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ESSAY ON ELOCUTION CLASSES AND THEIR ADVANTAGES.
first begin to reflect upon the qualities ESSAY ON ELOCUTION CLASSES
which go to make up the most effective AND THEIR ADVANTAGES. style of elocution, we have two things
to consider, the first of which is, what (Concluded front page 162.)
would be the best style abstractedly? It is plain, that the task of reading or This inquiry leads us to form an ideal reciting the choice works of literature i standard, embodying the genius of exmust be undertaken by those who spe- pression, and we imagine for ourselves cially study how to do it with best some personage, in whom are united all effect. Few great poets or authors can the graces of fine features, a flexible read their own works respectably. voice, and impressive action. This proCould Shakspere read his best passages cess of constructing a model we set half so well as every third-rate actor in about in the same way as the poet, the London? There may be exceptions, as painter, or the sculptor. It may be in the case of Wordsworth, Coleridge, that no single individual, whom we ever and Professor Wilson : but, as a general saw or heard of, combined in his own rule, it seems indisputable, that high person all the qualifications ; but no mental superiority is seldom united one who has traced the workings of with that happy physical conformation, imagination need be told how that fawhere the elements are so kindly mixed, culty ransacks the world of experience and that wonderful alchemy of the eye, for its materials, and culls and secretes the voice, the features, takes place, the finest essences wherever they are which makes the success of the elocu- found. The voice of one, the eye of tiorist and actor.
another, the mouth, the gestures, the Hut if the good effects which would tremulous cadences, the vehemence, the attend the more extensive practice of pent-up passion of the countenance, all pullic elocution be so decided, from the the best points in the actings of the unimited circle of the people who best actors who have even stirred the would be attracted and improved by it, soul, are fused down, and a new form the consequences to the individuals, of imagination all compact emerges who should actually devote themselves from the mint. This we set up as our to the study, are not less beneficial. Dagon, to which we do homage on The first obvious advantage is, that it every high hill and under every green leads the student to select the finest tree. We first make our image, and pasages of literature—to study and then our image makes us. It becomes mike him acquainted with their our familiar, and, like ‘Raphael, that sprit and meaning. He thus becomes sociable spirit that deigned to travel posessed of the finest thoughts of the with Tobias,' or, like the good demon of gratest minds, which cannot fail to set Socrates, it is always whispering encouhś own mind a thinking. 'A thing of ragement or caution, as we study the bauty is a joy for ever.' When the plastic art of living speech. memory is stored with lofty thoughts, But there is a second question which tlese are constantly recurring in the the elocutionist must learn to look in itervals of business—in the eddying the face, and study wisely and well, orners of the great tide. Like golden namely, what his own physical qualifitreads, they become inwoven with the cations are really worth. Is he made tssue of every day life, and thus appa- of bullion and convertible ? Every one rl our poverty in costly colours, or, like may, and does form to himself an ideal te visits of welcome guests, always standard equally immaculate; but on lave us better than they found us. coming down from the radiant mount,
But the greatest excellence of elocu- where his imagination has been feeding ton is, that it teaches us to study our on perfection, he may find but a golden wn peculiarities and capabilities-- calf at the bottom. When he comes ntural and artificial, and thus leads us, out of the region of abstraction, and y easy stages, to a still higher self- takes an inventory of his own actual howledge, which is the aim of existence, and realised accomplishments—the enad a triumph transcending the spoils dowments of nature, and the conquests i principalities and powers. When we of a cunning self-knowledge, he may
well exclaim-'Oh, Hamlet, what a fal- | mulous with passion, thrilling the frame, ling off was there.' It is plain that and piercing to the heart. So of the nature must contribute the raw mate- eye, from the spiritual blue to the inscrurial; art can only fashion, develope, table double-reflecting black : and the and modify within a limited margin. mouth opens up a fund of character and As elocution has more, or at least as disposition in its outlines, and the setmuch to do with the body as the mind, ting of the lips. We say, then, that it is obvious, that the gifts of nature, in each individual is capable of expressing the fornier case, are less flexible than some one passion, feeling, sentiment, or those in the latter. One may caltivate mood, better than every other, whether his mental faculties to an almost un- this superiority lie in the tones of his limited extent, but no amount of indus- voice, the trick of his frown, or the try in posture-making, balancing, twist- very awkwardness and twist of his ing of the bodily features, can ever limbs. materially alter their original set. A The usefulness of a mental accom. wry mouth, saucer eyes, a pug-nose, are, plishment, like elocution, may thus be unfortunately, permanent investments, estimated from the wide circle of those which no elixir can transfigure into those who may cultivate it with advantage. of a Venus and Adonis.
There is a hope for every one. Some The study of his idiosyncrasy lies, may be fitted to express the rapid pas. therefore, at the threshold of the elo- sion of the drama, some, the declamacutionist's progress. Has he a captivat- tory, others the plaintive and melaning exterior? Is he born to threaten choly, the comic, the pointed, and anand command ? Is he shrill-tongued or tithetic, the historic, the dogmatic and low-'an excellent thing in woman !' argumentative. It is seldom an indiviHas he the eyes, the voice, the nose, dual can excel in many styles, yet there mouth, shoulders, gait, that can bear is such variety within each, that, while looking at? Does he . sit amongst men there may be emulation in the perforas a descended god ?
mances, the marked line of distinction, The details of this self-discipline each which nature has drawn between di, must carry on for him or herself; and prevents this emulation from being perhowsoever it may be executed, the in- verted into a jealous contention. sight it gives, and the self-command one In all literary institutions, the practce attains, leaves a wholesome effect on the of elocution ought to be a leading obmind. It is a study also, which never ject, since it is thus doubly improving fails to develope some hidden charac- to those who list and those who at. teristic. It is certain, that nature in When ladies are permitted to take her infinite variety of gifts, has lodged part in the proceedings, of course adliin every individual at least some one tional life is infused ; and here, as tie secret power, which gives him, in that position of woman in the social scab, one respect, an advantage over every her rights, duties, and destinies, are new body else. The elements of our being so much canvassed, we may glance, keare susceptible of numberless combina- fore concluding, at the phase which tle tions, which prevent the possibility of present subject assumes towards her
: identity in form or character between Many men shake their heads and retrea, any two persons; and in these differen- when they see a woman, however accortial qualities, each is so far superior to plished, stand and deliver an argumethe other. Every man, woman, and tative lecture in public : but there is child, however ugly or contemptible danger of over-stepping the modesty if at first sight in mind or body, has some nature,' by her taking up a short realsolitary forte or other, even though it ing in elocution. By the present moe should be, in many instances, but a of society, there is little or no opportistrength in weakness. Thus, of what nity for å lady out of the family cirol, variety is the voice capable in its com: or out of a two-handed dialogue, to pass, its cadences, its bursts, its falls, its show what manner of woman she is, e noble rage, from the manly bass to the what spirit she is of. All display childish treble--capable of expressing feeling is frowned down, and so long every impulse of soul and sense—tre- this is the case, her peculiar chara
BY H. J. DANIEL.
teristics must be dormant and seldom suspected. What comes to the surface
THE SOLDIER'S DOG. in artificial society, contains very little of the genuine character. Men have There is a place in Brussels their opportunities, however, elsewhere
Once red with many a stain
Of Belgium's best, and noblest blood, or in public; but women have none
When heaped with Belgium's slain. they have nothing but liberty to sigh 'Twas there when in its fury raged or sit in a corner and cry—“ Heigh ho !” That memorable strife, They need some intermediate platform An alien soldier from afar
For glory lost his life. between the glare of the publie eye and The fight was done, they bore him off, the darkness visible of drawing-room And laid him in his grave; life. For many of them to speak in the And who were near to mourn his fate first person or display any individual So young and yet so brave?
To the dark dust without a tear feeling, goes quite against the grain ;
Unfeelingly consign'd? and to do it in presence of comparative Oh! yes there was one mourner there, strangers, is crucifixion. Most of those But not of human-kind, who possess the very highest order of Thrice waned the day and still that friend
His wakeful vigils kept mind—those of the most delicate sen
In silent grief for 'twas a grief sibility, who feel this smart of sharp
That eyes have never wept; constraint, are driven, like Beatrice, to There is a sorrow that becomes hide under mocks and gibes, the most
Extinguished in its tears,
And there is that which mocks the power subtle and airy spirits. Disdain and And passes not with years. scorn ride sparkling in their eyes.' Reluctantly he moved away Their wit and feeling-their motley And sought the fatal scene, fancies and sentimental pathos—their
Where every harrowing sight and sound
So recently had been; exquisite 'quips, and cranks, and
Approach not near that hallow'd spot wreathed smiles,' might, therefore, find 'Tis perilous, bewaresome vent, if spoken under a fictitious There is an incorruptible, disguise. Let them put on the mask of
A faithful guardian there. some kindred soul, pourtrayed on the
What better sentinel to watch page of Shakspere and the poets, and
At morn, or even-tide;
For there his bleeding master fell, revelations of character and disposition And 'mid the dying died; will be made such as are not dreamt of He died-his home was far away, in the present philosophy. As Colo
No whisper reach'd the ear
Of those by heart-ties closely bound ridge says in Genevieve
Whom love had render'd dear; “ The deep, the low, the pleading tone
But one that was far, far below
Man's Heaven-predestined race,
Stood gazing long and anxiously
Upon that dying face. Elocution might thus furnish an index
When the sad tidings came at length to those better qualities that form the To the sunny hills of France,
Where underneath the trell s'd vine pith and core of woman's heart.
He had led the moonlight dance, It would be needless to lay down any
young warm hearts that faster throbb'd directions as to the details of conduct
A fearful shadow fell, ing elocution classes, these being best And on their pale and lovely brows left to the discretion of those who co
A change was visible. operate together. But without depre- But like the shadow which the cloud
Throws on the emerald grass, ciating the advantages to be derived
It pas3'd away as that is seen from other modes of self-culture, it may Even as you gaze, to pass; be safely said, that there is none so ca
The soldier's dog was faithful still,
His eyes with age grew dim, pable of imparting varied information
Still there was no forgetfulness, and entertainment to both members and
No chilling change in him. audience, of diffusing its usefulness over The soldier's dog would never leave a wider circle, or so flexible in adapting Though basely spurn'd aside; itself to the varieties of character, and in shame oh! man before the brute
Thy head inglorious hide; so little likely to be attended with dis
Well may thy human charity agreeable results, as the study and prac- The glorivus standard miss; tice of elocution,
And vaunted friendship blush before
Fidelity like this.
THE SPELLING REFORM. [The Editor is not responsible for the opinions uttered To the Editor of THE PUBLIC Good. in the Controversial Department.]
Sir,-Will you allow me a portion of your HOW TO CLOSE SHOPS EARLY.
Controversial Page for a brief reply to an arti.
cle in your last number against the Spelling To the EDITOR of the Public GOOD.
Reform Your correspondent, HOLDFAST, Sir, —It is astonishing what faith some per- falls into the too common error of supposing sons have in “ Acts of Parliament.” They that the Phonetic Reformers wish to “disturb seem to think that legislative enactments can the language as it is at present constructed." do miracles; that people can be made virtuous No such thing, Mr. Editor. If I doffed my by them; that they are in fact the fulcrum present suit of black, and dressed myself in a which is to lift the world to a nigher state of more bec ming attire, should I alter the morals. Men have been found who appeared | mechanism of my frame? Would my heart to think that the people could be forced to be cease to beat, or beat imperfectly! Would religious by law; and notwithstanding history iny bones, veins and arteries change their form and reason declare it cannot be, individuals and nature, and cease to perform, as hereto. are still frequently heard calling upon govern- fore, their proper functions? It is idle to say ments to do that which the people alone can that the orthography of our language, which accomplish for theinselves. Thus, many zeal- is an artificial thing, is the language itself: it ous advocates of the Temperance Movement is simply its dress, and this alone we seek to are endeavouring to destroy the drinking cus.change. Your correspondent speaks eloquenttoms by passing laws to restrict the number of ly of the beauties of our language and the ex. public-houses, instead of concentrating all their cellency of the literature which it enshrines ; efforts to accomplish their object in the only and yet advocates its representation in the most legitimate way, viz.—that of persuading indi.fantastic and inconsistent method imagivable. viduals to abandon their drinking practices. A language which is beautiful and simple in And I imagine that your correspondent B., whose | its construction, should surely have a simple remarks on “How to close Shops early,” ap- written representation. “Many of the best peared in the Public Good for June, must be thoughts of many of our best authors," says of this class. “ What more easy,
HOLDFAST, “would be marred if expressed in “than to pass a legislative enactment that at any other way than those in which they were such an hour all shops should be closed ?" originally uttered or penned." Indeed! A May I ask, in return, what more difficult or certain Dr. Wilson, no longer ago than the more tyrannical than to enforce such a law ? I middle of the sixteenth century, wrote as foldeprecate as sincerely as any one the system lows: of keeping shops open till a late hour; but I be- “The tonge geueth a certayne grace to euerye lieve that to pass laws for the reinoval of the matter, and beautifieth the cause in like maner evil would lead to endless litigation, and the as a swete soundynge lute muche setteth furthe remedy would thereby be worse than the dis- : meanne devised ballade. Or as the sounde of ease; and, moreover, I repudiate the idea that a good instrumente styrreth the hearers, and governments hare a right to interfere in such moueth much delite, su a clear soundynge voice matters. I hold, it would be an infringement comfortheth muche our deintie eares with of the liberties of the subject for the state to muche swete melodie." compel an individual to close his shop when he Now, will HOLDFAST say that, if this passage had business to attend to, or a customer to be rendered into the Romanic orthography of serve. But if it be deemed wrong, as undoubt- the present day, it will lose its meaning, or edly it is, physically, mentally, and morally, to the sentiment be in the least degree altered ! keep persous shut up in a shop for sixteen or Let us see: eighteen hours per day, then go and ask those “ The tongue giveth a certain grace to every for whose supposed convenience such evils matter, and beautifieth the cause in like man. exist, to change the system; ask them for the ner as a sweet sounding lute much setteth sake of the health and the morals of vast num. forth a mean devised ballad. Or as the sound bers of young men who are cut off from every of a good instrument stirreth the hearers, and source of rational enjoyment and ineutal moveth much delight, as a clear sounding voice improvement, by the “late shopping systein, comforteth much our dainty ears with much to say it shall have an end, to sign its death sweet melody." warrant. This evil, as well as every other The passage is scarcely more altered when with which this country is afflicted, exists spelled phonetically, thus :simply because the people will it should exist, de tuŋ givet a serten gras tu everi mater and the moment they change their views, a and butitjet de coz in lịc maner az
a swet hetter state of things will spring up. Let the peo- sundiŋ lut mug setet fort a mɛn devjzd balad. ple—it isthe people themselves who must bring Or az de sønd' ov a gud instrument steret de about every reform-determine not to make any hererz, and muvet mug delịt, so a cler sændin purchases for the future, say after six o'clock vos cumfurtet mug or danti erz wiđ mug swet in the evening, and the desideratum is at once melodi. obtained. I believe with your correspondent ilow should we like to see Shakspere written that a change is most assuredly highly impor- in the antiquated spelling in use in the bard's tant, and the character of the age demands it, time 2 We have altered his orthography, but I also think it quite opposed to the spirit yet bis sentences lose none of their original of the times to seek for parliamentary inter- freshness, but come to us with as much force ference in bringing it about.
and meaning as ever. The words are thosa I am, Sir, most truly yours, T. V. which the bard himself penned; it is their
mode of representation, only that has been al- am glad at any time to have an opportunity of tered ; and this is the only kind of alteration surveying two sides of a question; and, contemplated by the Phonetic Reformers.secondly, I may take a part in some of your The difference between the Phonetic system controversies. I really think, Mr. Editor, that and the present orthography, is not so great as Holdfast” in the June number gave the discithat between the latter, and the orthography of ples of Isaac Pitman such a drubbing that they Wickliffe, in his immortal work, the first trans- will not soon forget-I think he demolished the lation of the whole Bible into English. The al system and its pretensions. As for B. ; who teration indeed is so slight. that any one who wishes to close shops early by Act of Parliacan read in the present style may learn to read ment, I think he ought to go to school again. by the new system in less than half an hour. I am tired of those men who are everlastingly This is a sufficient reply to the assertion that going to government to ask it to do their own we should have to become children agair., and work. Why really, and by, they 11.be pass through another course of educational wanting Government to cook their own vegetraining. ** The Phonetic innovators" have tables, and especially if they are Vegetarians, " measured the magnitude of the work to which or if they are snuff-takers, they will be asking they have committed themselves;" and, hav- Governments to wipe their noses.
How can't ing measured it, they are determined, by the men do their own work without always hopaid of Divine Providence. to prosecute their ping about on crutches to ask others to do it dearly cherished under taking with all the earn- for them? estness of which they are capable. More Very likely that precious class of new Resweeping reforms than this have been accom- formers, who have recently, it appears, orplished in times past ; and what is there in the ganized themselves into a society--the VegeSpelling Reform to render it more impractica- tarians--will by and by be asking the Governble than others? If the immense value of the
ment to prevent by force of arms, the people new system were taken into consideration- eating mutton chops, and compelling them to the amount of time saved to the learner in
eat carrots and cabbages. Now, Sir, I am acquiring the art of reading—the facility with inclined to ask the Government to prevent the which all the words in our language may be organization of such societies.
But that peraccurately pronounced by any one who under-haps would be lifting them into undue notice, stauds the Phonetic alphabet-the impetus and very likely it would be best left alone which he Spelling Reform must necessarily give such people rope enough and they will give to the advancement of popular education hang themselves. Was there ever anything --if these and the other advantages of the Pho- heard so ridiculous as giving over eating aninetic system were duly considered, I think mal food. What was it sent for, Mr. Editor, but HOLDFAST himself would be willing to let go a to be eaten ? Are Vegetarians wiser than God? system of orthography, which has been con- Why was animal food made so nutritious ? fessedly, and is still so great a barrier to the And why were our teeth made to tear like the acquisition of knowledge. “Our orthogra- | teeth of the carnivorous animals? Indepenphy,” says Walker, in the introduction of his
dent of Scripture sanctioning and commanding Rhyming Dictionary, “Is not only an insuper- the use of animal food, the almost universal able difficulty to foreigners, but an eternal experience of nations teaches it. And are the source of dispute and perplexity to ourselves.”
promoters of this new-fangled system,--the VeWe do not admit the validity of any objec, getarians, as they call themselves,--wiser than tion to Phonetic Spelling the etymological | the dictates of Scripture and teachings of hisgrounds. Some of the best linguists and phi- tory and experience? I have recently seen lologists of the day have declared that all such
two journals, the Vegetarian Messenger and objections are absurd and worthless
the Vegetarian Advocate, and I must say, I worthless,” says Dr. Latham, “as ever they
never saw so much nonsense crammed into could be thought to be.” It is true, as your two magazines before. They are advocates, correspondent says, that the present method
with a vengeance. They would advocate our " has come down to us with the sanction of abstaining from good wholesome meat, and tell ages ;” but I cannot believe that he is serious
us, I suppose, to be second editions of Nebuin urging this as an objection to the Spelling chadnezzar, by becoming feeders on grass. Reform. Will he be good enough to look at They would advocate our leaving off salt, I supthe Prospectus of the PUBLIC GOOD, and see
pose, and tea, and coffee, these good old nawhich of the reforms there mentioned (some of
tional beverages. What next shall we hear? which, he no doubt, advocates) does not inter
If there were a few more of these Vegetarians, fere with the established usage of ages. Some I should think the world was getting into its of them, he will find, combat the practices and
dotage. Let me ask these “ dietetic reformers," sentiments of ages long before our language
as they call themselves, what they would then had a written representation at all.
do with all the animals? What would they Yours truly, THOMAS ALLEN REED.
make shoes with? Where would they get
their grease from to make candles and their VEGETARIANISM,
wool to make clothing? I hope, Mr. Editor, To the EDITOR of the Public Goon.
that you do not in any way sanction such abMr. EDITOR, - I have been a subscriber to the
surd and unreasonable practices. In fact, judgPublic Good from the commencement of its career, and I have no hesitation in saying
that ing from your Journal, I am sure you possess
too much common sense to do so. No doubt it is really for the good of the public. I have
that one of these potato eaters will be trying been surprised at the variety that you manage
to answer this letter; if so, Mr. Editor, you to put into each number, and I am much
will hear from me again, pleased at the idea of your controversial de
I am yours, fraternally, ANTI-CABBAGE. partment and that for two reasons. First, I