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Anger exerts its peculiar voice in an acute, raised, and hurrying sound. The passionate character of King Lear, as it is admirably drawn by Shakspeare, abounds with the strongest instances of this kind.
Death! Confusion !
Sorrow and complaint demand a voice quite different, flexible, slow, interrupted, and modulated in a mournful tone; as in that pathetical soliloquy of cardinal Wolsey on his fall.
Farewel !...a long farewel to all my greatness !
We have likewise a fine example of this in the whole part of Andromache in the Distrest Mother, particularly in these lines :
I'll go, and in the anguish of my heart
Fear expresses itself in a low, hesitating, and abject sound. If the reader considers the following
speech of lady Macbeth, while her husband is about the murder of Duncan and his grooms, he will imagine her even affrighted with the sound of her own voice while she is speaking it.
Alas ! I am afraid they have awak'd,
Courage assumes a louder tone, as in that speech of Don Sebastian.
Here satiate all your fury;
Pleasure dissolves into a luxurious, mild, tender, and joyous modulation; as in the following lines in Caius Marius :
Lavinia! O there's music in the name,
And perplexity is different from all these ; grave, but not bemoaning, with an earnest, uniform sound of voice; as in that celebrated speech of Hamlet :
To be, or not to be ?....that is the question :
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
That flesh is heir to ; 'tis a consummation
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
Than fly to others that we know not of. As all these varieties of voice are to be directed by the sense, so the action is to be directed by the voice, and with a beautiful propriety, as it were, to enforce it. The arm, which by a stronger figure Tully calls the orator's weapon, is to be sometimes raised and extended : and the hand, by its motion, sometimes to lead, and sometimes to follow the words as they are uttered. The stamping of the foot too has its proper expression in contention, anger, or absolute command. But the face is the epitome of the whole man, and the eyes are, as it were, the epitome of the face ; for which reason, he says, the best judges among the Romans were not extremely pleased, even with Roscius himself in his mask. No part of the body, besides the face, is capable of as many changes as there are different emotions in the mind, and of expressing them all by those changes. Nor is this to be done without the freedom of the eyes;. therefore Theophrastus called one, who barely re. hearsed his speech with his eyes fixed, an absent actor.
As the countenance admits of so great variety, it requires also great judgment to govern it. Not that
the form of the face is to be shisted on every occasion, lest it turn to farce and buffoonery ; but it is certain, that the eyes have a wonderful power of marking the emotions of the mind, sometimes by a stedfast look, sometimes by a careless one, now by a sudden regard, then by a joyful sparkling, as the sense of the words is diversified : for action is, as it were, the speech of the features and limbs, and must therefore conform itself always to the senti. ments of the soul. And it may be observed, that in all which relates to the gesture, there is a wonderful force implanted by nature; since the vulgar, the unskilful, and even the most barbarous are chiefly affected by this. None are moved by the sound of words, but those who understand the language ; and the sense of many things is lost upon men of a dull apprehension : but action is a kind of universal tongue ; all men are subject to the same passions, and consequently know the same marks of them in others, by which they themselves express them.
Perhaps some of my readers may be of opinion, that the hints I have here made use of, out of Cicero, are somewa at too refined for the players on our theatre : in answer to which, I venture to lay it down as a maxim, that without good sense no one can be a good player, and that he is very unfit to personate the dignity of a Roman hero, who carinot enter into the rules for pronunciation and gesture delivered by a Roman orator.
There is another thing which my author does not think too minute to insist on, though it is purely mechanical ; and that is the right pitching of the voice. On this occasion he tells the story of Gracchus, who employed a servant with a little ivory pipe to stand behind him, and give him the right pitch as often as he wandered tou far from the proper modulation. Every voice, says Tully, has its particular medium and compass, and the sweetness of speech
consists in leading it through all the variety of tones naturally, and without touching any extreme. Therefore, says he, Leave the pipe at home, but carry the sense of this custom with you.'
No. DXLII. FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 21.
Et sibi præferri se gaudet..........
WHEN I have been present in assemblies where my paper has been talked of, I have been very well pleased to hear those who could detract from the author of it observe, that the letters which are sent to the Spectator are as good, if not better than any of his works. Upon this occasion many letters of mirth are usually mentioned, which some think the Spectator writ to himself, and which others commend because they fancy he received them from his correspondents : such are those from the Valea tudinarian ; the inspector of the sign posts; the master of the fan exercise ; with that of the hooped petticoat ; that of Nicholas Hart the annual sleeper ; that from Sir John Envil ; that upon the London cries; with multitudes of the same nature. As I love nothing more than to mortify the ill-natured, that I may do it effectually, I must acquaint then, they have very often praised me when they did not design it, and that they have approved my writings when they thought they had derogated from them. I have heard several of these unhappy gentlemen