« PrejšnjaNaprej »
Fear to be worse destroyed. What can be worse
Calls us to penance? More destroy'd than thus,
What fear we then? what doubt we to incense
What was the part of a faithful citizen? of a prudent, an active, and an honest minister? Was he not to secure Eubœa, as our defence against all attacks by sea? Was he not to make Bootia our barrier on the mid-land side? the cities bordering on Peloponesus, our bulwark on that quarter? Was he not to attend with due precaution to the importation of corn, that this trade might be protected through all its progress up to our own harbour? Was he not to cover those districts which we commanded by seasonable detachments, as the Proconesus, the Chersoneus, and Tenedos ? to exert himself in the assembly for this purpose? while with equal zeal he laboured to gain others to our interest and alliance, as Byzantium, Abydos, and Euboea? Was he not to cut off the best and most important resources of our enemies, and to supply those in
which our country was defective?-And all this you gained by councils and my administration.
High and Soft.
Ah! Juliet, if the measure of thy joy
Be heap'd like mine, and that thy skill, be more
Oh, Belvidera! doubly I'm a beggar:
Canst thou bear cold and hunger? Can these limbş
In some far climate, where our names are strangers,
My voice is still for war.
Gods! can a Roman senate long debate
Or share their fate. The corps of half her senate
Sit here deliberating in cold debates
If we should sacrifice our lives to honour,
Outlines of Gesture.
Gesture, considered as a just and elegant adaptation of every part of the body, to the nature and import of the subject we are pronouncing, has always been considered as one of the most essential parts of oratory. Its power, as Cicero observes, is much greater than that of words. It is the language of nature in the strictest sense, and makes its way to the heart, without the utterance of a single sound. Ancient and modern orators are full of the power of action; and action, as with the illustrious Grecian orator, seems to form the beginning, the middle, and end of oratory.
The extent and variety of gesture has a wider range than many are aware of: for it comprehends the action and position of all the parts of the body; of the head, the shoulders, the trunk; of the arms, hands, and fingers; of the lower limbs, and of the feet: it may not improperly include the expressions of the face.-Gesture has one great advantage over the voice, viz. that it affects the eye, which is the quickest of all our senses, and consequently must convey the impressions more speedily to the mind, than that of the voice, which affects the ear only. Nature has given to every sentiment, emotion and passion, its proper outward expression. Hence what we frequently mean, does not so much depend upon the words which we use, as on the manner of expressing them. Thus nature fixes the outward expression of every sentiment of the mind. Art only
adds gracefulness to what nature leads to. ture has determined that man should walk on his feet, not on his hands, it is the business of art to teach him to walk gracefully. Every part of the human frame contributes to express the passions and emotions of the mind, and to show in general its present
A cast of the eye shall express desire in as moving a manner, as the softest language: and a different motion of it, resentment. To wring the hands, tear the hair, or strike the breast, are strong indications of sorrow. And he who claps his hand to his sword, throws us into a greater panic, than he who threatens to kill us. This language of nature is so expressive, that Cicero informs us, that he frequently amused himself with trying this with Roscius the comedian, who could express a sentence as many ways by his gestures, as he could by his words.
It is not necessary, as some writers have asserted, that the hands should never be idle. Nature does not
so direct. On the stage where the action is more diversified, and where a greater profusion of gesture is allowable than in Oratory, we find that the most celebrated actors and actresses do not follow this rule. In many parts of an oration little gesture should be used, in some the speaker may be almost unmoved, and in others the tone of voice and expression of countenance is sufficient. It is not necessary always to saw the air, far from it. But it is highly necessary to consider and judge when the air should be divided by the arm, the weapon of the orator: when he is to move his head, his body, and his limbs; and how he is to do all this with propriety and effect. The art of gesture however cultivated, is not to be used for incessant flourishing: this would be like introducing the steps and bounds of dancing into the simple movements of walking.
The variety of gestures of which the human figure is capable, is almost infinite. In this great variety there is, however a similarity and relation among
many of them. The parts of the human figure which are brought into action, cannot in truth be considered separate; for every muscle, every nerve, over which we can exercise voluntary action, contributes in some measure to the perfection of gesture. The most distinguished parts of the body, however, which affect the principal gestures may be considered the following, viz. 1. The Head. 2. The shoulders. 3. The trunk or body. 4. The arms. 5. The hands and fingers. 6. The lower limbs and knees. 7. The feet. The orator should pay great attention to his whole outward appearance. Every position should be manly, graceful, and dignified: every thing that is awkward and rustic should be carefully avoided.-The gracefulness of motion in the human form, or perhaps in any other, consists in the facility and security with which it can be executed. And the gracefulness of any position, consists in the apparent facility with which they can be varied. Hence in standing, the position is graceful, when the weight of the body is principally supported on one leg; whilst the other is so placed, as to be ready to relieve it promptly and without effort. And as the legs are formed for a mutual share of labour and of honour, so their alternation in position and in motion is agreeable and graceful. The foot which sustains the weight of the body must be so placed, that a perpendicular line let fall from the hole of the neck, shall pass through the heel of that foot. The other foot is merely for the purpose of keeping the body properly balanced in this position. The orator is to adopt such attitudes. and positions only, as consist with manly and simple grace. The toes are to be moderately turned outwards, but not constrained; the limbs are to be disposed so as to support the body with ease, and to change with facility. The sustaining foot is to be planted firmly; the leg and thigh braced, but not contracted, and the knee straightened: the other foot must press lightly and generally at the distance at which it would fall, if lifted up and allowed to drop