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words require: by taking off his eye from the book, it in part relieves him from the influence of the school-boy habit of reading in a different key and tone from that of conversation; and it affords greater scope for expression in tones, looks and gesture.
IT were much to be wilhed, that all public speakers would deliver their thoughts and sentiments, either from memory or immediate conception : for, besides that there is an artificial uniformity which almost always distinguishes reading from speaking ; the fixed posture, and the bending of the head which reading requires, are inconsistent with the freedom, ease, and variety of just elocution. But, if this is too much to be expected, especially from Preachers, who have so much to compose, and are so often called upon to speak in public; it is however extremely desirable, that they should make themselves so well acquainted with their discourse, as to be able with a single glance of the eye, to take in several clauses, or the whole, of a sentence *
I HAVE only to add, that after the utmost pains have been taken to acquire a just elocution, and this with the greatest success, there is some difficulty in carrying the art of speaking out of the school, or chamber, to the bar, the fenate, or the pulpit. A young man, who has been accustomed to performa frequent exercises in this art in private, cannot easily persuade himself, when he appears before the public, to consider the business he
* See Dea: Swift's advice on this head, in his Letter to a young Clergymane
has to perform in any other light, than as a trial of skill, and a display of oratory. 'Hence the character of an Orator is often treated with ridicule, sometimes with contempt. We are pleased with the easy and graceful movements, which the true gentleman bas acquired by having learned to dance ; 'but we are offended by the coxcomb, who is always exhibiting his formal dancingbow, and minuet-step. So, we admire the manly eloquence and noble ardour of the Senator employed in the cause of justice and freedom; the quick recollection, the ingenious reasoning, and the ready declamation of the accomplished Barrister; and the dignified fimplicity, and unaffected energy of the Sacred Instructor: but when in any one of these capacities, a man fo far forgets the ends and degrades the consequence of his profession, as to set himself forth under the character of a Spouter, and to parade it in the ears of the vulgar with all the pomp of artificial eloquence, though the unskilful may gaze and applaud, the judicious cannot but be grieved and disgusted. Avail yourself, then, of your skill in the Art of Speaking, but always employ your powers of elocution with caution and modesty; remembering, that though it be desirable to be adınired as an eminent Orator, it is of much more importance to be respected, as an able Lawyer, an useful Preacher, or a wise and upright statesman.
E S S A Y
ON READING WORKS OF TASTE.
Multo magis quam MULTORUM lectione formanda mens, et ducendus eft Color.
EADING can be considered as a mere amuse
ment, only by the most vulgar, or the most frivolous part of mankind. Every one, whom natural good-sense and a liberal education have qualified to form a judgment upon the subject, will acknowledge, that it is capable of being applied to an endless variety of useful purposes. This is, indeed, fufficiently evident, without any studied proof, from the nature of the thing. For, what is reading, but a method of conferring with men who in every age bave been most distinguished by their genius and learning, of becoming acquainted with the result of their mature reflections, and of contemplating at leisure the finished productions of their inventive powers ? From such an intercourse, conducted with a moderate share of caution and judgment, it must be imposible not to derive innumerable advantages.
The principal uses of reading may, perhaps not improperly, be referred to two objects, the improvement of the underttanding, and the exercise of imagination:
whence books may be distinguished by two leading characters, Instructive and Interesting; and will be divided into two classes, Works of Knowledge, and Works of Taste.
BETWEEN the two kinds of reading, which books, thus classed, afford, there is one characteristic difference. In works which are merely intended to communicate knowledge, writing is made use of only as a vehicle of inftruction; and therefore nothing further is neceffary, or perhaps desirable, than that they should express the facts, or truths, which they are intended to teach, with perfect perspicuity of conception, arrangement and diction. But in works of taste, the writing itself becomes a principal object of attention, as a representation of nature, more or less accurate according to the powers, which the writer possesses, of expressing in language the conceptions of his own imagination. This reprefentation cannot, indeed, be called an imitation of nature, in the fame strict and literal sense in which the term is applied to a picture; because words are not natural copies, but arbitrary signs of things: but it produces an effect upon the imagination and feelings of the reader, similar to that which is produced by the art of painting. It was doubtless for this reason, that Aristotle defined poetry an imitative art.
These circumstances render THE READING OF WORKS OF TASTE a subject of disquisition, or of precept, not less extensive than that of writings intended for the communication of knowledge; and, on account of its infuence upon the state of the mind, it may perhaps be
justly asserted to be not less important. It is the design of this Eslay, briefly to represent the benefits which are to be expected from this kind of reading; and to suggest certain RULES for conducting it in the most advantageous manner.
The agreeable EMPLOYMENT which reading works of taste affords the active faculties of the mind, is its first and most obvious effect.
The productions of genius, whether written in the narrative, descriptive, or dramatic form, agree in the general character, of presenting before ihe mind of the reader certain objects which awaken his attention, exercise his fancy, and interest his feelings. Those scenes in nature, which, from causes which it is the business of philosophy to explore, are adapted to excite in the spectator agreeable perceptions and emotions, may, by the aid of language, be exhibited in colours, lefs vivid indeed than those of nature, but fufficiently bright, to make a strong impression upon the imagination. A similar effect will be produced by the representation of human characters and actions, but with a superior degree of force, on account of the superiority of animated, to inanimate nature, and on account of the peculiar interest, which men naturally take in whatever concerns their own species. These are rich and spacious fields, from which genius may collect materials for its various productions, without hazard of exhausting their treasures. ·
The ancients, numerous as their works of fancy are, were capable of enriching them with an endless variety of imagery, sentiment and language. That strict adherence