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Richard Green Parker.

Exercises in rhetorical reading : with a series of introductory lessons, particularly designed to familiarize readers with the pauses and other marks in general use, and lead them to the practice of modulation and inflection of the voice online

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Online LibraryRichard Green ParkerExercises in rhetorical reading : with a series of introductory lessons, particularly designed to familiarize readers with the pauses and other marks in general use, and lead them to the practice of modulation and inflection of the voice → online text (page 14 of 38)
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a habit of reading and speaking with the lips compressed in such a
manner as entirely to alter the tone of the voice and destroy its dis-
tinctness of utterance. This caution must be particularly regarded by
all who aim at excellence in the Art ok Reading.

Dr. Rush has described four different kinds of voice ; namely, the
Natural, the Falsette, the Whispering, and the Orotund, which
he thus describes :

The Natural voice is that which we employ in ordinary speaking.

The Falsette is that peculiar voice in which the higher degrees
of pitch are made, after the natural voice breaks, or outruns its power.
The cry, scream, yell, and all shrillness, are various modes of the
falsette.



156



INTRODUCTORY LESSONS.



The Whispering voice needs no description ; but it may be ob-
served that some persons are endowed with such clearness and dis-
tinctness in this kind of voice, that they can make themselves heard
at a great distance when speaking in this way.

By the Orotund voice is meant that natural or improved manner
of uttering the elements, which exhibits them with a fulness, clearness,
strength, smoothness, and a ringing or musical quality, rarely heard in
ordinary speech ; but which is never found in its highest ejxellence, ex-
cept through long and careful cultivation.

In conclusion, it may be stated, that all who aim at excellence as
Readers and Speakers, should endeavor to attain this last-described
quality of voice.* For their encouragement it may be added, that it
has frequently been acquired by those whose voices were naturally
weak and ineffective, and that no one, therefore, should despair of
the attainment, — for what man has done, man can do.

* Among the refinements in proiiuncialion, at which the careful student of
the art of rhetorical reading should aim, may be particularly mentioned the
legitimate sounds of e and i, in such words as earth, mercy, mirth, birth, &c.,
which are too commonly pronounced as if they were spell iirth, murcy, murth,
burth. In the word ment, the e always receives its proper sound. The same
syllable mer, common both to the words merit and mercy, should have the
same pronunciation in both words ; and the reader, by carefully noticing this
fact, will find little difficulty in attaining the correct pronunciation of the e, in
the words to which reference has been made. The proper sound of the i, like-
wise, in the words above mentioned, approaches nearer to the sound of short e
than to that of u.



EXERCISES IN RHETORICAL READING.



EXERCISE I.

The Structure of Animals.

Those who were skilful in anatomy among the ancients
concluded, from the outward and inward make of a human
body, that it was the work of a being transcendently wise
and powerful. As the world grew more enlightened in
5 this art, their discoveries gave them fresh opportunities of
admiring the conduct of Providence in the formation of a
human body. Galen was converted by his dissections,
and could not but own a Supreme Being upon a survey of
his handiwork.

10 There were, indeed, many parts of which the old anato-
mists did not know the certain use ; but as they saw that
most of those which they examined were adapted with
admirable art to their several functions, they did not ques-
tion that those whose uses they could not determine were

15 contrived with the same wisdom for respective ends and
purposes. Since the circulation of the blood has been
found out, and many other great discoveries have been
made by our modern anatomists, we see new wonders in
the human frame, and discern several important uses for

20 those parts, which uses the ancients knew nothing of.

In short, the body of man is such a subject as stands
the utmost test of examination. Though it appears formed
with the nicest wisdom upon the most superficial survey
of it, it still mends upon the search, and produces our sur-

25 prise and amazement in proportion as we pry into it.
What I have here said of a human body may be applied
to the body of every animal which has been the subject
of anatomical observations.

The body of an animal is an object adequate to our

30 senses. It is a particular system of Providence, that lies
in a narrow compass. The eye is able to command it,
and by successive inquiries can search into all its parts.
14



158 Parker's exercises in [ex. i.

Could the body of the whole earth, or indeed the whole
universe, be thus submitted to the examination of our
senses, were it not too big and disproportioned for our
inquiries, too unwieldy for the management of the eye
5 and hand, there is no question but it would appear to us
as curious and well contrived a frame as that of a human
body. We should see the same concatenation and subser-
viency, the same necessity and usefulness, the same beauty
and harmony in all and every of its parts, as what we

10 discover in the body of every single animal.

The more extended our reason is, and the more able to
grapple with immense objects, the greater still are those
discoveries which it makes of wisdom and providence in
the works of the creation. A Sir Isaac Newton, who

15 stands up as a miracle of the present age, can look through
a whole planetary system ; consider it in its weight, num-
ber and measure ; and draw from it as many demonstra-
tions of infinite power and wisdom as a more confined
understanding is able to deduce from the system of a

20 human body.

But to return to our speculative anatomy. I shall here
consider the fabric and texture of the body of animals in
one particular view, which, in my opinion, shows the hand
of a thinking and all-wise Being in their formation, with

25 the evidence of a thousand demonstrations. I think we may
lay this down as an incontested principle, that chance never
acts in a perpetual uniformity and consistence with itself.
If one should always fling the same number with ten
thousand dice, or see every throw just five times less, or

30 five times more in number than the throw which immedi-
ately preceded it, who would not imagine there was some
invisible power which directed the cast ?

This is the proceeding which we find in the operations
of nature. Every kind of animal is diversified by differ-

35 ent magnitudes, each of which gives rise to a different
species. Let a man trace the dog or lion kind, and he
will observe how many of the works of nature are pub-
lished, if I may use the expression, in a variety of editions.
If we look into the reptile world, or into those diflferent

40 kinds of animals that fill the element of water, we meet
with the same repetitions among several species, that dif-
fer very little from one another but in size and bulk.
You find the same creature that is drawn at large copied
out in several proportions, and endirg in miniature.



EX. I.] RHETORICAL READING 159

It would be tedious to produce instances of this regular
conduct in Providence, as it would be superfluous to those
who are versed in the natural history of animals. The
magnificent harmony of the universe is such that we may
5 observe innumerable divisions running upon the same
ground. I might also extend this speculation to the dead
parts of nature, in which we may find matter disposed
into many similar systems, as well in our survey of stars
and planets, as of stones, vegetables, and other sublunary

10 parts of the creation.

In a word, Providence has shown the richness of its
goodness and wisdom, not only in the production of
many original species, but in the multiplicity of descants
which it has made on every original species in particular.

15 But to pursue this thought still further. Every living

creature, considered in itself, has many very complicated

parts, that are exact copies of some other parts which it

possesses, which are complicated in the same manner.

One eye would have been sufficient for the subsistence

20 and preservation of an animal ; but in order to better his
condition, we see another placed with a mathematical
exactness in the same most advantageous situation, and in
every particular of the same size and texture. Is it possi-
ble for chance to be thus delicate and uniform in her oper-

25 ations ? Should a million of dice turn up twice together
the same number, the wonder would be nothing in com-
parison with this.

But when we see this similitude and resemblance in the
arm, the hand, the fingers ; when we see one half of the

30 body entirely correspond with the other in all those mi-
nute strokes, without which a man might have very well
subsisted ; nay, when we often see a single part repeated
a hundred times in the same body, notwithstanding it
consists of the most intricate weaving of numberless fibres,

35 and these parts diflfering still in magnitude, as the conven-
ience of their particular situation requires ; sure a man
must have a strange cast of understanding who does not
discover the finger of God in so wonderful a work.

These duplicates in those parts of the body, without

40 which a man might have very well subsisted, though not
so well as with them, are a plain demonstration of an all-
wise Contriver ; as those more numerous copyings, which
are found among the vessels of the same body, are evident
demonstrations that they could not be the work of chance.



160 Parker's exercises in [ex. ii.

This argument receives additional strength, if we apply
it to every animal and insect within our knowledge,
as well as to those numberless living creatures that are
objects too minute for a human eye ; and if we consider

5 how the several species in this whole world of life resem-
ble one another, in very many particulars, so far as is con-
venient for their respective states of existence, it is much
more probable that a hundred million of dice should be
casually thrown a hundred million of times in the same

10 number, than that the body of any single animal should
be produced by the fortuitous concourse of matter. And
that the like chance should arise in innumerable instances,
requires a degree of credulity that is not under the direc-
tion of common sense. — Spectator.



EXERCISE II.
Philosophy.

15 "With thee, serene Philosophy, with thee,

And thy bright garland, let me crown my song!
Tutored by thee, hence Poetry exalts
Her voice to ages, and informs the page
With music, image, sentiment and thought,

20 Never to die ! the treasure of mankind!
Their highest honor, and their truest joy !

Without thee what were unenlightened man ?
A savage roaming through the woods and wilds,
In quest of prey ; and with the unfashioned fur

25 Rough clad; devoid of every finer art
And elegance of life.

Nor happiness
Domestic, mixed of tenderness and care.
Nor moral excellence, nor social bliss,

30 Nor guardian law were his, — nor various skill
To turn the furrow, or to guide the tool
Mechanic ; nor the heaven-conducted prow
Of navigation bold, that fearless braves

35 The burning line, or dares the wintry pole.
Mother severe of infinite delights !
Nothing, save rapine, indolence and guile.
And woes on woes, a still revolving train .'
Whose horrid circle had made human life



EX. 11.] RHETORICAL READING. 161

Than non-existence worse ; but, taught by thee,

Ours are the plans of policy and peace ;

To live like brothers, and conjunctive all

Embellish life.
5 While thus laborious crowds

Ply the tough oar. Philosophy directs

The ruling helm ; or like the liberal breath

Of potent heaven, invisible, the sail

Swells out, and bears the inferior world along.
10 Nor to this evanescent speck of earth

Poorly confined, the radiant tracks on high

Are her exalted range ; intent to gaze

Creation through ; and, from that full complex

Of never-ending wonders, to conceive
15 Of the Sole Being right, who spoke the word

And Nature moved complete.

With inward view,

Thence on the ideal kingdom swift she turns

Her eye ; and instant, at her powerful glance,
20 The obedient phantoms vanish or appear ;

Compound, divide, and into order shift.

Each to his rank, from plain perception up

To the fair forms of Fancy's fleeting train ;

To reason, then, deducing truth from truth,
25 And notion quite abstract ; where first begins

The world of spirits, action all, and life

Unfettered and unmixed.

But here the cloud

(So wills eternal Providence) sits deep ;
30 Enough for us to know that this dark state.

In wayward passions lost, and vain pursuits,

This infancy of being, cannot prove

The final issue of the works of God,

By boundless love and perfect wisdom formed,
35 And ever rising with the rising mind. ThoTnson,



EXERCISE m.

Scale of Beings.

Though there is a great deal of pleasure in contemplat-
ing the material world, — by which I mean that system of
bodies into which nature has so curiously wrought the
14#



162 Parker's exercises in [ex. ui,

mass of dead matter, with the several relations that those
bodies bear to one another, — there is still, methinks, some-
thing more wonderful and surprising, in contemplations
on the world of life ; by which I understand, all those

5 animals with which every part of the universe is fur-
nished. The material world is only the shell of the uni-
verse ; the world of life are its inhabitants.

If we consider those parts of the material world which
lie the nearest to us, and are therefore subject to our

10 observations and inquiries, it is amazing to consider the
infinity of animals with which they are stocked. Every
part of matter is peopled ; every green leaf swarms with
inhabitants. There is scarcely a single humor in the
body of a man, or of any other animal, in which our

15 glasses do not discover myriads of living creatures.

We find even in the most solid bodies, as in marble
itself, innumerable cells and cavities, which are crowded
with imperceptible inhabitants, too little for the naked eye
to discover. On the other hand, if we look into the more

20 bulky parts of nature, we see the seas, lakes, and rivers,
teeming with numberless kinds of living creatures. We
find every mountain and marsh, wilderness and wood,
plentifully stocked with birds and beasts ; and every part
of matter affording proper necessaries and conveniences

25 for the livelihood of multitudes which inhabit it.

The author of " The Plurality of Worlds " draws a
very good argument from this consideration, for the peo-
pling of every planet ; as indeed it seems very probable,
from the analogy of reason, that if no part of matter,

30 with which we are acquainted, lies waste and useless,
those greater bodies, which are at such a distance from
us, are not desert and unpeopled; but, rather, that they
are furnished with beings adapted to their respective situ-
ations.

35 Existence is a blessing to those beings only which are
endowed with perception; and is in a manner thrown
away upon dead matter, any further than as it is subser-
vient to beings which are conscious of their existence.
Accordingly we find, from the bodies which lie under our

40 observation, that matter is only made as the basis and
support of animals, and that there is no more of the one
than what is necessary for the existence of the other.

Infinite Goodness is of so communicative a nature, that
it seems to delight in conferring existence upon every de-



EX. m.] RHETORICAL READING. 163

gree of perceptive being. As this is a speculation, which
I have often pursued with great pleasure to myself, 1 shall
enlarge further upon it, by considering that part of the
scale of beings which comes within our knowledge.

5 There are some living creatures which are raised but
just above dead matter. To mention only that species of
shell-fish which is formed in the fashion of a cone, that
grows to the surface of several rocks, and immediately
dies on being severed from the place where it grew.

10 There are many other creatures but one remove from
these, which have no other sense than that of feeling and
taste. Others have still an additional one of hearing;
others of smell ; and others of sight.

It is wonderful to observe by what a gradual progress

15 the world of life advances, through a prodigious variety
of species, before a creature is formed that is complete in
all its senses ; and even among these, there is such a dif-
ferent degree of perfection, in the sense which one animal
enjoys beyond what appears in another, that though the

20 sense in different animals is distinguished by the same
common denomination, it seems almost of a different
nature.

If, after this, we look into the several inward perfections
of cunning and sagacity, or what we generally call instinct,

25 we find them rising, after the same manner, imperceptibly
one above another ; and receiving additional improve-
ments, according to the species in which they are im-
planted. This progress in nature is so very gradual, that
the most perfect of an inferior species comes very near

30 to the most imperfect of that which is immediately above it.
The exuberant and overflowing goodness of the Su-
preme Being, whose mercy extends to all his works, is
plainly seen, as I have before hinted, in his having made
so very little matter, at least what falls within our knowl-

35 edge, that does not swarm with life. Nor is his goodness
less seen in the diversity, than in the multitude of living
creatures. Had he made but one species of animals,
none of the rest would have enjoyed the happiness of
existence ; he has, therefore, specified, in his creation,

40 every degree of life, every capacity of being.

The whole chasm of nature, from a plant to a man, is
filled up with divers kinds of creatures, rising one after
another, by an ascent so gentle and easy that the little
transitions and deviations from one species to another are



164 Parker's exercises in [ex. nr

almost insensible. This intermediate space is so weU
husbanded and managed, that there is scarcely a degree
of perception which does not appear in some one part of
the world of life. Is the goodness or the wisdom of the

5 Divine Being more manifested in this his proceeding ?

There is a consequence, besides those I have already
mentioned, which seems very naturally deducible from the
foregoing considerations. If the scale of being rises by
so regular a progress so high as man, we may, by parity

10 of reason, suppose, that it still proceeds gradually through
those beings which are of a superior nature to him ; since
there is infinitely greater space and room for different de-
grees of perfection, between the Supreme Being and man,
than between man and the most despicable insect.

15 In this great system of being, there is no creature so
wonderful in its nature, and which so much deserves our
particular attention, as man ; who fills up the middle
space between the animal and the intellectual nature, the
visible and the invisible world ; and who is that link in

20 the chain of being which forms the connexion between
both. So that he, who, in one respect, is associated with
angels and archangels, and may look upon a being of in-
finite perfection as his father, and the highest order of
spirits as his brethren, may, in another respect, say to

25 "corruption, thou art my father," and to the worm, "thou
art my mother and my sister." — Addison.



EXERCISE IV.

The Teachings of Nature.

The seasons came and went, and went and came,
To teach men gratitude; and, as they passed,
Gave warning of the lapse of time, that else

30 Had stolen unheeded by : the gentle flowers
Retired, and, stooping o'er the wilderness,
Talked of humility, and peace, and love.
The dews came down unseen at evening tide,
And silently their bounties shed, to teach

35 Mankind unostentatious charity.

With arm in arm the forest rose on high,
And lesson gave of brotherly regard.
And on the rugged mountain brow exposed,



EX. v.] RHETORICAL READING. 165

Bearing the blast alone — the ancient oak

Stood, lifting high his mighty arm, and still

To courage in distress exhorted loud.

The flocks, the herds, the birds, the streams, the breeze,
5 Attuned the heart to melody and love.

Mercy stood in the cloud, with eye that wept

Essential love ; and, from her glorious bow,

Bending to kiss the earth in token of peace,

With her own lips, her gracious lips, which God
10 Of sweetest accent made, she whispered still,

She whispered to Revenge: — Forgive, forgive!
The Sun, rejoicing round the earth, announced

Daily the wisdom, power, and love of God.

The Moon awoke, and from her maiden face
15 Shedding her cloudy locks, looked meekly forth,

And with her virgin stars walked in the heavens,

Walked nightly there, conversing as she walked

Of purity, and holiness, and God.

In dreams and visions sleep instructed much.
20 Day uttered speech to day, and night to night

Taught knowledge : silence had a tongue : the grave,

The darkness, and the lonely waste, had each

A tongue, that ever said — Man ! think of God !

Think of thyself! think of eternity!
25 Fear God, the thunders said ; fear God, the waves ;

Fear God, the lightning of the storm replied ;

Fear God, deep loudly answered back to deep.

And, in the temples of the Holy One —

Messiah's messengers, the faithful few —
30 Faithful 'mong many false — the Bible opened,

And cried: Repent! repent, ye Sons of Men!

Believe, be saved. Pollock's Course of Time.



EXERCISE V.

English Politeness described by a Native of Chiruz.

The English, in general, seem fonder of gaining the
esteem than the love of those with whom they converse.
35 This gives a formality to their amusements ; their gayest
conversations have something too wise for innocent relaxa-
tion ; though in company you are seldom disgusted with
the absurdity of a fool, you are seldom lifted into rapture



166 Parker's exercises in [ex. vi.

by those strokes of vivacity which give instant though not
permanent pleasure.

What they want, however, in gayety they make up in
politeness. You smile at hearing me praise the English

5 for their politeness; you, who have heard very different
accounts from the missionaries at Pekin, who have seen
such a different behavior in their merchants and seamen at
home. But I must still repeat it, the English seem more
polite than any of their neighbors ; their great art in this

10 respect lies in endeavoring, while they oblige, to lessen
the force of the favor. Other countries are fond of oblig-
ing a stranger, but seem desirous that he should be sensi-
ble of the obligation. The English confer their kindness
with an appearance of indifference, and give away benefits

15 with an air as if they despised them.

Walking, a few days ago, between an Englishman and
a Frenchman, into the suburbs of the city, we were over-
taken by a heavy shower of rain. I was unprepared, but
they had each large coats, which defended them from

20 what seemed to me a perfect inundation. The English-
man, seeing me shrink from the weather, accosted me
thus : " Psha, man, what dost shrink at ? Here, take this
coat ; I don't want it ; I find it no way useful to me ; I
had as lief be without it."

25 The Frenchman began to show his politeness in turn.
" My dear friend," cries he, " why won't you oblige me
by making use of my coat ? you see how well it defends
me from the rain. I should not choose to part with it to
others, but to such a friend as you I could even part with

30 my skin to do him service."

From such minute instances as these, most reverend
Fum Hoam, I am sensible your sagacity will collect in-
struction. The volume of nature is the book of knowl-
edge; and he becomes most wise who makes the most

35 judicious selection. — Goldsmith.



EXERCISE VI.

Pleasures of Melancholy.

Let others love soft summer's evening smiles,
As, listening to the distant waterfall.
They mark the blushes of the streaky west ;
I choose the pale December's foggy glooms.



EX. VII.] RHETORICAL READLNG. 167

Then, when the sullen shades of evening close,
Where through the room the blindly-glimmering gleam
The dying embers scatter, far remote
From Mirth's mad shouts, that through the illumined roof

5 Resound with festive echo, let me sit,

Blest with the lowly cricket's drowsy dirge,
Then let my thought contemplative explore
This fleeting state of things, the vain delights,
The fruitless toils, that still our search elude,

10 As through the wilderness of life we rove.
This sober hour of silence will unmask
False Folly's smiles, that, like the dazzling spells
Of wily Comus, cheat the unweeting eye
With blear illusion, and persuade to drink

15 That charmed cup, which Reason's mintage fair



Online LibraryRichard Green ParkerExercises in rhetorical reading : with a series of introductory lessons, particularly designed to familiarize readers with the pauses and other marks in general use, and lead them to the practice of modulation and inflection of the voice → online text (page 14 of 38)