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then his action and expression must be full of life and energy; full of motion and spirit; exactly after the dictates of nature.
More than these few observations is scarcely necessary-dry and lengthened rules for the composition of an oration only serve as impediments, and are calculated to damp the ardour of the youthful orator; for I do maintain that not all the rules which were
ever written, for acquiring a correct elocution; nor all the works on rhetoric together, would be of any use to one whose own genius, with the models of antiquity, of our British senators, and frequent practice, did not make a good orator.
I shall now conclude by mentioning a few of those works, which, on account of the excellent style in which they are composed, every student of oratory ought to read with particular care.
Besides all the most celebrated ancient and modern orations, which of course ought to be studied, he should carefully read the following classical historians and poets :—Thucydides, who through his being elaborate, deep, sublime, and having interwoven many speeches in his history, admirable for their majesticness, brevity, and force, was considered by Demosthenes so excellent a model, that he even copied his writings seven or eight times. His clear, lively, and concise description of the plague of Athens is a good example for narration. Livy, excels in the language of the passions: his history is exceedingly interesting; he conducts us step by step in the retinue of his hearers; he makes us alternately experience the sensations of pity, horror, and admiration, and excites in us the spirit of patriotism. His account of the sacking of Alba, and journey of Hannibal over the Alps, is also a good specimen of narrative.—Tacitus, is famous for his sensible and profound reflections: he employs the force of rhetoric to connect historical events: his relation of the mutiny of the Roman army, upon the Rhine, and the murder of Nero's mother, are particularly worthy of notice.—Homer, Euripides, Æschylus, Sophocles, and Terence should be read for their lively images of man-his greatness and meanness—his passions and caprices; in their works the heart beholds the picture of itself.
By studying these, and similar books, and by frequent practice, a person of moderate abilities will learn to speak with copiousness, accuracy, variety, and force, and will have the very best nodels for the construction of the four ingredients of an oration :—the exordium, narration, proof, and peroration.
With respect to the selections which are contained in the present volume, care has been taken to include only such as experience has proved are the most admirably adapted to give the student a correct idea of true eloquence—to warm the passions of the reader—to awaken energy and enthusiasm, and to bring out every variety of modulation of voice, from the most vehement denunciations to the most pathetic and tender appeals. Many of the pieces will be recognised by the student of elocution as old and well-deserved favorites;—other pieces have been intro
duced which have been overlooked by former compilers, but which will soon become appreciated when properly studied. The few that are original are such portions of the editor's own addresses at public meetings, which were most favourably received by the audiences; and which, it is hoped, may prove beneficial exercises for elocutionary purposes.
In this volume there are no rules given for modulation; neither are marks for emphasis, nor sliding scales for accentuation, introduced. I have never found the marked pieces, in works of this description, practically useful; on the contrary, they have rather confused the student and caused him to lose the spirit, by endeavouring to catch the prescribed method. Good example is more efficient than multiplicity of rules. Natura est dux optima. If the student can be taught to throw himself completely into the passion or sentiment of the composition he is reading, he will speedily far surpass the progress of the utmost endeavours of art, and acquire a captivating and powerful delivery.
Birkenhead Mechanics' Institution,
THE PERFECT ORATOR. IMAGINE to yourselves a Demosthenes, addressing the most illustrious assembly in the world, upon a point whereon the fate of the most illustrious of nations depended. How awful such a meeting ! how vast the subject! Is man possessed of talents adequate to the great occasion ? Adequate! Yes, superior. By the power of his eloquence, the augustness of the assembly is lost in the dignity of the orator; and the importance of the subject, for a while, superseded by the admiration of his talents. With what strength of argument, with what powers of the fancy, with what emotions of heart, does he assault and subjugate the whole man; and at once captivate his reason, his imagination, and his passions !—To effect this, must be the utmost effort of the most improved state of human nature. Not a faculty that he possesses, is here unemployed; not a faculty that he possesses, but is here exerted to its highest pitch. All his internal powers are at work; all his external, testify their energies. Within, the memory, the fancy, the judgment, the passions, are all busy ; without, every muscle, every nerve is exerted, not a feature, not a limb, but speaks. The organs of the body, attuned to the exertions of the mind, through the kindred organs of the hearers, instantaneously vibrate those energies from soul to soul. Notwithstanding the diversity of minds in such a multitude; by the lightning of eloquence, they are melted into one massthe whole assembly, actuated in one and the same way, becomes, as it were, but one man, and have but one voice,—the universal cry is, LET US MARCH AGAINST PHILIP, LET US OUR LIBERTIES, LET US CONQUER OR DIE !
ADVICE TO AN AFFECTED SPEAKER.
What do you say ?—What?—I really do not understand you.
Be so good as to explain yourself again. Upon my word, I do not-oh! now I know; you mean to tell me it is cold to-day : why did not you say at once “it is cold to day ?" If you
wish to inform me, it rains or snows, pray, say “it rains,” “it snows :"
think 1 look well, and you choose to compliment me, say, “I think you look well.” “But,” you answer, “ that is so common, and so plain, and what every body can say.” Well, and what if they can ? Is it so great a misfortune to be understood when one speaks,—and to speak like the rest of the world? I will tell you what, my friend; you and your fine spoken brethren want one thing-you do not suspect it, and I shall astonish you-you want common
Nay, this is not all : you have something too much ; you possess an opinion that you have more sense than others. That is the source of all your pompous nothings, your cloudy sentences, and your big words without