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It is presumed that all the precepts which have been laid down with endless detail on the art of reading and speaking, as far as respects utterance, may be reduced to three heads now explained, a distinct articulation, a just emphasis, and the well-varied tones of sentiment and the passions. Nothing therefore remains to be added but a few remarks on the astonishing effect of proper looks and gestures. From these, language derives its most irresistible power : it is sure to enter the heart when the sounds are accompanied with action—when the eye and the ear receive the impression at the same instant.

DEMOSTHENES having been asked what was the first and most essential qualification of a public speaker, answered, Action. Being asked, what was the second, he replied as before, Action. Being asked, what was the third, he answered again, Action-still continuing to make the same reply till they had done questioning him, giving them to understand, that, without action, all the other qualifications of a speaker were to be considered as of little or no moment,-a truth which he himself had been taught too sensibly not to abide by it for ever. After intense application to private study, and notwithstanding the uncommon vigor of his genius, and the matchless energy of his language, he was ill-received by the people till he learned how to manage his weapons,-how to direct his thunder,-how to rouse or allay the passions at pleasure by the powers of utterance and action. On the mortify. ing failure of his first attempt to speak in public, a Player of his acquaintance made him sensible of his defect, and clearly discovered to him that, without animated gestures, the most beautiful language may be compared to a lifeless corpse, and is more likely to chill the hearer than to warm and transport him.

The ancients had a large collection of precepts for regulating the tones and gestures of persons who were to

VOL. I.

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speak in public; and some modern writers have increased the number of rules by observations of their own. But the spirit of them is compressed in a few sentences by SHAKESPEARE. This admirable painter of human life had often seen, with heart-felt vexation, his finest portraits, or, to use a theatrical phrase, his most finished characters cruelly murdered by the ignorance or affectation of the performers. He therefore took an opportunity of indirectly censuring their blunders, in the following instructions to a company of players; which he puts into the mouth of HAMLET.

Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue: but, if you mouth it, as many of our players do, I had as lief the town-crier had spoke my lines. And do not saw the air too much with your hand, thus : but use all gently; for, in the very torrent, tempest, and, as I may say, whirlwind of your passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may give it smoothness. Oh! it offends me to the soul, when I hear a robusteous, periwig-pated fellow, tear a passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings. It out-herods Herod: pray you, avoid it.

“ Be not too tame, neither ; but let your own discretion be your tutor. Suit the action to the word, and the word to the action, with this special observance, that you o'erstep not the modesty of nature: for any thing so overdone is from the purpose of playing, the end of which both was, and is, to hold, as 'twere, the mirror up to nature,—to shew virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure. Now this overdone, or come tardy of, though it make the unskilful laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve, the censure of one of which must, in your judgment, o’erweigh a whole theatre of others.”

Though I before expressed my disapprobation of the common custom of loading the memories of boys with rules and precepts, yet I would have the young practitioner in Elocution get by heart this excellent summary of use ful instructions, as well as LLOYD's beautiful little poem, nearly on the same subject, entitled, “ The Actor," of which the greater part will be found as useful to the public Orator, as to the Performer on the Stage.

“ The player's province they but vainly try,
Who want these pow'rs, Deportment, Voice, and Eye.
The critic sight 'tis only grace can please,
Nor figure charms us, if it has not ease.
There are, who think the stature all in all,
Nor like the hero, if he is not tall.
The feeling sense all other wants supplies,
I rate no actor's merit from his size.
Superior height requires superior grace ;
And what's a giant with a vacant face?

“ Theatric monarchs, in their tragic gait,
Affect to mark the solemn pace of state :
One foot put forward in position strong,
The other, like its vassal, dragg'd along :
So grave each motion, so exact and slow,
Like wooden monarchs at a puppet-show,
The mien delights us that has native grace ;
But affectation ill-supplies its place.

“ Unskilful actors, like your mimic apes,
Will writhe the body in a thousand shapes ;
However foreign from the poet's art,
No tragic hero but admires a start
What though unfeeling of the nervous line,
Who but allows his attitude is fine ?
While a whole minute equipois’d he stands,
Till praise dismiss him with her echoing hands!
Resolv'd, though nature hate the tedious pause,
By perseverance to extort applause.
When Romeo, sorrowing at his Juliet's doom,
With eager madness bursts the canvass tomb,
The sudden whirl, stretch'd leg, and lifted staff,
Which please the vulgar, make the critic laugh.

“ To paint the passion's force, and mark it well,
The proper action Nature's self will tell :
No pleasing pow’rs distortions e'er express,
And nicer judgment always loaths excess.

In sock or buskin, who o'erleaps the bounds,
Disgusts our reason, and the taste confounds.

“ Of all the evils, which the stage molest,
I hate your fool who overacts his jest ;
Who murders what the poet finely writ,
And, like a bungler, haggles all his wit,
With shrug, and grin, and gesture out of place,
And writes a foolish comment with his face.

“ The word and action should conjointly suit,
But acting words is labor too minute.
Grimace will ever lead the judgment wrong ;
While sober humor marks th' impression strong :
Her proper traits the fixt attention hit;
And bring me closer to the poet's wit:
With her delighted o'er each scene I go,
Well-pleas’d, and not ashamed of being so.

“But let the generous actor still forbear To copy features with a mimic's care. 'Tis a poor skill which every fool can reach,-A vile stage custom, honor'd in the breach. Worse as more close, the disingenuous art But shews the wanton looseness of the heart. When I behold a wretch, of talents mean, Drag private foibles on the public scene, Forsaking Nature's fair and open road, To mark some whim, some strange peculiar mode; Fir'd with disgust, I loath his servile plan, Despise the mimic, and abhor the man. Go to the lame, to hospitals repair, And haunt for humor in distortions there ! Fill up the measure of the motley whim With shrug, wink, snuffle, and convulsive limb; Then shame at once, to please a trifling age, Good sense, good manners, virtue, and the stage !

. 'Tis not enough the voice be sound and clear ; 'Tis modulation that must charm the ear. When desperate heroines grieve with tedious moan, And whine their sorrows in a see-saw tone, The same soft sounds of unimpassioned woes, Can only make the yawning hearers doze.

“ The voice all modes of passion can express, That marks the proper word with proper stress ; But none emphatic can that actor call, Who lays an equal en

on all.

“ Some o'er the tongue the labord measures roll,
Slow, and deliberate as the parting toll;
Point ev'ry stop, mark ev'ry pause so strong,
Their words, like stage processions, stalk along :
All affectation but creates disgust;
And, e'en in speaking, we may seem too just.
In vain for them the pleasing measure flows,
Whose recitation runs it all to prose ;
Repeating what the poet sets not down ;
The verb disjointing from its friendly noun;
While pause and break and repetition join
To make a discord in each tuneful line.

“ Some placid natures fill th' allotted scene
With lifeless drones, insipid and serene ;
While others thunder ev'ry couplet o'er,
And almost crack your ears with rant and roar.
More nature oft and finer strokes are shewn
In the low whisper than tempestuous tone ;
And Hamlet's hollow voice, and first amaze,
More powerful terror to the mind conveys,
Than he who, swoln with big impetuous rage,
Bullies the bulky phantom off the stage.

“ He, who in earnest studies o'er his part,
Will find true nature cling about his heart.
The modes of grief are not included all
In the white handkerchief and mournful drawl :
A single look more marks th' internal woe
Than all the windings of the lengthen'd Oh.
Up to the face the quick sensation flies,
And darts its meaning from the speaking eyes :
Love, transport, madness, anger, scorn, despair,
And all the passions, all the soul is there.”

I cannot conclude this Section without inserting another specimen of Lord CHESTERFIELD's happy method of pointing out faults, and of making the correction of them, as well as the attainment of excellence, “the business, the study, and the pleasure" of ingenuous youth. In one of those letters, from which I before made some useful extracts, he thus addresses the fond object of his paternal care and instructions:

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