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reason of our being often so frigid and serve, at the same time, that the constarit unpersuasive in public discourse, but our indulgence of a declamatory manner, is departure from the natural tone of speak. not favourable either to good composition ing, and delivering ourselves in an af. or good delivery ; and is in hazard of fected, artificial manner? Nothing can betraying public speakers into that mobe more absurd than to imagine, that as notony of tone and cadence, which is so soon as one mounts a pulpit, or rises in a generally complained of. Whereas, he public assembly, he is instantly to lay who forms the general run of his delivery aside the voice with which he expresses upon a speaking manner, is not likely himself in private ; to assume a new stu- ever to become disagreeable through modied tone, and a cadence altogether fo- notony. He will have the same natural reign to his natural manner. This has variety in his tones, which a person has vitiated all delivery; this has given rise in conversation. Indeed, the perfection tocant and tedious monotony, in the of delivery requires both these different different kinds of modern public speak. manners, that of speaking with liveliness ing, especially in the pulpit. Men de- and ease, and that of declaiming with parted from nature, and sought to give stateliness and dignity, to be possessed a beauty or force, as they imagined, to by one man ; and to be employed by their discourse, by substituting certain him, according as the different parts of studied musical tones, in the room of the his discourse require either the one or the genuine expressions of sentiment, which other. This is a perfection which is not the voice carries in natural discourse. attained by many; the greatest part of Let every public speaker guard against public speakers allowing their delivery to this error. Whether he speak in a pri- be formed altogether accidentally, accordvate room, or in a great assembly, let ing as some turn of voice appears to him remember that he still speaks. Fol. them most beautiful, or some artificial low nature : consider how she teaches model has caught their fancy; and acyou to utter any sentiment or feeling of quiring, by this means, a habit of pronun. your heart. Imagine a subject of debate ciation, which they can never vary. But started in conversation among grave and the capital direction, which ought never wise men, and yourself bearing a share to be forgotten, is, to copy the proper in it. Think after what manner, with tones for expressing every sentiment, what tones and inflexions of voice, you from those which nature dictates to us in would on such an occasion express your conversation with others; to speak al. self, when you were most in earnest, and ways with her voice; and not to form to sought most to be listened to. Carry ourselves a fantastic public manner, from these with you to the bar, to the pulpit, an absurd fancy of its being more beauti. or to any public assembly ; let these be ful than a natural one*. the foundation of your manner of pro. It now remains to treat of Gesture, or nouncing there; and you will take the what is called Action in public discourse. surest method of rendering your delivery Some nations animate their words in both agreeable and persuasive.
common conversation, with many more I have said, let these conversation motions of the body than others do. The tones be the foundation of public pro. French and the Italians are, in this renunciation; for, on some occasions, so- spect, much more sprightly than we. But lemn public speaking requires them to be there is no nation, hardly any person exalted beyond the strain of common discourse. In a formal, studied oration, * " Loquere," (says an author of the last the elevation of the style, and the harmo- century, who has written a Treatise in Verse, ny of the sentences, prompt, almost ne. de Gestu et Voce Oratoris) cessarily, a modulation of voice more rounded, and bordering more upon "Loquere; hoc vitium commune, loquatur
“ Ut nemo; at tensâ declamaret omnia voces music, than conversation admits. This
“ Tu loquere, ut mos est hominum; Boat & gives rise to what is called, the Declaim
latrat ille; ing Manner. But though this mode of " Ille ululat; rudit hic (fari si talia dignum est); pronunciation runs considerably beyond “Non hominem vox ulla sonat ratione loquenordinary discourse, yet still it must have,
tem.” for its basis, the natural tones of grave
Joannes Lucas, de Gestu et Voce, and dignified conversation. I must ob.
Lib. Il. Paris 1675.
so phlegmatic, as not to accompany their ners, than any mirror they can use. With words with some actions and gesticulations, regard to particular rules concerning action op all occasions, when they are much in and gesticulation, Quinctilian has delivered earnest. It is therefore unnatural in a pub- a great many, in the last chapter of the Ec speaker, it is inconsistent with that ear. 11th Book of his Institutions, and all the sestness and seriousness which he ought modern writers on this subject have done to shew in all affairs of moment, to remain little else but translate them. I am not of quite unmoved in his outward appearance : opinion, that such rules delivered either by and to let the words drop from his mouth, the voice or on paper, can be of much use, without any expression of meaning or unless persons saw them exemplified before warmth in his gesture.
their eyes *. The fundamental rule as to propriety of I shall only add further on this head, action, is undoubtedly the same with what that in order to succeed well in delivery, I gave as to propriety of tone. Attend to nothing is more necessary than for a speaker the looks and gestures, in which earnest. to guard against a certain flutter of spirits, Dess, indignation, compassion, or any other which is peculiarly incident to those who emotion, discovers itself to most advantage begin to speak in public. He must endeain the common intercourse of men ; and vour above all things to be recollected, let these be your model. Some of these and master of himself. For this end, he looks and gestures are common to all men; will find nothing of more use to him, than and there are also certain peculiarities of 10 study to become wholly engaged in his manner which distinguish every individual. subject; to be possessed with a sense of A public speaker must take that manner its importance or seriousness; to be conwhich is most natural to himself. For it cerned much more to persuade than to is bere just as in topes : it is not the busiDess of a speaker to form to himself a cer * The few following hints only I shall adventain set of motions and gestures, which
hich ture to throw out, hoping they may be of serhe thinks most becoming and agreeable, study to preserve as much dignity as possible in
vice. When speaking in public, one should and to practise these in public, without the whole attitude of the body. An erect posture their having any correspondence to the is generally to be chosen : standing firm, so as to manner which is natural to him in private have the fullest and freest command of all bis
motions; any inclination which is used, should His gestures and motions ought all to
be forwards towards the hearers, which is a natucarry that kind of expression which nature ral expression of earnestness. As for the counhas dictated to him; and, unless this be tenance, the chief rule is, that it should corre. the case, it is impossible, by means of any spond with the nature of the discourse, and when study, to avoid their appearing stiff and stode. to acoid'their appearing stiff and no particular emotion is expressed, a serious and
manly look is always the best. The eyes should forced.
never be fixed close on any one object, but move However, although nature must be the easily round the audience. In the motions made ground-work, I admit that there is room with the hands, consists the chief part of gesture in this matter for some study and art.
oned all mo. For many persons are naturally ungraceful
tions performed by the left hand alone; but I
am not sensible that these are always offensive, in the motions which they make; and this though it is natural for the right hand to be ungracefulness might, in part at least, be more frequently einployed. Warm emotions dereformed by application and care. The mand the motion of both hands corresponding study of action in public speaking consists
together. But whether one gesticulates with
one or with both hands, it is an important rule, chiefly in guarding against awkward and
that all his motions should be free and easy. disagreeable motions, and in learning to Narrow and straitened movements are generally pertorm such as are natural to the speaker, ungraceful; for which reason, motions made in the most becoming manner. For this with the hands are directed to proceed from the end, it has been advised by writers on this
shoulder, rather than from the elbow. Perpen.
dicular movements too with the hands, that is, subject, to practise before a mirror, where in the straight line up and down, which Shake. one may see and judge of his own gestures. speare, in Hamlet, calls,“ sawing the air with Bat I am afraid, persons are not always the hand,” are seldom good. Oblique motions the best judges of the gracefulness of their are, in general, the most graceful. Too sudden
and nimble motions should be likewise avoided, own motions; and one may declaim long
Earnestness can be fully expressed without them, enough before a mirror, without correcting
Shakespeare's directions on this head are full of any of his faults. The judgment of a friend, good sense;. “use all gently,” says he, “and in whose good taste they can trust, will be "the very torrent and tempest of passion, acquire found of much greater advantage to begin "a temperance that may give it smoothness.”
bo Anoients and
please. He will generally please most, when pleasing is not his sole nor chief aim. This is the only rational and proper method
II. of raising one's self above that timid and bashful regard to an audience, which is so ready to disconcert a speaker, both as to
Means of improving in Eloquence. what he is to say, and as to his manner of saying it.
I have now treated fully of the diffeI cannot conclude, without an earnest rent kinds of public speaking, of the comadmonition to guard against all affectation, position, and of the delivery of a discourse. which is the certain ruin of good delivery. Before I finish this subject, it may be of Let your manner, whatever it is, be your use to suggest some things concerning the own; neither imitated from another, nor properest means of improvement in the art assumed upon some imaginary model, which of public speaking, and the most necessary is unnatural to you. Whatever is dative, studies for that purpose. even though accompanied with several de. To be an eloquent speaker in the proper fects, yet is likely to please ; because it sense of the word, is far from being either shows us a man; because it has the appear a common or an easy attainment. Indeed, ance of coming from the heart. Whereas to compose a florid harangue on some poa delivery, attended with several acquired pular topic, and to deliver it so as to amuse graces and beauties, if it be not easy and an audience, is a matter not very difficult. free, if it betray the marks of art and affec. But though some praise be due to this, yet tation, never fails to disgust. To attain the idea, which I have endeavoured to an extremely correct and perfectly graceful give of eloquence, is much higher. It is delivery, is what few can expect; so many a great exertion of the human powers. It natural talents being requisite to concur in is the art of being persuasive and comforming it. But to attain, what as to the manding; the art, not of pleasing the effect is very little inferior, a forcible and fancy merely, but of speaking both to the persuasive manner, is within the power of understanding and to the heart; of intermost persons; if they will only unlearn esting the hearers in such a degree, as to false and corrupt habits; if they will allow seize and carry them along with us; and themselves to follow nature, and will speak to leave them with a deep and strong im. in public, as they do in private, when they pression of what they have heard. How speak in earnest, and from the heart. If many talents, natural and acquired, must one has naturally any gross defects in his concur for carrying this to perfection! A voice or gestures, he begins at the wrong strong, lively, and warm imagination; quick end, if he attenipts at reforming them only sensibility of heart, joined with solid judgwhen he is to speak in public: he should ment, good sense, and presence of mind; begin with rectifying them in his private all improved by great and long attention manner of speaking; and then carry to the to style and composition; and supported public the right habit he has formed. For also by the exterior, yet important qualifi. when a speaker is engaged in a public dis- cations, of a graceful manner, a presence course, he should not be then employing not ungainly, and a full and tuneable voice. his attention about his manner, or thinking How little reason to wonder, that a perfect of his tones and his gestures. If he be so and accomplished orator should be one of employed, study and affectation will ap- the characters that is most rarely to be pear. He ought to be then quite in ear- found! . nest; wholly occupied with his subject and Let us not despair, however, Between his sentiments ; leaving nature, and previ. mediocrity and perfection there is a very ously formed habits, to prompt and suggest wide interval. There are many interhis manner of delivery.
mediate spaces, which may be filled up with honour; and the more rare and dife ficult that complete perfection is, the greater is the honour of approaching to it, though we do not fully attain it. The number of orators' who stand in the highest class is, perhaps, smaller than the number of poets who are foremost in poetic fame; but the study of oratory
has this advantage above that of poetry, topic of declamation, but that the conthat, in poetry, one must be an eminent- nexion here alledged, is undoubtedly ly good performer, or he is not support. founded in truth and reason. able;
For, consider, first, Whether any thing
contributes more to persuasion, than the -- Mediocribus esse poëtis
opinion which we entertain of the probiNoa homines, non Di, non concessere columnæ *. 'P
ty, disinterestedness, candour, and other i eloquence this does not hold. There good moral qualities of the person who one may possess a moderate station with endeavours to persuade? These give dignity. Eloquence admits of a great weight and force to every thing which many different forms; plain and simple, he utters ; nay, they add a beauty to it; 2 well as high and pathetic; and a ge- they dispose us to listen with attention nius that cannot reach the latter, may and pleasure, and create a secret partiashine with much reputation and useful. lity in favour of that side which he espou. Bess in the former.
ses. Whereas, if we entertain a suspiWhether nature or art contribute most cion of craft and disingenuity, of a corto form an orator, is a trifling inquiry. rupt or a base mind, in the speaker, his la all attainments whatever, nature must eloquence loses all its real effect. It may be the prime agent. She must bestow entertain and amuse; but it is viewed as the original talents. She must sow the artifice, as trick, as the play only of seeds, bat culture is requisite to bring speech ; and, viewed in this light, whom those seeds to perfection. Nature must can it persuade? We even read a book always have done somewhat; but a great with more pleasure, when we think deal will always be left to be done by favourably of its author ; but when we ant. This is certain, that study and dis-' have the living speaker before our eyes, cipline are more necessary for the im- addressing us personally on some subprovement of natural genius in oratory, ject of importance, the opinion we enthan they are in poetry. What I mean tertain of his character must have a much is, that though poetry be capable of re- more powerful effect. ceiving assistance from critical art, yet But, lest it should be said, that this a poet, without any aid from art, by the relates only to the character of virtue, force of genius alone, can rise higher which one may maintain, without being than a public speaker can do, who has at bottom a truly worthy man, I must serer given attention to the rules of style, observe farther, that besides the weight composition, and delivery. Homer form- which it adds to character, real virtue ed binself; Demosthenes and Cicero were operates also in other ways, to the adformed by the help of much labour, and vantage of eloquence. of many assistances derived from the First, Nothing is so favourable as virLabour of others.
tue to the prosecution of honourable stu. After these preliminary observations, dies. It prompts a generous emulation let us proceed to the main design of this to excel; it inures to industry; it leaves Lecture ; to treat of the means to be used the mind vacant and free, master of itfor improvement in eloquence.
self, disencumbered of those bad pasIn the first place, what stands highest sions, and disengaged from those mean in the order of means, is personal cha- pursuits, which have ever been found racter and disposition. In order to be a the greatest enemies to true proficiency, truly eloquent or persuasive speaker, no- Quinctilian has touched this considerathing is more necessary than to be a virtu- tion very properly : “ Quod si agrorum Ous man. This was a favourite position " nimia cura, et sollicitior rei familia. among the ancient rhetoricians : “ Non “ris diligentia, et venandi voluptas et * posse oratorem esse nisi virum bonum.” « dati spectaculis dies, multum studüs To find any such connexion between vir- “ auferunt, quid putamus facturas cupi. tae and one of the highest liberal arts, « ditatem, avaritiam, invidiam ? Nihil must give pleasure, and it can, I think, “ enim est tam occupatum, tam multibe clearly shewn, than this is not a mere « forme, tot ac tam variis affectibus con. * For God and map and letter'd post denies,
“ cisum, atque laceratum, quam mala ac That poets eyer are of middling size.
“ improba mens. Quis inter hæc, literis, “ aut ulli bonæ arti, locus ? Non hercle
“ magis quam frugibus in terra sentibus Nothing, therefore, is more necessary
for those who would excel in any of the
merit; and every appearance of it is
Every public speaker should
- a consciousness of his being thoroughly
persuaded of the truth or justice of what