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to be read permitting of transpositions forbidden to that which is to be spoken.
But if you speak upon the same subject, although you desire to express the same thoughts, you will naturally do so in a different fashion. If you were to speak as you had written, you would probably be unintelligible to half your audience and uninteresting to all; your discourse would appear intolerably starched, dogmatical and dry. The reason of this is, that the mind of the Hearer must follow the words of the Speaker as fast as he utters them, and unless those words convey the thought at once, without sending the mind backwards or forwards in search of it, it falls by the way, or what is worse, it is misunderstood. The Reader can pause to reflect, he can reperuse any passage not instantly intelligible ; but if the listener does not seize it on the instant of its expression by the speaker, it is lost to him altogether, without hope of recovery.
You will now see, I trust, wherein lies the difference between composition for speaking and for writing. Oratory requires, not only its own language, but its own composition; the frame work in which a speaker's thoughts are set differs widely from that employed by the talker or the writer. The style is more formal than that of the former, and less formal than that of the latter. A speech that resembled talking would be an impertinence; a speech like an essay would be a bore. You must learn the mean between them. Writing is, nevertheless, the foundation of speaking, and will be found the best practice to qualify you to be a speaker. You should write much upon the topics on which you expect to be required to speak much, and this for two purposes : first, to cultivate ideas upon them; and, second, to learn how to
upon any sub
express those ideas with precision. The habit of putting your thoughts into writing affords the only guarantee that those thoughts have substance in them, and are not merely vague and formless fancies.
When first you come to set down upon paper your
ideas ject, however well acquainted with it you imagine yourself, you will be surprised to find how dreamy and shapeless are the thoughts you had supposed to be so distinct and symmetrical. The pen is a provoking fetter upon the flights of fancy; but it is a wholesome cure, and makes you a sensible man instead of a dreamy fool. Write, therefore, often and much, preferring the subjects on which you may anticipate that you will be required to speak
But there is danger to be avoided. You write for the sake of acquiring clear and rapid thoughts and expressive words, and for nothing more. This is all that writing can teach you that will serve you in speaking. What more you may learn from the practice of writing will be injurious and will require strenuous exertions to avoid. I have told you already, that the framework of spoken thought differs widely from that of written thought. In so far as the style of written composition differs from that of speech, you must keep strict watch over yourself to prevent the practice becoming a habit. This is the difficulty and danger, for which I can suggest no way of escape save your own vigilance. It is something to know where danger lies, and you should keep the memory of it ever before you. Perhaps the best counteraction would be to revise what you have written, thinking how you would have said the same thing had you spoken instead of written it, and sometimes even re-write it, as if it had been designed for a speech ; the
comparisons will show you the difference in the manner, and disturb the habit of throwing your thoughts into the peculiar form of written composition, which otherwise might become unmanageable.
CAUTIONS-HOW TO BEGIN.
But the practice of writing a speech must be pursued with this caution, that you guard yourself against acquiring the mannerism that belongs to it, and which very little experience will teach you to detect in any speaker who has written his speech and recites it from memory. Both thoughts and words, in written discourse, unconsciously, and in spite even of your efforts to prevent it, array themselves in different order from that which they fall into when spoken. By recommending to you the practice of composition with the pen, I do not therefore design to encourage the writing of speeches. There is indeed no error against which I would more emphatically warn you; but unless you can compose rapidly with the pen, you will not compose fluently from the lips; you may, indeed, talk sound sense, but you will talk it so badly that it will be a pain to listen to you.
The object of oratory is to influence your audience by convincing or persuading them; by satisfying their judgments or kindling and attracting their sympathies. Your purpose is not, or ought not to be, to astonish them by ingenuity, or to gratify their tastes by your art. You appeal to their reason, or to their feelings, or to both, with intent to induce them to share your convictions or your emotions. Hence the presence of earnestness on your part is necessary to your success. The mere appearance of conviction—an obvious sincerity of belief in the cause you are advocating—will often make more converts than the most unanswerable arguments; and such is the sympathy of human feelings, that the presence of real emotion in you is sure to command the feelings of your hearers ; while the absence of it, or the show of it only, however well acted, will as certainly fail to carry an audience along with you. Thus mind is moved by mind; thus feelings are stirred by feelings. The orator must never forget the poet's truth,
That we have all of us one human heart. There are vast variances of intellect, in all degrees, from Shakespeare to an idiot. The intelligence of your audience varies immensely, the best certainly being not the most numerous. Taste, fancy, perception and comprehension are as unlike in different persons as their features, and the full possession of them is as rare as beauty. But the emotions are nearly the same in all of us, of what class or training soever. Education cannot create nor neglect destroy them. Your most convincing appeals to the reason will be understood by few; the brightest pictures of your fancy will call up the like pictures only with the select of your listeners ; your wit will be appreciated but by the most refined ; and your most exquisite language will be understood by those alone whose tastes have been cultivated like your But your emotions will find an echo in every