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ELOCUTION is the utterance of words, in reading or speaking, in such
a manner as to express their meaning. To do this well, a person requires a knowledge,
1st. Of the vocal organs and the muscles which act on them. 2d. A clear conception of the meaning of the words to be read or spoken.
3d. Extensive practice in the application of the principles of elocution to the delivery of the best models of composition.
ANALYSIS OF PRINCIPLES. The following arrangement will indicate how the subject may be progressively studied:
ATTITUDE OF BODY.
Learn how to sit, how to stand, how to use the hands and arms, and how
THE VOCAL ORGANS.
ITS MUSCLES AND APPENDAGES.
PAUSES. Grammatical - Rhetorical.
In Voice - Countenance - Gesture.
EXPRESSION. Application of principles to emotional utterances, and to the exhibition of the passions.
DEFINITIONS AND DIRECTIONS.
The student should be careful to keep the body erect. A good voice depends upon it. An instrument, to produce a good tone, must be kept in tune.
The practice of Position and Gesture will prove a valuable aid in physical culture, and in acquiring a graceful address.
We have two other positions which are called Secondury. They are assumed in argument, appeal, or persuasion. The first secondary position is taken from the first primary, by advancing the unoccupied foot, and resting the body upon it, leaning forward, theright foot brought FOURTH POSITION, OR SECOND to its support.
THIRD POSITION, OR FIRST
The second secondary position is the same as the first, the body resting upon the right foot.
In assuming these positions, all movements should be made with the utmost simplicity, avoiding “the stage strut and parade of the dancing master."
Advance, retire, or change, with ease, except when the action demands energy, or marked decision. Adopt such positions only as consist of manly and simple grace, and change as the sentiment or subject changes, or as you direct attention to different parts of the audience. Avoid moving about, or "weaving,” or moving the feet or hands while speaking.
We subjoin a few models of position and gesture, showing how to use the hands and arms. Second position before commencing address; arms
The fingers may be relaxed or partly closed.
THE SPHERE BOUNDED BY CIRCLES, SHOWING THE PLACE OF GESTURE.
The human figure is supposed to be so placed within the sphere that the centre of the breast shall coincide with its centre.
The motions and positions of the arms are referred to and determined by these circles and their intersections.
It will be noticed that there are fifteen positions, or points, in the circles reached by the arms. These fifteen systematic positions of the arms may be multiplied by three. If the utterance is moderate and unimpassioned, the gestures will correspond; but if the utterance is animated and inpassioned, the gesture must also correspond. If an individual is referring to some scene in nature-a landscape, the clouds, the woods, or a body of water- the arm will be extended forward, or toward the object; but if a general is pointing to a company or regiment, which he desires shall be charged upon, he will incline forward; the arm will be stretched out toward the men with energy and expression. And, ügain, if the object referred to in the gesture is frightful, or to be shunned, or (readed, then the body will shrink back, the arm will point, and then recoil, with marked decision. These three styles of gesture, corresponding with the expression, and constituting the action of the speaker, are well defined; and, for the sake of classification, may be styled Conversational, Energetic, and Recoiling. Now, if we notice that they may be given with the right hand, with the left, or with both hands, we shall have a series of gestures, amounting to one hundred and thirty-five in all.
The practice of these gestures, with proper positions, after a living model, is as beneficial as the free gymnastic drill, and secures grace and ease of movement in the positions and movements of the arms.
We know that gesture cannot be made by rule, in speaking; and, in the practice, mechanical precision is not to be enforced, though exactness and uniformity should be insist
Some insist that all gestures shall be made with the right hand and arm. We find no good authority, either ancient or modern, for thus limiting the gesture.
We give the first fifteen systematic gestures of the right arm, with appropriate positions. The student may correct any faults he may have by studying these models. The first five are directed to the lower circle, next to the middle, and last to the circle above.
“ Here sleeps he,
now, alore !"