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he could not attain by practising those of an opposite character.
The Exercises in Reading and Declamation have been taken from some of the best ancient and modern authors; and they are well adapted to the purposes of the Student in Elocution. They are divided into paragraphs, and subdivided into sections. The latter division is marked by vertical bars. In concert reading, as soon as a section is pronounced by the teacher, the members of the class should repeat it together, in the proper pitch and time, and with the requisite degree of force. When a paragraph shall have been pronounced in this way, it should be read singly by each member of the class. Sometimes it will be found advantageous to let each pupil, in turn, give out a piece, and the other members of the class repeat it after him; the teacher, meanwhile, making the necessary corrections. In fine, the exercise of reading should be practised in a variety of ways according to circumstances. When a piece is given out with gesticulation, the members of the class should rise simultaneously, immediately after the first section is pronounced, and repeat the words and gesture. As the organs of speech require much training to enable them to perform their functions properly, the pupil should repeat the same exercise till he can articulate every element, and give to each syllable the pitch, force, and time which the sentiment demands.
The art of reading and speaking is not inferior m importance to any branch of learning; yet there is none more generally neglected. While many of the merely ornamental branches are cultivated with zealous assiduity, Elocution is allowed, at best, but a feeble support. Among the numerous colleges with which our country abounds, there is not, perhaps, a single one endowed with a professorship of Elocution! And among our numerous public speakers, how small a number can deliver a discourse without having half the body concealed by a desk or table! The orators of classic (Ireece never ensconced themselves behind elevated desks, nor "stood upon all fours," as some of our public speakers do :* they were masters of their art. Hence they needed no screen to conceal uncouth attitudes and awkward gestures from the scrutinizing eye of criticism; nor had occasion to present the crown of the head, instead of the face, to the audience, to hide the blush of ignorance: they exposed the whole person to the audience ; they stood erect, in all the dignity of conscious worth; their attitudes were fit models for the statuary; their gestures were replete with grace and expression; their elocution defied criticism.
Let us endeavour to restore Elocution to its former place in the department of useful instruction. Nothing is wanted but a correct medium, laudable ambition, and common industry, to enable our American youth to rival those ancient orators whose eloquence, it is said, M shook distant thrones, and made the extremities of the earth tremble."
* See Figure 1, page 70.
Extract from a Speech of Robert Emmet, Esq., Before
Lord Norbury, on an Indictment for High Treason... 381