Oratory: An Oration by Henry Ward Beecher, Delivered Before the National School of Oratory, Upon the Occasion of Its Third Annual Commencement, Held in the American Academy of Music, Philadelphia, May 29, 1876

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Publication Department, The National School of Oratory, 1886 - Oratory - 48 pages
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Page 13 - Now a living force that brings to itself all the resources of imagination, all the inspirations of feeling, all that is influential in body, in voice, in eye, in gesture, in posture, in the whole animated man, is in strict analogy with the divine thought and the divine arrangement ; and there is no misconstruction more utterly untrue and fatal than this : that oratory is an artificial thing, which deals with baubles and trifles, for the sake of making bubbles of pleasure for transient effect on mercurial...
Page 30 - But the voice is like an orchestra. It ranges high up, and can shriek betimes like the scream of an eagle; or it is low as a lion's tone; and at every intermediate point is some peculiar quality. It has in it the mother's whisper and the father's command. It has in it warning and alarm. It has in it sweetness. It is full of mirth and full of gaiety. It glitters, though it is not seen with all its sparkling fancies. It ranges high, intermediate, or low, in obedience to the will, unconsciously to him...
Page 22 - ... must have in his nature that kindly sympathy which connects him with his fellow-men, and which so makes him a part of the audience which he moves as that his smile is their smile, that his tear is their tear, and that the throb of his heart becomes the throb of the hearts of the whole assembly.
Page 48 - And this living force is worthy of all culture, — of all culture in the power of beauty; of all culture in the direction of persuasion; of all culture in the art of reasoning. To make men patriots, to make men Christians, to make men the sons of God, let all the doors of heaven be opened, and let God drop down charmed gifts, — winged imagination, all-perceiving reason, and all-judging reason. Whatever there is that can make men wiser and better — let it descend upon the head of him who has...
Page 17 - How much squandering there is of the voice ! How little is there of the advantage that may come from conversational tones ! How seldom does a man dare to acquit himself with pathos and fervor ! And the men "are themselves mechanical and methodical in the bad way, who are most afraid of the artificial training that is given in the schools, and who so often show by the fruit of their labor that the want of oratory is the want of education. How remarkable is sweetness of voice in the mother, in the...
Page 47 - ... will. Nor is there, let me say, on God's footstool, anything so crowned and so regal as the sensation of one who faces an audience in a worthy cause, and with amplitude of means, and defies them, fights them, controls them, conquers them. Great is the advance of civilization ; mighty are the engines of force, but man is greater than that which he produces.
Page 45 - ... especially newspapers, are to take the place of the living voice. Never ! never ! The miracle of modern times, in one respect, is the press; to it is given a wide field and a wonderful work; and when it shall be clothed with all the moral inspirations, with all the ineffable graces, that come from simplicity and honesty and conviction, it will have a work second almost to none other in the land. Like the light, it carries knowledge every day round the globe.
Page 12 - ... looked upon, if not with contempt, at least with discredit, as a thing artificial ; as a mere science of ornamentation ; as a method fit for actors who are not supposed to express their own sentiments, but unfit for a living man who has earnestness and sincerity and purpose. Still, on the other hand, I hold that oratory has this test and mark of divine providence, in that God, when He makes things perfect, signifies that He is done by throwing over them the robe of beauty ; for beauty is the...
Page 47 - Great is the advance of civilization ; mighty are the engines of force, but man is greater than that which he produces. Vast is that machine which stands in the dark unconsciously lifting, lifting — the only humane slave — the iron slave — the Corliss engine ; but he that made the engine is greater than the engine itself. Wonderful is the skill by which that most exquisite mechanism of modern life, the watch, is constructed ; but greater is the man that made the watch than the watch that is...
Page 21 - ... against unwelcome truths ; if one could by eloquence give sops to this monster, and overcome him, would it not be worth while to do it ? Are we to go on still cudgelling, and cudgelling, and cudgelling men's ears with coarse processes ? Are we to consider it a special providence when any good comes from our preaching or our teaching ? Are we never to study how skillfully to pick the lock of curiosity, to unfasten the door of fancy, to throw wide open the halls of emotion, and to kindle the light...

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