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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 3 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 3 of 59)
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of an individual ; that whatever aparent novelty a person may pro-
mulgate, it is only as the spokesman of a committe of the whole
human mind, which has previously counseled, matured, and directed,
all he has reported. That what was formerly suposcd to be the
torch of discovery, in a single hand, is, in this popular era of
equal rights and Intclcct-in-Commonj found to be merely a break-
ing-out, at one human spot, of the ful-prepared and anticipated
light of a colective efort in progresive instruction.

This may indeed be true, of gradual changes in the comon
afairs of life ; and of politicians, in -whose craft there is now,
nothing new under the sun ; of the lawyer, whose slow thinking
by the law, is his slow law of thinking ; of the physician, whose
rule of progres, is just to keej) along with the jirogrcs ; of the
sectary, whose orthodoxy means the comon-doxy of himself and
his disciple ; and of the popular Great Man of the day, whose

(xxvii)



XXVlll PREFACE TO THE

endles intimacies so identify him with every body, that his con-
cerns in a joint-stock of interest and ambition, both waste hLs
mind with reciprocal, and importunate obligations, and take from
him the power of thinking for himself. It is likewise true of
governments, which, with ocasional comotions, always rise or fal
by gradual change ; and of some of the arts, particularly Archi-
tecture; for tho by its own principles, capable of any number
of distinct and self-unitized Orders, yet being without examplar
forms in nature, its improvement and decline have been no more
than sucesive variations of preceding designs. It is not true
however, of those who outstrip the world by unrestrained obser-
vation and reflection ; unawed by the frowns of conventional
authority, and far away as possible, from the mischievous delu-
sions of the opinions of men. Since the ' idols of the market, ' ' of
the theater,' and of the comon mental-exchange, are idols, deaf
as well as dumbj and altogether so impotent, that when implored
for the favor of original thot, are always implored in vain.
Neither is it true of that elegant Art of the Landscape, which
with its 'directing wand' transforms to a Garden, the wildernes
of Nature ; and which presented, at the ' Improver's word, ' an
asemblage of the grand, the beautiful, the varied, and the pic-
turesk ; giving to England the claim of ading to the ' Nine, '
another Muse, already in her few counted years, ful-endowed with
dignity of character softened into grace ; yet never hoped-for nor
expected, because never foreseen.

This notion of co-equalityj that no one shall, without penalty
for the ofense, have a thot not common to every body elscj is
one of the dreams of a popular ' mass-meeting;' and seems to be
a confused atenipt to express the simple truism, that no in-
vention or discovery is adopted by the world, until every body
can make use of it, or is of the same opinion as the author. For
it is with the original truth of Science, as with the prudential
ofer of practical advice; nobody adopts it, except it confirms his
previous belief. But the mass-moeting is stil a mass, and wil
have its own stuborn and headstrong way. The Work therefore,
of which I here offer the fourth edition nuich enlarged, will I sup-
ose be tried, and perhaps condcnuied by its rules. If the united
inteligence of the age, joining imediatcly in the advancement of



FOURTH EDITIOX. XXIX

anv jmint of knowletlgc, is to be the test of its truth, upon the
asumal jjround that the mind of the age has, up to the htst step,
produced the advancement; the work Iwfore us can offer scarcely
a chiim to atention. And I have no pride of authoi-ship to
prevent tlie candid declaration, that from its first ajxiarance, to
this time, a jwriwl of twenty-seven years, its only direct debt of
gratitude is to a comparatively smal number of teachers, some
inquiring and musical mechanics, and a few unmusical members
of the Society of Friends. For, as far as I can learn, ninety-
nine, hundredths of all Physiologists, whose purpose it is to de-
scribe the voice ; of Masters of coleges and schools, who teach
the art of reading ; of Elocutionists, whose materials of speech
are furnished here ; of Naturalists, who thru the wide range
of zoology, might take an interest in comparathe Intonation ; of
the Votary of the fine arts, who might here see the seventh muse,
now crowned by Science; of the Universal Grammarian, who
might learn that various modes of mere sylabic sound are no
less naturaly significant of thot and passion, than conventional
words are significant of a gramatical sentence ; and finaly of
the Philosopher of the mind, who might perceve some important
and interesting relations of language to passion and thought : Of
these I repeat it, there are ninety-nine hundredths, so far from
having had directly a preparatory hand in this work, do not, after
it has been before them more than a quarter of a century, even yet,
as to its systematic and practical aplication, appear to know what it
means.

Acording to this popular notion of mas-think tng co-equality,
and co-laboration, our book stands in a dilema. For on the one
side, those who are eminently qualifieiod me
a year in Edinburgh. During a subsequent residence in London,



FOURTH EDITION. XXXI

I procured the small volume of essays by Wharton and others ;
and Milner's treatise, together with his History of AVinchester.
By means of their chronicle of styles and changes in the artj by
their explanation of terms, or an incidentjil use of thenij and by
the light of taste, just dawning in the pages of Milnerj I was
enabled, after visiting churches, to compile for my own private
instruction, and as my own remembrancer, something like an ele-
mentary compend : including a description of the structure of the
cathedral ; the character and sucesions of its various styles ; an ex-
planation of the terms of the art, far as they had then been asigned ;
and an acount of the division, distribution and purposes of the
Monastery. This little manuscript is dated in eighteen hundred
and eleven, and however trifling, is among the earliest, as I am in-
formed, in that systematic maner of treating the subject. There
was then neither name nor fame in the art ; and the interest in
it, was confined to as few perhaps, a.s those now interested in the
analysis of speech.

On revisiting England in eighteen hundred and forty-five,
I found Gothic Architecture had become so popular, that the
amatur and compiler had begun to rival the profesional artist.
Every gentleman was required to have a smatering at least, of
its terms ; and many a rail-car pasenger was ready to tell you
of Norman, Early English, Decorated, and Perpendicular styles.
My sympathy with an enthusiast, at the Winchester Station,
made quite friends of us, as we together traced the Cathedral
forms and chronology j from Walkelyn's Norman 'arches broad
and round, ' to the grand and graceful unity of Wykeham ; which
seems yet to say to the artj Thus far shuldst thou go and no
farther, and here shud thy pure and finished style be staid.

Perhaps an Englishman might sayj this sudcn intimacy, ' with-
out knowing who people are,' even tho the intimacy sprung from
congenial knowledge in an elegant artj was * very improper indeed.'
But we soon parted, and forever ; yet I beleve, neither has since
sufered any inconvenience from our sociability, while I very
agreeably receved much satisfactory information.

Regarding then the restoration of Gothic architecturej may we
ask, if the time will ever come, when the art of analytic speech,
now the humble t



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 3 of 59)