Puslapio vaizdai

and patient thought: I kept the subject under consideration constantly before me, and waited till the first dawning opened gradually, by little and little, into a full and clear light."

J-Since we are upon quotations, I will offer one from Austin's Chironomia on Articulation. In just articulation, the words are not hurried over, nor precipitated syllable over syllable. They are delivered out from the lips as beautiful coins, newly issued from the mint, deeply and accurately impressed, perfectly finished, neatly struck by the proper organs, distinct, sharp, in due succession, and of due weight.

T-These are beautiful gems; and it is beautiful to see youth treasuring them up for future ornament and use to see them putting their fingers, as it were, upon the very mainsprings of knowledge and going on under the strong conviction that upon themselves they depend mainly for all their future improvement !

J. So we are to suppose that whatever means we employ to perfect ourselves in the art of reading and speaking, when the work is fully accomplished, we shall do just as if nature directed and controlled the whole.

T-Yes and if you ever become distinguished speakers and I have no doubt many of you will-all will be ready to exclaim, that do not understand the true secret, What wonderful gifts nature has bestowed upon these young gentlemen!



Mr. Gordon. My son William has been looking over Austin's Chironomia, and some other works on elocution, and has become quite interested in the plates.

Dr. Abbott.-And what opinion have you formed from studying them, Master Gordon?

Wm. G.-That the work we use is so far defective. Dr. A.-And did not the thought occur to you that the author might have good reason for omitting such figures?

Wm. G.-If he had, I should like to know what they are; for I have been much gratified in looking at them, and, I think, profited.

Dr. Burke. And I feel a curiosity to hear, too, what can be urged against a practice that has now become all the rage.

Dr. A.—As it regards illustrations in other works, I have nothing to say, only that it appears at the present time to be carried to a ridiculous extent for poets and novelists need but to use the word tree, cow, cat or cottage, and there stands the picture; as if this would help us to a clearer notion of them than what has been imparted by seeing every day the objects themselves. I

think I can see very plainly why pictorial displays of passions and gestures should have no place in such a work.

Mrs. G.-How could our children ever gain so clear views of the strong passions that agitate the soul as from these pictures? And then, the outlines of gesture and attitudes-why, Sir, by means of these diagrams, they come to know an orator from all other figures, as readily as they know a pump from a common post.

Dr. A.-And these are among the strong reasons why I would reject them. Children are led away from the field of their own experience and observation, into that of imagination; and so, robbed of a most attractive charm-the simplicity of nature. She furnishes looks, attitudes and motions for every strong passion, better far than any art can supply: let the real passion be felt, and all these concomitants are sure to be associated where it is not, all means to show it effect but the counterfeit a mere picture display.

Dr. B.-But if all these pictures, that represent the passions, are true to nature, what special harm can there be in studying them? they cannot tend to what is unnatural; and may tend to a better imitation of nature.

Dr. A.-Yes, they may, I grant you, if those who use them have the requisite knowledge and experience; just as an artist may attain to the highest finish by studying the best specimens of his art. But admit they are true to nature—although in general they are not— they are false guides; for they show only the most prominent cases; and such are very rarely required. They go wholly beyond the experience of the class for whom

they are designed; and the passion or sentiment is therefore very liable to be overacted. Pupils study these striking views of passions, positions, and all that; while taking their first lessons in the art of speaking-an art to their imaginings wonderful! a phase in the art of address entirely different from any type they have yet found; and taking their notions from these representations, and not from living examples within their own limited experience, it is not surprising they should become, from such training, complete models of affectation.

Mr. G.-If such is the tendency-and I fear it is— we have been all wrong. But pray explain what you mean by children going beyond their experience: do not all go beyond their experience, in learning any thing new which they are required to learn?

Dr. A.-I mean by the limited field of their experience, the world, as they know it.

"Say first, of God above, or man below,

What can we reason, but from what we know?

Of man, what see we but his station here,
From which to reason, and to which refer?"

If Pope lays down the true doctrine, and ours is to follow nature, when we go beyond what we know of nature, we enter the field of fancy. In the ordinary experience of life, few cases of high-wrought excitement ever occur. Hence writers on elocution invariably go to the drama, and select from it examples the most impassioned for models in declamation; and usually illustrate them with whole pages of attitudes and faces, at which our youth may look, as into a mirror, to adjust themselves for the

expression of every sentiment and emotion. Still I have no objection to perfect representations of this sort; only let nature come first; and afterwards call them, and whatever you please, to aid you: they may then do no harm, and may do good.

Dr. B.-You are right, I have no doubt; and it is strange I never saw the subject in the same light before.

Mr. G. And I was a simpleton, when I supposed I was furnishing a remedy for the very evils you speak of, by recommending and insisting that the boys in the Ward schools should also have the benefit of these guides and, yesterday, I saw they had got them hung upon the walls of the school I visited, representing speakers in all possible passions and postures. I will now say as Cromwell said, pointing to the ensigns of royalty, "Take away these baubles." I go for plain common sense; and if these figures have the least tendency to deprive our children of the "genuine article"-to rob them of the grace and truth of nature; so we are not to know them as the same persons, when they come to speak in public; I say, let them all go by the board: and the sooner, the better.

Wm. G.-I remember Cromwell in our illustrated history. There he sits, with his open palm towards the offered crown, as if pushing it off as a loathsome thing, and his face averted with an expression of disgust, such as never comes but from truth and honesty.

Dr. A.—And now try to show the same feeling, Master Gordon, without that same truth and honesty; and how would you succeed? Not at all. And why? Because truth and honesty, in your case, would prevent it.

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