Instruction to be received from the actor, § 1-3. He should correct faults of pronunciation, 4-8. He should give directions as to look and gesture, 9-11. Passages from plays should be recited by the pupil, 12, 13. Passages also from speeches, 14. Exercises of the palaestra to be practised, 15-19.
1. SOME TIME is also to be devoted to the actor, but only so far as the future orator requires the art of delivery, for I do not wish the boy whom I educate for this pursuit either to be broken to the shrillness of a woman's voice or to repeat the tremulous tones of an old man's. 2. Neither let him imitate the vices of the drunkard nor adapt himself to the baseness of the slave; nor let him learn to display the feelings of love, or avarice, or fear: acquirements which are not at all necessary to the orator and which corrupt the mind, especially while it is yet tender and uninformed in early youth, for frequent imitation settles into habit. 3.It is not even every gesture or motion that is to be adopted from the actor, for though the orator ought to regulate both to a certain degree, yet he will be far from appearing in a theatrical character and will exhibit nothing extravagant either in his looks, or the movements of his hands, or his walk. If there is any art used by speakers in these points, the first object of it should be that it may not appear to be art.
4. What is then the duty of the teacher as to these particulars? Let him in the first place correct faults of pronunciation, if there be any, so that the words of the learner may be fully expressed and that every letter may be uttered with its proper sound. For we find inconvenience from the too great weakness or too great fullness of the sound of some letters. Some, as if too harsh for us, we utter but imperfectly or change them for others not altogether dissimilar, but, as it were, smoother. 5. Thus lambda takes the place of rho, in which even Demosthenes found difficulty (the nature of both which letters is the same also with us), and when -c, and similarly -g, are wanting in full force, they are softened down into -t and -d. 6. Those niceties about the letter -s, such a master will not even tolerate; nor will he allow his pupil's words to sound in his throat or to rumble as from emptiness of the mouth; 7.nor will he (what is utterly at variance with purity of speaking) permit him to overlay the simple sound of a word with a fuller sort of pronunciation, which the Greeks call καταπεπλασμένον (katapeplasmenon): a term by which the sound of flutes is also designated, when, after the holes are stopped through which they sound the shrill notes, they give forth a bass sound through the direct outlet only.
8. The teacher will he cautious, likewise, that concluding syllables be not lost; that his pupil's speech be all of a similar character; that whenever he has to raise his voice, the effort may be that of his lungs, and not of his head; and that his gesture may be suited to his voice, and his looks to his gesture. 9. He will have to take care, also, that the face of his pupil, while speaking, look straight forward; that his lips be not distorted; that no opening of the mouth immoderately distend his jaws; and that his face be not turned up, or his eyes cast down too much or his head inclined to either side. 10. The face offends in various ways: I have seen many speakers whose eye-brows were raised at every effort of the voice; those of others I have seen contracted; and those of some even disagreeing, as they turned up one towards the top of the head, while with the other the eye itself was almost concealed. 11.To all these matters, as we shall hereafter show, a vast deal of importance is to be attached, for nothing can please which is unbecoming.
12. The actor will also be required to teach how a narrative should be delivered, with what authority persuasion should be enforced, with what force anger may show itself, and what tone of voice is adapted to excite pity. This instruction he will give with the best effect, if he select particular passages from plays, such as are most adapted for this object, that is, such as most resemble pleadings. 13. The repetition of these passages will not only be most beneficial to pronunciation, but also highly efficient in fostering eloquence. 14. Such may be the pupil's studies while immaturity of age will not admit of anything higher. But as soon as it shall be proper for him to read orations and when he shall be able to perceive their beauties, then, I would say, let some attentive and skillful tutor attend him who may not only form his style by reading, but oblige him to learn select portions of speeches by heart and to deliver them standing, with a loud voice, and exactly as he will have to plead so that he may consequently exercise by pronunciation both his voice and memory.
15. Nor do I think that those orators are to be blamed who have devoted some time even to the masters in the palaestra. I do not speak of those by whom part of life is spent among oil and the rest over wine, and who have oppressed the powers of the mind by excessive attention to the body (such characters I should wish to be as far off as possible from the pupil that I am training). 16. But the same name is given to those by whom gesture and motion are formed, so that the arms may be properly extended, that the action of the hands may not be ungraceful or unseemly, that the attitude may not be unbecoming, that there may be no awkwardness in advancing the feet, and that the head and eyes may not be at variance with the turn of the rest of the body. 17. For no one will deny that all such particulars form a part of delivery or will separate delivery itself from oratory; and, assuredly, the orator must not disdain to learn what he must practise, especially when this chironomia, which is, as is expressed by the word itself, the law of gesture, had its origin even in the heroic ages and was approved by the most eminent men of Greece, even by Socrates himself. It was also regarded by Plato as a part of the qualifications of a public man and was not omitted by Chrysippus in the directions which he wrote concerning the education of children. 18. The Lacedaemonians, we have heard, had among their exercises a certain kind of dance as contributing to qualify men for war. Nor was dancing thought a disgrace to the ancient Romans, as the dance which continues to the present day, under the sanction and in the religious rites of the priests, is a proof, as is also the remark of Crassus in the third book of Cicero's De Oratore, where he recommends that an orator should adopt a bold and manly action of body, not learned from the theater and the player, but from the camp or even from the palaestra. Observation of this discipline has descended without censure even to our time. 19. By me, however, it will not be continued beyond the years of boyhood, nor in them long, for I do not wish the gesture of an orator to be formed to resemble that of a dancer, but I would have some influence from such juvenile exercises left, so that the gracefuless communicated to us while we were learning may secretly attend us when we are not thinking of our movements.