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hath done for us, till it burst forth in fervent prayer ?—I fear it was rather decency than devotion, that carried you once a week to the place of public worship—and, for the rest of the week, your thoughts and time were so very differently filled up, that the idea of a Ruler of the universe could occur but seldom, and then, rather as an object of terror than of hope and joy. How then shall a soul, so dead to divine love, so lost to all but the most childish pursuits, be able to exalt and enlarge itself to a capacity of that bliss which we are allowed to hope for, in a more intimate perception of the Divine presence, in contemplating more nearly the perfections of our Creator, and in pouring out before his throne our ardent gratitude, love, and adoration ?-What kind of training is the life you have passed through, for such an immortality? Mrs CHAPONE.
17.-ON PRONUNCIATION, Or delivery.
How much stress was laid upon pronunciation, or delivery, by the most eloquent of all orators, Demosthenes, appears from a noted saying of his, related both by Cicero and Quintilian; when being asked, What was the first point in oratory? he answered, Delivery; and being asked, What was the second? and afterwards, What was the third? he still answered, Delivery. There is no wonder, that he should have rated this so high, and that for improving himself in it, he should have employed those assiduous and painful labours, which all the ancients take so much notice of; for, beyond doubt, nothing is of more importance. To superficial thinkers, the management of the voice and gesture, in public speaking, may appear to relate to decoration only, and to be one of the inferior arts of catching an audience. But this is far from being the case. It is intimately connected with what is, or ought to be, the end of all public speaking-persuasion; and therefore deserves the study of the most grave and serious speakers, as much as of those, whose only aim is to please.
For, let it be considered, whenever we address ourselves to others by words, our intention certainly is to make some impression on those to whom we speak; it is to convey to them our own ideas and emotions. Now the tone of our
voice, our looks and gestures, interpret our ideas and emo tions no less than words do; nay, the impression they make on others is frequently much stronger than any that words can make. We often see that an expressive look, or a passionate cry, unaccompanied by words, conveys to others more forcible ideas, and rouses within them stronger passions, than can be communicated by the most cloquent discourse. The signification of our sentiments, made by tones and gestures, has this advantage above that made by words, that it is the language of nature. It is that method of interpreting our mind, which nature has dictated to all, and which is understood by all; whereas, words are only arbitrary, conventional symbols of our ideas; and, by consequence, must make a more feeble impression. So true is this, that, to render words fully significant, they must, almost in every case, receive some aid from the manner of pronunciation and delivery; and he who, in speaking, should employ bare words, without enforcing them by proper tones and accents, would leave us with a faint and indistinct impression, often with a doubtful and ambiguous conception of what he had delivered. Nay, so close is the connexion between certain sentiments and the proper manner of pronouncing them, that he who does not pronounce them after that manner, can never persuade us that he believes, or feels, the sentiments themselves.
DISCONTENT THE COMMON LOT OF ALL MANKIND. SUCH is the emptiness of human enjoyment, that we are always impatient of the present. Attainment is followed by neglect, and possession by disgust.-Few moments are more pleasing than those in which the mind is concerting measures for a new undertaking. From the first hint that wakens the fancy, to the hour of actual execution, all is improvement and progress, triumph and felicity. Every hour brings additions to the original scheme, suggests some new expedient to secure success, or discovers consequential advantages not hitherto foreseen. While preparations are made and materials accumulated, day glides after day through Elysian prospects, and the heart dances to the song of hope. Such is the pleasure of projecting, that many content
themselves with a succession of visionary schemes, and wear out their allotted time in the calm amusement of contriving what they never attempt or hope to execute.
Others, not able to feast their imagination with pure ideas, advance somewhat nearer to the grossness of action, with great diligence collect whatever is requisite to their design, and, after a thousand researches and consultations, are snatched away by death, as they stand waiting for a proper opportunity to begin.
If there were no other end of life, than to find some adequate solace for every day, I know not whether any condition could be preferred to that of the man who involves himself in his own thoughts, and never suffers experience to show him the vanity of speculation; for no sooner are notions reduced to practice, than tranquillity and confidence forsake the breast; every day brings its task, and often without bringing abilities to perform it: difficulties embarrass, uncertainty perplexes, opposition retards, censure exasperates, or neglect depresses. We proceed, because we have begun; we complete our design, that the labour already spent may not be vain: but as expectation gradually dies away, the gay smile of alacrity disappears, we are necessitated to implore severer powers, and trust the event to patience and constancy.
When once our labour has begun, the comfort that enables us to endure it is the prospect of its end; for though in every long work there are some joyous intervals of selfapplause, when the attention is recreated by unexpected facility, and the imagination soothed by incidental excellencies not comprised in the first plan, yet the toil with which performance struggles after idea, is so irksome and disgusting, and so frequent is the necessity of resting below that perfection which we imagined within our reach, that seldom any man obtains more from his endeavours than a painful conviction of his defects, and a continual resuscitation of desires which he feels himself unable to gratify.
So certainly is weariness and vexation the concomitant of our undertakings, that every man, in whatever he is engaged, consoles himself with the hope of change.. He that has made his way by assiduity and vigilance to public employment, talks among his friends of nothing but the delight
of retirement: he whom the necessity of solitary applica tion secludes from the world, listens with a beating heart to its distant noises, longs to mingle with living beings, and resolves, when he can regulate his hours by his own choice, to take his fill of merriment and diversions, or to display his abilities on the universal theatre, and enjoy the pleasures of distinction and applause.
Every desire, however innocent or natural, grows dangerous, as by long indulgence it becomes ascendant in the mind, When we have been much accustomed to consider any thing as capable of giving happiness, it is not easy to restrain our ardour, or to forbear some precipitation in our advances and irregularity in our pursuits. He that has long cultivated the tree, watched the swelling bud and opening blossom, and pleased himself with computing how much every sun and shower added to its growth, scarcely stays till the fruit has obtained its maturity, but defeats his own cares by eagerness to reward them. When we have diligently laboured for any purpose, we are willing to believe that we have attained it, and, because we have already done much, too suddenly conclude that no more is to be done.
All attraction is increased by the approach of the attracting body. We never find ourselves so desirous to finish, as in the latter part of our work, or so impatient of delay, as when we know that delay cannot be long. Part of this unseasonable importunity of discontent may be justly imputed to languor and weariness, which must always oppress us more as our toil has been longer continued; but the greater part usually proceeds from frequent contemplation of that ease which we now consider as near and certain, and which, when it has once flattered our hopes, we cannot suffer to be longer withheld. Rambler.
19. THE FUNERAL OF MR BETTERTON.
HAVING received notice, that the famous actor Mr Betterton was to be interred this evening in the cloisters near Westminster Abbey, I was resolved to walk thither, and see the last office done to a man whom I had always very much admired, and from whose action I had received more strong impressions of what is great and noble in human nature,
than from the arguments of the most solid philosophers, or the description of the most charming poets, I had ever read. As the rude and untaught multitude are no way wrought upon more effectually than by seeing public punishments and executions; so men of letters and education feel their humanity most forcibly exercised, when they attend the obsequies of men who had arrived at any perfection in liberal accomplishments. Theatrical action is to be esteemed as such, except it be objected, that we cannot call that an art which cannot be attained by art. Voice, stature, motion, and other gifts, must be very bountifully bestowed by nature, or labour and industry will but push the unhappy. endeavourer, in that way, the farther off his wishes.
Such an actor as Mr Betterton ought to be recorded with the same respect as Roscius among the Romans. The greatest orator has thought fit to quote his judgment and celebrate his life. Roscius was the example to all that would form themselves into proper and winning behaviour. His action was so well adapted to the sentiments he expressed, that the youth of Rome thought they wanted only to be virtuous to be as graceful in their appearance as Roscius; and they who never thought of setting up for the art of imitation, became themselves inimitable characters.
There are no human inventions so aptly calculated for the forming of a free-born people as that of a theatre. Tully reports, that the celebrated player of whom I am speaking used frequently to say, The perfection of an actor is only to become what he is doing. Young men, who are too inattentive to receive lectures, are irresistibly taken with performances. Hence it is, that I extremely lament the little relish the gentry of this nation have at present for the just and noble representations in some of our tragedies. The operas, which are of late introduced, can leave no trace behind them that can be of service beyond the present moment. To sing and dance are accomplishments very few have any thoughts of practising; but to speak justly and move gracefully, is what every man thinks he does perform, or wishes he did. I have hardly a notion, that any performer of antiquity could the action of Mr Betterton in surpass of the occaany sions in which he has appeared on our stage. The wonderful agony which he appeared in, when he examined the