James Rush.

The philosophy of the human voice : embracing its physiological history; together with a system of principles, by which criticism in the art of elocution may be rendered inteligible [i.e. intelligible], and instruction, definite and comprehensive to which is added a brief analysis of song and recita online

. (page 2 of 59)
Online LibraryJames RushThe philosophy of the human voice : embracing its physiological history; together with a system of principles, by which criticism in the art of elocution may be rendered inteligible [i.e. intelligible], and instruction, definite and comprehensive to which is added a brief analysis of song and recita → online text (page 2 of 59)
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some wise ordination, provided with the means of defease, under
suficient provocation ; which means however, the quiet laborers of
our litle hive have not yet had, and trust they may not have, cause
to employ.

In the second page of our Introduction, I early declared my
resolution, neither to read, nor seriously to consider, any objec-
tions against tliLs Analysis and system, that are not the result of
a scrutinizmg comparison of its descriptions with the phenomena
of nature herself: which is only stating in other words, a precept
of Baconian science j that justifies us in disregarding every objec-
tion to observations and experiments, not drawn from observa-
tions and experiments, more extensive and exact ; for this method
saves much il-conditioned and wasteful argument. Certainly then,
if our mercenary asailant, in rejecting the facts on which we have
endeavored to raise a Natural Science of speech, does not, with a
more atentive ear, give us the facts by which he rejects themj he
must look to his own self-inflicted mortification, if we neither read
what he writes, nor take particular notice of any report upon it.

While in England some years ago, a Publisher proposed to me,
and ofered on liLs own partj notwithstanding school-book copy-
right and other oposing influences of British Elocution^ to print
a London edition of the New Analysis. But knowing from the
sovereignty of Truth and Time, in their unfailing patronage of
every deserving efort m science, that with wisdom in cause and
consequence, they always bestow it in their own procrastinating
way ; and considering that certain contrivances and subornations
of Trade, are esential to present succes ; I declined making what I
then considered a useless submision of the Work, either to the

Sed trahit in spatium ;

Induiturque aures lente gradientis aselli.

Ovid Met. B. XL I. 174.

The God to punish such presumptuous pride,
Yet still with justice swayed to mercy's sidej
To those so dull and tunelcs cars decreed
A bounteous length, to servo the Ass's need.


negative eifect of Foreign indiference, or to that anticipated
Foreign oposition, which has presented itself in the form of a
thotles, and I must supose a reversible condemnation. For a
' cry of critics 'is by no means to be let loose in our case, as in
that of the great-baby-ism of a banquet speech ; an every-day
marketable fiction ; some threadbare history, a thousand times re-
writen; and the ' light reading ' biographical gosip on a popular
career ; which with the comonplaces of knowledge, a habit of
scholarship, and the haste of uncorected thot, may be whiped-over
in an evening, by a run and skip of the pen. Nor will more than
thrice 'ten sterling pounds per sheet,' pay for the Pauses and
Plunges, the re-pausing and re-plunging, necesary for a deep and
thorou inquiry into the new analysis and clasification, and for an
impartial and responsible decision upon it.*

This Work is to be thoroly studied as a whole, and taught in all
its fulnes ; not to be here and there sketched-oif, in a few pages of
a quarterly journal, and poorly ilustrated by ocasional examples
of its good or indiferent quality. If, in executing it, we had thot
of the Reviewers, we would have prefigured an individual of those
ready scribesj as Horace denotes the genus, standing on one foot,
and writing without fatiguej taking his text from the Title of the
Workj peeping between its uncut leavesj mistaking its themej un-
dervaluing its contents, for the purpose of concealing the use of
themj and then extracting what would suit his sory ambition to
furnish a useles article, he might choose to cal an original essay of
his own.

Having learned however, that at least one or two oixiers for the

* To Jeifrey go, be silent and discreet,
His pay is just ten sterling pounds per sheet. English Bards, I. 70.

See the whole of Byron's retortive method of distiling down to a caput mor-
iuum, the enlarged spleen and personal gal of his merciles Scotch Reviewer :
who tho ' self constituted Judge ' in the Court of the Muses, could not make
himself Prophet enuf, to forese in the youthful Poet, tho potential pen, and
the future actual vengeance of his intended victim : and who showed quite as
much il-natured surprise, at the bare thOt of a Noble Lord presuming to pub-
lish a poeinj as our Englishman of tho thrice ten silver pieces has done, at tho
suposition of one whom he takes to be a Democrat, daring to uter some origi-
nal truths, which from their not being yet vulgarized, ho, himself a demo-
cratic thinker and writer, canot comprehend.


book had come from England ; and suposing, that without being
an object of general interest, it might here and there atract a
curious reader, if set l^oforc hinij I proposed to the American
publishers, to try an exjyeriment tcith it, on the noisele.s, candid,
and unhired English intelect. Fifty copies of the fourth edition
вАҐwere sent : and imediately thcreujion, one of the most powerful
and popular Periodicals of the Kingdom, suportcd by its full
share of an aray of the ' intelect, learning, research,' and of the
pen-paying, and mind-impairing Journalism of the Nineteenth
Century-, has determined for all those Mho do not read and think
for themselves, that even if there could be the human imposibility
of a Natural Science of Speech j the ' Philosophy ' has not the mi-
raculous Gift of ear and tongue, nor the descriptive and clasifying
pen to furnish it.

And yet to record fairly, I have met \nth one instance, from
which it does apearj there is not a univei^sal deafnes to the voice
of the Work, in our over-critical, over-compiling, and comjiared
with what she has been, and with what she rightly should be, in
iutelectual fertility-, our present under-producing Mother Island.
But notwithstanding the candid admission by Better England her-
self, of the decline of the originality and vigor of her intelect, into
the desultory and garbling method of Criticism, which under its
meanly masked, and iresponsible Oligarchy, has at last brot-down
the debilitated pen with its ' th riling' naratives, ' startling' fictions,
and threadbare truths, to seek the protective patronage of the
reading milion ; still we should not altogether adopt the comon
opinion, that a critical age, more than the declining life of man,
tho it may generally, should be necesarily and without exception,
garulous on every-day thots and thingsj and turn -drowsy over
the tasking pages of original truth ; should be given up to fond-
ling the pets of a family ; and to being peevish, or rude, or va-
cantly ' sans ears ' to the voice of the stranger without the gate of
its calculating generosity. For we have all heard that Cato, the
Censor, tho of the ruf Roman Horde, the piratical archetype of
our boasted Anglo-Saxon race, did in his old age, lay open his
mind to new and refined instruction, even thru the embarassing
inlet of a foreign tongue.

The slightest clearing however, of the brow in a frowning


parent deserves our grateful acknowledgment ; and it is justly to
be recorded here, that about eight years ago, there fell into my
hands, and it is now before me, a new edition of ' Grarrick's man-
ner of reading the Liturgy j ' prefaced with a ' Discourse on public
reading,' by one caling himself a ' Tutor in Elocution,' and pub-
lished at London, and Cambridge, in eighteen hundred and forty;
thirteen years after the date of the * Philosophy of the Human
Voice.' There is loosely scatered over this Discourse, and am-
bitiously apropriated to itself, tho poorly comprehended, some of
the facts and principles taken without acknowledgment from the
' Philosophy ; ' while its Author is quoted by name, in an out-of-
the-way foot-note, for g, single term of his nomenclature. On
the undefined and limited ground of these disjointed facts and
principles, the Tutor anounces a * forthcoming work on the human
voice, and its expresion in speech ; ' derived, as his own confident
promise and his means lead us to conclude, from some other source
than that of his own observation and reflection. If after nineteen
years, this great work has not forth-come, we must think, from
what he has already in comon with the ' Philosophy,' and from his
vague maner of defining and dividingj that it would save both
himself and his readers much trouble, to republish if permited,
the work, of which he seems so clearly to aprove, rather than
furnish a strong resemblance to its contents, in his own maner of
describing them.*

He who claims the right to a discovery already published,
asumes either to be the first and ful author of it, or to have had
an obscure hint of it, in some maner, he is not often forward to tel.
On which of these two grounds then did the Tutor get the general
fact, that the intervals of the diatonic scale, with the exception of
the second, may be perceptibly and nameably aplied to individual
sylables, for the purpose of vocal expresion ; and that the second
alone is used for unimpasioned discourse ? How did he draw from

* The Tutor has more recently published two small pamphlets, under the
respective names of an ' Introductory lecture,' and ' Acoustics and Loj^ic ; '
in which his aprobation of our new Analysis and system of the voice is fur-
ther shown by his free, yet still garbled use of its pages. In the present com-
ents, I refer indiscriminately to each of these three scrap-sketches; which
may be resolved into cases either of sad halucination or of unblushing


a little corner of his mind, the comprehensive induction, that Em-
phasis, in a broad arid scientific definition, should include the dis-
tinguishable detail of every mode of the voice? From whose
extended view did he sketch, on his fitYy-ninth page, a synopsis of
the whole of Analytic speech? What taught him to make the
long overlooked but remarkable distinction between the diatonic
mehxlyj which he awkwardly calls, ^speech melodyj' and the con-
trasted expresion of other intervals, when laid upon it ? Who told
him of that threefold and nice distinction in sylabic forcej caled
in the * Philosophy ' the Radical, Median, and Vanishing Stress ?
W'here did he learn, that the usual elocutionary terms, found even
in his own Editorial little-book, are from the want of analytic de-
scription, altogether indefinite and uninstructive ? And who told
him, without seeing an exact system in his ' mind's eye,' if he has
one, or somewhere in print, the fact of the Old Elocution being so
vague, imperfect, and impracticable, that we therefore now require
a new, precise, and Scientific Institute of the speaking voice ?

The history of the voice contained in the following Work, far
from being only as the Tutor could comprehend and represent
itj a hast}' catching-up of unconected details, to suit a compiler's
purpascj embraces generalities of related phenomena, deliberately
gathered within that ever audible, yet till lately, unentered field
of Intonation ; where the natural voices of thot and pasion had
long floated on the air, inviting, but still awaiting, the event of
a careful clasification and nomenclature. No aimles and hasty
catching here and there, at unasorted sounds, astray from inter-
comunion with the vocal unity of that field, could have brot them
together even as awkwardly as the Tutor has done. He did not
find them in Mr. Steele, or Mr. Walker, or in Authors who have
adopted their limited and vague, or erroneous descriptions ; and
if they were not picked at random, from the ' Philosophy of the
Human Voice,' or taken out of some American school-book, care-
lesly representing a few of the facts and principles, detached from
that ' Philosophy,' it might be inferedj they were also original
with him. But an original and pcn'ading truth never stands still,
nor travels alone in the mind ; and if he who may claim to have
discovered certain important facts and principles of speech, should
not himself have seen much further, and more clearly into related


truths, he must excuse us, if we conclude^ that he did not first
perceve them at all.*

The above case reminds me, that about a year after the first
apearance of the ' Philosophy j ' the Rector of a church in the State
of New York, published as his own, in a worthies little school-
bookj with the common promise of a larger workj a hudled compi-
lation of facts and principles on the subject of the voice, identical
with some of those set-forth in the * Philosophy ; ' and with the very
verbal examples, used for their ilustration; thus antedating the
Tutor in his claims, by about eleven years. Had he regarded the
words of the Evangelist, more than his own hopes, that a fraud
undetected might pas for a discovered truth, he would have thot
of his Great, but unheeded Mas'ter's liberal and just imperative;
which we alter for present aplication. Render his own unto
Caesar; and to the literary Pilferer, the Bare-Faeed Nothings
that belong to him.

This case of the American Rector is here aded, to show that we
have no contra-national, nor exclusive views to foreign grand or
pety-plagiary : and to say, that could we be alowed to turn from
the truth and honor of Science, to a just personal retribution, we
might reciprocate the Reviewing-favor of the Periodical stipendi-
aryj in kindly drawing British atention to our Title-page, and in
hastening the cal for this Fifth edition^ by hanging him up, with
his deficient ear, anonymously conspicuous, between two of those
who are found with, or use without acknowledgment, or who
sneak higly carry away what does not belong to them.

There is here no prying curiosity about the names, nor idle
thots on the motives of individuals. The rights of truth and jus-
tice, from the universality of their claims, shud defend themselves
by general means, without descxinding into local or special conten-
tion with the temporary interest of men. Our readers will per-
haps find, we have something to spare; and we may add, that with
a courteous use, and acknowledgment, it might have been taken,

* Bad speling, says the Dictionary, ' is disreputable to a gcutlcinan.' For
an acount of the disgraceful practical usc/ulncs of the above, and our other
instances of bad speling, the Reader is refercd to the preceding Notice. The
time is perhaps fur-otf, when perseverance in eror will be considered un-
becoming in a gentleman.


with our recorded thanks for the patronage. This Work was writ-
ten fur the fair and profitable use of intcli

Online LibraryJames RushThe philosophy of the human voice : embracing its physiological history; together with a system of principles, by which criticism in the art of elocution may be rendered inteligible [i.e. intelligible], and instruction, definite and comprehensive to which is added a brief analysis of song and recita → online text (page 2 of 59)