Slike strani

public speaker guard against this error. acquiring, by this means, a habit of pro. Whether he speak in a private room, or in nunciation, which they can never vary. a great assembly, let him remember that he But the capital direction, which ought neftiil speaks. Follow nature : consider how ver to be forgotten, is, to copy the

proper the teaches you to utter any sentiment or tones for expressing every sentiment from feeling of your heart. Imagine a subject of those which nature dictates to us, in converdebate started in conversation among grave sation with others; to speak always with and wife men, and yourself bearing a share her voice; and not to form to ourselves a in it. Think after what manner, with what fantastic public manner, from an absurd tones and inflexions of voice, you would on fancy of its being more beautiful than a such an occasion express yourself

, when you natural one *. were most in earnest, and fought molt to be It now remains to treat of Gesture, or listened to. Carry there with you to the what is called Action in public discourse. bar, to the pulpit, or to any public aflem- Some nations animate their words in combly; let these be the foundation of your mon conversation, with many more motions manner of pronouncing there; and you will of the body than others do. The French take the furest method of rendering your and the Italians are, in this respect, much delivery both agreeable and perfualive. more sprightly than we. But there is no

I have said, Let these conversation tones nation, hardly any person so phlegmatic, as be the foundation of public pronunciation; not to accompany their words with some for, on some occasions, folemn public speak- actions and geiticulations, on all occasions, ing requires them to be exalted beyond the when they are much in earnest. It is ftrain of common discourse. In a formal, therefore unnatural in a public speaker, it ftudied oration, the elevation of the style, is inconsistent with that earnestnels and seand the harmony of the sentences, prompt, riousness which he ought to sew in all af. almost necessarily, a modulation of voice fairs of moment, to remain quite unmoved more rounded, and bordering more upon in his outward appearance; and to let the music, than conversation admits. This gives words drop from his mouth, without any rise to what is called, the Declaiming expression of meaning, or warmth in his Manner. But though this mode of pro- gesture. nunciation runs considerably beyond ordi- The fundamental rule as to propriety of nary discourse, yet fill it must have, for its action, is undoubtedly the same with what basis, the natural tones of grave and dig- I gave as to propriety of tone. Attend to nified conversation. I must observe, at the the looks and gestures, in which earneftness, same time, that the constant indulgence of indignation, compassion, or any other emoa declamatory manner, is not favourable tion, discovers itself to most advantage in either to good composition, or good deli- the common intercourse of men; and let very; and is in hazard of betraying public these be your model. Some of these looks {peakers into that monotony of tone and ca- and gestures are common to all men; and dence, which is so generally complained of. there are also certain peculiarities of manWhereas, he who forms the general run of ner which distinguish every individual. A his delivery upon a speaking manner, is not public speaker must take that manner which likely ever to become disagreeable through is most natural to himself. For it is here just monotony. He will have the same natural as in tones. It is not the business of a variety in his tones, which a person has in speaker to form to himself a certain set of conversation. Indeed, the perfection of motions and gestures, which he thinks most delivery requires both these different man- becoming and agreeable, and to practile ners, that of speaking with liveliness and ease, and that of declaiming with stateliness * " Loquere,” (says an author of the last cenand dignity, to be poffeffed by one man; tury, who has written a Treatise in Verse, de

Gestu et Voce Oratoris) and to be employed by him, according as the different parts of his discourse require - Loquere ; hoc vitium commune, loquatur either the one or the other. This is a per- « Ut nemo; at tensâ declamaret omnia voce. fection which is not attained by many;

“ Tu loquere, ut mos eft hominum ; Boat & latrat the greatest part of public speakers allowing

" Ille ululat; rudit hic (fari si talia dignum eft); their delivery to be formed altogether ac

« Non hominem vox ulla fonat ratione loquencidentally, according as some turn of voice

tem." appears to them most beautiful, or some

JOANNES Lucas, de Gestu et Voce, artificial model has caught their fancy; and

Lib. II, Paris 1675.



these in public, without their having any I shall only add further on this head correspondence to the manner which is na- that in order to succeed well in delivery, tural to him in private. His gestures and nothing is more necessary than for a speaker motions ought all to carry that kind of ex- to guard against a certain flutter of spirits, pretion which nature has dictated to him; which is peculiarly incident to those who and, unless this be the case, it is impossible, begin to speak in public. He mult endeaby means of any study, to avoid their ap- vour above all things to be recollected, and pearing ftiff and forced.

matter of himself. For this end, he will However, although nature must be the find nothing of more use to him, than to ground-work, I admit that there is room ftudy to become wholly engaged in his in this matter for some study and art. For subject; to be possessed with a sense of its many persons are naturally ungraceful in importance or seriousness; to be concerned the motions which they make; and this un- much more to persuade than to please. He gracefulness might, in part at least, be re- will generally please most, when pleasing is formed by application and care. The not his soul nor chief aim. This is the only ftudy of action in public speaking, consists rational and proper method of raising one's chieily in guarding against awkward and self above that timid and bashful regard to disagreeable motions, and in learning to an audience, which is so ready to disconcert perform such as are natural to the speaker, a speaker, both as to what he is to say, in the most becoming manner. For this and as to his manner of saying it. end, it has been advised by writers on this I cannot conclude, without an earnest subject, to practise before a mirror, where admonition to guard against all affectation, one may see, and judge of his own gestures. which is the certain ruin of good delivery. But I am afraid, persons are not always the Let your manner, whatever it is, be your beit judges of the gracefulness of their own own; neither imitated from another, nor motions and one may declaim longe- assumed upon some imaginary model, which nough before a mirror, without correcting is unnatural to you. Whatever is native, any of his faults. The judgment of a even though accompanied with several defriend, whose good taste they can trust, will fects, yet is likely to please; because it be found of much greater advantage to be- shows us a man; because it has the apginners, than any mirror they can use. pearance of coming from the heart. With regard to particular rules concerning Whereas, a delivery attended with several action and gesticulation, Quinctilian has de- acquired graces and beauties, if it be not livered a great many, in the last chapter of easy and free, if it betray the marks of art the 11th Book of his Institutions; and all and affectation, never fails to disgust. To the modern writers on this subje&t have done attain any extremely correct, and perfectly Ertle else but translate them. I am not of graceful delivery, is what few can expect; opinion, that such rules, delivered either by to many natural talents being requisite to the voice or on paper, can be of much use, concur in forming it. But to attain, what unless persons say them exemplified before as to the effect is very little inferior, a fortheir eyes

cible and persuasive manner, is within the

The few following hints only I shall adven- be more frequently employed. Warm emotions ture to throw out, in case they may be of any fer- demand the motion of both hands corresponding vice. When speaking in public, one should study to together. But whether one gefticulates with one preserve as much dignity as possible in the whole or with both hands, it is an important rule, that ztitude of the body. An erect posture is gene- all his motions should be free and easy. Narrow sally to be chosen : standing firm, so as to have the and straitened movements are generally ungrace. fullest and freeft command of all his motions; any ful; for which realon, motions made with the inclination wbich is used, Mould be forwards to- hands are directed to proceed from the shoulder, wards the hearers, which is a natural expression of rather than from the elbow. Perpendicular Eamestress. As for the countenance, the chief movements too with the hands, that is, in the rule is, that it should correspond with the nature straight line up and down, which Shakespeare, in of the discourse, and when no particular emotion Hamlet, calls, “ fawing the air with the hand,” is exprelied, a serious and manly look is always the are seldom good. Oblique motions are, in general, beit. The eyes should never be fixed close on any the most graceful. Too sudden and nimble moche object, but move easily round the audience. tions should be likewise avoided. Earneftness can In the motions made with the hands, consists the be fully expressed without them. Shakespear's chief part of gesture in speaking. The Ancients directions on this head, are full of good sense ; condemned all motions performed by the left hand “ use all gently,” says he," and in the very toralone; but I am not sensible, that these are always « rent and tempeft of passion, acquire a tempeofíensive, though it is natural for the right hand to rance that may give it smoothness." 4


power of most persons; if they will only un- and supported also by the exterior, yet im.
learn false and corrupt habits ; if they will portant qualifications, of a graceful man-
allow themselves to follow nature, and will ner, a presence not ungainly, and a full and
fpeak in public, as they do in private, when tuneable voice. How little reason to won-
they speak in earnest, and from the heart. der, that a perfect and accomplished orator
If one has naturally any gross defects in his should be one of the characters that is most
voice or gestures, he begins at the wrong rarely to be found !
end, if he attempts at reforming thein only Let us not despair, however. Between
when he is to speak in public: he shouid mediocrity and perfection there is a very
begin with rectifying them in his private wide interval. There are many interme-
manner of speaking; and then carry to the diate spaces, which may be filled ur

with public the right habit he has formed. For honour; and the more rare and difficult when a speaker is engaged in a public dif- that complete perfection is, the greater is course, he should not be then employing his the bonour of approaching to it, though we attention about his manner, or thinking do not fully attain it. The number of of his tones and his getures. If he be fo Orators who stand in the highest class is, employed, study and affectation will ap- perhaps, smaller than the number of poets pear. He ought to be then quite in earneit; who are foremoit in poctic fame; but the wholly occupied with his subject and his study of oratory has this advantage above sentiments ; leaving nature, an i previously that of poetry, that, in poetry, one muit be forined habits, to prompt and iussut his an eminently good performer, or he is not manner of delivery.


-Mediocribus effe poütis

Nou comines, non Dî, non conceífêre coII.

lumae *. Means of imeroving in Elcquence. In Eloquence this does not hold. There, I have now treated fully of the diferent

one may potress a moderate station with kinds of public speaking, of the counpolis dignity. Lloquence admits of a great tion, and of the delivery of a discourie. many different forms; plain and simple, Before I finish this subject, it may be of ufe

as well as high and pathetic; and a genius to fuggefl fome things concerning the pro- with much reputation and usefulness in

that cannot reach the latter, may shine pereft means of improvement in the art of

the former.
public speaking, and the moít necefsary
studies or that

Whether nature or art contribute most ta
To be an eloquent speaker, in the proper attainments whatever, nature muit be the

form an crator, is a trilling enquiry. In all fense of the word, is far from being either a common or an easy attainment.

prime agent. She must bestow the origiIndeed,

nal talents. She must low the seeds; but pular topic, and to deliver it so as to anale culture is requisite for bringing those seeds an audience, is a matter not very dificult.

to perfection. Nature muit always have But though some praise be due to this, yet be left to be done by art. This is certain,

donc fome: vhat;Let a great deal will always the idea, which I have endeavcured to give that study and discipline are more neceffary of elequence, is much higher. It is a great for the improvement of natural genius in

. art of being perfuafive and commanding ; mean is, that though poetry be capable of

oratory, than they are in poetry. What I the art, not

of pieafing the fancy merely, receiving afitance from critical art, yet a but of speaking both to the understanding and to the heart; of interesting the hearers poet, without any aid from art, by the force in such a degree, as to seize and carry them lic ipeaker can do, who has never given at

of genius alone, can rise higher than a pub. along with us; and to leave them with a

tention to the rules of Ityle, composition, deep and frong imprellion of what they and delivery. Homer formed himself; Dehave heard. How many talents, natural and acquired, must concur for carrying this mofthenes and Cicero were formed by the to perfection! A strong, lively, and warm

help of much labour, and of many asliitimagination; quick fenability of heart, ances derived from the labour of others. joined with folid judginent, good sense, and * For God and man, and lettered poft denies, presence of mind; ail improved by great That pocts ever are of middling fize. and long attencion to style and compofition;



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After these preliminary observations, let agrorum nimia cura, et sollicitior rei fa. us proceed to the main design of this lec- “ miliaris diligentia, et venandi voluptas, ture; to treat of the means to be used for et dati spectaculis dies, multum ftudiis improvement in eloquence.

“ auferunt, quid putamus facturas cupidila the firit place, what stands highest in tatem, avaritiam, invidiam ? Nihil enim the order of means, is personal character “ eft tam occupatum, tam multiforme, tot and disposition. In o der to be a truly elo- ac tam variis affectibus concisum, atque quent or persuasive speaker, nothing is laceratum, quam mala ac improba mens. mcre necessary than to be a virtuous man. Quis inter hæc, literis, aut ulli bona This was a favourite position among the “ arti, locus ? Non hercle magis quain ascient rhetoricians: “ Non posse oratorem frugibus, in terra fentibus ac rubis oc4 elle nisi virum bonum.” To find any “ cupata *.” such connection between virtue and one of But, besides this consideration, there is the highest liberal arts, muft give plealure; another of fill higher importance, though and it can, I think, be clearly shewn, that I am not sure of its being attended to as this is not a mere topic of declamation, but much as it deserves; namely, that from the that the connection here alledged, is un- fountain of real and genuine virtue, are doubtedly founded in truth and reason. drawn those sentiments which will ever be

For, consider firit, whether any thing most powerful in affecting the hearts of contributes more to persuasion, than the opi- others. Bad as the world is, nothing has nion woich we entertain of the probity, ditin- fo great and universal a command over the tereitedrels, candour, and other good moral minds of men as virtue. No kind of lanqualities of the person who endeavours to guage is to generally understood, and so persuade? Thefe give weight and force to powerfully felt, as the native language of every thing which he utters; nay, they add worthy and virtuous feelings. He only, a beauty to it; they dispose us to listen with therefore, who possesses these full and strong, attention and pleasure; and create a secret can speak properly, and in its own lanpartiality in favour of that fide which he guage, to the heart. On all great subjects efpccies. Whereas, if we entertain a fuf- and occasions, there is a dignity, there is picion of craft and disingenuity, of a cor- an energy in noble sentiments, which is rupt, or a base mind, in the fpeaker, his overcoming and irresistible. They give eloquence loses all its real effect. It may an ardour and a flame to one's discourse, entertain and amule; but it is viewed as which teldom fails to kindle a like fame in arufice, as trick, as the play only of speech; those who hear; and which, more than any and, viewed in this light, whom can it per- other cause, bestows on eloquence that fuade? We even read a book with more power, for which it is famed, of seizing pleasure, when we think favourably of its and traniporting an audience. Here art auroor; but when we have the living speak- and imitation will not avail. An assumed er before our eyes, addresling us personally character conveys nothing of this powerful on fume fabject of importance, the opinion warmen. It is only a native and unaffected we entertain of his character must have a glow of feeling, which can transmit the much more powerful effect.

emotion to otners. Hence the most reBut, left it should be faid, that this relates nowned orators, such as Cicero and Deonly to the character of virtue, which one mosthenes, were no less distinguished for may maintain, without being at bortom a fome of the hig. virtues, as public spirit and truly worthy man, I must observe farther, zeal for their country, than for eloquence. that

, besides the weight which it adds to character, real virtue operates also in other

*“If the manag, ment of an estate, if anxious

« attention to domestic economy, a passion for Fays, to the advantage of eloquence. “ hunting, or whole days given up to public

First, Nothing is so favourable as virtue places and amusements, contume so much time to the prosecution of honourable Itudies. It

« that is due to study, low much greater waste

s must be occafioned by licentious desires, avarice, prompts a generous emulation to excel; it inures to industry; it leaves the mind va

or envy! Nothing is so much hurried and agia

“ tated, so contradictory to itself, or fo violently cant and free, master of itself, disencum- “ torn and shaitered by conflicting patlions, as a' bered of those bad passions, and disengaged “ bad heart. Amidst the distractions which it from those mean pursuits, which have ever

“ produces, what room is left for the cultivation been found the greateit enemies to true

" of letters, or the pursuit of any honourable art?

“ No more, ailuredly, than there is for the growth proficiency. Quinctilian huis touched this

“ of con in a field that is over-run with thorns confideration very properly: “ Quod fi « and brainbles."


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Beyond doubt, to these virtues their elo- Such a disposition bespeaks one not very
quence owed much of its effect; and those likely to excel in any thing; but least of
orations of theirs, in which there breathes all in oratory. A true orator should be a
moft of the virtuous and magnanimous spi- person of generous sentiments, of warm
rit, are those which have molt attracted the feelings, and of a mind turned towards the
admiration of ages.

admiration of all those great and high ob-
Nothing, therefore, is more neceffary for jects which mankind are naturally formed
those who would excel in any of che higher to admire. Joined with the manly virtues,
kinds of oratory, than to cultivate habits of he should, at the same time, possess strong
the several virtues, and to refine and im- and tender sensibility to all the injuries,
prove all their moral feelings. Whenever distresses, and sorrows, of his fellow-crea-
these become dead, or callous, they may tures; a heart that can easily relent; that
be assured, that on every great occasion, can readily enter into the circumstances of
they will speak with less power, and less others, and can make their case his own.
success. The sentiments and dispositions A proper mixture of courage, and of mo-
particularly requisite for them to cultivate, deity, must also be studied by every public
are the following; the love of justice and speaker. Modesty is essential; it is al-
order, and indignation at insolence and op- ways, and juftly, supposed to be a conco-
preslion ; the love of honesty and truth, and mitant of merit ; and every appearance of
detestation of fraud, meanness, and cor- it is winning and prepossessing. But mo-
ruption; magnanimity of spirit; the love desty ought not to run into excessive timi.
of liberty, of their country and the public; dity. Every public speaker should be able
zeal for all great and noble designs, and to rest somewhat on himself; and to assume
reverence for all worthy and heroic cha. that air, not of self-complacency, but of
racters. A cold and sceptical turn of inind firmness, which bespeaks a consciousness of
is extremely adverse to eloquence; and no his being thoroughly persuaded of the truth
less so, is that cavilling difpofition which or justice, of what he delivers; a circum.
takes pleasure in depreciating what is great, stance of no small consequence for making
and ridiculing what is generally admired. impression on those who hear.

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