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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 contri butes 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 particu
5. But perhaps the most common and injurious fault in Elocution, consists either 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 thro a whole discourse. t 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 labour.
The Spectator, No. 19,
The Manner in which Argumen-
Speech of Germanicus,
The Manner in which Humorous
The Bashful Man,
The Gouty Merchant & Stranger, 81
The Manner in which Dramatic
Collins' Ode on the Passions,
The Negro's Complaint,
Adam and Eve's Morning Hymn,
Brougham's Speech on the pres-
Rules for Cultivating the Voice, 108
From the Pleasure's of Hope,
Stanzas, He never smiled again,
Important Destination of Young
Maxcy's Oration, 4th July, 1803, 139
Jeffrey's Character of Mr. Watt, 154
Rev. Mr. Burrough's on Female
Rev. Mr. Gallaudet, on Female
Song of Mac Murrough,
The Star Spangled Banner,
Torch of Liberty,
Ginevra, a Poem,
Lines from Bishop Heber to his
Character of Wm. Pitt, the elder, 176
The Flight of Xerxes,
Clay's Address to La Fayette,
The Servian Youth,
Characters of Pitt and Fox,
Lord Chatham's Speech,
Tradition of Indians concerning
Extract from a Sermon by Rob-
Hymn-by Bishop Heber,
Extract from Dr. Hardie's Ser-
Meeting of the Waters,
The Wind passeth over it and it
From Young's Night-Thoughts, 268
The Wounded Hussar,
Extracts from Thomson's Seasons, 271
A tale by a Country Curate,
Page 14, 1st line, add HIGH before " pitch."
15, 9th line from the bottom, insert ONE instead of "red."
18, 10th line from the bottom, add, OF THE LAST WORD, after "syllable."
The errors in the notations and orthography, the intelligent reader will cor