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methodical, verbose, inaccurate, feeble, trifling! It has been said of the good preacher, that “truths divine come mended from his tongue.” Alas! they come ruined and worthless from such a man as the one here described. They lose that holy energy, by which they are to convert the soul and purify man for heaven, and sink, in interest and efficacy, below the level of those principles which govern the ordinary affairs of this lower world.
On Eloquence.— Wirt. Tell me', then', you who are capable of doing it', what is this divine eloquence'? What the charm by which the orator binds the senses of his audience';—by which he attunes', and touches', and sweeps the human lyre', with the resistless sway' and master hand of a Timotheus'? Is not the whole mystery comprehended in one word'.. SYMPATHY? I mean', not merely that tender passion which quavers the lip', and fills the eye', of the babe when it looks on the sorrows and tears of another', but that still more delicate and subtile quality by which we passively catch the very colours', momentum', and strength of the mind to whose operations we are attending'; which converts every speaker to whom we listen', into a Procrustes', and enables him', for the moment', to stretch or lop our faculties to fit the standard of his own mind'.
If there is not something of this secret intercourse from spirit to spirit', how does it happen that one speaker shall gradually invade and benumb all the faculties of my soul', as if I were handling a torpedo'; while another shall awaken and arouse me', like the clangour of the martial trumpet'? How does it happen', that the first shall infuse his poor spirit into my system', lethargize my native intellect', and bring down my powers exactly to the level of his own'? or that the last shall descend upon me like an angel of light', breathe new energies into my frame', dilate my soul with his own intelligence', exalt me into a new and nobler region of thought', snatch me from the earth at pleasure', and wrap me to the seventh heaven'? And', what is still more wonderful', how does it happen that these different effects endure so long after the agency of the speaker has ceased'? insomuch', that if', after listening to the first speaker' ! sit down to any intellectual exercise', my pertormance shall be unworthy even of me', and the numb-fish visible and tangible in every sentence': whereas',if', after having attended to the last mentioned orator', I enter on the same amusement', I shall be astonished at the elevation and vigour of my own thoughts'; and', if I accidentally meet with the same production a month or two afterward', when my mind has lost the inspiration', I shall scarcely be able to recognise it for my own work'?
Whence is all this'? To me it would seem', that it must pro ceed', either from the subtile commerce between the spirits of men', which lord Verulam notices', and which enables the speaker thereby to identify his hearer with himself", or else', that the mind of man possesses', independent of any volition on the part of its proprietor', a species of pupillary faculty of dilating and contracting itself', in proportion to the pencil of the rays of light which the speaker throws upon it'; which dilation or con. traction', as in the case of the eye', cannot be immediately and abruptly altered.
Whatever may be the solution', the fact', I think', is certainly as I have stated it': and it is remarkable that the same effect is produced', though perhaps in a less degree', by perusing books into which different degrees of spirit and genius have been infused'. I am acquainted with a gentleman who never sits down to a composition in which he wishes to shine', without previously reading', with intense application', half a dozen pages of his favourite Bolingbroke'. Having taken the character and impulse of that writer's mind', he declares that he feels his pen flow with a spirit not his own'; and that', if', in the course of his work', his powers begin to languish', he finds it easy to revive and charge them afresh from the same never-failing source'.
If these things are not visionary', it becomes important to a man', for a new reason', what books he reads', and what com. pany he keeps', since', according to lord Verular's notion', an influx of the spirits of others', may change the native character of his heart and understanding', before he is aware of it'; or', according to the other suggestion', he may so habitually contract , the pupil of his mind', as to be disqualified for the comprehension of a great subject', and fit only for microscopick observations'. Whereas', by keeping the company', and reading the works', of men of magnanimity and genius only', he may receive their qualities by subtile transmission', and eventually get the eye', the ardour', and the enterprise of an eagle'.
But whither am I wandering? Permit me to return'.--Admitting the correctness of the principles first mentioned', it
would seem to be a fair conclusion', that whenever an orator wishes to know what effect he has produced on his audience', he should coolly and conscientiously propound to himself this question': Have I myself", throughout my oration', felt those clear and cogent convictions of judgment', and that pure and exalted fire of the soul', with which I wished to inspire others'? For', he may rely upon it', that he can no more impart or (to use lord Bacon's word,) transmit convictions and sensations which he himself has not', at the time', sincerely felt', than he can convey a clear title to property in which he himself has no right'.
This leads me to point out a fault which I have often noticed'. Following up too closely the cold conceit of the Roman division of an oration', some speakers set aside a particular part of their discourse', (usually the peroration',) in which they take it into their heads that they will be pathetick'. Accordingly', when they reach this part', whether it be prompted by the feelings or nòt', a mighty bustle commences'. The speaker pricks up his ears', erects his chest', tosses his arms with hysterical vehemence', and says everything which he supposes ought to affect his hearers', but it is all in vain': for it is obvious that every thing he says is prompted by the head'; and', however it may display his ingenuity and fertility', however it may appeal to the admiration of his hearers', it will never strike deeper'. The hearts of the audience will resuse all commerce except with the heart of the speaker'; nor', in this commerce', is it possible', by any disguise however artsul', to impose false ware upon them'. However the speaker may labour to seem to feel', however near he may approach to the appearance of the reality', the heart', nevertheless', possesses a keen', unerring sense which never fails to detect the imposture'. It would seem as if the heart of man stamps a secret mark on all its effusions', which alone can give them currency', and which no ingenuity', however adroit', can successfully counterfeit'.
I have been not a little diverted in listening to some of these fine orators who deal almost entirely in this pathos of the head'. They practise the start', the pause'-—make an immense parade of attitudes and gestures', and seem to imagine themselves piercing the heart with a thousand wounds'. The heart', all the time', developing every trick that is played off to cajole her', and sitting serene and composed', looks on and smiles at he ridiculous pageant as it passes'.
Nothing', in my opinion', can be more ill-judged in an orator', than to indulge himself in this idle', artificial parade'. It is particularly unfortunate in an exordium'. It is as much as to say', caveat auditor'; (let the auditor take care';) and', for my own part', the moment I see an orator rise with this mena. cing majesty', assume a look of solemn wisdom', stretch forth his right arm', like the rubens dexter (red right hand) of Jove', and hear him open his throat in deep and tragick tone', I feel myself involuntarily braced', and in an attitude of defence', as if I were going to take a bout with Mendoza'.
Caspar Hauser. The following skelch of this extraordinary and ill-fated youth, is extracted from
an account given of him by ANSELM Von FEUERBACH, President of one of the Bavarian courts of appeal--translated by H. G. LINBERG, and published at Boston, by ALLEN & TICKNOR, 1832.
On the 26th of May, 1828, towards the close of the day, a citizen of Nuremberg, (in Franconia,) who lived near the small and unfrequented Haller gate, and who was, at the time, loiter. ing before his door, observed at a short distance, a young man in a peasant's dress. He was standing in a very singular posture, and, apparently like one intoxicated, was endeavouring to walk, but without the ability to keep himself erect, or to govern the movement of his legs. The citizen approached the stranger, who held out to him a letter, directed “ To the captain of the 4th Esgataren of the Shwoliskay regiment, Nuremberg.”
The captain referred to, lived near the New gate ; and, though not without much difficulty, thither the citizen conducted the strange youth. On entering the captain's mansion, the stranger advanced towards the servant that had opened the door, with his hat on his head, and the letter in his hand, addressing him in a jargon of indistinct and almost altogether inarticulate sounds, the meaning of which no one could comprehend. The servant asked him what he wanted; who he was; and whence he came; but the stranger appeared to understand none of these interrogatories, his only reply being, “ Ae sechtene möcht ich waehn,” &c. : the same unintelligible jargon he had previously uttered when accosted by the citizen who accompanied him. The young man was so much fatigued as scarcely to be able to walk or stand. Weeping, and with an expression of excessive pain, he pointed to his feet, which were sinking under him. He appeared, also, to be suffering from hunger and thirst. A small piece of meat was, therefore, offered him ; but the first morsel had scarce touched his lips, before he shuddered, the muscles of his face being, at the same time, seized with spasms; and, with visible horrour, he spit it out. On tasting a few drops of beer that was presented to him, he likewise showed the same marks of aversion. But a bit of bread, and a glass of water, he swallowed greedily, and with great satisfaction. In the mean time, all attempts to gain any information respecting his person, his arrival, or his residence, were altogether fruitless. His lan. guage consisted of tears, moans, and unintelligible sounds, or of an awkward attempt at the words already mentioned.
a Mo'mént. Ap-på'rent-le. To'ůrdz.
In the captain's house, he was taken for a kind of demi. savage. The captain knew nothing of the stranger; nor could he learn anything concerning him from the letter which he had brought, any more than by questioning him. For a development" of the mystery which hung over the character and purposes of this singular being, as well as for the care of his person, he was, therefore, consigned over to the city police. His journey to the police-office, in his pitiable situation, (for, it afterward proved, that this was about his first attempt at walking, and the first time he had worn shoes or boots; and, moreover, that the boots he then had on, had excoriated and sorely blistered his feet,) was almost a course of martyrdom, and not accomplished but with the greatest difficulty.
At the guard-room, he was equally looked upon as a most extraordinary phenomenon. The attempt to examine him by questions, proved altogether unavailing. A repetition of the sounds, “ Ae reuta waehn,” &c. (to which sounds he himself, as was afterward ascertained, attached not the shadow of a meaning,) were the only sounds or words which, on the most diverse occasions, he uttered. He appeared neither to know, nor to consider, where he was. He betrayed neither astonishment, d fear, nor confusion; but rather showed that kind of insensibility, or brutish a. Iness, which either leaves external objects entirely unnoticed, or gazes at them without thought, and suffers them to pass without being affected by them. His tears and whimpering, while he was frequently pointing to his tortured and tottering feet, together with his awkward and child-like demeanour, soon excited the compassion of all who were present. A soldier offered him a piece of meat and a glass of beer; but these, in ather'fore. De-vel'åp-mènt-not, munt. cpd-lées'. dAs