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will often require a still greater cadence of the voice. But before a speaker can be able to fall his voice with propriety and judgment at the close of a sentence, he must be able to keep it from falling, and to raise it with all the variation which the sense requires. The best method of correcting a uniform cadence is frequently to read select sentences in which the style is pointed, and frequent antitheses are introduced, and argumentative pieces, or such as abound with interrogatives.
ACCOMPANY THE EMOTIONS AND PASSIONS WHICH YOUR WORDS EXPRESS BY COR
RESPONDENT TONES, LOOKS, AND GESTURES
guage of ideas. Words are the arbitrary signs by which our conceptions and judgments are communicated, and for this end they are commonly sufficient; bút we find them very inadequate to the purpose of expressing our feelings. If any one need a proof of this, let him read some dramatic speech expressive of strong passion (for example, Shakespeare's speech of Hamlet to the Ghost) in the same unimpassioned manner in which he would read an ordinary article of intelligence. Even in the silent reading, where the subject interests the passions, everyone who is not destitute of feeling, while he understands the meaning of the words, conceives the expression that would accompany them, if it were spoken.
The language of passion is uniformly taught by nature, and is everywhere intelligible. It consists in the use of tones, looks, and gestures. When anger, fear, joy, grief, love, or any other passion is raised within us, we naturally discover it by the manner in which we utter our words, by the features of the face, and by other well-known signs. The eyes and countenance, as well as the voice, are capable of endless variety of expression, suited to every possible diversity of feeling, and with these the general air and gesture naturally accord. The use of this language is not confined to the more vehement passions. Upon every subject and occasion on which we speak, some kind of feeling accompanies the words; and this feeling, whatever it be, has its proper expression. It is an essential part of elocution to imitate this language of nature.
No one can deserve the appellation of a good speaker, much less of a complete orator, who does not, to a distinct articulation, a ready command of voice, and just pronunciation, accent, and emphasis, add the various expressions of emotions and passions. But in this part of his office precept can afford him little assistance. To describe in words the particular expression which belongs to each emotion and passion, is, perhaps, wholly impracticable. All attempts to enable men to become orators, by teaching them, in written rules, the manner in which the voice, countenance, and hands are to be employed in expressing the passions, must, from the nature of the thing, be exceedingly imperfect, and consequently ineffectual.
Upon this head I shall, therefore, only lay down the following general precept: Observe the manner in which the several passions and feelings are expressed in real life, and when you attempt to express any passion, inspire yourself with that secondary kind of feeling which imagination is able to excite, and follow your feel. ings with no other restraint than this special observance, that you o'erstep not the modesty of nature.)
EAN SIFFREIN Maury, Cardinal and Archbishop of Paris, was the
author of an essay on "Pulpit Eloquence » (Essai sur l'Eloquence
de la Chaire), and of a work on the «Principles of Eloquence » (Principes de l'Eloquence ), which were, and still are accepted, in France as standard works on the subject of oratory.
He was born at Valréas, June 26th, 1746, and educated at Avignon. As a result of the publication of his essay on eloquence and also of a celebrated sermon delivered before the Academy, he was elected to the Academy in 1785. Entering politics soon afterwards, he became an active champion of the church and the king against the Revolution. On the fall of the Bourbon monarchy he was obliged to flee from Paris.
Being considered a martyr by the opponents of the Revolution, he was made bishop of Montefiascone, in Italy, and he remained in that city until driven out by the French in 1796. On his return to Paris, under Napoleon, he was made an archbishop, and again received into the Academy, -only to be expelled on the restoration of the Bourbons. Driven into exile once more, he went to Rome, where he died May 11th, 1817.
THE ORATOR AND HIS AUDIENCE
T is absolutely necessary for the orator to keep one man in view amidst the mul
titude that surround him; and, while composing, to address himself to that one
man whose mistakes he laments, and whose foibles he discovers. This man is to him as the genius of Socrates, standing continually at his side, and by turns interrogating him, or answering his questions. This is he whom the orator ought never to lose sight of in writing, till he obtain a conquest over his prepossessions. The arguments which will be sufficiently persuasive to overcome his opposition, will equally control a large assembly.
The orator will derive still further advantages from a numerous concourse of people, where all the impressions made at the time will convey the finest triumphs of the art, by forming a species of action and reaction between the auditory and the speaker. It is in this sense that Cicero is right in saying, “That no man can be eloquent without a multitude to hear him.”
The auditor came to hear a discourse; the orator attacks bim, accuses him, makes him abashed; addresses him at one time as his confidant, at another as his mediator or his judge. See with what address he unveils his most concealed passions; with what penetration he shows him his most intimate thoughts; with what energy he annihilates his best-framed excuses! The culprit repents.
Profound at. tention, consternation, confusion, remorse, all announce that the orator has pene
trated, in his retired meditations, into the recesses of the heart. Then, provided no ill-timed sally of wit follow to blunt the strokes of Christian eloquence, there may be in the church two thousand auditors, yet there will be but one thought, but one opinion; and all those individuals united, form that ideal man whom the orator had in view while composing his discourse.
But, you may ask, where is this ideal man, composed of so many different traits, to be found, unless we describe some chimerical being ? Where shall we find a phantom like this, singular but not outré, in which every individual may recognize himself, although it resembles got any one ? Where shall we find him? In your own heart. Often retire there. Survey all its recesses. There you will trace both the pleas for those passions which you will have to combat, and the source of those false reasonings which you must point out. To be eloquent we must enter within ourselves. The first productions of a young orator are generally too far fetched. His mind, always on the stretch, is making continual efforts, without his ever venturing to commit himself to the simplicity of nature, until experience teaches him that, to arrive at the sublime, it is, in fact, less necessary to elevate his imagination, than to be deeply impressed with his subject.
If you have studied the sacred books; if you have observed men; if you have attended to writers on morals, who serve you instead of historians; if you have become familiar with the language of orators, make trial of your eloquence upon yourself, become, so to speak, the auditor of your own discourses; and thus, by anticipating the effect which they ought to produce, you will easily delineate true characters ; you will perceive that, notwithstanding the shades of difference which distinguish them, all men bear an interior resemblance to one another, and that their vices have a uniformity, because they always proceed either from weakness or interest. In a word, your descriptions will not be indeterminate; and the more thoroughly you shall have examined what passes within your own breast, with more ability will you unfold the hearts of others.
THE SEVERITY OF PULPIT ELOQUENCE
It is unquestionably to be wished that he who devotes himself to the arduous
labor which preaching requires, should be wholly ambitious to render himself
useful to the cause of religion. To such, reputation can never be a sufficient recompense. But if motives so pure have not sufficient sway in your breast, calculate, at least, the advantages of self-love, and you may perceive how inseparably connected these are with the success of your ministry.
Is it on your own account that you preach? Is it for you that religion assembles her votaries in a temple ? You ought never to indulge so presumptuous a thought. However, I only consider you as an orator. Tell me, then, what is this you call eloquence ? Is it the wretched trade of imitating that criminal, mentioned by a poet in his atires, who balanced his crimes before his judges with antithesis ? »
Is it the puerile secret of forming jejune quibbles ? of rounding periods ? of tormenting one's self by tedious studies, in order to reduce sacred instruction into a vain amusement ? Is this, then, the idea which you have conceived of that divine art which disdains frivolous ornaments – which sways the most numerous assemblies, and which bestows on a single man the most personal and majestic of all sovereignties ? Are you in quest of glory? You fly from it. Wit alone is never sublime; and it is only by the vehemence of the passions that you can become eloquent.
Reckon up all the illustrious orators. Will you find among them conceited, subtle, or epigramatic writers ? No; these immortal men confined their attempts to affect and persuade; and their having been always simple, is that which will always render them great. How is this? You wish to proceed in their footsteps, and you stoop to the degrading pretensions of a rhetorician! And you appear in the form of a mendicant, soliciting commendations from those very men who ought to tremble at your feet. Recover from this ignominy. Be eloquent by zeal, instead of being a mere declaimer through vanity. And be assured, that the most certain method of preaching well for yourself, is to preach usefully to others.
JOHN QUINCY ADAMS
OHN QUINCY ADAMS, sixth President of the United States, was a
remarkable example of what careful education can do in devel
oping the talent of persuasion through public speaking. He had by nature nothing of the enthusiasm which impels the Mirabeaus and Dantons of revolutionary oratory, but he became by study one of the most finished public speakers of his generation, -- able to give his thought not only its full value, but also, perhaps, to make it appear at times stronger and more important than it really was. He was born at Braintree, Massachusetts, July 1th, 1767. His father educated him in the best schools of America and Europe. Before his election to the Presidency he held various high positions in the diplomatic service, and after leaving the White House he returned to Congress, and was a member of the House of Representatives at his death, February 23rd, 1848. He was often referred to by his admirers as “The Old Man Eloquent.” He wrote extensively in prose and occasionally in verse. His Diary” and “Memoirs,” in twelve volumes, were edited by his son and published in 1874-1877. His « Lectures » on oratory delivered while Professor of Rhetoric at Harvard, were published in 1810.
ORATORY AS AN ART
MONG the causes which have contributed thus to depress the oratory of modern
times must be numbered the indifference with which it has been treated as
an article of education. The Ancients had fostered an opinion that this tal. ent was, in a more than usual degree, the creature of discipline; and it is one of the maxims, handed down to us as the result of their experience, that men must be born to poetry and bred to eloquence; that the bard is always the child of nature, and the orator always the issue of instruction. The doctrine seems to be not entirely without foundation, but was by them carried in both its parts to an extravagant excess.
The foundations for the oratorical talent, as well as those of the poetical faculty, must be laid in the bounties of nature; and as the Muse in Homer, impartial in her distribution of good and evil, struck the bard with blindness when she gave him the powers of song, her sister not unfrequently, by a like mixture of tenderness and rigor, bestows the blessing of wisdom, while she refuses the readiness of utterance. Without entering, however, into a disquisition which would lead me far beyond the limits of this occasion, I may remark that the modern Europeans have run into the adverse extreme, and appear, during a considerable period in their system of public education, to have passed upon eloquence a sentence of proscription.