Imatges de pÓgina
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imitation, as it were, of the gestures made by the other hand.

RULE I. The arm, when not employed in preparing for the terminating act of gesture, should never exhibit an angle at the elbow, but be always freely extended, yet without the rigidness of a straight line; a moderate sinking of the elbow being requisite to freedom and grace. [See Figs. 10, 11, 12, 13.]

II. The various emotions of poetic recitation produce a great variety of action. But the usual manner of delivery in a speech or discourse, is naturally more restricted, as conversant with a less vivid state of feeling.

The following are the principal gestures appropriate in address:

1. The descending,* used with great energy in strong assertion and vehement argumentation, in emphatic declaration and forcible appeal. [See Figs. 43, 44, 45, 46.]

2. The horizontal,* (the hand rising to a horizontal level with the shoulder,) appropriate in elevated and general thought or description, and in geographical and historical allusions. [See Figs. 47, 48, 49, 50.]

3. The ascending,* (the hand rising to a level, nearly, with the head,) expressive of sublimity of thought or feeling. [See Figs. 51, 52, 53, 54.]

From these three principal lines of gesture arise three others:

1. The gesture in front,† appropriately used in strong or emphatic statements, and terminating in the descending, horizontal, or ascending lines, according to the character of the thought and the language. [See Figs. 43, 47, 51.]

2. The gesture oblique,† falling in an intermediate

*These designations arise from the position in which the gesture terminates, as may be seen by the plates.

†These designations refer to the person and attitude of the speaker.

line between one drawn in front of the speaker's body, and one drawn from his side. This gesture is one of general character, having neither the force of the preceding one, nor the peculiarity of that which follows, and terminating upward, downward, or horizontally, according to the nature of the sentiment expressed. [See Figs. 44, 48, 52.]

3. The gesture extended,* (falling in a line with the side,) appropriate in the expression of ideas of extent and space, or forming the terminating point to a wave or sweep of gesture, in negation, rejection, &c., and closing in an upward or downward position, as before. [See Figs. 45, 49, 53.]

Hence arise the following combinations and changes of gesture: 'Descending' in front.' [See Fig. 43.] 'Descending' 'oblique.' [See Figs. 44 and 46.] 'Descending' 'extended.' [See Fig. 45.] 'Horizontal' 'in front.' [See Fig. 47.] Horizontal'' [See Figs. 48 and 50.]Horizontal,' 'extended.' [See Fig. 49.] Ascending' 'in front.' [See Fig. 51.] 'Ascending' 'oblique. [See Fig. 52.] 'Ascending' 'extended.' [See Figs. 53 and 54.] Each of these forms of gesture has a peculiar character, fixed and modified by the lines explained above. See 'descending,' 'horizontal,' &c.

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Note. There are occasionally gestures which fall in a line inward from that 'in front,' as in the slight gestures which take place in reading; and outward from the line extended,' as in alluding to any thing very remote in time or place. But these seldom occur.

A discriminating and correct use of these different classes of gesture, is the only proper source of variety in action.

III. The movement or sweep of the arm, in preparing for gesture, should always be free and graceful, but avoiding too much extent of space, and performed in strict time with the movement of the voice in utter

* This designation refers to the person and attitude of the speaker.

ance. The line of motion in gesture describes a curve, and avoids in all action but that of the humorous style, a confined or angular movement.

The curve here spoken of would be exemplified in passing from the gesture 'descending' 'in front' to that which is denominated 'descending' 'oblique.' To make this transition, the whole arm rises moderately, contracting slightly at the elbow, and the hand approaching a little nearer to the upper part of the speaker's body, but not drawn up close to the face, as often happens in incorrect style: the hand and arm having thus finished the preparatory movement, at an intermediate point between the line of the gesture from which it passes, and that of the gesture towards which it is tending,-descends, (with more or less force and swiftness, according to the character of emotion in the language uttered,) to the terminating point of movement for the gesture 'descending''oblique.' The line of motion thus described might be represented to the eye as follows:

If A C be the points from and to which the gesture passes, the line of motion is not an angle, thus,

A

A

The idea of the motion traced by the hand will be perhaps fully formed by supposing the curve to slope inward towards the speaker's body; thus, if D represent the place of the speaker, the curve would be described in this manner, B representing B D the termination of the preparatory moveA ment. [See also Fig. 55.]

The observance of the character of preparatory movement, is a point of great consequence in gesture; since it decides the style of action as free, forcible, commanding, dignified, graceful, lofty or the reverse, according to the extent of space it moves through, and the time of its movement, as slow or quick, gradual or abrupt. Magnificence and boldness of gesture belong to the recitation of sublime strains of poetry. But force, freedom, and propriety, with chasteness of style, are the chief considerations in the delivery of prose;

A

but a curve
thus,

and these qualities require less allowance of time and space for action, than are necessary to those of poetic recitation, a distinction which should be carefully observed.

IV. The frequency of gesture must be prescribed by the character of sentiment in the piece which is spoken, and by the style of language, as moderate and plain, or empassioned and figurative; the former requiring little use of gesture, and the latter much.

V. All action must arise directly from the sense of what is spoken, and never from arbitrary notions of variety or grace. True variety is the result of a due observance of the preparatory and terminating lines of gesture; and grace consists merely in preserving these from awkward deviations.

VI. Imitative gesture should seldom be used even in poetry, and never in prose.

VII. The use of the left hand, whether singly or in conjunction with the right, depends not on arbitrary opinions of propriety or grace, but usually on necessity, felt by the speaker, either as regards himself or his audience. This form of gesture, as far as it is a matter of choice, should be sparingly adopted.

VIII. Gesture should be fluent and connected, not abrupt and desultory, or appearing and disappearing in a capricious manner.

IX. The placing of the hand on the heart had better be omitted, if any risk must be incurred of an incorrect or objectionable action by performing it.*

X. Gesture appropriate to the prevailing style of prose, unites force and grace with simplicity, and has

The correct placing of the hand on the heart, is such as to bring the middle part of the middle and the third fingers-not the palm-directly over the spot in which the pulsation of the heart is felt. [See Fig. 56.]

generally an outward and downward tendency combined; avoiding action which runs across the body of the speaker, or sweeps inwardly.

XI. All nice and studied positions of the hand, and all which are peculiar and awkward, should be carefully avoided, as well as all positions and actions which unintentionally interfere with the effect of delivery.

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