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OBSERVATIONS ON VOCAL GYMNASTICS,
A COPIOUS SELECTION OF EXTRACTS IN
POETRY AND PROSE,
FOR EXERCISE IN READING AND DECLAMATION.
BY PROFESSOR GREENBANK,
VISITING SECRETARY OF THE MANCHESTER CHURCH EDUCATION SOCIETY,
Action, Action, Action !— Demosthenes.
THE RIGHT REVEREND JOHN PRINCE LEE, D.D.,
LORD BISHOP OF MANCHESTER,
CONTAINING THE OUTLINES OF ELOCUTION,
BY THE AUTHOR,
MOST RESPECTFULLY INSCRIBED;
WITH THE CONVICTION,
A PRELATE, SO EMINENTLY DISTINGUISHED,
WILL APPRECIATE HIS HUMBLE EFFORTS.
It is not necessary that a man should be a stammerer, in order to be aware, from personal experience, of his imperfection in vocal utterance and speech. We are taught to read, and to express ourselves grammatically in conversation ; but how few learn suitable intonation, and a full and distinct utterance, - by which speech obtains much of its charm, and acquires often all its influence. Graceful gestures in walking and dancing, and in presenting one's self in company, are thought by many to be of paramount importance;
and hence, as a matter of course, the majority of young persons of both sexes are placed under the direction of a teacher of dancing. And yet, after all, what are the graces of manner compared to the melody of the voice ? and how imperfect the address of the otherwise accomplished gentleman or lady, without full and mellifluous speech! Nature here, as in all that concerns either bodily or mental endowment, does, it is true, establish great differences amongst individuals. One person has, naturally, a musical voice, as it is called ; another a harsh or somewhat dissonant one; but still, education possesses, we also know, a great deal of plastic power; and in no case is the influence of physical education more evident than in the strength which exercise gives to the muscles in general, and in the agility and grace which practice imparts to the movements of the limbs, as in the evolutions of the dance, and on the tight rope, &c. On the same principle precisely, without any charm, magic, or inystification, can the muscles which, by their successive or alternate and combined action, give rise to voice and speech, be educated into strength and measured and harmonious