William Russell.

Pulpit elocution: Comprising remarks on the effect of manner in public discourse; the elements of elocution, applied to the reading of the scriptures, hymns, and sermons; with observations on the prin online

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Online LibraryWilliam RussellPulpit elocution: Comprising remarks on the effect of manner in public discourse; the elements of elocution, applied to the reading of the scriptures, hymns, and sermons; with observations on the prin → online text (page 15 of 32)
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hath warned us, that the inquiiy into every man's con-
duct will be public; — Christ himself the Judge, — the
whole race of man, and the whole angelic host, specta-
tors of the awful scene.

" Before that assembly, every man's good deeds will be
declared, and his most secret sins disclosed. As no eleva-
tion of rank will then give a title to respect, no obscurity
of condition shall exclude the just from public honor, or
screen the guilty from public shame. Opulence will find
itself no longer powerful; — poverty will be no longer
weak ; — birth will no longer be distinguished ; — mean-
ness will no longer pass unnoticed. The rich and poor
will indeed strangely meet together, when all the ine-
qualities of the present life shall disappear ; and the con-
queror and his captive, — the monarch and his subject, —
the lord and his vassal, — the statesman and the peasant,
— the philosopher and the unlettered hind, — shall find
their distinctions to have been mere illusions. The char-
acters and actions of the greatest and the meanest have,
in truth, been equally important, and equally public ;
while the eye of the omniscient God has been equally
upon them all, — wliile all are at last equally brought to
answer to their common Judge, and the angels stand


around spectators, equally interested in the dooms of

" The sentence of every man will be pronounced by
him who cannot be merciful to those who shall have
wilhngly sold themselves to that abject bondage from
which he died to purchase their redemption, — who,
nevertheless, having felt the power of temptation, knows
to pity them that have been tempted ; by him on whose
mercy contrite frailty may rely, — whose anger hardened
impenitence must dread.

" To heighten the solemnity and terror of the business,
tlie Judge will visibly descend from heaven, — the shout
of the archangels and the trumpet of the Lord will thun-
der tlnrough the deep, — the dead will awake, — the glo-
rified saints will be caught up to meet the Lord in the
air ; wln'le the wicked wnll in vam call upon the moim-
tains and the rocks to cover them.

" Of the day and hour when these tilings shall be,
knoweth no man ; but the day and hour for these things
are fixed in the eternal Father's counsels. Our Lord will
come, — he will come unlocked for, and may come sooner
than we think."


The thorough discipline of the voice, for the purposes
of public speaking, extends from wliispering to shouting,
— not with a view, in the case of these extremes, to the
actual use of them, in the exercise of reading but for the
purpose of reaching the natural limits of capability, and
securing a perfect command over cveiy degree of force,
whether for acquiring organic power, and pliancy of voice,
or ensuring command of expression as dependent on any
degree of loudness.

The follomng exercises, and the elements, of all three
classes, tonic, subtonic, and atonic, should be repeated
several times, daily, for months, till their efTcct is fully
felt in strengthening and compacting the sounds of the


voice, and rendering the production of any degree of force
an easy and agreeable exercise. Diligent cultivation in
tliis department of elocution, for even a few weeks, will
impart a stentorian power of vocal effort to persons whose
volume of voice was previously insufficient, and whose
degree of organic vigor, as well as their expressive power,
in actual utterance, was veiy low.

Suppressed Force. (Whisper and half wliisper.)^
Awe and Tenderness.
Evening Prayer at a Girls' School. — Mrs. Hemans.
" Hush I 'tis a holy hour : — the quiet room

Seems like a temple, wliile yon soft lamp sheds
A faint and stany radiance, through the gloom

And the sweet stillness, down on young bright heads,
With all their clustermg locks, untouched by care,
And bowed, — as flowers are bowed with night, — in prayer.

•' Gaze on, — 't is lovely ! — childhood's lip and cheek,
Manthng beneath its earnest brow of thought :

Gaze — yet what seest thou in those fair and meek
And fragile things, as but for sunshine \vi-ought ? —

Thou seest what grief must nurture for the sky.

What death must fashion for eternity ! "

Subdued Force. ( Softened Utterance : " Pure Tone.")
The Death of Reynolds. — J. Montgomery.
" Behold the bed of death, —
This pale and lovely clay !
Heard ye the sob of parting breath ?
Marked ye the eye's last ray?

* All passages of deep awe, require a degree of suppression, and
hence of " aspiration," or breathing etfcct, which ahva3's produces more
or less impurity of tone, in consequcn;'e of the restraining effect of awe
upon the organs, and the unavoidable escape of uuvocalized breath,
along with the sound of the voice.


No; — life so sweetly ceased to be,
It lapsed in immortality.

" Could tears revive tl:e dead,

Rivers should swell cur eyes ;
Could sighs recall the spirit fled.
We would not quench our sighs.
Till love relumed this altered mien,
And all the embodied soul were seen.

" Bury the dead ; — and weep

In stillness o'er the loss ;
Bury the dead; — *[in Christ they sleep,
Who bore on earth his cross ;
And from the grave their dust shall rise,
In his own image to the skies."]

Moderate Force.i
Serenity. [Exemplified In Verse.]
Scene after a Tempest. — Bryant.
'* It was a scene of peace ; — and like a spell

Did that serene and golden sunlight fall
Upon the motionless wood that clothed the fell,
And precipice upspringing like a wall,
And glassy river and white waterfall.
And happy living things that trod the bright

And beauteous scene ; while far beyond them all,
On many a lovely valley, out of sight, [light.

Was poured from the blue heavens the same soft golden

" I looked, and thought the quiet of the scene
An emblem of the peace that yet shall be,

When, o'er earth's continents and isles between,
The noise of war shall cease from sea to sea,

* The lines within brackets exemplify a change of expression from
the subdued voice of pathos to the moderate and cheerful tones of serenity
and hope.

t The usual degree of force in the unempassioned style of sentiment.


And married nations dwell in harmony ;
When millions crouching in the dust to one,

No more shall beg their lives on bended knee,
Nor the black stake be dressed, nor in the sun
The o'erlabored captive toil, and wish his life were done.

" Too long, at clash of arms, amid her bowers.
And pools of blood, the earth has stood aghast, —

The fan* earth that should only blush with flowers
And ruddy fruits ; but not for aye can last

The storm, — and sweet the sunsliine when 'tis past.

Lo I the clouds roll away ; they break, — they fly ;
And, like the glorious light of summer, cast

O'er the wide landscape from the embracing sky.

On all the peaceful world the smile of heaven shall he."

Serenity. [Exemplified in Prose.]*
Good Intention. — Addison.

" If we apply a good intention to all our actions, we
make our very existence one continued act of obedience ;
we turn even our diversions and amusements to our eter-
nal advantage, and are pleasing Tlim whom we are made
to please, in all the circumstances and occurrences of life.

t " It is tills excellent frame of mind, this holy officious-
ness, (if I may be allowed to call it such,) which is re-
commended to us by the apostle, in that uncommon pre-
cept wherein he directs us to propose to ourselves the
glory of our Creator, in all our most indifferent actions,
* whether we eat, or drink, or whatsoever we do.'

* The usual style of essays, lectures, expository and practical dis-
courses, and other forms of didactic address.

t The ordinary rule of elocution prescribes a diminishing of the force
of the voice at the opening of a new paragraph. But when, as in the
text, there is a vivid turn of thought introduced, the opposite rule pre-
vails, and the force increases with the momentum of the additional
mental impulse.


* " A person who is possessed with an habitual good
intention, enters upon no single circumstance of life, with-
out considering it as well pleasing to the great Author of
his being, conformable to the dictates of reason, suitable
to human nature in general, or to that particular station
in which Providence has placed him. He lives in the
perpetual sense of the Divine presence, regards himself
as acting, in the whole course of his existence, under the
observation and inspection of that Being who is privy to
all his emotions and all his thoughts, who knows his
* downsitting and his uprising, who is about his path and
about his bed, and spieth out all his ways.' In a word,
he remembers that the eye of his Judge is always upon
him ; and, in every action, he reflects that he is doing
■what is commanded or allowed by Him who will here-
after either reward or punish it. This was the character
of those holy men of old, who, in the beautiful phrase of
Scripture, are said to have ' walked with God.' "

Declamatory Forced

Energetic Emotion.

Tlie Slave Trai^e. — Webster.

" I deem it my duty, on this occasion, to suggest, that
the land is not yet wholly free from the contamination of
a traffic at which every feeling of humanity must revolt,
— I mean the African slave trade. Neither public senti-

* The usual rule of slackening the tension of voice at the opening of
a new paragraph, is excmpliiicd here ; as, in such cases, the train of
thought is either resumed, or commenced anew. The force, therefore,
is progressive in the sentence. All well composed sentences are natur-
ally read with the growing force of climax. The same remark applies
to paragraphs and larger portions of a discourse.

t The word '• declamatory " is used, in elocution, as the designation
of the full, bold style of oratory, in warm and forcible address. The
sense thus attached to the word, it will be perceived, is special and tech-
nical, merely, and implies no imputation on the character of the senti-
ment or the language, as iu the rhetorical and popular uses of the term.


ment nor the law has yet been able entirely to put an
end to this odious and abominable traffic. At the moment
when Gk)d, in his mercy, has blessed the world with a
universal peace, there is reason to fear, that, to the dis-
grace of the Christian name and character, new efforts
are making for the extension of this trade, by subjects and
citizens of Christian States, in whose hearts no sentiment
of justice inhabits, and over whom neither the fear of
God nor the fear of man exercises a control. In the sight
of our law, the African slave trader is a pirate and a
felon ; and in the sight of Heaven, an offender far beyond
the ordinary depth of human guilt. There is no brighter
part of our history, than that which records the measures
which have been adopted by the government, at an early
day, and at different times since, for the suppression of
this traffic ; and I would call upon all the true sons of
New England, to cooperate with the laws of man and the
justice of Heaven.

" If there be, within the extent of our knowledge or in-
fluence, any participation of this traffic, let us pledge our-
selves here, upon the Rock of Plymouth, to extirpate and
destroy it. It is not fit that the land of the pilgrims
should bear the shame longer. — I hear the sound of the
hammer — I see the smoke of the furnaces where mana-
cles and fetters are still forged for human limbs. I see
the visages of those who, by stealth, and at midnight,
labor in this work of hell, foul and dark, as may become
the artificers of such instruments of miseiy and torture.
Let that spot be purified, or let it cease to be of New
England. Let it be purified, or let it be set aside from
the Christian world ; let it be put out of the circle of hu-
man sympathies and human regards ; and let civilized
man henceforth have no communion with it.

" I would invoke those who fill the seats of justice, and
all who minister at her altar, that they execute the whole-
some and necessary severity of the law. I invoke the
ministers of our rehgiou, that they proclaim its denun-


elation of these crimes, and add its solemn sanctions, to
the authority of human law. If the pulpit be silent,
whenever or wherever there may be a sinner, bloody with
this guilt, Avitliin the hearing of its voice, the pulpit is
false to its trust."

Empassioned Forced


Falierd's Dying Curse on Venice. — Byron.

" Ye elements ! in which to be resolved

I hasten, let my voice be as a spirit

Upon you ! — Ye blue waves ! which bore my banner, —

Ye winds I which fluttered o'er as if ye loved it,

And filled my swelling sails, as they were wafted

To many a triumph ! Thou, my native earth.

Which I have bled for I and thou foreign earth.

Which drank this willing blood from many a wound !

Ye stones, in which my gore will not sink, but

Keek up to heaven I Ye skies, which Avill receive it I

Thou sun I which shinest on these things, and Thou I

Who kindlest and who quenchest suns I — attest !

I am not innocent — but are these guiltless ?

I perish, but not unavenged : far ages

Float up from the abyss of time to be.

And show these eyes, before they close, the doom

Of this proud city ; and I leave my curse

On her and hers forever.

" Then, in the last gasp of thine agony,
Amidst thy many murders, think of mine !
Thou den of drunkards with the blood of princes !
Gehenna of the waters I thou sea Sodom !

* The style in Avhich utterance becomes intense, and greatly trans-
cends even the usual energy or vehemence of declamation. This de-
gree of force is, generally speaking, restricted to poetry, or to prose of
the highest character as to emotion.


Thus I devote thee to the infernal gods
Thee and thy serpent seed I "



The Exclamations of Tell, on his Escape.-^ Knowles.

" Ye crags and peaks, I'm with you once again!

I hold to you the hands you first beheld,

To show they still are free I

" Ye guards of liberty,
I 'm with you once again ! — I call to you
With all my voice I — I hold my hands to you,
To show they still are free I "

Calling. \

[As in the case of the greatest distance between the speaker and the



The Herald's Message. — Shakspeare.

" Rejoice ye men of Anglers ! Ring your bells !

Open your gates, and give the victors way I"


" Stress " may be briefly defined as the term used in
elocution to designate the mode and the place of forming

* This form of voice, although seldom exemplified in actual oratory,
unless in vehement address in the open air. is of immense value, as an
exercise for invigorating the organs and strengthening the voice, in oro-
tund quality. Its effects, when practiced a few times daily, for even a
few weeks, are such as to impart great volume and power of utterance
to persons who commence the exercise with weak organs and imperfect

t The effect of this exercise is to give compactness, and clearness,
and purity of tone, to the utmost extent of voice. The call, although
rising to a high note, with great loudness, should always be kept per-
fectly vocal or musical in its sound, resembling the easy, smooth effect
of the loudest singing, in its gradual and skilful swell. It is nothing
else than the maximum of '-jiure " or '' head tone."


the maximum of force in a single sound. Thus, in the
appropriate utterance of some emotions, the force of the
voice bursts out suddenly, with a percussive explosion; as
in angry command, in which vocal sound is intended to
vent the passion of the speaker, and to startle and terrify
the hearer. An example occurs in the burst oi fierceness
and ivrath with wliich Death replies to Satan : " Back to
thy punishment, false fugitive I " We may contrast with
this form of stress the gentle swell of reverence and adora-
tion, in the devotional language of Adam and Eve in their
morning hymn, in paradise: ''Hail! universal Lord I"
The utterance of the word " Back',' in the former instance,
exemplifies "explosive" "radical" (initial) "stress," which
bursts out, with percussive abruptness, on the initial or
fu'st part of the sound ; that of the word " Hail,'' in the
latter, "median," (middle,) as gently swelling out to its
maximum on the middle of the sound, whence it dimin-
ishes to the end or " vanish." Another mode of stress, —
termed " vanishing," — withholds the abrupt explosion
till the last particle (so to speak) of the empassioned
sound, and then throws it out wdth a wrenching and jerk-
ing violence on the very "vanish," or last audible point of
voice. This form of stress occurs in the tones of ungov-
ernable impatience, deep, determined ivill, and excessiu^ or
inconsolable grief. Of the first of these emotions we have
an example in the mad impatience of Queen Constance,
when protesting against the peace between France and
England, which was to sacrifice the rights of her son.
" War ! war ! — no peace ! Peace is to me a war I " Of
the second we have an instance in the reply of the Swiss
deputy to Charles the Bold, when he is announcing to
the Duke the final detemiination of the cantons to resist,
to the last, the invasion of their rights. " Sooner than
submit we will starve in the icy wastes of the glaciers 1"
Of the third, in the Psalmist's exclamation, " My God !
my God I why hast thou forsaken me?"

A fourth mode of stress unites the " radical and the


vanishing" on the same syllable, by an abrupt jerk of
force on the first and last portions of the empassioned
sound. This is the natural expression of astonishment,
and is displayed with peculiar vividness, when the speak-
er reiterates the words of another person. An example
occurs in the exclamation of Queen Constance, when she
hears, for the first time, of the conditions of the peace
between France and England, and repeats the words of
the messenger. ''Gone to be married! — gone to swear a
peace .'"

A fifth form of stress, — peculiar to intense emotions,
— throws out the voice, with the utmost force, on all the
points of a sound which admit of being rendered conspic-
uous or prominent, — the beginning, the middle, and the
end. Tliis mode of utterance in emphatic syllables, is,
from its pervading effect, termed " thorough " stress. It
is exemplified in the shout of defiance, with which Fitz-
James addresses the band of E-oderic Dhu,

" Come one, come all I This rock shall fly

From its firm base as soon as I."*

Empassioned " Radical Stress!'
Bold, angry, and threatening Command. 1
[Abrupt, explosive style of utterance.]
Satan's Address to Death. — Milton.

" Whence, and what art thou ? execrable shape !
That dar'st, though grim and tenible, advance
Thy miscreated front athwart my way
To yonder gates ? Through them I mean to pass.
That be assured, — without leave asked of thee.
Retire, or taste thy folly, and learn by proof.
Hell-born I not to contend wifli spirits of heaven I'

* The explanations and examples given in the text, will, it is thought,
serve to render the requisite distinctions plain. But fuller statements
may be referred to in Dr. Rush's Philosophy of the Voice, or in the
manual of Orthophony.


Courageous Sentiment and Eloquent Address.

[Energetic expulsive style.]*
Supposed Speech of John Adams. — Webster.

" Read the declaration of our independence at the head
of the army, — every sword will be drawn from its scab-
bard, and the solemn vow uttered, to maintain it, or to
perish on the bed of honor. Publish it from the pulpit, —
rehgion will approve it ; and the love of religious liberty
will chng round it, resolved to stand with it, or fall with
it. Send it to the public halls, — proclaim it there, — let
tliem hear it, who heard the first roar of the enemy's can-
non, — let them see it, who saw their brothers and their
sons fall on the field of Bunker Hill, and in the streets of
Lexington and Concord ; — and the very walls will cry
out in its support I "

JJnempassioned " Radical Stress." t

Earnestness and elevation of Thought.

The Progress of Discover^/. — Anon.

" Are the properties of matter all discovered ? — its laws
all found out ? — the uses to which they may be applied,
all detected ? I cannot believe it. — The progi-ess which
has been made in art and science, is, indeed, vast. We
are ready to think that a pause must follow, that the goal
must be at hand. But there is no goal, and there canlBe
no pause ; for art and science are in themselves progres-
sive. They are moving powers, animated principles :
they are instinct with life ; they are themselves the in-
tellectual life of man. Nothing can arrest them, which

* A vivid initial force, without abruptness or violence.

t This style, though utterly free from empassionecl vehemence, pre-
serves the abrupt explosive opening of sound, to the extent required hy
distinct articulation, for vivid intellectual impression. The effect to the
ear is like that, comparatively, of the clear tinkle of the falling icicle, or
of the drop of rain, — a moderate, but remarkably clear sound.



does not plunge the entire order of society into barbarism.
There is no end to truth, no bound to its discovery and
appUcation ; and a man might as well think to build a
tower, from the top of which he could grasp Siriiis in his
hand, as prescribe a limit to discovery and invention."

I * / "^ " Median Stress"

\ (5 Solemnity and Reverence.

Adoration offered by the Angels. — Milton.

" Thee, Father, first they sung, omnipotent,
Immutable, immortal, infinite,
Eternal King ; thee, Author of all being.
Fountain of light, thyself invisible
Amidst the glorious brightness where thou sitt'st,
Throned inaccessible, but when thou shad'st.
The full blaze of thy beams, and through a cloud,
Drawn round about thee, like a radiant shrine,
Dark with excessive bright, thy skirts appear,
Yet dazzle heaven, that brightest seraphim
Approach not, but with both wings veil then- eyes "

Extract from Psalm CIII.

V. 13. " Like as a father pitieth his children, so the
Lord pitieth them that fear him. 14. For he knoweth
our frame ; he remembereth that we are dust. 15. As
for man, his days are as grass : as a flower of the field so
he flourisheth. 16. For the wind passeth over it, and it
is gone ; and the place thereof shall know it no more."

Tranquility. /^\

Psalm XXIII. 1 , "^


V. 1. "The Lord is my shepherd: I shall not want.
2. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures : he
leadeth me beside the still waters. 3. He restoreth my


soul ; he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness, for his
name's sake. 4. Yea, though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil : for thou art
with me ; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5. Thou
preparest a table before me in the presence of mine ene-
mies : thou anointest my head with oil ; my cup runneth
over. 6. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me, all
the days of my Ufa ; and I will dwell in the house of the

" Vanishing Stress.''


Job's Reply to Jiis Friends. — Job XIX.

V. 2. " How long will ye vex my soul, and break me
in pieces with words ? 3. These ten times have ye re-
proached me : ye are not ashamed that ye make your-
selves strange to me.

6. " Know, now, that God hath overthrown me, and
hath compassed me with liis net. 7. Behold, I cry out
of wrong, but I am not heard : I cry aloud, but there is
no judgment. 8. He hath fenced up my way that I can-
not pass, and he hath set darkness in my paths. 9. He
hath stripped me of my glory, and taken the crown from
my head.' 10. He hath destroyed me, on every"^ide, and
I am gone ; and my hope hath he removed like a tree."

nrlc^ fi-'^f-' D^aunciation: ' 7' ' ' '^ '=^^''-'-
Extract from Isaiah XXXI V. ' '' ^ ,
V. 5. " My sword shall be bathed in heaven : behold,
it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of
my curse to judgment." " 9. And the streams thereof
shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brim-
stone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch.
10. It shall not be quenched night nor day ; the smoke

Online LibraryWilliam RussellPulpit elocution: Comprising remarks on the effect of manner in public discourse; the elements of elocution, applied to the reading of the scriptures, hymns, and sermons; with observations on the prin → online text (page 15 of 32)