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True Patriotifm, displayed at the Siege of Calais HUME

56

Sublimity of the Scriptures

HABAKKUK, St. JOHN

58

Anecdote of Montefquieu

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GENERAL DIRECTIONS FOR READING AND SPEAKING;

EXTRACTED FROM BLAIR'S LECTURES.

•THE first object of a reader or fpeaker, is,

to be clearly understood by his hearers. In order for this, it is neceffary that he thould pronounce his words diftinctly, and deliberately; that he fhould carefully avoid the two extremes of uttering either too faft, or too flow; and that his tone of voice fhould be perfectly natural.

2. A reader or fpeaker fhould endeavor to acquire a perfect command of his voice; fo as neither to ftun his. hearers by pitching it upon too high a key; nor tire their patience by obliging them to liften to founds which are fcarcely audible: It is not the loudeft fpeaker, who is always the best understood; but he who pronounces upon that key which fills the space occupied by the audience. That pitch of voice, which is ufed in ordinary converfation, is ufually the beft for a public fpeaker.

3. Early attention ought to be paid to the paufes ; but the rules for thefe are fo indefinite and arbitrary, and fo difficult to be comprehended, that long experience is ne-) ceffary in order to acquire a perfect knowledge of their use. With regard to the length of the feveral paufes, no precife rules can be given. This, together with the variety of tones which accompany them, depends much upon the nature of the fubject.

4. Perhaps nothing is of more importance to a reader or fpeaker, than a proper attention to accent, emphasis, and cadence. Every word in our language, of more than one fyllable, has, at leaft, one accented fyllable. his fyllable ought to be rightly known, and the word fhould be pronounced by the reader or fpeaker in the fame manner as he would pronounce it in ordinary converfation.

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5. By

5. By emphafis, we diftinguish thofe words in fentence which we efteem the most important, by laying a greater ftrefs of voice upon them than we do upon the others.. And it is furprifing to obferve how the fenfe of a phrafe may be altered by varying the emphafis. The following example will ferve as an illuftration.

6. This fhort queftion, "Will you ride to town today?" may be understood in four different ways, and, confequently, may receive four different anfwers, according to the placing of the emphafis.

7. If it be pronounced thus; Will you ride to town to-day the answer may properly be, no; I shall send my fon.. If thus; Will you ride to town to-day? Anfwer, no ; I intend to walk. Will you ride to town to-day? No; I fhall ride into the country. Will you ride to town to-day? No; but I fhall to-morrow.

8. This fhows how neceffary it is that a reader or fpeaker fhould know where to place his emphafis. And the only rule for this is, that he study to attain a just conception of the force and spirit of the fentiments which he delivers. There is as great a difference between one who lays his emphafis properly, and one who pays no regard to it, or places it wrong, as there is between one who plays on an inftrument with a masterly hand, and the most bungling performer.

9. Cadence is the reverfe of emphafis. It is a depref fion or lowering of the voice; and commonly falls upon the laft fyllable in a fentence. It is varied, however, accord-. ing to the fenfe. When a queftion is afked, it feldom falls: upon the last word; and many fentences require no cadence. at all.

IO. In addition to what has been faid, it is of great importance to attend particularly to tones and geftures. To almost every fentiment we utter, more efpecially, to every ftrong emotion, nature has adapted fome peculiar tone of voice. And we may obferve, that every man, when he is much in earnest in common difcourfe, when he is speaking on fome fubject which interefts him nearly, has an eloquent or perfuafive tone and manner.

11. If one were to tell another that he was very angry,. or very much grieved, in a tone which did not fuit fuch emo

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tions, instead of being believed, he would be laughed at. The best direction which can be given, is, to copy the proper tones for expreffing every fentiment from thofe which nature dictates to us in converfation with others.

12. With refpect to gefture, the few following hints may be of fome fervice. When fpeaking in public, one fhould endeavor to preserve as much dignity as poffible in the whole attitude of the body. An erect pofture is generally to be chofen; ftanding firm fo as to have the fulleft command of all his motions. Any inclination, which is used, should be forwards towards the hearers, which is a natural expreffion of earnestnefs.

13. As for the countenance, the chief rule is, that it fhould correfpond with the nature of the difcourfe; and when no particular emotion is expreffed, a ferious and manly look is always the best. The eyes fhould never be fixed clofe on any one object, but move eafily round upon the whole audience.

14.

In the motions made with the hands confifts the chief part of gefture in fpeaking. The right hand should be ufed more frequently than the left. Warm emotions demand the motion of both hands correfponding together. All the geftures fhould be free and eafy. Perpendicular movements with the hands, that is, in a straight line down, are feldom good. Oblique motions are, in general, he most graceful.

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15. Motions made with the hands hould proceed rather from the fhoulders than from the elbows; for they appear much more eafy. Too fudden and nimble motions fhould be avoided. Earneftnefs can be fully expreffed without them. Above all things, a fpeaker fhould guard against affectation, which is always disgustful.

SELECT SENTENCES.

TIME

IME is more valuable to young people than to any others. They fhould not lofe an hour in forming their taste, their manners, and their minds; for whatever they are to a certain degree, at eighteen, they will be more o: les fo all the rest of their lives. 2. Nothing

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