( Originally Published 1922 )
STUDY THE FOLLOWING SELECTIONS AND EXTRACTS
1. Decide on the prevailing tone quality for each.
2. Mark the thought groups.
3. Underscore the words and phrases that should be given prominence. What kind of prominence shall you give each? Indicate contrasts; new ideas; echoes.
4. Is there climax?
5. Use your imagination. Are the pictures in your mind clear and vivid? Do you feel the mood of the selection?
6. Be sure that you have the thought. Study each sentence carefully
that you may know just the shade of meaning to be expressed.
7. Practise to make your voice convey exactly what, in your judgment, should be the feeling and thought of the selection.
Some reckon their ages by years,
Better a day of strife
A thousand joys may foam
Grow old'along with me!
BROWNING: Rabbi Ben Ezra
And they lifted up their voices and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clave unto her. And she said, Behold, thy sister-in-law is gone back unto her people and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister-in -law.
And Ruth said, Entreat me not to leave thee, or return from following after thee for whither tho u goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy people shall be my people, and thy God's my God; where thou diest will I die and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me and more also, if aught but death part thee and me.
SPEECH AT THE DEDICATION OF THE NATIONAL CEMETERY AT GETTYSBURG
NOVEMBER 15, 1863
Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here; but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced., It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us, that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth. ABRAHAM LINCOLN
BUNKER HILL ORATION DELIVERED AT THE COMPLETION OF THE MONUMENT, JUNE 17, 1843
America has furnished to the world the character of Washington! And if our American institutions have done nothing else, that alone would have entitled them to the respect of mankind. Washington! "First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen!" Washington is all our own! The enthusiastic veneration and regard in which the people of the United States hold him, prove them to be worthy of such a countryman; while his reputation abroad reflects the highest honor on his country. I would cheerfully put the question today to the intelligence of Europe and the world, what character of the century, upon the whole, stands out, in the relief of history, most pure, most respectable, most sublime; And I doubt not that, by a suffrage approaching to unanimity, the answer would be Washington!
I claim him for America. In all the perils, in every darkened moment of the state, in the midst of the reproaches of enemies and the misgiving of friends, I turn to that transcendent name for courage and for consolation. To him who denies or doubts whether our fervid liberty can be combined with law, with order, with the security of property, with the pursuits and advancement of happiness; to him who denies that our forms of government are capable of producing exaltation of soul, and the passion of true glory; to him who denies that we have contributed anything to the stock of great lessons and great examples; — to all these I reply by pointing to Washington!
And now, friends and fellow-citizens, it is time to bring this discourse to a close.
We have indulged in gratifying recollection of the past, in the prosperity and pleasures of the present. Let us remember the trust, the sacred trust, attaching to the rich inheritance which we have received from our fathers. Let us feel our personal responsibility, to the full extent of our power and influence, for the preservation of the principles of civil and religious liberty. And let us remember that it is only religion, and morals, and knowledge, that can make men respectable and happy, under any form of government. Let us hold fast the great truth, that communities are responsible, as well as individuals; that no government is respectable which is not just; that without unspotted purity of public faith, without sacred public principle, fidelity, and honor, no mere forms of government, no machinery of laws, can give dignity to political society. In our day and generation let us seek to raise and improve the moral sentiment, so that we may look not for a degraded, but for an elevated and improved future. And when both we and our children shall have been consigned to the house appointed for all living, may love of country and pride of country glow with equal fervor among those to whom our names and our blood shall have descended! And then, when honored and decrepit age shall lean against the base of this monument, and troops of ingenuous youth shall be gathered around it, and when the one shall speak to the other of its objects, the purposes of its construction, and the great and glorious events with which it is connected, there shall rise from every youthful breast the ejaculation, "Thank God, I — I also — AM AN AMERICAN!"
The day returns and brings us the petty round of irritating concerns and duties. Help us to play the man, help us to perform them with laughter and kind faces, let cheerfulness abound with industry.
Give us to go blithely on our business all this day, bring us to our resting beds weary and content and undishonored, and grant us in the end the gift of sleep. Amen.
ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON
WHO IS TO BLAME?
Public duty in this country is not discharged, as is often supposed, by voting. A man may vote regularly, and still fail essentially of his political duty, as the Pharisee who gave tithes of all that he possessed, and fasted three times in the week, yet lacked the heart of religion. When an American citizen is content with voting merely, he consents to accept what is often a doubtful alternative. His first duty is to help shape the alternative. This, which was formerly less necessary, is now indispensable. In a rural community such as this country was a hundred years ago, whoever was nominated for office was known to his neighbors, and the consciousness of that knowledge was a conservative influence in determining nominations. But in the local elections of the great cities today, elections that control taxation and expenditure, the mass of the voters vote in absolute ignorance of the candidate. The citizen who supposes that he does all his duty when he votes, places a premium upon political knavery. Thieves welcome him to the polls and offer him a choice, which he has done nothing to prevent, between Jeremy Diddler and Dick Turpin. The party cries for which he is responsible, are "Turpin and Honesty," "Diddler and Reform," and within a few years, as a result of this indifference to the details of public duty, the most powerful politician in the Empire State of the Union was Jonathan Wild the Great, the captain of a band of plunderers. I know it is said the knaves have taken the honest men in a net, and have contrived machinery which will inevitably grind only the grist of the rascals. The answer is that when honest men did once what they ought to do always, the thieves were netted and their machine was broken. To say that in this country the knaves must rule, is to defy history and to despair of the republic.
If ignorance and corruption and intrigue control the primary meeting, and manage the convention, and dictate the nomination, the fault is in the honest and intelligent workshop and office, in the library and the parlor; in the church and the school. When they are as constant and faithful to their political rights as the slums and the grog shops, the pool rooms and the kennels; when the educated, industrious, temperate, thrifty citizens are as zealous and prompt and unfailing in political activity as the ignorant and venal and mischievous, or when it is plain that they cannot be roused to their duty, then, but not until then — if ignorance and corruption always carry the day — there can be no honest question that the republic has failed. But let us not be deceived. While good men sit at home, not knowing that there is anything to be done, nor Daring to know; cultivating a policy that politics are tiresome and dirty, and politicians vulgar bullies and' knaves; half persuaded that a republic is the contemptible rule of a mob, and secretly longing for a splendid and vigorous despotism — then remember it is not a government mastered by ignorance, it is a government betrayed by intelligence; it is not the victory of the slums, it is the surrender of the schools; it is not that bad men are brave, but that good men are infidels and cowards.
GEORGE WILLIAM CURTIS: The Public Duty of Educated Men
THE RIGHTS OF MANKIND
We fight for our own rights. We fight for the rights of mankind. This great struggle is fundamentally a struggle for the fundamentals of civilization and democracy. The future of the free institutions of the world is at stake. The free people who govern themselves are lined up against the governments which deny freedom to their people.
Our cause is the cause of humanity. But we also have bitter wrongs of our own which it is our duty to redress. Our women and children and unarmed men, going about their peaceful business, have been murdered on the high seas, not once, but again and again and again.
With brutal insolence, after having for well-nigh two years per-severed in this policy, Germany has announced that she will continue it, at our expense and at the expense of other neutrals, more ruthlessly than ever.
The injury thus done to us as a nation is as great as the injury done to a man if a ruffian slaps his wife's face. In such case, if the man is aman, he does not wait and hire somebody else to fight for him; and it would be an evil thing, a lasting calamity to this country, if the war ended, and found us merely preparing an army in safety at home without having sent a man to the firing line; merely having paid some billions of dollars to other people so that wit the bodies of their sons and brothers they might keep us in safety.
I ask that we send a fighting force over to the fighting line at the earliest possible moment, and I ask it in the name of our children and our children's children, so that they may hold their heads high over the memory of what this nation did in the world's great crisis.
I ask it for reasons of national morality no less than for our material self-interest. I ask it for the sake of our self-respect, our self-esteem.
In exactly the same way there should be no need to answer now the question as to whether we are merely to spend billions of dollars to help others fight, or to stand in the fighting line ourselves.
By all means spend the money. A prime essential is to furnish the Allies all the cargo ships they need for food and all the craft they need to help hunt down the submarines. By all means aid them with food and ships and money, and speedily; but do not stop there
Show that we can fight, as well as furnish dollars and vegetables to fighting men. At the earliest possible moment send an expeditionary force abroad, show our German foes and our allied friends that we are in this war in deadly earnest, that we have put the flag on the firing line, and that we shall steadily increase the force behind that flag to any limit necessary in order to bring the peace of victory in this great contest for democracy, for civilization, and for the rights of free peoples.