Puslapio vaizdai

utterance, on the other hand, keeps the tone of meaning predominant, and preserves the whole natural voice of the individual, while it increases its energy. It differs from the tone of private conversation solely in additional force, and a more deliberate and distinct expression. It is the want of this style of utterance which creates formal and professional tones, or what is not unjustly called a 'school tone.'

The third constituent of good articulation is to be found in the proper functions of the tongue and the lips. These organs divide and modify the voice into distinct portions of sound, constituting letters and syllables, and consequently require energy and deliberateness, or due force and slowness, together with perfect precision, or exactness in their action.

Energy in the play of these minor organs of speech, is a quality entirely distinct from loudness, or mere force in the emission of the voice. A sound may come from the lungs and the throat with great vehemence, and yet be very obscure in its peculiar character, because not duly modified by the tongue. The voice of a person under the excitement of inebriation, furnishes sometimes a striking illustration of this distinction. Strong emotion and great loudness of speech are, from a cause somewhat similar, not favorable to a clear expression of meaning, but often have a contrary effect; the violence of feeling and of utterance, preventing the true and accurate formation of sound. Energy of articulation, on the other hand, consists in the force with which the constituent sounds of every word are expressed by the exertion of their appropriate organs. It may exist with very little of mere loudness, sometimes giving indescribable fervor to a bare whisper. It is the quality which gives form and character to human speech, and constitutes it the appropriate vehicle of intellect; although from languor and carelessness of habit it is too seldom exemplified in public reading or speaking.

The next point to be observed, in the action of the organs, is deliberateness or due slowness, the medium between hurry and drawling, faults which are a great hinderance to distinctness; the former producing a mass of crowded and confused sounds which make no distinct impression on the ear, and leave no intelligible trace on the mind, and the latter causing the voice to lag lazily behind the natural movement of the mind's attention, with an unmeaning and disagreeable prolongation of sound, which takes away the spirit and the significance of speech. The degree of slowness required for an accurate and distinct enunciation is such as to leave sufficient time for the true and complete formation of every sound of the voice, and for the deliberate and regular succession of words and syllables; free, however, from any approach to languor and drawling.

Force and slowness, however, are not the only qualities essential to distinct articulation. There must be, in addition to the right degree of these properties, a due attention, in every instance, to the nature of the sound to be produced, and to that exertion of the organs which is adapted to its exact execution. In other words, articulate utterance requires a constant exercise of discrimination of the mind, and of precision or accuracy in the movements of the organs of speech. A correct articulation, however, is not belabored or artificial in its character. It results from the intuitive and habitual action of a disciplined attention. It is easy, fluent, and natural; but, like the skilful execution of an accomplished musician, it gives forth every sound, even in the most rapid passages, with truth and correctness. A good enunciation gives to every vowel and consonant its just proportion and character; none being omitted, no one blending with another in such a manner as to produce confusion, and none so carelessly executed as to cause mistake in the hearer, by its resemblance to another." — Russell.



E. P. Whipple.

In order that America may take its due rank in the commonwealth of nations, a literature is needed which shall be the exponent of its higher life. We live in times of turbulence and change. There is a general dissatisfaction, manifesting itself often in rude contests and ruder speech, with the gulf which separates principles from actions. Men are struggling to realize dim ideals of right and truth, and each failure adds to the desperate earnestness of their efforts. Beneath all the shrewdness and selfishness of the American character, there is a smouldering enthusiasm which flames out at the first touch of fire, - sometimes at the hot and hasty words of party; and sometimes at the bidding of great thoughts and unselfish principles. The heart of the nation is easily stirred to its depths; but those who rouse its fiery impulses into action are often men compounded of ignorance and wickedness, and wholly unfit to guide the passions which they are able to excite. There is no country in the world which has nobler ideas embodied in more worthless shapes. All our factions, fanaticisms, reforms, parties, creeds, ridiculous or dangerous though they often appear, are founded on some aspiration or reality which deserves a better form and expression. There is a mighty power in great speech. If the sources of what we call our fooleries and faults were rightly addressed, they would echo more majestic and kindling truths. We want a poetry which shall speak in clear, loud tones to the people; a poetry which shall make us more in love with our native land, by converting its ennobling scenery into the images of lofty thought; which shall give visible form and life to the abstract ideas of our written constitutions; which shall confer upon virtue all the strength of principle, and all the energy of passion; which shall disentangle freedom from cant and senseless hyperbole, and render it a thing of such loveliness and grandeur as to justify all self-sacrifice; which shall make us love man by the new consecrations it sheds on his life and destiny: which shall force through the thin partitions of conventionalism and expediency; vindicate the majesty of reason; give new power to the voice of conscience, and new vitality to human affection; soften and elevate passion; guide enthusiasm in a right direction; and speak out in the high language of men to a nation of men.


Lord Bacon. Studies serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability. Their chief use for delight is in privateness and retiring; for ornament, is in discourse; and for ability, is in the judgment and disposition of business; for, expert men can execute, and perhaps judge of particulars, one by one; but the general counsels, and the plots and marshalling of affairs, come best from those that are learned. To spend too much time in studies, is sloth; to use them too much for ornament, is affectation; to make judgment wholly by their rules, is the humor of a scholar; they perfect nature, and are perfected by experience - for natural abilities are like natural plants, that need pruning by study; and studies themselves do give forth directions too much at large, except they be bounded in by experience. Crafty men contemn studies, simple men admire them, and wise men use them; for they teach not their own use; but that is a wisdom without them, and above them, won by observation. Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted, nor to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read, but not curiously; and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention. Some books also may be read by deputy, and extracts made of them by others; but that would be only in the less important arguments, and the meaner sort of books; else distilled books are, like common distilled waters, flashy things.

[blocks in formation]

I have read that those who listened to Lord Chatham felt that there was something finer in the man, than anything which he said. It has been complained of our brilliant English historian of the French Revolution, that when he has told all his facts about Mirabeau, they do not justify his estimate of his genius. The Gracchi, Agis, Cleomenes, and others of Plutarch's heroes, do not in the record of facts equal their own fame. Sir Philip Sidney, the Earl of Essex, Sir Walter Raleigh, are men of great figure, and of few deeds. We cannot find the smallest part of the personal weight of Washington, in the narrative of his exploits. The authority of the name of Schiller is too great for his books. This inequality of the reputation to the works or the anecdotes, is not accounted for by

saying that the reverberation is longer than the thunder-clap; but somewhat resided in these men which begot an expectation that outran all their performance. The largest part of their power was latent. This is that which we call Character,- -a reserved force which acts directly by presence, and without means. It is conceived of as a certain undemonstrable force, a Familiar or Genius, by whose impulses the man is guided, but whose counsels he cannot impart; which is company for him, so that such men are often solitary, or if they chance to be social, do not need society, but can entertain themselves very well alone. The purest literary talent appears at one time great, at another time small, but character is of a stellar and undiminishable greatness. What others affect by talent or by eloquence, this man accomplishes by some magnetism. "Half his strength he put not forth." His victories are by demonstration of superiority, and not by crossing of bayonets. He conquers, because his arrival alters the face of affairs. "O Iole! how didst thou know that Hercules was a god?" "Because," answered Iole, "I was content the moment my eyes fell on him. When I beheld Theseus, I desired that I might see him offer battle, or at least guide his horses in the chariot-race; but Hercules did not wait for a contest; he conquered whether he stood, or walked, or sat, or whatever thing he did." Man, ordinarily a pendant to events, only half attached, and that awkwardly, to the world he lives in, in these examples appears to share the life of things, and to be an expression of the same law which controls the tides and the sun, numbers and quantities.


[ocr errors]

Rev. F. W. Robertson.

It was my lot, during a short university career, to witness a transition and a reaction, or revulsion of public feeling, with respect to two great men. The first of these was one who was every inch a man, Arnold, of Rugby. You will all recollect how, in his earlier life, Arnold was covered with suspicion and obloquy, how the wise men of that day charged him with latitudinarianism, and I know not with how many other heresies. But the public opinion altered, and he came to Oxford, and read lectures on modern history.

Such a scene had not been seen in Oxford before. The lectureroom was too small; all adjourned to the Oxford Theatre; and all that was most brilliant, all that was most wise and most distinguished, gathered together there. He walked up to the rostrum with a quick step and manly dignity. Those who had loved him

when all the world despised him felt that, at last, the hour of their triumph had come. But there was something deeper than any personal triumph they could enjoy; and those who saw him then will not soon forget the lesson read to them by his calm, dignified, simple step,- - a lesson teaching them the utter worthlessness of unpopularity or of popularity as a test of manhood's worth.

The second occasion was when, in the same theatre, Wordsworth came forward to receive his honorary degree. Scarcely had his name been pronounced than, from three thousand voices at once, there broke forth a burst of applause, echoed and taken up again and again when it seemed about to die away, and that thrice repeated, -a cry in which

Old England's heart and voice unite,

Whether she hail the wine-cup or the fight,

Or bid each hand be strong, or bid each heart be light.

There were young eyes there filled with an emotion of which they had no need to be ashamed; there were hearts beating with the proud feeling of triumph, that, at last, the world had recognized the merit of the man they had loved so long, and acknowledged as their teacher; and yet, when that noise was protracted, there came a reaction in their feelings, and they began to perceive that that was not, after all, the true reward and recompense for all that Wordsworth had done for England; it seemed as if all that noise was vulgarizing the poet; it seemed more natural and desirable to think of him afar off in his simple dales and mountains, the highpriest of nature, weaving in honored poetry his songs to liberty and truth, than to see him there, clad in a scarlet robe, and bespattered with applause. Two young men went home together, part of the way in silence, and one only gave expression to the feelings of the other, when he quoted those well-known, trite, and often-quoted lines, lines full of deepest truth:

One self-approving hour whole worlds outweighs

Of stupid starers and of loud huzzas;

And more true joy Marcellus exiled feels,
Than Cæsar with a senate at his heels.


John Ruskin.

There is a curious type of us given in one of the lovely, neglected works of the last of our great painters. It is a drawing of Kirby Lonsdale church-yard, and of its brook, and valley, and hills, and folded morning sky beyond. And unmindful alike of these, and of the dead who have left these for other valleys and for other skies,

« AnkstesnisTęsti »