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in good speaking. He frequently says, “I lost sight of this while attending to the other.” “I find it difficult to attend to so many things.” Hence some scheme of summarizing the various sources and elements, especially for beginners, is important.
Clearness, Force, and Elegance, besides adequately summarizing the properties of public address, also serve as a scheme to carry into practice the various elements to which effective speaking must conform. The student should accustom himself to associate under these heads the
of qualities belonging to each, so that they at once schematize the complex functions, and suggest all that is to be done.
Especially should the five sources of effective delivery be continually held before the student. This positive treatment may be alternated with criticism of special faults. Criticism should be both general and specific. This will involve the elements as well as the sources. The student and the speaker soon become accustomed to these categories. The value of a teacher is in proportion to his ability to diagnose the student's needs and to prescribe a remedy.
The student should thoroughly commit each item of the scheme. Its value will be fully appreciated only after a thorough study of the whole treatise and after much practice.
The attempt, however, to make the speaking forceful by thinking too exclusively of force, results in what is opprobriously called “dramatic," "stagy," "bombastic" delivery; while the attempt to secure elegance by thinking too exclusively of this property results in affectation. These faults are seen in a great many professional and amateur “readers.”
It is otherwise with regard to Clearness. If the speaker give the appearance of consciously attending to this quality, it does not so seriously detract from the effort. If the audience find it difficult to understand the thought, then a
statement, description, or illustration from a different point of view is welcomed ; and if the voice is not clearly audible, it seems to be allowable in deliberative assemblies to demand that the speaker" speak louder."
The main dependence, however, in each essential, is in clearly conceiving the thought, and in fully realizing the emotions of the subject.
The student who hopes to make elocution compensate for brains, and his thought to pass for more than its intrinsic
worth, and who hopes to substitute a good voice and graceful gesture — the externals of speech - for real thought and heartfelt emotion, will be disappointed, as he ought to be.
“With the art of all men ... that of language, the chief vices of education have arisen from the one great fallacy of supposing that noble language is a communicable trick of grammar and accent, instead of simply the careful expres sion of right thought. All the virtues of language are, in their roots, moral ; it becomes accurate if the speaker desires to be true; clear, if he speaks with sympathy and a desire to be intelligible; powerful, if he has earnestness; pleasant, if he has sense of rhythm and order.
"There are no other virtues of language producible by art than these ; but let me mark more deeply for an instant the significance of one of them. Language, I said, is only clear when it is sympathetic. You can, in truth, understand a man's word only by understanding his temper. Your own word is also as of an unknown tongue to him unless he understands yours. And it is this which makes the art of language, if any one is to be chosen separately from the rest, that which is fittest for the instrument of a gentleman's education.
“ To teach the meaning of a word thoroughly, is to teach the nature of the spirit that coined it ; the secret of language is the secret of sympathy, and its full charm is possible only to the gentle. And thus the principles of beautiful speech have all been fixed by sincere and kindly speech.
“On the laws which have been determined by sincerity, false speech, apparently beautiful, may afterward be constructed; but all such utterance, whether in oration or poetry, is not only without permanent power, but it is destructive of the principles it has usurped. So long as no words are uttered but in faithfulness, so long the art of language goes on exalting itself; but the moment it is shaped and chiselled on external principles, it falls into frivolity
and perishes. No noble nor right style was ever yet founded but out of a sincere heart.
“No man is worth reading to form your style who does not mean what he says; nor was any great style ever invented but by some man who meant what he said. . .
“And of yet greater importance is it deeply to know that every beauty possessed by the language of a nation is significant of the innermost laws of its being. Keep the temper of the people stern and manly; make their associations grave, courteous, and for worthy objects; occupy them in just deeds, - and their tongue must needs be a grand one. Nor is it possible, therefore, ... that any tongue should be a noble one, of which the words are not so many trumpet calls to action. All great languages invariably utter great things and command them; they cannot be mimicked but by obedience; the breath of them is inspiration, because it is not only vocal but vital; and you can only learn to speak as these men spoke by becoming what these men were.
The principles of Delivery will be further treated, (1) as the SOURCES, and (2) as the ELEMENTS, of Clearness, Force, and Elegance — the essentials of Public Speaking. So far as I know, Professor McIlvain, in his excellent book on “Elocution,” was the first to apply the terms “
sources and elements" to these two aspects of Public Speaking. The former deals more with the fundamental powers of mind and body, the latter more with the manifestive forms of Delivery; the former are more subjective, the latter, more objective.
1 Ruskin. Relation of Art to Morals, in Crown of Wild Olives.
SOURCES OF THE ESSENTIALS OF PUBLIC SPEAKING
MENTAL CONTENT OF LANGUAGE
It was stated in the Introduction that the main problem in the art of Pụblic Speaking is to induce right mental action, and that the first part of this problem is to achieve the purposed thought and emotion,- the mental content of the language. To this first part of the problem this chapter is devoted.
Any notion that agreeable sounds and graceful gestures are in themselves effective in Public Speaking is to entirely misconceive the function of language and the purpose of speaking. Yet such misconceptions are frequent. The subject of delivery should be approached with the distinct understanding that there is no substitute for thought and feeling. Nor can superficial attainments be polished sufficiently to compete with thorough culture. Indeed, to the serious and patient student, nothing is so self-revelatory of one's mental and linguistic poverty as a thorough consideration and application of the principles of Public Speaking. The student has not done well unless the subject has been suggestive, not only in the particulars specifically treated, but also in all that constitutes man.
Something more, however, than a general suggestion to deal with the thought of the speech is needed to arouse mental activity and accuracy. It seems to me that, as a