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After thefe fundamental attentions to the pitch and management of the voice, to distinct articulation, and to a proper degree of flow nefs of fpeech, what a public fpeaker muft, in the fourth place, ftudy, is Propriety of Pronunciation; or the giving to every word, which he utters, that found, which the moft polite ufage of the language appropriates to it; in oppofition to broad, vulgar, or provincial pronunciation. This is requifite both for Speaking intelligibly, and for fpeaking with grace or beauty. Inftructions concerning this article, can be given by the living voice only. But there is one obfervation, which it may not be improper here to make. In the English language, every word which confifts of more fyllables than one, has one accented fyllable. The accent refts fometimes on the vowel, sometimes on the confonant. Seldom, or never, is there more than one accented fyllable in any English word, however long; and the genius of the language requires the voice to mark that fyllable by a ftronger percuffion, and to pass more flightly over the reft. Now, after we have learned the proper feats of thefe accents, it is an important rule, to give every word juft the fame accent in public fpeaking, as in common difcourfe. Many perfons crr in this refpect. When they speak in public, and with folemnity, they pronounce the fyllables in a different manner from what they do at other times. They dwell upon them, and protract them; they multiply accents on
the fame word; from a mistaken notion, that it gives gravity and force to their difcourfe, and adds to the pomp of public declamation. Whereas, this is one of the greateft faults that can be committed in pronunciation; it makes what is called a theatrical or mouthing manner; and gives an artificial affected air to fpecch, which detracts greatly both from its agreeablenefs, and its impreffion.
I proceed to treat next of thofe higher parts of Delivery by ftudying which, a speaker has fomething farther in view than merely to render himself intelligible, and feeks to give grace and force to what he utters. Thefe may be comprised under four heads, Emphasis, Paufes, Tones, and Geftures. Let me only premife in general, to what I am to fay concerning them, that attention to these articles of Delivery, is by no means to be confined, as fome might be apt to imagine, to the more elaborate and pathetic parts of a difcourfe; there is, perhaps, as great attention requifite, and as much fkill displayed, in adapting emphases, pauses, tones, and geftures, properly, to calm and plain speaking: and the effect of a juft and graceful delivery will, in every part of a fubject, be found of high importance for commanding attention, and enforcing what is fpoken.
First, let us confider Emphafis; by this is meant a ftronger and fuller found of voice, by which we diftinguish the accented fyllable of fome word, on which we defign to lay particular ftrefs, and to show how it affects the rest of the fentence. Sometimes the emphatic word must be diftinguished by a particular tone of voice, as well as by a stronger accent. On the right management of the emphafis, depends the whole life and spirit of every difcourfe. If no emphafis be placed on any words, not only is difcourfe rendered heavy
and lifeless, but the meaning left often ambi- | with exact propriety, is a conftant exercife of guous. If the emphasis be placed wrong, we good fenfe and attention. It is far from bepervert and confound the meaning wholly.ing an inconfiderable attainment. It is one To give a common inftance; fuch a fimple of the greateft trials of a true and just taste ; queftion as this: "Do you ride to town to- and must arife from feeling delicately ourday" is capable of no fewer than four dif- felves, and from judging accurately of what ferent acceptations, according as the emphafis is fitteft to ftrike the feelings of others. is differently placed on the words. If it be There is as great a difference between a chappronounced thus: Do you ride to town to- ter of the Bible, or any other piece of plain day? the answer may naturally be, No; I profe, read by one who places the feveral emfend my fervant in my ftead. If thus; Do phafes every where with taste and judgment, you ride to town to-day? Anfwer, No; I and by one who neglects or mistakes them, as intend to walk. Do you ride to town to- there is between the fame tune played by the day? No; I ride out into the fields. Do moft masterly hand, or by the most bungling you ride to town to-day? No; but I fhall to- performer. morrow. In like manner, in folemn dif- In all prepared difcourfes, it would be of course, the whole force and beauty of an ex- great ufe, if they were read over or rehearsed preffion often depend on the accented word; in private, with this particular view, to search and we may prefent to the hearers quite differ- for the proper emphafes before they were proent views of the fame fentiment, by placing nounced in public; marking, at the fame the emphafis differently. In the following time, with a pen, the emphatical words in words of our Saviour, obferve in what differ- every fentence, or at least the most weighty ent lights the thought is placed, according as and affecting parts of the difcourfe, and fixing the words are pronounced: "Judas, be- them well in memory. Were this attention trayeft thou the Son of Man with a kifs ?" oftener bestowed, were this part of pronunciBetrayeft thou-makes the reproach turn, onation ftudied with more exactness, and not the infany of treachery.-Betrayeft tbox-left to the moment of delivery, as is commonmakes it reft, upon Judas's connection with ly done, public fpeakers would find their care his mafter. Betrayeft thou the Son of Man-abundantly repaid, by the remarkable effects refts it, upon our Saviour's perfonal character and eminence. Betrayeft thou the Son of Man with a kiss? turns it upon his proftituting the fignal of peace and friendship, to the purpofe of a mark of deftruction.
In order to acquire the proper management of the emphafs, the great rule, and indeed the only rule poffible to be given, is, that the speaker study to attain a juft conception of the force and fpirit of those sentiments which he is to pronounce. For to lay the emphafis
which it would produce upon their audience.
of a book with italic characters, which, as to the effect, is juft the fame with using no fuch diftinctions at all.
Next to emphafis, the Paufes in fpeaking demand attention. Thefe are of two kinds; firft, emphatical paufes; and next, fuch as mark the diftinctions of fenfe. An empharical paufe is made, after fomething has been faid of peculiar moment, and on which we want to fix the hearer's attention. Sometimes, before fuch a thing is faid, we usher it in with a paufe of this nature. Such paufes have the fame effect as a strong emphafes, and are fubject to the fame rules; efpecially to the caution juft now given, of not repeating them too frequently. For, as they excite uncommon attention, and of courfe raife expectation, if the importance of the matter be not fully answerable to fuch expectation, they, occafion difappointment and difguft.
the voice is allowed to fall. It may easily be gathered at the intervals of the period, when the voice is only fufpended for a moment; and, by this management, one may have always a fufficient ftock for carrying on the longeft fentence, without improper interrup tions.
If any one, in public fpeaking, fhall have formed to himself a certain melody or tune, which requires reft and paufes of its own, diftinct from those of the fenfe, he has, undoubtedly, contracted one of the worft habits into which a public fpeaker can fall. It is the fenfe which thould always rule the paufes of the voice; for wherever there is any fenfible fufpenfion of the voice, the hearer is always led to expect fomething correfponding in the meaning. Paufes in public difcourfe, must be formed upon the manner in which we utter ourselves in ordinary, fenfible converfaBut the most frequent and the principal ufe tion; and not upon the fliff, artificial manner of paufes, is to mark the divifions of the fenfe, which we acquire from reading books accordand at the fame time to allow the fpeaker to ing to the common punctuation. The genedraw his breath: and the proper and grace-ral run of punctuation is very arbitrary; offul adjuftment of fuch paufes is one of the ten capricious and falfe; and dictates an unimoft nice and difficult articles in delivery.formity of tone in the pauses, which is exIn all public fpeaking, the management of the breath requires a good deal of care, fo as not to be obliged to divide words from one another, which have fo intimate a connection, that they ought to be pronounced with the fame breath, and without the leaft feparation. Many a fentence is miferably mangled, and the force of the emphafis totally loft, by divifions being made in the wrong place. To avoid this, every one, while he is fpeaking, fhould be very careful to provide a full fupply of breath for what he is to utter. It is a great mistake toimagine, that the breath muft be drawn only at the end of a period, when
tremely difagreeable; for we are to observe, that to render paufes graceful and expreffive, they must not only be made in the right place, but also be accompanied with a proper tone of voice, by which the nature of thefe paufes is intimated, much more than by the length of them, which can never be exactly measured. Sometimes it is only a flight and simple fufpenfion of voice that is proper; fometimes a degree of cadence in the voice is required; and fometimes that peculiar tone and cadence,
which denotes the fentence finithed.
us to speak when engaged in real and earnest (the line, where it makes no paufe in the meandifcourfe with others.
ing, ought to be marked, not by fuch a tone as is ufed in finishing a sentence, but without either letting the voice fall or elevating it, iɛ fhould be marked only by fuch a flight fufpenfion of found, as may diftinguish the paffage from one line to another, without injuring the meaning.
The other kind of musical paufe, is that which falls fomewhere about the middle of the verfe, and divides it into two hemiftichs; a paufe, not fo great as that which belongs to the close of the line, but still sensible to an ordinary ear. This, which is called the cæfural paufe, in the French heroic verfe falls uniformly in the middle of the line, in the Englifh, it may fall after the 4th, 5th, 6th, or 7th fyllables in the line, and no other. Where the verse is so constructed that this cæfural paufe coincides with the flighteft paufe or divifion in the fenfe, the lines can be read eafily; as in the two first verses of Mr. Pope's Meffiah,
When we are reading or reciting verfe, there is a peculiar difficulty in making the paufes juftly. The difficulty arifes from the melody of verfe, which dietates to the car paufes or refts of its own; and to adjust and compound thefe properly with the paufes of the fenfe, fo as neither to hurt the ear, nor offend the understanding, is fo very nice a matter, that it is no wonder we fo feldom meet with good readers of poetry. There are two kinds of pauses that belong to the mufic of verfe; one is, the paufe at the end of the line; and the other, the cæfural paufe in the middle of it. With regard to the pause at the end of the line, which marks that ftrain or verfe to be finished, rhyme renders this always fenfible, and in fome measure compels us to obferve it in our own pronunciation. In blank verfe, where there is a greater liberty permitted of running the lines into one another, fometimes without any fufpenfion in the fenfe, it has been made a question, Whether, in reading fuch verfe with propriety, any regarde nymphs of Solyma! begin the fong; The heavenly themes, fublimer trains belong; at all thould be paid to the clofe of a line? On the ftage, where the appearance of fpeak- But if it fhall happen that words, which have ing in verfe fhould always be avoided, there fuch a strict and intimate connection, as not can, I think, be no doubt, that the clofe of to bear even a momentary separation, are difuch lines, as make no paufe in the fenfe,vided from one another by this cafural paufe, should not be rendered perceptible to the car. we then feel a fort of ftruggle between the But on other occafions, this were improper: fenfe and the found, which renders it difficult for what is the ufe of melody, or for what end to read fuch lines gracefully. The rule of has the poet compofed in verfe, if, in reading proper pronunciation in fuch cafes is, to rehis lines, we fupprefs his numbers; and de-gard only the paufe which the fenfe forms; grade them, by our pronunciation, into mere profe? We ought, therefore, certainly to read blank verfe fo as to make every line fenfible to the car. At the fame time, in doing fo, every appearance of fing-fong and tone muft be carefully guarded against. The clofe of
and to read the line accordingly. The neglect of the cæfural paufe may make the line found fomewhat unharmoniously; but the effect would be much worfe, if the fenfe were facrificed to the found. For instance, in the following line of Milton,
-What in me is dark, Illumine; what is low, raise and support.
The fenfe clearly dictates the paufe after "illumine," at the end of the third fyllable, which, in reading, ought to be made accordingly; though if the melody only were to be regarded, "illumine" fhould be connected with what follows, and the paufe not made till the 4th or 6th fyllable. So, in the following line of Mr. Pope's (Epistle to Dr. ArbuthLot):
I fit, with fad civility I read:
into his hearers his own fentiments and emotions; which he can never be fuccefsful in doing, unless he utters them in such a manner as to convince the hearers that he feels therefore, deferves to be attentively ftudied them. The proper expreffion of tones, by every one who would be a fuccefsful
tions which can be given for this purpose is, The greatest and moft material inftructo form the tones of public fpeaking upon the tones of fenfible and animated converfation. We may observe, that every man, when he is much in earnest in common discourse, when he is engaged in fpeaking on fome subject The ear plainly points out the cæfural pause which interefts him nearly, has an eloquent as failing after "fad," the 4th fyllable. But or perfuafive tone and manner. What is the it would be very bad reading to make any reafon of our being often fo frigid and unperpaufe there, fo as to feparate "fad" and "ci-fuafive in public difcourfe, but our departing vility." The fenfe admits of no other paufe from the natural tone of speaking, and delithan after the fecond fyllable "fit," which vering ourselves in an affected artificial mantherefore must be the only pause made in the reading.
by Emotions, all exertions of the mind in ar"ranging, combining, and separating its ideas; "as well as all the effects produced on the mind
itfelf by thofe ideas, from the more violent "agitation of the paffions, to the calmer feelings "produced by the operation of the intellect and
**All that paffes in the mind of man may be I proceed to treat next of Tones in pro-" reduced to two claffes, which I call Ideas, and nunciation, which are different both from em- "Emotions. By Ideas, I mean all thoughts phafis and paufes; confifting in the modu-"which rife and pafs in fucceflion in the mind: lation of the voice, the notes or variations of found which we employ in public fpeaking. How much of the propriety, the force, and grace of difcourfe, muft depend on thefe, will appear from this fingle confideration; that to almost every fentiment we utter, more efpecially to every ftrong emotion, nature hath adapted fome peculiar tone of voice; infomuch, that he who should tell another that he was very angry, or much grieved, in a tone which did not fuit fuch emotions, inftead of being believed, would be laughed at. Sympathy is one of the moft powerful principles by which perfuafive difcourfe works its effect. The fpeaker endeavours to transfuse
the fancy. In fhort, thought is the object of "the one, internal feeling of the other. That "which ferves to exprefs the former, I call the « Language of Ideas; and the latter, the Lan"guage of Emotions. Words are the figns of
the one, tones of the other. Without the use "of these two forts of language, it is impoffible "to communicate through the ear all that palles " in the mind of man,"
SHERIDAN on the Art of Reading.