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and precepts, as recorded of our Lord himself, with more distinguished mildness, mingled with dignified authority. Such reading, would be a perpetual and luminous commentary on the Sacred Writings; and would convey more solid information, than the most learned and brilliant sermons.

If to the impressive stile of reading, be added such a degree of acquaintance with the subject, as that it shall be nearly committed to memory, and that it be also accompanied with gesture to a certain degree, and more decided expression of the eyes and countenance, it constitutes a more forcible stile, which may be termed rhetorical reading. This stile of reading is adapted to popular discourses from the pulpit, which if intended to be so delivered, should be composed in all the form of a regular oration. Because, as one subject of discourse, requires a different stile of composition, it requires also a different manner of reading. Correct reading suits a discourse on evidences; impressive reading, on exhortation; and rhetorical reading, those subjects which call for the higher exertions of pulpit eloquence, as funeral orations, great public occasions, the solicitation of alms for useful charities, and in all discourses where the orator has to excite passion and emotion. Public reading within these limits, will be found, if not capable of all the brilliancy that can be desired, yet to possess great and solid advantages. To read well, should be esteemed a very high attainment in public speaking; and no labour should be thought too arduous for its acquirement, by those who are likely to be called upon, in any situation to read in public; that is, by any men of liberal education or rank in life, above the lowest vulgar; each of whom, will probably on some occasion, be obliged to exhibit his talent.

Reading in private is seldom carried farther than that description called impressive. But in the reading of a play, when one person goes through the

whole drama, a manner is almost necessarily adopted, which may be called dramatic reading. In this style of reading, the voice, the countenance, and the delivery, as to rapidity or slowness, force or feebleness, are nearly suited to the character which is supposed at any time to speak; and even provincial and foreign accents, are also in some degree imitated; moderate gesture of the hand is used, accompanied now and then with the head, in passages requiring particular discrimination. But the efforts of the reader, in mere private and family society, seldom go farther.


The talent for dramatic reading in its highest excellence is very rare. It includes not only all the requisites for correct, impressive, and dramatic reading of the ordinary kind, which is sufficient for the mere presenting the scenes of a play to a domestic -circle but the fine dramatic reader must be possessed of the quickest conception, and of an eye which intuitively comprehends the whole dialogue at a glance, of a versatility of manner capable of adapting itself to every character, and such a power of modulation of the voice as shall also present each changing character to the hearer, within the bounds of decorous imitation, without naming him, which would often break the interest of the scene; and above all, he must possess a true and lively feeling of the situation and interest of every person in the drama.

History, which is the most improving subject of private reading, in the mere narrative parts, requires no greater efforts on the part of the reader, than the style which is termed correct. But in lively description of places, situations, and great actions, impressive reading is altogether necessary; and in the speeches which sometimes occur, rhetorical reading should in some measure, be introduced.

The same circumstances occur more frequently and more heightened in epic poetry: and, therefore,

as well as on account of the lofty measure and elevated language, an epic poem requires of the reader a more dignified and exalted strain, and a manner almost constantly sustained above the ordinary level. Descriptions, in such poetry, abound more, and are more highly ornamented than in the most interesting history similies and other poetical figures are introduced in all their grandeur and beauty; battles are described with the most terrible and striking precision, and speeches are delivered with all the ornaments, and all the powers of eloquence. Thus, every thing sublime and beautiful, awful and pathetic, being assembled in an epic poem, as in a tragedy, the reader must be all awake, if he would deliver either with just effect; he must be filled with his subject, governed by taste and judgement, alive to feeling, and inspired like the poet himself, with a degree of énthusiasm.

Of Recitation and Declamation.

If the public speaker desire to give to the composition, which he delivers, more interest than it can derive from mere reading; or rather desire to give it the highest interest of which it is capable; he must commit it perfectly to memory, and adorn and enforce it with all the aids of the various modulations of the voice, expression of the countenance and suitable gesture. So that, even though he should deliver the sentiments of another person, he must appear altogether to adopt and feel, and recommend them as his own. When the composition thus delivered is poetical, this mode of public speaking is called recitation. When it is argumentative, and pronounced or composed on an imaginary occasion, for the purpose of exercising the speaker's rhetorical talents, it is called declamation. And when the speaker delivers in this manner, a composition of his own on a real occasion, it is oratory: for the acquiring of the

external art of which recitation and declamation are

chiefly practised.

Recitation, as not implying the composition of the speaker, may be considered according to the order of the requisite acquirements in the place, immediately after rhetorical reading: to all the requisites for which, recitation must add perfect memory and suitable gesture. In recitation, and all the other modes of public speaking, the whole person is, or may be exhibited, and every part takes its share in the gesture. Recitation being properly the rhetorical delivery of poetical compositions and pieces of imagination, the performer should stand apart from the company. In its first degrees, recitation is practised in private, as a rhetorical exercise by young persons; in its most perfect degrees, it is exhibited in public, as a very high species of dramatic entertainment. The great variety in poetical composition and works of imagination, must afford equal variety for the modes of recitation.

Declamation, which is properly a prose exercise, composed by the speaker on some imaginary subject or occasion, on account of the requisite ability in composition, as well as in the exercise of all the arts of delivery, may be considered as next in order above recitation. The ancient Roman orators bestowed extraordinary attention upon the composition and practice of declamation.

Cicero continued this practice many years after he had arrived at the highest eminence as an orator; and, after his example, the most celebrated of the Roman orators followed the same plan.

Of Oratory.

Oratory, which is public speaking upon real and interesting occasions, is the most splendid object of all literary exertion, and the highest scope of all the study and practice of the art. To oratory belongs whatever the perfection of composition can produce, as well

as all which the perfections of delivery can externally recommend and enforce. Oratory is the power of reasoning, united to the various arts of persuasion, presented by external grace, and by the whole energy of the human powers. Reasoning divested of rhetorical composition and rhetorical delivery, becomes strict demonstration. Such reasoning is found in logic, mathematics, evidences of facts, and law arguments. Reasoning, in this sense, is distinct from oratory both, indeed, aim at bringing over men to their opinions, but by different means. Reasoning, appeals to the understanding alone; oratory deals with the passions also. Reasoning, proceeds directly to the truth, and exhibits it in the simplest language. Oratory chooses the most favorable view of the subject, engages the attention of the hearer by the detail of circumstances, interests him by the coloring which he gives them, delights him by ornament, and, having won his favorable attention, appeals at once to his understanding and to his heart. When the subject admits of demonstration, reasoning is the most powerful; it is irresistable: but when strict demonstration cannot be had, oratory has then the advantage. And since, in a very few of the most interesting inquiries, which occupy the attention of men, strict demonstration can be obtained, so the demand for the talents of the orator is frequent and indispens able in the business of life. Reasoning is, therefore, applied principally to philosophical research, and to objects of science: oratory to the interests of men, and to objects admitting choice. It is an advantage which oratory possesses above reasoning, that oratory constantly avails itself of reasoning; but strict reasoning does not call in the aid of oratory.

The public speakers of this country have been celebrated as excellent reasoners; while their orators have been few. For this, various reasons have been assigned the truest, perhaps, may be indolence with respect to the requisite labour, and inattention to the

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