Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

To know my deed! twere best not know niyself. Wake Duncan with thy knocking! Ah! would thou could'st!

Long quantity, and a circumflex passing through the semitone, express despair,

I am undone, undone forever,

O Desdemona! Desdemona ! dead! dead ! oh! oh!

But if this passion be mingled with rage, as it often is, it is expressed by a quick movement of the voice.

Then live, base girl, and see thy Father die.
Live till scorn shall point at thee, and mocking, cry,
Behold the violated daughter of the villain Faulkner.

CHAPTER V. Of STYLE.

Style in elocution signifies the peculiar manner in which the different kinds of composition should be read; and necessarily comprehends the application of all the foregoing rules.

It is a matter of primary importance for the reader, in every instance, to adapt his manner to the character of his subject. And to do this, he must imbibe its feelings. Instead of suffering his mind to be engrossed by the writer's verbiage, he should bring to his understanding all the circumstances of which he treats. Plunging, as it were, amid the living scenes of his description, he should feel just as he would feel if the events he describes were actually passing in his presence.

And besides catching the general feeling and sentiment of his author, he should be guided by the particular parts and movements of his discourse. In the exordium he should be respectful and conciliatory-in the statement, distinct and emphatic-in the discussion, clear and energetic-and in the peroration, animated, pathetic and persuasive.

In St. Paul's defence before Agrippa, recorded in the 26th chap. of the Acts of the Apostles, we have all these parts. The exordium commences at the 2d verse, and continues to the end of the 3d. The statement begins at the 3d verse, and extends to the conclusion of the 7th. The discussion then commences and reaches to the end of the 23d verse.

The orator being here interrupted by Festus, he dropped the argument, and commenced his peroration with the 25th verse, and concluded it with the 29th.

ST. PAUL'S DEFENCE. Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Thou art permitted to speak for thyself. Then Paul stretched forth the hand, and answered for himself:

2. I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee, touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews;

3. Especially, because I know thee to be expert in all customs and questions which are among the Jews: wherefore I beseech thee to hear me patiently.

4. My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews;

5. Which knew me from the beginning, (if they would testify,) that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.

6. And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers :

7. Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come: for which hope's sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews.

8. Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you that God should raise the dead ?

9. I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth,

10. Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. 11. And I punished them oft in every synagogue,

and compelled them to blaspheme ; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.

12. Whereupon, as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests,

13. At mid-day, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me.

14. And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

15. And I said, Who art thou, Lord ? And he said, I am Jesus, whom thou persecuteşt.

16. But rise, and stand upon thy feet : for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness, both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;

17. Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles,
unto whom now I send thee,
19. To

open
their
eyes,

and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

19. Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision :

20. But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.

21. For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me.

22. Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come ;

23. That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.

24. And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.

25. But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness.

26. For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also. I speak freely : for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him ; for this thing was not done in a corner.

27. King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest.

28. Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.

29. And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether, such as

)

am, except these bonds. 30. And when he had thus spoken, the king rose up, and the governor, and Bernice, and they that sat with them.

[ocr errors]

31. And when they were gone aside, they talked between themselves, saying, This man doeth nothing worthy of death or of bonds.

32. Then said Agrippa unto Festus, This man might have been set at liberty, if he had not appealed unto Cæsar.

An Oration, delivered July 4th, 1787, before the Society of

the Cincinnatti of the State of New-York ; in commemoration of the Independence of America-by Robert Livingston.

I could have wished, gentlemen, that the task I am now about to perform, had been assigned to some abler speaker ; and in that view, I, long since, tendered my apology for declining it, and hoped, till lately, that it had beeu accepted. Disappointed in this hope, and unwilling to treat any mark of your favor with neglect, I determined to obey your commands, although I was satisfied, that, in the execution of them, I should not answer your expectations. There is a style of eloquence adapted to occasions of this kind, to which I feel myself unequal; a style which requires the glowing imagination of younger speakers, who, coming recently from the schools of rhetoric, know how to dress their sentiments in all its flowery ornaments.

The turbulence of the times, since I first entered upon public life, and the necessity they imposed upon those who engaged in them, of attending rather to things than words, will, I fear, render me, if not a useless, at least an unpolished speaker.

If the mind dwells with pleasure on interesting events ; if the soul pants to emulate the noble deeds it contemplates ; if virtue derives new force from the successful struggles of the virtuous, it is wise to set apart certain seasons, when, freed from meaner cares, we commemorate events, which have contributed to the happiness of mankind, or afford examples worthy their imitation. What are we this day called upon to commemorate ? Some signal victory, in which the victor weeps the loss of friends, and humanity mourns over the graves of the vanquished ? The birth of some prince, whom force, fraud, or accident, has entitled to a throne ? Or even that of some patriot, who has raised the reputation, and defended the rights of his country? No, gentlemen, a nobler subject than the splendor of victories, or the birth of princes, demand our attention. We are called upon to commemorate the successful battles of freedom, and the birth of nations,

of

It may be expected, and indeed I believe it is usual on such occasions, that I should tread the steps we have taken from the dawn of oppression to the bright sunshine of independence ; that I should celebrate the praise of patriots who have been actors in the glorious scene ; and more particu. larly that I should lead you to the shrines of those that have offered

up their lives in support of their principles, and sealed with their blood your charters of freedom. Had I no other object in view than to amuse you and indulge my own feelings, I should take this path. For what task more delightful, than to contemplate the successful struggles of virtue ; to see it, at one moment, panting under the grasp oppression, and rising in the next with renewed strength ; as if, like the giant son of earth, she had acquired vigor from the fall; to see hope and disappointment, plenty and want, defeats and victories, following each other in rapid succession, and contributing, like light and shade, to the embellishment of the piece! What more soothing to the soft and delicate emotions of humanity, than to wander, with folded arms and slow and pensive step, amidst the graves of departed heroes, to indulge the miogled emotions of grief and admiration; at one moment, giving way to private sorrow, and lamenting the loss of a friend, a relation, a brother ; in the next, glowing with patriot warmth, gazing with ardor on their wounds, and invoking their spirits, while we ask of heaven to inspire us with equal fortitude ! But however pleasing this task, the desire of being useful impels me, at this interesting moment, to forego this pleasure ; to call you from this tender scene ; to remind you that you are the citizens of a free state ; to bid you rejoice with Roman pride, that those you love have done their duty ; to exhort you to crown the glorious work they have begun ; for, alas ! my friends, though they have nobly performed the part assigned them, the work is still unfinished, and much remains for us to do. It may not, therefore, bé improper, amidst the congratulations I make you on this day-this day, distinguished, in the annals of fame, for the triumph of freedom and the birth of nations, to inquire how far it has been productive of the advantages we might reasonably have expected, and where they have fallen short of our expectations.

To investigate the causes that have conduced to our disappointment, two objects demand our attention ; our internal and federal governments : either to those who are disposed to

« ForrigeFortsæt »