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· The general faults of pulpit orators may be comprised under five heads, viz. Effeminacy, Harshness, Bawling, Whining, and Monotony.
It is not easy to say which of these faults is the most disagreeable. An effeminate and affected softness of expression in an orator who is speaking on the sublimest and most sacred truths is intolerable. A fribble in the pulpit is the most despicable of the whole offspring of vanity. A vain young man, thus trifling in the pulpit, and seeming to have no other view than to “lead captive silly women,” is not only an object of the utmost contempt, but, in consideration of the disgrace and the burlesque air he throws upon religion, by the absurd affectation of his elocution, he is certainly chargeable with no inferior degree of criminality.
Other preachers there are, who murder their accents and emphasis, and torture a voice naturally liquid, clear, or inclined to tenuity, by labouring at a hoarse and guttural, because falsely imagined sonorous, solemn, and dignified expression. This error sometimes proceeds from a mistaken idea of what is called Force in elocution, and sometimes it is one of the many unhappy and disagreeable consequences of imitation. For the same reasons that hoarseness of tone is to be guarded against, laboured loudness is to be avoided. This is not speaking, but bawling; it is not elocution, but vociferation, which some preachers aim at in this painful and unnatural exertion of the lungs: they mistake loudness for force, and noise for oratory.
Yet, disagreeable as is a bawling preacher, a whining, canting one is infinitely more so. The one stuns the ear, the other offends the understanding, while both are equally destitute of harmony and propriety of elocution. Whining is alike irrational and detestable both in prayer and preaching. And it is the more unpardonable as it is seldom so much an effect of devotion as an affectation of it, uttered in tones suitod to the importunate cravings of a spoiled and fawning child, or the lamentations of a miserable mendicant.
I remember to have heard of a benevolent Frenchman, who, ignorant of our language, accidentally went into a place of worship in this country, while the preacher was sighing out his dolorous accents in this “Praise-God-barebones" style; and, commiserating extremely his apparent distress, and hoping that the circumstances were not quite so bad as he seemed to represent them, called out, from the momentary impulse of humanity, “Courage, Monsieur!"
The last fault which I enumerated, viz. monotony, is the most difficult of all to correct, as it is almost always the result of organs so ill constructed for harmonious utterance, that all endeavours to conquer it entirely are generally in vain. There are voices which no art can teach to sing; and it is the same with regard to elocution, which Cicero not improperly calls “ Cantus obscurior.” The command of medulation, and the variety of inflexion, are never to be attained by those whose organs are capable of emitting only uniform and unelastic sounds. Such preaching resembles the beating of a frying-pan for the collection of bees.
These are the most offensive faults in preachers, and when they appear, confirm the just, though facetious assertion of Dr. South, that “ many a man knocks his head against a pulpit, who is much better calculated to make it than to fill it.”
The oratory of the Statesman or Barrister, in the senate, in the council, at the bar, or other public assembly, is of a more unconfined nature than that of the Divine. To persuade, to move the passions, and to gain an ascendency over his antagonist, either by fair argument, by ridicule, by sophistry, or by persuasion, require a suavity in the tone of voice, a dignity of deportment, a gracefulness of action, and a command of countenance, which are not always to be found combined in the professors of these sciences. The barrister, in particular, should at all times be prepared to encounter casuistry, criticism, jest, and sarcasm: he must be ever on the alert, prompt to reply, and cautious of reprehension; his countenance should, therefore, be grave and commanding: he should carefully avoid all appearance of grimace in his action, all peculiarity and continuity of motion, and all stiffness and awkwardness of gesticulation; and, as his subjects are various, so should be also his looks and gesture; sometimes exhibiting an air of gravity and solemnity, and at others of gayety and good humour, free from every species of buffoonery and affectation, that he may not afford the least opportunity for pleasantry, for ridicule, or contempt. He should neither saw the air with his arms and clinched fist, beat the table therewith, thrust his hands into his pockets, nor play with his watch-chain.
The third species of oratory is that adapted to the Stage. And here the various powers of utterance and of action are most conspicuously displayed. The versatility of character required in an Actor, involves the possession of every accomplishment, and an acquaintance with the peculiarities of every profession, with the language and manhers of every nation. The dignity of the monarch, the air, the ease, and urbanity of the gentleman, the roughness and simplicity of the plebean, the softness and insinuating assiduity of the lover, and the boisterous mirth and unpolished address of the peasant or the tar, should be always under command.
The celebrated Mr. Garrick, the phoenix of the stage, was equally natural and inimitable, in the personification of King Richard or King Lear, of Romeo or Ranger, and of Scrub and Abel Drugger.
Thus, in order to give oratory its full force, and render it irresistibly impressive upon the mind, as well as the external organs of the Vol. 1,
hearer, it is not only necessary that the pronunciation, the countenance, and gesture, be regulated according to the established rules; but, the time, the place, the subject, and the occasion should also be duly attended to, and influence the public speaker in every department.
After all, it is impossible to acquire a correct and judicious pronunciation, a command of the various modulations of the voice, and strict propriety of gesture, merely from written rules, without practice, and an assiduous imitation of the best examples.
The plan of my proposed course of instruction having been misunderstood by some, I have thought it expedient, in the course of this address, to state to you the nature of it. It will, perhaps, also be proper, before I conclude, to give a short analysis of the subjects of the intended lectures, in the order in which they will be delivered; they are,
1. On Articulation, or the construction and proper use of the organs of speech in producing those various sounds, which constitute the human voice.
2. On the nature and proper use of Accent.
3. On the nature and proper use of Emphasis, by which the truth and force of sentiment is conveyed.
4. On the Quantity of syllables..
5. On Pauses, the judicious observance of which gives expression and animation to the subject discussed.
6. On Tones, or on the nature, modulation, and operation of the human voice, in forming, by its inflexions, those many expressions of sentiment and passion, which give energy to language and efficacy to thought.
7. On Looks, their proper application to language, and powerful influence when judiciously exerted. . 8. On Gesture.
9. On the construction and proper recitation of the various species of verse, the correct application of the poetical pauses, and the means of producing the three great objects of poetic numbers, Melody, Harmony, and Expression.
11. Of the different Figures of speech, and the peculiar method of justly communicating to each its proper expression, both in reading and recitation.
12. Of the peculiarities attached to the correct reading and recitation of Narration, Dialogue, Soliloquy, Address, and works of sentiment and imagination.
These, with other branches of the subjects which may present themselves for discussion, will be attended, when necessary, with illustrations from the best authors.
I am well aware of the magnitude, importance, and difficulty of the undertaking I have encountered, and that a just and sufficiently
ample discussion of the several subjects proposed, with the necessary exemplifications arising from them, demands exertions of genius, of judgment, and of taste, far superior to any I can possibly presume to suppose myself capable of making. The undertaking, however, is not the suggestion of my own mind; but the attempt is made in compliance with the solicitations of some partial friends, who have formed the flattering, though, I fear, delusive idea, that by directing my attention to the subjects, in the mode I have already stated, I might in some degree render myself useful.
Relying, therefore, upon their benevolence to pardon the deficiencies. and errors which may occur, I will perform the task assigned me with as much accuracy as my feeble abilities, and restricted opportunities: for preparation, will permit.
FOR THE PORT FOLIO.
THE USEFUL ARTS.
In a prior number of The Port Folio we described at some length, assisted by the light of ingenious chymists and physicians, the admirable qualities of those artificial mineral waters, which are now so generally quaffed, not only by the invalid, but by the jovial man of the world. More than one establishment of this nature having recently taken place in this city, as moreover there is a brilliant prospect of these waters becoming a fashionable beverage throughout the United States, and as. the use of these salutary streams is not only indicated by the judicious physician, but is sanctioned both by Fashion and Experience, we avail ourselves of the present opportunity to give something like a detailed description of many of the mineral springs of Europe, which the physioian, the apothecary, and the chymist have so happily imitated, both at home and abroad. On this subject, we have, of course, liberally extracted from the works of foreigners, but we should be happy to obtain a scientific memoir on this subject from some ingenious American. As the topic is by no means exhausted, we shall probably resume it in some future number.
One of the most celebrated of the foreign mineral springs is that of Seltzer, in the village of Neider Seltzer, in the bishopric of Triers. This village is situated in a fine woody country, about ten miles from Frankfort and thirty-six front Coblentz, in a district which abounds.
with valuable mineral springs. The water is brought over to this. country in stone bottles, closely corked and sealed, containing about three pints each, and when well secured, it will keep unaltered for a considerable length of time. : The properties and analysis of this water have been fully ascer. tained by Hoffman, Bergman, and others, and they are such as to render it very interesting to the chymist and the physician. Seltzer water, when fresh or well preserved, is perfectly clear and pellucid, and sparkles much when poured into a glass. To the tongue it is somewhat pungent, but much less so than might be supposed from its mere appearance, and has a gently saline and decidedly alkaline taste. If it be exposed to the air for above a day, or even be kept in vessels carelessly corked, it entirely loses its pungency and the alkaline, or lixivious flavour becomes proportionably stronger.
Seltzer is a saline water, slightly alkaline, highly acidulated with carbonic acid, containing more of this volatile principle than is sufficient to saturate the alkali and the earths which it holds in solution, and hence it is somewhat acidulous to the taste, and shows the presence of an acid by chymical tests, notwithstanding the alkali which is also and at the same time indicated by other re-agents. It is, however, a hard water and curdles soap, the soda not being in sufficient quantity to prevent this effect. This water is observed by Hoffman to become not only vapid but putrescent, and strongly fætid when exposed to the air. Perhaps this may be owing to a small quantity of vegetable extractive matter. It requires, therefore, to be kept closely corked, and the mouth of the bottles covered with a cement, to prevent the escape of the carbonic acid, for as long as this antiseptic acid remains, the water continues perfectly sweet.
Seltzer water is the only example we possess of a water saline, alkaline, and at the same time, highly acidulated. Most of the other strongly carbonated waters are more or less chalybeate, and no other of the saline waters contains so much carbonic acid.
The effects of this water, when drank in moderate doses, are to raise the spirits and increase the appetite; it produces no particular determination to the bowels, as its saline contents are in very small quantities, but it pretty certainly increases the flow of urine. It is chiefly to the strong imprégnation with carbonic acid, and to the small proportion of soda which it contains, that we are to look for the explanation of the very important benefit which is derived from it in a variety of diseases.
Few mineral waters have acquired a higher reputation than that of Seltzer, and we may add that few deserve greater consideration from the real medical virtues which it possesses, and from the variety of disorders to which it is applicable. Hoffman has spoken of it with the