O, I shall go mad.
Thorough Stress is used in expressing command, denunciation, bravado, braggadocio, etc. This stress has a degree of force a little stronger than the compound stress, and it is produced by a continuation of the full volume of the voice throughout the whole extent of the sentence. When the time is short the tone resembles that of uncouth rustic coarseness.
These abominable principles, and this more abominable avowal of them, demand the most decisive indignation.
Now strike the golden lyre again; A louder yet, and yet a louder strain': Break his bands of sleep asunder, And rouse him, like a rattling peal of thunder'. Hark! hark! the horrid sound Has raised up his head, As awaked from the dead; And amazed he stares around. Revenge! revenge.
The progress of pitch through the interval of a half tone. It is called also the Chromatic melody, because it expresses pity, grief, remorse, etc. It may colour a single word, or be continued through an entire passage or selection.
1. The New Year comes to-night, mamma, "I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord"—tell poor papa—"my soul to keep, If I"—how cold it seems, how dark, kiss me, I cannot see,— The New Year comes to-night, mamma, the old year dies with me.
The Semitone is very delicate, and must be produced by the nature of the emotion. An excess, when the mood or language does not warrant it, turns pathos into burlesque, and the scale may very easily be turned from the sublime to the ridiculous. Strength, flexibility, and melody of voice are of little worth if the judgment and taste are defective.
Is a sameness of the voice, indicating solemnity, power, reverence, and dread. It is a near approach to one continuous tone of voice, but must not be confounded with monotony. Much of the reading we hear is monotonous in the extreme, while the judicious use of the monotone would sufficiently vary it, to render it attractive. Monotone is of great importance in reading the Bible, the beautiful words of the Church Service, and in prayer, and the haste with which these solemn words are often slurred over, is much to be deplored. Monotone is usually accompanied by slow time, and it is, in fact, a low Orotund.
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth His handy work. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.
These, as they change, Almighty Father! these Are but the varied God. The rolling year Is full of Thee.— And oft Thy voice in dreadful thunder speaks; And oft at dawn, deep noon, or falling eve, By brooks and groves, in hollow-whispering gales. In Winter, awful Thou! with clouds and storms Around Thee thrown, tempest o'er tempest rolled— Majestic darkness! On the whirlwind's wing, Riding sublime, Thou bidd'st the world adore, And humblest Nature, with Thy northern blast.
Now o'er the one-half world Nature seems dead; and wicked dreams abuse The curtain'd sleep; now witchcraft celebrates Pale Hecate's off'rings; and wither'd murder, Alarum'd by his sentinel, the wolf, Whose howl's his watch,—thus with his stealthy pace, With Tarquin's ravishing strides, towards his design Moves like a ghost.—Thou sure and firm-set earth! Hear not my, steps, which way they walk; for fear The very stones prate of my whereabout, And take the present horror for the time Which now suits with it.
The varieties of movement in utterance are expressed by Time, which is the measure of the duration of the sounds heard in speech, and it is divided into three general divisions; viz.—Moderate, Quick and Slow time, these being sub-divided by the reader, according to the predominate feeling which the subject seems to require.
Time and Stress, properly combined and marked, possesses two essential elementary conditions of agreeable discourse, upon which other excellences may be engrafted. If either be feebly marked, other beauties will not redeem it. A well-marked stress, and a graceful extension of time, are essential to agreeable speech, and give brilliancy and smoothness to it.
1. Moderate is the rate used in narrative or conversational style.
O bright, beautiful, health-inspiring, heart-gladdening water! Every where around us dwelleth thy meek presence—twin-angel sister of all that is good and precious here; in the wild forest, on the grassy plain, slumbering in the bosom of the lonely mountain, sailing with viewless wings through the humid air, floating over us in curtains of more than regal splendour—home of the healing angel, when his wings bend to the woes of this fallen world.
But thou, O Hope! with eyes so fair! What was thy delighted measure? Still it whispered promised pleasure, And bade the lovely scenes at distance hail. Still would her touch the strain prolong; And, from the rocks, the woods, the vale, She called on Echo still through all her song; And, where her sweetest theme she chose, A soft, responsive voice, was heard at every close; And Hope enchanted smiled, and waved her golden hair.
Tell him, for years I never nursed a thought That was not his; that on his wandering way, Daily and nightly, poured a mourner's prayers. Tell him ev'n now that I would rather share His lowliest lot,—walk by his side, an outcast,— Work for him, beg with him,—live upon the light Of one kind smile from him, than wear the crown The Bourbon lost.
Sir E. Bulwer Lytton.
Quick Time is used in haste, joy, humour, also in anger, and in exciting scenes of any kind.
Look up! look up, Pauline! for I can bear Thine eyes! the stain is blotted from my name, I have redeemed mine honour. I can call On France to sanction thy divine forgiveness. Oh, joy! oh rapture! by the midnight watchfires Thus have I seen thee! thus foretold this hour! And 'midst the roar of battle, thus have heard The beating of thy heart against my own!
Sir E. Bulwer Lytton.
Lord Marmion turned,—well was his need!— And dashed the rowels in his steed, Like arrow through the archway sprung; The ponderous gate behind him rung: To pass there was such scanty room, The bars, descending, razed his plume.
The steed along the drawbridge flies, Just as it trembled on the rise; Not lighter does the swallow skim Along the smooth lake's level brim; And when Lord Marmion reached his band, He halts, and turns with clenched hand, And shout of loud defiance pours, And shook his gauntlet at the towers.
Sir Walter Scott.
They bound me on, that menial throng, Upon his back with many a thong; Then loosed him with a sudden lash— Away!—away!—and on we dash! Torrents less rapid and less rash.
Away!—away!—my breath was gone, I saw not where he hurried on: 'Twas scarcely yet the break of day, And on he foamed—away!—away! The last of human sounds which rose, As I was darted from my foes, Was the wild shout of savage laughter, Which on the wind came roaring after A moment from that rabble rout:
Slow Time is used in all subjects of a serious, deliberate, and dignified character, in solemnity, and grandeur, reverential awe, earnest prayer, denunciation, and in all the deeper emotions of the soul.
Is this a dagger which I see before me, The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee:— I have thee not!—and yet I see thee still! Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible To feeling, as to sight? or art thou but A dagger of the mind—a false creation, Proceeding from a heat-oppressed brain? I see thee yet, in form as palpable As this which now I draw! Thou marshll'st me the way that I was going! And such an instrument I was to use. Mine eyes are made the fools o' the other senses, Or else worth all the rest. I see thee still! And on thy blade and dudgeon, gouts of blood!
Alon. (c.) For the last time, I have beheld the shadowed ocean close upon the light. For the last time, through my cleft dungeon's roof, I now behold the quivering lustre of the stars. For the last time, O Sun! (and soon the hour) I shall behold thy rising, and thy level beams melting the pale mists of morn to glittering dew-drops. Then comes my death, and in the morning of my day, I fall, which—No, Alonzo, date not the life which thou hast run by the mean reck'ning of the hours and days, which thou hast breathed: a life spent worthily should be measured by a nobler line; by deeds, not years. Then would'st thou murmur not, but bless the Providence, which in so short a span, made thee the instrument of wide and spreading blessings, to the helpless and oppressed! Though sinking in decrepit age, he prematurely falls, whose memory records no benefit conferred by him on man. They only have lived long, who have lived virtuously.
O thou that rollest above, round as the shield of my fathers! whence are thy beams, O sun! thy everlasting light? Thou comest forth in thy awful beauty: the stars hide themselves in the sky; the moon, cold and pale, sinks in the western wave. But thou thyself movest alone: who can be a companion of thy course? The oaks of the mountains fall; the mountains themselves decay with years; the ocean shrinks and grows again; the moon herself is lost in the heavens; but thou art forever the same, rejoicing in the brightness of thy course. When the world is dark with tempests, when thunders roll and lightnings fly, thou lookest in thy beauty from the clouds, and laughest at the storm. But to Ossian thou lookest in vain; for he beholds thy beams no more; whether thy yellow hair floats on the eastern clouds or thou tremblest at the gates of the west. But thou art, perhaps, like me,—for a season; thy years will have an end. Thou wilt sleep in thy clouds, careless of the voice of the morning.
Pitch is the degree of elevation or depression of sound. On the proper pitching of the voice depends much of the ease of the speaker, and upon the modulation of the voice depends that variety which is so pleasing and so necessary to relieve the ear, but no definite rules can be given for the regulation of the pitch,—the nature of the sentiment and discriminating taste must determine the proper key note of delivery. He who shouts at the top of his voice is almost sure to break it, and there is no sublimity in shouting, while he who mutters below the proper key note soon wearies himself, becomes inaudible, and oppresses his hearers. Pitch is distinguished as Middle, High, and Low.
The Middle Pitch is used in conversational language, and is the note that predominates in good reading and speaking.
1 A free, wild spirit unto thee is given, Bright minstrel of the blue celestial dome! For thou wilt wander to yon upper heaven, And bathe thy plumage in the sunbeam's home; And, soaring upward, from thy dizzy height, On free and fearless wing, be lost to human sight.
2 Eternal blessings crown my earliest friend, And round his dwelling guardian saints attend! Blest be that spot, where cheerful guests retire To pause from toil, and trim their evening fire: Blest that abode, where want and pain repair, And every stranger finds a ready chair: Blest be those feasts with simple plenty crowned, Where all the ruddy family around Laugh at the jests or pranks that never fail, Or sigh with pity at some mournful tale; Or press the bashful stranger to his food, And learn the luxury of doing good.
High Pitch indicates command, joy, grief, astonishment, etc. To obtain a good control of the voice in a high pitch, practice frequently and energetically with the greatest force and in the highest key you can command. Do not forget to drop the jaw, so as to keep the mouth and throat well open, and be sure to thoroughly inflate the lungs at every sentence, and if the force requires it even on words. Do not allow the voice to break into an impure tone of any kind, but stop at once, rest for a short time and then begin again. The following examples are excellent for increasing the compass and flexibility of the voice, and the pupil must practice them frequently and with sustained force.
1. "The game's afoot, Follow your spirit, and upon this charge Cry 'God for Harry, England and Saint George!'"
Ring! Ring!! Ring!!!
MELNOTTE. Look you our bond is over. Proud conquerors that we are, we have won the victory over a simple girl—compromised her honour—embittered her life—blasted in their very blossoms, all the flowers of her youth. This is your triumph,—it is my shame! Enjoy that triumph, but not in my sight. I was her betrayer—I am, her protector! Cross but her path— one word of scorn, one look of insult—nay, but one quiver of that mocking lip, and I will teach thee that bitter word thou hast graven eternally in this heart—Repentance!
BEAUSEANT. His Highness is most grandiloquent.
MELNOTTE. Highness me no more! Beware! Remorse has made me a new being. Away with you! There is danger in me. Away!
Sir E. Bulwer Lytton.
4. Up, comrades, up!—in Rokeby's halls, Ne'er be it said our courage falls!
Sir Walter Scott.
To arms! To arms!! a thousand voices cried.
6. The combat deepens! On ye brave! Who rush to glory or the grave.
Charcoal! Charcoal! Charcoal!
Hurrah! Hurrah!! Hurrah!!!
Low Pitch is used to express grave, grand, solemn, and reverential feelings, and is very effective in reading.
To obtain a good control of the voice in Low Pitch, first practice the examples given under the High Pitch, until you are fatigued, then after resting the lungs and vocal organs, practice the lowest and deepest tone you can command, giving, however, a full clear and resonant sound.
Seems, Madam! Nay, it is; I know not 'seems,' 'Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother, Nor customary suits of solemn black, Nor windy suspiration of forced breath; No, nor the fruitful river in the eye, Nor the dejected 'haviour of the visage, Together with all forms, moods, shapes of grief, That can denote me truly: these indeed, seem, For they are actions that a man might play; But I have that within that passes show; These but the trappings and the suits of woe.
Then the earth shook and trembled: the foundations of Heaven moved and shook, because he was wroth. There went up a smoke out of his nostrils; and fire out his mouth devoured; coals were kindled by it. He bowed the heavens, also, and came down; and darkness was under his feet; and he rode upon a cherub, and did fly; and he was seen upon the wings of the wind; and he made darkness pavilions round about him, dark waters, and thick clouds of the skies. The Lord thundered from heaven, and the Most High uttered his voice; and he sent out arrows and scattered them; lightning and discomfited them. And the channels of the sea appeared; the foundations of the world were discovered at the rebuking of the Lord, at the blast of the breath of his nostrils.
I am thy father's spirit; Doomed for a certain term to walk the night, And for the day confined to fast in fires, Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature, Are burned and purged away.
Unchanged through time's all-devastating flight; Thou only God! There is no God beside! Being above all beings! Three-in-One! Whom none can comprehend, and none explore; Who fill'st existence with Thyself alone; Embracing all—supporting—ruling o'er— Being whom we call God—and know no more!
Transition signifies a sudden change in the force, quality, movement, or pitch of the voice, as from a subdued to a very high tone, from a slow to a rapid rate of utterance, and also the reverse of these movements. It also refers to changes in the style of delivery, as from a persuasive to the declamatory, etc., and to the expression of passion or emotion, as from grief to joy, from fear to courage, etc.
Transition thus forms a very important part in vocal culture, and public speakers often ask the question: "How can I modulate my voice?" for they are well aware that nothing relieves the ear more agreeably than a well regulated transition, for who has not been bored by listening to a speaker whose voice throughout has been pitched in one monotonous tone, either too high or too low? A change of delivery is also necessary when a new train of thought is introduced, for pitch, tone, quality, time, and force should all be changed in conformity with the changes of sentiment. No definite rules can be laid down in relation to the proper management of the voice in transition which would be intelligible without the living teacher to exemplify them. Constant practice must be persevered in to enable the pupil to make the necessary transitions with skill and ease.
[This selection demands the entire range of the speaking voice, in pitch— all qualities, and varied force.]