Слике страница
PDF
ePub

Let us wait but a few years longer, and taught its duty; not a look, not a sigh, we shall find all our expectations an without design; the lady, like a skilful herring fishery.

warrior, aims at the heart of another,

while she shields her own from danger. SOME ACCOUNT OF THE ACADEMIES

“On the contrary, at fifteen you may OF ITALY.

expect nothing but simplicity, innocence,

and nature. The passions are then sinTHERE is not, perhaps, a country in cere; the soul seems seated in the lips; Europe in which learning is so fast upon the dear object feels present happiness, the decline as in Italy; yet not one in without being anxious for the future; her which there are such a number of aca- eyes brighten if her lover approaches; her demies instituted for its support. There smiles are borrowed from the Graces, and is scarce a considerable town in the whole her very mistakes seem to complete her country which has not one or two insti- desires. tutions of this nature, where the learned, Lucretia was just sixteen. The rose as they are pleased to call themselves, and lily took possession of her face, and meet to harangue, to compliment each her bosom, by its hue and its coldness, other, and praise the utility of their insti- seemed covered with snow. So much tution.

beauty and so much virtue seldom want Jarchius has taken the trouble to give admirers. Orlandino, a youth of sense us a list of those clubs or academies, which and merit, was among the number. Не amount to five hundred and fifty, each had long languished for an opportunity of distinguished by somewhat whimsical in declaring his passion, when Cupid, as if the name. The academies of Bologna, willing to indulge his happiness, brought for instance, are divided into the Abban- the charming young couple by mere accidonati, the Ausiosi, the Ociosi, Arcadi, dent to an arbour, where every prying eye Confusi, Dubbiosi, &c. There are few of but love was absent. Orlandino talked these who have not published their trans- of the sincerity of his passion, and mixed actions, and scarce a member who is not flattery with his addresses; but it was all looked upon as the most famous man in in vain. The nymph was pre-engaged, the world, at home.

and had long devoted to Heaven those Of all those societies, I know of none charms for which he sued. “My dear whose works are worth being known out Orlandino,' said she, you know I have of the precincts of the city in which they been long dedicated to St. Catherine, and were written except the Cicalata Academia to her belongs all that lies below my (or, as we might express it, the Tickling girdle; all that is above you may freely Society) of Florence. I have just now possess, but farther I cannot, must not, before me a manuscript oration, spoken by comply. The vow is passed; I wish it the late Tomaso Crudeli at that society, were undone, but now it is impossible.' which will at once serve to give a better You may conceive, my companions, the picture of the manner in which men of embarrassment our young lovers felt upon wit amuse themselves in that country this occasion. They kneeled to St. Cathethan anything I can say upon the occasion. rine, and though both despaired, both im. The oration is this :

plored her assistance. Their tutelar saint “ The younger the nymph, my dear was entreated to show some expedient companions, the more happy the lover. by which both might continue to love, From fourteen to seventeen you are sure and yet both be happy. Their petition of finding love for love; from seventeen was sincere. St. Catherine was touched to twenty-one there is always a mixture with compassion; for lo, a miracle ! of interest and affection. But when that Lucretia's girdle unloosed, as if without period is passed, no longer expect to hands; and though before bound round receive, but to buy-no longer expect a her middle, fell spontaneously down to nymph who gives, but who sells, her her feet, and gave Orlandino the possession favours, At this age every glance is of all those beauties which lay above it.”

a strong passion, a pressing danger, calls No. VII. -Saturday, November 17, 1759. up all the imagination, and gives the

orator irresistible force. Thus a captain OF ELOQUENCE.

of the first caliphs, seeing his soldiers fly, Of all kinds of success, that of an orator cried out, “Whither do you run? the enemy is the most pleasing. Upon other occa- are not there! You have been told that sions the applause we deserve is conferred the caliph is dead; but God is still living. in our absence, and we are insensible of He regards the brave, and will reward the the pleasure we have given; but in elo- ' courageous. Advance!quence the victory and the triumph are A man, therefore, may be called eloinseparable. We read our own glory in quent, who transfers the passion or sentithe face of every spectator; the audience ment with which he is moved himself into is moved; the antagonist is defeated; and the breast of another ; and this definition the whole circle bursts into unsolicited appears the more just, as it comprehends applause.

the graces of silence and of action. An The rewards which attend excellence in intimate persuasion of the truth to be this way are so pleasing, that numbers proved is the sentiment and passion to have written professed treatises to teach us be transferred ; and who effects this is the art; schools have been established truly possessed of the talent of eloquence. with no other intent; rhetoric has taken I have called eloquence a talent, and place among the institutions; and pedants not an art, as so many rhetoricians have have ranged under proper heads, and dis done, as art is acquired by exercise and tinguished with long learned names, some study, and eloquence is the gift of nature. of the strokes of nature, or of passion, Rules will never make either a work or a which orators have used. I say only some; discourse eloquent; they only serve to for a folio volume could not contain all prevent faults, but not to introduce beauties; the figures which have been used by to prevent those passages which are truly the truly eloquent; and scarce a good eloquent and dictated by nature from being speaker or writer but makes use of some blended with others which might disgust, that are peculiar or new.

or at least abate our passion. Eloquence has preceded the rules of What we clearly conceive, says Boileau, rhetoric, as languages have been formed we can clearly express. I may add, that before grammar.

Nature renders men what is felt with emotion is expressed also eloquent in great interests or great pas- , with the same movements; the words rise sions. He that is sensibly touched sees as readily to paint our emotions as to exthings with a very different eye from the press our thoughts with perspicuity. The rest of mankind. All uature to him be- cool care an orator takes to express pascomes an object of comparison and meta- sions which he does not feel, only prevents phor, without attending to it; he throws his rising into that passion he would seem life into all, and inspires his audience with to feel. In a word, to feel your subject a part of his own enthusiasm.

thoroughly, and to speak without fear, are It has been remarked, that the lower the only rules of eloquence, properly so parts of mankind generally express them- called, which I can offer.

Examine a selves most figuratively, and that tropes writer of genius on the most beautiful are found in the most ordinary forms of parts of his work, and he will always conversation. Thus, in every language assure you, that such passages are generally the heart burns; the courage is roused; those which have given him the least the eyes sparkle; the spirits are cast trouble, for they came as if by inspiration. down; passion inflames, pride swells, and To pretend that cold and didactic precepts pity sinks the soul. Nature everywhere will make a man eloquent is only to prove speaks in those strong images, which, from that he is incapable of eloquence. their frequency, pass unnoticed.

But, as in being perspicuous it is necesNature it is which inspires those raptu- sary to have a full idea of the subject, so rous enthusiasms, those irresistible turns; | in being eloquent it is not sufficient, if I

-“ Let me suppose

may so express it, to feel by halves. The are not so, the language may be turgid, orator should be strongly impressed, which affected, and metaphorical, —but not afis generally the effect of a fine and exqui- fecting. site sensibility, and not that transient and What can be more simply expressed superficial emotion which he excites in the than the following extract from a celegreatest part of his audience. It is even brated preacher, and yet what was ever impossible to affect the hearers in any more sublime? Speaking of the small. great degree without being affected our number of the elect, he breaks out thus selves. In vain it will be objected, that among his audience :many writers have had the art to inspire that this was the last hour of us all—that their readers with a passion for virtue the heavens were opening over our heads without being virtuous themselves, since --that time was past and eternity begunit may be answered, that sentiments of that Jesus Christ in all His glory, that man virtue filled their minds at the time they of sorrows, in all His glory, appeared on were writing. They felt the inspiration the tribunal, and that we were assembled strongly, while they praised justice, gene- here to receive our final decree of life or rosity, or good nature; but, unhappily for death eternal ! Let me ask, impressed them, these passions might have been disc with terror like you, and not separating continued when they laid down the pen. my lot from yours, but putting myself in In vain will it be objected again, that we the same situation in which we must all can move without being moved, as we one day appear before God, our Judge, can convince without being convinced. It let me ask, if Jesus Christ should now is much easier to deceive our reason than appear to make the terrible separation of ourselves : a trifling defect in reasoning the just from the unjust, do you think the may be overseen, and lead a man astray, greatest number would be saved ? Do you for it requires reason and time to detect think the number of the elect would even the falsehood ; but our passions are not be equal to that of the sinners? Do you easily imposed upon, - our eyes, our ears, think, if all our works were examined and every sense are watchful to detect with justice, would He find ten just perthe imposture.

sons in this great assembly? Monsters of No discourse can be eloquent that does ingratitude ! would He find one?” Such not elevate the mind. Pathetic eloquence, passages as these are sublime in every it is true, has for its only object to affect; language. The expression may be less but I appeal to men of sensibility, whether striking, or more indistinct, but the greattheir pathetic feelings are not accompanied ness of the idea still remains. In a word, with some degree of elevation. We may we may be eloquent in every language then call eloquence and sublimity the and in every style, since elocution is only same thing, since it is impossible to be an assistant, but not a constituter, of eloone without feeling the other.

Hence it quence. follows, that we may be eloquent in any Of what use, then, will it be said, are language, since no language refuses to paint all the precepts given us upon this head those sentiments with which we are both by the ancients and moderns? I thoroughly impressed. What is usually answer, that they cannot make us elo. called sublimity of style seems to be only quent, but they will certainly prevent us

Eloquence is not in the words, from becoming ridiculous. They can but in the subject; and in great concerns, seldom procure a single beauty, but they the more simply anything is expressed, may banish a thousand faults. The true it is generally the more sublime. True method of an orator is not to attempt eloquence does not consist, as the rheto- always to move, always to affect, to be ricians assure us, in saying great things in continually sublime, but at proper intervals a sublime style, but in a simple style: to give rest both to his own and the pasfor there is, properly speaking, no such sions of his audience. In these periods thing as a sublime style; the sublimity of relaxation, or of preparation rather, Lies only in the things; and when they rules may teach him to avoid anything low,

an error.

[ocr errors]

1

trivial, or disgusting. Thus criticism, pro- I have attended most of our pulpit perly speaking, is intended not to assist orators, who, it must be owned, write those parts which are sublime, but those extremely well upon the text they assume. which are naturally mean and humble, To give them their due also, they read which are composed with coolness and their sermons with elegance and propriety; caution, and where the orator rather en- but this goes but a very short way in true deavours not to offend than attempts to eloquence. The speaker must be moved. please.

In this, in this alone, our English divines I have hitherto insisted more strenuously are deficient. Were they to speak to on that eloquence which speaks to the a few calm, dispassionate hearers, they passions, as it is a species of oratory almost certainly use the properest methods of unknown in England. At the bar it is address; but their audience is chiefly quite discontinued, and I think with justice. composed of the poor, who must be influIn the senate it is used but sparingly, as enced by motives of reward and punishthe orator speaks to enlightened judges. ment, and whose only virtues lie in selfBut in the pulpit, in which the orator interest or fear. should chiefly address the vulgar, it seems How, then, are such to be addressed? strange that it should be entirely laid not by studied periods or cold disquiaside.

sitions; not by the labours of the head, The vulgar of England are, without but the honest spontaneous dictates of the exception, the most barbarous and the most heart. Neither writing a sermon with unknowing of any in Europe. A great regular periods, and all the harmony of part of their ignorance may be chiefly elegant expression-neither reading it ascribed to their teachers, who, with with emphasis, propriety, and deliberation the most pretty, gentlemanlike serenity, -neither pleasing with metaphor, simile, deliver their cool discourses, and address or rhetorical fustian — neither arguing the reason of men who have never reasoned coolly, and untying consequences united in all their lives. They are told of cause in d priori, nor bundling up inductions à and effect, of beings self-existent, and the posteriori-neither pedantic jargon, nor universal scale of beings. They are in academical trifling, can persuade the poor. formed of the excellence of the Bangorian Writing a discourse coolly in the closet, controversy, and the absurdity of an inter- then getting it by memory, and delivering mediate state. The spruce preacher reads it on Sundays, even that will not do. his lucubration without lifting his nose What then is to be done? I know of no from the text, and never ventures to earn expedient to speak—to speak at once inthe shame of an enthusiast.

telligibly and feelingly-except to underBy this means, though his audience stand the language-to be convinced of feel not one word of all he says, he earns, the truth of the object-to be perfectly however, among his acquaintance, the acquainted with the subject in view-to character of a man of sense : among his prepossess yourself with a low opinion of acquaintance only, did I say? nay, even your audience—and to do the rest exwith his bishop.

tempore: by this means strong expres. The polite of every country have several sions, new thoughts, rising passions, and motives to induce them to a rectitude of the true declamatory style, will naturally action,--the love of virtue for its own sake, the shame of offending, and the Fine declamation does not consist in desire of pleasing. The vulgar have but flowery periods, delicate allusions, or one,--the enforcements of religion ; and musical cadences, but in a plain, open, yet those who should push this motive loose style, where the periods are long and home to their hearts are basely found to obvious; where the same thought is often desert their post. They speak to the exhibited in several points of view: all Squire, the philosopher, and the pedant; this strong sense, a good memory, and a but the poor, those who really want instruc- small share of experience will furnish to tion, are left uninstructed.

every orator; and without these a cler.

ensue.

gyman may be called a fine preacher, a their tones; where every sentiment, every judicious preacher, and a man of good expression, seems the result of meditation sense; he may make his hearers admire and deep study. his understanding, but will seldom en- Tillotson has been commended as the lighten theirs.

model of pulpit eloquence: thus far he When I think of the Methodist preachers' should be imitated, where he generally among us, how seldom they are endued strives to convince rather than to please; with common sense, and yet how often but to adopt his long, dry, and sometimes and how justly they affect their hearers; I tedious discussions, which serve to amuse cannot avoid saying within myself

, Had only divines, and are utterly neglected by these been bred gentlemen and been the generality of mankind-to praise the endued with even the meanest share of intricacy of his periods, which are too understanding, what might they not effect ! long to be spoken—to continue his cool Did our bishops, who can add dignity phlegmatic manner of enforcing every to their expostulations, testify the same truth,-is certainly erroneous. As I said fervour, and entreat their hearers, as well before, the good preacher should adopt as argue, what might not be the conse- no model, write no sermons, study no quence! The vulgar, by which I mean periods ; let him but understand his subthe bulk of mankind, would then have a ject, the language he speaks, and be condouble motive to love religion; first, from vinced of the truths he delivers. It is seeing its professors honoured here, and amazing to what heights eloquence of next, from the consequences hereafter. this kind may reach! This is that eloAt present the enthusiasms of the poor quence the ancients represented as lightare opposed to law; did law conspire ning, bearing down every opposer; this with their enthusiasms, we should not the power which has turned whole assemonly be the happiest nation upon earth, blies into astonishment, admiration, and but the wisest also.

awe;

that is described by the torrent, Enthusiasm in religion, which prevails the flame, and every other instance of only among the vulgar, should be the irresistible impetuosity. chief object of politics. A society of en- But to attempt such noble heights bethusiasts, governed by reason, among the longs only to the truly great or the truly great, is the most indissoluble, the most good. To discard the lazy manner of virtuous, and the most efficient of its own reading sermons, or speaking sermons by decrees that can be imagined. Every rote; to set up singly against the opposicountry possessed of any degree of tion of men who are attached to their own strength have had their enthusiasms, errors, and to endeavour to be great, instead which ever serve as laws among the of being prudent, are qualities we seldom people. The Greeks had their karoke- see united. A minister of the Church of yabia, the Romans their Amor Patriæ, England, who may be possessed of good and we the truer and former bond of the sense and some hopes of preferment, will Protestant Religion. The principle is seldom give up such substantial advanthe same in all: how much, then, is it tages for the empty pleasure of improving the duty of those whom the law has society. By his present method he is appointed teachers of this religion, to liked by his friends, admired by his depenenforce its obligations, and to raise those dants, not displeasing to his bishop; he enthusiasms among people, by which lives as well, eats and sleeps as well, as if alone political society can subsist? a real orator, and an eager assertor of

From eloquence, therefore, the morals his mission : he will hardly, therefore, of our people are to expect emendation : venture all this to be called, perhaps, an but how little can they be improved by enthusiast; nor will he depart from cusmen who get into the pulpit rather to toms established by the brotherhood, when, show their parts than convince us of the by such a conduct

, he only singles himself truth of what they deliver; who are pain. out for their contempt. fully correct in their style, musical in

הסם

« ПретходнаНастави »