Imágenes de página

The only objection I can conceive to what I have been saying is, that it may be said that a relish for higher literature belongs only to the few; that it is the result of cultivation; and that there is no use in trying to create what must be in general only a fictitious interest. But I do not admit that literature, even the higher literature, must belong to the few. Poetry is, in the main, essentially catholic-addressed to all men; and though some poetry requires particular knowledge and superior culture, much, and that the noblest, needs only natural feeling and the light of common experience. Such poetry, taken in moderation, followed with genuine good-will, shared in common, will be intelligible and delightful to most men who will take the trouble to be students at all, and ever more and more so.


Perhaps, also, there may be a fragment of truth in what Charles Lamb has said,—that any spouting withers and blows upon a fine passage;' that there is no enjoying it after it has been 'pawed about by declamatory boys and men.' But surely there is a reasonable habit of recitation as well as an unreasonable one; there is no need of declamatory pawing. To abandon all recitation, is to give up a custom which has given delight and instruction to all the races of articulately speaking men. If our faces are set against vain display, and set towards rational enjoyment of one another, each freely giving his best, and freely receiving what his neighbour offers, we need not fear that our social evenings will be marred by an occasional recitation, or that the fine passages will wither. And, moreover, it is not for reciting's sake that I chiefly recommend this most faithful form of reading-learning by heart.

I come back, therefore, to this, that learning by heart is a good thing, and is neglected amongst us. Why is it neglected? Partly because of our indolence, but partly, I take it, because we do not sufficiently consider that it is a good thing, and needs to be taken in hand. We need to be reminded of it: I here remind you. Like a town-crier, ringing my bell, I would say to you, 'Oyez, oyez! Lost, stolen, or strayed, a good ancient practice-the good ancient practice of learning by heart. Every finder should be handsomely rewarded,'

If any ask, 'What shall I learn ?' the answer is, Do as you do with tunes-begin with what you sincerely like best, what you would most wish to remember, what you would most enjoy saying to yourself or repeating to another. You will soon find the list inexhaustible. Then 'keeping up' is easy. Every one has spare ten minutes; one of the problems of life is how to employ them usefully. You may well spend some in looking after and securing this good property you have won.



1. Elocution is the art of delivering written. or spoken language in the way best calculated to express the sense, beauty, or force of the words employed by the speaker.

2. The requisites of a good delivery are :—

1. The clear Enunciation of separate words and their elements.

2. The just Expression of the sense of words in connected discourse.

3. Appropriate Gesture, comprehending under this head the attitude, motions, and aspect of countenance most suitable to lend animation and force to speech.


3. Enunciation is the distinct utterance of words in reading and speaking.

4. Enunciation depends for its distinctness on due attention to

1. Articulation.

2. Syllabication.
3. Accent.


5. A good articulation consists in giving every letter and syllable of a word its due proportion of sound and distinct


6. In a perfect alphabet every sound would have its own letter, and every letter its own sound. But ours is not a perfect alphabet; for while there are forty-two simple sounds in the language,


there are but twenty-six letters by which they can be expressed. These sounds and the expedients adopted for representing them are exhibited in the following table, where they are indicated by the italic letters.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]


¿,, pine


[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]


9,, gun


U tube

h hot









j,, judge v
k,, kill
oil ι love
house m man
b bed N no





d in do
f,, fix


p in pen



[ocr errors]





พ we


y yes
2 zeal


[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]



ng "


wh why



The letters c, x, q being superfluous letters (c hard=k, c soft=8, x=ks, q=cu) are in the above arrangement omitted.

[ocr errors]


7. Tried by the test of the foregoing table, the English alphabet is both defective and redundant. There are simple sounds in the language for which there are no separate letters, and there are letters which represent several distinct sounds. Nor do the irregularities of our alphabet end here; for, as is shown in the subjoined lists, these sounds can in their turn be represented by a variety of other letters and combinations which are equivalent to them. A careful study of these equivalents is necessary to a complete view of the elementary sounds of the language.

Ex. 2.

Substitutes for the Vowel Elements.

For a as in fate,' we have aa, ai, ao, au, ay, ea, ei, ey; as in Aaron, sail, aorist, gauge, lay, great, vein, they.


For a as in fat,' we have ai, ua; as in plaid, guaranty.
far,' we have au, e, ea, ua; as in daunt, sergeant,

For a as in

heart, guard.

For a as in 'fall,' we have au, aw, eo, o, oa, ou; as in pause, hawk, George, horn, broad, sought.

For e as in me,' we have ea, ee, ei, eo, cy, i, ie, uay; as in weak, deep, seize, people, key, pique, brief, quay.


For e as in met, we have ai, ay, ea, ei, eo, ie, u, ue; as in saith, says, dead, heifer, leopard, friend, bury, guest.

For e as in her,' we have ea, i, ou, ue, y; as in learner, fir, scourge, guerdon, myrrh.

For i as in pine,' we have ai, ei, eyc, ie, ui, uy, y, ye; as in aisle, sleight, eye, die, guide, buy, try, rye.

For i as in in,' we have e, ei, ie, o, u, ui, y; as in English, forfeit sieve, women, busy, build, cygnet.

« AnteriorContinuar »