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lost? In what manner may this behave for its basis? What, at the same avoided ?
time, must be observed ? Whereas, What is a great mistake; and when what follows? In tones, what variety may it be easily gathered ? What is will he have? What does the perfecone of the worst habits into which a tion of delivery require? Why is not public speaker can fall? Why should this perfection acquired by many ? But the sense always rule the pauses of the what is the direction which ought voice? Upon' what must pauses in never to be forgotten ? It now remains public discourse be founded? Of the to treat of what ? Of some nations, what general run of punctuation, what is ob- is observed, and what instances are served; and why? How is this remark mentioned ? But what remark follows ? illustrated ? In all these cases, how are What is, therefore, unnatural and inwe to regulate ourselves ? From what consistent in a public speaker ? As to does the difficulty of reading poetry propriety of action, what is the fundaarise? Why is it no wonder that we mental rule? Of these looks and gesseldom meet with good readers of tures, what is observed? What manpoetry? What two kinds of pauses be- ner must a public speaker take, and long to the music of verse ? With re- why? What kind of expression o'ght gard to the former, what is observed ? his gestures and motions to carry; and In blank verse, what has been made a unless this is the case, what will be question? Of the reading of this verse impossible? Though nature must be on the stage, what is observed? But the ground-work, yet what is admitwhy were this improper on other oc- ted; and why? In what does the study casions? What, therefore, follows ? At of action in public speaking, chiefly the same time, what should be guard- consist? For this end, what has been ed against? How is this illustrated ? advised by writers on this subject ? Of the other kinds of musical pause what But of what is our author afraid? is observed ? In French heroic verse, What will be found of much greater where does this pause fall; and where advantage? With regard to particular may it fall in the English? When can rules, concerning action and gesticulathe line be read easily; and what ex- tion, what is observed ? On this head, ample is given? When do we feel a sort what further is added ? Above all of struggling between the sense and the things, what must he endeavour? For sound; and what is its effect? In such this end, what will he find of the cases, what is the rule for pronuncia- greatest use to him? When will he tion? What remark follows; and by generally please most? For what is what example is it illustrated ? How is this the only rational and proper me this principle further illustrated from a thod ? Without what admonition, canline of Mr. Pope's? To what does our not our author conclude? What remark author next proceed; and of them what follows? Why is whatever is native, is observed ? From what consideration likely to please? Whereas, what deliwill the extent to which the propriety, very never fails to disgust us? What force, and grace of discourse, depend can few expect; and why? What reon these, appear? How is this remark mark follows? What is observed of one illustrated ? What is the greatest, and who has naturally any gross defect in most material instruction which can be his voice or gestures? How should he given for this purpose ? When has begin; and why? If he be so employevery man an eloquent or persuasive ed, what will be the consequence? How tone and manner ? What is the reason ought he then to appear ? of our being often so frigid and unper-1 = suasive in public discourse; and to ima
ANALYSIS. gine what, is an absurdity ? What has | The delivery of a discourse, been the effect of this? How is this 1. A due degree of loudness. further illustrated ? Of these conver
2. Distinctness of articulation.
13. Moderation in pronunciation. sational tones, what has been said ? In
4. Propriety of pronuncia a formal, studied oration, to what does
Requisites for pleasing. the elevation of the style, and the har 1. Attention to emphasis. mony of the sentences, almost necessa 2. Attention to pauscs. rily prompt? To what manner does
A. Emplatical pause.
E. Cæsural pause.' this give rise ? Though this mode of
3. Attention to tones. pronunciation was considerably beyond! 4. Attention to action. 0. jinary discourse, yet what must it! 2. All affectation to be guarded against
MEANS OF IMPROVING IN ELOQUENCE. I HAVE now treated fully of the different kinds of public speaking; of the composition, and of the delivery of a discourse. Before I finish this subject, it may be of use to suggest some things concerning the proper means of improvement in the art of public speaking, and the most necessary studies for that purpose.
To be an eloquent speaker, in the proper sense of the word, is far from being either a common or an easy attainment. Indeed, to compose a florid harangue on some popular topic, and to deliver it so as to amuse an audience, is a matter not very difficult. But though some praise be due to this, yet the idea which I have endeavoured to give of eloquence, is much higher. It is a great exertion of the human powers. It is the art of being persuasive and commanding; the art, not of pleasing the fancy merely, but of speaking both to the understanding and to the heart; of interesting the hearers in such a degree, as to seize and carry them along with us; and to leave them with a deep and strong impression of what they have heard. How many talents, natural and acquired, must concur for carrying this to perfection? A strong, lively, and warm imagination; quick sensibility of heart, joined with solid judgment, good sense, and presence of mind; all improved by great and long attention to style and composition; and supported also by the exterior, yet important qualifications of a graceful manner, a presence not ungainly, and a full and tunable voice. How little reason to wonder, that a perfect and accomplished orator, should be one of the characters that is most rarely to be found?
Let us not despair, however. Between mediocrity and perfection, there is a very wide interval. There are many intermediate spaces, which may be filled up with honour; and the more rare and difficult that complete perfection is, the greater is the honour of approaching to it, though we do not fully attain it. The number of orators who stand in the highest class is, perhaps, smaller than the number of poets who are foremost in poetic fame; but the study of oratory has this advantage above that of poetry, that, in poetry, one must be an eminently good performer, or he is not supportable:
- Mediocribus esse poëtis Non homines, non Dii, non concessêre columnæ." In eloquence this does not hold. There, one may possess a moderate station with dignity. Eloquence admits of a great many different forms; plain and simple, as well as high and pathetic; and a genius that cannot reach the latter, may shine with much reputation and usefulness in the former.
* For God and man, and letter'd post denies, That poets ever are of middling size.
Whether nature or art contribute most to form an orator, is a triAling inquiry. In all attainments whatever, nature must be the prime agent. She must bestow the original talents. She must sow the seeds; but culture is requisite for bringing these seeds to perfection. Nature must always have done somewhat: but a great deal will always be left to be done by art. This is certain, that study and discipline are more necessary for the improvement of natural genius, in oratory, than they are in poetry. What I mean is, that though poetry be capable of receiving assistance from critical art, yet a poet, without any aid from art, by the force of genius alone, can rise higher than a public speaker can do, who has never given attention to the rules of style, composition, and delivery. Homer formed himself; Demosthenes and Cicero were formed by the help of much labour, and of many assistances derived from the labour of others. After these preliminary observations, let us proceed to the main design of this lecture; to treat of the means to be used for improving in eloquence.
In the first place, what stands highest in the order of means, is personal character and disposition. In order to be a truly eloquent or persuasive speaker, nothing is more necessary than to be a virtuous man. This was a favourite position among the ancient rhetoricians: 'Non posse oratorem esse nisi virum bonum.' To find any such connexion between virtue and one of the highest liberal arts, must give pleasure; and it can, I think, be clearly shown, that this is not a mere topic of declamation, but that the connexion here alleged, is undoubtedly founded in truth and reason.
For, consider first, whether any thing contribute more to persuasion, than the opinion which we entertain of the probity, disin. terestedness, candour, and other good moral qualities of the person who endeavours to persuade? These give weight and force to every thing which he utters; nay, they add a beauty to it; they dispose us to listen with attention and pleasure; and create a secret partiality in favour of that side which he espouses. Whereas, if we entertain a suspicion of craft and disingenuity, of a corrupt, or a base mind, in the speaker, his eloquence loses all its real effect. It may entertain and amuse; but it is viewed as artifice, as trick, as the play only of speech; and viewed in this light, whom can it per suade? We can even read a book with more pleasure, when we think favourably of its author; but when we have the living speaker before our eyes, addressing us personally on some subject of importance, the opinion we entertain of his character must have a much more powerful effect.
But, lest it should be said, that this relates only to the character of virtue, which one may maintain, without being at the bottom a truly worthy man, I must observe farther, that besides the weight which it adds to character, real virtue operates also, in other ways, to the advantage of eloquence.
First, gothing is so favourable as virtue to the prosecution of honourable studies. It prompts a generous emulation to excel; it inures to industry; it leaves the mind vacant and free, master of itself, disencumbered of those bad passions and disengaged from those mean pursuits, which have ever been found the greatest enemies to true proficiency. Quintilian has touched this consideration very properly;.Quod si agrorum nimia cura, et sollicitior rei familiaris diligentia, et venandi voluptas, et dati spectaculis dies, multum studiis auferunt, quid putamus facturas cupiditatem, avaritiam, invidiam? Nihil enim est tam occupatum, tam multiforme, tot ac tam variis affectibus concisum, atque laceratum, quam mala ac improba mens. Quis inter hæc, literis, aut ulli bonæ arti, locus? Non hercle magis quam frugibus, in terra sentibus ac rubis occupata.'*
But, besides this consideration, there is another of still higher importance, though I am not sure of its being attended to as much as it deserves; namely, that from the fountain of real and genuine virtue, are drawn those sentiments which will ever be most powerful in affecting the hearts of others. Bad as the world is, nothing has so great and universal a command over the minds of men as virtue. No kind of language is so generally understood, and so powerfully felt, as the native language of worthy and virtuous feelings. He only, therefore, who possesses these full and strong, can speak properly, and in its own language, to the heart. On all great subjects and occasions, there is a dignity, there is an energy in noble sentiments, which is overcoming and irresistible. They give an ardour and a flame to one's discourse, which seldom fails to kindle a like flame in those who hear; and which, more than any other cause, bestows on eloquence that power, for which it is famed, of seizing and transporting an audience. Here, art and imitation will not avail. An assumed character conveys none of this powerful warmth. It is only a native and unaffected glow of feeling, which can transmit the emotion to others. Hence, the most re nowned orators, such as Cicero and Demosthenes, were no less distinguished for some of the high virtues, as public spirit and zeal for their country, than for eloquence. Beyond doubt, to these virtues their eloquence owed much of its effect; and those orations of theirs, in which there breathes most of the virtuous and magnanimous spirit, are those which have most attracted the admiration of ages.
Nothing, therefore, is more necessary for those who would excel in any of the higher kinds of oratory, than to cultivate habits of the several virtues, and to refine and improve all their moral feelings. Whenever these become dead, or callous, they may be assured, that, on every great occasion, they will speak with less power, and less success. The sentiments and dispositions particularly requisite for them to cultivate, are the following: The love of justice and order. and indignation at insolence and oppression; the love of honesty and truth, and detestation of fraud, meanness, and corruption; magnanimity of spirit; the love of liberty, of their country, and the public; zeal for all great and noble designs, and reverence for all worthy and heroic characters. A cold and skeptical turn of mind, is extremely adverse to eloquence; and no less so, is that cavilling disposition which takes pleasure in depreciating what is great, and ridiculing what is generally admired. * Such a disposition bespeaks one not very likely to excel in any thing: but leasi of all in oratory. A true orator should be a person of generous sentiments, of warın feelings, and a mind turned towards the admiration of all those great and high objects, which mankind are naturally formed to admire. Joined with the manly virtues, he should, at the same time, possess strong and tender sensibility to all the injuries, distresses, and sorrows of his fellow-creatures; a heart that can easily relent; that can readily enter into the circumstances of others, and can make their case his own. A proper mixture of courage, and of modesty, must also be studied by every public speaker. Modesty is essential; it is always and justly supposed to be a concomitant of merit; and every appearance of it is winning and prepossessing. But modesty ought not to run into excessive timidity. Every public speaker should be able to rest somewhat on himself; and to assume that air, not of self-complacency, but of firmness, which bespeaks a consciousness of his being thoroughly persuaded of the truth or justice of what he delivers; a circumstance of no small consequence for making an impression on those who hear.
*If the management of an estate, if anxious attention to domestic economy, a passion for hunting, or whole days given up to public places of amusements, consume so much time that is due to study, how much greater waste must be occasioned by licentious desires, avarice, or envy? Nothing is so much hurried and agitated, so contradictory to itself, or so violently torn and shattered by conflicting passions, as a bad heart. Amidst the distractions which it produces, what room is left for the cultivation of letters, or the pursuit of any honourable art? No more, assuredly, than there is for the growth of corn in a field that is overrun with thorns and brambles.'
Next to moral qualifications, what in the second place is most necessary to an orator, is a fund of knowledge. Much is this inculcated by Cicero and Quintilian: "Quod omnibus disciplinis et artibus debet esse instructus orator.' By which they mean, that he ought to have what we call, a liberal education; and to be formed by a regular study of philosophy, and the polite arts. We must never forget that,
Scribendi recte, sapere est & principium & fons. Good sense and knowledge, are the foundation of all good speaking.
There is no art that can teach one to be eloquent, in any sphere, without a sufficient acquaintance with what belongs to that sphere; or if there were an art that made such pretensions, it would be mere quackery, like the pretensions of the sophists of old to teach their disciples to speak for and against every subject; and would be deservedly exploded by all wise men. Attention to style, to com: position, and all the arts of speech, can only assist an orator in set. ting off to advantage, the stock of materials which he possesses; but the stock, the materials themselves, must be brought from other quarters than from rhetoric. He who is to plead at the bar, must make himself thoroughly master of the knowledge of the law; of all the learning and experience that can be useful in his profession, for supporting a cause or convincing a judge. He who is to speak