Imágenes de páginas

may be found a powerful means of culture. The scarcity of good readers is another reason for the acquisition of the art. Ask the average college graduate to read a piece of simple prose, and hear him jumble it! Says Professor Edward

Dowden, in his New Studies in Literature :

The reading which we should desire to cultivate is intelligent reading, that is, it should express the meaning of each passage clearly; sympathetic reading, that is, it should convey the feeling delicately; musical reading, that is, it should move in accord with the melody and harmony of what is read, be it in verse or prose.

To attain this, the reader must train the eye to look ahead of the vocalization and take in a clause or a sentence at a glance; that is, it should be phrase-reading, not word-reading. In reading in public, directness should be cultivated by allowing the eyes to play back and forth from the book or manuscript to the audience. At the beginning of a given sentence, the reader should be able to see through to the end of that sentence, and the closing words should be spoken directly to the audience, independently of the book, then return again to the copy. This power can be acquired by practice.

[ocr errors]

Practice, indeed, is the main thing. Certain incurable defects may be fatal, certain natural qualities are desirable, though not indispensable; the rest is work, — thorough preparation and continual practice. It is unfortunate if one must face an audience for the first time without previous training. The drill of school or college may be irksome, but the student should undertake it as he would any other task, do it and make it count for something. If you have a declamation, an oration, or an argument to deliver, drill on the oral presentation. Speak to an imaginary audience. Invite your friends in and compel them to listen. Do not be afraid of drilling too much. I have heard students

[ocr errors]


talk about getting "stale" who did not even enunciate clearly. An expert in technique to criticise and suggest is desirable, but not indispensable. Sometimes a friend who is not over-fastidious, has no dogmatic standards, and can judge of general effectiveness, is the most valuable sort of a critic. Take all the advice offered and do not always act on it. A little experience will enable you to judge of its value; you will soon learn to know your leading faults yourself; and unless you are to surrender your individuality, you must be the final judge. And then, when the occasion arrives, put your technique in the background; let mental and moral earnestness be the predominant processes; and let the practice in technique unconsciously repeat itself in the final effort.


Practice faithfully the technique of delivery until it becomes a second nature. Do not fail to make conscientious and thorough preparation for all those occasions, so frequent under the conditions of American life and government, when you will be called upon to speak and thereby make general preparation for those times, unforeseen yet also frequent those social or political crises in the affairs of a community, a State, or a Nation when the public speaker, "sending the truth home," as Beecher defines oratory, "with all the resources of the living man," creates, moulds, and directs a public opinion that conduces to right thinking and right acting.

[ocr errors]





Extract from a speech delivered at the Dallas, Texas, State Fair, October 26, 1887.

MEN, and especially young men, look back for their inspiration to what is best in their traditions. Thermopyla cast Spartan sentiments in heroic mould, and sustained Spartan arms for more than a century. Thermopyla had survivors to tell the story of its defeat. The Alamo had none. Though voiceless, it shall speak from its dumb walls. Liberty cried to Texas as God called from the clouds unto Moses. Bowie and Fannin, though dead, still live. Their voices rang above the din of Goliad and the glory of San Jacinto, and they marched with the Texas veterans who rejoiced at the birth of Texas independence. It is the spirit of the Alamo that moved above the Texas soldiers as they charged like demigods through a thousand battle-fields, and it is the spirit of the Alamo that whispers from their graves and ennobles the soil that was crimsoned with their blood.

In the spirit of this inspiration and in the thrill of the amazing growth that surrounds you, my young friends, it will be strange if the young men of Texas do not carry the

Lone Star into the heart of the struggle. The South needs her sons to-day more than when she summoned them to the forum to maintain her political supremacy, more than when the bugle called them to the field to defend issues put to the arbitrament of the sword. It is ours to show that as she prospered with slaves she shall prosper still more with freemen; ours to see that from the lists she entered in poverty she shall emerge in prosperity; ours to carry the transcending traditions of the old South, from which none of us can in honor or in reverence depart, unstained and unbroken into the new. Let every man here pledge himself, in this high and ardent hour, that in death and earnest loyalty, in patient painstaking and care, he shall watch. her interest, advance her fortune, defend her fame, and guard her honor as long as life shall last.

With such consecrated service, what could we not accomplish; what riches we should gather for her; what glory and prosperity we should render to the Union; what blessings we should gather unto the universal harvest of humanity! As I think of it, a vision of surpassing beauty unfolds to my eyes. I see a South, the home of fifty millions of people, who rise up every day to call from blessed cities, vast hives of industry and of thrift; her country-sides the treasures from which their resources are drawn; her streams vocal with whirring spindles; her valleys tranquil in the white and gold of the harvest; her mountains showering down the music of bells, as her slow-moving flocks and herds go forth from their folds; her rulers honest and her people loving, and her homes happy and their hearthstones bright, and their waters still and their pastures green; her wealth diffused and poorhouses empty, her churches earnest

and all creeds lost in the gospel. Peace and sobriety walking hand in hand through her borders; honor in her homes; uprightness in her midst; plenty in her fields; straight and simple faith in the hearts of her sons and daughters; her two races walking together in peace and contentment.

All this, my country, and more can we do for you. As I look the vision grows, the splendor deepens, the horizon falls back, the skies open their everlasting gates, and the glory of the Almighty God streams through as He looks down on His people who have given themselves unto Him and leads them from one triumph to another until they have reached a glory unspeaking, and the whirling stars, as in their courses through Arcturus they run to the milky way, shall not look down on a better people or happier land.



From his address delivered on the occasion of his inauguration as President of Princeton University, October 25, 1902.


[ocr errors]



American universities serve a free nation, whose progress, whose power, whose prosperity, whose happiness, whose integrity depend upon individual initiative and the sound sense and equipment of the rank and file. Their history, moreover, has set them apart to a character and service of their own. They are not mere seminaries of scholars. They never can be. Most of them, the greatest of them and the most distinguished, were first of all great colleges before they became universities, and their task is twofold, — the

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »