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swells to-day and subsides to-morrow. poetical preaching is fashionable; sometimes philosophical. At one time it must be all pathetic; at another all argumentative; as some celebrated preacher has set the example. Each of these modes is very defective; and he who conforms himself to it will, both confine and corrupt his genius.. Truth and good sense are the sole basis, on which he can build with safety. Mode and humour are feeble and unsteady. No example should be servilely imitated. From various examples the preacher may collect materials for improvement; but servility of imitation extinguishes all genius, or rather proves entire want of it.
CONDUCT OF A DISCOURSE IN ALL ITS PARTS. INTRODUCTION, DIVISION, NARRATION, AND EXPLICATION.
HAVING already considered what is peculiar to each of the three great fields of public speaking, popular assemblies, the bar, and the pulpit, we shall now treat of what is common to them all, and explain the conduct of a discourse or oration in general.
The parts which compose a regular oration are these six; the exordium or introduction; the state or the 'division of the subject; narration or explication; the reasoning or arguments; the pathetic part; and the conclusion. It is not necessary that each of these enter into every public discourse, nor that they always enter in this order. There are many excellent discourses in which some of these parts are omitted. But, as they are the constituent parts of a regular oration, and as in every discourse some of them must occur, it is agreeable to our present purpose, to examine each of them distinctly.
The design of the introduction is to conciliate the good will of the hearers; to excite their attention; and to render them open to persuasion. When a speaker is previously secure of the good will, attention, and docility of his audience; a formal introduction may be omitted. Respect for his hearers will inthat case require only a short exordium, to prepare them for the other parts of his discourse.
The introduction is a part of a discourse, which requires no small care. It is always important to begin well; to make a favourable impression at first setting out, when the minds of the hearers, as yet vacant and free, are more easily prejudiced in favour of the speaker. We must add, also, that a good introduction is frequently found to be extremely difficult. Few parts
of a discourse give more trouble to the composer, or require more delicacy in the execution.
An introduction should be easy and ́ natural. should always be suggested by the subject. The writer should not plan it before he has meditated in his own mind the substance of his discourse. By taking the opposite course, and composing in the first place an introduction, the writer will often find that he is either led to lay hold of some common-place topic, or that instead of the introduction being accommodated to the discourse, he is under the necessity of accommodating the discourse to the introduction."
In this part of a discourse correctness of expression should be carefully studied. This is peculiarly requi site on account of the situation of the hearers. At the beginning they are more disposed to criticise, than at any other period; they are then occupied by the subject and the arguments; their attention is entirely di rected to the speaker's style and manner. Care therefore is requisite to prepossess them in his favour; though too much art must be cautiously avoided, since it will then be more easily detected, and will derogate from that persuasion, which the other parts of the discourse are intended to produce.
Modesty is also an indispensable characteristic of a good introduction. If the speaker begin with an air of arrogance and ostentation, the self-love and pride
of his hearers will be presently awakened, and follow him with a very suspicious eye through the rest of his discourse. His modesty should appear not only in his expression, but in his whole manner; in his looks, in his gestures, and in the tone of his voice. Every au dience is pleased with those marks of respect and awe which are paid by the speaker. The modesty however of an introduction should betray nothing mean or abject. Together with modesty and defference to his hearers, the orator should show a certain sense of dignity, arising from persuasion of the justice or importance of his subject.
Particular cases excepted, the orator should not put forth all his strength at the beginning; but it should rise and grow upon his hearers, as his discourse advances. The introduction is seldom the place for vehemence and passion. The audience must be gradually prepared, before the speaker venture on strong and passionate sentiments. Yet, when the subject is such that the very mention of it naturally awakens some passionate emotion; or when the unexpected presence of some person or object in a popular assembly inflames the speaker; either of these will justify an abrupt and vehement exordium. Thus the appearance of Catiline in the senate renders the violent opening of Cicero's first oration against him very natural and proper. "Quousque tandem, Catalina, abutere patientia nostra?" Bishop Atterbury, preaching from this text,
❝ Blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me," ventures on this bold exordium; " And can any man "then be offended in thee, blessed Jesus?" Which address to our Saviour he continues, till he enters on the division of his subject. But such introductions should be attempted by very few, since they promise so much vehemence and ardour through the rest of the discourse, that it is extremely difficult to satisfy the expectation of the hearers.
An introduction should not anticipate any material part of the subject. When topics or arguments, which are afterward to be enlarged upon, are hinted at, and in part exhibited in the introduction; they lose upon their second appearance the grace of novelty. The impression, intended to be made by any capital thought, is always made with the greatest advantage, when it is made entire, and in its proper place.
An introduction should be proportioned in length and kind to the discourse which follows it. In length, as nothing can be more absurd than to erect a large portico before a small building; and in kind, as it is no less absurd to load with superb ornaments the portico of a plain dwelling-house; or to make the approach to a monument as gay as that to an arbour.
After the introduction, the proposition or enunciation of the subject, commonly succeeds; concerning which we shall only observe, that it should be clear and distinct, and expressed without affectation in the