Page images

PART 1.]



That then,-Oh! disgrace upon manhood !-e'en then

You should falter,--should cling to your pitiful breath, Cower down into beasts, when you might have stood men,

And prefer a slave's life, to a glorious death!
It is strange!it is dreadful -Shout, Tyranny, shout

Through your dungeons and palaces, "Freedom is o'er!'If there lingers one spark of her fire, tread it out,

And return to your empire of darkness, once more.”


“Correct articulation is the most important exercise of the voice and of the organs of speech. A reader or speaker, possessed of only a moderate voice, if he articulate correctly, will be better understood, and heard with greater pleasure, than one who vociferates. The voice of the latter may, indeed, extend to a considerable distance; but the sound is dissipated in confusion : of the former voice not the smallest vibration is wasted,-every sound is perceived, at the utmost distance to which it reaches; and hence it even penetrates farther than one which is loud, but badly articulated.

In just articulation, the words are not hurried over, nor precipitated syllable over syllable ; nor, as it were, melted together into a mass of confusion : they are neither abridged, nor prolonged; nor swallowed, nor forced, and, if I may so express myself, shot from the mouth; they are not trailed nor drawled, nor let slip out carelessly, so as to drop unfinished. They are delivered out from the lips, as beautiful coins newly issued from the mint, deeply and accurately impressed, perfectly finished, neatly struck by the proper organs, distinct, sharp, in due succession, and of due weight."*

This department of correct reading, belongs, properly, to the stage of elementary lessons. But as negligence in general habit, and remissness in early practice, are extensively the causes of an imperfect articulation, it may be of great service to young readers to review the elements of the language, in successive practical exercises, as embodied in a manual prepared by one of the editors of the present work.f. For facility of practice in difficult combinations of letters and syllables, some of the exercises in Tower's Gradual Reader', will also be found very serviceable. The preliminary Exercises in Articulation and Pronunciation, prefixed to the volume prepared as an “Introduction to the present work, are designed to serve the purpose of an extensive discipline in this department of elocution. A brief course, of a similar nature, but adapted to juvenile readers, is contained in an elementary book compiled by one of the editors of this Reader.*

* Austin's 'Chironomia, pp. 37, 38.

+ Russell's Lessons in Enunciation; comprising a Course of Elementary Exercises, and a statement of Common Errors in Articulation, with the Rules of Correct Usage in Pronouncing. Boston, Jenks & Palmer.'

A page or a paragraph of every reading lesson, should, previous to the regular exercise, be read backward, for the purpose of arresting the attention, and securing every sound in every word.

The design of the present volume, does not admit of detail, in the department of elocution now under consideration. The importance, however, of a perfectly distinct enunciation can never be impressed too deeply on the mind of the pupil. An exact articulation is more conducive than any degree of loudness, to facility of hearing and understanding. Young readers should be accustomed to pronounce every word, every syllable, and every letter, with accuracy, although without labored effort. The faults of skipping, slighting, mumbling, swallowing, or drawling the sounds of vowels or of consonants, are not only offensive to the ear, but subversive of meaning, as may be perceived in the practice of several of the following examples. 1. “ That lasts till night : that last still night." 2. “He can debate on either side of the question : he can

debate on neither side of the question." 3. “ The steadfast stranger in the forests strayed.” 4. “ Who ever imagined such an ocean to exist ?—Who ever

imagined such a notion to exist ?” 5. “ His cry moved me: his crime moved me." 6. “He could pay nobody: he could pain nobody." 7. " Up the high hill he heaves a huge round stone.” 8. “ Tho' oft the ear the open vowels tire.” 9. “ Heaven's first star alike

ye see."


That pronunciation is correct which is sanctioned by good usage, or custom.

Good usage implies the habit of persons of good education, as regulated by the decisions of learning and taste, exemplified in standard dictionaries,-a style which is equally free from the errors of uneducated or negligent custom, and the caprices of pedantry,—which falls in with the current of cultivated mind, and does not deviate into peculiarities, on the mere authority of individuals. Good taste in pronunciation, while it allows perfect freedom of choice, as to the mode of pronouncing words liable to variation in sound or accent, requires a compliance with every fixed point of sanctioned usage.

* Russell's Primary Reader: a Selection of easy Reading Lessons, with introductory Exercises in Articulation, for Young Children. Bogton : Tappan & Dennet.'

The subject of pronunciation, like the preceding one,-articulation,-belongs properly to the department of elementary instruction. But as this branch of elocution does not always receive its due share of seasonable attention, many errors in pronunciation are apt to occur in the exercise of reading, as performed by even the advanced classes in schools. To avoid such errors, it will be found useful to discuss closely and minutely, the correct pronunciation of every word which, in any lesson, is liable to be mispronounced.

The standard of reference, in such cases, ought to be Walker's Dictionary, Worcester's edition of Johnson and Walker combined, or the same author's edition of Dr. Webster's Dictionary.

All reading lessons should, if practicable, be read to the class, by the teacher, one day beforehand, so as to allow opportunity for careful and critical study, at home, previous to the exercise of reading, on the part of the pupils. Seasonable information will thus be obtained, and errors avoided, instead of being merely corrected after they have occurred, and when it is too late to secure good habit or avoid bad.


By true time, in elocution, is meant, an utterance wellproportioned in sound and pause, and neither too fast nor too slow. We should never read so fast as to render our reading indistinct, nor so slow as to impair the vivacity, or prevent the full effect, of what is read.

"Every thing tender, or solemn, plaintive, or grave, should be read with great moderation. Every thing humorous or sprightly, every thing witty or amusing, should be read in a brisk and lively manner. Narration should be generally equable and flowing; vehemence, firm and accelerated ; anger and joy rapid ; whereas dignity, authority, sublimity, reverence, and awe, should, along with deeper tone, assume a slower movement. The movement should, in every instance, be adapted to the sense, and free from all hurry, on the one hand, or drawling on the other." The pausing, too, should be carefully proportioned to the movement or rate of the voice; and no change of movement from slow to fast, or the reverse, should take place in any clause, unless a change of emotion is implied in the language of the piece.

* The subject of Pronunciation forms a large part of the Elementary Exercises contained in the "Introduction to this Reader.

Exercises on Time.

The slowest' and the quickest’ rates of utterance, have been exemplified under the head of versatility' of voice, and need not be repeated here. They occur in the extremes of grave and gay emotion.

There are three important applications of time' in connexion with rate', or movement, which frequently occur in the common forms of reading and speaking. These are the slow', the moderate', and the lively'. The first of these, the slow', is exhibited in the tones of awe, reverence, and solemnity, when these emotions are not so deep as to require the slowest movement of all: the second, the moderate', belongs to grave and serious expression, when not so deep as to require the slow movement; it belongs, also, to all unempassioned communication, addressed to the understanding, more than to the feelings ; and it is exemplified in the utterance of moderate, subdued, and chastened emotion : the third rate, the lively', is perhaps sufficiently indicated by its designation, as characterizing all animated, cheerful, and gay expression.

All the exercises on time', should be repeated till they can be exemplified perfectly, and at once. Previous to practising the following exercises, the pupil may be aided in forming distinct and well-defined ideas of time', by turning back to the example under

versatility', marked as very slow', and repeating it, with close attention to its extreme slowness. He will observe that, in the repeating of this example, the effect of 'time', or proportion of movement, is to cause a remarkable lengthening out of the sound of every accented vowel ; an extreme slowness in the succession of the sounds of all letters, syllables, and words; and, along with all this, an unusual length in all the pauses. It is this adjustment of single and successive sounds and their intermissions, which properly constitutes the office of 'time’ in elocution ; although the term is often indefinitely used rather as synonymous with the word "movement', as applied in music.

The slow' mòvement differs from the slowest', in not possessing the same extreme prolongation of sound in single vowels, or the same length of pause. The slow succession of sounds is, however, a common characteristic in both.

Example of Slow' Mov.ment.

“ Thou, who did'st put to flight Primeval silence, when the morning stars, Exulting, shouted o'er the rising ball;

O Thou, whose word from solid darkness struck
That spark, the sun, strike wisdom from my soul !”


“ There is something nobly simple and pure in a taste for the cultivation of forest trees. It argues, I think, a sweet and generous nature, to have a strong relish for the beauties of vegetation, and a friendship for the hardy and glorious sons of the forest. There is a grandeur of thought, connected with this part of rural economy. It is worthy of liberal, and freeborn, and aspiring men. He who plants an oak, looks forward to future ages, and plants for posterity. Nothing can be less selfish than this. He cannot expect to sit in its shade, and enjoy its shelter ; but he exults in the idea that the acorn which he has buried in the earth, shall grow up into a lofty pile, and shall keep on flourishing, and increasing, and benefiting mankind, long after he shall have ceased to tread his paternal fields.”


“ How does the water come down at Lodore ?

Here it comes sparkling,
And there it lies darkling ;
Here smoking and frothing,

Its tumult and wrath in,
It hastens along, conflicting and strong,

Now striking and raging,

As if a war waging,
Its caverns and rocks among,

Swelling and flinging,
Showering and springing,
Eddying and whisking,
Spouting and frisking,
Turning and twisting

Around and around,
Collecting, disjecting,

With endless rebound."


The grammatical punctuation of sentences, by which they are divided into clauses by commas, although sufficiently dis

« PreviousContinue »