The Final Stress (<) is an explosive force on the latter part of a syllable or word. It is used in expressing defiance, determination, or intensity of feeling or purpose.

[ocr errors]

A breath of submission we breathe not;
The sword we have drawn we will sheathe not.

[ocr errors]

“ Art thou a friend to Roderick ?”

“ Thou dar'st not call thyself a foe ?"
I dare, to him, and all the band
He brings to aid his murderous hand."

Median Stress or the Swell -), characteristic of the Orotund Quality and Effusive Form, is most marked in the sublime, but it is found in all classes of literature, sometimes occurring on a single word and again continuing through an entire sentence.



Roll on, thou deep and dark blue ocean, roll !

2. Lord, thou hast been our dwelling-place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.

3. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.

Compound Stress (>) is a union of the Initial and Final in one word. It is indicative of surprise, irony and determination.


Gone to be married ! Gone to swear a peace !
Shall Lewis have Blanche, and Blanche these provinces ?

[blocks in formation]


I'll have my bond ; I will not hear thee speak
I'll have my bond; and therefore speak no more.
I'll not be made a soft and dull-eyed fool,
To shake the head, relent, and sigh, and yield
To Christian intercessors. Follow not:
I'll have no speaking: I'll have my bond.

Thorough Stress (D) is an abrupt heavy force, used in command, fearlessness and braggadocio.



Blaze, with your serried columns !

I will not bend the knee !
The shackles ne'er again shall bind

The arm which now is free.


scorn forgiveness, haughty man!
You've injured me before the clan,
And naught but blood shall wipe away
The shame I have endured to-day !"

Tremulous or Intermittent Stress (aaa) is used in fear, joy and laughter, in the broken voice of sorrow, and in imitation of the

feeble voice of old age.



Ho, why dost thou shiver and shake, Gaffer Gray,

And why does thy nose look so blue ?
6 'Tis the weather is cold, 'tis I've grown very old,

And my doublet is not very new, well-a-day.”

A young mother knelt in the cabin below,
And pressing her babe to her bosom of snow,

She prayed to her God, 'mid the hurricane wild,
“O Father, have mercy, look down on my child !”

NOTE.—The “royal road” to success in reading lies in a true conception of the spirit of the piece, and a faithful delineation of the author's meaning.

Endeavor to grasp the ideas, make them a part of yourself, and clothe your hearers with them. Do not allow your audience to grope blindly for that which you are trying to express, but let your own soul enter into the work, and make the thought so apparent that your hearers cannot fail to comprehend the entire meaning.

Another element of power lies in playing upon words and giving them their full individual expression. For instance, the word firm should usually be spoken in a firm tone of voice, strong in a strong tone, light in a light tone, grand in a manner conveying an idea of grandeur. Old, sweet, long, gay, cold, deep, dark, fierce, wild, horrid, mad, cool, hot, young, black, timid, bold, roar, whisper, thunder, growl, laugh, rise, sink, blow, roll, murmur, titter, babble, gush, burst, dash, dance, breathe, ripplethese and all similar words may be rendered infinitely more expressive by giving each word its own peculiar individual character.


Gesture is that part of Elocution which appeals to the eye. It relates to Position and Movements.

Position of the body should be in harmony with the character of the thought. Vigorous expression requires a firm posture; beauty of sentiment, a graceful attitude. The position should be changed, not too often, as quietly and with as few movements as possible. The arms, when not in use, should hang easily by the sides, and one foot should be slightly in advance, the head being held naturally erect.

The speaker should always take his position near the front of the stage, in order to be the better seen and heard.

In reading, always stand or sit erect, with the lungs well inflated.

Movements of the body are necessary to give character to the delivery, but they must be natural, graceful and appropriate.

The Head should maintain an easy position and allow the eyes to move deliberately over the audience. Do not stare into vacancy while before a company, but fix your gaze upon the individuals composing the assemblage.

Avoid an excessive use of the head, both in reading and speaking. In reading, the eyes should be raised from the book as much as possible. Practice will give facility in reading long sentences with a single glance at the book.

The Expression of the face should reflect the character of the thought.

The Hands in gesture should be used easily and gracefully. Frequent practice before a mirror will be advantageous in securing freedom and grace of movement.

The hands may be Supine, Prone, Vertical, Pointing and Clenched.

The Supine Hand lies easily opened, with the palm apward. It is the common form for gesture.

The Prone Hand is opened, with the palm downward. It is used to denote negative assertions, superposition, etc.

The Vertical Hand is opened, with the palm outward from the speaker. It is used in warding off and in denoting a limit.

The Pointing Hand, forefinger extended, is used in designating or pointing out any particular thing or place. Ordinarily the hand is loosely opened, but, when the gesture is emphatic, it is tightly closed

The Clenched Hand denotes intense action of the will or of the passions.

The Arms should be used naturally and with decision. In forcible utterance they move in straight lines; in graceful expression, they move in curves, but even in the curves they should show that they are servants sent to perform certain duties, and that they are guided in every motion by a power beyond themselves.

Sometimes, in familiar gesture, the forearm only is used, but ordinarily the arm moves freely from the shoulder.

Hand and Arm Gestures are made in four general directions, viz. : Front, Oblique, Lateral and Backward. Each of these is subdivided into Horizontal, Descending and Ascending

Front gestures are used to designate or to illustrate that which is near to us, whether it be an object, a thought or a feeling. In addressing an object, real or ideal, we suppose it to be placed in the direction of the Front gesture.

Oblique gestures are less emphatic and more general in their application than the Front gestures. They relate to things indefinitely.

Lateral gestures denote expansion, extreme distance, breadth; or the placing of persons, objects or ideas in contrast one with another.

Backward gestures indicate things remote, obscure or hidden.

Horizontal gestures are employed in general allusions; they indicate a level or equality, and belong to the realm of the Intellect.

« 上一页继续 »