Imatges de pÓgina
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longer limiting myself to my original intention of relieving merely my own labour, I extended my views and enquiries not only to the elementary principles of rhetorical action, but also to whatsoever appeared to me most intimately connected with the improvement and perfecting of public speaking in general. Upon these subjects I formed and completed a plan according to my own particular ideas; which, it was my intention, when properly digested, to lay before the public: but previous to this, I thought it incumbent on me to examine, as far as in my power, what had been done by others, who had laboured in the same enquiries; in order either to support my opinions by their authority, or to be prepared to vindicate them where

any

difference should appear irreconcileable with the principles, which I had adopted.

In the discharge of this duty to the public and myself, I have limited

my researches only by the extent of my means of information: and although I have not been able to accomplish all that might perhaps be requisite to be done in this respect, I trust I shall be found to have done as much as will prove my diligence, and as may be necessary for the establishment of my general principles.

During my examination of modern writers, it has appeared to me, that, with little exception, they have neglected to pay due attention to the precepts and authority of the great and ancient masters; and that they have passed over in total silence the works of the older rhetoricians, as well as of some, be almost reckoned among the moderns, whose works contain much valuable instruction on the subject of delivery. All

who may immediately to my purpose, which I have found in those different authorities, I have produced, and placed before the reader's eyes, as far as my reading and opportunities have led me to the knowledge of them. For the copious extracts which I have made from them for the ornament and support of my work, I look with some confidence to the approbation of the liberal scholar: and if any shall not (as in many instances I should expect) confine himself to the actual specimens which I have provided for him in these extracts, he will at least thank me for stimulating him to indulge and satisfy his thirst at those per. ennial sources, from which I have drawn, and to which I have always made accurate references for his greater convenience.

In treating of public speaking in general, I have been obliged to touch upon each principal species; as that of the senate, the bar, the pulpit, and the stage. On the delivery of the preacher I have ventured to speak the more freely, as lying within my own more immediate province, and belonging to my particular profession. Of the other modes of public speaking I have treated with greater reserve; yet as they may be reduced to common principles, I have not hesitated to maintain certain opinions with

respect to all.

As to the arrangement of my materials, I have spared no pains to dispose them in the most strictly methodical order; and I have particularly laboured to render the new matter by these means intelligible to the utmost of my power. How far I may have sufficiently explained myself to the public at large, I cannot altogether form a judginent: but if I may conjecture from the opinions of a few friends whom I have consulted, and

also from the experience I have had in the instruction of youth; the whole plan of the notation (which I consider the only part of my work of apparent difficulty as to the comprehension), is sufficiently clear; may easily, I should think, be understood in an hour or two; and may instantly afterwards be put to the trial with the assistance of the tables and the plates. If I do not deceive myself in this expectation, I may hope the use of my notation may be considered to merit adoption by such public speakers as desire to improve, and wish to record either their own ideas or those of the most celebrated in their different modes of speaking.

The system of notation, as expressed in writing, however carefully explained, is also amply illustrated by numerous engraved figures. In the conduct of this part of the work nothing has been neglected in any respect conducive to the principal object, explanation. Figures have been given wherever necessary, and various contrivances have been devised for distinguishing to the eye the transitions and preparations of action : these are effected sometimes by separate figures, sometimes by dotted lines, expressing changes of position in the same figures, and sometimes by stars and dots, which shew the line of motion from a previous to a subsequent action. But notwithstanding the multitude of figures a proper regard to oeconomy has been observed. The manner of the execution of the engraving, however light, is not unpleasing; and, though making no pretensions, will not discredit the artist. And the space which each figure occupies singly, as well as the size of the plates, has been reduced to the smallest dimensions, consistent with the necessary illustration. But this attention to the purchaser has

not been without its inconvenience. I have had the whole of the plates more than three times delineated. The original sketches, according to my first ideas of the work, were executed by George Chinnery, Esq. now resident at Madras : but the scale adopted was too large, and the manner too expensive, and, when the whole of my system was arranged, many figures proved redundant, whilst others were deficient; and as I could not avail myself of the talents of this excellent artist for the necessary additions and alterations, I have been obliged to obtain the assistance of a young man of considerable merit, who first altered and completed, and then reduced the whole of the figures to their present form and size. It must be confessed, that this saving of expence to the publication has deprived it of a splendor which it would have derived from the spirited designs first intended for it. I have to lament that the figures of Mrs. Siddons in Plate XI. have also, from this cause, lost considerably, and the more so because they are the contributions of elegant talents and private friendship. But I shall be excused for having made every consideration give way to what appears my duty to the public. I have for the same reasons relinquished the ornament of a proposed frontispiece, which, however, I may be permitted to describe below."

? I had chosen for the frontispiece the figure of the Muse Polyhymnia, from an engraving in the Galleria Giustiniana, Plate CXLVIII. The figure is beautiful, and the expression of the countenance fine; she holds her robe with the right hand, and with the left points upwards. A line from an epigram of Ausonius, and a couple also from the Greek, whence he borrowed his, were to have been placed under, as follow:

Signat cuncta manu loquitur Polymnia gestu. Aus. Ep. de rovem Musis.

Σιγώ φθεγμομένης παλάμης θελξίφρονα παλμών, ,
Νεύματι φωνήεσσαν απαγfέλλεσα σιωπην. .

Brodæi Anth. Græc. l i. p. 139.

In speaking of the objects which I propose to myself in this work, I may be the more brief, because they will be found particularly explained hereafter: in this place something is also necessary to be said.

Although the ancient writers have left various and complete systems of rhetoric, as far as relates to the four first divisions, viz. invention, disposition, elocution, (that is, choice of language), and memory; and although modern writers have expounded, and detailed, and added to all these precepts, insomuch that in every language abundant instructions can be obtained in all that relates to these four divisions by every man who studies public speaking; and although within the British islands, in all these divisions, the public speakers have arrived at distinguished excellence; yet it is a fact, that we do not possess from the ancients, nor yet from the labours of our own countrymen, any sufficiently detailed and precise precepts for the fifth division of the art of rhetoric, namely, rhetorical delivery, called by the ancients actio and pronunciatio. Something more than we have attempted hitherto has been done abroad

I was, however, somewhat divided in my choice between this and another figure of Polyhymnia, which is said to be in the collection of the Queen of Sweden. She is sitting spleudidly habited, holding her robe in her left hand, and pointing upwards with the right.

In the Iconologie of Cæsar Ripa, Paris, 1644, Part II. p. 74, Polyhymnia is thus described :

On la peint ayant des perles sur la testé, un robbe blanche, la main droite haussée en action de harranguer et en la gauche un rouleau où est ecrit le mot suadere.

La pierrerie et les perles, qu'elle a sur la teste, sont les marques de dons et des qualitez, qui enrichissent son esprit : car suivant les preceptes de la Rhétorique, elle employe l'invention, la disposition, la mémoire, l'élocution, et la prononciation, qui sont communes à ce bel art, faisant voir, comme dit Virgile :

Ou par son action, ou mesme par son geste
Ce quelle veut montrer et rendre manifeste,

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