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The importance and blessings of Union Jay 341
Section 4. Danger of War between the States
Section 8. Washington's speech to the first Congress 354 Section 9. Extracts from Washington's Farewell
Section 1. Verses, the sound of which is an Echo to the
Section 2. Othello's Apology
Shakspeare 365 Section 3. Discourse between Adam and Eve Milton 367
Section 1. Nothing formed in Vain
Section 2. National Prejudices and Slavery
Section 5. On Pride
Cowper 371 Thompson 372
Pope 373 ib. 375
Section 1. The Morning in Summer
Reading, Recitation, Declamation, and Oratory.
THE general objects of public speaking are, instruction, persuasion, or entertainment. These objects are sometimes kept distinct, sometimes they are combined in various proportions.
In their various modes of exercise, these objects will attain their ends, that is, succeed in influencing the hearer in the degree proposed, not only by the interesting matter which may be presented to him, but also by the manner in which it is presented. The manner is called the delivery. And the advantages of good delivery are such, as to conceal in some degree the blemishes of the composition, or the matter delivered, and to add lustre to its beauties; in so much, that a good composition, well delivered, shall, with any popular audience, succeed better in its object, whether that be instruction, persuasion, or entertainment, than a superior composition not delivered so well.
The modes adopted in public speaking are, reading, recitation, declamation, oratory, and acting. Of which, the three first are often practised for the purpose of exercise or preparation, as well as on real oc casions.
Reading may be defined, the art of delivering written language with propriety, force, and elegance.This, if not the simplest mode of public speaking, is, among cultivated nations. the most useful and the easiest. Because, any man can, in this mode, deliver the sentiments of the wisest of all ages and nations, in language already prepared and approved; and the public speaker has, on ordinary occasions, only to pronounce intelligibly, what he has before him; or, if he would perfectly discharge his office on higher occasions, impressively. Reading may be described under the following kinds, beginning from that which requires the lowest efforts of the talents of delivery, and proceeding to that which requires the highest, The scale of reading, will then be disposed thus: 1. Intelligible. 2. Correct. 3. Impressive. 4. Rhetorical. 5. Dramatic. 6. Epic.
The lowest degree of reading aloud for the information of others, which can be admitted as useful to the public, is that which is named intelligible reading. To a reader of this class, the following are the only requisites, good articulation, proper attention to pauses and accents, and sufficient effort of voice, to render himself audible to all concerned.
To the articulation, pauses, accent, and efforts of voice, necessary to render a reader fully intelligible, the correct reader must add something more; the additional requisites for him are emphasis, purity of pronunciation, and suitable demeanor. The correct reader must evince his own just conception of what he reads, by applying proper emphases, which serve as touches of light in a picture to bring forward the principal objects. He must study purity of pronunciation, that he may not offend, and distract the attention of his hearers, by diverting it from his subject, and turning it upon himself. Upon this princi. ple, it is necessary that he be most careful not to offend by affectation; which, even in a greater degree than provincial vulgarity itself, disturbs the attention
from the proper objects of public speaking, persua. sion, and instruction.
In addition to the requisites necessary to the correct reader, the impressive reader must possess the following: expression of the voice, expression of countenance, direction of the eye, variety of manner as to rapidity of delivery, and rhetorical pauses. Hence, impressive reading comprehends two entire divisions of the art of delivery, the modulation of the voice, and the expression of the countenance; of gesture, the third division, it partakes but little, and that little, is very different from what is proper for oratory.
Within the whole range, through which the exercise of this valuable talent, the art of reading, is extended, impressive reading will be found no where so requisite, as in delivering the Scriptures. Their composition is of that original and various character, which demands every effort on his part, who is called upon to deliver them for the instruction of others. Hardly is there a chapter, which does not contain something, which requires the most impressive reading; as remonstrance, threatening, command, encouragement, sublime description, awful judgements. The narrative is interrupted by frequent and often unexpected transitions; by bold and unusual figures; and by precepts of most extensive application, and most admirable use.
In the narrative, the reader should deliver himself with a suitable simplicity and gravity of demeanor. In the transitions, which are often rapid, he should manifest a quick conception, and by rhetorical pauses and suitable changes of voice, express and render intelligible, the new matter or change of scene. In the figurative and sublime, which every where abound, his voice should be sonorous, and his countenance expressive of the elevation of his subject. In the precepts, he should deliver himself with judgement and discretion; and when he repeats the words