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naturally deriv'd from a Voice, that is easy, great, happy, flexible, firm, sweet, durable, clear, pure, penetrating, high, and adorn'd' indeed with all those Virtues, we have already enumerated out of Julius Pollux. To this we must add, the beautiful Composition of the whole Instrument or Body, as the Firmness of the Chest and Lungs, Goodness of Breath, and that not easily giving way to, or failing under Labour and Fatigue.
HABILITY or APTITUDE is a pleasing Variety of Pronunciation, according to the Diversity of the Subject, and in a constant Equality. For as the best Style is perpetually equal or consifistent with it self, and yet is according to the Subject now grave, now florid, and now gently abated ;
so is a valuable Utterance always the fame, and never deviating from its Excellence, yet
derives all its Beauty and Glory from those agreeable Varieties, which according to the Nature of the Things it delivers, it admits. It is impossible to express how great and charming the Grace of the Art of varying the Voice, how much it enlivens the Hearers, and refreshes the Speaker himself by an agreeable Change of his Labour. On the contrary, a Monotony, or perpetually Speaking in the same unvary'd Tone, quite destroys the Speaker, and dispirits the Auditors, making them languish under a tiresome Ofcitation. As we cannot always stand, or fit, or walk, but relieve our selves by an alternate Use of them, so in Pronunciation, we love a
grateful Variation of the Voice directed by a jurt Equality.
The Voice therefore, according to Quintilian, in Joy should be full, simple, pleasant, and flowing; in Dispute, extended with all its just Force and Nerves; in Anger, vehement and sharp, or acute, close, compact, mixt with frequent Respirations ; but more flow in raising Envy, since few but Inferiours have Recourse to this.
In Insinuations, Confessions, Atonements and the like, the Voice must be gentle and temperate; when you persuade, admonish, promise, or Comfort it ought to be grave ; and contracted in Fear, and Bashfulness and Modesty; strong in Exhortations, in Disputations round, fine and smooth; in Pity and Compassion, turning dolefully, and as it were on purpose more obscure. In Expositions and Discourses, direct;
and in a Tone, that is a Medium betwixt an acute and grave. It is rais'd with our Passions, and falls again with them, being higher or lower according to either. Whoever can do all this has attain’d the highest Perfection of Pronunciation.
Cicero, in his 3d Book de Oratoré, divides Pronunciation into many kinds ; into gentle and fierce ; contracted and diffus'd;
with a continu'd Breath, and with aii Intermission of the fame; broken or cút ; with a varying or direct
flender and great. These, says hej are expos’d for Colours to the Actor, as to the Painter to draw his Variations.
Anger loves an acute Sound, vehement, and full of Respirations.
Commiseration or Pity, one that is flexible, full, interrupted, and doleful.
Fear, one low, not without Hesitation, and abject.
Force and Power, one vehement; earnest, im minent; but carry'd on with a certain Gravity.
Pleasure, one effufive, gentle, tender; joyful, and remiss.
Grief and Troubles one grave, and opprefsod with every straining.
Thus får my Paper, in which, I think, is contain’d the Art of Speaking beautifully on all Occasions; for there is nothing, that an Actor can talk of on the Stage, whether in Passion, or out of Passion, a Pleader at the Bar, or the Divine in the Pulpit, but what must fall under fome of these Heads. I therefore recommend to the Study of my Speaker a perfect Application to what is here deliver'd. Yet, as this may not appear so obvious to many, who may desire to understand this Art, and may be capable of arriving at fome Perfection in it
I shall proceed to give my Learner some more plain Lights, and which may serve as a thorough Paraphrase and Explanation of what I have here deliver'd.
The first Consideration in the Art of Speaking, is to satisfy the Ear, which conveys all Arts and Sciences to us, and is the natural Judge of the Voice. The Speaker therefore ought to be heard and understood with Ease and Pleasure,
to which a Voice clear, sweet and ftrong, is necessary to be heard all over the Audience. Such a Voice as Quintilian gives Trachallus, would be very useful, who pleading a Cause in one of the four Courts in the Julian Forum, was not only heard in that but in all the rest, fo well as to be understood, and merit Applause; but tho every Man cannot obtain a Voice like this, yet if he camot fill the Place, where he fpeaks, he's not fit to speak.
Some Men have such a Voice naturally, others attain it by the Improvement of Art and Exercife. As has been said of Demofthenes, who was as defective in Speaking as in Action and Gesture: He had naturally a weak Voice, and Impediment in his Speech, and a fhort Breath; and venturing withal these Disqualifications to fpeak in public twice,' he was hiss'd both Times. But by his Industry and Application, he remov'd all thefe Obstructions. He daily in his under-ground Apartment exercis’d himfelf, by speaking what he had read aloud, so that his Organs gradually opend, and his Voice fenfibly clearing, grew every Day stronger, than the former. His Tongue was fo gross and clumsy, that he mumbled his Words, nor could utter them clear and plain ; nay, he could not pronounce an (R) at all; he was so short' winded, that he could not speak many Words together without taking his Breath, which was but a fort of broken-winded Pronunciation
and these Difficulties produc'd a wonderful Difficulty, which was the surmount
ing the great Noise of a Publick Affembly.
First, he cur'd the Grossness of his Tongue, by putting Peble-stones in his Mouth, whilst hé fpoke for some time; he curd himself of his Tort Breath, by running up Hills, and repeating upright as he went fome Verses, or Sentences of Speeches, which he had by Heart ; which strengthen'd his Lungs, and made him longwinded : The Noise of Public Assemblies he conquer'd by Speaking with his utmost Content tion of Voice in his Orations to the Roaring of the Sea, when loudest, and so became the most compleat Speaker of his Age.
'Tis true Demoftbenes overcame these Difficul, ties, or at least Historians make us believe fo; but this should be no Reason for admitting any one into a Play-house, who lies under such Defects, as this great Orator, by unspeakable Diligence; remov'd. For if a Man's Voice be good for nothing, by Reason of any Indispogtion of the Organs, as the Tongue, Throat, Breast, or Lungs; if he have any considerable Lisping, Hesitation, or Stammering, he is not proper for the Stage, the Pulpit, or the Bar.
But I have given this Instance of Demofthenes, for the Sake of fome, who may be on the Stage, and furnish'd with an admirable Genius, yet for want of Breath, or by the Feebleness of their Voice, cannot exert their other beautiful Qualities. Let them always speak out in their private Study, and in Rebearsals; it is an exer