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drill. The piece should be analyzed more or less minute.y, the allusions and difficult points being explained. It should be the first aim to make the pupil understand it, not only in its general spirit and scope, but in its particular ideas. His attention should then be turned to the emotions which it expresses. Let it be remembered that the paramount object should be to make the pupil understand the meaning and feel the spirit of the piece. If he is timid and diffident he should be encouraged. Tell him that even Daniel Webster could not make a declamation at the first attempt; but that he did not despair; he did not cease his efforts ; he persevered and succeeded.
After the rehearsal, the pupil should have time to practice by himself and apply and confirm the instruction received from his teacher. It must be impressed upon his mind that if he would attain excellence he must practice, practice, practice. He must be made to understand that the repetition of a piece three or four times is no adequate preparation, and that it is necessary to go over with it twenty, thirty, or fifty times, if he would excel, and take a high rank.
When the declamation takes place, excepting on public occasions, the criticisms ought to be made immediately after the performance of each speaker. The faults of the diffident should be mildly criticized. It is very important to call attention to points of special excellence in any performance. It should be remembered that judicious commendation is a most powerful stimulant to exertion.
The most difficult task in teaching declamation is to develop that indescribable fervor, that unaffected earnestness of manner which always captivates the hearers, and wins the highest marks at an exhibition for prizes. There will always be one speaker in a school who excels all the rest in this quality. The teacher should point out the peculiar excellence of this speaker, and show wherein it differs from loudness of voice, and violence of action, and affected passion. Let it be remembered that the perfection of declamation consists in delivering the piece as though it were real speaking. The speaker must “put himself, in imagination, so completely into the situation of him whom he personates, and adopt for the moment, so perfectly, all the sentiments and views of that character, as to express himself exactly as such a person would have done, in the supposed situation." Give the speaker every other quality - let his enunciation, his modulation of voice, and his action be faultless, and yet without earnestness, real earnestness, not the semblance of it, not boisterous vociferation, not convulsive gesticulation, but genuine emotion felt in the heart, care rying the conviction to the hearers that the sentiments uttered are real, the spontaneous, irrepressible outpouring of the thought and feeling of the speaker, - without this sovereign, crowning quality, he cannot be said to speak with eloquence. To bring out and develop this highest quality of delivery, requires the highest skill in the teacher. Unless the teacher possesses some degree of this quality himself, he cannot develop it in his pupils.
The best immediate preparation for speaking is rest. I have often noticed that speakers at exhibitions have in many cases failed to do themselves justice from sheer exhaustion. A day or two of repose previous to speaking, enables the speaker to bring to the performance that vigor of the faculties which is indispensable to the highest success. Webster told the Senate, and truly, no doubt, that he slept soundly on the night previous to the delivery of his second speech on Foote's resolution, which is considered his greatest parliamentary effort. It is well for the speaker to remember what Mr. Everett said in allusion to this fact: “So the great Condé slept on the eve of the battle of Rocroi, 80 Alexander slept on the eve of the battle of Arbela, and so they awoke to deeds of immortal fame."
The best training cannot make good readers and good speakers of all pupils, but it can do much. And it is a fact worthy of observation that those who are most sceptical as to the possibilities of elocutionary culture, are invariably those who are themselves unskilful teachers in this branch