Графични страници
PDF файл

It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes ;
"Tis mightiest in the mightiest ; it becomes
The thronëd * monarch better than his crown.

His scepter 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 sceptered sway ;
It is enthronëd 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. Parenthetical clauses require to be spoken in a lower tone of voice, and with a more rapid utterance, than the principal sentence; a light pause both before and after the parenthesis adds to the effect :

“ If there's a power above us
(And that there is, all nature cries aloud
Through all her works), he must delight in virtue ;
And that which he delights in must be happy.”


IV. EMPHASIS is that peculiar stress which we lay on words when we wish to impress particularly the ideas that they represent.

The more important cmphatic words are, principal verbs, nouns, adjectives, and adverbs when not used in a connective sense. The comparatively unimportant words are, auxiliary verbs, pronouns, conjunctions, connecting adverbs, prepositions, and articles. Generally, also, the names and attributes of the Deity, of persons and places, are emphatic. Emphasis is well illustrated in the following remark :

I dò not ásk; I demand your attention. Words are also emphatic which have an antithesis either expressed or understood, as in the following example :

“ And put a tongue
In every wound of Cæsar, that should move
The stonès of Rome to rise and mutiny."

* The mark of the diæresis over the e shows that it should commence & separate syllable.



It may also be laid down as a general rule respecting emphasis, that the positive member of a sentence uniformly requires the emphatic falling, and the negative member the emphatic rising inflection ; as,

Did he do it voluntarily', or involuntarily'?
He did it voluntarily', not involuntarily'.
Did he act justly', or unjustly'?
He acted justly', not unjustly'.

[ocr errors]

annoy me.

The emphasis which is suggested by the sense is the best guide. Let a person make sure of the sense, and his emphasis will be natural and varied. An active and original conception can alone produce that personality of enunciation which is the chief charm of oratory. Conception is the sole governor of intonation.

A clergyman who, in his younger days, was disposed to undervalue the importance of accurately disposed emphasis, one day found his mistake by the laughter created on his reading this text : “ And he spake to his sons, saying, Saddle me, the ass, and they saddled him." Of this same clergyman it is told that a man whom he reprimanded for swearing replied that he did not see any harm in it. " No harm in it ? ” said the minister ; " why, do you not know the commandment, Swear not at all'?-“I do not swear at all," said the man; I only swear at those who

V. GESTURE AND ACTION. — Modulation, inflcction, and vocal expression, however perfect, would fail to give delivery its full impressiveness, if the face and whole body did not sympathetically manifest the feeling which vibrates in the tones. Nothing can be more spiritless and unnatural than rigid stillness on the part of an orator. Unaided by language, a person may, by gesture alone, convey

his ineaning to another; whereas, without it, the most powerful language will often be tame and inefficient. Cicero directs the orator to bestow the chief care on the management of the eye, and QuintiHian observes that

the action of the hands is the common language of all mankind, without which all gesture is weak and impotent.'

6 With the hands alone,” says Sheridan, “we can demand a promise, call, dismiss, threaten, supplicate, ask, deny, manifest joy, sorrow, detestation, fear, admiration,” &c.

But the tendency to gesticulate is so natural, that instruction will generally be needed rather to subdue and chasten, than to produce gesticulation. To a speaker of any animation, the greatest difficulty

is to stand still. The judicious employment of moderate gesture is more effective than any possible amplification of spasmodic attitudes, or redundancy of grimace.

No one can recite with propriety what he does not feel; and the key to gesture, as well as to modulation, is earnestness. No actor can portray character unless he can realize it, and he can only realize it by making it for the time his own.

In the natural order of passionate expression, looks are first, gesture second, and words last. Inexpressive motions should always be avoided. No gesture should be made without a reason for it; and when any position has been assumed, there should be no change from it without a reason. The habit of allowing the hands to fall to the side immediately after every gesture, produces an ungracefully restless effect. The speaker seems

“ Awkward, embarrassed, stiff, without the skill

Of moving gracefully, or standing still
Blessed with all other requisites to please,
He wants the striking elegance of ease.

Some orators accompany every vocal accent by a bodily motion ; but the consequence is, that their monotonous manipulations fatigue the

eye. A gesture that illustrates nothing is worse than useless. It destroys the effect of really appropriate movements. Perhaps the most difficult part of delivery is gracefully to stand still. Let the speaker study this.

Motions towards the body indicate self-esteem, egotism, or invitation; from the body, command or repulsion ; expanding gestures express liberality, distribution, acquiescence, or candor; contracting gestures, frugality, reserve, or collection ; rising motions express suspension, climax, or appeal; falling, completion, declaration, or response; a sudden stop in gesture expresses doubt, meditation, or listening; a sudden movement, decision or discovery; a broad and sweeping range of gesture illustrates a general statement, or expresses boldness, freedom, and self-possession ; a limited range denotes diffi- . dence or constraint, or illustrates a subordinate point; rigidity of muscle denotes firmness, strength, or effort : laxity, languor or weakness ; slow motions are expressive of gentleness, caution, and delib eration ; and quick motions, of harshness and temerity.

The motions of the arm must commence at the shoulder, not at the elbow; the upper part of the arms should never, therefore, rest in




contact with the side. The motions of the arms should not be accompanied by any action of the shoulders, or swaying of the body. For instance, in projecting forward one arm, the opposite shoulder must not retire; or, in raising one arm, the opposite shoulder must not be depressed. The body must be kept square to the eye of the auditor, or to the center of the auditors. Gesture is most graceful with the right hand and arın when the left foot is in advance, and with the left when the right foot is in front. This preserves the square of the body.

Gesture, like vocal expression, must depend on the force and earnestness of the speaker's conception of what he utters. Rules and diagrams are of little service here. But an attempt has been made, by some ingenious writers, to classify the leading positions ; and the accompanying diagrams (copied from photographs of living youths) will be found to illustrate these. They may serve as hints to the unpracticed.

The leading positions may be styled, -1. The introductory. 2. Deprecatory. 3. Emphatic. 4. Invocatory. 5. The positions of Entreaty and Denial. 6. Relative. 7. The positions of Repose.

A speaker, in opening his subject to his audience, may, if his language be not abrupt and impassioned at the outset, assume, in his first gesture, the position represented in diagram 1. Here the whole weight of the body should be thrown upon the right leg, which should be a little in advance of the left, the other just touching the floor, the feet being separated about six or eight inches. The knees should be straight and braced ; and the body, though perfectly straight, not perpendicular, but inclining as far to the right as a firm position on the right leg will permit. The right arm must then be extended, with the palm of the hand open, the fingers slightly curved, and the thumb almost as distant from them as it will easily



go, and the flat of the hand neither horizontal nor vertical, but exactly between both, the left hand hanging gracefully by the side The extended arm should drop apparently lifeless, but not too abruptly, when the last emphatic word is pronounced.

When the pupil has delivered a sentence or two of moderate length in this attitude, he may, at the moment of paragraphing his subject to the eye, reverse his position ; doing, perhaps, with the left arm, hand, and leg, what he has just done with the right. But a perpetual see-saw of the arms is to be studiously avoided, as also a formal monotony in the change from one side to the other. Every inovement must have its object. An attempt to distribute gestures equally between the right and left arm betrays the novice The right arm is the more naturally and frequently used in gesticulating

The weight of the body should generally be sustained entirely by one foot. The limb that does not support the weight should be slightly bent, and its foot should rest lightly, or only partially, on the ground. The feet should be generally separated about as much as the breadth of the foot — the one in advance of the other, with its heel pointing to the heel of the retired foot. More extended positions will be occasionally required in expressive action. The feet considerably separated, with the weight of the body on the advanced foot, indicate eagerness, earnest appeal, listening, attack, &c.; on the retired foot, disgust, horror, defense, &c.; considerably apart, with both heels on the same line, and the weight of the body supported equally on both feet, pomposity and bluster. Frequent change indicates mental disturbance.

Diagram 2. — All the parts of the body must blend in harmonious accompaniment with the gesticulating member. Isolated motions must be ungraceful, as they are unnatural. The impulse that moves the hand will not be unfelt by every muscle in the frame.

“ To this one standard make your just appeal :

Here lies the golden secret, Learn to feel !

But, in the words of Shakspeare, “ In the very tempest, torrent, and, as I may say, whirlwind of your passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may give it smoothness." A speaker who loses command over himself, either in language, intonation, or gesture, must not be surprised if he preserve no command over his audience.

This diagram (II.) represents a position suitable for the delivery

« ПредишнаНапред »