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Walker, then, it will be seen, was the highly-gifted individual who has given us a satisfactory analysis of the voice, and taught us the application of inflexion to every variety of sentence. An eminent contemporary teacher, in reference to the authors from whom he had received information on the subject of his profession, has had the candour to make the following declaration : "The chief authors to whom I have been indebted are Doctors Campbell, Johnson, Knox, and Blair; and Messrs. Walker, Murray, Sheridan, Scott, Thelwall, and Enfield. From none of these authors, however, Walker excepted, have my gleanings been very copious.-But of the volumes of Walker, I have made liberal use. I consider them as inestimable; and should scarcely think it possible to be too animated in panegyrising them. I have no hesitation in saying, that one single work of Walker's, The Elements of Elocution,' contains a greater portion of really useful elocutionary information, than could be extracted from the aggregate writings of the other authors whom I have named."*
In unison with this generous avowal are my own sentiments. I cannot indeed speak or think on the subject of Elocution without involuntarily feeling grateful to Mr. Walker ;-him I consider as my professional parent. To his efforts, in truth, is the British public indebted for more correct and valuable information on this subject, than is to be found concentrated in the volumes of all its other most accomplished philologists : when, therefore, gentlemen who profess a thorough acquaintance with the science, and prefix "principles" of and "guides" to Elocution, to their respective selections, (even though we should not suppose they have either entirely borrowed his system, or brought it forward in an altered or modified form), not only omit all expressions of thankfulness to their venerable Instructor, but even withhold the mention of his name, the violation of propriety becomes too palpable to be passed over in silence, and too manifestly unjust to escape without censure. Such
* Vide Wade's "Summary of a Course of Lectures."
conduct cannot but be considered as insulting to the living, as it is unjust to the dead. Mr. Walker may have been too minute— he may, in some minor, unimportant parts of his subject, have been incorrect; but still the eye of justice and impartiality will ever regard him as the Father of English Elocution, and consider the failing to acknowledge his claims upon our gratitude, as an obvious dereliction of public duty. The system of Mr. Walker may be improved—it may be amplified or condensed-it admits of occasional modification; but wherever "slides" or "inflexions" are employed in any pretended new "mode" or "guide" to Elocution, and his leading principles preserved, that system, whatever it may be called, is essentially Mr. WALKER'S. For the very term of inflexion indeed, as applied to English Reading, we are indebted to him; and the withholding of his name, even from this consideration, is childish and reprehensible.
Having thus cursorily glanced at a subject which, in justice to Mr. Walker, and the science which he successfully taught, I could not entirely overlook, I shall conclude these prefatory remarks by briefly adverting to the edition of the "Rhetorical Reader," now respectfully submitted to the Public. This edition, like the former, contains Mr. Walker's Rules, though several of them will be found condensed, and some, that could be dispensed with, omitted.* Partly from neglect, and partly from a desire to comply with the wishes of my publishers "to keep the introductory matter within the smallest possible limits," I entirely omitted the insertion of the separate observations on the reading of verse. But, notwithstanding what has been recently advanced, that the pronunciation of verse is no more than the just pronunciation of prose I continue to agree with Mr. Walker, "that this doctrine is as far distant from truth, as whining cant is from true poetic harmony." No man can be a more decided enemy than I am, to every thing like cant or sing-song in the reading of verse; "but poetry without song, is a body without a soul. The tune of
*The Third Edition will be found to contain a new, and interesting application of both of the "Circumflexes."
this song is indeed difficult to hit, but when once it is hit, it is sure to give the most exquisite pleasure." To impart to verse that measured, harmonious flow of sound, which distinguishes it from prosaic composition, without falling into a bombastic chanting pronunciation (which renders it disgusting as well as ridiculous), may be considered, says Mr. Walker, as the best general rule; and as a preventive against the psalm-singing cant of the village school," it will not be improper, before we attempt to bestow upon verse its poetical graces, to pronounce it exactly as if it were prose:" but to continue this-to execute our finished reading of poetry (particularly rhyming poetry) like prose, we must necessarily, where there is a proximate connection, run one line into another—a custom which cannot be too much condemned, as it is completely subversive of the beauty of verse, and, in so far, of poetry itself. I contend therefore-and I submit the position to every dispassionate inquirer-that to distinguish poetry from prose, and to preserve its separate character, 66 a pause is absolutely necessary at the end of every line, proportionate to the immediate or remote connection subsisting between the two lines." If this be conceded-and who will not concede it ?—the correct reading of verse is something different from the correct reading of prose; and the proposition, that "the pronunciation of verse is no more than a just pronunciation of prose," substantively falls to the ground.
J. H. H.
TO THE THIRD EDITION.
THOUGH Considerably reduced in size, this Edition of the "Rhetorical Reader" will, it is presumed, be found, in quality, equal to any "School-Collection" in use.
Notwithstanding its present size, however, the "Reader" will be found to contain, it is hoped, some not uninteresting, as well as instructive, additions. Of these additions, five in number, by Dr. Channing of America, the Editor deems it necessary to say a few words. When he had prepared four of these Extracts, which respects England's "Seraphic Bard," he hoped to add, as an Appendix to this volume, Selections from the first four books of "Paradise Lost," a work, he humbly conceives, rather inadequately appreciated, by the generality of readers on the north side of the Tweed,—hence his object will be apparent for having more than one of these delightful Extracts, which are certainly no less remarkable for their critical acumen, than for their beauty and chastity of style.*
Not any of the peculiar features which characterize Dr.
* Our admirable critic, "the far-famed Christopher North" (alias Professor Wilson-a poet himself, "second to none," now living) says, with some enthusiasm certainly, but with much propriety: "There are no poets like the poets of BRITAIN. HER children far excel all the rest of What mortal man, in mankind-equally in imagination and intellect. universality of genius, ever equalled SHAKSPEARE?-What mortal man, in majestic wisdom of moral imagination —that is, in the vision and the faculty Divine,' ever equalled Milton?"
Blackwood's Magazine for January, 1835.
Channing's religious tenets being at all visible in these Extracts, the Editor trusts an apology will be unnecessary for having introduced them; and, as regards the paper which relates to the "Mightiest of England's Foes," he assuredly needs make no remark, as the Doctor's opinion of the French Emperor's intentions will undoubtedly find a ready echo in the bosom of every unprejudiced Briton !—Although deprived of sundry pieces of considerable interest, the Editor trusts that this impression will be found superior to the preceding-containing, as it does, several new Extracts, which in themselves possess as much merit as any in the fomer, whilst they are much better calculated for illustrating the Rules of Elocution. Also, for the sake of adding still further to its usefulness, as a SchoolBook, some additional Selections, of considerable elocutionary beauty, are marked with Rhetorical Pauses and Inflections.And, as forming a kind of whole on a subject of paramount importance to the young,-towards the conclusion of the volume will be found a series of extracts from Matthews, Dr. Olinthus Gregory, Bowdler, Seed, and a delightful effusion from the graceful Bard of Sheffield (Montgomery), which can hardly fail to prove acceptable, if not interesting, to all. As already intimated, the Editor-fully intending to have subjoined to the present work, what he has long considered as a desideratum in Scholastic Reading, an Outline of Sacred Epic Poetryhad prepared, from Milton's "Paradise Lost," Montgomery's "World Before the Flood," and Cumberland's " Calvary," an Appendix comprising 40 or 50 pages; but his Publishersprudently determining to reduce the price of this Edition-have prevented him from fulfilling this intention; and thus the "addition" he contemplated has been limited to those brief Extracts which occur after the "Good Humour and Forbearance of Mr. Wilberforce," at the 358th page.