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be, or the elocutionist cannot succeed. Distinctness of articulation, is a primary, and fundamental quality of good reading ; and no pains should be considered too great a sacrifice to acquire it.
2. Inaccurate Pronunciation, is another. This indeed is so great a blemish, that every one who aspires to correct speaking should avoid it. And considering the meritorious efforts of Sheridan, Walker, Jameson, Fulton, Knight and others, to establish an easy and correct standard of orthoepy, the vicious pronunciation of public speakers is unpardonable. Under favourable circumstances, I have long attended to the pronunciation of the pulpit, the senate, and the bar; and I am mortified in saying that I have never yet discovered an individual, who might be considered, for young people, a safe standard in orthoepy. This surely is disgraceful to American oratory.
3. The indistinct or inaccurate exhibition of Accent, is another fault of great prevalence. Accentual distinction is made in two ways; first, by stress of voice, and second, by long quantity. In making it the first way, we should commence the enunciation of the accented letter with a heavy, and distinct voice, and end it with a gentle gliding into nothing. This, besides imparting variety to Elocution, contributes to the melody of what is read, and to the reader's ease. A feeble accentual force, seems to be a blemish, almost peculiar to Ameri
4. Inattention to the Rhetorical, and even to the Grammatical Pauses, is also a fault of extensive prevalence. Every indication of rest should be attentively observed. This contributes alike to the exhibition of the author's meaning, the beauty of his composition, and the powers of the elocutionist. It is scarcely possible to render too much attention to this particular.
5. But perhaps the most common and injurious fault in Elocution, consists cither in making no Emphasis, or making false
ones, or in making them always in the same way. To this point, therefore, the teacher should direct his special attention,
6. Another fault in reading arises from an improper attempt at variety in Modulation. The ordinary movement of the voice in unimpassioned discourse, exclusive of emphasis and cadence, should seldom exceed the interval of two notes. But in defiance of this rule, some speakers, in the enunciation of a few sentences, in simple narrative, range over the whole compass of the voice. This kind of elocution, may indeed, be vastly pleasing to the uncultivated ear, but to persons of good taste, it cannot fail to be offensive.
7. The greatsst fault, however, in Elocution, consists in the want of adaptation of Style to the matter read. I have heard the inimitable service of the Episcopal Church, read with as great rapidity, and, consequently, with as little solemnity, as Matthews would recite a comedy; and on the other hand, it is not unusual to hear an article of ordinary interest, read from a common newspaper, with all the stateliness, the lord Chancelor of England would pronounce the king's speech to both houses of parliament. Surely it is high time such a kind of reading were done
away. 8. But although a certain stately and drawling Style of Elocution is the vice of many, Rapidity and Hurry are the fault of more. The minute and accurate conception of the author's meaning ; the exact and delicate increase and remission of accentual and emphatic force; the combination of the varied and expressive elements of modulation ; and the observance of the multiform canons of good reading, necessarily require time and deliberation. These qualities, it is true, are not demanded by the impatient and restless multitude ; for, with auditors of this description, noise only is required; but to the satisfaction of men of taste, they are absolutely indispensable.
9. The last fault that I shall notice, is the neglect of Cadence ; or the equable and continuous fall of the voice on the two or three last syllables of a sentence. The harmonious and
expressive close of a period, is, perhaps, one of the most difficult things in Elocution. To taper off the voice in a round, distinct volume, till it reposes in perfect silence, is what one reader in ten thousand does not accomplish. And yet, this, in sentences of ordinary construction, is alike necessary to the reader and the hearer. To the reader, because it affords a remission of organic effort, and enables him to commence the succeeding sentence with fresh vigor ; and to the hearer, because it indicates the close of the sentence, and by gratifying his expectation, gives to his mind distinctness of perception, and intermission of attention.
Instead, however, of closing periods in this way, many pronounce the last word of every sentence, with increased force and a rising slide; and this they call “ keeping up the last end for the sake of being heard.” It is certainly desirable for the close of every period to be distinctly understood ; but if this cannot be done in a large room, without the neglect of cadence, let it be (to the deaf and the distant) forever lost. There are limits to the voice of every reader, and beyond these he should never go. And if he has the misfortune to read to those who are dissatisfied, because he does not bawl out the last word of every sentence, he must come to the determination, either to let them vituperate, or to sacrifice himself to ignorance and bad taste.
But while the close of every sentence, not interrogatory, or interjective, should be pronounced with falling pitches, those pitches must not descend more than one note at a time, nor always to the same extent, nor yet with the same tone. The drop of the voice three or four notes on the last word of a period, is truly shocking ; especially if this mode be persevered in thra a whole discourse. It is the regular descent of the voice, one note at a time, on the last syllables of a sentence, preceded by a little elevation of the voice, which constitute a correct cadence, and bring to both speaker and hearer, that repose which is necessary to succeed laboar,
7 The Manner in which Humorous
9 Pieces should be road,
ib. be Gouty Merchant & Stranger, 81
17 Collins' Ode on the Passions, 88
ib. The Manner of Reading Poetry, 91
21 The Negro's Complaint,
23 Adam and Eve's Morning Hymn, 97
Manner of Reading Irony,
43 Rules for Cultivating the Voice, 108
ent state of the Law,
53 Stanzas, He never smiled again, 124
53 Restoration of Learning in the East, ib.
56 Mason's Eulogy on Hamilton, 125
Men going to India,
64 Maxcy's Oration, 4th July, 1903, 139
Launch of a Ship
160 Address of De Witt Clinton, 240
163 Burial of Sir John Moore, 244
171 Ledyard's Eulogium on Woman, 248
172 Dr. Nott's Baccalauriate Address, 249
174 Eulogy on De Witt Clinton, 251
175 Butler's Speech on the death of
making an appropriation for
183 the minor children of De Witt
186 Tradition of Indians concerning
183 Extract from a Sermon by Rob.
191 Extract from Dr. Hardie's Ser.
mon on the Resurrection, 261
203 The Wind passeth over it and it
208 From Young's Night-Thoughts, 268
216 Extracts from Thomson's Seasons, 271
228 Morning on the Highlands, 288
15, 9th line from the bottom, insert One instead of “ red."
The errors in the notations and orthography, the intelligent reader will cor.