Imatges de pÓgina

new train of thought, or a new topic of discourse; and it is the instinctive expression of energy, warmth, and liveliness of manner. Without movement, the speaker's body becomes, as it were, a mass of inanimate matter. Motion, when carried to excess, however, becomes childish in its effect, as it substitutes restlessness for animation.

ERRORS. The principal errors in movement are, 1. The pointing of the foot straight forward, and neglecting to turn the toes outward in advancing, by which the speaker's body is partly swung round, so as to expose the side, instead of the full front, and to produce the awkward position and gesture mentioned before, under the 'second error' in position. [See Fig. 6.]

2. Moving sidelong, and, perhaps, with a sliding motion, instead of stepping freely forward. The whole manner of this change resembles that of a preparatory movement in dancing, but has no natural connexion with speaking.

3. Advancing with a full walking step, approaching nearly to a stride, and producing the swaggering gait mentioned in speaking of the 'fifth error' in position.

4. A short, feeble, and shuffling step, as if the speaker were half resisting, and half yielding to, an external force applied to push him forward.

5. A set and formal change of position, rendered very apparent, and wearing the air of artificial and studied manner.

6. An ill-timed movement, not connected with the sense of what is spoken, but made at random.

7. A motionless and lifeless posture, throwing a constrained and rigid, or very dull aspect over the speaker's whole manner.

8. An incessant and restless shifting of the feet,

and perhaps a perpetual gliding from side to side, which is unavoidably associated with childishness of


RULE. The movement of the feet should always be performed with the toes turned outward, (pointing towards the corners of the room, nearly;) and the movement should be positively advansing or retiring, and not intermediate, unless in actual dialogue, or when a single speaker personates two, in imaginary dialogue. The step should always be free, and should terminate with a firm planting of the foot, but should never be wide: half a common walking step is sufficient for change in posture; and, in changing position, that foot which follows the other, should be preserved at its usual distance from it; so that, when the step is finished, the feet are still found at their former distance, and not drawn close to each other, as sometimes inadvertently happens in shifting position.

The motion of the feet should be carefully timed, so as to occur at the commencement of the parts or divisions of a speech or discourse, at the introduction of new and distinct thoughts, or in the expression of forcible or lively emotion. The true time of movement is in exact coincidence with emphasis, and falls appropriately on the accented syllable of the emphatic word. The voice and the bodily frame are thus kept in simultaneous action with the mind. Movement, so performed, never obtrudes itself on the attention, but becomes a natural part of the whole delivery. The changes of position should always be made, (except only the retiring movement, at the close of a paragraph, or of a division of the subject,) during the act of speaking, and not at the pauses; and even the change of posture which necessarily follows the bow, and opens the delivery of the piece, should not be

made before beginning to speak, but along with the utterance of the commencing clause. All changes made before speaking, or in the intervals of speech, become apparent and formal, and particularly all preparatory motions that seem to adjust or fix the attitude of the speaker, and produce the effect of suspending the attention of the audience. The frequency of movement depends on the spirit of the composition. An animated address, or a declamatory harangue, requires frequent movement. In a grave discourse, on the contrary, the movements are made more seldom. Poetry requires, from its vividness of emotion, many changes of position; prose, from its more equable character, comparatively few.

The changes of attitude, which occur in poetic recitation, are varied according to the kind of emotion expressed: those which generally occur in declamation, or the delivery of speeches, are the advancing, for the bolder or more earnest parts of an address; and the retiring, for the more calm and deliberate passages. Pieces that do not commence with the manner of haughtiness or surprise, naturally begin with the first position of the right, as bringing the speaker near to his audience, to facilitate communication, or as expressing most naturally the emotion implied in the language. Pride, disdain, or scorn, and the manner of astonishment or wonder, if they occur in the opening of a speech, would incline more naturally to the second position; as these feelings erect and incline backward the head and the whole frame of the speaker. Of the former style we should have an example in the opening of Mark Antony's funeral oration over the body of Cæsar;

"Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;" and of the latter, in the commencing strain of Catiline's speech to the senate, after his sentence:

"Banish'd from Rome! What's banish'd, but set free From daily contact with the things I loathe!"

The advancing and the retiring movements, when considered in detail, are merely transitions from one to another of the positions of the feet, exemplified in the plates. They require attention chiefly to one point, that every movement must be made by a change of the position of the foot which does not support the body. Confusion, in this respect, sometimes costs the speaker a good many unnecessary motions, which are at variance with dignity and freedom of manner, and produce merely a vacillation about the feet, rather than an actual change of place or posture. To prevent such faults, it may be useful to advert to a mechanical view of the changes which take place in advancing or retiring.-1st. Advancing: To advance from the first position of the right foot, nothing is necessary but to pass directly, and without the intervention of any change, into the first of the left. Errors and hesitancy arise from throwing in some intervening movement. To advance from the first position of the left is, in like manner, nothing but a simple transition to the first position of the right. The advance from the second position of the right foot, is made simply by passing into the first position of the same foot; and so of the corresponding change of the left.-2d. Retiring: To retire from the first position of either foot, is merely to drop into the second of the same foot. To retire from the second position of either foot, seems a more complicated movement; but it is nothing more than to pass directly into the second position of the opposite foot.t


Remarks. The general air and expression of the whole body depend much on the position of the legs; as we may observe by adverting to the feeble limbs of infancy and of old age, the rigid and square attitude of men who follow laborious occupations, or the ar

*See engravings, figs. 10, 11, 12, 13.

†These changes should be repeatedly practised by the learner, referring at the same time to the plates.

-tificial display of limb sometimes acquired at the dancing-school, or exemplified on the stage.

A firm, free, and graceful position of the limbs, is natural to most human beings, till the influence of awkward custom, or of imperfect health, has destroyed or impaired it. Correct and appropriate posture, therefore, becomes an important point in preparatory practice and training, intended to aid the formation of habits of rhetorical delivery.

ERRORS in the position of the legs occur in the following forms:

1. A rigid and inflexible posture, entirely at variance with freedom and grace; causing the limbs to resemble supporting posts, rather than parts of the human frame; and interfering with the force, ease, and gracefulness of gesture. This fault is partly caused by the wrong position and movement of the feet, mentioned first among the errors regarding the feet. [See Figs. 4, 5, 7.]

2. A feeble, though perhaps slight bending of the knees, which gives the general attitude an appearance of timid inefficiency; and which, when accompanied, as it often is, by a sinking and rising motion, seeming to keep time to the beat of the arm in gesture, produces a childishness of mien, which throws over the speaker's whole manner an air of silliness. [See Fig. 14.]

3. A fault very prevalent in public declamation, arises from overlooking the fact, that a free and natural attitude requires the knee of the leg which is not supporting the weight of the body, to fall into the natural bend of freedom and rest. The neglect of this point, a neglect which very naturally arises from general embarrassment or constraint,—has a very unfavourable effect on the whole attitude: in the 'first' position, it causes, by its necessary action on the

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