Page images
PDF
EPUB

upon it, and to execute properly the manifold duties it will be called upon to perform. This necessitates careful and systematic practice in breathing, voice production, tone coloring, inflection, emphasis, and the many other sections of the vocal work which, when combined, comprise the vehicle which is to convey the thought.

In the second place, the mind must be fed and cultivated so as to enable it to produce thought. It must be strengthened by exercise, fed by reading of good matter, and made active by use. Time must be devoted to meditation, to thinking over the expressions of the ideas of the master minds that have gone before — weighing, refuting, and combating them, as well as receiving them and being influenced thereby - and to keeping the light of our own mind burning by thinking matters out in our own way and giving our thoughts the impress of our individuality. Only by these means can we hope to be at the same time wise and original. Originality that is foolish is worse than useless, and wisdom that is borrowed shines only with a reflected light; but that which is both original and wise will live through many ages and act as a beacon to light others to the attainment of originality and wisdom.

In the third place, an effective delivery is absolutely essential. There can no more be such a thing as an orator without a delivery than there can be a newspaper without paper or some other substance on which to print the news. A publisher might as well print a newspaper and then indifferently circulate it as for a man to fill his

mind with great thoughts and ineffectively deliver them. Delivery is the soul of oratory: without it, there can be nothing but the form of speech; with it, there is the spirit that gives life to the words. The matter is the product, the delivery is the mode of conveyance; and each is necessary to the other if either is to be of value to the speaker.

The only really effective form of delivery is the extempore; and, after once it has been acquired, it is the easiest of the many forms. In the opinion of the author, matter that is written out and then read, or matter that is written out, memorized, and then spoken, is in neither case a speech. Speaking is conveying thought by word of mouth, and not by word of pen. The matter that is to form the speech should be diligently gathered, fully digested, and carefully arranged, but the words that are to clothe the thought should be spontaneous. Unless the words are willing servants, well trained, springing instantly to the performance of their duty, coming, not through a conscious effort to recall what has been memorized, but in response to the sub-conscious action of the mind, the words will fail to possess that mentality that alone can give them the expression that is really their soul. Only when the mind is released from all care concerning words can it be placed adequately upon the thought, and only by fully placing it upon the thought can the mentality enter the voice, thereby making the words convey by tone and general expression what they really stand for, and carry to the mind of the listener

the thought which is in the mind of the speaker. In this manner is a connection brought about between listener and speaker, and by these means is generated that force which is commonly called magnetism but which is, in reality, the active mind of the speaker getting into communication with the mind of the listener through the mediumship of the vitalized spoken word. The language is but the wire which carries the message, or the atmosphere on which the message is sent; the thought is the electricity which produces the message. The language is material, the mentality is spiritual; the one being the body of expression, the other being the soul.

Finally, why are there so few orators in the world today? Merely because there are so few persons who are willing to spend the time and employ the labor necessary to acquire the qualifications for the making of orators. No great achievement in any walk of life is accomplished without labor, no movement in behalf of man has ever progressed without labor, and nothing is worth having unless it is secured by labor. Run your eye over the pages of history and try to find instances where chance has knocked with its golden wand on the door of man's existence; and for every one so found, at least a dozen will be discovered where man has cut through the rock of difficulties with the iron tools of industry and forged those tools in the fires of determination. Not all men who achieved greatness were born poor in this world's goods. Many of them, men like Marcus Aurelius, Washington, Lafayette, and Roosevelt, won renown in spite

[ocr errors]

of their wealth; while, on the other hand, men like Moses, Franklin, and Lincoln gained their great eminence in the face of poverty. It matters not whether man be rich or whether man be poor, so far as his success in living a useful life is concerned, but it does signify much whether he is an idler or a laborer. Make yourself worthy of success, and success - in its true and only valuable sense, - will be yours. Remember, that labor proud, independent laboris noble, and that it leads, not only to the making of orators, but to the formation of characters - the building of souls.

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

A SYSTEMATIZED STUDY

OF

"HOW TO MASTER THE SPOKEN WORD."

A Guide to Teachers and Students

ST

TUDENTS are advised to read the work as a book,

commencing with the first page and continuing straight on to the end. They should skip nothing, not even the long speeches, as they are introduced for specific purposes; but they should also guard against tarrying on the way to study any particular passages that may strike their fancy. They are advised to first read the book carefully in order that they may the better understand its scope and purpose, and gain some idea regarding the general plan that underlies its construction.

It will be noted that the first chapter does not contain instructions as to how the student of oratory is to breathe, or how he is to use the many other functions of body, voice, and mind that are necessary to the correst production of the spoken word; but it shows how famous speakers produced their effects, and it reveals to the student the means he must adopt if he is to produce like results, leaving to later chapters the task of revealing how the . means are to be applied. This manner of arranging the

« PreviousContinue »