Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

the ideas which he is to exprefs. It gives him a previous knowledge of the several inflexions, emphases, and tones," which the words require. And by not having his eye confined' to the book, it relieves hin from the school-boy habit of holding down bis head, and, consequently, reading in a different key and tone from that of conversation ; and leaves him at full liberty to express his own feelings, by all the varieties of countenance and gesture.

It generally requires fome time, and many and frequent exercises, before the student can be brought to consider reading in the same light as conversation; and be persuaded that it dould be conducted in the fame manner. There is, more or less, in all people (except in a very few accomplished speakers), an artificial uniformity, which always distinguishes reading from conversation : the fixed posture, the bending of the head, and the attentive look at the book, which are requisite, are all destructive of that ease, freedom, and variety of both expresion and action, necessary to a juft elocutiop.

It would supersede the neceflity of most of the foregoing rules, if public speakers would deliver their discourses from immediate conception, or from memory. But if this be too much to be expected, especially from preachers of divinity, who have so much to compose, and are so frequently called upon to speak in publie; it is, however, very necellary, that they thould make themselves so well acquainted with their discourse, that they may be able to take in a confiderable portion with a single glance of the eye.

After the student has acquired a just and natural elocution, it is, perhaps, not the least difficult part of this art to apply this accomplishment to the purpofes of real life. Many can deliver their discourses in a graceful manner in private, or before a few select friends, who, when required to speak in a public capacity, at ibe bar, froin the pulpit, or in the fenate, generally betray either a timid baflıfulness, or an impertinent assurance. The former, is apt to lead the speaker into an awkward uniformity, the latter into a disgusting affectation ;

the

[ocr errors]

the former arises from an humble diffidence of the speaker's own abilities, and respect for the understandings of his hearers; the latter is the effect of conceit, and a contempt for the opinions of his auditors : the former may soon be overcome by a successful attention to the foregoing rules ; the latter can seldom be fubdued, till, by repeated disappointments, the rash adventurer is convinced, tha: he made a false estimate of his own valuie.

We fall close this section with Hamlet's instructions to the players, taken from Shakespeare; which has always been confidered as containing an important leflon on elocution, and may exemplify most of the foregoing rules.

66 Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue. But if you mouth it, as many of our players do, I had as lieve the town-crier had spoke my lives. And do not saw the air too much with your hand, shus; but use all gently : for in the very torrent, tempeft, and, as I may fay, whirlwind of your passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may give it smoothzess. 0! it offends me to the soul to hear a robustious periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings, who (for the most part) are capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb nows, and noise: I could have fuch a fellow whipp'd for o'erdoing termagant; it out-herods Herod. Pray you, avoid it.

“ Be not too tame neither; but let your own discretion be your tutor. Suit the action to the word, the word to the action, with this special observance, that you o'erstep not the modesty of nature; for any thing so overdone is from the purpose of playing; whose end, both at the first and now, #as, and is, to hold, as it were, the mirror up to nature ; to Mew virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time, his form and pressure. Now this overdone, or come tardy off, though it make the un. kilful laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve : the Genfure of one of which mult, in your allowance, o'erweigh

a whale

I 2

a whole theatre of others. Oh! there be players that I have seen play, and beard others praise, and that highly (not to speak it profanely), that neither having the accent of Chriftians, nor the gait of Christian, Pagan, nor Man, have so strutted and bellowed, that I have thought some of nature's journeymen had made men, and not made them well; they imitated humanity fo abominably.

“ O, reform it altogether. And let those that play your clowns, speak no more than is set down for them; for there be of them, that will themselves laugh, to set on some quantity of barren spectators to laugh 100; though in the mean time, some neceffary question of the play be then to be considered :

- that 's villainous ; and thews a most pitiful ambition in the fool that uses it.".

[ocr errors][merged small]

CHAP. II.

OF PENMANSHIP,

SECT. I.

RULES FOR THE ATTAINMENT OF THE ART OF

WRITING.

THERE is no part of literature acquired with less difficulty than the art of writing. Few people, be their capacities ever so mean, are incapable of learning this. Hence we fee so many, who, though ignorant of the more early parts of science, such as Englith grammar, and even spelling good English, yet can write a tolerably good hand. This is a glaring fault; for the more correct the pennianship, the more does it display the orthographical and grammatical errors. I therefore advise all those who may have occafion to write much, to make themselves perfe&tly acquainted with what has been delivered in the former chapter concerning English grammar. I trust it need not be mentioned, that they thould render themselves perfect in spelling; every one knows the necessity of this, and the ridicule and contempt which only one or two words wrongly spelled bring upon the writer.

I shall proceed to give a few directions, by the help of which an inexperienced person may qualify himself in this

art;

art; and without which, though perhaps deemed superfluous by fome, a work of this kind might possibly appear deficient.

It is necessary that the learner be provided with the implements requisite for writing; a good pen, and good free ink; without which it is impossible to write a fair copy; a round or flat ruler (the round one is ufed for dispatch, and the tiaz one for sureness), a leaden plummet, or black lead pencil, to rule the lines, without which the learner will never write tiraight; and some pounce, or gum sandrack powder, to rub the paper with, if it be too thin to bear the ink, and when bold hands are to be written, as large text, German text, or the like ; also when a word or sentence is scratched out with the penknife, in which case, the place inust first be rubbed smooth with the baft of the kuife, or a piece of clean paper, and then rubbed with the pounce, to enable it to bear the ink. A quarto-fized copy-book is the most proper, as each page will contain a copy of ten or a dozen lines, which will be sufficient to write at one time.

Being provided with these implenients, the learner may proceed to practice. The lines should be ruled straight and cven, and at the same distance from each other, at the dotted lines, marked No. 1, in the plate. The distance between every two lines of writing thould be about twice or tkree times the distance which there is between the two pencil lines that belong to the same line of writing ; though this is often more or less, according to the caprice of the writer.

The pen must be held in the right hand, between the thumb and the fore and middle fingers. The middle finger must be placed on the back of the pen, opposite to the upper part of the cut or cradle of the pen, and the fore-finger close to it, and both held firaight. The thumb must be placed against the opposite side of the pen, called the belly of the quill, and must be bent a little in the joint. The top of the pen thould point towards the right noulder. The elbow should be drawn in towards the body, but not too clase. The

arm

[ocr errors]
« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »