The Canadian Elocutionist
Anna Kelsey Howard
Part 1 out of 8
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THE CANADIAN ELOCUTIONIST
DESIGNED FOR THE USE OF
Colleges, Schools and for Self Instruction
TOGETHER WITH A COPIOUS SELECTION,
_IN PROSE AND POETRY, OF_
PIECES ADAPTED FOR READING, RECITATION AND PRACTICE
ANNA K. HOWARD, LL.B.,
[MISS ANNA HALLECK KELSEY].
Teacher of Elocution and English Literature.
"The manner of speaking is as important as the matter."--CHESTERFIELD.
The principal object the author had in view in the preparation of this
work, was to place in convenient form for the use, both of teachers and
others, the principles, rules, illustrations and exercises, that she has
found most useful and practical for the purpose of instruction, and best
calculated to make good readers, and easy, graceful and correct speakers.
For this purpose the rules and advices have been simplified and divested,
as much as possible, of all abstruse scientific terms, and made as simple
and plain as could be done, having a due regard to the proper explanations
requisite to make them easy to understand and not difficult to practise.
It is hoped that this system of instruction, which has been for some years
very successfully employed by the compiler in her own practice, may prove a
valuable aid to those who wish to pursue the study of the art.
The examples chosen to illustrate the rules have been taken with a due
regard to their fitness to exemplify the principles involved, and to show
the various styles of reading, declamation and oratory, and the selections
have been made in such a manner as to adapt them for use in schools,
colleges and for public reading.
TORONTO, _September_ 24_th_, 1885.
Of the importance of the study of Elocution as part of a good education
there can be no question. Almost every one is liable to be called upon,
perhaps at a few minutes notice, to explain his views and give his opinions
on subjects of various degrees of importance, and to do so with effect ease
in speaking is most requisite. Ease implies knowledge, and address in
speaking is highly ornamental as well as useful even in private life.
The art of Elocution held a prominent place in ancient education, but has
been greatly neglected in modern times, except by a few persons--whose fame
as speakers and orators is a sufficient proof of the value and necessity of
the study. The Ancients--particularly the Greeks and the Romans--were fully
conscious of the benefits resulting from a close attention to and the
practice of such rules as are fitted to advance the orator in his
profession, and their schools of oratory were attended by all classes; nor
were their greatest orators ashamed to acknowledge their indebtedness to
their training in the art for a large portion of their success. The Welsh
Triads say "Many are the friends of the golden tongue," and, how many a
jury has thought a speaker's arguments without force because his manner was
so, and have found a verdict, against law and against evidence, because
they had been charmed into delusion by the potent fascination of some
As Quintilian remarks: "A proof of the importance of delivery may be drawn
from the additional force which the actors give to what is written by the
best poets; so that what we hear pronounced by them gives infinitely more
pleasure than when we only read it. I think, I may affirm that a very
indifferent speech, well set off by the speaker, will have a greater effect
than the best, if destitute of that advantage;" and Henry Irving, in a
recent article, says: "In the practice of acting, a most important point is
the study of elocution; and, in elocution one great difficulty is the use
of sufficient force to be generally heard without being unnaturally loud,
and without acquiring a stilted delivery. I never knew an actor who brought
the art of elocution to greater perfection than the late Charles Mathews,
whose utterance on the stage was so natural, that one was surprised to find
when near him that he was really speaking in a very loud key." Such are
some of the testimonies to the value of this art.
Many persons object to the study of elocution because they do not expect to
become professional readers or public speakers, but surely this is a great
mistake, and they might as well object to the study of literature because
they do not expect to become an author; and still more mischievous in its
results is the fallacy, only too current even among persons of
intelligence, that those who display great and successful oratorical
powers, possess a genius or faculty that is the gift of nature, and which
it would be in vain to endeavour to acquire by practice, as if orators
"were born, not made," as is said of poets.
The art of reading well is one of those rare accomplishments which all wish
to possess, a few think they have, while others who see and believe that it
is not the unacquired gift of genius, labour to obtain it, and it will be
found that excellence in this, as in everything else of value, is the
result of well-directed effort, and the reward of unremitting industry. A
thorough knowledge of the principles of any art will enable a student to
achieve perfection in it, so in elocution he may add new beauties to his
own style of reading and speaking however excellent they may be naturally.
But it is often said "Our greatest orators were not trained." But is this
true? How are we to know how much and how laborious was the preliminary
training each effort of these great orators cost them, before their
eloquence thrilled through the listening crowds? As Henry Ward Beecher
says: "If you go to the land which has been irradiated by parliamentary
eloquence; if you go to the people of Great Britain; if you go to the great
men in ancient times; if you go to the illustrious names that every one
recalls--Demosthenes and Cicero--they all represent a life of work. You
will not find one great sculptor, nor one great architect, nor one eminent
man in any department of art, whose greatness, if you inquire, you will not
find to be the fruit of study, and of the evolution which comes from
study." So much for the importance of Elocution and the advantages of
acquiring a proficiency therein.
A few remarks to those who are ambitious of excelling in the art may now be
given, showing how they may best proceed in improving themselves therein.
The following rules are worthy of strict attention:--1. Let your
articulation be distinct and deliberate. 2. Let your pronunciation be bold
and forcible. 3. Acquire a compass and variety in the height of your voice.
4. Pronounce your words with propriety and elegance. 5. Pronounce every
word consisting of more than one syllable with its proper accent. 6. In
every sentence distinguish the more significant words by a natural,
forcible and varied emphasis. 7. Acquire a just variety of pause and
cadence. 8. Accompany the emotions and passions which your words express,
by corresponding tones, looks and gestures.
To follow nature is the fundamental rule in oratory, without regard to
which, all other rules will only produce affected declamation not just
elocution. Learn to speak slowly and deliberately, almost all persons who
have not studied the art have a habit of uttering their words too rapidly.
It should be borne in mind that the higher degrees of excellence in
elocution are to be gained, not by reading much, but by pronouncing what is
read with a strict regard to the nature of the subject, the structure of
the sentences, the turn of the sentiment, and a correct and judicious
application of the rules of the science. It is an essential qualification
of a good speaker to be able to alter the height as well as the strength
and the tone of his voice as occasion requires, so accustom yourself to
pitch your voice in different keys, from the highest to the lowest; but
this subject is of such a nature that it is difficult to give rules for all
the inflections of the voice, and it is almost, if not quite impossible to
teach gesture by written instructions; a few lessons from a good and
experienced teacher will do more to give a pupil ease, grace, and force of
action than all the books and diagrams in the world. Action is important to
the orator, and changes of action must accord with the language; the lower
the language the slower should be the movements and _vice versa_,
observing Shakespeare's rule: "Suit the action to the word, the word to the
action, with this special observance--that you o'erstep not the modesty of
nature." Study repose, without it, both in speech and action, the ears,
eyes, and minds of the audience, and the powers of the speaker are alike
fatigued; follow nature, consider how she teaches you to utter any
sentiment or feeling of your heart. Whether you speak in a private room or
in a great assembly, remember that you still speak, and speak
_naturally_. Conventional tones and action have been the ruin of
delivery in the pulpit, the senate, at the bar, and on the platform.
All public speaking, but especially acting and reciting, must be heightened
a little above ordinary nature, the pauses longer and more frequent, the
tones weightier, the action more forcible, and the expression more highly
coloured. Speaking from memory admits of the application of every possible
element of effectiveness, rhetorical and elocutionary, and in the delivery
of a few great actors the highest excellence in this art has been
exemplified. But speaking from memory requires the most minute and careful
study, as well as high elocutionary ability, to guard the speaker against a
merely mechanical utterance. Read in the same manner you would speak, as if
the matter were your own original sentiments uttered directly from the
heart. Action should not be used in ordinary reading.
Endeavour to learn something from every one, either by imitating, but not
servilely, what is good, or avoiding what is bad. Before speaking in public
collect your thoughts and calm yourself, avoiding all hurry. Be punctual
with your audience, an apology for being late is the worst prologue.
Leave off before your hearers become tired, it is better for you that they
should think your speech too short than too long.
Let everything be carefully finished, well-polished, and perfect. Many of
the greatest effects in all arts have been the results of long and patient
study and hard work, however simple and spontaneous they may have appeared
Remember, that the highest art is to conceal art, that attention to trifles
makes perfection, and that perfection is no trifle.
Directions for Breathing
IV.--ELEMENTARY SOUNDS, ETC.
Pronunciation and Accent
V.--QUALITIES OF VOICE.
II. VARIATIONS OF FORCE, OR STRESS.
IX.--PAUSES, INFLECTIONS, ETC.
I. Rhetorical pause
V. Circumflex or Wave
I. Position of the Hand
XII.--INTRODUCTION TO AUDIENCE.
II. Advice to Students
XIII.--GENERAL EXAMPLES FOR PRACTICE.
SELECTIONS FOR READING.
A Child's First Impression of a Star... _N. P. Willis._
A Legend of Bregenz... _Adelaide A. Procter._
A Modest Wit
A Prayer... _James Russell Lowett._
A Slip of the Tongue
A Tarryton Romance
Advice to a Young Lawyer... _Story._
An Autumn Day... _Bryant._
An Order for a Picture... _Alice Cary._
Ask Mamma... _A. M. Bell._
Aunty Doleful's Visit
Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
Bells Across the Snow... _Frances Ridley Havergal._
Brutus on the Death of Caesar... _Shakespeare._
Calling a Boy in the Morning
Cataline's Defiance... _Rev'd. George Croly._
Christ Turned and Looked upon Peter... _Elisabeth B. Browning._
Cuddle Doon... _Alexander Andersen._
Curfew Must not Ring To-night
Dios Te Guarde
Domestic Love and Happiness... _Thomson._
Drifting... _T. Buchanan Read._
Elizabeth... _H. W. Longfellow._
Eve's Regrets on Quitting Paradise... _Milton._
Experience with European Guides... _Mark Twain._
Gertrude of Wyoming... _Campell._
God, the True Source of Consolation... _Moore._
Good-Bye... _Whyte Melville._
Guilty or Not Guilty
Hagar in the Wilderness... _N. P. Willis._
Hannah Binding Shoes... _Lucy Larcom._
Highland Mary... _Burns._
Home Song... _H. W. Longfellow._
How We Hunted a Mouse... _Joshua Jenkins._
How Women say Good-bye
I Remember, I Remember... _T. Hood_
I'll Take What Father Takes... _W. Boyle._
In School Days... _Whittier._
Jimmy Butler and the Owl
Keys... _Bessie Chandler_
King John... _Shakespeare._
Landing of Columbus... _Rogers._
Little Bennie... _Annie G. Ketchum._
Little Mary's Wish... _Mrs. L. M. Blinn._
Love in Idleness... _Shakespeare._
Makin' an Editor Outen 0' Him... _Will. M. Carleton._
Malibran and the Young Musician
Marmion and Douglas... _Sir W. Scott._
Mary Maloney's Philosophy
Mary Stuart... _Schiler._
Memory's Pictures... _Alice Cary._
My Trundle Bed
Nay, I'll Stay With the Lad... _Lillie E. Barr._
Never Give Up
Niagara... _John G. C. Brainard._
Ocean... _W. Wetherald._
On His Blindness... _Milton._
On the Miseries of Human Life... _Thomson._
Oration Against Cataline... _Cicero._
Over the Hill from the Poor-House... _Will M. Carleton._
Papa Can't Find Me
Passing Away... _Pierpont._
Paul's Defence before Agrippa... _Bible._
Per Pacem ad Lucem... _Adelaide A. Procter._
Poor Little Joe... _Peleg Arkwright._
Poor Little Stephen Girard... _Mark Twain._
Reading the List
Reflections on the Tomb of Shakespeare... _Irving._
Rock of Ages... _F. L. Stanton._
Romeo and Juliet... _Shakespeare_
Sandalphon... _H. W. Longfellow._
Santa Claus in the Mines
Saved... _Mary B. Sleight._
Scene at Niagara Falls... _Charlei Torson._
Scenes from Hamlet... _Shakespeare._
Scenes from Leah the Forsaken
Scenes from Macbeth... _Shakespeare._
Scenes from Pizarro... _Sheridan._
Scene from Richelieu... _Sir Edward Lytton Bulwer._
Sim's Little Girl... _Mary Hartwell._
Song of Birds... _H. W. Longfellow._
Sonnet... _James Ritttell Lowell._
St. Philip Neri and the Youth... _Dr. Byrom._
Temperance... _Rev. John Ireland._
The Approach to Paradise... _Milton._
The Armada... _Macaulay._
The Bald-Headed Man
The Battle of Agincourt... _Shakespeare._
The Bishop's Visit... _Emily Huntington Miller._
The Bridal Wine-Cup... _Sidney Herbert._
The Chimes of S. S. Peter and Paul
The Dead Doll
The Death-Bed... _Thomas Hood._
The Engineer's Story
The Faithful Housewife
The Famine... _H. W. Longfellow._
The Field of Waterloo... _Lord Byron._
The Fireman... _George M. Baker._
The Foolish Virgins... _Tennyson._
The Hired Squirrel... _Laura Sanford._
The Inexperienced Speaker
The Jester's Choice... _Horace Smith._
The Last Hymn... _Marianne Farningham._
The Last Station
The Launch of the Ship... _H. W. Longfellow._
The Little Hatchet Story... _R. N. Burdette._
The Little Hero
The Little Quaker Sinner
The Model Wife... _Ruskin._
The Modern Cain... _E. Evans Edwards._
The Newsboy's Debt
The Old Man in the Model Church... _John H Yates._
The Old Soldier of the Regiment... _G. Newell Lovejoy._
The Opening of the Piano... _O. W. Holmes._
The Painter of Seville... _Susan Wilson._
The Patriot's Elysium... _Montgomery._
The Polish Boy... _Mrs. Ann S. Stephens._
The Potion Scene (Romeo and Juliet)... _Shakespeare._
The Quaker Widow... _Bayard Taylor._
The Quarrel of Brutus and Cassius... _Shakespeare._
The Rift of the Rock... _Annie Herbert._
The Seasons... _Thomson._
The Sioux Chief's Daughter... _Joaquin Miller._
The Sister of Charity... _Owen Meredith._
The Wedding Fee... _B. M. Streeter._
The Whistler... _Robert Story._
The World from the Sidewalk
The Worn Wedding Ring... _W. C. Bennett._
The Young Gray Head... _Mrs. Southey._
There's Nothing True but Heaven... _Moore._
Though Lost to Sight to Memory Dear... _Ruthven Jenkyns._
Three Words of Strength... _Schiller._
To Her Husband... _Anne Bradstreet._
Tom... _Constance Fenimore Woolsen._
Trial Scene from the Merchant of Venice... _Shakespeare._
Waterloo... _Lady Morgan._
Miss Kelsey has given special attention to Reading and Elocution for a
number of years. She has a powerful voice, with variety of expression.
Miss Kelsey I know to be a lady of true Christian principles, ambitions to
excel, and set a good example in Elocution and Literature. I commend
her to those interested in this branch of learning.
Allen A. Griffith,
Author of "Lessons in Elocution,"
And Professor of Elocution at State Normal School at Ypsilanti, Mich.
I have long known Professor Griffith, whose communication is enclosed.
Such is his ability in his profession, and so large are his acquirements,
And so just and broad his critical faculty, that I cannot commend Miss
Kelsey in any way so well as by saying that I accept the Professor's
judgment as most satisfactory. His opinion of her is reliable beyond
I have been pleased with Miss Kelsey's views on Elocution, as far as I can
learn them from a single interview, and hope she may be successful in the
profession she has chosen.
_Late Pastor of Jefferson Ave. Presbyterian Church,_
35 Union Square, New York.
Miss Kelsey has been under my instruction in Elocution, and I take
pleasure in saying that she was so earnest in study, and so faithful
in practice, that her proficiency was very great. I bespeak for her
added success as a teacher; and from the repertoire which her recent
study has given, new triumphs as a public reader.
Anna Randall Diehl,
Author of "Randall's Elocution," and "The Quarterly
Ann Arbour, November 3rd, 1880.
_To whom it may concern:_
I have known Miss Kelsey (now Mrs. William J. Howard) for upwards
of two years, and have a high respect for her as a conscientious,
cultivated and agreeable lady, who is entitled to confidence and
esteem. She has a good reputation as an Elocutionist, and I have
no doubt would give valuable and faithful instruction to any one
who may seek her aid.
(Signed) THOMAS M. COOLEY.
Professor of Law, Michigan University, and Judge of Supreme
* * * * *
ANN ARBOR, MICH.
November 13th, 1880.
For several years Mrs. Anna K. Howard, (then Miss Kelsey) lived in Ann
Arbor as a teacher of Elocution, and also as a student in one of our
professional departments, and was known to me as very earnest in all her
I never had the pleasure of hearing her read or of witnessing any of her
instructions in Elocution; but of her proficiency in both directions, I
frequently heard very favourable reports.
MOSES COIT TYLER,
Professor of History in Cornell University, and author of "History of
* * * * *
[_St. Catharines (Ont.) Times_.]
MISS KELSEY fairly took the audience by storm, being heartily encored.
She is one of the best professional readers we have ever listened to.
* * * * *
[_Ann Arbor (Mich.) Courier_.]
MISS KELSEY'S manner is simple and graceful, or full of vigour and fire;
her voice singularly sweet and flexible, or deep and sonorous at will. Miss
K. has given readings in many of our important cities, and she always holds
her audience spell-bound.
* * * * *
[_Grand Rapids (Mich.) Press._]
MISS KELSEY is a lady of unusual talent; evidently understands her
vocation. She fully sustained her reputation acquired elsewhere, and has
made many friends in this city--her professional worth and professional
merit being recognized--who will be pleased with another opportunity of
listening to her readings should she thus favour them.
* * * * *
[_St. Thomas (Ont.) Times_.]
The readings of Miss Kelsey were the _piece de resistance_ of the evening.
This lady has a very sweet voice, and flexible, pure accentuation, and is
altogether as good an elocutionist as we have ever heard. It was wonderful
how distinctly her voice was heard all over the hall, though apparently
making no effort. She was applauded with enthusiasm.
Gymnastic and calisthenic exercises are invaluable aids to the culture and
development of the bodily organs, for purposes of vocalization.
The organs of the voice require vigour and pliancy of muscle, to perform
their office with energy and effect.
Before proceeding to the vocal gymnastics, it is indispensable, almost, to
practice a series of muscular exercises, adapted to the expansion of the
chest, freedom of the circulation, and general vitality of the whole
First, stand firmly upon both feet, hands upon the hips, fingers in front,
head erect, so as to throw the larynx directly over the wind-pipe in a
perpendicular line; bring the arms, thus adjusted, with hands pressed
firmly against the waist, back and down, six times in succession; the
shoulders will be brought down and back, head up, chest thrown forward.
Keeping the hands in this position, breathe freely, filling the lungs to
the utmost, emitting the breath slowly. Now, bring the hands, clenched
tightly, against the sides of the chest; thrust the right fist forward--
keeping the head up and chest forward, whole body firm; bring it back, and
repeat six times; left the same; then both fists; then right up six times;
then left; then both; then right, down six times; left, the same; then
both. Now clench the fists tightly, and press them under the arm-pits,
throwing the chest as well forward as possible, shoulders down and back,
head erect; thrust the fists down the sides, and return, six times, with
the utmost energy. Now, keeping the head, shoulders, and chest still the
same, extend the hands forward, palms open and facing, bring both back as
far as the bones and muscles of the shoulders will admit, without bending
arms at elbows. Now, thrust the body to the right, knees and feet firm, and
strike the left side with open palms, vigorously, repeat with body to the
left. Now, with arms akimbo, thrust the right foot forward (kicking) with
energy, six times; left same. Now, place the clenched fist in the small of
the back with great force; throw the whole body backwards, feet and knees
firm, tilling the lungs to the utmost and uttering, as you go over, the
alphabetical element, "_a_" then long "_o_," then long "_e_"
If these movements have been made with great energy and precision, the
blood is circulating freely, and the whole body is aglow, and you are ready
now for vocal exercises.
These should be repeated daily with increasing energy.
The best time for practicing gymnastic exercises is either early in the
morning or in the cool of the evening; but never immediately after meals.
As the feet and lower limbs are the foundation, we shall begin by giving
their different positions. The student should be careful to keep the body
A good voice depends upon the position, and the practice of Position and
Gesture will prove a valuable aid in physical culture, and in acquiring a
graceful address. There are two primary positions of the feet in speaking:
_First._--The body rests on the left foot, right a little advanced,
right knee bent.
_Second._--The body rests on the right foot, the left a little
advanced, left knee bent.
There are two other positions which are called secondary. They are assumed
in argument, appeal or persuasion.
The first secondary position is taken from the first primary by advancing
the unoccupied foot, and resting the body upon it, leaning forward, the
_left_ foot brought to its support. The second secondary position is
the same as the first with the body resting on the left foot. In assuming
these positions the movements must be made with the utmost simplicity,
avoiding all display or parade, and advancing, retiring or changing with
ease and gracefulness, excepting when the action demands energy or marked
decision. All changes must be made as lightly and as imperceptibly as
possible, without any unnecessary sweep of the moving foot, and in all
changes that foot should be moved first which does not support the weight
of the body. All action should be graceful in mechanism and definite in
expressiveness. The speaker should keep his place--all his motions may be
easily made in one square yard, but the stage or dramatic action requires
more extended movements.
In walking, the head and body should be carried upright, yet perfectly free
and easy, with the shoulders thrown back, the knees should be straight, and
the toes turned out. In the walk or march, the foot should be advanced,
keeping the knee and instep straight, and the toe pointing downward; it
should then be placed softly on the ground without jerking the body; and
this movement should be repeated with the left foot, and the action
continued until it can be performed with ease and elegance.
"In a graceful human step," it has been well observed, "the heel is always
raised before the foot is lifted from the ground, as if the foot were part
of a wheel rolling forward, and the weight of the body, supported by the
muscles of the calf of the leg, rests, for a time, on the fore part of the
foot and toes. There is then a bending of the foot in a certain degree."
In reading, the student should sit erect, with both feet resting on the
floor, and one foot slightly advanced, the head up so as to be able to use
the whole trunk in respiration.
To kneel gracefully, assume the first standing position resting the weight
of the body on the right foot, then place the left knee gently down on the
floor keeping the body perfectly erect, then bring the right knee down;--in
rising, these motions are reversed, the right knee being raised first, the
full weight of the body resting on it while rising, bring up the left knee
and assume the first standing position. To be effective these motions
should be very gracefully executed and a great deal of practice must be
given to acquire freedom of action.
HOLDING THE BOOK.
The book should be held in the right hand by the side, standing in the
first position then raise it and open it to place, pass it to the left hand
letting the right hand drop by the side, the book being held so that the
upper part of it is below the chin, so as to show the countenance, and
permit the free use of the eyes, which should frequently be raised from the
book and directed to those who are listening.
Deep breathing with the lips closed, inhaling as long as possible, and
exhaling slowly, is very beneficial.
Having inflated the lungs to their utmost capacity, form the breath into
the element of long _o_, in its escape through the vocal organs. This
exercise should be frequently repeated, as the voice will be strengthened
thereby, and the capacity of the chest greatly increased. Do not raise the
shoulders or the upper part of the chest alone when you breathe. Breathe as
a healthy child breathes, by the expansion and contraction of abdominal and
intercostal muscles. Such breathing will improve the health, and be of
great assistance in continuous reading or speaking. Great care is necessary
in converting the breath into voice. Do not waste breath; use it
economically, or hoarseness will follow. Much practice on the vocal
elements, with all the varieties of pitch, then the utterance of words,
then of sentences, and finally of whole paragraphs, is necessary in
learning to use the breath, and in acquiring judgment and taste in
vocalizing. _Never speak when the lungs are exhausted. Keep them well
SPECIAL DIRECTIONS FOR BREATHING.
1. Place yourself in a perfectly erect but easy posture; the weight of the
body resting on one foot; the feet at a moderate distance, the one in
advance of the other; the arms akimbo; the fingers pressing on the
abdominal muscles, in front, and the thumbs on the dorsal muscles, on each
side of the spine; the chest freely expanded and fully projected; the
shoulders held backward and downward; the head perfectly vertical.
2. Having thus complied with the preliminary conditions of a free and
unembarrassed action of the organs, draw in and give out the breath very
fully and very slowly, about a dozen times in succession.
3. Draw in a very full breath, and send it forth in a prolonged sound of
the letter _h_. In the act of inspiration, take in as much breath as
you can contain. In that of expiration, retain all you can, and give out as
little as possible, merely sufficient to keep the sound of _h_
4. Draw in a very full breath, as before, and emit it with a lively,
expulsive force, in the sound of _h_, but little prolonged in the
style of a moderate, whispered cough.
5. Draw in the breath, as already directed, and emit it with a sudden and
violent explosion, in a very brief sound of the letter _h_, in the
style of an abrupt and forcible, but whispered cough. The breath is, in
this mode of expiration, thrown out with abrupt _violence_.
6. Inflate the lungs to their utmost capacity and exhale the breath very
slowly, counting rapidly up to ten, as many times as possible with one
Each of the above exercises should be repeated often, by the student, in
his room, or while walking; and may be given with the gymnastic exercises
A good articulation consists in a clear, full, and distinct utterance of
words, in accordance with the best standard of pronunciation, and this
constitutes the basis of every other excellence in reading and oratory.
Care and attention, with diligent practice, will keep young persons from
falling into the bad habit of imperfect articulation, for most voices are
good until domestic or local habits spoil them. Hence the great importance
of careful training in early childhood, for if parents and instructors
would direct their attention to this matter a manifest improvement would
quickly follow; yet, to acquire a good articulation is not so difficult a
task "as to defy the assaults of labour."
"The importance of a correct enunciation in a public speaker is well known
--for if he possesses only a moderate voice, if he articulates correctly,
he will be better understood and heard with greater pleasure, than one who
vociferates without judgment. The voice of the latter may indeed extend to
a considerable distance,--but the sound is dissipated in confusion; of the
former voice, not the smallest vibration is wasted, every stroke is
perceived even at the utmost distance to which it reaches; and hence it
often has the appearance of penetrating even farther than one which is
loud, but badly articulated."
In connection with this subject, a few words are necessary concerning
impediment of speech, for in cases where a slight degree of hesitation
breaks the fluent tenor of discourse much may be accomplished by due care
and attention, and most defects of speech, voice, and manner may be
modified or remedied by cultivation and diligent study and practice.
In seeking for a remedy the first thing to be considered is the care of the
health, for this is the foundation of every hope of cure, and all excesses
should be avoided and all irregularities guarded against.
All the mental powers should be enlisted in the combat with the defect, and
the student should speak with deliberation and with an expiring breath, and
when alone practice frequently the words and letters that he finds most
difficult to pronounce, and should also furnish his mind with a copious
vocabulary of synonyms, so that if he finds himself unable to utter a
particular word, he may substitute some other in its place. But above all
he must maintain a courageous command over himself and exert the energy of
his own mind. By observing these rules, if the defect is not entirely
eradicated, it will at least be palliated in a considerable degree.
ELEMENTARY SOUNDS OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE.
The number of elements in the language is thirty-eight.
They are divided into _vowels_, _sub-vowels_, and
_aspirates_; or, as classified by Dr. Rush in his "Philosophy of the
Human Voice," into _tonics_, _sub-tonics_, and _atonics_.
There are fifteen _vowels_, fourteen _sub-vowels_, and nine
_Table of the Elements._
A as heard in _a_le, f_a_te, m_a_y.
A " " " _a_rm, f_a_rm, h_a_rm.
A " " " _a_ll, f_a_ll, _o_rb.
A " " " _a_n, ide_a_, p_a_n.
E " " " _e_asy, im_i_tate, m_e_.
E " " " _e_nd, l_e_t, m_e_nd.
I " " " _i_sle, _i_ce, fl_y_, m_i_ne.
I " " " _i_n, p_i_n, _E_ngland.
O " " " _o_ld, m_o_re, _o_ats.
O " " " _oo_se, l_o_se, t_o_, f_oo_l
O " " " _o_n, l_o_ck, n_o_t.
U " " " m_ew_, f_ew_, t_u_be, p_u_pil.
U " " " _u_p, t_u_b, h_e_r, h_u_rt.
U " " " f_u_ll, p_u_ll, w_o_lf.
OU " " " _ou_r, fl_ou_r, p_ow_er.
B as heard in _b_ow, _b_oat, _b_arb.
D " " " _d_ay, bi_d_, _d_are.
G " " " _g_ay, fi_g_, _g_ilt.
L " " " _l_ight, _l_iberty, a_ll_.
M " " " _m_ind, stor_m_, _m_ate.
N " " " _n_o, o_n_, _n_i_n_e.
NG " " " si_ng_, fi_ng_er, lo_ng_.
R " " " _r_oe, _r_a_r_e, o_r_b.
TH " " " _th_en, wi_th_, benea_th_.
V as heard in _v_ice, _v_ile, sal_v_e.
W " " " _w_oe, _w_ave, _w_orld.
Y " " " _y_oke, _y_e, _y_onder.
Z " " " _z_one, hi_s_, _Z_enophon.
ZH " " " a_z_ure, enclo_s_ure.
F as heard in _f_ame, i_f_, li_f_t.
H " " " _h_e, _h_ut.
K " " " _k_ite, ca_k_e.
P " " " _p_it, u_p_, a_p_t.
S " " " _s_in, _c_ell, ye_s_.
SH " " " _sh_ade, _sh_ine, flu_sh_ed.
T " " " _t_ake, oa_t_s, i_t_.
TH " " " _th_in, tru_th_, mon_th_s.
WH " " " _wh_en, _wh_ich, _wh_at.
There are many words in which there are difficult combinations of the
elements; they, as well as those in which the combinations are easy, should
be practiced upon until the pupil is able to articulate each element
correctly. The following is a table of the _analysis of words_, in
which there are easy and difficult combinations of elements. Let the pupil
spell the words, uttering separately each _element_, and not the
_name_ of the word, as is the practice which generally obtains in our
_Table of the Analysis of Words._
They were _wrenched_ by the hand of violence.
The _strength_ of his nostrils is _terrible_.
A gentle current _rippled_ by.
Thou _barb'd'st_ the dart by which he fell.
Arm'd, say ye? Arm'd, my lord!
He _sa_wed _six sl_eek, _sl_im _s_apling_s_.
It was strongly _urged_ upon him.
Ami_dst_ the mi_sts_, he thru_sts_ his fi_sts_ again_st_ the po_sts_.
The swan swam over the sea; well swum, swan. The
swan swam back again; well swum, swan.
PRONUNCIATION AND ACCENT.
Pronunciation is the mode of enouncing certain words and syllables. As
pronunciation varies with the modes and fashions of the times, it is
sometimes fluctuating in particular words, and high authorities are often
so much at variance, that the correct mode is hard to be determined; hence
to acquire a correct pronunciation, this irregularity, whatever be the
cause, must be submitted to.
Be very careful to give each letter its proper sound and avoid omitting or
perverting the sound of any letter or syllable of a word, without some good
The unaccentuated syllables of words are very liable to be either omitted,
slurred or corrupted, and there is no word in the language more frequently
and unjustly treated in this respect than the conjunction--_and_. It
is seldom half articulated, although it is properly entitled to
_three_ distinct elementary sounds.
Heaven _a_nd earth will witness,
If Rome must fall, that we are innocent. I
The Assyrian came down, like the wolf on the fold,
And _h_is cohorts were gleaming in purple _a_nd gold.
The word _and_, in these and similar examples, is commonly pronounced
as if written _u_nd or _u_n, with an imperfect or partially occluded
articulation of these elements; whereas, it ought always to be
pronounced in such a manner that each of its own three elementary sounds,
though in their combined state, may distinctly appear.
In pronouncing the phrase, "and his," not only the _a_, but the
_h_, is, also, frequently suppressed, and the sound of the _d_ is
combined with that of the _i_ following it; as if written thus,
_u_nd _diz_ cohorts, and so on. Many pronounce the phrase "are
innocent," in the first example, as if written _a rinesunt_. This
practice of suppressing letters, and as it were melting words into
indistinct masses, cannot be too cautiously guarded against.
Avoid the affectations and mis-pronunciations exemplified in the following
list of words which are often mispronounced. Do not say--
G_i_t for g_e_t.
H_e_v " h_a_ve.
K_e_tch " c_a_tch.
G_e_th'er " g_a_th'er.
St_i_d'y " st_e_ad'y.
Good'n_i_ss " good'n_e_ss.
Hon'ist " hon'est.
Hun'd_u_rd " hund'red.
Sav'_i_j " sav'_a_ge.
Ma_w_n'ing " mo_r_n'ing.
Cli'm_i_t " cli'm_a_te.
Si'l_u_nt " si'l_e_nt.
Souns " soun_d_s.
Fiels " fiel_d_s.
Sof'ly " sof_t_'ly.
Kindl'st " kindl'_d_st.
Armst " arm'_d_st.
Gen'ral " gen'_e_ral.
Sep'rate " sep'_a_rate.
Mis'ries " mis'_e_ries.
Dif'frence " diff'_e_rence.
Ex'lent " ex'c_el_lent.
Comp'ny " com'p_a_ny.
Liv'in " liv'i_ng_.
Lenth'en " le_ng_th'en.
Chastisemunt " chastisement.
Bereavemunt " bereavement.
Contentmunt " contentment.
Offis " office.
Hevun " heaven.
Curosity " curiosity.
Absolut " absolute, etc.
QUALITIES OF VOICE.
By Quality of Voice is meant the kind of voice used to express sentiment.
There are two general divisions of quality: PURE and IMPURE. These are sub-
divided into Pure, Deepened or Orotund, Guttural, Tremor, Aspirate, and
The Pure or Natural tone is employed in ordinary speaking or descriptive
language, and is expressed with less expenditure of breath than any other
quality of voice. It is entirely free from any impure vocal sound.
"How calm, how beautiful a scene is this,--
When Nature, waking from her silent sleep,
Bursts forth in light, and harmony, and joy!
When earth, and sky, and air, are glowing all
With gayety and life, and pensive shades
Of morning loveliness are cast around!
The purple clouds, so streaked with crimson light,
Bespeak the coming of majestic day;--
Mark how the crimson grows more crimson still,
While, ever and anon, a golden beam
Seems darting out its radiance!
Heralds of day! where is that mighty form
Which clothes you all in splendour, and around
Your colourless, pale forms spreads the bright hues
Of heaven?--He cometh from his gorgeous couch,
And gilds the bosom of the glowing east!"
Sweet was the sound, when oft at evening's close
Up yonder hill the village murmur rose;
There, as I passed with careless steps and slow
The mingling notes came softened from below;
The swain responsive as the milk-maid sung,
The sober herd that lowed to meet their young;
The noisy geese that gabbled o'er the pool,
The playful children just let loose from school;
The watch-dog's voice that bayed the whispering wind,
And the loud laugh that spoke the vacant mind;
These all in sweet confusion sought the shade,
And filled each pause the nightingale had made.
But now the sounds of population fail,
No cheerful murmurs fluctuate in the gale,
No busy steps the grass-grown footway tread,
For all the blooming flush of life is fled.
All but yon widowed, solitary thing,
That feebly bends beside the plashy spring;
She, wretched matron--forced in age, for bread,
To strip the brook with mantling cresses spread,
To pick her wintry fagot from the thorn,
To seek her nightly shed and weep till morn--
She only left of all the harmless train,
The sad historian of the pensive plain!
The Orotund is a highly improved state of the Natural voice, and is the
quality most used, being far more expressive, as it gives grandeur and
energy to thought and expression. This voice is highly agreeable, and is
more musical and flexible than the common voice.
Dr. Rush defines the Orotund as that assemblage of eminent qualities which
constitute the highest characteristic of the speaking voice. He describes
it to be a full, clear, strong, smooth, and ringing sound, rarely heard in
ordinary speech; but which is never found in its highest excellence, except
by careful cultivation. He describes the fine qualities of voice
constituting the Orotund in the following words:--
By a fullness of voice, is meant the grave or hollow volume, which
approaches to hoarseness.
By a freedom from nasal murmur and aspiration.
By a satisfactory loudness and audibility.
By smoothness, or a freedom from all reedy or guttural harshness.
By a ringing sonorous quality of voice resembling certain musical
The possession of the power of this voice is greatly dependent on
cultivation and management, and experiments have proved that more depends
on cultivation than on natural peculiarity. Much care and labour are
necessary for acquiring this improved condition of the speaking voice, the
lungs must be kept well supplied with breath, there must be a full
expansion of the chest, causing the abdomen gently to protrude, the throat
and the mouth must be kept well open so as to give free course to the
sound. Never waste the breath, every pause must be occupied in replenishing
the lungs, and the inhalation should be done as silently as possible, and
through the nostrils as well as by the mouth.
Excellence in this quality of voice depends on the earnest and frequent
practice of reading aloud with the utmost degree of force. The voice may be
exerted to a great extent without fatigue or injury, but should never be
taxed beyond its powers, and as soon as this strong action can be employed
without producing hoarseness, it should be maintained for half an hour at a
This practice is very beneficial to the health, especially if prosecuted in
the open air, or in a large, well ventilated room, and if pursued
regularly, energetically, and systematically, the pupil will be surprised
and delighted at his rapid progress in this art, and his voice, from a
condition of comparative feebleness, will soon develop into one of well-
marked strength, fullness, and distinctness.
Ye ice-falls! ye that from the mountain's brow
Adown enormous ravines slope amain,--
Torrents, methinks, that heard a mighty voice,
And stopped at once amid their maddest plunge!
Motionless torrents! silent cataracts!
Who made you glorious as the gates of heaven
Beneath the keen, full moon? Who bade the sun
Clothe you with rainbows? Who, with living flowers
Of loveliest blue, spread garlands at your feet!--
God! let the torrents, like a shout of nations,
Answer! and let the ice-plains echo, God!--
And they, too, have a voice,--yon piles of snow,
And in their perilous fall shall thunder, God!
The hoarse, rough voice, should like a torrent roar.
Hurrah! the foes are moving. Hark to the mingled din
Of fife, and steed, and trump, and drum, and roaring culverin.
The fiery duke is pricking fast across Saint Andre's plain,
With all the hireling chivalry of Guelders and Almayne.
Now by the lips of those ye love, fair gentlemen of France,
Charge for the golden lilies--upon them with the lance!
A thousand spurs are striking deep, a thousand spears in rest,
A thousand knights are pressing close behind the snow-white crest,
And in they burst, and on they rushed, while, like a guiding star,
Amidst the thickest carnage blazed the helmet of Navarre.
"Up drawbridge, grooms!--What, warder, ho!
Let the portcullis fall."--
Lord Marmion turned,--well was his need!--
And dashed the rowels in his steed,
Like arrow through the archway sprung;
The ponderous gate behind him rung:
To pass there was such scanty room,
The bars, descending, razed his plume.
_Sir Walter Scott_.
Fight, gentlemen of England! fight, bold yeomen!
Draw, archers, draw your arrows to the head!
Spur your proud horses hard, and ride in blood!
Amaze the welkin with your broken staves!
A thousand hearts are great within my bosom!
Advance our standards, set upon our foes!
Our ancient word of courage--fair Saint George--
Inspire us with the spleen of fiery dragons!
Upon them! Victory sits on our helms!
And reckon'st thou thyself with spirits of heaven,
_Hell-doomed_, and breath'st defiance here and scorn,
Where I reign king? and to enrage the more
_Thy_ King and Lord! _Back_ to thy _pun_ishment,
_False fu_gitive, and to thy speed add wings,
Lest with a whip of scorpions I pursue
Thy lingering, or with one stroke of this dart
Strange horrors seize thee, and pangs unfelt before.
These are Thy glorious works, Parent of Good!
Almighty! Thine this universal frame,
Thus wondrous fair!--Thyself how wondrous, then!
Unspeakable! who sitt'st above these heavens,
To us invisible, or dimly seen
Midst these, thy lowest works!
Yet these declare Thy goodness beyond thought,
And power divine!
An hour passed on:--the Turk awoke:--
That bright dream was his last;--
He woke--to hear his sentries shriek,
"To arms!--they come!--the Greek, the Greek!"
He woke--to die, 'midst flame and smoke,
And shout, and groan, and sabre-stroke,
And death-shots felling thick and fast.
Like forest-pines before the blast,
Or lightnings from the mountain-cloud;
And heard, with voice as trumpet loud,
Bozzaris cheer his band;
"Strike--till the last armed foe expires,
Strike--for your altars and your fires,
Strike--for the green graves of your sires,
Heaven--and your native land!"
They fought like brave men, long and well,
They piled that ground with Moslem slain,
They conquered--but Bozzaris fell
Bleeding at every vein.
His few surviving comrades saw
His smile, when rang their proud hurrah,
And the red field was won;
They saw in death his eyelids close,
Calmly, as to a night's repose,
Like flowers at set of sun.
The Guttural Quality is used in expressing the strongest degree of
contempt, disgust, aversion, revenge, etc. Its characteristic is an
explosive resonance in the throat, producing a harsh and grating sound, and
its expression can be used in all the various tones, giving to them its own
This quality, is, however, of rare occurrence, and needs less cultivation
than the other qualities.
Avaunt! and quit my sight! Let the earth hide thee!
Thy bones are marrowless, thy blood is cold:
Thou hast no speculation in those eyes
Which thou dost glare with!
Hence, horrible shadow!
Unreal mockery, hence!
How like a fawning publican he looks!
I hate him, for he is a Christian:
But more, for that, in low simplicity,
He lends out money gratis, and brings down
The rate of usance here with us in Venice:
If I can catch him once upon the hip,
I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him.
He hates our sacred nation; and he rails,
Even there where merchants most do congregate,
On me, my bargains, and my well-won thrift,
Which he calls interest:--Cursed be my tribe,
If I forgive him!
Thou stands't at length before me undisguised--
Of all earth's grovelling crew, the most accursed.
Thou worm! thou viper!--to thy native earth
Return! Away! Thou art too base for man
To tread upon! Thou scum! thou reptile!
"And, Douglas, more I tell thee here,
Even in thy pitch of pride,
Here in thy hold, thy vassals near,
(Nay, never look upon your Lord,
And lay your hands upon your sword,)
I tell thee, thou'rt defied!
And if thou said'st I am not peer--
To any lord in Scotland here,
Lowland or Highland, far or near,
Lord Angus, thou has't lied!"
_Sir Walter Scott_.
The Tremor Quality is used in expressing pity, grief, joy, mirth, etc., and
its characteristic is a frequent rise and fall of the voice, and a more
delicate exercise of that particular vibration in the throat, known as
"gurgling." It is apparent in extreme feebleness, in age, exhaustion,
sickness, fatigue, grief, and even joy, and other feelings in which ardour
or extreme tenderness predominate.
Pity the sorrows of a poor old man
Whose trembling limbs have borne him to your door;
Whose days are dwindled to the shortest span;--
Oh, give relief, and heaven will bless your store!
The king stood still till the last echo died; then, throwing off the
sackcloth from his brow, and laying back the pall from the still features
of his child, he bowed his head upon him, and broke forth in the resistless
eloquence of woe:--
"Alas! my noble boy! that thou should'st die! Thou, who wert made so
beautifully fair! that death should settle in thy glorious eye, and leave
his stillness in thy clustering hair! How could he mark thee for the silent
tomb, my proud boy, Absalom!
"Cold is thy brow, my son! and I am chill, as to my bosom I have tried to
press thee! How was I wont to feel my pulses thrill, like a rich harp-
string, yearning to caress thee, and hear thy sweet '_My father_!'
from those dumb and cold lips, Absolom!
"But death is on thee! I shall hear the gush of music and the voices of the
young; and life will pass me in the mantling blush, and the dark tresses to
the soft winds flung;--but thou no more, with thy sweet voice, shalt come
to meet me, Absalom!"
_N. P. Willis._
Noble old man! He did not live to see me, and I--I--did not live to see
_him_. Weighed down by sorrow and disappointment, he died before I was
born--six thousand brief summers before I was born.
But let us try to hear it with fortitude. Let us trust that he is better
off where he is. Let us take comfort in the thought that his loss is our
Forsake me not thus, Adam, witness heav'n
What love sincere, and reverence in my heart
I bear thee, and unweeting have offended,
Unhappily deceiv'd; thy suppliant
I beg, and clasp thy knees; bereave me not,
Whereon I live, thy gentle looks, thy aid,
Thy counsel in this uttermost distress.
My only strength and stay: forlorn of thee,
Whither shall I betake me, where subsist?
While yet we live, scarce one short hour, perhaps
Between us two let there be peace, both joining,
As joined in injuries, one enmity,
Against a foe by doom express assign'd us,
That cruel serpent!
The Aspirate Quality is used in the utterance of secrecy and fear, and
discontent generally takes this quality.
Its characteristic is distinctness, therefore exercises on this voice will
prove invaluable to the pupil and deep inhalations are indispensable.
The aspirate is usually combined with other qualities and the earnestness
and other expressive effects of aspiration may be spread over a whole
sentence or it may be restricted to a single word.
The aspirate quality is entitled to notice as a powerful agent in
oratorical expression, and the whispered utterances of any well disciplined
voice will be heard in the remotest parts of a large theatre, and the voice
is greatly strengthened by frequent practice in this quality.
Hark! I hear the bugles of the enemy! They are on their march along the
bank of the river! We must retreat instantly, or be cut off from our boats!
I see the head of their column already rising over the height! Our only
safety is in the screen of this hedge. Keep close to it--be silent--and
stoop as you run! For the boats! Forward!
MACBETH. I have done the deed:--Did'st thou not hear
LADY MACBETH. I heard the owl scream, and the crickets
cry. Did not you speak?
LADY M. Now.
MACB. As I descended?
LADY M. Ay.
MACB. Hark! Who lies i' the second chamber?
LADY M. Donaldbain.
MACB. This is a sorry sight. [_Showing his hands._
LADY M. A foolish thought, to say a sorry sight.
MACB. There's one did laugh in his sleep, and one
That they did wake each other; I stood and heard them:
But they did say their prayers, and addressed them
Again to sleep.
"Pray you tread softly,--that the blind mole may not
Hear a footfall: we are now near his cell.
All's hushed as midnight yet.
See'st thou here?
This is the mouth o' the cell: no noise! and enter."
Ah' mercy on my soul! What is that? My old friend's ghost? They say none
but wicked folks walk; I wish I were at the bottom of a coal-pit. See; how
long and pale his face has grown since his death: he never was handsome;
and death has improved him very much the wrong way. Pray do not come near
me! I wish'd you very well when you were alive; but I could never abide a
dead man, cheek by jowl with me.
The Falsetto Quality is used in expressing terror, pain, anger, affection,
etc. Some people speak altogether in falsetto, especially those who are not
careful in pronunciation. It is harsh, rude, and grating, and is heard in
the whine of peevishness, in the high pitch of mirth, and in the piercing
scream of terror.
I was dozing comfortably in my easy-chair, and dreaming of the good times
which I hope are coming, when there fell upon my ears a most startling
scream. It was the voice of my Maria Ann in mortal agony. The voice came
from the kitchen, and to the kitchen I rushed. The idolized form of my
Maria Ann was perched upon a chair, and she was flourishing an iron spoon
in all directions, and shouting "_Shoo-shoo_," in a general manner to
everything in the room. To my anxious inquiries as to what was the matter,
she screamed, "_O, Joshua, a mouse, shoo--wha--shoo--a great--shoo--
horrid mouse, and it ran right out of the cupboard--shoo--go away--shoo--
Joshua--shoo--kill it--oh, my--shoo._"
SIR PETER.--Lady Teazle, Lady Teazle, I'll not bear it.
LADY TEAZLE.--Sir Peter, Sir Peter, you may bear it or not, as you please;
but I ought to have my own way in everything, and, what's more, I will,
too. What though I was educated in the country, I know very well that women
of fashion in London are accountable to nobody after they are married.
SIR P.--Very well, ma'am, very well!--so a husband is to have no influence,
LADY T.--Authority! No, to be sure. If you wanted authority over me, you
should have adopted me, and not married me; I am sure you were old enough.
"I've seen mair mice than you, guidman--
An' what think ye o' that?
Sae haud your tongue an' say nae mair--
I tell ye, it was a rat."
Force refers to the strength or power of the voice, and is divided into
forms and degrees. Very particular attention should be given to the subject
of force, since that _expression_, which is so very important in
elocution, is almost altogether dependent on some one or other modification
of this attribute of the voice. It may truly be considered the light and
shade of a proper intonation. Force may be applied to sentences or even to
single words, for the purpose of energetic expression.
The degrees of force are Gentle, Moderate, and Heavy.
The Gentle Force is used in expressing tenderness, love, secrecy, caution,
etc., and the lungs must be kept thoroughly inflated, especially in
"Heard you that strain of music light,
Borne gently on the breeze of night,--
So soft and low as scarce to seem
More than the magic of a dream?
Morpheus caught the liquid swell,--
Its echo broke his drowsy spell.
Hark! now it rises sweetly clear,
Prolonged upon the raptured ear;--
Sinking now, the quivering note
Seems scarcely on the air to float;
It falls--'tis mute,--nor swells again;--
Oh! what wert thou, melodious strain?"
_Mrs. J. H. Abbot._
Was it the chime of a tiny bell,
That came so sweet to my dreaming ear,
Like the silvery tones of a fairy's shell,
That he winds on the beach so mellow and clear,
When the winds and the waves lie together asleep,
And the moon and the fairy are watching the deep,
She dispensing her silvery light,
And he his notes as silvery quite,
While the boatman listens and ships his oar,
To catch the music that comes from the shore?--
Hark! the notes on my ear that play,
Are set to words: as they float, they say,
"Passing away! passing away!"
Hear the sledges with the bells--silver bells!
What a world of merriment their melody foretells!
How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle in the icy air of night!
While the stars that oversprinkle all the heavens, seem
With a crystalline delight--
Keeping time, time, time, in a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
From the bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, bells,--
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.
_E. A. Poe._
The Moderate Force is used in ordinary conversation and unemotional
She stood before her father's gorgeous tent
To listen for his coming. Her loose hair
Was resting on her shoulders like a cloud
Floating around a statue, and the wind,
Just swaying her light robe, reveal'd a shape
Praxiteles might worship. She had clasp'd
Her hands upon her bosom, and had raised
Her beautiful dark Jewish eyes to heaven,
Till the long lashes lay upon her brow.
Her lips were slightly parted, like the cleft
Of a pomegranate blossom; and her neck,
Just where the cheek was melting to its curve,
With the unearthly beauty sometimes there,
Was shaded, as if light had fallen off,
Its surface was so polish'd. She was stilling
Her light, quick breath, to hear; and the white rose
Scarce moved upon her bosom, as it swell'd,
Like nothing but a lovely wave of light
To meet the arching of her queenly neck.
Her countenance was radiant with love,
She looked like one to die for it--a being
Whose whole existence was the pouring out
Of rich and deep affections.
_N. P. Willis._
Oh! sing unto the Lord a new song, for He hath done marvellous things: His
right hand and His holy arm hath gotten Him the victory. Make a joyful
noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and
sing praise. Sing unto the Lord with the harp; with the harp, and the voice
of a psalm.
POR. The quality of mercy is not strain'd;
It droppeth, as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice bless'd;
It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes;
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre 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 sceptred sway,
It is enthroned 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.
Heavy Force, is used in giving the language of command, exultation,
denunciation, defiance, etc., and in using this force the lungs must be
inflated to their utmost capacity. In giving the accompanying examples the
student must exert every energy of the body and mind, and by earnest
practice he will increase the power and flexibility of his voice to a
surprising extent, and also acquire a distinctness of tone and earnestness
of manner, that will serve him well, as a public speaker.
Banished from Rome! What's banished, but set free
From daily contact with the things I loathe?
"Tried and convicted traitor!" Who says this?
Who'll prove it, at his peril, on my head?
Banished! I thank you for't! It breaks my chain!
I held some slack allegiance till this hour--
But now, my sword's my own. Smile on, my lords!
I scorn to count what feelings, withered hopes,
Strong provocations, bitter, burning wrongs,
I have within my heart's hot cells shut up,
To leave you in your lazy dignities!
But here I stand and scoff you! here I fling
Hatred and full defiance in your face!
Your Consul's merciful--for this, all thanks:
He dares not touch a hair of Cataline!
"Traitor!" I go--but I return. This--trial?
Here I devote your senate! I've had wrongs
To stir a fever in the blood of age,
Or make the infant's sinews strong as steel!
This day's the birth of sorrow! This hour's work
Will breed proscriptions! Look to your hearths, my lords!
For there henceforth shall sit, for household gods,
Shapes hot from Tartarus!--all shames and crimes!--
Wan treachery, with his thirsty dagger drawn;
Suspicion, poisoning his brother's cup;
Naked rebellion, with the torch and axe,
Making his wild sport of your blazing thrones;
Till anarchy comes down on you like night,
And massacre seals Rome's eternal grave!
But Douglas round him drew his cloak,
Folded his arms, and thus he spoke:
"My manors, halls, and bowers, shall still
Be open, at my sovereign's will,
To each one whom he lists, howe'er
Unmeet to be the owner's peer.
My castles are my king's alone,
From turret to foundation stone;--
The _hand_ of Douglas is his own,
And never shall in friendly grasp,
The hand of such as Marmion clasp!"
Burned Marmion's swarthy cheek like fire,
And shook his very frame for ire--
And "This to me!" he said--
"And 'twere not for thy hoary beard,
Such hand as Marmion's had not spared
To cleave the Douglas' head!
And first I tell thee, haughty peer,
He who does England's message here,
Although the meanest in her state,
May well, proud Angus, be thy mate!"
_Sir Walter Scott._
What man dare, I dare!
Approach thou like the rugged Russian bear,
The armed rhinoceros, or the Hyrcan tiger,
Take any shape but that, and my firm nerves
Shall never tremble: or, be alive again,
And dare me to the desert with thy sword!
Hence, horrible shadow! Unreal mockery, hence!
VARIATIONS OF FORCE OR STRESS.
These are known as the Radical, Median, Vanishing, Compound, and Thorough
This is used in expressing lively description, haste, fear, command, etc.,
and consists of an abrupt and forcible utterance, usually more or less
explosive, and falls on the first part of a sound or upon the opening of a
vowel, and its use contributes much to distinct pronounciation. It is not
common to give a strong, full and clear radical stress, yet this abrupt
function is highly important in elocution, and when properly used in public
reading or on the stage "will startle even stupor into attention." It is
this tone that prompts children to obedience, and makes animals submissive
to their masters.
Out with you!--and he went out.
There's a dance of leaves in that aspen bower,
There's a titter of winds in that beechen tree,
There's a smile on the fruit, and a smile on the flower,
And a laugh from the brook that runs to the sea!
But hark! that heavy sound breaks in once more,
As if the clouds its echo would repeat;
And nearer, clearer, deadlier than before!
Arm! arm! it is! it is! the cannon's opening roar!
Ah! then and there was hurrying to and fro,
And gathering tears and tremblings of distress,
And cheeks all pale, which but an hour ago
Blush'd at the praise of their own loveliness;
And there were sudden partings, such as press
The life from out young hearts, and choking sighs
Which ne'er might be repeated! Who could guess
If ever more should meet those mutual eyes,
Since upon night so sweet such awful morn could rise?
The Median Stress is used in the expression of grandeur, sublimity,
reverence, etc., and smoothness and dignity are its characteristics, for it
gives emphasis without abruptness or violence. In using this stress, there
is a gradual increase and swell in the middle of a sound, and a subsequent
gradual decrease--thus giving a greater intensity of voice and dignity of
expression than Radical Stress.
_Roll on_, thou dark and deep blue ocean, _roll_.
We _praise_ thee, O God, we acknowledge _thee_ to be the
Father! Thy hand
Hath reared these venerable columns; Thou
Didst weave this verdant roof; Thou didst look down
Upon the naked earth; and, forthwith, rose
All these fair ranks of trees. They in Thy sun
Budded, and shook their green leaves in Thy breeze,
And shot towards heaven. The century-living crow,
Whose birth was in their tops, grew old and died
Among their branches, till, at last, they stood,
As now they stand, massy, and tall, and dark,--
Fit shrine for humble worshipper to hold
Communion with his Maker!
How are the mighty fallen! Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in
their lives; and in their death they were not divided; they were swifter
than eagles, they were stronger than lions. Ye daughters of Israel, weep
over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet, with other delights; who put on
ornaments of gold upon your apparel! How are the mighty fallen in the midst
of battle! O Jonathan! thou wast slain in thine high places! How are the
mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished!
THE VANISHING STRESS.
The Vanishing Stress occurs as its name implies at the end or closing of a
sound or vowel, and is used in expressing disgust, complaint, fretfulness,
ardour, surprise, etc. The sound is guttural, and sometimes terminates in
sobbing or hic-cough. It has less dignity and grace than the gradual swell
of the Median Stress.
Do you hear the rain, Mr. Caudle? I say, do you hear it? But I don't care;
I'll go to mother's to-morrow; I will; and what's more I'll walk every step
of the way; and you know that will give me my death. Don't call me a
foolish woman; 'tis you that's the foolish man. You know I can't wear
clogs; and, with no umbrella, the wet's sure to give me a cold: it always
does: but what do you care for that? Nothing at all. I may be laid up for
what you care, as I dare say I shall; and a pretty doctor's bill there'll
be. I hope there will. It will teach you to lend your umbrellas again. I
shouldn't wonder if I caught my death: yes, and that's what you lent the
CAS. Brutus, bay not me!
I'll not endure it. You forget yourself,
To hedge me in: I am a soldier, I,
Older in practice, abler than yourself
To make conditions.
BRU. Go to! you are not, Cassius.
CAS. I am.
BRU. I say you are not!
CAS. Urge me no more: I shall forget myself:
Have mind upon your health; tempt me no farther!
BRU. You say you are a better soldier:
Let it appear so; make your vaunting true,
And it shall please me well. For mine own part,
I shall be glad to learn of noble men.
CAS. You wrong me every way, you wrong me, Brutus.
I said, an elder soldier, not a better.
Did I say better?
BRU. If you did, I care not!
CAS. When Caesar lived, he durst not thus have moved
BRU. Peace, peace! you durst not so have tempted him?
CAS. I durst not?
CAS. What! durst not tempt him?
BRU. For your life, you durst not!
CAS. Do not presume too much upon my love;
I may do that I shall be sorry for.
Compound Stress is the natural mode of expressing surprise, and also--
though not so frequently--of sarcasm, contempt, mockery, etc. In using this
stress the voice, with more or less explosive force, touches strongly and
distinctly on both the opening and closing points of a sound or vowel, and
passes slightly and almost imperceptibly over the middle part.
Gone to be married! Gone to swear a peace!
False blood to false blood joined! Gone to be friends!
Shall Lewis have Blanche, and Blanche these provinces?
It is not so; thou hast misspoke, misheard,--
Be well advised, tell o'er thy tale again:
It can not be;--thou dost but say 'tis so.
JULIA. Why! do you think I'll work?
DUKE. I think 'twill happen, wife.
JULIA. What, rub and scrub your noble palace clean?
DUKE. Those taper fingers will do it daintily.
JULIA. And dress your victuals (if there be any)? O, I
shall go mad.
Thorough Stress is used in expressing command, denunciation, bravado,
braggadocio, etc. This stress has a degree of force a little stronger than
the compound stress, and it is produced by a continuation of the full
volume of the voice throughout the whole extent of the sentence. When the
time is short the tone resembles that of uncouth rustic coarseness.
These abominable principles, and this more abominable avowal of them,
demand the most decisive indignation.
Now strike the golden lyre again;
A louder yet, and yet a louder strain':
Break his bands of sleep asunder,
And rouse him, like a rattling peal of thunder'.
Hark! hark! the horrid sound
Has raised up his head,
As awaked from the dead;
And amazed he stares around.
The progress of pitch through the interval of a half tone. It is called
also the Chromatic melody, because it expresses pity, grief, remorse, etc.
It may colour a single word, or be continued through an entire passage or
The New Year comes to-night, mamma, "I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord"--tell poor papa--"my soul to keep,
If I"--how cold it seems, how dark, kiss me, I cannot see,--
The New Year comes to-night, mamma, the old year dies with me.
The Semitone is very delicate, and must be produced by the nature of the
emotion. An excess, when the mood or language does not warrant it, turns
pathos into burlesque, and the scale may very easily be turned from the
sublime to the ridiculous. Strength, flexibility, and melody of voice are
of little worth if the judgment and taste are defective.
Is a sameness of the voice, indicating solemnity, power, reverence, and
dread. It is a near approach to one continuous tone of voice, but must not
be confounded with monotony. Much of the reading we hear is monotonous in
the extreme, while the judicious use of the monotone would sufficiently
vary it, to render it attractive. Monotone is of great importance in
reading the Bible, the beautiful words of the Church Service, and in
prayer, and the haste with which these solemn words are often slurred over,
is much to be deplored. Monotone is usually accompanied by slow time, and
it is, in fact, a low Orotund.
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth His handy
work. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge.
There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.
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