Page images

booksellers. * In this compilation all the emphatic words are printed in italics, and the several passions and humours are noted in the margin as they occur. From what has been said of the nature of EMPHASIS (page 32), it is obviously wrong to give one and the same mark to all the emphatic words in a sentence or passage. This would lead the learner to pronounce them all with the same degree of force, though the relative importance of each in the same sentence must be different. But though this would be a great fault in reading, yet it would be perfection itself, compared with the monotonous and drawling manner of reading which so many young persons are suffered to fall into at school. Far better to pronounce the emphatic words with a little more or less force than they are entitled to, than to make no distinction whatever between the pronunciation of emphatic and non-emphatic words. The GREAT RULE for GOOD READING, which we have so often repeated, will, if carefully attended to, enable the reader to guard against both these errors; and it will also, it is obvious, render it unnecessary to distinguish the emphatic words by italics, or by any other system of notation.

But though we consider it unnecessary and objectionable to mark the emphatic words in every lesson, as has been done in “ The Art of Speaking,” yet we are convinced that a proper use of a few such lessons would do more to break up the frigid monotony of school-reading than any precepts or instructions that could be given. With this view we have inserted a considerable number of these lessons in the First Part of our Compilation, to which the reader can refer.

* We have assumed that the compilation called “The Art of Speaking" was by Sheridan, though his name does not appear in the title-page. The " Essuyprefixed to it, and to which constant reference is made throughout the “ Lessons," appears among Sheridan's works. Walker was not aware that this compilation was by Sheridan, as appears from the following observations, which we have quoted from his “ Elements of Elocution:"-"In the following explanation and description of the passions I have been greatly indebted to a very ingenious performance called • The Art of Speaking;' this work, though not without its imperfections, is on a plan the most useful that has hitherto been adopted. The passions are first described, then passages are produced which contain the several passions, and these passions are marked in the margin as they promiscuously occur in the passage.' In other parts of the same work he names Sheridan when speaking of his writings.




The Trojans (3 if we may believe tradition) were Narration. the first founders of the Roman commonwealth; who under the conduct of Æneas, having made their escape from their own ruined country, arrived in Italy, and there for some time led a rambling and unsettled life, without any fixed place of abode, among the natives, and uncultivated people, who had neither laws nor regular government, but were wholly free from all rule or restraint. This mired multitude, however, crowding together into one city, though originally different in extraction, language, and customs, united into one body, in a surprisingly4 short space of time. And as their little state came to be improved by additional numbers, by policy, and by

[' This part of our Compilation consists of lessons selectod from Sheridan's “ Art of Speaking.” The emphatic or more important words in each sentence are printed in italics, and the several passions and humours are marked in the margin as they occur. The NOTES at foot are also by Sheridan, with the exception of those included between brackets, which have been added by us.-See page 82.]

2 Narration requires very little of what is properly called expression in pronouncing it; I have, however, ordered the emphatical words in this, and all the lessons, to be printed in italics, for the reader's help.

3 Of the manner of pronouncing matter contained in a parenthesis, see the Essay, p. 19.

4 A small elevation of the voice will be proper here, to express moderate wonder.

F 2

extent of territory, and seemed likely to make a figure among the nations ; according to the common course of things, the appearance of prosperity drew upon them the envy of the neighbouring states; so that the princes and people who bordered upon them began to seek occasions of quarrelling with them. The alliances they could form were but few; for most of the neighbouring states avoided embroiling themselves on their account. The Romans seeing that they had nothing to trust to but their own conduct, found it necessary to bestir themselves with great diligence, to make vigorous preparations, to ercite one another, to face their enemies in the field, and to hazard their lives in defence of their liberty, their country, and their families. And when by their valour they had repulsed the enemy, they gave assistance to their allies, and gained friendships by often giving and seldom demanding favours of that sort. They had, by this time, established a regular form of government, to wit, the monarchical; and a senate, consisting of men advanced in years, and grown wise by experience, though infirm of body, consulted with their kings upon all important matters, and, on account of their age and care of their country, were called Fathers. Afterwards, when kingly power, which was originally established for the preservation of liberty, and the advantage of the state, came to degenerate into lawless tyranny, they found it necessary to alter the form of government, and to put the supreme power into the hands of two chief magistrates to be held for one year only; hoping, by this contrivance, to prevent the bad effects naturally arising from the exorbitant licentiousness of princes, and the indefeasible tenure by which they generally imagine they hold their sovereignty, &c.—Sallust.'


1 This sentence is to be spoken somewhat quicker than the rest, to express earnestness.

2 The words often giving, and seldom demanding, being in antithesis to one another, must be expressed with such an emphasis as may point out the antithesis, or opposition.


DIONYSIUS, the tyrant of Sicily, showed how far he Narration. was from being happy, even whilst he abounded in riches, and all the pleasures which riches can procure. Damocles, one of his flatterers, was complimenting kim upon


power, his treasures, and the magnificence of his royal state, and affirming, that no monarch ever was greater or happier than he. “Have you a Questioning. mind, Damocles,” says the king, “to taste this happiness, and know by experience what my enjoyments are, of which you have so high an idea ?Damocles gladly accepted the offer, upon which the king ordered that a royal banquet should be prepared, and a gilded couch placed for him, covered with rich embroidery, and side-boards loaded with gold and silver plate of immense value. Pages of extraordinary beauty were ordered to wait on him at table, and to obey his commands with the greatest readi

The reader is, once for all, desired to take notice, that I have not scrupled to alter both the sense and the words in many, if not most, of the following passages, taken both from the ancients and the moderns. For my design was to put together a set of lessons useful for practice, which did not restrict me to the very words of any author. I have endeavoured to make each lesson a complete piece, which obliged me to insert matter of my own. I have excluded improper sentiments, and have substituted modern expressions for some antiquated ones which I thought young people would be puzzled to understand; and I have inserted a few fancies which occurred to me in copying out some of the passages, to render them more diverting to youth, whose taste long experience has given me some knowledge of.


Narration. ness and the most profound submission. Neither

ointments, chaplets of flowers, nor rich perfumes were wanting. The table was loaded with the most exquisite delicacies of every kind. Damocles fancied himself amongst the gods. In the midst of all his happiness he sees let down from the roof exactly over his neck,' as he lay indulging himself in state, a glittering sword hung by a single hair. The sight of destruction thus threatening him from on high soon put a stop to his joy and revelling. The pomp of his attendance, and the glitter of the carved plate, gave him no longer any pleasure. He dreads to stretch

forth his hand to the table. He throws off the chaplet Trepidation, of roses. He hastens to remove from his dangerous or hurry.

situation, and at last begs the king to restore him to his former humble condition, having no desire to enjoy any longer such a dreadful kind of happiness.



one who has made the smallest progress in mathematics can avoid observing, that mathematical demonstrations are accompanied with such a kind of evidence as overcomes obstinacy insuperable by many other kinds of reasoning. Hence it is that so many learned men have laboured to illustrate other sciences with this sort of evidence; and it is certain, that the study of mathematics has given light to sciences very


1 The ancients reclined on couches while at dinner.

2 Arguing requires a cool, sedate, attentive aspect, and a clear, slow, emphatical accent, with much demonstration by the hand. It differs from Teaching in this, that the look of authority is not wanting in Arguing. ( Walker says, “ Arguing assumes somewhat of authority, as if fully convinced of the truth of what it pleads for, and sometimes rises to great vehemence and energy of assertion."]

« PreviousContinue »