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ILLUSTRATIONS OF THE PRINCIPLES
READING AND PUBLIC SPEAKING.
A SELECTION OF THE BEST PIECES FROM ANCIENT AND
ACCOMPANIED BY EXPLANATORY NOTES.
READING AND ORATORY.
: \. o4 T■
PUBLISHED AND SOLD BY THE AUTHOR.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the sixty-third year of the Independence of the United States of America, and in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty-nine, by Samuel N. Sweet, in the Clerk's Office, of the District Court of the United States, for the Northern district of New York. ,
Win. A. Welles, Printer, Rochester.
No Branch of education can be more successfully and advantageously applied to the great and practical purposes of life, than Elocution. It is in the most frequent use of any other faculty with which our nature is endowed. Whenever we exercise the organs of speech, whether in conversation, reading, or public speaking, we employ some of our powers of elocution. Throughout all the diversities of rank and sex, including kings and beggars, all individuals begin to practice it, the second, if not the first year of their existence. It is but another word for the faculty of speec,h—a faculty which elevates man above the brute creation, and which should not be permitted to ,
* rust out unused,"
and unimproved. That the reading or speaking voice, as well as the singing voice, is susceptible*>f almost an unlimited degree of cultivation, is a truth, with a conviction of which, men have been deeply impressed, in all ages of the world. Especially is this true of the citizens of Greece and Rome, They paid great attention to the art of eloquence, as it was called in ancient times; now, elocution; which is "the rose by another name;" and we learn from history, that their labors were rewarded with very beneficial results.
Passing over in silence, other great and immortal names, let us direct our attention for a moment, to Demosthenes, Cicero, and Pericles. Nature did not very liberally provide Demosthenes with power of speech. He, however, possessed genius of an eminent degree. And yet, without industry, his name would have "mouldered in oblivion." By undying perseverance in the pursuit of oratory, and by unremitting attention to the principles upon which good speaking is founded; he acquired an eloquence which "astonished all Greece.'* We may say of him without any poetical license, he spoke,
"Confusion heard his voice, and wild uproar stood ruled."
Cicero, by close application, reading, and declaiming, rendered his voice so melodious, powerful, and thrilling, that it hushed the Roman senate into silenee, and made "great Caesar" himself tremble on his seat. Pericles so successfully cultivated the noble art of elocution, that with him, manner was almost matter. An incident is related in history, which may serve to give us an idea of the power of his eloquence. Thucidides, although an enemy to Pericles, when asked which was tha best wrestler, answered: "Whenever I have given him a fall, ho affirms the contrary, in such strong and forcible terms, that he pur